How to Keep a Simple Summer Menu

How to Keep a Simple Summer Menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay cool my friend!

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

6 Easy Natural Cleaning Tips

6 Easy Natural Cleaning Tips

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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!

Covering My Gray Ain’t Easy, but at Least I Got My Closet Cleaned While I Was at It

Covering My Gray Ain’t Easy, but at Least I Got My Closet Cleaned While I Was at It

I decided this weekend was the time to deal with the monstrocity that was my gray roots.  Nothing says “I don’t care” like dark brown hair with an inch and a half of gray at the top.  I used to have my hair colored by the girl who cuts it.  She does such a nice job and it was a treat, but now that I have started doing it myself (to save money, of course, because there’s really no other reason I would take on this task) it’s become a burden.

It’s messy and takes forever and I can’t just sit and take it easy while the color sets because I don’t own all of the lovely tools and equipment they have at the hair salon.  At the salon I sit in a comfy chair reading and relaxing.  I have a plastic cape on with all kinds of clothing protectors around me.  But in my house it’s just me and a junky towel wrapped around my bare shoulders, being held by hair clips.  I do generally have clothing on my lower half, but my top half is only covered by the towel because I have learned the hard way what happens to any shirt you may be wearing while coloring your hair yourself.

And no comfy chair.  I have to stand the entire time so I don’t mess up any furniture.

So this weekend I cleared a couple of hours to deal with my gray and got out all of my hair coloring stuff.  The bottles and gloves and clips and instructions….all laid out on the bathroom counter ready to go.  And if that wasn’t enough, I decided to add a few other colors.  Last January I put some green and purple in my hair and I really liked it.  So I decided to touch those up as well.

I know, I know.  Maybe I am a little too far out of my teens for the colored hair look, but I did it anyway.  It’s not super bright since I have dark hair to begin with and I just did a few spots, not my entire head.  I have always thought that trend was pretty so I went for it.  I put green and purple around the ends of my hair and one small strip in the front.  The colors fade pretty quickly though, so it was time for a touch up.  Since I was already locked in my bathroom with the junky towel around my shoulders why not just do that too?

You can’t do it all at once though.  You have to put one color on dry hair, let it set for half an hour, then wash it out, dry your hair again and repeat with the next color.  Doing 3 colors meant I had a lot of down time in my bathroom.  During the waiting time, since I couldn’t sit, I cleaned out some of my drawers (which are in my closet) and organized my shoes and threw out old makeup and washed the dog.  I don’t like to waste time.  Unless it’s at night after everyone has gone to bed when I watch old mystery shows.  Then I’m all about wasting an hour or so.

And because I was half nekked, my kids couldn’t come in.  So I listened to music and talked to myself.  By the time I had set the last color my clothes were all organized, the dog was clean and I had taught myself how to make albums on my phone.

After my final rinse, I put on a shirt and opened the door, where Levi was waiting to come in and talk to me.  He likes to be wherever I am and tell me all of his ideas.  So while I dried my hair he chattered on and on.  And then, because the bathroom looked like a rainbow explosion, I sprayed Thieves Cleaner everywhere and started wiping every surface.  Levi just kept talking.  My husband James came in the room to see what we were doing, saw my colored hair and told Levi, “You’d better keep an eye on her for me!” then walked out.

I pretended not to hear that, so when I turned around from wiping the sink and looked at Levi he pointed two fingers at his eyes then at me.  I said, “What does that mean?  Are you watching me?” as if I hadn’t heard his dad tell him to.

His reply: “Yep, I watch you whip.  I watch you nae nae.”

SAY WHAT?!  Where does this kid get this stuff??

I promise we have NEVER played that song or sung it.  I wouldn’t even know the words.  I nearly busted a gut from laughing so hard.  Which in hindsight may not have been a good idea since now he will repeat it to everyone who stops to listen.

