From Young to Gray

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This post is a long time coming. Well, a few weeks really but it’s been in the back of my mind for a very long time. The decision to let my gray hair grow out was not easy to come to and I had a LOT of anxiety over it. So much so that I consulted with three hairstylists and LOTS of internet and Pinterest pictures. I’ve always been pretty adventurous with my hair. Everything from length to color.  I’ve also always been told I look so young. My girlfriends always tell me my face looks too young to let my gray hair grow out. I was even told by a friend to not let it grow out because no man finds gray hair sexy. I asked my husband if he will still like me if I grow my grays out..he said maybe. (Okay, don’t get up in arms, he was joking!) While all of that went through my mind in deciding my next step I couldn’t help but wonder…What do I even look like with gray hair? What kind of gray do I have, silver, white, dull, bright? Am I even fully gray or is it nicely dispersed throughout? I am not a “high maintenance” kind of woman but I do care what I look like. In my day-to-day life I am extremely casual but when it comes time to be part of functioning society I enjoying getting dolled up and looking cute.  Lately, about a week after getting my hair touched up and colored I would start to see shimmery outgrowth within a week. By the time 4 weeks were up and it was time for my next hair appointment my hair was looking skunk-ish.  I think this was more detrimental to my self-esteem than anything. I always wondered how noticeable my hair was to other people.  Aside from that, trying to fit in appointments every 4 weeks was starting to get stressful…and not to mention pricey.  It was just all starting to seem like a lot more work than I might really be willing to do for just my hair.

Before coming to this decision I did a lot of research on how to grow out the grays and looked at a lot of pictures.  Thankfully in my search I was pleasantly surprised to see many women my age, (I turned 40 last summer) and even younger, rocking out their gray hair.  The hair styles all ranged from short fun bobs to beautiful flowing locks and every shade of gray you can imagine.  Seeing these photos gave me inspiration and a positive outlook on my decision and I was starting to not feel so “old”.

I made the decision to grow out the gray hair a month ago and I’m almost 3 weeks from my last hair appointment.  At that point my hair was already 4 weeks grown out. I took a little length off the back and added some foil highlights only, no touch up to the roots, to help transition the grow out phase.  My stylist initially was hoping for a lighter blonde and not so much a copper color but my hair is pretty dark. Even so, I do think that the highlights helped a lot because I would look like a skunk otherwise. My next appointment is in about 3 weeks to see what the progress is and where we go from there.  So far my hair is growing out really fast and I have to say, I am not that upset.  My curiosity for what I look like with my natural hair grows more and more every day and I think I’ve embraced this transition fully.  I am still a little self-conscious because I can’t help but think that people who see me out and about probably think that I am homeless.  Okay, maybe they don’t but either way I remind myself of the goal and feel reassured that I am doing the right thing for me. And hey, if in the end I don’t like it I can always cover it back up, right?!

So I know you are all thinking, show us the before pictures already!!  Okay, okay…here you go. Just keep in mind…I am not a model and I don’t always think ahead enough to put on make up because I will probably take before pictures later…so basically I look a little rough around the edges, but hey there’s beauty in that, right!?

Here is my before. 4 weeks post all over color. Pretty scary.

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Same night, but after foils to add highlights. Still scary.

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Two and a half weeks post foils. For some reason not as scary.

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So, there ya’ go! The beginning phase of my gray hair grow out.  If any of you are thinking of doing the same, I hope I’ve provided some relief and inspiration.  I’ll continue to update this post with pictures as my hair grows out.  My next appointment is in three weeks!!

Here’s to finding the beauty in gray hair!

 

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Protein Pancakes with Juice Pulp

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A few years back I was introduced to protein pancakes. I know there are a lot of different versions but I really like this recipe and recently brought it back to life. There are just three main ingredients and then you can add more if you like.

This simple recipe calls for equal parts oats, egg whites (I use what I have on hand so full eggs it is), and cottage cheese.

I used to mix it all together and throw the cakes onto a heated griddle. But recently I decided to powder up my oats in my Cuisnart Portable Blender.

Once the oats are how I like them I add the eggs to the blender until mixed and then the cottage cheese. So simple! What’s even better is this recipe is easy to double!

