Candy Crushing

Candy Crushing

Our weekend started off with a bang.  Since we don’t celebrate Halloween, we decided to christen our new rec room with a movie for the whole family on Friday night.  We all crowded in there and I surprised the kids with 2 huge bags of candy.  We very rarely buy candy so when I announced that they could eat all they wanted there was a collective outcry of jubilation.

And within about 30 minutes there was a pile of teeny candy wrappers on the coffee table that would eventually challenge Mt Everest in height.

The theme of the night: Laughter with a Sugar High.

The next morning I had planned to work on filling etsy orders and help the boys clean out their closet.  But when I went into my bathroom to get dressed for the day and started the daily search for my favorite essential oils I broke under the pressure.  Two hours later I emerged from the bathroom with reorganized oils and a clean bathroom.

While I worked I could hear the kids calling out, “Where’s MOM?!  I can’t find her!”  But my drive to get that bathroom in ship shape overshadowed my drive to help them find their one lost shoe or figure out where the last of the candy went.

I took all of the whole bottles (that the oils come in) off the shelves and organized them in a drawer that was empty.  Can you believe I actually have empty drawers in my bathroom?  I think I deserve some kind of award for that.  Anyway, then I refilled my diluted rollon bottles and organized them on my shelves by the way they are used instead of alphabetical, which is how they were before.  And I must say that even though I am only 2 days into this new system, it’s working much better.


It will make it much easier for the kids to find oils when they need them.  Not that they don’t know the alphabet, but they don’t necessarily know what oils to use if I am not there to make suggestions.  This way they at least have an idea what to try when they can’t sleep or feel a cold coming on.

Speaking of oils….if you don’t know….I am having a romance with Thieves.  As I get ready for winter I am stocking up.  We love the cleaner and diffusing it all winter, but I have now discovered their lozenges which, in my humble opinion, are better than cough drops and throat soothers and any number of hard candy combined.  I have been using them even when I am well because they make my breath nice and, if I am being completely honest, they keep me awake during church.


I am sorry to say that I have a slight issue with staying awake during a long service and need something in my mouth to keep me from the strong temptation to check my email or worse, play a game.  Candy Crush and I are going to have to break up anyway if I can’t get past this level.

I love these lozenges so much that I am sending a bag of them to everyone that joins Young Living through me this month with a Premium Starter Kit or Premium Starter Kit with Thieves.  PLUS I am still sending you my favorite reference book.  Y’all….don’t wait.  You want this for the winter months!

Click HERE now to get started!

And have a great week!

Rec Rooms and Old People

Rec Rooms and Old People

Being the last day of October I am feeling a little like waxing poetic over the passing of time.

But then I would have to think of rhyming words and watch how long my sentences are and the thought of working that hard makes my dream of becoming the next Emily Dickinson fly out the window.

Today our family will lie low and just be together playing games and hanging out.  We don’t celebrate Halloween at all….it’s just another day to spend with the family.  We may even order pizza and check the Redbox to see if there’s anything fun to watch.

For the past couple of weeks we have been turning what used to be the etsy shop into a rec room for the older kids.  They needed a place of their own to host their friends, watch grown up movies and stay up late.  By late I mean after 9:00, since I no longer have the ability to remain conscious after that.  But the kids like to stay up and talk and make noise that keeps old people awake.  It was either give them their own space or go hoarse calling out for them to “HUSH!” every night.

Good grief.  I have turned a geriatric corner.

I gave them full freedom to fix the room up however they want.  They have been pulling furniture out of storage and dragging junk in there and making it all their own.  I heard whispers of choosing paint colors, so I guess they’re going all out.  Have fun kids!  Mom will be in her bedroom taking a nap.

To be clear, the etsy shop is still in business.  We have just taken a ton of items out of the shop to make it a little easier for the boys. They have taken over the production of our top seller, the essential oil shelves.  It’s a great way for them to earn money and save for college.


The girls are still making the jar lids and a few other favorite items.  I do all of the customer service and upkeep.  It’s a full fledged family operation.

