Sep 11, 2014

Wash and Twist


I recently blogged about Madison's Hair Care Regimen and the list of products that I currently use now that she's two years old.  To further elaborate on what our regimen consists of I wanted to talk about wash days and how they look for us.

Initially, I would wash her hair in the tub during a bath every 7 - 10 days, but she'd have a fit about water getting in her face and ears and didn't do a very good job of holding her head back to help avoid this.  Someone then suggested that I use the good ol' kitchen sink to wash her hair. *gasp*

I couldn't believe that I hadn't considered this before.  We, of course, tried it and I've been washing her hair at the kitchen sink ever since.  Here's the process:

Materials
  • Very thick towel/blanket (as cushion)
  • T-shirt (preferably) or towel (to dry hair)
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Wide tooth comb
  • Snack < --- this is key!

Washing
When I wash Madison's hair I co-wash every other time. So, essentially, she get's shampooed twice per month and co-washed twice per month.  When shampooing I lather only once and I pay particular attention to the scalp and ends of her hair.  I massage the scalp very well and finger comb the shampoo through the hair.  I spend a few minutes on the ends constantly running my fingers through them and I sort of pick at the ends of the hair with my fingers (it's hard to describe).  What I'm trying to do here is make sure that I'm getting to the dirt that tends to build up in the folds of the curls at the end of her hair. I'm not sure if this is something that other parents experience, but it's as if the ends of her hair are magnets for product buildup and dirt.

After lathering I rinse, sit her up and apply conditioner.  We talk about something random for a few minutes and she usually shares the snack that she's been munching on throughout, then I lay her back down, do one pass through her hair with the wide tooth comb and rinse.  I smooth away excess water with my hands then "towel" dry her hair.  Leave-in-conditioner is added and we sit down to do a style during one episode of one of her favorite shows.

I quickly add coconut oil throughout her scalp.  Don't make this take longer than it has to. To apply, part a long line from the forehead to the back of the head, starting at the left ear and apply.  Do this from the left ear to the right, and it shouldn't require any more than ten parts.  Afterwards, rub fingers all throughout the scalp to distribute the oil all over.  And "wah-la", you're done!


Twisting
To twist, make a part from left to right starting from the back of the head and you'll eventually work your way forward.  Moisturize the parted hair, detangle then add oil to seal, then grab a section to twist.  Add a bit of Eco Style gel to the hair, specifically to the end, then two strand twist.  Continue to smooth out the ends as you twist since smooth ends are key to ensuring the style comes out right.  At the front of the head, be sure to twist towards the direction that you want the hair to fall in that area (see photo above).  Also make sure that you're tightening the twist at least half-way through by pulling at each of the strands to ensure that it doesn't start to unravel at the roots when you're done. At the end of the twist do a small bantu knot.  This is not a full blown bantu not, but one just at the end of the hair.  Check out this video to see what I mean:  How I Care for my Daughter's Hair.

In the morning, I add olive oil to my fingertips and gently untwist each twist and separate each strand into two.  I then use a "pick" on the roots to slightly lift the hair away from the scalp to hide any parts.  Add a bow or ribbon or even pull parts of the front or sides up with bobby pins to style, or just let it all hang free and you're all set!  Since Madison's hair dries out drastically throughout the course of the day, due to her tight curl pattern, we either have to re-twist at night or pin her hair up in some way the next day, so twist-outs don't tend to last more than two to three days around here. It's so cute though so that short amount of time is worth it to me!

Hopefully, my lengthy explanation provides a bit of guidance to someone working to maintain a super curly toddler's natural hair.  I'd love to hear what others are doing and I love answering questions about what we do and why, so don't hesitate to comment or send me an email :).

Happy twisting,

Sep 9, 2014

Madison's Hair Care Regimen | Current Products

June of last year (2013) I wrote a post about Madison's Hair Care Regimen.  A lot can change in a year.  

With that said, I no longer use some of the products that I used then.  I've learned things about her hair. What doesn't work for her and what does...well, at least some of what does.  It's a continuous journey that will change and evolve as she ages!
I've also learned to let go of any judgement associated with the way that her hair looks/appears to others and how I choose to maintain it (be it "well done" or "unkempt"), so long as I'm doing what's necessary for it to be healthy.  


Currently we're using the following products (all from Target unless otherwise noted):
  • Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo. - I can feel how it "hydrates" her hair as I'm lathering her up and it's crazy cheap. She loves the intense blue color of it too!
  • Kinky Curly Knot Today Conditioner - This stuff is as slick as it comes and is perfect for a super curly mane like Madison's.   
  • Shea Moisture Kids Moisturizing Detangler - I use this in the morning to add a little wetness to her hair (that has a little more to offer than just water) just prior to moisturizing and sealing.
  • Shea Moisture Kids Curling Butter Cream - Honestly, I just love how this stuff smells and I know that butters work on her hair better than anything else. Besides, sealing it in is the key to any moisturizer that I use on her.
  • Coconut Oil (from GNC) - For her scalp. Sometimes to seal.
  • Olive Oil - To seal in moisture.
  • Eco Styler Gel (Olive Oil) - I didn't think to use this on her hair for a while because it's a gel.  I was reminded that it's not like the brown, hardening, flake producing mess that was used on me back in the day.  It's essential for twist outs and the like.
  • Design Essentials Edge Control (from Walmart) - It's small and expensive but a little goes a long way.  I've recently started doing this not to be all cute with "baby hairs", because I personally think that's ridiculous (even for a toddler), but because I've come to realize how sensitive her edges are; therefore, they need to be protected.  By laying them down instead of constantly brushing them into the style I am better able to protect them from strain/damage.
Our routine consists of washing her hair every 7 - 10 days or as needed, like that time she got tomato sauce in it just a few days after it was washed!  Wash day is prime time to do a twist out (I'll discuss the wash and twist out process during my next post).  Daily, if the hair is not styled in a twist out, braids, etc. then I'm using the detangler, moisturizer and a sealant (i.e., oil) to style her hair.  I spend no more than 10 - 15 minutes on this entire process each morning from detangler application to finished style.