Lately I’ve been juicing. A lot. I got into it years ago but recently got a used juicer for a great price and have been drinking at least one juice a day…I’m so proud of myself! With juicing comes pulp. I always feel guilty throwing it away. I might feel better if I had a compost, but I don’t. I started doing a little research on what to do with the pulp and low and behold, there is a ton you can do with it! I decided to throw it my protein pancakes.

The first round went great and everyone ate them up. They were a great consistency too! The second round this morning I was really nervous about. I added beets to my juice and when it came time to mix my batter with the pulp it turned bright red.

I was scared for a moment and thought “this didn’t happen yesterday!!??”…but duh, there were no beets in yesterday’s juice!!

However, I continued on to make 3 small cakes each for my little ones and 3 big cakes. One for myself and one each for the big kids. To my surprise, all the little ones gobbled them up, even though they were red!! (I’m sure it had everything to do with the taste of them and nothing at all to do with the little cups of syrup they had to dip into!! 😁) I was a happy momma!

They don’t look very pretty but they were good. I do think yesterdays batch came out better, consistency and flavor wise, but I would make the red cakes again. Like I said, the little ones ate them without complaint so I consider that a win!

I just love this recipe so much. It is easy, quick, and versatile. These pancakes can be made with just the three base ingredients, you can get crazy with add ins, and they can be savory or sweet!

Recipe:

1 cup oats

1 cup egg white or about 4 whole large eggs

1 cup cottage cheese

1-1 1/2 cups of juice pulp in medium sized bowl.

Add oats to a blender of your choice and powder them up. I like to use the pulse option because I have more control over the texture I end up with. Next, add eggs and pulse until blended together. Then add the cottage cheese and again, pulse until blended. Pour batter on top of pulp and hand mix. I like to add a little cinnamon at this point! Pour batter onto heater griddle and cook until done. Easy peasy!

My New Obsession

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I’ve always been a big DIY-er and crafter. I have done home projects, home repairs, paper crafting and pretty much everything in between. I enjoy it all.  As of July 2017 though my world was rocked when I opened a gift at my 40th birthday party (which my husband threw for me and somehow managed to keep a secret for months!!).  My dad and aunts bought me a Cricut *insert angelic singing praises here*.  I had heard of a Cricut but never knew exactly what it was and I was really excited about figuring it all out. Honestly, it couldn’t have come at a better time than my 40th birthday. A time when many women are feeling lost, confused, run down and in need of a transformation. I definitely fit into all of those categories.  This gift tied in with a gift my husband gave me before my birthday.  A brand new Canon digital camera. Again, my very first one. I was so stoked and surprised and couldn’t wait to get going with it…which I did and have had a blast. Receiving these gifts was rejuvenating for me! It meant I could tie my photography skills and my crafting skills together and run! It’s been a marathon sort of run rather than a sprint, but I have had a blast using my camera and making crafts.  Aside from learning what the Cricut can do with paper I was introduced to vinyl crafting *insert a second round of angelic singing praises here*.  My world will never be the same and I couldn’t be more excited! Since getting these two amazing gifts I have entered three craft fairs, sold some of my hand made crafts, had custom orders, made ALL of our Christmas gifts, done a few photography shoots, and in a few days will help out a local Girl Scout troop earn their photography badge! This to me has been a dream and I am so eternally grateful for the opportunities.  It also means that I can keep expanding my little business and make crafting my full time career.  Like I said before, it will be more of a marathon rather than a sprint, but being able to do it at all is so exciting to me!

Here are some of the things I have created since July! I’ve had a blast creating my own designs or simply finding things on Pinterest to create. These items are a mix of things I made to gift to friends, to sell in fairs, or custom orders.

I can’t wait to see what comes of my crafting in the near future…especially since my husband has declared himself my business manager ;D

I keep finding the beauty.

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This post was first written in September of 2015 and has been sitting as a draft ever since…WHOOPS!!! A month after drafting this post I found out I was pregnant with my third child.  Not much writing, planning, or crafting was done during that time or the first year after my son was born! But I am happy to say that a few months ago I got back into the swing of crafting with much thanks to my dad and aunts.  They bought me my first Cricut for my 40th birthday and I have been addicted to it since! Now that I have found my groove with my crafts I am ready to find my groove with writing….again.

I am starting with this past draft because after reading it over I realized how valuable it could be to someone who is wanting to implement some healthy baking into their homes.  I love finding different ways to make things healthy and this is a reminder for me that I’m not half bad at doing so! My only regrets with this post is that I failed to take a picture of the bread after it was baked and I haven’t made the bread since. So without further ado, here is my post from over 2 years ago…

I’ve been wanting to write about cooking and meal planning for a while and today I was moved to plan, cook and write. Today I’m going to share how I found a recipe and made it my own and healthy. Just a warning, I’m no professional!!! I’m definitely an amateur but I enjoy sneaking healthy stuff into our diet (I should probably do it way more often than I do) and this time EVERYONE loved the bread and no one suspected how healthy it actually was.

Today I baked chocolate banana bread with my little daycare children. They were so cute and more than willing to help out…and gobble up the bread at snack time! I had pinned a recipe for chocolate banana bread on Pinterest a while ago, but never got to it. Honestly, who REALLY does??

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Here’s the original recipe: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/259942209718832824/

While I’m a huge fan of sweets and junk food I want to feed my kids healthy food. I’ve been motivated lately to do so even more because my son has been eating really bad and he’s an athlete. He’s a typical teenager though and grabs whatever is easy and convenient to eat. If he has to prepare anything, forget it. Of course, there is always room for improvement. I’m by no means Miss Susie Homemaker and even though I have really good intentions, I’m not that consistent. As I read over this recipe I immediately saw where I could make some adjustments and substitutions and got to work.

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First, I gathered all of my ingredients and supplies. It just makes the process a little bit easier for me!

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Second, I measured everything out. Doing this made it easier for the little ones to help, and shortened their wait time while helping.

I have to say, watching little kids get excited about cooking is really sweet. They really do love learning and soak it all up. At one point there was a bunch of coconut flour on the table and my little guy was swooshing it all around the table, smelling it and clapping his hands so the flour would fly through the air. My little girl enjoyed smelling all of the ingredients and rubbing brown sugar through her fingers. Not only did they get to learn and experience cooking, but they got a sensory activity out of it as well!

Okay, back to the recipe…I’m going to begin by saying that the ingredients I have pictured I happened to have at home already, I did not go out and buy anything special. Also, this was a total experiment and I was kind of nervous. Sometimes I’ll substitute one ingredient, this time I substituted 3 ingredients and left out 3…talk about living on the edge!!! The three things I left out were the vanilla extract, the chocolate chunks and the mini chocolate chips. I know, I know. I left out three of the most important things, but I didn’t have any on hand, but I felt confident that what I was putting in was going to make a good banana bread.

Here are my substitutions:

3 ripe bananas –> 2 ripe bananas = That’s what I had and it worked out great!

1/2 cup unsalted butter –> 1/2 cup applesauce = So much healthier than butter, still maintains the moisture and adds a serving of fruit.  I use Indian Summer applesauce because it’s the only one that I’ve found that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it. (EDIT: there are now many brands that offer applesauce without high fructose corn syrup)

1 cup all purpose flour –> 1 cup coconut flour =

1/2 cup cocoa powder –> 1/2 cup of Ovaltine = Again, I had it on hand. (My kids love Ovaltine and use it after work outs instead of traditional chocolate syrup and I don’t feel as bad letting them have it on a regular basis) I figure why not add some vitamins while we’re at it!

Added 2 tbsp of Chia seeds –> Why not add a little bit protein and fiber!

I followed the recipe, just with my substitutions, and put it in the oven. It turned out great and we had no left overs!

See ya’ next time!

 

 

 

 

 

Mish-mash

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My brain isn’t working today. Not that it’s fully functioning on a daily basis, but today it’s definitely not working. I’ve been sluggish and without motivation all day. With that said, my thoughts are going here, there and everywhere and I’m not sure how much cohesiveness there will be in this post. Why am I writing then, you ask? Well, I’ve been wanting to write all day but have been unsure of which topic I’d like to tackle. I thought if I just start typing something will come to me.

So far nothing.

I’m going to start with my daughter Lauren. She’s 11 and starts junior high in two days. My girl is usually a very laid back, happy-go-lucky girl. So after a week of sobbing; complaints of stomach aches, headaches; saying her heart is racing and she can’t breathe I’m ready to pull my hair out. This came out of nowhere and I’m really trying hard to be as supportive as I possibly can while maintaining my sanity. These complaints come at night only and of course after I’m already in bed drifting off. I know for at least the last year her moods and emotions have been in sync with my monthly cycle, which is just fan-f’n-tastic. Seriously, I can’t even handle my own hormones, how am I supposed to handle both of ours at the same time!! It just so happens that a week ago I started my own pms-ing. At first I thought that’s what it was, she was just synced up with me and being super emotional. After two nights of the sobbing and her repeatedly coming into my room I decided to sleep down in the living room with her (At least my husband would get some good sleep, lucky guy that he is didn’t even know I was gone!) I slept on the couch and she slept on the floor right next to me holding my hand while we talked. And talked. And talked until 1 a.m and she said, “mom, it’s like we’re having a slumber party on a Thursday” and I replied in a sleepy one eye open voice, “go to sleep now”. I came to the conclusion on the third night that this was more than emotions. This was anxiety. She’s anxious about starting 6th grade. Duh! So, in an effort to ease her nervousness the very next day we finished her school shopping, replaced her dead fish from the carnival with a bright colorful beta, got her a new outfit for the first day of school and even got her a bunch of locker decorations. That night we organized all of her supplies and I printed and taped her schedule in her trapper keeper. I was so please with this that even I felt better, and I’m not the one who’s nervous. I thought for sure she’d go right to sleep. Hell no. This child was in and out of my room for an hour. After being sternly talked to by the dad, she went to sleep. Now, tonight was supply drop off and she was looking forward to it. It went well! Her locker is decorated, she met her home room teacher and she had her picture taken. All should be well…but it’s not. We get home and she’s getting “the feelings”. Tonight she got a spa bath…nice warm water, epsom salts, lavender oil, candles and a bath pillow, even a cup of sleepy time tea. If this doesn’t help the child relax I don’t know what will! I can’t help but think I really hope this is just nerves over starting junior high and in a few days she will be fine. Otherwise, dear Lord PLEASE just let her get her period already.

No wonder my brain is mish-mash today.

Anyone else go through something like this? If so, what did you do to handle it and how did it go/end up? I’d love some feedback 🙂

 

 

The Ugly Duckling

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Today was a big day around the Jones Homestead (remember when I said I really liked homesteading?? I meant it). Today was Aidan’s first day of Freshman year….HIGH SCHOOL. Over the last week or so I have thought back to my days in high school, my days as a freshman in particular, and today was no different. Okay, so I also have been thinking about how old I feel, but I guess that’s irrelevant.

For me high school was just “eh”. Many people say high school sucked, many say it was the best years of their life. Me? “Eh”. In all honesty it was middle school that was brutal. I dreaded every day, sometimes begging and pleading with my mom to let me stay home. I was teased, snickered at, made fun of. It was awful. I entered high school feeling even more withdrawn and awkward. How could I not be, I was 6’0″ tall and resembled a baby giraffe. My brother actually made a great jab at me one day. I had been out with my best friend and when I walked in the house I asked him if anyone called for me. To that he said, “yeah, Big Bird…he wants his legs back”. Naturally I was annoyed but with my best friend cackling and howling with laughter behind me I decided to let it slide…I think because I felt bad for him. I mean I’m smarter AND taller, he should feel good about himself sometimes. With that said, I did make friends. I did participate in some extra curriculars. I do have a few wonderful memories. But I really, REALLY was awkward. Take a look at some of these pictures….I should have been given citations for my wardrobe choices.

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And DON’T get me started on my Senior pictures…..why? Just why? (I’m actually teetering on whether or not to actually include these two photos…ugh, what the hell, why not!?)

