38 Acts of Kindness for my 38th Birthday

Traditionally, on my birthday, I get a fabulous breakfast in bed followed by a day of fun and a break from responsibilities.  It’s always a wonderful day!  This year, though, I was inspired by another blogger to make my birthday a day that has more of an impact.  I decided to spend my 38th birthday doing 38 Random Meticulously Planned Acts of Kindness (MPAK).  I am completely exhausted, but it was one of the most amazing days!  Here is how I spent today:

MPAK #1 – Gave the kids the day off of school and chocolate cake for breakfast!  (Yes, it is a heart shaped, super-duper, chocolate cake!)  Toby took the day off of work, too, so he could join us!  Awesome man!

Then we headed down the road to drop some chocolate covered bananas off at the neighbors (MPAK #2).  We tried to be sneaky and left the treats on the doorstep.  But, they figured it out :-)

MPAK #3 – I mailed a letter to two special people who I haven’t talked to in a while, and left a thank you note and some chocolate in the mailbox for our mail lady (MPAK #4).

Next was off to the library, where I donated some books (#5), gave the librarians a thank you note and some goodies (#6), and left a few dollars for the next patron with overdue fees (#7).

At the grocery store, we had a great time helping people load their groceries into their cars (#8), and returning carts (#9).  People looked skeptically at us when we asked if we could help, but I can understand that.  Unfortunately, most of the time when someone you don’t know approaches you it’s for something they want, not for something they want to give to you.

I had written up a bunch of notes with inspirational sayings on them to pass out and put on cars. (#10)

Once we headed inside the store, we stocked up on a few things that we needed for the day: balloons, flowers, tea, pet food, litter, and a gift card for groceries, which we gave to a sweet lady in the line next to us (MPAK #11).  She looked stunned and I don’t think she was quite sure what to do with the thing. :-)

Then, it was on to the laundromat, where we taped some coins on the machine for the next unsuspecting clothes washer (#12).

We veered from my detailed and ordered list then, to make a stop at the local hospital.  A dozen balloons in the back of a Prius makes for a bit of a driving hazard. So, we thought it might be a good idea to drop them off first.

We had hoped to give the balloons to the kids in the children’s ward, but we were turned away.  They were concerned about the latex in the balloons.  So, I headed up to the Labor and Delivery ward (where I use to work) and they were happy to give them to the mamas there (MPAK #13).

While we were there, we also dropped of some flowers and tea for the nurses (#14).  It was a wonderful treat for me, too, because I got to visit was some friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time!  Ok, really, this whole day was a wonderful treat for me.  How can you not feel happiness seeing all the smiles created by kindness?

Then we snuck into a few of the public bathrooms and taped inspirational notes in the stalls and on the mirrors (#15)

From the hospital, we headed over to a couple of friend’s houses to put love notes and a little chocolate on their doorsteps (#16).  Mmmmmm!  Chocolate!

By the time this was done, we were getting a bit hungry and headed to lunch.  While we were at the restaurant, Leif delivered some hand-made mint chocolate lip balm to a mama and her little boy, who were sitting at a table near us.  She was very thankful. (#17)  I also bought a white-chocolate brownie dessert and had it delivered to another table anonymously  (#18).  Because, again, who doesn’t need a little chocolate?  Then, along with a tip, we left a lottery ticket for our waitress. (#19)

From here, it was over to the park where the kids could play, and drop coins in the sand and all around for kids to find (#20).

Leif buried a few in the sand box and then dug them up himself, then ran over screaming about the silver treasure he’d found :-)

We ended up seeing a friend of Kaia’s at the park and she joined us in spreading the coins.  She told me that I had to add that as a random act of kindness because she was having so much fun and it made her happy to join in the celebration. So, bam, #21!

We also saw the mama and little boy from the restaurant to whom we gave the lip balm.  She came over and said hello, let us know that she really liked it, and thanked us again.  By the time we were leaving the park, school was letting out and the park was filling up.  I wish I could have set up a secret camera to watch the kids find their booty.

Before we left the park parking lot, Kaia and I ran across the street and left a bouquet of flowers on a random doorstep (#22).  As we were getting in the car, we saw a woman and a girl come out of the house and pick up the flowers.  They both had huge smiles on their faces.  It was very sweet to see.

From the park, we headed to the Y where we handed out locally made soap to all the sweaty people (#23).  They all loved it.  One sweet man told me he couldn’t take the soap (this one was a little brown soap).  He said, “I’m fat and you’re trying to give me chocolate?”  He happily took it when I reassured him that it was only soap.  Each soap was individually packaged with the information about the local soap business on the baggie. Free advertising for the soap makers (MPAK #24).  Again, we met up with friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time and got to do a little catching up!

Then, it was off to the women’s shelter to bring some goody bags with toiletries. (#25)

Leif was getting pretty tired from all the running around decided to take a snooze in the car.

So, Toby dropped Kaia and I off at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, while he and Leif hung out in the car and relaxed.  We brought them some dog food and litter (#26), then played with the kitties and a sweet dog named Ruby (#27).  We also changed the littler boxes in the cat room (#28).  Before leaving, I bought a raffle ticket, in Toby’s name, for a car! (#29)  I have to admit to you that if he wins the car, we will selfishly be keeping it :-)

Our next stop was downtown Asheville.  I put on a sign that said “It’s my birthday!  FREE HUGS!” and headed out into the streets.  We gave flowers to strangers (#30).  When we ran out of flowers, we gave inspirational notes (#31). When we ran out of notes, we gave chocolate (#32).  I was stopped a few times by friendly souls looking for hugs (#33).  One couple was super excited to see what we were doing, stopped to talk and gave us huge hugs and lots of smiles. (Yes, I have put crazy blur glasses on them because I forgot to ask if it was ok to use their picture on my blog.  But, you can see their great smiles.)

One woman that I gave a flower to asked for a hug and then began to cry on my shoulder.  I held on as long as she needed and then gave her another flower.  I wish I could have given more.

We taped quarters to phone booths (#34), and put quarters in parking meters that were about to run out (#35).

I got a couple of movie tickets at the Fine Arts Theater and then left them for the next person with a little inspirational note. (#36)  We stopped by the fire station and brought a thank you note and chocolate covered bananas for the firemen (they were very thankful) (#37)

As we were leaving the parking deck, I paid for the next person leaving the deck (#38).

That’s 38!  But, we weren’t done yet.  I still had a box of books in the back of my car that was destined for a friend’s house.  So, off we went to bring her some homeschooling books that she has really been wanting but wasn’t able to purchase.   (#39!!)  She was super happy and said she felt like she was on a TV show with someone delivering a big prize to her doorstep.  We visited for a while and then, after a wonderfully long day, headed home… for more cake!

It was an amazing day for all of us.  Kaia is already planning the 9 deeds she wants to do on her birthday (Yay for role modeling)!  But in the end, I know I’ve received more than anyone else today, and I think I will be high on all the hugs and smiles for many days to come.

Oh, by the way, Random Act of Kindness Week is Feb 13th – 17th.  So, if you are feeling inspired, I challenge you to go for it!  During RAOK week, or any time!!!  And please leave me a note letting me know!!

Love to you all!

Maria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 8

Day 8 of the fast… a little over half way through!  Physically, I’m having no issues.  It’s not hard to do.  But man, I am craving food!  Especially carbs!  I have to stop myself from grabbing a snack from Kaia’s bowl every time she is snacking on something!  (Those bland animal crackers just look so good!!)

Toby has been experimenting with some new recipes… healthy things, and I’m really excited to try them!  It’s actually nice to have cooking going on while I’m fasting.  It makes the home feel warm and cozy.  I want to try the food, but I have to remind myself to be patient and that I will get to try it sooner or later.

6 more days…

Cleanse, one final note

OK, so I measured my body fat before I did the cleanse and after and I lost 4.2% body fat!! And 3.25 inches from my abdomen, 1.5 in. from my hips and .5 in from each arm! WOW! What a great side benefit to a cleanse! I lost ~8 lbs. but that will go up a little as the food gets into my system again.

Now I am off for a weekend of camping and fun! (I’ll have to watch the ‘smores intake though:-)

Lavender – The Ultimate Plant!

