An Uncomplicated Life Blog

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DIY Acne Clearing Toner

If you suffer from acne, try this all natural DIY facial toner to clear up your breakouts

 I was gifted with great genes: I'm tall. I'm slender. I'm smart. I have straight, white teeth. I like to think I'm kinda funny, even if only on my best days. But where I tanked in the gene pool is my skin. I have had acne prone skin since I was a pre-teen. Back in those days I attempted to over-treat it and developed "combination skin", drying out any of the normal/healthy sections with aggressive acne treatments. When I was pregnant, my skin was about as bad as it was when I was a teenager! And then I got it under control after Otto was born... Until I stopped breastfeeding. Since then, my skin has been a complete horror. I don't wear makeup most days, and I've been embarrassed to go out in public. When I was pregnant and couldn't do the aggressive chemical treatments, I learned that oils and natural products actually worked BETTER! So after a bunch of research and basically becoming your personal horrible-skin-test-lab-rat, I've come up with a DIY toner that really clears out stubborn acne. Even that dreaded hormonal acne. Yassssss!

This DIY toner clears acne using witch hazel, apple cider vinegar and essential oils. It works and is so easy to make!

When I was boobie feeding lil O, I used this DIY acne clearing face wash and it did WONDERS. My skin cleared up completely in two weeks, and stayed clear until I stopped with the boobie feeds. When you wean, there's a massive hormone shift - and I even took about two full months to wean! I was also battling an extraordinarily humid Texas summer. Add the hormones and the high humidity and my skin was about the worst it's been since I hit puberty and shot up to my glorious 5'10 self. Gene pool win met gene pool fail.

Anyway, my wonderful coconut oil/baking soda/essential oil acne clearing face wash was no longer enough! I needed more. Being the {un}smelly hippie that I am, I immediately looked into some go-to, centuries old (um, at least) stand-bys: apple cider vinegar and witch hazel. I added a few of my fav, thousands of years proven essential oils.

Not so much for the benefits of the essential oils, but honestly? I think apple cider vinegar STINKS. I know people who drink it and wash their hair with it and I'm just over here like the most basic of white girls with her "cannot even" to the smell of that stuff.

But to cure some nasty, ever-lingering acne? Ooooooook, twist my arm. I'll plug my nose. And add some great oils. And hope this stuff doesn't smell as I sweat throughout our 100+ degree summer days. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't smell as you sweat!)

This is how you can mix up apple cider vinegar and witch hazel to clear your acne naturally!

So! Here's how I made it. And yes (shameless plug) you should use it with my DIY face wash.

DIY Acne Clearing Toner 
- 1/2 C witch hazel
- 10 drops lemon essential oil 

Witch hazel has been used for thousands of years by Native Americans for it's gentle cleaning ability. Apple cider vinegar is used for just about everything it seems, but from my research it has cleaning and anti-inflammatory properties, which is beneficial for clearing acne. In terms of the essential oils, lavender helps to calm any breakouts and irritation you may have on your face, tea tree is a natural antibacterial cleaner (bacteria is what's causing those breakouts) and lemon helps to fade any scarring you may have from past acne.

Mix everything together in a small bottle that you can either unscrew or pop the top and pour a small amount out of and boom! You're in business. Use a cotton ball or pad and wipe it over your face after you've washed it in the morning and the evening. Give this DIY acne clearing toner about two weeks and watch your face clear up, even if you live in a hot and humid climate like me!

Monday, July 25, 2016

School Lunch Ideas for Toddlers

If your toddler is headed off to preschool this fall, check out these school lunch ideas they'll love to eat!


It's surreal to be sitting down to write this post, as we're just about to wrap up our summer session of preschool. At the same time, that means the normal school year starts in a few weeks. Where did the summer go?! Anyway, I have a something to confess about this year's summer preschool session: I sent Henry with the exact same lunch. Everyday. It was pathetic! But I have a picky eater, and he's very distracted by eating with all the other kids to boot, so I reverted to his favorite (PB&J) every. single. day. Mother of the year award goes to yours truly, sorry other mamas. I promised myself I'd do better this fall, so I've rounded up some of the best school lunch ideas for toddlers.

This post rounds up 4 great, healthy lunch options to pack your child for preschool that he or she will actually eat - not just throw on the floor!

