Grandma’s Dill Pickles

pickles 2Ever tasted a homemade dill pickle? If not, BOY are you missing out. We like store bought pickles in our house, but we LOVE homemade pickles! No lie…a jar of Grandma’s pickles will only last about a week in our fridge; where the store bought jars could be in there a month or two (they really just don’t taste near as good).

I canned my very own batch of pickles for the first time about 5 months ago. They’ve been slowly fermenting in my pantry, staring me in the face. I dare not open them just yet…I want to wait until their flavor is juuuuuussst right! I can’t get my mind off those jars…so I thought I’d write about how I made them instead. :)

My grandma is the #1 expert on canning foods! She knows her stuff. Over 70 years of age, Grandma is a very active member of her community. She volunteers in church activities all the time, goes to exercise classes, takes care of her neighbors, raises 1-2 beef cows a year, and still finds time to plant and care for an immaculate garden every summer. I hope I’m that sassy and spunky when I’m her age!!

Grandma says the key to the best pickles you’ve ever tasted is time. The longer they sit in those jars, the better they will taste. So…I’m leavin mine sit awhile longer. We’ll see how long I make it before I snap. ;)

Grandma doesn’t consider this an old family recipe. It’s very easy and very quick. I had my pickles fully canned in WAY under an hour.

Before you start you’ll want to:

1. Get your water bath on to boil…it takes forever!

2. Soak your cucumbers in ice water for 20-30 minutes…I hear this helps them have a nice crunch.pickles 1

What you’ll need:

  • 4-5 quart jars
  • garlic cloves (one for each jar)
  • 4-5 heads of fresh dill
  • 1 quart vinegar
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • Oh and cucumbers of course

*optional: If you’d like to make Grandma’s Spicy Dill’s throw in a dried hot chili pepper (the red ones).

I put all my spices in my jars first, a head of dill and a clove of garlic for each jar. If you’re making spicy, throw in a hot pepper for each jar as well.

Place your cucumbers in the jars. Fit in as many as you can, but don’t cram them in there. If they are bigguns, cut them in half lengthwise or turn them into “hamburger chips.”

In a seperate container combine the water, vinegar, and salt. Stir until all the salt is dissolved. Pour into your jars, leaving at least half an inch at the top. Make sure all of your cucumbers and spices are covered by the liquid. Wipe down your jars with a damp cloth.

Heat up the lids for your jars in boiling water for about 5 minutes. This will make the rubbery band on the inside expand nicely; which eventually will ensure that your jars will seal nicely. Remove from the water and place on the jars. Screw on the ring caps…nice and tight.

Place the jars in your water bath. Make sure the water covers the jars completely. Let those puppies bathe for 5 minutes. Pull them out. Then let them cool and seal on the counter. Make sure you hear each one of them seal. Annnnd you’re done!

Store them in a cool dry place for at least 6 months (shake them if you think about it) for optimal flavor.

See…quick and easy!

Ginny

 

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Fun Recipes, Home Recipes, Idaho Grown, Kids Food, Real Food, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Running with your dogs

dollandharlFor those of you who are wondering what happened to the “Keeping it Chrissy” series this is it. There is just shockingly little by way of information about jogging with dogs. I titled this post thus so that people could find it easier. ;)

I’m a dog lover. My dogs are a part of my family and I treat them like I would treat my kids. I have done one previous post about my dogs find it here.  I have Dollie, a Lab/German Shepherd mix and Harley a Rottweiler/Bull Mastiff mix. These girls are my running mates. I wont leave home without them.

imageFirst things first, when your looking for a running mate you need to pick a dog breed that will suit your purposes. Take into account the lengths/speed of your runs and also your areas terrain/climate. An English bulldog (who is undeniable in cuteness) or a pug would probably never make a good running partner. They have a hard time breathing as it is and their legs are pretty short to be carrying around their stocky body for too long. Your jogging time would be a good nap time for them. If your somebody who has done a lot of jogging and puts in a medium amount of miles during the week you should look to labs or retrievers. Any of the “working” dog breeds will be great here. If your a marathon runner, lean dogs like Weimaraners and German Shorthaired  Pointers would be best. While living in a cold area, I, myself, would also consider Huskies, Malamutes and German Shepherds to partner with. However, when it came to be summer time it would take some serious contemplation before taking them out (probably at 4am :-X). I’m summarizing here. Generally, you can find a dog breed for all jogging types. This link is a good place to start.

Keep in mind also that pure breed dogs aren’t the only dogs to jog with. Mixed breed dogs often take the best traits from the respective parents and make awesome companions. For instance, you wouldn’t think that the stocky Rottweiler breed paired with a monster bull mastiff would be an ideal running dog. My gal Harley can go for 6 miles at a 10 minute mile pace and still have enough energy to voraciously hunt for ground squirrels when we are done. She’s smaller than we anticipated at 90 pounds (Her mom was 115 pounds and dad was 125) and she was born to run. When in doubt, always ask your vet. You should consult with them before starting your dog on any exercise regimen. Be specific when you tell them what your plans are. Don’t just say “I’m going to start taking my dog running” Tell the vet how far and how fast you typically go. They’ll let you know if they don’t think your pooch can do it.

imageBoth my girls rode in the stroller when they were pups and loved it. You should never take your dog with you until they are finished growing. Doing this will ensure that you don’t stress their fragile bones and work their growing joints uneccisarrily. PS…they make strollers for dogs if you really want to include them in your activities before they are grown. However, you run the risk of them becoming attached to the idea that riding is better than running.  :D

I don’t have even the slightest urge to teach my dogs to shake, sit or roll over. They will fetch if they feel like it. The girls have their own personalities and tempraments and I have no urge to curb those and own the most well behaved dogs ever. I don’t own my dogs, my dogs are apart of my family. However, much like my kids, I expect my dogs to recognize running as something that is for ME and they will do it my way when we are on the road. Other than that they can do what ever they want (within reason).

dollabillI hate the very idea of chains. I wouldn’t do that to one of my kids and I don’t want to do it to my dog either! When we run I do keep my ladies on leashes though, thats the only time I keep them tethered. I don’t do this to appear as a respectable dog owner who follows the rules of society. I do it for my girls. Keeping them on the leash ensures that they will have enough energy to go the distance and not be completly spent at the end. They are VERY well trained and neither pulls on their leash the moment it clips on. They rarely go further than my stride will. The exception to this is if there is another dog in close proximity. They will guard me if they feel they have to, but we generally know the offender and I will shoo them away.

