Health & Beauty Feed

Mitten Strings for God: Ch. 14 "Healing"

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Hello my friends, and Happy Sunday! Thank you so much for stopping by. It's been a bright and mild weekend here in New England, and the brisk air smells like woodsmoke and soft earth ... I think it's safe to say Spring has finally sprung! 💚

How are things where you are these days? I'd love to talk weather, and compare notes ... but first, may I offer you a cup of tea?

As many of you know, I drink tea nearly every day, and as I suspect most tea-lovers would agree, it never tastes (nor feels) quite so good as it does when one is feeling a bit under the weather. I find it to be the very best kind of medicine - much like a hug in a mug. :)

Now, generally speaking, I stick with black teas (and usually decaf) but I do love a nice herbal tea from time to time. The soothing heat and fragrant herbs seem to go straight where I need them. I find all teas both physically and spiritually nourishing, but herb teas really seem just a bit magical, don't you think?

Have an ailment? There's a tea for that:

Can't sleep? Lavender. Tummy upset? Peppermint. Need to relax? Floral. Brain fog? Lemon.

I am definitely no expert in herbs and herbal teas, but I am eager to learn as much as I can. It's a bit of a hobby of mine, though my thumb isn't quite as green as it could be. But with each growing season I get a little more "authentic" as a budding, amateur herbalist, and I try to expand how we incorporate herbs (and other natural alternatives) in our household with each passing year, too. 

As for today's tea, though - it's a rather healing one, and perfect for this post. Because honest to Pete, I am in fact nursing a sore throat. It seems a bit early in the year to blame allergies, so instead I'll point the finger at Crackerjack who brought home a lousy cold early last week. Usually I'm fairly immune to most cold viruses - for some happy reason, they skip over me - but this one is gathering steam and has become a bit of a bother. So herbal tea was my choice today (a lovely Buttermint I'm particularly fond of) and for good measure, I threw down a few of my favorite cough drops. (I also snuck a dollop of honey in my brew ... I think half the battle is lifting one's spirits when fighting an illness and I'm the first admit I like things rather sweet!)

Ok, so that's enough about my tea - which as you can see above was taken at my writing desk, with a nice view of the side yard where Bill and the older boys were doing some burning. At the other window, a little further down on this wall, I had situated the younger two, who were not allowed outside until the burning was done (or nearly). I encouraged them to sit here in the window and watch, while I worked on my weekly planning on the other side of the room.


As you can imagine, the leaping flames caused a bit of excitement! Finally, once the pile was nearly done, I brought them outside to sit and watch ... at a distance:


We haven't burned in years, as we try to compost as much as we can instead - but this past winter's tree damage was really above and beyond what we can handle. So burning was the thing to do on this day!

Ok, so now you're all wondering - weren't we here to talk about a book?

Well ... continuing on with our Mitten Strings for God book study, this week we are talking about "Healing," an important (and multi-layered) parenting concept. Because there's taking care of our children's bodies when they are injured or ill ... and then there's taking care of their insides - wounded feelings or weepy moods - when it's needed. These are all opportunities to teach our children how we treat those we love, and show them how much they mean to us.

"When we minister to our children with love and care, we teach them to care for others in return. Through our own loving example, we show the healing way, opening their hearts to the needs of those around them." (p. 102)

Healing our children is so much more than just tending to a knee bump or a head cold - because as we do, we are also comforting and soothing their very spirits. We are showing them how love works. We're reminding them they're not alone in this world. We're proving to them that they matter. And we are telling them we are here for them always - a little blood or boogie isn't going to keep their mamas (or papas) away!

"But sometimes our children are really asking for more from us than a perfunctory response, and that is when we must minister not only to the skinned knee, but to an inner need as well. It does not good to advise a weeping child that the pain will go away on its own. We are mothers, after all, and it is our job to DO something." (p. 100)

And so that's what we do, we mamas ... we figure out just what TO do. Sometimes it's just a brush of the bottom and a kiss on the cheek. "Ok, you're fine - off you go!" But sometimes a little more attention is warranted, and that's when we reach for the heavy artillery: cough syrups, calamine, soothing salves and perhaps best of all, the bandaids ...

What would we ever DO without bandaids??

