Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The "Joys" of Cleaning My Boy's Room!

Since we were out of school today for snow (or NO snow, as it seems to be in our case), I decided to be a bit productive and clean Ewan's room (he's 7, and yes, he helped me).  I've been avoiding this, as the clutter built up.  This was not meant (and wasn't) to be a deep clean, just a nice tidy up.  Upon doing so, I came up with a list of interesting questions I have about boys and their rooms (I realize some of this may carry over to girls as well).

1.  Why do they shove dirty clothes under their bed?  He's usually so good about putting his clothes in the dirty clothes basket.  When I asked him how they got there, he looked at me and said "I have no idea how they got there!"
2.  What's with hoarding little collection of toys in strange places?  I found the oddest toys in the strangest of places.  There was a whole collection of plastic army men shoved under his desk, when I asked him why they were there, he looked at me very seriously and said "They're hiding from the enemy!"  I also found hoards of Lego men (with and without all of their body parts).  I taught him the beauty of putting these little collections in containers.  Let's hope they stay in there.  This brings me to number 3.
3.  LEGOS!  They are everywhere!!!  Under the bed, in the bed, under the throw rug, in the chair, on top of the chest of drawers, in the chest of drawers, and even worse, under my FEET!  He knows they have a container, why can't they stay there?  I think they multiply over night!
4.  Why do I keep finding food in his room?  Valentine's Day was almost 2 weeks ago, and there are still the remnants in his room.  I found a stash of candy behind the chair in his room.  Candy wrappers, powdered sugar, and GUM stuck to the floor.  Thank goodness for hardwood floors!  I even found a box of cereal shoved in his closet.

Next, I get to tackle Liam's room - he's 13 - I'm so not looking forward to that!  These questions pretty much apply to him as well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My Natural Skin Routine!

I've settled into a skin routine that seems to be working for me.  Ever since I was a teenager (and now I am in my 40's), I have had problems with acne.  I thought it would go away when I got older, but it didn't.  I have tried so many different things to combat my problem skin, and I finally found some products my skin loves - and they came straight from the kitchen.  It's so simple.  Coconut oil, baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

First thing when I wake up, I do something called oil pulling (link below for more information).  It's where you put oil in your mouth and swish it around.  You don't gargle, or swallow the oil.  It's a traditional Ayurvedic treatment that detoxifies the body and aids oral health by cleaning the teeth and makes them whiter.  You can use different kinds of oil, but I use coconut oil - raw, organic, virgin coconut oil (I put in about a teaspoon full).  When you first put it in your mouth, the oil is not liquid.  I let it melt in my melt and then start swishing it in my mouth.  It feels really odd at first, but you get used to it.  I keep swishing the entire time I'm in the shower, and then spit it in the trash can when I get out of the shower.  I follow it up by rinsing my mouth up with water and then brushing my teeth.

Before I get into the shower, I sprinkle a little bit of baking soda (about 1/4 tsp) into my hand.  I use this to wash my face.  A friend had told me about using baking soda to help combat breakouts.  My skin has really loved this.  The baking soda exfoliates gently, leaving my skin very smooth.

 After the shower, I use a toner made with Apple Cider Vinegar.  It is recommended you use an organic, unfiltered brand, such as Bragg's.  In a little bottle (I used an old prescription bottle), I poured in 1/4 ACV, then filled it almost to the top (leaving about an inch to the top empty) with water.  I filled it the rest of the way with rosewater.  This last part is optional, it just helps with the smell.  I apply the toner with a cotton pad, and then rinse the pad before putting in the trash to keep the trash from smelling like vinegar.  I can't say enough good things about the ACV!!!  If you have any breakouts, this will clear them up pretty much overnight.  I even had a scratch on my face from my dog, and it healed it.  It burned a little, but it healed it very quickly.  Love, love, love!

Then, I moisturize my face with a moisturizer made from coconut oil and essential oils (I use Young Living Essential Oils).  I mix 1/2 cup coconut oil with 5 drop each of frankincense oil (anti-aging) and lavender oil (moisturizing).  I mix well with a fork and put mixture into a 4 ounce mason jar.  I know it sounds crazy to moisturize with oil - especially if your skin is as oily as mine, but my skin LOVES it!  It's never looked better, and actually feels less greasy then it used to.

I wash my face with coconut oil, and rinse with warm water and a wash cloth.  It gets all of my make-up off and my skin always feels so amazing afterwards.  I following by using an anti-aging moisturizing (right now I am using Olay Total Effects Night Firming Creme).  I was just using the coconut moisturizer I'd made, but worried I needed more aging care for at night.