And since we took our product list way down we were able to move the shop into a smaller space, which left the big room wide open.  I thought I might have a hard time letting go of the decorating and furniture arranging.  But it turns out that I am not struggling with it one bit.  They can turn that place into a sci-fi museum for all I care.  I fully expect a Tardis to be constructed in the corner.  I am just happy they are enjoying it so much!

Our weekend is full of plans to clean the house and get caught up on shop orders.  I also am hoping to get some reading in since I brought home about 20 new books from the conference last weekend.  And to be in bed before 9 every night.

See you in November!

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I Simply Can’t Stick to One Subject

I Simply Can’t Stick to One Subject

Well friends, I have officially reached code red status of exhaustion.  As much as I love to travel, it wears me out and takes me a week to recover from.  Add that to the time change recovery period and we’re talkin’ deep sleep deprivement that only a cruise or quiet beach house would cure.

I thought about trying to take a three day nap, but my life of homeschooling and OCD house cleaning doesn’t lend itself to being asleep for days at a time.  I wonder what would happen if I just closed my door and fell asleep at odd hours.  Would my children survive?  If they did, would I survive the state of the house afterward?  Would I have to notify everyone or could I just disappear?  These are the questions I ask myself in my sleepy stupor.

Last Wednesday I was just home from a quick trip to California and spent the day catching up with the kids.  I went though their school work and played games with them and generally laid on the couch while they told me stuff that was in their head.  I learned that Elijah has decided not to become a grocery store manager and now he is planning to become a hurricane chaser.  Boy, you leave for three days and all kinds of changes happen!

On Thursday I went to the city with my 2 best friends for a fabulous evening of eating on the Riverwalk and seeing “Wicked.”  No kidding…this play was so amazing I just sat there glued to every word.  I used to wish for a trip to Hawaii but I am now dreaming of a trip to New York so I can go see more of these incredible works of art and talent.  My dreams change frequently.  Wait.  I am starting to understand Elijah a little better.

Then as if all of that wasn’t enough, I went on Friday to see the new Muppet movie, which I have been waiting for since forever!  Even though I was worn out, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a true Muppet fanatic if I didn’t see their new movie on opening day.  It was so cute….I loved it.  But I’m not objective since I have a huge crush on Kermit.  He’s my kinda frog.

I took my daughter, Hope, with me to see the movie and we talked and talked and had such a good time with just the 2 of us.  I want to bottle her up and keep her in the closet ‘cuz she’s so sweet.  More impossible dreams.

We spent the weekend filling Shop24 orders and trying to stay healthy since several of the kids were getting a cold.  I kept putting essential oils all over everyone and they’re feeling better this morning.  What would I do without my Thieves?!  And lemon…oh and peppermint….I could go on and on….

This week I am getting ready to do a 5K on Sunday.  I wish I could say that I did an intense Couch to 5K training, but I really haven’t prepared.  I am doing it with my sister, so I have warned her that I will be slow and she is welcome to run ahead of me.  I doubt that 5 days of preparation will really help much.

I’m off to try my idea of disappearing and randomly falling asleep.  I’m hoping to get down to a code orange by tomorrow.

Have a great week!

10 Things I Would Want for Christmas If I Didn’t Already Have Them

10 Things I Would Want for Christmas If I Didn’t Already Have Them

This post contains affiliate links.

There are so many things that I love and would love to get for Christmas if I didn’t already have them!  So I thought I’d share this list with you.  Maybe it will help you do some of your shopping or be a great thing for your husband to read for ideas to fill your stocking.  Let me know if you need me to “mysteriously” email him this list.

I am putting it in order from least to most expensive.  Whatever you want to spend, there’s something for you here.  Unless you want to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars, in which case you’re in the wrong place.  Maybe Donald Trump has a list you could look at.

10 things this blogger loves that would make a great Christmas gift!

1. Mason Jar Straw Lids — It’s such an affordable gift and I use mine  My kids love them, my guests use them….a set would be a great family gift!

