Prancercise

Prancercise

Not quite sure why I was thinking about Prancercise this morning. Perhaps it was my own giddy gate as I “pranced” around the kitchen making coffee that shook the memory loose. Mornings are my absolute FAV time of day. I’ll get up at least an hour before the rest of the family just to soak in the aloneness that’s all mine. I’ll even forfeit sleep to have these moments of quiet. It’s.the.best. I get AM adrenaline surges that literally make me go “eeeee” and make my hair stand on end. My husband, aka “the corpse”, is my exact opposite. Our kids seem to (thankfully) be a happy middle ground between our extremes.

Let’s face it… I “prance”. Esp in the mornings. Or to 80’s pop music. Or to fantastic summer breezes blowing in my windows. Basically whenever everything is right with the world and I’m overcome with energy and happiness. I “get” this Prancercising lady.

Do I prance in public? Uh… no. I guess that’s why I kinda envy the boldness of Joanna Rohrback. She’s so genuine, so true, so… herself. Looks like she could give a flying flip about what anyone else thinks. She gets to walking. She gets to listening to some music. She gets to jamming. And then she just lets herself get lost in the moment to the music. Does her movement look like everyone else’s? Not at all. But that’s ok. That’s how SHE rolls. And I TOTALLY appreciate that. I LOVE that. She is who she is and she does what she does regardless of what other people say and think of her. She put herself out there and shared from her heart, probably in hopes of encouraging others to free themselves from the shackles of what others think and to embrace their own inner beat. To get fit while having fun.

But boy, she’s been made fun of for doing so. Lots of parodies and jokes and whatnot out there bashing her for being so weird/strange.

Anytime anyone puts themselves out there, they risk the chance of being made fun of. Actually, it’s a guarantee… they WILL be made fun of or ridiculed or bashed, etc.

It’s a shame really. And with social media, people can hide behind their anonymity. They say things online that they’d NEVER say to someone’s face.

There’s def an art to learning how to let crap like that roll off your back and not let it affect your heart. I liken it to bullying. The very mental flow of a bully is this: 1) the bully feels like crap inside (for whatever reason), 2) they see someone else that’s “better” than them (or that has something good going on), 3) the bully feels even yuckier (& prob threatened), 4) so they say or do something mean in hopes of tearing that “better” person down to their level (or lower), 5) their wounded ego (temporarily) gets stroked, and 6) they (temporarily) feel better. It’s primal and requires very little thinking. But that feeling of ok-ness only lasts a for a little while. Then they have to repeat the process again in order to re-feel better about themselves. The only thing that will REALLY heal a bully is for they themselves to work on/through their issues. Bashing other people is not a permanent fix.

But anyways, back to Prancing. Joanna Rohrback is prob a truly happy person. An energetic person (obviously). And this prancing… it’s from the heart. And if I had to bet, there’s prob a LOT of other people out there that, if stripped from the cares of what others may say, they too would prance in public. Even on a fitness level, that added movement incorporated with regular walking probably does indeed burn more calories!

Though I may not “prance” in public for my exercise routine, I do genuinely appreciate Joanna’s staying true to who she is. That’s a technique we should all be learning to do in our own lives– a lofty goal we should all be attempting to achieve. It’s taking that risk and putting ourselves out there. It’s sharing our life, thoughts, experiences, successes & failures… to help others, touch other people’s lives, encourage them, and to better someone else (even if it’s just 1 person). It’s standing tall regardless of the ridicule.

For more on Prancercise, Joanna has a YouTube channel. You can also read up more about it on Wikipedia.

In closing, I hope you my reader are learning to care less about what other people are thinking about you. I hope you’re taking that risk and putting yourself out there to reach and touch other people’s lives. I hope you are learning to listen to constructive criticism but to let hurtful criticism roll off your back (and to have the wisdom to know the difference between the two). In your life, do your own form of “prancing”– be & do what you were created to be & do.

prancercise

 

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I’ve FINALLY found my focus!

As many of you have probably noticed, I haven’t updated this blog since the birth of our seventh child, a beautiful little girl: Ivy Jean (aka Miss Little Lamb). Be still my heart, she is the sweetest little surprise gift from God EVER!!! Difficult pregnancy, difficult labor and delivery, difficult start to breastfeeding, difficult getting her to sleep through the night…

BUT, I freakin’ wouldn’t change it for the world!!! She is AMAZING!!! You could offer me a trillion dollars for her and I’d never take it, I’d never let her go! I thank the Lord almighty above every day that I have her! What a blessed gift!

