April 29, 2013

living childfree: when life offers too much to do and see

the "living childfree" series is about learning about the experiences, motivations and opinions of childfree women and couples - whether it is by choice, by circumstance, or still undecided. if you are interested in sharing your thoughts, please drop me a line at yael.santo(at)gmail.com.

today's feature stars kristin from the forgotten map! she and her husband are spending 2013 on the road, and you can follow along on their adventure (i know i am!) right here.

photo by -snugg- via compfight

tell me a litte bit about yourself.
I am 28 years old and my husband Kevin is 29. We have been married just over a year, but we’ve been together for almost eleven years. We took our time with marriage, because we didn’t feel any need to rush it. We lived together for six years before we got married so not too much changed after the honeymoon. We already had our home, and our dogs and our things. We didn’t have the common struggle of combining everything from “mine” to “ours”.  

About a year and a half ago we started talking about leaving our home for an adventure. We both love to travel, and I become very restless when I stay in one place too long. At the end of last year we sold everything we owned, packed up our Subarbu and our pups, and headed out for a yearlong adventure traveling the United States.

when did you first know you weren't interested in having children? what was your reasoning for choosing a childfree life?
The first clear moment I remember wanting to be childfree was when I was 20 years old. Kevin and I had moved into a house in a suburban neighborhood. It was full of families and stay at home moms. I remember feeling a little uneasy in my surroundings.

Then a neighborhood mom asked one day “When are you getting married?” The question caught me off guard. I was only 20 and I focusing on school. Why would I be thinking of marriage and a family so soon? I answered, “Oh..I don’t know.” To which she responded sympathetically “Oh honey, that’s okay it will happen soon!”

I was offended that she assumed that my education was just busy work until I could get a ring on my finger and start a family. I think it was then I realized that I had no desire for that type of life.

As the years have passed, I feel even more confident in my decision. Kevin and I like our life. We are able to travel. We have our own time to do the things we enjoy. We would not be traveling the country seeking adventure, if I had chosen a different path.

what were your family and friends' reactions like when they found out? did they take you seriously?
We have had mixed reactions, but overall I feel as if a lot of people are waiting for us to change our minds. My sister has been very supportive because she knows that just because we have chosen not to have kids, it isn’t a direct attack against her or her family. She knows I love her little boy and that I think she is an excellent mom. It’s a personal choice every couple needs to make based on their own feelings and not let society’s pressure of conforming to the norm influence that.

did you face any other kind of opposition regarding your choice?
I feel extreme judgment sometimes…even from strangers. When we first told people about our plan to travel the country they would always say “Do it now before you have kids.” When we’d explain kids weren’t in our future we were met with sour, disbelieving faces like we’d just told them we like to drown kittens. It’s just absurd how many people see a different life-style as a threat.

Now I just nod my head and agree. It’s much easier than trying to explain the “why” and that just because we are choosing not to have kids, it doesn’t mean that their decision to have kids is wrong.

do you see your choice changing at all in the future?
I can’t say I won’t ever have kids. It’s only natural to evolve and change and want something different in life. I can say confidently that if we ever change our minds, we would most likely adopt. As of now and the foreseeable future, I am happy with our decision and don’t see it changing any time soon.

childfree women and couples are often described as "missing out" or "being selfish" - do you feel this way at all?
No, it’s quite the opposite. I feel like if I had kids I would be missing out on the things I love most. We would not be on this amazing adventure. I would not have free time to go to the gym. Kevin and I would not have the inseparable bond we share. I would miss weekend cuddle mornings. I would miss the spontaneous trips we take. There is just too much I want to do and see that I would not be able to if kids were in the picture.   

what do you enjoy the most about your childfree life?
I enjoy spending undivided time with my husband, and the ability to go wherever we want, whenever we want. We have chosen an unconventional life style, and I feel very lucky for all the experiences. I love to travel and feel like each new place we visit adds fulfillment in my life and a greater understanding of the world.
what would you tell someone wanting to live childfree, but under pressure to have children?
Don’t make a life changing decision based on anything other than what is right for you and your partner. It’s not fair to bring a child into this world without the full intention of being the best parent you can be. If you don’t have that maternal instinct, it’s okay. It’s not wrong, it’s just different. Be brave and live the life you want!

thanks so much for joining us today, kristin! keep up with her and kevin as they tour the united states on their blog: forgotten map.

April 19, 2013

DIY: vitamin e cream (take 2)

a while back i wrote about a vitamin e cream i had concocted to help in the healing of my newest tattoo. well, it worked so well, i started using it on eczema outbreaks, and it actually helped heal those as well.

that cream was more balm-like, though, and i've been craving a creamier healing moisturizer, so i'm back with another vitamin e cream, and this one is so easy you have no reason not to try it. plus, i've been using it for the last week, and not only do i smell so ridiculously good i have to keep from licking my own skin, but my elbows have never been softer, which is a miracle. seriously, that shit was like sandpaper not even two weeks ago.

you will need
1 cup coconut oil
7-8 vitamin e capsules
optional: 3 tablespoos sweet almond oil

this will make enough for three 125 ml mason jar - adjust to fit any size/quantity!

1. place the coconut oil in a medium-sized bowl.

2. break out your hand-held blender (or warm up your arm for a good beating), and blend on a medium setting for 30 seconds (longer if you're doing this by hand).

2. pierce each capsule and squeeze into the oil. (if you're using the sweet almond oil, or any other type of moisturizing oil, add it in before the vitamin e).

3. gently blend the mixture with a spoon before picking up your hand-held blender again and letting her rip for 30 seconds.

and that's it.

there are a ton of ways you could customize this moisturizing cream - different oils (like avocado or olive) or different essential oils to scent the mixture (i'd probably use sweet orange or grapefruit for a citrus-y blend).

let me know if you try this out! i'd love to hear the results others have with it.

April 15, 2013

spiced banana and peanut butter oatmeal breakfast cake

that title is certainly a mouthful, isn't it?

(there's a bad joke about the cake being one too in there somewhere, isn't there?)

but this little treat is all that and more. packed with protein and wholesome-y deliciousness, you'll want to eat it both as a carb-heavy breakfast on workout days (or, you know, whenever), and as a dessert. in fact, you might have to keep yourself from eating the whole damn cake in one day. and you might not want to share.

if you want to make this even cleaner-eating, replace the brown sugar with a packet of stevia.

you will need
1 1/2 cups oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or substitute for your milk of choice)
1 large egg, beaten
1 banana, mashed
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1 scoop protein powder (i used vanilla)

1. preheat your oven to 350 F. combine the oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices.

2. add in the vanilla extract, milk and egg and mix well.

3. top with the mashed banana, scoop of protein powder and the peanut butter, and mix well again.

4. pour the batter into a lightly buttered pie pan (or a square baking pan if you want to make squares), and bake for 22-24 minutes.

5. serve and eat warm. (if you bring this to work, i suggest nuking it for 10-15 seconds to warm it back up!)

results: this might be what heaven feels like for me.

linked up to: salt tree social
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