2. Runt the Brave — Our favorite family read aloud!  After I read it to my kids they all took turns reading it again.  It’s soooo good and would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for a young person in your life.  Since it’s so hard to find a good book, I had to put this on my list!

3. Burlap Pouch — this is one of my favorite shop products.  I carry 2 of them in my purse….one with my business cards in in (I also put cards in that people give me) and the other I use as a little emergency kit (bandaids, safety pins, bacterial wipes, etc).

4. Games! — We are a game lovin’ family  One of our favorites is Mind Trap Brain Teaser Board Game.  It’s full of challenging puzzles and mysteries and fun for the whole family!  Another one we love is Wits & Wagers.  We play this one a lot when company comes over.

5. Pink Tool Set — Even though I have a workshop, I keep a small set of tools in the house.  And what I love about this set is it’s pink, so that means if someone (I have 5 boys and a husband after all) takes any of it I can tell for sure that it’s my hammer lying in the yard.  Plus it comes with 4 small screwdrivers, great or opening those teeny battery compartment screws.

6. Movie Gift Card — Going to the movie is so expensive, so it would make a great gift idea!  If you can, make it enough for a drink and popcorn too…that really makes it a fun night for the recipient of your gift.

7. Lift Caps — These supplements have made such a huge difference in my life that I wish I could send you all a bottle.  They would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for a friend.

8. Orthaheel Slippers — These are no ordinary slippers.  I have heel problems and have to wear a good arch support, so wearing slippers around the house used to be impossible.  I had to wear my shoes even walking from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Then I found these slippers and oh-my-heaven.  They have arch support!  They are expensive for slippers.  But I have fallen so in love with mine that I had to tell you about them!

9. UP Band — My UP band is another part of my recent fitness routine.  It keeps track of my steps and my sleep and holds me accountable every day to get moving.  I plug it into my iphone at night and an app keeps track of everything.  For the techie in your life, this would be a great gift!

10. Young Living Oils Premium Starter Kit — If you’ve been wanting to start using essential oils this is the best place to start!  Why not ask for this for Christmas?!

That’s it….my favorites list for the Christmas season.  I’d love to hear about some of the things you love too!

Holiday Preparations Are In Full Swing

Holiday Preparations Are In Full Swing

I made a quick run to Dallas this past weekend.  Sure it’s a 6 hour drive, but in Texas time that’s practically your next door neighbor.  Just a simple country jaunt.

I went to visit my friends Connie and Brandy.  We were working on some secret projects for the upcoming Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit in Texas.  Oh!  Did I tell you that two people will win their registrations?!  If you register by December 31 you will be entered to win back the money for your registration….go register I tell you!  You don’t want to miss this.

And if my post from last week wasn’t enough to persuade you, here’s one from Connie saying why she loves it so much.  Y’all have to watch her video….it makes me cry!

I got home on Saturday afternoon and started filling shop orders.  The Christmas stocking orders are rolling in along with lots of orders for jars and lids.  Wouldn’t this be a fun stocking stuffer or secret santa present?

Adorable Christmas gift for under $10!

Not to brag, but we have a bunch of cute things in our shop that would make great, unique gifts.  And some fun decorations too!

This week we’re getting the house ready for a big Thanksgiving feast.  We will have a houseful and it’s gonna be cold.  Our old farmhouse isn’t well insulated and doesn’t get warm, so usually we just wrap up in blankets.  But I doubt that our guests will be interested in wearing quilts and footie pajamas, so I am scrambling to find ways to warm it up.  Do you think they will notice if we sit really close to them at the table?  Body heat is very helpful in 30° weather.

I’ve already done the grocery shopping and have no plans to go back before Thanksgiving.  Whatever we are out of we will just have to skip.  I can’t take the grocery store crowds during the holidays.  It makes me wish for alcohol and I don’t drink.