"To an adult, a Band-Aid may be nothing but a sticky plastic strip; but to a child it is a badge of honor, imbued with magical healing properties. Be grateful, and stock up." (p. 101)

Now you might keep these kinds of medicinal products and first aid accessories on a shelf in your pantry or a bin at the bottom of your linen closet. But what I LOVED best of all about this chapter was the suggestion to make up a special basket to use when tending to our children in their time(s) of need.

"And so I created the "hurt basket," a treasure chest of magical lotions, potions, and healing aids." (p. 101)

We keep our medicinal supplies in a few different places. There is a small assortment of vitamins, cough drops and pain relievers at the very top of the kitchen pantry, but the bulk of our supply is kept in our bathroom cabinet:


Aka the subject of a future "Full Disclosure Friday" because like most of the storage zones in our household, it's woefully underused and despairingly disorganized. So while we're at it, here's another storage area that I have yet (in five years living here) figured out best how to use:


(This one is located just outside of the bathroom, inside the master bedroom. Truly, we have so much storage space in this house there is really no excuse for clutter - but I have been TERRIBLE about taking advantage of it!)

Alas, I digress (as I'm wont to do) ...

So here is what I set up some time ago, our own "boo-boo basket" ...


This lovely basket was hand-painted by Bill's grandmother many years ago ...


 It was just the right size and shape to hold a nice selection of supplies, and still fit inside my cabinet.


I chose items that would soothe and comfort - no yucky medicine or stinging sprays here!

A closer peek:


I think the very ritual of bringing out a basket filled with "mama's special potions" - all pleasant-smelling and kind to tender skin - is healing in and of itself. It won't always be so easy to comfort our children, but such special treatment will not go unnoticed. This kind of care goes deep, and lingers long ...  

"The day will come, of course, when our small ministrations are no longer enough to ease our children's pains, but until then, we can stock their emotional larders with a bounty of love and tenderness, precious stores for the future." (p. 103)

Sometimes all our hurt or ailing child needs is a hug, and sometimes he or she needs an actual prescription ... but for those in-between those times, there is a place for gentle, whole-body healing. 

(And here's an idea - how about setting up something like this, just for ourselves? Maybe a mommy-care basket? Now that's a topic for a future post!)

Before I go, here's a quick list of the books I'm using to learn more about herbs and homemade herbal products. It's easy nowadays to find natural and herbal products in the stores, but I really love growing and making my own!


The Wild & Weedy Apothecary

Earth Mother Herbal

Natural Beauty for All Seasons

101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home

Essential Herbal Wisdom

A Kid's Herb Book

I have a large binder in which I've been taking copious notes, and by now I know more about herbs than I should for someone with so pale a green thumb! But I am getting there, slowly ... this year I hope to grow a nicely-sized herb garden and continue to expand my hands-on learning while keeping up with my "studies." If you are an herb grower (or crafter, or enthusiast) I'd love to hear from you! I would love advice and especially would love to hear how you USE the herbs you grow and how you keep your herbs ALIVE over the winter! (If possible.) 

Well my friends, I am going to wrap up now, but as always, I thank you for stopping by and reading. I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter (and topic) if you have a moment to drop a note. Please remember - all are welcome to join this book study! And we are only about halfway through ... many more topics to talk about and more opportunities to support each other in our mothering! 

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I will see you all here again very soon!

Homeschool Thoughts, Lists & News, etc.

(A bit of a hodgepodge today!)

Happy august 1

Happy August, my friends! It sure is hot and hazy here, but I love how the flowers just glow in the summer sun these days. And everything is so green ... I just love this time of year!

Well, I wanted to pop in quickly this morning to tell you I am *thisclose* to finishing our school reports - I just need to finalize Earlybird's ed. plan for next year. His reports are always a bit tricky because, as a special needs child, my plans must be thorough, but flexible, and his progress is not always so readily apparent. I have to put a lot of thought into what we will learn and how I will teach him these things. And because of his learning style and challenges, my methods are not always as clear-cut as just say, ordering a "Grade X Curriculum." Thankfully he does make progress each year ... I just have to really look back through all we did in each subject to remind myself (reassure myself) how said progress was made and measured.

(For example, this year he listened to audiobooks - something he didn't couldn't do before - and in this way we "read" several classic books together. I couldn't ask him to fill out a quiz or write a report, but I could - when the time was right - ask him questions about what we'd heard that day and to re-tell parts of the story, which I would write down.)

