Favorite Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

I love pumpkin spice anything.  I think it’s one of the best things about Fall.  Well, that and the fact that it’s not 157 degrees anymore.  Sweaters, boots and pumpkin spice.  Bring it on!!

I love pumpkin spice so much, it just made sense to me to pair it with one of my favorite healthy “add-ins”, chia seeds.

Chia seeds offer so much nutrition and a plethora of health benefits, I want to add them to everything.  And I usually do.  This time, I married them with pumpkin and wonderfully nutritious coconut milk for this super spicy, super healthy, super delicious treat.  Ta da!!  Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.

But, this IS NOT your ordinary pudding.  It has a bonus!  

First, here are some facts about the mighty little chia seed.  They are originally from Mexico and the name Chia actually means strength.  They are rich in antioxidants, calcium, potassium, and iron.  They can give you energy,  boost your metabolism, and since they have almost 11 grams of fiber per ounce they are terrific for your digestive health.  Chia seeds have 18% of your daily recommended dose of calcium and are one of the top plant-based sources of protein.  Read more here and here.

Unlike flax seed, chia seeds do not need to be crushed in order to be beneficial.  Just add them to your pudding, yogurt, homemade salad dressing, or your drink.  They will absorb some liquid, but you will be able to absorb all the wonderful nutrients.

In this recipe, if the chia seeds weren’t enough, I also included one of my favorite supplements, Grass Fed Collagen.  Collagen is great for gut health, bone and joint health, it’s pure protein, and helps your hair and nails grow like crazy.  Read my article about collagen here.

 

Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding

1 can coconut milk (organic and full fat).  I use this brand

1 cup canned pumpkin (organic)

5 Tbl chia seeds.  This is a great brand.

1 Tbl Grass Fed Collagen.  I use this brand

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp each ground ginger, ground cloves, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg

1 Tbl local honey

When you open the can of coconut milk, if there’s any hardened coconut oil at the top, go ahead and scoop that off and discard (or save it and cook with it).  Mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer just to incorporate.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

 

Eat and enjoy all the spices and wonderful health benefits of this Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.

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Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding - clean eating recipe

This clean eating recipe is protein packed and nutrient dense. It’s perfect for fall. Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding.

 

 

Life Lived Well

3 Secrets To Saying No So Your Friends Don’t Hate You

Some people make saying “NO” look so easy.  A friend or neighbor asks for their help and they say “no” without batting an eye.  It’s really impressive to watch.  They aren’t rude about it, but it seems as though saying no is second nature to them.

Have you ever watched those people and said to yourself “I wish I could just say no and make it stick”?

There are secrets to saying no, so your friends don’t hate you.  I don’t think it comes naturally.  I do, however, think it gets easier as you get older.  At this stage in my life, I can honestly say I know myself and I’m confident enough to say “no” and not feel a ton of guilt later.  It doesn’t bother me to tell people I can’t do something or I’m not able to help with this project or that event.

Here are 3 secrets that are important if you want to say “no” confidently and without leaving a bad taste in the other person’s mouth.

Know Your Limits –  I used to have a bad habit of “forgetting” my schedule.   A few years ago, before I started staying home full-time, my work schedule was a little slower around the holidays.  I was still working but my workload really picked up in the spring.  So, at the first of the year when people needed volunteers for something, I always said yes.  Since I wasn’t busy at the time, somehow I thought it would be like that all year. Inevitably, a few months later I would be in over my head and wishing I would have just said “no” .

You have to know your limits.  You can’t be all things to all people.  Only say “yes” to the things that speak to your heart.  You will make time for the things that matter.  If it doesn’t matter to you,  it will just make you mad or exhausted just thinking about it.   (Read more about cutting back here.)

At my daughter’s school, I always let the teachers know I’m available to bring in whatever they need on their “wish list”. I’m a good fetcher.  I have no problem running to the store for paper, crayons, cupcakes (store-bought, of course), or jump ropes.  Whatever they need.  Just don’t ask me to be Room Mom, or do crafts.  I stink at crafts.

I’m not spontaneous at all.  In order for me to be spontaneous, I need 2 weeks to prepare. If I volunteer to go on the class field trip, I can put it on my calendar. If I volunteer to bring in something for the class, I can add it to my errands and pick it up while I’m already out.  However, if I’m Room Mom, I need to be ready for whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed.  I know myself well enough to know that a last minute call from the teacher would make me anxious and I would resent doing anything at all.

Be Confident But Be Kind –  I’ve heard that “no” can be a complete sentence.  Maybe that works for some people, it still doesn’t feel good to me.  I don’t have a problem saying no, but I usually follow it up with “I’m sorry”.  I’m saying “I’m sorry” because I hate to think that someone might really need help and me saying no might leave them short-handed.  But I know my limits.   When I say “I’m sorry” what I’m really saying is “I will be absolutely no good to you if I say yes”.

I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or leave them in a lurch, but it won’t do me or them any good if I say yes only to back out later.

To me, an entire sentence is “No, I’m sorry, I can’t”.

Stop Talking – This is the most important step.  I was in sales for years.  There are people who train on this at meetings and conferences (I was one of them).  The theory is that when you’re making a sale you can have someone just about to make a purchase and then you keep talking, and talking, and eventually you talk them right out of the sale.

If you keep talking after “No, I’m sorry, I can’t” you will start listing all the reasons why you can’t.  Then, guess what happens.  You’ve just opened the door for the other person to “counter” all of your reasons.  They will tell you how they will do all of the work and you really don’t have to do anything.  They will tell you that it won’t cost you any money.  They might even tell you that you’re able to do it whenever you want, it doesn’t have to be at a certain time.  You get the idea.

You will end up walking away from the conversation having volunteered to be PTO President, watching your neighbors 4 kids for the weekend or baking 200 cupcakes for the fundraiser.

So, do yourself a favor.  The next time someone asks you to do something you absolutely know doesn’t speak to your heart, confidently say “No, I’m sorry, I can’t”.  And then, stop talking!!  You’ll be glad you did.

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3 secrets to saying no confidently, so your friends don't hate you.

3 secrets to saying NO confidently, so your friends don’t hate you.

Marriage/Love

Prioritizing Our Marriage Pt 2 – Making My Husband My Top Button

Prioritizing our marriage is important to us.  My husband and I have both been married before and we are painfully aware how quickly things can change.  We’ve already made all the mistakes we care to when it comes to marriage.  Besides, at our age, we know that nothing good ever comes without hard work.

Marriage is hard work.  That’s not to say it’s horrible or “difficult”.  Marriage isn’t a burden or a constant uphill climb.  At least it shouldn’t be.  When I say it’s hard, I  mean it’s a conscious decision every day.  You have to stay focused and committed.

In my last article (read part 1 here), I shared a phone conversation I had with my husband.  He called me from work and asked me an odd question.  He asked, “if our marriage were a shirt, would I be your top button, middle button, or bottom button?”  He told me I was his top button.  He always buttons the top first on his shirts.  He went on to say he always thinks of me first.  He puts my needs before his own.

Wow!!  That was a wonderful thing to hear.  Needless to say, anything I said after that would pale in comparison.

How many times have you heard; “Marriage is 50/50”?  One thing age and experience have taught us is that marriage is NOT 50/50.  Think about it. How could it be 50/50?  There are times when you will give 75% and your husband will give 25%.  There will be times when your husband is giving 80% and you’re giving 20%.   Some days are better than others.  For each of you.

Think of those times when you’re at home with a sick child or one of you has a job change and the other has to pick up the slack.  What about when there’s a death in the family or one of you has to travel for work?  Each spouse has a time when they have to carry the heavier load.  It just happens. It doesn’t happen for months or years at a time (usually), but it does happen.  It’s about prioritizing.

After working for years, I started staying home full-time at age 44.  Talk about a BIG lifestyle change.  In addition to my blog, I help my husband run our small business (from home).  I handle all of the scheduling, taxes, payroll, etc. for our business, the bulk of the child care, house cleaning, bill paying and shopping for our household.  That also means my husband works a lot.  A whole lot.

As with most couples, we each have different ways that we work hard to put the other’s needs before our own.  Even with very busy schedules, making each other “our top button” takes thought and sometimes a little planning.

I’m not a morning person.  I’m a “middle of the day” person.  I need my sleep.  However, if you’re a mother, you know sleep is a luxury.  My husband reminds me of times when we were dating and he would call me in the morning and I was just getting out of bed at 7 or 730.  Oh, the good old days.

