Tires and Ants are My Nemeses

Tires and Ants are My Nemeses

Ok friends. It’s official.  I am tired.

It started to hit me last week as I drove to the city for the third time in three days.  Normally I go every couple of weeks, so my car and I were not used to the extra activity.  I heard it cry in protest one day as I slipped behind the wheel.  It sounded something like a groan when I turned the key.

Then I saw my front tire was flat and I knew that my car was not happy about all of this use.  We took it to the tire store and had to get two new tires.  Why is it that one flat tire means you need two news ones?  This sounds like a scam to me.  But please don’t tell the tire store people I said that.  I need them to like me.

One of the fun parts of my week has been having our friend here from Virginia.  She and I met at a blog conference and just liked each other right away.  She is the same age as my daughters, so even though I thought she was coming to see me, it turns out she has much more in common with my girls, so they have been chatting it up and doing all kinds of girly things.

We decided, since this is her first trip to Texas, that we would do the touristy stuff.  We’ve been to LBJ Ranch (It’s really cool….you must go there if you can!), a few local spots and today we are taking her to Austin to see the sights.  There’s nothing like our gorgeous Texas capitol to make a person fall in love with this great state.  That and a great plate of TexMex followed by some Blue Bell ice cream and people want to stay forever.

My latest craze is the battle of the ants that we have been dealing with for the past 2 weeks.  Every morning we wake up to a line of ants all through our pantry and kitchen.  Yesterday after church they were in the laundry basket.  We have lifted all food off of the floor and sealed it.  We scour and spray the countertop every night.  It hasn’t helped.

I spent Sunday afternoon Googling ways to kill them once and for all without using harsh chemicals.  I ordered an arsenal of ant killing supplies on Amazon that should be here by Tuesday, when I plan to turn into a mad scientist/exterminator.

And don’t tell my car, but I am going to Austin again on Friday to visit my parents and host an essential oils class on Saturday with a friend of mine.  I can’t help it, I love my oils too much so my car will just have to deal with it (but please don’t tell it I said that).

Have a great week!

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Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs

Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs

A few years ago I shared my friend Martha’s great recipe for pretzel dogs.  These have become a family favorite and we make them every year on July 4th.

Today I will be serving these delicious dogs, but with a twist.  Get it?  Twist….pretzels….

Since I have several gluten-free kids now, I have converted the recipe to GF for a treat for them and the rest of the family still likes them.  I buy gluten-free flour at Costco and it is a little bit sweet, and not our favorite for everything.  But it is really good for these dogs.

Gluten-free pretzel dogs!

Gluten Free Pretzel Dogs
1 Tablespoon SAF Yeast (I love this yeast!)
1¼ cups warm water
½ cup brown sugar
3.5-4.5 cups GF flour flour
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups water
Butter for brushing, melted

1 pkg Oscar Meyer Selects Black Angus Hot Dogs (I learned that from Martha!)
parchment paper

I use a Bosch or KitchenAid to mix my dough.  Put the yeast into the warm water, add the sugar and mix for just a sec.  Then add the flour and salt.  Knead for 8 minutes then let rest for 20 minutes.  Then punch it down and divide it into 10 sections.  Roll each section into a “snake” and wrap it around the dogs.  Dip each wrapped dog into a mix of water and baking soda.  Bake on parchment paper for 400° for 12-15 minutes.

These stick to the parchment so pull them off as soon as you can touch them.  The longer they cool the harder they are to get off.  If you have a silicone mat they won’t stick to that as much.

You can replace the GF flour with all purpose flour of you don’t need gluten-free.

Now just sit and watch your family enjoy them!


Just Keepin’ On!

Just Keepin’ On!

In the 6 years since I started blogging this is the first time I have gone a whole week without posting.  Not even when I had dental surgery the day after my grandmother passed away.  That should tell you how crazy it’s been here.

Just a few days after I got home from Salt Lake City I flew to Chicago to go to the 2:1 Conference where I was also a speaker.  That meant I needed to figure out what I was going to talk about in my session plus fill a load of Shop24 orders before I left.  So I had one of my kids make my Power Point and another one finish filling the etsy orders.  You say sweatshop; I say survival.

Somehow I made it to Chicago in mostly one piece and the conference was great.  Those are my people.  Homeschool, Christian bloggers (not to mention my peeps from Hip Homeschool Moms!).  The sessions covered everything from building your blog as a business to understanding when to get off line and live your life.  Hallelujah for a conference with a conscience!