Even her brothers and sisters adore her. Since they’re all older now, they finally have the privilege of enjoying having a little baby in the home. We all, together: laugh with her, take turns holding her, change her diapers, give her baths, take pics and videos of her, make her smile and giggle, rejoice over her developmental milestones, burp her, rock her to sleep, cuddle with her, breathe in her sweetness… She’s precious and everyone is absolutely in love!

She was four months old, as of November 1st. *sigh*
Four months already?! Unbelievable! Going too fast!

Time, please slow down!!!

Many a time I’ve wanted to post here on the blog. But every time I would sit down to write, there was nothing there. My mind went blank. What should I say? What should I write about?

Blank-ness. (Is that a word?)

Fast-forward to just yesterday. I had a revelation in the shower. (Why is it that deep thoughts seem to happen in the bathroom. *snicker*) No but seriously, I had a line of thought run through my head absolutely out of nowhere:

Living on a dime with a part of nine!

Living on a dime with a party of nine? Hmmm… like, write about how we (a large family) live and thrive on a modest income? How we make the dollar stretch? How we save and scrimp? How we make food and possessions last? How we are frugal?

I have like a bazillion tricks up my sleeve (beyond just coupon usage and Amazon deals) on how we make things last over here. That’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’ve learned very well these past 14 years, something I’m still learning, something that I could probably endlessly talk about.

When people come to me for help and advice, oftentimes it’s about how we do “it”, that is, survive life, survive in this economy, with 9 people and actually make it work.

So, I believe the Lord is leading me to make this the focus of my blog. I think my readers could benefit from taking a peek into the ins and outs of how we do things over here. Perhaps there’s something we do that would benefit someone else.

I certainly haven’t arrived. Nor am I (or will I) be the best blogger on the block about this topic. But I do believe I have something to share with people that might help them in their own lives. Maybe there’s other large (or small/medium) families out there that are struggling to make ends meet and could benefit from some of my tips? Maybe if someone could see how we do it, it would spur them on to stretch money? Maybe there’s other mom’s out there that don’t have the time to pick up a part time job to help ends meet, but they could do a thing or two to tighten the purse strings, things they’ve never thought of, that would help stretch their husband’s income?

We all bring something unique to the table. I think this is a knowledge that I’ve been blessed to learn. I believe it’s something I could bless others with.

So, if you’d like to learn how a family of nine lives on a dime (and thrives), stay tuned!!!

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Aluminum Foil Dryer Balls?

So I’m getting low on dryer sheets and instead of running to the store to replenish, I figured I’d research online some dryer sheet alternatives.

Everyone seems to be talking about the  many dangers of dryer sheets… they apparently contain high degrees of garbage that are especially dangerous to the health of children.

And then there’s my youngest son, Master Bam-Bam. He has several allergies and there’s always been a nagging thing in the back of my head that perhaps some of his skin issues may stem from what chemicals I launder with. Hmmmm.

So I wanted to try a healthy alternative. Of course there’s wool balls. But I just don’t have any of those handy. 😉 There’s tennis balls… but I don’t have any of those just lying around the house either.

What to use? What to use?

That’s when I came across a most interesting article: 

You can use WHAT?! instead of dryer sheets?

There, it was suggested to use aluminum foil! Most intriguing. I just have to give it a try! I def have aluminum foil on hand.

So here’s my mini homemaking adventure today. I sure had LOTS of laundry to do, as (3) of our kids were up puking last night. Whew.

It was suggested though, that in order to soften your clothes naturally, to add 1/4 Cup of either baking soda or white vinegar to the wash… then finish it off with the aluminum ball in the dryer.

First load is in as I type. We’ll see how it goes!!

 

*Has anyone else ever used aluminum foil balls in your dryer? How did it work?

*If you don’t use traditional dryer sheets, what do you use?

*Has anyone had a child that has had skin issues due to chemicals that you washed with?

Being An Introvert

Just recently, I had one of those epiphany “a-ha” moments… one in which I wish it hadn’t taken so many years to discover. It would have saved me a LOT of trouble, heartache, and frankly… anger.

I am an introvert… through and through.

Now, please don’t confuse introvert with “shy” because the two are completely different entirely.

