Wednesday, January 14, 2015

diy liquid soap/shower gel

While I love making homemade soap, I'm not such a big fan of actually using bars of soap.

stock image. not my soap but it looks a lot like it, minus the pin needly paraphernalia

I know, sucky right? Yeah. I don't know. I don't go through it quickly enough and it drives me bonkers to see it get washed away in the shower and I'm too lazy to actually put it in a container to protect it from the water in the shower.

It's true. I can be pretty lazy. And while that's quite the first world problem on my part, it makes me all cranktankerous when I know that most of my hard work is going down the drain and I'm too lazy to stop it.

So instead I'm taking my hand made soap and milling it down into shavings to make liquid soap for my hands and for my showers.

Here's what you need:

  • 1 big pot
  • 1 bar of soap
  • 1 quart of water (which Mr Faye informs me is 4 cups. Mr Faye is infinitely intelligent when it comes to the calculationy kind of stuff, and faster and funnier than google, unless he's being attitudy, which happens often, as it did in this case because he was getting a bit look at me all smart pontificating like). 

Here's what you do:

  • Grate soap in cheese grater (you can use your regular kitchen one unless you haven't let your homemade soap cure for at least 3 weeks because of the lye. But really, you should let it cure before playing with it, so put it back if that's what you're doing and come back in a month). If you're paranoid or more detail oriented than I am, you can buy a special grater or use a knife and cut it. But it's soap that has cured the lye, so you should be fine
  • Put water in put and heat
  • Add shavings and melt them until there's not little bits left
  • Let it sit for at least 12 hours (off of heat)
We're currently in the let cool and congeal stage
  • It should be cool, congealed, kind of clumpy mess after 12 hours. That's perfect. Take your hand mixer and beat it gently to smooth out the texture.*
  • Store in container (pretty glass ones or practical old milk jugs, whatever you prefer)

And voila, diy, cheap but excellent liquid hand soap or shower gel, as per your preference. I'm going to add some essential oils (probably some of my Thieves Blend to help fight the daycare germs,etc, etc). This way I get to reuse my handmade soaps and have shower gel, which I prefer. Added bonus, as I was washing my hands post mixing I was reminded how good quality my soap mix was. Hello super fatty soap and soft skin instead of detergent like commercial products (yes, that was a little soap snobbery sneaking through, I'll own it).

*If it is too runny, add more soap shavings and repeat. If it's too thick, add more water and blend. It may separate over time. Just stir or shake it. Or if you're really type A, re-blend it. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015: Joy & Other Things

So I turned 38 yesterday. How crazy is that?

Well ok, for you maybe that doesn't seem so crazy but for me it is. 40 is around the corner. Don't worry, I'm not having an existential crisis over it but just a little awed that I'm approaching my middle age.

As I write this, I'm waiting for a grad school friend to give birth, which makes it even odder when you think about it. We are a generation of women having babies in our almost middle age. Life is funny. My grandmother had my father when she was 20, my mother had me at 25 and I had Baby Faye at 36. I literally could be a grandmother but instead, I'm a mother.

What a trip. Hell, all of 2014 and most of 2013 was a crazy ride. One that I sometimes wish I'd done at a much younger age because I don't really know that motherhood in our middle age (or almost middle age) is ideal. (Says the woman who did so). Sometimes I naively think that if I was younger I'd have had more energy and been better able to roll with the roller coaster ride of it all.

But who the hell am I kidding. It would have been hard. Maybe different hard, but still hard. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't change it. This is my journey and I'm happy to be on it. But it's easy to wonder some days about the other ways I could have traveled it, you know?

By the way, in case you're wondering, this is one of those meandering, going no where specific types of posts!

So 38. Toddlers. Motherhood. Paganism. I can safely say that at 18 months (1.5 years for the non parents), life is starting to feel a bit more "normal" again. It took fucking long enough. Seriously. Some days I felt like there would never be real "me" time again. But I'm starting to eke out more balance in my days. Hopefully it'll last. (That's code for hopefully Baby Faye will continue to sleep in until 7 am instead of 5, thus allowing me to stay up past 9:30 pm and still feel human).

I decided that I'd my 38 my starting point for a new fitness routine. Right now I'm doing T25 because I like that it's short and gets me working out daily for now. I'd rather do 25 minutes daily than try to find an hour plus at this point in my life. I'm not worrying about food right now. Just wanting to get active again so that my energy levels are better.

Also decided that my word for this year is going to be JOY not forgiveness. After a rather miserable trip home for the holidays, it felt more a propos.

