Category Archives: 365 photo project

little bird turns five + two of twelve

 

 

 

This weekend we celebrated Poppy’s 5th birthday. Excuse the cliche, but my, oh my, where has the time gone?

On Valentine’s Day we went to watch the Lego Movie and pick up your requested birthday present; a Princess Anna dress.  On your birthday, we had planned to go for a play at the YMCA, but they were calling for freezing rain so we stayed local, picked up some party favours for your guests, made pizza at your request, and watched the Disney Planning DVD that arrived.

On Saturday, you finally got to wear your birthday party dress.  Clementine wore her Elsa outfit and Silas had to be bribed to wear his Kristoff/Hiccup outfit for a photo opp.  You spent the morning twirling and singing “It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!  It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!”,  “Happy Birthday to Poppy!” along with “Let it Goooooo” from Frozen and you could barely keep your fingers out of the frosted blue cake we made.

Soon the house was filled with friends and family dressed as fairies, princes, dinosaurs, unicorns, butterflies, and princesses.  Nana made a bunch of the cutest edible Olafs and brought fresh eggs for everyone to take home along with their party bags.  You were rather confused as to why people brought gifts and asked who they were for.  You were just so over the moon to have your dress and a house full of fun people.  There were a couple impromptu story times and a couple crazy accidents (a cracked rib and a somersault down the stairs, but everyone is recovering well).  Overall, it was a loud and happy time.  It felt like an important party for you; as though you suddenly went from being a baby to a little girl.  It made our hearts swell to see you so happy with your friends.

That night, and the next night,you slept in your party dress.  You finally took it off and wore jammies to bed last night.

  • Your love for your sister grows more intense with each day and you go to great lengths to get a giggle out of her.
  • I had no idea you found a bow tie I mad a few years ago and placed it on your kitty, but I got a good laugh when he sauntered out of the kitty litter box what had to be hours later, looking very dapper indeed.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books,  Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch treasury.
  • You love watching Barbie, Equestria Girls, Frozen, How to Train your Dragon, and Clifford.  You love playing with your growing collection of My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Merida, Anna, Elsa, and Rainbow Dash.  (There is a sentence I never thought I’d be writing when my parenting adventure began!!)
  • You’ve been singing songs from Frozen nearly non-stop.  When I ask if you want to learn more of the words to it you say “No, you learn it.”.
  • You adore painting.
  • We discovered that your 6 year molar (46) is making an early appearance!
  • Last week, we traced your bodies and then drew onto your bodies whatever you pleased.  You gave yourself chicken pox, because you’re rather obsessed with drawing chicken pox.  You then drew the path your food takes through your body.  You asked me to draw a heart in your chest.
  • You love watching the Disney Planning DVD to see where the princesses and Captain Hook live.

  • You’ve always been one to prefer household objects to toys and I’ve started documenting your rather interesting and entertaining sleeping buddies and quotes.  It has turned into a little project that has been enjoyed on Instagram and Facebook.  Daddy and I decided if we were to ever create a book out of these pictures and conversations it would be called “Bed Folk + Pillow Talk with Silas”.
  • The other night, he wanted to sleep with Poppy. I thought it would be endless playing and giggling, but they fell fast asleep as soon as the lights were out. Silas hates it when the lights first go out and Poppy comforted him saying “it’s ok Silas, you can see me. I’m with you.” I love their love.
  • You really do say the darnedest things.  Here are a few more examples:
  • Silas: I was talking to The Perogie Man.
    Me: Who is the Perogie Man?
    Silas: Um, just the yummiest guy in the world.
  • Poppy: Mom, I want a brown baby.
    Me: Well, we don’t have brown skin so we can’t make a brown baby.
    Poppy: Oh, right. I love our baby.
    Silas: I want some brownies.
  • Me: Do you guys want some milk?
    Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
    Me: Um, yes. I think so.
    Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D.
  • You hate having your hair washed.  The other night you said you didn’t want your hair washed “…because it would turn into a girl’s hair”.  After it was washed, you were distraught that your hair “looked different now”.
  • Just yesterday morning, you woke up early with Daddy and wanted to wear some red mittens and a toque.  Once they were on you exclaimed “Look at me Daddy!  I’m gorgeous!”.
  • There is no jealousy or animosity, but you keep a safe distance from little Clementine.  Every once in a while I see you two sharing a flirty little smile though.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books, the Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch Treasury.
  • You love watching Equestria Girls, Clifford, How to Train Your Dragon, Clifford, Barbie, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Dinosaur Train.  You play with pretty much anything that isn’t technically a toy, but do enjoy playing imaginative games with Poppy.

