Not All Blenders Are Created Equal

Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot handle raisins in my baked goods. I don’t mind raisins on their own, but biting into a sweet treat and hitting a raisin gives me the heebie jeebies! It feels like you are biting into part of a worm body or a bug! Something about it is un-natural to me! I just can’t do it!

When I first attempted to make “clean” recipes I noticed that many of the recipes called for dates as the sweetening agent. “Great.” I thought. “A big giant raisin”.
Almost all of the recipes required you to blend the dates in a blender to make them into a paste or a date butter. The first time I did this the result was just as I had feared! As I was eating my freshly baked dessert I hit tiny chunks of dates! I instantly felt discouraged! “If this is what clean eating is going to be like, I don’t know if I can do it!”

A few days later I was shopping around Costco and I passed a demonstration for the Vitamix blender. I had my 3 year old son with me and the smart salesman asked me if he could make some ice cream for my son in his blender. Oh course my son looked happily at me and asked “please Mommy?!” As the man had the ice cream going in one blender, he was mesmerizing me with his demonstration in the other!
Do you know that he made up a smoothie and dropped an ENTIRE apple in it!! Core, seeds and all! Then he put a whole orange in there- with the peel still on! Within seconds he turned off the blender, poured me a glass and held it out to me. I was leary to take a sip from this drink that I knew had apple core, stem and seeds in it! I was pleasantly surprised as the drink was smooth, delicious and completely chunk free! How was this possible? As I was finishing my smoothie, the man handed my son an amazingly delicious looking cup of strawberry ice cream. This one simple blender blended things better than anything I had ever seen before; it even made ice cream and made soup (like hot- ready to eat- soup!)
This was it!!! This was the blender I needed to solve my chunky date problems!

I thanked the man for his demonstration and left the store. There was only one thing standing in the way of my purchasing the Vitamix on the spot that day- the price tag!

The blender was REALLY pricey! This was not something to buy on a whim! I needed to go home and think this through and decide if this machine was worth the golden price tag or not. After talking it over with my husband we decided that if we were really going to be serious about this “clean eating” thing, then we needed to have the proper tools to do it right! We went back to Costco the next day and purchased the blender! Even after our careful consideration, I was still a little nervous about the purchase. “Would we actually use it enough to make it worth it?” “Would this blender end up in the back of my cupboard in a few months once the novelty wore off?”

I cannot emphasize enough how AWESOME this blender has been! It’s over a year later and I still use my blender nearly every day! I make smoothies in the morning for breakfast, and blend down ingredients for all of my baked goods! The best part- it liquifies my dates when I throw them in! No more chunky baked goods! 🙂 It really is incredible what this little machine is capable of!

If you are in the market for a blender that “does it all”, check out these blenders:

This is the blender I have and I love it!

The Vitamix:
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You can purchase the vitamix here:
https://www.vitamix.ca/Shop/?cid=07-0083-04-01&coupon=07-0083-04-01

The Blendtec:
This blender has all of the bells and whistles that the vitamix has. I do not personally use this blender but many of my friends have this blender and they love it!

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You can purchase the Blendtec here:
http://www.blendtec.com

If you are looking to take your kitchen skills to the next level- you may want to try one of these blenders! You won’t regret it! 🙂

I would love to know what your favourite blender is! Leave your comments below! 🙂

XO, Pam
http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

How To Clean Your House In 15 Minutes

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Have you seen these little quotes posted all over Pinterest and Facebook?
It seems like the days of covering your couches with plastic and cooking dinner in an apron and pumps are long gone. Not only are clean houses no longer the social norm, they can seem impossible to achieve!

I would love to say that I spend my entire day playing in the yard with my kids and working on crafts together, not even thinking twice about the housework. I would love to say that we have so much fun that we don’t even see the mess and that the special memories made that day are all that really matter.
I would love for that to be our life- but that’s easier said than doneReal life balancing household responsibilities and family time is hard!

In fact, I actually find that my family; husband and children included, are the MOST stressed and UNhappy when our house is in disarray! My house is by no means clean all of the time! But, I wish it could be! When our house is organized and tidy and everything is in it’s proper place I find that the atmosphere in our home is much more peaceful and it is THEN that we actually have quality time together!

