Safe Sunscreen Options: Part 2 of 2

Sunscreen

We are back from our Bahamian trip and I’m happy to report that none of us got sun burned! Unfortunately my daughter had a high fever our entire trip, beginning with our very first night so this put a damper on our activity level. Additionally, the weather was in the 70’s and very windy, so we were not in the sun as much as last year. However we did manage to spend a couple of days with the sunshine and we maintained a healthy relationship with the sun while doing it!

First off, I liked all of the lotions we tried. They all went on white but once rubbed in, the white color was more faint and after minutes it was soaked in and not noticeable. My favorite of them all was the Alba 45 SPF. My husband preferred the Goddess Garden spray lotion SPF 30. But he doesn’t need to apply the lotion as diligently as I do, since he’s hairy…haha… sounds funny, but it’s true. His hair offers some defense against the sun.

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Straight out of the bottles. The lotion closest to my hand is Think Sport 50, next is the Mineral Fusion SPF 30, then the Alba SPF 45 and finally Goddess Garden SPF 30.

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After I gently rubbed it in.

Though none of us in my household burned, my father-in-law did burn the back of his hands on a boat excursion. I offered him the Alba Hawaiian after-sun lotion, which he commented on as smelling great (it really does!), though he noted that it doesn’t squeeze out of the bottle easily. I agree with him, you have to twist off the cap and dig into the bottle to get out the lotion, but it’s worth it. My father-in law-also used the Lily of the Desert 99% Aloe Vera Gelly, which  helped soothe the blistering.

I loved the little Mineral Fusion SPF 30 face stick. It’s shaped like a tiny deodorant stick that glides on gracefully over the skin. I did make sure to exfoliate my face because after the first time I used it, I noticed the dry skin on my face was accentuated by the white lotion. But that’s more of a personal problem than a flaw of the product. 😉 I love that it’s small enough to toss in my bag without weighing it down. My forehead is prone to burning so I’m always re-applying and this made it very convenient for me.

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I love the little 21 SPF chap stick. As  mentioned in my first post that it doesn’t leave any residue on my lips whatsoever and it is so smooth that it’s comparable to lip gloss! I’m replacing my current chap stick brand with this one.

I’m thankful all of the sunscreens worked this year but in addition to the products, I know a large part of not burning was knowing how to protect myself effectively when visiting a place where the sun is much stronger than in Minnesota. Here are a few more tips on how to protect yourself from burning:

  • Apply sun screen at least 15 minutes before going into the sun
  • Read the application directions on each bottle and re-apply as needed, usually once an hour or after swimming/perspiring.
  • Avoid being in the sun over the hottest time of day (10am-2pm) and if you are, seek shade as relief.
  • Apply lotion liberally, if you rub it in too much you reduce the effectiveness.
  • SPF over 50 offers a false sense of security.
  • You need sunscreen even on cloudy days.
  • Don’t breathe in while using spray sunscreens and always apply them outdoors.

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All products used in this post were generously provided by Lakewinds Food Co-op.

MinnesotaFromScratch is 3! {Happy Blogiversary}

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Last week the blog turned 3! It’s amazing the opportunities I have been given that are a direct result of the blog, as well as the many fascinating people I have met through the years because of the blog. I appreciate each and every one of my readers, thank you!

2015 was such an incredible year. I personally, had one of the best years of my life. It was the first year since becoming a mother that I was really able to divulge myself into my interests once again. I was able to preserve throughout the seasons, making 2015 my highest yielding canning/fermenting year ever. If you are interested in what I preserved, follow this link. And one item not on that list is pickled red onions – oh my, YUM.

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wild and free

I had an amazingly successful year with my stamped metal jewelry hobby-turned-business, which is a hobby I started at the end of 2014, but has now morphed into a true passion. It’s not something I talk about frequently on the blog but it’s a very large part of my life and a big part of what made 2015 so wonderful. If you are interested in seeing what I’ve been up to in the custom jewelry sector of my life, here is a link to my page.

