Christmas Shopping Fun

Okay, so I started posting some of these on my Facebook and realized there were just too many not to go ahead and make a full fledged blog post for them.  So here are some of the fun, unique, and unusual items that you could wrap up and put under someone's tree this season - if you dare! (and if you really must have them, each picture links to where you can purchase one)

You won't forget the most basic instruction for your babysitter when it is printed right on the notepad!

Nothing says I love you like a voo-doo doll knife holder.

Everyone needs one of these on their Christmas tree.

Schnozz Tissue Dispenser ~ Green
For that person who has everything... everything but this!

Pro Thumb Wrestling Arena
Let's not leave the kids out.

Air Freshener ~ Bacon Scented
For his man cave - bacon scented air freshener.

Emergency Underpants
...and wait, it gets better - they are unisex!

Dog Toilet Water Bowl
Finally a toilet that you don't yell at the dog for drinking out of.

For that special redneck gal of yours, squirrel feet earrings.

Wine Glass Holder Necklace
Here's a great one for that friend of yours that just can't hold their liquor!

Remote Control Snack and Drink Pool Float
A remote control snack and drink float, because there is no such thing as too lazy!

Breakfast Cereal Necklace
Giving diamonds is highly over rated.  Who really wants one of those when you can have a sterling silver Cheerio on a necklace? (if you want to call that a necklace - believe it or not you'll pay $50 bucks for this high quality gift!)

Flowerhead Vase
Move over Chia pet - the Flower head vase is here!

alien abduction dog tags
And who doesn't need one of these?  This is a "Location Earth Dog Tag" guaranteed to get you returned to earth after an alien abduction or your money back - and that's no joke!

Have you seen any crazy gift ideas this year while you've been doing your shopping?  Go ahead and send me the link - I'd love to see them!

 From No Poo to Deoderant - The Wonders of Baking Soda

A little over a year ago, September of 2009 to be exact, I first began my challenge to go without shampoo and use only baking soda and water to clean my hair.  (followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse)  That experiment I deemed a success and today I am still shampoo free.  But that was not to be my only experiment with baking soda.  I had read of using baking soda in place of deoderants.  Now, if you look it up, (i.e. google) you will find all sorts of formulas and recipes for ways to create your own baking soda based deoderant.  But for me, I went for simple.  Straight baking soda.

What I do is keep a 3 oz squeeze bottle (the type you would think of putting hand cream in) filled with baking soda.  I just squeeze out a little in my hand and pat it under my arm.  Quick and easy.  I started doing this last winter, and found it to work great.  But I didn't want to post anything about it at that time because, heck, it was winter after all.  Not exactly the sweatiest time of year.  I wanted to go through a summer and see how it held out. 

I can tell you that we had a lovely hot summer here in Maryland.  Plus I was still doing Insanity workouts.  So there was sweat happening.  However, the baking soda worked like a champ.  No odor problems at all.  I even tried using my mom's deoderant one day just to see if I would prefer the old 'tried and true' to the 'new and up and coming.'  When I did sweat, I did not smell like sweat with the deoderant.  But I did smell like deoderant and I found it quite repulsive.  I much prefer no odor! 

Now, I have read that some people find straight baking soda to be slightly irritating.  So an alternative is to mix 1 part baking soda with 6 parts corn starch.  Corn starch is supposed to have a bit of an anti-perspirant effect, so it makes for a good combo.  Me... I'm sticking with simple: straight baking soda.  Plus then I can use the same container for my "shampoo" and "deoderant."  Makes for easy traveling or overnights.

Wonder what I will be trying next.  Hmmmmmmm.....

 Life Isn't So Slow Anymore....

... otherwise known as "Why I Haven't Posted in Four Months."

My girls and I moved in with their Grandma and Pop pop at the end of June.  So we went from our isolated country life in Iowa, to Bowie, Maryland - a suburb of Washington DC.  Bowie is where I grew up, so there was some sense of familiarity to it all.  However, it was a bit shocking to hit the capital beltway again after three years of back road, country driving.  I believe I saw more cars on the first trip down 270 and around the beltway than I had in the entire three years in Iowa!

