Saturday, January 21, 2012

Don't Sweat It

I sweat. A lot. I mean, a lot a lot. Like buckets. I'm terrified to to try homemade deodorants or anything without antiperspirant because I sweat so much. It's not so much an excessive sweating problem...I don't just sit around pouring buckets of sweat. But if I am doing anything remotely active, I start to perspire. First the upper lip, then between the get the idea.

Me, with boob sweat. Yes, I'm on a pole. No, I'm not a stripper.
When I work out, I get really sweaty. I played basketball and volleyball in high school and remember my uniforms being soaked after every game. Even a brisk walk leaves me wet and miserable, sometimes even embarrassed by the boob and/or butt sweat that seeps through my clothing. Yeah. Ya heard me. Crack sweat. It's not glamorous but I know I'm not the only one! I have been able to somewhat counteract said issues with expensive, sweat wicking workout clothes. I invest mainly in workout bottoms, as I feel that crack sweat is more embarrassing than boob sweat. Anyhoo, paired with a couple sweat sucking sports bras and a tank top, I'm good to go. Well, except for one thing. My hair...

I will say this: I don't care what my hair looks like when I work out. I want it up and out of my face and I don't care how it's accomplished. Nothing is worse than a sopping mass of sweaty hair sticking to your neck or your forehead, slapping you in the eye as you jostle about. My hair is rather short right now so it's hard to get it all out of the way. I can tie/pin it back but wayward strands always escape and find their way into my nose/mouth/eyes. Headbands seem my best bet until my hair gets a bit longer. I came across this stylishly sporty headband in my most favorite sportswear catalog, Athleta:

It's hard to see in the picture but it's a stretchy, braided headband that promises to keep your hair out of your face without squishing your head. And it's cute. Score! But twelve dollars a headband? Really? For braided fabric? I came across a tutorial on how to make braided headbands with recycled t-shirts. I used a couple of sweat stained knit shirts (how ironic) and a pair of knit pajama pants for my headbands and after a few false starts with the five strand braiding, I whipped up three stretchy headbands to keep my hair out of my way. The headbands didn't cost me a dime since I used clothing I already had, and making my own was a fantastic green alternative to purchasing new.  I can't find my camera to take pictures of my handiwork, so here's one from the tutorial I used to give you an idea of what the finished product looks like. Cute, right? Now off to the gym!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Down with Dairy

I could never be vegan. I could live without steak. I could live without eggs. But to give up dairy....I just can't do it. A life without cheese and ice cream? That's just not the life for me. My kids share in my love of all things dairy and in moderation, I happily oblige them.

But lately, I've been more than a little concerned about my son and his passion for cheese. J has struggled with digestive upset since he was an infant. He was formula fed (that is not an invitation for nasty comments by the way) and was severely constipated pretty much from birth. Bowel movements were infrequent and excruciatingly painful for him. We called him the "Toot Monster" and I spent many a day rubbing and rolling his wee tummy, trying to expel the gas that made him miserable. By the time he was six months old, he was taking an almost adult dose of OTC laxatives on a daily basis. I questioned the doctor but she assured me that some babies just have digestive difficulties. It felt wrong to be dosing a baby with powerful laxatives but I continued to follow the doctor's orders.

J at four months
J started solid foods right around the six month mark. The less formula he had, the better his tummy troubles got. And when he stopped having formula, we were able to get rid of the laxatives for good. But still, we struggled with issues like gas, occasional constipation and diarrhea and tummy aches. At first, I wrote the symptoms off, chalking them up to overindulgence or a passing virus. But over time, I began to notice that these instances of digestive distress directly coincided with J's intake of dairy products.
J at fourteen months...can't eat cheese but mud's not a problem :)
Once I realized what was going on I felt relieved and guilty all at the same time. Relieved that I know how to fix his problem; guilty because it took me nearly three years to figure it out! I'm not planning to get him formally tested for lactose intolerance...there's a reason he cries if he drinks a glass of milk!We are still experimenting with just how much dairy he can have but thus far, we can generally avoid stomach upset if we keep him at one serving per day. We are lucky that J can tolerate dairy at all. Many cannot. If I had to cut it out completely my little man might have a massive meltdown. The boy LOVES his cheese!
Age three, at the beach last summer
I know many of you have children with food allergies and intolerances. What has been the most difficult obstacle for your family to overcome? What are some ways you "treat" your child without indulging them in forbidden foods?


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Little Light of Mine

I love candles. If I'm home, you'll usually find one burning. The ambiance, the smell....for me, candles make a house a home.When I started to reassess the products my family uses, it never even crossed my mind that most candles are little environmental disasters waiting to release their toxins at first light. I might sound dramatic but listen to this. Let's talk about wax. Most commercially produced candles are made with paraffin wax. Paraffin is a waste product of petroleum refining. I've been trying to "just say no" to petroleum products so most candles don't fit in to my eco-friendly lifestyle. Plus, the chemicals used to process paraffin candles like benzene and esters, are released into the air, polluting both indoor and outdoor air with unhealthy fumes and soot.

And wicks. Don't even get me started about the wicks! Conventional candles often use a synthetic wick that have a metal or zinc core which, you guessed it, emits toxic stuff when lit. Lead wicks are banned in the U.S. thank goodness, but many countries continue to use them. Be wary of imported candles! Personally I can't believe any manufacturer would use such dangerous substances in their products. I guess that goes for many items in the world today but truly, I though candles would be one the last things I needed to worry about!

I have slowly been weaning off my beloved Yankee candles and switching to soy or beeswax  candles which are petroleum and chemical free. I've been toying with the idea of making jar candles for a while....I have beeswax, I have essential oils....all I need is wicking and a container (hello Goodwill!) Eager to start the candle making process, the kids and I made rolled beeswax candles for the dinner table last night (you may remember that we light candles at the beginning of our evening meal.) The process couldn't be simpler: roll sheets of beeswax around cotton wicking and ta-da! A candle! The kids tore off bits off wax to decorate them and now each night, they get to light a candle that they made with their own two hands. So cool!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today I Am...

Today I am....

Getting my hair cut. The shaggy dog look is so last year.

Watching my husband and my daughter play Mario Kart. I'm not thrilled with all the time in front of the tube but it sure is cute to watch them together. The both stick their tongues out.

Hanging sheets on the line. The weather is freakishly nice and I'm taking advantage.

Taking the seedlings into the back yard to start hardening them off. Almost planting time!

Dicing tomatoes for bruchetta, my most favorite no-cook meal.

Cleaning my desk. I can't see it's surface and if I'm ever going to sew again, it need to happen soon.

Listening to Pandora Radio. Thanks to a new Christmas gadget, we can stream Pandora through our TV. We haven't had music in the house for ages and its so nice to have some playing in the background while I go about my day.

Planning meals for the week. I haven't been eating meat, dairy or sugar and if I don't plan it out, those items quickly find their way back in.

Selling Girl Scout cookies with my Daisy scout. She's been practicing her sales adorable.

Looking for my glasses. Again.

What are you doing today?