  • You remain super happy even though I think your teeth are coming in and you have developed a rash/eczema on your back and tummy.  We are trying to get to the root of the rash, but can’t be sure yet.
  • You don’t often make strange with people.  You seem to take your time watching them carefully and then smile.
  • You usually wake 1-3 times in the night and nurse right back to sleep.
  • We finally captured some giggles on video.  It’s adorable.
  • You’re now wearing 6 month clothes.
  • We’ve started giving you little bits of food (the rash began before food was introduced), but you’re not overly enthused.
  • You love playing with the remote and crinkle-taggy blanket I made years ago.
  • You seem to have super human ab strength and can do a full sit up.

 

 

 

  • Mike saw a big moose sauntering down the middle of the road on his drive home one night.
  • We had our big load of logs delivered.  $875.
  • We’ve begun planning and saving for our Disney Trip 2017.  We are super excited.
  • We’ve begun working through a grade 4 french workbook to see what we remember.
  • Mike continues to enjoy playing his ukulele.
  • I am struggling to find my balance in many aspects of life.
  • I am starting to wonder if my hair will ever stop falling out.
  • In an act of self preservation, I am not allowing myself to even think about spring right now.
  • We are hoping to get a YMCA membership for the family.  It is over an hour away.
  • Our community is lobbying for a recreation center and indoor pool, but I won’t hold my breath.
  • Making plans to get the kids and I out of the house more often throughout the week.  I am thinking one day out locally (Early Years, Kinder Gym, etc), one day out in either Peterborough or Lindsay (Early Years, Chapters story time, YMCA drop in craft or gym time, groceries, YMCA land class etc.), and one day out as a family to do swimming lessons and other errands.
  • I don’t regret moving to the country, but I still struggle with feeling so isolated.
  • A second car is what dreams are made of.
  • In all honesty and if we had our time back, we would have approached my parents about buying a tiny plot on their farm, and built a tiny home so we could help with farm work and they could spend more time with the kids.
  • I often daydream about finding another family to build a tiny house in our woods so we could begin our own intentional village.
  • I made my first batch of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  It was delicious and simple.  A game changer.
  • I still hate meal planning.
  • I crave meditation and jogging.
  • I have grand plans of writing letters and sending care packages to friends and family.
  • I suck at blogging these days.
Also posted in 52 portraits, celebration, family, feather + anchor, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, photography + writing, the anchor, Uncategorized, wellness | 4 Comments

playing catch up

Firstly, I apologize for my absence and secondly, I thank you warmly for your kind emails to check in on me.  At 5 weeks of pregnancy the all day nausea hit me like a tonne of bricks and the depression that always accompanies it followed close behind.  Up until now, even the thought of signing into my blog account made me feel nauseated.

Alas, I am 19 weeks along and aside from feeling a bit gaggy in the mornings, I am feeling much better now.  Phew, that was a rough ride!

I am a little ashamed and saddened that I have only a handful of ho-hum photos from the past 3 months, so indulge me while I attempt to record a few snapshots to remind us all of what these month looked like…

