Some of My Life Hacks

Have you ever seen or read one of those posts that goes viral filled with life hacks and helpful, useful tips for living? Well, this isn’t one of those, but I thought it would be fun to share a couple of my life hacks and a few of my favorite things. While searching for a visual and some links for this post, I came across the following diagram for making shadow hand puppets. This is brilliant! Ryan and I have tapped out with ducks, butterflies, crocodiles and spiders, so I’m excited to bring out a few of these show stoppers when I tuck him in tonight.

Handpuppet Hacks

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This next one, of course, I’m TOTALLY using…

A hole in your pants?

butthack
Oh. My. Word. Just, ohmyword! WHAT THE WHAT?!

Anyway, here are mine in no particular order. I hope some will help you one day.

Jar impossible to open?

Save the rubberband from your broccoli and keep it handy in the kitchen for opening tight fitting lids on jars. Works like a charm. And it's particularly helpful when I'm having pain in my hands and wrists from arthritis. Cost: depends on your local grocer.

Save the rubberband from your broccoli and keep it handy in a kitchen drawer for opening tight fitting lids on jars. Works like a charm. And it’s particularly helpful when I’m having pain in my hands and wrists from arthritis. Not only do you get the satisfaction of opening a jar, but you know you’ve eaten your veggies…double win! Cost: depends on your local grocer.

Simple, earth-friendly storage bins

Use blueberry bins from the farmers market or grocer to store other essentials in the linen closet, or for crayons for kids, or lipsticks/lotions/keys on the counter. I just think they are cute and I love how easily they slip into cupboards. Cost: a pint of berries.

Use blueberry bins from the farmers market or grocer to store essentials in the bathroom or linen closet, or for crayons for kids, or lipsticks/lotions/keys on the counter. When the Gravewolds aren’t vagabonding, I use these and egg cartons to hold my jewelry making design supplies. I just think they are cute and I love how easily they slip into cupboards. Cost: a pint of berries.

Convenient headphone storage

Have you ever gotten a favorite tin of mints, eaten them all and then thrown the tin away? Or in some boxes of tea at the holidays, small travel teabag tins are included with purchase. Well, they are the perfect size for coiling your headphones and slipping them into your purse or a computer bag. The minty smell wears off eventually, but I suppose you could keep one curiously strong mint in there for nostalgia.

Have you ever gotten a favorite tin of mints, eaten them all and then thrown the tin away? Or in some boxes of tea at the holidays, small travel teabag tins are included with purchase. Well, they are the perfect size for coiling your headphones and slipping them into your purse or a computer bag. The minty smell wears off eventually, but I suppose you could keep one curiously strong mint in there for nostalgia. Cost: a tin of mints or free with the purchase of a box of teabags from some companies.

Small bathroom storage solution

My little sister taught me this trick. She is the queen of organization, efficient use of space, and optimal living with minimal excess. This would have been brilliant as one of three girls growing up wrestling for the bathroom. Use an over the door/back of the door, shoe hanger and hang it on the back of your bathroom door or linen closet door for easy access to bathroom essentials. The height of the shoe slots is nice for tall lotions, hairspray, hair grooming things like scissors and shavers. It comes in very handy for us as the Graveswolds all using one bathroom that only has two drawers in the vanity. PS, even though canvas is nicer looking or the clear plastic ones you can see through, I chose a mesh hanger for 2 reasons: one, I wanted to see what I needed easily, and two, it's easier to clean if there is a spill. Cost: they range from $12 on up.

My little sister taught me this trick. She is the queen of organization, efficient use of space, and optimal living with minimal excess. This would have been brilliant as one of three girls growing up wrestling for the bathroom. Use an over the door/back of the door, shoe hanger and hang it on the back of your bathroom door or linen closet door for easy access to bathroom essentials. The height of the shoe slots is nice for tall lotions, hairspray, hair grooming things like scissors and shavers. It comes in very handy for us as the Graveswolds all using one bathroom that only has two drawers in the vanity. PS, even though canvas is nicer looking or the clear plastic ones you can see through, I chose a mesh hanger for 2 reasons: one, I wanted to see what I needed easily, and two, it’s easier to clean if there is a spill. Cost: they range from $12 on up.

