Staring at My Kitchen Walls

Staring at My Kitchen Walls

It’s been a while since I blogged because I’ve been busy coughing and running a fever.  Don’t be jealous.  It hasn’t been as pleasant as it sounds.

The bug the kids had last week, I got, and was basically in bed for a week.  I don’t remember ever being so sick and it’s a slow recovery.  The cough is kind of hanging on and I get tired easily, but the worst is behind me.

Today I am taking my four younger boys out for some much needed fresh air and exercise.  Last week all of the older kids were gone to a film festival and I was sick, so the four yung’uns were left pretty much to themselves which basically means lots of wii and eating nachos.  After an early ortho appointment we will do what every red-blooded American boy wants to do on his first day out of the house in week…. see Cinderella and eat froyo.

And we’ll definitely blast some music in the van and rock ’til we drop.  Maybe some show tunes….let the good times roll.

I do have a few reflections on being sick and in bed for a week.  There’s always something good to find no matter what you’re going through.  First, I got my entire DVR cleaned off and watched every show I ever recorded, including The Wizard of Oz, which I don’t remember recording.  But I watched it anyway.

Second, I am pretty sure I caught up on all of the rest & relaxation that I have missed for the past couple of years.  I can check that off my to-do list.

Third, we don’t have to figure out if we are going to take a spring break this year.  That was decided for us.  No school for a week.  Bam.  Done.

In other news, my kitchen makeover got pushed back a few weeks since we have been sick.  Also, in rethinking the project, I feel like I need to drastically reduce the budget for it.  So I have been sitting on the bench in the kitchen and staring at the walls.  I did buy the paint already, but I am undecided as to how to proceed because I originally planned some new cabinets but they’re not in my new budget.  The puzzle I am trying to solve is how to get a well done look for basically, well, no money.

It is kind of my favorite problem to have because it forces me to come up with some of my best ideas by being restricted with a tight budget.  The summer before last I made a great towel holder in the boys’ bathroom out of scraps and I would never have come up with it if I had been able to just go buy something.

great towel bar made with scraps!

I built this cabinet last year that solved three problems in my bathroom for very little money….

A great bathroom cabinet that solves three problems!

While I stare at my kitchen and watch a princess movie with 4 superhero fans, I hope you have a great day.

See ya!

What’s More Important than Balloons?

What’s More Important than Balloons?

Before I talk about important things like the unusual number of balloons floating around my house or how my hands are cracking from washing excessive washing, I want to stop and have a moment of silence for the hour we will lose this weekend.

moment of silence

Time changes are my nemesis.  Superman has Kryptonite, I have Daylight Savings Time.

Poor adjustment to time changes is one reason I would not make a good world traveler.  That and I basically only like to eat southern cooking or TexMex.

Now, back to balloons.  For some reason the people around me thought it must be the way to celebrate turning 50.  I got balloons from my kids that they drew fun pictures on, balloons from several friends and last night my besties took me to dinner in the city and what waited for me at the restaurant….a dozen helium balloons.  Plus there were another dozen in the party van that we got to fight with all the way to the restaurant.  I feel balloon nightmares in my future.

One friend left a weighted down bouquet of helium-filled mylar balloons on my front porch on my birthday, which I did not realize were there when I got home after dark and tangled myself in them.  I was carrying a few shopping bags, my purse and a water bottle as I made my way to the front door.  I felt something hit me in the face at the same moment strings started wrapping around my ankles and in seconds I was being taken hostage by this mystery jungle, slapping me left then right and taking me down.

Because I am so good in a crisis, my instinct was to save the bottle of water at any cost.  So I dropped all of the other packages and my purse (which held my phone and other breakable objects) and clutched the water to my chest like my life depended on it.  Brilliant.

