If you’re happy and you know it, read a book!

March book 1

I made Prince Caspian pose with March’s books.  Can’t you see how excited he is?  Oh how I feel for him.  I remember what it was like to have dignity…Notice the giant paw smudge-print on the window behind his head.

I feel like March has just flown by, don’t you?  I know it’s not over yet, but wowzers!

March book 2This month has been full of good reads for me!  I discovered Laura Frantz from another blogger, and picked up this first book in the Ballantyne Legacy series because a) I LOVE historical fiction–particularly the Revolutionary War period, and b) It takes place in York County, PA, which is where I am originally from!  I will warn you in advance…Love’s Reckoning is kind of a downer throughout most of the book, but it picks up in the end!  A great read!

Seth had bought Wife After God for me for Christmas this past year because I had asked for some devotional books on how to be a superfantasticProverbs31 wife!  Seth said that I didn’t need to learn how to be a better wife (isn’t he dreamy?), but I know better.  This book is written by Jennifer Smith who manages The Unveiled Wife blog, and it’s a 30 day devotional series–each day takes a perfect 15 minutes for me and is a great supplement to my morning quiet time.  Some days definitely review basics and things that I had already studied, but I truly believe that you can read the same Scripture over and over again and the Holy Spirit can reveal new things to you through it.  I’ve felt very encouraged as I’ve read it each day this month.  And hopefully I am a better wife! Grin…

March book 3

I Am Malala has been on my reading list for the past several months.  I realized that it had been a while since I had read a biography or anything “current,” so this seemed like a perfect choice.  I really enjoyed it!  I learned quite a bit about the Pakistani culture (something that I did not know a lot about) and grew to admire the courage of this young woman who spoke up for the right for girls to get an education.

Band of Sisters is a novel that piqued my interest.  It is set in the early 1900s, New York City, and tackles issues of human trafficking, the dignity of all people, and the infamous question “What Would Jesus Do?”  It was a GREAT read…I would put it up there among my favorite books and absolutely a re-reader!

Whatcha readin’ this month?

Something Awesome About February: My Life is a Disney Movie

The kids at the studio joke that I am a Disney princess.  If the singing, dancing, romance, adventure, and cute animal sidekicks are any indicators…they might be right.

Seth and I have been on a Disney movie kick for the past couple of months.  It’s been fun to pull out some of the movies that I haven’t watched in a while…Enchanted, Beauty & the Beast, Lady & the Tramp, Hercules (somebody call IXII!), The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Tangled.

There’s a part in Tangled where Rapunzel is singing about her morning routine and all the things that she crams into a morning.  Her little lizard sidekick Pasqal helps her out.  We were watching it and Seth laughed and said, “That’s how you are in the morning…”

tangledIn case you needed further proof…

halloween catHe helps me answer studio emails each morning:
pc morning helperHe helps me go through inventory…

caspian defiantHe helps me read my Bible…

prince caspian and bible 2He’s just an all-around helpful guy.

He and the little birds that help me get dressed each morning… 😉

I’m feeling very Olympic today…how about you?

Whether you are looking to get into the spirit of the 2014 Winter Olympics that begin this week, or you are just a movie geek like me, here are a few of my favorite winter Olympic movies to add to your queue…

#1: Cool Runnings.  Seth and I watched this movie over the weekend–it’s such a classic!  Believe it or not, I own it on VHS, so Seth had to hook up our VCR so that we could watch it.  Yes, kids…our VCR.  Anyway, I love this movie because it is a fun, family movie with lots of great lines and lessons in it.  I always cry at the end when they carry their sled across the finish line…such a good story!  Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!

#2: The Cutting Edge.  Also starting at the 1988 Calgary games, this is a great Olympic chick flick about a hockey player and figure skater who team up…in more ways than one!  Strong personalities always lead to sparks, and eventually Doug and Kate learn to work together!

#3:  Miracle.  “Miracle” is about one of the most famous Olympic events ever–when the United States men’s ice hockey team faced off and won against the seemingly invincible Russian team.  It’s a very patriotic and moving movie!

What are some of your favorite Olympic movies?

This Week’s Experiment: The Awesomeness of Cinnamon

mad scientist with cat2'

Ever since our favorite Greek restaurant that’s just a short, dangerous walk away from our house started serving sweet potato fries drizzled with honey and cinnamon, I have been slightly obsessed with cinnamon.  I’ve ALWAYS loved the savory aroma (and who doesn’t love a good batch of cinnamon rolls?  They have been a long-standing tradition of about 19 years between my dear friend April and I!).  Cinnamon is a common herb that practically everyone has hanging around their kitchen (myself included), but when I started researching the health benefits of cinnamon, I was amazed at the awesomeness that I was enjoying!

cinnamon_2

Why Cinnamon is So Awesome

1.  It tastes great!

2.  It is chock full of antioxidant catechins that are very beneficial to the digestive system in fighting off bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasitic infections.

3.  Cinnamon is especially useful in the treatment of colds, flu viruses, and even hypertension.  There is even some evidence that suggests that cinnamon helps balance blood sugar.

So, I was looking for some new, different recipes that included cinnamon and ended up finding some fun recipes to make!

Mock Cincinnati Chili

*My Dad is from Cincinnati and ate a variation of this recipe growing up, although he was not aware of the two secret ingredients: cinnamon and unsweetened cocoa!

I included ground beef cooked in coconut oil, and then dumped it in my crockpot with broth, onions, tomato sauce, garlic, chili powder, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and unsweetened cocoa…

cincinatti chili 2It turned out deliciously (I always feel a slight sense of relief whenever I try new recipes and they turn out well), and Seth and I ate it for three meals this week.  Yum!  It was perfect “Polar Vortex” food!

cincinatti chili

PS-Whenever I hear the phrase “polar vortex,” I always want to go, “Rar!  The polar vortex is going to get you!”  Haha…

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

A new variation on an old favorite!

This recipe called for applesauce, coconut flour, honey, eggs, cinnamon, coconut oil, vanilla, and baking soda.  They turned out great!  I loved them, and they passed the hubby stamp of approval!  We enjoyed them with our breakfasts for a week–yum!

apple cinnamon muffins

What is one way that you use cinnamon?

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play on one TV (or the internet).  Any experiments are from my own personal health journey and research.  My goal is to help inspire you on your own health journey and educate you to make informed decisions on your own.

The One Where I Made Sugar Wax

mad scientist with cat2'

Seth and I enjoy to try new things…experiment if you will.  We like to figure out things that will make our lives easier, less expensive, more natural and enjoying the earth the way God intended us to.  And let’s face it.  Sometimes we need an outlet for all of our extreme creativity.  Sometimes our experiments have turned out badly (i.e. the time Seth built a toy that would make Prince Caspian have to work to eat his food and PC just stared up at him for a second before walking away, the time I attempted to make gluten free pizza dough for Stromboli, or when Seth got trapped on the roof of the studio and had to free fall onto a ladder that I was holding).  Sometimes our experiments turn out most excellently (like my experimenting with grape seed oil and using it to remove make-up and do lots of other cool things…kind of like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding uses Windex).  They always make us laugh (even if it’s after the extreme danger has passed).  This new segment of the blog will chronicle them all. 

This week’s experiment involved something that many women (and many men) do as part of their normal beauty regimen: waxing.  Most will not admit to it.

Let’s face it…waxing is expensive, painful, and often uses harsh chemicals that are not good for your skin.  I don’t like things that are expensive, painful, or use harsh chemicals, so I decided to research a different alternative.  I found one: Sugar Wax.

Benefits

1.  Sugar adheres to the dead skin cells, not the live ones.

2.  It’s ancient.  It originated in the Middle East and has been used for centuries.  It’s so clean (made of all natural products) that you could eat it.  I did…just a drop to try it! :)

3.  It doesn’t need to be piping hot to use (just a nice, soothing warm temperature), so there is no risk of burning skin!

4.  It improves your skin texture and tone!

All You Need

3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of water

Not Pictured: The Water ;)

Not Pictured: The Water ;)

 

To Do

1.  Combine all the ingredients and heat them on the low setting on your stove for 45 minutes.

This is what the "before" picture looks like.  Not very pretty...

This is what the “before” picture looks like. Not very pretty…

 

 

 

Or sometimes the sugar wax watches you... #photobomb

Or sometimes the sugar wax watches you… #photobomb

 

3.  Or you can forget about it and come back to it later, which is what I did after I stirred it.  And it looks like this (it’s supposed to): caramelized, sugary goo.

Not your mama's wax.

Not your mama’s wax.

4.  Let it cool for a few minutes and then apply it to the place that needs waxed using a plastic knife or applicator.

No, I did not take photographic evidence of this part…

5.  Put a cloth strip over the sugar wax, let cool, and then rip it off, baby!

Have you ever made your own beauty product before?  I’d love to hear it!