Live Clean Fresh Face Collection

Live Clean recently sent me a few items from their Fresh Face collection to review — good timing, because the impending change of seasons always wreaks havoc with my skin!

As always, the products are made with earth and body friendly ingredients. This includes 98% plant-based ingredients, keeping the products gentle and soothing for skin (especially skin transitioning into winter, I think). These products are free of things like petroleum, SLS/sulfates, parabens, phthalates and phosphate. The Fresh Face collection, in particular, features orchid, “the eternal youth flower” and Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, as well as other organic botanical ingredients.

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Home Harvest: Tomatoes

I haven’t actually harvested anything from the garden in a few weeks now (we had frost and snow and I’m just ignoring it all until next weekend when I will hopefully get a chance to do some winterizing). But, I want to finish up this series for our 2014 garden!

Tomatoes

The tomatoes were an underdog with a sad ending (mostly). When I planted them from seed inside the house I didn’t think they would survive, but when I got them into the ground outside they started to flourish almost right away. I chose to grow a determinate type of tomato. What that means is that they don’t keep growing and climbing — they stop at a certain point, so they don’t need as much support. Being a total newb gardener I didn’t realize that I should have staked them in some fashion, which led to their downfall.

When we left for our summer vacation the tomatoes were doing so well. Matt referred to that part of the garden as my tomato jungle because they were really going nuts. When we came home they had gone flat. I don’t know if they got too much water or not enough, or the weight of the tomatoes finally snapped the plants, but they all started to rot on the vine, and the actual plants started to rot, too. About a month ago I went up and grabbed most of the green tomatoes that looked like they would be able to ripen indoors.

There’s a surprising amount of controversy over ripening tomatoes inside! I guess it’s actually not ripening, it’s reddening. I ignored all the crazy tips for doing so, and just left them in a box on the counter — all but a few of them reddened just fine. And while they were softer than what a normal ripe tomato would be, they were still better than the tomatoes from the grocery store. I didn’t get a huge yield, thanks to all of the rot, but we did enjoy them for a few weeks!

Matt isn’t a tomato fan, so I did most of the eating. :) The first few slices I had on a sandwich — just tomatoes, mayo, butter, salt, pepper and bread. Yum. I made a tiny batch of roasted tomato and cream pasta sauce. A few chunks made it into salad, my father-in-law had some in soup and just cut up as a side dish with dinner, and M and I ate a few caprese salads with basil from the yard (SO GOOD). The best thing I did with them, though, was make homemade ketchup, I followed Mark Bittman’s recipe and it was a success!

Next year I think I will grow indeterminate tomatoes and take the time to stake them properly. But I would prefer to grow a larger portion of paste tomatoes for processing if there’s only two of us who will eat them raw regularly, and I think Romas are determinates so I’ll have to do a few bush plants. I’d also like to grow some smaller tomatoes, either grapes or cherries.

I was pretty sad to see all of that fruit rot, but I learned a lesson about planning things out better, and I think next year will be a good tomato year!

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Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Yesterday I drove up to Pickle Lake with M in the car — Matt had driven up with a few other people on Friday but they had lots of winterizing work to do at my in-laws’ camp, and we figured it would be easier for me to just bring myself and the baby for dinner then drive home later that night.

Luckily we had amazing weather yesterday. I was really shocked to be driving all the way up to Pickle Lake (it’s as far north as you can go on a regularly maintained highway in Ontario), in mid-October, with the car thermometer giving me a reading of 15C for the outdoor temperature. I actually really enjoyed the drive — M fell asleep and I listened to music and I had the road mostly to myself (I did see a mama moose and a baby moose). I also beat my own personal record for drive time but I probably shouldn’t brag about that. ;)

Thanksgiving has been a total gamble since I’ve moved here. We never do the same thing twice. We’ve hosted people at our home, we’ve travelled up north, and we have pretty much forgotten about the holiday completely and pulled something out of the freezer at the last moment. I do like the traditional Thanksgivings the most, with the turkey and the pie and the family, but I appreciate that they are still low-key. Gone are the days of an entire living room full of 26 people and fancy china — give me gravy and I am satisfied.

We talked about what we were thankful for, yesterday, and the common response was family. This has certainly been a year that embodies the idea of many hands making lighter work. I am thankful and grateful for the give and take, for the caring and balancing that happens across the miles. Without our family, near and far, we would be facing some challenges and I hope that we have made life better for our loved ones in some way this year, too.

Thanksgiving

I’m particularly thankful for my daughter, who eats pie the same way as her dad. She had a blast yesterday despite being tired and a bit under the weather. Every holiday seems to feel a bit more special with her by our side — well, every day seems a bit more special, actually.

I’m thankful for the opportunity I have had to stay at home with her these past months and I am also thankful that I am going to be able to return to work without issue (go Canada!). I’m thankful that we have a daycare provider for her and I’m thankful that M is flexible enough to roll with the changes we are introducing. I’m thankful that I wake up every morning to the sounds of a little girl screaming “KITTEEHHHHHH!” coming from the room down the hall. I’m thankful she let me sleep in a bit today.