Training Dollie, (who is older) was no easy feat. Honestly, getting her to run on pace was almost impossible when we were alone. What eventually broke her of running on the end of her leash was the infamous triple stroller. She found out awefully quick that if she was willing to pull I was more than happy to put her in a harness and attach the leash to the stroller and let her pull all the kids while I ran close behind steering when I had too. After a couple months she let the slack come into her leash and was plumb pleased to let me go back to pushing on my own… much to my dismay. We ran like that for a couple years and she has been great ever since.

Harley, was a quick study and mirrored Doll when we started taking her with us. She did need the occasional reminders (Thank you squirrels) but I would “tsssk” her and gently pull back her leash. Now they both run with slack in their leashes keeping close to my knees, happy to be out and about. All I have to do is reach for my running shoes and they are waiting none so patiently by the door to be fitted with harnesses and leashes.

doghairPlease make sure and hydrate your dog  well before you take them out. In the summer brush them well to keep off excess coat and keep them cool. I try to brush my girls every two weeks with a FURminator. This removes all the loose coat and reduces shedding quite a bit…our house is never without dog hair. Don’t take them out if its too hot. If its too hot for my dogs, its too hot for me. I would never run without my dogs.

If you live in the boon-toolies like I do keep in mind that your dogs will not protect you from wolves. If anything your dogs will draw wolves to you. You may have to leave your dogs to protect yourself. Don’t buy the leashes that clip onto belts. Make sure you can let go of your dogs without a moments notice. Run with a pistol if you can’t stand the thought of leaving your dogs to the wolves.

winterroadRunning with your dogs is an excellent way to protect yourself from predators of the two legged variety. I don’t run with my girls for protection, even though they would eat somebody’s face off without thinking twice if some kind of threat presented itself. Run with your dogs for them. If you have a high energy dog (lets face it here… any dog that weighs over 30-40 pounds has too much energy for one house) take them out and get them some exercise. At least a little everyday. My girls run 3-6 miles twice a week and thats still not enough! Obesity is an epidemic in the dog world just as much as it is in the human world. If your dog sits in the house all day or on the end of a chain don’t be surprised if it doesn’t start to get supremely annoying or begin to show signs of aggression. Dogs weren’t meant to be cooped up they were meant to run.

If you live in my area and would like your dog to be trained for running or just need to get them some extra exercise, let me know! We always like extra company.

frozenftownWell…sadly, that wraps up everything I wanted to say in the Mini Series that turned into the “World Series” of blogging… plus one. This whole thing has been so much fun to do. I’m going to miss it! It was pretty time consuming though so I’m ready. Thank you all for your “shares” and “likes” and humbling comments. I never thought that I would see anything come of this and it has been truly amazing to get so many compliments on something that was emotionally terrifying to write. This series (and this blog) is proof that putting yourself out there has its benefits!

THANK YOU ALL! <3

Chrissy*

Posted in Keeping it Chrissy Mini Series, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping it Chrissy…I just felt like running 3

fitone2I may not be the fastest, longest distance, most graceful and attractive runner but I am super awesome in some ways when it comes to running. Not to sound all full of myself but I am kind of a big deal :) If I have peaked your interest and your wondering “what could Chrissy be so awesome at that she’s annoyed me with her confidence?”

I’ll let you in on a secret. I am awesome at running with my kids and I am awesome at running with my dogs.

While I may never have ballads written about me and my amazing talents, these two little ditties have made my life as a runner and mother without time to exercise VERY easy. That is enough to make me want to write a ballad about myself. While this may not sound good set to music… I’m about to spin some magic for you and give you all the tips to my most amazing successes.

imageLets start off with the biggie…shall we?

The kids. I know how hard it is to exercise while your kids are small. I have three 7 and under here. I have always been a runner and after every one of the kids was born I wanted to start jogging… pretty much the next day. However…finding a sitter twice a week wasn’t really something I wanted to do. So I take them all with me when I jog. Which takes me to my first point.

This is possibly the worst idea for a stroller ever. Unless your kids are little angels...pretty much count on somebody getting kicked right in the face.

This is possibly the worst idea for a stroller ever. Unless your kids are little angels…pretty much count on somebody getting kicked right in the face.

If you want to jog with your kids, you should probably have a stroller. Fortunately, my awesomness also encompasses a extreamly vast knowledge of strollers. Do not run with any kind of umbrella or standard stroller with small wheels. Find yourself a stroller with large back wheels and has a large fixed wheel(s) in the front. Don’t waste your time with a stroller that has a wheel that moves left to right in the front. These make tight turns easy, so if you are going to be jogging an obstacle course then by all means buy one. However, if your jogging for over 20 yards this moveable wheel will be pointless. Many jogging strollers have a movable wheel in the front but I don’t like how it chitters back and forth when I run. Fixed large wheel in the front, just trust me. Speaking of tires, if you have some money to spend do yourself a favor and buy solid tires. Goat heads have often been the bane of my existance. The solid tires do make your stroller slightly heavier…something to keep in mind.

Don’t buy a new stroller unless you know for sure how many kids you will be having. HAHA good luck with that! I have owned a single, a double, and a triple jogging stroller. The best laid plans of mice and men…all that jazz. Find yourself a good used stroller. There are people (like me) who are getting rid of good strollers every where. Do your research and make sure your not buying a cheap-o.

Make sure the frames not bent! Push the stroller at least 20 or so yards and if it tries to pull to the left or the right, AT ALL, the frame is bent and you should pass on it. Jogging and muscling your stroller is not something you want to do…trust me.

