KonMari vs. My Brain

Hello out there! I know it’s pretty awkward, but I think it would be best if we both just ignore the fact that I haven’t written on this blog in nine months. I’m about to give you a peek inside my brain which should really explain a lot. In a few minutes you’re going to be shaking your head in pity and mumbling something like “Bless that poor child for trying.”

And try I do. On August 11, 2015 I purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. (I know the date, not because I’m organized, but because Amazon wants to remind me that I already bought it.) Thanks Amazon, you’ve got my squirrel brain covered and I appreciate it.

Anyways, for about 3 months it sat on my night stand in a pile of other books. Actually Danny read it. While it’s right up his alley (as an organized person), he instinctively knew not to push me to read it, probably realizing there’s a good chance it would make my head spontaneously combust. Finally I got around to reading it on my own. Not sure what pushed me to finally spend a weekend devouring it, but it probably had something to do with a rock bottom moment where I couldn’t find a matching pair of socks.

So, being the go getter I am *cough*, I jumped into purging my dresser and closets. It was kind of a clown car situation, I removed 3 full garbage bags of clothes and still was hard pressed as to how everything would fit back in.¬†Possibly some of my problem was with KonMari’s idea that most clothing items shouldn’t be hung on hangers, but folded. Why? Because you really like to iron everything? No, because your clothes are happier folded. Perhaps like myself, you’ve been a self serving brat and put your own happiness before the happiness of your t-shirts. It’s not too late to make amends, my friend. Shirts are very forgiving, particularly if they are made of non synthetic materials.

chooseyoumust

So the folding began. I was actually quite excited to come across these amazing little videos on Gwyneth Paltrow’s site showing how to FOLD. It was like a whole new world had been opened up to me. Folding. Neat rows of underwear. WOW.

Since this is all about minimalism, I was not permitted to blow money on drawer organizers. Kind of takes all the fun out of it, right? So I cut up some boxes to use as dividers (cause otherwise those cute little origami socks will just fall over, ya know?) This brilliant move led to cardboard lint all over my clothes. Maybe that planted the seeds of dissatisfaction in my brain. And the fact that I STILL was struggling to fit everything neatly in my drawers. I know, I know. That means I did not get rid of enough. The whole theory is that if an item doesn’t bring you joy, it doesn’t belong in your home. I am all for clothes that bring me joy. The problem is when you have 6 pink tank tops and 4 of them are downright delightful. Hmm…

I was still relatively pleased with the results. And Danny thought it was so cool he decided to KonMari his own drawers as well. But as a Born Organized person, his KonMari-ing was so much more impressive than mine. His folds were so professional looking. His drawers looked like artwork, swirls of color, fabrics neatly arranged to perfection. Just looking at it made me feel panicky.

Me: “I think your drawers are giving me a panic attack.”

Him: “There really is something wrong with you.”

Kindly, he agreed to putting away his own laundry so that I wouldn’t have to feel the pressure of maintaining the Sistine Chapel of clothing storage. And I tried to KonMari the boys’ clothes too. Kind of. But before I knew it, the laundry started piling up. I was procrastinating putting it away (even more than I always did), knowing it would take SO. STINKING. LONG. to make everything into little origami burritos. The idea of folding underwear started to feel like a ridiculous time burden I was not willing to impose on myself.

Look, I know it’s awesome opening your drawers and hearing the angels sing about your perfectly arranged leggings. But it’s also pretty awesome doing other things. Like exercising, preparing food, homeschooling children, reading a book, and running a business. Heck, maybe even WRITING something. Imagine that! ūüėČ All of those things come up higher on my awesome list than folded underwear. It got to the point where I just¬†could¬†not reconcile myself to spending one iota of time on neatening skivies when I could be fulfilling a greater purpose.

I recently heard someone say that you get much better results when you embrace your strengths and run with them than you do by focusing on your weaknesses. Apparently that’s scientific, but even if it’s not I plan on running with it. ūüėČ Organization is not my strength. I still can keep myself in line by not procrastinating and by using my planner. But I’m always going to be a little (lot) crazy, a little messy, and perfectly okay with wrinkled underwear.

So I’m a KonMari dropout. I don’t like to think of it as failure, I just choked a little on greatness. ūüėČ Keep trying to be your best self, friends!

chokeongreatness

 

 

 

I’ve Just Been Here Drinking Orange Creamsicle Tea and Not Writing Anything

Well this is awkward… So I haven’t written anything since… February? Umm…

Yeah. Sorry about that. Anyways, I’m back for the moment! Consistently Inconsistent, but I’m just going to ride the wave of creative energy while it lasts. ūüėČ

So, on the list of things I should have blogged about a year ago, but didn’t: I gave up sugar and grains. Like ALL sugar and grains. Not even a drop of honey or a grain of rice crossed my lips for months. And I felt fantastic! Energetic! Alive! The sweets didn’t tempt me. I was the Goddess of Self Control!

Until I wasn’t.¬†WHAT HAPPENED?!?

Lately I have been really backsliding; my sweet tooth is back with a vengeance. (It’s¬†not so much a single sweet tooth but a mouth full of sugar vampire fangs.) I suppose it was just a little bite of this here, a little taste there… Next thing you know you find yourself standing in the kitchen with a bag of chocolate chips hidden behind your back. “What am I eating? Oh, nothing good, you wouldn’t be interested…No, no, you don’t smell chocolate, Silly!…” Mmmhmm…

SIGH, once an addict always an addict. Like last weekend I thought I would indulge in some innocent looking organic trail mix, which was the bomb. The kind with plump cherries and dark chocolate in every bite… in a giant bag from Costco. It’s all gone now… @_@

After the Trail Mix Gluttony it was a downward spiral. Fast forward through a week of devil-may-care eating, I find myself rifling through the laundry looking for stretchy pants because nothing else is comfortable. Has that ever happened to anyone else, or is it just me who can gain 7 pounds in 7 days?