Conference buddies

My sweet friends Heidi St. John, Connie Hughes and Jen Schmidt!

If you are following me on Instagram then you know that I spent Monday attempting to see all of Chicago in one day.  I was alone, which made it easier to just run from one place to the next without worrying about another person.  Normally I would have missed having someone to talk to, but since I had spent the past 2 weekends surrounded by hundreds of friends, I kind of enjoyed the quiet.  I saw so many places that I am seriously considering writing a pamphlet showing how I did it.

A quick trip to see Chicago!

The Chicago Theater

My first tip: Lose weight and start exercising.  ‘Cuz no way I could have done that a year ago.  I would have worn out too quickly and had to stop.  I am not exaggerating when I say I think I climbed at least 1,000 steps.  That alone would have put me into some kind of medical crisis before I started getting healthy.  I did get tired, but not as much as you would think.

A quick trip to see Chicago!

The Bean! (aka Cloud Gate)

Once I got home I had to pull out the Energizer Bunny suit and keep on going because it was one of the boys’ birthday and that couldn’t be missed.  I headed to the city with him and a couple of the other kids (they get to invite 2 siblings to join them on their b-day outing).  Unfortunately he wanted to see Captain America, which is my third time to watch that movie.  Once to preview it for the kids, again when my husband wanted to go together and now this.  I don’t even care for super hero movies, so I mostly ran in and out bringing drinks and snacks to the three kids.  I will do pretty much anything to avoid seeing people fighting.  And car chases….they make me so upset that I get sick to my stomach.  I sit there worrying about the people whose cars get crashed in the chase and if they have insurance or small children in the car.

James tries to explain to me that they aren’t real people’s cars and it’s all pretend.  But I say that if I am supposed to believe those guys are flying through the air fighting to save the world then why am I not supposed to believe someone needs that car they just smashed to pieces?  Clearly I should stick with chick flicks and cartoons.

I am gonna spend the next few days unpacking and snuggling anyone who walks past.  I missed these people.  I also have big plans to clean up the house the way only a mamma can do.  They kept it pretty neat while I was gone, but I have a need to scrub some walls and vacuum under furniture.

Then, just maybe, I will rest.  But I can’t make any promises.

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I’ve Got a Ticket to Ride

I’ve Got a Ticket to Ride

It’s weeks like this when I wonder why I never took up drinking coffee.  I hear such great things about it.  Although truthfully, I get so obsessed with things I am sure I would have been one of those people that has 6 different coffee makers and orders her beans from exotic countries and thumbs her nose at Folger’s people.

I am leaving again today for another conference and this time I am speaking.  Crazy, you say?  You’re right.  But I love the 2:1 conference!  And I love the ladies that attend!!!  I’m excited to get there.

On Monday morning when I got home from Salt Lake City, I removed the contents of my suitcase, washed the laundry and then piled it all back on top of the suitcase at the foot of my bed.  There it sat all week waiting for me to shove it all back in and carry it to Chicago.

I have never been to Chicago so I asked around to find out what I must see while I am there.  I got a ton of great tips, including Navy Pier and several museums.  I finally decided to buy a Go Chicago pass that gets me into a bunch of places free.  I’ve got one day after the conference to be touristy.  I plan to see as much as possible.

And since I have a problem with getting stuck on songs….I will now be humming, “I’ve Got a Ticket to Ride” in my head for the next week.  My guess is, since I don’t really know the words, that it’s a terrible song and no one should be singing it, but I can’t make it stop.  It’s a sickness I tell you.  My decision not to drink coffee is looking smarter and smarter all the time.  I can’t even imagine being stuck on a song while hyped up on caffeine.

Back in the day if I was in Chicago I would have gone to see Oprah or Donahue.  I miss them.  Now it’s all comediennes and reality TV stars doing talk shows in New York and LA.  I also miss “Little House on the Prairie” and shoulder pads.  But that’s not relevant here.

Last night I sat with the kids and gave out assignments for while I am away.  I told them all of the things I expect them to do before I return home.  Last weekend while I was gone was the fun weekend.  This one is the work weekend.  Painting and repairing and deep cleaning.  Throw in some geography memorization and it’s gonna be a partay around here.  If you happen to drive by and see no one working….please stop and crack a whip for me.

I went to bed before 10 because I knew Friday and Saturday I would be up late into the night visiting with my conference buddies.  These homeschool blogging moms know how to celebrate a weekend with no kids.  I packed my Depends just in case the laughing gets going….y’all know I don’t handle that well.

Have a great weekend.  Try not to get my song stuck in your head.

10 Tips for Traveling

10 Tips for Traveling

Because travel is my new middle name, I will share with you my latest tips on flying and packing and generally making trips better.

10 tips for traveling -- The Pennington Point

1. Don’t overpack.  My suitcase may have been the teensiest bit too full.  I know this because when the security officer at the airport had to open it to swipe through all of my intimate belongings with his magic bomb detecting wand there was a mini-explosion of my personal things all over the metal table and I couldn’t get everything back into the suitcase.  So I ended up grabbing a bunch of it and stuffing it into my purse, which made it difficult to cram under the seat in front of me on the plane.

2. Don’t “accidentally” carry a knife in your suitcase. (see above)

3. If you’re going to carry fruit in your suitcase, pack it in a ziploc bag.  I think you can figure out why, but if not then let me say that smelling like oranges everywhere you go isn’t as pleasant as it sounds.

4. Take earbuds.  Even if you don’t want to listen to music or audiobooks, have some earbuds ready to plug in so you can at least pretend to be listening to something.  This is extremely helpful when the man seated next to you on the plane decides that talking to you about his panic attack is the only way he can stop from freaking out about the impending doom he is expecting because he is positive the plane is going to plummet into the ocean at any moment (even though we were flying over New Mexico at the time).

5. Stay hydrated.  I always stop right after the security check point and buy a bottle of water.  I add a few drops of my favorite essential oil and sip on it through the flight.  The lady next to me on the way to my destination kept asking me, “How did you get a bottle of water through security?!  They made me throw mine away!!”  The first 5 times I tried to explain that I bought it after I got through, but she kept asking me so finally I said, “I guess I’m just really special.”  That quieted her down.  Plus I put my earbuds in.

6. Wear comfortable shoes.  I don’t have the kind of feet that appreciate being asked to walk through airports in wedges or high heels.  No, mine require orthopedic support which makes my sense of fashion go out the window, but I try.  I wore my OTZ shoes for most of the trip, but be warned that all of your friends may still have on wedges which will inevitably make you look like a weird dwarflike creature when you have your picture taken together.

10 tips for traveling -- The Pennington Point

Me & my friend Becky from Organizing Made fun!

7. Carry first aid supplies.  If you’re looking to win friends and influence people, always have Bandaids and essential oils at your fingertips.  Those wedge wearing women eventually need help and you can be there to rescue them.  Plus, I’ll bet I shared drops of Thieves or lemon or Slique with at least 15 people while I was at my conference.  If I ever visit the Alps I could just carry them in a little barrel necklace.

8. Take a jacket.  “Just because you’re from Texas doesn’t mean it will by 95° everywhere else” is going to be my new motto.  I got to Salt Lake City with some short sleeved shirts and lightweight skirts.  The last morning I went out jogging in 37° temps with a very thin t-shirt on.  By the time I got a mile down the road I was wishing I had wrapped my hands in hotel towels for warmth.  15 minutes later I thought about Googling “frostbite” on my phone but I couldn’t because my fingers wouldn’t work.  The lack of feeling caused me to twist my wrist and sprain it.  I wish I was kidding.  Maybe I don’t need to wait for my Alps vacation to start wearing a collar with a keg.  I should just carry it with me at all times.

9. See the sights.  Even though I am not LDS, I couldn’t resist taking an early morning jog around the Temple Grounds.  It is a beautiful place and I thoroughly enjoyed the flowers and fountains and sweet statues of mothers with their children.  This weekend I am heading to Chicago and I am planning to see a few sights there as well.  I am not sure what yet, but I don’t think I will have any trouble finding something interesting to do.

10 tips for traveling -- The Pennington Point

10. Enjoy yourself no matter what!  Even though the food at the conference wasn’t in my eating plan, I just enjoyed my snacks that I had with me.  And while it was cold on those morning runs, seeing the flowers was worth it!  One day my friend Kim from Today’s Creative Blog invited me to do a water aerobics class with her, but I didn’t have any swim clothes.  Then I decided, oh well, I am gonna do it anyway.  I just got in with my clothes!  Don’t let anything stop you from having a great time wherever you are.

What’s your favorite travel tip?  I have a feeling I’m gonna need it!

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Win a Finish Max Pro Paint Sprayer!!!

Win a Finish Max Pro Paint Sprayer!!!