At night I may oil (i.e., coconut) her scalp, if needed.  Otherwise, I spend a few minutes prepping her hair for the next day's style or put in a few twists just for sleeping purposes.  We still use a bonnet when I can remember to put it on and especially with twists/braids in; however, she sleeps with a satin pillowcase just to be safe.

Bonus Tip:  When styling her hair, my goal is always to be done within one episode of one of her favorite TV shows (Mickey, Dora, etc.).  Obviously, we sometimes go over but I try to be pretty consistent about not going over.  She's a toddler and I don't want maintaining her hair to feel like a burden to her.  I want her to love and embrace it in all its glory, in it's natural state ;)!

Any questions?! Let me know!

Happy Detangling,


Sep 8, 2014

Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

(pre-bake)

I'm not a fan of blue cheese.  Let's just start right there.  It's smelly and doesn't look very appealing either.  But I love macaroni and cheese!

When my co-worker (read = boss) took a few of us out for lunch a few weeks ago she let me try her blue cheese macaroni and cheese dish at Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom.  It had me so enthralled that I thought about how to make it the rest of the week and tried my hand at it as soon as the weekend arrived.  I even made it again two nights ago.  It's just that good!

Blue Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
Prep Time: 20 min | Cook Time:  45 - 60  minutes in preheated oven


Ingredients
4-5 strips Bacon, cooked, chopped
3 cups Rotini Pasta
2 1/2 cups Milk
4 tbs Butter, unsalted
4 tbs Flour
11 oz. Cheddar Cheese
4 oz. Blue Cheese
1 slice Bread, crumbled
1/4 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tbs Olive Oil, to grease pan
Salt/Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cook bacon in the oven on top of a cooling rack inside of a pan (see below) for ~18 minutes (timing depends on type of bacon and oven).
  • While the bacon is cooking cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  • Set aside to drain upon completion.
  • Add milk to a pan and allow to heat gently, careful not to scorch.
  • In a separate pan add the butter until melting on low/medium heat.
  • Add the flour to the butter, stirring to combine.
  • As the mixture begins to thicken add the milk while stirring.
  • Turn off heat after the mixture has thickened, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cheeses to the mixture, stir until combined.
  • Upon removing the bacon from the oven reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
 Be sure to talk to your child(ren) about the stove/oven, hot surfaces and dishes and how to handle them if you're planning to let them help in the kitchen. See Madison's (2.5 years old) hand placement and technique below.


  • Add pasta and chopped bacon and mix until combined.
  • Pour mixture into a lightly oiled cast iron pan.
  • Add dried basil and torn bread to a mixer to "crumble.
  • Sprinkle on top of mixture.
  • Bake for 45 - 60 minutes in preheated oven, or until top is golden brown.


Happy Eating!


Aug 11, 2014

Grateful

It's August.

I tend to reflect a lot from August through October; especially about things that I could have done differently.  In order to keep from living in the past, focusing on things I can't change, I'm attempting to focus on the present, positive aspects of my life.



Without much thought I can say that I am grateful!

Grateful for...
  • Mario: His leadership, his frugality, his patience, his love.
  • Maddie: Her wittiness, her sweetness, her joy, her trust, her love.
  • Life, Health and Strength: I'm just thankful to be alive, well and in my right mind.
  • Friends: Having friends is so important, and I wouldn't trade them for anything ;)!
  • Provision: We've been blessed with more than enough.
  • shereadstruth.com: I haven't studied my Bible this in-depth in quite some time. So grateful for the community, study plans and most importantly, time with God!
  • Instagram: It's by far my favorite social media platform. I love the community, and the social aspect of this site is just enough and perfect for my introverted self!
  • Reading Time: I love to read, and my reading list is lengthy, so finding time to enjoy it is the epitome of perfection! 
  • Giving: Helping people overwhelms me at time, yet I'm a giver at heart. Watching people give for Jeremiah's campaign (gofundme.com/jaystuitionfund) has been delightful, and I pray the Byrd's reach their goal!
  • God's Love: He loves me, in spite of me! Enough said!
What are you grateful for?!



Aug 8, 2014

A Special Request

Hello friends,

The Byrd family is campaigning to raise money to send their son, Jeremiah, to one of the best autism schools in their area. Since early intervention is the key to his greatest success in his life, their goal is to raise his tuition of $30,000 for the school year. If we can get 1500 people within our network of family, friends and community committed to giving just $20 they can easily reach their goal!

Each person that donates to the campaign by next Friday, 08/15/14, will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gas card!!! Visit either of the following fundraising websites to make your contribution:

gofundme.com/jaystuitionfund
youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/autism-school-tuition-fund/213598

Every little bit helps and is greatly appreciated! You can also help spread the word about our campaign by directing individuals within your network to our fundraising websites and using the hastags #autismfund and #1500give20whenever you post about our cause.

Feel free to copy and paste this entire message to your Blog or Facebook account as well!

Thanks so much!!!


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