But I will have to go shopping at all manner of other kinds of stores on Tuesday.  My daughter’s birthday means shopping and nothing I say or do will change her mind.  I tried bribing her with promises of candy and soda if she would stay home instead, but when you’re 18 a full PEZ dispenser really doesn’t have the same appeal that it used to.  So shopping it is.

I guess if I can go to Dallas and back in a day I can handle the holiday crowds with my favorite 18 year old.

Have a great week!


I Craft; I Sleep

I Craft; I Sleep

OK, I am not adjusting well to this recent time change.  I start falling asleep on my feet at 8:00 every night and can’t sleep past 5:00 in the morning.  Is this what getting old looks like?  Pretty soon my house will start to smell like mothballs.

I tell you this bit of trivia because it explains why, despite having a family party on Friday night and a date on Saturday night, I am the last person you would want to hang out with once the sun sets (which is now happening at 6:30PM).  Last Friday I was literally laying my head on the table as people read their crazy Balderdash answers.  “Wake me up when it’s time to vote,” I’d slur.  I’m a barrel of fun.  It’s like playing a game with a person in a coma.

I may have to start drinking coffee.

(there’s another bit of Lisa trivia….I don’t drink coffee….never have)

In my sleepy defense, we did suffer with a small cold over the weekend.  Several of us were fighting off sore throats and achiness.  It didn’t turn into anything terrible since I kept the essential oils going strong.  We used Thieves and Purification mostly.  We are better now.  Short lived.  But it did contribute to the general lack of energy around here.

On Sunday I perked up a little and filled Shop24 orders all afternoon.  It’s that time of year when the Christmas stocking orders start rolling in.  Have you seen our stockings?  I can’t wait to get our family’s stockings out this year.  They make me happy just seeing them hanging there!

Monogrammed Christmas stockings from Shop24!

And we have a new style this year.  It’s still burlap, but a little more modern.

Chevron  Monogrammed Stocking from Shop 24!

I have several cute things coming up to show you.  I got a little crafty last week and as soon as I can get pictures taken, you will be the first to see.  I’m getting in the mood for Christmas.

I just hope I can stay awake long enough to enjoy it.

My Favorite Things Giveaway!!!

My Favorite Things Giveaway!!!

Oh I’ve been so excited for this day to come!  I have been Instagramming my favorite everyday things all month and now I am going to give away a WHOLE BIG BOX full of those things…..yippee!!!  There is over $250 worth of goodness in this box!!!

This box is a simple gift…..from me to you….with love.

If you’ve been following along on Instagram you’ve seen my favorite shampoo, salad dressing, toothpaste, mascara and more!  But I am going to show you my top 10 because these are my double faves!  The winner will get all of these things plus 20 more in the prize box!

1. My FABULOUS daily planner from The Printed Planner!  This keeps my life organized with ideas and plans and all kinds of appointments.  I use it as a journal for my health journey, my blog ideas and even my prayers (not to mention my calendar!)

2. Cozi Gold…the best way to keep the whole family organized!  I love my printed planner for my private needs, but this is for the whole family!  We can all post to it from our phones and keep up with where everyone needs to be and what’s going on with the whole family.  The giveaway winner will get a one year subscription to Cozi Gold.  Cozi is free….and the Gold gives you a few extra perks that we love!

3. Of course I can’t show my faves without some beauties from my etsy shop, Shop24.  I’ll be giving away one of my pouches that I use to keep my purse organized and one of my new favorites for drinking….my 1.5 pint mason jars with straw lid and extra long acrylic straw! I big puffy heart this jar!

4. My Dayspring wallet…’s the best wallet I’ve ever had!  Not only does it have the perfect amount of pockets and storage, but its message on the outside blesses me every time I pull it out of my purse.

5. Circle E Candles — this is such a God honoring company and I love their candles.  I went to their showroom and picked out the perfect fall candle for you!

6. My silver ring from Studio Jewel.  I can’t tell you how much I love this ring made by my precious friend Lisa.  It wraps my finger in the love of a friend.  AND she’s going to give a gift certificate to her shop to the winner of this giveaway….more love to spread around!

