February 23, 2024

Dirty Hippie Hair Experiment: Update

So week one of my Dirty Hippie Hair Experiment has ended, with mixed results.  My hair doesn't look terrible, yet it doesn't feel great either.  I actually cheated over the weekend and rubbed a bit of shampoo into my lower locks, because they just felt so blah.  I figured that it wouldn't much affect the oils in my scalp, but might just clear out some of the gunk that's moved down my hair.
Today, before my doctor's appointment, I'd had enough. Call it the emotions, but I was just sick of thinking about my hair, (and secretly worrying that the doctor would notice it!). Really, when I was on the shampoo routine, I barely gave a second thought to my hair, after showering and letting it air dry.  But today it was just feeling so knotty and gnarly, and gritty, (though surprisingly not oily) after dumping too much baking soda on it yesterday in the shower.  Despite a mighty-dousing of vinegar, I just couldn't get it all out.  I'm convinced that my hair is just not meant for baking soda--it's just too thick and hard to rinse out.  It was always super-easy to comb when wet, but as it dried it just got tangled and difficult to manage.  It's like my hair wanted to turn into dreadlocks.

Honestly, my hair never really looked bad, as you can see from the photos, but it just always felt weird, which made me worry about how it looked to others.
So I did the inevitable this morning and washed it a bit with some castile soap.  Yikes! I thought it would end this mess, but no.  My hair still feels gunky, not from grease but from weird build-up.  If I had gone another week without shampoo, I think my hair would have settled out fine, since it was feeling soft on some days, then rough on others.  Call me a wimp, but I just didn't have the resolve to continue, at least now. 
All in all, I'm glad I did this, and I really see myself washing my hair less with shampoo, and maybe doing a weekly vinegar/baking soda washing.  I'm hoping that this experiment was a detox for my head, and that maybe after a few more days of regular shampooing, that my hair will return back to normal, well at least MY normal.  Right now, it's just feeling a little like someone smeared frosting on the back of my head.  Ugh. I'm ready to not think about hair for a while.

February 21, 2024

Winter Weekend at the Beach

After waking up this morning to an inch of snow, I've been yearning for the return of this past weekend's warmer weather.  Here in the Northeast, we had some mild weather on Friday and Saturday, so Soren and I headed to my parents' house along the tiny Delaware coast this weekend.  It was so nice to be outside without coats, hats, or gloves.

Soren had a great time playing along the sandy bay near the house.
He even dared to dip his feet in the chilly water. I swear, kids' bodies are powered by the equivalent of a grapefruit-sized supernova.
We then headed to the beach the next day, which wasn't as idyllic, in that we were being whipped by 50 mph winds.
Despite the utterly gorgeous day, imagine a sandstorm blowing every so often right into your face.  Whose idea was this anyway? (uh, mine).  I paid for it by having to carry him across the lumpy sand, back to the boardwalk--mind you, being pregnant and fighting off the end of a cold, all while sand is hitting my face like shrapnel.
I'm glad we went though, just to get out of the funk of being stuck inside at home.  I love that my son could spend all day outside, just playing with sand, sticks and water. 
Now if only the weather would cooperate! We can't wait until Spring.

February 16, 2024

Presenting Kathleen: Dirty Hippie

So I'm undertaking yet another wacked-out thing to cause my parents to wonder how in the world they ever wound up with me as their spawn.  I'm giving up shampoo.

In fact, I just might be giving up soap too.  Well, not entirely.  Just on my head and most of my body---hands and um, lady parts, excluded (TMI, I know. Apologies especially to the in-real-life friends who are readers).

I've read quite a bit of blog posts, forum discussions, and other articles about giving up shampoo (sometimes referred to the no 'poo challenge), and even soap, and dare I say, I'm intrigued.  I have fussy, sensitive skin that breaks out easily, as well as hair that just seems oilier as of late.  Why not try this out for 2 weeks and see how it goes?  I'm up for a challenge, especially one that's not so risky or dramatic, and can be abandoned at any time via a hot, soapy shower.

My showering routine already was on that path to this--washing my hair every other day or every 3 days, using a vinegar rinse, and only using soap on my body (arms, legs, torso) once a week, which seemed to help a lot with dry skin (hey, it's not like I'm digging ditches and running marathons around here, sweatin' it up). I also don't use hair products or makeup (only on special occasions), and let my hair air-dry all the time, so I wasn't concerned about having to wash product build-up out of my hair without soap.