So, that is what I do.  But, some of this might be changing soon, because I have ordered a Clarisonic Smart.  I will update when I settle into that routine.  Post and let me know what you've tried.  Do any of these work for you?  Have you used the Clarisonic?  What products do you use with the Clarisonic?  Are there any natural products you can use with the Clarisonic?

Information on Oil pulling.
Information on Young Living Essential Oils.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My first DisneyRun!

My First DisneyRun!

On October 2, I traveled to Orlando with a friend to something extremely insane.  To run a 10 mile race.  To some they might think, okay, so she's run some races before and she wants to challenge herself.  Hmm....nope.  Never ran a race in my life!!!

My friend, Kristen (Bamagirlrun), talked me and some other friends, Dorothy and Eric, into signing up for the Tower of Terror 10 mile run.  It sounded like fun, and I thought it would be a good challenge, so I signed up.  Little did I know it would be such an emotional journey for me.

My training was rough.  I had a good start - I used to Couch to 5k app, and was out almost everyday, until....the morning I woke up and couldn't walk.  I have a bad knee.  About 15 years ago, I tore my ACL skiing, and had to have surgery.  Normally it doesn't give me too much trouble, but I guess the training didn't agree with my knee.  The problem with following the app, is that it doesn't know when I'm on a hill or not.  Running up and down hills is what hurt my knee (I believe).

So, my training slowed down from there.  I focused more on building my endurance - doing the walk/run method.  Since I am a teacher, I was out almost every morning during the summer, getting up to 6-7 miles 2-3 times a week.  Unfortunately, once school started in August, my training almost completely stopped (not good).

Then came the weekend of the run....

Kristen and I left at 5:30 in the morning on Thursday.  We picked up a friend of hers, Jason, along the way.  It was awesome talking Disney with people who were as much (even more so) Disney nerds as myself.  Very inspiring!  We dropped our new friend at his resort, and we checked into both of our favorite Disney resort, Pop Century, and then headed straight to EPCOT.

We were starving, so we head to Japan for some sushi.  Then, knowing it was the last weekend for Maelstrom to be open, we headed over to ride it.

In line for that, we met the most adorable couple of young people.  And through talking to them, we discovered they work at Disney, and are "friends" with Mickey and Minnie.  Awww!  We rode the ride with them and watched illuminations with them. Such nice kids.   We promised Mickey's "friend" we would come and see him the next day at Hollywood Studios.  How we'd know it was him, is that he would pinch Kristen on the behind.  :-)

Friday morning, we headed over to the Expo to get our bibs for the race and look around.  It was crazy with all of the race gear that's out there.  We all did a bit of shopping.

Souvenir necklace!

Sneaker Charms!

Bib, Shirt, Souvenir necklace, and pin.

Then we headed to Hollywood Studios.  We went to see Mickey.  As we stood in line, we watched the body language of the Mickey that was out, and knew it was our Mickey by his mannerisms, and the way he interacted with people.  But, just as we got up to him, the assistant announced that Mickey needed to step away for a cheese break.  Ugh!  We went with it anyway, getting our pic made with the new Mickey that came out.  It was so very awkward.  After getting our pics made, we just seemed to stare expectantly at him....
Cheese break!

Not our Mickey!

We left and rode the Great Movie Ride, then went and checked on Mickey again.  We could tell it was not our Mickey, so we turned to leave, when we ran into our "friend" of Minnie.  She had Mickey's schedule, and knew when he would be out, so we got in line with her.  It worked perfectly.  We got our Mickey pics, hugs, and pinches!
Our Mickey!

So sad this might not be there next time I go to Disney! 
I couldn't resist!

We then took her to eat with us at the Grand Floridian Cafe.  YUM!!!

The next morning, I woke up early to get as much Magic Kingdom in as possible.  I got the opening time wrong, and got there an hour before it opened, but it turned out great.  They let us in the gate about 45  minutes early, but stopped us at the tunnel (under the train station).

I was the first, so I had a seat and waited.  Then at about 15 till opening, they pull up a rope and lead everyone in - all the way up Main St....up to the Castle.  It was awesome.
Finally entering the Magic Kingdom!
No one in front of me!
But look at the crowd behind me - woohoo!

All the way up the street, I debated where to go first, so I finally decided on Seven Dwarfs Mine Cars.  Great decision!  I was one of the first on.  Yea!!!

In three hours I pretty much rode all of my favorites.  It was awesome!  I love Magic Kingdom so much!!!

Then, I headed over to Downtown Disney.  I'm sure I could have found a faster route, but I took the  monerail from Disney to the Contemporary, and then a bus to Downtown Disney.  Unfortunately, the bus let me off on the wrong side of Downtown Disney, and I had to make a mad sprint through the crowds to the other side to get to the AMC movie theater.

So, what was the rush to get to AMC??  Kristen had won us spots to a sneak preview screening of the  movie, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  This was presented by the DisneyParks Blog.  It was awesome, not only was it a free sneak peak, but they gave us a drink and popcorn.  And it was a nice relaxing thing to during the afternoon before my big race.

Then, Kristen wanted some Magic Kingdom time, so we headed over there.  Unfortunately, all the lines were so long, the only thing we were able to do was Country Bear Jamboree.

Waiting for Country Bear Jamboree
So, we headed back to the hotel for our last meal before the race (pasta) and to get ready.  We took the bus from our resort to the race staging area at Hollywood Studios.  I checked in my bag at baggage check area.  I had a change of clothes in there, just in case, and a jacket.  Then we went to find our corral.  Fortunately, we had gotten moved up to corral B (from J - the last).  We spent the time before the race making our last bathroom run (whoa!), and stretching.  Then they start walking people towards the starting line - corral by corral.

It was pretty exciting when the first group left, with fireworks and everything.  Then we left 5 minutes later.  I started off pretty well.  Although, the first mile seemed to go on forever!!!  I guess it just wasn't what I was used to.  We ran out of Hollywood Studio's entrance, and then down to Animal Kingdom.  We ran through the entrance, turned around and came back out again.  I had no idea the parks were so close together.

About 3 miles into the race, my upper inner thigh (right side) started hurting - very badly.  I just tried to keep myself focused.  It didn't hurt as much when I was running, but I didn't have the stamina to run long.  So, I did the best I could, and just focused on the miles and where I was.  I had already studied the course, and knew where I'd been, and where I still had left to go.  Here is a link to the course map.  I still had to get through the Wide World of Sports Complex.  At some point, I did stop at a first aid tent and got some Biofreeze and put it where I was hurting.  I felt a little self conscious because of where I was putting it, so the lady shielded me, but she said not to worry, she had seen it all during races.

As we approached Wide World of Sports, the course broke off to a trail into the woods.  It was eerie to be doing this at nice, but cool.  But, it was so crowded on the trail, that it was hard to take it in and enjoy it.  Coming out of the woods, we came into the complex, we passed some sports fields, ran on the track, around the baseball field, and finally headed towards the exit.  After that, I knew we only had about 3 miles left, so I started to relax more (plus, the balloon lady was no where in sight).

I was so happy when we finally ran through the gates of Hollywood Studios!  We came into park from a back employee entrance, and I didn't really get to enjoy it as much as I thought, because I was just so focused on finishing.  I just kept thinking "Where is the finish???"  "How much longer???"

I know we ran past the Sorcerer Hat, down the Streets of America, through the Backlot Tour area (although the attraction was already closed - I remember getting excited seeing Maleficent's costume from the movie in the costume area).  Finally, finally, finally, I turned a corner, and reached the end!!!!!!  When they handed me my metal, I was shocked at how emotional I was.

I stopped at the first aid tent for some Tylenol, and made my way to the Indiana Jones area to get my bag.  My hip was hurting so bad!  I finally found my friends, but didn't feel like hanging around so I went back to the hotel.

I woke up early(as per normal for me), and went and had breakfast in the food court.  I got Liam a t-shirt (reminds me of Doctor Who) and sat around and listened to podcasts on my iPhone until Kristen woke up.

We checked out of the hotel and headed to Downtown Disney for a bit of shopping and lunch at Earl of Sandwich.  I was very intrigued a sandwich she had told me about.  I forgot what it's called, but it's basically turkey and dressing on a sandwich - oh my!  It was amazing!!!

Then it was time to head home.  :-(

All in all, it was a great experience.  It was an emotional experience.  It was hard!  But, I am so glad I did it!!!  And I can't wait to sign up for my next DisneyRun - that 5k is going to be a breeze!  :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our July Trip to Walt Disney World

We made our annual trip to Disney June 29-July 5. It was hot and crowded, but still loads of fun. Actually, the lines weren't too bad.  The only place I felt was too crowded, was Fantasyland (old and new).

We stayed in the new Art of Animation resort (in a Finding Nemo suite).  We're used to Pop Century, which is just a walk across the bridge, so I was excited to stay here.  Ewan and I walked around the resort and got some pics (except, for The Little Mermaid section - it was further away, and we were getting tired).