Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer Skin!

Personally, I'm a huge fan of Body Dew when it comes to having 'summer skin'.  However, even people blessed with great skin often need an exfoliate.  I started making my own about 6 months ago, and wouldn't go back to store-bought if you paid me.  First, it's cheap. Second, the ingredients are much more body-friendly. Third, I usually have the ingredients on hand in the kitchen, so I rarely run out!

Here's my personal recipe:

  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E 
  • 1/2-1 tsp Vanilla Extract 
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Oil
The end result smells a good bit like vanilla vodka, in my opinion, but it's not overwhelmingly strong.   You can experiment with different oils and scents like peppermint oil or you can leave ingredients out if you prefer - so long as you have an oil and a scrub, you're good.  You can also use sea salt or regular sugar instead of brown sugar if you prefer. Other oils ideas are jojoba, avocado, grapeseed, untoasted sesame, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, etc. Just play around with it and have fun!

Just a warning: Don't use salt scrub after shaving. It burns! :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Laundry Detergent Recipe

I've been making my own laundry detergent for three years now and absolutely love it. Not only can it be better for the environment and your skin, but it's much easier on the wallet as well.  I've been asked to post my detergent recipe, so here it is!

2 C. Bar Soap
2 C. Washing Soda
2 C. Borax
Large bucket
*More on the ingredients at the end

1.  Boil 1qt of water
2. Grate the bar soap, and add it to the boiling water.
3. Once the soap melts, add the washing soda and borax
4. Add the mixture to the bucket, and fill the bucket with hot water (I use about 2 gal.)
5. Cover bucket with lid and leave it alone for 24 hours - the detergent will gel.
6. Use 1/4 cup for every load - make sure you stir it first. It has an odd consistency, kind of like clumpy egg drop soup.

Now, more on the ingredients.  For soap, I started out with Fels-Naptha. You can find this bar in the detergent aisle (I could only find it at Kroger, locally).  I have since switched to Kirk's Castille, which I found in the body soap aisle, and like it much better.  Either one works, as does Ivory or Zote.  Make sure you get washing soda and not baking soda - you can find this and the borax in the detergent aisle as well.  If you have hard water, this detergent may make your clothes look a little dingy.  The best remedy for this is to add a drop or two of Mrs. Stewart's Bluing to the water before you add your clothes. This can also be found in the detergent aisle.

All in all, it costs less than $1 for each batch you make and one batch of detergent lasts my family of three (including an infant with lots of dirty laundry) for several months!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homemade Crayons! (sort of?)

Several weeks ago, Mini-Me and I decided to make our own crayons. Technically, we didn't make our own...we made different crayons out of the ones we already had. Either way, it was a pretty cool experience and she's carried them proudly in her backpack since.
Want to make your own crayons? It's easy!

Old, broken crayons
Muffin Tin - old one if you have it
Squealing six-year-old

First, peel the labels off of the crayons and break them into 1in. long pieces.  Don't expect your kiddo to want to do this - he/she will get bored around four minutes in.  If you're having a problem getting the labels off, just soak them in a bowl of hot water for ten minutes first and they'll slide right off!

Second, preheat your oven to 250. While waiting, arrange the crayons into the tins however you want. The artist in me wanted to make monochromatic and complimentary crayons with awesome combinations like reds/oranges or purples/yellows...Mini-Me decided to randomly throw together an array of colors that made zero sense and they turned out just fine - hard to color with, but they're interesting looking.

Third, turn your oven off and insert muffin tin. Check on it every few minutes and remove when the crayons are completely liquid - this takes about ten minutes.  Be very careful when moving the muffin pan as the liquid crayons will swirl, mess up your pattern, and turn into a uni-colored mess.

Let them completely cool, then flip the pan and pop the crayons out. Ta-Da!

I didn't have a problem with them sticking to the pan or cleaning the pan afterward - using hot water re-melted the wax and made removal quite easy.

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And Baby Makes Three (LONG update!)

I've always loved the phrase 'and baby makes three'. It seemed perfect, really - the union of two people who love each other creating another life.  As a single mother, it takes on a whole new meaning.  Mini-Me and I have had our own little world for 6.5 years.  Yes, her dad and I were together for the first four, but even though we all lived together and he was involved, he still worked night shift. This left Mini-Me and I on our own alot for entertainment and bonding - we were two peas in a pod. After her dad and I separated, we spent two years wrapped around each other's fingers. Then, things changed...and I'm pretty sure we couldn't be any happier.

