An Interesting Development

Hello there, blog fam.  All zero of you that still read this blog.  Is blogging as we know it dead?  I feel like I keep up with everyone I’ve followed the past few years via Instagram and Twitter.  Outside of the big names, which I barely ever read anymore unless they’re DIY or finance blogs, it seems like blogging as a whole is floundering.  I guess when it comes down to it, blogging is the original social media, and we all know how social media ebbs and flows.

But anyway.  It came time to renew my domain, and I honestly thought about just letting it go.  After all, it’s been months since I’ve even logged into WordPress.  But something in me just couldn’t let go.  So here I am, minus $60 in hosting fees and still with not too much to say.

Oh, there is one interesting thing that has been going on.  If you keep up with me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, you’re probably aware of what’s been going on with ye olde Burks family.  But in case you’re in the dark, here it is.

YES I SAID TWINS

TWINS

Two babies.  Twins.  Not just one.  Two.

I wish I could say this was the biggest shock of my life, but it honestly wasn’t.  Twins run in my family, I’m in my mid-thirties when the odds of having twins increase, and I’ve always had some feeling that one of my pregnancies would be twins.  I just didn’t know it would be the third one!  The ultrasound tech at our first doctor visit remarked that I was surprisingly calm for having just received such big news.  I had actually told my husband to prepare himself to see two babies in there, so I’m kind of excited that my intuition was spot on.

After being suchly validated, though, there has been much freaking out at random.  So far I have freaked out about doubling the amount of children in our house, where the babies are going to sleep, cloth diapering, starting completely over with baby clothes instead of trying to sort through what would be usable, nursing two babies at the same time, buying a bigger house, how I’m going to drive four kids around (thank God we just replaced my husband’s car in January with a full size SUV with a usable third row), traveling with four kids, what happens if my husband has to start traveling for work, getting the big kids to and from school with two babies in tow, how the big kids are going to feel once there are two new babies in the house, how I’M going to feel with two more babies in the house, and so on and so forth.  You name it, I’ve freaked out about it.  But after I calm down and think about what babies REALLY need, I realize that it’s truly not much.  Food, clothes, a place to sleep, clean diapers, a bath every few days, and a family that loves them.  We have that.  So what if our house is going to feel a little smaller now.  So what if we have to start looking at minivans in the fall.  So what if money is going to be tight for a few years.  It will all work out, simply because it has to work out.  Failure is not an option.

So that’s what has been going on around here.  We’ve got about five more months as an average-sized family of four, and then we jump straight into a supersized family of six.  It’s going to be a crazy ride, but I find that I thrive in the joyous chaos that is parenthood, so we should be just fine.

Twins, Twin Pregnancy, Multiples, Mom of Multiples


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He’s in Kindergarten?!

 

He’s actually been in kindergarten for almost a month, and I still can’t wrap my head around it.  But just look at that guy.  He’s so handsome.  I love this kid so much.  I love that he has my squinty eyes when he smiles.  I love that his hair refuses to stay put and that it is always rumpled beyond belief when I pick him up from school.  I love that his legs are always covered in bruises from days well spent running, jumping, falling, climbing.  I love that those sparkly white shoes are now dirty and scuffed and full of playground mulch every day.  I love how he talks my ear off from the time he wakes up until the minute he falls asleep.  I love the peek into his head that his chattering gives me.

I love how much he loves to learn.  I love that he asks so many questions in a constant quest to know and understand things.  Every day he tells me all about what he learned in school that day, and then asks questions when he wants to dig into something further.

He’s good at math.  My child.  Good at math.  I never would have predicted that.

I know every parent says this, but it seems like we just brought him home from the hospital yesterday.  I’ll blink again, and he’ll be starting middle school.  I’ll look away for just a moment, and he will be graduating college.  Getting his own place.  Falling in love.  Getting married and starting a family of his own.

The days are long, but the years are short.

Those words have been ringing true lately.  Especially when I’m desperately trying to make it to nap time on Saturdays, or trying to get two silly boys settled down for the night, or clinging to my last shred of patience at the grocery store.  Because this baby that I just brought home from the hospital is now in kindergarten, and I need to soak up every last bit of this wonderful time with him.