A shy person has a hard time making eye contact, is somewhat socially awkward…
Here’s a dictionary definition of “shy“:

“being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people “I was pretty shy at school” synonyms: bashful, diffident, farouche, timid, sheepish, reserved, reticent, retiring, self-effacing, withdrawn, timorous, mousy, nervous, insecure, un-confident, inhibited, repressed, inhibited, repressed, self-conscious, embarrassed.

Shy people (surprisingly) can be both introverted AND extroverted actually.

It all comes down to what ENERGIZES a person?

Extroversion: Does being in a group of people make one happy? Is it with people that someone gets clarity, ideas, peace, joy, energy, etc? Does one seek out having company?

Or…

Introversion: Is someone energized by being alone, being quiet with one’s thoughts and feelings? Is it in solitude that one finds peace and clarity and equilibrium? Does being with people for too long make one feel drained and depleted?– this is so me!

[**Here’s another great definition of Introversion.]
[**A great article. And another one for good measure.]

Why it took me so long to discover this, I’ll never know.

I like people. Shoot, I *love* people.

But in all honestly, I can only handle people in small doses… Ahhh… that’s so hard to say cuz it sounds so harsh. But I’m slowly recognizing it’s just a personality thing and not a bash on people.

I didn’t realize just how much I NEED to schedule time away, just to breathe and regroup… until I starting getting some alone time. Ahhhhh

And it’s perfectly alright! It’s OK! In fact, it’s a necessity!
Having alone time actually makes me a *better* mom, wife, friend, etc.

So my hubby and I came up with Wednesday nights, specifically, as “Mom’s PM Alone”.
WOO HOO.

Here I sit… my Mom’s PM Alone… blogging… Facebooking… updating social media stuff… emailing… And I am totally digging it. And to think, I get to do this EVERY week!!! And if not computer stuff… perhaps working out… running errands… working on a hobby… or SLEEPING!

And now that I’m starting to do a little work on the side as a Social Media Manager (SO excited!), these Wednesday nights have been a fabulous time for me to work on material toward this endeavor.

It’s helped me SO much to finally understand my personality and what makes me tick. To start implementing periods of alone time. And recognizing that needing “me time” does NOT mean I don’t love people or I’m shirking my responsibilities…

Are any of you Introverted?
If so, how do you schedule your time and energies to make sure you get sufficient alone time?
How do you balance parenthood with Introversion?

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**A point of clarification… Wednesday nights are not the ONLY time I get alone and get away in any given week. I now try daily to schedule times where I get quiet, especially to read my Bible and exercise. Or when I’m really stressed, the kids now know mommy needs some “quiet time” and they’re pretty awesome about seeing to it that I get it.

I Want More Joy

The other night, my hubby and I snuggled down with the kids to watch the movie “Inside Out“, which we had received as a Christmas present. Only my hubby and Duckling #4 (aka Master Lieutenant) had seen it before at the theater. It was brand new to the rest of us.

Our entire family gave it a thumbs up. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should take the time to. It will be well worth your time. Very interesting, artistic interpretation at the inner workings of the human mind.

Throughout the movie’s entirety, I found myself consistently drawn to the character of “Joy”. She captured my heart and attention. No matter what life events were thrown in her direction, she always seemed to take a positive spin to it. Yes, she’d get distraught and annoyed… but she didn’t stay there. She thought the best of everyone and everything.

INSIDE OUT

“INSIDE OUT” (Pictured) JOY. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

She did have some faults, though. She lied at one point. She shoved other emotions away from the control panel, as she didn’t quite understand their necessity or importance. She outright left Sadness behind as she clamored to get into the tube that would return her to HQ. (I know much of this isn’t making a lick of sense to those of you who haven’t yet seen the movie. But hang with me.)

I like what wikia said about Joy in her character profile:

Joy’s goal has always been to make sure Riley stays happy. She is lighthearted, optimistic and determined to find the fun in every situation. Joy sees challenges in Riley’s life as opportunities, and the less happy moments as hiccups on the way back to something great. As long as Riley is happy, so is Joy.

After the movie, I got to thinking even more about “joy” in a more general sense. In my own personal life, I am totally naturally drawn to joyful, happy, exciting people. Now, I’m not saying I epitomize the character of Sadness (no thank you). But I guess my introverted tendencies lend themselves toward a more slightly melancholy demeanor. Happy people just make me happy. And I like that. I want to be with that. Alone… I really have to purposefully work at cultivating true joy. It doesn’t seem to come naturally.

But I’d like to change that about myself.