7. Honeysuckle Soap from Simply Soap by Alyce on etsy.  Oh my heavens this soap takes me back to the lazy summer days of my childhood when the smell of honeysuckle brought me so much joy.  I love it so much.  Really.  And Alyce included a beautiful soap dish to go with it just for one of you!  Isn’t she sweet?!

8. Lift Caps… daily dose of energy and cheer!  If you haven’t read my post on why these supplements have changed my life then you need to check that out. And the winner of my giveaway will win a bottle….hooray!

9. Essential Oils….they have made such an enormous difference in my family that I can’t do a favorites list without them.  It was hard to choose which one to add to the giveaway box, but I decided on peppermint.  We definitely use it every day!  To learn more about how we use essential oils, here is what I wrote about getting started with them.

10.  Runt the Brave….our favorite read aloud.  Our whole family adores this book.  We have read it over and over and will read it again and I’ll read it to my grandchildren.  Since we’re always looking for a good book, I knew you’d love to hear about this one.

And now for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is not sponsored, but there are some affiliate links. 

Be sure to follow Gina at Shabby Creek Cottage, Lindsay at Makely for Girls and  Stacy at Kids Stuff World to enter their giveaways too!!!

Warning: Fall Cuteness Ahead

Warning: Fall Cuteness Ahead

I sure enjoyed the slow pace of this past weekend since it’s the last free weekend I have until mid-November.  I don’t know why, but every year it gets super busy at this time.  You’d think I would have learned from the exhaustion of the previous year not to do this to myself, but then I forget and think it will be fine.  Like birth…..if I could remember the horrors I’d never have another child and numbers 2-9 would not have been born.  So I guess, despite my busyness, it’s a good thing I don’t remember.

On Friday we got a truckload of homeschool done in preparation for the full calendar ahead.  I’m grateful for my Lift Caps to help me get it all done.  I have more energy than I have had in years and I am using every bit of it.  But don’t get me wrong….I still need my afternoon nap.

Saturday morning we had a big breakfast.  Some of my girls’ had friends here so it was mostly talk about music and jewelry and favorite breakfast cereals.  After that I spent the morning cleaning my room and going through school papers. Nothing noteworthy.  But it was a relief to have my room clean.  It gets messy so fast that I should have taken a picture to prove it happened because it’s already messy again.

That afternoon, even though I had planned to get some writing done, instead I played a computer game for the rest of the day.  I don’t know what came over me.  I just couldn’t make my brain work.  Does that ever happen to you?  No matter what you do your mind won’t focus until finally you’re forced to do seek and find puzzles for three hours?  I had no other choice.  My knack for wasting time is up there with my ability to watch the same movie over and over without ever getting tired of it.  Raw talent, I tell you.

I spent Sunday bringing fall to the house.  Out went the summer decorations and in swept the fake pumpkins and wooden acorns.  I still have some tweaking to do on the porch, but it’s a start.  I couldn’t love fall more if it brought me chocolate and sang me sweet melodies.

We also spent some time photographing and  listing new items in the shop.  It’s all about fall around here!  Check out there darling buckets we made…..

We are all ready for the temps to drop, to wear sweaters and drink hot tea on the veranda.

Or at least stop sweating so much.  I’d settle for that.

It has definitely cooled down though.  For the past few evenings it’s been cool enough for us to go outside for walks or games in the yard.  Having bearable weather does not go unappreciated here in the south.  I am so happy about it finally dropping below 100° that I am thinking about declaring a holiday it its honor.  No school, no work, just lying in the hammock drinking in the breathable air.  That’s how I like to spend a holiday…..lying down.

This next week I am all a twitter because I am heading to Houston for the Blog Elevated conference.  They have some wonderful speakers lined up and I plan to learn lots if I can get my brain working again.  I hear they still have a few tickets left if you’ve been thinking about going.

How’s things at your house?


Lots Going on Around Here!

Lots Going on Around Here!

