How I Went to Disney and Didn’t Eat Sugar

How I Went to Disney and Didn’t Eat Sugar

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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!

6 Easy Natural Cleaning Tips

6 Easy Natural Cleaning Tips

This post contains affiliate links.

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Do you do spring cleaning?!  I always get a bug in me around this time of year to get my house all shiny.  What causes that?  Maybe the change in weather, the flowers blooming and trees turning green again.  I feel all happy and I want my home to sparkle!

But what I don’t want is chemicals being spread around as I clean.  Did you know that even the fragrances added to cleaners can interfere with respiratory health and cause toxic reactions?  A few years ago we began eliminating chemical cleaners and now that I am used to being without them, I can’t even walk down the cleaner aisle in the grocery store.  I get immediately really sick.  I read that when we are repeatedly exposed to these chemicals we get used to them, but they are still potentially doing damage to our bodies.  So when we think, “Oh, that doesn’t bother me,” it’s likely that you are just used to it even though it could still be causing harm.

But the transition to natural wasn’t always easy.  The chemical cleaners do a good job and they’re often easier to use than natural alternatives.  I don’t WANT to make my own (fill in the blank) when I can just buy it at the grocery store.  I love it now but I want to be honest, it took some time.  I say that to encourage you to hang on and keep at it if you’re still making the switch.  You’ll find your groove!  And then one day after you’ve been off chemical cleaners you’ll smell a chemical additive that you used to have in your home all the time and it will gross you out.  Then you’ll know and think to yourself, “Lisa was right, this stuff is bad and now I should send her some flowers or something.”

In fact, I taught a class this week about cleaning with natural products and thought I’d share some of my favorite tips with you! I covered so much that I can’t give it all here so this is just my top 6.

  1. Baking soda!  I buy it at the dollar store for 50¢ and put a few scoops into a mason jar.  Then I add my essential oil of choice: lemon for the kitchen, lavender for the bedroom, it depends on what you’re doing with it.  Then I shake it all up (the measurements are not exact, maybe 1/2 C soda with 15 drops of oil) and punch holes in the top of the jar.  Now you have a shaker with many uses!  And when I am not using it I put a whole lid on the jar WITH the holed one (so there are 2 lids) and it won’t spill.  You can use this to clean your sink or tub, sprinkle over your mattress and leave it for an hour, then vacuum for a fresh mattress.  You can sprinkle it over your carpet and vacuum after half an hour.  So many ideas!  Think of it for anywhere you need to deodorize or as a gentle abrasive.
  2. White vinegar.  I get vinegar in a gallon jug and it usually lasts me about a year.  I add it to my laundry, pour it in a stinky potty, run it diluted through the coffee pot or your iron.  There are great books written about how to use vinegar for cleaning, so go find your favorites!
  3. Thieves Cleaner!  This stuff is amazing.  I keep a spray bottle of it in the kitchen and all bathrooms.  I spray it on the kitchen counters every night when I close down the kitchen (then toss all rags and towels in the washing machine to be washed every day), I clean the sinks with it, wipe down areas of high touch traffic (light switches, door knobs, piano keys, computer keyboards, faucets, etc).  Clean out the fridge, the trash cans, I even put a capful into the laundry when it’s extra stinky.  Clean the baby toys with it.  AND did you know it does a great job on glass?!  SAY WHAT?!  I am just going to admit here that even though Young Living recommends different ratios of water-cleaner for different uses, I use the same ratio for everything.  I don’t want 4 different bottles with Thieves cleaner in them.  I like to spray, wipe and go.
  4. The sun….Remember the Raffi song, “Mr, Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!”?  Well look it up, it’s so cheerful!  Anyway, the sun is a great cleaner.  Hang your clothes on the line for a fresh, crisp clean.  If you have whites, the sun will brighten them up for you.  Rinse out a stinky trash can and leave it in the sun to dry and deodorize.  I always hung my cloth diapers in the sun after washing.  And if you want a SUPER clean mattress…about once a year do the baking soda trick then drag it outside on a sunny day.  Oh my will it be nice and fresh after that!
  5. Dryer balls.  This is for those of us who don’t want stiff towels.  I like my sheets dried on the line, I like my towels and underwear not to scratch my skin when I use them.  So I dry them and most of our clothing in the machine.  BUT, if you add these wool dryer balls it can shorter then drying time up to 40% and the clothes come out softer!  Yes, no synthetic softening agents, just good old wool.  Then, to make it EVEN BETTER, add 5-6 drops of an essential oil to one of them and it makes your laundry smell divine.  Lavender is my fave for this!  I’ve found that the oil lasts for about 5 loads.  But you need THESE and not the rubber kind.  Those are noisy and you can’t add oils to them.
  6. Use your diffuser!  You can use the diffuser for several reasons.  It is wonderful for getting oils into the air and to the entire family when you need support for staying or getting healthy.  But it’s also a great way to freshen up the air in winter or a kids’ bathroom or after cooking fish.  Put some lemon or Purification or Joy in the diffuser and clear the air!  I also love to use it when I want to relax….I put some lavender and cedarwood in it and just chill…..

Friends, I am not joking that getting rid of chemical cleaners can make a huge difference in your life.  We have kids, pets, people we want to offer the very best to!  Please think about changing the way you clean your home.  I’m not trying to sell you something here, this is from the heart.

If you have a great natural cleaning tip, hop over to Facebook and tell us about it!

Extra!  Extra! Read All About It!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

It’s official!  For the first time in Pennington history we found every. single. Easter egg.

Not that it was easy.  No, we spent 1.75 hours finding most of them until we got down to 2 that were still missing.  Now, normally we might let it go and just not look for them.  That fact can be proved by the eggs we found that were from last year, all full of rotten candy…..gross.  I heard one of my boys daring another to eat it when I jumped in to stop the madness.  But the 2 eggs that were missing didn’t have candy in them….no.  They had money.

And no one was inclined to give up looking.

I bought some character shaped eggs that I put $5 bills in and there was one for each child (I use the term “child” loosely because 3 of my egg hunters are over 18, which basically means they wanted the money most of all).  I gave them pre-hunting instructions, “When you find your character egg, you can’t get any more, so if you find another leave it for someone who doesn’t have theirs yet.”  But after nearly 2 hours we were all on a desperate search and it was every man for himself.

Earlier in the day while we were hiding the eggs James suggested I take a picture of where I hid the money eggs.  But did I listen? Nooooo (a fact he reminded me of at least 7 times during the last hour of the hunt).  In fact, the last time he said it I replied, “You are completely right honey, I should have listened to you and next year I will definitely do whatever you say.”

“You know,” he said with a smirk, “You could just start doing whatever I say tomorrow.”

Don’t push your luck buddy.  Next year will be just fine.

When we finally found the last money eggs the kids and I sat outside while they emptied their eggs into baskets.  James went back to his normal March activities of doing people’s taxes (he’s a CPA, in case that didn’t make any sense at all) because, as he said as he walked away, “3 hours is more than enough time to spend on Easter eggs hunts for 7 people.”  Since I bought pre-filled eggs this year (except for the money eggs) there was mostly bubble gum or Now & Later in their candy piles.  I know it’s not as exciting as previous years when I’ve picked candies that each child loves most, but I was just too tired to spend 4 hours filling eggs like I did in years past.

Why so tired?  Because I am barely recovering from washing sheets last week after our house full of guests.  It took me 3 days to get it all washed and put back.  And I have a washing machine!  Can you even imagine washing everything by hand?!  I would still be out in the river beating those sheets on rocks and wouldn’t have even had time to hide any plastic eggs. 😉

After the egg hunt and cleanup from our traditional ham and scalloped potatoes meal, I crashed in my recliner and didn’t get up until bed time.  I have no shame in admitting that I went to bed at 8:30 on Easter Sunday.  Celebrations wear me out….especially when they involve crawling under bushes searching for plastic eggs that I hid in the first place and everyone is being passive aggressive saying things like, “Maybe SOMEONE ELSE should hide the eggs next year.”

The good news is that since Easter was so early this year we have a whole month with no holidays so I can get rested up before the next celebration.  And since the next “holiday” is Mother’s Day, I should get some rest with that, at least in theory.

Have a great week!

6 Must Have New Books

6 Must Have New Books

This post contains affiliate links.

Are you a reader?  I love a crisp afternoon in my hammock with a good book!  Crisp is my favorite temperature.  If you like warm, then you can put your hammock closer to the equator.  Either way, it’s really about the book!

I have 2 book piles in my bedroom right next to each other.  One is for books I am waiting to read and the other is books I recently finished reading.  I like to keep the recently finished books nearby so I can refer back to them or loan them out.  Books are meant to be loved and shared!

Rabbit trail: That’s one thing I don’t like about the Kindle or digital audiobooks.  They’re super convenient, especially with all of the traveling I do, but they are not very sharable.  But if I didn’t have audiobooks I would not get nearly as much “reading” done, so it’s a tradeoff.

Most of the books in my waiting-to-read pile are either something that came highly recommended or books my friends wrote.  I have a lot of brilliant friends who write incredible books.  So I thought I’d share some of them as a recommendation from me to you to add to your own waiting-to-read pile!  I have read all of the books on this list and loved them, plus I do actually know fer realz these authors (well, a few of them have 2 authors and I only know one author from each of those books).  Like, I have met these gals in person and most I’ve talked with on the phone like teenagers do.  This isn’t like my relationship with Lysa Terkeurst where I think she’s my friend but she doesn’t know I exist.  These are my peeps.