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From Busted to Ballin’ {On A Budget}: Spray Paint Chair Update

When we moved to Georgia in 2006, we bought an average house in an average neighborhood for an average price.  We planned on being in that house for 2-4 years, and then we would be moving on to bigger and better things.  We never intended to be in this house and this neighborhood for longer than that, so I didn’t really settle into the house and just treated it as a stopgap on the road to our forever home.

It’s been 8 years.  We’ve brought 2 babies home to that house, and may possibly bring another home to it in the next two years, as we will likely still be living there.  So I’ve been bonding with my home over the last couple of years.  No matter how long I plan on living somewhere, I need to be happy in it.  And I’ve been happy in our house, but there are definitely aspects of it that I am unhappy with and it’s time to start changing those.

Our house is very plain.  Tan siding, white trim, mid-1980s split level construction with funky windows that are hard to dress.  The previous owners built a gigantic deck on the front of the house, which looks weird but it’s kind of nice to have that outdoor space, so it stays.  We’ve started replacing the boards on the deck as we get time and money with better quality treated wood since the old wood was apparently untreated and has not handled the elements very well.  But it’s still all tan and wood and boring.  The two plastic chairs and ottoman that were left on the deck had also seen better days.  One chair is broken and is being thrown out, but the other chair and the ottoman are in good shape.  Ugly, but usable.

Ugly plastic Adirondack chair

So I decided to fix them up a bit using my favorite home improvement tool: spray paint!  I’ve gone to town with a can of spray paint in my kitchen to update my ridiculous cabinet knobs, and also on our tired brass front porch light.  I was very pleased with both of those results, so I figured there was nothing to lose by adding some color to that sad looking chair.

First, I cleaned the chair and ottoman by spraying the entire thing down with Awesome and scrubbing it with a stiff bristled brush.  Dirt and grime just melt away with that stuff.  I made sure to get in all the nooks and crannies on the back and underneath both pieces to ensure a nice even paint seal.  May the spiders that had built their home on the underside of the chair rest in peace.  Then I put the chair and ottoman back in the garage to dry out until I had time to get to them again, which ended up being three days later.  So by that time they were good and dry.

I didn’t really have any kind of rhyme or reason when I chose the paint colors.  Truth be told, I let my kids pick out two colors that they really liked.  After I got them home, I realized that they had chosen colors that looked like Mike Wazowski and Sully from the Monsters Pixar movies.  Those choices would definitely provide that burst of color I wanted.  We went with Rustoleum Painter’s Touch X2 paint+primer (satin finish) in Green Apple for the chair, and Oasis Blue for the ottoman.

Then it was time to get to spraying.  I’m not a home improvement blogger so I don’t have a patented technique on the proper way to spray paint a piece of furniture.  I just…spray the paint on the furniture.  I turned the chair upside down in the driveway and sprayed the underside of the chair and legs, then turned it over and sprayed everything else.  Short even strokes, slight overlapping, avoid drippage, blah blah blah.  I just made sure that everything that was nasty and off-white got hit with bright apple green paint.  Same for the ottoman, except that its original color was dark green.  So I hit all the dark green with the blue paint.  I’m somewhat impulsive so I didn’t lay down any sort of tarp or do any other prep work before I painted, so there’s a bit of green and blue spray paint on it.  I’ll get to that sometime.

Here’s the only part of the post that people care about:  the before and after shot.

Pretty spray painted Adirondack chair

Quite an improvement, no?  I didn’t take a before picture of the ottoman {bad blogger!}, but here it is after being painted.

blue ottoman

And here they are in action on our nasty front deck.  Having the house painted is probably in our very near future since I can’t seem to wash the siding clean anymore.  Front door as well.  Oh well, at least my son is cute.  And I just noticed that his shirt matches the chair and ottoman almost perfectly.

Grand total for this project:  $10 for three cans of spray paint.  Not too shabby, especially considering the fact that as I left Home Depot with the paint I passed by a display of plastic outdoor furniture in these exact colors for $20 each.

I wonder how much it would cost to spray paint my house.