This post contains affiliate links.

While I’m gone to SNAP, I am joining my sweet friend Ashley from Simply Designing for a fun HomeRight Giveaway.

Y’all know I love me some HomeRight tools and this  is no exception.  I used it last month on a project (which I don’t have pictures of yet, I’m sorry to say!) and it is amazing.  It makes me want to spray everything with a fresh coat of paint……kids better get to steppin’ or they’ll be getting a coat themselves.

Just enter below, say a little prayer and cross your fingers for extra imaginary help.

A great giveaway!  A Finish Max Pro Paint Sprayer valued at $125!!!

Click here to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great weekend!HomeRight Finish Max Pro

I Finally Found My Superpower

I Finally Found My Superpower

I may have accidentally discovered my superpower this weekend…..doing 12 things at once and still not having anything to show for it.  Maybe all of those colored tights I love will come in handy!

This past weekend was filled to the brim with activity, yet I can’t think of anything to talk about.  It’s a contrast to my usual riveting report of weekend adventures of house cleaning and excessive napping.

On Friday I spent the whole day celebrating love and avoiding candy.  Before I went on my early morning walk I left piles of goodies at each child’s place at the dining room table complete with teeny boxes of Nerds that were supposed to be stuck through a little card with playful Valentine’s Day saying on them.  The Nerds and cards were sold together with pictures on the package of the little box adorably slid through a pre-punched slit in the card.  Cute, right?  Um, no.  I ripped so many of those dumb cards trying to force the box of Nerds through that I ended up leaving 9 ripped cards loosely wrapped around the candy boxes.  I eventually had to walk away.  This, my friends, is not my superpower.

On Saturday I worked on Shop24 orders then in the afternoon I had a funeral to go to.  My friend Sara lost her precious mother-in-law and it was a sad day.  After I got home Adam was waiting for me at the door, “Want to go for a bike ride with me?!”  Despite being worn out, I couldn’t say no to that hopeful little face, so I hopped on my bike and we rode for a while.

He talked all about his ideas for making a bike track in our field and maybe could he go fishing sometime and he wondered if there were any family members in our genealogy that liked biking or fishing.  I just rode and listened and thought about how much I love him.  Tired-schmired.  It was fun.

Sunday was my big party at Michael’s.  Several friends stopped by and we had a blast chatting and doing chalkboard lettering.  Crafting with other women is so inspiring.  Thanks Faith, Colleen, Stacy, Jenn and Sara for being my special guests!

This week is another opportunity to use my powers of getting 12 things done at one time.  James is preparing to take the Bar Exam next week which puts my loving-wife skills to the test.  I will be sliding trays of food under his office door and diffusing essential oils in his office to help him magically absorb law facts and hold them in his brain.

Yes, now you know the whole truth.  He is the one in our family with super powers.  I just bounce around his awesomeness.

Have a great week!

Come Join Me for a Pinterest Party!

Come Join Me for a Pinterest Party!

I’ve been in a crafty mood lately.  It must be the cold weather mixed with my lack of time for getting whole rooms remodeled.  But I felt a need to get my craft on.

So I made a few things, just simple stuff really.  And the fun part is I am going to be at a local Michael’s this Sunday from 1-3 to show how I made them.  And to hang out with those of you who stop by!  I am joining Hometalk and Michael’s for a party all over the country.  If you can’t come to mine, I’ll bet there’s one near you!


Juts look at the cuteness hanging over my couch!  It was so easy to make I am almost embarrassed to be doing it at the party.


I may have to redecorate my whole living room around these lovelies!


It just makes me happy.


And because I can’t stop with just one thing, I also made this little bunting.


I love the combination of decorating and inspiring.


And if you follow Michael’s on Hometalk  you could win one of five $100 gift cards!  Go, Go!  I will wait while you go do it.

Follow to win!!!

Thanks for coming by and letting me show you my crafts.  And if you want you can follow me on Hometalk too.  (but I won’t give you a gift card for it)


See you there!

Get Your Tank Filled

Get Your Tank Filled

What an incredible weekend!!!  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit in Oklahoma was everything I expected it to be and more!

Here’s a recap, which I am incredibly proud of because my daughter took every single one of these beautiful pictures, so I see her heart of love for these women in the images…..

On Friday we drove the 9 hours to Oklahoma and I only had to make 6 potty stops.  This may be a new record….I usually need more.  We arrived just in time to change clothes and head for the opening of the Summit.  From the first second…..I was blessed.  Every moment was rich with the love of God for those gorgeous, tired, sometimes overwhelmed, moms.