I love all my herbs, but I have to admit that lavender is probably my all time favorite. I first ‘met’ lavender when I was studying midwifery in Ireland 9 years ago. I was staying in the nurses quarters in a room about 5′ x 8′ and wanted something to liven up the room. So, I went to the corner store and got some Lavender Essential Oil (all the little stores had essential oil displays at the check out counter). It smelled nice, but I had never used it before. So, every evening I would light my infuser, put in a few drops of lavender, and relax into dreamland. Since then, I have learned so much more about lavender and it is rare that I ever go any where without it. The plant is in my garden, I use the flowers in so many herbal recipes, and I have a bottle of the essential oil in almost every room. So, what’s it good for? Everything! No, really!! It can be used for sore throats, gas, colic, restlessness, headaches, fever, acne, insomnia, healing sores and burns, antibacterial, massage, in food preparation, the list just goes on and on. Why do I mention lavender today? Well, I was cooking my first real meal off my fast, a delicious rice/bean/veggie stew and got what I thought was going to be a pretty bad steam burn across my hand and fingers. But, I grabbed my bottle of lavender essential oil, which I keep right over the stove, and rubbed some oil into my hand. Immediate relief! I can still see where the burn was, it’s a little red, but no blisters or swelling! It’s amazing! You should all get some! Especially if you have children in the house!

So, I’m back on regular foods. I’m having to really hold myself back and not eat everything in site, just for the taste! But, I feel great! I’ve noticed that the tendonitis in my wrists is gone! I don’t know yet about the allergies or asthma. We’ll see as time goes on. Mary asked me if I would do it again. Probably. Now that it is over, it’s easy to say that. But, really, I do feel good and doing this once a year for a spring cleanse would be a good way to get rid of the winter blahs and prepare my body for spring.

Cleanse Day 7 and after

Yesterday was great! I felt light and energetic and was in a pretty good mood! My toungue was also pink again, instead of coated with a white film which is a sign that you are expressing toxins. No major happenings… I guess I thought there would be like, some thing where I could say “Now, Now, I am cleansed!” But everything was fairly low-key. So, today I am drinking freshly squeezed OJ to get my digestive system ready to accept food again. I can’t wait!!

I went to my gym to get all my measurements and see if this cleanse does actually pull the toxins from fat and mucous and not just break down protein/muscle. Unfortunately, the machine that tells your body fat was broken, so I will report on that later…

Cleanse Day 6 – The Final Countdown

Que the Final Countdown music!

Today actually felt different. I didn’t have the intense desire to eat, and somehow, my body felt different. I had pretty good energy and felt great mentally. Maybe it’s just that I know I only have one day left of the cleanse. But, it felt pretty good.

I tested my limits, too. One of my herb teachers had a “Wild Edibles” workshop at her house today. A group of us walked around her garden and woods talking about and harvesting the wild edible herbs/foods. Then we made a beautiful wild salad with lots of flowers, a pesto with Nettles and Chickweed, a casserole with nettles (rice and goat cheese, too) and lots of other divine yummies!! I watched, helped, and smelled but didn’t eat any!! I did take some home in a tupperware to taste on Tuesday, along with all the recipes to make next week too :-)

K did pretty good today. She just fussed a little when I wasn’t eating breakfast with her. Hopefully things will be all back to normal soon!

Cleanse Day 5 and other stuff

I woke up to K starting her day off in a funk again! She cried through most of breakfast, which consisted of a little yogurt, cereal, egg, prune, and a bread stick. Then more cereal, rice milk and herb tea!! She must be going through a growth spurt!! But, I think her mood is a combination of things. One, I think the weaning thing is finally hitting her ’cause she has been asking for “boobie” lately. But, it looks as if my once plump breastfeeding boobs have started to shrivel up and die! So, even if I wanted to give her a boob, it would probably just frustrate her that there is no milk. At least they are not feeling so engorged anymore. But, also, I think my cleanse is effecting her. This morning, during her breakfast, she kept trying to get me to eat with her, “mommy eat cereal” “mommy drink sippy” and she would start crying all over again when I said no thanks. We’ve been eating our meals together for her whole life, so this must seem like a very major change. Hopefully things will get better soon. She did great the rest of the day.