Never fear, dear reader, my pants will zip again! One thing I’ve found out about myself is I MUST HAVE TREATS. Either I will eat them, or bad things will happen… Trust me on this, okay? But ideally, those would not make me bust out of my clothes faster than the Incredible Hulk. And one of my favorite indulgences over the past year has been my tea. Yeah, yeah, I hear your collective groaning. TEA?!? REALLY?!? How good can stinking TEA be, Jennifer, that it is going to stop me from eating a Costco size bag of chocolate trail mix? First, word to the wise: Don’t buy the trail mix. The trail mix is pure evil disguised with a USDA organic seal. It will ruin you. And I want more… I wonder if they still have it? Wait, where was I? Oh, yes, the TEA.

The tea is GOOD. I mean, amazing, really. This is how I make it:

Arbor Teas Vanilla Almond Rooibos (This is THE TEA. Do not ask me if you can use another tea. Do what you want in your kitchen, but this IS. THE. TEA. Capiche?) ūüėČ SO… I make a cup of this tea with hot water and all, very complex, I know. But then the magic comes in:

  • A drop of stevia (to taste)
  • Grass Fed Half and Half or Heavy Cream or Full Fat Coconut Milk (As much as you want! Yay for fat not making us fat!!!)
  • A drop or two of Young Living Orange Essential Oil

Give it a stir and enjoy! Whether I am craving something sweet or am just a little hungry in between meals, some creamy-sweet- Young-Living-oiled tea totally hits the spot. We all know that tea has so many health benefits, plus add in the extra goodness in the Orange Essential Oil and you have a delicious drink that supports wellness too. ūüôā I know I feel and look better drinking this than back in my days of Hardcore Starbucks Addiction. Oh, and not to mention this choice leaves a little more coin in my pocket!

Young Living, Orange Essential Oil, Tea, Oily Families

So I hope you enjoyed this little idea for Orange Creamsicle Tea! I’ll write again soon and let you know if I can fit into my pants again yet. Maybe. Unless I don’t. Sign up for notifications and let it be a surprise. ūüėČ

Oh, and I’m ASSUMING you already have your Young Living oils? WHAT?!? YOU DON’T?!? Well that’s just crazy. If you are ready to finally jump in I would love to help you. Because while I’m a terrible blogger I’m actually pretty good at supporting people on their journey to wellness. ūüėČ So take advantage of the special Young Living is offering until August 14th and get $10 off your Premium Starter Kit! This is such a rare opportunity, the kit is already deeply discounted and almost never goes on special! And hey, I’m just feeling super generous so if you sign up on my team with your own Premium kit in July I will send you a free bottle of Orange as a thank you gift. Thanks for reading!

Oily Families, Young Living, Premium Starter Kit Special

Detox Your Home Spring Series: No More Stinky Carpets!

Hey there! ¬†Today’s post is part of the “Detox Your Home” Spring Blogger Series. ¬†If you just clicked through from Amy’s Finer Things, welcome! ¬†I’m so happy to be part of this series which is featuring THIRTY recipes to help you kick all those nasty, harsh chemicals to the curb!

#detoxyourhome #oilyfamilies

Today I’m going to share how to make easy and frugal Carpet Deodorizer! ¬†I’ve been Green since before Green was hip. ¬†But there was a time when even I was green to being Green. ¬†Back then, my cleaning repertoire included sprinkling the floors with powdered “carpet potpourri” and letting the stench… er, scent… permeate real nice before vacuuming. ¬†Ah, I can almost still choke on the toxic chemical fragrance just thinking about it.

“Now REALLY, Jennifer. ¬†You’re one of those freaks who can’t deal with chemicals. ¬†Toughen up, it’s NOT that bad.” ¬†Hey. ¬†Who just said that???

Okay, listen up, Cynical Mystery Reader, let me tell you how I came to banish carpet potpourri from my home.  See, we had this little fur baby named Phoebe, a precious little seven pound Italian Greyhound.

detox your home #detoxyourhome #oilyfamilies

Poor Phoebe was a sickly little thing. ¬†She was would regularly have fits of wheezing, choking, and snerveling. ¬†(If you’ve ever heard a dog snervel you know what I mean, even though spell check insists that snervel isn’t a real word.) ¬†Oh, and she would puke. ¬†A lot. ¬†Which of course required more carpet deodorizing…

I think it was my husband who suggested that perhaps the carpet deodorizer was exacerbating Phoebe’s problems. ¬†What? ¬†REALLY??? ¬†I don’t think I believed it. ¬†I mean, if it wasn’t safe Walmart wouldn’t sell it to us, right? ¬†Hmm…

Well, just in case, I stopped using the carpet potpourri. ¬†Wouldn’t you know it, Phoebe stopped the wheezing, choking, puking, and yes, she even stopped snerveling. ¬†Perhaps you are skeptical that carpet deodorizer could really cause a dog to snervel. ¬†I mean, even our furry friends have to enjoy taking a deep breath of chemically concocted Peach Blossoms, or delighting their olfactory systems with the lab created scent of a Tropical Island Escape? ¬†No???

If you’re doubtful as to whether chemical fragrances could be harmful, check out this study, which evaluated whether or not fragrance products could produce acute toxic effects in mammals. ¬†Here’s an excerpt: ¬†“The emissions of these fragrance products caused various combinations of sensory irritation, pulmonary irritation, decreases in expiratory airflow velocity, as well as alterations of the functional observational battery indicative of neurotoxicity. Neurotoxicity was more severe after mice were repeatedly exposed to the fragrance products.”

That’s science talk for the mice were snerveling, y’all.

But seriously! ¬†As I took it, my little dog was like a canary in the coal mine. ¬†If chemical fragrances weren’t good for her, they weren’t good for us people either. ¬†Alas, I thought I would be forever banished to a life without pleasant aromas. ¬†But as it turns out, pleasant aromas existed in nature before labs started making them!!! ¬†Who knew??? ¬†Why, you can even buy them in the form of essential oils. ¬†They come in cute little bottles and smelling them makes you feel better instead of worse. ¬†So, here’s how to make your very own Carpet Deodorizer, scented only with pure essential oils!

detox your home #oilyfamilies

CARPET DEODORIZER

  • 2 Cups Baking Soda
  • 20-36 drops of Young Living Essential Oil

Place in an air tight container and shake well before each use.  Sprinkle over carpets before vacuuming.  I used 20 drops of Purification, which as I have said before, is my favorite YL blend for all things stinky.  Other suggested oils include Lavender, Geranium, Joy, Evergreen Essence, or Rosemary with Eucalyptus.