Make sure there is some kind of shocks. This isnt going to be something that you will want to take rock crawling but the kids will appreciate a smoother ride.

imageNow that you’ve got your stroller ready, its time to get the kids ready. My biggest suggestion here is to get them riding for long periods of time in a stroller as soon as possible. HOWEVER, you should never put a baby in an upright stroller until they can hold up their heads well on their own. My single stroller laid all the way back and was like a basinet on wheels so I started jogging with my daughter (7) when my doctor cleared me to jog at 6 weeks post pardum. Make sure your baby is well fed, dry, and comfortable before setting off. If your a nursing mommy, nurse! I would nurse my baby on one side and pump the other because all that extra milk made my already heavy chest unbearable. (Ps…I am a milk cow and have been known to pump 8oz from each side so getting all the milk out was a chore. Most mommies can get away with just feeding their baby.) I also liked to set off at nap time so the kids would nap while in the stroller. Nothing is as awesome as getting more than a mile out and having a crabby baby. On that note, have somebody on standbye to come pick you up incase there are troubles.

imageAs the kids hit the 18months -4 years mark…always use your buckles and straps. Guess who has run over her wayward 2 year old with a stroller… me thats who. They will bail if you give them the option. So always use the straps. All my kids loved riding in the stroller but we did battle boredom…heavily. When kids get bored in the stroller things start to fly out of it. There is no way to prevent boredom. Shoes, socks, coats, blankets, little brothers…all start to fly out. When this started to happen in my rig, my kids were all sporting tightly laced shoes (double knotted) and a single sandwich baggie with snacks and these bags super cute snuggie bags Ginny makes. In the winter, coats cinched down over mittens and hats inside of coat hoods. If the hoods come off, mommy gets mad because the tops of heads are the only things I can see. Regardless, off all these precautions, we STILL leave a trail of belongings behind us so there is no sure proof way to fix this problem. I would much rather loose a sock than an ipad, so we keep it minimalistic. It may seem kind of harsh to give them nothing to do but keep in mind that this is for a period of less than an hour. They will be ok watching the scenery and enjoying some fresh air for 35-45 minutes… trust me.  There’s nothing wrong with giving them something to do but if it will be missed or possibly used as a weapon you’ll regret giving it to them.

imageThis is something I do with my kids but there may be some ruffled feathers here…my kids all know that if you talk to mommy or try to get her attention she will probably snap at you. They all know that this is mommies time to do something good for herself and the last thing she will want to do is stop to break up a squabble or look at a giant bumble bee. For the most part they are good left to themselves, but I have been known to turn up the volume on my earbuds when a little person is trying to describe how awesome the mountains are. Admitting this makes me feel horrible, but if there was ever a time for me to be selfish… jogging with them in the stroller is it.

So basically, I just go. The kids are on their own in the stroller ahead of me and I just push, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. I like to think of it as getting in a really good upper body work out :)

imagePushing a stroller is easy when your walking around. Pushing a stroller after you have been running for 20 minutes is not fun. Pushing a triple stroller that weighs 120 pounds as well as over 100 pounds of kids with a head wind is a special kind of hell. Don’t be deceived by how easy a stroller pushes when you walk. Start off slow. Go a half a mile on your maiden voyage…work your way up to where you want to be.

I’m going to take a bit to talk about my stroller because I love it more than anyone could love an inanimate object.  I was given my triple stroller by my mom when I was pregnant with my youngest (the cutest whoopsie-daisy known to man) because I had everything I needed already BUT a jogging stroller. This stroller is as wide as a car with all the seats sitting side by side. There are HUGE wheels on the back and double fixed wheels on the front. This has to be the best gift I have ever been given. If I were ever faced with having to push my single or my double stroller, I would still push my triple. Even now I push it with only two kids in the seats. I cant in all honesty claim the ease in which the stroller pushes prompts me to do this. My boys have to have that much space between them… otherwise there will be a blood bath the likes of which no one has ever seen. It is the best stroller ever. I got it used. Its faded and dirty and seen at least a couple hundred miles just with me. I have made appearances on the Boise and Twin Falls local news jogging with this stroller as well as having my picture as a permanent fixture in the newsletter for 2013 Fit One race in Boise, one of the biggest 5Ks in the nation. This baby gets attention wherever I go and I always have a cheering crowd when I cross a finish line at races. People always support a mommy with a huge stroller full of kids and that keeps me going a boosts my confidence.

I’m bringing all this up because I want everybody to know that just because a stroller looks big, is ugly, is the mini van of the jogging world, its still the best thing to ever happen to me in terms of being healthy. Having kids should never hold you back from reaching your fitness goals. You may have to be inventive, you may have to take your kids along but there will always be an opportunity to make good choices for yourself.

imageIn my next and final post of this NOT-SO “mini” series I’m going to wrap things up by sharing my tips and tricks for training your dogs to run with you.

Chrissy*

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Keeping it Chrissy Mini Series, Natural Body, Natural Mommy, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Super Easy DIY Heat Pad

DIY Heat PadWhen I was pregnant with my son, I had horrible lower back pain! Most likely cause by being on my feet all day. I was teaching 3rd grade at that time. By  late afternoon, the pain would be unbearable and no amount of rubbing could make it go away. Oh how I wish I’d known about essential oils back then. :(

Being the obsessive researcher I am, I stated looking into solutions for this nasty, annoying pain. I read in one of my many pregnancy books (and I mean many…it’s almost ridiculous how many books I had) that a hot compress can help loosen the muscles and relieve the pain.

I looked into buying a heat pad, but was too cheap to fork out the cash for one. I decided that it couldn’t be THAT hard for me to make something I could warm in the microwave…These were BP days, mind you!! (BP=Before Pinterest). I had to come up with this all on my own back then.

The idea I cooked up in my prego brain was a miraculous cure to to my sore lower back. From that day forward I didn’t spend a single night without my little homemade heat pad.

