An Exciting Summer Camp for MOMS!!!

An Exciting Summer Camp for MOMS!!!

I am SO excited to announce that I have put together a GREAT Summer Camp for Moms!

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Now, before you run to the storage and start digging around for your old backpack and sleeping bag…..hold on!  This camp is going to take place online.  Yep, that’s right.  You get to sleep in your own bed and have all the air-conditioning you want.  But at the same time, you’ll be making new friends, getting camp-style encouragement and being refreshed.  We moms need a break too!

From July 4-August 12 we will be hanging out together and getting uplifted.  When you sign up for Mom’s Summer Camp….aka Camp Gimmeabreak…you’ll be added to our camp Facebook group where we will have daily morning encouragement, pray for each other, share healthy encouragement and even have a weekly bonfire with special guests.  Every Monday you will get an email with a video from me, a list of ideas for making your week shine and some tips for building great summer memories!  We will be going through my book, “Mama Needs a Do-Over“, so be sure to pick that up before camp starts next week!

Before you start to think, “This might be too much for me to do….I have a FULL schedule already!” let me assure you that I understand!  These are full days for all of us, so I am making sure that there are no hard assignments or overwhelming actions that will keep you from getting through camp.  This is exactly what you need….a few weeks of summer fun just for MOM!

So, how do you sign up?!  Well it’s super simple!  Just click HEREto get started!  Tell all of your friends and spread the word…this is gonna be a great way to escape the summer blahs!

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And I have a LOT of surprises up my sleeve for this time we will spend together.  You DO NOT want to miss a second of it!

See you around the campfire!

 

How to Keep a Simple Summer Menu

How to Keep a Simple Summer Menu

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Do you stick to a tight schedule in the summer or do you keep it foot loose and fancy free?  Me, I’m a little of both.  When there’s a lot going on I keep it tight, carefully planning how we will manage the time away from home and still keep the house clean and food on the table.  But if we aren’t traveling or keeping appointments I’m all “Get up whenever you want and feed yourself.”  It’s those times I will lounge around like a movie star who has nothing to do but ask the servants for more ice.

Over on the Tommy Nelson blog I’ve shared my 5 Tips for Keeping a Summer Schedule.  It’s how I manage things when we have a lot going on.  Like right now, I am getting ready to be gone all next week to Utah (Young Living Convention here I come!) and I am using all of the tips from that post!  Since two of my older kids are going with me and my husband will be home with the younger boys, there’s a lot of meal planning and organizing to do.

But the week after that I am planning on doing n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  This means we will be lounging and not cleaning or cooking if I can help it.  We do have to survive though, so I have a list of staples that we keep around for those weeks when Mom needs a break and the kids just want to swim, eat, swim, repeat.  With these things in the pantry it’s super easy to put together meals with very little cleanup.

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Here’s what I will have on hand:
corn chips (I buy big boxes of them at Costco or Sam’s Club…actually I buy a lot of this there)
refried beans
tomato sauce
rice
almonds

elbow macaroni (including a gluten-free option)
shredded cheese (again, a huge bag)
rice or almond milk
yogurt
eggs

bread (GF bread for those who need it)
bone broth (I make it and it’s ready to eat for any snack or meal)
carrot sticks
lettuce
apples
bananas
berries

onions
popsicles (I’ve been making NingXia Red popsicles that are amazing!)
ground beef, cooked and seasoned
chicken, cooked and seasoned and cut up or shredded
hot dogs
buns
corn tortillas

I also keep the makings for my Taco Soup around so we can throw that together.  I know it’s not really soup weather, but its so easy to make and very satisfying.  We can just heat & eat it when we are hungry.

With this list of ingredients we can make: nachos, burritos, macaroni with chicken, macaroni with cheese, hot dogs, cereal, smoothies, simple salad, simple soup, chicken & rice, chicken sandwiches, sloppy joes, burgers, eggs and toast, and many other random experiments.  Now, this is assuming there are already spices and oils in the pantry.

For instance, I can shred lettuce, chop carrots and almonds to sprinkle over the lettuce, drizzle with whatever dressing we have in the fridge and it’s an easy salad.  Or mix the seasoned ground beef with a little cooked onion, tomato sauce and whatever spices we have and serve over rice (Do you have a rice steamer?  Um, you need one!).  Really, we just wing it.  As long as there’s protein and produce at every meal we’re good.

It’s not a super healthy menu, but quick and easy for the kids.  When I am not laying around ignoring my responsibilities we have a healthier menu.  But everyone loves this style of casual eating….I just lay out some things on the list, cut up some veggies or fruit and they make their own concoctions.

Oh, and don’t forget the paper plates!  That is KEY to an easy summer menu.  I keep them in the cabinet right next to the real plates so they’re easy to grab.

As for drinks, we are water all the way.  We very rarely have anything else so drinks are not on my shopping list.  But once in a while I’ll buy soft drinks to have around for a family movie night or when we have friends over.  I keep the soft drinks hidden away in the extra fridge so the kids don’t really notice them, otherwise they’d be gone before the end of the day I bought them..

Whether you have a crazy summer schedule or laid back lazy days, or like me, a little of both, getting organized will go a long way toward a smooth and enjoyable time.

Stay cool my friend!

If you have more summer menu tips, hop over to Facebook and share them with us!  We’d all love to hear!