Now Biblically I understand that happiness/joy can come from several different sources:
1- being saved from sin
2- having a living, vibrant relationship with God
3- recognizing God’s sovereignty and power in every situation
4- seeing God as good
5- believing that God will work out ALL circumstances for good
6- having real community with fellow believers
7- BEING THANKFUL

It’s #7 that I believe I need to be working on…

Sometimes my circumstances loom big and scary over me and I feel like I’m drowning in them. My emotions will sometimes take the driver’s seat and get the best of me. Sometimes my focus can only see what’s dark and potentially bad. Eeek… and don’t even get me started on wandering in the land of “what if’s”.

It takes a real act of purpose for me to see the bright side of life.

All my life I have been drawn to the happy-go-lucky, positive, uplifting, adventurous types of personalities. That was the kind of best friends I had growing up. And although my husband may appear to be stoic to the untrained eye… he actually is terribly positive in his perspective of people and life as a whole.

One of my goals for 2016 is to be actively and purposefully focus of the goodness of life. To be intentionally filled with thanksgiving for all the many many blessings that God has richly chosen to give me.

To take Philippians 4:8 truly to heart and to fix my thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. To think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

What’s one of YOUR goals for 2016?

**A really great article on how we can experience Biblical joy can be found here. I always like reading the articles that GotQuestions.org has on their site. Check it out.

I’m Back

Yikes. I haven’t blogged since Oct 27! That’s 2 months!

I didn’t mean for that to happen… but… (yep, here’s my list of excuses)… 1) I was going through some nasty morning sickness with Baby #7 that left me down and out on the couch, 2) when I finally did start feeling better, I got hit with a nasty cold (flu?) that, once again, left me down and out on the couch, 3) my laptop died and my hubby had to get me another one, and then 4) the holiday’s struck.

So here I am, two months later, still pregnant (nearing 14 weeks!), done with the morning sickness, almost over my cold (flu?), the proud owner of a “new to me” laptop, and the only holiday on the horizon is New Years. Wait, we do have one more family Christmas this coming Saturday, but that’s it.

*huge sigh of relief*

You should seriously see my long neglected to-do list. It’s staggering. Survival mode is for the birds, man. It was a chore just to get food on the table these past two months. But I miraculously was also able to do school (from my perch on the couch) and prep and participate in Christmas (mostly from my perch on the couch as well). We are so far behind we haven’t even mailed out our Christmas family photo cards yet. Well… better late than never I suppose. Hope to get on that tonight.

During my many on-the-couch-perch-times, I’ve had a lot of time to think about things. One of those things being this here blog… Hubby came to me the other day about whether or not to pay for the renewal of this site… do I want to continue blogging? I honestly didn’t know what to tell him.

That man… he actually went back and read ALL my posts here on Momma Duck… all the way through, no skimming. He was so impressed that he decided on his own accord to renew my website for another year. He didn’t wait for my response. Later he came to me and strongly encouraged me to keep writing.

He says I have a gift. A GIFT! That’s pretty cool to hear because it seems like the only things I’m “gifted in” is diaper changing and maybe cooking.

But writing? He thinks I’m gifted at writing? Wow…

Honestly, at any given moment I have SO much bumbling around in my head. And I write in my journal all.the.time. But so many articles go unpublished. Why?

Fear.

I fear putting my thoughts out there because… I hate rejection. It’s so hard to put yourself out there and possibly face ridicule. Perhaps that’s just how any artist must feel. Your draw, cook/bake, sculpt, sing, write music, etc and many will be touched and encouraged and blessed by your work. But it won’t be for everyone. Not everyone is going to like the same work of art or the same song.

So it goes with writing.

I HOPE that what I say here will reach and warm the hearts of others. But I have to accept the fact that my blog isn’t for everyone. If they don’t like me or my writing, or they’re offended by what I have to say, etc then apparently this blog is not for them. And I need to be ok with that. I just need to write from the heart, write about what inspires me, write about what interests me… and let the pieces fall where they will.

I must let go of my fear.

So with that thought in mind… I’ve decided to take my hubby up on his words of encouragement and WRITE. Starting January 1st, I plan to have new material posted here 2x/wk (still deciding which days) and to keep up weekly/regularly with my Instagram account and my Facebook page. (All those social media links are on the right side bar–>.)

So yeah… that’s what’s been up these past two months… and now you know where I’m heading blogging wise in the future. 🙂

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Photo Cred: the-angry-scot.blogspot.com/

Washing Fruits & Veggies With Vinegar

We all know that we’re “supposed” to wash our fruits and veggies before we eat them. But lets be honest… how many people actually do? Or if we actually do try and wash our produce, how many of us simply just run water over it and call it “good enough”?

Been there. That was me.

But something recently has been firing in the back of my mind that perhaps I should care a little bit more about the cleanliness of the produce that my family and I eat. Eating healthier is a process and if anyone has embraced this “healthier lifestyle”, we are all going to be a different stages and levels at different times. This is where I am today with our family.

Thoughts crossed my mind like: I don’t know who handled this food, or where has this food been, or what was sprayed on it, or what animal came in contact with it out in the field or garden… or who touched it at the grocer? Especially with cold and flu season just around the corner! My mind was filled with a whole lotta “ewww”. And the more time I spent pondering this, the more I started getting grossed out and worked up. So I began looking for ways to get the gunk and grime off our food!

Ideally, I’d like our family to go organic. But there are (8) of us living under this here roof and where I won’t say it’s “impossible”… I will say it’s impractical. Let’s be real… it can take a lot of money to eat organic. And our grocery budget is already tight. So is there any we could get “kind of” or “mostly” organic?

**It dawned on me at some point that pesticides are designed to be able to withstand rain… so how would just rinsing produce off with plain water get it off?

Bacteria, germs, icky farm/grocer unknowns…
Pesticides, herbicides, and icky unknown “icides”…

As I started doing research, I realized you could most definitely get commercial Veggie Wash sprays. But… this mom (yours truly) is always looking for a way to do things homemade– it’s just fun, usually cheaper, and almost always healthier. So I found several articles that talked about using “vinegar water”. Sounds pretty daggone easy to me! And it is!

Gonna share how I now wash our veggies.

But first of all, if you’re interested, check out this brief article online: http://goodgreenhabits.com/wash-your-fruits-veggies-with-vinegar/

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We have a giant kitchen sink. I ♥♥♥ it! If you’re ever considering updating your kitchen, considering getting one of these kinds of sinks. They are fabulous!
Anyways… I placed my produce in the sink and covered everything with cold water.
I then added 2 Cups of white vinegar and let it soak for 15 mins,
often swirling it around with my fingers because some stuff floats.
Actually… I easily conned my kids into it. They LOVE water and so
are thrilled to help me in this endeavor.
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Then I rinsed everything off with cold water and dried it/bagged it.
The stuff I bagged, I put a piece of paper towel at the bottom to keep
the moisture at bay.
**Supposedly washing the grime off your produce makes them last longer. I’m not really sure about this personally as our food gets consumed within the week. But apparently the bacteria or whatever that is on the produce starts the break-down/decomposing process right away on fruits & veggies. So if you remove it, the produce can last longer. If you decide to vinegar wash your food, please let me know if it does prolong the life of your produce. I’m quite curious.2015-10-09 13.37.27

This is another batch I recently did.
After doing further research I have decided to pull out things like lettuce a bit earlier, like after 5-10 mins. They apparently don’t need to be in the wash as long as smoother veggies & fruits do.2015-10-19 18.02.43

It’s amazing how dirty the water is when I get ready to drain the sink!!!

Another yuck… check out the who-knows-what that I often find at the bottom of my Romaine lettuce bag. This is the part of the bag near the stems. I have no idea what it is but it’s slimy. Ewww.2015-10-19 18.03.43

So wash those veggies if you’re now feeling the pull to!

And if any of you have some other tricks of the veggie-washing trade to share with me, I’d love to hear about it. I’ve just started, so I’m open to further learning.

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**Note: you can also make a vinegar-water spray. Simply mix water to vinegar with a 3:1 ratio and put it into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and spray your produce and allow to sit for approximately 5 mins. Rinse with cold water.

**I’ve also read that you can SALT your vinegar water, too, to further draw out bugs, bacteria, dust, dirt, and other unwanted things. If you’re going to salt your water in the sink, add about 2 Tablespoons of salt. In a spray bottle, just adjust the salt content down to maybe a teaspoon for a small spray bottle and increase for larger bottles.

**Another Spray recipe I saw was:
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T baking soda
1 C water
I hesitate to make this just because I know what lemon juice and baking soda do when mixed and I’m just imagining a big mess on my hands. So I’m personally going to stick to vinegar water…

Although next time, I may try adding salt to my vinegar water and see how that does.

Happy veggie washing!!!