Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus.

Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


"Is There a Santa Claus?" reprinted from the September 21, 1897, number of The New York Sun.
(text emphasized by me) :)

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Current Skin Care Lineup

I am no beauty guru, but I'm at a place where I'm pretty happy with my skin and my skincare routine, so I thought I'd share!

Just for reference, I think my skin is a little on the oily side (at least the T-zone). I'm always battling a little bit of acne/hormonal acne, and I've been seeking other ways to tackle it than the continual drying/moisturizing cycle of over-the-counter acne products.

As a part of my semi-simple, semi-healthy personal campaign, I've also been after finding a set of products that really works for me, versus the constant trial and error (i.e. pitching in the garbage or letting collect dust in my bathroom) of prettily-packaged sale items at Target. :) Here is where I've gotten to today and some short product reviews.

My main exciting find:

In the first 2 weeks or so that I had it, I felt like it started shrinking red spots on my face immensely. I've been using it morning and evening nearly every day for over a month, and I love it so much, I've been recommending it to everyone! I generally shy away from bar soap, but this isn't like regular soap at all, and because it's in bar form, it seems like it will last forever (making it seem like a deal compared to some other beauty products!)
Beautycounter is on a mission to give women safe ingredients in skin and makeup products, which shockingly isn't something that you can be guaranteed is in most of your cosmetics. Read more about their mission here. And shop through these links with my friend, Janis! I know she's happy to answer any questions you might have.

My other, every-night product:

These products only use water to work, which makes them both simple and healthy! I take off my makeup with the makeup removal cloths (duh), eliminating the need for any other makeup remover (for me, at least!) Then, I wipe my face down with the body cloth - it seems like it's giving me some slight exfoliation, and just makes my face feel clean. Some people say it's helped their acne by really cleaning and removing oil and bacteria from their face. I can at least say that I think my face has been much more under control (ie no crazy unexpected breakouts) since I've started my new routine.

You don't *need* to use a facial cleanser after the Norwex cloths, but I do. I generally follow with the charcoal bar. The body cloth is great in the morning, though, to feel like you've got a fresh face for makeup without necessarily using more cleansers.

My previous cleanser that I still rotate in:

I really like this cleanser - it's smooth and gentle, but feels very effective without drying out my skin. It's got little beads in it that I assume are part of the "3-in-1" formula, and somehow make me feel like the product is working :) I still use it a couple of times a week, and I have a bottle in the shower. I also love my Mary Kay consultant!

My other secret facial weapons are a face oil serum and essential oils which I will post about next!

Do you have a facial skin care routine that works or do you feel like you're stuck in a rut?!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Best Toy Ever!

Gotta teach the DIY young :)

We got this Mighty Digger at Menards for $20ish!

PS...renovations are starting on the house!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Semi-Natural, Semi-Homemade, and Product Reviews

When I started this blog (and really, part of the reason I've ever wanted to blog) was to share product reviews: of things I've made (I love to DIY almost anything!) and things I've bought, and my experiences with both. I've just wanted to pass along some notes and thoughts about ... well, pretty much anything and everything.

Lately, I've wanted to kind of simplify parts of my life (don't we all!) and be more conscientious of things I use/ingest/expose myself to. I know I'll never be a totally crunchy hippie, but I think it doesn't hurt to be mindful and somewhat healthy! :) I also only want to surround myself with things that make me happy (Marie Kondo's "sparking joy"!) whether it be in my nighttime routine, house cleaning, eating, or clothes-wearing! 

And...I pretty much rely on product reviews I read online, so I want to add to the conversation, especially if it can help someone else out! I always want to be honest with my thoughts, and I'll mostly be sharing my enthusiasm for products I find fantastic!!

I'm adding some labels to the blog: semi-natural, semi-homemade, semi-simple, semi-healthy, etc. (Wasn't there a cooking show in the early 2000s about this? Semi-Homemade? I don't really remember the show, but I love the concept!) I won't ever be a paleo-vegan-marathon runner (but I love you if you are!), but I will be a somewhat-healthy, somewhat-natural happy person. Hence the new blog labels/categories. :)

Anyway, these are my quick thoughts about reviewing products: store-bought and semi-homemade. Honest and hopefully fun and helpful!

AndroidVid Pro: Video Editor App

This is the app I use for editing videos on my phone and it's great! I generally do just basic stuff: trimming video, converting the size (for text and email) and cropping, and it's always been easy and straight forward to use. I think it's the best video editing app I've found! I like it better than things I use on my computer!

Check it out if you're looking for something for Android!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Our New House!

Here's a quick shot of our new digs!

I'm excited to really get in and have fun with cleaning up the landscape (and make Roger Cook proud), and generally just move in and make ourselves at home.

As you can see, Porcupine is already enjoying the sprinkler!

Now, when I start posting about the random projects and life going on around here, you'll have a little context :)

I hope you're enjoying the start to your summer as much as a kid in a sprinkler!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Whew! We've moved!

The last few months of our life have been hectic, to say the least!

I'll just touch on a few highlights to get us up to speed, so hopefully I can get back to some regular posting.

Porcupine got the flu for his 2nd birthday, so we had to cancel his party.

Thanks to Grandma, we still had great balloons!

But we did end up selling our house and moving! Hooray!

By the end, we had 3 different offers on our house, one after the other, but the first 2 fell through for various reasons on the buyers' parts. It was frustrating, but after one offer would fall through, we'd quickly get another. So it seemed like it took a long time to sell our house, but it was really the ups and downs that were getting to us. Really, it was just about 5 months from when we put it on the market to when we signed the papers and moved out, and that included Christmas and New Year's! Once the final offer came in, we were reluctant to get overjoyed (or to get our moving butts in gear) until we really knew it would stick...but then it felt like all of a sudden we had to get packed up and moved! But we were happy to do it. We loved our house, but we were ready to move on.

Which brings us to the next hiccup in our moving...the weekend we were moving things out, as in 2 days before we went to close on the house, Brian smashed is foot in between a trailer tongue and our truck bumper! It was terrible. I had to do the final moving out without him - thank goodness for great family and friends! And the worst part was that it kept getting worse. I won't go into lots of details, but although it wasn't broken, he ended up needing surgery, which happened 2 weeks after the injury. Because the surgery happened so long after the initial incident, he ended up needing what amounted to another mini-surgery...and well, it still isn't healed up all the way. So since the first week of March, he's been pretty much off his feet. The last couple of weeks have been somewhat back to normal, but our lives have been in a weird holding pattern. We're still kind of living out of boxes and needless to say, haven't started remodeling the new house, etc.

Locking up hour old house by myself
And 2 days after we moved, I had to put my awesome dog, Shadow, to sleep. It was sad, but he'd been really sick for the week or two before we moved. Seeing him suffering was no fun, but I'm sad he's not here with us for this new part of our adventure in life.

Good boy, Shadow.
I also got a cool tablet, in part, to help make posting to the blog easier...but it's been "misplaced" in what I can only assume was a Porcupine-related episode. :) Hopefully, I'll find it soon!

Thanks to my awesome friend, Janis, for the cool Porcupine shirt!!!!
Things seem to be getting back to normal and I hope it continues that way! I have so many things I'd love to post and chat with you about!

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