When my kid’s playroom is clean and organized my children will play for hours, yes I said HOURS without so much as a peep! It makes sense if you think about it! How fun is it to play with a tea set if you can only find one cup and no other pieces? How fun is it to play with a train set if most of the cars and track are missing? When all of the toys are in a box in it’s complete set- it is much more appealing to play with!

It’s not just the kids who enjoy a home that is mess free! Think about how it feels to walk into your home after an exhausting day only to trip on scattered shoes at the front door while trying to hopscotch your way around a mess of toys on the floor, only to plop down on your couch and get a transformer in the behind! Or, my personal pet peeve; waking up to a counter top and sink full of dirty dishes.

While I agree that it’s important to take time to enjoy your children and prioritize family together time, I think a little balance is in order! On most days, there really are enough hours in the day to do both! I know I just lost a few of you there! I’m not talking about having an immaculate house that is sparkling clean from top to bottom. But, I do think it’s possible to achieve a home that is tidy- MOST of the time! I also think that as important as it is to spend quality play time with your kids, it’s also important for your kids to see you taking care of the home! Even better, it’s important to include them in the household duties! After all, real adults have to take care of the things they have right?! And that’s an important lesson for kids too! 🙂

A few months ago I started a new system in our home and it has been a total game changer!
It’s the 15 minute blitz!

One way that I stay on top of keeping my house tidy is by practicing the 15 minute blitz EVERY night!

What is the 15 minute blitz you ask?

Every night after my kids are asleep, during the time I most want to sit down and relax with a book, or a show, or social media, instead I implement the 15 minute blitz!

I take 15 minutes and clean up/tidy my main floor as fast as I can! Once 15 minutes is up- I stop. Even if I didn’t do every single thing that there is to be done. I stop and call it a day. 15 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time but you will be SHOCKED at what you accomplish in that short time! It is so much easier to relax in a tidy room and it feels so good to wake up and start the day in a tidy house!

There are a few rules:

1. You must do this faithfully every night. If you don’t- you will get too far behind and your mess will become overwhelming.

2. You have to work straight for 15 minutes without stopping and without any distractions. This means no stopping to check phone messages or chat with your spouse. 🙂 During this 15 minutes you are in the zone! You need to make every minute count!

3. You have to work FAST! You can take your time with everything else all day long, but during this 15 minutes you need to bust it like your mother in law is around the corner and will be at your doorstep in 15 minutes! 😉

*TIP*- Start the blitz in your main living area- kitchen, living room dining room. Even if bedrooms or other parts of the house are a little messy, keeping the main living area tidy helps to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Why does this work? Sometimes you can look around at a mess and feel overwhelmed! You can feel like you don’t have time to get it all done which makes it tempting to push it off for another day! But we all know that this is the quickest way to build a mess mountain!

There will be so many nights when you don’t want to do it and you will try to convince yourself just to skip it! Don’t do it! Push through! You can do anything for 15 measly minutes!!

Try it for a week and see what you think!!
Do you have any tips for keeping your house clean? I would love to hear your tips! 🙂

Happy Cleaning!
XO, Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

The Day I Realized My Mother Isn’t Normal…

My mother has often told a story about life with her three sweet children. She would say, that when she was pregnant with my sister she drank out of a pink cup and she got a girl!
When she was pregnant with my brother she drank out of a blue cup, and she got a boy!
But when she was pregnant with me she drank out of a monkey cup… yes, I was “THAT child”. 🙂

It is true; from a very early age I’ve always been a little quirky and filled with a lot of energy! My overactive imagination was constantly keeping my mother on her toes! Thankfully she was up for the challenge! One such episode took place when I was 5 years old. Halloween was just around the corner and my teacher announced that the students could come to school on halloween dressed as anything they wanted! My little mind was swirling with ideas! I quickly settled on an idea that I thought would be THE COOLEST costume ever!
I would dress up as the colour purple!
Yep, you read that right.
Maybe my Mom should have focused more on what was IN that cup she was drinking from while pregnant with me! 😉 Kidding!!

Maybe not a “typical” halloween costume, but creative none the less. My Mom got to work sewing a glittery purple get-up and spraying my hair with temporary purple hair paint!

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That’s me in all my Purple Glory!

