Summer Fave: Batiste Dry Shampoo

   

I have a love-hate relationship with dry shampoos. I typically only wash my hair about three times a week, because it seems to be healthier the less I wash it and because color typically fades quickly in my hair. So, dry shampoo can be a lifesaver on that second day between washes.

If you’ve never tried a dry shampoo, they are designed to be sprayed at the roots and worked through to refresh your hair and soak up some of the oils in it. Remember the old trick with brushing some baby powder through your hair when it’s greasy? Dry shampoos are pretty much the same concept, but with extremely finely milled powder in an aerosol can. 

However, most of the dry shampoos I have tried have had a major downside. Either I don’t like the scent (Citrus scents that smell “fake” to me make me nauseous), or they leave my scalp feeling cakey with powder.

And then there’s the price. A can of dry shampoo gets used up remarkably quickly, and I just can’t justify the $18-$30 price tag on some of them for 10-12 uses.

Enter the reason for this post: Batiste Dry Shampoo. I got a travel size of this spray in the cherry scent in my Pop Sugar Must-Have Box last month, and I fell in love. The scent is great, and I have found it will even cover up the cigarette smell my hair sucks up like a sponge anytime I am around someone smoking. It absorbs some of the oils in my hair while adding volume, and I don’t feel like my scalp is caked with powder. In fact, this magical can of stuff doesn’t feel like I have put powder in my hair at all. 

Now, I’ve been tricked by the products in my Pop Sugar Must-Have Box before, by using and falling in love with products I then look for online, only to decide I can’t afford to keep them in my life.

So, I Googled Batiste Dry Shampoo expecting to see a $20+ price tag. Instead, I found it sells for $5.99 at Target. I then found it on the shelf at my local store in several scents. Cherry is still my fave, but I am also loving the coconut scent I picked up – perfect for summer.

Batiste Dry Shampoo is a new must-have for me. If you don’t live near a Target, you can also find it at Ulta or Amazon, though the prices I saw were higher online.

 

Vegetarian Recipe: Roasted Veggie Enchiladas

Grilled Veggie Enchiladas Recipe

One of the best things about community is how we care for each other in times of need. The tradition of taking a meal to a family during times of illness or grief is one I believe is definitely worth keeping. It’s a great help and comfort to the family, and a way for you and your family to share something personal.

This week, I’m taking a meal to a dear friend who is recovering from surgery. I have some “go-tos” for these occasions. But this time, there’s an added layer of complexity — this mom of three is a vegetarian, and most of my meals for these occasions center around meat. The ladies coordinating the meals for this family are using a great Web site — takethemameal.com — that allows you to sign up for a particular day and see what others are planning to bring the family. It’s great because then the family doesn’t have to eat three or four different versions of the same dish, and it seems to make coordinating really easy. I recommend giving it a try!

veggie enchiladas

I arrived at the idea that I would make a vegetarian dish with a Mexican twist — roasted veggie enchiladas. I listed specific veggies in the recipe below, but you can take some help from your supermarket’s produce section and buy a package of veggies already cut up if you prefer. My hometown Kroger had a package of diced butternut squash, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and red onion that worked perfectly. Anything you want will work here — change up the veggies to suit your family’s tastes, use up garden abundance or go with what is in season. You’ll see here that I roasted the mushrooms and tomatoes separately from the other veggies because someone eating them doesn’t like mushrooms. I just left them out of a few.

enchiladas with roasted veggies

You could roast the vegetables in advance, or make the casserole up in advance and bake on the day you need it. If you’re taking the meal to someone, consider adding a green salad, a fruit salad, or seasoned black beans on the side.

recipe for veggie enchiladas

Save any leftover roasted veggies you have. They’ll be great in an omelet or stirred into pasta with some olive oil and parmesan.