Yes, even my picky eater will eat these! And if it will pass Henry's test, your toddler (or even grade school aged kiddo) will definitely get down with them. It's real easy to search Pinterest and find things like, "grilled chicken and rice cups" and "zucchini sweet potato fritters" for toddler lunch ideas. First, who the hell has time to make that?! I work from home part time and aint nobody got that kinda time. Second, you think my picky toddler is going to eat a chicken and rice cup (and dip it in the sauce that went with the recipe) while he sits with his classmates?! Nope, he's not. But here's what he will do: He's going to throw the sauce because it looks suspect, and steal little Sally's PJ&J her mom made her.

The number of pins I saw with things on a stick was shocking too. Like, do moms really put their toddler's food on a weapon pointy skewer and send them off to preschool??! Do schools even allow that nonsense in the lunchroom? And don't get me started about all the food I saw cut into cutesy shapes with the help of cookie cutters. One post even boasted a sandwich in the shape of Hello Kitty, complete with whisker cutouts. Maybe I'm alone over here, but that's a little too Leave It To Beaver for this momma. Aint nobody got time fo dat! Especially when half of it will get eaten, a quarter of it will end up on Henry's shirt and where the rest goes is a damn mystery.

Long way of saying, I had to find simple lunch ideas that don't take too much time to prepare, and are basic enough for my toddler to manage eating them. Or, you know, about half of it. Specialty "fritters" are great to attempt on a weekend, but I'm not waking up early to fry my son some pureed veggies for his lunch! Nope, these needed to be make-the-night-before friendly, too.

Here are the best school lunch ideas for toddlers, round-up style:

Pizza Mini Quiches
Eggs are a big time favorite in this house. Momables came up with this great recipe, although I'd probably skip the pepperoni and go light on the veggies (or make sure they're super small... Or both). Henry goes to school at 9am and they eat lunch by 11am so I'm not worried about the eggs and cheese being "left out" too long, but if you are, pack them with ice.

Cracker sammies
Love Make and Takes spin on the classic sandwich! Whole wheat crackers are easy to find everywhere, and I'd probably put either cream cheese (like she did in her recipe) or peanut butter on both sides of the cracker so that it doesn't get soggy from the jam.

Yogurt-filled Raspberries
Raising Whasians had this listed as a tea party idea, but if you use Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular) I think it could totally work for a lunch idea. Fill the raspberries with yogurt and freeze. Pack them frozen, which will keep the yogurt in the berries and less messy, but they'll be thawed for lunch. Especially great for lunches while the weather is still hot!

Protein Muffins
Momables to the rescue again! Now, Henry won't eat anything green or with chocolate, but he loves banana bread and blueberry muffins. It'd be easy enough to add a few scoops of vanilla protein powder to any of these recipes to make it a "protein muffin" and even easier to make a bulk batch, then freeze them. That way you can have a go-to lunch pre-made on days you're just too tired to think about packing a toddler school lunch.

Packing lunches is a pain in the rump. Especially when you have a picky eater like me. But I've promised myself to venture out into the "world of food beyond peanut butter and jelly sammies"! These school lunch ideas for toddlers are all easy to make, even the night ahead. Here's to the
2016-17 school year and getting Henry to eat outside of his comfort zone while at preschool!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What It's Like Traveling With Two Kids Two and Under

Think flying or traveling with young children is a good idea? Think again.

The second week of June, we packed everyone up for a four day weekend in Maine, for my sister's wedding. Henry was the only "official" member of the wedding party as the ring bearer. We got a direct flight to Boston, then had a 2.5 hour drive up to rural Maine (ummm, all of Maine is pretty rural...) to get to the estate the wedding would be held at. Let me tell you, friends, that was the first and last time we will ever embark on a flight/long drive combo with two kids this young. It was pure hell. PURE HELL. Read on for the funny details on what it's like traveling with two kids two and under!

Traveling with children is hard, but when you have more than one baby, it's extra challenging!

First, just packing everything is intense. When you only have one kid, it's fairly manageable, but making sure I had two outfits for each day plus spares plus jammies plus sleep sacks plus spare sleep sacks if someone wet through their diaper at night... Whoa. I was typical Paige and made a list and checked things off as I went. Which was a great strategy! One I should have done for myself because I completely forgot to pack any panties and my wedding day jewelry. Oops.