Now, I’m up at 545 every morning.  Not because I want to be.  That’s for sure.  I get up first so I can make us both a large cup of caffeine and we sit for a few minutes before our daughter has to be up for school.  I make sure he has what he needs for the work he has scheduled, she’s dressed, has breakfast and a lunch packed.  My husband takes our girlie to school.  This gives them a few minutes to spend together and since he works for himself, he can decide when he starts the day.  Plus, he knows if I had to drive our daughter to school, it would be in a robe and slippers.  God bless me if my car ever broke down on the way to school.

Because I’m up earlier than I want to be in the morning, my husband will often call me or send me a message during the day and remind me to take a couple minutes to sit and relax or take a 10-minute nap.  I know he’s just being thoughtful, he knows I do not function well on only a little bit of sleep.

Like most moms, I do all of the shopping for our daughter .  My husband would rather have a root canal without Novocaine than go clothes or shoe shopping with her.  But, since he knows I’d rather swim with sharks than go grocery shopping with a child he makes a compromise for me on Sundays.

Our church is right down the street from the grocery store.  We drive past it on our way home.  Unfortunately, so do 5,000 other people whose church is also on that same road.  Needless to say, grocery shopping on Sundays is painful.  He will often “take one for the team” on the way home from church and let me grocery shop while he and our daughter fill the car with gas or just entertain each other.  He absolutely hates going there on Sundays.  But, he knows this one (painful) stop makes my life so much easier.  This means I don’t have to go during the week while constantly having to say “no, I’m not buying that” or “you didn’t eat it the last time I bought it”.

Since I cook all the meals, my husband cleans the kitchen after dinner so I can finish up any last minute things I need to do on the computer.

One of my favorite calls to get from him is on the rare occasion he finishes work early, he calls me and says “I’m picking up dinner on the way home”. (Now, that I think about that, maybe he does that so he doesn’t have to do dishes.  Hmmmmm.)

Another way we focus on prioritizing our marriage is with friends and on social media.  We are not “friends” with each other’s friends on social media. I am friends with his friends’ wives, but not the men themselves (and vice versa).  We also share our passwords.  We want to make sure the other knows there is nothing to hide.

Recently, I started working with a male friend of ours on my business.  When he and I communicate we include my husband in everything.  My husband is driven crazy with all of our texts and phone calls, but he appreciates the transparency and respect I’m showing him and our friends’ wife as well.   There have been times when our friend and I have needed to get together to work.  When we meet, we do it at his house when his family was home.

Making my husband my top button is a conscious decision.  Every Day.  We have to stay focused.  The pay off is definitely worth the effort.

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Prioritizing Our Marriage Part 2

Prioritizing your marriage takes effort and daily focus. The payoff is definitely worth the effort.

 

 

 

 

Marriage/Love

Prioritizing Our Marriage Pt 1 – Making My Husband My Top Button

My husband called me from work the other day and asked me an odd question.  “If our marriage were a shirt, would I be the top button, bottom button or middle button?”  How do I answer that?  Is this a trick?  What answer is going to make me look good?  What answer is going to make me look bad?  Finally, he let me off the hook by saying “you are my top button.  When I button my shirt I always button the top first.  I always think of you before myself.”

Well now, no matter what I say, it’s not going to be as sweet as what he just said to me!!

Ultimately, I told him he was my middle button.  The middle button is what holds everything together.  He thought that was a good answer.  (But, of course, it wasn’t as good as being told he thinks of me before himself!)

Both of us have been married before.  We’ve made a lot of mistakes and had mistakes made to us as well.  We know that God brought us together at the perfect time.  We would not have been a good fit 20 years ago.  We are not a perfect couple, just a perfect fit for each other.

At this stage in our lives, we know one thing for certain.  Our marriage is a priority.  In our house, God is first.  Our marriage is second.  Our young one at home is third.  It can’t be any other way.

Our marriage has to be the blueprint for what our daughter uses for her future marriage.  She needs to see us talk and laugh together, plan for the future, and even get upset with each other.

We are prioritizing our marriage for her and for us.  After all, when she’s out of the house, that’s all we will have.  And of course, her room to rent out!

Date night is important to us.  Life is busy, but we try to get a sitter about once a month.  When we go out together we make sure to go to a restaurant that DOES NOT  give out coloring pages or serve macaroni and cheese.   We usually find the craziest places to eat, someplace we would not take our 10-year-old.  We don’t want to hear “ew, I am not eating that” on our date!!

One fun thing we like to do on date night is what we call “reverse progressive dinner”.  We pick a favorite restaurant and eat dessert.  After dessert, we go to another restaurant for dinner.  When we are finished with dinner, we either find another place to eat appetizers, or a coffee shop that’s open late and relax with a hot cup of tea.

It’s a rare thing for us to have an overnight sitter.  When it does happen, we like to take small trips together.  A little time for us to connect and have a conversation without the Disney Channel in the background.  A few times we’ve gotten a room at a local bed and breakfast.  Nothing extravagant.  No travel expenses.  Just a change of scenery.

Recently we celebrated our anniversary.  Grandma had our girl for the weekend.  We saved our pocket change for a year and used it to eat out the entire weekend.  We did some antiquing and watched movies that weren’t animated.  Again, no travel expenses, just time to connect.

Here’s another easy way we spend a few extra minutes together every day.  (Read the article here).

Prioritizing our marriage is important to us.  It’s also important to make each other’s needs a priority.  In Part 2 I’ll share some ways we try to make each other the top button.

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Prioritizing Our Marriage Pt 1

Prioritizing your marriage, being intentional, is critical. Especially when there are children at home. See the odd question my husband asked to get me thinking about priorities in our marriage.

Life Lived Well

I Can’t Wait For The First Day Of School – It’s OK For You To Be Excited Too

I can’t wait for the first day of school.  The first day of the new school year is the best day of the year.  Better than Christmas!

At the end of May, I have the first day of the next school year marked on my calendar for August.  It’s circled AND highlighted.  I can hardly wait.  The anticipation of that day makes me giddy.  I would like to tell you that I schedule lunch with a friend on that day and we drink wine.  But, that momentous day usually starts with a dance in the driveway (in my bathrobe for extra emphasis) as my daughter leaves for school.  Then a nap and day in my pj’s.

BEST – DAY – EVER!!!

Moms usually fall into one of two categories.  First, are the moms who say “I miss my kids when they’re at school.  I can’t wait to spend the summer with them.”  Second, are the moms who say “I can’t wait for school to start and I’m not ashamed to say it.”  Guess which group I’m in.

Spoiler Alert – I’m the president of the first group.

I have one daughter.  She’s bright and fun and growing like a weed.  But, to say she needs a regular schedule is an understatement.

She can’t wait for summer break.  She has every day and every activity planned out in her little mind. Summer break will be glorious. Or, so she thinks.  But, usually about 3 days into the break, it happens. Kids in the neighborhood are gone on vacation, at camp, visiting grandma, etc.  There’s no one to hang out with, there’s no posted schedule and mom and dad can’t devote every waking moment to keeping her occupied.

Meltdown.

We usually have the same problem during Christmas break.  We have a long Christmas break here in the south.  Maybe it just seems long to me!!

The first few days are fun while the anticipation of Christmas builds.  The last few days aren’t as exciting.  Kids are not back from seeing relatives yet, and there’s “nothing to do” (despite all the Christmas presents), so again, MELTDOWN.

I’m not going to tell you that she’s an angel every day during the school year, but she’s more relaxed and comforted by knowing “what’s next”.  As are most kids.  (Read more here and here. ) My daughter likes to know that there will be school Mon-Fri, followed by her extracurricular activity, church on the weekend, etc.  It’s our routine.  Routine sets the tone for the week.

On most days, when she gets home from school, she does her homework, goes to after school activities, maybe play outside with her buddies, eats dinner or just relaxes a little.  But, we are still on a schedule because there’s only so much time before bedtime.  Then, we start all over again the next day.

One thing we joke about on Sundays is daddy’s routine.  My husband says he needs “church, sandwich, chips and a nap.”  After his Sunday “routine” we can do whatever comes our way.  Because she knows the routine, our daughter can often be heard asking a question after church that starts with “After your nap, can we…..?”

In order to prepare for the new school year, we start the “back to school routine” early.  Two weeks before the start of school we start the school bedtime.  The week before, we start getting up and getting dressed at the regular time.  This really helps get her back in the school mindset

During the week (during the school year), the house is empty (more dancing) and I get more done during the day.  When she’s at school, dad’s at work and I can get my things done, we have more “quality time” as a family.

Routines and schedules are comforting especially for kids.  So, when I say “I can’t wait for the first day of school”, I’m only thinking of what’s best for my baby (wink wink).  It’s ok for you to be excited too.  Just try to keep the dancing to a minimum.

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I can't wait for the first day of school

As a parent I can’t wait for the first day of school. It’s ok for you to be excited too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Beautiful Living

Healthy Over 40 – Staying Fit When You Hate To Workout

When I joined the military immediately out of high school, I knew push-ups, running and marching would be in my future.  I tried to prepare myself by running a mile or two from time to time before I left for Basic Training.  The only thing my “preparation” did was reinforce the fact that I’d rather have a root canal without Novocaine than run.  Truly!!  Thinking back on my years in the military, I can honestly say that the worst part for me was the physical requirement.

Hate is a strong word.  But, I HATE to workout.  I am definitely not one of those women who says “sometimes I just need to go for a jog.” Or, “working out helps me clear my head.”   Not me!!  The only thing that clears my mind is nap!

Now that I’m over 40, staying fit is more than just worrying about gaining or losing weight.  I care about what I look like, but I need to get “moving” for my heart, my hormones, and my mood.  Read more here.   I need to stay in shape now even more than I did 20 years ago.  And, don’t even get me started on my metabolism.  I remember the “old days” when I could over-indulge on the weekend.  Then, on Monday, all I needed to do was drink a ton of water and eat a salad or two and POOF 5 lbs would fall right off.   Those were the days!!

So, what can you do when you know you need to stay in shape, you want to be fit, but don’t want to join a gym?  Here are a few of my favorite tips for staying fit when you hate to workout.

  • First and foremost, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or shame you into doing a workout routine you hate.  Exercise and movement are important, especially as we age.  But, do it for you.  Your body will thank you and you’ll be glad you put in the effort.
  •  Do what you enjoy when it comes to exercise, just try to do more of it.  I hate to run.  Have I mentioned that already?  But, I enjoy a good walk.  Most of the time we make it a family event and even bring the dogs.  We actually walk more in our neighborhood in the fall and winter than in the summer.  Southern summers can be brutal and I hate to sweat.  We really enjoy getting out of the house when the weather is a bit cooler.  Especially after all the “not so healthy” holiday foods we usually eat.
  •  Find an “extra activity” to enjoy.  Our extra activity is bike riding.  Our daughter loves it when we all ride bikes together.   If that’s not an option for you, try a stationary bike. I’ve seen used bikes for sale at secondhand sporting good stores.   You can watch your DVR and ride at the same time.  Bonus!  Maybe there’s an indoor pool in your community, bowling or even skating.   You don’t have to spend a ton of money to work out or move your body.  Just make it a focus to find a different physical activity occasionally.
  •  Take extra steps.  When you go to the grocery store or the mall, park as far away from the store as possible.  It all counts, especially when the sun is out.  The vitamin D will help you stay healthy also.  (read more about the sun, SPF, and vitamin D here)
  •  Develop an easy workout you can do anywhere.  When I do work out, I do it at home.  My goal is 3 times a week.  My exercises require either small weights (5-10 lbs) or no equipment at all.  I do things that use my body strength (plank, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc.).  That makes it easier to continue no matter where I am.
  •  Fit it in when you can.  I do extra things all the time.  I’m constantly doing squats throughout the day.  Most mornings I do at least 3 sets of push-ups or the plank 3 times (60 seconds each time).  You’d be surprised at what a difference those two exercises can make for your body.

Does it all happen for me in the same week?  Nope!!  But, I try to do as much as I can, as often as I can.

The idea is to make staying fit a priority even if you’re not ready to run a marathon or try out for Olympics.  Just focus on getting moving as often as possible and do it for you and your health, not anyone else.

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For more great tips to help you look and feel your best, 

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Healthy After 40 Staying Fit When You Hate to Workout

Staying fit after 40 doesn’t have to be difficult. It just takes focus and small steps.

Parenting

The Secret To Talking To Kids About Sensitive Topics

Since we’re on summer break, the other day I asked my (almost) 10-year-old daughter if she wanted to go to the movies.   She took her time to answer. Thought for a while.  Asked what movies were playing.  Picked up the television remote.  Began looking for a movie on Netflix to rent and finally said, “haven’t people been hurt at the movies?”

Stunned!!!!

What are you supposed to say to that?  Talking to kids about sensitive topics can be tricky.  Where do you start?  And, how much information is too much?

As a general rule, we don’t discuss current events with her unless absolutely necessary.   I know some parents do.  I think you have to do what you feel is right for you.  We typically answer whatever questions she has as they come up.  This topic, however, has never come up.

With tv, internet, radio, etc. and your kid’s friends having tv, internet, radio, etc. you absolutely cannot have complete control over what they hear.   Until this summer, we had only skimmed the surface of “the talk”.  So, when she was at an extracurricular activity and got an earful about sex (by an 11-year-old), I was shocked and caught a little off guard.

The secret to talking to kids about sensitive topics such as current events, sex, and death, is to first ask them a question.  “What do you mean exactly?”  Find out what they know and what they are looking for from you right now.

My daughter is not much different from most kids.  When they ask a question about sensitive topics, like in this case, most of the time they are looking for something a little more broad.  For instance, when she asked a while back, “what is sex?”  She wasn’t looking for all the details to include intercourse, the reproductive system, labor, and delivery.  So, I asked, “what do you mean?”  She said, “what does it mean?”  I gave her the biblical version of when a mom and a dad are married and they make a baby.  Since she hadn’t gotten the story from her classmate yet (ugh), she was perfectly happy with that explanation.  For the time being.

We have since moved on to male and female parts and how sex works.  (For now, she thinks it’s totally gross!)  We can graduate to “more” later.  Now, is not the time to discuss dating, safe sex, monogamy, etc.

Our daughter tends to be a worrier.  When she asked about the movies, I stopped and looked at her and said “some people have gotten hurt at the movies.  It’s been a while since it’s happened.  I will be there with you.  But, if you don’t want to go, we don’t have to go.”  She was fine with that answer and wasn’t looking for any further explanation.  Discussion over.

In other words, give them what they need at the time.  Be ready to give more details later, when they are ready.  When she asked about sex, she wasn’t ready for everything.  When she asked about people being hurt at the movies, again, she didn’t need all the details.  She wanted to know if she HAD to go and if she would be safe.

When grandma passed away, we told her as adults, we know that someday we will no longer have our parents here with us.  We told her we will miss grandma, but we don’t want her to be in pain anymore.  Now, we can smile and laugh about all the fun we had with grandma and all the goofy stories she used to tell us.  Occasionally, she will say something like “grandma used to give me ice cream when I wasn’t supposed to have it.”  Then I see her smile.

When your kids were born, you knew what they needed as babies.  When they were hungry, you gave them a bottle.  Later, they eat baby food and then solid food.  At another stage, you will teach them how to make their own sandwich.  Talking to your kids about sensitive topics is no different.  Find out exactly what they need at that moment.  Ask them.  They will tell you.  You will know when they need more.  Then, give them more.

We pray every day for the strength and the wisdom to be the parents we are meant to be.  It’s not always easy.  Thank God not everything that’s expected of us as parents will happen all in one day.

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Talking to kids about sensitive topics

Talking to kids about topics from current events to sex can be tricky. Here’s a secret that can help.

Health and Beautiful Living

Natural Product Review – July 2016

You could say finding natural products is a passion of mine.  I’m not obsessed, but if I can find a good, natural product that works, I’m happy.  If I can find a good, natural product that is inexpensive and works – I’m over the moon.

In my 30’s I started having allergic reactions to common products like antiperspirant and toothpaste.  Over the past few years, I’ve been “cleaning up” my personal care products (make-up, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, etc.).  Not only am I concerned about the ingredients that are added to most products (read more here), but my skin breaks out in lovely red, itchy rashes.  It’s not pretty.  Eliminating all the additives and toxins has become a necessity.

There are some great brands on the market full of terrific products with “good for you” ingredients.  Most of them are REALLY expensive.  I don’t mind spending good money on some things.  But, I can’t in good conscience (and for the love of my wallet), spend a ton of money on every product in my entire bathroom and make-up bag.  Yikes!!!  Because of that, I’m on a mission to find great products that are cleaner (not a ton of toxic ingredients), that work and more importantly, won’t break the bank!!

Here are a few natural products I’ve tried recently.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap – I love Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap and thought I’d try their shaving soap.  I didn’t care for it at all.  It was too watery, so most of it was wasted in the shower and I didn’t think it gave a good shave.  I won’t be buying this again.