Saturday was abundant with meeting new people and sitting in corners with new friends talking about motherhood and marriage and struggles and victories.  Then we got up and drove home on Sunday.

And now I get to do it all again this weekend, only without the long drive ‘cuz we’ll be in Texas y’all!  Please, if you’re on the fence about going…..get off that thing and go register.  It’s the most beautiful weekend and you will love it.  And do stay through Saturday night so you don’t miss the most incredible wisdom from the panel of older women who are finished homeschooling and still alive to tell about it.

And bring a friend!  Bring lots of friends.

See you Friday!

A Day in the Life of an Oiler

A Day in the Life of an Oiler

Hello to all of you who are visiting from over at Myra’s!  Welcome!

I grew up in Houston and if you had told me when I was 13 that I would grow up to become an Oiler the shock would have caused me to spit out my Mr. Pibb.  But it turns out that years after the team of my youth has gone to football heaven, the term is now being used for people who use essential oils regularly.  Who knew?!

Being an oiler myself now, I have lots to say on the subject.  I have told y’all so much already about how I use my Young Living oils, but today I’m joining some other bloggers to just get to the nitty gritty and share how we use them every day.

One thing I want to stress is that I didn’t just go out and buy these oils all at once.  First you get the kit, then you fall in love with those so you get a couple of other oils.  It makes you so happy that you get one for your husband’s foot fungus and then HE loves them.  Then you all live happily ever after.

Here’s a rundown from an average day in my life.

First thing when I get up I go do my morning walk/jog .  I need something besides my Lift Caps to kick off my morning so I use these….

PanAway: I rub on my right knee.  I fell a few years ago and that knee has never been the same.  It has some pain that PanAway takes care of and it never bothers me during my morning walk!
Thieves:  On the bottom of my feet to get my body ready for the day.
Valor: My favorite oil.  I put it on my wrists to help me focus and it just makes me feel empowered to take on the day.
Mint: I mix peppermint and spearmint in my little rollon bottle and rub it in my palms and a little under my chin.  It really wakes me up and makes me feel alive!

Once I get home from my walk, I take a quick shower then put on more oils.  Have you seen the little shelf in my bathroom where I keep them?  We sell these in our shop because they are so, so handy!  Plus having them in full view makes it so much easier to remember to use them.

After I dry off I use these…..

Thieves:  On the bottom of my feet (you will notice a pattern)
Valor:  Again….LOVE!
Endoflex:  I use this for my thyroid and adrenal issues.  I rub it across my lower back several times a day.  It works for me to just do it whenever I go to the bathroom.
Myrtle:  This is a great oil for thyroid (It’s really good for a BUNCH of things!) so I rub it on my neck over my thyroid several times a day.

Each day holds its own set of challenges, so I try to use some oils specific for the needs of that day.  On a normal stay-at-home day of homeschooling, managing life with 9 kids and just generally trying to get everything done, I would use something like these….

Clarity:  I’d use this to keep my thoughts clear and help me remember what is really important.  I would rub it over my temples and the back of my neck.
Peace & Calming:  The name speaks for itself.  I would put this over my heart or on the bottom of my feet.  Just play with where you get the most benefit.

Those two oils I would also put in the diffuser in the living room or school room.  If I don’t have something like this in the diffuser, I would start the day with Thieves in there.  I diffuse something almost every morning.  It just helps get off to a great start!

Also, I use a great oil blend to help me with my weight loss….

Slique:  I put several drops in my water all day long.  It helps cut down my cravings and it has a really great flavor!

And to end the day I always use these 2 oils right before bed….

Peace & Calming:  I rub it across my forehead
Lavender: I put a squirt of unscented lotion in my hand and 2 drops of lavender.  Then I rub it all over my hands and arms and if any of the kids happen to be standing nearby I rub it on them too.

I feel so good from all of my oils I may just start playing some football after all!

If you are looking for a way to get some of these oils for yourself, click here and sign up! Be sure not to change the box checked as independent distributor….you want that!  It allows you to get the discounted price.  Don’t worry; you never have to sell or distribute anything!

Thanks for stopping by!  Head over to visit Christine and see how she uses her oils every day!  And be sure to check out the other bloggers as their posts go up each morning!  I will share them at the bottom of this post each day to make it easy for you to find them.

A day on the life with essential oils!

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