Wanna Know how I made it?? Well…You’re in luck, cause that’s how we roll here at Sisters! From my home to yours…this nifty (and SUPER easy) project can be done and ready to use in under 20 minutes. No foolin…unless you decide to sew it the really old fashioned way by hand. Then you might need to add on 10 more minutes or so.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric of your choice. Flannel or Cotton is best. I like to use scrap fabric or an old t-shirt. Base the amount of fabric on the how big you want your heat pad to be.
  • Rice (get the cheapest you can find)
  • A funnel
  • Sewing machine and some thread

Here’s what to do:

  1. Lay out your fabric. You’ll need to cut out 2 rectangles of the same size, so double layer it if you can, to save some time.
  2. Pin the “right sides” or patterned sides together. Leave a 2 inch hole on one of the shorter ends. This will be where you turn it right side out and pour in the rice.
  3. Sew a seam…I won’t get technical here with the width of the seam. Just make sure it’s wide enough to  pour the rice in.
  4. Turn the fabric right side out.
  5. Using a funnel, pour in your rice. You’ll need enough to fill the bag mostly full. You don’t want to fill it completely full or it will be hard to sew shut. You’ll want a little bit of wiggle room for the rice. Also, too much rice will make the heat pad a bit bulky.
  6. Turn in the rough ends of the hole, pin and sew shut.

Walla!! You have a heat pad. Heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on how hot you want it to be). Apply to the area of soreness, relax, and let go. DIY Heat Pad 2Reheat as necessary.

For an added boost of aromatherapy, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil to the pad after it comes out of the microwave. I love to add doTERRA’s Balance Blend to mine…You all know how much I LOOOOVVVVE my Balance!!

These awesome projects also make great gifts for a friend or a baby shower gift for a mommy to be. Throw in a bottle of essential oil and your friend will love you forever!

I hope you enjoy the benefits of this DIY project as much as I do!! I still love to fish mine out from time to time. :)

Ginny

Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Craftiness, Crafts for you, Sewing Projects | Leave a comment

Keeping it Chrissy…I just felt like running 2

imageToday I’m going to go over all my running gear in terms of clothes and shoes. Anybody who says that running is a cheap form of exercise doesn’t run a whole lot. So stick with me here if your even the slightest bit interested in being equipped with the right gear. Or maybe your just like to read about clothes, I know I do.

Number One..Always buy good shoes. Not good looking shoes. Every time I see a cute pair of Nike Shox I wanna cry! Mostly in memory of the summer I ran in a pair and was in constant pain, but also because they are so darn cute. If I was going to spend that kind of money on shoes again they better have a sky high heel and fair amount of suede. (My current running shoes don’t apply here) I have plenty of kick around shoes and IMHO thats all the Shox are good for. You’ll look cute though (please dont yell at me).
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I am working on my second pair of Brooks Ariels and well over 500 miles combined in them. The Brooks website is an amazing tool for picking the right shoe for your needs. If you are already a fan of the Brooks brand definatly utilize it! However, I would suggest going to a specialty store that has trained people and equipment to analize how you run, your body type, level etc etc. There are things you wouldnt even imagine that could impact what shoes you should buy. I never knew that I was running with  some serious under-pronation.  Since I wasn’t wearing an apprpriate shoe my entire body paid the price. Just do it. Its free! I like to support all small Idaho businesses and this is my favorite store. There are several in the Boise area. Drop me a line and I’ll fill you in. Buy your shoes an 1/2 size too big. My toenails die and fall off if I dont do this so give yourself some room. DON’T BE CHEAP! No matter who is promoting them and what they say, Sketchers are not an appropriate running shoe. Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

imageEasiest of all summer gear: Shorts (ones with built in uderware are the best). Tank tops, wicking jerseys (mine are mostly good quality race shirts..two birds one stone ;) ) You can buy amazing stuff at TJ Maxx. They sell all the big name brands at a fraction of the price. Definatly worth a glance.

SOCKS. Take.care.of.your.FEET! Smart wool socks are my favorite. When I have none that are clean, bet your sweet sassy muh-lassie that I’m gonna second round those babies. I dont care if I stink as long as my feet are happy. Puma also makes excellent sports socks if your looking for a cheaper alternative.
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BRAS. If your a very well endowed runner like me, you know that while some people see your double dees as hitting the genetic lottery, you on the other hand shake your fist at the heavens for the horrible curse that is big boobs. Buy a good bra. If your like me you have to buy two… to wear at the same time. All you B cups still jelouse? Try wearing two heavy duty sports bras in the summer then come whine to me about not filling out a dress. Double dare ya. I wear two to lower the strain on my upper and lower back. I also wear two because I would hate to cause a car accident because the “ladies” werent secured properly.
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Now is the time that ole’ check books gonna start smoken…

Winter gear. Depending on where you hale from your winter needs may not be so hefty. Living in the Idaho equivelent of the antartic means I’ve got to get ALL the heavy duty stuff. Lets start at the base and go to the outer. Obviously, you start at your underware…unless your me and your butt eats everything. I dont pick wedgies when I run so its either have painful chafing or go commando. TOTAL TMI, but by now you should know thats how I roll. Moving on Bra (try two) wicking tank or tee and wicking pants. Its important to wear wicking material on your base because if dont your going to sweat and if its freezing outside your soon to be a sweat-cicle. My pants are really great Pearl Izumis that are capris and double as winter base layer and summer outer.
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The outer layers consist of winter level pants. My go to pair are made by prAna but I also like to wear my husbands fleece lined thermal undderware as an outer layer. prAna aparently only makes active wear for yogis now but these are probably awesome.

On the top. I wear a heavy duty winter long sleeve wicking shirt by Dude Girl. (Who has coicindentaly shifted to only making preformance gear for cyclists… I can not catch a break here! This one is comperable) I ALWAYS wear my winter top…rain or shine its a life saver.