Even though it was a long, messy process, I am glad to have my hair done.  My roots are brown, my green is brightened, my closet is straight and my bathroom is scrubbed.  And the dog is clean!  What more could a girl ask for?

after this morning’s workout

Have a great week!

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I’d Stop to Relax, but Then I Would See the Messy House

I’d Stop to Relax, but Then I Would See the Messy House

How was your weekend?

I decided to spend part of the day Saturday sitting outside feeling the delightful 70° breeze.  Here in Texas we never know when the weather will change so I wanted to enjoy it while it was perfection.  It seemed like such a great idea until a few minutes into my relax time I started looking around on the porch at all of the neglect.  There were cobwebs and bits of trash and I even noticed a random Christmas decoration that had been left behind in the cleanup after the holidays.  It was either go back inside and pretend I didn’t see it or stop relaxing and start cleaning.  I chose the former.  I had already planned to deep clean my bathroom later that day and didn’t feel the need to make any other improvements to my life at the moment.

I was actually looking forward to cleaning my bathroom.  It, too, had been neglected with all of my Summiting and holidays and trips.  I had purchased some Playtex gloves last week for the job because it makes me feel very grown up.  When I was a girl it seemed that all women wore pearls and Playtex gloves when they did their womanly work.  I skipped the pearls, but the gloves just felt right.

I spent almost the entire afternoon chipping away at the dirt and grime until the whole room shone like a new penny.  I didn’t just scrub, I also cleaned out the cabinet and tossed the junk I never used in the garbage and rearranged my essential oils.

I have switched up my oily routine and wanted to have those I am using daily all together in one easily accessible spot, so I did some reorganizing and relocating.  I used two of my little wall shelves for my daily bottles and put my extras in a drawer in alphabetical order.  OCD much?

On Sunday we decided to go worship with some friends in the afternoon and just hang out at home in the morning.  We were chillin’ when there was a knock at the door.  It was a FedEx guy delivering a baby gate I had ordered.  I had no idea those guys worked on Sunday.  It’s kinda sad really.  They need a day off.

But I was excited to get my package.  I had ordered the gate because we have decided to keep our puppy out of the back of the house (someday I’ll write another long post about how I can’t get this dog to stop peeing on my carpet).  We owned a baby gate from the olden days that we had been using to block the hallway, but my daughters and I were having trouble stepping over it.  The boys kept telling us they could get over it just fine and didn’t see what our problem was.  Yeah, wear a skirt and gain a few pounds then talk to me about it.

The final straw came last week when I actually fell trying to climb over it.

I thought about making something that would open easily for us to pass through, but then wondered if maybe they have invented something like that in the 8 years since I shopped for baby accessories.  Lo and behold….they did!  I ordered a gate on Amazon that opens and closes easily….halleluyer!

I gave the FedEx box to the boys and asked them to install it for me.  They grabbed it up, each wanting to get their hands on the new project.  I figured they could handle it so I left them with it and went into my bedroom to do some straightening.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Well after about 20 minutes they came barreling in my room, “Mommy!  Where’s the drill?!”

Me: Um, it’s in the workshop, but WAIT!  Before you go get it, what do you need it for?
Boy 1: We need to drill holes in the wall to put the gate up!
Boy 2: I can’t wait….I have never used a drill before!
Boy 3: We drew big circles on the wall where the holes go like the instructions said!

Uhhhh…….I decided I’d better go check things out before I ended up with giant holes the size of quarters in my walls.

Sure enough, the instructions with no words, only pictures, did seem to suggest drilling holes in the wall.  But upon further inspection we decided that was probably only necessary if the gate wouldn’t stay put on its own.  I suggested they try installing the gate WITHOUT holes, which was an extreme disappointment to them.  It worked.  Crisis averted.

Later that afternoon I decided to surprise James by going through my February receipts and email him what each expense was for.  Usually we go through them at the end of each month and he has to sit there for hours while I torturously try to make my brain remember why I spent $12 at Target on the 4th.  So I sat down and typed it all out and emailed it to him with the subject line, “SURPRISE!”  Later that night he thanked me for the report and said how much he appreciated me doing that.  He said he was only confused by one thing.  After my iTunes purchase of $16.50 I wrote, “Ooops! Sorry.”  “Honey, we don’t have an ooops category.”