Today was my first non-shampoo shower.  Rather than just go cold-turkey and shower with only water, I massaged some baking soda into my wet hair, then poured apple cider vinegar over it as a rinse.  I also washed my face with a baking soda paste, rather than soap, which Chris has been doing too with great success for the occasional eczema on his face.

The results of day 1? I'm actually pretty impressed.  I was concerned that I'd look like one of The Outsiders, without the jean jacket, however my hair feels softer and has more curl in it.
It does feel a tad greasy, but if all goes according to plan, the natural oils in my hair will calm down once my scalp adjusts over a week or two.  But in the photo above, it really looks fine, at least to me.

My face feels a lot softer and less dry too. I just used baking soda, then patted it dry and added a drop of Weleda Pomegranate Oil to it, and it's really feeling soft and clean.  And according to Chris, I don't smell, though my hair does look a little greasy (I beg your pardon!).

The key to this method of hygiene is that it's not reveling in stink and dirt and avoiding showers (a la the hippies of the past) but keeping clean with water.  I'm not quite ready to give up baking soda and vinegar just yet, but am hoping to try it sometime soon. 

I plan on updating my progress through the challenge, in case you might be interested in seeing the results.

So am I crazy? Would you do this?

February 15, 2024

We're Having a...

Ok, so we're not really sure.  The baby was lying in a way where the head was up, the back was facing outward, and the feet were covering, er, the important parts, so the sex is not certain.  And despite poking, prodding, rolling over by me, etc. this baby is just not a mover and wasn't ready to turn over.  At one point the technician thought it might be a boy, but she wasn't entirely positive.  So the waiting continues, and maybe we'll have a delivery surprise.  I can't recall when I had an additional ultrasound with my last pregnancy, but we might know a little sooner than the birth.

All along I was thinking it was a girl, just for how little movement I've felt, and also just a different feeling with this pregnancy (my face has broken out more, my digestion is more sluggish) but maybe I'm just destined to be the mother of boys.

However we're happy that everything else looks well, and that the baby seems healthy.  Now if I can just fight off this cold and get a good night's sleep.

February 14, 2024

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope you're getting and giving lots of hugs and kisses today!
I'm coming down with a cold, so no fancy plans for today (isn't it funny how as a parent you lose even the "luxury" of being sick and in bed?).  We find out the baby's sex tomorrow, so that's pretty exciting for us.  I still can't believe I'm halfway there!

Until then, I'll share my favorite Valentine's day songs, My Funny Valentine; this wonderful version is from Chet Baker.  Though I do like Matt Damon's take on it from The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Until tomorrow, XOXOxoxo

February 12, 2024

From the Archives: Knitted Valentine's Day Garland

I posted about this knitted garland last year, and thought I'd dig it out from the vault to share again.  It was simple to make (probably took an evening or two) and looked lovely.  I ended up auctioning it off last year for a the Heart for Haiti relief effort, and just didn't get a chance to knit up another one this year, though I did knit a little heart or two just to have around.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Though I love holidays and decorating, we don't really go overboard here with decorations.  I like simple, homemade things that can be reused each year, and I adore garlands of all kinds.  While putting away the last of the Christmas decor, I realized that I don't have anything for Valentine's Day.
Not that it's a big holiday in our house (we almost never do anything anymore), but that blank space above the doorway was driving me nuts. I miss my recycled book paper garland!

So I decided to knit up a heart garland that I can pull out each year before V-Day.
I had lots of yarn remnants in pink and red from other projects, so it was a perfect way to use up those bits.
This garland would be equally cute in a girl's bedroom after celebrating St. Valentine.  The project requires basic knitting skills, but is very simple to whip up.

