Sunday, April 29, 2012

Be Still & Know ~ Scripture Lullabies

These songs may be lullabies, but they are most certainly for every age!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Butterfly Circus

This is a sweet short film with a beautiful redemptive theme.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipe of the "Week"

I did not realize it's been so long since I've introduced a new recipe!  Obviously, that must be rectified immediately!  And what better way to do that than to make homemade chicken nuggets with super healthy ingredients?  This recipe is adapted from The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids, which has tons of really great recipes that are perfect for picky eaters (like me) who don't go in for gourmet cooking.  Other than doubling it (& using the whole egg rather than just the white), I only made one teensy change:  2 pinches of garlic instead of just one.  I know, I know, it's kind of reckless, but what can I say?  I love garlic.  ;-)

Crispy Chicken Bites
(a.k.a Chicken Nuggets at the Bungalow)

Ingredients (This is the original recipe; I double it for 2 lbs. of chicken):

-1 lb. chicken breasts
-1/4 c. oat bran
-1/4 c. wheat germ
-1/4 c. coarsely ground almonds
-1 T coarsely ground flax seed (my hand-held Cuisinart would not grind these little seeds, so I just threw them in as is; a coffee grinder might work if you just have to have them ground)
-1/2 tsp. sea salt
-1/2 tsp. white pepper
-2 pinches garlic powder
-1/2 c. chicken stock
-1 large egg, beaten


-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F & grease a baking sheet or casserole dish.  (I use farm-fresh butter that I melt in the dish while the oven is heating up.  The cookbook has a recipe for cooking spray, too, if you'd like to go that route.)

-Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces & set aside.

-Combine dry ingredients into a large container with a tightly fitting lid & shake vigorously.

-Combine egg & chicken stock in a medium bowl.

-(Optional, but very helpful) Make an assembly line on your counter or stove top with egg mixture first, then coating mixture, then greased dish.

-Dump several pieces of chicken in the egg mixture, then dip them out & roll them one by one in the coating mixture (coating them thoroughly) & line them up on your dish.

-Once the dish is full, bake the chicken nuggets for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.

The full meal of nuggets (which need no condiments), green beans, buttered sweet corn, & smothered potatoes.  Okay, now I'm hungry!

'Poo Free's the Way to Be! ~ Week 1

Or is it?  Michael & I have spent the past week using a mixture of baking soda & water in place of our normal shampoo routine, & we'd like to share our results & thoughts on it.

Day 1 - I mixed up the baking soda/water solution last night & used it for the first time today.  Honestly, I didn't feel like it was doing much in the shower.  I have naturally oily - very oily - hair, & it definitely didn't feel clean.  I've read about the way shampoos strip your hair of its natural oils, & I know baking soda won't do this, resulting in a different feel, but I still needed it to feel more clean.  So, I asked Michael to bring the box of baking soda to me, & I proceeded to pour a little in my hand & mix it with a teeny bit of water.  I then rubbed this into my scalp & repeated the process until my whole head was covered.  I rinsed it out, & it felt better, although still not "stripped clean".  But that's to be expected.  I didn't use any conditioner (a.k.a. apple cider vinegar).  Once I combed out my (surprisingly tangle-free) hair, I ran my fingers through it & found it to be a little grippy.  I let it air dry into curls.  All day long I felt of my hair, & it felt pretty normal.  So far, so good.  

Day 2 - I took a very late evening shower today, & to be honest, I was incredibly surprised that my hair wasn't more oily!  Normally, when I go more than 24 hours between shampoos, my hair is greasy.  Not today.  It didn't really feel any different than it did when I first got out of the shower yesterday.  I followed the same "pour, mix, rub" process as yesterday with equal success, still avoiding the "conditioner".  I used the hair dryer today, & found that my hair felt & looked a lot thicker than normal.  Surprise #2!  My hair's definitely not "stripped clean", which takes some getting used to, & the texture's very different, but it seems to be fairly clean.  So far, I think I like this experiment!

Day 3 - Having taken such a late shower last night, I completely skipped washing my hair today.  Trust me, with oily hair like mine, that is not normally advised (or done)!  However, my hair doesn't really feel very different from yesterday, even though so much time has passed.  It's certainly not as oily as it normally would be - mirroring yesterday's experience!  I read that my hair will rebel for a short time by producing more oil, as it's used to having it stripped away.  I'm wondering when that's going to happen . . . & hoping it won't!