Here is a quick recap of our summer:

The girls have been enjoying getting to know Alison and Melissa, their new best friends.  This is actually really cool for me because of the history involved.  My mom's best friend was Barbara and I grew up with Barbara's family being like second family to me.  She had a daughter Denise, and we have been friends since she was 7 and I was 10.  Alison and Melissa are her daughters.  It is really fun to see them all play together - like carrying on a legacy of sorts. :)  Here are a couple pictures from when I took them all to the Montgomery County fair.

From left to right is Alison, Melissa, Trinity and Angelina.

(to see all the pictures from our fair day, click here)

Since meeting Alison, Trinity decided to grow out her bangs.  She also has developed a crush on Justin Bieber. (geesh!)  We didn't even know who Justin Bieber was when we lived in Iowa!  But then again, the girls have also learned how to swim this summer as we spent most days in our neighbors pool.  They went from not knowing how to swim to doing somersaults under water and cannonballs into the pool!

We also spent an afternoon at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.  I firmly believe that Maryland has one of the best Ren Fest's ever, and they have only gotten better in the years I have been gone.

Me and the girls at the beginning of our visit.

 The girls showing their colored tongues from eating their treats.
The girls after a long afternoon at the fair!  Luckily, I had an awesome Scottish bagpipe band to listen to while they rested. :)
(for all the pics click here)

A lot more excitement has been going on including the Warrior Dash, Bradley Reborn, and a new business venture with Denise, but each of those need their own post.  Which I promise, is coming soon! 

 Dance Videos

Okay, grandparents, here are the girls dancing. :)  The girls are on the front row, on the left.  Don't forget to go pause the music player before trying to watch the videos.  If we had a better video camera, you could see the look on Angelina's face when the audience applauded.  You see her head pops up, and she was just beaming.  They weren't used to getting applause when they finished dancing!

The girls are on the back row, far right in this one.

David was taping this one as I promised the girls I would stay backstage and be there on the sides while they danced.  I should have told him to just tape the whole song, but he tried just taping the girls.  Anyway, the 2 year olds went out first, and for some reason, Trinity went out on stage during their part.  We got her to come off stage to us, but by the time she got around backstage, her group was already on stage.  Thus, there goes Trinity, coming in late and having to run all the way across the stage!  This time they are on the back row, far right again.

There was another bit they were in where everyone was on stage, but it is too hard to pick them out on the video, so I'm not uploading that one.

 Dance Pictures

Thanks mom for treating the girls to dance lessons this year!  Here are pics from the recital.  Having trouble uploading the video, but that will be coming soon. :)

They were so excited that they got to wear makeup today.

Lined up to go on stage.

They are in the front row, first two on the left.  David took these pictures while I ran out to find light and figure out how to delete videos to make space on the FULL camera.  (should have checked that before they got on stage! duh!)  I taped the end of this dance and the others are also on video.

Ready for their next number.  I was not a fan of the pink headbands. 

No headbands - much nicer.  Now if only I could get them to smile!

Trinity was not in a smiling mood and when bribed with ice cream gave me this goof ball look.

Angelina took a turn taking pictures.  I'm actually in the frame - miracle!

 For Women Only

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know a few things about me.  For instance, I am not afraid to do things a little differently than most people.  Examples: dumpster dive for food, using family wipes instead of toilet paper, using baking soda instead of shampoo, and using baking soda instead of deodorant. (did I mention that on my blog?? I don't think I did...)  So you might think you wouldn't be surprised by anything I post after all that.  But here's the latest experiment:

I'm burning my bras.

Ok, just kidding!  I'm not burning them, just not wearing them anymore... well, that's not entirely true either.  I am definitely not wearing them at home anymore and depending on my mood/weather/outfit may not wear them out either.

Now here's why.  It's something I have been thinking about for awhile as I have come across information on the topic.  I had read some information on Dr. Mercola's site about how underwire bras in particular are like wearing antenna to attract electromagnetic fields.  This can increase your risk of breast cancer.  You can eliminate this issue by pulling out your wire underwires and put in plastic ones.  Kind of a pain, but if it is going to protect your health, then surely worth the little bit of effort.