St. Valentine's Knitted Heart Garland
  • yarn in various shades of pink and red (any weight is fine, though your hearts will vary in size)
  • knitting needles (I used size 6, but you could use any size you'd like to get the gauge you want)
  • double pointed needles for making i-cord (again, whatever size you'd like, depending on how thick your yarn is or how thick you want the i-cord to be)
  • yarn needle

Step 1
For making the hearts, cast on 3 stitches
Knit across those stitches.  On the next row, knit one stitch into the front, and one stitch into the back of the first stitch.
then knit the center stitch, and knit into the front and back of the last stitch.  You'll now have a total of 5 stitches.
Knit the next row.  Continue like this, knitting into the front and back of both the first and last stitch of every other row (knit the other rows) until you have a total of 17 stitches.
Step 2
When you have a total of 17 stitches, knit 10 rows even.
Step 3
Now you're going to divide the knitting into the two tops of the heart.  Knit 7 stitches, then K2Tog (knit 2 together).  Pull out a long piece of the yarn (like a yard) and cut it there.  Then reattach the yarn ball to the next stitch, and knit across.
You will have 2 sections now, which both have their own yarn.
Step 4
Knit across, making sure to keep each section separate with its own yarn.
Next row: SSK (slip first stitch onto right needle as if to knit, slip second stitch onto right needle as if to knit, put them both back on the left needle and knit them together), knit 4 stitches, then K2Tog.  Do the same for the other set of stitches on the needle (SSK, K4, K2Tog).
Knit the next row.
Next row: SSK, K2, K2Tog, SSK, K2, K2Tog.
Next row: SSK, K2Tog, SSK, K2Tog
Bind off.
That's your heart!
Weave in the bottom yarn, and save the top two for sewing onto the garland.
Step 5
Now onto knitting the cord for the garland.  This is called an i-cord, which looks like a knitted rope.
Pick up your double pointed needles and cast of 4 stitches in whatever color yarn you'd like.
Knit across, and instead of turning the work to purl, slide it back to the right side of the DPN and pick up the yarn around the back and start knitting again.  You're essentially making a long tube and knitting in the round.
Continue in this manner until you have as long of a cord as you need.  Mine was 45" long.  This was the most tedious part of the project. The hearts were much more fun to knit.
Step 6
Once your cord is done, bind off and sew in loose ends.  Then sew each heart onto the i-cord with a yarn needle, using the threads at the top of each heart.  Weave in or snip any loose threads.

Hang and enjoy!

You could also make individual hearts and hang them as ornaments throughout your home.
It's a bit addicting!  For a cute crocheted heart garland (I need to learn how to crochet), check out Skip to My Lou's post.

February 11, 2024

Valentine's Day Fun for Petit Ones

Soren and I are heading to a little Valentine's party today at a neighbor's house, where we'll make our own tiny heart-shaped pizzas and enjoy cookies.  I offered to bring a few crafts to do, and since the kids are 3 and under, I came up with some ideas that will hopefully be exciting (and do-able) for the preschool set.
I picked up some Valentine's paper plates at Target (you could certainly use white ones or whatever you have on hand) and just put a line of white glue around the rim.  Then we glued pre-cut hearts all the way around the edge, and taped a length of yarn to the back.
While I'm not an advocate of pre-cutting supplies for kids' art projects, at their age, toddlers and preschoolers probably don't have the skills to cut out hearts just yet.  Though I am bringing plenty of extra paper for those who want to cut their own, or make something entirely different.  And it really didn't take long to cut out a bunch of hearts out of folded paper (great to do while watching a movie).

Hopefully we'll use the hearts to design our own heart animals too.  I can't wait to see what the kids come up with!
There will also be paper bags for them to decorate to put their Valentines in, and of course paper for them to design their own cards, if the attention spans don't wane by then.

I'm also bringing along coffee filters and tissue paper that I cut into circles (same size as the coffee filters), if anyone (moms included) wants to make a pretty bouquet.
I made these last year for Easter, the tutorial for which you can find HERE.
I anticipate that the kids might want to color the coffee filters with markers, then I (or another mom) can turn them into the flowers.

Lastly, I couldn't help myself, and made these cute lollipop flowers for the kids using scraps of leftover paper.
They're almost too cute to eat!
I imagine they'd be a hit in the classroom, in lieu of paper Valentines.  I made them by cutting a small (2-3") square (or approximate square) out of paper,
 then fold it corner to corner into a triangle, and then fold again into another triangle.
Cut out two half hearts from each side, like this:
 Using another slightly larger or smaller piece of paper, do the same thing.
Open up your flowers,
and poke a hole in the center of each flower with a toothpick.  Don't make it too big, or the lollipop will fall out.
Slide the smaller flower on first, then the larger one.  Voila!
I stuck mine into a styrofoam ball, then put it into a small flowerpot. The pops are easier to display and contain this way.  So cute!
Off to the party we go!  Any fun Valentine's plans in your weekend (no X-rated comments please, LOL!).
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