A good jacket. Do your self a favor and buy a nice one thats made for jogging in freezing temperatures. Mine is a Nike that feels like cheap plastic but has saved my toocus many a time…like last winter at close to 15 degrees. Gloves. I wear cheap knit gloves that are nothing special. My hands dont sweat and they stay warm so I havent brought myself to spend the money on good ones. A hat. Once again mine is knit. All it does is keep the heat from escaping out the top of my head. It does get really sweaty so I will probably get a higher quality one eventually.
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My AMAZING aunt gave me her spare pair of Yaktracks to run on packed snow but I have had yet to use them. I’ll update this post first thing when I have the chance.

I dont run without music. Some people dont like to run with music but I have found that it keeps me on pace and it helps with my interval training. A GPS device is also good to have. Garmen makes great watches for tracking your progress, time heart rate and lord knows what else. I don’t have one because the good ones are very expensive and I’m still reeling from the clothes bill. Thats an on going battle I feel like I’ll never win. I use the Nike + app with GPS. Yeah…is free! I love everything about this app. It gives me access to my music and the settings are effortlessly changed. It syncs with facebook (among others) posting your runs and also allows your friends to “cheer” you on. So everytime one of my facebook friends likes the post Nike + generates when I begin my runs, I hear a rocous crowd cheering. Its fun and always makes me smile. I’ve just covered my favorite parts of the app here but there is so much more so get intouch with me and I’ll fill you in.

Your going to need something to keep your music and your app on. I’m a self proclaimed apple snob so you’ll have to excuse my lack of knowledge on other devices but my iphone suits me down to the ground in all areas of life. I would die without my apple account. So Ipod, Iphone, Ipad…if you want to get in some upper body work with your runs.

Sunglasses, some that are light on your face and don’t bounce around. I wear some super cute Oakley aviators. While I look super cool they have a tendancy to slip down my nose. My next pair will be Nike because I have heard they are awesome.
Chapstick, because nobody likes to run with chapped lips.
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Finally, a cute little pistol. In case a wolf or some creeper (who probably read on the internet that you have huge boobs and don’t wear underware) tries to make you their prey. Wolves are an issue in our area and I would really hate to be eaten by some. The creepers are, however, in short supply…so stay far away creepers.

Sorry this post is so massive! Good lord I never thought I could talk so much about running clothes.

Up next running with your kids. Its not as hard as you think… promise.
Chrissy*

Posted in Keeping it Chrissy Mini Series, Natural Body, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Tale of How EO Mommy Saves the Day

EO MommyTwas round about 7, we hadn’t supped yet. The kids were both having a grand old time playing cops and bad guys. EO Mommy was in the kitchen cooking up some grub for dinner and listening to the playful banter of the children. The Cop (handcuffs, gun, and all) and the Bad Guy, who had chosen to dress up like Princess Elsa for the occasion, were racing about. That Princey Bad Guy was fast, but The Cop was gaining on her.

She ran as fast as she could through the house, but The Cop was much to fast for her. After several rounds about the kitchen island, The Cop finally caught the Princey Bad Guy and arrested her for her wrong doings. He cuffed her behind her back and started to haul her off to jail. Not going with out a fight, the Princey decided to make a run for it again. Through the kitchen she ran, not remembering that her dress was much to long. Down she went, with no hands to catch her fall.

It was painful there was no doubt about it, she cried out loudly as EO Mommy ran to the rescue.

There was blood…OH NO!! But where was it coming from?? Nose?…no…Teeth?…no…Chin?…there it is!

EO Mommy noticed how deep the gash was. It was bleeding pretty badly. Quickly she grabs a rag and of course spouts no profanities at all!

Daddy ran in, “What do we do?” said he. “It’s deep!” said Mommy, “We may need to take her in.”

The bleeding wouldn’t stop and neither would her cries. “Get the chamomile, lavender, and frankincense!” said EO Mommy.

As soon as that chamomile essential oil touched the Princey Bad Guy’s ouchy…it miraculously stops bleeding and the screaming and crying stops. The Princey Bad Guy is suddenly not in pain and calms down.

“It feews awl bedder Mommy!” Princey Bad Guy said. Not yet convinced EO Mommy takes
the Princey to the couch to rest and hold the “medicine” over the ouchy.

Daddy and The Cop rushed to grandma’s house to get the “liquid stitches” (aka helichrysum) and some sterie strips in hopes to save a trip to the ER.

EO Mommy had the Princy Bad Guy calm on the couch, but she was ready for her band-aid by the time Daddy got back. Mommy put the helichrysum on the ouchy (diluted of course) and put everything back where it belonged with a sterie strip. All was fine and the Princey Bad Guy ate her dinner all gone that night!

The End

**EO Mommy tried to take pictures of the ouchy to go with this tale, but alas The Princey Bad Guy doesn’t hold still well enough to show how well her ouchie has healed. :(

 

Posted in Essential Oil, Ginny's Journal, Herb and EO Journal, Little Bodies, Natural Mommy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping it Chrissy…I just felt like running

imageI have a love/like relationship with running. There are days when I am super excited to run and there are days when I don’t want to run but do it anyways and am glad I did it at the end. I have never hated to run. There are days that I hated myself while I ran. Hated the fact that I was out of shape, hated the fact that I was overweight or getting old and my knees hurt, etc etc. Running has always been my go to when I needed to feel better about myself. I’m not a fast runner, I’m not a far runner, and I certainly don’t look good when I run, I’m still a runner. The “mini” series Keeping it Chrissy has turned into a full fledged series so I’m starting an actual “mini” series within the series. The Series of unfortunate series…thats what well call it.
Serie-usly…
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I’m not going to be talking about running form at all. My form is generally terrible and I carry so much tension in my upper body that I look like a swamp monster. I have been trying to change it for years but have found that after 1-2 miles I revert back to my old ways and worrying about it just is pointless. So I’m not much in a position to coach anybody on running form.