The other issue is the lymph system.  Wearing constricting clothing, which a bra typically is, restricts your lymph system from draining properly.  Again, this can contribute to breast cancer.  Your lymph system needs to drain off the toxins that are in your system.  Part of this can be eliminated by wearing the proper size bra.  Want to know if you are in the correct size?  Step into the Bra Fitting Room and get into the right size - it will make a huge difference in your comfort!  Most women will have swelling in their breasts during their period, so make sure you do your measuring at another time of the month to get your accurate size.

So I have this information kind of rattling around in my brain and then Renegade Health show does this video.  I love this couple, btw.  They have awesome information on health and nutrition on their show.  (and a FREE downloadable book on eating raw - excellent!)

So how great is the risk of cancer from wearing your bra?  Well, according to the book Dressed To Kill: The Link between Breast Cancer and Bras, here is how it goes:

Women who wear bras 24 hours a day have a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer.
Women who wear bras more than 12 hours a day, but not to bed, have a 1 out of 7 risk.
Women who wear bras less than 12 hours a day, have a 1 out of 52 risk.
Women who wear bras rarely or never, have a 1 out of 168 risk.

That's a big difference from 3 out of 4 chance to only 1 in 168 chance.

So I know what you are thinking.  Won't I sag more?  Won't it be uncomfortable?  Won't people stare if I go out braless?

According to everything I have read, how much you sag has everything to do with your genetics and nothing to do with your bra.  I have read comments where people say something like, "Yeah, but my grandmother never wore a bra and she sagged terribly.  No way I'm doing that!"  But the reality is "to sag or not to sag" will happen with or without wearing a bra.  That grandmother would have sagged just as much even if she wore a bra everyday.  Other people can never wear a bra and have less sag than those wearing one 24 hours a day.  In fact the very act of not wearing a bra may improve your sag.  The ligaments that hold up your breasts will get exercised, which they don't get in a bra, and will be more effective at their job.  Part of the problem is the unrealistic image that the media put out as to what a normal breast should look like.  Perky just isn't normal for a grown woman, and especially after having children.

Uncomfortable?  I guess that is a personal one.  I went from being a B cup pre-kids, to a D cup after kids.  I know when I was smaller, I could go without a bra - no problem.  But, I wasn't at all sure that it would be comfortable in my larger size.  But guess what.  I've been running around the house without one and have never felt so good!  I don't think we realize just how uncomfortable bras are - even when properly sized.  We are trained to wear them - literally, we have training bras for when we are girls!  And I think we just accept the pressure on our shoulders and the snugness around the torso as normal.

As for people staring, you can be discreet and braless.  It probably won't even be a concern in cold weather when you are layered up and wearing bulkier sweaters.  In the summer, you can wear a camisole under your shirt or even layer tank tops.  Nothing is going to stop the natural movement when you are braless, but that same movement is going to help the lymph system clean out toxins and strengthen your ligaments.  A fair trade in my opinion.  But if it really bothers you, there are also sports bras and exercise tops that will give you more support similar to a bra.  You just have to look at the design and be sure to pick something that isn't binding.  If it has tight elastic bands around your torso, you might as well be wearing a bra.

So give it a try.  Go ahead.  Just stop wearing bras at home and see how you feel after a few days.  :)

 Raw Exercise

Okay, so just yesterday I posted my update on how I was going to see if eating all raw made any difference in my workouts this time through month one of Insanity.  I didn't expect to have anything to report so soon, but man, did I have a great workout this morning!  It was Cardio recovery, which means you get a break from the high intensity cardio, but you trade it for intense muscle work and stretching.  I was blown away at how much easier this workout was for me today than it was before.

I took a screen shot of this exercise, because I didn't think I could describe it and make any sense.  These are similar to your basic leg lifts where your leg is straight out behind you in your start position.  From there you lift your leg and lower back to start.  Shaun T's version you get on your hands and knees first, then you lift your knees off the ground, then you put your leg back and start doing lifts.  16 on each side.  Followed by....

...this exercise.  Same starting position, hands and knees, knees off the floor, leg back, but this time you bring your knee to your shoulder to work your obliques.  16 each leg of these.

I have not been able to do these at all.  I had to keep my knees on the ground before.  Today, I did them with my knees off the floor - unbelievable!  I did crash and burn early on the last leg of the oblique work, but I did all but 5 before I dropped.  Excellent results!

This encourages me to keep up the raw.  I can't wait to see how I'm doing in a couple weeks!