The time to test the recipe came after I made a grisly discovery in our guest room.  My toddler is at that age where he takes delight in undressing himself.  In this case, he undressed himself and shoved his used diaper in the closet.  Possibly weeks ago.  EEEWWW!!!

*gag* GET THE PURIFICATION! *gag*  QUICK!!!

I have to say, the scent really freshened up the place, which was no small task.  Another win for essential oils!

This recipe is courtesy of a great little booklet called The Chemical Free Home by Melissa Poepping, CNHP. ¬†Thanks to Melissa for letting us use your recipes! ¬†This little book is a fantastic resource for detoxing the home! ¬†And guess what? ¬†We are all offering a FREE copy of The Chemical Free Home to anyone {in the U.S.} who signs up with a Young Living wholesale membership premium starter kit now through April 7th!! ¬†Click here to learn more or contact the person who introduced you to the ‚ÄúDetox Your Home” Spring blog series! ūüôā

Next up is Kristi at Creative Kristi! ¬†If you have cats, you’re REALLY going to want to check out her post!

Be sure to check out all thirty posts in the “Detox Your Home” Spring blog series! ¬†You’ll find all the links here¬†courtesy of our hostess, Myra @My Blessed Life. ¬†Thanks for reading!

 

A Day in the Life of an Oiler

Hey there! ¬†I’m glad you’re here! ¬†I’m doing something a little different today. ¬†This post is part of a blog series! ¬†So, if you just hopped through from The Finer Things, welcome! ¬†

I have a bit of a passion for natural remedies and¬†I LOVE essential oils! ¬†Honestly I don’t know what I ever did without them! ¬†I know some of you have been curious as to how to use essential oils. ¬†So when Myra from My Blessed Life asked for bloggers to join her “A Day In The Life of an Oiler” series, I knew I had to do it!

a day in the life of an oiler how to use essential oils

So, here it is!  I hope you have fun taking a little peek into our day!

#dayinthelife #oilyfamilies essential oils

Meet Dash. ¬†This little guy loves his “Oy-wulls”.

Good morning peeps! ¬†And good morning oils! ¬†Okay, I don’t really talk to my oils. ¬†THAT would be weird. ¬†But I do keep them next to my bed. ¬†I’ll tell you why later! ¬†Right now, it’s time to get breakfast. ¬†Let me see if I can pry the oils away from Dash so we can head downstairs.

While most people are thinking about coffee… okay, I’m also thinking about coffee. ¬†But I’m also thinking about what to put in the diffuser! ¬†Let’s see, Peppermint is SO invigorating. ¬†And Lemon has been found to improve concentration, always a good thing. ¬†Or there’s Cinnamon… can’t beat an oil that supports the immune system¬†and smell heavenly doing it!

Speaking of Cinnamon, I’ll take a drop for my Pumpkin Smoothie! ¬†Yum! ¬†Oh, but please don’t put just any Cinnamon oil in your smoothie! ¬†Young Living oils are totally pure and most can be ingested as a dietary supplement. Not hungry yet? ¬†How about some water with a drop of lemon or orange oil in it? ¬†Now THAT is a good way to start the day! ¬†Okay, yes, I’ll make you a coffee too.

After breakfast it’s time for chores. ¬†This means donning my hazmat suit and heading to the laundry room. ¬†Okay, so I don’t really have a hazmat suit. ¬†But I am interested in acquiring one. ¬†Three boys = gross laundry. ¬†Don’t be alarmed if you hear me scream in horror as I load the washer, okay? ¬†Happens all the time. ¬†It will be alright, I’m prepared. ¬†A couple drops of Purification in with the detergent will have the clothes smelling pleasant again. ¬†Purification is THE oil to remember for any kind of STINK that appears where little boys are present. ¬†And a teeny tiny bit (1/4 capful) of Thieves Cleaner concentrate used the same way is great for laundry that needs a little extra punch of clean.

#dayinthelife #oilyfamilies

Thieves Cleaner has become my go to cleaner for all things grotesque, including kitchen and bathrooms. If it can clean MY house, I’m pretty sure it can clean anything.

So, after we have some things done around the house it’s time to get a move on. ¬†Errand day. ¬†With three boys. ¬†The very thought strikes terror into my heart. ¬†Stress Away oil is just what I need on days like this. ¬†Ahhh… just a relaxing trip to Target with my little monsters.

 how to us essential oils

Sorry to scare you with that picture. ¬†We’re not¬†usually¬†always that frightening. ¬†You know what really freaks me out, even more than taking these guys shopping? ¬†Talking to people. ¬†Yes, ¬†I’m a hermit. ¬†In addition to the Stress Away, Valor blend really helps me not plunge myself into full Howard Hughes style isolation. ¬†If you’re still feeling shook up from the picture I’d be happy to let you try some Valor. ¬†ūüėČ

In addition to helping Mommy maintain her composure, there are oils that help the kids as well. ¬†Now, I don’t want embarrass anyone who might ask me to pay for therapy later, know what I mean? ¬†Let’s just say I know a boy who is Stubborn with a capital S. ¬†So when saw there was an oil blend called Surrender? ¬†I was like, YES! ¬†Sadly, I often forget to apply Surrender. ¬†In the heat of the moment I am just scrambling for my own bottle of Stress Away. ¬†But when I do remember? ¬†Wow! ¬†Why today, Surrender helped a certain boy quickly transition from lying on the floor screaming to sitting and eating a sandwich (the very sandwich that was the tantrum trigger!) ¬†I’ll be darned if he didn’t even eat the crust! ¬†Sweet Surrender!

super oils

The kids also like a drop of Joy blend on their hearts if they’re feeling a little sad about something or another. Their favorite stuffed animals sometimes get a drop of Joy too. Everyone can use a little extra Joy now and then, wouldn’t you agree?

All day long we’re finding reasons to break out the oils! ¬†And there are so many more wonderful oils that I can’t wait to get my hands on! I’m excited about two new ones on my order this month, Cedarwood and Vetiver. ¬†They are known to help balance the mind and bring a sense of calmness. ¬†I’ll keep you all posted on how it goes!

Ah, night time already. ¬†Whew, that day went by fast, huh? ¬†Every night when the boys go up to brush their teeth, I hear “Mommy, don’t forget to bring us up our oils!” ¬†At this time of year, we’re putting Thieves oil on our little footsies almost every night and Thieves in the to support our immune systems. ¬†Occasionally we add a drop of Oregano (diluted) on their feet for an extra immune boost.

#dayinthelife #oilyfamilies essential oiils

Well, I need to head to bed myself. ¬†Time to grab my little bag of oils and put some Young Living Sandalwood cream on the old face! ¬†Oh, why do I keep my oils by my bed? ¬†I love to be prepared for anything that might arise during the night! Tossing and turning with racing thoughts? A little Tranquil on the wrists is so soothing and relaxing. Someone wakes up with a bad dream? Breathe in some Valor or White Angelica and a sense of peace ensues. My oils are ALWAYS at arms reach! ūüėČ

Hey, thanks for visiting us today! ¬†I hope you had fun and learned a few of the zillion uses for essential oils. ¬†Young Living oils are the only ones we use and the only ones I recommend (’cause you know I like the best stuff!) ¬†Are you ready to get started caring for your family with oils? ¬†If you have a friend who’s been telling you about Young Living oils, ask them how you can get them at wholesale prices! ¬†OR, if I’m¬†your friend who’s been telling you about Young Living oils, click here and I’ll give you the whole scoop.

Be sure to visit all the oilers in the “A Day In The Life of an Oiler” blogger series!

If you’re working your way through the series, click here for the next blogger in the lineup, Emily at¬†Decorchick!¬†¬†(Emily’s post is going live Wednesday, Jan. 22nd @7am EST.)

Click here¬†to visit the hostess of this series, Myra from My Blessed Life. ¬†I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts and learn more great uses for these awesome oils! ¬†There will be new bloggers posting all week, so I’ll updating this page with the links (see below) as the week goes on.

Happy Oiling!

Jennifer

A Day In the Life of an Oiler series links:

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products listed in this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  If you have a medical issue, please consult with a licensed physician.

I’m also linking this post up with the Family Fun Friday link up at Early Bird Mom! ¬†Check it out and if you stopped by from there, thanks for visiting!¬†

Revolutionary Granola: A Healthy Granola Recipe

Hey all! ¬†Last week, I promised those of you who managed to wade through my rant on “Granola” a recipe for actual granola. ¬†So, here it is, my healthy granola recipe! ¬†If you recall, I dubbed it “Revolutionary Granola” in honor of the post, although I’m having second thoughts because the term “Revolutionary” seems to over promise a little. ¬†I hope this doesn’t get your hopes up for this granola doing anything crazy. ¬†I mean, it’s delicious and all, but it is just granola. ¬†So eat it up and go start some Revolutionary-ness of your own! ¬†ūüôā

healthy granola recipe

Revolutionary Healthy Granola

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup Sucanat*
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond OR vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

*Sucanat is evaporated cane syrup. ¬†It’s a less processed alternative to brown sugar. ¬†You can use what you have, but Sucanat is a little bit of a healthier option.

First mix the oats, Sucanat, and coconut oil together in a large bowl.  Cover the bowl and let these ingredients set overnight or for a few hours.  This will let the oats soak up more of the oil and sweetness.

healthy granola recipe

I highly recommend getting a toddler to mix it for you. At 10:30pm. Awesome.

When you’re ready to get on with it, preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.

The next step is to mix the ground flax seeds and water together in a small bowl.  Let them sit for just a couple minutes to let the flax bind with the water.  Then add the salt and vanilla or almond extract to the flax mixture and stir it up.  Dump the flax mixture into the oat mixture and stir to combine.  Spread into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes.  When it comes out of the oven, carefully stir it up and then leave it in the pan to cool.

Boom!  So there it is, a healthy granola recipe!  Easy, right?

You can top it with whatever dried fruit and nuts you like, or just eat it plain!  Yummy with milk, on top of yogurt, or eaten straight out of the pan.  (Not that I would do such a thing.)  It will disappear quickly so get some while you can!

healthy granola recipe

You know what would be REALLY revolutionary??? If these people would clear their bowls without being asked! AGGGHHHHH

BTW, I’m going to be trying something new here. ¬†In addition to our silly “Chaos” updates, the plan is to also give you, dear readers, something USEFUL every once in awhile. ¬†It seems as though people like useful things, go figure? ¬†Anywho, it might be a recipe like this, or some health tips, or something pertaining to homeschooling. ¬†Next week I’ll be participating in a blogger series on how to use essential oils. ¬†Maybe you don’t care about oils, that’s cool. ¬†But I think you should give it a chance because I have prepared cartoons. ¬†YES, cartoons, and YES, this may be the first and last blogger series I am allowed to participate in.

If the thought of all this “usefulness” makes you uneasy, don’t worry, we’ll still have plenty of Ordinary Chaos! ¬†Just think of it as some “Chaos Tamers” to balance it out. ¬†If there is something you’d like to see, drop me a comment and I’ll see what I can do! ¬†¬†¬†And if you see something you like, please “Pin” and share!

Thanks for reading.

Jennifer

Pumpkin Cravings: A Healthy Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

It’s about 9:30pm¬†10:30pm right now. ¬†It’s been a long day. ¬†The kids are fighting off colds. ¬†They aren’t super sick, but it’s been enough to make them REALLY grumpy today. ¬†So, after hours on end of tantrums, meltdowns, and brother brawls, I’d really like to go to bed…

However Dash is sitting here saying he wants to “DANCE”. ¬†NOOOO!

