We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Brekkie: French Toast

Mmmm.... we love french toast. Everyone has their own version of this family favorite.
Here's my easy to whip up recipe:

-2 eggs
-splash of milk
-cinammon to taste
-2 Tbs sugar
-nutmeg to taste

In a small bowl, beat eggs well. Add the remainder of ingredients and mix well.
Coat bread on each side with mixture and brown in a hot greased skillet.


I plan to do absolutely nothing 'responsible' today.  I'll probably let Baby Boy play with his toy trucks in our outdoor space (which I really should get around to naming) as I craft and fiddle with my lovely plants.
Happy weekend, Beauties!

Infantile Gastroenteritis Home Remedy: Rice Water

Infantile Gastroenteritis. One of the leading causes in the mortality rate of children ages 0 to 3 years.

Here is an excerpt of a study comparing rice water with the electrolyte solution usually used in cases of gastroenteritis:

The most obvious difference in the 2 groups was in the effect on diarrhea (stools/day). Rice water cut down the number of stools more effectively than did oral electrolyte solution. No patient died, and there were no pathological sequelae in any of the 130 patients. Rice water can be tried as a more practical alternative to oral electrolyte solutions since there are problems with providing oral elecrolyte solutions to all babies with diarrhea in the developing countries and ensuring sterility.

Click here to read more. I think technology and medicine are amazing, but I also believe we have so much to learn about using the medicine that is present in natural foods and plants around us. What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thrifting Love

I have fallen in love with thrift shopping in the past few years. It started out as a necessity because brand new things can be so expensive, but now thrifting for my home has definitely blossomed into an enjoyable challenge. I haven't been able to go thrifting for several months (too long!) since we lost our car, but a new friend called and asked if I'd like to join her on an errand. Since it was Hubby's day off, my wonderful hubby took charge of our little man and told me to go enjoy some girl time. Woohoo!!

At first we were headed to the Farmer's Market but when we got there all the booths were closed up so we (very innocently) ended up at a thrift shop. We parked and set each other loose on the poor unsuspecting shop. I was amazingly glad I listened to my nudge because I found almost everything I've had on my mental checklist for the apartment! There are always little things you realize would make life a little easier as life unfolds in your home. And if those things happen to be at the right price, why not?

Here are my finds! Lots of necessities, but a few pretty decor items as well. And would you know it, they were having a huge clearance sale? Yellow tags were 50% off and orange tags were 75% off the ticketed price.

Magazine rack- $3.50 orange tag so paid 87 cents! WOW
Macrame plant hanger (New With Tags!)- $4 tag, but I got it for $3.00 yay! See, it pays to be nice.
Boys hat (NWT)- $1.00
Lazy Susan - $2 yellow tag so paid $1
Pretty glass jar- $2 orange tag so paid 75 cents!
Glass hanging candle holders- Six of them for $3
Gorgeous mirror- $3.
Ceramic party snack serving tray- $2 yellow tag so paid $1
Shoes (NWT)- $2.50
Large plastic tray- $1.50 yellow tag so I got it for 75 cents!
Not pictured: Leather men's overnight shaving case (NWT)- $1 for my wonderful travelling businessman hubby. My girlfriend found this, I never would've spotted it and Hubby loves it.
My grand total: $17.99 and several of these things are brand new!

My hanging candles, pretty jar and pretty mirror.
Oh, I have lovely plans for you, my pretties. Mwahahahaaa......!

I just love this 4 piece snack tray! I have visions of serving gourmet looking treats on it during a Twilight party. Ha! We shall see.

Yeah. The plant hanger is nearly 15 bucks brand new!

I'm so happy with my new shoes :). Brand new in a feisty color, how can you go wrong?
And, thanks to this plastic platter, now my downstairs neighbors won't get showered with the runoff water from my large shrub outside. I feel guilty every time I water it and most of the moisture sprinkles down to say howdy to the doorstep below us.

My 87 cent magazine rack has the normal shelves and an adorable little drawer.
Can you hear it? 
It's screaming for paint. Well, I say let's put it out of it's misery. Soon.

Top view, lots of room for reading material.

Each side has cork board which I'm not too crazy about, but for the price, I'll figure out something.

I'm really liking the nonessential handles, though. Not sure why. I just do.
And no, your screen isn't dirty (at least I hope not) the photo is blurry. 

