Thursday, March 29, 2012

Melaleuca Antibacterial Hand Soap

My family never used liquid hand soap at the sink, but that is one change that marrying Nate made to my grocery list. I was so surprised one day when he asked me last fall, "Honey, could you buy some liquid hand soap to have at the kitchen sink?" So I bought a bottle of Pomegranate flavored Dial that was rather salmon-colored, slippery and skin-drying. I still preferred to use a little Dawn to clean my hands.

Then, in my home-conversion value pack from Melaleuca that we ordered this month, we got a bottle of their antibacterial hand soap. I have it at the kitchen sink and I think I'm in love! It's a super cute bottle of cream-colored soap that only takes a tiny drop to clean your hands - and I mean CLEAN them. I hate the smell of food on my hands - onions, garlic, meat, etc. Dish soap never cuts it, either. But, this soap, in one drop, eliminates every food odor from my hands. I'm a fan. And I've been converted to a liquid hand soap user.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Projects for Baby

After arriving in our new house, I immediately started prepping Baby's room. I had gone 8 months thinking he wouldn't have a nursery, but because God made a way for us to move before he was born rather than after, I had the unexpected pleasure of getting his room all ready for him. I had decided to do teddy bears for him, and made a quilt (which I forgot to take a picture of and will once his crib is all set up) with teddies on it. Then, when I was at Goodwill right before we moved, I found the cutest little denim sports lamp, and on the spot decided to combine teddies and sports. When thinking of colors to use, I knew primary colors were my favorite, and that they were something he could grow into. So...I started sanding and painting and putting things together. I honestly thought the painting would never end, but it did, and here are the results!

First, the process of sanding and painting...

We bought this dresser for more storage at the old apartment and didn't need it once we got more closets here, so of course it's perfect for Baby! I bought the drawer handles from Ace and painted them.

This little table was a St. Vincent's consignment find. It didn't cost much and isn't the greatest quality, but it was perfect for a final touch. The lamp on the table is the one that started the sports inspiration.

This little hook rack started from a plain wooden one I found at Hobby Lobby. I think doing it was my first idea for using primary colors.

Then, the blocks. For some reason I got it in my head that I wanted to try making cloth blocks. I bought the fabric for these months ago, but didn't have the energy or time to do them until recently. The pattern can be found here:
They were remarkably easy and fun to do. Behind the blocks is a little ottoman that I recovered by making a patchwork cover.

Finally, the teddy bears. Now, my sister Rebekah made the little Green Bay Packers helmet for Baby, and he'll wear it himself at some point, but it fit teddy fine, so he's wearing it at the present. Then, I used fleece and a glue gun and scissors to create little Badger and Brewer uniforms. That was so fun!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Here is the link to pictures of our new home! I was reluctant to put them up because everything is still so unfinished, but I know people want to see it, so I swallowed my pride. ;) Here they are...kind of a walk-through the house. Baby's crib still needs to be put together, so I know the nursery especially looks unfinished. I'm waiting for my dad or dad-in-law to help me finish that up. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deluxe Omelet

Hubby wanted me to post this on the blog. :) He created this for supper last night and made it again for brunch today. He saute`d mushrooms, red peppers, onions and spinach together in a drop of olive oil and then made a 3-egg omelet with mozzarella and turkey breast meat and the veggies in it. In his words, it was "possibly among the healthiest thing I've ever eaten." :D I'm pretty sure I've fed him things that were healthier, but probably not quite as good to his taste. He used to create omelets for himself with piles of sausage and bacon and fry his eggs in a pan full of butter, so he has come a long way. He's actually starting to enjoy vegetables. We are working on learning to cook with minimum oil/grease.

Nate and I are enjoying embracing healthier living together. In fact, we talk about when we will have our own home in the country and can grow our own food. BAH HAH! When I was younger I never thought I would come to that, nor when I married this city slicker did I ever assume he would say something like "We could even have a couple cows and raise them ourselves for beef" like he did after lunch.

It's so good to be doing what's healthiest for you and your family. I never thought I'd be the kind of person who added black beans to her scrambled eggs for healthier fiber and protein, or who converted her home to natural cleaning and bath/body and laundry products, or who took nutritional supplements every day (along with her husband!), or who dreamed of a little house in the country with a garden and cows of all things. But I sure do like it. And maybe the most fun part is being able to do all of this frugally, and actually save money by living healthier. It makes me feel just a tad more like the Proverbs 31 woman, you know? :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

MelaPower Laundry Detergent

I'm not the kind of person who really cares what detergent I use on my clothes, in fact, my general rule is: buy the cheapest thing that looks like it might actually be somewhat effective. Add to that the fact that no matter how much they say to use, I generally use about half that amount, just to conserve it. I don't have incredibly high standards for clean clothes, either, which is really not a great habit. I think I've trained myself to believe that stains will stay and white clothes will turn gray, both no matter what.

