This is our fourth Christmas together and our first real Christmas tree. Our last year’s ‘tree’ and the year before that were far from ordinary. But this year we went with a real tree, surprisingly! We still could not get away from making something; therefore we made all of the ornaments and the star topper (using this tutorial for the star). The stars are made from salt dough and a cookie cutter while the other ornaments are made from a combination of balloons, papier-mâché, and drywall mud. We thought about making the garlands of beads but could not come up with what to make them with so that they would be cost efficient as well. In the end we just bought four strands from the craft store.
I have not cooked creatively for the past month (as you can tell from the lack of recipe posts) and need to start back up again. But I have been engaged in creative ‘other’ things so I can’t say I have been slaking off. Therefore here are some insights into what we have been up to…
Running: I started running back up in April and have been at it religiously since. I run 2-5 times a week 2.3 miles each run with an average pace 9:50-10:20. I would like to run a longer distance at a time but for some reason seam stuck at my currant distance. I am running with a baby and stroller and it has been very humid/hot lately (my excuses for not reaching my goal of 5 miles). But does anyone have any tips of what I can do to improve and reach my goal? What time of day is best for a run; morning afternoon or evening? I usually run in the morning before 9am but occasionally in the afternoon around 2-3 pm. I have noticed that I have more endurance later on in the day verses in the morning and it is less humid in the afternoon. But morning runs help me start out my day. To eat or not to eat before/after run, how much and what? With music or not? I use an app called Podrunner and its just beats that help me stay motivated and I have noticed that the faster the beat the faster I run. But sometimes I also enjoy running without anything and just listen o the birds and my baby. Any other helpful tips?
Sprouts: We are growing our own sprouts! I have wanted to do this for some time and finally Sashenka urged me to start after reading this article of how sprouts improve eye sight.
My eye sight has been failing and Sashenka is on the verge of forbidding me to use my smart phone because I read only from my phone. I blame it on pregnancy, he says it’s from me reading in the dark off my phone. I read everything off my phone from Bible reading to recipes to health articles. A solution would be is to get a reader. But that is not appealing to me because it means I will not be able to buy physical books and I have an attachment to physical books. Nor is it practical buying two copies, one digital and one physical. Anyways, back to sprouts. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are super tasty. In general I love sprouts but from the grocery store you are very limited between alfalfa, broccoli, maybe mung bean and pea shoots plus they can get pricey. We bought seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs for Radish, Crimson Clover, Buckwheat, Brown Mustard, Broccoli, and Alfalfa. We are growing them in mason jars with a screen on top. We start a jar a day to have a continual supply (but I think we will need to start three jars every two days). To grow them you just soak the seeds in water for 4-8 hrs to germinate them and then drain on the first day. Then rinse twice a day with fresh water to water them. Make sure they get air circulation so they don’t get moldy but do not blow on them because that introduces bacteria from your mouth into the jar. They do not need a lot of sun so a kitchen counter is more than enough. If they are on the paler side, I would put them on the window sill for couple of hours after they are done growing but before I eat them. You can store them in the refrigerator for one maybe two weeks but our sprouts never make it to the fridge; we eat them before they do. If you Google ‘sprouts’ you will get a ton of info but if you have any questions I would be glad to answer from our experience and research.
Personal care products: Here is a quick story: “They were in the local Wal-Mart and she reluctantly found the sunscreen shelf. It was the second day they were at the beach and they had a whole week ahead of them. She was seven weeks pregnant and feeling great! The only problem was that everyone was pressuring for her to use sunscreen and stating she was going to burn up and feel miserable. Part of her knew they were right but the other part could not agree to put toxic chemicals on her body that she knew would absorb into her skin and be passed to her baby. Her husband and best friend, supported her but did not know how to help her. So there she stood trying to pick the lesser evil of the many choices. She knew how bad they all were even the ones labeled ‘natural’. This was before she read this and this article. All she had back at the hotel was coconut oil that she had planned on using as sunscreen but was afraid it would not be enough. She did not want to be the ‘natural miserable one who burned up’…” That was me last summer at the beach with a group of friends. So this year I found this article and made my own sunscreen. And while I was at it I made my own bug repellent, toothpaste, eye cream, magnesium body butter, magnesium oil, and solid perfume. Whew! Told you I was busy! I’m excited because my eye cream turned out great! I used lanolin, wheat germ oil, natural vitamin E, and bees wax. Bug repellent smells so superior then store bought and is not toxic at all with 20 drops EO Lavender, 20 drops EO peppermint, 20 drops EO Rosemary, and 1 TBSP Coconut oil. The toothpaste I was not thrilled about and will try to improve it to share a recipe in a different post. The sunscreen is amazing, it works, and I absolutely love it so follow the link to make your own! Also magnesium on skin to help you sleep better – works! I put some magnesium butter on mine and Sashenka’s feet and we slept like the dead. The solid perfume …um so-so. I like the idea of a solid perfume but after spending money on the essential oils I was not thrilled with the aroma. Maybe it would be great just with a different combination of oils. But this is something that I am not going to venture into for now because the art of perfume making is so extensive and expensive that (for now at least) I’m not going to dive into it. I still want a perfume that I love and does not smell like you local health and herb store. Also that it would naturally be made from essential oils and not chemicals, so hopefully I will be able to find something soon. And will tell you about it.
Elimination Communication: While I’m at ‘updates’ I might as well write about how EC is coming along. AMAZING! I am extremely glad that we started and did EC with our first baby and now we will defiantly do it with every single baby following, God willing. Aurelius is 9 months and asks to go to the bathroom every time. He sleeps threw the night dry with waking up to go to the bathroom once. We do not have poppy diapers. Sometimes we will have a wet diaper but 98% of the time it will be our fault because he would ask and we either are too busy or just didn’t pay attention. I would recommend that everyone should at least give EC a try. It is not as hard as it seems!
New Years, New Skills. So I decided to learn how to sew. And these are my first three projects. Baby underwear, baby corduroyed pants, and a fold up tote. I also made Sashenka a Valentine’s gift but that I will not share 🙂 . I had a lot of fun making these and was surprised at how well they turned out. I didn’t even buy any fabric except for the white doted one on the tote. All the other fabric came from clothes that we do not wear and I did not throw/give away yet.
I first made the tote using this and this tutorial combined. I wanted to make a simple tote but when I looked for tutorials I was torn by the numerous gorgeous totes there are. I started making the first because I loved the idea that you can fold it up and the button is adorable. But then I wanted my tote to have lining because I did not have the straightest cuts or seams and wanted to line my tote and found the later tutorial.
Next I made baby boy underwear. I wanted to go and buy some cute boy underwear for our almost 4 month old because we EC but realized that they do not make underwear for baby boys. You can find some cute girl ‘diaper covers’ but no practical functional underwear for a baby to be in. And I guess that’s because there is no demand on underwear for babies. Most kids are not potty trained till four years of age, but that’s another story. Long story short, I found this tutorial online but re-sized the pattern to Aurelius’ measurements. They fit just right and even have a real fly.
Lastly I made him pants from a pair of my pants that ripped. It’s a stretchy corduroy fabric and in a sapphire deep blue color. I made my own pattern and even figured out a way how to make a hem. They are nice and warm and perfect for the winter months.
I was inspired to start sewing after we finally brought in the sewing machine that Sashenka’s mother gave us. It is an antique and very fascinating. I will post about it in another post. Till then, do you sew? Have you attempted sewing before? How did that go for you? Comment below!
A little late…
Our Christmas decorations were all DIY. Sashenka and I had a great time making and setting everything up. Some things worked out and some didn’t. The wreath from peppermint candy was not a great idea, for example, because it did not last even two days. From the cold humid weather the paint ran and the whole door was sticky and the wreath looked ugly. We ended up throwing it away. The hanging ornament tree, on the other hand, turned out nice. We still had the Christmas tree smell in the house from the evergreen garland on the mental. We made the garland from free clippings from Home Depot and pine branches from our back yard. To display our Christmas cards, I hung a red ribbon with a weight at the bottom and taped the cards on it. All in all, I’m quite happy how everything turned out.
The instructions for how to make this tree are found here. We just used a little bit more ornaments and made our own circular net thing on the top, which was also wider thus resulting in a ‘fatter’ tree.
We just need to buy a table and paint the laundry doors.
But other then those two things we are done! It took us about 1 1/2 months to complete and this was a 100% diy! From putting together the kitchen cabinets to making the bubble chandelier. Sashenka demolished everything and installed all of the tile. He painted and installed all of the lighting. He made the counter tops and installed them as well. It took a lot of hard work and patience but it finally paid off.
Some of my favorite things about this kitchen are:
1. The range hood! It sucks all hot air and odors outside! This prevents the kitchen from heating up and our house smelling with whatever we cooked that day. I absolutely love it! Along with the hood, I love all of the lighting in the kitchen.
2. Not technically part of the kitchen, the laundry closet. Sashenka made custom shelves wich add a ton of storage space.
3. I LOVE our floors! Everything about them, the color, size, shape, and texture. They even have tiny sparkles in them that you can see at night when light is shining on it.
4. Maybe my favorite part of the design is our bubble chandelier! We made it ourselves after being inspired by this one. We had a lot of fun putting it together and it cost us ten times less.
5. We added a ‘pantry’ to our kitchen out of tall cabinets. Our previous kitchen was seriously lacking space and we came up with this solution for more space. Oh! and how can I forget the high gloss brilliantine white cabinets!
6. Glass! Glass! Glass! I love the glass backslash that Sashenka installed! The sharp rectangular tile and the bubble tile complement each other nicely!
7. I once heard that hardware are jewelry to a kitchen. I could not agree more! I love these shiny accessories.
8. Last but not least, my most favorite part (I think I’v said that before), are the concert counter-tops. They are durable but not bulky. We wanted them to be thin but had to make sure they would not brake. Thus we used fiberglass reinforced concrete. I love the sleek look that it adds to the whole kitchen!
This is how the kitchen looked before:
Couple months back Sashenka painted an elephant in the nursery. I found some pictures of elephants that I liked and envisioned one big one on a wall in the nursery. At first we thought we would find a vinyl sticker of an elephant. But though luck, no one makes them that size and to custom order it would be to expensive. So Sashenka said that he would paint one. I knew he could because he is so talented at everything he sets his mind to, but I did not imagine him to paint it that quickly. The whole elephant took him from start to finish under 30 minutes. 28 minutes to be exact! He did not even sketch the elephant first. Just painter’s tape and a roller and paint. First he taped out the elephant’s shape and then just rolled it in with paint. And it turned out perfect from first try! I absolutely love the elephant!
Since we moved into our new house in January, we have been doing a lot of projects trying to fix it up. I will try to post some of our projects that we have done in the next couple of days. Our biggest one that we are in the middle of is renovating our kitchen. Hopefully today we will get our sink hooked up! Stay tuned…