Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Sales, Matzo Balls, Bike Rides and a Product to Make Your Hair As Soft As a Snowflake!

Today I was thinking about writing, and how if I could write about anything in the world on this blog, what might it be?  And all of the topics that immediately came to mind were the polar opposite of gray hair and cooking and parenting. I think if I wrote about the things that popped into my head, I might lose a reader or two. Or three. (Or would I? Maybe I'm wrong!) Things like my opinions on politics and organized religion, and how backward and damaging I find that our American culture has become. 

Its feels strange to have one half of myself honestly and genuinely the happy homemaker, cooking and crafting and crocheting and birdwatching - while the other half of who I am is just as truly concerned with progressive thinking and questioning and of worldly things far beyond the picket fence.

Can a woman REALLY be a traditional mother and wife, and also active and absorbed into a liberal or radical world? "Feed your family, then feed your mind?" I don't even know what that really implies. Maybe take care of your family first, before your intellectual and social needs. Or maybe we can have both concurrently.

As I became a wife and mother and stumbled through my mid-20's to my mid-30's, I felt that I learned an enormous amount about myself. Much much more than in the previous two decades. But now, as Noah becomes a bit older and I find myself statistically closer to 40 than 30, I'm questioning all over again, WHO am I? And what matters to me? What is the best use of my human life, for my family and for the larger world? Am I selling myself short by focusing so  much so on my micro-environment? There's so much to think about. I never stop thinking........

My mother is one of those women who went out into the world. I can not think of a time that she hasn't been involved in one project or another. Whether running her own business when were were young, or later doing things that she truly enjoyed like oil painting. (That's one of her unfinished paintings in the background).

Her latest adventure is partnering up to illustrate a new book called: "The Small Sports Take the Field."

The Small Sports are a cute little group of children who's stories help to teach the value of good sportsmanship and corporation on the field and throughout life.  My mother dropped a copy off on Saturday and Noah LOVED the book. He sat there read the whole thing, cover to cover, and then grinned a big grin when he read his Grandmother's bio in the back. It was really cute. If you have a young, active person in your life, "The Small Sports Take the Field" is a wonderful little read with valuable lessons often over-looked in all of the excitement and competitiveness of today's sports. 



On Saturday morning, as I do twice a year when our library holds their book sales, I was up and out before the 9:30am opening. I absolutely love, love, love a good book sale, especially this one. On the first day, depending on which section you are in, books are generally anywhere from $2 to 50 cents. (Where is the "cent" key!?) The following day everything is half-price, and by the third day for $5 dollars you get to fill a large bag that they provide with as many books as you can fit in! I think it's such a great thing. And....it helps the library!

Most of the time I go for two or three of the days, but for one reason or another, I only made it over on day one. Here is what we found: I was able to get a perfect copy of "The Dangerous Book for Boys" for only $1! I'd say that's quite a deal! Noah came home with some strange book about Santa Claus that he chose, that now in retrospect does not seem like a children's book. It's the "totally unauthorized biography of Santa." (Hmmmmm.)  Also, seven million Garfield books for fifty cents a piece. And because I am a total dork, I found a big, old book called: "American Country: A Style Guide & Source Book". It's from 1981. I'm in love.


I now repeatedly drag my family to my favorite coffee shop on the weekends. Then, I pretend to order "us" one of their delicious muffins or sweet treats, and then eat it myself while my family isn't looking.

NO. I'm just kidding. I'd share! It's just that they're way too intense and say that they can not eat during a game of chess. Which is fabulously now becoming our "thing".....Saturday chess and hot chocolate. It's a win-win for all of us.


Not only did Noah win because he beat Jon at chess, TWICE, but he won because he was drinking by far, the best hot chocolate in town.


Here's what I do - a mocha, the fake-out muffin, and a Japanese design magazine. At least there was one thing that I learned in college. Too bad I'm forgetting everything because there's nobody to regularly speak Japanese with.  At least  I look "cool".  Or at least I think I look cool. Wait, who am I kidding?


One thing that we learned this weekend is that Noah can sit on the book rack on the back of my bike while I ride. Maybe this isn't the best thing for my bike, but now he doesn't fit in the retro baby seat that I installed a few years back.


So now he just sits on the book rack above the fender, puts his feet on one of the bars and holds on! Noah wants me to ride with him everyday. It's too crowded in town, so we ride down the hill and into the neighborhood. Then it's a straight shot to the old cemetery which is both pretty and has lots and lots of primarily car-free "roads" to cruise on. It's really fun, but we must look crazy. I wonder if I should just get an extracycle or something like that?


We had to stop and take photos of the fall colors. I feel a bit awkward, riding and photographing in a cemetery, but it really is a nice place to ride. 
Look at that those colors!