The love for creativity and crafting runs deep in my family! Actually when I was a baby my first word was either “glitter” or “glue gun”…I can’t remember. 😉

It took me a while to realize that my Mother wasn’t a “normal” Mom. The first few years of my life I thought that everyone had big magical birthday parties with beautiful homemade cakes! I thought that every Mom wallpapered their daughters Barbie house and filled it with homemade furniture and hand sewed Barbie clothes. I thought that every girl spent the weeks leading up to Christmas watching their mother hunched over the sewing machine custom making a special Christmas dress (and a GIANT hair bow to match) I thought that every child’s Mother built a treehouse in the backyard complete with real hanging curtains and carpet. I thought that every child had a stack of scrapbooks their Mother made to document the family vacations and special events. I thought that every girl’s Mother would hand make them a “Little House on the Prairie” costume in time for the school field trip to the Heritage Village. I thought that every child’s Mother would pull over if she saw someone had put a piece of furniture at the curb, throw it in the back of the van, and take it home to paint and “dazzle” it up!

Then…I started to notice that these types of things were not ‘normal”. My Mother had a flare for using her creative crafting skills to make everything extra special and meaningful! The crafting gene was passed on to both my sister and I. We love to cruise around Pinterest to look for special projects to create!

Pinterest can be tricky. People seem to either love it or hate it! While Pinterest is a crafty person’s “happy place”, I also know a lot of people who think that crafting is only reserved for people who have WAY too much time on their hands!

In fact, I was just chatting with a craft-loving friend of mine the other day. When I walked into her house she was sitting at the table with her children putting the finishing touches on some shark puppets she had just made with them. I was complimenting her on doing such a fun and creative activity with her kids, and she began to tell me how much she appreciated the compliment and how she’s been feeling like she needs to keep her craftiness on the DL these days! I asked her what she meant by that, and she explained how often times when she has posted a photo on facebook or someone has seen some of the crafts and projects she’s completed with her kids she is subjected to backhanded compliments and snide comments. She said people will often say things like

“Oh there you go again, making us “regular Moms” look bad”,
or
“Boy, you obviously have too much time on your hands”,
or
“I knew you made this because only YOU would go over the top like this!”

She said that she actually feels judged by other Moms for doing crafts and special projects! She doesn’t do it to show off or to show others up, but simply because she really ENJOYS each project! Well, she’s certainly getting no judgement from this Mama! I love crafting too! Aside from the pure enjoyment of it- did you know that it’s actually GOOD FOR YOU?! That’s right, it’s good for you in an “an apple a day…” kind of way! 🙂

#1- Crafting is good for the wallet! It is a way to achieve something unique and special in an affordable way! TIME IS MONEY! If you are willing and able to take a little extra TIME to make something as oppose to BUYING it, you can save a ton of money! I love doing big, special themed birthday parties for my kids! I’ve often heard the question “How much did you SPEND on that party?!”
That is the beauty of crafting! You can stretch every dollar so much further if you are able to make things instead of purchasing ready made kits from the party store. For example you can purchase these 5 pack pre-made tissue flower decorations from Michaels for $19.99

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or I made 10 of these for $3!

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You can make your own decorations to look the same as what you will find in a party store (or even nicer) and for much less money!

#2 Crafting is therapeutic. More and more research is being done to discover the mental and emotional benefits of tapping into your creative side. In an article recently published by CNN called “This is your brain on crafting”, Catherine Levisay a clinical neuropsychologist has said;

“There’s promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time, and that’s that creating — whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography (or) cake decorating — is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”

The article goes on to explain how crafting is now being used to treat those with anxiety, depression, anger management problems, and dementia. Crafting works as an anti depressant by causing the body to release Dopamine. Crafting and being creative actually MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER! It actually makes you HAPPIER! And all these years I just thought it was the fumes from the Elmers Glue…kidding! 🙂 The article explains it this way:

“The reward center in your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine when you do something pleasurable. Scientists believe dopamine was originally designed to make us repeat activities that would help the species survive, such as eating and having sex. Over time, we’ve evolved so that the brain can also release dopamine while we’re staining glass or decorating a cake.
Dopamine, in and of itself, is our natural anti-depressant,” Levisay says. “Any time we can find a nonmedicinal way to stimulate that reward center … the better off we’re going to be.”