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Another large highlight of 2015 was a trip to Boston I took with co-author of this blog, Kristin and two other of our family members from NYC. We all met in Boston for the Boston Fermentation Festival. I got to meet Amanda Feifer, blogger extraordinaire of Phickle and author of the new book, Ferment Your Vegetables. I also got to meet the co-founder of the event and potter of my favorite, most gorgeous fermentation crock, Jeremy Ogusky. At the event we got to sample many ferments from local fermenters and even judged in a pickle contest — that was a true highlight for me. We took advantage of being in Boston and toured it endlessly for the 3 days we were out there. What a lovely city – I can’t wait to go back.

Enough about me… here are the top 5 posts that kept people coming back to the blog in 2015:

#1. 101 Things I Love About My Mother  – This one moved up to first place this year. I had no clue anyone would be interested in this tribute to my mother, let alone become my most popular ranking post. 🙂

#2. Pickled California Mixed Veggies – An easy refrigerator pickled veggie recipe with lots of flavor that is a great addition to salads, bloody mary’s, or just a quick flavorful snack.

#3. Chunky Cream of Broccoli Soup – No Blender Needed.  – This post has been my 3rd most popular for the last two years. It’s a go-to recipe in our household, super easy and delicious. A crowd pleaser.

#4. Baked Zucchini with Mozz Cheese AKA “The New Garlic Bread” –  Baked zucchini is a perfect healthy substitute for bread when eating an Italian dish. It’s a wonderful side dish for any meal, really.

#5. Cucumber, Kale, Apple & Carrot Juice Recipe – A new recipe to make the list this year and I’m happy to see it on the top 5. Juicing is a terrific way to get a blast of vitamins and nutrients into your body quickly and it’s easy on the digestive system. I’ll be posting more juicing recipes in the weeks to come.

Happy 2016!

Richfield’s Best Kept Secret: Wood Lake Nature Center

Woodlake

One of my most favorite places to visit with my daughter is Wood Lake Nature Center. It’s located in Richfield, Minnesota, in the heart of the city. I say that it’s a best kept secret because even though I grew up just ten minutes from the nature center, I had no idea it even existed until I moved into the city. When I refer to it while talking to friends, many of them have no idea what I’m talking about.

Wood Lake Nature Center was one of the first nature centers built in the metro area, back in the early 70’s. It’s a great place to visit year-round and they offer several classes through the seasons as well. It’s a 150-acre natural area and it’s an amazing place to do some bird gazing.

We visited the nature center the other day and took the long path around the entire center. It was the first time we had taken that path and I have to tell you, it was the most enjoyable visit we’ve had to date.

Here are some photos from our morning:

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We ended up seeing geese and goslings, turtles, a BEAVER!!, a snake, tons of birds and simply beautiful scenery.

Here is an Instagram post I posted from last summer, raving about all we saw:

Woodlake July 2014

So if you have some free time and are looking for something to do, consider visiting Wood Lake! Follow them on Facebook to keep up-to-date with events.

Where is your favorite place to visit?

MinnesotaFromScratch Turns 2 Today! {Party Time!}

2 years

It’s hard to believe that two years ago today, I sat down and wrote my very first blog post. It feels like yesterday that I was publishing our one year birthday post. It’s really incredible to think back two years and realize how much life has changed. My daughter was 2 when I started the blog and our crafts included painting and gluing and now she is 4 and can bead and sew! It’s been fun to document the last two years over the blog and I’m so overjoyed that so many of you are interested in our lives and enjoy our posts. Thank you!

Here are the top 5 posts that repeatedly keep new visitors coming:

#5.  Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella Cheese AKA “The New Garlic Cheese Bread” Mmmm it’s so yummy, I might need to make some tonight!

#4. Homemade Organic Strawberry Jam – No Powdered or Liquid Pectin Added Having this on hand in the winter brings a little taste of summer to your palate during the deep freeze!

#3. Chunky Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe – No Blender Needed Ugh YUM, this is one of our favorite recipes and it’s SO easy.

