Oil Pulling

Have you ever heard of oil pulling?  I hadn't until recently, though I'm sure like me, you've heard people rave about the wondrous qualities of coconut oil whose many health benefits extend far beyond the world of cooking.  Oil pulling seems to be the next big thing that this bountiful oil can assist with.

Okay - here's how it works. Oil pulling consists of taking a small spoonful of oil (recommended oils include coconut, sunflower, or sesame) and swishing it around ones mouth for 15-20 minutes a day, similar to how you would use mouthwash.  The practice of oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice to detoxify the teeth. The oil pulls bacteria and toxins from the teeth, which are naturally porous. Countless sources have sung the benefits of this ancient practice which is gaining popularity in the US; citing fresher breath, whiter teeth, decreased tooth sensitivity, overall improved oral health, and even clearer skin!  At the end of each daily oil pull, it is recommended you discard the oil (to avoid drain clogs). 

I was a little skeptical, and of course it is something they recommend in addition to your regular dental maintenance with your dentist.  I've tried it a handful of times, and it isn't my favorite thing (honestly it kind of feels like swishing just your spit around for 15 minutes), but afterward, my breath does feel fresher with a  hint of coconut, and my teeth are smoother and plaque free.  

I'm going to attempt to do this daily for a month, and then I'll report back. If you're still on the fence, here's some literature and testimonials from other sources and bloggers: Huffington PostDesign Mom, Authority Nutrition, Wellness MamaTrina Holden, among others.  

Quote of the Week

"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." 
~ Marianne Williamson


30/30 Project

Join my blog friends Teresa and Jenny of The Things We Would Blog in raising awareness for this cause.  This story is one of hope, change, and is an inspiring reminder of the changes that people can make together to sustain lives and pave the way for the future.  Start by taking the next 6 minutes of your day to watch this video, just do it!  You will be inspired.

Ikea Hack

Have you heard of an "Ikea Hack?"  This is the new jargon used to describe a piece of Ikea furniture that has been transformed after a little DIY magic (first spotted with this amazing transformation - lounge chair turned baby rocker).  I've always a fan of Ikea, thought admittedly I don't love the everybody-owns-the-same-stuff recognizable quality that some Ikea furniture has.  You know what I mean…when you survey a room and can immediately identify furniture pieces as "Ikea!"  However this website, Ikea Hackers seems like just the ticket - DIY twists on Ikea favorites, but at an affordable price tag.  All you need is a little elbow grease!
{loving this lego table}

Some other favorites: new cabinetry, an updated dresser, nesting table turned ottoman, and driftwood mirror.

via the soho

Dinner Last Night: Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Nothing better to beat a rainy day than a steaming bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese, am I right?  This was my inaugural try at homemade tomato soup.  Thus, I turned to the Barefoot Contessa herself for tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons.  Her recipe calls for gruyere cheese, but who keeps that on hand on a regular basis?  Sharp cheddar substituted just fine!  Putting this recipe in my back pocket for another rainy day.

10 Reasons Why I Love You: 5 Months

Two months late, but better late than never…right?
{5 Months}

1. You rolled over, back to front, for the first time unassisted!  February 15, 2014.  We were in Big Sky, Montana on a family ski trip, and you casually rolled back to front like it was no big deal.  Dad led us in a rousing cheer, and you smiled your sweet gummy smile in silent pride.  We’re so proud of you!  You then continued to show off your mad roll skills a handful of times later that day.

2. You are such a calm, mellow baby.  Many people have commented on your relaxed, easy going, and calm demeanor.  And they’re completely right, you are a pretty “chill” baby, your dad says you definitely get that from him and not me.  He’s probably right...  

3. You’ve become much more skilled at finding your thumb while sitting up. In the car seat, seated on the airplane, leaning on mom’s shoulder, you’ve improved your aim at engaging that left thumb with a comfortable suck.  It’s the sweetest.

4. We’ve discovered your infatuation / fear of bubbles.  It is hysterical!  You are awed by the soapy bubbles floating through the air, but often terrified as they pop before your eyes, throwing your hands back with a sharp gasp.  It provides endless entertainment.

5. Since you mastered thumb sucking at a mere 6 weeks, I guess it was only a matter of time before you discovered it is also possible to suck your toes.  This is your latest endeavor on the beloved changing table, grabbing your feet and pulling them up to your face, with an occasional  toe meeting lips.  Oh, my flexible daughter!

6. I love your deep, contented sigh.  Sometimes, after a gaze that takes it all in, you exhale this deep breathe and shrug your shoulders a tiny bit.  It’s the most adorable thing.

7. You’ve discovered how to sit up in the bath tub, reaching your little fingers forward to grip the opposite edge of the bathtub, reaching for the little rubber ducky and frog.  It makes mommy a little nervous, but you’re always eager to explore, and I don’t want to stand in your way.

8. Every day you become more aware of your environment.  The lights glowing on the ceiling, the clouds in the sky, a car started behind you.  You look, stare, survey, and gaze at everything, knowingly taking it all in. I wish I knew what you were thinking as your big blue eyes gaze around at this big world we live in.

9. You’re a ticklish little one.  I hold my fingers high above your head and slowly wiggle my fingers creeping closer and closer to you. You usually giggle in anticipation as my fingers come closer and closer, and you definitely burst into a fit of giggles when my fingers meet your skin.  It’s so much fun to play with you.

10. Every night we tell you what we’re thankful for.  You, of course!  We share specifics, thankful for a family member, a good day at work, but usually our thanks are everything to do with sweet, wonderufl you, the latest giggle, a new milestone, we are thankful for you every day.

Dinner Last Night: Dinner Strata

I've decided to escape my spaghetti rut and get back to meal planning.  My husband has been traveling for work, leaving me to play single mom for many weeknights this past month.  I admit, in spite of all my efforts, I did fall into a spaghetti + red sauce, frozen pizza, and pancake of a dinner vortex which I am finally emerging from in need of healthier food, and even better, variety.

A quick scour of the Food Network this weekend merited some promising recipes, even a few from the FN host everyone loves to hate - Rachael Ray.  I've never been a huge Rachael Ray fan.  It bugs me how she refers to olive oil as "EVOO" (i.e. extra virgin olive oil).  Really, does it take THAT long to say that phrase?  (Sigh).  Ultimately, I'm not her biggest fan. I would rather watch Giada, Ina, or even Ree chop, sautĂ©, and flambĂ© any day.  However...the girl does know how to put together an easy weeknight meal - hence my attempt at Dinner Strata.  Always a fan of a breakfast casserole, this strata is essentially a casserole through a dinner lens.  Works for me!

What's your favorite weeknight dinner recipe? I'd love to add to my inventory!