Monday, June 18, 2012

3 Step Life Plan

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of busyness. We had friends in town for a week and then a few days after they left, I went out of town with our kids. Now my husband is gearing up for a cross-country trip and a few days after he returns, we will be welcoming another family for a week long visit at our house. The summer months are always an incredibly social time for us and I love it!
But with all the craziness I haven't had time to blog. Bad blogger.

Anyway, while I was on the plane headed back home I had plenty of time to mull things over in my head and revisit some conversations that were had with family and friends on my trip. You see, my family and I are at an interesting time in our lives and there are major changes on the horizon. Good changes though, such as relocating and new careers and such. But as of yet we just aren't sure where we are headed or where we should be headed. And to help me personally deal with the stress, I've decided that I need to make some lifestyle changes.

We recently stopped peppering our diet with organic and started relying mainly on organics. This has been somewhat challenging because where we currently live there aren't many organic options. But we are making it work, which has once meant driving nearly 2 hours to the closest Whole Foods!

My newest idea is to do a week long juice fast to redirect my eating and detox at the same time. With all of my recent travel, I have been eating horribly....meaning I haven't had a home-cooked meal in nearly a week. Eeeeek! So the juice fast in step one.

Step two is to begin "really" taking the top 5 most important supplements for my particular needs. I always dilly-dally with supplements, taking them for a few days here, one week there. It's dumb. Really dumb. I'm thinking perhaps I have a committment issue. But no more! I committ to committ to taking my supplements.

The next thing on my list is to start meditating again. And my version of meditation is a little different than traditional meditation. Maybe. Although now I'm not so sure but I kinda think it is. Traditionally you are supposed to clear your mind and reach a very zen place, but what I want to do is just have a few minutes of quiet time and instead of clearing my mind I want to fill it with wholesomeness.

 My idea is to have a weekly list of things to meditate on and include a scripture or devotional with it. For example, for my first week I would like to focus on gratitude, so I would start my meditation with a scripture on gratitude, meditate on what it means to be grateful and all that I have to be grateful for, and then I would end the meditation with a prayer.

I am quite convinced that these 3 simple steps are going to push my mind in the right direction. And sometimes that's all we really just get back to the simple things, redirect our focus and take better care of ourselves. The rest tends to have a way of working itself out.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Doing things daddy style

Anyone else read Working Mother magazine? On one of the freebie sites I keep up with, I somehow signed up for a free subscription and I'm glad I did. It always has some interesting articles that make me think. Woah, right?

June's issue is called "How Dad does it" which stuck a chord with me since a girlfriend and I were recently bemoaning the differences between the way we care for our children and the way our husbands care for them. Sometimes it can be night and day!

Her complaint was the way her husband feeds their two boys, which are both under two. "He just throws some cereal on the highchair tray and calls it lunch! At least I give them a little of every food group" she cried. Then I lamented how it just doesn't occur to my own husband to fix our 6 year old daughter's hair before school. We agreed that they just don't get it. But what is the "it" in this situation?

The magazine article talks about how dads, by nature, just operate differently than moms. And also (ready for this?) how that can be a GOOD thing! Hmph. I for one was curious to see their logic on this one. NO WAY can an unbalanced diet and rat-nest hair ever be seen as a good thing. But....I admit that after reading the article....they were kinda right!

Apparently dad's way of doing things shows children that calculated risks are okay, multi-tasking isn't always a good thing, and lunchboxes and outfits don't always have to be perfect. (If you say so...)  :)

 Perhaps, Dad's seemingly non-chalant ways are really just lessons in flexibility. Especially for someone like me who feels the need to create harmony in all aspects our lives.

Turns out, the children will survive and the world keeps turning even if they did only eat a spoonful of peanut butter and some fritos for lunch. Good to know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bree Van de Kamp's raspberry lemon muffins

Ok, not really. But kinda. A friend of mine was sick last week so I decided to be very Bree Van De Kamp and make her a tray of muffins. Because nothing cures the common cold like baked goods. In my experience anyway.

 I didn't get off work until after 9pm so I came home, devised my little muffin baking plan and then searched my cabinets hoping to find some ingredients to throw together. I briefly considered using a can of tuna and some tea bags but luckily I found a bag of organic raspberries in the freezer and a couple of fresh lemons. Whew, that was close. I don't think she likes tuna. Here's what I came up with:

Cream 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar together. Beat in 2 eggs. Add in 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup milk alternately. Add zest and juice of one lemon. Fold in raspberries and bake 350 for 30 minutes.

Now. I, for some odd reason (perhaps it was delirium from baking at 10pm), decided to add a dash of nutmeg ( ? ) and then top the muffins with brown sugar. Not real sure what I was going for with that but I don't recommend it. The nutmeg overpowered the lemon so much that I had to make a glaze out of the juice from the remaining lemon and some sugar. That fixed the problem. But time I will definitely ixnay the nutmeg.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peace, Love and Tie-Dye

It's that time of year again. The school year is winding down but the end of the year festivities are just revving up. Due to my work schedule I haven't been able to be as "involved" as I would have liked to be in my children's school activities (translate: as involved as what I feel like a "good" mom should be... *sigh*).
So. I volunteered to help create the field day t-shirts for my son's class. VOLUNTEERED. To HELP. Important words here, folks, as you're about to see.
So yay, the teacher was happy and I felt "good" about myself. The kids decided that they wanted tie-dyed shirts. And I thought that was cool. The teacher told me that another mom had signed up to HELP before I did, so she asked permission to pass on my email address to coordinate with said mom. I thought that was even cooler. A partner to share the task with!
 I figured we'd get together, make a night of it, perhaps (hopefully) have a glass of wine and a few laughs. I imagined our kids helping us intermittently and running around the backyard at dusk with tie-dye stained feet. The angels of Heaven would sing and I'd make a life-long friend and wars would cease to exist and peace would abound among men. WRONG.
See, this is where a creative mind can cause problems. When I daydream about possibilities, it's one of two ways. Either worst case scenarios or rosey hued romanticism. There's never a time where I daydream a normal, feasible, average possibility. And that's kind of a problem because I either hyper-ventilate with anxiety or I have such a pretty ideal in my head that the actual event is a real letdown. But back to the story.

Turns out the other mom was just too busy to help after all. She informed me that she had written on the shirts and purchased a couple of bottles of the dye but could she just drop it off at my house for me to do the tie-dying? Scrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech. Thud.
That was my happy little vision coming to an abrupt end. This would be the frustration part. What could I say? I sent back a terse reply of sure here's my address and when I arrived home from running errands a giant bag of white white white t-shirts was on my front porch. Oy. 
Did I mention that the kid's chose neon orange?
Or that I had never, ever, tie-dyed anything but my hair before? And even that had been an accident?

So... after watching several YouTube videos on tie-dying technique I set about my task. First, I ran 25 blindingly white shirts through the rinse cycle. I didn't know why a damp shirt was important but I later found out that if you try to squirt dye on a dry shirt it just beads up and runs off all over your deck.   : /
And to make a long story not that much shorter....4 days and roughly $60 later I had successfully done my volunteering for the year. Here's the process in case you're crazy. Or just want to try it yourself. Or both.

1. Depending on the design you want for your shirt, you will fold or in this case twirl your damp t-shirt. This method creates a swirl/starburstish pattern. Yes, that is a word thanksforasking.

2. This is what a completed swirl looks like. You will then use as many rubber bands as necessary to keep the shirt in that position. I found that 4-6 worked best.

3. Wrap rubber bands in a criss-cross fashion. I was picky about the placement but it really doesn't affect your design at all. The band's sole purpose is to keep the shirt in the wad of your preference.

4. You are now ready to apply your dye! The kits I had came with 3 different colors. In order to save money (haha, I'm a sucker) I decided to use all 3 colors. I squeezed green on the center of the swirl, fuchsia outside of that and then orange for remainder of the shirt. Apply the dye in circles like a target. The more white space you leave, then the more white you will have on the shirt and vice versa.

5. After applying the dye, wrap the shirt in plastic wrap. This is to keep the dye from getting everywhere and also to keep the shirt from drying out. You will then set these in a cool, dry place for 8-24 hours. I did 24 hours for all but one of the shirts and the result was the same.

6. Rinse the shirt under cold water until it runs clear. Well, that's what the directions said but I'm here to tell you that it will never happen. So I just rinsed until I got bored. Then I put the shirts into the wash with hot water and an extra rinse cycle.....tumbled dry and then.....

The finished product! I think they turned out pretty darn good for a first time experiment. A few pointers: Tie-dying is pretty easy. It feels scary and messy and you think that surely the shirt is going to look awful but I promise it will work just fine however you do it. Also, the tie-dye kits are about $10 apiece and they claim to yield up to eight shirts but I found that wasn't the case at all. Two kits only got me seven shirts. So...liars. I went through three of those kits AND five single bottles of dye. Those were around $7 each. That's 14 bottles total for 25 shirts. That's a lot of numbers. Are you confused yet? AND I later found out that soaking your shirts in soda ash before dying them will result in a more fade resistant color. Oh well.

My tie-dyed deck. Before it rained, the stains were actually a more ominous shade of red. But now it looks kinda cool. Maybe I'll start a whole new art movement and make tie-dyed furniture. Hmmm. Anyone else have an adventure in tie-dying?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Birth of a Blog


As the name implies, I am Stacy, 30 years old, and still feel like I don't have a clue. I am starting this blog to share my journey and to hopefully figure out what "makes" me along the way. I will be posting everything from new recipes I try out, to what I'm reading, to new projects, to whatever piques my interest that day.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

"Lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it's been" - Grateful Dead