Friday, October 30, 2009

Rockin' the Pumpkin!

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Dad decided to get creative with the pumpkin this year!! Looks great--much better than my Tow Mater a couple of years ago!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yesterday Sunshine, Today Prized Possessions

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I think I just felt another apron string unravel.

Growing up is completely normal and healthy, I know that. Doesn't make it any easier, though.

Yesterday my 7 1/2 yr. old said he was too big to have his most favorite song, "You Are My Sunshine", sung to him every night. And I honored his wishes.

Today he handed me a pile of his most treasured items and said this stuff was for babies. "Mom, I'm 7 now!"

Pillow, blanket, bear and Clifford will have a new home, now, I suppose. I am sure my daughter will beg to have Clifford, but as for the other 3, I will keep them safe for the time being.

Tears well up in my eyes, dear son, as I remember you as a toddler surrounded by all of your favorites, especially "pappy"! If only you'd given that up as easily as the song and the other stuff. :)

Young mamas with babies, please know that the time really does fly by that fast.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WFMW: Oscillococcinum & GIVEAWAY

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So, my daughter decides to get sick the evening before the annual family reunion here in AZ this past weekend.

Symptoms: Fever and "mouth hurts" (throat) SIGH

Her brothers had been sick a couple of weeks earlier, and both of them were sick for an entire week. In hopes of shortening the duration of my daughter's sickness, my hubby ran to the store and bought some Boiron Oscillococcinum at my request. I'd used it once before a few years ago.

Shiloh was absolutely miserable Saturday night (and Mommy, too), but honestly by Sunday evening she was feeling so much better. Come Monday, she was completely back to herself!!! The only other product, besides Tylenol at night, that I used was grapefruit seed extract.

Oscillococcinum WORKED FOR ME!!!!!!!!! I won't even hesitate to use it again. I found it at my local grocery store in the health food section. It's a homeopathic remedy.

Please take a moment and enter my ALL NATURAL GIVEAWAY!!!!! (It's for a gift certificate to EcostoreUSA)

Thanks. :)

For more helpful tips visit We are THAT family.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

EcoStore USA {Giveaway}

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*And the winner is Sharon! Congratulations and thanks to all who participated. :)


One of my passions is providing my family with as non-toxic of an environment as possible. I know it’s an unrealistic expectation to attain perfection in this area, but there are a few things that I can do as a mom to lessen the amount of toxins in my home. For instance, I have been using all natural products on my children’s skin for years, and for almost a decade I have considered myself a “green-cleaner”.

As you can imagine, I was thrilled when EcostoreUSA, a company committed to providing products that are safe for you and our environment, said they wanted to share some of their products with me!

It was like my birthday when I opened up the package of dishwash liquid and laundry liquid! I couldn’t wait to get my hand on some dirty dishes and dirty laundry! (Now that’s a first!)


I have washed everything from clothes to rugs with this product and I am very pleased with it’s performance. The fresh, clean aroma of eucalyptus oil got a thumbs up from one of my sons sitting at the kitchen table as I was filling up the washer!

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My photo is a bit dark, but I wanted to show you just how sudsy the water was with just one tablespoon of laundry liquid in an almost medium sized load.

Two of my children have very sensitive, eczema prone skin, so I was concerned about using a new detergent. I am happy to report that their skin has responded just fine to wearing clothes washed in laundry liquid. No irritation whatsoever!


I also like using natural dish soap, especially since my kids use it frequently to wash dirty hands. Dishwash liquid has a very light, citrusy scent and suds just as nicely as laundry liquid.

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This is just from one drop of soap in a cereal sized bowl.

And now for the best part of this review: EcostoreUSA wants to share some of their products, which range from baby care all the way to pet care, with you, too! One lucky winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to EcostoreUSA by email.

Here’s how to enter: please browse around EcostoreUSA’s site and leave a comment telling me which products you like best. (All generic comments will be disqualified.)

Earn extra entries by:

*becoming one of my bloggy followers :)

*sharing this post on facebook, twitter and/or your blog

*signing up for Ecostore’s “No Nasty Chemicals” newsletter

Please come back and leave a separate comment for each extra entry telling me what you did. Wow, so that’s a total of 5 possible extra entries! Good luck!