  • We had our 18 to 20 week ultrasound on Monday and found out that we are having a GIRL!  The kids have been saying girl consistently whenever we ask them so it was no big surprise to them.  We waited to find out for our first two, but thought it would be fun to find out for our last one.  It feels really nice to know…though I do have that nagging thought that they do make mistakes.
  • The all day nausea lasted from 5 weeks until about 15 weeks.  I made the whole 10 weeks without throwing up and then randomly at 18 weeks, I barfed my guts out.  The same thing happened with Poppy.
  • If I had picked up my camera you would likely see pictures of Silas dressed in a straw hat and lady gloves while exclaiming “Iiiiiit’s show time!” and you would see Poppy dressed in her flapper hat, lady gloves and a purse declaring she was ready to go to the bush.
  • We spent a great deal of time laying on the couch watching movies.  The funny thing is that I felt so guilty, but the kids were happy…likely because they had me all to themselves to snuggle and play with.  I also realized just how well they get along and play together.  They almost never fight and almost always share there food and toys with each other with a simple offer or question “You wanna share with me Silas/Poppy”.  They really are the best of friends and I am so glad they will be homeschooled to foster that relationship.
  • I wonder how this new little girl will fit into the mix and dynamic.  Both kids are excited and ease my worries when they bring toys for the baby, kiss my belly, and shush each other so as not to wake the baby.  Silas found a play stethoscope at the local thrift store and immediately held it up to my belly and said “I’m just checking your baby.  I’m a doctor.”
  • There was lots of lego, books, and puzzles by the fire.
  • Evening games of Uno in which Poppy actually began beating us until she lost interest and left the game after 4 or 5 hands.
  • The Waltons
  • Poppy has become quite crafty and resourceful.  When I take to long to fill a bowl with water for her to use her watercolour paints, she will spit in them and begin without me.  She used the same principle just yesterday when she wanted water for the mud pit they love so much.  She peed in it and I was able to stop her as she was about to proceed playing with her new mud.  Don’t worry we promptly filled the area in with 10 bags of play sand last night.  The black flies swarmed us, but with bug nets over their heads, they played happily for nearly an hour without so much as a single bite.
  • Speaking of the mud pit, one warm day this week they were able to strip down and become completely coated in dark, rich mud. All was fine and dandy until Silas snuck inside, waited until I spotted him, slammed the door and ran squealing into the front room and onto the couch where he flailed around until I could get him off and into the tub where he surprised us all by pooping. He has never done that and I think he was more shocked than Poppy and I.
  • Poppy has been sleeping in her own room, but Mike has been staying with her until she falls asleep, but about a month ago she started asking to go to bed and falling asleep by herself.  This is a very big moment for us as we have never wanted to let her cry it out.
  • We have been moving Silas to his own toddler bed in their shared room after he falls asleep, but most nights he finds his way back into our bed.
  • Poppy loves to draw, but shows more creativity with paints.  My favourite pieces are a portrait of Daddy and a colourful caterpillar.
  • She has also begun spelling and writing her name by herself and has learned the sounds all the letters of the alphabet make.
  • Our 9 hens are laying well and we can barely use up all the eggs.
  • Our red headed rooster has started to attack us.  It began with Silas, then Poppy, then Mike, then me.  He isn’t brutally aggressive, but enough to be annoying.  The good news is that when he attacked Silas and Poppy, Huck was there and gently pulled the rooster off of them by the tail feathers.  We are hoping to find a new home for him or he may end up in the freezer.
  • Huck has been a frustratingly stubborn dog, but he is wonderful with the kids and keeps a watchful eye on them.  If they run out of sight, he will follow and sit with them.
  • Our area had a lot of run off water, rain, and flooding this spring.  We weren’t affected by the flooding rivers at home, but our basement did gather some water which was frustrating, but so many people were evacuated and likely have severe water damage to their homes.
  • Mike and I will be creating a new website for Ellenberger Organic Farm.  It will have a lot more comprehensive information on it.  I will let you know when it goes live, but if you’d like to see more up to date photos, videos, and what is available when, etc, be sure to like their new Facebook page!  It was a great maple syrup year for them.
  • Mike’s Mom and her partner were up for a visit as they made their way back from Florida to Newfoundland which meant that Mike and I were able to get into the big city for our first night away alone in over four years.   We visited the St. Lawrence Market where I nearly passed out due to low blood sugar.  I sat on their lovely outdoor patio area where Mike fed me strawberries, cookies, meat sticks and water until I recovered.  We then walked on to the Distillery District.  Then up through a sketchy part of town and through Cabbagetown until we reached our hotel (An old Victorian house that Ernest Hemmingway lived in while in Toronto).  Once talking to the kids and freshening up, we made our way through the posh, douche chill inducing streets of Yorkville to a little Indian Restaurant where we enjoyed a lovely, quiet meal while simultaneously remembering why we like and love each other.  We then sipped on coffee and hot chocolate and strolled through aisles of books.  In the morning we rose early and enjoyed a stroll back down Bloor until we arrived at the ROM.  We sipped more hot beverages and ate a small breakfast while chatting and people watching until the museum opened.  With one set of butterfly wings, one set of dinosaur wings and a dinosaur mug, we made our way back to Union Station by way of the bustling Yonge Street.  My feet still hurt, but the simple memories are good ones that should carry us through to our next getaway in another couple of years ;).
  • Turns out that making baby girls makes for a fatter sicker mama. With Silas I was able to wear the same pair of non maternity jeans throughout the whole pregnancy. With this one, I peed on the stick and my pants stopped fitting.  Sweet lord, it is going to be a long summer!
  •  There are so many lilac blossom promises this year.  How I love the wild flowers and perennials that grow around this little house…wild roses, peonies, poppies, lilacs, daisies, cherry and apple blossoms, and black eyed Susan’s, oh my!  My mason jars shall runneth over this year!
  • We are hoping to get honeybees next spring.  I do love the dear little creatures, but would like to get the family allergy tested before we get them to make me feel better.
  • Mike is still making his way though our giant pile of firewood logs which means Mike ventured into chainsaw ownership and use.  He was pretty excited.  We hope to save up for a much more efficient wood stove this fall.
  • We were very pleased that we didn’t owe any taxes this year!  We got a $10 return, but paid $80 to figure that out.
  • Poppy has a new habit of posing very seriously for photos.  It is hard to explain, but it often translates into a very sad looking little girl even though as soon as I take it she breaks into a smile and asks to see it.  It is as though she is being artistic beyond her years.  Just yesterday she spotted the patch of cheerful dandelions in the yard and ran out to pick them in her fairy jammies.  She brought more and more in and then arranged them ever so carefully in a small mason jar.  Of course there were some very stoic poses for mama and her camera, but I did manage to capture a couple candid joyful faces.
  • Silas’ favourite new word is “dirt bag”.  It is something we lovingly call him from time to time, but it likely sounds horrible to onlookers who watch Mike take him into the washroom of the restaurant to wash his hands while he hollers playfully in protest “Let me go you dirt bag!”.  Funny stuff.
  • I purchased a 5 year journal on our little getaway to the city and look forward to recording a little bit about our everyday days.