We get to Dallas Love Field (yay for city airports! DFW is a haul and a completely miserable place) and realize we have too many kids and too many bags. So hubs strapped Otto onto his back, wore a man-diaper bag and pushed two suitcases. I had my purse (with my breast pump and parts), another diaper bag, the stroller with Henry in it, and my suitcase. We were like a walking clown show. I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my back and had pit stains just from walking from the parking garage to the bag check line.

We check the bags, get through security in about 4 minutes thanks to my husband's insane travel status, and go to the play area in Love Field. Thanks to the engineers who built that area. They were thinking! All seemed like it was going well and this would be a breeze.

Henry behaved himself for the first three hours of the flight. That last half hour? You've never heard anyone scream louder. He didn't want to put on his seat belt to land. He was done sitting. He had missed his nap by about two hours. It was game over for him, and game over for us. Finally, we get off the jail cell plane, but Henry continues to lose his sh*t. It was a real treat to have everyone stare at us while my toddler rolled on the floor screaming as we waited for our gate checked stroller.

We get our bags and in Boston, you have to ride an effing BUS to get to different terminals and the car rental. Remember, we have two parents... And two children, three small bags and three suitcases, plus a stroller. Nobody offered to help us on or off this bus. I'm pretty sure I hit a man as I wildly chucked suitcases on, not caring where they landed - only hoping I got them all before this stupid bus took off! Serves that dude right for not offering to help. Actually, I'll stop lying. I aimed the biggest suitcase right for his knee caps. Jerk.

At least he's cute, because he's definitely stressful to travel with!

The only good news was Henry had collected himself by this time. The bad news was that he fell asleep so I had to carry his 30 pound body (plus three bags and a stroller) on and off this stupid effing bus. No, I didn't chuck my toddler like I did the suitcases, although that would have made the whole process a lot faster.

We get to our rental where our SUV is waiting right in front for us (perks of a traveling husband) but the car seats aren't installed (liability on their part, totally get it). However, these aren't our car seats nor do they come with instructions. So we spend about a half hour trying to get these car seats in place. Neither of us has eaten in about eight hours by this point, because when you have two kids, one stroller, three small bags and three suitcases, aint nobody got a spare hand to eat a sandwich.

Finally, we're en route! I pull out my pump and plug it into the car with the genius device my husband ordered me. We look at each other like, well, if that was the worst of it, we're good! And then. We hit Boston traffic. Like, move every 3-4 minutes kind of traffic. If you have kids, you already know - they want that car moving. Or they cry/scream. So we listen to our toddler whine for over an hour and the baby cry for about 20 minutes (he passed out early, thank God.) We still haven't eaten.

Once we were out of the city, we grabbed some Panera drive thru because Praise Jesus, the children fell the eff to sleep and alleluia, there was a drive thru that wasn't fast food. But I tell you something, Panera is some really sub-par food, isn't it? Like, where's the flavor? Tasted like gas station food... But I was so hungry, my give-a-eff meter wasn't even operating.

Yes son, you were on one of those planes you're pointing at and you did NOT behave

Finally, we get to the house we rented. My folks were supposed to be there, pre-stocking it with food and diapers for our arrival. It was the kids bedtime when we arrived, Henry was hungry, and hubs and I were ready to drink a bottle of wine each. Except... There was nobody there. The house was dark. Hubs called my stepdad and I called my mom, like HELLO??? WHERE ARE YOU? WE'VE BEEN TRAVELING FOR 12 HOURS WITH BABIES AND WE WANT TO DIE PLEASE TELL ME YOU'RE HERE TO SAVE US! They weren't. Turns out there was a medical emergency with the mother of the groom and they didn't make it to the house to have it ready for us. I wanted to burst into tears, slam my head into a wall and drown myself in the lake the home was on all at the same time. We had two hungry boys with no way to feed them, a low supply of diapers, and it was cold AF in Maine. Awesome.

We broke in found the key to the house, got some bottles washed for Otto and fed Henry a supper of crackers. My stepdad showed up with the pack n play for Otto so we were able to get them to bed. Then we drank wine, started off into space at the lake, and twitched at how horrible and long that day had been.