Today my sickies are still feeling pretty cruddy.  For the past 4 days I prepare a pot of soup each morning, making it easy to feed anyone who asks for food.  Anytime I have even remote contact with each person, I wash my hands.  If I could boil them I would.  I have also become obsessed with giving every dish in the house a good scrubbing.  You see, our dishwasher AND water softener are both on the blink and our dishes all have a white film over them.  I discovered on Tuesday that if I scrub them with an SOS pad I can get the white film off so I have set my mind to de-filming every dish in the house.

And if you remember, SOS pads quickly rust, so I have to use a whole pad up as soon as I start it.  I don’t want to waste them, so I make a pile of dishes that need de-filming and set about scouring the whole pile as I wash the regular dishes at the same time.  This happens at least 3 times a day.

What does all of this mean to you?

Probably nothing, except that if you ever have a white film issue you will know where to turn for help.

SOS

My hands are not, however, enjoying the process so I have been keeping them coated in lavender lotion and sometimes I rub on a little coconut oil with a drop of frankincense in it.

I wonder if there’s an oil for having trouble adjusting to time changes.

Have a great weekend!

 

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

9 Things You MUST Have at Disney!

This post contains affiliate links.

Last November our family took a dream trip to Disneyworld.  It was just as magical as they say…except for the part where James and I had to keep up with 9 young people with varied levels of energy and interest.  He and I were like ships in the night….I knew he was in the vicinity but we rarely saw each other.

So we decided that since we never do anything for our anniversaries or take romantic trips, we would go back together…just the two of us.  And believe it or not, we have actually made plans and put down a deposit to go this spring!

I learned some things while we were there last time that will definitely help us have a great time this next trip and I thought I’d share some of my best tips with you!

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1. Camelbak – I tend to get dehydrated very easily.  And I am a little bit (OK a lot) picky about my water.  I like bottled.  No tap water.  No drinking fountains.  And I am ultimately lazy and don’t want to carry a water bottle around with me.  So I got myself a Camelbak and I LOVED it!  I would fill it with a few water bottles and some ice, then I had cold water for hours.  PLUS it held my other needs…money, lip balm, tissues, etc.

2. Pockets! – Since I only wear skirts and dresses, I don’t often have pockets.  But I found some great tops that have big pockets and MAN did I use them!  It was so great to slip my sunglasses into my pocket when I needed to take them off and hold something for my kids.  I came home with pockets full of smashed pennies.

3. Comfy shoes – according to my UP band, I walked an average of 17,000 steps a day.  We were on.the.move!  So I wore my OTZ Shoes every day and seriously, my feet never hurt at all.  Whatever shoes you are comfortable in…WEAR THEM!

4. Smart Phone – well, I never go anywhere without it anyway, and of course we took all of our photos with it, but I was doubly glad to have it with me because the app, My Disney Experience, was a lifesaver!  It kept up with our fast passes, dinner reservations, maps, wait times on rides, everything we needed!

5. Ziploc bags – speaking of phones, I kept a Ziploc Snack Bags in my pack to stick my phone in when we went on water rides.  I never worried about it getting wet!  And I carried a few extra that came in handy many times.  Someone didn’t have their retainer case (although that probably won’t happen when it’s just James and I), leftover food from dinner, a kid wanted to keep something they found…over and over it was nifty to have a few small Ziplocs with me.

6. Dining Plan – no, seriously, I will never go there again without getting the dining plan!  We had a fancy dinner reservation each day and ate places we would never have gotten into, much less been wiling to spend the money while we were there.  We got a second, quick meal each day which was amazing and then one snack, which I mostly ate frozen lemonade and plan to eat lots more of it when we go back.  It was so great for the kids because they had their meals on their Magic Bands and could just get food when they wanted without asking permission.  Brilliant Disney.  Brilliant.

7. No jewelry – Yes, I love my jewelry.  But this is not the place to wear it; I only wore my UP Band (which I don’t think of as jewelry).  I didn’t even wear a wedding ring.  You really want to be as free of extras as possible, especially anything that would be upsetting to lose!  Sure, carry a Ziploc bag, but leave the earrings at home.