Kiss My Face Moisture Shave Lotion – It took me a while to get used to this.  It’s a lotion that works into a lather, so there’s a little bit of a learning curve.  I love it now.  2 pumps are enough to lather up and shave a leg and it gives a really good shave.  This is my “go to” shave lotion.  It also leaves your legs very soft.  I get my shave lotion here from Thrive Market.

Almay Eye Liner – I LOVE THIS EYE LINER.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  While the Almay products are not really organic, several of their products have “fewer” of the toxic ingredients found in most eye make-up.  It’s inexpensive, easy to find (Walgreens and CVS) and less toxic than most.  Plus, it stays on until you take it off.  Definitely my new favorite.

Note – my “go to” eye make-up remover is regular coconut oil.  I keep a small jar in my bathroom for removing make-up and the occasional moisturizer.

Almay One Coat Mascara – This mascara didn’t do it for me.  I like my mascara to be buildable.  I want to use two or three coats and really define my eyes.  I found this mascara a little thin for my taste.  If you’re going for a very natural look this might work for you.

Note – I still have not found a good mascara with fairly good ingredients that’s relatively inexpensive.

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Cleansing Gel – I’ve had a difficult time finding a cleanser that will take off my make-up and actually makes my face feel clean.  You don’t need a lot of this to wash your face and it really lathers well.  I like this one and I order it here from Thrive Market.

Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm – Honeysuckle/Caramel Daisy – These little lip balms are a little shiny (but not glossy) and have just a hint of color.  I have about 5 of them tucked all around the house and in every bag I own.  Definitely a favorite of mine.

PiperWai Deodorant – Full disclosure.  This deodorant is not cheap.  That being said, I’ve been looking for a deodorant (because I can’t use antiperspirant) that ACTUALLY works.  (I’ve tried no less than 50 brands in the past 5 years.)  This one works.  FINALLY!!!!  I’ve spent years being allergic to antiperspirant, having allergic reactions to new products and being sweaty and stinky.  So, believe me, I’m happy to pay for this.  Luckily, you don’t need much.  You can find PiperWai here.

 

I hope this natural product review helps you find a few affordable options.  Together we can clean up our personal care products, one product at a time.

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This post does contain affiliate links. I may receive some compensation for these links.  I do not recommend any products I haven’t used or tried personally.  Thanks for  your support.

Natural product review

Natural products can be very expensive. Here are few that work (and some that didn’t) and are a little more reasonably priced.

 

 

Dressing Your Best

Why Should I Bother to Dress Up?

Why should I bother to dress up?  I’m home all day and no one is going to see me.  What’s the point?  How many times have you felt that way?  If you’re like me, that’s most of the time.   It’s easier just to shower and put on something comfortable.  But, it’s important for me to dress up.  I need it and so does my family.

Jeans are my daily “uniform”.  I could wear jeans (and slippers) every single day.  However, I do like a dress from time to time.  I make a point to buy dresses and skirts for church and try to sneak in one or two casual dresses for my every day look.  I mostly add dresses to my closet to make myself wear them.

When I put on make-up, take a little time on my hair and put on a dress (or any nice outfit) I stand taller and have more confidence.  Granted, I’m not dressing up for the people around me.  But, I’m not going to lie, the occasional compliment is nice too.  Studies show that wearing the right clothing, perfume, and even jewelry can boost your mood, attitude and confidence level.

Truth be told, the older I get the more I need to get dressed up from time to time.  When I look in the mirror, I’m very aware of my age (well over 40).  I need to remind myself that even though I’m not 20 anymore I’m still attractive and vibrant.   Occasionally, I’ll put on a great pair of jeans, a nice top, and my favorite necklace.  Not go “all out”, but enough to make me hold my head a little higher.

Aside from my confidence level, my young daughter needs to see me in something other than a sweatshirt.  While it’s important for her to see me go into town once in awhile without worrying that I’m completely made up.  She also has to see me dressed from head to toe occasionally and feeling good about myself as well.    She needs to see me have pride in my appearance.  To carry myself differently.

As a wife, my husband needs to be reminded how great I can look.  He says I look beautiful either way, but I like to see his eyes light up when I’m dressed up.  The other day we were leaving for church and my husband looked at me and said: “wow, you look really great.”   There’s nothing better than that.