Well, there you have it.  I know I’ve forgotten so many tiny good moments, but now I will have something to come back to this winter as we work away on our annual Poppy, Silas + Little Girl (We have a name picked, but will attempt keeping it secret for now) book for the grandparents.

I hope to see more of you these days and catch up on your own spaces again.

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Also posted in 52 portraits, celebration, ellenberger organic farm, family, feather + anchor, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, photography + writing, Uncategorized, wellness | 8 Comments

bullets

  • We had our first appointment with the new midwives .  I will be having a third c-section, but prefer midwifery care for my pregnancies.  It makes me feel a lot more in control and relaxed.  Seriously, everyone should go to a midwife regardless of what kind of birth you plan on having.  They are great.  When I came out of the office, Poppy lifted my shirt and asked where the baby was.

 

  • I feel miserable.  The all day nausea has arrived two weeks earlier than anticipated.

 

  • Poppy put her head on my belly and I asked if she could hear the baby in there. She looked concerned and said “I don’t hear him (she is 50/50 on the boy girl thing, alternates frequently) I think he ran to the store to get bananas.”  Also, I feel as though I could sleep until May.

 

  • I heard somewhere that siblings are usually right about the sex of an unborn baby so we ask them frequently.  They go back and forth often and just yesterday Silas informed me there was a boy and a girl in my belly.  Funny kid.

 

  • Seriously, will someone please give this girl a hot dog.  Or a foot long tuna sub.  That’s what dreams are made of right now.

 

  • This already feels endless.
  • The End
Also posted in 52 portraits, family, life, wellness | 12 Comments

thirty three . thirty four + earth’s best sundays

morning “suckness”

grocery shopping

mood swings

a day saved by a fun song

Skype with Newfoundland family

a painted birthday cake for Grampa

a happy dino + a pretty little painter

A visit with family at Ellenberger Organic Farm

organic potatoes +chocolate cake pops

Baby name talk all the way home (I think we’ve decided)

a cold house + a nice fire

The Waltons

 

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what january taught me + thirty one

So far, I have really been enjoying the 365 photo project.  It has pushed me to blog words I didn’t think I had and it has been healthy and  liberating allowing myself to write about the little things.  If you have not already, I encourage you to give it a shot and leave a link in the comments if you feel so inclined.

Yesterday also marked the end of our first month of serious budget living.  It was an event that was more empowering than I had first thought possible.  We did very well and managed to cut our grocery bill nearly in half while also paying a substantial amount down on our line of credit.  We also managed to stay out of overdraft for the entire month.  Instead of feeling poor, we feel rich.  Who would have thought it!?