All I could say was, “Well we should.  I mean, how does one categorize in-app purchases?”

He didn’t say anything else.  I think I proved my point.

Personally I am feeling pretty good about my semi-productive weekend.  First, no more falling over the hallway gate, my bathroom is shiny clean and I cut my monthly budget meeting time in half.  And all without creating holes in my walls.  I even got a nice nap on Sunday.  It was so great I might even go clean up the front porch now.

I hope you had an equally terrific weekend.  Come on over to Facebook and let me know what you did!

Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils

Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils

We’re rounding the corner to the end of our 5 days series and I am really excited about today!  We’ve talked about HOW to get your oils, WHAT to do when your kit arrives, WHEN to use your oils and today is all about WHERE.

My goal this week is to walk you through the beginning with using oils so you’re not wondering what on earth you would even DO if you got some Young Living oils!  I always need a walkthrough when I am trying something new.  Sure, I figured this out mostly by myself but it took me a couple of years to really embrace the oils and discover how amazing they are (that was 10 years ago!).  I had a few bottles and used them regularly, but I didn’t realize the ways I could use them for wellness and daily blessings.  I thought they were only for crisis situations.

I still use them for times when we are less than healthy, but now I use them daily for staying way above the wellness line.  We diffuse them during school time to help the boys focus and learn, I use them when I need a boost of encouragement or bravery, when I get nasty comments online or even just when I have a lot to do that day (which is every day).  While I’m writing my books I always have oils and supplements nearby that support my mind and lift my mental clarity.

We all have different tasks everyday and our bodies are uniquely and wonderfully made, so the oils I love most may not be your faves.  But the oils in the kit are staples for most people.  Peppermint, lavender, frankincense….oh my!  I wouldn’t go through a day without them now.  I use frank every morning to uplift my mind, peppermint throughout the day for many reasons and lavender each night on my wrists for relaxation.  I probably use 10 oils daily and my kids use 4-5.

My other favorites are Valor, Peace & Calming, Abundance and Fitness.  But that’s today.  Tomorrow it may be different.  That’s the beauty of having a bunch to play with, they’re so versatile!

OK, so let’s get to the topic of WHERE:

  1. WHERE do I put the oils on my body?

You can use them anywhere, but there are some guidelines that may help you get started.  First, I am careful what I put on my face.  I always use them diluted there because when they’re neat (that’s the word for straight out of the bottle) they bother my eyes.  So be careful about using them around your eyes.  The skin on your face is more sensitive so dilute whatever you use there with V6 or coconut oil (or even unscented lotion).  The same goes for kids…always dilute them for kids.

When I do want something for my face, let’s say I want to help support my sinuses.  Just a normal day, I am not talking about healing or cures here. 😉  I will dilute an oil, maybe peppermint and lavender together, then rub it right over my sinuses.  I might also put some around my ears because it’s all connected and I want to maintain my health.  Just don’t get it too close to your eyes.

When you’re using them to support a specific area of the body, use the oil right there.  For instance, if you’re reaching for digestive wellness then rub it right on your stomach or lower abdomen.  Oils like PanAway, DiGize and RC are some that are great for this kind of use.  After that, there are some charts in your book that will help you find other topical ways to use them.  Find the Vitaflex chart and look at the areas on your feet that you can use the oils.

I always use one as a perfume each day (right now I am using Joy or Valor for this!).  I will apply it just like I would a perfume, on my wrists and my neck.  You can also apply it across your forehead if you’re using them for mind or emotional support.  Try different things and see what works best for you.

2. WHERE do I use them in my home?

The home is another incredible way to use your oils.  First, the diffuser.  #heaven  If you love candles, then you will doubly love the diffuser.  You can get beautiful smells in your home that are actually beneficial to the health of your family and not just scents.  Two birds-one stone.