And I’m doing fine. A little tired and hungry. But the urge to eat just to eat isn’t as strong today. I’m just tired of drinking my meals. But, I really want to make it to day 7. That is supposed to be how long it takes for your body to make a major dump of toxins. I thought I was being handed a double whammy this morning when I started my period, too!! (Which usually makes me a little cranky and physically tired.) But, I have done fine today. Plus, it seems only fitting that I start my period a little early. I am cleansing in every other way, when not mentrually too?

On the home front, I’ve decided to stop using my dryer and start hanging the clothes on a line. I figure it is one simple step to getting off the power grid. It was nice standing out in the sun and wind, putting the clothes on the line. We’ll see how it works in winter:-)

Cleanse Day 4

Woke up early again today, but just a little crampy. I went back to sleep easily, but K woke up crying about crackers. This is the second day in a row that she woke up early and famished! You’d think she was the one not eating solid foods. I mean, she was crying so hard she was doing that can’t-take-a-breath- thing :-( It was so sad. So, Toby and I both got up and fed her cereal, raisins, yogurt and two eggs!! She must be going through a growth spurt!!

Today has been just like the rest except that I started getting weak feeling after 4pm. I drank more of the lemon mix, but I desperately want to eat solids! I may just do this for 3 more days. I’m feeling fairly cleansed right now, anyway!! Really, I am!!! Besides, we have a big weekend bash coming up the weekend of the 22nd and I would like to be done before that… just so that I don’t have to do all this when I am away from home. So, if Sunday is my 7th and last day, I will have time to go through the “post cleanse” stuff before the weekend. That should be good enough, right?? OK, three more days! I’m over half way through then! Yup… three… more… days….

Cleanse Day 3

Feeling OK. I still really want to eat though. Carbs the most (bread, crackers…), followed by cheese or yogurt. It’s hard since K is eating all the time and I am so use to snacking with her. This morning I was up at 3 am with that diarrhea crap again (pun intended)! I was sitting there thinking, “ok, this has got to end! If I weren’t waking up so early with gurgling stomach cramps, this cleanse would be a breeze!” Then I started thinking about how I was going to be in the papers “31 year old mom dies of a massive heart attack due to ‘cleansing’ her body”. Then I realized it was 3am and I should go back to bed. Really, I think it would be much easier if the weather weren’t so lousy, and K weren’t a crank today, and my boobs weren’t still sore, blah, blah! But, I can do this. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warmer. And I stopped drinking that other tea I made, with the fennel and fenugreek, you know, the ones that stimulate milk production!! Yeah, good idea on that one, stupid!

Also, I was curious how many calories I am consuming with this cleanse and I calculated that the maple syrup and lemon add up to about 650 calories a day!! That just seems way too low to still be functioning! I am going to really have to watch and make sure I don’t lose too much weight too fast. I may have to up the amount of “mommy’s spicy drink” (as K calls it) that I consume each day.

Cleanse Day 2 – kinda graphic

Yesterday really wasn’t so bad, except that I was pretty tired. But, that might have been because I woke up at 5:30 with gas and diarrhea (mostly mucous). I know that’s disgusting, but it relates a lot to the conditions that I have. Allergies, asthma and deQuervain’s Tendonitis (from pregnancy) are all conditions related to inflammation and mucous in the body. So, in saying that the cayenne is working to pull the mucous out of my body… well, that’s good news! Otherwise, I’m not really hungry, but I still really want food for the taste and the habit of it. I like getting this perspective on what my food rituals are! Oh, and I realized that I had misscalculated my drink on day 1 and only had 48 oz of water instead of 64. So, todays drink was much more pleasant, actually yummy!

Cleanse Day 1

Things went smoothly today. I wasn’t ever starving and if I did get a little hungry, I would just drink my ‘lemonade’. The biggest hurdle was the desire to eat food even though I wasn’t hungry. Toby is being so sensitive and has tried to eat and cook away from me, but I still have K to feed and man those tortilla chips looked good. Just a little lick of the salt, please!!! And when she had some yogurt before going to bed… mmmmm, it smelled good. And those extra cereal pieces she left on the table this morning would have been so easy to snatch up and munch! I never realized how much of a habit it has become to just eat food when I see it, or when I’m bored, or when K has left overs… instead of just when I am hungry! I hope I can break this habit and keep it broken! The other hurdle that I thought was going to be pretty rough, was the fact that I put just a little bit too much cayenne in my lemonade mix and it was pretty rough getting it down. I’m not a spicy food person. But, I figured out that I could drink it with a straw and it seemed to bypass the ‘spicy’ receptors on my tounge. Problem solved.

