Renew, Daily.

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“Renew” it was the word on the paper tab of my tea bag this morning.  I don’t normally read those little bits of paper.  I’m not sure what made me turn it over to take a look but I did.  “Renew”.  That is exactly what I need to do.  I need to renew in many ways.  My morning, afternoon and evening routines, my headspace, my heart, my body, my marriage, my relationship with family, with friends, my health, my time out doors, my yoga practice, my time at the gym, my time talking with God. All these things and many others need some renewing.  It’s a good word.  When something is renewed, it seems fresher than it did before.  I imagine that this word will stick with me for sometime, if not for all time.  I’m a scatter brain on the best of days.  Anyone ever been a server?  You’re handling all your tables and their orders.  Timing everything just right so the drinks, appys and mains all get to the table in a timely fashion.  At the same time you’re working in amongst the dynamic personalities of your co-workers in an environment that is every changing. You’ve got a rhythm to this madness.  You’re doing about 30 things at once.  You’ve mastered small talk with customers, and that list of 30 things you need to take care of never really ends.  Just as one thing gets crossed off there is another “to-do” added on:)  This is life with 2 kids.  Ever changing, ever evolving.  There is always someone who needs something and the momma bear (aka the server) will have to wait.  I’ve recently had a little breathing space when both kiddies nap at the same time.  In that time I reflect on how I’m feeling in that moment and in the space.  I observe and I renew.  Silence and stillness are followed by a foam roll, a cool cup of water, fresh air, sunshine or what ever my soul might need that day.  When I don’t take a moment to stop and breath, I begin to not enjoy what I’m doing.  I need and want to enjoy it.  Ha!  For Petes sake, I’m influencing my kids everyday and if my energy, soul, head space and spark is suffering than so is my relationship with them.  Looking forward I pledge to bring a sense of renewal into my life each day.  Its a new mom protocol – Renew, Daily.

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How to Tango With Two Kids

 

multi tasking mom

Ohhhhhh Kay! First I must apologize to my regular readers for being MIA the past months!! I’ve been busy growing a human and now I’m a mom to two little men! no.1 is now 2.5 yrs old and no.2 is a new born. It’s been a few weeks of post C-section healing and getting to know our new babes.

As the totem pole reorganizes its self I’m working on my new role as a mom of two. I have this impression that all other stay at home parents have learnt how to tango with two little ones except for me. Moments of self doubt food my mind at 12:30am 2am 4am and then at 6am the day begins. Of course it’s ridiculous that I think I’m the only one who struggles! lol!! Who do I think I am anyway?! Hopfully other parents find peace knowing there are plenty of others up in the night doing the same thing they are. My mantra for coping is “It’s all temporary“. My husband reminded me of that the other day. So I slapped on some progesterone cream, repeated my mantra and got to mothering.  Mothering with more than one kiddo truly is a dance.  I’m sure if I wore a GoPro camera for a day my erratic “dance” steps would look something like a mix of tap, tango and hip hop, complete with booty drops necessary to retrieve a dropped receiving blanket while I nurse my son with the other arm.  I ache for the old days where a village really did raise a child.  I picture a time when the community and extended family came together to prepare food for the family and let the new mother focus on nursing the newborn.  Now a days the stay at home mom or dad seem to be going at it alone for the most part.  Isolation is no place for a mom and her new babes.  So when things get hairy at my house I call on a girlfriend close by for an intervention or I head to the playground and let no.1 run a muck with other ones his age while I nurse no.2.

FOOD!!!  The secret to mastering meals is to cook once and get 2-4 meals out of that one dish!!  Pinterest has been my go-to for meal ideas.  Search crockpot, casserole or one dish meals and you’ll find an abundance of options.

HOUSEWORK!!! I tackle this beast by running my dishwasher daily, doing a load of laundry once a day and folding it when the kids are sleeping.  I’ll only do 1 major cleaning task a day….say vacuum, clean the washroom or dust…and that’s on a good day.  Sometimes I place taking a shower ahead of cleaning it.  And somedays I don’t make my bed until noon because I’ve been busy cooking that day or changing 5 more poop diapers than anticipated while getting barfed on.  I just roll with the punches and say “it’s all temporary”.

Amongst all the household duties I find time for the more important moments.  I spend quality time with my kids.  Talking, playing, exploring the outdoors or just snugging up close to watch a movie.  Even the sweet, cherished moments are temporary because kids grow quick!  Here’s to enjoying the tango 🙂

 

 

 

 

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Finished Wool Dryer Balls

Simple.  Natural.  Effective

As soon as I came across these balls I knew I had to have them!!!  Like so many awesome things, I found them on pinterest.  Like etsy, I LOVE pinterest.  Others loath it.   No biggy.

I drip a few drops of my fav essential oils onto each ball and I use 4 balls all at once  I’ve NEVER bought dryer sheets.   When I left home mid 20’s it never crossed my mind to ever buy them.  Now in my early 30’s I’m glad I didn’t waste my money or health on dryer sheets.  They contain awful, synthetic chemicals and call them “mountain fresh”.  I love the mountains and I can tell you first hand they do not smell the way dryer sheets claim.  Using wool dryer balls, with or without essential oils, is a safe, effective and economical way to dry clothes.