The Best Memories Are Made When Things Go Wrong

The Best Memories Are Made When Things Go Wrong

How can I sum up a whirlwind weekend of travel and mishaps?  In three words: hot, draining and delightful.

Last summer our oldest daughter moved to Dallas last to live with my amazing sister-in-law and this past weekend she was moving out of their house and into a house shared with 2 other girls.  But she needed bedroom furniture.  Simple things, a bed, dresser, desk and a few odds and ends.

I was finally going to be able to prove to my husband that my obsession with keeping furniture piled up in our storage building is worth it.

So last Thursday I rummaged around in there and found what we needed, except a bed which I have no extras of, and loaded it all into our 15-passenger van.  We’ve had this van since the dawn of time and it’s got some wear and tear.  But since it was supposed to rain, we decided to use it to carry the furniture so we didn’t have to figure out tarps, etc.  We removed 3 of the 4 benches and everything fit with a little room to spare.

In order to tell this story, you have to know that something weird started happening with our van a couple of weeks ago.  We suspect it has something to do with all of the rain we’ve been having, but who knows really.  That’s just our theory.  First one of the side doors wouldn’t open from the outside.  The handle did nothing.  So we had to reach in from the front door and pull the latch from the inside.  OK, not super convenient, but we can do that.  Then one of the back doors did the same thing.  So now we had to crawl to the back and open that from the inside too.  A bit less convenient, but onward and upward, as they say.

On Saturday morning we got up early to make the 5.5 hour drive to Dallas only to discover that the side door wouldn’t open at all.  Not from the inside or the outside.  So NOW we all have to get in and out of the van through the front doors and CLIMB to the back.  Nice.  Can you say “Redneck”?

But it got worse.  Hang on.

We got to Dallas, unloaded at the new place (climbing in through the front door and crawling over all of the furniture to the back to open the door from the inside), then went to my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents house to pick up a box spring they were loaning her.  “Hi, nice to meet you, thanks for letting us borrow this.  Hang on while I get my 13 year old to crawl through the driver’s door to the back of the van so we can load it up.”  On the way back to my daughter’s house we stopped at Sam’s Club to get a mattress….same story.  He kept cheerfully crawling over the furniture to open the back door for us.

When we got back to the house to deliver the bed, my son did his thing, headed to the back of the van to open the door, and guess what.  Yep.  The door wouldn’t open at all.  We stood there stunned.  I mean, really?  WE HAVE A BED BACK THERE!!!

My daughter’s boyfriend made his way inside to the back of the van and worked on it with nothing but YouTube videos and a paint can opener.  The girls had NO tools.  While he did that, my boys and I removed what we could through the front doors, even getting the mattress out.  But there was no way we could get the box springs out.  After an hour we gave up on the back door and started trying the side door.  That took another half hour and I was beginning to think I was going to have to go buy a box spring, strap it to the top of my daughter’s car and just keep the boyfriend’s parent’s box spring forever in the back of my van.

Finally, after another 20 minutes, my other daughter got her tiny hand up in the side door mechanism and clicked it open.  SWEET RELIEF!

Since we have never been able to it again, we think it was just a God-thing.  He had mercy on us before we all fainted from heat strokes.

We took the bed out, made triple sure we didn’t need to have the door open anymore and went to close the door only to discover it wouldn’t close.  Um, this might be a bigger problem.

I will spare you the rest of the details except to say that we did finally get it closed about 40 minutes later, went to get food and collapsed.

The next day we evaluated what more she needed to get her room organized and decided she needed some shelves.  So I headed to IKEA (only 20 minutes away….dreamy!) and I wish you had seen us in the IKEA parking lot pushing huge boxes through the front window into the back of the van.  I know people were wondering why we didn’t just open the back door and set it in.

But we do like an adventure and as much trouble as it all was, memories were made and everybody had a great time.  Well, maybe not the boyfriend whose legs cramped from sitting on the floor in the back of the van for an hour.  But he never complained.

I started to feel like I needed to repay him somehow.  Then I remembered that I am essentially giving him my firstborn child, so I got over it.

We hung around until around 3:00 Sunday assembling IKEA furniture (I bought tools while I was out as a contribution to the girl’s house) and enjoying being together.  Oh, and did I forget to mention that the A/C in my daughter’s new place was out?  Uh huh.  I have had my quota of heat for the summer.

When we got back home Sunday night, I was retelling the whole adventure to my husband, who sat quietly and listened to me unfold the details all about the heat and the bed and the van doors and feeling faint a few times.  I told him about my daughter’s little room and how we figured out the best arrangement and got her all settled.  I apologized for spending more money on her furniture than we had planned.  When I finally stopped talking he just smiled at me and said, “You loved every minute of it, didn’t you?”

Yep, I sure did.

8 Summer Vacation Helpful Tips AND a Terrific SHOE Giveaway!!!

8 Summer Vacation Helpful Tips AND a Terrific SHOE Giveaway!!!

This post contains affiliate links.

Have you made any summer vacation plans?  I know many of you are going to be packing up and heading somewhere this summer.  I have several trips planned myself that I am super excited about!

I get so many questions asking for Disney advice or airplane tips, since I have been so many times now.  You might notice, however, that no one asks me for camping tips.  I’m not a camper since I’m a big fan of air-conditioning and indoor showers.