So, the thing I would like almost as much as going to bed is a pumpkin smoothie. ¬†I already had one today, but I really want another one. ¬†They are THAT GOOD (in my opinion.) ¬†Beau agrees with me on this, he calls it a Pumpkin Pie Milkshake. ¬†And it’s healthy too. ¬†If only the roar of the Nutri Bullet would not wake up the big kids I would probably indulge myself, but since I cannot I will tell you all how to make one. ¬†(Because you really haven’t found enough recipes for Pumpkin lately, have you???)

healthy pumpkin smoothie

I was going to make it look pretty with a cinnamon stick or something. But I had nothing so you just get a picture of it next to my house. Sorry.

I usually roast some pumpkin this time of year and then freeze it in 1 cup measurements. ¬†If you take it out to thaw just a little before you make the smoothie (so it’s mostly frozen) the concoction will be nice and thick and icy. ¬†If the pumpkin won’t come out of the baggie just set it in a bowl of hot water for a minute. ¬†Of course you can used canned pumpkin if that’s what you have, but in that case I would throw in some ice. ¬†Warm pumpkin smoothies do not taste nearly as much like milkshakes. ūüôā

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or grate a pinch of fresh ginger if you’re feeling adventurous)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 scoops (1 serving) Tera’s Whey Vanilla Protein Powder (or whatever protein powder you like, Tera’s is sweetened with stevia and has really clean ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)

Blend it all up and that’s it! ¬†Easy peasy breakfast or midnight snack if you can get away with using your blender at midnight. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†I am seriously thinking about taking the NutriBullet into the garage just so I can make one without waking anyone up. ¬†I’m out of control, I know. ¬†Okay, going to bed now…

Enjoy!!!

 

 

Life Without My Brain

Wow. ¬†I haven’t written anything in awhile. ¬†Maybe you thought I was just busy. ¬†I mean, sure, I have been busy. ¬†But it’s a little more complicated than that. ¬†You see, my Brain went missing.

Well, you’re probably thinking, “Jennifer, I knew you were disorganized but how does a person fail to keep an eye on their brain??? ¬†Seriously, isn’t your brain ATTACHED to your eyes?!?”

I know, I KNOW! ¬†It’s downright embarrassing. ¬†Look, it wasn’t so much me losing my Brain. ¬†My Brain just decided it had enough, packed up all its things, and left me with only the basic functioning of my autonomic nervous system. ¬†No Goodbye, only some mumblings about not being appreciated and “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.” ¬†Really, Brain? ¬†After all we’ve been through???

So at first I was like “Whatever! ¬†I’ll be just fine without you!!!” ¬†I mean, the world is full of people walking around with no sign of their Brains. ¬†Surely I could get by without mine just as well. ¬†But it didn’t take long for me to feel like something was missing…

When it was time to write this is what I got:

____________blip_______________blip__________________blip______________CLUNK

Oh dear, that’s not good. ¬†Hmm, maybe more caffeine cannot adequately substitute for sleep???

(ha ha)  I do enjoy some coffee humor.  But NO, the coffee was not helping.  I resolved that I needed to get more rest.

“FINE BRAIN! ¬†DO YOU HEAR THAT? ¬†I’LL REST ALREADY!”

So I tried sleeping in a little more.  Not staying up QUITE so late.

It didn’t work. ¬†In fact, it got a bit worse. ¬†Without the cooperation of my Brain, everything started to seem like a great effort. ¬†I was managing the bare minimum of things, but anything extra became overwhelming. ¬†Leave the house? ¬†Talk to people? ¬†I CANNOT DO THESE THINGS ALONE, BRAIN! ¬†COME BACK ALREADY!!!

Perhaps I owe my Brain an apology. ¬†Brain, I admit, I wasn’t treating you right. ¬†Sometimes I’m a little disparaging of you, and you don’t deserve it. ¬†I shouldn’t harp on the “organization” thing, it’s not your fault. ¬†And I’m sorry for being frustrated with you for not remembering how to do algebra. ¬†You used to be pretty good at it, but it would be hard for anyone’s brain to remember skills that were not of any use to them since the 90’s.

Actually, Brain, you’ve been working pretty hard and¬†I haven’t been very appreciative. ¬†All of the studying, research, and decision making you’ve done, and still, I’m always second guessing you. ¬†“But BRAIN, are you SURE??? ¬†Are you POSITIVE we are doing this right???” ¬†And yes, Brain, though you reassure me that we have all the bases covered and we are indeed doing things right, I say “But what about all the people who don’t agree with us? ¬†Let’s worry about what they think!!!”

And you know, worrying about What Other People Think is one sure way to drive a Brain nutty-nuts.  Another one is to worry about Things Over Which You Have No Control.  Oh yeah, What Other People Think is one of those Things Over Which You Have No Control.  Good point, Brain, thanks.

Anyways, I was starting to think my Brain was not coming back. ¬†Why, just reading this, you’re likely wondering if my brain has left the planet and whom you should contact to arrange medical interventions for me. ¬†Although I am crazy enough to write a blog post about my Brain being its own separate entity, there is SOME good news.

Just when I was getting really worried, I found a way to get my Brain to come back to me. ¬†Quite by accident, I stumbled upon a post from Wholesome Mommy about using Young Living Essential Oils¬†to help her toddler sleep. ¬†Well, you already know about our toddler sleep issues. ¬†And you know I am in the market for more sleep. So I was all about trying that! ¬†Having already used Young Living’s Thieves Oil for colds and flu, I was quick to sign up to get the discount and order the starter kit. ¬†The kit came with a bottle of an oil blend called Stress Away. ¬†Well, I didn’t think I was stressed, but I thought it couldn’t hurt and went to put the roller cap on the bottle, spilling it all over my hand in the process. ¬†Ugh, I couldn’t stand the smell! ¬†It wasn’t a bad smell, just a strong plant smell. ¬†I tried to get it off, but I had so much on me that it was going to take awhile to wear off. ¬†In the meantime, a funny thing happened. ¬†My Brain started to perk up! ¬†I decided to take it with me the next time I had to leave the house.

