Hair Care for Curly Girls

I thought it would be fun to write a post about what to do with curly hair. There are a plethora of products on the market for curly hair, and I know from personal experience how tempting it can be to reach for this gel, that mousse, and that other curl enhancing cream over there.

Let me simplify it for you with a couple basic principles. 

Hair absorbs two things: water from the air, and moisture in the form of oil (conditioners, etc.) In a dry climate, like New Mexico, if you over-condition, your hair will feel dry and brittle and puffy, instead of soft and luscious. This is because your hair is so bonded to the conditioner it can’t absorb the tiny bit of water their is in the air. Don’t reach of the conditioner bottle! Instead, try just shampooing, and then, when you get out, use a leave in treatment. More on that in a bit. If you live somewhere humid though, your hair might get big, and out of control, and frizzy. It’s absorbing too much water! Extra conditioning will keep out some of that water, and help your hair calm down.

As far as shampoo, be careful what you use! A lot of shampoo contains sulfates. Sulfates produce nice suds, but they also rough up the hair shaft. For girls with ultra-fine, straight hair, that’s awesome. It adds texture. For curly girls, it’s a mess. We’ve got texture already. Untamed, lion mane texture. And not in the sexy way. NO SULFATES.

There are lots of expensive shampoos with no sulfates, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money. Tresemme has a line called Naturals that has very little sulfates and is awesome. Also, Organix has several different lines, all sulfate free.

Ok. So you’ve quit using sulfates, and are either using or not using a rinse out conditioner depending on where you live. What about other products? If you’re like me, a lot of leave in products leave your curls sticky, or crunchy, or just gross feeling. You need enough to calm down the pouf, but you probably still want you hair to have some movement, right? Let me tell you, oils are your best friend. Anything that says “serum” is ok (not cream or gel or mousse…those add more texture instead of silky shine) To get rid of frizz, I highly recommend Moroccan Argan Oil. It absorbs fast so your hair never feels greasy, and it doesn’t feel like there is product in your hair at all. And it only takes a dime sized amount combed through wet hair. Organix sells it the most cheaply. They also have a keratin oil that is wonderful. Either one will also work as a heat protectant. And they will reduce breakage, strengthen your hair, add shine, and help your hair grow faster. If you need a gel, use 100% pure aloe vera. You can get it anywhere, and it’s perfectly clear. It’s sticky enough to hold hair in place, but isn’t crunchy when it dries. Water will wash it right out, and it’s good for your hair.

Pretty simple!

If you’re curious, I use Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo to wash my hair, no conditioner, then I massage in some Moroccan Argan Oil, and some Keratin Oil into my wet hair and let it air dry.

Hopefully this will be helpful! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think, and what other hair questions you have!



Morning Thoughts

The Westminster Catechism asks “What is the chief end of man?”

The answer is “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.”


It’s a well known question and answer. But it got me thinking this morning. What does it mean to glorify God? I think the general idea is often a whole lot of striving to do and be perfect. And while sanctification is important, I think there is something missing. We are God’s workmanship. He delights in us, because He made us. But think about something you may have made. Say, a painting, for this analogy. Do you love looking at it because you made it? Of course! But how much better is it when someone looks at it and they like it too?

I think that God delights also in the delight that we can bring others. I’m not saying we should be people pleasers, however, I do think that while we’re continuing on the journey of becoming more and more like Christ, we need to be mindful of the people along the way. Not because loving them is our duty, but because it brings delight to our Father when other people can delight in us.

Cooking Hack of the Day: Baked Beans

Hello! I just wanted to break up the controversy for a minute to share a cooking tip my mom taught me when I was younger. Here it goes:

For totally awesome pork and beans, or baked beans, empty the can of beans into a pot, and, as you are heating them, add a large spoon of brown sugar, and a long squirt of mustard, preferably the dark, dijon kind, but any kind will do. Precise, I know. Cook by taste, it works better anyway.

It sounds odd, but you won’t find a better way to make baked beans!

In Defense Of Homeschooling

Hey, looks like we’ve got a bit of controversy! I just received a follow up to the last guest post. Let’s hear Elliott Villanueva’s side of homeschooling. By all means, if anyone has something to add, now is the time!


“Homeschooling instills dogma” argues the previous post hosted on this blog; in the context that the word dogma is being used, the author is correct. There is still a flaw in this argument however, in the context that the word dogma is being used, all forms of education have “dogma” instilled in them in some way. “The only problem is that when something comes into our lives that’s different, we tend to stare.” Have you ever had someone who was raised in a public or private education system stare at you when you told them you were homeschooled? The dogma argument works both ways, so having “dogma” instilled in a home education does not make it any different in this regard.

Having “dogma” instilled in a home education does not make it different, but is it still acceptable that it has taken root? No, but homeschooling is actually the best education system in this regard. Wherever a child is educated, there will be “dogma” rooted in their education; but who establishes the “dogma?” In a private or public setting the “dogma” is out of the parent’s control and in the control of teachers and administrators. In a home education, the parents are the authority in this arena, by taking a balanced approach, they can remove the dogma. As they have the ultimate choice in the matter, homeschooling is the only widely available education system that a child can undergo without the “dogma” attached.


Based my aforementioned arguments, I believe that the author’s qualms do not lie with the homeschooling system itself; but rather with the choices made by homeschooling families that the author is familiar with. Choices, now that is where the real heart of homeschooling is. Contrary to the pronouncements of any United Nations convention, it does not take a village to raise a child; it takes a mother and father. (I am not saying that single parents should not homeschool; those who do should certainly be commended.) The author condemns an entire system, not on the merits of the system, but by the observing only a small fraction of the system.


On whether or not homeschooling results in superior academic performance, I actually believe it does not when controlled for demographics. Whether homeschooling will expand or inhibit educational resources must be determined on a case-by-case basis.


“Homeschooling does not always equal relational closeness.” This is true, and this is something homeschool parents must take into consideration. Homeschooling does however give parents more opportunities to build relational closeness. Not having relational closeness is not the fault of the homeschooling system, but rather with individual parents in the system.


“So why don’t homeschoolers encourage their kids to go into teaching? Why don’t the capable homeschool parents start teaching in their public school system? Instead of being selfish with your capabilities to teach, why not benefit as many people as possible?” Homeschool parents are selfish? Most homeschool families pay a huge opportunity cost in having one of the parents forgo a salary in order to teach the children at home; I think that homeschooling is one of the least selfish things a parent can do for their children. When a parent chooses to homeschool, they are implicitly stating that their children’s education means more to them than the money they could be making elsewhere. Most homeschool parents that stay at home have a minimum of some kind of post-secondary education, so that is often a significant amount of income they are choosing to forgo. Now, do they encourage their children to enter the education profession? I think that the best thing a parent could do, career wise, is to encourage their child to go where God has called them. If God has called them to be a teacher then they shouldn’t discourage it, but don’t encourage your child to do something that God hasn’t called them to do. In the anecdotal realm, I personally know several homeschooled young adults who are planning on entering the education profession.


“Most parents worry that their kids will run off to college and jump straight off the deep end.” Parents will be parents; but the problems with homeschooled children leaving home, either they won’t go or they go too far, is not exclusive of the homeschool community. The same results can be observed in children who had a public or private education, but were also raised in the church. While homeschooling may contribute to this problem, it is not the root of it.


The homeschooling system is not broken; it can actually be used to give a child the best education available to them. Are there problems? There are problems in every educational system. Some of these problems can be magnified by the individual choices of homeschooling parents. As an individual who was homeschooled, I can say that I will without a doubt consider homeschooling for my future children’s education.

Why I Have No Intention of Homeschooling My Children

Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome the newest guest blogger to “Adventures”! Going by the pen name of Ms. Ava Sendler! Leave her some feedback and make her feel appreciated!

A couple things you need to know about me before you read this article. It’s not my intent to make anyone mad, these are simply my views on a matter – you can have your own, that I will not begrudge you. I am a homeschooled kid – have been since kindergarten. I’m not someone who just throws out opinions for the sake of having them; these are questions that I’ve asked myself as I consider the futures of my children. Not all of these statements are true for everyone, but they’re what I’ve observed to be the tendency the homeschool community leans toward. Finally, I’m a very list-oriented sort of person, so here’s a list.

Final caveat: this isn’t meant to say that if you are planning on homeschooling your kids that you’re wrong – it’s my point of view, take it or leave it as you like.


1. Homeschooling instils dogma


Someone, somewhere is going to jump up and quote Proverbs 22:6 at me. To that person I say that there is a stark difference between dogma and training. Training (at least in my mind) is a set of guidelines that are given to the trainee, and can be used in a manner that is often abstract. Training tells you to draw a picture and color it in. Dogma gives you a bland coloring book and whacks you with a ruler if you don’t color in the lines.

Dogma, on the other hand is a set of unyielding principles, often archaic in origin, which are adhered to with astonishing strictness. Those instructed in dogma are often ill prepared to handle “real world” scenarios, as they aren’t capable to comprehend the possibility of the validity of another viewpoint.

Dogma ultimately destroys. It cripples relationships, due to a lack of willingness to understand. It stunts futures; if you have a very set dogma, you are less likely to pursue a path that you actually want to, you simply do what you’ve been told. Dogma is intensely difficult to overcome, and by the time it is (if it is) the damage done on a child’s life is already too high.

Let’s suppose that you were raised in a a community that was of a singular ethnicity. Imagine first seeing a person with a trait that was different from everyone else’s. You would stare until your eyes fell out. The only problem is that when something comes into our lives that’s different, we tend to stare. Then we tend to grab our pitchforks and torches and go on a good, old fashioned witch hunt.

If our kids are raised knowing that there are other opinions out there – some of which are right, some of which are wrong – they’ll be less likely to see opposing ideas as things to be fought, but rather as things to be accepted. Moreover, if they’re raised recognizing the existence of other ideas, they’ll be forced to establish solid ones of their own.


2.  Homeschooling does not equal superiority


Homeschoolers like saying that they’re academically superior to pretty much everyone else. That leads a lot of them to look down on people who weren’t homeschooled, or anyone who got a lower ACT score than them.

Bully for you. You can pass a test. Now go do something that actually matters, like treating people decently – regardless of education, test scores, or whatever.



3.  Homeschooling does not always equal relational closeness


So many families have told me over the years that they started homeschooling so they could grow closer as a family. Some are succeeding, and I say more power to them.

The problem, however, becomes when you think that relational and physical closeness are the same thing. I could tell you right now that I am close to my cat. In reality, I have my suspicions that she’s plotting my murder. We’re physically close, not relationally.

In a lot of homeschooling families, the dad works a job with long hours, comes home, and doesn’t say a word to the kids, aside from the scripted supper prayer. In my experience, my dad talked to me if I was in trouble or if I’d done something exceedingly awesome. Yet everyone assumes we’re close because I’m home pretty much always.

Relational closeness isn’t something that magically happens the first time you decide, “hey guys! you get to stay home for school!” Rather, it’s something that is worked for for a lifetime. Everyone builds it differently. Everyone needs it desperately.


4.  Homeschooling decides that a bird in the hand is worth all of the ones in the bush


Another reason a lot of parents cite for homeschooling their children is the state of the public school systems, or perhaps because they are unable to pay for private school, or some combination thereof. I’m not saying this is an invalid concern. It’s a very real issue.

I do feel the need to say that not all teachers, administrators, and principals are perfect and should be entrusted with children. There are, however, a lot of people who are trying to teach the youth of today with a shocking amount of earnest energy, particularly when pay and conditions are considered.

So why don’t homeschoolers encourage their kids to go into teaching? Why don’t the capable homeschool parents start teaching in their public school system? Instead of being selfish with your capabilities to teach, why not benefit as many people as possible?

I know homeschool parents who actively protest the local school system. My suggestion is this: go do something. Talk to God and get motivated. The world isn’t changed by passive people, but by people who see a need and fill it.


5.  Homeschooling teaches you to live life with a closed fist


I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a homeschool graduation ceremony. It’s a really emotional event. Most parents cry (except for the ones who have like, twelve kids, who can out-cheer the audience. I’m mostly kidding), because they’re having to send off their baby into the big mean world.

Granted, graduation is a big deal. You’re finally becoming an adult, stretching your wings as it were. It’s exciting.

Not so exciting when your parents weep over losing their baby. Most parents worry that their kids will run off to college and jump straight off the deep end (a legitimate concern, a lot of us do).

The question I have for these parents is this: are you not in the least bit confident of your raising of this child? If you are confident, then great. Watch your kid grow up. Root for them and be willing to gently assist if they crash and burn.

If you are sprouting grey hairs even reading this point, then I suspect that there was a great deal of dogma involved in this child’s rearing. Dogma won’t hold up under pressure. It simply can’t.

For children, it means that they cling onto their families with a tenacity that rivals most hunting dogs’. They don’t try to discover who they are outside of their parents’ definition. Many simply won’t. Others still just can’t.

Holding onto your child is possibly one of the most selfish things you can do. It impairs their growth, and it impairs yours. Parents are coming into a new phase of life too, and they need just as much space and stretching room as the kids do.

Don’t live your life with a death grip on things – no matter how precious. It’s excruciating when they’re ripped from your grasp – as they inevitably are.

The Soapbox

I’ve said this on Facebook, but I’ll say it here too.

I have a bone to pick. It’s called people not feeling safe to say what is on their mind and heart. Some of the strongest people i know feel crushed under the judgement and condemnation they face just for having their own opinions. I’m tired of it, and I know they are.

I’ve given up being hurt by people who don’t agree, and don’t know how to disagree nicely. My security is in Christ. So here’s the deal. Write whatever you want to write, and send it to me at Tell me what penname you want to use, and I’ll publish your post anonymously. I don’t care what it’s on, or if I agree. I DO care, though, what attitude you write it with. This is not going to be a place for anger, bitterness, or tearing down. But if you have something people should think about, I want people to hear it.

My blog has a substantial, and growing list of followers. This allows me to give them more to read. And let’s you know that your voice will be heard.

So start writing!

And those of you who read, I challenge you to leave the conviction to the Holy Spirit, and the condemnation to the devil. Read in love.

Things My Mother Taught Me



Besides taking me on a camel ride when I was little, here are some other things my mom shared with me:

  • Go on lots of field trips. You learn them most from them.
  • The difference between warp and weft (It’s a weaving thing)
  • Handmade gifts are the best ones.
  • How to make aforementioned handmade gifts!
  • The Serenity Prayer
  • Chocolate fixes a lot of things
  • So does having a clean house
  • A love of multiculturalism
  • The best, and only way to make pie crust
  • A love of books
  • “Amo, amas, amat”
  • Never turn away a beagle
  • Henna is really fun, but it is for when there are no boys around!
  • Hippie style
  • Once a Month Cooking
  • The best green chile sauce recipe in existence
  • There is a natural cure for almost everything
  • The center of the earth is a giant ball of morning glory roots
  • The only way to really get a floor clean is to scrub it on your hands and knees
  • Planners are important. So are schedules, and color coding
  • Nap time is for everyone
  • Rice goes with everything
  • So does garlic
  • Let Go and Let God