Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fluff Clothes with Lavender

Pin It Now!
I like the thought of hanging clothes outside on a line to dry. Ya know, the whole fresh scent thing and all. Reality: hanging up clothes to dry outside is kinda yucky. At least to me anyway. Especially in Arizona. Way too much dust. And I just don't like the idea of flies landing on my clothes.
My point? I am thankful for a dryer.                                              
However, I do have to hang up some of my clothes to dry in the laundry room which leads me to my title: Fluff Clothes with Lavender.
I use my handy dandy 25 fluid oz. spray bottle filled with water and about 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil. (I use Young Living.) I just  lightly spray my clothes that need to be fluffed in the dryer for a few minutes. Clothes come out of the dryer with such a nice, fresh scent. :) Almost like bringing them in from outside, except better!
Another tip: Hubby uses this same spray bottle when ironing his shirts. I use it too when I have to iron. Which isn't often, thank goodness. ;)

Image Credit

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bliss From Head to Toe

Pin It Now! This past Christmas my mom said she wanted her daughters to know they were loved from head to toe. So, in my stocking were a Head Massager and Blissful Moisturizing Gel Socks.

Kikkerland Head Massager

I'd never heard of this head massager thing - it kind of looks like a strange type of whisk or something. My sister-in-law told me to just try it and see how amazing it is. Oh my, WOW! Instant tension relief. I love to use it right before I go to bed. So soothing. It feels even better if someone else does it for you. :)

Blissful Moisturizing Gel Socks
These socks will make your feet feel super soft. In fact, I am wearing them right now as I type. I like to wear them while I read, too. They are best worn while your feet are propped up, and you only wear them for about 20 minutes per day. The self-activating gel contains olive oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and lavender oil for softening and soothing.
I haven't washed mine yet, so I don't know what they will be like after that. They require hand washing in cold water.
Pampering with a head massager and moisturizing socks works for me! Makes a great gift giving idea, too. I definitely feel pampered and loved from head to toe. Thanks mom!
Both of these are available on Amazon.

Linked to: Works for Me Wednesday

Image Credit

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ice Igloo and Polar Animals Coloring Page

Pin It Now! In History we've been studying about lands near the polar region and fascinating characters like Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson. I'm getting chilly just thinking about it!

If you are looking for a homeschool project to go along with a polar region study or just want to do a fun activity with your kids, you might want to try making an ice igloo. Simple and fun. :)

  • plastic cereal bowl
  • ice cubes
  • accessories if you wish

First, fill a plastic cereal bowl with water. Only about 1/2 way or so. Then put it in the freezer for several hours. We froze ours over night.
Once it's frozen, pop the block of ice out of the bowl. Gather lots of ice cubes and assemble them in a circular shape. Keep stacking ice cubes as high as you want. This was a bit challenging with the shape of our ice cubes!
Top the ice cubes with your cereal bowl ice. And there you have it - an Ice Igloo.

My daughter accessorized with "polar" animals (Littlest Pet Shop animals and one Barbie dog with a scarf) and an "Inuit" girl (Barbie).
My daughter also had fun coloring these Polar Animals thanks to Pinterest!
Pinned Image
I can't imagine living in a place where it's cold all of the time. I guess Arizona isn't so bad!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Baked Parmesan Chicken with Spinach

Pin It Now! This is one of our FAVORITE chicken dishes! (Well, except for the fact that my daughter cringes when it comes to the spinach part.) I have had this recipe on an index card for so long that I can't remember from whom or where I got it. But, boy is it yummy. :)

What you need:
* 4 packages chopped, frozen spinach (I buy the kind in a box - 10 oz. each, I think)
* 6 chicken breasts
* Melted butter (I use about 1 stick)
* Flour (I use around 3/4 cup)
* Salt, pepper, garlic powder
* 1 pint whipping cream
* Shredded Parmesan cheese
* Paprika
What you do:
* Thaw and drain spinach. Pat spinach in 9x13 buttered dish. Dip chicken in flour then butter and place on top of spinach. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pour whipping cream over the chicken. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mopping with Essential Oils

Pin It Now!