If you're traveling this summer, here are some great tips for travel PLUS a favorite travel shoe giveaway!

 

Anyway, I love sharing what I have learned from my experience of traveling, especially from my Disney and Universal trips.  Traveling to Disney or anywhere you’ll be walking all day long, high activity and crowds is a whole different kind of vacation.  You walk so much that your feet need extra care, the heat is a problem and sometimes people cry.  Or is that just me?

I’ve discovered products that help make traveling easier and simple tips to smooth out the bumps.  And there are always bumps.  That’s my first tip….

7 great tips for summer travel, product recommendations PLUS a favorite travel show giveaway!

  1. Expect there to be problems.  No matter how well you plan your trip, there will be kinks along the way.  Tires go flat, lines get long, rain pours, people get sick, it can’t be helped.  That’s part of it, the messiness.  That’s what adds the flavor to the memories.A couple of years ago we went to Disney World with 11 people: James, me and 9 kids (although a few of them were over 18, we still call them kids).  It was 3 hotel rooms, 33 meals every day, no one replying to text messages, not knowing where half of them were most of the time, etc.  After a couple of days I had a Mom-meltdown and started crying in the lobby of our resort, like bawling.  The kids stood around me like I was a display in a freak show, not knowing what to do.  Should they pet me or walk away and pretend not to know me?  We laughed about it later, it was pretty funny.  On another day we were so late for our dinner reservation that we had to wait until about 9PM to eat.  We sat on the sidewalk outside the restaurant like beggars, waiting to get some food tossed out to us.  Those things weren’t part of our plan, but honestly, they are some of the funniest memories.  Make the best of those hard times and let them add to the fun! (the crying wasn’t fun, but even in the middle of it I could see the humor of how ridiculous I looked)
  2. Relax.  Active trips can make you forget to just relax.  Parents all around you will be begging their screaming children to stop crying.  Bribery (“Want an ice cream cone?!”), empty threats (“If you don’t stop that we are going to leave.”) and throwing their hands up in exasperated defeat is what you will witness everywhere you turn.  You don’t have to be one of those parents.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, take a step back and relax.  Sit down with your kids (this is MUCH better than having a meltdown in a resort lobby) and chill for a minute.  Yes, you might miss something, but in the end you will be better for it.  There’s always plenty to do on these trips, so if you miss a Fast Pass just let it go or try to get another one.  If you don’t make it to a show because you were resting, so be it.  You will enjoy your trip so much more if you slow down.
  3. Eat well.  This is tough, but if you eat well you’ll have a much better time if you eat as healthy as possible!  Even if you’re dining out for every meal, you can stick close to lean protein and veggies as much as possible.  Instead of giving the kids a bunch of sugary treats, stick with fruit, water, hummus, veggie sticks, etc.  You can find these on the snack plan at Disney or you can bring them with you.  Here’s a post about how I went to Disney without eating sugar!
  4. Wear comfortable shoes.  Before my last trip to Disney a few weeks ago I was on a mission to find shoes that would keep my feet from hurting after walking over 20,000 steps every day for 7 days.  I don’t ask for much….comfortable, water proof, and look really cute.  I went out three times and looked for shoes.  I could wear sneakers, but it’s really miserable once they get wet and it almost always rains in Florida.  I could wear my Birks, but they tend to hurt my feet after a few thousand steps and they also don’t do well in water since they’re leather.  I tried everything from Chacos to Crocs and nothing worked.  I love my Otz shoes, which is what I wore the past few trips, but they get ruined in the rain and I didn’t want to lose another pair.

    I was just about to give up when I found the perfect shoe.  I saw it on my way out of my last store, giving up all hope.  I’m pretty sure a sunbeam was shining right on them so I couldn’t miss it….a sign from God that this was the answer to my search.  They’re made by Oofos.  They had all of my requirements….comfy, cute and waterproof!  And believe me, I tested them thoroughly by wearing them for my entire trip and my feet never hurt at all!  I am not kidding, they gave my the arch support I need.  It feels like you’re walking on a cushion.  In fact, I am so amazed by them then whenever I run into anyone on the street or in the grocery store I make them try mine on so they can experience it for themselves.  Trust me, you want these shoes and they come in both between the toes (this is what I wore) or as strap over the foot (this is what my husband wore).I’m going to be wearing them all summer! (read all the way down to see how you can WIN a pair of these!)