So I'm always looking for ways to "think outside the box" when constructing Earlybird's education, and one resource I have found immensely helpful are these fantastic (and free!) Living Learning Lists from Ed Snapshots. There are some terrific ideas here for experiential learning in all the main subjects! I've pinned these lists and printed them out to keep in my homeschool planner for use all year long ... :)

And speaking of Ed Snapshots ... well, I am just SUPER excited to have been invited to do a podcast with Pam sometime in the near future! (You can read other podcasts here ... so much inspiration!) I will keep you all posted about when mine will be happening ... I'm not sure what-all I can bring to the "podcast table," but I am SO honored to have been asked! I haven't "talked shop" in a while ... :)


Let's see, what else? I also wanted to mention that so far I am really enjoying my new Day Designer! I will do a post on how I'm using it as soon as I can - I want to get some more "days" under my belt first - but I wanted to mention that if you'd like a peek at how the planner looks, DD offers free downloadable planning pages to try out before purchasing. Mind you, this is an example of a page from a flagship planner - the original Day Designer - not the Blue Sky version I purchased from Target. I'm still working out how the versions differ ... and how to personalize my own planner. More about that soon!

Ok - and here's a final thought for today - over the weekend I had my hair cut, colored and styled and boy does it feel good! (Some of you might have seen my "after shot" on my Facebook page.) And it got me to thinking ... wouldn't it be fun to do a "hair care" post here at the blog? I would love to chat about how we wear our hair, and how we care for it ... on our own at home and at the salon. Especially when we're busy with other things (kids, work, life!) or being careful with our budget. We could even - if people were willing! - share pictures. I will keep that in mind for sometime in my posting future - let me know if you think that would be fun and any other post ideas you might have for me! I'm always open to suggestions. :)


All righty then ... I will be off now since my kids are clamoring for lunch and I'm the point person when it comes to that situation. For now I will wish you all a good week and hope to see you here again very soon!

Teach quote

(Saw this just before hitting "post" and had to share!)

Pucker up ~ It's National Lipstick Day!

Victorian woman's face

Good Tuesday morning, my friends! I have a quick question for you today:

Do you wear lipstick, and if so what shade?

I myself wear it on occasion. On a daily basis I use a simple vanilla lip balm just to keep my lips moist. If I'm leaving the house I do apply a light bit of makeup and that includes a hint of lip color. I like shades that are a near-match to my natural color, with just a bit of a boost. I cannot wear anything pale, nude or frosty. And pink and orange don't suit my coloring at all - I need something in the red zone.


I used to wear a particular shade of Neutrogena lipstick called Rose Suede - I don't think they make it anymore. These days I am more apt to wear Burt's Bees Red Dahlia (which is actually quite sheer) and just recently I received Philosophy's Frosted Animal Crackers Lip Gloss as a gift - not something I would have chosen for myself, but it's actually quite light and sweet. It adds just a bit of shine - a touch of "glam" if you will. (And it's super tasty, too!)

Burts bees

Animal cracker gloss

If you have a moment, please drop me a note and let me know your thoughts on lipstick. And as always, have yourself a great day!

See you here again very soon ...

In Today's News:

A Blizzard, A Baby & Bathwater

Though not in that particular order ...

Local Weather

Today's top story: A BLIZZARD hits New England!

Blizzard 2

The above photo was taken last night, about 7 p.m. We had 14 inches at this point ...

But by daylight we had nearly double that!

Blizzard 4

(Today was to have been Earlybird's EEG at Children's Hospital in Boston ... needless to say, it's been rescheduled for a later date. His MRI is next week.)


Calendar & Quiz Pages

January brings the snow ... and calendars! Of all kinds. Here are my two page-a-day calendars, sitting side-by-side upon my desk (my purse calendar lies flat just below) ...

Downton abbey page a day calendar

 I have always used the Mary Engelbreit calendar (going back how many years I can't count) but this year I could hardly resist (at 50% off!) a Downton Abbey version as well. Who wouldn't love a little Downton to start their day?

Today's quote:

"Downton is a great house, Mr. Bates, and the Crawleys are a great family. We live by certain standards and those standards can at first seem daunting."

Do you remember who said that?


Recipe Box

While poring over my January journals, I found a neat bath recipe I'd saved ...