Another cool thing is these are all recently released, so they’re fresh off the printing press.  You could be the first in your circles to read them and share.  Your friends will think you’re so cool to know the latest and greatest.  They would make wonderful gift ideas too!  Baby showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, any old day you want to bless someone!

great-books

 

  1. Planted with Hope  by Tricia Goyer and Sherry Gore.  This sweet book is second in The Pinecraft Pie Shop series and it’s a darling story of friendship and community.  Get the first book too….reading them is like a nice, little vacation.
  2. Pressing Pause by Ruth Schwenk and Karen Ehman.  I just got this book and flipped through it and love the simplicity of it.  If you’re thinking you don’t have time to read a whole book, pick this up and just do a chapter at a time.  Each chapter is just 2-3 pages and very encouraging!
  3. The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson.  This short, simple read will be just the reminder you need to keep going.  Even if you’re not a homeschooler you can get a boost of strength from the book.  It’s like having coffee with a trusted friend.
  4. Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  I’ve mentioned this book to you before, and it’s worth adding to your list….especially if you struggle with angry responses.  I read this before it came out and was absolutely inspired by how many women this book was going to help!
  5. Raising Uncommon Kids by Sami Cone.  This is a great book focusing on how we model behavior for our kids….grounded in Scripture and very practical.  I loved it!
  6. Mama Needs a Do-Over by ME!  OK, so I don’t have this one in any of my piles, but I want to remind you that it’s available at most booksellers.  We all need a way to hit the reset button every once in a while.  I know you’ll enjoy it!

And because I truly believe all of these books are amazing and worth adding to your library….I asked each of these friends to give me one of their books to add to a bundle so I can give them to YOU!   And they’re all so kind and generous they agreed without hesitation.  I’ll even toss in my favorite essential oil starter guide for fun.  That makes this bundle valued at over $70!!!

Enter below to win over $70 worth of great reading material!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you win!

I Was Cleaning, but then I Got Sleepy

I Was Cleaning, but then I Got Sleepy

Spring.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…..

I can’t help it, I get poetic about the amazing weather and flowers popping out everywhere.  It’s such a nice change from brown grass and chilly rain.  It doesn’t get super cold here, but it’s still enough to make your bones feel frozen.

We’ve been spring cleaning around here.  Every afternoon I work on one spot in the house, cleaning and organizing it.  I am doing it slowly in an attempt to trick myself into thinking I’m not really working.  It’s just one drawer or a bookshelf or cabinet, right?  No biggie.  And so far the illusion seems to be successful.  I am getting things done and not feeling overwhelmed.

Since we have a houseful of company this week the cleaning is going to slow down, but that’s OK.  We can pick it back up next week.  It’s not like the mess is going anywhere.

My oldest daughter is home from Dallas with her favorite guy.  All of our older kids will be attending the Christian Worldview Film Festival together this week.  It’s something they look forward to every year.  Another daughter made a short film that’s playing in the festival, so we are all excited to see it on the big screen.  I may cry during the showing, ‘cuz that’s what my mother heart does when I see one of my kids reaching for their dreams.  When she goes to the Academy Awards in a few years to accept her award for Best New Screenplay, she should probably not ask me to be her +1.  I’ll cry the ugly cry and embarrass when she is being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest.

We also have a couple of other friends staying here this week so it’s a full house.  That means lots of extra food and toilet paper and laundry detergent.  I went to Costco and stocked up as best I could, but I am sure there were holes in my plan and I will have to make a few grocery runs during the festival.  It’s my goal to make that part of their week easy so they can just enjoy the fellowship.

Last night a few extra young adults joined us all for dinner and it was such a special time.  In our dining room there are 2 tables, a long one where our whole family eats our daily meals and a shorter table where we generally do school and it doubles as an extra when we have a lot of people over.  The 20-somethings all sat around the long table with a few of my teens.  James and I sat at the shorter table with our little boys and were supposed to be talking to eat other.  But I couldn’t focus on my table conversation because I was too busy soaking in the joy of having a table full of godly, smart, laughing, young adults next to me.

I promise I wasn’t listening in on their conversations.  I really was not paying attention to what they were saying at all.  I just absorbed the joy of it.  This is my dream…..happy kids with happy friends all helping each other find their way in the world.  Watching a toddler learn to walk is amazing, but it’s really just a shadow of watching your grown child learn to walk into their adult life.  It makes my heart explode with the sweetness.

The only negative to my whole weekend was the ridiculous annoyance of Daylight Savings Time, which has thrown my internal clock into a tizzy and I can’t wake up.  Like, all day.  I practically fell asleep last night at 8:00, which shouldn’t happen because doesn’t my body think it’s 7:00 and I should be fully awake?!  But NO!  I think I have DTS induced narcolepsy.

So I will be half sleep-walking through my week with all of these house guests and my beautiful daughter visiting and the film festival.  I hope I can wake up enough to at least get the rest of the groceries we need.

Have a great week…..I’ll be soaking in the sun, the kids, their friends a few naps and my partially clean house.