So I rung in 38 with a fun dinner out with some of my Montreal besties at a local Indian resto. Seriously, I love Indian food. But my partner only really tolerates it so I don't get it nearly often enough. Sigh. One of life's catastrophes really. That and his disdain for coriander and avocado. We really aren't food soul mates :(

Anyways, happy 2015. Here's hoping that sleep and balance will be better in Faye land now that we're out of the baby phase/back to work adjustment so that I can make it to this space more often. I miss making time for creativity and conversations.


Monday, December 22, 2014

my word for 2015

I think I've found my word(s) for 2015.

I was really unsure about them this year, so I did Susannah Conway's Find Your Word meditation, which I really enjoyed because it brought a different element of mindfulness to my choice this year. Added note, I loved her use of colouring to help unlock your choice. It was totally aligned with my whole love of art journal as an intentional meditation act.

I've chosen to go with forgiveness this year (with a side note of joy).

I've spent the past year nurturing an really negative self dialogue, beating myself up for not getting it all done and for failing to find balance. From the blog, to my daily mediation, to life as a mom and wife, to well, just pretty much anything. And it's time to throw it out the window and practice more self-kindness by letting go of the anger I feel towards my shortcomings.

I know, duh. But I'm totally struggling with it and I want 2015 to be a year that leads to a better sense of emotional wellbeing in my day to day life.

  • So I'm going to forgive myself for not being size 8 and the fact that I will never be size 8.
  • I'm forgiving the fact that I wasn't the mom I wanted to be during my son's first year (and consecutive years).
  • I'm forgiving myself for not doing the daily practice even though I knew it would make me happier.
  • Oh hell, I'm forgiving myself for a whole slew of things with the intention of setting up a gentler, less demanding "to do" list.

So yeah. Forgiveness because I think that this year I need to be kinder to myself and remember kindness in my daily interactions.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

yulemas spirit?

It's beginning to sink in... finally. Yulemas is approaching, rather quickly and I admit that this year I'm feeling a bit off kilter about it.

Of course, part of that probably stems from the fact that I'm headed home this year, with a 1.5 year old in tow. Nothing says anxiety to me like flying for 6 hours with a rambunctious toddler!

Oh well. I'm working on Zen.

I'll let you know how it goes. Millions of people travel with kids, we should be able to do it too, right?

Another thing I've been chewing on a lot this year, is the whole grinchy feeling I have over Christmas in light of motherhood. I used to LOVE Christmas growing up. Sure the gifts were great, but I loved the songs, the lights, the colours, the food, the parties. But this year, I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about it all because I'm overthinking it in light of my own traditions and what I want Baby Faye to experience as holiday traditions.

I think I might be killing Yulemas for me this year because of it!

Gah! What is a pagan mama to do when she wants to celebrate the joy of the season, but isn't comfortable with all the "joy to the world, the lord has come" rhetoric? Particularly when she's sort on board with the lord has come, but just not that particular understanding of the lord. I mean... the lord is the lord is the lord kind of deal, but not really...  You know?

I just find myself feeling more at odds with the season this year than I ever have before, mostly because I keep thinking about how I am navigating the tension between my beliefs and those of the mainstream public. I have never been a minority and yet, this year in particular, I have been getting glimpses of what it might feel like to be part of larger minority groups in a sea of generally "understood" cultural norms. And I say that with the full understanding that it's totally ridiculous to even compare my "chosen" path to the imposed minority status placed on others. I just think that it's interesting that this year has really been about making me think/feel/attempt to loosely empathize with what others feel on a much larger scale.

My small scale woe is me, how do I deal with feeling left out of the conversation/teach my son about alternative identities or choices, Yulemas angst is so crazy stupid and privileged. But this past turn of the wheel has been humbling in it's insistence on teaching me to contemplate the othering experienced by choices outside of the mainstream in relation to the life lessons and values I want Baby Faye to grow up with an awareness of.

So yeah, Yulemas this year is definitely an interesting culmination point to a conversation that I am having with others and myself about privilege, sensitivity and openness in the choices we make and the way we talk about the idea of what is "normal" in society.

What does this mean for this season? Probably not much. I don't expect to find easy answers any time soon. But I know that I think it's important to think about, particularly in light of parenthood and creating meaningful memories and celebrations in a mixed faith home and diverse society.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Photo Challenge: December

I'm thinking of taking part in this photo prompt for the holiday season. I can guarantee that I won't take a picture EVERY day, but I took part in her AugustBreak prompt and did pretty well with it.

I don't think it should be something that stresses me out but rather, a fun way to remember to see the day as it unfolds during the season.

Care to join me? (us?). I'll be posting mine on instagram and popping in on the blog from time to time to share.