Carnation bath 1

This is from a magazine called Herb Quarterly (issue: Spring 2009). I was hoping to get this made up in time for my birthday (carnation is my birth flower), but as it needs three weeks to steep I'll be a bit off. That's ok, though - I think it will make for a lovely foot bath on a cold winter evening.

(Very easy to mix up: 1 cup fresh carnation petals, 6 clove buds, 4 cups lukewarm white vinegar - combine and let steep for 3 weeks. Strain and pour into a clean container. Pour 1 cup of scented vinegar into a full bath and stir well.)

Here's a link to another sweet scented bath I saw online at Elizabeth's yesterday ... I'll need to pick up some new essential oil(s) and some fresh epsom salt in order to make this one up. Out comes the marketing list ... 

Society Pages

And in other news, Mr. Little Bear tried a sippy cup for the first time yesterday! He was mostly amused by the cup itself - the water inside, not so much ...

O sippy cup 1

O sippy cup 2

O sippy cup 4

O sippy cup 6

(Sorry, the staff photographer got a bit carried away!)

Well, my friends, I'd better "go to press" as my deadline is looming large ... in other words, the little guy is about to wake up from his nap! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, enjoying your family and friends, and perhaps, depending upon your locale, the weather as well.

{Drop me a note below if you have a chance: have you ever had 23.8 inches of snow?}


Blessings on your day ... see you here again very soon! 

Wednesday Q & A: Due Dates, Desserts & Diet

Pink-blue butterfly

Good morning, my friends! I thought I'd do a little Q&A catch-up today ...

Now and again I am asked when I'm due, and I can tell you my "official" due date is May 27th (Memorial Day) - and that's (wow) three months from today! I tend to deliver close to my dd - Bookworm was born one day late (the day after the summer solstice), Crackerjack came two days early (two days before the Assumption) and Earlybird arrived a whole week early (just in time for his Papa's birthday!). But we'll have to wait and see what this baby has planned ... ;)

Yesterday, Michelle asked:

Can you share the recipe for the potato and leek soup? I think you have mentioned it before but I couldn't find the recipe. I bought leeks at the store today in hopes of making it Friday.

I'm trying this one, Michelle: Martha Stewart Potato Leek Soup. It sounds earthy and delicious - a perfect supper for the first of March. :)

Why leeks you might wonder, dear readers? Well March 1st is The Feast of St. David, who is the patron of Wales, and leeks are a national symbol (alongside the daffodil). Traditionally they are worn on a lapel, but I prefer the idea of serving them in a meal ...

Are we Welsh? No. But we're Catholic, and I enjoy working simple faith traditions into our everyday family life. Over the years they bring us a familiar, fun comfort - and happy memories, as well. :)

Now, Jen asked:

I wondered if you make a dessert almost every night? I think I would weigh 300 pounds if I ate all the yummy desserts you serve! :-) Which brings me to another question, I have noticed that there are always (or usually!) seem to be delicious sweets in your home? How do you keep your girlish figure, Dawn? Do you squeeze exercise into your already-busy schedule? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Ok, lots of points to touch on, Jen!

I do serve dessert at every dinner, but I don't always make it myself - and it's not always something big or special. I usually have simple cookies (vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin) or plain ice cream/frozen yogurt on hand. My family really enjoys a little something sweet after a meal and I feel as long as we keep it proportionate and nobody has issues tied to sweets, we're ok. I also try to keep our desserts as natural (homemade) and fruit-based (seasonal) as possible.

Honestly, I'm a big believer of "all things in moderation," so we don't forbid sweets, but we do monitor them. Earlybird is the only one of us who has a weight issue, and that is tied tightly into his autism: eating is an addiction for him - he literally wants to eat all the time. But it's not so much sweets he wants, but rather, carbs and dairy. And actually he rarely eats the family dessert - he's usually pretty happy with a couple of low fat "Fig Newmans" or a few graham crackers after a meal. Currently we're working with him on portion control and making healthier choices ... and this would be a great topic for a future post! I'll start a draft now. :)

But I do enjoy desserts, I'll admit! And I also love to bake. In fact, Bill, looking over my shoulder at this draft just said, "You love to bake stuff but you never eat it!" Which is not entirely true - I do allow myself to have a small sweet a day - but I don't eat it at night after supper, because that gives me heartburn. So I usually save my "sweet" for midday. I don't know if that makes a big difference, but I've heard it said it's wise to limit calories late in the day. And if I'm having a cupcake with lunch I'll only eat half a sandwich instead of a whole. I have to keep my meals small because I tend to have slow digestion - if I eat too much in one sitting my stomach can't deal.