There are so many things I haven’t caught you up on since April ended.  That was a really crazy month for us with me doing so much traveling and James wrapping up tax season.

1. Our daughter Hope is graduating this year.  She has worked really hard to finish all of her school and be done with it.  She’s not a natural student, so I think she’s looking forward to having time to do some things that are more of her own interests.  We are not having a graduation ceremony.  She didn’t care about it and we couldn’t find a good time to do it, so we’ve decided to take a little trip instead.  That fits her personality better.  But we will send out announcements.  Here’s the picture we are using….she’s a beauty!

2. Speaking of traveling, I’m planning a few simple summer trips:

*In June some of my daughters and I will head to Kansas City for the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop.  If you have a budding writer, this workshop is fabulous!  We went last year and my kids were so inspired that we can’t wait to go again.  I’d be glad to answer any questions about it if you think it’s something you might want to do.

*Most of us will be attending the Teach Them Diligently Marketplace in Houston in July.  I don’t know if my whole family will go since we have the farm animals to tend to.  But it will be nice to also visit with my parents while we are there.  If you’re going, please let me know so we can meet!

*In August I will be heading to California for a women’s retreat in Rancho Mirage, CA.  I will be the keynote speaker and I am super excited!  If you are in the area and are interested in attending let me know and I can email you more information.

3. We’ve got new products in the shop and more on the way!  I’ve added Mason Jar Straw Lids with Acrylic Straws for the kids.  We did a fun photo shoot last weekend for those and my boys clowned it up for the camera.

4. Lastly, I have a great series coming up about siblings.  I get so many questions asking how we did it….our kids get along so well.  So I am working on a 6 part series starting in June on that subject.  Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy your family!

Happiness is a Peaceful Weekend

Happiness is a Peaceful Weekend

It was a peaceful weekend, quiet and low key.  We milled about doing this and that.  No trips, no rushing around.  Delightful!

On Saturday I gave a couple of haircuts on the front porch.  For some reason, even though I cut the boys’ hair myself and own all of the cutting tools, I wait until they look like orphans in a third world country before I actually cut their hair.  I will go weeks saying, “Boy, you need a HAIRCUT!” knowing that all I have to do is pull out the clippers and have it done in about 10 minutes.  Pitiful.

After the haircuts were done Patience and I decided to use the nice light on the porch to take some new photos for our shop.  My Mason Jar Straw Lids are our hottest seller these days, so we wanted to spice up their pictures.  We set one of our tables on the porch with our pretty summer dishes and took about 7000 shots.  This is Patience’s influence.  I am a just-take-a-couple-of-pictures-and-be-done kind of girl, but she likes to keep going with gusto.  My problem with taking so many is that I have to reject a bunch of good ones.

Just to show you, here’s one of the rejects….but I love it!

Mason jar straw lids from etsy shop -- Shop24

And the good ones…they are super yummy!  I love this one with our new stainless steel straws.

Cute mason jars straw lids with stainless steel straws from esty Shop24

Seriously, I could show you 6998 more!  And we have several new listings in the shop and more to come.  EEK!

Since the table was all set anyway, the 4 girls decided to eat dinner out there and had a lovely time.  Although I couldn’t tell you why they aren’t actually drinking from the mason jars with lids.  I wonder if they know they are allowed to actually USE them.

Yesterday was James’ birthday.  The kids and I pampered him as much as we could.  We did whatever he wanted, which meant spending the afternoon playing Wii Family Feud.  It was girls against boys.  The girls won.  I’m just sayin’.  Birthday or no birthday….no one lets anyone else win around here.

I had to look through my Instagram feed to remind myself of what happened over the weekend.  It’s sad when I can’t remember what I did yesterday.  Especially when I saw this picture from church of 2 of my kids singing for the Lord.  Really Mom, this is something you should remember.

Sorry for the grainy picture.  I was using my iphone and I was way in the back.  Note to self: sit in the front the next time my kids sing.

I guess that’s not a completely uneventful weekend.  A few interesting things happened.

How about you?  Did you relax?  Or go gusto?