This giveaway will close next Saturday, Oct. 31 at midnight. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator. (Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

THAT Family Carnival: Large ???? Cottage Cheese and Something from the Heart

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I have never thought of my family as “That Family” in the funny, crazy sense. ( Although, we just might be the only family that has Large Curd Cottage Cheese in the fridge in which the “C” in Curd is crossed out with a black sharpie and replaced by a “T”.) Um yes, we never lack for bathroom humor around here.

While I personally may not have a laundry list of THAT family mishaps, I do very much like hearing other moms’ hilarious, “This must only happen to me” stories! I think that’s why I miss being a part of MOMS so much. Jean Stockdale, was a pro at telling the BEST mom stories. She’d have me practically rolling in the isle on a weekly basis. I would always leave MOMS thinking, “How in the world can so much happen to just one person?!” ;) (If anyone lives near Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, you really must become a part of the MOMS Ministry there!!)

Anyway, just like any mom, I have found myself in embarrassing, “just get me outta here situations”, but for the most part I have found myself thinking we are THAT family because I’m THAT slightly crunchy parent. (I’d include the hubster here, but he’s only crunchy because I’m crunchy.)

You know the ones----

The home schooled, couscous and quinoa-eating ones.

The anti hydrogenated, raw milk drinkin’, minute rice-hating ones

The green cleaning, essential oil and herb-using ones

Just to name a few. ;)

I am sure I got some weird looks when I would bring my toddlers their own, all natural snacks to Sunday School because I just couldn’t bear for them to eat Saltines or Goldfish. (Give me some slack—I have eased up on that after being a parent for 10 years—I know they won’t die from eating them, at least not immediately.)

People look at me funny, like I must not even be an earthling, when it comes up that my kids have never had antibiotics. (My second born did have an ear drop antibiotic once after an accidental rupturing of the eardrum with a Q-tip. That story deserves its very own post for sure!)

And I know I’ve received some blank stares when it happens to come up that my kids have never had formula or white sandwich bread.

I don’t usually broadcast these types of things, but sometimes they just come up. And that’s when I feel like crawling under a rock and holding up a sign that says, “Yep, we are THAT family!”

So, that’s how I considered myself to be a part of THAT family until last year, the day before Halloween.

On that particular Thursday morning, we REALLY became THAT FAMILY. I even entitled a post, “We Are That Family” shortly thereafter. And that post was written before I ever became part of Kristen’s virtual, We are THAT Family.

Why did we all of the sudden become THAT family more than ever?

Well, the unthinkable happened.

My husband came home unexpectedly early. Jobless. Just like that. No signs, no warnings. Our family became just like so many other families we kept hearing about on the news or through the grapevine. The “economic crisis” hit home and the nightmare began. It has been almost one year since that dreadful day, and I have posted about our journey from time to time on my blog if you’d like to read more.

“We are that family”

“In Which the Ragamuffin Family Returns to Normal, Sort of”

“Guess It’s Time for an Update”


“Comfort Zone Issues”


As of right now, we are THAT family

who is persevering through trial.

who is becoming stronger despite misfortune.

who is continuing to trust in God, our provider.

who is being reminded daily of what “true riches” really are.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WFMW: Fluff and Freshen Fast

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If I let myself dwell on it too long, couches and pillows will gross me out. Especially the pillows. Sweaty heads lie on them, bums sit on them, noses somehow wipe themselves on them leaving that clear, shiny slug trail.

Okay, you get the picture.

If truth be told, I only get around to washing them, um, probably once a year, unless they get barfed on. So, I try to fluff and freshen often. (Without using harmful chemicals and overwhelming, synthetic scents)

Here's what works for me:

First, I lightly spray the pillows with my lavender spray.

Then, I put about 3 pillows at a time in the dryer for a few minutes. (With heat, not just air dry)

While the pillows are fluffing, I lightly spritz my couch with the lavender spray.

And finally, the freshened, fluffed pillows go back on the couch. Easy, shmeasy! :)

For more fabulous tips, visit We are THAT family.

*Also, follow me and stay tuned for a great, ALL NATURAL giveaway coming soon!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Tiny, Two Large

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After a wonderful girls’ day out, on the way out the door of my mom’s house, Shiloh said that it had been the bestest day ever with 3 girls, one tiny and two large.