Now, do I exercise?

Well, um ... no. 


I know I should - I really should - and I am always meaning to start! But the truth of it is, I just can't find the time ... or energy ... or motivation. Generally speaking, my weight stays about the same even without "formal" exercise ... but I know exercise is about way more than staying trim - it's about heart health and flexibility, etc. I have this conversation with my doctor at each annual physical!

Ideally, I'd be walking/using the eliptical a few times a week and doing some yoga or stretching every day. It's in the back of my mind that once I've recovered from this baby's birth I will get serious about doing something "formally" physical, a few times a week. I'm sure it won't be as easy to shed baby weight in my 40s as it was in my 20's and 30s!

As for watching my figure, well I try to stay aware of how my clothes are fitting - and if things feel snug I know I need to be a little more careful with my food choices for a week or two. All that said, I could definitely stand to eat healthier - I don't eat nearly as much produce as I should and I tend to shy away from whole grains. Our family food goals this year include eating less processed food, and eating a more varied (seasonal/local) diet - more food for a future post!

But Jen, I too would love to hear opinions on this subject ...

How do we moms fit exercise into an already busy schedule? Better yet - how do we find the energy to do said exercise if and when we have the time?


Well friends, I'll wrap things up here since this post is getting long and my time is getting short. Time to rattle my older boys' cages and get on with my day. I do hope your Wednesday's a good one, and if you have questions or comments, please leave me a note below!

See you here again sometime soon ...


Amazing Grace & Girly Stuff :-)

Amazing grace 1

philosophy: life is a classroom. we are both student and teacher. each day is a test. and each day we receive a passing or failing grade in one particular subject: grace. grace is compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, forgiveness, good manners, reverence, and the list goes on. it's something money can't buy and credentials rarely produce. being the smartest, the prettiest, the most talented, the richest, or even the poorest, can't help. being a humble person can and being a helpful person can guide you through your days with grace and gratitude.

This is what's written on the side of my brand new bottle of shower gel. I used it for the first time yesterday, and I fell in love with the product as well as the message. In fact, it really got me thinking - as I stood there, soaking in that wonderful warm water - and I wanted to share these thoughtful words here.


Now, I don't wear fragrance as a rule. For one thing, strong scents mess with Earlybird's sensitivities (behavioral and physical) and for another, my sinuses can be rather tetchy. So I don't wear perfume, but I do like lightly scented bath and shower products. Well, for my birthday last month, my mother gave me a jar of this because I had been complaining about my itchy belly ... and I absolutely LOVED it. I use just a small dab every morning and night, and not only does it moisturize my skin beautifully, but the scent is just so gentle and soft. 

So last week I ran out of my usual body wash - which, oddly enough, though I've been using it for years, started smelling "off" to me lately - and I decided to splurge a little (ok, a lot) and treat myself to a bottle of this.

As I mentioned above, I used it for the first time yesterday and I am quite happy with its very light scent - a clean, fresh and feminine fragrance. Much like the cream linked above, just a bit lighter ...

But it was that intriguing message on the front of the bottle that really caught my eye ... such a nice bit of inspiration, reminding us how to achieve true personal grace: by showing compassion and forgiveness, feeling gratitude and reverance ... displaying humility and good manners ...

And all this from a bottle of soap!

Doesn't matter where I read it though, it's lovely food for thought. Something nice to reflect on every morning as I get ready for a brand new day. :)


Dear friends, is there a particular scent that you love? Do you like to try different things or do you stick to what works? Please leave a comment below if you have the time to share your thoughts ...

And have yourself an amazing day!

A New Season of Tea ... on Tuesdays!

(But sometimes Wednesdays.)

TT 3

Happy MidWeek, my friends!

I'm so happy to get back to my weekly tea posts ... I really had such fun with them last year! My schedule this fall is a bit busier than it was last year, but I'll try not to let that deter me ... in fact, I think I'll need that weekly "tea hour" all the more!

So my "tea" today focused on cold cider, not hot tea, in honor of Johnny Appleseed Day (and the mild weather). I took my mug and goodies out to the deck to enjoy alongside the gusty wind and shifting sun ...

