The many uses of coconut oil

96070-OrganicCoconutOil Recently, I’ve been on an unintentional quest to see how many [legitimate] uses I can come up with  for coconut oil.  Cooking is probably what first comes to mind on how to use coconut oil.  And yes, even though it is great in the kitchen, I have found a greater advantage of this product in the cosmetic department of our home life.  Our skin and hair have benefited significantly from this fruit.  So far, I have experimented with coconut oil as:

-a lip balm:  It was okay. I would use it in a bind, but didn’t like the “taste.”

-body lotion:  Just a dap will do ya.  Smells yummy.

-eye make-up residue remover:  Smear a bit on around the eye and wipe off with a cotton swab.  Works wonderfully.

-facial moisturizer:  This is my favorite use for coconut oil.  I use it daily on my face, especially around my eyes.  I have dry skin, and it drinks up the oil leaving it super smooth with a hint of a dewey glow.

-make-up primer:  Depending on the days activities, I may use the coconut oil underneath my other moisturizer and/or sunscreen.  It seems like a lot of layers, but I end up with a smooth canvas for my make-up.

-anti-frizz hair serum:  I am a blessed mother of three children, two of them girls—one with straight hair, one with curly hair.  “Beauty shop” is a frequent game with play. 😉  Well, the other day when Ms. Curly-Q was Chief Crazy Hair, I decided beauty shop was now in session and coconut oil would be our product demonstration for the day.  Low and behold, the stuff worked to soothe the wild tresses of my gorgeous second daughter.

3f7dac35-ba94-430e-9772-1f87dd111d0fwallpaper 2f673244-f67c-4a54-b6b6-75dee5427279wallpaperI have a few more ways to try the coconut oil (i.e. body scrub and shaving cream), and as I discover additional uses for this versatile product, I will update this post.

So out of curiosity, have you used coconut oil for any purposes other than cooking?  Give me some suggestions for how else to use it.

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Baby Dedication

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bow tie boy

We finally dedicated SK this past Sunday.  Poor kid had to wait until he was almost a year old before we ceremonially committed to raise him in a christian home.  With the girls, I had planned their dedication way in advance knowing shortly after their birth exactly when the event would take place, and EK even had a party afterwards.  I realized a few weeks back that SK hadn’t yet been dedicated, and we were quickly approaching his first birthday.  That is what precipitated his dedication; not planning and preparedness but reaction and a deadline. (insert sarcastic tone) Way to go mom!

I love baby dedication not only for the scriptural significance, but also because I am a proud mama and enjoy showing off my youngin’s (what mom doesn’t?).  Also, baby dedication Sundays are some of my favorite because they demonstrate that children are tangible blessings given to us by God, and I am reminded of this fact.  Plus, babies are so stinkin’ cute, everyone likes to see them. 😉

Obviously, much more could be said about the sentiment of baby dedication but I won’t bore you with that…so without further ado, I present some pictures of SK’s dedication:

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being presented to the congregation

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being prayed over

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the kids with our wonderful pastor and his sweet wife

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sk decided he wanted to snuggle up on our pastor

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tangible blessings

Happy Valentine’s Day!

girls' valentine for classmates

girls’ valentine for classmates

If you are reading this, know I love you.  You are one of the dedicated few that have stuck with me these past months of blog silence, and yet you continued to hope that maybe one day I would return.  Well, return I have.  Whether permanently or temporarily is to be determined.  Nevertheless, I am here now, and I will be posting more soon.  With much love in my heart, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Easy Crusty Bread

Homemade bread is the best, but the process of making it can be laborious.  Well, that can’t be said about this bread.  As the title states, this bread is really easy to make.  Plus it has wonderful texture; crusty on the outside and airy and chewy on the inside.  I will say that the only issue I had was timing the proofing, but that is only because I didn’t think through the entire process before jumping into the recipe (I proofed my loaf around 20 hours because I wasn’t getting up in the middle of the night to bake some bread :)).

I first found this recipe on Pinterest, where I find most all the cool things in existence (ha!).  The blog this recipe is posted on provides a great pictorial, but trying to follow the recipe was slightly difficult due to its choppiness caused by all the pictures.  I have condensed the recipe below and only provided my finished product picture (above).  Here is the link to the original recipe:  http://simplysogood.blogspot.com/2010/03/crusty-bread.html

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EASY CRUSTY BREAD

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

medium to large dutch oven

Directions:

In large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.  Add the water.  Mix together.  Cover the bowl and allow to set on countertop for 12-18 hours to proof.

Shortly before you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Once preheated, place your dutch oven (with lid) in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  While your dutch oven is preheating, dump the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a round ball.  Carefully remove the hot dutch oven from the oven and drop in the dough.  Return the dutch oven with lid on back to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Then, remove the lid and continue to bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the loaf from the dutch oven and allow to completely cool on wire rack.

(Side Note:  There is no need to grease the inside of your dutch oven.)