PILLING ALERT ** I would NOT recommend using them with any materials such as Nikes DryFIit, Adidas ClimaCool, Lululemon Luon etc.  The wool balls will cause pilling!

Benefits of using wool dryer balls.

– wool is a natural material containing no harsh synthetic chemicals

– shortens the drying time of your laundry by helping to separate the clothes.

– uses less electricity and saves you money

What you’ll need 

– R-E-A-L wool (not a wool blended with any other material like cotton or acrylic)

***it must be real 100% wool for the balls to felt properly

***be sure the wool is not super wash wool

What you’ll do

– start by wrapping the wool around 3 fingers about 8-10 times.

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– remove the wool and wrap the centre about 6-8 times.

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– carefully begin wrapping the wool around its self to begin creating a small ball.  I prefer to wrap the wool one direction about 5 times and then slightly change the direction and repeat.  It’s important to wrap the ball with some tension.  Too loose of wool could result in slight unraveling of the outer layer of your final dryer ball.

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– secure the end of your wool by threading it through a tapestry needle and pushing it into the centre of your ball.

– i prefer to make the ball 10.5 inches in diameter BEFORE I felt it.

Remember the wool will shrink (aka felt) so that 10.5 inches will be much smaller once washed & dryer HOT!

Felting happens when the wool is washed in HOT soapy water and dried in HOT.  This shrinks the wool, causing the wool fibers to cling together.

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– place the ball in a stocking/pantyhose & tie a knot, add the next ball, tie another knot and repeat.  You  should be able to fit 4-5 balls per stocking leg.

– throw the wool ball/pantyhose combo into your regular wash .  Agitation is important so try washing the balls with jeans and try to avoid washing them with items like towels.  Once the wash is done toss them into the dryer, while still in the pantyhose and with your clothes.

– after the dryer is done, simply untie each knot in the pantyhose and admire your new wool dryer ball!

*** If the ball looks like its unraveled a bit not to worry.  I simply wrap the ball a few more times with new wool and repeat the HOT water wash & dry like before.  I get some unraveling about 20% of the time.  It just means I didn’t wrap the outer layer of wool tight enough.

Don’t feel like making your own??  These will be for sale on my etsy site shortly  I’ll share the link once its up!

Best,

Julie

Coconut Crusted Chicken Legs

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YOU WILL NEED

2 full chicken legs – no skin, free range preferably:)

1 cup shredded coconut flour/flakes

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

pinch of sea salt

1 whole egg + 1 egg white

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WHAT YOU WILL DO

Pre-heat your oven at 450 degrees

Line a pyrex dish or something similar with parchment paper

Mix the coconut four and the seasonings together in one dish

Crack the eggs into their own dish

Dunk the chicken in the eggs, cover both sides completely

Dunk the chicken in the coconut flour, cover both sides completely

(- Repeat both the egg & coconut flour dunks for extra crispy chicken)

Place chicken in the baking dish and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  Keep an eye not to allow the coconut to burn.

cluck-cluck!

🙂 Julie

 

DIY: Awesome Smelling Playdough

DIY playdough revision 1

It makes PLENTY!  So you could half the recipe or share with a friend!

YOU WILL NEED (per ball/colour of jello)

I cup – white Flour

2 Tbs – cream of tartar

2 Tbs – cooking oil ( I used avocado oil)

1 pkg/3oz – jello

2 tbs – salt

1 cup – warm water

STEPS

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. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium pot or sauce pan

. “cook” it all over MEDIUM-LOW heat (my gas stove is really hot so use your own smarts to when it comes to this step).

. stir the mixture CONTINUOUSLY until it thickens and is tough to mix.  It will begin forming into a ball

. remove the mixture from the heat

. dust your counter top or cutting board with flour.  Let the play dough cool on that floured surface.

. once cooled, knead the dough with additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky (1/2-3/4 cup)

The play dough is now ready for action!  Store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to approximately one month.  When the dough becomes sticky simply knead a lil more flour into it.

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DIY: Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish

Let me start with a confession.  A year ago I was looking to buy an overpriced, toxic stainless steel cleaner.  Then I had a word with myself.  “Self, use vegetable oil to clean the stainless”.

( I learned many moons ago that oil cleans oil and dirt off surfaces.  This included the human face.  Ever tried using coconut oil to remove eye makeup?  It’s amazing at lifting the mask off our eyes and is safely and naturally moisturizing ).

So I used olive oil to “clean” my stainless steal appliances for a while.  I used this method until I realized it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  I found I could scrape a layer of grime off the surface.  The grime was a combo of old olive oil, dust and what ever else floats through the air in a home.

stainless steel fridge before & after

My Stainless Steel Fridge: Before & After results

My solution?!  Lemon essential oil!  What a goldmine of a discovery!!  I’ve used lemon oil to remove sticky substances so why not remove stainless steel grime.

