Men and Their Skin

men skin

Have you ever looked at your husbands skin and wondered why in the world do they have better skin than me? After all we’re the ones that spend tons of money on skin care products and beauty supplies!

Well, there is a method to the madness and I’m here to share their secret with you. Although there are many reasons why we women are prone to blemishes, the biggest reason we deal with these unfriendly friends is because of a little thing called hormones! As we all know, women are full of hormones and all different kinds of hormones at that. One of the biggest culprits are the hormones that come along with ‘Aunt Flow’ for her monthly visit. When ‘Aunt Flow’ visits you’ll notice a few friends will pop up around your chin and upper lip. Naturally men have the upper hand because they aren’t having to deal with ‘Aunt Flow’ and the hormones that come with her, along with the fact that many of our men are shaving and shaving is a great way to exfoliate the skin. When exfoliating the skin you’re breaking down the dead skin build up, which helps with cell turn over.

Regardless of Mens shaving advantage and lack of hormones they too need a skin care regimen to nourish and moisturize the skin. This week my husband Brentton, received his first skin care products, I came home from school with a bag of goodies. My husband has oily skin so I brought him home a gel cleanser, a daily nutrient toner and an oil control complex moisturizer. Since we are talking men here, you MUST make the regimen short a sweet, only three products. I remind him every night which one goes first and hope eventually he’ll catch on. The first night that he tried out his new skin care regimen I asked him how his skin felt, he replied “It felt AMAZING!”

I laughed and thought to myself “my job here us done!” I encourage everyone to pick something up for their husband’s next time you’re in target’s beauty section or at Sephora or Ulta. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive products just as long as they aren’t using a bar of soap!

– Ashley
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About Ashley

I have always been intrigued by skin care in general. I enjoy learning about product ingredients and what they do and how they work . I remember giving my dad and mom facials made out of sugar, oatmeal, honey and pretty much anything else you could find in the pantry. When it comes to make up I think I may have a slight obsession, I thoroughly enjoy the art of make up. I spend my time learning different techniques, the new trends, and color theory.  This is why when my husband and I moved to Atlanta from California this past summer I decided it was time to go to school for Esthetics. I am currently a student at The Elaine Sterling Institute of Esthetics and am loving every moment of it. I am also a mother to a 1 year old little girl named Makenna Grace. She is  my absolute inspiration.

A Baby Means [fill in the blank] – your response required!

What does a baby mean to you?

Before you were a mom, what did you think of children?

Now that you’re a mom, how did your perspective change?

I’m curious to know your answers because there’s no good way to anticipate how a baby changes your life.  I will share the following with you (written when Micah was 4 months old:

I have a secret to share: my baby ruined my life.

He’s given me a greater appreciation for my parents and all they did to sacrifice for me. Now I know how they felt when I laughed or cried, was happy or mad, apathetic or really tried hard, or disappointed them or made them proud.  I know how much care they had when considering my every step like if I was crawling well, what shoes I should wear, school I should go to, or if I was marrying a man who loved me just as much as they do.  Praise God, he does!!  And he loves our son just as much!!

Our son has made me appreciate my birth mother more, because she sacrificed her body for me and then gave me to a better home so I could be loved by my parents.

He’s even made me appreciate time more, because it’s a commodity.  And sleep.  And being able to do things with two hands.

He’s made me more considerate, more intentional, more thoughtful, more giving, less selfish, more motivated, more creative, more silly, more merry, have better perspective, more balanced, and less lazy… and even more thankful for my husband whom I already adored.

Finally, he has made me aware of Christ’s relationship and love for me as a ‘Father’.  I am humbled.  I have the utmost respect for Abraham who, hearing God’s instruction, in faith went to sacrifice his son.  Now I know why he was considered one of the fathers of faith.  Wow.  I can sense how God’s heart breaks when we cry out as his children, or even reject him.  I am floored.

As a result, I try to manage my life better.  I do the best I can for him, for my husband and for me.  I try to treat people the best I can with honesty and without pretense.  I freely admit my faults.  I listen better.

I try to keep a cleaner home and keep up with laundry and dishes – these are activities I used to resent.  Instead, I view them as a way to care for my family now.  I am still really bad about ironing clothes but working on it.

I try to control better our intake of nourishment.  I exercise more regularly because I want to be able to run with him as he grows older.

I’m far more interested in quality versus quantity now.  I have an even better sense of why age and experience bring wisdom.

I realize even more why it’s important to be a life-long learner.  I count my pennies more carefully because I want him to be able to go to college.

I’m a softened Type-A, slowly cutting out senseless activities to make room for more meaningful ones.  I start each day with an agenda, but if he needs me, I stop.  I’m okay with that.  I realize everything can wait.