And she’s probably going to be bigger than both of us someday!

2009-12-07 008 Shiloh picked McDonald’s for lunch, and of course Grandma spoiled her with a strawberry sundae.

Do all children always pick McDonald’s as their favorite lunch spot??

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Grandma and Shiloh in the play area.

I was actually admiring the art on the walls here. I would love to have some big, blown-up, black and white square pictures on our walls! (Of our kids, not the McDonald’s models.)

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After lunch we went to see the “food movie” as Shiloh called it. Cute, but not my most favorite animated film. Funny that the main girl has a peanut allergy. Well, not really funny, but we can relate.

Anybody else seen this movie? What did you think?

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's Just Gonna Have to Wait

Pin It Now! I mentioned in a previous post that basically, I want to have a bloggy makeover. Well, I think I stressed the name more than anything, but what I really want is an entire makeover.

I've been looking at all the free stuff, but nothing really suits my desires. Plus, with the free stuff, I need to know how to do a lot of the tweaking on my own, and I just don't know enough about all the techy junk involved. It's just too stressful.

One decision I have made is that I am going to have to pay someone to change my blog for me.

I am thrilled about my decision actually, but I just can't afford to do it right at this particular moment.

I am in the process, though, of researching some sites/companies/people that do this sort of thing. Blogs By Sneaky Momma is one site in which I am interested.

Can anybody recommend any more amazing and affordable bloggy designers?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Love Read Alouds

Pin It Now! When I say "read-alouds", I mean novels not picture books. Picture books I read by the hundreds maybe even thousands every year. And that doesn't even count all of the home school material that is read out loud.

Sometimes I think it's so funny when Shiloh plops a book down in Mark's lap, and he kinda groans a bit at how long it is. It seems that reading, teaching, and talking are the main parts of my "job". I wonder how many hours per day my jaws are jabbering? One thing is for sure, I am not going to get dehydrated. It takes a lot of tea to keep my mouth from getting dry cuz of all that talkin'!

Anyway, I really do love reading novels to my children. I love that they all gather 'round, whether it be in the morning on the couch with sunlight streaming in or at night by lamplight with 'em all snuggled in my bed. I love that they are all quiet hanging on my every word. I love it when they laugh out loud at something funny, or beg me to read just one more chapter. I love it when they participate in discussions about the book once it's finished. Even though I don't count these books as "school", I think they learn quite a bit. I don't tell them they are learning, though, because then they wouldn't like them anymore!

Now, Shiloh still prefers picture books over novels, but she will gather up her heart pillow, blanket, and lovey and sit and listen in. At night, she usually falls asleep.

I love that.

The other night while I was reading from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", she laid her sweet, little head in my lap and fell asleep. Maybe my attempt at British accents was just too much to bear, or maybe Harry sneaking into the restricted section of the library under his new invisibility cloak just wasn't that exciting.

Whatever the reason, I really don't care, it was just a sweet moment. I am truly going to miss not having a little one curl up in my lap and fall asleep while I am reading out loud. That day is fast approaching.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WFMW: My Favorite Recipe for Autumn Cider

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I love fall, and I love cider.

Here is a simple recipe for a heartwarming cider that will fill your home with an intoxicating, spicey aroma while it simmers in a crock pot. Mmmmm, I wish it was cool enough to make already, but living in the desert, I usually have to wait until November.

Harvest Apple Cider

8 whole cloves

4 cups apple cider

4 cups pineapple juice

1/2 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

1 individual tea bag

*I just put all the ingredients in the crock pot and simmer on low for a couple of hours. I remove cinnamon stick, tea bag and cloves before serving. Now, the directions say to use a tied cheesecloth for the cloves, but I have never done this. I use a slotted spoon to get the cloves out.

This is the best fall cider I have tasted by far!!!!

For a variety of great tips, visit We Are THAT Family

Monday, October 12, 2009

Carless No More!

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I've got plenty of thorns in my rosy life, but one has just been removed. Shiloh's prayer has been answered! And mine, too.

For the past 6 months I have had no transportation. The hardest time was in the summer when the kids were out of school and it was too hot to play outside. I know second cars aren't a necessity, but it sure is convenient!

We had to wait until our other vehicle was paid off to be able to afford another car payment. Yea, Mark sent in the last payment this month! Mark's been researching used cars like crazy. We needed cheap but reliable. Not exactly easy. I think his research paid off. I hope our new (it's new to us) '98 Subaru has lots of life left in her to get us through for a few years.

I was all excited since we were able to get her right before fall break, but then my kids decided now would be a good time to get sick. Miss Subaru was supposed to be taking my boys up to the mountains with dad. :( Oh well, such is life.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Has it been 3 years already?

Pin It Now! Well, I guess it has been 3 years since we traded humidity for dryness, green for brown, and squirrels for lizards. Actually, I have come to adore my little corner in the desert. In honor of our 3 year anniversary, I will repost this:


Friday, October 09, 2009

Clear Remedy: Third and Final Review

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Well, a few weeks ago I decided to go back to ProActiv. Personally, Clear Remedy just wasn’t strong enough for my “hormone havoc”.

I have heard many people complain that ProActiv is too harsh on their skin, and this may very well be true. I do have to be careful with the Repairing Lotion—too much and my skin will dry out and become flaky.

Clear Remedy may be the perfect solution for those whose skin is already dry and sensitive. I passed it on to my hubby and he loves it.

There were many qualities that I really liked about Clear Remedy products, and I would like to point them out here.

*The Purifying Cleanser was very refreshing and I absolutely loved the citrus scent. Made my skin feel very clean.

*The Acne Treatment Lotion wasn’t harsh at all and didn’t bleach everything it touched. Very soothing.

*The Hydrating Lotion smelled just like the cleanser and made my skin feel soft. Definitely had no dry skin issues while using it.

*The Acne Spot Treatment wasn’t too harsh or drying either. I liked the fact that it went on clear.

If you have sensitive, dry skin prone to breakouts, you may want to give Clear Remedy a try. Here is a coupon to help you get started. Just enter the promotion code, GETCLEAR30 upon checkout, and you will receive 30% off your total order!

To read my other 2 reviews click here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

"I Hate Being Last"

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Sometimes my sweet Shiloh scrunches up her face and protests, "I hate being last. I want to be first!"
She tells me she wants me to have another baby so she won't be last. She doesn't know how great she has it, though. Just look at those pictures. That is the result of being last. When she gets hurt, her "bubbies" immediately run upstairs to fetch her favorite pillow, favorite blanket and all her favorite stuffed animals. She's always got 4 people loving her up all of the time!
I can't relate to being last when it comes to siblings, as I was the first born. I admit, I like it. But I am sure there are wonderful things about being second, third, last etc. I believe we were born at just the right time. And each place is special. Each child will face different challenges due to their birth order, but I believe God can use each challenge to mold us into the person he's created us to be. That's the message I try to send to my second and last born, since they both have issues with not being the first born.
I admit rather selfishly, that having the girl last means she will be the one left with me when the boys are off doing their own thing. We can have special "just us" time doing mother/daughter things!!!!
To all the last borns out there, feel free to share any advice to help me with my baby girl!!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

WFMW: Cleaning Tip Edition (Lavender oil) & GIVEAWAY

Pin It Now! I guess I am what you'd call a semi-crunchy parent. I love natural alternatives to everything, yet I don't consider myself a freak having gone completely over the edge. :)

My crunchiness is not only revealed in the types of foods my family eats but also in the types of cleaning products I use. I try to use natural, chemical free methods of cleaning, and LAVENDER OIL is one of my all time favorite cleaning products!!

Sometimes bathrooms need to be freshened up a bit throughout the week or before company comes. Not quite ready for a major scrubbing, though. Clorox wipes are the quick solution for many, but I am just not a fan. The smell is too strong and they leave streaks and chemical residue. My solution is to use my bottle of lavender spray. (I use a 25 fl. oz. spray bottle filled with water and add about 15-20 drops essential oil of lavender.) Just spray bathroom surfaces and wipe with dry cloth or paper towel. WORKS FOR ME!!!!!

In October of 2007 I did a WFMW post all about lavender if you are interested in finding out more.

**Please note that while I am not a huge fan of Clorox wipes, I will not complain if you are. I would much rather sit on a toilet that has been wiped with Clorox than sit on a toilet that hasn't been cleaned at all!!!! :) (Especially if it is a bathroom that children use---eew!)

{To enter my HUGGABLE TEE GIVEAWAY, click here.}

**For more great cleaning tips visit We are THAT family!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Huggable Tee {Giveaway}

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*Updated with winner! Congratulations to Micki W.! Since there is no contact info. please email me or Lee Ann. Thanks! And don't forget Lee Ann is offering a discount to those who didn't win on all her in stock shirts. See email below.

Sometimes I feel like I have a split personality. Unfortunately, I am this way about almost everything. Even when it comes to clothes. On one hand, I absolutely love to get all gussied up, but on the other hand, as a SAHM, (stay-at-home-mom) most of the time I just need something simple and comfy, which equals-- T-shirt.

Yep, I pretty much wear some sort of tee or tank five days a week. It’s something I can wear while scrubbing toilets but at the same time be presentable enough to answer the door or check the mail. (I save my nice shirts for when I have to go somewhere special like the grocery store or the library.) We SAHMS are fancy like that!

I don’t want to look too frumpy even though I spend my days cleaning cooking, homeschooling, and doing all the other home management stuff, so cute is always nice. “Cute” isn’t always attained but I can dream.

I think I have found the perfect t-shirt combination—simple, comfy and cute!

Lee Ann at has come up with an adorable design that simply reads HUG. Now, who doesn’t need one of those? Lee Ann is giving one lucky winner a Women’s T-Shirt in solid brown with pink design, pictured below. (Retail value $18.00) Please leave a comment on this post, that will be your entry.

P9300084 P9300085

For all those who don’t win, Lee Ann is offering $5.00 off on all in-stock, t-shirt purchases only. Please email her at for sizes/styles. Most of her home inventory is of the brown/pink t-shirt, which is available in women’s and children’s sizes.

For a variety of products, like shirts, mugs, bags, etc., featuring the hug logo, please visit her site and place your order there. Many of these items would make lovely Christmas gifts! Sending one of these “hugs” in the mail would be perfect for out-of-town family and friends you won’t be able to hug in person during the holidays. And yes, in less than 90 days it will be Christmas!


I just love this apron!

And as a queen of notebooks, I would have to recommend this, too!


*This giveaway will close on Sunday, October 11th. Winner will be notified shortly thereafter, and t-shirt size can be determined then. Make sure to leave contact info in your comment.

**This giveaway open to US residents only.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Bowl Full of Pink

Pin It Now! 2009-09-26
Just doin’ my part to support a good cause. ;)

Tainted Tea

Pin It Now! I think somebody's been lacing my Luzianne...tampering with my tea.

Someone must be slipping aging pills into my daily dose of semi-sweet tea.

How do I know?

My mirror told me so.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Home Made Granola Bars

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Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

2 1/2 c. oats (I like the quick cooking for these)
1/2 c. Rice Krispies (If I don't have these on hand, I use more coconut instead)
1/4 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut (I buy mine from health food store)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips. (I usually buy the "healthy kind" from the health food section)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. honey (raw is yummiest!)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
* Mix all ingredients together. Press into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 min. Cool for 10 min. and score into bars. Let set completely and then cut into bars.
** Mine usually turn out best if I cook for about 18 min. The first time I made these they crumbled. I just made cereal out of it though. These granola bars are my favorite. So delicious!!!

Pumpkin Granola Bars

3/4 c. pumpkin

1 egg

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/4 c. honey (raw is the best!)

2 TBS molasses

2 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. sunflower seeds (can use walnuts instead)

2 TBS shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 c. wheat germ

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 TBS. grated orange rind (could probably leave out if you wanted)

{I added about 1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 cup mini choc. chips to make them taste better.}

*Beat the pumpkin, egg, butter, honey, and molasses in a mixing bowl. Add oats, sunflower seeds, coconut, wheatgerm, cinnamon, and orange rind, and mix well. Spread mixture into lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 min. or until golden brown. While still warm cut into bars. For very crisp bars, remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.


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