Off to make more yummy lemonade for tomorrow!

Weekend in review

Well, while I was away, I journaled all of my thoughts and feelings with the intention on blogging them. But, I think I would end up losing all of my readers if I bored you with that. (Plus, when I was just typing this, I misstyped and wrote “…with the intentions of flogging them…”)

Anyway, in synopsis, Earthaven is a wonderful place with some great people who are trying to make a difference in the world by living off the grid and as sustainably as possible. They have created an intentional community, but it felt lonely to me. They get so many ‘tourists’ that I’m sure they get tired of catering to all the questions. Plus, everyone is working very hard at making the community function, that many just don’t have time to socialize. But, those who did were gracious and kind. The grounds there were bursting with herbs and wild greens. So, I didn’t have a problem with my pre-cleanse diet. Plus, the food that was cooked where I was staying was almost always something I could eat. I think the main thing I took away from the weekend was that I am ready to make that leap to selling our comfortable, typical american home and buying land to build a sustainable, off the grid place. I am tired of paying a mortgage that will end up costing us twice as much because of interest!

I missed K desperately while I was gone! Sometimes I just felt like crying it was so lonely without her at my side. But, I know if was good for her and Toby. He said that he really felt like they had some bonding time.

Well, I am off to make my cleansing lemonade for tomorrow…Day 1 of the cleanse!

Cleanse Prep Day 1

Ok, I’m not even fasting yet and I am starving! I keep walking in to the kitchen and looking at the bread and cheese and yogurt and thinking “just one little bite” :-) I love eating fruits and veggies, but my system is so use to more than that. This morning when I was fixing K’s breakfast, I kept wanting to toss pieces in my mouth. I’m so use to eating my food and part of her’s. It’s amazing how I have gotten into such a food routine! (With having a child and through my whole like, always munching) I’m surprised that I don’t actually have a more significant weight problem. Hmmm…

Off for the weekend, I’ll touch base soon. OH, and I may be able to pick up our bees on the way home from Earthaven!! Pictures coming soon…

Cleansing

OK, well it looks like the weaning is official. K woke up this morning and didn’t even mention nursing. My little girl is all grown up! So, I decided to start the cleanse tomorrow. I will try to post each day how things are going and what I am doing. I will be gone this weekend to Earthaven for a little time away, and won’t have a computer. But, I will post when I get back.

Why am I doing a cleanse? A bunch of reasons: all the daily pollutants I encounter that my liver has had to deal with processing over the years, feeling sluggish after being indoors all winter, desire to lose those last pregnancy pounds, decrease my allergies and asthma, break the cycle of overeating due to needing more calories while nursing (and really enjoying food), and I’m sure there are more reasons I am just not thinking of right now.

So, here is the schedule:

Preparation Days

  • for three days before beginning the cleanse, drop all spicy foods, cheese/dairy, fatty/greasy foods, all meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and salt. (Basially you are eating fresh fruits and veggies, raw salads, boiled/steamed veggies, and whole foods)
  • Drink at least 10 glasses of water/herb teas per day
  • Make a pact with yourself to see it through the cleanse
  • Confirm why you are doing it
    Cleansing Days

  • Begin every morning and end every day with a 10 oz cup of laxative tea. I am using Get Regular by Yogi Tea. It’s a good formula. Since you won’t have any fiber in your diet, this will help your bowels move the toxins out of your body.
  • Throughout the day drink 6-12 10oz cups of cleansing lemon/limeade. (If you are trying to take off a little weight, drink 6-8 cups.)
  • Lemon/Limeade Recipe (Here is the recipe per cup and per 6 cups or half gallon)
    Organic Lemon or Lime Juice – 2 Tbsps(/cup) 3/4 cup (for a half gallon)
    Grade B Organic Mapple Syrup – 2 Tbsps(/cup) 3/4 cup (for a half gallon)
    Cayenne – 1/10 tsp(/cup) 1/2 tsp (or a little more for a half gallon)
    Water – 10 oz or 1/2 gallon (or 6- 10oz cups)

Lemons and limes are very rich in minerals and vitamins. Maple Syrup is a balanced form of sugar and shouldn’t make your blood sugar bounce. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals and will help give you energy (grade B is richer in vitamins and minerals than the other forms). Cayenne helps pull out the mucous and toxin build up in the body. Water helps keep the toxins flowing out.