And this red. Nature made this red! WOW!


Ohhhhhhh.... one of the best things to come home to on a blustery fall day is a pot of homemade matzo ball soup. This time around Jon made the soup, and it was delicious! They were "sinkers", heavy, dense matzo balls. You can also make "floaters".  I think the key to floaters, as told to me by Jon's Bubby, is using a bit of seltzer water in the mix. Jon used THIS matzo ball recipe from the Carnegie Deli in New York. Check it out, I'm linking to the fun video.



I'm very glad that I went on a walk this morning. Something that I haven't done in a while. (I'm still on the treadmill though. Every.single.UGH! day.) I'm glad that I went outside to walk because........
Now it's SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!
Yes! I'm sooooooo HAPPY! I love snow! I feel like more people prefer spring and summer, but those seasons just depress me. When fall and winter roll back around, I feel so EXCITED and UP! Don't you just think the fall colors and the gorgeous, white snow, and the sweaters and mittens and warm fires and hot chocolates, are the best? I really do. Not to mention the good string of holidays.

I thought that I saw a snowflake or two late last week, but was a little unsure. Today though, this was official snow. November 11th, 2013, the first day of snow this year! Noah was so excited, we stood outside in the wet snowy-rain after school as he tried to catch it on his tongue.

The strangest thing is, you get your first snow and BAM! The Cardinals are all back! We have Cardinals at our feeders throughout the year, but in the wintertime, most Cardinals flock and roost together. Then we start getting many many more birds visiting. In fact, two winters ago, I could not believe my eyes when I counted 18 breathtakingly gorgeous Cardinals in my yard! 
Their bright red color is just so beautiful against the backdrop of white snow.

I tried to take a photo of the snow coming down, but it's not showing up so well. What you might be able to see are the three male Cardinals sitting beneath my feeders, and I think there were three males and two females! One is off to the side of the picture. A half hour later everything has a dusting of snow. It was so pretty. :)


All of this snow talk is reminding me - we need to get our storm windows up! Have you ever seen old-fashioned storm windows? I know that I've mentioned this before, but we had to have reproductions made of the old storm windows. This is because many of the windows on our house, at least from the old portion, date from circa. 1860! Nothing modern really fits them. Our storm windows weigh a ton. They're made of wood with one long pane of glass. I want to say a few are about as tall as I am, 5', but maybe they're a bit less. At any rate, getting the storms up a ladder to the second floor, and securing them in with the old iron knobs is no small feat! 

Speaking of snow. I'm sorry, I FULLY realize that this is the CHEESIEST picture I have ever made, but I wanted to say something about soft hair, and the "winter theme" popped up on my photo editing site. I wanted to play around with snow flakes. Pardon the embarrassing tag line: "For Hair As Soft As a Snowflake!" LOL


What? What's that you say? OHHHHHH! You mean  you want to know the secret to super soft hair too!? Oh, ok! So, for starters, just so you know, I am not being compensated in any way for this product review. It's 100% me. I just came across this styling "milk," (Eeeeeeewww) and loved it so much that I wanted to share. This is "Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus: Curl & Style Milk". I bought mine at Target, but you can also find it on Amazon. I don't remember what my bottle cost, but I do remember it was on sale. Amazon prices theirs at $16.50 for 8oz. I have to say though, I feel like my bottle is going to last forever. All you need is a tiny bit!

So what does "Style Milk" do? Well, at least for me, after applying it to clean, damp hair, it helps my hair to dry super soft. It's almost like a miracle! When I use the hair dryer, style milk or not, my hair is always left less soft, than if I let it air dry, but that takes time. With Style milk, even when using the dryer, my hair is a lot softer in the end. Lately I've been air-drying 80%, followed by the dryer and my hair has come out SUPER soft. Also, it helps to cut down on frizz. 

This is a great product for those of us with grays, because gray hair can sometimes be coarse! My only word of caution, for many, a little of this style "milk" (Eeeeeewwww) goes a long way. I'd say that I have medium thick/medium coarse hair. When I used more than a penny sized amount, my hair felt heavy. A dab will do ya! As a bonus, like always, Shea Moisture products are completely natural. No parables, no synthetics, no sulfates, etc..etc...

Oh! I should note that I'm using their Coconut & Hibiscus shampoo and Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. So, I'm sure that helps with softness too!


OK, I'm off to hop on the treadmill. Even though I don't love it, I keep hearing all of these good things about exercise.  Like it's good for your body, your brain, and even your anxiety. I'm too afraid to stop! (Just kidding. Well, not really.)  Also, I'm finally feeling less self-conscious about myself in jeans for probably some delusional reason, but exercise give you senseless confidence. 

Until next time!
xoxoxoxo,
Lauren 

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