Saturday, May 26, 2012

DIY Saturday - Let the {Crafty} Games Begin!

Okay.  I admit it.  Every now and then, I get totally craft crazy. It happens every few months.  Maybe it has something to do with the season changes, but it's like I get bitten by the crafty bug and can't control the ideas! This time around, it started when I got an idea from a fellow mama blogger about making Homemade Organic Deodorant.  Not only was it fun and pretty easy to make, I felt awesome knowing that I wasn't going to have any funky deodorant chemicals seeping into my skin every morning.  So after doing that little DIY project, I started doing research on other projects I could try.  Then I stumbled upon an amazing blog called One Good Thing by Jillee.  This crafty mama blogs daily about fun and unique crafts to try that make everyday life a little easier, or at the very least - much more beautiful.  She completely inspired me to add a little more craftyness to my little corner of the blogosphere. Yay!  So with that being said...

*drum roll please*,  DIY Saturdays is now born! Every Saturday morning, over a cup of hazelnut flavored coffee (yum-o), I will share the newest homemade project I'm working on.  I figure, once a week is just enough space not to interfere with my wife/mom/work responsibilities AND still get a good weekly dose of crafty fun to keep me going! *wink*

Today's DIY is a Homemade Face Cleanser, with a Homemade Face Moisturizer to go along with it.  I don't know about you, but I still get acne every once in awhile.  Okay, it's more than just every once in awhile.  It happens to coincide perfectly with a certain AUNT named FLOW that rears her ugly head at the most inopportune times.  So this week, right before my monstrous guest made her unwanted appearance, my forehead looked like a slice of pepperoni pizza.  What the, what?!  Last time I checked, I'm not the brace-faced, corny teenager I was 15 years ago. Well maybe still a little corny.. *grin*  In any event, for the DIY Face Cleanser, all you'll need are two things:

  Baking Soda

Lemon Juice

Directions: Combine 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda, with enough lemon juice to make a paste.  For me that was about 1 Tablespoon.  Gently massage the paste into your skin in a circular motion for about two minutes.  The baking soda acts as an exfoliater, scrubbing away all of the oil and dirt, and reduces swelling.  The lemon juice dries up the acne, tightens your pores, lightens up any old acne scars, and brightens your skin.

For the DIY Face Moisturizer, you'll also need two things:

Coconut Oil


Directions: Put 1 ounce of Beeswax in a microwaveable container, add 4 ounces of Coconut Oil, then microwave for two minutes.  (every microwave is different, so you basically just want to make sure that both ingredients are completely melted).  Take the container out of the microwave, and stir.  Once it's completed mixed, pour into a mini glass container. (you can get the containers at your local Dollar Tree.)  Coconut oil is a good source of vitamin E, prevents acne, and keeps the skin looking young and soft.  The Beeswax is just a natural way of thickening the coconut oil to a consistency that is more pleasing to slather on your face regularly.  This DIY should probably be done a few hours prior to actually putting it on so that it has time to settle and harden to it's correct consistency.

NOTE: This moisturizer can also double as a lip balm! You can even make a separate, smaller batch, add 1/2 a tsp of red koolaid, or any other tasty juice powder, and voila! Moist and YUM. 

So there you have it!  I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences if you give it a try.  Happy DIY Saturday, friends!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Are you a Carb or Sugar Addict?

Many of you know how long I've been on this weight loss journey. I've been on a dieting rollercoaster ride for years - losing 3 lbs, only to gain 5 lbs back.  I've done Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Fit for Life, Paleo Diet, The 15 Day Diet, the list goes on... I recently decided to get back on Weight Watchers, while doing the Walk Away the Pounds exercise program 5 days a week, 3 miles per day.  I've done this for 4 weeks.  And what has been my total weight loss?  Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I initially lost 3 lbs the first week, and got very excited, but then the weight loss stalled, and back it came.  Probably was just water weight. Save the talks of muscle weighing more than fat, I totally understand the concept behind that (Though a pound is a pound, whether fat or muscle.  Muscle is just more dense than fat, but I digress).  The problem is, I worked my butt off this past month, which I can't say I really have in the past.  This led me to really get concerned about my health.  I started to research the idea of gaining or stalled weight despite vigorous work-outs, and Eureka!  I fell into the world of Insulin Resistance.