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doTerra Lemon Essential Oil

Use a soft cloth with the Lemon oil.  Rub with a little elbow grease along the grain of the stainless steel.  I did rub in a circular motion but found better results when I stayed with the grain of the steel.

This is a small example of what I got off my steel.

stainless steel junkI’ve managed to flip over all my cleaning supplies from toxic mayhem to non-toxic magic!   I have two exceptions that I haven’t managed to successfully replace.  I still have a couple Mr. Clean magic erasers and windex on the shelf.  If you know of a better option that works amazingly PLEASE do share:)

Thanks 🙂

Keep the Family Active and Healthy at Home and on the Road

I have the honour of featuring Kendra Thornton in todays post.  She’s a busy parent who likes to travel with her kiddies and keep them in tip top happiness with balanced nutrition and activities.

Here is what she has to say!

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I’ve traveled the world and experienced many unforgettable locations; however, what I have learned throughout all my travels is that my incredible family and health have always been the two aspects of my life that are most important. Aside from keeping me grounded, my family helps me to be a great mom by keeping me active and always on my toes. To repay them, I make sure I live the healthiest lifestyle possible, so they can follow in my footsteps. Since I have some upcoming travels on my agenda in the near future I thought it would be fun to tell you about some of the different ways that I keep my family healthy at home and while being on the road!

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I Make Food Fun: It doesn’t matter if we’re getting ready for a vacation or going to a soccer game; I make sure to plan and organize my food. I love to cook dinner with my family, and we make sure that everyone is getting a balanced meal. We try to get as many colors on the plate as possible – I always find the more colorful it is the more variety of veggies I have on the plate!

When I’m traveling, I keep the same mindset. I always avoid fast food, and I try to store various meals and snacks in the car. However, I still believe in indulging in a treat, but I make sure it doesn’t become a habit. I think granola bars, sliced fruits and veggies are best; these foods ensure my kids always have plenty of energy.

Go Outside and Be Active: Our family enjoys taking a vacation, but we always make sure it’s something that the whole family can enjoy. Soon, we’re going on a trip to Colorado for some family skiing! I’ve found that it’s best to plan vacations that burn the largest amount of energy possible. We just got home from Florida and it was a blast! We went to all the parks and really had ourselves a fabulously fun, and active vacation. My husband and I looked through a list of Orlando hotels through Gogobot’s Family Traveler’s Tribe section to find the best place for us to stay. A hotel with a ton of Disney amusement, pools, and continental breakfast with the characters and close to the parks was at the top of our list!

However, I use the same concept while at home. During winter, I make sure that the whole family gets outside and plays. The kids like to skate on ice and build snowmen. The summertime is great because the kids are playing with friends and doing sports. I like to run or walk during summer months and really find that I am naturally more inclined to stay active.

Switch It Up: I believe there are times when it’s a good idea to bend the rules a little bit. I don’t think you should always stick to a harsh food regimen. Occasionally, I will allow my kids to eat some of their favorite treats, and this is especially true while we’re on vacation.

It’s important to avoid over thinking it. You should just try to live the healthiest lifestyle possible but always makes time to enjoy time with your family. It was the Fit Family Lifestyles Month that caused me to write this. I hope these personal tips helped you to learn something. How do you like to stay fit while enjoying time with your family? Let’s hear from you!

* This post is not a paid endorsement.  I did not receive any form of payment for this collaboration.

DIY: Caring for Wooden Utensils

Wooden Spoons CollageI’m not a fan of buying something I don’t need.  This includes wooden spoons!  I’d rather maintain than replace:)

I had a look at my wooden utensils the other day and man were they tired looking!  They had a food smell to them (big surprise right!) and they lacked their original new wood look.  So I went to them with my essential lemon oil from DoTerra and some salt.  The lemon oil naturally deodorized the wood and the salt was a natural abrasive.

YOU WILL NEED

well used wooden utensils

lemon essential oil ( I use doTerra oil )

salt

natural soap or what ever soap you wash your dishes with

warm water

coconut oil (olive oil works well too)

a clean rag

STEPS

. rubbed the lemon/salt mixture well into the wood, let it rest for 5 minutes. (2-3 drops of lemon oil per utensil should do it.

. gently wash with Dr. Bronners Soap or dish soap under warm water and dry them.

. take a finger gob of coconut oil and a clean cloth (make sure to use a cloth you don’t mind having an oil stain on).

. rub the oil coconut oil or what ever oil you’re using into the entire spoon.   Your done! no need to wipe, rinse etc the oil away:)

I immediately saw how “thirsty” the wood had been.  The dry wooden spoons sucked up the coconut oil really well.  Once the wooden spoons had a coconut oil rub-down I laid them on my counter to soak up the rest of the oil on the wood surface.

PS: This same method can also be done on your wooden cutting boards.

If you’re interested in essential oils form DoTerra I’m an Independent Product Consultant and can help you learn more about oils, how to use them and their benefits.