I’m not particularly good at dealing with crowds anyways, but after my Brain left me I was feeling downright panicky about social situations. ¬†It’s hard to be friendly when your Brain refuses to come along for the ride, you know? ¬†Still, I was reluctant to slather myself in the odoriferous Stress Away, so I decided just to inhale it for a minute or so. ¬†Well, it didn’t turn me into Jay Leno (that would be interesting), but I felt like I could function and maybe even carry on a conversation *gasp*!

I’ve been playing around with the different oils in my kit for a week or so now and I’m feeling a lot more like myself. ¬†It’s kind of complex for someone whose Brain is still on the fence about cooperating to explain, but according to my Essential Oils pocket reference ¬†“the sense of smell is the only one of the five senses linked directly to the limbic lobe of the brain, the emotional control center”. ¬† Aha! ¬†Interestingly, I also learned that when you don’t care for the smell of a certain oil, often your body really needs that oil. ¬†Wild, huh?

So yes, me and my Brain are talking again. ¬†We have some issues to work out, but we’re on the right track. ¬†And I’m excited about all the cool things these oils can do and having them in my stockpile of Natural Remedies. ¬†You know I love me some holistic wellness, this is SO up my alley! ¬†I could just squeal thinking about all the exciting plant compounds. ¬†<3 <3 <3 ¬†You know I’m BACK when I’m waxing poetic about plant compounds.

Finn with YL Stress Away Oil

Anyways, HOPEFULLY I’ll be able to write more, think more, and ______blip______CLUNK a lot less. ¬†I hope all of you are doing well and not Blipping or Clunking or losing your mental faculties in any fashion, cause it’s no fun I tell you. ¬†Drop me a comment and let me know how it’s going!

 

 

 

No More Marshmallows

Last week I posted this on Facebook:

“Morning Conversations: Is there such a thing as a Breakfast Marshmallow? I say no. My kids disagree.¬†I am pretty firm in my stance on the subject, but I welcome your opinions. What do you think: Yes or No to Marshmallows for breakfast?”

Who knew that my No Marshmallows For Breakfast camp would prove to be the minority?  Apparently, at least in America, people eat marshmallows for breakfast ALL THE TIME!

Silly me, I had completely forgotten that Lucky Charms and Marshmallow Rice Krispies even existed. ¬†Have I been living in a bubble? ¬†Hmm… come to think of it, Danny did say to me the other day ¬†(in an unrelated food conversation) “You would just like to lock yourself up in an organic bubble and never come out.”

Okay, so maybe that is true. ¬†I try to stay away from processed food. ¬†And I avoid GMOs and artificial ingredients like The Plague. ¬†Does that mean my kids never get a treat? ¬†Does that mean I’m unbalanced?

No and No! ¬†I’d like to tell you all, folks, that you can indeed live in an Organic Bubble and still have treats and sweets. ¬†Perhaps a larger sized bubble… ¬†but never mind that. ¬†In fact, not too long ago I went to Whole Foods just to get chocolate covered espresso beans. ¬†And while I was there I bought organic graham crackers, fair trade chocolate bars, and all natural, GMO free marshmallows. ¬†You know, for s’mores to make while camping*.

*Disclosure:  There was no camping trip actually planned.  Discussed?  Yes.  Planned?  No.

Okay, back to my story. ¬†When Danny saw the s’more loot, he was like “What on Earth is all this? ¬†I thought we weren’t eating sugar!” ¬†(We hadn’t been.)

Me: ¬†“Well, I didn’t want to have to go back and get stuff for s’mores when we go camping.”

Him: ¬†“When are we going camping? ¬†I thought you didn’t want to go.”

Me: ¬†“I don’t want to go. ¬†But I said I would go if you wanted to. ¬†Maybe. ¬†And if we do go, we’ll NEED s’mores.”

Him: ¬†“HA! ¬†Those chocolate bars will NEVER make it to camping!!!”

Me: ¬†“Sure they will, I’ve been doing really good with not eating sugar. ¬†They don’t even tempt me.”

Okay, so the chocolate bars lasted a couple of weeks. ¬†They didn’t tempt me right away, but after eating the chocolate covered espresso beans, I was back in Sugar Addiction Mode. ¬†It’s a slippery slope, People. ¬†The graham crackers and marshmallows were still hanging out in the cupboard though, with my kids painfully aware of their presence. ¬†And so we found ourselves last week, having a discussion over whether there was such a thing as a “Breakfast Marshmallow”, as Finn had suggested.

I admit, I felt a little bad depriving my kids of experiencing the midmorning Just Hit A Brick Wall of Death feeling that comes a couple hours after having a bowl of sugar for breakfast. ¬†I guess after having experienced it myself for many years, and FINALLY figuring out that I needed to eat protein for breakfast, I taught my kids to do the same. ¬†Mean Health Nut Mommy. ¬†So I decided to make it up to them. ¬†After dinner this weekend, I popped open the coveted bag of marshmallow ooey gooey-ness, along with the graham crackers and some chocolate chips, and made microwave s’mores. ¬†So, here it is, photographic evidence that my children are not deprived. ¬†(Well, only of Dash. ¬†By the time I thought to take a picture the other boys were bouncing around on an instant sugar rush, moving at too frantic a pace to be captured on my IPad.)

GMO free marshmallows

baby covered in GMO free marshmallow s'mores

Sorry, this one’s a bit gross.

While they were eating, I said “I wonder if we could make homemade marshmallows.”

“NOOOO!!!” ¬†Finn cried. ¬†“You’d put PROTEIN in them!”

“Oh, I would not put protein in marshmallows.” ¬†Although maybe it could work… Okay, sometimes I do get a little carried away.

As I write this, there are three marshmallows left.  

