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Modern Missionary Mamas

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health

Bottled water: yea or nay?

So I stumbled across this article on the amount of microplastics in bottled water, and I’ll admit–it has me concerned! We filter our cistern water with a Big Berkey, mostly, but I do pull out the Culligans when we have guests, just because the filter can’t keep up.

Do you worry about microplastics? Do you use bottled or filtered? Well water? Spring water, as the unrealistic article suggests?

Got any hot tips for clean water?

You can read the article here.

You can read the most recent study here.

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Come on and work it on out!

Last week, I set this year’s real-olution.

Oh, what’s a “real-olution,” you ask? Well, mamas, that’s simple. It’s a resolution that you suddenly realize you have done n.o.t.h.i.n.g. to achieve since January 21st, and you decide to get real about it, since the year’s half over.

And the biggest one that most people have?

Exercise.

Well, losing weight, but for most of us, it’s the same, n’est-ce pas? But as we all know, working out got ten times more complicated when you acquired that first kid. So since I’m just getting back into working out, here’s what’s helping me:

*Reject that this is a tedious burden. Yeah, I know, it’s hot. But your body in motion glorifies the One who made it, because you are made to move. So stop with the attitude and commit to it as an act of gratitude for a body that works as it (mostly) should. I realized on my run yesterday morning that the only promises I break are the ones I make to myself. Mamas, this should not be. 

*Pray for self-control. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, right? You’re not in this alone.

*Accept that you will be interrupted. As with your Bible reading, this is no longer a solo, spa-like, stress-reducing activity. It’s sometimes helpful to give them a snack just before you start to give yourself a head start. Let them know that you would rather not pause it unless it’s really important. (Clarify that fixing the bike bell that broke six months ago is not really important.)

*Involve your kids. If your kids are small, try a babywearing workout like this one. If your kids are medium-sized like mine, I put out a second yoga mat for them to fight over  share. They dance along and make up their own “workouts” to the music, and it all works okay, so long as they stay off MY mat. We use canned food for weights, and they get their own water bottles. If your kids are a little bigger, try something like a coin-flip workout, an alphabet workout where you can spell their names, or a playground workout while they play. They love making Mom work! Give them the stopwatch and see how fast you can lap the house.

*Start small. No, I mean, small. When I first started working out a few years ago, I did not plan to run three miles or do a thirty-minute workout. You know how long my first run was? Five minutes. Then I stopped and walked home. Then the next time, I went for six minutes. Then seven. Forget baby steps–for some of us, that’s too big, even. Think insect steps. Ants get it done, mamas–observe their ways and be wise, especially when it comes to building a new habit.

*Think about what’s preventing you from enjoying it. I run with a hat on because I realized a year ago that I hated sweat in my eyes. No more sweat now! You may need to change something small to make it more fun. Get a better yoga mat. Some new shoes. You’ll save money on health costs in the future.

*Get some structure. Here’s a few that I’ve encountered at different points in mommyhood:

  1. Moms into Fitness. Her Pretty Fierce Weight Loss videos are ones I keep going back to. You can get a taste of it here. 
  2. Sworkit. This is a no-equipment required workout app with premade workouts as well as the option to customize a workout for strength, yoga, cardio or stretching. You can choose the length of the workout in five minute increments and it builds in a warmup as well as thirty-second breaks. It’s also easy to pause (that’s a Mom Essential). And it’s free! You don’t even need a smartphone.
  3. Wii Fit. We’re blessed with the electricity to make this work; I realize not everyone is. But the Wii does use less power than most gaming units–just make sure it gets unplugged from the wall when you’re done. But I did find it motivating to play games!
  4. Couch to 5K. This is a popular plan for true beginners. A 5K is a little over three miles; you can TOTALLY achieve that. And they’re addictive.
  5. Zombie app. My sister-in-law uses this one, and it cracks me up. If you don’t run fast enough, you can hear the zombies getting closer. I’m laughing even now. Whatever motivates you, mamas!
  6. Start a Pinterest board. TONS of ideas here! If you need inspiration, you can follow mine. (No judgment, okay? I know you want perkier breasts, too. Don’t pretend.)

*Schedule it. The night before, I lay out my workout clothes next to my regular clothes. Yeah, it’s nerdy, but it reminds me. I also put it into my schedule: what time, exactly, am I going to do this? It’s working for me to do it right after homeschool, while kids are killing their brain cells via Netflix and snacking.

More thoughts:

The Art of Simple Podcast: Exercise

Your thoughts: Anything to share with us? How have you found success with this?

Make it Monday: Oat Milk

Make it Monday

Hi mamas!

We’re making some changes to our diets around here, and we’re not finding it so easy. Eating healthy is great. We love it. What we don’t love is paying for it. So for those looking for a dairy-free milk option overseas, I don’t think you can do better than this. You already know how much I love oats for gluten-free baking, but now it’s coming to the rescue for us dairy-free folks as well. Amazing!

https://simpleveganblog.com/how-to-make-oat-milk/

She recommends soaking them and then dumping the water. That’s to cut down on phytic acid and make it easier to digest. If that’s not important to you (or you just don’t want to waste the water), you can skip it. If you’re like me, it’ll make as much difference as five minutes spent with the mountain of laundry you have to fold…that is to say, not much. Another recipe also mentioned adding cinnamon and vanilla, which sounds amazing and perfect for a smoothie.

Are oats available where you live? What food solutions are you pondering at your house?

#Momhack: Cooking While Traveling

We’re at our organization’s HQ for two weeks, doing some training and meetings, and the food situation? OY. Because my babies want ALL. THE. SUGARY. THINGS. and Mama doesn’t want crazy behavior due to too many treats. So I’m fighting back on costs and sugar with whole chickens…the leftovers of which I’m putting with stir fries, over pasta and into soups.

But my #momhack today has to do with flavor…because I don’t want to buy a whole bottle of sesame seeds for my stir fry, but without it? Kinda bland.

As you can see, even this tiny jar is $2.21, which is really more than I need for two weeks.

Instead, I went over to the bulk section at Winco Foods, and got just two tablespoons for $0.39. BAM.

In case you’re still not convinced, I also needed thyme and sage for my chicken soup, neither of which was cheap for a whole bottle…

A little trip over to the bulk section…(and look at all the options!!)…I scoop out what I need into a small plastic bag, write the four-digit code on the twist-tie, and close it up.

And I ended up walking out with just what I needed for two batches of soup. I paid $0.09 for thyme and the sage? Well, there was so little in the bag, it wouldn’t register on their scale, so they gave it to me for free. That would make me feel bad, except they’re the ones who designed the system, not me. So hey, I’ll take advantage of it! You don’t have to rely on junk food just because you’re traveling, and the smell of soup simmering can make even a temporary place feel like home.

Don’t let the big jars intimidate you! If you’ve got a kitchen available to you, don’t let it go to waste. Your wallet will thank you.

You’ve got this, mamas.

Aunt Flo, Mother Earth and You

While many of my posts are appropriate for both sexes, guys, you’re probably gonna want to pass on this one today. And if you don’t, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

And ladies, today’s post may freak some of you out, too, so here’s some lavender, which is supposed to be calming…

Menstruation.

And now the guys believe me and they’re out of here.

Good! Now that it’s just us, let’s talk, mamas. Most likely, if you’re using disposable menstrual supplies, you are spending a small fortune every month on these things. And now some of you are thinking, ‘if’? Yes, mamas–for I am about to introduce you to the sanity of reusable menstrual supplies. Let’s talk ‘why’ first, then move to ‘what.’

More lavender? Okay.

They’re affordable: You can make or buy these quite cheaply compared to disposables.

They’re reducing your chemical exposure: My understanding is that most disposable supplies are laced with bleach, fragrances, petrochemicals and other things that aren’t great to have that close to you. (You can read more about that here.)

They’re good for the earth: Because if you trash our planet, where will *I* live?

There’s been some kind of innovation wave that I completely missed until a kind missionary friend told me what she used. Personally, I had no idea there were so many options out there! So here we go.

Cloth reusables: these are like regular maxi pads, but they have snaps instead of glue. They’re usually made of cotton or bamboo. I’ve found lots on Etsy or Amazon and even patterns for making them on Pinterest. In my opinion, it’s better than washing cloth diapers; they’ve come out very clean.

Menstrual cups: these are small silicone cups that catch the blood like a tampon would. Most are reusable for a long time, and there’s now a huge variety of shapes and sizes! Between you and me, I don’t know much about specific brands, so if anyone’s had a positive experience, please chime in!

Six ways to fold a menstrual cup

Sea sponges: I know, right? Weird? Maybe. But if it works, a game changer.

Leakproof underwear: Apparently, this is a real thing. It’s build right into it, in a variety of absorbencies. Neat.

What do you think, mamas? Am I rocking your world or is this TMI? Share your experience with us, if you dare.

How to get a lego out of your kid’s nose…

Okay, so E is always sticking stuff up her nose, so I know it’s just a matter of time before I use this trick. Also, we’re overseas, so it’s harder to get to medical care…and frankly, I just thought this was genius. So enjoy Georgia and her ill-fated nose incident!

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2017/08/georgias-managed-to-get-an-orange-pip-stuck-up-her-nose.html

 

How do I…beat the heat? 

frank-mckenna-127295.jpg

Hot kids are g.r.u.m.p.y. Hot kids don’t want to eat. Hot kids want to watch TV all day. Depending on your situation, you probably can’t just turn on the hose and let them loose, water being a scarce resource. Here’s some other ideas:

Hydration

Give them water while they’re watching TV. I don’t know why this works, but they’ll drink whatever I put in their hands when they’re watching something. It’s weird.

If they’re not crazy about plain water, add a little citrus or cucumber to it. Make it cold with reusable ice cubes (anybody else have those little plastic whales? There’s grownup ones now called Nice Cubes). Insulated water bottles keep things colder longer.

Buy spray bottles that are just for drinking. Drinking water is dumb, but spraying water into your sister’s mouth? Awesome. Also works with squirt guns as long as you’re careful about the water source.

Cool wet towels around the neck are good, but they dry out pretty fast. Not these babies: neck coolers. They seriously stay wet for hours. They were essential equipment when I was six months pregnant during the hottest season in Haiti. (The link is just an example: search for “neck cooler” and you’ll come up with many more!) Just be careful not to tie them such as creates an accidental drive-by choking situation.

Don’t forget that fruit has a lot of water in it, especially watermelon (duh) and cucumber. And our favorite way to eat fruit in the summertime? Popsicles! Get a cheap mold and make your own. I like the Zuko brand. My latest creation was mango carrot: just put them straight into the blender with a little orange juice or other “tropical” flavor, and voila! Fruits AND vegetables, without complaint. One of my kids will also eat a frozen banana straight. I don’t know if that’s all that normal…but there you go.

And don’t forget the salt! If you’re drinking more, you need more salt as well. Just this week, another mama confirmed that when she started drinking a little sea salt in her lemonade, her headaches went away. IT’S A REAL THING.

How do I... (3).png

Sleeping in the heat

Think about your roof. What color is it? Dark colors will absorb the heat (that’s bad), which is why shade netting works so well. Can you paint it white? (You may not want to paint it if you collect water from your roof into a cistern. Paint is not tasty.) We made sure our solar panels were placed over our bedroom, and it’s made a huge difference in the temperature of the room at night! (Well, and it creates electricity, too, which is pretty great, I guess.)

Wet the curtains. As the breeze passes by the curtains, it’ll cool the air. Yeah, it’s a lot of work. I didn’t say it was easy, girl.

Cross-ventilation. And if you have the luxury of designing or altering your house, think about passive cooling and natural ventilation as well.

Buy a robe and sleep naked. (Though this might heat things up in other ways…but really, is that a bad thing?)

Keep a small bucket of water by your bed and dip your feet into it when you’re too hot. I didn’t make this up, but I love the idea.

Heat rash

Unfortunately, my youngest is very susceptible to this…so here, I do speak from experience. It was better this winter, and now it’s baaaaaack…here’s a rundown of the stuff you usually hear, and a few that you don’t.

Cornstarch. This sometimes worked. I’m still not convinced.

Neem water/paste didn’t work for us.

Fans. E basically slept in a wind tunnel last summer.

Dress lightly. If they’ll just sleep in underwear or shorts, do that.

Lavender and baking soda in the bath. This worked for us. And this year, I’m using my face wash on her, which is lavender, baking soda, frankincense and coconut oil, which seems to be working even better. She was starting to get it on her chest, and after one application, it was gone. I put it on her dry skin after her bath and wiped it off with a clean, damp cloth. You can get the proportions here.

Witch hazel in the bath. Friends had mixed results, but I stand by this one. I think it keeps their pores clearer. I also found it was better to use warm water, despite the traditional wisdom, because cold water closes your pores. The witch hazel can be hard to find, though…rubbing alcohol might do the same thing, but it’d be tougher on your skin and in the eyes during hair rinsing. (And let’s face it: our neighbors already think we’re turning the screws on them every night at bathtime. Oy.)

Share, share, share your secrets for beating the heat. Please?!

Keep your cool, mamas. You’ve got this.

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