When you start you’ll likely only have one diffuser (the one that came in your kit).  You can move it from room to room wherever you go.  We have one going in our dining room/school room during the day and in the bedrooms at night.  I’ll diffuse in the bathrooms as needed.  #stinky I even carry a small diffuser with me when I travel to use in our hotel room!

You can also use oils for cleaning.  Young Living has an incredible line of Thieves Cleaners that we use for everything from bathrooms to windows.  It’s been a transformation in our home.  You can try a few drops of Thieves or lemon in some water and wipe down your counters, doorknobs and light switches.

3. WHERE do I turn if I can’t figure it out?

Start with your book (or books!).  Google some things and see what you can find.  Soon you will discover that you have absorbed information and can learn more.  It doesn’t take much time at all.

Then, ask your leader or other YL member friends.  I say to do this after looking on your own because the best way to learn is to find out for yourself.  But once you’ve tried and still can’t figure it out, ask your friend that you joined with (like me!) and they should be thrilled to help either find the info for you or lead you to where to look.

Don’t be intimidated with these oils, they are just the liquid goodness from plants.  There’s no mystery.  God gave us the plants to use in this way!

Fun Fact: Did you know that our sense of smell is the only sense directly tied to the limbic area of the brain, which is considered the emotional control center? This means that when essential oils are inhaled, they go directly to the brain. Our other four senses — taste, sight, touch and hearing — are first routed through the thalamus before reaching designated areas of the brain.

Be sure to check out the rest of the series!

Day 1: HOW to Start Using Essential Oils
Day 2: The WHAT of Getting Started with Essential Oils
Day 3: The WHEN of Essential Oils
Day 5: The WHY of Essential Oils

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Day 2: The WHAT of Getting Started with Essential Oils

Day 2: The WHAT of Getting Started with Essential Oils

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We’ve talked about HOW to get started, and now let’s talk about WHAT.

I love sharing with y’all about oils because they have made such a huge difference in our family’s lives.  I told you yesterday that I have been using them for over 10 years, but I didn’t tell you what my first experience was like.  So, back then the kits and how to join were different (it’s SO much better now!) and so I just ordered a couple of bottles from a friend of mine.  I got Thieves and Peppermint.

I already knew we loved peppermint because we sucked on the candy a lot for digestive health and other things which I can’t mention here because the FDA has put their foot down about what we can say.  But Thieves was just something I had heard friends talking about and I wanted to try.  When I got my beautiful amber bottle of Thieves and opened it up….oh my heaven the smell was amazing!  I just kept sniffing it and thinking, “I’m not sure what to do with this, but wowsa the smell!”

I didn’t have any guidance, so I just started rubbing the Thieves on all of our chests during “the winter.”  Then I read that you could put it on the bottom of your feet.  Say what?!  That sounded a little, I’m sorry, loony tunes.  But I started trying it and I found that it really does work!  Who knew?!?!

After a few years I decided to join for myself so I could order my own. I didn’t get the kit because I already had a few oils and thought I could just get the kit oils individually instead.  I slowly ordered….lavender, lemon, PanAway, Melaleuca, frankincense….just one or two bottles at a time and over about a year I had spent triple the cost of the kit to get all of the oils in it.  Don’t make my mistake.  Just get the kit to begin with.

It was several years before I got a diffuser and I instantly wished I had gotten one earlier.  They really are amazing with their fine mist of deliciousness.  Now I have one in every room of the house, including the teeny tiny boys’ bathroom, because, well, it’s a boys’ bathroom.  ‘Nuff said.

So let’s get to today’s 3 questions, shall we?

  1. WHAT do I need to get started?

We talked yesterday about the Premium Starter Kit.  It’s the perfect place to start because it has 11 oils for you to try and a diffuser and it’s a great deal.  Let me tell you from personal experience, you want a diffuser!  I have had people say, “Oh, I don’t need a diffuser so I am not getting the kit,” and almost right away they call me, “How do I get a diffuser???  I should have gotten one from the beginning!”