This budget and having time to really look at my relationship with shopping has really begun to shake me down.  I have been wanting to go through my over stuffed closet and reduce my clothes DRASTICALLY to about 20 beloved and classic items.  I linked to this image a week ago and have been wondering if I could be ruthless enough to do it.  I know it is time to let go of all those jeans I wore when we began dating nearly 10 years ago.  I would also love to let go of the giant clothes I wore during my pregnancies; you see, instead of buying proper maternity clothes I just bought big things and looked like a house because of it (Oh how very thrifty of me).  There are clothes that are just a smidge too small or unflattering or uncomfortable, but I hold onto them because I like the colour, the fabric, or the quality or even have a memory attached to it.  I am thinking  I could sort it, put it all in bags and then hide it in our loft for a few weeks.  If something haunts me, I can dig it out, but if I can’t remember or don’t miss it, it is time to let friends pick out what they’d like and then cart it off to the local charity thrift store.  I think I am ready.

Yesterday, our basement/crawl space flooded.  At first we thought it was due to the insane January downpour we had the day before, but it turns out it was a clogged drainage pipe from our washing machine.  At any rate, it was enough to drive us both to distraction.  It made me really question why we even keep all that stuff hidden away.  It just allows us to continue to hold onto things that no longer serve us well.  We forget we have the items or we forget where they are and then buy new items only to find duplicates a year later.  Well, we managed to purge a good car load full of stuff yesterday and have a lot more to purge.

When Mike and I moved in together, I had never really lived on my own except for the 8 months I spent in a dorm room at college whereas he had already been on his own for years.  I arrived with a giant Uhaul truck full of things while everything he owned fit into his little Honda Civic hatchback.  We are very different people when it comes to stuff.  I am a nester; a collector; the safe one.  He, on the other hand, forms no attachment to his things, but had dropped everything so he could live in Uganda for 6 months before we had met.  I know now who had the better stories to tell.  I think, after nearly 10 years, we are about to find a happy middle ground.

We have all heard the quote ““Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”, but I think is time to really start living by those words.  Our house would not be considered “tiny living” at 1700 square feet, but we would like to start living by smaller means.  It is very true that the more stuff you have the more time you spend fretting over losing it, cleaning it, rearranging it, and maintaining it.  I get what the monks are trying to tell us now.  This may sound extreme to some, but the truth is, we ate better this month on nearly half of what we were spending in previous months, and I think we could be very happy with less, but higher quality stuff.

So yes, I feel motivated, hopeful, and even a little shaken up (in the best sort of way) by this budget adventure.  It is motivating to see that it is possible to stay out of overdraft and not have to dip into a line of credit.  It makes me hopeful that we can have the things we want (it may just take a little longer) and that by me saving  us money in the kitchen, it is just as good as me making money.  I am shaken up when I think of how I have filled small voids in my own landscape with things and shopping.

It’s time to get ruthless.  Will you join me?

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

 

Also posted in frugal living, life, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

twenty nine + sixty

twenty nine

 

my step mom, poppy, my dad, and silas at silas' first birthday party

Today my dad turns 60.

He is a wonderful father and grandfather.

He isn’t one for saying the words, but his actions and warm hugs have always spoken loud and clear.

My parents divorced when I was about 2 so I  spent every second weekend, summer and other important holidays with him and my step mom.  He worked a lot and I often wished I could spend more time together.   I relished the days I could skip day camp and tag along with him at his work.  Sometimes I would hold the horses for him, sometimes I would read in the truck, sometimes I explored the farms, but I always loved watching him work; a true craftsman.  I loved the nights he was left to his own devices to make supper (it was always Pop Shoppe sausage and fried potatoes).

After insanely long days of shoeing horses he would always be sure to come to my room to say hello and goodnight; the scent of burnt hoof and barn still heavy on his clothing.  I remember him drilling a hole into a golf ball because we were curious as to what was in the middle.  I remember all sorts of dumb little ideas I had that he would help me with without even batting an eyelash.  I remember him teaching me how to drive the tractor and, by some stroke of luck, I changed gears “on the fly” and he was impressed.  He is always busy with working and farming, some might even say a workaholic, but he always has and had time to teach me things and to be curious together.  He has taught me that anything is possible, or at least worth exploration, and to go against the grain no matter how unpopular it may be.  He is the kind of parent I want to be.

He never gave up on me when it may have been less painful to do so.

And now we make up for lost time.

Happy 60th Birthday Daddy.

We love you.

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Also posted in celebration, ellenberger organic farm, family | 1 Comment

twenty eight

We woke to fresh snow and warmer temperatures.