     Finnegan, also known as Finn, was born on March 12th at 2:10pm after a mere six hours of labor - only five in the hospital. I assume it was six hours - I woke up having horribly painful contractions and am not sure how long I was in labor before they woke me up.  We brought him home the following day, and have been in heaven since. Mini-Me is adjusting - slowly, but it's happening. She absolutely adores her little brother and the attention he's getting, but is having issues with the attention she's not getting and the visitors that keep coming for Finn. She's a smart little girl and figured out really quick who was there to see her and who was only around because Finn is here now.  She's had a good bit of backsliding with her Sensory Processing Disorder, but her school, pediatrician, dad and I are all working together to make things better.
    Finn isn't exactly an 'easy' baby.  While he's taken to nursing quite easily despite an overactive letdown, he's very, very gassy.  Poor little thing cringes in pain and draws his legs up every time he eats, and thinks he's hungry when his tummy really just hurts.  I've spent hours upon hours researching solutions and making changes - eating different foods, cutting caffeine and dairy, diving into the world of probiotics, etc. If he's asleep, I'm on the computer reading breastfeeding, colic, and 'gassy baby' information. It's a whole new world for me, but so worth it. Other than that, he's fantastic.  He regained his birth weight within a few days of leaving the hospital, sleeps decently at night most of the time, is starting to hold his head up, and is already a mama's boy despite me trying my darnedest to not let it happen.  If he's fussy, hand him to Mommy...he shuts right up and just looks at me.
    We're happy. Attempting to settle into a pretty strict schedule to help Mini-Me out, trying to figure out breastfeeding and pumping, and not getting near as much sleep as a few months ago....but very, very happy. <3

Friday, February 11, 2011


...most definitely went out the window today. I have bronchitis, nausea, and exhaustion....none of which have made my 'to-do' list any easier.  I did somehow manage to complete a homemade dinner, several loads of laundry, a chapter of notes, and the emptying/breaking down of three more boxes.  Yay?

In better news, I officially have a doula!  I was afraid for awhile there that I wasn't going to get to have one...and we know how well that'd turn out.  There definitely needs to be a mediator and somebody like-minded there to support me through the labor and delivery.  She's awesome, and I'm excited!

Tomorrow is my first baby shower, so I shall be back with pictures of the incredibly cool (yet slightly morbid) cake and Mini-Me opening gifts.  Sunday, I'm having a few maternity photos taken with Mini-Me, so I'll be able to share those soon as well! For now, I'm going to go take a bubble bath and study through contractions.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eventful Weekend?

I was Mini-Me free for the majority of the weekend and good grief did I get alot done!  Friends of mine came over and, between the four of us (plus an awesome 11 y/o boy), we unpacked almost every box in the apartment and started getting ready for Finn. I'm excited!  He now has an official place to sleep:

Don't mind the 'stuff' up front - it's a pump and a bag of yarn that is slowly becoming a blanket.  Eventually, he'll move up to a crib...and I'll get his stuff sorted out onto the organizer. 

Check this out - these boxes/bags up front are ALL baby clothes/blankets/bibs!
And there's another bag sitting in my living room!  I think, between hand-me-downs and second-hand stores, I did a pretty good job loading up for the kiddo.

Now I'm on to actually preparing: moving things around, prepping diapers, washing bottles and making cabinet space.  I never thought I would boil diapers on my stove, but I did.  The majority of his diaper collection is currently in the wash:

Then they get to hit an organizer and await for his arrival!  Next step is to pack a hospital bag, but I'm slightly fearful that he'll decide that means it's time to go...and I don't want to go yet. I have class tomorrow! He should make an appearance on a Wednesday night - that would be perfection!

This tired mama is about to retire into a bubble bath.  The kiddo is all tucked into bed after story-time and helping me with diapers, homework is all done...ready for the week to start!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Charity Raffle!

I've been browsing diaper give-aways and blogs and ran across this awesome Charity Raffle at Modified Momma Reviews.  It's a paypal donation of $5 to win, but the $5 goes towards the medical care of a very sweet, very sick little girl.  There are other ways to 'add' entries, as well, and increase your chances of winning.  Check out the packages you can win - they're great prizes for a great cause!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Television - Blugh.

