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Currently July…

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It is time for another Currently post! Where has another month gone? It was a super busy middle of summer month, so I didn’t do everything on the list this month. We’ll see how we do in August!

Reading: I actually didn’t finish any books this month. I didn’t have anything to hand that captured my attention and insisted that I finish reading it. I did read with my daughter a lot and we listened to “The Princess Academy” together and finished it.

 

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Planning: Back to school of course!¬† We didn’t need a lot of supplies this year, but the Princess grew a ton, so new clothes were in order and finding deals and fun outfits has been a fun project.

 

 

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A new dress!! with pockets of course!

 

Watching: Covert Affairs–I guess TV was more relaxing then reading this month. I think I finished all 5 seasons.

Cooking: Food with berries! Berries are in season, they are delicious, I have lots in my freezer ūüėÄ

Eating: Ice cream–when I can! It’s so hot!

Drinking: Smoothies! I discovered adding some almond butter into my morning smoothie and some gelatin will keep me full all morning.

Pinning: more planner ideas–I just love decorating with stickers and washi tape, so I’m always considering more ideas!

Crafting: of course decorating my planner, but I also branched out a bit and scrapbooked some cards!

Going: Crazy–keeping a child busy throughout the whole summer is no joke.

Loving: All the back to school deals! I LOVE pens and paper!

Dreaming: of a place with no drama–a girl can dream right?

Feeling: Hot –or wet. Usually wet because I’m so hot. July in Florida is no joke people.

Listening: To aforementioned book on audible… the only way to consume lots of fun books with the Princess this summer!

Celebrating: We celebrated the 4th of July of course! We usually celebrate holidays by cleaning something, but at this point I can’t remember what that was.

What were you up to in July? Hopefully lots of fun stuff!

 

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Customer Service…how to do it well!

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So, we recently went on a trip and we stayed in two different places while we were gone–one night at a kind of cheap motel and two nights in a resort. Now I realize that these are two radically different places, but I think that they both could have been good experiences if they were managed correctly.

First place we stayed was the hotel. It didn’t impress us a lot when we drove up, but it had decent reviews when I booked it. We got to the room and the fridge smelled bad–really bad. There was water dripping and stains on the floor in the bathroom. There were three of us staying in the room and usually they provide four pillows per bed, but this one only had 2 per bed. I started looking around for a phone number to call down to the desk, but couldn’t find a number until I found my reservation paperwork and used my cell. When I asked for more pillows they said that they could give us one more if I came down and picked it up.

When I got back up I saw not one, but TWO cockroaches which totally grossed me out. By that time people were tucked in bed and I just wanted to make it through the night. I used my own internet to check my mail before trying to sleep (because they never bothered to give me a WIFI password and I didn’t have the energy to try and find the phone number for the front desk again) and gave them a poor review on the site that I booked the room through.

Next morning we checked out at 6:30AM and were questioned my review and why I didn’t call down–they would have moved us to another room. I was annoyed at being questioned–I mean providing directions on how to call down to the desk would have been helpful in that situation anyway, wouldn’t it??

The resort was a completely different story. When I checked in they gave me all the information I needed to have a nice stay. Maps,¬†WIFI passwords, their name and extension if I had any problems, and more. When we got to the suite, the sofa bed wasn’t made up for my daughter to sleep in. So I called down to the office (directions on how to was beside both phone extensions!) and they apologized for the inconvenience and said they would send bed linens right away. They called later that evening to make sure they were delivered, and made several other calls to make sure we were happy. They had the number to the local pizza place when my husband called to ask about it.

So the difference between the two places (besides obviously actually cleaning!)? I really think it was the communication–the hotel just assumed everything was fine and expected me to track them down to complain if I needed to. The resort¬†went out of their way to make sure I didn’t have any complaints or if I did they got taken care of almost immediately. I didn’t even have to figure out how to make a complaint! Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone approached customer service that way? Trying to make sure you enjoyed yourself/were happy with your product that you didn’t even have to wonder how to complain?

Charcoal–Not Just for Cooking Out!

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Charcoal has been in the news a lot recently, hasn’t it? I remember seeing all those charcoal masks on facebook a few months back (didn’t they look painful!!) and I keep hearing about other charcoal products! Here are some reasons why activated charcoal is such a good tool to have and some different ways to use activated charcoal¬†that I’ve heard about and a few that I use regularly!

There is a difference between regular charcoal that you cook with and the activated charcoal used in personal care products/household products. The activated charcoal is made especially for medicinal/household use. It is an substance that can remove dirt, absorb toxins, has antibacterial properties, reduces inflammation, and can brighten the skin. Amazing stuff, right?

First of all, I’ve been using charcoal capsules regularly (on an occasional basis)¬†for years. They are perfect for stomach bugs, but I also use them¬†when I get glutened! They work at neutralizing the poisons in your body and they work fast.¬†¬†.