#2. 101 Things I love About My Mother Who knew this would be so popular?? I definitely didn’t, but I’m glad it is 🙂 Love you, Mom.

#1. Picked California Mixed Veggies – Spicy Pickled Cauliflower with Carrots, Celery and Red Bell Pepper Mmm, Mmmm good!

Thanks for all of your support. If there are certain topics/recipes you’d like me to cover this year just let me know in the comments!

Happy 2015 everyone! Let’s make it great!

New Year’s Resolutions vs. Goals

new year

What does a new year mean to you? I’ve never been huge into celebrating New Years Eve and I’ve never been one to create a long list of resolutions for myself. But there is something distinct about the closing of one year and the start of another. I’ve been sitting here this morning, having my coffee and thinking about 2014 in its entirety. For me, it was a great year. I wouldn’t mind if 2015 was similarly good to me and my family. When I think of the upcoming year, I see a blank slate, filled with many opportunities.

As I said before, I never make resolutions, however I do make goals. What is the difference? Read the definitions below:

resolution

vs.

goal

 

To me, a resolution would be something I’d come up with that I want to change about myself or my lifestyle. If I didn’t live up to that, then I’d have some sort of guilt or regret for not holding up to myself.

Now, a goal is something I hope to do but if I don’t, then hey, maybe next year 🙂 In the past, my goals have included: travel more, go camping (I really dislike camping) and get together with friends more often (sad when you have to schedule that, but hey, life with little ones can make it hard to be social).

Maybe it’s just semantics, but I see a distinct difference between the two words and one makes me feel much more at ease. So, for 2015 I have come up with a few GOALS…

1. Read one book a month, a non-children’s book that is. <—- That shouldn’t be too hard, right?! Well, I think in 2014, I read maybe three books in their entirety. It’s hard for me to fit in that type of uninterrupted time in any given day, but I’m going to work hard to make that time because I really like reading and I’ve missed it since I became a mother.

2. Take a walk every day that weather permits. I always feel so good after a walk, yet it’s something that rarely crosses my mind, especially in the wintertime. My daughter suggested we go on a walk after dinner the other night and I tell you, it was the best walk I’d been on all year. It was cold, but we bundled up and we let the Christmas lights dictate our path. It was great and I want more of that.

3. Be better to myself. It seems like every day is crammed full of work, house chores, shopping/errands, play dates and more work, but I rarely find time to do things for myself. I was sick a lot in 2014 and I think a big part of that is because I run myself too thin. I stay up too late working on jewelry orders or watching a movie with my husband, even though I’d rather be sleeping. Well, in 2015, I’m going to try and keep my 10pm bedtime and get the rest I need, because without my health I really have nothing.

4. Make it to the North Shore this summer. It’s stunning up there and I haven’t been in 14 years.

5. Can 50 quarts of pickles and 25 pints of pickled jalapenos. My 2014 goal was 50 quarts of pickles too, but I think I only made 27 quarts…

6. Blog more. Work was so busy in 2014 that I put the blog on the back burner and I apologize for that. I would like to post much more frequently in the coming year.

That’s all I have so far, but I’ll probably come up with a couple more goals throughout the day.

What are some of your goals or resolutions for the coming year? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear!

 

MN Renaissance Festival – Fairy Fest Weekend 2014

Last year I wrote about the Minnesota Renaissance Festival’s Fairy House competition. It’s a contest in which adults and children are encouraged to submit their fairy house masterpieces in hopes to win prizes. Over the weekend, Renaissance visitors are able to vote on their favorite house. We had such a great time last year that we had to go back for Fairy Fest again this year. Here are a few of the houses I was really impressed with (click on the image to make the photo even larger):

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Our favorite:

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And of course, a trip to the Renaissance would not be complete with out seeing Twig the Fairy…

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We’re already looking forward to going back next year!