  • During the day I will also drink lots of water and herb teas (without any sweetener). I also plan to use the following cleansing formula: 1 tsp each of Flax Seed, Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Seed gently simmered for ~15 minutes in 2 cups of water. Take off heat and add 1 tsp of Spearmint.
  • Before bed, I will also take 60 drops of Milk Thistle Tincture to help my liver cleanse

I’m not sure yet how long I will do this. Maybe 7-10 days. We have a big anniversary party weekend coming up the 22-24th. So, I don’t want to be fasting then. But, I could be coming off of my fast. That way, I can join in on the eating, but only good, healthy foods. Also, each day of this whole process I will either take a nice fast walk, or go to the gym.

Breaking The Cleanse

  • Day 1 – Freshly squeezed organic Orange Juice all day! This helps prepare the digestive system to begin assimilating food
  • Day 2 – Breakfast – OJ, after that I will add freshly juiced veggies and maybe a gently veggie soup
  • Day 3 – Breakfast – OJ, then raw fruits and veggies and soups
  • Day 4 – Normal (healthy) meals

So, now, what to do with that bag of chocolate chips in the cabinet. I don’t want to be tempted during the cleanse. I’d better go eat them!!

Haven’t pooed in 12 days

I’ve got your attention now, eh?? No, really, I am doing an experiment with my hair called No ‘Poo. And I haven’t shampooed in 12 days. I have washed my hair, I just haven’t used shampoo. See, Toby hasn’t used shampoo in his hair in years and it looks great! It is thick and shiny and he doesn’t have all that shampoo/chemical build up. So, when I read a little more about it, I decided to give it a try. Now, when ever I take a shower, I use a little baking soda and apple cidar vinegar on the ends of my hair, and give myself a great scalp massage. I thought it was going to be an oily mess, but after a few days my hair has already started to adjust. My scalp isn’t over producing oil anymore and my hair has lots of body and wave and looks like it’s been styled. The only thing I don’t like is that it feels heavier. Maybe that will go away after the full adjustment period. We’ll see how it goes. The baking soda and vinegar are supposed to pull out all of the daily build-up of sweat/pollution/etc, but I really use to like sudsing up my hair and the smell of it after using a good fragrant shampoo. But, I also like not putting the sodium lauryl crap in my hair.

Ok, other happenings…
Today in the garden I planted some Cosmos, Sorrel, Fennel, Love-in-a-mist, Cilantro and Arugula (all seeds). I hope all this stuff that I am putting in so early grows well. I could wait a little longer, but I am so antsy to get in the garden that I am taking a risk with frosts and cold weather. I got a report back from the State Ag. Center about my soil and it has a pH of 6.8 and great nutrients and minerals. All it needs is a little more Nitrogen!! Yay!! (Good thing I put in the raised beds with new soil ’cause the soil on our land has a pH of 5.1!!)

So, I am hoping to take a weekend away. Meaning, for the first time since K was born, I hope to get some quality time by myself and leave Toby and K at home. I have put it off for this long since K is still nursing. I didn’t want to force her to wean. But, she is almost two, and I am desperate for some time independant of my little side-kick. I love her, but 24/7 365 days a year is a lot of time to spend with someone! So, what should I do?? Any ideas from my fellow bloggers? My first thought was to head just north of Asheville, and get a cabin at the hot springs up there…

Fasting– Another thing I am desperate for is a good fast/cleanse. I use to do a cleanse every spring. I would either juice for a week or do some form of a cleanse to clean my body out after ‘hibernating’ for the winter. It always felt great! But, with being pregnant and nursing, I didn’t want to fast and have all those toxins get in my breast milk. So, maybe, if K does wean with my weekend away, I will get a good cleanse going. Has anyone ever tried the Master Cleanser Fast? I think I am going to try this one. I like the juice fasts, but they always mess with my blood sugar. The Master Cleanser, is supposed to be different and so far I have only heard good things.