You also want some information about getting started.  If you join through me I will send you a few things to help and I will keep you informed.  You can also order books through Amazon or other resources.  Some of my faves are Essential Oils Pocket Reference, Healing Oils of the Bible and Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules.

  1. WHAT do I do first?

When your kit arrives, open it all up and start smelling.  Get the diffuser out and fill it to the fill line with water then pick one of the oils in your kit to add.  You have lots of choices with what to put in your diffuser, how many drops, if you want to mix some together.  But at first I would suggest just using about 6 drops of one oil.  Try lemon or Thieves.  Those will perk you up and get you excited about the rest.

Over the next few days leave the bottles sitting out so you will remember to try them.  Open each one and smell it and see how you feel when you’re smelling it.  You may be surprised that you noticed being uplifted or if your moods change.  Look them up in your books and see what other people are using them for.  Just enjoy your oils, you aren’t going to mess it up.

I’ll go more into ways to use them specifically over the next couple of days so come back here and check!

  1. WHAT do I try next?

Once you have had your kit for a while, find a place to keep your oils that is easy for you to access.  If you toss them in the back of a drawer you’ll never use them.  Line them up on a shelf or in the medicine cabinet or up high in the kitchen somewhere.  Keep them out of easy reach of the kids, of course.  But you want them to be where you can quickly get to them.

Now play around with them.  Look up one and see how you might want to use it.  Try something new in the diffuser, mix a couple of them together.  You may discover a new combo and want to share it with your friends!

Read through your books and see what other oils you might want to try next and write them in the front of the book.  Dog ear the pages and enjoy learning something new.  And let the friend that you joined through know what you’re using and how much you’re enjoying the oils!

Fun Fact: Did you know that Essential oils cannot be patented?

This means that Pharmaceutical companies will never use essential oils in a pharmaceutical drug, or even waste money studying them. Inadvertently, the vast majority of doctors will not recommend essential oils as an alternative therapy, because their knowledge is limited.

Be sure to read through this whole 5 day series…..

Day 1: How to Get Stared Using Essential Oils
Day 3: The WHEN of Essential Oils
Day 4: The WHERE of Essential Oils
Day 5: The WHY of Essential Oils

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Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

I should be starting this morning with enthusiasm.  I have grocery shopping and Bible study, answering emails and getting the house ready for Thanksgiving all to do this morning.  But instead I am drinking hot tea in my jammies and considering a 10AM nap.

Our family was on vacation last week and now I am so worn out from all of the running around and eating and keeping up with active boys that I need a break from my break.

We went to Disney World.  It was wonderful and magical, but I got so tired that by the time we pulled in the driveway on Saturday night at 10:00 I wasn’t sure if I could make the walk from the van to the house.  Yesterday I stayed in bed until noon while watching trash TV.  After that I dragged myself to my recliner and stared at the walls, not even trying to get anything done.  I slept almost the entire day and I still don’t feel caught up on rest.

I’d like to stay in my post-Disney stupor today too, but life won’t let me.  We are having a houseful of people here for Thanksgiving, which is such a wonderful blessing!  Since I love my friends, I can’t just lie around wishing the holiday elves would bake the pies and find room in the fridge for all this food.  I have to actually get up.

This morning while I was unpacking my suitcase and putting away the vacation memories, I decided not to put my hair supplies away just yet.  You see, I got a little obsessed with doing fun things with my hair for Disney.  I created a different style for each themed park and it was so much fun that I am thinking of doing some more things with my hair for the holidays.  Maybe a Christmas tree or some kind of fountain.

Here are the styles I did last week.  I got so much interest in them on social media that I will do individual tutorials for them over the next few weeks.  I just need time to recover first.