Day 4 - So, by the time I took a shower today, my hair definitely needed it!  And I was happy to find that in rinsing out the baking soda, I could feel the dirt & oil rinsing away.  It is different from the "stripped clean" feeling that shampoo gives, but I'm trying to get used to it.  I had planned on using the apple cider vinegar today, but found that I still don't need it.  My hair is still tangle-free, which is definitely not what my experience on Day 4 would be if I were using shampoo.  I let it air dry again, & still had no need for my anti-frizz spray of which I normally make use.  Typically, I need conditioner daily, but every now & then I'll skip a day.  More than that results in lots of tangles & static electricity.  My hair is also still much thicker than what I'm used to.  And I suppose I should say that Michael can't tell any difference whatsoever in his hair.  The only con I've found so far is that my "pour, mix, rub" method takes a good deal longer than simply squeezing out some shampoo & lathering up.  So far, I can deal with that!

Days 5 & 6 - There really wasn't a whole lot to add for Day 5, but today, I'm a little disenchanted with this new routine.  I haven't changed anything, but when I used the hair dryer today, I just couldn't stand how my hair felt.  Maybe the "oil rebellion" has begun; I don't know.  But I attempted to wear it down & couldn't take it for more than a couple of hours.  (And I only lasted that long because I was away from home & had no choice.)  As soon as we got home, up my hair went into a ponytail, where it doesn't bother me as much.  The amount of time it took to apply the baking soda also got on my nerves for the first time, although - to be perfectly honest - this could have been due more to pregnancy-induced sleeplessness than anything else.  This is also the first day that static electricity has reared its ugly head, which kind of surprised me since my hair is obviously retaining its own natural oils.  Needless to say, once my hair went up into a ponytail, I visited Amazon pretty quickly to research shampoos that are free of parabens but aren't overly expensive.  ;-)  I haven't given up quite yet; I'll continue this for another week & see if there's an improvement over today.  Hopefully so, because I can't just go around in a ponytail all the time!

Day 7 -  Well, today's the day I eat my words.  I just simply could not stand the oiliness of my hair, so I broke down & used shampoo.  And in doing so, I discovered that perhaps my hair over the past few days hasn't been as "normal" as I thought.  Yes, the thickness is now gone, but so is that ever-present oily feeling that could very well be my hair's normal state without the "shampoo stripping" but that I've come to realize I don't really care for very much.  Now, Michael, on the other hand, hasn't seen any real difference in his hair.  And maybe this would be my experience, too, if my hair were only an inch or so long. ;-)  But I don't think I'll be trying that any time soon, not by choice anyways.  Might it also be different if my hair fell into either the "normal" or "dry" category?  Possibly, but it's just not something I can take with this naturally oily hair.  So, it's back to shampoo for me.

Is 'poo-free the way to be?  Yes, for some people, I don't doubt that it is.  But not for this oily-headed girl!  ;-)  Well, at least I can say I tried something new, right?

*Update:  On Day 8, I asked Michael if he was still using the baking soda, & he said he used the shampoo because his hair was too oily.  Guess that shorter length didn't make much of a difference after all!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

'Poo Free's the Way to Be!

Or so we hope!  Michael & I are striving to find ways to save money.  We're not big spenders anyways, & are pretty good at finding things we can do without - such as TV & Smartphones (is that supposed to be one word?).  With Emma coming along very soon (like, 2 1/2 months soon!), there are things we want to achieve as a family, hence the desire to save more money.  We're also desirous of living a healthier lifestyle by weeding out the chemicals that we take into & put onto our bodies.  We've already made the switch from antiperspirants to a natural deodorant, from tap water to purified water, & from your typical toothpaste to fluoride-free toothpaste.  In the interest of combining both of our goals, we've decided to eschew shampoo & conditioner in favor of good ol' baking soda & apple cider vinegar.  The first time that we heard about this crazy idea was when we checked out Simple Mom.  She wrote a blog post about cleaning your hair without shampoo, & I was intrigued.  Is that even possible?  So they say, & we're giving it a whirl!  And we're gonna tell you how we like it, too.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

By This We Know Love ~ Sovereign Grace Music

One of my all-time favorite Sovereign Grace songs!