Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Homemade Face Cream

My youngest is 2 1/2 and likes to reference things as happening "last week". Sometimes he means yesterday, sometimes he means some other time in the past. It's super cute, but I might be biased.

Anyway, I was starting to tell you about my homemade face cream I referenced in my Crunchy post last week. I thought you'd like to see the way I make it.

First I gather all the ingredients on a tray and photograph it for posterity.

Just kidding, but these are the three ingredients I use: Olive oil, coconut oil and lavender essential oil. You also need a whisk or spoon or other stirring device and a jar with a lid.

My container is from an adorable little candle I found at the grocery store last fall. It's a mason jar that's probably only 3-4 ounces. I regret only buying two! I knew it was a seasonal item but thought they'd have more for Christmas or Valentine's but I haven't seen them again. Moving on.

I put a big scoop of coconut oil in the jar then microwave it for 30 seconds to soften the oil so it can be mixed with the other oils.

Next I pour in some olive oil.

For the record, I didn't decant the olive oil to be fancy for this post! I buy oil in the giant containers and prefer to keep them out of sight, so I use this green jar all the time. Not sure why I felt it necessary to clear that up, but whew!

I then add a few drops of lavender essential oil. I'm sure there are others you could use, but I like the smell and it's supposed to be quite fantastic for your skin.

Then whip it up! I've heard of some people blending it in the blender which might have really cool results. I imagine it is really smooth and creamy, but I just don't make enough at once to bother.

The last step I take is to stick the jar of newly mixed face cream in the fridge. I find it takes quite some time for the coconut oil to harden again, so I speed it up by chilling it. By the way, the purpose of mixing olive oil into your face cream is for the consistency. I've found that straight coconut oil is hard to work with, and I prefer the smell when olive oil and essential oil are added.

So there you have it! Super easy, super good for you! I use this every morning and sometimes at night. It only takes about the size of a pea to cover your whole face, so even though I slather it on my boys' faces in the winter too, a little container like this lasts a long time!

This recipe works great as a make-up remover as well. Just rub it on and wipe it off with a soft cloth. I sometimes do this but really don't prefer how it lingers around my eyes, although some people swear by it.

Are you going to try it? You probably have all the ingredients on hand already! What crunchy beauty recipes do you use?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


It's been gradually creeping up on me, this crunchy thing.

But I have to admit, I'm getting pretty granola.

Do you have a clue what I'm talking about? Here are some hints:

Yesterday I mentioned using some homemade beauty products and a friend asked me to elaborate. Ok! I'd love to share what's working for me. I'm by no means an expert and I continue to adjust and experiment but my skin feels better, acts better and is easier to take care of, plus I'm saving a lot of money on beauty products.

I used to buy name brand products, and though they were "lower end", as in, something you could get at Target or your corner drug store, even my simplistic routine really added up. Olay, Clean & Clear, Secret, Pantene--and Bath & Body Works. Love those smells and still feel pampered when I get some BBW for a gift! I always always used lotion on my skin after a shower, faithfully washed my face every evening and moisturized it again, shampooed and conditioned my hair every day, applied antiperspirant at least once a day, you know, everything you're "supposed" to do.

I've gone through some struggles with my health over the last decade, and completely changed my life-style from yuppy single career woman to married stay-at-home-mommy. While my health is fine, more or less, I realized about two years ago that the cycle of being pregnant, post-partum, nursing, getting pregnant again three times over had really taken a toll on me. I had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism back in my single days and had just taken my synthetic meds being told that there was no cure. With each pregnancy I had different health-care providers and in between was yet another doctor, so it seems my dose was constantly changing and never stable.

To make a long story short because this wasn't supposed to be about all of that, I've finally taken my health into my own hands and have begun the long journey to get me back on track. Actually, this started about 18 months ago. I've had ups and downs and many more changes and moves since then, but I am gradually learning what works. I have two triggers, especially, that make me feel lousy: gluten and sugar.

I'm happy to say that I'm at a point where I'm gluten AND sugar free 90% of the time. And when I give in and have bread at the Macaroni Grill or splurge on a latte at Starbucks or have a couple slices of real pizza, I pay for it the next day or two.

That's my point of the background story. Some of the improvement I've seen in my skin might be because of diet more than skin care products.

Still, there's the money-saving part, and knowing my homemade skin care items aren't slowly killing me (um, aluminum? fluoride?), aren't tested on animals, don't have wasteful by-products, and I could eat them if I had to. I'll take it.