Vegetarian Recipe: Roasted Veggie Enchiladas

Yield: Serves 5

Vegetarian Recipe: Roasted Veggie Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 6 white mushrooms
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (10-oz.) cans enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
  • 3 scallions
  • 10 corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roast the vegetables:
  3. Slice mushrooms, and cut zucchini, squash, onion and tomato into medium dice.
  4. Spread veggies in a 9 x13 baking dish.
  5. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Roast veggies for 30-45 minutes until tender.
  7. Assemble the enchiladas:
  8. Put 1/4 to 1/3 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  9. Slice the scallions.
  10. Dip each tortilla in enchilada sauce.
  11. Put 1-2 tablespoons of roasted vegetables down the center of the tortillas.
  12. Sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of shredded cheese and a pinch of scallions.
  13. Roll the tortillas and place seam side-down in baking dish.
  14. Finish the casserole by pouring remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas in the dish and topping with the remaining shredded cheese.
  15. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
http://leighcaldwell.com/food/vegetarian-recipe-roasted-veggie-enchiladas/

Visiting Washington, D.C. With Kids: Top Tips

Washington D.C. Summer Vacation

When I started posting Washington D.C. vacation pictures to my Instagram, I immediately started hearing from friends asking for the best places to visit. Washington, D.C., is obviously a popular place to take children on a summer vacation.

I had visited our nation’s capital on several occasions before, but never with kids. So, when my best friend and I decided to take our daughters on a joint vacation this summer, that is the city we chose. Here are a few of our best tips if you’re planning a trip to Washington, D.C. with your kids:

Put on your walking shoes.

Bring your best walking shoes on a trip to Washington, D.C. with kids. In fact, bring more than one pair. Those monuments that look like they are right next to each other on your maps app are blocks and blocks apart. City kids who are used to walking everywhere will have no trouble with this. Suburban kids who drive from place to place will be surprised. I would estimate we walked at least three to five miles each day, and when we weren’t walking, we were standing — on the Metro, in security lines at the U.S. Capitol, etc. The walking is a good thing — don’t get me wrong — but be sure everyone in your family has the right shoes for it. While flip flops are the shoe of choice for our girls (and us!) most of the summer, they aren’t the right footwear for a day of exploring museums and seeing the sights in D.C.

Stay hydrated.

We didn’t pay enough attention to this on our first day, and we all collapsed when we returned to the hotel room that night. It’s summer. It’s hot. And humid. Really, really humid. Stop and take frequent water breaks. We carried water bottles with us and refilled them at water fountains when we could. (If you’re concerned your kids — or you — won’t like the taste of water from fountains, carry some of the drops or powders made to flavor water with you and turn that fountain water into lemonade or something.)

Carry an umbrella, even if it’s not going to rain.

Afternoon showers are not uncommon, so it’s good to have an umbrella. It wouldn’t be fun to get soaked to the skin when you are a 20 or 30-minute Metro ride from dry clothes. But beyond that, the difference in temperature between sun and shade was startling throughout our trip. Having umbrellas with you allows you to create your own shade when you need to beat the heat.

Don’t try to do it all.

You cannot see everything while you are in Washington, D.C. You will get “monument fatigue,” and your kids really want some time in the hotel pool. We asked our girls to do some research online before the trip and make a list of the Top 3 things they most wanted to see. We made their lists our priority. We planned 2-3 things to see in a day. If there were other things to see on the way from one to another, we would stop by.

Save this vacation for older kids.

Only you know your kids and what they enjoy most, but we couldn’t help feeling like we had chosen the right time to take our girls. Our youngest traveler is 8 and has just finished second grade — she’s a good reader now and could enjoy museum exhibits by herself. She will remember the trip well, even if she never makes it back to Washington, D.C., and she was old enough and mature enough to be interested in touring the U.S. Capitol and handling the 45-minute wait in the security line there to get in. We two moms agreed that we wouldn’t have wanted to take children younger than 8 on vacation in D.C.

I’ll be writing more posts on the specifics of our trip in the coming days. Have you taken children to Washington, D.C. for vacation? What tips do you have to share?

Staying on track: My Erin Condren Life Planner

While I am a bit of a gadget girl, keeping my calendar in a digital format has just never worked for me. Perhaps it is my love for books in general — I was an early Kindle adopter but at the end of the day still prefer to hold a book in my hands — but I just like to see my life laid out for me on paper.

That said, I am in love with Erin Condren Life Planners. I’ve tried many systems through the years — everything from cheapie drugstore daybooks to fancy, customizable binders, and the Erin Condren Life Planner just … gets me.

2015 marks my fourth year of using one.

Now, before you go click over there and see the $50 price tag and think, “No way!” Please know that when I first looked at them, I saw the $50 price tag and thought, “No way!” But then, I looked again.

