3 ingredient, DIY, DEEP conditioner

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With the approach of very cold winter temperatures, together with dry air from my home’s new heating system, my hair and skin have become SUPER dry. My skin is itchy and ashy, and my hair is brittle and crispy on the ends.  There is no explanation for this condition other than the weather, since I don’t use chemicals, hair color or even store bought shampoos, soaps and lotions. When it comes to my body, I only want to use natural and fresh products to care for it.

So, when this dry hair suddenly occurred, I went right to my kitchen for a cure.  I’ve tried a few natural, homemade conditioners, but this one is the best I have tried. In just ONE USE of this DIY conditioner, my hair is back to its soft, shiny normal condition. I love this mixture so much, that I want to share it with everyone! The difference is the Avocado.  When hair is damaged, you can repair it by filling in the damaged spots with protein, this is why many people try egg treatments.  But egg is not hydrolyzed, meaning the protein molecules are to large to fill in those damaged spots, so egg treatments simply coat the hair strand.  Egg treatments DO help, but they are short lived.  Avocado proteins are hydrolyzed, so they fill in those damage spots, and hang along much longer.

I will be using this conditioner for a total of five days and then I will update the post with my final before and after results. So be sure to check back for the FINAL results next week.

Meanwhile why not give this recipe a try yourself?  Be sure to use a RIPE or even slightly overripe avocado. When I wash it out I use warm water and just a dime sized amount of my homemade coconut milk shampoo (recipe to come before the end of the week) but you can do the same thing with whatever shampoo you use.  Just aim at getting most of the conditioner out with water and then just using the shampoo along the hairline and your part (where you don’t want any oily residue). Avoid getting the shampoo on your ends at all. Style as usual. ENJOY!

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Small changes, BIG DIFFERENCE!

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2016 has arrived and as usual we are faced with the big question! How can we make this most of this year? CAN we make some small changes to really make a difference in our 2017? Absolutely!

If you’re anything like me, then you know how daily life can wear on you. Work, family life, keeping and maintaining a home, educating yourself and squeezing in time for hobbies and fun is…well frankly, an exhausting process! Who has time to add anything else to the mix? So I’ve come up with some simple changes that don’t require a lot of extra time but have to potential to make a really BIG change over the year!