I’ve slowed down to appreciate things and find new happiness in old familiar things, because he’s just discovering them.  For example, our dogs barking outside is endlessly entertaining to him so we linger outside so we can watch them (sorry neighbors).  Another example: the grocery store has isles and isles of interesting colors and shapes and makes him squeal, so we look at packaging together and I tell him what things are.  Finally, a breeze outside feels interesting in our hair, so we stop to feel the wind in our hair longer.

My list of lessons can go on for days, but these are a top few I thought I’d share with you.

This is just a short excerpt of how my son ruined my life.  And I praise God for it all day long.

See meetup.com/active-mamas for more information

Love, Robyn

Read more about Robyn by clicking on the About Robyn page

Monkey Mind

monkey
As the Active Mama’s yoga instructor, one of my jobs is to help people meditate. Usually I lead a short meditation at the end of the yoga class, after the muscles have worked and stretched. Under these circumstances, meditation is relatively easy; all you have to do is close your eyes and let your body melt into the floor. The body instinctively relaxes and allows the mind to do likewise.

As an every day practice, however, it’s a little more challenging.  Most of us suffer from some form of “monkey mind,” where thoughts jump from place to place, unable to stay anywhere and therefore unable to produce any real, well, thought. This is one of the hallmarks of anxiety, and the faster the monkey jumps, the more anxious one feels. Meditation, or practicing mindfulness, teaches people to clear their minds of all thoughts and thus induce a state of relaxation. Release all thoughts, the theory goes, and you exist exclusively in the here and now.

Easier said than done.

There are many, many techniques to tame the monkey. The point of all of these techniques is to occupy the mind on something abstract and allow it to settle. No matter how I feel at the beginning of these exercises, I almost always feel calmer, more relaxed, and more in control by the end. Here is a sample:

  • Take ten slow, deep breaths and count backwards with exhale. If you have a little more time, start at 30.
  • Picture a shape or color with you “mind’s eye.” try to hold that image, or watch as it changes form.
  • Think of a word or phrase (mantra) either silently or out loud. It can either have meaning to you or be non-word syllable.  Repeat the word or phrase for the duration.
  • Observe your thoughts as they occur to you, but try to withdraw any feeling or judgement from those thoughts.

Whichever technique you choose, start with 5 minutes in a quiet, dark place. Set a timer so you won’t have to interrupt yourself to check your clock. Just relax and give it a try. Don’t worry if you have trouble; it takes practice. After a few days, try 6 minutes, then slowly build up to 20 or 30. If you want something more organized, you can try the group meditation every Wednesday at 7pm at the Georgia Meditation Center on Tilly Mill Rd.

Now that you’re a pro at meditating, it’s time to introduce a new challenge: meditating with your kids. More on that another time.

For information about meditation’s history, cultural relevance, etc., see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation.

____________________

Judith is our Active Mama’s Munchie Maven and Yoga Maven. That means she teaches Active Mama’s Cooking Basics Chef classes, and is also our instructor for Active Mama’s Mommy Yoga with Judith.

Judith is refreshingly laid back, exceptional at what she does, and is the able mother of 3 beautiful children.

Judith comes well-accredited. She earned her Masters of Public Health and her passion is helping people find ways to make their lives healthier.

If you have questions for Judith she can be messaged through http://www.meetup.com/Active-Mamas

Mashed Potatoes for Your Soul

potatoes

We all know how important it is to feed our bodies and eat healthy. Food is the fuel that keeps us going. Our bodies need it to function and remain strong, and it is so important to eat the right kind of foods. But did you know that your spirit needs food too?

“So what do you feed your spirit?”, you might ask. Well, you feed it spiritual food of course! Now you can feed your spirit anything you want really, but just as we have to choose between junk foods or healthy foods for our bodies we also have to choose between junk foods and healthy foods for our spirit. Where can we find the healthiest spiritual foods? The best “recipe book” is the Bible, God’s holy word.

In Matthew 4:1-4 the Bible speaks of Jesus’s experience with hunger:
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Jesus says here that man needs spiritual food from the word of God in order to truly live.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible describes as some healthy spiritual foods:

Galations 5:22-23
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law.”

You know how people say “you are what you eat”. Are you the fruits of the spirit? Take a moment to reflect on each one and pray that God may show you where you can improve in your life. Maybe you already know what you need to improve on. Pray for God’s help in reminding you to practice these fruits and ask for His help in establishing these qualities daily in your life.

So why are these spiritual foods so important anyways? What does food do for our bodies? It nourishes it and determines what kind of output we give. When we eat heavy, saturated foods we feel slow and weak. But when we eat wholesome, nutritious foods we are able to conquer tasks to the best of our abilities, such as taking care of and playing with our children. Once again, spiritual food has the same input to output effect. And furthermore, our output is then inherited by our children.

Matthew 7:17-20
“17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

What kind of fruit are you producing? Your children will certainly pick it up as their spiritual food. What kind of fruit will they produce? Are you nourishing your body with the proper spiritual food to keep you spiritually strong and ready to take on any temptations the devil may bring at you?

I want to challenge you this week. Try to remember the fruits of the spirit, there are 9.  Can you name them all from memory? Practice 🙂 and while you are memorizing them, try to remember to act upon them too. When we memorize God’s word we can use it as spiritual food in times of need and also share it as nourishment to others.

Psalm 119:11
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Blessings and love,

Rebekah

 

————–
I love to smile, laugh, and be optimistic. I also love organizing and being creative. As a child, I grew up in the church with an amazing children’s pastor who taught me many kids’ ministry skills such as puppetry, crafts, music, and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. I have a love for learning and a love for teaching; I taught preschool for 3 years for children ranging in ages from 1-4 years old.

I attended a private Christian college, Emmanuel College, and was a part of the Honors program. I am always looking to learn something new and I look forward to learning from others. I also hope to share some of my experiences and positive attributes with all of the babies and Active Mamas!

– Rebekah

5 Tips On Saving Your Skin From The Winter Blues

dry skin

Now that winter is upon us our skin is changing and most likely it’s not for the better!

When Winter comes, the temperature drops and our skin becomes dry, flakey, and for some, itchy. If our Skin could talk and tell us what it needs, it would undoubtedly scream “moisture, moisture, moisture!”

The cold winter air strips our bodies of its moisture content and there is no moisture in the air that we can steal from. So our skin becomes dehydrated and dry. There are four different skin types: oily, combination, normal, and sensitive. Although dry skin can affect all skin types, sensitive and combination skin types are the ones who should be the most careful because they have a greater chance of their skin becoming irritated.

So if you think your skin is experiencing “The Winter Blue’s” thankfully there are a few things that you can do to help your skin stay moisturized throughout the winter, giving you a beautiful glow all year round. Here are 5 tips to keeping your skin gorgeous and healthy through the cold winter.

1. Cleanse
Cleansing your skin twice daily; once in the morning and once at night will keep your skin free from the dirt and debris that collects on your face throughout your day. By doing this your skins natural oils will stay balanced.

2. Exfoliate
Exfoliating your skin is an excellent way of ‘scrubbing’ off the dead/dry skin that builds up on your face or body. By doing this once a week, the dead skin cells will come off and the skin that was underneath will look brand new. I personally had to exfoliate this past week, because I was noticing dry flakey patches of skin right between my eyebrows. I cleansed and then exfoliated and it made a huge difference in my skins appearance.

Shorten the time you spend in the shower or tub.

This is a big one that I have a hard time following. As a mom to a 1 year old I treasure my time in the bath. I love it. I use it as my time to relax. But the truth is the hot water is very harsh on your skin, it robs your skin of its moisture. So keeping your shower time or tub time limited will help to keep your skin moisturized.

3. MOISTURIZE!
It is very important to moisturize your face with a moisturizer at night and in the morning. Pick a moisturizer that has ingredients like Vitamin A and E – those are ‘Active Ingredients’. A tip when picking a moisturizer out, whether its for your face of body, is to pick one that is free of Alcohol and fragrances and try to find one that is hypoallergenic.

4. Water, Water, Water!
Staying hydrated is crucial in keeping your skin protected form the winter. In my opinion this is the most important. Try to challenge yourself by drinking nine 8 oz. glasses of water a day. In doing this you will see a huge improvement in skins texture, tone, and feel. I’ll leave you with an easy math problem and I say easy because I’m not a math person whatsoever but even I can solve this problem! The math problem will give you the amount of water you personally should be drinking on a daily basis.

Take your weight and divide it by two, then divide your answer by eight. Your answer will be the number of glasses your should be drinking a day.

– Ashley
________________

About Ashley

I have always been intrigued by skin care in general. I enjoy learning about product ingredients and what they do and how they work . I remember giving my dad and mom facials made out of sugar, oatmeal, honey and pretty much anything else you could find in the pantry. When it comes to make up I think I may have a slight obsession, I thoroughly enjoy the art of make up. I spend my time learning different techniques, the new trends, and color theory.  This is why when my husband and I moved to Atlanta from California this past summer I decided it was time to go to school for Esthetics. I am currently a student at The Elaine Sterling Institute of Esthetics and am loving every moment of it. I am also a mother to a 1 year old little girl named Makenna Grace. She is  my absolute inspiration.