Generally I run alone. Wait…I take that back. Generally, I am the only thing on two legs in my group of three. I don’t run without my furry girls (more on that later). I have a slight competetive bent… I HAVE A COMPETITION PROBLEM OK!?!? Running with other humans will lead to my trying to make a flame trailer. Occasionaly, Ginny and I will run together, but when you were grown in the same womb and have often been confused as one body with two heads its easy to find the same stride where your both comfortable. Its always fun to run together but I have an inkling that running is something Ginny likes enough to do it when she has to, much like yoga is to me. Running alone is nice because it gives me a chance to shut down my brain and put aside my daily conundrums and focus on my body for a little bit. Its my mental healing time that has the added bonus of exercise.

#1 Have a preparation routine. On the days I run I hydrate pretty excesivley until an hour before I run. I also eat at least an hour before I run. Undigested food or a belly full of water always gives me a stitch in my side. This really ruins my day. 2 miles out with a stitch is its own level of hell and may have you swearing off running forever. I “push” through a stitch with hard exhales every time I have a left footfall.  Set your running days in stone. I run on Thursdays and Sundays. The only time I change this is when my other exercise day (Tuesday) needs to be changed. Or I decide in September that it is officially hibernation time. :( Remember, even if your in the best shape of your life, just two weeks of a fitness break will be enough to set you back… A LOT!

image#2 You do not have to push yourself.  I saw an inspirational quote that said “Even a 12 minute mile is still a mile” this is so true. Here’s the rub… the quote makes a 12 minute mile sound like its not something amazing. A 12 minute mile is exceptional when your trying to get healthy. I wont EVER run faster than a 10 minute mile, no matter what shape I’m in. My point isn’t to be fast. If I want a progressive challenge I will go further not faster. Thats my choice.  A challenge is always good but I worry about my knees and going fast aggravates them. That being said…after every one of my “fitness sabbaticals” I plan to do no better than a 13 minute mile. ITS NOT IMPORTANT!! No matter how slow you go your still lapping everybody on the couch. ;) Set a reasonable goal (in all things) Keep your mental well being in mind. Walk when you need to…your still burning calories no matter what you do!

#3 Fuel your body to run. Don’t eat only iceburg lettuce and expect to run a half marathon. You can not expect your body to function without proper nutrition. A staple in terms of “fuel” for me and running are almonds and almond butter. I love nuts!

image#4 Your seasonal timing during the day is important. Dont run in the summer at midday when temps are over 75-80 degrees. Please! Having heat stroke once leaves you more susceptible to getting it again. Ask me how I know. Nothing is worse than thinking your dying and scaring the crap out of your kids. In the winter, try to go when it is the warmest. You can train your lungs to function in cold temps and follow up with some fun steam treatments, but do yourself a favor and dont push it when its really cold. If the weather is so crappy that I cant run outside (I mean like gale force winds and white out blizzard) I will run on my moms treadmill but I would almost rather have a stitch in my side.

#5 Pick a fun route. I have been running the same route since high school (at the least). My only variation would be the distance, never more than 6 miles. I’m a little OCD about somethings and the thought of running a different route gives me the heebie jeebies. Its not important to run the same route but having a plan is a good idea. Have a good half way point that is logical. Don’t run three miles out of town and decide you dont want to put in the 3 more to get home.

image#5 Always take care of your body first. Stretch before a run and after. Do yoga for runners! There are plenty DVDs out there for optimizing your runs. If you feel even the slightest bit of fatigue in your knees. REST. Don’t run the next day or even the next week. Pushing through the pain will only have you doing permanent damage… then you may never run again. Listen to your back and your ankles. Running is hard on a body. So run with moderation and always have your joints and muscles in mind. Take it easy and start off your running regimen slowly. I use Deep Blue Rub and AromaTouch oil on my knees when they start to give me fits. I would be wiling to chat about either of these oils if your interested.

I may never win a race but I know every time I run I’m a little bit healthier and thats enough by me.

Prepared to be amazed by my next post! I’ll be talking about clothes and shoes…for running sucka!

Chrissy*

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Keeping it Chrissy…work it!

imageIn my previous posts I may have lead you to believe that I don’t think that fitness is important. If this is the case I am truly sorry cause guess what…it is! Fitness runs a very close second to food in the journey to be healthy! Now, many of us have several misconceptions in regards to fitness. Like… “you have to be miserable when you do it”? Am I the only one who has thought like this? I did for years.
I’m here today to tell you that you don’t have to run till you puke and you don’t have to waddle cause your sore to get your exercize in. “You can be sore, or sorry” my fanny!
If you cant get out of bed the next morning, how likely are you to repeat the workout that put you there? You probably wont I’ll tell you that. Its ok for your muscles to be a little sore from disuse so don’t think I’m letting you out of that little family hike to the marsh. The kind of sore that has you popping ibuprofen like candy is not ok. Say your training for a marathon and are pushing yourself, your going to choose to make yourself sore (thats a promise) If all your wanting is to be healthy you do not have to train for a marathon. When your fit and healthy, THEN you can choose to train for whatever you damn well please.
Lets get there first… shall we?

First off, make a realistic goal for how often you will exersise. You do not have to work out everyday to be fit, no matter what anybody says. If it works for you physically and emotionally thats great but the fitness gods will not smite you if you’re only getting your fitness on once or twice a week. The idea is to do what you can and be proud of yourself. Don’t max yourself out trying to work out 7 days a week because being burned out wont get you anywhere. I work out 3 times a week, 9 months out of the year and that makes me proud enough of myself to write informative blog posts. If I do more than that I start to feel like working out is taking over my life and I feel GUILTY about my priorities. 3 hours a week is all I am willing to give. The rest goes to my family and there’s always room for improvement to be a great mother and wife. Every one is different in terms of what they can and cant do with their time so you should come to your own conclusions here.
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Heres my little fitness tidbit. I hate lifting weights. I won’t touch any sort of weights unless its the sweet little 2 pounders I rock in Zumba (more on that later) I can attest to lifting weights and its benefits for your body. I have nothing against lifting weights and suggest at least trying it to any one. Lifting may be your calling in life. Thats if you like to do it. I would rather wear a turn of the century bathing suit to Mexico than enter a weight room. I snigger when I walk by one actually, “not me you heavy devils…not me”. If there is anything that I can contribute to being successful at being fit, it would be to find something you LOVE, some others that you like and leave all the rest. I have participated in several forms of exercise. Pilates, aerobics, water aerobics, rock climbing, lap swimming, bikes, tennis and racket ball, you name it I’ve tried it… well not squash. What I’m getting at here is that its taken me a while to find my groove. I did find it eventually though.