TT 2

The cider was so crisp and tart-sweet, just right for this lovely fall day.

Now, when I "take tea" I like to gather up some fun and pretty things to look over or maybe just look at. :)

Today I had a few new books to peruse ...

For EB, two B&N clearance specials:

Squirrel's Fall Search and Goonight, Mouse ... sweet, autumnal animal stories.

And for me, a library find: The Happiest Mom ... mostly because I loved the look of the book!

... as well as ...

A recent Amazon splurge: Williams-Sonoma Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen ... because it's just gorgeous and filled with great recipe ideas.

Rounding out my tea "atmosphere" today was a lovely pocketbook that once belonged to my grandmother. I just love the vibrant embroidery, set against the dark chocolate background ...

 TT 4

 (And I couldn't help but notice how nicely my new nail polish ("Angora Cardi") matched my "new" purse.)

TT 5


My friends, if you're taking tea, what's your brew of choice these days? Do you like the same thing year-round, or do you change it up according to season? I'm always looking for new "tea" ideas!

Have a great night, everyone ... see you here again very soon!

Self-Care Routines, continued ...

Aka - girl talk!


Good afternoon, my friends! I hope this day's treated you well. So I was thinking we'd talk a bit more about self-care routines ... we addressed the when aspect (as in, when do we fit it in), but how about the what and the how? I.e. what do you use and how do you use it?

So here's a sort of meme to fill out - just copy and paste, then remove my answers and type in your own. Or skip the meme entirely and just make a few comments as you'd like! You can do it here below, or at your own blog ... that is, if you'd care to participate. :)

I will preface my own responses by saying that ideally I would buy all my health and beauty products at some place like Whole Foods - things that have been ethically tested, responsibly made and minimally packaged - but that's not always a budget-friendly option! I am also somewhat of a stickler for things that work ... in other words, if I like how something feels/smells/works - I stick with it. Consequently, many of these products I've been using for years and years!

Ok, let's start at the top ...


Shampoo: Herbal Essences "Long Term Relationship" Shampoo for Long Hair (With Red Raspberries and Silk)

ConditionerHerbal Essences "Long Term Relationship" Conditioner for Long Hair (With Red Raspberries and Silk)

Note: This brand is very inexpensive, but honestly, these products work really well for my hair type. My hair is longish and wavy (or curly depending on the relative humidity), so I need moisturizing products. This duo leaves my hair soft and manageable, and I absolutely love how it smells! I wash my hair every other day ... daily washings leave it too dry.

Styling products: The Conditioner by Paul Mitchell

Note: I've used this leave-in conditioner forever, and it's all I use after towel-drying my hair. I work in a liberal amount, "scrunch" my hair a little and leave it. I will sometimes apply a little bit later in the day to perk up my curls. I buy the really big container and it lasts a long time. (It's also great for shaving your legs!)

Haircuts - how often? Every 6-8 weeks I get a trim. I've been going to the same hairdresser since before I was married! (Bill sees him too - he's fantastic, and he's become a good friend.) I keep my hair on the long side these days, but I have worn it in a bob and even shorter when the boys were very little. I just have to make sure to have layers because that's what keeps my hair curly. If I let the layers grow out, my hair just hangs and has no "spring." 

Color - yes, no ... or no comment? Yes! My hair is naturally dark brown, but I am quite gray at the part, thanks to my Irish heritage. (Or so I'm told. It could just as easily be from raising three sons!) So I do color my hair every couple of months (my mum does it for me). I use Garnier Nutrisse Cool Tea, a "medium ash brown," which is as close to my natural color as I can get.


Eye makeup remover: Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

Note: I love the convenience of those little pads you can buy in jars but they really irritate my eyes. I finally found this brand that is very gentle and still works very well.

Facial cleansers: Purity by Philosophy

Note: My mum turned me onto Philosophy - and I absolutely love it. This cleanser is sooo gentle and it can be used by all of us. (It's kind of non-gender specific and it smells quite mild, nearly fragrance-free.) I like gentle products because my skin can be sensitive. I just use this in the shower and again at night with warm water.

Anti-aging products: Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Concentrate

Note: When I turned 40 I started thinking about anti-aging products, but I really didn't know what to look for. And as I have sensitive skin, I didn't want to use anything harsh. My mum actually gave me her bottle of Miracle Worker to try last year, and I absolutely LOVED it! It really improved the texture and tone of my skin. So naturally, I've continued using it! It is a bit expensive, but it lasts a good long while. I just use two small pumps on my face and neck before applying my moisturizer. I can honestly say, more than anything else, this stuff has made a real difference in my skin's appearance. Definitely worth the money!

Facial moisturizers: Oil of Olay All-Day Moisture Lotion

Note: I've used Oil of Olay since I was a teen - I love how it smells, so light and clean. I used to use the pink bottle (original formula), but now I use the yellow bottle (sensitive skin/SPF15). I use it morning and night. I don't use a night cream as I find them too greasy, but I am looking for a nice neck cream - I think age shows here first - so I'd love suggestions!

Eye cream: Not at the moment. They seem a bit too rich for my skin.

Do you get any regular facial treatments? A couple of times a year I get a facial at a local day spa. It's called a microdermabrasion, I believe. I usually have it done around my birthday (I often receive a gift certificate as a gift) and then, if I remember, I have it done again at the end of summer.

Sunscreen: Aveeno Sunblock Lotion Face: SPF 70

Note: I only wear this when I'm spending significant time outside. Otherwise I rely on my daily moisturizer (which has UV protection) as well as sunglasses, and occasionally hats. I do tend to avoid the sun because I burn pretty easily.

Do you do tanning or use a self-tanner? No, I'm really too fair. I'd look ridiculous. (Though I did "tan" a few times in college before proms. Looking back I think I look rather orange, lol.)

--> Makeup <--

Face makeup: No.

Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment (Fair)

Blush: Neutrogena Soft Color Blush for Cheeks (Sweet Raisin)

Eye shadow: No.

Eye pencil: Cover Girl Perfect Blend Eye Pencil (Charcoal)

Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash Big Mascara (Blackest Black)

Lipstick/gloss: No.

Lip balm: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm (Red Dahlia)

Do you use any special makeup tools? Just an eye lash curler, which makes a world of difference!

Notes: I'm not very adventurous when it comes to makeup - in fact, I haven't changed this routine up in years! I don't wear makeup everyday, but any day I'm going out. I find, especially as I get older, even just a little color really brightens up the face.

--> Nails <--

Long or short? Short ... I can't stand the feel of long nails! It's a sensory issue, lol.

Do you wear polish? Rarely on my fingernails, but in the summer my toes are always polished.

Current brand/shade? My fingernails are currently bare, but on my toes I'm wearing Opi Melon of Troy. It matches my favorite flip-flops. ;)

Do you get manicures? No. I did before my wedding, though, and it was lovely.

Favorite hand/foot lotion: Nivea Cream every night before bed. Curel Daily Moisture (Fragrance Free) during the day on my hands which get washed a lot!

--> Body <--

Soap or body wash? Caress "Daily Silk" Body Wash with a shower pouf.

Note: Another item I've used for years - because it leaves my skin super soft and it smells incredibly fresh. Also - and this might be TMI, but - Bill loves the way I smell, and since I don't wear perfume it's due mostly to this. So naturally I don't plan to change my "scent" anytime soon!

Perfume? No.

Note: I was absolutely perfume crazy when I was a teen! But since becoming a mom I find perfume overpowering and EB has a sensitivity to strong smells. So as noted above - I rely on my body wash to smell good!

Body scrub: Trader Joe's Lavender Body Scrub - every once in a while, on the elbows, knees and heels.

Shave or wax? Shave. Waxing is scary!

Shaving lotion: No. (I just use my body wash.)

Razor brand: Venus Embrace

Deodorant: Tom's of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick (Lavender)

Body LotionCurel Daily Moisture (Fragrance Free) 

Note: I am incredibly picky about lotion - it has to feel a certain way on my skin, particularly on my hands. It has to leave them feeling thoroughly quenched, but not greasy - and smooth but not tight. Lol, it sounds crazy, but I know it when I feel it and I've been using Curel for many years because I've found it to be the best. I choose fragrance-free for the reasons stated above. I keep large pump-bottles in the kitchen and bedroom.

Woman's face 1

OK, well! That was pretty darn detailed! I can't imagine I've left anything out, but give a holler if I did. If you'd like to answer the meme (all or any part), or if you'd just like to comment on the general theme, please feel free to do so below or at your blog. (Please leave me a link if you do.)

I hope at the very least this was kind of fun to read ... it was kind of fun to put together!

I certainly don't spend as much time as I once did thinking about these kinds of things, but it's still a part of my life. It's part of being a woman, after all - taking care of ourselves and our loved ones. Grooming isn't always easy to fit in when you're a busy mom - is there any other kind, really? - but it's essential to our health and happiness. I know I feel better about myself and my day, when I've taken time to take care of myself. And that's a good thing for everybody ...

... because if Mama aint' happy ...

(Well, you know how that goes.)

So let me know your thoughts, or if this was entirely tiresome, lol - never fear. You know I'll be back with something completely different tomorrow. That's just how I roll.


Have a good night, everyone ... see you again sometime tomorrow! 

And so when do we fit in a shower?

I've had a bunch of great "routine" questions lately that I want to address in a series of posts this week - questions about sleepy teens and organizing kids and daily dockets, etc. - but first up, here's a question from Tracy about finding time for self care:

 I was wondering when you fit in your own self care, like getting dressed, showers, etc. I know Fly Lady says to be dressed "to the shoes" first thing in the morning. Do you follow that rule?

Tracy, I was really into FlyLady several years ago, and for a time, I did try to stick by that "dress to the shoes" rule. I don't do that anymore ... though your comment did have me downstairs in the basement, digging out my old copy of Sink Reflections. I haven't read that book it in a long while ...

 Now, I do like to start my day out slowly, as detailed in this post, but most days I am dressed (and freshened up) before Bill leaves for work. However, on weekdays I usually shower later in the day ...

If we're going somewhere that day - i.e. more than just a drop-off - I shower mid-morning, once I get the kids busy with their work. Bookworm is great at keeping an eye on things for me while I take a few minutes to myself. I make it a quick shower, for obvious reasons, and I'm also pretty quick with my hair and makeup ... then I get into my outfit for the day.

If we're not going out that day, I like to shower at the end of the day, after Bill gets home, and just before supper. Sometimes that's a pretty tight window though, and then I just shower after supper. And some days this is quite preferable, because then I can relax and take my time - i.e. if I hear yelling, I don't have to skip the conditioner. ;)


And now Tracy's question has me thinking ... might it be fun to do a post on what self care (hair, makeup, skin, etc.) products we use? You know, I have all boys, so I don't get to talk "girl" stuff too often. Let me know what you think, and if you have a thought for Tracy on when you fit in that shower, please leave a comment - if you have time!

In the meantime, I wish you all a very good night. And as always, thanks so much for stopping by ...

I'll see you all again very soon!

Downton Abbey 'Beauty & Style'

Popping on quickly to share just a few things tonight ...

I happened to see this article just now and I had to link it here for all my Downton friends. (What a difference 100 years makes!) And I had meant to post this link for you all a while back which was kindly shared by Amy ... The Secrets of Downton Abbey Style.


Hope you all had a nice Thursday ... ours was pretty quiet and it did not go as originally planned. Bookworm came down (rather violently, the poor thing) with the stomach virus that plagued CJ recently, and - dare I say it - I have felt "off" all day. So we'll see what this night (and tomorrow) may bring ...

But one way or another, I will "see" you all again very soon.

Take care my friends ... and be well!

National 'Read in the Bathtub' Day?

Ayup ... it's today!

So this begs the question of course ... if you were to indulge in a bath today (as opposed to the hasty shower we moms are used to), what would your reading material of choice be? Something you're currently reading? Or a glossy magazine perhaps? 

Also, just for fun, what would you put in your bath water? Are you fond of bath salts or bubbles? Scented oils or cleansing tonics?

Are you more of a shower gal? Or do you prefer to take baths?

Questions, questions ... I'm just full of them today.


(But I'm stopping in at Staples later, so I'll most likely be chatting up "office supplies" in my next post.)

Have a good Thursday, my friends!

"Baths have many functions aside from their avowed intention of keeping the body clean. There is the early morning bath of warm water or tepid water followed by a cooler spray and a brisk rub that brings a healthy glow to the skin and sets you up for the day ...

Then there is the warm, luxurious bath that draws all the ache out of tired muscles, that gently soothes and restores ragged nerves and frayed dispositions. The ideal time for this is in the afternoon or evening, especially if one is going out afterwards and wishes to feel particularly fit and relaxed."

~ From 'Bathing, 1928' as found in Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman