Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ephesians 4

I'm going to share some helpful hints for communication soon, but as a preface to that, I thought I would post the following verses from Ephesians 4. I have been praying bring a new freshness to my mind. One that is less cynical and more uplifting. I've noticed a lot of miscommunication...and let's face it, just poor communication among people that ought to be showing each other love and grace. And I think that I'd rather be part of the solution than joining in the problem that exponentially increases with every individual that latches on.
I'd love for you to join me! What speaks to you in the following passage? Where can your communication grow and your mind be refreshed?

17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The Holiday Inn Express & Soap

I'm at IWU's annual fall faculty retreat up at beautiful Pokagan State Park....kind of. Actually, some of us are staying at the Holiday Inn Express down the road. Here are the perks to staying off site:

1. If you don't want to be participating in the fireside sing-a-long you can say it's because you have to get back to your room (which we have to drive, not walk to).
2. We're right next to a large outlet mall
3. Ummm, yep. That's all I've got

Now some of the drawbacks:

1. You have to drive, not walk, back to your room.
2. This place allows pets....just imagine the possibilities and you're probably right
3. The lobby, the elevator, the hallway, and my room have very distinct odors. Not necessarily completely pleasant or unpleasant, but the kind of thing that makes me stop and mentally shout, "WHAT IS THAT?!" (I should probably start bringing at least a few essential oils and a diffuser everywhere I go)

This weekend has been a balance of perks and drawbacks. I have some friends that were generous enough to let me ride with them up here, and it has been great to just be alone for an evening. However, I miss my boys very much, and I wish they were here.
Speaking of good smelling things! I have a website for you to check out :) Simple Soap Works This lady in southern Indiana makes these herbal soaps and salves (all of them that I've looked at are without glycerin). I've tried two of them so far (thank you Stephanie!) and they're wonderful! Of the two that I've tried, my favorite is the Rosemary Geranium, but there are lots of other options to try and choose from. They're only $3.50 a bar and they last a good long while so try them out! I hope you enjoy it.
I'm off to brunch!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wow! A Biotower...I'm Giddy!

This is one of those things that I look at and think, "Haha...Holy cow!...Haha" It makes me giddy and giggly. It's basically a little sustainable ecosystem in your house! Right now, my hubby tells me that this is a concept project and you can't buy one yet. Each of the layers feed into the next with bottom layer circling back up to the top and the entire thing producing excess oxygen into your home atmosphere....:) wow!
The picture was taken from Gizmodo. You can get more info from here.

Semper Fi...Wait! No, SIMPLIFY!

Yes...I said it. Simplify. Can we really be happy with less? Oh-my-goodness! You'll experience a whole new meaning to being "free."
Now, I know there are a lot of websites out there with tips on how to do this, and I am by no means an expert, but I am in the midst of trying to get rid of the junk (and the debt) and strive for a semblence of sustainability. So I'll just share some things that I'm learning with you in the coming days. Here's the first one:

Purge your closets & cabinets!
(I know it sounds scary)

Here's the thing. Well organized closets can make your life so much easier. This might take a little more than a day, so work on it over time. But decide what the function for each space is going to be, and use it for that. I'm working on this. So far, I've mentally labeled all of our closets and I'm working on the cabinets.

Let's start with the simple things medicines & toiletries. Just in case you didn't know...these things expire! Yes, crazy I know, but even Neosporin and vitamins. So go through your medicine drawer, cabinet, whatever, and get rid of everything that is past its expiration date.
Then condense. If you have three half-full bottles of Advil, put them all in one. If you have three full bottles of Advil, just keep one in the medicine drawer, cabinet, whatever, and create a space with the function of "stockpiling."
"But Megan, you mentioned toiletries too?!" Yes I did! If you have a bottle of ANYTHING be it shampoo, lotion, perfume, and you have not used it for 6 months...TOSS IT! Some of us (I sheepishly raise my hand) have shampoo bottles with about 1/2 inch of shampoo in the bottom, have moved on to another brand, and still have not thrown the thing away. Throw it away! Do it! I mean, really chuck'll start smiling right away. :)
Okay, here's the thing about make-up. It's expensive, and we all have that sapphire blue eyeshadow that we bought for some crazy event....two years ago (or more). Here are the expiration dates on make-up (according to Carmindy...don't you just love her?), stick to these so your not smearing bacteria all over your face.
  • Foundation: 1 year
  • Concealer: 1 year
  • Face powder: 1 year
  • Bronzer or blush (cream or powder): 1 year
  • Mascara: 6 months (scary huh?)
  • Eyeliner: 2 years (but sharpen pencils frequently)
  • Liquid eyeliner: 6 months
  • Eye shadow: 1 year
  • Lipstick: 2 years
If you're going through your makeup and you think, "Wait! I've only had this foundation for 9 months", but it looks chunky and smells funny....Chuck know, it can go in right after your shampoo bottle. If you use brushes and sponges for your beauty ritual wash them weekly and replace them monthly (tip: wash them with warm water and shampoo until the water runs clear and then let them air dry).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Centsational Girl

A new DIY blog that I love. Check out Kate at Centsational Girl. See how she made these cool cement planters! I'm so excited about trying a few out and painting them. (I'm thinking a craft party for this one! Anyone in?)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

FREE at Arby's every Wednesday at Arby's you can get something for free with the purchase of something else at Arby's! And I don't announce what that is every Wednesday, but tomorrow is an especially good deal.
1 Free Beef-N-Cheddar with the purchase of a Soft Drink
You know where to find me tomorrow around noon! :) I'll be meeting you at Arby's!


I'm sure most of you know about If you don't...well, I won't take the time to mock you publicly, but you should probably check it out. They have several sites that have branched off of this one, such as wine.woot, shirt.woot, & sellout.woot.
I am so excited to announce to you that this is the second week of the existence of kids.woot!!! So for all you parents of young ones out there, check out this site with me. Each day at midnight they post a new deal on some great children's items. Some of them really great and high quality, other are really useless but so fun. They're low-priced and a limited quanitity, so you have to order them within the day that they're listed. The products they've offered in the last week are a leapfrog digj, a thomas the train talking set, disney musical toothbrush holder, a home learning cd set, games, dvd sets, and more.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

AND...we're back!

We had a lovely weekend in Metamora! The Hunter Family Reunion continues to astonishingly get better and better each year, and we always love the relaxing charm of the small southern Indiana town of Metamora. I think I had the best espresso EVER at The Smelly Gourmet. I was able to pick up some Grapefruit Essential Oil, a cool magnolia smelling wax bowl from the Lace Place. Some other pretties and plants, and of course, the necessary ice cream from Grannies Ice Cream Parlor and Cookie Jar shop. We also got to spend some much needed time with my familia.
The down side to all of this (if there could be one) is that the Gilmores now have a bunch of tummy aches! The combination of ice cream, pizza, soda, & reunion pitch-in food is just not sitting well since we've been trying to eat healthier at home.
AND...can I just say, I heart-less-than-three-LOVE living in Upland! Our neighbors, that we've been missing like ships passing in the night, came over as soon as we got home with a plum kuchen (a German cake) for us, and they came in and chatted for awhile. We've been blessed with some amazing people that have made us feel so welcome. So if you're one of those...THANK YOU!
On another note, I have two weeks until classes start! You're prayers are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

DIY Worm Composter

I dare you to Google Shopping a worm compost bin! They range anywhere from $90-$600!!! Seriously now?! That's ridiculous. But I REALLY wanted one. So I did a little searching and found a tutorial on YouTube. I altered it a bit, and now present it to you! You won't need a starting kit and you'll be able to do it for around $20.

First, buy two plastic totes with lids. Make sure they are a dark color, since worms and light don't mix well.

I got these pretty green ones for $7.97 a piece a Lowe's.

Then get that drill out! You'll want to use an 1/8" bit or around that size. This way you allow for airflow and drainage without losing any soil or worms. Choose which bin you want to be on top. Drill 15-20 holes around the sides of the tub about 3/4 of the way up. I did seven on each long side and 3 on each short side.

Then drill holes 6-10 holes in the lid.

And do the same for the bottom. I put 8 on each.

Then in your bottom bin (the one without holes), set up two milk boxes, formula canisters, coffee cans, or whatever you have two of that are the same height and pretty sturdy. I used two old plastic trash bins.

Now set the top bin on the canisters. This will keep the top bin from getting stuck in the bottom one and will allow for airflow, so your stuff doesn't get stinky.
It's now time to start the layering! Something I didn't know until I started reading about this, is the importance of bedding. Bedding is torn up cardboard or shredded paper or a mixture of both that you can put in your compost bin, it cuts down on the smell and on any bugs. Cool huh? You can also include dry leaves in your bedding if it's fall-ish out.
So...Layer #1-Bedding! Put down a layer of bedding until it completely covers the bottom of the bin and you have a nice little mound of it.

Layer #2 -Throw in your food scraps. I know...EWWW gross! But I'd been saving these scraps for this purpose for the last couple weeks in a small composter under my sink.

When it comes to food scraps, here's the deal -->You can put as much fruit and veggie stuff in as you want, along with any tea bags or ground coffee (filter and all). You can also put in breads, onions, and citrus in moderation. But don't use meat or dairy products or anything with a lot of oil (salad with a bit of dressing should be fine, but don't throw in your favorite greasy pizza).