1. Set up auto pay on your bills. Make automatic deposits to the account and let all of your bills take care of themselves. You won’t have to worry about late fees or forgetting to pay a bill and you can keep your play money in a separate account! Also it’s proven that thinking less about bills makes you happier and healthier! So let your bills take care of themselves! Best of all, this is going to BUY YOU MORE TIME to do things you want to do!
2. Read! Make it a point to read at least one book a month. Whether it be fiction that takes you away from life into someone else’s world, or self-help that will teach you something new about yourself or life! If you don’t already have a library card, sign up to get one! Find a book on the library website and pick it up! If you’re already an avid reader, why not try a new genre? Either way, the library is one of the best government resources available to us and is STILL FREE! Enjoy it while it lasts!
3. A hobby can bring a lot of joy into your life. So if you’re feeling stressed, it’s the perfect way to get your mind off of the negative and onto something positive! There are thousands upon thousands of choices! Think about what you love and look for hobbies that revolve around that. Example: Like to travel but can’t afford expensive trips? Start a local travel journal or blog and visit the areas and amenities in your own community and surrounding areas! Learn photography, knitting, painting, cooking! All these things and more can be learned via YOUTUBE! Put some time into your new hobby, it may turn into something great!
4. Strengthen the ties with your closest friends and family. Instead of checking facebook for updates from your sisters new job or pics of your cousins twins, pick up the phone and make a call! Pick an hour a week and make a list. Every week at the hour call someone on the list. When you’ve gotten to the end, start all over! Soon you’ll be adding more people and by the end of the year you’ll be planning a great party with everyone!
5. If you aren’t already saving, get started on a 401K or a deferred comp plan. Check with your company to see what the options are. As little as 25 bucks a week can really add up on one year, and will make a great difference by the time your retirement gets here! Already saving? Increase your investments by just a bit and better your yourself in the long run!
6. Sugar….so sweet! Yet it contributes to weight problems and disease such as diabetes for millions of Americans. Why? Because it’s so AVAILABLE and so overly used in our society. The recommended daily allowance of sugar is just 24 grams a day. Just one can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams!  Grande Caramel Macchiato 41 grams, 1 cup raisin bran has 18 grams but don’t forget that one cup of milk has an additional 12! Some ways to reduce your daily sugar intake include cutting out processed foods, switching to almond or coconut milk, going black on your coffee, cutting out sodas entirely. Tip: Indulge in expensive candy instead of the cheap stuff. One high quality candy or chocolate is much more satisfying than a handful of junky cheap stuff. Try to use artificial sweeteners but keep in mind, they may be just as bad for you as sugar….so use them sparingly. The idea is to totally wean yourself from the sweet stuff. After one year you will thank yourself for the difference you have made in your overall health with this one decision.
7. When winter is over, and the ground softens, order and plant your bulbs. You won’t see any growth this year at all but next year,  when you are tired of winter and shoveling the snow, when everything has been brown, ugly and dried up for months…you will walk outside one morning to see the purple white and yellow heads of your crocus popping up, even while there is snow on the ground sometimes! A few weeks later you’ll have tulips, daffodils and my FAVORITE, hyacinth! Nothing screams spring and brings a smile to your face, like the arrival of these flowers!
8. The best one on the list! Plan your dream trip! Decide on a destination, estimate the travel, meals and accommodations. Divide that number by 12 months. If it’s feasible, put that much money each month into a separate account. Not feasible? Divide it into 24 or even 36. Two or three years is not a bad amount of time to save for a DREAM vacation! And at the very least, at the end of one year you’ll be well on your way to getting there! If your single, consider asking a friend to accompany you, this will bring your cost down a bit as well as ensure you won’t be alone as you travel the world! (not to mention you’ll have someone to snap that photo of you standing in front of that beautiful Irish Castle!

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Homemade Baked Soft Pretzels

Homemade Baked Soft Pretzels

Fewer things make a person nostalgically reminisce of their childhood than home cooked food, especially when it’s something that was traditionally made in your home, by the people who cared for you…mom, grandmom, whoever that special person was.

So, it is a glorious moment when we recreate those recipes and find ourselves swimming in happy memories of days gone by.

Take these homemade soft pretzels.

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So you don’t believe in resolutions?

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It seems I always hear people say that.  “I don’t believe in making resolutions”. There are numerous reasons given of course, as to why. I’ve heard everything from, “I just never stick to them, so why bother” to “I don’t need to make resolutions because if I want to change something I just do it, I don’t wait for Jan 1st!” In all honesty, I’ve felt this way myself some years. My brain wants me to make great BIG, life changing resolutions that SOUND easy in theory, but then become very difficult to achieve. Like…LOSE TWENTY POUNDS, GO TO THE GYM EVERY DAY, GIVE UP ALL JUNK FOOD, SAVE MORE MONEY, QUIT AN ADDICTION. These things roll off of the tongue so easily when saying what the resolution is…but when it comes to doing it, unless you have really got some serious willpower, or some underlying reason to stick to the resolution, it can become daunting very quickly and then we simply give up. Look at the gym for example.  Every gym is PACKED all day long in January, but by February/March, the parking lot is easier to maneuver, because the quitters have quit.  I am one such quitter.

So…while I wholeheartedly dislike New Years Resolutions based on that history, I don’t want to completely give up on them.  In fact, I’d like to TRY to embrace them, and I just might have found a way to do that. Here’s the plan.  Instead of making big flashy difficult resolutions, I will just keep it simple.  Instead of making a resolution that benefits me, I will resolve to help someone else on my journey. I don’t want to be a quitter this year! I want to be a WINNER, and I want to share my winnings.:)

So wish me luck folks as I try to choose one or more of the above resolutions to work towards! I wish you luck too, and hey, if you don’t believe in making resolutions, that’s okay too.  I get it! If you ARE planning a resolution, what is it?  Share!

Artwork Credit: Joy Mariah Clark

 

Gossip & The Grandmother

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What is gossiping exactly? And what should you do if you find yourself in the midst of it?

This of course all depends on the situation! According to Merriam Webster, to gossip is to spread idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others:

It brings me back to my childhood, raised by a strict Southern Baptist grandmother, I was taught the following rule: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

But what if your voice is informative, not idle? What if your speaking of a publicly known situation, not a personal issue? Does that still make it gossip? At what point do your words become meaningless instead of meaningful?

Since there is such a fine line as to what can be considered “Gossip” I’d like to point out this well known chart that has made the rounds on social media and Pinterest. I believe it should be used as a “rule of thumb” when you are faced with the decision on whether or not you should discuss something that may be perceived as “controversial”

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Remember these five simple things before you speak, but never, ever be AFRAID to speak! There will always be those who wish to shut you up and prevent the truth from being spoken. There will also always be those who wish to spread negativity.
Don’t allow yourself to be either one of those.

Speak the truth, and speak it with kindness and love. That’s my way, my grandmother’s way, and I’m sticking to it.

 

Artwork Credit: Google Images

Cinnamon Cut Out Ornaments

One of my favorite holiday traditions each year is making Cinnamon Ornaments!  They are fast and easy to make and they smell absolutely delicious! I make new ones every year but I find that they keep for several years so be prepared to pack them up at the end of the season! The recipe is not an original, its just what I have used for many, many years to make these fabulous holiday decorations.

Decorating ideas include: string several on a ribbon to make a pretty fireplace garland, box up a dozen in pretty tissue paper for a lovely and inexpensive gift, dangle them from ribbons to hang on the tree and in other areas you want to decorate.

I always get compliments on these, they are easy and fun to make with your kids  or by yourself as a grown up craft. Have FUN making your own batch!

Cinnamon Cut Outs

Serves: Makes 12 to 15 ornaments.
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white school glue
  • Cookie cutters
  • Drinking straw
  • Colorful ribbon
  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. (You may need use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon.) Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with 2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw or skewer. Place ornaments on baking sheet.
  • Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)
  • Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Decorate with opaque paint markers, found in arts and crafts stores, if desired.

 

This recipe is the original from the McCormick Spice website. I have altered it slightly by adding white school glue, the glue just helps the ornaments with a little extra sticking power.
These ornaments are NOT EDIBLE.

Create your own Thanksgiving Floral Centerpiece

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You can change almost any container and flower bunch into a pretty and elegant table arrangement.

Today I used a small pumpkin I’d been decorating my fall front porch with, and picked up a bunch of flowers at the market for $14.00.

1. Gather everything you will need. Flowers, vase/glass, tape (i generally use green floral tape but in a pinch you can use masking tape as I did in this photo) scissors, pumpkin (small)

2. Trace the glass or vase you’ll be using for the flowers on the top of the pumpkin with a pen.

3. Pierce the circle you traced all the way around, until you can lift it.

4. Remove the lid of the pumpkin (set aside), then trim the edges of the pumpkin until the vase/glass fits inside the opening.

5. Use the tape to make a grid over the top of the glass.

6. Insert the vase/glass into the pumpkin. Fill with water.

7. Add flowers. Try not to group flowers that are the same, it looks more balanced to spread out and separate the blooms.

Other tips:  My flower bunch that I bought came wrapped in a pretty piece of fabric which I added between the pumpkin and the glass. Also, I cleaned the pulp from the pumpkin top and used it by attaching it to the body of the pumpkin with a wooden skewer.

Total time: 15 minutes