What I learned in October

I’m linking up this month with Emily Freeman to share what I’ve learned in the past 30-ish days, whether silly or profound.  I love this link up because a) I love Emily and b) I firmly believe we all should be lifelong learners.  It’s time to start paying closer attention to what we are learning as we go, and so here’s a few things I learned in October:

 1.  Making your own Almond Milk is actually super easy (and makes you feel really cool.)

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With my sweet 4-year-old daughter’s recent Celiacs diagnosis, our relatively healthy eating habits have had to improve and change pretty drastically.  Although we haven’t gone completely dairy-free, we are trying to drink less dairy in general and I’m cooking/baking more with nut milks to hopefully aid in Phoebe’s gut health + healing (dairy is known to cause gut inflammation).  I’ve been using a few different grain-free/gluten-free cookbooks to help us make diet changes, and all of them have homemade nut milk recipes, which I finally gave a try.  You guys, it seems so intimidating but honestly it’s so easy!

All you need is a blender of any sort and a cheesecloth (or you can buy a nut milk bag for under $10 or less.  I use this one). Soak one cup of raw almonds or cashews in a bowl of water overnight (almonds 8-12 hrs, cashews 4 hrs.) In the morning drain + rinse the nuts thoroughly (soaking help the nuts to release phytic acid which makes them much more digestible for sensitive tummies), then put them in your blender with 4 c. of water (or coconut water for a twist!) and blend for about a minute. Strain through cheesecloth or milk bag into container and drink. So easy, no additives and tastes a hundred times better than store bought. If you want a sweeter milk or vanilla flavored, add 2-3 pitted medjool dates, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla before you blend. Seriously tastes like dessert. Lasts for about a week in your fridge. Next best part is that you can take the nutty pulp that you strained out of the water, spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet and dehydrate it in the oven on like 200 degrees for 4 hrs or so and have essentially almond flour, or toss the dried clusters into your granola.  So fun!  

(Also, because someone asked when I posted this pic to instagram, I bought the vintage glass milk bottle here.)

2.  The blower is my favorite tool.

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Is it considered a tool?  I don’t know.  I guess it was probably in my genes to love the Blower because I have countless pictures of my mom with a blower in hand during our growing up years.  It’s so easy to use, and when I’ve finished, I sort of feel like I vacuumed the driveway.  No leaves on the pavement is the equivalent of those clean vacuum lines on the carpet.  Yes.  And, it takes me like 10 minutes.

3.  I learned how to knit!

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I’ve probably attempted learning a couple of times, but this month an old friend of mine from high school days came over + spent the morning with me working on it and I’ve been practicing and I think it’s clicked!  I started to get in the swing of it and find myself wanting to take it with me everywhere and get a few more rows in!  I’m working on a hat for Philippa with a pretty easy beginner pattern that my friend Jennifer recommended.  I’ve had to learn to fix dropped stitches and unknitting when I was doing the wrong stitch, and it’s super satisfying to figure it out and see progress!  I’m loving it!  Teach me all the knitting things!  Next up will be learning cables + knitting in the round, hopefully!

4.  Taking high doses of Vitamin B1 may repel mosquitoes.  

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As a person who is well-loved by any mosquito within range, this is huge news.  I know summer is over, folks, but tuck this piece of ifo in your pocket for next year!  I love being outside but can’t stand being covered in bites, and I’m not a huge fan of using bug spray.  So next year, I am for sure trying this!  Taking extra Vitamin B1 essentially causes your body to secrete it through your skin, which causes an odor that mosquitoes don’t like.  Eating more garlic can also help.

5.  There really is a safe place to ask the question: Am I Beautiful?

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I learned that all the old painful wounds from the past really can be ripe ground for sowing lessons in our kids’ hearts.  God wastes nothing, and if we will allow Him, He can pull up an old hurt any old time and tend to it.  He may even gently show us that He entrusted to us a number of experiences in our past that taught us something, whether for good or ill, that we can redeem, in part, by passing on the lesson.  I shared this month about one time in my early teens when I tried out for a modeling agency and I wrote a letter for my daughter about it here.  If you’ve ever struggled with the question of beauty, or ever been told you don’t make the cut, I hope these words might encourage you, too.

6.  Placing a teal pumpkin on your porch alerts trick-or-treaters that you are giving away allergen-free treats!

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Disclaimer: we are not huge Halloween fans.  But we really aren’t horribly against it either.  For us, it’s fun to let the kids dress up and to take them out and meet some of our neighbors who otherwise would never open their doors to us.  However, with Phoebe’s recent diagnosis, trick-or-treating is basically no longer an option.  Right now, in the early phases of her diagnosis, every new thing she realizes she can no longer do is like another wound.  That’s why hearing this on the news made me really happy!  With allergies as rampant as they are today, this makes a lot of sense.  And it can go a long way in making someone feel included who normally can’t participate.  Even if you don’t have kids with allergies or food sensitivities, what an awesome way to bless those who do!  Paint a pumpkin teal + set it on your porch + make a kid’s day!

7.  Jewel dated Sean Penn before she was famous.

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Now, I am probably the last person to ever know any “pop” trivia.  I really am clueless.  But reading Jewel’s recently published memoir this month, I was surprised to learn she dated Sean Penn in her early days before she was “discovered.”  I was a huge Jewel fan in my middle school/high school days, I read everything she wrote + yet I actually learned a ton about her in reading this book.  I shared a little more about that here.

What about you?  What lessons, big or small, have you learned this past month?

**I use some affiliate links in this post, which helps support our family + this blog, at no extra cost to you!  I never recommend products that my family doesn’t love + wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway!

2 thoughts on “What I learned in October

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