Thanks for stopping by to look at my lovely thrift shop finds! And thank you Amanda for feeding my thrifting addiction! Later then :)

Friday Inspiration 7/30/2010

Pretty homemade spa towel wrap? Yes, please! I really want to make one of these for myself!
Centsational Girl has a lovely (and easy, thank you) tutorial that has me believing even I could do it.

This wall paper added to a shelf is lovely! The idea is from Better Homes and Gardens. Isn't it gorgeous?
I don't have access to any wallpaper, but this idea just resonates with me and I can't wait to figure out how to use it in my home. Scrap book paper, maybe?

Ali @ Honey and Maple Syrup revamped an old dresser to give it her personal brand of fabulous and it reminded me how much I want to make over Baby Boy's old white dresser. It's been in the family for years and could use a little funky personalization.
Isn't it lovely? Numbered picture frames embellish the drawers and the small top drawers are actually an entirely separate piece! She made it her own and that's so inspiring!

Another project of Ali's (Honey and Maple Syrup) really got me wanting to create my own version. She used the design on a rubber door mat to paint wall art! Isn't the scrolly pattern beautiful?
What do you mean scrolly isn't a word?
I just love the swirls and feel of patterns like that. Definitely doable and relatively easy to replicate with a homemade stencil. I hope, anyway! At any rate, it's an idea to tuck away into the inspiration pile.

Ellie @ Beauty 4 Ashes gave a thrifted candle holder new life with a little spray paint.
Gorgeous example how a thrift store find can become something you love with a little creativity (and spray paint doesn't hurt, either!).

There are so many amazingly creative people in blog land who are constantly seeing potential in something ordinary. Their stories have me raring to create this weekend! I'll post the results here, even if I fail miserably. Lessons learned while creating are the most fun!
Here's hoping you find some inspiration and use it to create something wonderful.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spa Night: Oil for Facial Cleansing 7/29/2010

WARNING: A few people, including myself had less than stellar results with the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). Click Here to read my two posts explaining why I eventually gave up OCM.

Using oil instead of soap to cleanse your face? This website is filled with extensive information on this ancient but now almost unheard of method for clear, beautiful skin! I found that reading what people who have actually used it are saying has been helpful too. The idea that something so simple could be so much better than all the technologically advanced cleansers we have now is definitely enough to pique my interest.

Here are some of the questions I initially had and the answers I've found:

How is the cleansing done?
~A quarter sized amount of natural oil is massaged vigorously onto face for at least 5 minutes. This motion loosens the hardened material in enlarged pores and with continued use will remove them completely. 

~Makeup doesn't even need to be removed before doing this, the oil will remove it, even mascara.

~Once the massage is over, gently wipe the oil off with a hot steamy washcloth, rinsing the towel and wiping until all oil is removed. This is important. Remove all of the oil, even if you didn't wear makeup. The oil on your face is now dirty and leaving it on your face might cause more problems.
 That's it. No need to rinse. Toner and a bit of clean oil as moisturizer and you're ready for bed.

~In the morning, use a clean washcloth to gently wash your face with water only. 

How often is this done in order to see results?
~Once a day before bedtime. 

Why oil?
~The whole premise is that commercial facial cleansers strip skin of it's natural oils. In response, skin overcompensates by producing too much oil which clogs and enlarges pores. 

~The oil used is pure and natural and extremely good for skin care. Castor oil, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, etc.

~Oil gently cleanses the pores by loosening built up dirt and oil clogging the pores. Removing these blemishes without stripping moisture from the face is key! Facial skin is left invigorated (from the massage) and gently deep cleaned. 

Does it work?
Many people have seen significant improvement in their skin with the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) including: 
Disappearance of blemishes
Even skin tone
Unbelievably soft skin
Disappearance of blackheads/whiteheads
Reduced dark circles under eyes
Plumper, younger looking skin

What type of skin has it worked for?
Combination skin
Normal skin
Oily skin
Acne prone skin
Diagnosed rosacea
Sufferers of psoriasis

So what are your thoughts? Would you try it? 

Yesterday was my second day on OCM (using virgin coconut oil. Thanks to my awesome Mom!) and I'm excited to already see results. My pores are shrinking and unclogging, the whole kaboodle. I have combination skin. Very oily in the Tzone with very dry patches scattered everywhere else. As my skin is adjusting to not being dried out or overproducing oil, I'm happy to see my Tzone isn't so oily and there are definitely no more scaly dry patches! After two days! So, needless to say, I'm sticking with it and hoping for much better long term results.