Simple bag clips

This particular clothesline clip was painted green, but my kitchen is usually filled with the plain wood natural ones. I use them for closing up bags of chips and food in the pantry and refrigerator and freezer. I personally am not a fan of things that say, "Chip Clip" and are wonky, chunky big plastic monsters that close the deal. A simple, basic, and effective little wooden clothesline clip that has stood the test of time...I'm a fan of those things.

This particular clothesline clip was painted green, but my kitchen is usually filled with the plain wood basic ones. I use them for closing up bags of chips and food in the pantry and refrigerator and freezer. I personally am not a fan of those giant, “Chip Clips” that are wonky, chunky big plastic monsters of inconsistent shapes and sizes. A simple, basic, and effective little wooden clothesline clip that has stood the test of time…I’m a fan of those things and anything that resembles them. Cost: $2-3 for 2 dozen+

The Ultimate Natural Deodorant

Oh. My. Word! Can I just tell you that this deodorant has changed my life! My friend Amy remembered my search for the perfect natural deodorant and bought me a little tub...either that or she got a whiff of me one day and just said she bought some for me while she was buying some for herself. Either way, it's the best in my whole world! For anyone who remembers, the stainless bar actually does eliminate odors, but I've discovered it actually works better ON the actual armpits of one of my shirts in combination with this deodorant cream from Soapwalla. Cost: priceless not to stink, but $14.

Oh. My. Word! Can I just tell you that this deodorant has changed my life! My friend Amy remembered my search for the perfect natural deodorant and bought me a little tub…either that or she got a whiff of me one day and just said she bought some for me while she was buying some for herself. Either way, it’s the best in my whole world! For anyone who remembers, the stainless bar actually does eliminate odors, but I’ve discovered it actually works better ON the actual armpits of one of my shirts in combination with this deodorant cream from Soapwalla. Cost: priceless not to stink, but $14.

If the Greeks have Windex, I have sodium bicarbonate

I mean, what more can one possibly say about sodium bicarbonate?! If the Greeks have Windex, I have sodium bicarbonate, baby. I use this every. single. day. I brush my teeth with it two times a day. I use it to clean the toilet, tub, sink...the kitchen sink. Jason just used it to clean a very dirty inner lining on his baseball cap. I've shaken it into the floor mats in my car to soak up smell and moisture. It cleans burnt on food off of pans with some elbow grease. It takes the dark marks left from pots and pans in ceramic sinks right off. And. And. And...besides brushing my teeth with it, my favorite use for it is when I've eaten something that doesn't set right in my stomach. I scoop a heaping teaspoon of it into my mouth and swig it down with half a glass of water. Then, within a minute or so, I burp like a college frat boy and my belly feels amazeballs. True story. It's an alkalizer and it works without any other ingredients.

I mean, what more can one possibly say about sodium bicarbonate?! If the Greeks have Windex, I have sodium bicarbonate, baby. I use this every. single. day. I brush my teeth with it two times a day. I actually use it to clean EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink. Jason just used it to clean a very dirty inner lining on his baseball cap. I’ve shaken it into the floor mats in my car to soak up smell and moisture. It cleans burnt on food off pans with some elbow grease. It takes the dark marks left from pots and pans in ceramic sinks right off. Soap scum is no threat to baking soda! And. And. And…besides brushing my teeth with it, my favorite use for it is when I’ve eaten something that doesn’t set right in my stomach. I scoop a heaping teaspoon of it into my mouth and swig it down with half a glass of water. Then, within a minute or so, I burp like a college frat boy and my belly feels amazeballs. True story. I just did it after the Superbowl because, well, nachos! It’s an alkalizer and it works without any other ingredients. Cost: depends on size you buy and brand, but generally starts at around $2.25 and runs up to $30.

Inflammation issues?

One, how pretty is this mug one of my dear friends gave me?! She said it made her think of my mom, who loved blue and white china, so she knew I'd love to sip tea from it. She was right! Thanks, Bina! Anyway, I drink about 4-6 cups of tea a day. To stave off inflammation in my body I add a tincture of tumeric to my ginger tea for a bit of spice rather than OTC drugs.

One, how pretty is this mug my friend Bina gave me?! She said it made her think of my mom, who loved blue and white china, so she knew I’d love to sip tea from it. She was right! Anyway, I drink about 4-6 cups of all sorts of different teas a day. To stave off inflammation in my body I add a tincture of turmeric to my ginger tea for a bit of spice rather than OTC drugs. Cost: depending on the store and size, the tincture extract bottles, (this one is 1oz) run anywhere from $10-15. (not meant to prescribe or diagnose, I’m not a health professional, I’m just sharing my hacks. Listen to your body to know what works for you.)

Avoiding/hate reading the Bible?

Reading the Bible isn't necessarily a life hack, but there are a lot of things in it that equip me

Reading the Bible isn’t necessarily a life hack, but there are a lot of things in it that equip me for life, encourage my soul, and draw me to a quiet place akin to the original Garden where I can hear God’s heart of unconditional and relational love over me and for mankind. I don’t speak old English, nor can I read Hebrew or Aramaic, and I had read and studied the New International Version through and through for 25 years. On my 40th birthday a while ago, ahem, I received this from Jason and Em and have been both reading it and listening to the audio version. If you’ve ever shied away from reading the Bible for whatever reasons, The Message//Remix compiled by Eugene Peterson could be the read you are looking for. Peterson is brilliant to make this his life work. And if you aren’t familiar with Bible reading in general, here are some hints: I like to have some colored pencils nearby when I read to highlight passages or sentences that speak to me, as well as a notebook to write it down and get it one step deeper into my head and heart. Where do you even begin reading? I like to point people to the first book, Genesis, chapters 1-3, then over to the New Testament to the book of John, chapters 1-4, and then a couple books prior to that in Matthew. Also, near the middle of the Bible there is a book called Proverbs that is thick with wise advice. There are 31 chapters in it, so it’s a good place to start and read just one a day. No matter what, there’s no shame in never having read the Bible. And if you come and read here often, you won’t get judgment from me. Jesus was called the Word of God and if all else fails, look to Him and His life and the direction He pointed rather than wasting your time duking it out with people who want to bash you over the head with the Bible.

I’d love to learn some more. What is a life hack of yours you would care to share? Add it in the comments.

My Mid-Life Crisis, Part 2 of Many…

The title for this post may be a bit dramatic, but I am going to unpack “Mid-Life Crisis” in some posts to come, but this does dabble with some of the topics one may wrestle with when thinking of a mid-life crisis, so I felt it fit.

Last year I got to travel a bit, with family, with Jason, and all by myself. I. Love. To. Travel.

Exploring the world, people watching, meeting new people and learning their stories, taking in the smells and sights and feeling the feels is breath for my soul. It doesn’t have to be glamorous…I’m not talking 5-star lodging, though there is nothing wrong with that. I’m simply saying, my Spirit loves the soil of the barrio beneath my feet as much as it thrives off the sand on an uninhabited beach. In both places we find God’s divine beauty if we let our eyes see.

So, last fall I was able to tag along to Paris, the romantic city of love, where Jason had meetings, adding a few days on the front end to explore the countryside with my best friend and lover. We drove hundreds of miles, some mapped, others our own detours, tried new wines, ate baguettes and Cuban food, stayed in mom and pop Bed & Breakfasts, listened to new music, and, of course U2, and laughed out loud together at Jim Gaffigan’s comedic genius. The French countryside and our time in Paris was just right.