Nope, they’re gone. ¬† So are the chocolate chips. ¬†And Dash isn’t happy about it. ¬†He took note of the cupboard they were in, and now every time I go near that cupboard he gets all frantic.

“Mar-meh-wo?” ¬†“MAR-MEH-WO?” ¬†“MAAR-MEEEHHH-WOOOOAAA!!!!!”

no more marshmallows

This is Dash in a ball on the floor, tears streaming down his poor face, when I told him the marshmallows were gone.  Seriously.

 

I had already tried to comfort him, but he was inconsolable. ¬†So there was nothing left to do but get photographic evidence of why we don’t have marshmallows very often. ¬†The Marshmallow Highs are very high, and the Marshmallow Lows are very, very low.

Sorry, Dash. ¬†I kind of feel the same way. ¬†Except that I know our marshmallow-less situation is for the best. ¬†My tummy had already started to take on marshmallow-like properties; I can’t imagine what would happen if they became a staple food around here. ¬†One thing’s for sure, I’d definitely have to get a bigger bubble to live in. ¬† ¬†ūüėČ

 

P.S. ¬†It seems like good marshmallows without GMOs and artificial ingredients are hard to come by if you don’t live near a Whole Foods. ¬†But guess what, Fellow Semi-Health Conscious Sugar Addicts? ¬†You can find lots of other yummy candy and chocolate made with real ingredients at Target now! ¬†Unreal Candy, and it’s SO good! ¬†And I’m in no way affiliated with Unreal Candy, but I just love that better options for treats are becoming readily available! ¬†Try it next time you’re in the market for candy. ¬†But it’s not for breakfast, okay???

The Great Juice Cleanse

First, before I go all crazy with my little stories, let me share with you my favorite recipe for fresh kale juice. ¬†Because if you’re interested in a juice cleanse, or just juicing as a supplement, you’ve just gotta have some kale juice!

Kale Juice For Juice Cleanse or Supplement

My version of kale juice morphed from a recipe I got years ago off Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop blog. ¬†At the time the suggestion was to use agave as a sweetener. ¬†Since then, it has come to light that agave is not the best thing. ¬†Now I use stevia, and will probably continue to use it until someone tells me it’s silently killing me to do so.

JEN’S FAVORITE KALE JUICE

  • 2 big handfuls of kale, with thick stalks broken off
  • couple of fresh mint leaves (totally optional)
  • juice of one good size lemon
  • about 1 cup water
  • few drops of liquid stevia, to taste

Put kale, mint (if using), lemon juice, and water in a regular blender or NutriBullet.  If you are really hard core, you could just drink it like this.  But I like to put it through strainer, using a spoon to push the liquid through.  With this method there is only a small amount of pulp that does not get in the juice, particularly with the NurtiBullet because it liquifies everything so nicely.  Once you have your strained juice, you can mix in the stevia with a spoon, giving it a few moments for the flavor to meld in.

Why the sweetener at all, you might ask? ¬†Well, as I told my husband, some of us are just very sweet and it takes a little extra something to keep us this way. ūüėČ ¬†(Plus, I can get my 2 pickiest kids to drink it, which is a win in itself.)

So, now that you’ve got your juice, do sit down and stay awhile!

Oh good, you’re still here! ¬†So, I’ve got a confession. ¬†I LOVE documentaries. ¬†I don’t get excited about summer blockbusters and I can’t tell you the last regular movie I saw. ¬†(Assuming Curious George’s Big Adventure doesn’t count?) ¬†But give me a good documentary and I’m IN. ¬† One of the latest ones we saw was called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. ¬† The story line involves an overweight and out of shape fellow who is dealing with a terrible disease. ¬† The film follows his quest to regain his health through a juice cleanse.

I really enjoyed the film. ¬†“Wasn’t that interesting? ¬†So, what should we have for dinner???” ¬†Ha! ¬†Look,¬†I can appreciate that it worked for those in the movie who were literally “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” ¬†And it was cool to see how quickly their health improved with a change in diet.

But myself? ¬†I am Slightly Plump, Healthy, and thankfully Very Much Alive. ¬†So I’m just not that desperate. ¬†Nor I am medically cleared for fasting, which is a fabulously legitimate excuse. ¬†Though I did feel inspired to get back to hand pressing the kale juice I just told you about. Nutritional power punch + tasty + still eat real food? ¬†Works for me! ¬†My husband, on the other hand, was totally motivated by what he saw. ¬†He was ready to do a real juice cleanse, possibly even for the 10 days suggested in the film.

WHAT?!?

So, being a lovely wife, I agreed to support him in his efforts. ¬†In as much as I would not cook bacon while he was on the cleanse. ¬†Because making a person smell bacon they can’t eat is just mean, isn’t it? ¬†To further show my support, I even volunteered to get the juicer (unopened in the box) out of the garage and make sure no black widows were nesting in it. ¬†Low and behold, it ACTUALLY WORKED!

The juice fast was ON.  (For him.)

As I mentioned earlier, very little pulp is wasted with hand pressed juice. ¬†But I was HORRIFIED when I saw massive piles veggies being put the juicer and a teeny tiny amount of juice coming out, while a whole slew of chopped up bits came shooting out into the scrap bin. ¬†I’m talking close to $10 of organic produce to get MAYBE 2 or 3 cups of juice. ¬†AGGHHH! ¬†The waste! ¬†The grocery budget! ¬†I couldn’t bear to look. ¬†(But I still took a picture.)

This is what came out of the back of the juicer.  It looks like a salad, right?

This is what came out of the back of the juicer. It looks like a salad, right?

“Why don’t you make soup out of it? ¬†A nice vegetable risotto? ¬†Or a chutney?”

“Chutney? ¬†Really?” I laughed, looking at the half masticated bits.

“What’s so funny about a chutney?”

Well, I’m not even 100% sure what chutney is. ¬†But being unable to just throw it away, I tried to make a smoothie with some of it. ¬†GAG! ¬†BLECH! ¬†Okay, the juicer does work in removing ALL the tastiness from the food. ¬†Maybe we just don’t have the best juicer? ¬†But I didn’t like it, not one bit.