So, while converting our home to exclusively the natural, chemical-free Melaleuca products, their laundry detergent was one of the first things I began using. My first favorite thing is that one bottle will last us 48 loads (currently for us about 3-4 months of laundry), because you only use 1/2 an ounce of the soap per load. That's literally like maybe two tablespoons. Probably closer to one. Then, I started discovering that old stains were disappearing from our clothes...just by using the detergent! I washed my bedroom slippers today so I could pack them in my hospital bag for when Baby comes, and forgot to put stain remover on them. It didn't matter, though, because they looks brand new anyway, after coming out of the dryer!

I wonder if you have any idea how ecstatic I am!
No extra effort +
Itsy bits of detergent +
Completely chemical-free wash loads =
Wonderfully clean clothes for less

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vitality Prenatal Vitamins

I have never believed in vitamins. Trust me, I'd tried! But I'm a skeptic at heart sometimes and when results aren't jumping out at me, I refuse to believe, no matter how hard I try to force myself.

Then I became pregnant, and started taking Walmart brand prenatals, simply because "that's what you do" when you're pregnant. Baby won't be a healthy baby if you don't take vitamins, right? But of course, nothing seemed different to me, and although I took them fairly regularly, I eventually started to give up. Then my mom sent me Melaleuca prenatal vitamins. "Ok, I'll try them." I rather sporadically took one or two vitamins every couple of days, to appease my conscience.

This pregnancy has been a rough one in a lot of ways. Oh, I'm aware that it could have been much worse - I could have been on bed rest, or have been throwing up constantly, or had preclampsia, or Baby could have had health problems, and none of that has been going on. However, I struggled to eat anything for the first 6 months, losing 8 pounds between August and Christmas, instead of gaining one ounce of baby weight. I was working retail as a sales associate for 16-20+ hours a week during those months and literally coming home from work and sleeping for the rest of the day and night. On my days off I felt incredibly accomplished if I got dishes done or went grocery shopping. My back was in constant pain, too.

At Christmas, Mom strongly encouraged me to be faithful about taking my vitamins. "You AND the Baby need them!" She insisted. So, I went back to it. The recommended dose is 2 per day, and I gradually worked up to taking that amount faithfully.

This week, as I was thinking back over the past three months, I realized how incredible the change has been for me in this trimester. Other than being a little worn out every day, and the normal aches and pains of a body changing with a growing baby inside, I'm almost back to normal health. My former exhaustion has almost completely diminished and I'm eating like a horse (have gained 15 pounds since Christmas). I'm able to eat healthy, wholesome foods, and enjoy them. My back pain is closer to what it was before I was pregnant - more off and on rather than constant (some of that is due to the past 5 months of chiropractic care, I'm certain, too).

Then, it occurred to me that the improvements in how I'm feeling have come at the same rate as my increase in regular vitamin-taking! These prenatals have restored my strength and energy. I have to credit it to them, and God using them in my body. Otherwise there's no way I could feel this good at the end of my pregnancy when the first two-thirds of it were so miserable.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Not-so-unhealthy Dessert

Everyone keeps asking if I've had any cravings while being pregnant. Honestly, no, at least not the kind that recur or make you go crazy. I think most of mine have been normal pregnant-or-not girl cravings for sweet things, like chocolate, or coke, or, like last night...cupcakes.

This was my healthy substitute. I did whole wheat waffles with fruit and Greek yogurt sweetened with honey on top. It was yummy, and rather guilt-free.

I've never worked so hard to be healthy as I have over the past 8 months. Why is it that it becomes so much easier to do something for someone else than just for yourself? I've never taken vitamins regularly (in fact, I've despised the notion), and yet here I've gradually worked myself into the habit of taking my Melaleuca prenatals twice a day, every day. AND now I'm taking herbs as well. It fascinates me how just the beginnings of motherhood have so naturally changed me already...and Baby C isn't even here in my arms yet.

Nate and I are working toward having a healthy lifestyle. It's coming by degrees. I'm incredibly excited about living less than a mile from our farmers market this summer, and about being able to grow some of my own veggies, or at least attempt it. We're hoping to buy farm-grown local beef in bulk soon, too. Melaleuca is enabling us to detoxify our home and get rid of any chemicals in our cleaning, toiletries, etc. We've been seeing a chiropractor who specializes in wellness who has been adjusting us for 6 months now to help us become physically stronger. I'm so thankful to the Lord to be able to have and do these things - what a privilege.

Our life has been absolutely crazy over the past 10 months...and I have no idea that it will ever settle down into normalcy (although I'd like to pretend, soon). God's grace is so incredibly overwhelming - that He would give us all of these trials and tests of faith to endure, and see us faithfully through them, and change us so much in the meantime. He's never left us to walk alone, and never will.

Here's the recipe for the waffles:

2 eggs
1 2/3 c. milk
4 t. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. oil (I used coconut)
2 c. whole wheat flour

Whip eggs. Beat in milk, and then remaining ingredients. Bake on a waffle maker. Top with fruit of choice (I did fresh blueberries and frozen peaches). Stir together honey, a touch of vanilla extract, and Greek yogurt. Dollop yogurt on top of waffles.