You can read the entire article on the benefits of crafting at:
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/brain-crafting-benefits/

So tonight after you get home from work, or get the kids to sleep, why not change into your comfies, plug your glue gun in and start releasing some Dopamine! 🙂

I hope you have a wonderful, craft project filled week!

XO, Pam
http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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It’s Not The Colour That Counts!

When you are decorating your house or decorating for a party do you always know exactly what you are looking for? I find that I sometimes do, thanks to the inspirations of pinterest, but often I just have an idea of the general “look” I am trying to achieve and then I hunt for pieces that I think fit into that look. I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who is re-decorating her main living area. She was showing me a beautiful blue-ish pillow she had found that was the inspiration for the accent colour she planned to use in the space. She was talking about her frustrations in trying to find other items like frames, mirrors, clocks, etc that would match the blue in the pillow. The uniqueness of the shade of blue in the pillow made it stunning, but it also made it very difficult to match. She said to me, “You always seems to find the perfect things to match in your house. Where do you find everything?” My reply to her was to let her in to one of my favourite tips/tricks! The truth is I don’t always find things to match my decor! I PAINT EVERYTHING! I never shop based on colour! I always look at the shape and overall “look” of an item and if I love it, regardless of it’s colour, I buy it! This comes in especially handy for me because I love to shop thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales! If you spot a beautiful second hand piece, there are not going to be colour options. Have you ever been shopping and spotted something you love and thought “Oh I wish that came in such and such colour?” If you can master your spray painting skills, (which is actually quite easy) you can make anything look great in the colour of your choice!

Here are some examples of items I have loved, but weren’t in the colour I loved! I should use the word “colour” lightly…I almost always paint things white! Is white a colour?!

This clock was brown when I found it at Homesense. I loved the look of the clock but really needed white to match my decor. I taped off the face of the clock and spray painted it!
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I found this gorgeous frame at a garage sale! It was originally a mirror but the glass inside was shattered. The frame was originally a forest green, but as you can see I sprayed it gold. I am using this piece as part of the decor for my daughters gold and blue themed birthday party. After the party is finished I plan to spray it white and add a chalkboard in the middle. This frame cost me $5! FullSizeRender-27

This is another piece that will be used for my daughters birthday! My daughter LOVES glitter so when I saw this cute cake topper at Hobby Lobby for $1.99, I had to get it! As I mentioned before the colour theme for my daughters party is gold and blue. This seven was originally sparkly silver. Once again, I painted it and added gold glitter and it turned out great!
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This is another garage sale find! This white frame was originally gold and had a very dated print in it. I sprayed it white and then lightly sanded it. I love the way it turned out! This frame cost $15.
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When it was time for my son to move into a “big boy bed” we transformed his room into a beach theme. The main accent colour in the room is a dark navy blue. I loved this little sign but the outer frame was a peachy colour so I just taped off the inside and spray the outer edge blue!
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A few years ago I was looking everywhere for a tall lamp like this in white. The only ones I found were completely unaffordable! I found this lamp (originally black) at Target for super cheap so I scooped it up and sprayed it white!
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I found this mirror at a thrift shop for $7. It was originally gold and really dusty. I took it home, gave it a good scrub and painted it white! This is one of my favourite pieces in my house! It is so unique!
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This shelf had a lot of alterations! When I was decorating for my son’s beach theme room, I was looking for a shelf for a small wall area in his room. After searching high and low and not finding anything that was quite right, I ended up making this shelf. This shelf was originally a dark wood stain. I painted the shelf with a white wash paint to make it look “beach-y.” Then, I found these cute nautical looking hooks. The hooks were metal and had a gold rusted metal look to them. I painted the hooks and had them screwed into the shelf. I love the way this turned out! It’s so cute!

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I found this dresser on Kijiji. I LOVED the shape of this dresser. It was painted jet black with a really bad paint job so it was being sold for $40! When I asked my husband to pick it up for me, he thought I was crazy! “What do you want to do with THAT?!” he asked. I was pretty confident that it could be transformed with a few coats of chalk paint and some new hardware! Plus, it was such an awesome deal I just couldn’t pass it up! The end result speaks for itself!
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As I was looking around my house to find items to post as examples,I realized just how many things I have painted! I tried to choose a few different things to provide a variety of examples, but I could have posted many more! Painting is a cheap way to get the exact look you are going for and it’s fun too! 🙂

Share your own painting DIY in the comments! I would love to see them!