Here are a few reasons this planner is perfect for me, and might be for you:

  • Sturdy. This planner has a very thick spiral coil, and the laminated cover is of good quality. I carry this book EVERYWHERE, EVERY DAY, and it holds up throughout the whole year.
  • Movable ruler. I LOVE the moveable ruler bookmark that you can use to mark your place in the planner.
  • Monthly and weekly spreads. I use a monthly calendar and the weekly/daily spreads for different things. It’s great to not have to choose one or the other in these planners.
  • Daily set-up. I like the way days are divided into “Morning,” “Day,” and “Evening” rather than by the hour. That is the way I tend to think of my day, so writing things in these blocks is compatible with the way my brain works.
  • Cute. Yep. They’re cute. They have fun designs and colors, and inspiring quotes, and you can personalize your cover. Practicality aside, I’m still a girl who likes cute stuff.

The way I justify my $50 is that I buy my Erin Condren Life Planner every year for myself for my birthday, which happens to fall in late November. You could also make it a Christmas gift to yourself.

One downside: It can take awhile for shipping, especially at peak times of the year, to get your personalized life planner. You can order year-round, though. And, Erin Condren has just come out with a “quick ship” option where you can get the planner with a non-personalized cover, and then get your personalized cover later. I think this is a great idea! The company also comes out with new covers and options in the middle of the year, so you can get a planner with extra months in it.

One thing I am going to do differently next year: I spend every December carrying TWO life planners around. Next year, I will order my 2016 Erin Condren Life Planner so that it includes December 2015, and transfer that info, retiring my 2015 book early. I think that will make a little more sense, than the two-book method.

I think these also make GREAT gifts, and there’s a pretty nifty teacher planner, too, if you’re looking for something for a sister or dear friend. I highly recommend them!

Disclosure: The link to Erin Condren’s site I’ve included in this post is a referral link. If you click on it and buy something, I get a credit toward my next order. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, I promise. In fact, if you sign up as a customer, you’ll get a referral link of your own.

7 Things for a New Year

Free-happy-new-year-2015-clipart

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
— T.S. Eliot

It’s a New Year, the time to think about what lies ahead. I’m not making New Year’s Resolutions, per se, this year, but I did want to make a short list of what I will just call “things” – goals, thoughts, things  — big and small, that I want to do in 2015. So, here’s my list of 7 Things for 2015:

1. Take a vacation. As much of a homebody as I can be, travel is part of who I am. I love it, and I transmitted that travel bug to my daughter at an early age. With a new job last year, I did not take a vacation. In fact, I have not taken a single “day off.” I made three quickie trips to Florida to see my family, and on each of them, I did not take off work — I just worked remotely from there. I need a break this year.

2. Learn to like quinoa. I’ve tried it in a number of different recipes, and I just don’t like the texture. I’m vowing to learn to like it this year.

3. Renew my dedication to regular church attendance. I had some health problems in the middle of the year that kept me from church, at the same time I was starting a job that requires me to do at least some work on Sundays. I’ve allowed those things to become obstacles, and I need to get through them.

4. Purge. Even though I have not lived in this house all that long (less than three years), it is one of my longest stints at any address. In fact, this is my 26th address in my 42 years on this Earth. I move. A lot. And that generally means I purge regularly and keep down on the accumulation of stuff that comes from not having to pack your things in boxes all that often. But I’ve been here long enough to be accumulating clutter. Time to clean out the closets and the basement.

5. Start cooking breakfast again. I used to do this almost every day, and it was a good time for my daughter and I to sit down and bond before the day started. But with a new job and a new school this past fall, we got out of the habit of sitting down together to breakfast and it has become a grab and go affair. I’m looking for things I can make ahead to get back into this habit. (I’m pinning some ideas to my Breakfast Pinterest board. Have any to share?)

6. Blog. Yep. What you’re reading right now is one of my 2015 projects. Blogging used to be a big part of my life. I got away from it. Tryin’ to be a comeback kid.

7. Say no, a little. Yes, I did just tell you that “saying yes” was my New Year’s Resolution last year, and I kept it the whole year through. I intend to continue. But, it’s time to start saying no to a few things, too, and ensuring I have a little more time for me.

There you have it, my 7 “things” for the New Year. Did you make resolutions? What kinds of things do you want to accomplish this year?