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Yep, that’s it.  Super easy and yummy.  I kept exactly (except for the proofing time) to the recipe this time around in an effort to authentically test drive the recipe, but next time I’m gonna try a whole grain version.  Hopefully, my results will be just as good.

Starting baby food

SK had his first taste of baby food the other day.  He is now 4 months old, so I mixed up some rice cereal for him which he seemed to mostly enjoy.

sk’s first baby food feeding (4 months)

For comparison, here are pictures of the girls eating baby food.

mk’s first baby food feeding (oatmeal at 4 months)

I wish I had a picture of EK’s first feeding, but here is one of her eating prunes at 7 months.

ek eating prunes (7 months)

Homegrown fun

What goes great with summer?  How ’bout watermelon eatin’ and a seed spitting contest.  Our watermelons are maturing now, and we were able to partake of our first one this week.

seed spitting contest about to commence

In other news, it’s been a real scorcher here lately.  I’m talkin’ triple digit temps, and it’s only officially been summer for a week and a half.  Needless to say our outdoor activities have included water and swim suits.  The girls enjoyed some playtime through the sprinkler while the water hopefully kept some of our yard alive.

HAPPY SUMMER!

This year’s garden

Year after year, the garden continues to expand despite its growth restriction of the fence.  Hubby added potatoes this year to the produce list, and yielded 27 pounds.  Needless to say, we were eating potatoes in almost anyway they could be prepared.  Remember Bubba from Forest Gump listing all the ways to eat shrimp…yeah, that was us with potatoes.  Ha!  We also had some success with carrots.  We tried them last year, but nothing; probably planted them too late.  But my favorite expansion planting was strawberries.  I’ve only been asking Hubby for the past…um…6 years or so to have some strawberries, and now I have them.  They are small, but nice and sweet.  I wish they produced enough to make some jam.  But who am I kidding, with three children under 5 I wouldn’t be makin’ any jam even if I had bushels of strawberries.   One of these days I will though.  I’ll add that to my list. 🙂

SK at 3 months

As I have gotten back to blogging, I have been reading my old posts.  I came across this post which spurred the following.  It is funny (& a little sad) how much I had forgotten about the girls, so this post is to serve as a snapshot of life when I try to think back on this time.

Feeding:  SK nurses about 8 minutes on the first side and about 5 minutes on the next.  From a bottle, he drinks around 7 oz.  He is a gassy guy, so there are always lots of burps and some spit-up.  He eats every 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  Right now we are dropping the “dreamfeed.”  Since I am pumping at night, I have been reducing the amount he is getting at this feeding.  I started with 4 oz. then reduced it to 3 oz. for week, reduced it to 2 oz for 4 days, and now I am giving him 1 oz.  Right now he weighs 14 lbs.

Playtime:  SK is figuring out his hands and arms.  He bats at the toys on his playmat trying to grab them and sometimes he catches one.  He can get his thumb pretty easily when in his bed and is occasionaly able to find it sitting up.  He prefers his right, but has found his left thumb a couple of times.  SK LOVES being outside.  He just looks around and watches the tree leaves sway.  He has rolled from his belly to his back three times.

Napping:  I would say SK is a good sleeper.  Naps aren’t 100% consistent in length, but he usually gives me two good naps a day.  A third nap is kinda sketchy.  He still protest going to sleep, but he is doing better.  Usually, he fusses when I close the door to his room, and then will sporadically fuss/grunt/cry out.  Within 10 mins or so he is asleep.

Socially:  SK is a happy boy most of the time.  He smiles alot and is now laughing.  MK gets the most laughs, but that is probably because she is in his face alot talking baby talk with him.  Our little guy is more “talkative” than I remember the girls being; lots of cooing and grunting.

Schedule:

7 am WAKE UP, EAT, PLAYTIME

8:15/20 NAP

10:30 EAT, PLAYTIME

11:45/50 NAP

2pm EAT, PLAYTIME

3:20 NAP

5pm EAT, PLAYTIME

7pm BATHTIME

7:15 EAT

8pm BEDTIME

10:30pm DREAMFEED

EK’s first haircut

EK had her first haircut yesterday.  I know this is probably no big deal to most people, but it was something special for me.  It was a milestone; similar to her first steps.  Instead of transitioning from a crawling baby to a walking toddler, she has now transitioned into girlhood.  I wanted to wait until August when she turns 5 because again, that is a big milestone in her little life.  She’ll be a whole hand old, half a decade!  But her lovely blonde locks needed a cut badly.  Her hair was looking stringy and knotted easily.

BEFORE

When I first mentioned getting her hair cut, Ellie was not interested.  She said, “I don’t want to look like a boy.”  I then explained that the haircut would just take a little bit off the ends of her hair and not cut it off completely.  She was okay with it then.

DURING

And here’s the finished product.  Nothing drastic, but the cut cleaned up the ends and looks cute.  Needless to say, she’s a pretty little girl on the inside and out regardless of what her hair looks like, but her hair does look better/healthier after the cut.

AFTER