Win a Handmade Fairy Door, Made by Yours Truly {Giveaway}

As my Christmas gift from my mother this year, she enrolled me into pottery class. It has been a very enjoyable creative outlet that I intend to continue for many years. THANK YOU, MOTHER. I’ve only made a few things on the wheel so far, including bowls, a mug, and a plate. The wheel is much more difficult than it looks I must admit. But I’ve made several items with slab clay and since my daughter is into fairies, I have made more fairy related items than I had ever foreseen making but it has become a very fun hobby.

Over on my Instagram account, I post several times a week and the few fairy related items that I have posted have been big hits. Therefore, I have decided to set up a giveaway over on IG. It’s very easy to enter and the winner will win the fairy door of their choice.

Win a Fairy Door handmade by MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com on Instagram

The contest will end on Monday, May 26th and all entries must be through the Instagram contest rules located on my photo… direct link here.

Good luck to all!

Steph

 

Where Have I Been? Let Me Explain…

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If you are not one of my followers on Instagram, then you probably feel like I have gone missing. I’ve gotten comments and messages from loyal readers wondering where the heck I’ve been. Thank you for your concern but all is well! The truth is, our family went through a series of colds a couple months ago, then work got REALLY busy and then we took a family vacation to Hawaii! However, I have been posting every couple of days on Instagram  (if you aren’t following me there yet, then I encourage you to since I post there much more often than on the blog). Now that we are back in town and back in the swing of things, I’ll get  back to posting on a more regular basis. I have several awesome reviews and giveaways lined up that I am super excited to share with you!

Now let me get you caught up…

Several months ago we decided to book flights to Hawaii for our family. My three year old had never been on a plane before so I had no idea what to expect from her and let’s just say, she’s not known for her patience.  I was excited to get away some where warm and tropical, as I had not been any where out of MN or WI since the year I got married. However, trumping my excitement for the trip, was my sheer fear of taking my daughter on a three flight, 18-hour travel journey.

In preparation for the day of travel we were soon going to endure, my husband and I made sure to have enough stuff to keep our daughter’s mind busy through the flights. We shopped for maze/puzzle/coloring and activity books. The grandmother’s brought over travel goodie bags of activities and my husband and I made sure we charged up the dvd player and tablet for movie watching. I talked to my daughter for months about flying and how we were going to be “sitting all day” and made sure to prepare her as well as I could. We had three bags full of activities and snacks for the flights. Well, let me report that the trip there and back was completely seamless and my daughter did great! It was actually unbelievable how well she did, you have no idea how thankful I am. I definitely over-thought this experience and even over prepared, but hey, better safe than sorry. She didn’t even watch one whole movie on the way there and she slept the entire way home. WAHOO!!!! Absolutely unbelievable.

Anyway, back to the actual juicy part of the story – HAWAII! We planned our trip to the Big Island, which we’d never been to, and had no idea what to expect. Planning a trip some where like that actually felt daunting. There is so much unknown and so many options that it felt a bit overwhelming. So let me put you at ease and just say, GO TO HAWAII… IT’S AMAZING AND WONDERFUL. We can’t wait to go back. For us, the biggest cost was air fare. I watched ticket prices for nearly a year and a half before they dipped down low enough for us to jump on them. Once you find your flights, you will need to book a car. A car rental is pretty much a must on the Big Island. My husband found a discount car rental website that saved $300 on our rental fees. Lodging accommodations are surprisingly MUCH LESS than I anticipated as well. Before we took our trip, I made a two page long list of ideas of activities we could do, but once we got there, that list went out the window. There is so much beauty on the island and so much to see that you don’t need to jump from one touristy activity to the next, just get in the car and drive; explore.

We stayed near Hilo on the east side of the island most of our trip, which is known as the rainy side. It is green and lush with the most beautiful trees, flowers and vines I’ve ever seen. It’s a jungle and the noises of the native frogs and birds are so soothing to sleep to. Much of the island is made up from volcanic rock so many of the beaches are black sand. We also traveled over to the west side of the island, the more touristy side, which gets much less rainfall each year and has some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches. The popular white sand beaches are on the west side, the Kona side. The contrast between the two sides of the island are great and I would recommend visiting both so you can experience the difference yourself. Both sides offer wonderful things! We spent our days visiting different state parks (free admission btw) and trying out different beaches. The sea turtles are very friendly there. At four different beaches, we had sea turtles swim up to us and we were able to swim with them – who knew?! We saw dolphins, wild pigs and lizards too. Our family fell completely in love with Hawaii and cannot wait to plan our next trip back.