UPDATE: Read my review on this amazing cleansing method here!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Work it Out Wednesday: Bellydance

I've decided to use Wednesday as my personal exercise motivation day. That's a mouthful! I wrote before about my weight loss journey but haven't expanded on that subject. No pun intended.

I become bored very easily and it seems that I need to switch up workouts to stay motivated. So, since I like to blog and choosing to get moving every day is part of my search for a beautiful and inspired life, I want to write about it here. Sort of a reminder to myself to keep going.

I LOVE cultural dancing and am trying to use that as a way to stay active. So this week, I'm learning how to bellydance the cheap way, via youtube videos. Take a peek at one of the videos I'm using this week:

I will most likely switch to a different workout or dance next week to keep my interest up, (there's a gorgeous hula I would love to learn! also on youtube) but that's the norm for me. I will alternate between workouts until I learn it completely and then find a new one that intrigues me. Easy, fun, good for my health and FREE.

Choosing to do things that enrich my family's life as well as my own has been a wonderful experience and I want to keep going! Now everything has a focus and I'm enjoying every project, craft, spa night recipe, and healthier choice we're making as a family.

Life has never been more fulfilling. Four years ago, if you told me sometime in the future I'd be in a strange new city without any family nearby, without a car and having to use every iota of brain power to save my family money, I never would have predicted that I'd be able to say that. But it is. And God continues to be good.

Find something that inspires you and use it to see the beauty that's already around you. There are so many things we already have that are worth having and cultivating. Skills, compassion, relationships, family. Life is beautiful, so live it!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Tiebacks that Aren't 7/27/2010

I was so frustrated with these tiebacks! I suppose they looked different in my head. 

Anyway, here's the tutorial which I do not recommend you follow unless you want ridiculously off kilter tiebacks:

STEP 1: Gather your materials

STEP 2: Half-heartedly chop up your gorgeous heavy silk and wince with every cut.
I measured the length with my flower embellished guest bath tiebacks.

STEP 3: Plan out how you want it to look and fold accordingly.

STEP 4: Use fusible web and a hot iron to seal the folds and hold that shape.

STEP 5: Look doubtfully at your finished product.

STEP 6: Tie into place.


Pin into place.
Yes, I know the right one is lower. Still blah and the tiebacks are literally slipping off the too thin curtains.

STEP 7: Fold one row of the pattern to slim it down a bit and pin one tieback into place around both curtains. 
I thought the bit of green in the silk would pop against the deep green drapes. 
Maybe it's the width that's throwing it off for me. Or the texture? I don't know. I just know I don't like them much as tiebacks.

STEP 8: Realize you are so not happy with this in any way, but that it will have to do until further inspiration strikes.
At least with both drapes bunched together like that, the tieback isn't slipping down.

STEP 9: Decide to use the extra tieback as a mini runner under a decorative bowl and call it a day.
I quite like it as a runner! And it does have some gorgeous peacock colors going on. I may just have to give the tiebacks another go with a totally different fabric and be content with my two mini runners. We'll see.
There's beauty even in failure.

I'm linking to:

I Love My Hubby

This iPod is possibly one of the best gifts ever. Thanks again to my bro! I LOVE it! I never thought I'd love an MP3 player so much. I never saw a need for it. But now that I have one, I can't believe I was able to stay sane without one!

I literally use it all day long every day. I have the volume on very low with music playing and only one earphone in (need the other ear to make sure my little boy's being good) as I do my daily straightening up and keeping Baby Boy on his schedule (potty training/meals/learning time/play time/TV time). 

Then during nap time I get to listen to audio books as I craft or do my bigger chores. Listening to books really saved my sanity during the dreaded deep cleaning of 2010. It was a relief to keep my mind occupied as I completed the never ending mundane chores. You know what? Keeping my new little home is so much more enjoyable now. Methinks the Lord was teaching me to be thankful. It so worked.

So here's a look at my new swag courtesy of my loving hubby:
My new mirrored screen protector. No more scratches! Since I use my iPod every day, it has a ton of tiny scuffs :(. This should help a lot!

YAY! My new pink armband! No more fumbling in my pockets to stop my audio book/ music as I rush to divert the latest toddler mess.