Cartoon home miscellaneous mop vector
Lately on Thursdays, I've been posting all about Thieves®, but I've decided to include all kinds of essential oils that I use. Today, let's talk about mopping with essential oils!

But first, a little bit of back story . . .

I've been cleaning with essential oils and other natural products for quite a while now. Ever since I realized that my middle son had allergies. He was just a toddler - not even two yet - when my husband and I unexpectedly found out he was allergic to peanuts.

Now you may be wondering what cleaning products have to do with a peanut allergy? Well, I knew that all of his allergy problems didn't stem from food. Allergy testing revealed that he was slightly allergic to grass, some trees, and more.

Sometimes his eyes would get all red, puffy, and watery. I noticed an immediate reaction one day after spot cleaning the carpets with some kind of store bought cleaner. (Can't remember which one.) He struggled with bouts of eczema, too. He was an allergy mess!

So, I decided years ago to change the way I cleaned. Little by little I was able to mostly stop using all of the stuff with chemicals and unnatural scents etc, which finally brings me to today's topic of mopping. :)

It's very simple what I do.

I fill a bucket with really hot water and add a few drops of an essential oil. That's it.

 I just use whatever suits my mood that particular day, but I do tend to choose the citrus oils for mopping - Lemon, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Orange. Sometimes I combine a couple of the oils. The citrus aromas are so light, fresh, and soothing! And of course, I do use Thieves® from time to time. Lavender works, too.

Happy mopping!

Image Credit

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trail Mix Chicken Salad

Pin It Now! Chicken salad lovers, have you ever tried adding trail mix?

Oh my goodness, YUM!

Then again, I love stuff in my chicken salad. Grapes, nuts, apples, celery, onion, dried cranberries, you name it - I like my chicken salad to be CHUNKY! I remember eating at a restaurant with my mom that served their chicken salad with pineapple and cashews - AMAZING!

The rest of the people in my family think I am totally gross. They eat it the boring way: chicken, mayo, salt, and pepper. That's it.

I always have to make mine separately. The other day, I felt like thinking outside the box and added some store bought trail mix. Yummy, yummy, yummy! :)

Trail Mix Chicken Salad works for me!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Heroic Deeds

Pin It Now!

"The grandest of heroic deeds are those which are performed within four walls and in domestic privacy."  ~Jean Paul Friedrich Richter

I read this quote in a fiction book I'm reading, Mine Is the Night, and it really spoke to me as a stay-at-home mom.

I have no regrets, and I truly believe I am living out one of my callings. There's truly no place I'd rather be than at home raising my kids, however, that doesn't for one minute mean it's always easy.

I know what it's like to feel crazy tired by day's end, to feel irritated by whiny little kids, to just want a few minutes alone to be able to think straight.

I know what it's like to feel like I'm really not doing anything that special or amazing, to feel like what I do doesn't really matter.

Sometimes I even felt trapped as a young mom, tied down to feeding schedules and nap schedules. I really felt trapped after my family moved to AZ six years ago. We had to leave our second vehicle behind, so I was literally "withing four walls" All. Day. Long. We were finally blessed with a car for a little while but then had to go right back down to one car. Those were some of my longest stay-at-home-mom days ever.

But we made the best of it, and we survived with no lasting scars. :)

I love that I have been able to spend so many hours with my kids. It really is the simple things - reading books, playing games, going to the park, putting puzzles together, cuddling on the couch watching cartoons . . .

They are older now - my baby will be 8 this year - and I do have more freedom which is pretty nice. But occasionally I miss those days. I don't ever look back and think, ya know, I spent too much time with my kids. Those years seem like a whisper in the wind.

I am by no means a heroine, but I do hope that one day my kids will look back upon their childhoods with fond memories and realize how much I love them!

If I had one piece of advice to pass on to young mamas who are at home all day with their kids, it would be this: EMBRACE this phase of your life and ENJOY it because it doesn't last forever!

Image Credit

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Goal Not Achieved

Pin It Now! I love games, especially games that have to do with being fast. That's probably why I loved playing Boggle with my mom.

I have fond memories of playing Boggle with her when I'd visit her in the summers. (I now only live 30 minutes away, yea!) I'd get my little ones put to bed and we'd stay up playing Boggle. We'd play while they napped, too. We even figured out a way to shake the letters without making too much noise. :)

So, my hubby, knowing how much I used to enjoy Boggle, introduced me to Wordament. And, yes, he was right; I liked it and quickly became addicted. You gotta love a game when you can beat your spouse at it, right?

My goal for Christmas break was to make it in the top 15. The top 15 are always displayed after every game. Y'all, I was 1 point away from 15! Oh, how it broke my heart. Not really, but it did kind of stink.

Now that school is back in session, I don't have much time for Wordament. I play every now and again, and I've gotten close to 15 but still haven't achieved my goal. I guess I should just be content with making it to #16 out of 1,885 people, huh?

My proof. ;) Glad hubby taught me how to take a screen shot with my phone!
Anybody else play Wordament?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Would You Eat a Hobbit in a Hole?

Pin It Now! My oldest printed off a recipe the other day ~ Hobbit in a Hole by Bombur. Sounds way too fun for Middle Earth fans to pass up. So, that's what he (I helped a little) made for lunch this past Saturday.

For the recipe, just click the above link. There are also other Hobbit recipes to try as well. :)

Our personal tips for this recipe:

*We baked it at 350° (The recipe didn't say.)

*We baked it for about the full 30 minutes.

*I will grease the pan first next time. :)

*We just used breakfast sausage links instead of bangers - English sausage. (Probably similar, though)

*If we made this again, we'd probably use 2 packages of sausage instead of one, or we'd use a smaller dish than a 9x13.

*It would be so yummy with that southern white gravy. One problem, though. The one time I tried to make this for my southern bred husband - Total Epic Fail! :(

*My hubby poured syrup over his helping. Yum!

Linked to Tasty Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Unexpected Journey Continues

Pin It Now! Recently, I reminisced about how Middle Earth has impacted our lives for the past 9 years. (If you missed out on how it all began, feel free to catch up by clicking the link.)

Well, the journey has indeed continued. It was quite a Hobbity Christmas at our house.

Shiloh spent her very own money on a Gandalf key chain for her big brother.

Hobbit Legos® galore

Hobbit action figures

Hobbit Poster, so cool!

 Our dear friends blessed our family with this beautiful Hobbit book. If you want to see what girl dwarves look like, this is the book. Oh, and I saw way too much up close and personal nasty stuff regarding the Goblin King. Ew. ;) It's a really neat book!

Lincoln loves combining different Legos® to create cool scenes. Isn't it fun to be a kid?!

Over Christmas break, my hubby took Lincoln and a friend to see The Hobbit in 3-D. So, now they've seen it twice already. I can't wait for it to come out on DVD so I can be a total nerd and watch all the behind-the-scenes stuff!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Eleven ~ The Calm Before the Storm

Pin It Now! Since I've already experienced one child turning 11 over two years ago, I know to cherish every single minute of my middle son being 11. :)

Still a sweetness, an innocence at this age. No raging hormones holding my son hostage. Still, for the most part, a child's voice. A good age.

I do, on occasion, miss chunky cheeks, chubby feet, and slobbery kisses. So forgive me for posting just a couple of little boy pics. Seems so long ago . . .

Not so little anymore.

So, every year my kids get to pick the meal they want to eat on their birthdays. I have to say this is the easiest birthday meal I've ever made. Chicken nuggets and french fries. And, no, they are not homemade. Seriously, I hardly ever buy these, but I obliged for his birthday. ;)

And mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. Of course he wanted the kind with food coloring. I much prefer Breyer's, but it wasn't my birthday.

And the celebrating continued on Sunday with friends after church. Barro's pizza for lunch, doughnuts for dessert, and an afternoon of playing football.

Again, easiest dessert I have ever had to make. Gone are the days of weeks of preparation to pull off those perfectly themed parties! I guess it's a boy thing because I don't think I could ever outgrow themed parties. :)

Happiest of birthdays to my son who makes me smile, laugh, cry, and bang my head against the wall. I couldn't imagine my life without my Lincoln!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"Thievesday" Laundry

Pin It Now!
Well, I decided to finally try Thieves® Household Cleaner in the washing machine.

I've had sickness in the house since right after Christmas (why can't the kids all get sick at once?), so I wanted to give blankets, sheets, towels, and comforters an extra dose of disinfecting!

I added about 1 capful to a large load. And It worked great. I worried about discoloration for nothing, but I'm not exactly ready to use it with my clothes. :)

My house sure does smell good when my kids are sick! Thieves® everywhere - in our mouths, in the air, in the laundry - you name it! I think it is safe to say that sickness is finally at bay. Whew!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Jobs for Tweens and Teens Under Age 16

Pin It Now!

Chore money can only go so far. With a fixed amount of chore money that my kids can earn each week, it can be difficult to save up for more expensive items. I've been so grateful for other job opportunities my boys have been given in order to earn extra money.

Pet Sitting: In our old neighborhood, our next door neighbors would travel several times a year, and our boys would take turns taking care of their dog. All they had to do was make sure it had fresh water and feed it twice a day. It was a great and easy way to earn extra $!

Recycling: For the past couple of years, it's been my middle son's responsibility to do the recycling. As a reward, we let him save all of the cans, crush them, and turn them in for money. Dad takes him to the recycling place once every few months, and my son earns an average of about $20 each time. Last weekend, though, he made $35! As a family we don't go through very many cans, so without Grandpa donating to the cause, he wouldn't be making as much. ;)

Helping with a Family Business: My hubby and I aren't exactly the entrepreneur type, so we don't have a family business. But my dad does. In the summers, my boys help their grandpa take care of yards and homes which belong to people who don't live here during the unbearably hot summers. It's hard, sweaty work, but my boys love the extra money and being able to spend time with their grandpa. :)

Selling Items on Ebay: After taking a course on (I think it was Micro Business for Teens), my oldest (13) was inspired to put his learning into action. Since I really didn't want him in my kitchen, he settled on starting up an ebay "store." Really it's just an account, but he's named it and has sold a few items earning him some extra cash. He's sold a few of his own things, and he's sold a few things for friends. And, of course, he takes a chunk of the profit. :)

Well, those are the only ways in which our kids have been able to earn extra money, but I asked my facebook friends and fellow crewmates (who are part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew) to share their ideas as well.


Teaching/Tutoring (School subjects or musical instruments)

Selling items on Amazon

Mowing Lawns

Doing Other Types of Yardwork  (raking leaves, pulling weeds, etc.)

Washing Windows

Making and selling Crafts
Helping with Techy Stuff
  • designing backgrounds, buttons, etc.
  • helping set up websites, linking, creating power points, slideshows, etc.
Car Detailing

Breeding Animals

Walking Dogs

Scooping Dog Poop

Cleaning Houses

Shoveling Snow

Cleaning Garages/Attics


I also did some research online, and here's a site that had a lot of great ideas, too.

Feel free to add your ideas in the comments!

Image Credit

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Amazing Avocado Dip

Pin It Now!

Why is it always so difficult to get kids to eat green stuff??

Mullin has been the least picky of all our dear children. Goodness, Lincoln and Shiloh have been so picky about what goes into their bellies. I used to stir vegetable powder into Lincoln's yogurt when he was a toddler. Recently I "hid" smashed avocado in Shiloh's turkey and cheese sandwich, and she ate it!! I know technically avocados aren't vegetables, but at least they are GREEN!

Speaking of avocados, here is a delicious recipe for some dip.

Amazing Avocado Dip

*1 avocado
*2 tsp. fresh lime juice
*1/2 c. fresh, chopped cilantro
*1/4 c. chopped, red onion
*2 tsp. minced garlic cloves
*1/4 tsp. salt

Monday, January 07, 2013

Word for 2013

Pin It Now! I don't really do the whole New Year's Resolution thing. I do have a good reason, and I wrote about it last January.

I really liked the idea of a New Year's Word, though. Last year my word was BELIEVE.

About half way into the year I felt a new word impressing itself upon me. Deny. Not the most cheerful of words. Definitely not one you'd find showcased upon someone's wall in beautiful vinyl letters. But I knew God wanted me to meditate upon it.

One way in which my faith became action was in denying myself too much food. I had needed to lose 10 lbs. for quite sometime, well ever since I had my last baby, which was in June of 2005. Never seemed to be able to shake those 10 lbs. that settled right around my middle. Bleh. Anyway, slowly but surely, by denying myself more food than my body needed, I had lost those 10 lbs. by the first of December (2012). Yea!

In October of last year, I was able to go on my first women's retreat. Each lady drew a random word (folded up so you couldn't see it) upon arriving. Mine - Quietness. I sort of laughed to myself and joked with a couple of friends and thought, Really, my word is quietness? When I'm about to be around a bunch of women for the first time in ages, my word of all words is quietness??

I am already an overall quiet person who loves quiet and makes time for quiet every single day.  I really don't like noise, people. Why would I need to focus on the word quietness?

What's funny, too, is that my phone stopped having a signal once we arrived on the camp's property. I thought it was because we were out "in the middle of nowhere" but everyone else's phone worked. Hmmm. Well, not having a phone signal definitely helped with the whole quietness thing.

It wasn't until Saturday during time spent alone with God that I truly began to hear God's voice about His word chosen for me. Surrounded by His beautiful creation, in the quiet of nature, I heard things that I don't normally take the time to hear. The way the wind sounds as it trickles through rustling, autumn leaves. The chirrups of unfamiliar insects. The buzzing of curious bees.

As I read my verses having to do with Quietness, I began to realize what God was trying to tell me. I need quietness within the deepest part of my soul. I need quietness of spirit. Having quietness on the outside doesn't mean there's true quietness on the inside. My mind has a tendency to have a difficult time shutting off. Quietness, being alone with God undisturbed, is essential to my spiritual health.

Guess what? After that quiet time, my phone's signal came back. :)

There's so much more I could say about Quietness, but I guess I need to move on to my new word for 2013 . . .

Over the past few years God has really humbled me. It was a rough road for our family during the economic crisis. I have written plenty about it in other posts, so I won't go into it here. But, as we continue to recover and get back on our feet, I want to remain humble.

Being humble definitely goes against my natural instincts, but God resists the proud. I don't want Him to resist me. May I live my life in humility.

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves, therefore under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time."  ~ 1 Peter 5:5b-6

Linking up with Weiser Academy

Thursday, January 03, 2013

"Thievesday" Using Thieves During Sickness

Pin It Now!
We are not antibiotic users, so Thieves® essential oil comes in handy during times of illness such as fever, colds, flu, sore throats, etc. It's a great natural alternative in my opinion.
Many of Young Living's oil blends cannot be used internally, but Thieves® made with Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon bark, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary can be taken internally for extra immune protection.
There are suggested internal use tips in the Thieves pamphlet on page 5, but I am going to only list the ways in which our family members have used it. All three of my children have used it internally. My children are now 7, 11 in just a few days, and 13, but I probably started using it on my youngest when she was 4 or 5.
Internal Use Tips
  • Add a couple of drops of oil to a large glass of water and drink. (Not my favorite way, but my oldest will do this.)
  •  Mix 1-2 drops of oil into a spoonful of raw honey and take several times a day.
  • Add a few drops to a small mixture of raw honey and freshly squeezed lemon. (I will keep the mixture on the counter and give a spoonful to my sick child several times a day until it is gone.)
  • Put a drop or two directly on the tongue.  (I actually put the oil directly on my tonsils - my hubby thinks I am totally weird.)

Oil on my tonsils explanation . . .
I didn't read about doing this anywhere. One morning when I awoke with a scratchy feeling in my throat, I decided to put Thieves® directly on my tonsils to see if it would prevent me from getting a full-blown sore throat.
I just dabbed a drop on my finger and then proceeded to rub each tonsil gently but quickly so I didn't gag. It worked! I have used it in this way many times since then, and sometimes I even do it for prevention's sake.
External Use Tips
  • Diffuse oil to help purify the air
  • Rub a couple of drops onto the bottoms of the feet for quick absorption
  • Rub a couple of drops onto swollen glands (I repeat several times a day.)

*  When using Thieves® on your skin, you may need to dilute it with a carrier oil. I like to use coconut oil, but honestly, I mostly use it neat - without diluting. I haven't had any issues with skin sensitivity yet.

** Thieves® isn't the only oil I use during illness. Some of my other favorites to use are lavender, eucalyptus, Purification, R.C., and peppermint. (Except for peppermint, I don't use the others internally.)

Other Posts in This Series

Declaring Thursday "Thievesday"

Remineralization of My Child's Tooth

More About Teeth


Household Cleaner

*Updated 1/23/2013

Linked to: Healthy 2day Wednesday 


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Tip

Pin It Now!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Tip

Tip: To make cookies that are a little bit crispier on the outside but still soft and chewy in the middle, refrigerate cookie dough for 2 hours or more. When the dough is cold and firm, shape into balls, place on cookie sheet, and bake as you normally would.

I baked mine at 350° for about 10-12 minutes. I did notice that I had to bake these cookies longer than cookies made from soft, warm dough. I just watched them very carefully since I didn't want the outside to get too crispy. :)

For the life of me I can't remember where I heard or read about this tip, but I tried it the other day and it worked! I like how the cookies turned out flatter, too.

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Pin It Now! I am a total party pooper when it comes to staying up late even on New Year's Eve. When you're a seasoned insomniac, you just can't afford to take the chance, even for one night, that a new insomnia cycle will commence.

Yes, one night of insomnia usually starts a round of more nights of insomnia. The more tired I get the more I can't fall asleep. It doesn't make sense, I know, but it's just the way it is for me. *Sigh*

Also, I seem to have a window of opportunity when it comes to being able to fall asleep. So, if I miss it, insomnia ensues.

Can anyone relate?

I have found a few things that help in this area, so things are much better than they used to be, but I want to keep it that way!!

Anyway, enough about my sensitive sleeping issues, I still had a great New Year's Eve!

I don't ever plan anything big for New Year's - I don't make cute New Year's Eve crafts with my kids or plan a special meal. By the time Christmas is over, I am plumb out of creative energy and festiveness!!

I woke up on New Year's Eve and decided to make coconut walnut pancakes. Delicious. Then, I spent the rest of the morning shopping and spending Christmas money. THANK YOU, THANK YOU sweet family members for Christmas money!!! It isn't often I get to spend money on things I want - ya know, the fun stuff - so I had a blast! Here's a taste of what I've been spending my money on . . .

My hubby and I have wanted to make a wall frame collage for over a year with pictures we had made in November 2011. I can't wait to finish it. For my design I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest of course!

I've also been able to spend some money on clothes and some beauty products ~ yea! It really is nice to be able to have outfits to choose from now. :)

On New Year's Eve as a family, we spent time sitting around our new fire pit. (Thanks again for Christmas money!) I may have a reason to sort of like my backyard now. ;) Mmmm - chilly night, hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows, and sweet family fellowship. Well, most of the fellowship was sweet anyway. (Goofy kids and certain "noises" can kind of sour the mood quick!)

Happy New Year Everybody!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...