Heres a few of my faves…

Ginny is a yoga fanatic. She tries to do it early every morning. In terms of what I stated above yoga is something that Ginny LOVES. Yoga is something I like. We have been known to do it together, but I do not do it every day. I will try to get a little in when my knees are tired from doing the things that I LOVE. Mentally, yoga feels like a nice long meditation after a good massage. It is also physically strenuous enough to give you an awesome workout. Unfortunately, I wont get my bones out of bed early enough to do it before my kids wake up so I usually have three little bodies seeking sanctuary under my downward facing dog. I dont get to do it often. Yoga is an excellent way to exercise your mind and your body together and if your looking for a low impact work out. Don’t be fooled by the phrase “low impact”. Even if you have done yoga before, if its been years since your last session I would start at the beginner level or you wont be able to get out of bed. Like many diciplins of fitness you need to go slow to to avoid all types of injury.
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I LOVE Zumba! I have always loved to dance and nothing is better to me than getting my butt into things. The best thing about a work out that you love is that you don’t realize your busting those buns until your done. The greatest thing about Zumba is that it can cater to all fitness levels. You push harder as you progress (ps- you dont even realize it). If you aren’t sweating and out of breath when your done then your not shaking it hard enough and you should stop being worried about what the people behind you think and get cRaZy! Not gonna lie our Zumba instructor here has got to be the best so if your in our area -wait no…if your even an hour away, drive here ITS SOO worth it- come dance with Chelsea! I have had a lot of fitness instructors and coaches but none of them has been so amazingly great at reading the signs for when I need that extra push or when I have been giving my all and to just leave me alone. She’s an amazing motivator and friend (check out her page here) and come dance with us!
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Most importantly, if your doing something besides being sedentary…you can count that as exercise. “Taught my kid how to ski” exercise. “Walked to my friends a block away” exercise. You are the one who determines how to get up and get moving. If your up and moving and making yourself proud for changing the things in your life that you don’t like, your working on yourself and your getting fit! You don’t have to do any of the things that I have suggested here to day to start your fitness ball rolling. Find that fitness “fit” in your life and KEEP GOING!

Up next, I’m going to spill the beans on how anyone can be a runner…even me.
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Chrissy*

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Teacher’s Soapbox

Teacher's SoapboxThe world today is much different than the one I grew up in. When I think about my childhood, I remember TV being something we watched sometimes. We spent most of our time outside. There was no computer in my house. Adults were someone we had to listen to and respect or there was serious consequences.

Now my children would spend all day in front of the TV (if I let them) and we have 4 computers in our house. I’ve seen 6 year olds with cell phones of their own…even smart phones of their own. :-/ I don’t mean to offend anyone out there, and I hope no one takes offense to any of my comments in this post…I’m just baffled by some of the things I’ve seen is all.

At school, many of the children have no filter. They say things to other people that are just down right mean and hurtful. Bullying is becoming more and more common (and in varying forms). Sometimes there is even little or no remorse for these actions. Open defiance and laziness are common among many children.

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that I need to do something different in order to prepare these sweet children for the world that lies in front of them. They are our future! Can you imagine where we will be in 15 years? I can’t imagine how much different it will be…

I’m scared for my own 2 children and what they will need to overcome in their future. I want to do my best to prepare them and the children I am spending my days with at school for THEIR unpredictable future.

A week ago I was in Layton, UT for a symposium on a new movement in schools called “The Leader in Me.” If you haven’t heard of this yet, go check out their website. When I call this a “movement” I mean it. This initiative is changing the face of thousands of schools all over the world. The children at their “lighthouse schools” are giving public speeches, performing in front of a crowd, and showing leadership in any and all venues. In order to become a “lighthouse school” you need to meet certain criteria set by the FranklinCovey. The feel in the school as soon as you walk through the door is just different than any school I’ve ever been in before. It’s a warm feeling. The kids are confident, busy, and happy.

I feel compelled to spread the word about this initiative because last week I was inspired and driven to change myself and the way I’ve been doing things in my classroom. As you all know, there is such a need for this movement in the world today.

As I was reading The Leader in Me this last fall, I started getting excited about what I was learning. I began listening to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (If you haven’t personally read this book yet…I highly recommend it). It is truly changing my life!! These habits are what “The Leader in Me” movement is based off of. They have change the wording a bit to make it a little more kid friendly, but the habits are still the same.

7 habits

At the beginning of the school year I decided to start teaching my students about the 7 habits and I’m so glad I did. They picked up on the vocabulary very quickly and are doing very good at remembering to keep these habits in mind while they are at school (probably because their teacher is constantly reminding them). ;)

My favorite habit right now is “be proactive.” It helps me to remind the kids to take charge of themselves. It cuts back greatly on tattling and I’m not hearing students blaming others for things as often. You’d be surprised at how many times I hear things like: “My mom told me not to do my homework” or “My dad forgot to put my binder in my backpack.” Many students these days are not taking responsibility for their own behavior and choices. It’s always “someone else’s fault.”

The Leader in Me initiative teaches students to take charge of their own lives. They get to build a solid foundation within their own lives of what a happy kid should be doing. Then, they get to work with others to build relationships and learn how to be an active participant in a group. Finally, they bring it all together and discover how to balance it all (including keeping their mind, body, heart, and spirit healthy).

Doesn’t this sound AMAZING!! It doesn’t even end there…After students have mastered their habits they get to prove to the class and teacher that they are capable of handling a leadership role in the classroom. For example, if a student really enjoys and is passionate about helping others, she could be our class “helping leader.” Children get to choose what they will lead others in. After leadership has been established within the classroom, students can branch out and discover leadership roles within the school (i.e. class representative).

