Fangirl Friday :: Aeropress

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A couple years ago, my friend Evelyn who writes over at Smallish reviewed a nifty little coffee contraption called an Aeropress.  At the time, I was intrigued, but also dealing with a brand-new baby and a 16-month old toddler.  I wan’t prepared to commit to anything more complicated than “pop a cup in the Keurig, press brew”.  As time went on, and I was using a SoloFill cup with my Keurig instead of buying k-cups, I remembered her post, and revisited the idea.  I added the Aeropress to my Christmas wish-list, just on a whim; I couldn’t really justify buying myself a new coffee “toy” when I already had a perfectly functioning coffee maker!  As it turns out, that was a fantastic decision!  My fabulous in-laws bought it for me for Christmas, and I can honestly say that I haven’t used my Keurig since our Christmas company left a couple days after Christmas.  This thing is amazing.

The coffee that the AeroPress produces is not only better than what my Keurig makes, but it’s even better (and quicker!) than French Press coffee.  And, even more wonderfully, it makes espresso!  I’ve been having so much fun crafting different drinks.  So far I’ve made mochas, vanilla lattes, and when it was still in season, I made some mean eggnog lattes.

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To make espresso (or coffee), you add a scoop of ground espresso/coffee, fill with hot water up to the second line, stir for ten seconds, and then press the plunger through to extract the coffee.  If you’re wanting traditional coffee, you then add a bit of water (so I suppose it’s more an “Americano”).  It’s as quick (possibly faster) than what I was doing before with my Keurig, since I had to “brew” 2-3 cups with the SoloFill to get the right amount of coffee at a decent strength.  Clean-up is crazy simple too: just remove the bottom, pop the spent coffee and paper filter into the garbage, and rinse the bottom and plunger under warm water.

So, there you have it.  I’m obsessed with my AeroPress.  It’s quick, delicious, and super versatile for such a small piece of equipment!

Note: the AeroPress people have never heard of me. I just really like their product.  The link to the AeroPress on Amazon is an affiliate link.

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Decisions, Decisions (Or, which oils I’m using)

When I was first introduced to essential oils, it was through a friend who sells DoTerra.  I tried those, tried what I could buy at my local health foods store, and then decided to sign up with Young Living.  So, how’d I make the decision?

First, I noticed right away that the oils I tried from my local store didn’t give me the same results as the DoTerra samples I’d tried.  My skin felt a little irritated, and I didn’t have the same relief I’d had from the DoTerra oils.  (This was with peppermint and lavender.)  Now, I can’t say that “any oils you’d find at a local store will be inferior” — I obviously haven’t tried them all, nor am I that knowledgable!  I just know that what was available to me, I didn’t like as much as what I’d previously tried.

I then proceeded to (over)research what seemed to be my two best options for essential oils.  Some DoTerra reps will tell you that their oils are superior and Young Living has/does X, Y, & Z wrong.  Some Young Living reps will tell you that “no, no, Young Living has the superior oils, and DoTerra does A, B, & C wrong!”.  Here’s what I settled on, after much looking around the interwebz: they both have a great, high quality product.  There are differences between the companies, but quality-wise, they’re comparable.  And as far as the he-said-she-said mud-slinging?  There’s not going to be any clear way to know what’s truth and what’s not. I was driving myself crazy trying to decide what to choose! 

There were two factors that ultimately lead me to choose to sign up with Young Living.  One was that I was uncomfortable with some of DoTerra’s marketing practices.  I won’t go into details; I’m really hoping to avoid engaging in the bickering between companies.  It was just a factor in my choosing between the companies.

What absolutely sealed the deal though was the enrollment kit I was able to get through Young Living; the value was just phenomenal.  Since we don’t have a ton of extra cash floating around these days, I was concerned with getting the most “bang for my buck”, as it were.  Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit has their “Everyday Oils” collection (with ten 5mL bottles of oils), a diffuser, as well as a 5mL bottle of Citrus Fresh, 10 assorted sample packets to share with friends/family, and several other items.  When you buy a starter kit, you’re also signing up to be a wholesale member, which gives you 24% off retail prices.  The price of the Premium Starter Kit was $150.  For comparison, the retail price of just the Everyday Oils collection is $163.16.  The diffuser that comes with the kit retails for $98.  Having a diffuser was really important to me, so this kit was an amazing value.