We're finally all move into the new apartment.  Not unpacked, by any means, but at least moved in.  Today was 'cable day' - cool guy came and hooked up my internet, phone, and cable.  They lowered my rates by $40 a month AND gave me another 100 channels and a DVR.  I'm not a tv person, at all - I was raised reading books, doing crafts, and things other than sitting on my butt watching other people live fake lives.  I've tried to raise my daughter the same way, despite her being infront of the television more in the past two years than the entire four years before that combined.  I had decided, officially, that tv was making it's way out of our home.  A show here and there...but that's it. I only opted for cable because the bundle was cheaper than the internet/phone only package for the only decent internet provider in the area...then, the 'cool cable guy' hooked up cable in my kiddos room. Ruh-Roh!

So, Mini-Me and I made a deal this evening.  She can have television in her room.  She can even watch it! BUT, she has the following stipulations:
  • Homework must be done every evening
  • We can't skip our nightly reading time. If we start running out of time before bed, we cut tv time in the future.
  • No television during dinner...once we get the kitchen put together.  For now, we have dinner at the bar (also without the tv on). 
  • We must continue to do the following together, every week (we started this three weeks ago) :
    • A board game and/or puzzle atleast three times a week
    • Flashcards and workbook fun atleast three times a week
    • Crafty fun time atleast atleast four or five times a week, together (We're currently working on drawing animals, and cross-stitching on plastic canvas.
  • Chores - gotta be done. She has a morning, afternoon, and before-bedtime routine just like mommy (Thanks, Flylady!)  Most of it is simple stuff like remembering to lay out her clothes and brush her teeth.  Some of it is routine chores like emptying the dishwasher while mommy starts dinner.  
  • Finally: Mommy has control of what is on the television, and any future parroting of inappropriate phrases (like her infamous 'You smell like butt!' week-long repeats after watching iCarly) will result in a blocked show.  
Now...lets see how long this lasts before I remove the cable box from her room. :P

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunshine and Rainbows

The past few weeks haven't exactly been sunshine and rainbows.  I was delayed a week on both class as well as packing because a 'Snowpocalypse' hit Georgia (and by Snowpocalypse, I mean a whopping 5-8 inches of snow).  On top of that, I'm having regular contractions that are preventing me from packing and getting as much done.  I guess, when you weight the options of 'slower packing' and 'bedrest', I really should be grateful that I'm getting anything done in the first place.

But, over the past few days, I've taken a look around and realized that there really is a rainbow...way off in the distance, somewhere, but it's there.  I was approved for our new apartment, my professors this semester are amazingly funny, and despite being 'slow' about it I am actually being pretty productive for someone who isn't supposed to be doing anything in the first place.

More importantly, things are changing...and very much for the better.  Mini-Me and I, when I was previously a single mom, had a routine.  We were a team, and we ran this house together.  Over the past year and a half, I allowed things to fall apart.  Priorities changed, my grades slipped, routines went out the window, and even we, as people, took a turn for the worse.  I became negative, which I said I would never again be, and I became unproductive.  The past week, things are making a turn for the better.  I'm booking parties again, Mini-Me started helping out with her former chores almost automatically, we both have smiles on our faces, and we're back to doing things as a 'team'...which is always much more fun than working against each other.  Just in the past two weeks, we've grown closer than we've been since we went to Disney. 

This experience, as a whole, has taught me one thing I should have learned a long time ago: never settle.  Never settle for a person, situation, environment...anything.  If you know what you want and deserve in life and things aren't going in that direction, DO something about it instead of just letting it happen and being content with it.  I think alot of people stay in their situations because they're not in 'bad' situations or with 'bad' people, but they're not actually happy and that leads to resentment.  I've over resentment.  So, I am putting on my happy face and pulling up my vintage cowboy boots by the straps, kicking the negative people back out of my life, and giving myself and my family everything we deserve. <3

Friday, January 14, 2011

Single Motherhood.

The other half moved out last weekend and, yet again, Nev and I are embarking on a wonderful journey into managing a family together. She's excited, I'm excited, and I'm sure the baby would be excited if he had more than a few inches of kicking space. Is it going to be hard? Yes, very. Is it going to be emotional? Goddess help my poor six year old when postpartum hormones hit - it's a good thing we can handle each other better than anyone else. We're looking forward with nothing but positive energy, happy thoughts, and sheer determination to make the absolute best out of the situation we are currently in and will be in over the course of the next...well...who knows how long. We have hope, we have an amazing support group, and, most importantly, we have each other. In just a few short months (9 weeks, to be exact), Finn will also join us on this interesting journey of ours.

Wish us luck!