Ok. Finally.

I clean my face with oil. After years of trying to get my skin to be less oily. Yeah, ironic. I read something written by The Wellness Mama about a year ago about an effective oil cleansing method.

please pin from the original website

I'm kinda lazy though, and over the last year, this has turned into a moisturizer for me. Here's what I do: Equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and quality coconut oil with a few drops of lavender essential oil. I put it in a little jar which lasts forever, even though I was slathering it on my boys' chapped cheeks all winter! It's weird at first, so I start with less than I think I'll need and it's usually enough. I try to keep my hair out of the way and just let it soak in while doing something else for a minute or two, and then apply make-up as usual.

I don't wash my face at night. If I feel dry or dirty, I'll apply more oil-moisturizer.

Speaking of oily hair and Wellness Mama, I also use her recipe for dry shampoo. Again, it's kinda weird to get used to it and kinda funny when you catch of whiff of chocolate and realized it's your hair, but it helps me go longer between washes. That whole no-shampoo movement? I just can't get past the "transition" phase they say your scalp goes through where you feel so grody and greasy and before the magical my-hair-and-scalp-have-never-felt-better thing. Who knows, I might try it again on a camp trip or when I find a cute enough hat, but for now I still wash 2-3 times a week with real, commercial shampoo!

please pin from the original source

We're still using our version of DIY toothpaste. I like being able to squeeze it, but it's pretty hard in the winter so we've been scooping with our toothbrushes which thrashes them! I'm thinking of adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the ratio of ingredients below to see if it's a better consistency. Here's a link to that original post even though the recipe is on the picture sequence below!

The last item I want to mention is still in a trial phase, but I think I like it! I've been looking for a good, natural deodorant for a long time. I've tried the salt crystal thing, Tom's brand natural stuff, straight coconut oil... Yeah, no. But just last week I tried this recipe from Homemade Mommy.

Only now that I study it, I realize how much I adapted it. So my version is inspired by Homemade Mommy. Whatever works, right?

I used a quarter cup each baking powder and arrowroot powder and mixed it up with a half cup of coconut oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil. While it was soft from mixing, I spooned it into an empty deodorant container and let it harden for a day. You know what? It works! I'm not stinky or particularly sweaty, and you can apply it the same way as always! Win!

Homemade Mommy's recipe includes clay and shae and less baking powder. I'm sure it's wonderful but I didn't have those ingredients. I've heard frankincense is a great essential oil for deodorant. I'd like to try it or sandalwood or something, but that really does sound crunchy so I better stick to what I have!

Well, there you go. I've been reading up on how to make your own mineral make-up, but I'm not sure I can handle any more food items smeared on my face!

What about you? Have you tried any natural beauty product recipes lately? Are you crunchy?

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Day in the Life

Happy Monday, guys!

Here's something weird I almost hate to admit. About me. Are you ready? I kindof like Mondays.

Sharing my Valentine flowers with you!

Isn't that so bad? I mean, it's like a thing to hate Mondays, but after a couple days of loose schedules and expectations of fun and relaxation that never seems to happen, I like Mondays for their reliability, stability and, yes schedule. I didn't like them so much when I had a career, but now that I'm a stay at home mom we all seem a little happier to be back to the routine.

So since Mondays in my book don't stink, I thought I'd share one with you! Talk about exciting! I do some daycare and this Monday that I documented was a busy one with three extra kids coming and going.

Here we go! I'll just do these in order from top to bottom, left to right. Mmmkay?

1. Somehow my decaf with half and half and stevia helps me get out of bed in the morning. The smell, the warmth, the ritual.
2. I take it with me to the bathroom and listen to my devotional on my phone. I have struggled to faithfully have morning devotionals since I was a teenager, and this actually works! I have a reminder set on the Bible app and love to listen to somebody else read the Bible while I get ready for the day. Here's a peek of my make-up in our grody (rented) medicine cabinet.
3. I love this home made face cream! It's coconut oil, olive oil and lavender essential oil. Totally works and I rarely get blemishes. I have lots of other granola things going on, but I'm saving that for another post.
4. I'm inadvertently growing out my hair. Just haven't scheduled an appointment! My shaggy head looks better when I curl my hair and the only thing that really works is a straight iron. Seriously. It lasts for three days with a few touch-ups.
5. Breakfast time! Lately we've been having eggs or oatmeal, and the kids love it uncooked. Not kidding! We do a scoop of "quick" oats, a round teaspoon of brown sugar, a few walnuts and almond milk. Yum! We also like it with honey, apples and cinnamon. So easy, and no pan to wash!
6. One of the day care kids is here before breakfast is over. She's already eaten but joins us at the table for a clementine.
7. Our family joins hands in a circle and prays for protection throughout the day before Daddy leaves.
8. Then we all wave as he drives off!
9. The kids are busy so I wash the dishes before more kiddos arrive.

1. It's February but SO COLD out. I know it'll be an inside day.
2. The kids all watch the squirrels out of the living room window. There are six kids today, our three boys (ages 2, 4, 6) and three extras (all 3-year-olds).
3. The kids head downstairs to jump on the trampoline so I stole a moment to sweep.
4. One of the sweet day care girls. It was her first day. I wanted to keep her!
5. Toys! Everywhere!
6. Another day care kiddo. Those curls kill me!
7. My boy Josiah tells me about the Lego house he's building. Love him!
8. I notice the sun is shining on my gallery wall in the hall. Yes, I have an obsession!
9. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share!

1-3. Lunch time! I almost always serve pb&j on days I have more than one extra kid. Everyone loves them and you can't get much easier.
4. Story time is after lunch. I try to let each kiddo choose a story, but on days with six kids it lasts a little too long!
5. I tuck a couple kids in for naps. Mr. Curls naps, and so does Josiah. He's also potty training, so after he sits on the potty I pick him up and carry him to bed and we stick our tongues out at the mirror. I love little traditions.
6. The girls don't nap, per their parents' requests. They do school with us instead--my boys didn't get much done because of the distraction, but they had fun and we have some flexibility in our curriculum.
7. School time leads to art time. Today's request is paint, so we watercolor on wet coffee filters. They dry pretty and if you fold up the middle and pinch it with a pipe cleaner, they make cute flowers.
8-9. One of the girls goes home and the rest of us have an hour of quiet time. When we don't have extra kids around, my boys go to their rooms and read or play or draw quietly. With the extras we have to be more creative about where to put everybody, but I'm pretty consistent about quiet time. It helps my sanity for the afternoon, and it's good for them to learn how to be quiet and stay entertained on their own.

1. After nap time is snack. Today is cheese and crackers.
2. I start Indian curried lentil soup for supper, a family favorite!
3. The remaining kids play while they wait for their dads to come get them. Sometimes the afternoons get long and I'm really looking forward to nicer weather so everyone can get some fresh air and vitamin D while they get their endless energy out!
4. We tell the last two day care kids good-bye. My boys have reading time, usually on the kitchen floor, while I finish supper prep. Daddy comes home and takes a shower (painting is messy!)
5. Jonathan is *this close* to reading, so I help him sound things out. Tonight he chose "Bingo" which is great for the repetition!
6. I made a spinach salad and am eating it with cottage cheese and the lentil soup. So good!
7. Josiah is counting on his fingers. "One, two, wee, por, pive." I caught three in the picture--note how it's a little different!
8. The boys get ready for bed and we have family worship before tucking them in. I didn't get pictures of any of that. Kinda hard to document when I'm reading Bible stories and praying and it's dark! It's about 7:45 when Gary and pull out the laptops in the living room.
9. I blog or read other blogs while Gary watches documentaries or spends time on the phone regarding our mission. We're supposed to go to bed at 9 but usually it's more like 10.

So there you go! A random, average day in February! Of course it doesn't show all the other things we do. Gary sometimes runs in the evening, I do a bunch more chores on days I don't have quite so many kids, the boys have chores too, and sometimes I do crafts or mission-related work like newsletters or thank-you cards. You never know!

What about you? Do you hate Mondays? I hope today was a good one for you!

Monday, February 10, 2014


Hello my pretties!

I've been cleaning house. Not my real house, my blog! I've decided that if I'm going to re-focus my target audience, I'm going to make a few changes around here.

Also I was bored.

So if you're reading in a reader and want to see the updates, click on over! But oh yeah, my main target is my future self, so, yeah. Hi self!

Just to clear this up, if you're still wondering, life has changed and I can't do so much DIY, I don't have time or the budget for extra crafts, we're renting and that doesn't avail itself to much home improvement, we're downsizing so I cant show you my awesome deals and updated rooms with thrifted or antiqued treasures. I'm just me.

Living this life.


I want my blog to reflect that.