Well, in the spirit of French romanticism, and trying to keep it real, I wanted to change my profile picture on Facebook…first, why can’t we just change our profile pictures without it being posted to everyone’s walls that we did, in fact, change them? Anyway, see, Ryan wants me to grow my hair back out…maybe he wants to snuggle with it? I obliged even though I really, really, really like my hair less than one inch long. It’s this love, hate thing going on…trying to practice empathy with many incredible friends and women who have lost their hair to disease, feeling what it feels like to grow it in and feel awkward through the stages of growth. Let me tell ya…it sucks! I’ve had the luxury of cutting mine or shaving it again probably 5 or 6 times, but figured if I’m going to grow it out, I should probably stop cutting it. Whoa. It’s been about 7 months and if I dyed it blue, I’d look like your grandma.

Anyway, yada, yada. I changed my profile picture from when I was tan and it was summer and I was probably 5 or 10lbs skinnier and my hair was short and maintenance free, to this one where I have a bit of a frizz head, but the lighting was right and, whatever, it’s just a picture.

But I felt romantical in it. I felt kind of demure, French film-star, pale-skinned, pretty in it, so I thought, “Well, this is about as good as it gets in the hair department for now, so it is what it is and I feel pretty.” Post.

Those words to myself, “I feel pretty,” haven’t been common to me. (Read here for more of that story.) They aren’t first or even second nature. They are words I’ve had to convince myself of in the last 4 years since turning 40, not only on the outside but deep, deep within…in the last 4 years since God said to me, specifically, almost audibly, “Adrienne, I know you love Me. I know you love others. There’s another part to that scriptural command and it’s to love yourself…it’s time you started doing that…”

UGH. Um, what does that even look like?

If I were in so-called mid-life crisis mode, filtering these truths into me, separate from God’s truth over me, it might look like nips and tucks and replacement parts and endless dieting and die-hard, bad-ass working out, striving for something, other than, in spite of any of that, just looking in the mirror and loving myself simply because I exist. Simply because God made me. Simply because when He made US, He said, “It’s oh, so, good!”

So, let’s fast forward to a conversation, one had in light of me being in a healthier place in my head and heart and body than I have been in a while…Jason says, “I really think you are beautiful. That being said, I think you should change your profile picture. It doesn’t really look like you, it doesn’t capture who I see when I look at you.”

Me: You don’t like my profile picture?
Him: No. You know I think you are beautiful. I just don’t think it looks like you.
Me: I like it. I feel French and romantic in it. Plus, you know me, I’m so literal, it’s not how my hair looks right now so I felt it wasn’t current or accurate.
Him: Ok, that’s fine. I just don’t think it looks as beautiful as you are. But keep it.

Then I get a call from my dad. “Hey, Boo, there’s this weird picture of you I saw the other day. It doesn’t look like you. You look kind of distorted…”

Me: Oh, really? Am I wearing a green sweater?
Dad: I’m not sure, I’ll have to look at it again…you look kind of gaunt, almost anorexic.
Me: Dad, not eating enough food has never been my schtick…I’m a huge fan of food. Don’t worry, I’m not anorexic. And, PS, I like that picture…I feel pretty in it.
Dad: Well, I just think you’re so pretty and it doesn’t look like you.

So, then I tell Jason, who I’ve been lovingly dishing crap to over the course of the day, “Yeah, my dad hates that picture, too…”

Jason: I don’t hate it. You are beautiful. Keep it. I just have other favorite ones of you I love more.
Me: So, the 200+ friends who liked it on Facebook are obviously blind…

(* Snap! Knee to the face! Elbow to the face! (spoken in Nacho accent…))

Thing is, they are both kind of right, these men in my life. Not that it’s not a good picture, because I like it whether it’s “good” or not, whether others “like” it or not…I know how I felt taking it, and it’s just a picture that doesn’t define me. Just as no picture represents the whole of us. But, if a photographer were to take a shoot of me, in true Adrienne style, it’d be full of sass. It’d be snarky and smart ass and I’d be awkward with the camera and saying ridiculous things like cuss words or “sperm whale” just to laugh and not feel so very uncomfortable being seen, being vulnerable.