I wish we had a way to bend space and time to visit M’s other grandparents more frequently, but on that note, I am thankful for the technology that allows us to share her life as much as possible with the people who love her, no matter how far away they may be.

Last year I was super pregnant at Thanksgiving and counting down the days until I had an outside baby. I was grateful then, for all the goodness in our lives (especially leftover pie), and I’m grateful now. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Driving like a Dew Worm

When I was a kid spending summers at my grandmother’s house, she would drive us around in her Buick and if we said something like, “You’re speeding, gramma!” (why we would call out our grandmother’s driving, I don’t recall) she would reply with “I’m driving like a dew worm!” The right way to say it is to flap your lips back and forth with your finger while you say dew worm, of course. My gramma had a speedometer that projected her speed onto the windshield in hopes of cutting back on her lead foot and I distinctly recall my younger cousin repeating a cuss-riddled sentence, word for word, in the mall parking lot one summer.

So I’m pretty sure I was imbued with the spirit of Gramma Mary a few weeks ago while I was practicing parallel parking in town. I signaled to park and the car behind me stopped, close to my bumper, while the driver stared at me and her passenger, a guy who could not have been any older than me, immediately started rudely gesturing at me. Like, what do you think you’re doing?! Why would you parallel park? You crazy, lady. People don’t parallel park in this town so if you signal to park, most of the time you’re stuck waiting for the person behind you to clue in and get out of the way. The immediate gesturing was a new one, though.

Parallel-Parking-Funny-Cat

Anyway, I was totally rattled by Mr. Rage Hands and ended up not very parallel, so I wanted to try again. I rolled down the window and gestured for them to go around and as I did so, they pulled up beside me and I saw the passenger start rolling down his window. That’s when the how dare you part of my genetics boiled up from somewhere deep within, and as he yelled “WORK ON YOUR PARKING” I stuck my head out the window, yelled “THAT’S WHAT I’M DOING, ASSHOLE!” and, like it wasn’t even part of my own hand, my middle finger lifted itself into the air defiantly.

I didn’t even think about it — it just came flying out of me. I’m not really someone who engages in demonstrable road rage, usually. I stick to calling people names from the comfort of my car, under my breath. Okay, one time on our motorcycle trip I flipped off a Calgary driver but they really deserved it. But parallel parking really brought out the dew worm in me.

All of this to say, I passed my final driving test (the parallel park was not quite parallel and the examiner said he thought I was imagining an invisible car and overcomplicated the park) which means I never have to do it again until I am elderly and trying to keep my license and am allowed to be crotchety. Hurray!

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Just You Wait

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now, but a recent conversation with friends was the reminder I needed to write it. If you have ever mentioned a desire for babies, been a pregnant person — or really, just existed as someone of childbearing age — you have probably heard some variation on “Just you wait.” Just you wait until you have kids — you won’t be having fun on Fridays anymore! Just you wait until you actually have that baby — if you thought you were exhausted now you have no idea what you are in for. Just you wait — you will want kids once you grow up enough. And other such bullshit. You get the idea.

The just you wait people drove me nuts while I was pregnant. For some reason the moment I became visibly pregnant people felt the need to tell me the most ridiculous things. That I could not possibly be as tired as I would be once I had kids (I would say, at 10 months postpartum, I’m probably feeling third trimester tired, now). That I had no idea how much baby stuff cost. That I would have regrets and problems and that the things I wanted were not possible. Even if any of these statements held a truth within, they were hurtful then and they make me bristle, now.

As a mom, I have tried very hard to hold in the just you waits when I feel the urge to chime in. When I hear a person without kids talk about what life will be like for them once they have children, I genuinely hope that they will get the experience they desire, and I leave it at that. When I hear a new mom talking about the hard parts of her day I nod in sympathy and try to be encouraging. Because the just you waits, they don’t add anything of meaning or value to the conversation.

But I think there are some just you waits that we don’t share, that maybe we should. Because nobody ever said to me, “Just you wait! Things will get easier one day and you won’t even notice because they will have just become gradually better. Just you wait! She’s going to look at you and say mama and your heart will fill up with joy. Just you wait until she takes her first steps and you get to witness her, so proud of herself for a new accomplishment. Just you wait. It’s going to be hard sometimes but more than that it’s going to be amazing.”

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And that’s just with a 10 month old. How many positive just you waits are there as your kid gets older?

I am not trying to paint a picture of perfect parenthood. There are days when we barely make it through and I am counting down the seconds until Matt gets home and I get a break. There are nights when I groan and complain because it’s 3 a.m. and why are you awake?! There are horrendous diapers and shoes that perpetually fall off. But in the center of it all there is this sweet little girl, who loves us, who we love, who is thrilled by a spoon with peanut butter on it, who smacks you in the forehead while yelling “PRETTY!”, who picks up books and babbles away to herself while turning the pages.

This is what I was waiting for. Not the sleep, not the expenses — the love and the light.

Posted in Parenting & Baby | Tagged | 6 Comments