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Thank heavens everyone had to wear the same robes for graduation, there’s no telling what I would have shown up in. There’s no telling what I was wearing underneath it, to be perfectly honest. But I do know I did not take that robe off until I got home.

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Thankfully I ended up blossoming as an adult, and definitely dressing better. I like to think of myself as The Ugly Duckling; truly awkward as a young woman but turning into a beautiful swan. This is my husband and I on our wedding day. I have never felt more beautiful than on this day!

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Thinking back to the kind of high schooler I was and watching my son enter high school is so drastically different. He absolutely loved middle school (I think he went to almost every school dance, if he could) and has been so excited to start high school. For the longest time I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he was ready for the big step, that he actually was looking forward to it. How in the world could he feel this way for when I was in this same phase I was terrified? Don’t get me wrong, he has displayed some trepidation, but has gotten over it pretty quick. Then it dawned on me. Aidan and I are the same, but so very different. He is me, but extroverted. He feeds off of his friends, they recharge him, bring him to life. It’s no wonder he’s been excited for high school and all of the social activities it entails. So while I have been sad, scared and wrapped up in my own emotions over my first-born entering high school…his happiness and excitement have made me happy and excited. I’m actually thrilled for him and truly thankful that the ugly duckling stage for him will be a short-lived phase. I’m looking forward to being there for all of his adventures and to cheer him on. Who knows, maybe this is a chance to relive my high school days in a not so introverted way!

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Until next time, find the beauty!

 

I have this tattoo…

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I have this tattoo just above my left hip. It’s a pretty big size puzzle piece that is supposed to resemble stained glass and reads “beauty in unfinished edges”. I love this tattoo so much as it has some pretty deep-rooted emotion and meaning behind it, I designed it on my own, and it is a constant reminder that I don’t have to be perfect. See, I spent many years trying to achieve perfection in many different areas of my life only to come out failing in the end. I failed at school, my marriage, emotionally and financially. I honestly had very little self-worth and couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone, male or female, would want to spend their time with me. I constantly compared myself to my friends and family. I mean seriously, what did I have to offer anyone on any level, romantically or socially? I never finished college, even though I attempted to quite a few times. I was married, had two kids and divorced by the time I was 30, talk about damaged goods. I’ve never traveled anywhere exciting, in fact I flew for the very first time two months ago….TWO MONTHS AGO, I’m 38 for crying out loud!!! (That story will require its own post) What in the world could I possibly have to contribute to any conversation with anyone, I hadn’t even flown until this year?! While friends my age were finishing college, starting careers and traveling I was raising babies and trying to make ends meet. In my mind I was on a different playing field and there was no way I could compete.

While I still question my self-worth and desirability to others, I have come a long way from the girl who felt like she didn’t measure up. Seeing my tattoo every single day in the mirror reminds me that life is one big puzzle that has many pieces. Those pieces are unfinished waiting to be found and put together. Some are smooth, some jagged, some straight, some angled and some curved. I’ve come to realize that no matter what shape the puzzle piece, or how big the puzzle, life isn’t perfect. My life isn’t perfect, I’m not perfect and that’s okay. I can mess up, I can be emotional, I can feed my children cereal for dinner sometimes and I can have a laundry pile on my bedroom floor for weeks and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because I have been able to find the beauty in my unfinished edges and be okay with it (most of the time, I’m still learning).

Starting this blog is a big deal for me. I’ve started other things but have figured out pretty quick that they’re not for me. I have sat and wondered what it was I was good enough at that I could feel confident enough about to share with others. I’ve thought about writing in the past but never really knew what I would write about or where to start. It just occurred to me that I don’t have to write a full book right off the bat. I decided to start a blog and just start writing and see where it takes me. I’m not going to promise you a new post every other day. I’m not even going to promise you a theme. What I will promise you though is honesty, humor, true stories and adventures. You can look forward to reading about my path to learning how much of an introvert I really am, my learning I have ADD (I’m blaming all my failures on my ADD by the way…and my first marriage, that wasn’t my fault), or my battle with anxiety. One day I might be a fashionista, the next an artist. Regardless of what I’m writing about I am truly looking forward to sharing my life and letting my creative juices flow.

Until next time, find the beauty!

Elizabeth

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