I went to Hawaii with the mindset that it was a super over-priced, over-hyped, tourist attraction – and from what I hear, some of the other Hawaiian islands are like that – but not this one. Gas prices were just a little over $4 a gallon and the food at the grocery store was very comparable to what I pay at home – even for the organic food. Once you get on the island, you wouldn’t have to really pay for any activities because there is so much to do and see for free. It was completely amazing. If you are one of those people that say, “I’ve always wanted to go there” then I urge you to GO. But get in touch with me so I can give you advice on which parks to visit and where to stay!

Here are some of our pictures from the trip:

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Akaka Waterfall – 442′ fall

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Lava Tree State Park

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Lava rock

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Stunning black sand beaches all over

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Sunset from our condo in Kona (west side)

Sunset from our condo in Kona (west side)

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Green Anole – little cutie that kept us company during our stay. My daughter named him Hide, since he was always hiding. 😉

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The one big ticket activity we did splurge on was a submarine tour. This is one of the two ship wrecks they took us to. Do you see the shark on the right side of the ship?!

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If you have ever wondered what it is like to drive through volcanic ash and a rain cloud at 6,000 ft above sea level, let me tell you: ABSOLUTELY HORRIFYING! We are on Saddle Road here – it cuts through the island between two volcanoes.

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White sand beach in Kona, Hawaii

Aloha!

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie

Wintertime Craft Ideas for Kids: Guest Blog Post by Galt Toys

Today we have a guest taking over the blog that is writing on behalf of Galt Toys. Galt Toys has 175 years of experience in toys and education. Galt is a specialist in knowing how to design toys and craft activities for children that encourage children to learn through play and also have fun at the same time! If you are a 

When faced with the chilling winds and lashing rains of winter, outdoor activities for children are a definite no-no. However, there are plenty of fun things to do indoors that will keep your children entertained and occupied hour after hour. It is always a good idea to keep a few craft packs and creative activity resources stashed away, ready to be produced and enjoyed at the first sign of unfavorable weather. Take a look at some of our favorite winter craft ideas for kids that are simply perfect for those days when going outdoors just isn’t an option.

guestblogTea Time Fun

Who says picnics are only for summer? Scour second hand shops for plain teacups, saucers and side plates, and your children can enjoy supervised painting of their very own crockery in any design they like. Alternatively, purchase a miniature set specifically made for younger children which is guaranteed to be safe and will be the perfect size for little hands. After painting, as you wait for the set to dry, why not increase the fun and let the kids help you to make cakes and sandwiches for an indoor teddy bears’ picnic?

Jewelry Making

There are some really fantastic jewelry-making kits out there suitable for ages 3 and on wards that are complete with colorful threads, sequins and beads. Invite your little one’s friends around for a friendship bracelet-making session or join in with fun yourself and unleash your inner designer to create some fabulous and fun jewelry.

Paper Planes Just got Funky!

Long gone are the days of paper planes created using pages ripped from an exercise book, because now your child can make all manner of airplanes in various colors and styles using packs of multi-colored paper and a little imagination. Adorn each plane with stickers or personalized designs before challenging one another to airplane races.

Back to Basics

They do say the old ways are the best and coloring in is certainly one of the more traditional methods of keeping your child occupied. So get those crayons out and let your little one while away the hours with an assortment of coloring books. If they fancy doing something a little different, why not suggest they copy images from their favorite story book? Another simple coloring idea, which is ideal for larger families, is to ask each child to draw an outline of a character or scene. Set a time limit and when the time is up, get them to swap with another family member and they can color them in for another limited amount of time, before passing it to someone else to complete.

Stay warm!

 

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