Did you know that there are charcoal air fresheners? Moso Natural makes these bags with charcoal (from bamboo) in them that freshen the air naturally without chemicals! I haven’t tried them yet, but they are supposed to be good for removing allergens, odors, and harmful pollutants from the air. Amazing right?

IMG_0007Something else I’ve tried is a charcoal water filter! We have used the Pur water filter on our faucet for years, but it is annoying because the indicator light regularly goes out and you have to buy a new one or trust to your memory. I thought a big black piece of charcoal in my water was pretty strange, but why not try it? It makes my water taste amazing! I’m excited that it lasts 4 months too! I went ahead and bought another one for work, because its an easy way to filter water without plastic.

I’ve tried doing this by breaking open some charcoal capsules and putting them on my toothbrush, but I think I’m going to check out this pre-made toothpaste next time I order. Charcoal is amazing for getting stains out and¬†whitening teeth¬†and my teeth could certainly use it!

17626678_10211825988155637_4508708721962668234_nFinally, some more personal care products that I’ve been using since this spring: The Charcoal Trio from Lemongrass Spa! It is made up of a bar soap (with a wonderful lemongrass and spearmint smell!) a face mask, and a face scrub. They all use activated charcoal made from coconut!¬†I used all of these regularly and they make a great addition to my face care routine to help me keep my acne at bay. I use as directed–with cold water.¬†The charcoal opens up your pores and gets the toxins out of your system and you want your pores to close up¬†(with cold water)¬†instead of inviting the toxins back in again (with warm water). I love how smooth the face scrub and mask leave my skin and I’m excited that the mask is a creamy clay mask–not those scary peel off ones from facebook!

So it seems like charcoal has a lot of benefits–did you know about all of these? Which one do you think you would like to start using?

 

What I’ve Been Up to in June…

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June wasn’t as crazy as May, but it seemed to zip by pretty fast–I guess that happens when you get older. First we were looking forward to vacation and then BAM it was there and done! Here’s what I was up to last month:

Reading: The Blue Castle by LM Mongomery. This was recommended on a podcast I listened to and it sounded fun, so I thought I would give it a try. I had a hard time getting ahold of it! There is only one copy at my local library and the kindle version wasn’t available…

Planning: up until the day we left I was planning dinners out and more for our 4 day vacation!

Watching: I got a free month of Netflix mostly so I could catch up on some Once Upon A Time as I never watched it before. I finished season 1, but then I had enough for awhile. I guess a little bit of fairy tales goes a long way for me? Does it get better as it goes on? I know people really love this show, but I was exhausted after the first season …

Cooking: I started baking some grain free goodies including this blender bread and this cobbler and this brownie. I was a big fan of the cobbler and the brownie. I need to try the bread again.

Eating: Well, this is more what I haven’t been eating: sugar! I stopped eating desserts at every meal, so that was a big cut right there. I haven’t been limiting my fruit though–I mean who could in the middle of summer? Berries taste really sweet to me and are low in sugar ūüôā

Drinking: I have been trying to make some fruit infused water at least once or twice a week!

Pinning: grain free breakfast food–this is where I need the most help with grain free cooking because as much as I love eggs I can’t eat them every day!

Crafting: I stuck with decorating my planner and doing my nails. Simple, but fun! It’s also finally summer so I could get out all my summer stickers and my neon colored nail polish.

Dreaming: of walks on the beach. I haven’t made it to the beach yet this season and I’m missing it.

Going: To the Orlando area–that’s where we spent our weekend away. We visited the Crayola Experience and did lots of fun stuff and stocked up on crayons for what I would like to think was a few years, but will actually probably be a few months!

Feeling: like summer is speeding by way too quickly–in another month we’re back to school again! WHAT?!

Listening: The Reconstructing of Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. This was an interesting book–I don’t think I would have chosen it, but it was in the books I already had. It was a bit of a thriller, but it had a lot of language which I didn’t like. It’s based on a girl who killed herself–or did she? Exploring her life the few months before it ended and including texts, emails, facebook, school, and home is what the book is all about.

Celebrating: Our ten year anniversary! I can’t believe its been that long already…where does the time go?

 

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One of my favorite pictures from our wedding: June 2007

 

New School Year, New Routines

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Yes, I said new school year–we’re starting back up in a month, can you believe it? One thing that makes the new school year go smoothly for me and usually for the Princess is having a simple routine in place with clear expectations. That usually means revisiting the chore charts/checklists and redoing them for new year! I just love new lists!

I love the amount of free printables available on pintrest–I really do. However, they don’t always match up with exactly what I had in mind. So I was thrilled to find this tutorial for a daily routine checklist using canva.com. This made it easy to customize colors, items on the list, make extra lists and so on. I mean¬†isn’t this¬†beautiful?

Morning routine

While I was creating I made a few chore checklists too. It was time and its nice to have in black and color the very minimal expectations I have for cleaning certain rooms in the house. (Everything off the floor is a big one!)

other rooms checklist

I used this downloadable printable for inspiration of what to put on the chore lists. I honestly needed some help–my house may be mostly clutter free (probably because I keep THROWING STUFF OUT!) but it certainly isn’t clean as evidenced by the chunks of dust I picked up from my new craft station I created over the weekend!