A Gift From God

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Our children are truly a gift from God, each uniquely and perfectly created for a purpose. God knew our sons and daughters before they were even conceived, and before God created our children He already had a plan for their lives! The Bible says in Psalm 139:13-16,

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God has also chosen a mother for each of His children, and you are the one He has appointed! Sometimes it can seem like a large task to take on or sometimes we may doubt if we are adequate enough for the job, but God has created you specifically for your sons and daughters. Just as He has created our children for a purpose, so has He also created you for one! God has asked you to be the caretaker of His children, and He has equipped you with the skills to do so. Ephesians 2:10 says,

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

You and your family are created for a purpose. You are loved and wonderful. It is God who made us and God who keeps us. Remember to thank Him for all of the blessings He has brought to your life and remember to keep doing His good works.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving; let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

Blessings and love,

Rebekah

————–
I love to smile, laugh, and be optimistic. I also love organizing and being creative. As a child, I grew up in the church with an amazing children’s pastor who taught me many kids’ ministry skills such as puppetry, crafts, music, and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. I have a love for learning and a love for teaching; I taught preschool for 3 years for children ranging in ages from 1-4 years old.

I attended a private Christian college, Emmanuel College, and was a part of the Honors program. I am always looking to learn something new and I look forward to learning from others. I also hope to share some of my experiences and positive attributes with all of the babies and Active Mamas!

– Rebekah

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Out All Night

homemade-yogurt

Today I’m making yogurt. You see, yesterday I went to Costco to stock up on staples. Among other things, I brought home three 1/2 gallon cartons of organic 1% milk. This morning I went looking for the milk for my cereal, but couldn’t find it in the fridge. Anywhere. Panic set in as I realized that either I’d conjured the entire trip to Costco, or I’d left the milk out. Sure enough, after a few minutes searching I found all three cartons on the dining room table. Apparently, I wasn’t paying attention when I’d put away  the food and mistaken the cardboard box for one of the more shelf-stable items. Talk about distracted, sheesh.

I’ve heard that organic milk keeps longer than non-organic, so in a desperate attempt to salvage the milk I poured some into a cup. Smelled ok. Took a tentative sip. Tasted ok. But still. Out all night. Hope the milk had a good time, maybe picked up some new friends? That’s what I was afraid of. Then again, at least someone got a night out.

I decided to make yogurt because it keeps a lot longer than milk, and the process requires boiling, which would take care of any little “friends.” My family eats a lot of yogurt; my husband consumes it like coffee, first thing in the morning and in addition to breakfast. The kids like it as long as you add a little honey. Homemade yogurt is surprisingly easy and can save you a lot of money, especially if it’s a staple like it is for us. It has a long and fascinating Wikipedia page, which describes its history, variations and health benefits far better than I can:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogurt#History.

Before continuing, I should mention that I make plain yogurt that is very tart and distinctly yogurt-flavored. You can always add fruit, honey, granola, or other things for flavoring later, but if you don’t like the basic taste of plain yogurt, homemade yogurt is not for you. Start with about half a gallon of milk. Boil it until you see steam and small bubbles on the surface, then take it off the heat and let the temperature come down to 110F-115F. This usually takes about an hour to hour and a half. A meat thermometer works great for monitoring this, and though I don’t have one, I assume a candy thermometer would work too.

Once it reaches the right temperature, add a starter. It doesn’t really matter how much, but I recommend at least a couple of tablespoons. If you have a favorite yogurt brand, use that as your starter and the entire batch will take on its flavor. I like the taste of Stoneyfield best, but we’ve used generics as well. You can also use a bit from your previous batch as a starter, or even a packet or two of Kids Culturelle (disclaimer: my husband, who likes just about everything, doesn’t  like the Culturelle starter but I think it’s fine in a pinch). Then you just have to keep the temperature steady at 110F-115F for several hours. This is really easy if you have a yogurt maker but doable if you don’t. We recently discovered a “bread proof” setting on our oven which keeps the temp to 100F, not ideal but it works. I let the yogurt go for about 20 hours to allow maximum culture growth. Be sure to refrigerate when it’s done.

Here are some other things you can do with borderline (not spoiled) milk:
Puddings: Rice, bread, tapioca, or custard
Ricotta cheese: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-diy-rico-23326
Pancakes

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Judith is our Active Mama’s Munchie Maven and Yoga Maven. That means she teaches Active Mama’s Cooking Basics Chef classes, and is also our instructor for Active Mama’s Mommy Yoga with Judith.

Judith is refreshingly laid back, exceptional at what she does, and is the able mother of 3 beautiful children.

Judith comes well-accredited. She earned her Masters of Public Health and her passion is helping people find ways to make their lives healthier.

If you have questions for Judith she can be messaged through http://www.meetup.com/Active-Mamas