“You just throw it away when I’m not looking, okay?”

Beau, who has a pretty good palate for vegetables, asked to try the juice. ¬†GAG! ¬†BLECH! ¬†“EWWW! ¬†ONIONS!”

Yes. ¬†Onion Juice. ¬†We’re talking hard core detox, people.

“Why don’t you juice chocolate?” asked Finn. ¬†Now we’re talking! ¬†That Finn, he’s my kind of guy.

So, long story short, my Rock Star Hubby made it about 3 days on his juice fast!  Go him!  And then he made a fabulous vegetable soup that we were all able to enjoy.  (Not out of the juice bits, thankfully.)

“What should we do with the juicer?” he asked afterwards, contemptuously eyeing the Instrument Of Torture.

He may have had HIS fill of juice, but I sure have gotten a lot of kale into my diet this week to use up the EIGHT BUNCHES we had in the fridge. ¬†I’ve also gotten a fair amount of chocolate, beer, pizza, and hamburgers…

So, while I won’t be going on a juice cleanse any time soon, I will be cutting out sugar and going back to tracking on My Fitness Pal. ¬†TOMORROW. ¬†So those of you who are on My Fitness Pal, come and get me and give me a keyboard lashing if I don’t show up. ¬†If you want to join in the “fun” on My Fitness Pal (because it sounds so fun, right?) I’d love to be Pals with you. ¬†My user name is Snarky Pen. ¬†And my food diary is viewable, so you can look and be all “Oh no she DIDN’T…” ¬†ūüėČ

P.S. ¬†If you’d like to read a comprehensive article on the health benefits of juicing, check out this one from Dr. Mercola.

Health & Fitness: Because I Can’t Find Capri Length Swimsuits…

Yesterday we drove past the neighborhood pool.¬† “LOOK!¬† The pool’s open!” squealed my boys from the backseat.¬† “When can we go???”¬† What?¬† Pool season already?¬† I’m not ready for this!¬† I want it to be winter so I can sit on my butt in my sweatpants and eat cookies without a care in the world!

“Maybe those long bathing suits from the 1920’s will come back in style” joked my husband.¬† Ha ha, very cheeky.

Well, there just is no getting around it.  Bathing suit season is here.  Now, look, I have never in my life been a big fan of prancing around in a swimsuit.  And nowadays, I have no delusions that anyone even cares what I look like.  My one mission at the pool is to protect the three small people in my care from drowning.  My goal in exercising is to be strong and fit for the task at hand.  And if it just so happens to curb my genetic predisposition to look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, all the better, you know?

Back before I had Dash, I used to workout five to six days a week.¬† It wasn’t too hard for me because I could almost always get a good night’s sleep and get up early to do my routine.¬† And if I didn’t get it done early, the older boys were more than happy to play Lego for an hour while I worked out.¬† Fast forward to the present: I can count on one hand the full nights of sleep I have had in the past year.¬†¬† My days are spent chasing a wild toddler and pulling him down off everything climbable, which is a workout in itself.¬† But with the 80 degree weather hitting like a ton of bricks and the inevitable pool visit hanging over my head, I felt it necessary to buckle down and do a good workout today.

I decided to pull out the Big Guns.¬† Metamorphosis by Tracy Anderson, Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer. Go ahead and laugh GP haters, but it is a very effective workout.¬† I have workouts that are harder, workouts that will make you puke in your mouth, but this one gives amazingly quick results, which is what I need.¬† Mind you, it is not the most fun workout.¬† It is basically an hour of torture.¬† When it was over and time to stretch I just kind of laid my forehead down on my mat in relief until it made a nice imprint pattern on my face.¬† Really, I just didn’t feel very strong today and just was kind of UGH about the whole thing.

Even though I managed to drag my sorry butt through the hour, I know I need to revisit those things that kept me going strong in the past and get myself in a more positive frame of mind.  These are the things I came up with.  Maybe some of them will resonate with you.

Naturally after an hour of small muscle isolating torture, it occurred to me that a key factor in making exercise part of our lives is to ENJOY IT!¬† Chalene Johnson, creator of my all time favorite workout, TurboFire, says in one of her videos “If working out isn’t fun you won’t do it.”¬†¬† So true!¬† I love dance, so I always choose workouts that are somewhat dance-centric and if they have some rockin’ music, all the better.¬† But dancing isn’t for everyone (I’m not naming any names, but some people know who they are.)¬† If you’re one of those who would rather get a dental procedure than do Zumba, find something YOU like!¬† If running appeals to you, start training for a 5k.¬† If you love sports, find a group and meet up to play a game.¬† If you’re happy and you’re moving, it’s all good.

Of course, even if you are doing something you love, there are going to be days (like I had today) where you are just dragging.¬† It happens to everyone!¬† So, another good piece of advice I have gotten over the years is to focus on how you will feel AFTER you work out.¬† As long as you’re not physically ill or injured, ask yourself if some exercise might really perk you up and make you feel better.¬† When you first get started it may be hard, but it will get easier as your body gets stronger.¬† If your doctor says it’s okay to exercise, you are probably capable of more than you realize.

And finally, I’ve realized that I need to be in a better routine.¬† It can’t be left to maybe, possibly, if everything else falls perfectly into place I will get my exercise done.¬† I can’t THINK about it that much!¬†¬† Otherwise, I will talk myself out of it.¬† The time needs to be set aside and it needs to be non negotiable.¬† Or at least non negotiable if I’ve had enough sleep, because to me it defeats the purpose of being healthy if you wear yourself ragged and get sick.

So, are you all ready for summer?¬† I’d love to know any tips and tricks you all have up your sleeves. ūüôā

P.S.¬† Just so you know, the links are Amazon affiliate links, just in case you feel like being tortured by Gwyneth’s trainer too.¬† I don’t have any sources for Capri length swimsuits, so for that I apologize.

Maybe I am just in the wrong decade.  I totally could have rocked this look.

Postcard circa 1910.  Maybe I am just in the wrong decade. I totally could have rocked this look.