So hopefully, over the next month we’ll work out the kinks in these new routines and I will get these laminated for easy checking off! I’m also planning on punching holes and putting them on a ring to hang somewhere when not in use. My previous lists I put in picture frames so there was no need for laminating, but for some reason the picture frames always walked off and could never be found when wanted!

So how about you? When do you reevaluate what’s working and what’s not working in your routines? Do you use the beginning of the school year too? Or is it more of a beginning of the year thing for you?

 

 

 

 

Staying Safe With Allergies While Eating Out

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Eating out can usually be an anxious experience when you are dealing with food allergies! I mentioned in my last post that we ate out a lot last week–and I actually think we did it safely because we weren’t sick when we got home! Here are some tips for staying safe while traveling!

  1. If you are visiting family, don’t feel awkward about bringing your own food. It’s what you need to stay safe and healthy–usually they understand and are relieved that they don’t have to worry about it!

2. Make sure you inform your waitress. A surprisingly large amount of restaurants have gluten-free menus available now and if you ask while you are being seated they are happy to provide.

3. Don’t be afraid to play the blond card–sometimes I act ditzy and say–I can’t remember if I already said this, but I am gluten-free and dairy free. Repeating it makes an impression on your waitress in case she is having a bad day or whatever and gives you extra peace of mind that you did mention it. (Sometimes I am so focused on ordering gluten-free for my daughter that I forget to mention my allergies, so mentioning it twice helps me too!)

So here are the places that we ate last week that were really nice. First breakfast out was Bob Evans. I was a little nervous eating there because I just haven’t, but breakfast is usually easy and they were super nice! They even had decent kids gluten-free menu choices! Our food took longer to cook, but that was fine–I knew they had to cook it separately and it taking longer confirmed they were doing what they said they would.

 

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Rainforest Café: Ahi Tuna Tacos with sautéed veggies!

Our next meal was the Rainforest Cafe in Disney Springs. I have always heard that Disney goes out of their way for food allergies and even though Rainforest Cafe isn’t owned by Disney they truly didn’t disappoint. I made a reservation through the Disney App (which I totally recommend–those restaurants can get crazy with lines!) and it had a place to put in my food allergies even in the reservation. Our waiter was kind and they even sent the chef out to talk to us about our menu choices and make sure they could make them for us. My daughter was beyond thrilled that she could get a bun with her cheeseburger. Everything took awhile again, but I was again reassured that they were going the extra mile to keep us safe. It was a delicious meal and the several thunderstorms that we had happen while we were there were amusing.

 

No visit to Disney Springs is complete (at least for us) without a visit to Erin McKenna’s bakery. A completely gluten-free, diary-free bakery that is now offering dairy free soft serve ice cream! All allergy people and parents will understand the thrill it is to go into a place where you don’t have to say no to anything your child wants! We got some donuts for breakfasts and of course some ice cream to eat on the way to the car!

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Some of our donuts: Mine had cookie crumbs on top and Princess had chocolate frosting

 

The rest of the week was mac and cheeze from a box, some Canadian bacon, eggs, leftover hamburger buns, and veggies as we could squeeze them in. We also ate at a food court in the mall on the way home.

As always, accidents can happen so I brought my usual kit of “Oops, I got glutened” with me just in case. This consists of charcoal (helps with tummy aches!), peppermint tea, and¬†usually a hot water bottle.¬†This has got to be the first time I didn’t need to use it though!

What about you–what do you do to make sure you stay safe with food allergies on vacation?

Honey Mustard Sauce

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One of my first jobs was fast food. I had never been around fast food much before then, but it was a type of amusement park and they had a kitchen (serving the same stuff that we served the public) where employees could buy food pretty cheap–I did not pack a lunch very often that summer and sometimes didn’t eat breakfast before going to work either! One of the things that I loved was the honey mustard sauce there. It was perfect for everything–dipping chicken nuggets in, dipping French fries in, putting on your sandwich–you get the idea. That was before I was aware of the ingredients, but I can guarantee that there was nothing good for you in that sauce!

This is a bit of a spicy sauce that the Princess heartily enjoys, which surprised me. So I find myself making it usually at least once a week and she always shows up to lick the spoon! I hope you enjoy it as much as she does!

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2 Tablespoons mayo

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1-2 Tablespoons honey

Balsamic vinegar (optional, to taste)

Add the ingredients into a bowl. We like it with or without the vinegar–if I am trying to make more of a salad dressing instead of just a dipping sauce I will add the vinegar. Mix until combined.

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Taste–this is an important step! Add additional ingredients as needed. If my daughter is helping she prefers it sweeter, so we always need a little more honey .

Use as desired. Is excellent as a salad dressing, for dipping any kind of meat or veggie, eating with a spoon (not my favorite, but there’s no accounting for some tastes!), or using to dress up your sandwich! Enjoy!

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