What I’ve Been Up To: January

Well hey there!

The last month has flown past while I’ve been busy writing, designing, coding, and, oh yeah – loving on my babies and my husband.

Here is some of what I’ve been up to:

Fighting the flu. The reports aren’t exaggerating — this strain is stubborn.

Finally answering (nearly) every imaginable question about going (and staying) shampoo free: Shampoo Free FAQ. If you have any additional questions, please ask! Not kidding -  I’m happy to help anyone considering this.

Trying out other uses for baking soda (since I knew it had to be for more than just baking, hair care and cleaning counter tops).

Watching Alabama’s victory over Notre Dame (Roll Tide!!)

Helping Abbie finalize her application to ASFA.

Inviting y’all to come visit us in Birmingham. Seriously. It’s on Jetsetter.com’s list of the 6 places to visit in 2013.

Continuing to update on the latest Resources and News for parents and educators of gifted and twice exceptional children.

Creating some logos, web designs and graphics that I’m super proud of. I can’t wait for them to go live.

Taking the kids to Tuscaloosa for the first time, so they could watch the BCS Championship parade.

And, starting today, this:

 What Ive Been Up To: January What Ive Been Up To: January
The Plan What Ive Been Up To: January.

I happened to catch a post from Missy, at Almost Naptime, where she mentioned the book and that she was going to start on it. She mentioned that it is an anti-inflammatory diet, and that even foods that are healthy can cause inflammatory reactions.  That caught my attention, so I sought out more information. I had a lot of questions and have watched her go through the first week and half (I’ve messaged her a lot… bless her heart…)

(Even though I do not have a Kindle, I downloaded the Kindle app and purchased the Kindle version What Ive Been Up To: January, and HELLO! I love the Kindle app on my iPhone/iMac/Macbook Air! Highlighting, bookmarking… heaven…)

By the time  you read this, I will have already weighed myself and drunk/drank/drinken (heh) 16 ounces of water with lemon juice (after weighing myself, thank you…), had a cup of dandelion tea for liver support, and eaten some flax seed granola with blueberries.

Why?

Because despite the fact that for the last 3 years I’ve been eating healthier than ever, I have struggled with chronic pain/autoimmune issues and, though I run 4 days a week, a slight weight gain. I want to find out if I’m reactive to any of the healthy foods I am eating, and I don’t want ‘slight’ to turn into ‘major’.

Speaking of my chronic pain, several people have asked and I still plan on having my IUD removed. Because I’m a new patient, I had to wait for an appointment, so I will keep updating here as I figure things out. It will hopefully be removed next month.

What are y’all up to? Do tell.

(The book link above is an affiliate link. If you purchase it using the link, I’ll toast you with some dandelion tea… thanks. ;) )

A Note From a Frustrated Runner

I’m frustrated.

Running has been a close friend for most of my life. I was one of the fastest runners in my elementary school. I ran track in high school. I ran for fun in college. I ran to lose the baby fat after my babies were born. I ran to stave off panic attacks and depression. I ran for clarity in the days leading up to my divorce. I ran for sanity after it. It’s my time to think. Clear my head. I feel good and free when I run.

Except when I don’t.

Recently, my runs have become sporadic and more difficult. This saddens me, because, regardless of the reasons, I was doing so well in my stamina, distance and endurance for so many years. One of my goals around the age of 35 was to run a marathon by the time I was 40. I turn 41 in less than two months, and I haven’t run one. At this point, a 5K wouldn’t be worth the entry fee.

I am not where I want to be with my running. At all. And it frustrates me.

Maybe it means that my reasons for running have changed.

I’m no longer running away. Or towards something. Or for sanity (ok… that’s questionable…) But I still need the stress relief; the health benefits.

Holy cow, do I need the stress relief. And did I mention I’m almost 41? Hello, belly fat, that won’t go away!

So I’m thinking about documenting it more online here. I dunno know… But I do need accountability. I just know I need to do it, just like I need to Just Write.

Life gets busy, and stressful, but I don’t want to roll over and let it stomp all over me.

My first mess

GUPwatercolor1 My first mess

well… not really. I make plenty of messes every day. Too many to count.

The difference between those and this one? Most of them leave me frustrated at the added work placed upon my already busy day. But this one? I’m ok with it; I enjoyed making it. I found myself digging around for things to apply to it without worrying about how it would change or effect the overall look.

Have you started on your own journey to give up perfection?

What would it take for you to be able to do that?

Want to know what I’m talking about? Please read this post and feel free to join me!

Revisiting Cozi.com

organized2 thumb Revisiting Cozi.com

Earlier in the year I wrote about Cozi and gushed about how fabulous I though the site was for creating lists. I’ve long been a fan of their clean, simple design and layout, their useful and relevant ideas and “how-did-I-live-without-that” tips.

Amazingly, the site just keeps getting better. They have added more content, including an online magazine (Live Simply) and menu planning (Nourish), but have still managed to do so in a way that is easy to navigate.

Two other new features:

Still not convinced if you should try it?

From the site:

Wish you had some help organizing your busy family life? Cozi is a FREE online family organizer that helps you manage the family calendar, organize your shopping list and to do list, share favorite memories in a family journal, and enjoy family photos—all in one spot. With Cozi’s mobile access, your information is not only available from any computer with an Internet connection, but also from any mobile phone. All you need to get started is a Cozi account and signing up is quick and easy with no downloads required.

Using Cozi has really helped me stay organized and keep track of my children’s busy schedules. Having it all in one place, without the mess of scratch paper, crumpled notes shoved in my purse has saved my sanity many times.

Let me know if you’ve used Cozi and how it’s changed how you organize your time and family.

photo credit

Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

If you have ever had to have a photo taken for a passport, you know what a big fat pain it can be. It has always perplexed me as to why it had to be that way… I mean, come on – it’s a photo. And a not very good one at that!

There had to be a better way.

There is: ePassportPhoto.com. And guess what? It’s FREE! Not only is it free, but you don’t have to get in your car and drive anywhere to have it taken. It is done right on your own computer.

epassportscreenshot thumb Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

You take the photo. You upload the photo to the site, where you can easily check for compliance with any requirements:

epassportuploadphoto thumb Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

epassportensurecompliance thumb Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

Once compliance is checked, proceed and preview your sheet:

epassportpreviewsheet thumb Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

If it all looks right, you are ready to print them off:

epassportpreview thumb Get a Free Passport Photo Through ePassportPhoto.com

The only charge incurred is if you use the premium service and have them sent to Walgreens. My suggestion, if you aren’t going to print them yourself, is to check Costco and other stores that print photos. Find the best price and send them there. Click on the “download and print” link on the “Basic” option. The photo will be downloaded to your computer, which will allow you to upload it to any photo printing site. Just be sure that their printing meets proper passport photo requirements.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. And best of all, you’re not stuck with a photo that looks like you just ate a bag of lemons and are on your third straight night with no sleep.

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About ePassportPhoto.com:

ePassportPhoto.com is the Internet passport photo booth, and our primary goal to put an end to the passport photo rip-off. We believe that there’s no reason you should have to spend valuable time and money just to get a simple, compliant set of passport photos.

Unlike traditional photo shops, our system currently supports the exact government requirement of over 60 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe (and many in between, such as Australia, France and Germany). For example, if you’re a citizen of China living in Canada or a citizen of the UK living in the US, ePassportPhoto.com will help you create passport photos that comply with the requirements of your home country.

ePassportPhoto.com was established in 2005 and has served over two million users from 200 different countries and territories.