I've taken away AdSense. Whew! What a relief! I never made money off of it anyway. In fact, this blog could easily stand as the poster child of what not to do if you want to make your blog a business.

Can I just say I've read a million of these posts? How to Make Money Blogging. Let me just say, those women must be dedicated! At the time my son's nursery was posted (two years ago) and I did a couple other room re-dos, I was spending about two hours a day blogging, not to mention the hands-on time for the projects I was doing. It was hard work! I loved it, but felt to make money blogging I had to spend even more time, write about topics I didn't care about, and network by linking and linking and linking--all of which is time consuming! And link parties are nice, but to be honest I would spend so much time linking to parties and linking back and visiting other party goers that I didn't have time for what was important to me.

So. If you want to make money blogging, don't read this blog! If you want to look at cool projects, I have quite a few in the archives. I can hope to have more in the future, but no promises. I'm blogging for me now, and the things I care most about are a little trio of boys who all call me mama!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Christmas Past

Wow, it feels good to blog again! Somehow it's easier to write more when I write more. Sounds redundant, but whatever it is, it works for me.

So today I wanted to share the rest of our Christmas pictures, you know, for the record. I know no one cares about Christmas anymore, but I want to be able to look back and remember that one Christmas in Lincoln.

Note: The pictures stink. It's true, they do. Whatever excuses I might have, it doesn't really matter. And my apologies in advance to my family for the awful pictures of you, and for hiding behind the camera and ending up not being in any said awful pictures.

(For the rest of the pictures of our Christmas 2013, go here. And here. And here.)

We stayed put at Christmas. We had a little tree and kids big enough to enjoy decorating and getting into crafts and super excited to open presents! We kept Christmas really simple and low-budget. The boys got fun stuff from all their grandparents and two boxes of books from my cousin who had out-grown them. We love books!

My brother, Luke, his wife, Lisa, and their kiddo, Declan, came for Christmas!!! That was an awesome gift to me! Lisa has been my bff since my freshman year of college, and I've only met my nephew once. And of course Luke is super fun too.

Lisa and I got to sneak away for coffee/chats twice! Pure bliss, lemme tell ya, except we were kinda stressed and actually able to open up to each other and ended up crying... You know, just life stuff. And the opening up thing isn't new for us--hello, we've been friends for almost *choke* 20 years! It was just being around a close friend and having the opportunity to really share about stuff. You know? Completely therapeutic and worth much more than a $4 coffee!

Anyway, Luke read and talked to Jonathan for hours at a time! What a trooper! Jonathan reminds me a lot of my brother when we were kids. He wants to know everything about everything, but unlike Luke, Jonathan can really talk your leg off! Jared and Josiah got read to a lot too, and had fun following Declan (age 1) around. The group pictures didn't work out too well, but we also didn't want to fuss about it.

All in all, my memories of Christmas 2013 are good ones! Thanks for taking the trip down memory lane with me. And yay! I have it written down for posterity!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Hello blog,

I miss you! I mean to blog and I want to, but life is just different lately. It's more hands-on parenting, less living-in-my-head designing things. More babysitting, less sitting with babies. More homeschooling, fewer naps.

I got to take each of my boys out on one-on-one dates to Starbucks, thanks to a sweet gift from my mom's man!

Life is good! I'm up-beat and happy, most of the time. Every now and then I have one of those days. Like today. I was going to go grocery shopping but had already bitten off the heads of each of my boys before breakfast. I decided a trip to the store was not what the doctor ordered! We stayed home, there was only one "extra" child (and only for a few hours--I do some child care for a few families. Some days I have as many as four "extra".), the boys got to play outside, I got to chill. Win.

And it snowed.

And snowed!

I don't think I'll be running to the store unless it's an emergency!

Anyway, I'm trying to get back to blogging, even if life is different. Even if we rent and I'm not painting rooms and installing board and batten. Even if I'm homeschooling and not making signs. Even if I'm babysitting and not doing crafts. Or I am doing crafts, just geared towards 5-6 little kids with the average age of 3.

And, I'm tired of taking a million pictures, worrying about the lighting, being distracted from the kids and the project, then having to edit. I'm slow at editing and it makes me not want to post! So maybe my goal should be fewer pictures, less editing (perfection is over-rated) and simple, "this is real life" posts.

Ok! Back to the topic. Again. So. Here we have Life in January. According to Instagram with a few added pictures because I can.

Ever since Uncle Luke, rocket scientist, came to visit at Christmas, Jonathan has been building rockets. Here are two versions, in Lego blocks on the launch pad and in wooden blocks. We've been learning about space in school, so I'm thrilled with his interest!

Speaking of homeschool, we officially started My Father's World (Kindergarten) in January. Love it! Very thematic, very Bible based, very natural. Jared is working with us and is keeping up fine. I have the boys doing extra math because this math is basically reviewing numbers and both of them are really good at adding. Jonathan is *this* close to reading. Some days he's totally there and other days he just kinda guesses. I'm not worried at all--it seems exactly like what lots of kids did when I taught Kindergarten. When he's ready, he'll be ready, and no sooner!

The last picture is not typical, but on this day the boys were running low-grade fevers and even mommy didn't feel very good, so we spent a good portion of the morning watching National Geographic Kids clips. Including several on space and rockets.

It's always easier to remember to take pictures when we're out somewhere and when the boys are all dressed up! This set is from three different Sabbaths in January. Jonathan was excited to play a shepherd at one church, and in another they have cute crafts! Well, the crowns were cute and appropriate, but the other one with the paper plates? It was, "Draw what you like to do best on Sabbath" in glue. And then add glitter. #umwhat? The kids ended up--not just mine--with plates full of wet glitter glue which they were supposed to take with them when they left. Did I mention it was windy and freezing cold and they were dressed up?

The funny thing here is that I carefully carried their plates, set them under the pew to dry during church, protected them during potluck, brought them home myself (the glue was still wet), and hung them in our classroom. For a week. And then I threw them out. The end.

This is what childhood is made of. I love this cave! It's in our classroom so the boys were able to leave it up. I had set the sheet up for them to play under and the boys asked if they could sleep there. Gary got out the sleeping bags and made a bed with several layers because of the hard floor. The rule was that if they were still noisy at 9 PM, they'd have to go sleep in their own beds. I checked on them later and found them totally snuggled up and completely OUT. Cuties. We let them sleep in the cave for three or four nights!

In between bouts of dangerous cold, January had some surprisingly warm days. One week we walked to church, another time we walked around the lake (it was 60* that day). Other times our cheeks and ears were cold no matter how fast we walked, and still other times the boys enjoyed playing in the snow. Most days we stayed inside. Brr!

Ok, I'm tired and Picmonkey runs so slowly on my computer that I was tired of making collages! Here we have nine more random memories from January.

1. My nails are actually pretty! They were terrible over Christmas, but after life slowed down they grew out a little and I had time to paint them a pale pink undercoat with pink sparkles on top. I did more glitter near the tips. It was cute and girly. Someone has to be girly around here!

2. I usually read to the boys because I'm the one home, so the boys love Sundays when Daddy reads to them at story time!

3. Jared is a goof! Full of tricks and fun and usually moving so fast I can't get a picture.

4. Josiah very systematically put down a whole layer of blocks. He was so focused! Adorable.

5. Feeling creative with the Sunday pancakes. Oh--last week I tried the trick of watering down the batter a little and adding it to a ketchup bottle with a funnel. You've seen it on Pinterest, right? Well, it totally works! We had the funnest shapes! Stars, hearts, letters, a turtle, snowman, butterfly... So fun.

6. Jonathan is very interested in washing dishes. I think it's an excuse to play in the water, but the dishes don't look too bad. I've been trying to let him do more things like that. It's so easy to do it all myself. I'm faster, neater and things are done right, but I know it's important to let him contribute and teach him to do things the right way too.

7. There might have been ice cream at McDonald's one day. It was so cold and the boys were so tired of being inside... And the Play Place is so fun! But I have a hard time feeding them lunch there. It's expensive x 3, and the "food" isn't great quality. But ice cream? Totally ok. Best $3 for an hour of play ever!

8. So, Mom, this one's for you. You notice the TWO helicopters there? I never buy noisy toys, but this year at Christmas I didn't have much to spend and the helicopter, fire truck and police car were the right price. I knew the boys (and the day care kids) would love them, so I went for it. Fast forward to Christmas morning and the boys open presents from Grandma Joycie. And there's a helicopter! What?! Jonathan was totally jumping up and down! But when he got to the present from Gary and me, it was like, what? Huh? Another helicopter? Totally stole my thunder.

9. I love this! Male bonding. They have so much to learn from their daddy about guy things! This was their first introduction to arm wrestling. I think it'll be a few years before they can even team up to beat daddy!

Ok friends, that's all for now. Hope you feel caught up on life lately!


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