Sometimes, I feel bad.  He sees me more without makeup than with.  As women, we tend to spend so much time to look great when we’re dating and for the wedding.  Then, after we’re married we have every excuse NOT to dress up.  I hate going thru the trouble just as much as everyone else.  As a matter of fact, I think the best part of my day is when I wash my face right before bed.  My skin is oily and it’s the only time of the day that it feels good and clean.  Read about my skin care routine here.  

Even smiling can boost your confidence.  If I dress up and my husband smiles and flirts with me, I smile back and feel more confident.  It all goes together.  His smile makes me smile.

There are plenty of days of slippers, jeans and no makeup in my future.  But, from time to time, I need to take the time and invest in myself. It will definitely pay off for me and my family.

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For more great tips to help you look and feel your best, 

click here to sign up for my FREE 7-day course “Feeling Fabulous After 40”.  

 

Why should I bother to dress up?

Do you ever think it’s pointless to dress up and put on make up? Read this.

 

Health and Beautiful Living

Natural Remedies For PMS

“PMS is the best part of the month!”  Said no women ever!!!  Unfortunately, it does happen and it’s something that binds all women together.  Every woman has had PMS in some form or fashion.  Cramps, fatigue, bloating, cramps, irritability, tender breasts, and of course cramps.  No one wants to talk about it, but we all know it can be bad.   Painful one month.  Not noticeable the next.  Debilitating two months later.

Hot water bottles and drug store pain relievers are a few of the more common remedies for PMS.  But, over-the-counter meds can bring side effects of their own.  I don’t like taking any medication if it’s not necessary.  Ibuprofen is my go-to pain reliever (as a last resort), but I break out in itchy rashes due to the “inactive ingredients”. Read about some of the ingredients and their possible side effects here.   So, I’m always on the lookout for natural remedies for PMS as well as general pain and healing.

Now that I’m inching closer to menopause and my daughter is getting closer to starting her “womanhood cycle”, I’m going to need several tools in my tool belt for both of us.

Here are a few of the natural remedies I have found for PMS.

Red Clover Tea – Red clover is well-known by herbalists as one of the oldest medicinal herbs.  In studies, it has shown to have anti-cancer properties, purifies the blood, lower cholesterol, and produce estrogen-like effects.  Read about red clover here and here.  It’s also shown to help with hot flashes and PMS. Red clover contains calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C.

Oil Pulling – I love oil pulling and swear that it’s the “cure-all” for everything.  Well, maybe not everything, but it can help with so many ailments that I could talk about it all day.  I’m constantly finding more articles containing research on oil pulling.  PMS relief is just one of the many benefits. Click here to read about it for yourself.

If you’ve never oil pulled, it takes some getting used to.  Most of the articles will tell you to use coconut oil (I prefer this to sesame oil or olive oil) and to use 1 tablespoon.  My husband and I have found 1 tablespoon to be too much!!  We use 1 teaspoon.  My advice is to try it with a very small amount of oil the first time and “pull” for just a couple of minutes.  Keep adding more oil and work your way up to the recommended amount of time of 15-20 minutes.  Keep in mind all the health benefits.  You can do it!!!

Clary Sage Oil – This little bottle of essential oil is a powerhouse of health benefits.  It’s mostly known for supporting skin and female health.  But, you might like it for so much more.  It can help with depression and mood boosting, muscle cramps and headaches, libido and sexual desire, as well as skin irritation and rashes.  A great article I read says it can help with gas too.  Read more about the possible benefits of Clary Sage oil here.   This is where I get my Clary Sage oil.

Maca Root Powder – I can’t say enough about Maca.  My husband and I have taken Maca Root Powder for years.  We’ve noticed benefits in ourselves as well as each other.  It can boost libido and energy, memory, and focus. Maca has been shown to help with male and female hormone health as well as erectile dysfunction.  It’s been shown to help with PMS, regulate women’s cycles, menopause, and women with PCOS, as well as help with Chronic Fatigue.  Read a great article here.    This is where I get the best Maca Root Powder  

Everybody and every body is different.  Hopefully, you’ll find one or two options that will work for you and give you some relief when the time comes.  And, unfortunately, it usually does come!!

JDMB-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

For more tips to help you look and feel great, 

click here to sign up for my FREE 7-day course “Feeling Fabulous After 40”. 

 

Natural remedies for PMS

Natural remedies for PMS that really work.

*This post does contain affiliate links that I may receive compensation for.  I don’t ever recommend a product I either don’t use or don’t believe in.  Thanks for your support.   

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