  5. Stay cool!  Like I said above, I like air-conditioning.  But this is summer and it gets hot.  You have to be outside in the heat sometime.  So I found this great way to stay cool.  Or cool-er.  I used to carry a small fan with me and hold it up to my face when I got hot, but then some friends on Facebook told me about this little beauty!  It’s a fan you wear around your neck and it blows on your face.  Oh. My. Heaven!  I ordered two and I don’t care that it makes me look like I have on a medical alert necklace, I will be wearing it all summer!  I even added something extra to mine by putting a piece of sticky felt to the top and now I can add a drop of my favorite essential oil.  It blows the aroma right up to my face, which is perfect!!!  I’m going back to Orlando in September for Universal and this personal fan will be my BFF.7 great tips for your summer vacation with product recommendations AND a giveaway of the perfect vacation shoes!
  6. Stay hydrated.  Water, water and more water!  I decided to get a holder for my water bottle so it’s easy to access without my needing to hold it all the time.  I like my camelback backpack, but you can’t add essential oils to the water pouch on that.  You have to use glass or stainless steel when you’re adding oils, and I prefer stainless since it’s lightweight and not breakable.  I got this bottle holder that makes your water available to you hands free!  I wore it crossbody and even rode the rides with it still on with no problem.  You can buy the companion water bottle, but I found that a plastic bottle fits in it and so does the stainless steel bottle I already own.  I’m going to get a few more for the kids before we go to Universal in September so they can carry their own.7 great vacation tips with product recommendations AND a giveaway of the perfect pair of vacation shoes!
  7. You know I have to add my beloved essential oils to this list.  I can’t make a helpful travel list without including my oils.  They bless me so much on all of my travels both for the plane and through the exhausting days.  I carry around with me peppermint, PanAway, StressAway and Thieves (usually more but these are my must haves).  Those are all in the Premium Starter Kit that I am always talking about.  Plus I take a diffuser for the hotel room which is fantastic for eliminating odors and germs.  I make sure to have lemon, lavender and Purification with me for the room diffuser (also in the kit).  Using the oils while traveling helps me deal with the inevitable problems I mentioned in #1.
  8. Prayer.  I saved the best for last.  Places like Disney and Universal are incredible family trips, but there is a lot of pressure around any vacation.  What to pack, how to pay for it, what activities to do (because you can’t possible do it all), how to get there, keeping the kids (and Mom) happy, being patient with other travelers and the workers who are not always in a good mood are only a few of the hard things that we need help with.  Put on the armor of God be “prayed up” every day and throughout the day.   There is so much peace in His care….prayer is a vacation MUST!

Now…..you will LOVE this so be glad you read all the way to the end!  I reached out to the folks and Oofos and told them how much I loved my shoes and they offered to let me give away a pair to TWO of you!  HOW COOL IS THAT?!  You have got to enter as many times as you can to improve your chances of winning!  And if you don’t win, I urge you to go find where they sell them in your area and try them.  Or just believe me and order a pair for yourself right now!

7 great tips for summer travel PLUS a giveaway of my favorite pair of sandals for travel!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All in all, vacations are a blessing, but tiring and challenging.  These 8 things will help you no matter where you’re going and what you’re doing when you get there.  But especially if you’re planning a trip that is demanding, you’ll want to gear up and say those prayers!

And yes, I realize the picture says 7 things and the list has 8.  I didn’t realize it until after I had published and I was going to make a new graphic, but then I thought, “Nah.  My people don’t care about that,” and I moved on.  See?  There’s always a mess.

Have a great summer vacation!

If you liked this, you will also love “10 Ways to Lighten a Traveler’s Load” and “9 Things You Must Have at Disney“!

How I Went to Disney and Didn’t Eat Sugar

How I Went to Disney and Didn’t Eat Sugar

This post contains affiliate links.

I just got home from a marvelous, magical Disney vacation.  My husband and I went for a week….no kids.  My BFF and her husband went also, but we only hung out together a few times, mostly it was just my husband and I.  Disney isn’t just for kids, my friend.  There’s a LOT to do for grownups.

We went to Disney with just the two of us, no kids, no worries.

There’s also a lot to eat.  Like, a LOT.  We did the Disney Dining Plan, which means each day we had one sit down restaurant meal, one quick service meal and one snack.  Both daily meals come with a drink, entrée and dessert.  I am telling you, if you’re not careful you can spend the whole time just rolling around like a over-inflated tire feeling ill from overeating.

I made a promise to myself a couple of months ago to remove sugar from my diet.  Well, I actually removed a LOT of things, but sugar is one that I determined not to add back in even when I was on vacation.  This, when you are getting three desserts per day, is not an easy task!  But I did it…..I went the entire week without eating sugar.  I told myself that I could have one sugar dessert the entire trip, which I chose carefully.  I had an ice cream cone on the last day of our vacation at my favorite ice cream shop in Disney Springs, Ghirardelli.  That’s it.

I went to Disney World without eating sugar.  Here's why I did it and how I made it work!

If you’re wondering how I did it….I want to tell you.  But first let me express WHY this made my vacation so much better than any Disney trip I have taken before.

  1. I never got a post-sugar crash.  That lovely high you feel when eating a sweet treat, there’s always a crash that comes after.  But because I didn’t eat the sugar, I didn’t have any big lows.  That was really nice.  It definitely helped me keep my energy levels up and at Disney you need a lot of energy, even when you’re there with only slow-poke grownups.
  2. My good mood was easy!  I tend to get very grumpy when I eat a lot of sugar.  I kept that in mind as I made my food choices because I was enjoying my easy, joyful moods and I knew if I ate much sugar I would start to struggle to stay cheerful.  I still had a few of my normal ups and downs, but overall I found it SO much easier to get over things and relax.
  3. I didn’t gain 10 pounds.  I did gain a little, I mean, it’s not like I fasted!  Since I cut wheat, dairy, corn, potatoes and more out of my diet a few months ago, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from all of that.  I was definitely eating things that my body wasn’t used to.  I tried to order salad as much as possible, but occasionally I’d just get a burger.  I would eat the meat without the bun or only a little of the fries.  I never felt stuffed (except for this one steak meal that I ate like a pig).  I did gain a little weight from the trip, but nothing like the times when I have just had a sugar-free-for-all.
  4. I proved something to myself.  Honestly, I am not super strong when it comes to staying away from sweets.  I definitely have issues.  I kept telling myself that I could do it and thinking about how great I would feel knowing I did this very hard thing.

You can have a great time at Disney and not eay any sugar!!!  Here's how and why!

Interestingly, it got easier as the trip went along and as I found ways to get around the treats that came with my daily plan.  Here are the things I did to avoid the sugar and not feel deprived.  I mean, everywhere you look there’s someone eating a Mickey shaped ice cream bar or an apple on a stick covered in candy.  I had to make sure I was feeling treated and enjoying some snacks without the sugar.

  1. I read through the dining plan and discovered that for the quick meals it’s not actually “1 drink, 1 entrée, 1 dessert”.  It’s an entrée with 2 “snacks”.  In other words, you can substitute the dessert for anything that restaurant considers a snack!  So I would get my entrée with 2 water bottles.  I’d drink one with my meal and have the extra water to carry around the park with me afterward.  A couple of my restaurants had sparkling water so I would get that as my drink for a carbonated treat.
  2. I found snacks that weren’t sugary.  There are not a lot of non-sugar snacks, but they are around if you keep your eye out.  At some kiosks/restaurants you can get fruit, popcorn, pretzels, hummus cups, even a bagel or hot tea.  Also, the gift shops have candy that you can use as a snack option and so I used the snacks I had left on my account (I only used a few of my snacks credits the entire time) to get fun treats to bring home to the kids.  There’s a beautiful candy shop at the front of Magic Kingdom where you can get some darling take home gifts with your snack credits.
  3. I carried snacks with me.  Disney doesn’t care if you bring food into the parks, so don’t be nervous about it.  You don’t have to bury them under feminine products for the bag check.  It’s totally fine to bring snacks in.  So I carried nuts and my little GF-sugar-free crackers and ate them when I felt a need for an energy boost.
  4. I drank a LOT of water.  Did you know that any place they serve drinks will give you a free cup of ice water?  I made sure to keep myself hydrated.  The free cups are really small so I would just ask for 2 or 3.  That helped me not get as many cravings.  I carried a small stainless steel bottle that I could pour the ice water in and add a few drops of essential oils (like Slique, lemon or peppermint) and that felt like a cool treat!

    In choosing a water bottle, here are some things to look for (THIS is the one I use).  Trust Aunt Lisa, I learned from my mistakes.  You want your bottle to be insulated.  A non-insulated one will sweat and make the things in your pack get all wet and ruin your little package of Bandaids and your receipts, which your CPA husband might want, hypothetically.  You’ll need it to have an easy to use lid so you can take a sip while you’re walking in case the people you’re with won’t slow down even if you’re painfully thirsty.  Lastly, I ordered some of THESE holders so you don’t even have to put it in your pack if you don’t want to.  We will be using these for all the boys in September when we go to Universal!

  5. Speaking of adding oils to water, I carried 5 of them with me to the parks every day.  My Young Living oils make me feel like a princess.  I know it’s silly, but if you’re at Disney you are supposed to feel like a princess even if you’re in your 50s. They don’t talk much about it in the movies, but Cinderella had to get old at some point, right?  I mean, what does “happily ever after mean if not turning 50 and gaining weight?!  My oils are such a blessing and they are so precious to me because I can feel God’s love for me through them that it makes me feel spoiled to have them.  Here’s what I carried: peppermint, StressAway, lime, PanAway and FUN.  (yes, there’s an oil called FUN!)
Disney World is a place I use my oils a LOT!  Here are some tips for what to bring and also how to avoid sugar while you're there!

Now, I did have my one sugar treat on the last day and I have to say, it didn’t live up to my week long anticipation.  It tasted good, but after I ate it I wished I hadn’t.  It is such a momentary pleasure with long term consequences.  I felt sluggish for a while after that and didn’t want any more sugar.  So, when I ever go back I won’t even do that.  I will just enjoy the other great foods and leave the sugar to the whining kids and exhausted parents.

I want to encourage you that if you have removed sugar from your diet you can keep it up even on vacation!  It is well worth the effort.  Oh, and don’t feel sorry for my kids who stayed home while their parents went to Disney World.  We took them last November and they get to go to Universal Studios later this year.  They’re perfectly fine.

If you liked this you will also like, “9 Things you MUST Have at Disney” and my “Not-So-Scientific Experiment” about why I stopped eating sugar.

Thanks for stopping by!

Celebrating ALL MONTH LONG

Celebrating ALL MONTH LONG

I am over the moon excited about my essential oil deal this month!  I decided to do something extra special for the month of May to celebrate Mom all month long.  ‘Cuz moms are th’ BOMB!

So, you know I love my oils and how they have changed my life and how I can’t stop talking about them, right?  I remember before I ever got any essential oils wishing I could try them, then finally jumping in and ordering some, then letting them sit in the drawer for a long time. But one morning I decided to take them out where I could see them all the time and voila!  Instant love.  I started using them every day and soon wondered how I ever got along without them.

If you're not unsing your essential oils, maybe it's because they're not sitting out where you can see them everyday!

I have a large collection now because, well, I am hooked.  H-O-O-K-E-D.  I’d call it a problem, except they have rescued me so many times that I think of it more as a solution.  I want to encourage you that it took me time to build up my arsenal of oils by buying a little each month.  Keep going and you will have what you need!

Oils have made such a huge difference in my life that I want to share them with everyone!

Because I want you all to have a starter set to begin and that’s why this month I wanted to send my new members something special.  Because you all are SO special to me.  The members I work with are one of the HUGE blessings of being part of Young Living.  I have gotten to know some incredible people and been able to share in their journey toward natural health and wellness.  I love each person and pray for them regularly and I want to add you to my list!

Here’s what I am sending my May members who order the Premium Starter Kit:

1. A diffuser necklace – This is a small silver medallion necklace that opens up and holds a small pad that you can put oils on.  Then you have them on you all day long.  I have several diffuser necklaces and adore wearing them!
2. A bottle of Orange Vitality Oil – Orange is one of my favorite oils to combine with other oils in the diffuser or in water.  It boosts the flavor or scent of other oils and is a great way to extend the life of your more costly oils.
3. A great reference book – As soon as you get your kit you will want to explore ways to use them.  This is a very full book that will keep you perusing for hours (in fact, I keep one in the bathroom just to look through!).
4. A starter guide made just for you by our team – You will be added to an amazing team called Oily Families who has put together a simple starter guide to help you with just the oils in the kit.  It’s like the quick start guide when you receive your electronics….not comprehensive but a great thing to get you going.
5. Mama Needs a Do-Over – Yes, I am sending my book, which has nothing to do with essential oils and everything to do with finding joy through the hard days.  It’s a great read for moms and I wanted to add it to my gifts for new members this month to encourage you to be JOY-FILLED!

A great deal for May.....come join the Young Living family!

 

Oh!  And I will also add you to a great Facebook group where you can ask questions.

Isn’t that a great deal?!  That’s just the extra stuff from me to you.  That’s not even mentioning the incredible set of oils you will get when you order your kit.  Thieves Vitality, Lemon Vitality, Lavender, Peppermint Vitality, PanAway, Frankincense, Copiaba Vitality, Purification, RC, Digize Vitality & StressAway.  Plus you get a diffuser, some sample bottles for sharing, and a few other samples you will enjoy!  You can click HERE to see how I use the oils in the kit.

So what are you waiting for?!

Click HERE and go get signed up.  And be sure to join as a wholesale member so you get the 24% discount and other great deals.  You never have to sell if you don’t want to, you can just order for yourself if you want.

I’m so, so excited to add you to my list of oily friends!

Getting Ready for Summer

Getting Ready for Summer

Since I am traveling this week, I thought it would be great to share with you some posts you may have missed.  It’s the time of year when we all gear up for graduations, swimming, traveling and THE HEAT!

While I am traveling, be sure to follow my adventures over on Facebook and Instagram and even…yes I am going to say it….SnapChat.  I know, believe me I didn’t want to, but a couple of my kids are into it so there I went down that slippery slope.  You can find me there at “penningtonpoint”.  Trust me, you won’t see anything inappropriate on my feed, but I can’t speak for anyone else.

If you’re wondering what homeschoolers do for graduation, we have lots of options!  Many people I know pull together a group ceremony that’s very sweet and they often follow traditional graduations.  We have done several things.  Having graduated 5 kids, they’ve wanted different types of events.  The most recent one a couple of years ago was for two kids at once.  We had it at our house and it was a like a fun summer party.  We even built this yard game for the kids and it’s been reused and repainted several times since then, including for an outdoor wedding!  Another graduation a few ears earlier was more traditional.  We had it in a church and did a whole presentation, etc.  That was really nice too….it really depends on your style!

Now, what will we all be doing after graduations?  Getting the yard ready for summer of course!  A few years ago I built this deck beside my pool and got it all pretty for summer.  Since then I have moved stuff around, changed chairs and replaced pillows, but it’s never lost its charm!


Speaking of the pool, last summer we really struggled with our pool turning green.  It was such an ordeal getting it clear and keeping it that way.  I did a bunch of research and discovered that you can use regular old bleach for the pool, so that’s what we have done ever since and it’s been much better!  Right now we are getting it all cleaned out for swim season and I can’t wait for my first mid-morning escape!

Lastly, summer brings boredom.  Here’s a list of things to ask your kids when they say they are bored.  This list is the number one reason my kids never say that to me anymore.  wink-wink.

I hope you have a terrific week!

10 Ways to Lighten a Travel’s Load

10 Ways to Lighten a Travel’s Load

I’ve been planning a trip I have next week.  I am making lists and packing  and finding ways to reduce the amount of “stuff” I take.  I tend to be an overpacker, so I try at least shrink the size of the junk I am carrying.  If I have to have hairspray, then at least I can take a mini-bottle and not my 12″ monster.

I’ve got a few tips that I have learned over the past few years of traveling a lot.  With each trip I figure out something new, so I am sharing it here for 2 reasons: so you can use these tips if you want and so that I will remember them the next time.

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  1. Put supplements in teeny ziptop bags.  I take so many supplements that if I took all of the bottles it would take up 1/3 of my suitcase.  So I use teenty bags and make a little bag for each day with whatever pills I need.  This only takes up a speck in my travel bag.  For this I use a 2×3 bag.Great tips for reducing the amount of stuff you take when you travel!
  2. Pre-prepare your make-up remover.  I love my coconut oil + frankincense homemade makeup remover.  But I don’t need the entire amount for only a few days.  So I swipe a tissue in the remover and fold it up.  I make one for each day then stack them inside a small ziptop bag.  For this I use a 4×6 bag.
  3. Roll your clothes.  This tip has been around for years, but to add to it, I roll whole outfits together so I don’t have to dig around for the separate pieces when I am getting dressed each morning.  It really makes the mornings easier to have them all rolled together!
  4. Pack an extension cord.  This isn’t a reducing tip, but it is such a help and takes up hardly any space that I had to share it. You never know where the outlets are going to be wherever you’re staying.  Having an extension cord makes it easy to plug in chargers, fans, diffusers, whatever.  Plus it gives you a few extra places to plug in.  Just wrap it around the outside edges in the suitcase and it take up no room at all.
  5. Put your oils in sample bottles.  I travel with at least 20-30 essential oils so I need to reduce the size of the load.  If it’s one that I don’t need to put in the diffuser or use in my water, I like to put them in small roller top bottles.  I also get to use my label maker when I do this, which makes me happy.Great tips for reducing the stuff you need to take when you travel!
  6. Use an old spice jar for powder.  I love my powder and don’t want to be without it, but I keep mine in a large container I make it myself with cornstarch and essential oils).  So I put some in an empty McCormick’s spice jar and it’s perfect for travel.
  7. Audiobooks or Kindle.  One thing I love about traveling is getting time to read!  But I also get travel nausea if I look at teeny letters so an audiobook is the way to go for me.  I will have several books ready to start before leaving so I can enjoy them from the first minute!
  8. Take minimal makeup.  If you’re not going to an awards ceremony, leave the heavy makeup behind.  Dump out the old makeup bag and just take the 2-3 things you really need.  In my case that’s concealer and eyebrows.  Without those I look like I’m having a near death experience.  It’s really a favor to other people.
  9. Take a small purse.  I will fill up whatever size purse I have, so I take a small one that will only hold my essentials…money, ID, sunglasses, my phone, lip balm and a few teeny containers of oils.  Anything else I can do without and just enjoy the experience.
  10. Be fearless.  If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t take it!  Do you really need a whole package of batteries?  Or can you just take 2 from the package?  Instead of bringing along your shampoo bottle, put some in a small container that you can throw away once you’re finished with it.  Don’t take a whole tube of sunscreen, squirt some in a small ziptop bag and just use that!Instead of the entire pack of feminine products, count out how many you’ll need per day and just take that.  Those small changes will significantly lighten your load!

I tried to find some other great travel tips online for y’all so we could learn from the pros.  I’m sure there is a lot of useful info out there, but all I could find were super cool people traveling all over the world and experiencing life in a way that I can’t even think about.  Many of these blogs think a great place for a weekend break is somewhere like Morocco when I’m thinking more like hanging out at the nearest state park eating chickfila.  We just have different ideas.  And budgets.

While I am sure there are many great, more down to earth sites out there…great blogs with travel tips that are more my speed, Google wasn’t finding them for me.  Clearly I need to up my game though because I never go anywhere fascinating, unless we can count all of the countries in the back of Epcot.  If we get to count that then I am totally a world traveler!

Speaking of, I do have a post with 9 things you must have if you go to Disneyworld.  And here’s how I did the city of Chicago in one day all by myself!  And if you’re going to conferences of retreats, here’s one that you will like!

If you have more, hop over to Facebook and leave them in the comments….we’d all love to hear ’em!

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

Weddings & Water & Wrecks….OH MY!

I expected this past weekend to be long, but I had no idea it would be like a piece of taffy being stretched, and stretched and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d.  It just wore me out.

We had 2 weddings to attend, each in different towns.  “OK,” I told myself, “You can do this, you just have to be prepared.”  I got the clothes ready in advance and made sure the car was gassed up and cleaned out.  Meals ready – check.  Plans for the kids that need rides – check.  Hard working husband taken care of – check. (he couldn’t go to any weddings because he’s a CPA and it was tax season weekend)

My 5 youngest kids and I headed early Saturday morning to Austin (2.5 hours away) for the wedding of one of my son Jacob’s best friends.  This is a precious family and I was looking forward to what I knew would be a Christ-centered ceremony.  It was absolutely lovely and I was glad we went.  But as an introvert, I find those things hard, mainly the reception.  I didn’t really know anyone and wasn’t likely to start up a new relationship, so I sat there at my table being mostly anti-social.  I did chat with a few people here and there, but overall I kind of felt out of place.  I wondered as I looked around the room if that happens to everyone or if I am the only person who often feels like a bird in the wrong cage.  What do you do in those situations?  Do you just walk up and talk to people?  Do you pretend to be busy feeding your kids?  Do you sit like a wallflower not talking?  I don’t expect answers to these questions.  I’m just pondering out loud.  Introvert problems.

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We left the reception and headed to have dinner with my daughter who lives in the same town.  We had a nice time with her and just as we were wrapping up and getting ready to drive the 2.5 hours home I got a call.  My oldest son Jacob (who had taken his own car to the wedding and stayed after to hang out with his friends) had been in an accident.  He wasn’t hurt and the woman in the other car was fine, but his vehicle was not drivable.

Now, this kind of thing shakes a mama to the core.  I had that angry/terrified/panic/relief feeling that sends adrenaline through your system and turns you into a mother bear.  “Get in the car kids…drop the burger and let’s go!! Jacob needs us!”  We left the restaurant, dropped my daughter off at her apartment and headed back to the area where the accident had taken place (near the wedding venue).

When I saw my son I may have hugged him a little too hard and hung on too long.

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Once I saw that he was OK I felt a little better.  We said our goodbyes (again) to the wedding party and made the long drive home in the dark, trying to forget the traumatic end to what was otherwise a lovely day.  We made it home and I was so tired, but still pretty wired from the excitement, so it took me a couple of hours to fall asleep.  If not for my oils I probably would have been awake all night.

Then it was Sunday and another wedding.  This time it was the son of one my MY best friends and in the opposite direction of the Saturday wedding.  We all decided earlier in the week that only two of us would go, the younger kids really don’t know this family well and we knew we would be wiped out from the day before.  My daughter and I would attend alone and enjoy some togetherness.  We ran a few errands in the city then headed to the wedding venue in the late afternoon, which was a bit out in the country.  We got about 6 miles away when it started to rain.  Hard.  Like, I can’t see the road at all kind of rain.

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I slowed to about 20 mph and inched my way to the location.  Each time we contemplated just pulling over and waiting it out the rain would let up enough that we could see a little better.  Finally, after a few scary low water crossings we made it.  Whew!  Next problem: we had to park about 50 yards from the building and we had no umbrella.  We sat in the car trying to decide what to do.  Do we sit and hope it lets up or do we make a run for it?  We ran.

And I am not kidding you, we may as well have jumped in the river.  We were soaked down to our panties, hair was stuck to our heads, my makeup was smearing all down my face.  Have you ever been to a wedding with no eyebrows?  ‘Cuz I have and it’s not pretty.

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I want to say here that earlier in the day when it was time to get ready to go I started to blow my hair dry and had a sense not to, so I left it curly and more natural.  I am taking this as a sign that I really do hear God’s voice…..I just wish I’d been listening when He was telling me to make sure we had an umbrella in the car.

Wedding #2 was gorgeous, even the rain pounding on the roof as they said their vows made it seem a little magical.  What wasn’t magical was the sound of my dress dripping on the floor beneath my seat.  I was still soaking wet 3 hours later when we got back to our house.  The drive home was no picnic either….hail and storms pounding on my car in the dark.  My knuckles are still white.

Even though it was sweet and scary and sometimes humiliating, nothing that happened this weekend was really about me.  I was simply an observer in all of it, which was nice.  I got to just smile and sit and drip quietly.  Everyone else that attended these weddings also has their own story and this is only mine.  I like to remind myself of that when I lose perspective and feel like complaining about not knowing anyone or looking like a drowned cat.

This next week it’s predicted to keep raining and I think I will just stay inside and recover from my harrowing wedding weekend.  And maybe hug all my kids a little extra hard, just to be on the safe side.

Have a good one!

Some Easy Reads for Your Spring Weekend

Some Easy Reads for Your Spring Weekend

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As you head into your spring weekend, I have a few things you might want to peruse for some light reading.  Books are amazing, books are my favorite thing, I’d spend a weekend with a book as often as possible.  But sometimes I don’t have a whole weekend to spend in a hammock with a whole book, so these will serve as a momentary substitute until you have more time.  Some of these are articles I wrote and most are treasures written by people I follow and I want to share them with you…

  1. 8 Mother-Daughter Tips from an Older Mom – This list of 8 things I would share with moms of young girls is one you may want to bookmark.  Read it again when you’re struggling.  After 26 years of experience with raising daughters, many victories and many failures, I am happy to share this sweet list with you.
  2. No Screen-Time Until… – My friend Becky at Your Modern Family shares how her family handles screen time in her home and she has a cute printable for the kids to reference.  It’s super cute!  We are very tight about how much screen time the kids get, only at night after dinner with their ipods and the wii is once a week for 2 hours, one movie a week on Friday night.  But occasionally they will ask on a quiet Saturday if they can do something electronic and I can see this list being a great source for when to let them.
  3. When Motherhood Reveals Your Blemishes – This from The Better Mom isn’t about skin care, like I first suspected, but about having your weaknesses and fear exposed.  It’s a quick, easy read of encouragement and hope.
  4. When They Say ‘Be Yourself” They Don’t Mean Me – This is an older post of mine that I shared on Facebook last week to give people a laugh.  Sometimes we just need a time of getting outside our head and laughing at what could have so easily have happened to us.  Enjoy!
  5. Momma Are You Listening? – Be careful about this one…it’s ouchie!  Wendy over at Hip Homeschool Moms shares the sad truth about how we pay more attention to our phones than we do our kids.  I have a rule not to be on my phone at all when I am out with my family.  It is really hard (sad, but true) but I know it’s the right thing to do.
  6. Lastly, if you are looking for a whole book to spend the weekend with, all curled up on a lawn chair, be sure to pick up my book, “Mama Needs a D0-Over“.  Get it on Kindle and don’t wait to get started!

I hope you have a glorious weekend of refreshing and relaxing.  Be blessed!