My hair curling technique

Hair done.Don’t I look scholarly in my glasses? I would love to say they’re just for show, but logging too many hours creating lesson plans makes my eyes go crazy without glasses. However, this post is not about the fact that I now need glasses (with a chain, so I’d stop losing them, if B had his way) more often. This post is about my hair! And how I make it work. If you’re expecting to watch a video tutorial…forget it. Think of this more of…here’s the products I use. Fair warning, in part my hair curls right because my hair stylist is amazing…I drove four hours for her to cut and color my hair throughout graduate school. I’m slightly in a panic that she’s about to go on maternity leave. I kid you not friends. Anyway…here goes.

Here’s what my hair looks like after I shower:

Hair done.And also me with no make-up…no worries…that’s what filters are for.

And here’s me in the morning after I slept on my hair:

Hair doneAnd here’s what it looks like after I’ve curled it:

Hair done.So here’s how I do it:

Hair productsI use living proof (volume) shampoo & Bumble & Bumble super rich conditioner when I wash my hair. Then I spritz it with a bit of B&B curl primer and use about a nickel size of B&B styling creme. I let it air dry (I hardly ever blow dry my hair…like ever). When I go to do my hair I use a 1 inch and 1 1/2 inch curling iron. I divide my hair into three layers (hence the clips), and I spray each layer with unscented hair spray and let it dry, and then curl it. I use the 1 inch on the very bottom and the 1 1/2 inch for everything else. With my hair this length the total process of curling my hair takes less than fifteen minutes.

This is the cut that I asked for:

sarah-hylandAnd my favorite trick to curling it is going for the roots outwards instead of the bottom up, leaving the ends flipped out just a bit. I let it set for a bit and then right before I leave the house I scrunch it a bit and loosen the curls up with my fingers. And that’s it! Happy hair prepping!

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A’s favorite snacks

Snack IdeasThe other day A asked me to refill his thermos with water and I told him I needed a minute to finish switching the laundry. When I walked back into the kitchen he had gotten his stool out, got a plastic glass from the cabinet and was busy getting water for himself and for J. And at that moment a light bulb went off in my head. Of course he can do that himself! Why has he not been doing that himself? Being the first born, there are so many things I just do for A without really thinking that he is old enough to do those things independently.

I have a drawer for the boys in our pantry (and a door container…as displayed here) for non-refrigerated snacks, but if they want anything from the fridge I have to prep it for them (get it out of a container, wash an apple, etc.). For A at least (J is a little young for that) he needs to be able to get veggie and fruit snacks himself.

Seeing lots of ideas on Pinterest (as one usually does nowadays), I decided to get a little snack box going on the bottom shelf of the fridge. I filled it with individual snack bags of veggies, and then cut-up individual sections of grapes, washed all the apples, etc.

A has a non-refrigerated allergy friendly snack at school (in addition to lunch), but he usually asks for another snack when he gets home. He can now pick something out himself, that is already prepped. Even though it’s only a few extra minutes of prep work each time, it’s incredibly helpful for him to be able to get these things on his own. And again I think, why didn’t I do this sooner?

Snack IdeasHere’s our little snack line-up in action. Nothing fancy, but effective.

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Cast Iron Pan Cleaning

Super helpful tip I found from watching Live with Kelly, and from Real Simple Magazine.

Cast Iron Pan Cleaning…

Combine sea salt, with olive or vegetable oil to make a paste, scrub pan with sponge (you’ll want a sponge that has a scrub-side, you can find some at Target, Costco, Walmart that are gentle on non-stick and cast iron pans) and paste and then rinse clean with hot water.

It just so happened that I had made a chorizo and cheese dip with my cast iron skillet the night before. It was pretty yucky and after many attempts of scrubbing the pan, my husband could not get it clean. So I used the tip for the cleaning after seeing it on the show.

Before…

 

After…

Tada! It did take some elbow grease and I let the paste sit on the pan for about an hour before I scrubbed it to help. I can’t believe I haven’t heard this tip before, but it is really helpful as you aren’t supposed to clean a cast iron skillet with soap, so this is a great alternative.

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Generic vs. Brand Names

As the economy is lingering at a stalemate between bad and really bad I have been trying to be a more thrifty shopper, especially when it comes to groceries. Therefore, I have divulged into the world of generic foods. Now this is only for my husband and myself. I grew up with the mantra (and still hold on to it) that there are just certain things I won’t buy generic. One is diapers. Another is baby food. And the third is probably ice cream. I’m committed to Blue Bell ice cream. Or maybe Haagen Dazs on occasion. But I refuse to go there. If I’m going to spend the money to buy a treat it might as well be a good one. Which isn’t necessarily thrifty, but we don’t buy ice cream that often. However everything else is fair game. I have lately been comparing and trying different generic products with brand name products to see if I notice a difference. I will share my highly detailed and of course well tested (by my husband and I, haha) knowledge of what I have found to be better, worse, or exactly the same. I will update as I try new things, but here are my first encounters.

  • Brand Name Rice Cereal vs. Generic Rice Cereal
  • The reason I bought it generic: Generic rice cereal is about 1.50 to 2.00 less than the brand product. I put fruit on my cereal anyway, and I don’t care if there is a toy in the box.
  • The verdict: To me it tastes exactly the same. Rice cereal is rice cereal. AND I made rice treats out of it and they tasted excellent.
  • Brand Name Marshmallows vs. Generic Marshmallows
  • The reason I bought it generic: Generic Marshmallows are again about 1.00 to 2.00 cheaper.
  • The verdict: In something cooked (Like the rice treats) they tasted fine. However, plain one’s taste odd to me…a bit Styrofoam-ish.
  • Brand name tomatoes (plain diced, crushed, whole, paste, and sauce…we eat  a lot of things with tomato in them) vs. Generic tomatoes (the same list)
  • The reason I bought it generic: About 1.00 cheaper.
  • The verdict: I haven’t eaten them plain (such as in a gazpacho, or a bruschetta spread) but in cooked foods I honestly can’t tell a difference.
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Salt, Salt, Salt

Did you know that there are different types of salt? I’m sure you are questioning my cooking skills right now, but even though I knew there were different types of salt I didn’t know that certain ones are used in certain recipes even if they aren’t specifically stated. Three types are kosher salt, sea salt, and then your everyday table salt. Table salt is actually stronger than kosher salt. So if you are ever watching a food cooking show (as I frequently am during the week) and they state they add a pinch of kosher salt, and then you make the recipe later and add a pinch of table salt you may find the dish is more salty than you planned. As someone who doesn’t really like a lot of salt I found that this was good to know. I also realized from this that I should add kosher salt to my spice rack. Unfortunately it is really difficult to find kosher salt (where I live) in the local grocery store. However, I did find sea salt. This is not the same as kosher salt! Sea salt has larger grains (much larger) and will add a different taste to your food. I could have put this in my cooking beginnings section, but this happened about a month ago haha. I’m a cook in progress. And I’m still searching for kosher salt. I’ll let you know if I find it!

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