Insulin Resistance is a condition in which your body makes too much Insulin.  It's not quite at a Diabetic level yet, but headed in that direction.  The order goes - Insulin Resistant, Pre-Diabetic, Diabetic.  I'll try to condense the definition to avoid sounding like a Mayo Clinic nerd-bomber. So here goes:

Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas makes.  It basically controls how your body stores and uses carbs.  When we eat, our digestive system breaks down the food into nutrients and glucose.  Normally, once your glucose level increases (right after, say, you eat something like an amazing cheeseburger and a side of fries), insulin is produced to help your body take in the glucose that has just been ingested to help various body parts with regular daily activity. It then stores extra glucose away for future use.  Sometimes this process can get all screwed up (many times due to years of crash dieting, gasp!). What ends up happening is that your body becomes resistent to insulin.  This makes the pancrease all, "What up yo! I need to make more insulin since you ain't actin' right!" thus more insulin is created.  The body is not able to handle too much insulin, which leads to fatigue, weight gain, and metabolism issues. 

Overtime, if Insulin Resistance is not rectified, you can become Diabetic, which is when your pancreas either gets tired of the supersonic insulin production and just shuts down, or your body just stops responding to your natural insulin production completely.  Whoa. 

I started to read up on specific symptoms of this condition, and BING!  I had almost all of them.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  These are the common symptoms:
  • Low energy
  • Overweight (especially around the abdomen)
  • Carb cravings
  • Sugar cravings
  • Dry skin
  • Difficulty losing weight despite exercising
  • Sleepiness right after a meal (I always thought this was just the -itis, hehe)
  • High Tryglicerides
  • Brain fogginess
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease
I have 8 out of the 10 symptoms.  I plan on going to the doctor in a few weeks to see if I can get an official diagnosis, although often a diagnosis is made just by counting the amount of symptoms and risk factors you possess. Some doctor's do a blood sugar test, so hopefully I can get one done.

Now before you guys start sending Get Well Soon e-cards and virtual hugs, the good news is that Insulin Resistance is totally reversable!  The main treatment is a low-carb diet, and exercise.  Also, there is a supplement called GlucoBalance that has a combination of specific vitamins and minerals that help to stabilize blood sugar naturally, as well as curb carb/sugar cravings.  I'm currently reading a book called The Insulin Resistance Factor by Antony J. Haynes, and the diet that I'm starting isn't as strict as the other low-carb diets I've been on in the past.  The focus is more about health instead of just weighing less.  You're allowed to have whole wheat carbs (i.e. bread/pasta/rice), but just in limited quantity, such as 1/2 a cup at each meal.  So it's not as restrictive, but I believe it will be more effective.  It's five meals a day, 3 main meals plus 2 snacks.

I'm actually relieved to be going in a certain direction when it comes to my health. It always seemed odd to me how difficult it has been for me to lose weight, despite my many attempts.  I'm hoping that this will be the key to finally feeling and looking healthy again.  How about you?  Have you battled with the bulge for a long time?  Do these symptoms sound familiar?  If so, you're not alone.  The best thing to do is see a doctor to be a certain, then find a great online forum that can give you the support you need. And hey, you got me too!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Gift to You - My Favorite Mother's Day Poems

You Know You're a Mom When...
author unknown

    1. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

    2. You find yourself cutting your husbands' sandwiches into cute shapes.

    3. You can't bear to give away baby clothes - it's so final.

    4. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "NOT in your good clothes!"

    5. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

    6. You hire a sitter because you have't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

    7. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job", but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything
What is a Mother?
author unknown
A Mother has so many things to do,
From washing, ironing, cleaning to tying a shoe.

She scrubs, she mends, she cooks and sews,
She bathes the children and washes their clothes.

When they forget to wash their faces clean,
And their clothes are the muddiest you've ever seen,
Who repairs the clothes and scrubs them like new?
Of course, that is what a Mother will do.
    Who becomes the doctor or the nurse when they are ill,
    Applying a bandage or giving them a pill?
    Who becomes a teacher when a child has homework?
    She must never her duty shirk.

    Who becomes a detective to find a toy or a book?
    For missing things she must look and look?

    Who becomes a listener to every heartache,
    To every accompolishment that a child makes?

    Who scolds their children when they are naughty,
    Or remind them of God when they are to haughty?
    Who tends her family with love and patience, too?
    Of course that is what a Mother will do.