So, in my true smart ass way that I often function, I headed to the bathroom around 11:15 to get ready for bed. I fluffed out my hair a bit. And then I texted this to Jason, down the hall, with, “Oh yeah! Here’s a profile picture for you!”

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Funny thing is, I like these, too. I like them because my Noah skin discoloration on my cheek shows. I like them because how fun would it be to just fro out your hair and not care?! I like them because Jason and I got a good laugh out of them. I like them because I think we all take ourselves too freaking seriously.

But, my hair is growing more. And it’s sub-zero this winter and I can’t leave my hair wet to dry, so I’ve been blowing it out, but then it’s cuh-razy, so I pretty much just wear a hat anyway. And I’ve almost shaved it 12 times since last week, but I’m sucking it up and just going with the fro, which I can’t rock as awesome as some sisters, but whatever. It’s hair and isn’t what this is really about, I sure hope you’ve caught that?!

Anyway, so, then Ry and I hid behind the curtains where the snowy sunlight made for a decent filter and snapped off some new pictures. Some I like and some I don’t, but the crazy thing is, they are all me and all Ryan. Who we are in the pictures doesn’t change whether one picture captures us well, or not.

 

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He won’t admit it, but he’s lovin’ my smooches…

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I'm in love with this boy!

I’m in love with this boy!

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And, so, I’m encouraging you to give yourself a bit of grace, too. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then as we scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll, let’s remember there are stories behind every picture, and so much more than meets the eye.

My Mid-Life Crisis, Part 1 of Many

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I’ve been wrestling a little lately, though it’s not unfamiliar. To say it was foreign would be false, because drifting, floating, uprootedness, wandering and wondering, going from place to place, and being curious about this and that isn’t new to me. I’ve moved 30 times in my 43 years and 11 months and 3 weeks. That’s […]

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Who is Invited to the Table?

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A year ago when we sold our house and stuff and embarked on this journey as The Graveswolds, God put two words on my heart: GATHER and TABLE. I said, “Really, Lord!? You are teaching us about hospitality, but we don’t even have a house OR A TABLE?!” And He said, “You don’t need those […]

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When Life Throws Us Curve Balls

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Sometimes being brave means taking a swing at it, even with our eyes closed. We may or may not hit a home run, or even hit the ball, but either way we can look back and know we tried, know we rose above our fears, know we gave it our all. … And then what happens the next time life […]

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The Great Boxing Ring

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Two years ago in October, my mom and a couple of my friends and I gathered around a friend who asked us to pray for her. She was weary. Her marriage was tumultuous, to put it lightly, and her head and heart could hardly take it anymore. We all knelt around her and quietly waited […]

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Moses Wasn’t Worried About His Prostate…

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…and other life concerns.   So, I’ve been thinking about Moses’ prostate, mostly, how it’s never really mentioned or addressed in scripture. And I was thinking about how aspects of media, social media, the internet, news, and television, have created a sense of “awareness” and even “community,” yet, at the same time, it’s so much […]

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It’s The Smallest Gestures

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… Did you know that in South Dakota, USA, drivers on rural roads wave to one another? They greet each other on the approach, essentially saying, “Hello! I see you…have a good day!” The gesture is friendly and reminds me how we are all connected and share a desire to belong. It reminds me how we […]

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“Christians” Need To Stop Talking

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  … Stop talking. Stop talking. Shhhhh. Stop. Zip. Shhhh, shhhh, shhhhhhh. Please. Stop talking… Stop boycotting stuff because people believe different things than you. Stop quitting clubs and making your own clubs. Stop telling others to boycott things you want to boycott so you won’t be alone in your stand against evil. Stop using the […]

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I Used To Think _________, But Now I Think __________.

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*The lovely, wise, tea-sipping truth-teller, Sarah Bessey, has just released her latest book, Out of Sorts: Making Peace With An Evolving Faith. You can head to her website and read posts from bloggers linking up  to share their stories of, well, feeling out of sorts, too, and how they used to think one thing, but now maybe […]

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