So, those were my thoughts and reasons for choosing to sign up with Young Living.  If you’re interested in purchasing Young Living Essential Oils, or in purchasing a starter kit & signing up as a wholesale customer, click here!  Or, if you have questions for me, let me know in the comments below!

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You guys, I might be a hippie.

Okay, so “hippie” is probably drastic. But I’m discovering that I’m much more into “crunchy” type things than most people who knew me before I was say, 25, would have ever guessed. (Seriously, there were people who laughed when I told them I was going to use cloth diapers!)

I’ve been slowly transitioning toward making things at home rather than buying processed food items. (Though I do still buy them when I’m strapped for time; one learns quickly to be flexible when there are two small boys involved!) Tortillas, burger buns, beans, chicken stock… I’ve discovered I much prefer what I can make at home to what I’d buy in a store.

My latest thing though? I fought it. I really did. I mean, Josh is currently in school to become a PA. Poster boy for “conventional medicine”, basically. And then I went and got hooked on essential oils. Talk about crunchy.

The first oils I tried were for my headaches. People who know me, know that I have headaches more days than not. I’ve dealt with them since I was a child. Sometimes migraines, sometimes not. I’ve long since become basically immune to ibuprofen and acetaminophen. A friend sent me some samples of oils, and to be honest, I tried them with a “this isn’t going to work, but I’ll try anything once” attitude.  I had relief within 10 minutes!

I’ve since started using them for a lot of things, and have been really pleased with the results. I’ve even got Mr. “Conventional Medicine” using peppermint oil instead of his old stand-by, Pepto-Bismol. Win!

I’m thinking of writing some posts on what I’ve been doing with essential oils; anyone interested in hearing about it?

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Practicing yoga while diffusing oils… yep. Crunchy.

Hypothetically speaking….

What do you do when you wake up in a bad mood, snipe at your husband all morning, and then top it off with an argument as he’s leaving for the rest of the day?

You bake an apolo-pie.

Then you wonder if he’ll think it’s funny that you decided to call it an apolo-pie, or if he’ll still be angry enough when he comes home to reject your warm, flaky, golden peace offering.

Debate how funny apolo-pies can be.

And then you go with it, greet him at the door with “I’m really sorry, I was in such a foul mood and I don’t even know what got into me. Also I baked you an apolopie.”

… It’s never too late to apolo-pies.

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In which Bodhi shows how terrible a protector he is.

Bodhi and I had a close encounter with a frog last night… IN THE KITCHEN, you guys! I opened the sliding glass door to let him out, and instead of going out, he jumped backward and got all stressed out and curious. I looked over, and there was a large-ish toad which had hopped into the doorway. Now, I have relaxed A LOT about critters since moving to Texas. But a toad in my kitchen is crossing a line.

I shrieked exclaimed “oh sweet Jesus!”, which is apparently not as unusual for me as I thought, because Josh did not feel compelled to leave the office to investigate the reason for my outburst. After a moment of panic, and being nervous about it coming further into the house, I encouraged Bodhi to “get it”. I really just wanted him to chase it away but I’m glad he didn’t, because afterward I realized if he’d managed to catch the thing, my night could have gotten a lot worse, very quickly. Realizing that my husband didn’t seem to be coming to save me, I decided to just try shutting the door, and prayed that it would hop back out toward the night instead of into my bright kitchen. It did in fact choose to return to its habitat rather than explore my home, for which I was incredibly grateful! And my “big bad dog” is such a darn pansy that he wouldn’t go outside for another ten minutes. Thanks, Bodhi. You make me feel so safe.

(Disclaimer:: it’s possible that Bodhi would be a fine protector if he felt I were truly in danger. I guess he doesn’t deem a huge toad in the kitchen to be a legit threat. We clearly need to have a talk.)

Finding the Calm

I have been horribly lax about getting out of the house on my own lately.  Not for lack of Josh encouraging me to go, but between busy schedules and not feeling well and feeling like I should stay home and spend time with the family and/or clean… I just haven’t done it.  The effects of this haven’t been evident all-at-once, but are more of a slow-creeping issue.  It’s like when you’re watching the airplane safety video before a flight, and they say in the event of an emergency, to put on your own mask first before helping your child or anyone else.  Sure, you can put off putting on your own mask, and you may be able to help, but if you wait too long, you’re going to do some damage to yourself, and be no good to anyone. I can put off taking time for myself, but after a bit I find myself not being the kind of wife/mom/person I want to be.  For me, this often manifests as a shortened “fuse” and a growing sense of being overwhelmed.  Which is funny, because I get so overwhelmed that I feel like I can’t leave, but in reality, if I just left, I’d feel a whole lot better.  Rational Jillian knows this very well.  Emotional basket-case Jillian? She doesn’t listen to Rational Jillian often enough.