8. Free time – on our last trip it was go-go-go from sunup to sundown.  James and I, being old and all, plan to slow it down significantly.  Yes, we may miss a ride or two but the slower pace will undoubtedly help us enjoy it more.  You can’t see it all anyway, believe me.  We tried.

9. Thieves Mints – I kept these in my pack and handed them out often, to whoever I was with (we were split up a lot).  It not only kept our breath fresh, but the Thieves helped keep us from getting sick (seems like I heard something recently about people getting sick at Disney?).  ;P

That’s my simple list of how I plan to make my future trip to Disney as magical (and easy) as I possibly can!

Do you have any Disney tips to share?

By the way, all of our Disney arrangements were made by my friend Amy at Polka Dots & Wishes and she was incredible!  I didn’t hesitate to ask her to plan our next trip for James and I….if you reach out to her to plan your trip, be sure to tell her I sent you!

Some Essential Oils You May Not Have Tried AND a GREAT Giveaway!

Some Essential Oils You May Not Have Tried AND a GREAT Giveaway!

Y’all know I love me some Young Living essential oils.  To me it’s not just a substitute for OTC medications, but a lifestyle choice.  We need help and support in many areas besides being sick.

I use them to help us with attitude, stress, prayer, so many areas!

I start the diffuser each morning with oils that I feel led to use.  Sometimes it’s Thieves (if we’re coming down with something) or Purification (if we’re needing a good airing out), but most often I use oils that encourage a healthy attitude.

Many of you have asked me, “Is it new age-ish to say that the oils affect your mood?”  To that I say definitely NOT!  When you smell the oils, the airborne molecules interact almost immediately with the brain and the limbic system.  The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance.  That explains a lot about how they affect your moods and responses.

If we’ve been struggling with getting attitudes, I love these two oils, Motivation and Harmony, in the diffuser.  I have it going in the living room so everyone can get the benefits.  That’s what is so great about the diffuser…the whole family reaps the benefits!

Great ideas for what essential oils to use to support a healthy home environment

Speaking of harmony….occasionallywe do struggle with getting along.  The younger boys especially tend to get fussy with each other.  So I grab some Humility and Forgiveness and rub it on the back of their necks.  Then we pray together and work on learning to love one another.

Great uses for essential oils in the home

Another important way we use the oils is with our homeschool.  I adore Brain Power and Motivation for diffusing during school.  If we are really struggling I will also put it on the bottom of their feet or on their wrists.

Oils you may not have tried before!

The last common way we use the oils that I want to share is specifically for the girls.  With this many women in the house, we need a way to get through those, you know, certain times.  So we lean on our two favorites, Dragon Time and Clary Sage.  We use it topically both on the bottoms of our feet and wherever we are dealing with an issue (i.e. across the abdomen or lower back).

Some tips for using essential oils you might not have tried!

Because I want to help you increase your knowledge of the oils, I have teamed up with other bloggers and once a month for the next 3 months we will all share ways we use them.

Some interesting essential oils that you may not have tried!

AND we are pulling together to give away a Thieves Kit….you will LOVE it!!!  I only clean with Thieves anymore.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to pop over to the other blogs and check out how they use these amazing oils!

If you are interested in getting started with Young Living oils click HERE to sign up.  I have a GREAT incentive to join this month.  I am sending my favorite reference book, one of my essential oil shelves AND a $20 credit to your account after you sign up with a Premium Starter Kit by Jan 31, 2015.  My member # is already on the form (just in case, it’s 1386112).  Here’s a post where I share more about the oils in that kit.

A Burst of Creativity!

A Burst of Creativity!

Over the weekend I planned to get a lot of writing done, but my creative juices were about to burst after weeks and weeks of working hard on my book.  I needed a few hours of moving and creating and organizing.  Release!

So I decided to step away from the computer and do some small projects that I had been mulling over for a while.  You know the ones….easy and won’t take more than half an hour but it takes you 2 years to get to it….

In my bathroom I had been wanting to move my essential oil shelves because they were hanging over my bathtub and I was getting tired of having to climb into the tub every time I wanted something from the top shelf.  But the only other spot in my bathroom that would work had a towel bar which, frankly, I didn’t really use.  I mostly just kept a hand towel there for decoration.

But if I removed the bar, then there would be two gaping holes in the wall and I didn’t feel like taking the time to patch, paint, etc.  Lazy.

So here’s what I did….I pulled out an old map that was a gift from my sweet friend Angie at The Country Chic Cottage.   It had been hanging in the boys’ room, so I snuck in there while they were sleeping and stole it.  Or is it technically stealing if it is something that actually belongs to you but you’re too scared to move it when the kids can see so you do it in the cloak of darkness?

I hung the map on the wall, folding it around the corner and then hung the shelves unevenly over that.  I just love, LOVE how it looks (like I am an adventurer) and I now can reach my oils without stepping in the tub.  Win-Win.

Adorable essential oil shelves!

I could have unplugged all of my cords below the map for the photo.  I thought about it.  But then I decided to leave it because I want you to see the real me and not some unplugged version.

The second project I did, which I am so, SO thrilled with…is a new light in my living room.

When we put up the Christmas tree, I had to remove a lamp by the couch.  After the tree got put away I didn’t want to put the lamp back….I had a new idea. (it always scares James when I tell him I have an idea)

I had 3 strings of bulb lights that I purchased a couple of years ago for a project I never did (raise your hand if you have unfinished projects), so I wanted to use them.  Combine that with an old section of fence I got last summer that is hanging over my couch.

So I attached the string of lights to the fence and, oh.my.word, I LOVE it!!!

Fresh, new light fixture you can make yourself!

I just stapled each light in the gaps and wrapped the extra cord behind and stapled it back there so it would be hidden.

Here it is from the side….

lights02

I got the “love” sign at Hobby Lobby for half price.  Score!

an easy tomake fresh fun lught fixture!

And now that I have my creative outlet fix, I can get to the busyness of this week.  I’ve got to get my book edits wrapped up.  Plus the Summit starts on Friday and I will be working to get ready for that.  If you haven’t registered yet, you can still use my $10 off coupon code!  Code: pennington10

Have a great week!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

Last Minute Gifts

Last Minute Gifts

Well, here we are.  The shopping days are counting down and if we haven’t already ordered our gifts online it is too late.  We are left with whatever they have at Target or various gift cards.

While I love those things, I wanted to toss out a few other ideas to get you through the last minute gift purchases.

1. Pedicure – for only $25 you can give a friend the gift of beautiful feet and a papering after the holidays.
2. Kindle books – Kindle books are ready to download anytime…..and they are a great price.
3. Subscriptions – a magazine or maybe even fruit of the month club….how fun is it to get a gift all year long!
4. Lunch – take a basket of food for lunch one day that will help someone get through the hustle of the holidays.  Cold cuts (do people call them that anymore?), bread, fruit and Christmas cookies all bundled into a basket and delivered one day before Christmas would be lovely.
5. Essential oils – OK, it is too late to order now and get Young Living Oils before Christmas.  But it’s giving someone the gift of health and wellness for the whole year, so why not order something now and give a card with the promise of what’s coming their way?! (here’s a list of ideas for you)

And I made it easy for you by creating THIS PRINTABLE that you can give….I live to make your life easier.

Young Living Christmas Card

If you want to join Young Living you can click HERE and get yourself signed up.  You get better prices and you will LOVE having them for when the winter bugs hit.  Plus when you sign up order the Premium Starter Kit I will send you a great reference book to help you get started!

Have a great week!

Staying Warm in Winter

Staying Warm in Winter

Today I have a YouTube video for you with tips for dressing warmly while still wearing dresses.  There are tons of options for you if you prefer wearing dresses even in the cold temperatures.

Happy dressing!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook for more modesty ideas!

Come to the Summit!

Come to the Summit!

Are you thinking yet about what to do after the Christmas excitement is over?!  ‘Cuz only weeks after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the new year is the best thing this side of the Mississippi.  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.  It’s a boatload of encouragement, refreshment and renewal!

 

summit01

If you’re wondering what it is, here are some recaps of past Summits from different attendees:

And here you can see for yourself what attending The Summit looks like.

And now, for the first time ever, there is a way to attend The Summit FOR FREE! Here’s how:

  • Round up 5 friends who have never been.
  • Print off 3 of these registration forms.
  • Fill in the info for yourself and your 5 friends.
  • Collect the money and write one check to cover the registration for those 5. (YOURS IS FREE!)
  • Mail to:

Winter Summit
c/o Roxanne Parks
2612 Meadow View Road
Edmond, OK 73013

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t have 5 homeschooling friends, but I would love to meet some like minded ladies!” We would love to have you at The Summit, and to help you get there we are offering a $10 discount code. When you register, simply apply the code “Pennington10“.

Okay, who’s ready to win a $50 Amazon gift card??? Anyone can enter and there are multiple ways, so be sure to increase your chances by visiting each blogger who will be attending The Summit!

AND as a special bonus, one lucky winner will receive the cost of their registration refunded in a drawing on January 1st!

Simply, leave a comment on this post to enter. Then, hop on over to the the other participating blogs to enter there, too. You will be given one entry per blog, for a maximum of 5 entries. One winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, December 17 to receive the $50 Amazon gift card.

See you at The Summit!

Christmas Workout Playlist

Christmas Workout Playlist

This post contains affiliate links.

I can’t stop myself from sharing my favorite holiday tunes with you.  I listen to these when I am working out these days.  It’s not always about the song itself but the artist’s rendition of it that makes it fun and peppy for working out.

You can click on the links to go straight to iTunes and get them for yourself!

christmas-workout01

1. Light of Christmas by Owl City

2. Marshmallow World by Francesca Batistelli

3. Christmas This Year by Toby Mac

4. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by City Harbor

5. What Christmas Means to Me by Mandisa

6. Holly Jolly Christmas by Group 1 Crew

7. All Creation Sing by Fee

8. Silver Bells by Relient K

9. Christmas Talk by Byron Chambers

10. Jingle Bells by Ayiesha Woods

11. It’s Christmas by Mandisa

12. Christmas Together by Jamie Grace

(special thanks to my daughter Hope for finding all of these songs for me!)

 

3 Helps for Dealing with Rejection

3 Helps for Dealing with Rejection

This week I am sharing on YouTube about dealing with rejection.  I have gotten a lot of questions lately from women who are really hurting from being rejected by someone and I can SO relate with that topic!  It is very near to my heart these days.

Isn’t it beautiful how God uses our pain to lift up and encourage others?   Ultimately our struggles are an opportunity to overcome and glorify God!

In this video I share with you three things I have learned that have helped me in dealing with this struggle.

Believe me when I tell you that I am no stranger to rejection.  My most recent situation is that my entire extended family has not spoken to me for over 2 months with no explanation.  It could, and some days almost does, take me to the pit of despair and discouragement.  But then God reaches into my broken heart and reminds me that I am loved by a Father who will never reject me.  I am adored and pursued by the King of all creation.

My precious friends, you are loved by a God who is so trustworthy that you can’t fathom the depths of it.  It’s so hard for me to imagine that kind of trustworthiness because not only have I been betrayed, but I have also failed and hurt people in my life and I am sure, will do it again.  Being loved is not about what we deserve, because we don’t deserve any of it.  Being loved, truly loved, is about God’s unshakable mercy.  And as a Christian you have that kind of love….all day long.

If you are facing painful rejection, watch the video.  Be encouraged.  Don’t lose your faith because someone has let you down.

1 Peter 2:4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious”