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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oil Cleansing Method FINAL REVIEW: Be Warned

Disclaimer: Sorry about the gross photos, but it's my proof. I'm not just being a brat about this, I truly think it ruined my skin. As far as I'm concerned, OCM will no longer be on my beauty regimen.

Early September
Clear skin
Ok, I loved the OCM and raved about it in this post. However, a few weeks after that I started breaking out all over my face. I stuck it out, knowing that most people go through  a purging period before skin stays totally clear and pores are finally shrunk down beautifully. So I waited, faithfully doing OCM every evening, and then the pimples became painful cysts. I finally stopped using it and was so self conscious about my skin. It looked horrible!
Late September
Acne & cysts, Right side

I stopped using OCM. After a ton of research about natural methods and my particular skin type, I have been taking measures to 'fix' this horrible mess.  I now spot apply tea tree oil morning and night and am back to using my all herbal soap to cleanse. The problem is, my pores are clogging up again, but the cysts have shrunk and all but one has disappeared, but thank the Lord it's no longer is painful! I still have pimples scattered about my face and neck, but they are healing and breakouts are happening less and less frequently. I have been applying calming masks and continue to use the rice water toner. All this seems to be helping, but I can't help being frustrated at this method for ruining my skin!

Late September
Acne/cysts, Left side
Before OCM, my skin was clear from using the herbal soap and rice water, but I had read so much about how wonderful OCM was for clearing clogged pores. I thought it was just what I needed. And at first it seemed like a miracle! My skin tone was evening out and pores were getting unclogged and shrinking, but then the terrible breakouts happened. It has been months now and I wish I had never heard of the Oil Cleansing Method. I now have full blown acne and it isn't going away. I'm faithfully using weekly masks and herbal soap and fresh aloe daily but the tiny bumps, scars and pimples do not stop appearing. Thankfully, there are no more painful cysts, but I could do without the acne covering my chin, neck and cheeks.

October. Right side.
October. Left.
I've been reading about others who experienced the same as me and it seems like they all had acne prone skin before. I've never had acne prone skin. So, now I'm about ready to throw in the towel and purchase some commercially made cleansers to see if they'll get rid of the last of it. I've changed my diet and drink water with a splash of apple cider vinegar every day, along with an omega fatty acid supplement and vitamin E (all supposedly miracle workers for the skin) but it hasn't stopped the breakouts. You can see why I'm so frustrated. I haven't taken recent pictures, but it looks a little better (not much) and the bumps are no longer inflamed.

OCM is not for everybody and if you choose to try it, I would recommend using it maybe once a month to clear pores only where you need it so you don't risk overstimulating your skin and causing nasty breakouts.

Are you using something, natural or commercial that has worked miracles on your skin? Any suggestions would be welcome!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Before Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for:

1. The lovely holiday smells floating through our home.

2. That I have a family to cook for and groceries enough to do it!

3. Baby Boy's happy lilting voice singing "Happy Birthday Jesus" (he's got his holidays a little mixed up).

and a few more because there's so much to be thankful for:

4. A loving husband who is always eager to get home to me and Baby Boy.

5. Family and good friends who always show they care no matter how long it's been between phone calls.

6. A warm dry place to sleep.

7. Group hugs with Hubby and Baby Boy.

What are you most thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Day Till Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for:

1. A praying toddler, even though it means we sometimes pray 4 or 5 times before we can eat :)

2. Our Heavenly Father who blessed us with a loving Baby Boy we can call our very own. 

3. A wonderful Almighty God who is always good and is never too busy to hear even the sweet innocent prayers of a child.

What are you thankful for today?

Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas....Cards

Have you joined Pampers Gifts to Grow? I usually check Hip2Save (she posts lists of codes. Awesome!) and do an internet search every few weeks to find new free codes. Joining Gifts to Grow is free and if you rack up enough codes you can get some great rewards. You can buy pampers products and receive codes on the packaging, and also collect free codes online.

I just cashed in some of my points to get our Christmas photo cards for FREE, all I had to pay was shipping!

25 Christmas photo cards from shutterfly.com $0.00
Order Total: $5.38 (shipping+ tax)

Aahhh... I love bargain shopping :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Days Till Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for:

1. Hubby having an unexpected day off! We ran errands but it was good to be together :)

2. God's Word and the encouragement it gives.

3. Nearly 3 years of being Mama to a beautiful little boy, and nearly 5 years of being wife to a loving man.

What do you find yourself thankful for today?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Three Days Till Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for:
1. Leftovers. Very handy for feeding a hungry toddler when you're not feeling up to par.

2. A sweet hungry boy who doesn't complain and gobbles up leftovers like it's the best food in the world!

3. Our wonderful family near and far. Wish we could see them all during the holidays...

As Thanksgiving draws nearer, do yo find yourself thinking on all the good things in your life?
What are you thankful for today?

Holiday Sweets

Check out Mrs Claus' Cookbook for a great collection of holiday recipes. I've been trying to find easy (and cheap) sweets recipes for the holidays and will be making a few of the candies from this cookbook. Awesome! Now if only I can find my candy thermometer. It never stays in the last place I put it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Four Days Till Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for:

1. Half asleep morning snuggles on the couch with Baby Boy

2. Saturday Jammie Days full of cartoons and playtime

3. Waking up and finding the dishes done. Very nice!

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Five Days Till Thanksgiving

Today I'm thankful for:

1. A car with heat that works 
2. Sweet unexpected notes from Hubby that I find throughout my day
3. Our little sweetheart who reminds us to pray before we eat :)

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Six Days Till Thanksgiving

I wanted to begin a week from Thanksgiving and each day write 3 things I'm thankful for.

1. Little arms that give the best hugs.
2. Knowing we're safe when we go to bed.
3. That contented feeling that sometimes creeps up when Hubby walks through the door and I think "Ah, we're all together again."

Thankfulness is an attitude. What are you thankful for today?

Sweet Potato Bread

So, after reading on another blog that they had a favorite recipe for pumpkin bread, I decided to make it and freeze it for Thanksgiving. One less thing I'd have to worry about, right? Well, in the middle of getting out all the ingredients this morning, I realized I didn't have any pumpkin puree. Well, great. But we were saved by the presence of a can of sweet potatoes in the cupboard! I followed the recipe along with some of the modifications in the comment section. I used the canned sweet potatoes that I pureed in the blender instead of pumpkin and just hoped for the best.

It smelled great and the loaves turned out beautifully. Here they are in all their freshly baked glory.

Hubby helped by getting me all the ingredients, greasing and flouring the pans.
What a sweetheart :) Ok, so I'm just lazy, but I love cooking together!

We'll probably fall like locusts on the first one, the second goes in the freezer for Thanksgiving, and the third will be given away to thank somebody for being awesome.

I really love that this recipe was so easy and makes three loaves. I'm definitely hoping to pick up some canned pumpkin and make more to freeze. It would be lovely to stock up on some yummy bready goodness we can have with coffee on cold mornings.

REVIEW: It tastes great! Very buttery and a nice blend of spices without being overpowering. Beautifully moist, bready / cakey texture with a sweet finish. My favorite part was a very thin little crystallized sugary crust that formed on top. I don't like coffee cakes and these types of fruit breads if they are too sweet or drowning in sugary glaze. This recipe will make a repeat appearance in my kitchen, whether it's made with pumpkin or not! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prayer Request

Visit the blog Praise Through the Storm to read about a truly inspirational young mother who dearly needs prayer as she grieves for three children who never drew a breath here on earth.

She is my dear friend and sister and has been searching for God's will in her life even through the pain of losing her precious little ones. She and her husband have been blessed with being able to raise two amazing, sweet spirited children, but it doesn't make the loss of the other three any less devastating.

I can't even begin to express her faith and strength, or her struggle now in the midst of a new trial. Please go and read for yourself and please, most of all pray for her. She and her husband are grieving their latest loss, an angel baby girl named Natalie Hope whose spirit was taken from her mother's womb just a few days ago, 14 weeks into the pregnancy.

Thank you for your prayers for Wendy and her family.

Hummus, Sour Cream and Paneer

We had some raw milk about to go bad, and after a couple of quick internet searches I was able to find a few easy ways to make it last longer by making sour cream and paneer! Since I was in a creating mood today, I also decided to whip up some hummus to go with the fresh veggies Hubby picked up the other day. Yum. I love hummus.

You can see the recipe I used to make sour cream here, and the paneer recipe is here.
 Click here for a delicious (and simple) hummus recipe.

All these homemade goodies are good news for the celery sticks, bell peppers and cucumbers in my fridge! The sour cream can be used to create a homemade ranch sauce and  other nutritious dips for veggies, or served on the ever popular baked potato. It's also an ingredient in some of the tastiest coffee cakes.
Homemade sour cream :)

I think hummus is the perfect savory veggie dip or mayo substitute in sandwiches. And it's packed with iron too. It turned out lemony with a beautiful sesame flavor and just the right hint of garlic.

And of course I had to sample a little during lunch.
Clockwise from the top: One jalapeno pickle, fresh cucumbers for dipping,
hummus with a little olive oil and black pepper, spicy thai cucumber salad,
and some sweet gherkins. So GOOD!

I've never made paneer before but love it in Indian dishes. Now I can try making a vegetarian dish with paneer here at home. I'm so excited!
From over 1/2 gallon of milk, I got 1 cup of paneer and 4 cups of liquid.

I can't wait until we get more raw milk so I can try my hand at making a small amount of butter and then cream cheese after our next yogurt batch. Who knew milk could be so much fun?  I know it may seem like I play more with the milk than anything else, but we do actually drink tons of it too :).

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