Because I’ve been having a hard time getting out of the house, I’ve been focusing on at least finding some moments of peace in each day.  And I quite like how it’s going.  For one, I try (I’ve been failing at this lately due to some awful headache issues) to wake up at 5 each morning to read my Bible while I have my coffee.  It’s nice and quiet, and I still have time to get some chores done before the boys get up for the day.  I find that I feel a lot more centered when I’m able to have that quiet time.

Another routine I’ve just recently begun is tea time during the boys’ morning snack time.  They didn’t use to have a morning snack, but I realized that they were getting super cranky each morning at about 10, so I gave it a try.  Lo and behold, Liam and Brendan (much like their mother) get very cranky when they’re hungry.  Having that short time where they’re a bit more chilled out and eating their snack opened up a perfect window for me to grab a little bit of peace.  It’s not long, and honestly, it’s not always actually peaceful… but it’s a little routine that I’ve become pretty attached to.  And, thanks to Pinterest (I can’t remember which of my friends I re-pinned it from, but I am so grateful!) I have a lovely and relatively quick drink to make during that time.  It’s called a London Fog Tea Latte.  And it’s delicious.

You can find the recipe for it if you click the link.  It’s basically Earl Grey tea, a little bit of lavender, steamed milk, sugar, and vanilla extract.  I cut the sugar down to two teaspoons and find it to be just right.  Because my kettle broke, I just heat the water for the tea in a pan on the stove.  It actually works out perfectly because while the tea is steeping, I put the milk into the hot pan and set it back onto the off, but still warm burner.  In the time it takes for the tea to be ready, the milk is the perfect temperature.  While I can’t say for certain that the robot tea infuser improves the taste… it definitely makes it a little more fun!

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I’m probably overthinking this.

“When you forgive someone, you stop feeling angry at them.”  

This one sentence, from an entirely unexpected source, stopped my brain in its tracks this morning.  It’s how Liam’s “Endless Alphabet” game defined the word forgive.  (As an only-slightly-related aside, the app is fantastic. Educational and super cute. Keeps Liam’s attention for long periods of time. As in, I can get a shower without anything being destroyed.)

I’ve been struggling lately with knowing for sure whether I’ve actually forgiven, or if I’m working on forgiving, or if I’m holding on to grudges and thereby being unforgiving.  Where is that line?  There is of course, a very obvious kind unforgiveness.  But what of the random flashes of anger that crop up long after a deeply-felt wrong?  Or the lingering occasional sadness that hurts can bring?  Where is the line between having (and processing) feelings, and being unforgiving?

So when I was walking past Liam and hear the iPad chirp “When you forgive someone, you stop feeling angry at them”, it gave me pause.  And I have to say that at first I was thinking I didn’t agree.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m not faulting a toddler’s game for its definition of the word.  I think that for a two-year-old, that’s a fine and understandable way to explain it.  But for me, that definition gave me a thought to latch on to, and it gave me a little insight on why I’ve been struggling with the concept of forgiveness.

I think where it begins, for me, is being able to separate “anger” from “hurt”.  And if I can make that distinction, then I have a better benchmark for how I’m doing with my forgiveness.

Forgiveness isn’t always just “not feeling angry”.  I think that it sometimes needs to go beyond what we are “feeling”.  It can be that we don’t let our feelings determine our actions.  It can mean that I will continue to treat you with love and respect even though I feel hurt. It is choosing to move past and let go of things, even if a wrong hasn’t been (or can’t be) righted, or perhaps it hasn’t even been acknowledged.

As someone who can tend to be… too hard on myself, I’ve come to this realization:  just because I still feel sad, or hurt, doesn’t mean that I’m holding on to unforgiveness.  It means that I’m human.  And, *gasp*, I have feelings. That sometimes get hurt.  And that’s okay.  It’s what I choose to do with those feelings that makes the difference.

Disclaimer: “This morning” was a few mornings ago now.  I’ve been wrestling with this post, and actually managed to change my own mind in the process.  So, hooray for self-therapy and clarity via blogging.  Who knew a toddler’s game could spark so much thought?