XO, Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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Wash Your Mouth Out With…..What?!

For someone who is a non-smoker, and non- coffee drinker, my teeth sure do seem to be prone to yellowness (is that a word?) I always use a toothpaste with whitener in it, but that doesn’t seem to do the trick. A few years ago (okay I think it might have been 10 years ago) I heard about “Crest White Strips”. It seemed like the perfect solution! They were relatively inexpensive (compared to professional whitening done at the dentists office) and sold at most major retailers. It seemed like the perfect solution to brighter, whiter teeth right?! I have tried Crest White Strips many times, and now have mixed feelings about them. I found that they really did work. My teeth were noticeably whiter every time I used them. The downside: my teeth hurt sooooo bad! Maybe my teeth are just extra sensitive but my teeth hurt while I had the strips on and would be sore for a few days afterwards. I even thought that maybe my teeth would just “get use to them” if I used them. No such luck. I talked to my dental hygienist and she said that if I was experiencing sensitivity with the Crest Strips, then I would probably experience the same sensitivity with all whitening products. Somehow, (and I’m not even sure exactly when it started) I came up with my own whitening routine that actually works and the best part…the new whitening product I use costs around $1! That’s right ONE DOLLAR!!

I start by brushing my teeth with a whitening toothpaste. I personally use Doterra OnGuard Whitening Toothpaste. But any whitening toothpaste would work.

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After I have brushed my teeth normally, I dip my wet toothbrush in a box of BAKING SODA and brush my teeth again with that. When you first do this, you will notice that the baking soda is very bitter. You will eventually get use to it and it won’t seem that bad. The baking soda works WONDERS on your teeth! Have you ever heard of the definition “squeaky clean”? Your toothbrush will actually start to “squeak” on your super clean teeth after using this method!- FOR REAL! 🙂

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You know that awesome super polished feeling you have when you leave a cleaning at the dentists office? Adding the baking soda step gives you that exact same feeling! PLUS, it really whitens your teeth! You can typically find a box of baking soda at the grocery store for around $1 and it will last you 4-6 months! Of course it’s important to use floss and mouthwash too for overall tooth maintenance, but the two step process of paste plus baking soda covers the whitening process!

This is by far the CHEAPEST tip I use! If you have a dollar, you can give it a try! I’ll warn you though, once you’ve experienced your teeth feeling THIS clean- there is no going back!!

Enjoy!
XO Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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Hairy Hairy Quite Contrary…

Have you ever looked at something simple that works in an incredible way and it leaves you wondering “How?!!???”I recently came across one such item. You see, while many women are purchasing hair extensions, teasing their hair and using volumizing shampoo, I’m getting my hair thinned out and using oils and serums to relax my wild mane. In short- my hair is thick. It is thick, long and prone to tangles. Wait a minute…my hair isn’t “prone” to tangles, my hair is SLAVE to tangles! I have tried every single detangling product I can get my hands on. And yet, my hair can often become “rat’s nest” like. Many times I have had the urge to just chop it all off. Trying to get a brush through my hair after a shower is a painful process. In fact, my poor hair dresser has often joked that she needs to take a nap after brushing my hair out! It is quite the task! At one such hair appointment, my hair dresser used a new product on my nest of tangles.

Enter: The WET BRUSH
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I’ll be honest with you, when she first brought it out I was a little skeptical. I mean, I’m no engineer here, but it looked just like an ordinary brush. This was MY hair we were talking about! My hair is the WORST! Sometimes I lay awake at night worrying that my hair dresser will be forced into early retirement after developing chronic carpel tunnel from brushing my hair out! (okay maybe that’s pushing it a little…but my tangle situation is bad)

I get it. It looks just like the collection of brushes you have in your bathroom drawer. Oh, but looks can be deceiving- this is no “ordinary” brush! There is something mind blowing about this brush! Every other brush that looks exactly like this will get caught in your knots and tangles, but not the Wet Brush! How does it work? You ask. What makes this brush different from so many others? You ask…

I HAVE NO idea!

All I really know is that it works!
Call David Copperfield because we’ve got some serious magic going on here! 😉

Wet Brush engineers, if you are out there- the people what to know!: What is the secret?!!
The Wet Brush LOOKS and FEELS just like an ordinary brush, yet, somehow it magically glides through a mop of tangles like butter! I’m telling you- it’s pure craziness!!

If you or any girl you love has tangly, knotted hair, (or a man in your life has a long beard.. 😦 *shudder*) – this brush will change your life!! I purchased my Wet Brush directly from my hair dresser, but I found some sold online.

Click the link below to see more:

http://www.thewetbrush.com

http://www.sallybeauty.com/the-wet-brush/SBS-152011,default,pd.html

If you try it out, let me know what you think!
XO Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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Totally Two Faced

One of my favourite parts of my daily routine is washing my face! I find it really relaxing and a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day! It’s also a great way to start the day feeling fresh and rejuvenated! Because I enjoy this daily ritual so much, I have developed a little routine that involves different cleansers, toners and cream. This morning as I was using two of my favourite products and I thought “I should really share this!” Your skin will look so fresh and bright after using these products and your skin will FEEL incredible! It will be sooooo soft and smooth! Dare I say….”like a baby’s bottom!” 🙂

The first product I use in this two step process is from the company Arbonne. It is the FC5 Gentile Exfoliating Cream.
I usually use this every 3 days or so. I use this in addition to my daily cleanser. This cream is super gentile yet helps to eliminate dry dead skin! The first time I used this dynamic duo together I couldn’t believe the results after the very first use! I have been hooked ever since!

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Now here is the real trick: I apply the Gentile Exfoliating Cream with a facial scrub brush. The two part combination of the exfoliating cream being applied WITH the soft scrubbing brush works wonders for your skin! You can find facial scrub brushes at almost any drug store and many different companies make them. The prices can range from $15-$300. I purchased mine at Target for $15 and I love it! I have never personally used any of the $300 ones so I cannot attest to the extra features another $285 will get you!

There is just something about this two part system that gets results unlike almost anything else I have ever used!
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Here are a few links to some popular facial scrub brushes:

http://www.target.com/p/conair-white-conair-facial-scrub-brush/-/A-13788697

http://www.sephora.com/mia2-skin-cleansing-system-P296898?country_switch=ca&skuId=1494392&om_mmc=ppc-GG&mkwid=ApicSVGy&pcrid=51600856925&pdv=c&site=ca_search&country_switch=ca&lang=en

If this dry winter weather has taken a toll on your skin, and you are looking for a little “pick me up” then give this a try! I hope you love it as much as I do!

XO Pam

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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A Terrible, Dangerous Mistake…

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I was in twelfth grade the first time it happened.  I was beginning the 15 minute walk from my house to the bus stop at the corner of our main road.  The man in the yellow Jeep slowly pulled up beside me as I was walking.  He looked to be in his early thirties, had spiky orange hair and a pale complexion.  “Hey Honey….” he called out in a soft voice.  I continued to walk,tightening the grip on the straps of my backpack and  looking straight ahead…”Was he talking to me?”.  He continued to slowly drive calling out to me.  I turned towards his car and we made eye contact.  He smiled warmly and rested his left arm on the rolled down window of the car door.  “Are you walking to catch your bus?” he questioned.  “Yeah, it’s just up there I replied”, pointing ahead to the other kids who were already gathering at the corner.  “Why don’t you hop in and I’ll drive you to school” he suggested with a coy smile.  I smiled back, gave him a shaky “no thank you”, and assured him I was fine to walk to the bus stop.  With that, he gave me a quick wink and sped off.  I met my schoolmates at the bus stop and by the end of the school day had forgotten all about the man in the yellow Jeep…that is, until the next morning.  

The next morning I was walking to the bus stop again, when he returned.  Same yellow Jeep. Same orange spiky hair.  Same offer to drive me to school.  I again, declined and assured him I didn’t need to take a ride from him.  This time he didn’t leave quite as easily.  He smiled as he drove beside me as I walked  “Oh come on just hop in the car!  You don’t want to walk ALL that way!  Come on, hop in..I know you want to”,  he teased.  I nervously laughed a little and continued to walk to the bus stop.  Finally he relented, give me a little wink, and sped off.  The visits from the man in the yellow Jeep continued for the next 6 school days.

And then it happened.  I made a terrible, dangerous mistake.  

I’m not sure what exactly made that 6th day different, but when the man in the yellow Jeep returned my guard was down.  Perhaps it was because we had continued our exchange for so many days in a row without incident, or maybe I was just tired and worn down that morning.  Whatever the reason, I finally broke.  We went through our usual routine of him begging me to get in his car and me declining, but this time as he smiled and persisted, I stopped walking and said “okay.”  He stopped the Jeep, I crossed the street in front of him, and he slid across and opened the passenger door.  As the door opened it was as if everything was suddenly in slow motion.  I cautiously climbed into the passenger seat and set my backpack on my lap and closed the door.  As soon as the door closed, alarm bells began to scream in my head.  “What ARE YOU DOING?! This is bad….this is BAD!!”  I instantly felt sick and was panicking.  I began to pray silently apologizing to God for being so stupid and begging Him to help me and protect me from whatever situation I had just gotten myself into.  As we drove to the high school he was staring straight ahead and so was I.  His coy smile was gone. We rode in silence the entire way.  I never stopped praying-well, more like begging for God’s help.  He pulled into the school parking lot and as soon as the car began to slow down I opened the door, mumbled “thanks”, hopped out, and ran into the school.  I walked briskly to the girls bathroom, went into the first stall and cried.  I never saw the man in the yellow Jeep again.    

 The craziest part to this story is what kind of mother I have.  My poor Mother…  She did everything right regarding teaching my siblings and I about “stranger danger and safety. ”  My Mother talked with us numerous times and at length about the dangers of talking to strangers.  We had a family password if anyone other than my parents tried to pick us up from school, we had fire safety plans at home, and a family meeting spot out in our yard.  I knew better.  I knew to NEVER get into a car with a stranger.  So why did I do it that day?   Why do we sometimes do things we KNOW we shouldn’t do? 

One of my least favourite things about our human nature is our desire to sometimes do things we know are not beneficial to us.  This summer has been a tough one for me.  I’m ready to admit that! 🙂 Our family has been very busy and I could list of bunch of other excuses for the lack of care I’ve put into health and fitness the past few months.  Sure, I still consider  us a “clean eating” family, which for most meals I make we are.  But, we’ve been to BBQ’s, family dinners, and picnics with friends where I have not been as prepared as I have been in the past and we’ve been left to eat whatever is served to us. (Can we say hamburger, hotdog, and potato salad overload?) 🙂 I also put the brakes on my gym membership thinking that I wouldn’t possibly have time to get there regularly this summer and would just work out on my own (after-all, the weather is so beautiful out it’ll be easy to go for runs and walks right?) Well, I’m sure you can imagine how “regularly” a good workout has happened on my own! 😦  SIGH…..  

Well, it’s time to PULL IT TOGETHER!  Yes, we all have set backs.  Yes, we do things that we know aren’t what’s best (WHY?!!!)  The important thing is to be self aware enough to recognize when we are slipping and to pull it together again.  Every one of us makes mistakes.  Every one of us makes bad choices.  The amazing thing about our human free will is that we CAN CHOOSE to make changes!  Isn’t that awesome?!  It’s never too late to start making good choices!  So today, I am choosing to pull it together, take more time to prepare healthy meals, and make fitness a priority!  I’m not going to beat myself up.  I’m not going to feel sorry for myself.  I’m just going to make a CHANGE.  Maybe you’ve had a rough summer too and are ready for a change! Let’s DO THIS together!!! 🙂 

http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com

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Thank you!

Pam

Clean “Leftover” Chicken Pasta

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I’ve written in earlier blogs about my love for prepping and planning ahead.  I honestly believe that planing ahead is the KEY to having success with clean living!  One of the things I have been doing lately is buying chicken breast in bulk or in the “family” packs that the grocery stores sell. At the beginning of the week I cook all 8 or 10 chicken breast, even though at that point I have no idea what I will do with them yet.  I throw the whole pack in the crock pot!  Once they are cooked, I keep a few in the fridge and then put the rest in the freezer.  It makes it so easy during the week when I want to add chicken to a salad, soup or snack.  

The other day my friend Corrie came over during lunch and said she could whip up a healthy meal for us.  I was excited because everything I’ve ever tasted from her has been delicious! She is the friend who was eating “clean” before it was cool!  Back then we all thought she was nuts, but now some of my favourite clean recipes are from her! (check out the guacamole recipe in the “recipe” section!  It’s hers and it’s divine!) As she was rummaging through my very bare cupboards and fridge (it was one of those “I really need groceries” days) she found some of my pre-cooked chicken, broccoli and some rice pasta and  this is the dish she came up with!!!  It was SOOOOO good!  She didn’t write out the exact recipe, but I watched her make it and re-created it the next day….and the next..and actually the next too.. 🙂 SO this is my version of her masterpiece. For those of you who are pasta lovers, this is a great way to enjoy your pasta but in a whole new way!  Enjoy!  

Ingredients:

2 Cooked chicken breast 

1 Package brown rice pasta

1/2 Cup olive oil

1 Diced white onion

2 Cups diced broccoli

1 Bunch green onions 

1/2 Cup goat feta

Salt & Pepper 

Directions:  

Pour olive oil into a pan on medium heat.  Add in diced onions and broccoli.  Cook until the onions are soft and then add in diced chicken pieces.  Add cooked rice pasta to the vegetable and chicken mixture and stir well.  Add in the feta and salt and pepper to taste.  That’s it!!! Super easy and fast and SO YUMMY!!!!!!!!

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Thank You!
Pam
cleanlifehappywife

I have a confession. I’ve been cheating…

Do you ever feel like you are totally misunderstood? I’m not talking about the teenage angst type of misunderstood where you lock yourself in your bedroom, listening to sad music, crying about how no-one really “gets” you. I’m talking more about the “oh shoot- I’m not really what you think I am” kind of misunderstood.

I was recently introduced to a friend of a friend and in the introduction process, “old friend” was saying some very nice things to “new friend” about my cooking. After hearing the compliment, “new friend” snorted at me and began saying things like “It must be nice to be a stay at home Mom”, “Yeah, I wish I had all day to cook and make fancy meals”, “Oh just wait until you’re actually working full time. Then we’ll see how “fancy” your cooking is”. I politely smiled as she lamented about how different our lives were and how much harder it was for her to make healthy lifestyle changes because of the many limitations our differences caused. As I was listening to her speak, I was thinking about how many times I have heard similar comments from people, and I started to realize that it is time for a confession. Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend hours in my kitchen wearing a hand sewn apron, sifting flour and making homemade jam. Don’t get me wrong – that sounds amazing!:) The truth is, from the time my three year old wakes me up at 6am I am frantically racing around my house packing last minute school lunches, searching for missing uniform pieces and struggling to get breakfast on the table before it’s time to get out the door to get my daughter to school on time. Once we are finally out the door and in the car the real fun begins as I attempt to complete my “to do list” and actually accomplish everything I’ve overcommitted to. Most days I blink twice and it’s 4:45 PM and I have no idea what I’m making for dinner. I do not spend all day in the kitchen and I do not have it all together – not even close! 🙂 So whats my secret?..I’ve been cheating. That’s right: in order to eat healthy – I cheat. I make the simplest things I can find that require the fewest ingredients and yet they LOOK and TASTE like I’ve spent all day in the kitchen!

Eating clean or eating healthy does not have to be the painful sacrifice that people think it is. You can make foods that are just as EASY as you are making now without compromising on taste! It’s true! 🙂

Here is an example of one of my favourite “cheat” recipes (actually I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a “recipe” because it’s SO easy).

Grilled Pineapple

Ingredients: Pineapple

Directions: Slice pineapple and grill on George Foreman grill or BBQ for 8 minutes.

See what I mean? Total cheat! When I serve this, people go crazy for it and it honestly could not be any easier! 🙂
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YOU CAN do this! You have time to prepare healthy meals. Yes, it will take a little organization initially to find recipes that you and your family like, but you CAN do this! Do not believe the lie that eating clean and healthy is “extreme” and something completely unattainable. It’s so easy to talk ourselves into thinking “we don’t have time” or “I’m not good at cooking”, but it’s just not true! You’ve got this! Why not start cheating with me this week… 😉
Pam
http://www.cleanlifehappywife.com