Right now I have a week filled with baking and shopping and cleaning and hopefully getting some rest before I have to get up at 4:00 on Black Friday to take my teens shopping.  In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I made a Pin board with some great tips, games and recipes.  This will help me when I get to the store and forget what I was planning to cook.  If you have a great Thanksgiving recipe, I hope you’ll share it with us over on Facebook! I need all the help I can get.

We will be moving all of the furniture out of our living room to make space for a few more tables on Thanksgiving.  I am not sure where the sofa is going to go, I may be crawling over it for the next 4 days.  Hopefully I can still get a few naps in while we get ready for our guests to arrive!

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends!

 

The Story of the Washer and Dryer

The Story of the Washer and Dryer

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Do you ever have a moment of, “How did I get myself into this?”  Well that describes my entire Saturday.

It started a few weeks ago when I noticed that our washing machine wasn’t draining all of the water out and the clothes were dripping wet after the cycle ran.  So after each wash, I would have to run an extra rinse and spin cycle.  OK, no big deal.  That only doubles my laundry time, which is pretty lengthy already.  THEN, the dryer started to get fussy,  I assume it was wanting some extra attention since the washer was being so demanding, and it stopped drying as well as it used to.  The clothes would come out damp.  So I started hanging half of the wet clothes on the line outside and the other half stayed in the dryer.   I do actually enjoy the simplicity of hanging clothes on the line, but I didn’t see it as being a long term solution.  I’m no Ma Ingalls.

In defense of my machines, they are both over 12 years old and in washer/dryer years that’s like 115.  They have been troopers about the extreme workload that is expected of them in our home.  So maybe they were just dying of old age and exhaustion.  But last Friday, the washer bid us its final farewell.  We knew from the banging noise and burning smell coming from our utility room that it was over.

I called a repairman and he came to call time of death.  “No point in trying to fix it,” he said, “the _____ is completely busted and the ______ needs replacing which would mean pulling out the ______ and ______.  It just ain’t worth it.” (I don’t speak repairman so this is a loose interpretation)

He told me the dryer wasn’t far behind, so may as well replace them both.

I texted James and let him know that our Friday night date just went from dinner and a movie to walking around Lowes trying to find good deals on laundry sets.  And by good deal I mean not a good deal because these machines are so expensive now that I think the two of them cost more than my first car.  He wasn’t happy about it, but after 29 years of marriage he was smart enough to know that he would be less happy living with a wife who had to drive 10 miles to the Laundromat every day with 6 loads of dirty boys’ clothes in her car.

We took our time, looking at each machine and Googling reviews and trying to gulp down how much money we were about to spend.  We found a dryer in the clearance section that we decided to buy because it was significantly reduced in price, then chose the matching washer that they had in stock and we could take it home to install first thing in the morning.  Great.  Ring it up.  Oh sure, our next 2 sons won’t be able to go to college, but they will have clean clothes.

The next morning was install time, aka tear the house apart and make messes that will take weeks to clean up.  Because the new washer is a top load and the old ones were front load on pedestals, I had to tear out the shelf that spanned the top of my machines and remove another shelf across from them.  That meant finding new places to store all of the things that we kept in the shelves and drawers we were removing and not replacing.  Plus, I don’t know about you, but I tend to find things I didn’t even know I have when I empty cabinets which left me with a plethora of odd and ends that are still sitting in my kitchen while I try to find new homes for them.  It’s everything from a specialty light bulb to party napkins.  I’m at a loss.

The kids pitched in and we got the room emptied and cleaned after a couple of hours, although the kitchen looked like a utility room bomb had gone off.  James jumped in at that point to install the new machines, which involved 2 trips to the hardware store and at least an hour of digging around in our garage looking for spare dryer parts we could rig because the “great deal” we got turned out to be missing some essential pieces.  I only cried twice, which is a good day in our world.

After a few more hours, they were both scooted into place and ready to try.  I loaded exactly 6# into the washer, according to the manual and turned it on for its inaugural run.  Beautiful.  It swished and cleaned the clothes like any good youngster.  I felt kinda sorry for it, all innocent and showing off without knowing what it was about to get itself into.  We run our machines pretty much all day every day.

