Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Homemade Room Fragrance/Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

You might wonder why I'm combining these two things, but I promise it'll make sense by the end.

Homemade Room Fragrance

I have always loved the delicious scent of candles in the Fall, particularly anything that smells like holiday baking or warm apple cider. Unfortunately for many years I haven't been able to enjoy them due to the migraines that artificial scents tend to give me. However it seems like those chemicals aren't very healthy to have in our homes, so maybe it's not so unfortunate after all.
It never occurred to me that there was an alternative until recently when I saw a random post in my Facebook news feed. Of course it was only a picture of several jars full of fruit and spices with words like "Homemade Fragrance" on it, so not much to go on. I did get very excited about the idea though, and set out on a mission to make my own. Here's what I came up with:

In the jar above is:
A sliced up orange, a few cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of vanilla extract,  and a teaspoon of almond extract.
That's it! Add water and simmer on the stove top, it smells AMAZING. As the water evaporates, add a little more.
I'm excited to try out new combinations in the future, maybe something with lemon & lavender or lime & mint...

Now before you throw out that leftover water from this yummy project, keep reading!

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

For quite awhile now, I've been using a very simple homemade cleaner for everyday use. You simply save orange peels, put them in a big jar and fill that jar with white vinegar,  leaving it to soak for a week or longer. When you're ready, strain the orange peels out and save the vinegar to use as your homemade cleaner. You can dilute with water, or use it full strength. You can also add a few drops of essential oil, my favorite is grapefruit.

Now here's how these two things tie together. Previously I had opted to use this full-strength and not dilute any. However as my home was filling up with the wonderful scent of my homemade fragrance, it suddenly occurred to me how great the leftover water added to my cleaner might be. So of course I had to try it, and wow was it a great idea! The bathroom was more than ready for a cleaning, so I got to try it out immediately, it worked great and smelled terrific.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crunchy Chocolate Quinoa Bars (gluten free!)

These bars are tasty and healthy! The are also gluten free, dairy free, and egg free, so a nice option for people on certain special diets. Make them ahead of time and freeze in individual portions for an easy and healthy on the go snack/meal.

What you'll need:

- 2/3 cup (when dry) quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup raw almonds (or other nut of choice) chopped
- 8 ounce package of pitted dates (they can be chopped or whole, but make certain they're moist and squishy feeling, dried out won't work)
- 2/3 cup of almond butter (can substitute peanut or other nut butter of choice)
- 2 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 Tablespoons honey (preferably raw and local)

What you'll do:

Take you previously cooked and cooled quinoa and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add your nuts and nut butter.
In a food processor, chop the dates until they are completely chopped and starting to stick together again in little balls. Add this to the other ingredients in your bowl. Mix it all together thoroughly, I find it best to use my hands to get it mixed up well. Next put the mixture into a 13 X9" pan spreading it all over evenly.
Now in a saucepan or double boiler melt your chocolate. After its melted, stir in honey. Spread this chocolate over the top of the mixture in the pan.
That's it! Refrigerate, slice into bars and you're ready to eat!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Running Blahs...The Life Blahs

I've got a serious case of the running blahs. It's been dragging on for months. When you've been a runner for more years than you've not been one, I think going through some "blah" phases is inevitable, but I've let this get out of hand. A phase such as this tends to happen at least a couple of times a year, especially in the winter months. However I usually snap out of it within a couple of weeks and get back to running. This time that's not what's happening. It dawned on me sometime last week that it's spreading and has become the life blahs.

If you're wondering what the running blahs are, it's where you just quit caring for awhile and can't even seem to force yourself to do it for your own good. Now you might really wonder how this works when someone both has the running blahs and is also maintaining a running streak. (I hit 600 days back in December...didn't notice...didn't really care once I did) Well you just do your one mile minimum day after day to technically satisfy the requirements and that is all. You quit putting forth any real effort.

This all started back in November. Two months now and I can only think of maybe three times before the last few days where I ran more than a mile. I'm seriously embarrassed to admit this, but it's the truth. When the running blahs began, I was actually feeling pretty energized and excited about life. I had just passed the exam for my real estate broker's license, had a few great employment offers almost immediately, and we were getting ready to travel for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately since then, things have mostly come to a standstill. I'm still waiting on my license to actually be issued due to my fingerprint background check still being pending. It's all hurry-up-and-wait where me getting started working is concerned. Also when we made arrangements to travel for Thanksgiving, I was earning an income babysitting, but that abruptly ended right after the plane tickets were booked. So the trip put us into a financial hole from which we just can't seem to get out. We didn't even do Christmas for the kids in the sense of gift-giving. 

I think my anxiousness, turned into frustration, and then finally to the life blahs. Not caring about anything might be making it easier to cope? Since I now realize what's happening though, it's time to turn things around. The kids deserve more than a mom who's blah about everything and not putting forth more than the minimum effort. And I should be putting more than the minimum effort into my running as well.
The past couple of days have been a good start. I've actually done some real running and been doing more fun things with the kids. Now to gain some momentum and charge ahead with running and with life!