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Emile Noël Artisan Oils

Disclosure: I received a free bottle of Emile Noël Artisan Oils sesame oil to review.  All opinions are my own and are not influenced by scoring free stuff.

emile_noel-USA_logo-web-BLACK

 

Ooh, you see that beautiful bottle of sesame oil right there?  If you’re anything like me, you took one look at that bottle and yelled COME TO MOMMA through the saliva that suddenly filled your mouth.  I mean, it’s everything anyone could ever want in a quality oil.  Organic.  Fair trade.  Cold pressed.  Unrefined.  Sweet mother.

Somehow, some way, the gods shone their favor down upon me and I got an e-mail Olivia with Emile Noël asking me if I would be interested in testing one of their products.  I could not reply fast enough with a resounding YES.

I use various oils for just about everything on a daily basis.  I use olive oil when I cook, and also to clean my face in the evenings a lá the oil cleansing method.  It really works, by the way.  You should try it.  I also use grapeseed oil and coconut oil for cooking, and peppermint oil for baking.  In one of my constant adventurous attempts at being crafty and/or crunchy, I decided I would make organic vegan lotion bars for the teachers at the boys’ school for Teacher Appreciation Day.  One of the main ingredients I used was delicious, wonderful coconut oil.  I also used sweet almond oil, lemongrass oil, and lavender oil for scent/aromatherapy purposes.  SO CRUNCHY, RIGHT?!

About a year ago I started oil pulling (swishing oil around in your mouth; it’s a thing, look it up), so I have been using my cold pressed virgin coconut oil for that.  I know a lot of people have dismissed oil pulling as hokum, and maybe it’s all psychological, but I swear I sleep better when I am oil pulling regularly, my sinuses are clearer, and any sort of unpleasant morning breath is neutralized, and that alone makes it worth doing to me.  Being an inquisitive type, I decided to spit the oil out into an empty plastic bottle so I could inspect it after my first oil pulling session.  It was simultaneously horrifying and fascinating.  After the oil and saliva separated back out, there were all these little particles floating around in there.  That was the horrifying part, because I am a zealot about oral hygiene.  I brush and floss at least twice a day, am at the dentist every six months like clockwork, and stay far away from sugared gum and hard candy and whatnot.  So if I, a person with a very clean mouth, had all that going on after my teef cleaning regimen, then WHAT is happening in the mouths of people who are more blasé about their oral care?!

But I digress.

When I was doing my initial research into oil pulling, I kept seeing sesame oil being referenced for its healthy properties.  I am a huge fan of sesame seeds, always have been.  As the late great Mitch Hedberg would say, they make your burger buns look spectacular.  I have never left a sesame seed behind.  I eat every single rogue seed off my plate whenever I have a dish with sesame seeds.  They have such a nice light nutty taste, and I find their tiny bit of crunch very pleasing.  So needless to say, I was excited to try this organic sesame oil not only for cooking, but for oil pulling and other health uses.

Emile Noël’s sesame oil is absolutely delicious.  It is great for sautéing and stir frying, and I have also used it as a drizzle over bread and vegetables and chicken.  I love the flavor so much I could put it on almost anything.  And it is high in antioxidants and good fats and has been shown to lower blood pressure when consumed regularly.  All good things in my book.

I have also found myself using drops of this oil for moisturizing extremely dry or rough areas of my skin (think elbows, knees, and heels).  It would be a great massage oil.  Sesame oil also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so I’ve started keeping a small travel bottle with me for cuts and booboos (both mine and my kids’).  I’ve read that it is good to use on eczema and psoriasis.  I’ve also been using it for oil pulling with good results.  It stays a little thicker than coconut oil, so I guess in my mind it grabs more bacteria and particles with every swish.  Plus I get more of that delicious nutty flavor every night!  I’ve decided that I’m going to start taking a spoonful of this sesame oil every day just for the health benefits and continue to use it externally.  From everything I’ve read, sesame oil is the king of oils and I’m really glad that I was introduced to this product.

Emile Noël Artisan Oils are available in select Whole Foods stores in the U.S.  In addition to sesame oil, they have so many other products that I want to try.  I’ve got my eye on the pumpkin oil and hazelnut oil.  If they are half as good as the sesame oil, then I will be buying them in bulk when I pick up some more sesame oil.

Guys, I don’t do a lot of reviews.  I only agree to test things that I will actually use in my daily life and I always promise to give it to you straight.  So when I say that Emile Noël is the real deal, it’s what I sincerely think.  This stuff is great.  Rachel Approved.


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