I piddled around during its cycle to keep my eye out for leaks, excessive shaking or any protests from the machine, which was great because it gave me 45 minutes to put away some of the junk that we had piled in the kitchen.  It did great, no problems.  When it was done, I reached in to pull the laundry out and made a startling discovery….. in order for me to get the clothes in the bottom of the machine I have to stand on my tiptoes, lay my stomach across the front of the machine and tip myself all the way into the drum with my head and some of my upper body inside of the washer.  My feet actually have to lift off of the ground.

Flashes of falling in, screaming for help and my family not hearing me for hours only to walk into the utility room one afternoon and find me head down in the washer with my legs kicking wildly went through my mind.  This. Is. Not. Good.

And the dryer is not much better.  The opening is so low to the ground and the drum is so deep that I practically have to get on my knees and, again, get inside of it to reach the clothes in the back.

Here’s the good news: Our clothes are clean (and the utility room is spotless).
Here’s the bad news: I think I am going to return the washer and dryer and get another set of front loaders with pedestals.

I just can’t see myself doing this when I’m 60.  I could break a hip.  Or die a sad and unnecessary death.

When I informed James that I thought I was going to return them, he looked at me, stumped.  I am sure it sent a panic through him of having to go through this whole experience next weekend.  All he said to me was, “But, but, they are here now and usable. Plus it will cost so much more!”

Yes dear, but you will be saving on the chiropractor bills from the back issues I would have from loading and unloading these machines over and over.  Not to mention the cost of taking me out to dinner every night because I am too exhausted from trying to wedge myself out of the washer three to five times a day.

He managed to convince me to try them for another week and then decide.  You’re my friends, so I am telling you now…. if I disappear in the next 7 days, call someone and tell them to check the washing machine.

The Day the House Won

The Day the House Won

Do you like to rearrange rooms in your house?  It’s kind of an annual thing around here.  We get an itch to move the kids into different bedrooms and clean everything while getting rid of junk.  The problem here is that my kids do this totally rude thing of growing up and developing new interests and needing space for their new equipment or work, so we have to find ways to accommodate their growth.

In this case, in addition to growing needs, a room became available.  Our oldest daughter, after spending the summer in Dallas, decided to stay there for a little longer.  So she came home for a couple of weeks and we spent time getting her room packed up.  I also got to do some fun shopping with her because the temps are significantly colder where she will be and she needed to warm up her wardrobe.

OK, that’s not completely true.  I would have taken her shopping anyway.

I would have taken her shopping even if the temps were the same.  I wanted to help her set up for success and my way of doing that is though clothing and closet organizers.  We had a great time together!

On Saturday morning she left with her packed-to-the-gills car and the other kids and I got started cleaning the room out and prepping it for the new tenants.  It’s a 2 room combo so my 2 daughters still at home decided to move into it and share the large space.  While some of the kids moved stuff from where the girls were before, 2 boys and I scrubbed and arranged and cleaned while it was emptyish.

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I can not express how good it feels to know that every inch of that space is super clean.  I expect it to last no more than 3 days.

By about 4:00 Saturday afternoon I was so tired you would have thought I had moved one of the pyramids in Egypt one enormous brick at a time.  I was literally falling over.  I told the kids I needed an hour to rest and I closed my bedroom door.  I may have even slammed it a little…. not out of frustration but from being too exhausted to take the one step necessary to close it gently.

I napped so hard that my face had marks in it and I had no idea where I was when I woke up.

Later that evening I did manage, with the help of the boys, to put away the junk that had exploded its way into my living room.  That’s how room rearranging goes.  You pick up something and don’t know where to put it so you dump it in the living room.  My house was a disaster area.  A friend asked for pictures to prove my house was mess, which I did not take for fear of seeing them later and having nightmares.  Just imagine an episode of hoarders and you will have a pretty good idea of what my house looked like.

messy house funny

I am going to have an intervention on myself pretty soon.  I keep WAY too much STUFF!