The house was warmer by 6:30 am than it was after an entire day of heat in last week’s deep freeze.

Before noon I had ironed Mike’s work clothes, enjoyed a few sips of bitter coffee, gave the kids breakfast and snacks, tidied, sorted laundry, washed and hung two loads of laundry, baked two lemon meringue pies (with Poppy’s help), made one large pot of quinoa, bean and veggie soup with dumplings, checked for eggs and played in the snow with the kids.

For the afternoon the kids played silly games, Silas napped, I attempted to read Anne of Green Gables to Poppy (no dice), we looked at books, and I was able to find a slightly bigger crochet hook to continue the basic crocheted blanket I have started.

No one ate my soup (I think it may be time to take out of the rotation for a while).

go gently + be wonderful

e.

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twenty five . twenty six . twenty seven + earth’s best sundays

Another home weekend nursing the nasty cold/flu

On Friday, as I began getting supper ready, Silas came into the kitchen asked up.  We were both crusted with the day’s snot and grime and oh so tired of doing not much of anything for days.  He put his head on my shoulder, patted my back, and in a congested, raspy voice said “I love you Mommy.”  I can’t be totally sure, but I am quite sure that is the first spontaneous “I love you” he has ever said.  I softened and the whole week melted away as I squeezed him tighter and said “I love you more”.  He barely hesitated before saying “I love you most”

Be still my heart.

It was a weekend of:

Big news

Wood

Crock pot mac and cheese with pureed turnip (So yummy.  Also, I am sure I love turnip more than anyone ever has)

Chocolate chip cookies

The Waltons

A new crochet project near and dear to our hearts

Crocheting progress halted when my hook fell off my lap and into the jaws of Huck

Phone calls + emails

Work from home

Afternoon naps

Cuddling with a very cranky unicorn

A sweet, even-tempered little girl (even while sick)

A walk to the pond foiled by said cranky unicorn

Newly fluffed nesting boxes for the ladies

a 104.5 * fever

Snuggling on the couch with books and iPad games

Early to bed + restless nights

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Also posted in earth's best sundays, family, life | 4 Comments

twenty four + the beauty products, recipes + methods i love

Since moving to the country I go out into the world a lot less.  Since there isn’t even the off chance that I might run into the mail lady, I find I put less and less into my appearance and wardrobe.  At first it was liberating, but I have grown tired of always looking like a rumpled rag.

Every morning I think it will be the morning that I get myself into the shower before Mike leaves for work, but I always find something else to tidy or it is just too damn cold.  This morning, though, I forced myself into the rather unwelcoming shower stall; the worst part is always the wall of ice that smacks up against you just after shutting off the water and opening the glass door.  Once I had some warm layers on again I felt so much better.  I know, I know, poor little Muffin and her First World problems!  😉

Now, I love a good jammie day just as much as the next person; probably even more so.  But I have noticed a marked improvement in my mood, patience, productivity, and general well being when I take that 20 or 30 minutes of self care each morning.

I used to be a bit of a product whore.  I loved going to the drug store to find new products that would make my hair shinier, my skin dewier, and my eyes poppier.  I have admitted to you on many occasions just how much I enjoy shopping and browsing, but in the last few years I have really begun to think about the nasty, carcinogenic crap they put in our products and have made it a goal to remove it from our home.  I have found wonderful replacements for pretty much everything, but my hair products.  I often have people ask me what  products I use and have been meaning to make a post telling you just that for quite some time.  To cram it into this post feels quite suitable, no?

Shampoo + Conditioner:  Let me first tell you that I have insanely thick hair which has natural loose curls.  My favourite product is Dove, but they still test on animals and contain all the usual chemicals so I try to buy the products not tested on animals.  I have tried going “poo free” in which I used baking soda, water and apple cider vinegar and I thought I liked it until I caved about a month and half in and washed my hair with real shampoo and it felt like my scalp could breathe again.  I have tried pretty much every natural product out there, but it always makes it feel heavy, frizzy, or just unclean.  I am not quite so picky about my conditioner and do like Nature’s Gate.

Mousse: Again, I have tried all the natural brands in hopes of finding something that makes my hair work, but my favourites are Herbal Essences or Dove though they are, once again, full of chemicals and tested on animals.  I even boiled flax seeds in hopes of using the gloopy bi-product for hair gel.  It was nasty and turned really fast.  I am still searching.

Hair Dryer:  I use a  Barbar Ceramic hair dryer (I bought it a couple years ago with a free shipping and 60% off coupon).  I also have a CHI hair straightener which I bought on clearance when we were a dual income household.  It is covered in hideous skull and crossbones, but the colour just wasn’t worth paying a premium.  I only use it when I have bangs..

Moisturizer:  For the body I like to use my homemade sugar scrub in the bath or shower which removed the need to moisturize afterwards.  For my face, I mix a little cocoa into my Green Beaver facial moisturizer to create a chemical free, sun free self tanner because I am of the opinion that everyone looks best with a little tan (how very 1980’s of me).

Face Wash:  Water.  Though I have heard good things about the oil cleansing method.  I use Witch Hazel as a toner.

Lips: I use my homemade lip balm and am wanting to try a decent DIY lip stain for the days I need a little colour.

 Makeup:  I am a minimalist when it comes to makeup.  Nearly everything I would use (mascara, eyeshadow, and eye liner) was in this kit for 24.99 at our local-ish health food store and sometimes I will use their subtle blush for these white wintry days.  I feel better when I wear a touch of makeup, but usually only where it when I leave the house.

Toothpaste:  As a formal dental hygienist, I feel a little torn about the whole fluoride controversy.  In an ideal world we wouldn’t need it and everyone would eat whole foods and have impeccable oral hygiene, but that just isn’t the case.  I don’t believe it should be in our drinking water.  We have been using this toothpaste for nearly 2 years and love it.

Deodorant:  I will only use the very best homemade deodorant ever created.  Some people say it can stain your clothes if you dress right after, but I have never found that.  Some people think baking soda contains aluminum, but apparently it is our baking powder that we should be looking more closely at.  If you’re still unsure, just get the aluminum free stuff like I did before I read that post.

Baby Wash/Shampoo – If you’re like me, you thought you were safe buying the unscented baby shampoos, but they contain all the shitty chemicals our stuff contains so I stopped buying it.  First I stopped washing Poppy’s curly hair and just used a tiny bit of conditioner, but when I ran out of that I just started wetting and/or brushing her hair at bath time each night and it is just the same.  I don’t even have to brush Silas’ hair.  You’d think their hair would stink or get oily, but it never does.  I just use homemade soap that I always seem to have given to me as gifts.

Bubble Bath:  Bubble bath just isn’t bubble bath without Sodium Lauryl Sulphate.  So I try to use epsom salts and essential oils instead, but I miss my bubbles.

Perfume/Cologne:  Pachouli has always been my scent and I have never ever been able to use anything but the more beyond The Body Shop’s perfume oils (I am sure they contain just as many chemicals.  Also they don’t make them anymore).  I have not bought new perfume in years, but when my oils run out I will just use Pachouli.  Mike has been saying he’d like a signature scent; something that when the kids smell it they think fondly of their daddy and his love. I am hoping one of these recipes will fit the bill.

Laundry Soap: I love this homemade recipe, but when I don’t have all the ingredients on hand or just don’t feel like taking the time, I use Ecos Laundry Soap.

 

There you have it.  My biggest pet peeve is when something doesn’t do what it it supposed to do so these are the recipes, products and methods I have found to be better for us, the earth, and are actually effective.  I have started a Pinterest board where I will be pinning recipes and ideas I would like to try so if you’d like to see more of what catches my eye, feel free to follow me.

What are your tried and true recipes, methods, and products?  What little things make a big difference in your day?

 

go gently + be wonderful

e

 

Also posted in frugal living, life, recipes, tutorials + DIY, wellness | 13 Comments

twenty three

-33

We woke from the slumber party in our room to ice on the windows despite the furnace and fire

Steam tufts when we opened the front door

Chili (with peppers, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, beans, organic beef and pureed spinach) on the wood stove

It tasted just like every other pot of chili I make, but I was the only one who liked it

Frustrated that my family seems to like less and less of the healthy meals I make

A sick and feverish little boy;

compounded by burning his hand on the wood stove (our first wood stove injury)

Tea biscuits with coconut oil

Oregano oil in our juice

Mike working from home a lot in the evenings

Glad he is home though

Root beer + popcorn

Bed

P.S.

The instructions asked her to trace the circle, but I have to agree with her that this is much better.

Thinking outside the…um, circle 😉

go gently+ be wonderful

e

Also posted in family, homeschooling, life | 3 Comments