If we thought that was bad, we should have just waited for the trip home. Fast forward to leaving day:

Henry developed diarrhea. Otto had questionable stools. Both boys were going through about 6 times the number of diapers they normally do. So I packed our diaper bags with plenty of wipes and diapers. We load up. Get driving on the small rural Maine roads and the kids fall asleep. Hubs and I had a pleasant conversation on the dysfunction of my family. We had four and a half hours to make the 2.5 hour trip, so we thought about stopping for lunch to let Henry play somewhere. Once we got onto I-95 (all my east coasters know the misery of this interstate) we came to a dead stop. An electronic sign said there was a wreck at mile 36. We were at mile 42. Dead. Stopped. The kids felt the car stop moving and promptly started screaming.

Uh-oh, I was naughty and screamed!

We were stopped on that freeway for an hour and a half. With screaming babies. The. Entire. Time.

Meanwhile, we're watching the GPS update our arrival time in Boston. It's getting closer and closer to our takeoff time. I look at hubs and ask, "Are we on the last flight to Dallas?" "Yup." he replies.


Finally the traffic gets moving again. I tell hubs to drive like a Texan so we can make this flight. If you don't know what that means/you've never been to Texas, it means to go about 25mph over posted speeds and tailgate the hell out of a$$holes who think the left lane is for driving and not passing. Oh, I can hear you judging! "You drove like that with kids in the car?!" Sure did. A) we're pros at this by now and B) you tell me what the eff we were supposed to do with two kids, no diapers and diarrhea and no cribs if we got stuck in Boston?! Judge on judgers. But that was a hell I wasn't going to make become a reality.

We made it to Boston JUST in time. We hauled a$$ to our gate. We got the babies changed! I picked up some food for us to eat on the flight! Everything was on time! "Phew!" we thought the worst is behind us. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA NOPE.

It was about an hour or so into the flight. I'm holding Otto, trying to coo him to sleep. Hubs is entertaining Henry, who has his own seat now that he's two. All of a sudden, hubs looks at me and says, "oh sh*t, he just threw up!" "What?!" I ask. I had just gotten Otto to pass out. I look over and there is vomit EVERYWHERE. And it's real vomit too - not baby vomit. Real, adult-level spew. Everywhere. He had turned to the window to puke. It dripped down the wall and got on other people's things too.


A flight attendant brought us some paper towels and cleaner. The woman behind us was so kind and helped us clean things up. She said she had a 4 year old who did the same thing, but did it when they were landing so it couldn't get cleaned up for a half hour. That would have been a real treat!

I may have screamed, but I didn't puke like big brother!

The remainder of the flight was spent riding out horrible turbulence, catching a two year old's on-and-off vomit in a plastic bag and changing diarrhea diapers. That is, when we could get out of our seats, because they kept having everyone sit down due to the turbulence. I'll tell you what though, that flight attendant was a saint. She kept giving us new vomit bags for Henry, and brought me wine and hubs beer. But she didn't just serve it to me - she put a lid on it with a straw so that it wouldn't spill with the turbulence. She was a mom who understood what we were dealing with and said, "Here. You need this. It's on the house."

Finally we landed in Dallas to an insanely crowded airport. I guess huge storms had rolled through (thus the turbulence) and most flights were on a significant delay. It was 10pm. I think our flight attendant must have signaled to our captain like look bro, you gotta land this flight because I have two parents who are about 36 seconds from losing their sh*t in aisle 5 and I'm running out of alcohol to pacify them with!

So, you know. It *could* have been worse. We could have been stuck circling Dallas for hours or we could have been re-routed to another city. I would have definitely lost it then! But those pro's at Southwest Airlines are effing champs. I remember they kept my hubs' flight on time when we had a hurricane and I was on the brink of insanity after having two kids by myself for a week. They rose to the challenge and landed that plane in a hurricane to get hubs home to help me and they rose to the challenge and landed that plane during a hail storm to get two half-insane parents home with their sick kid. Cheers to you and your excellent staff, Southwest.

That, dear friends, is what it's like traveling with two kids two and under. Lots of cries. Lots of poop. Lots of vomit. A few tantrums and a screaming baby or two. After we got back to our home, hubs and I looked at each other and said, "NEVER AGAIN OMG THAT WAS THE WORST EVER." But hey, my sister was a beautiful bride!