The Leader in Me inspires kids to become everything they want to be and give them the tools to accomplish it. If guided in the right direction, students can achieve great things at school and in life.

Everyone can be a leader, if they are given the right tools and guidance. I’m seeing such amazing result in my classroom and the students are really taking more pride in their work and ownership over their behavior. I get goose bumps just thinking about how much different things feel this year.

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit the website above. Some of the books I would highly recommend are:

The Leader in Me
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 7 Habits of Happy Kids
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
The 8th Habit
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

All of these books are available on Amazon or from the FranklinCovey website. Or if you’re like me and enjoy listening to books whilst getting ready in the morning, give Audible a try…I love it!!

Thank you all for reading my rant!! :)

Ginny

 

Posted in Attachment Parenting, Natural Mommy, School, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Keeping it Chrissy…odds and ends

imageCompared to the other two posts in this series this one is going to be rather brief. Today, I’m going to talk about multi-vitamins, supplements, essential oils, water and sleep.

I’m not a huge advocate for multi-vitamins and supplements. I believe that your nutrition should come from your food. I’m also hard pressed to not believe that a good portion of the vitamins and minerals in these types of things don’t hang out in a bodies digestive system to later be expelled. This is my opinion so if your life has been changed because of vitamins or supplements please don’t take offense. I feel that its important for people to know I am not a vitamin aficionado so take what I say here with a grain of salt. I suggest multi-vitamins to anybody who isn’t actively tracking their nutrition, because its better to be safe than sorry. However, I would suggest that you actively track your nutrition ;) I have attempted to use various forms of dietary supplements for good stretches of time and I am hard pressed to think that they do make any difference in my body. However, I don’t always meet my nutrition goals or requirements. We’re all human here, ok? When its looking like I’m going to have even the slightest nutrient defficiency I take these Greens. I can also recommend these. This is not the typical protocol for this kind of thing but it is was works for me and, like I’ve been saying all along, thats what’s important.

I have two beautiful and wonderfully knowledgable sisters who are very well versed on this topic, so if you have an interest in taking vitamins or supplements I would recommend you to either of them. You can find their buisness pages here and here. Yes, one is Ginny…so is the other one. Confused? (Heres a little fun fact. I have two sisters named “Ginny”) Please talk to them before starting any regimen. They are both extremley knowlegable when it comes to their respective products and each has a wonderful success story. Consider them both to be aficionado’s.

imageDuring the winter I do routinely take Vitamin D. I have a tendancy to suffer from seasonal depression. During the summer I am out and about alot, enjoying the sun (responsibly of course). However, during the winter if I tend to stay indoors more that lack of sunshine really lays me low. If I don’t take a good dose of vitamin d I tend to get a little cRaY CrAy, emotional and irritable. So if your feeling the pinch of cabin fever this winter I would definatly recommend some extra vitamin d.

I’m not shy about spreading the love I have for doTERRA and all their essential oils. My first foray with doTERRA came in the form of the Metabolic blend Slim and Sassy. For a more detailed explanation about the love affair please click here. There is an entire line of Slim and Sassy products, largely including Protein powder that you can drink in shakes, smoothies plus and entire array of recipes that you can add it too. Since, I’ve already detailed how I feel about supplements I wont rehash that, but I am going to go over the oil a lil bit. I LOVE THIS OIL! Grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, Ginger and cinnamon bark are all the oils contained in this blend. I like to use it to boost my metabolism or on the days when I am randomly craving chips (and all other junk food, but mostly chips) I will use it as a SLIGHT appetite supressant. You can use it to flavor your water, take it straight, or in a veggie capsule. I like to take 5 drops in a shot glass of water. Warning! In my experience you either love the taste or you hate it with a fiery passion. If you want to try Slim and Sassy and you hate the taste of it then veggie capsules would be the way to go. This oil is not meant to be a get “slim quick scheme”, it’s a tool. Your success on the journey to health will be up to you and your convictions and not any “extras” that are out there to use or take.

imageSpeaking of water. Drinking water is the FREE aid to being healthy and loosing weight. I was born with a wonky excretory system and was in a constant battle with bladder and kidney issues. A large portion of clearing up any kind of urinary infection is to drink plenty of fluids, largely water. I grew to hate it. After corrective surgery at 18, I really struggled to drink an appropriate amount of water since I didn’t technically have to anymore. BIG MISTAKE. You should always drink water, even when you dont have to…because secretly you have to. A body needs water to function properly. Heres how I figure out the minimum amount of water I need to drink daily. Weigh your self. No its not fun, and nobody likes to do it. Keep in mind that your weight does not define you. If your wanting a better relationship with your body you need to know as much about it as you can. Educate yourself … on yourself. (end rant) Take your weight. Divide it in half and drink that number in fluid ounces of fresh clean water. Thats alot my friends. So right now I weigh 150 pounds. Half of that in ounces is 75oz. So almost 2 1/2 quarts. I feel better when I reach my water consumption goal. My skin is clearer and my pores are smaller. I am less tired. Also, did you know that if a body is feeling dehydrated it will portray hunger because alot of our water intake comes from our food. IT’S TRUE! Drink as much water as humanly possible. Your body will thank you for it. Boost and flavor your water with fruits or essential oils! Ask me how!

Finally, a body needs to sleep. At least 8 hours. As a mother of 3, with the youngest being 3, I know its hard to hit a sleep quota. Do what it takes. If you are a SAHM with a little one who still sleeps during the day, nap. I took daily naps until Ginny and I started putting together the blog (2 years ago this February). Cam was 18mo, fully weaned and sleeping through the night with ease. My body was trying to catch up from 3 years worth of pregnancy, nursing 2 boys back to back, and ALOT of sleepless nights. If your tired during the day chances are good that a) your body needs the rest or b)you body needs more nutrient rich foods, vitamins and minerals (see all previous posts).

Next, I’ll be getting into the fun stuff, fitness and exercise. Cant wait! See you here.

For all the other posts in the Keeping it Chrissy series click here.

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