We did manage to get the living space of our home pretty well picked up, ordered pizza and all went to bed too tired to even think about the next day.  Thankfully I had prepped our Sunday clothes earlier in the week.  If I hadn’t, we would probably have had to go with a toga theme for church.

messy house funny

Our pastor started a new series this weekend about loving one another, which I am super excited about.  Love and forgiveness sounds so easy in theory, but in practice…. not always.  If I hadn’t been so tired I might have gone up and told him how much I am looking forward to the next few weeks of his sermons.  Maybe next weekend.  Wait, no.  We are moving the boys’ rooms next weekend.  I’ll just have to send him an ecard.

messy house funny

This week I will be starting my big October project of finishing the first draft of my next book.  I have been working on it, but I am planning a big push to finish it and get the editing process going.  That’s part of why I want to get the kids all settled into their new spaces….. they need some attention from Mom before I go into my writing cave.

messy house funny

Lastly, my daughter and I went to see a movie called “Captive” while we were out shopping.  It was pretty good for the 18 and up crowd (keep in mind we are SUPER conservative about what we let our under 18 kids see).  The content was definitely adult in nature, but never went so far as to be disturbing.  I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  And that’s just because I thought it could have used a little more of a point, but I like to be spoon fed in a movie.  I’m lazy like that.

Have a great week!

That Day I Made My Own Laundry Pods

That Day I Made My Own Laundry Pods

This post contains affiliate links.

A couple of months ago my friend Susan shared a recipe for laundry pods.  I thought, “Hey!  I should make those!”

So after reading her recipe I immediately opened my Amazon app and ordered some Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda and it arrived on my doorstep a few days later.  I carried it to a shelf in my bathroom where it stayed, next to a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, for 2 months where it eventually needed to be dusted.  Thus proving what I already knew….that I am a master procrastinator.

I should make myself a “Master Procrastinator” cape.  And wouldn’t it be great if it rolled up into a pillow like those snuggy blankets so I could use it at naptime?

OK, where were we?  Oh right.  Laundry pods.  I’m starting to see why it took me so long to make them.

You can see Susan’s recipe HERE and I’ll just share with you what I did differently.

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First let me say, I was drawn to trying this because of two things.  1. It has essential oils in it and y’all know how I am crazy about those!  2. It includes the Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar which I am a HUGE fan of.  If you have never tried one…run to get it now before you have your next laundry stain.  It’s amazing.  Then, just for fun, have your kids study why it works….simply fascinating.

OK, back to the recipe.  I decided to use Citrus Fresh and Tea Tree.  Susan used Citrus Fresh and StressAway.  Once I saw how hard it was to get those little balls to stick together I realize why she was so brilliant.  I was wishing for some StressAway about 2 minutes into the balling process.  I could NOT get those suckers to hold together.  So I added more vinegar and voila!  It worked.  Each time it got too dry to stay in a ball I added about a tablespoon of vinegar and kept going.  In this Texas heat it still only took a day to firm up enough to put them into the canister.

An easy to make "recipe" for making your own laundry pods that make you clothes so soft and great smelling!

If I decide to make them again, I will switch to the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda because it is less than half the cost of the one I used.  And I’ll definitely try other oils.  I mean, what’s the fun of making your own if you can’t play with the scent?!

I will admit, I cheated and tossed a fresh one into my laundry as I was making them.  I was dying to see if all this effort was really worth it.  And it was!  My laundry smelled divine and the towels were so soft that if I ever do make that cape I will use one of those soft towels.

On second thought, I can simply clothespin the towel to my shirt and be done with it.  Procrastinators unite!

Happy laundering!

If you are interested in getting started using Young Living essential oils, I’d love to be a part of your journey!  You can join HERE and when you order the Premium Starter Kit at the same time as joining (it’s a great kit….11 oils and a fabulous diffuser!) I will send you a book to get you started and some other goodies!