Isn't it pretty? I love Amazon.com! And I love you, my wonderful husband!!! More than Amazon, I promise :)
Yes, I picked them out, but hey, he's still wonderful.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend Brekkie: Pancakes from a Ketchup Bottle 7/24/2010

This morning, after breakfast (so technically it's not brekkie), I was in the mood for pancakes, but, poor me, I was no longer hungry.
So, I took the newly washed empty ketchup bottle (which my toddler ketchup monster had finished off the other day) and decided to prepare our lunch with it!

Whipping up a basic homemade pancake mix, I added cocoa powder for chocolate pancakes! Woohoo!

The mix went into the fridge to await our grumbly lunchtime stomachs.

Lunch! The skillet was hot in no time. Here's a shot of my homemade pancake dispenser in action.

I remember always wanting to use a ketchup bottle to make funnel cakes ( I LOVE funnel cakes!), but never thought of using it for pancakes until seeing an infomercial for a pancake dispenser.

I made some baby pancakes for Baby Boy and thought, why not toss a few chocolate chips on 'em?
So I did.

Baby Boy was a little apprehensive at first.
I think he thought they might be (gasp!) healthy. Which is odd because he loves healthy stuff!

But soon he was scarfing them down ....

And humming happy pancake songs.

A definite success. Oh, but I was wishing for whipped cream!

Happy Weekend, Beauties!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oldie but Goodie Glass Candlestick Craft

I started with Dollar Tree glass goblets and turned them over to make a candle center piece. I love the patterned paper and rose petal potpourri in the cups!  Click here for the original post!

Friday Inspiration 7/23/2010

I love the way this looks. I can imagine it hanging overhead in our little outdoor space and would love to use this idea for a homemade version. 

Heidi @ UCreate has posted a great tutorial on making zipper rosettes! I can't wait to try it! 
I'm trying to gently kick myself back into crafts that have some sewing in them. There's this inexplicable avoidance going on now that I actually have a sewing machine.
The very last easy sewing craft I did (which was ridiculously easy, so it doesn't really count. But hey I'm grasping at straws here) was my silk fabric flower (found in this post).
Maybe trying zipper rosettes to ease back into sewing land will finally give me the confidence to break in that singer Hubby got me months ago. 

I'd love to embellish some towels for our bathrooms like Tresa @ Reese Dixon
I just adore the idea of taking something plain and poshing it up with a bit of pretty fabric. But what sets her towels apart are the sewn in loops to hold them on hooks. LOVE it!

I love making soap! It's been a while since my last batch, but the soapsicles created by Greenbean have me itching to make some of these delicious looking gifts!
They look good enough to eat!

Young and Crafty's embellished feminine lamp has my wheels turning on prettying up an old lamp shade of mine.

I just love browsing websites for inspiration! Finding the little things to inspire projects of my own constantly keep me busy, which is great! The creative outlet of projects (even tiny ones) is such a relaxing thing for me to work on when Baby Boy's napping.

Have you found more inspiration this week?
Let it move you to make life just a little more beautiful.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spa Night: Give Up Shampoo?? 7/22/2010

Alright, here's a topic that is potentially cringe worthy but I think is worth a try: Give up shampoo and conditioner in favor of a more frugal hair cleansing regimen.
Could you do it? Could you go without shampoo and conditioner? You know what? I'm up for it.
You can read up on the pros and cons of going without oil stripping commercial shampoo in the same post I stumbled on by Alison @ Wholesome Goodness.

I've already been using my Vinegar Shine Rinse in place of dandruff shampoo and have loved the disappearance of flakes! So, I think this is the next step to healthy hair. Basically, here's what I'll be using:
In place of shampoo- Baking soda and water

In place of conditioner- Apple cider vinegar and water

Here are the basics that have me intrigued:
-Commercial shampoos are too harsh and strip the hair of natural oils.
-After a (very) greasy transition period that could last 2 weeks to 2 months, your hair will find it's natural balance and look it's best.
-Baking soda is a gentle cleanser that's good for the earth, your hair and your wallet!
-Vinegar will restore the PH balance in your hair, stimulate the smaller capillaries in the scalp and lock in shine.

Here's marking day 1! No shampoo or conditioner starting today. I hope I can stand it long enough to get through the greasy adjustment period.

Here's how my hair looks today after using baking soda and vinegar for the first time yesterday:

So far, no signs of overt greasiness. I can't believe the shine! It doesn't even shine like that after a homemade Hot Oil Treatment!

 Looking forward to seeing how this all works out. I"m excited that this frugal solution might actually be better for my hair. So, would you try it?

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