Layer #3 - Coffee grounds and a tad bit of dirt.

I was so excited to finally be able to use my Grounds for your Garden that I got for free at Starbucks. The pail at my Starbucks was always empty, so I figured "this stuff must be good for your garden!" Without knowing why it was, the first time I saw some in the pail, I grabbed a big bag.
Then I brought it home and I didn't know what to do with it. Everything I read said to add it to your compost or add it to your garden.
I just planted my garden and I didn't have a compost bin....yet! On top of the coffee grounds you want to add a sprinkling of dirt. The grit from the dirt helps the worms...I guess they have weird gizzards for it or something.
Then we start over again....bedding, food scraps, grounds & dirt. The grounds aren't completely necessary, and they can be mixed in with the food scraps, I just like separating them for the sake of smell when I'm making the thing.
You want your top layer to be bedding. They spray it down and get it nice and moist.

You can dump in your worms right away, or you can let the stuff sit for a week or two and give it chance to decompose a bit before you introduce the worms.

I've read a couple places that the best worms to get are Red Wigglers. You want to get about 100 to start with (about $5 most places). Then let the worms do their thing. In about 2 months you'll have 300 worms and a nice compost! Then you can separate the worms out, use the compost, and start a new bin or two.
Hope this helps you! I'm so excited about ours. With this and our recycling, it really cuts down on our waste and the garbage! Woohoo!

Isn't she beautiful? I think I'll call her Elfaba!

I'm Seeing Green!!!

The first sprouts are coming up in my garden! What you are seeing here is Kale. I've also got bits of dill, collards and I think just a smidge of broccoli is starting to show its face.

And in my kitchen! Last night I was making soap, and there was nothing green in my planter...then I got home and voila! Amazing...look at my little narsturtiums creeping out.

Healthy Burger & Fries

I made up this great meal...all by myself! I know for some of you this is no big accomplishment, but the fact is that I am one of those girls that cooks from a recipe for anything that goes beyond cereal and milk.
Here's what you do!

Mini Turkey Burgers

1 lb. Ground Turkey Breast
1 package Hawaiian rolls
Veggies (I used Tomato, Cabbage, and Onion - you could add peppers, cucumber, pickles, etc.)
Coconut Oil Mayonnaise (you can check out how I made that here)

1. Make ground turkey breast patties (pat on a little garlic salt & pepper) and pop them in the oven on broil until they are no longer pink (inside or out)...usually take about 8 minutes
2. Follow directions on Hawaiian rolls packaging for warming them up
3. Wash & slice the veggies you want while you're waiting.
4. Cut the hawaiin rolls in half, add burger & veggies, and top off with a spread of coconut oil mayo...YUM

Sweet Potato Fries

2 Sweet Potatoes
Coconut Oil
Parmescan Cheese
Garlic Salt

1. Wash sweet potatoes and slice in small sticks
2. Throw in a skillet with 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil and stir periodically
3. When the fries start to soften, you can add the spices & cheese to taste
(You can also bake these at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes)

Moss Graffiti?!

How cool is this?! Check it out on Sarah's blog, KindOverMatter, and WikiHow! I want to do it on my fence by my garden out back.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Glorious Night

My evening thus far...
  • Came home
  • Cleaned the house
  • Sat in the hammock with Elliot & Evan
  • Climbed a tree
  • Picked up some necessary groceries
  • Had blueberry pancakes & sausage for dinner
  • Made ALL natural soap (I hope this works - if it does I'll post the recipe)
  • Danced, read & prayed with Elliot
Still on the agenda...
  • Finish blogging
  • Fold laundry
  • Have a home date with my husband - watching shows and eating chips and dip

Lavender, Rosemary, & Butterfly Kisses

We in the field of education are about to enter into a time of joy and terror! We had a meeting today at work, analyzing our services and how our underlying philosophy should be reflected in each. After starting a discussion about the need to maximize certain opportunities, some in our group became indifferent to this option of "thriving." Why? Because during the fall semester, we at the Center for Life Calling & Leadership are often joyfully stretched to a point that frankly, should just not happen. So we resign ourselves to this each year, and say that we will "survive" through the fall semester and then start our other work again in the spring.
I think this year I would like to take the opportunity (with a bit of necessary preparation) to assess how to successfully maximize resources and efforts and thrive in the fall semester like we never have before. In our continuing discussion on thriving in the work room after our meeting, my friend Jill commented that we would thriving amongst lavender, rosemary, and butterfly kisses.....I must admit - this does not seem utterly ridiculous to me! :)
I don't want to be bound by the fall semesters of the past. And I am not so naive, as to think that this semester will be any easier; however, I do feel that it can be different. So I'll bring in some lavender to calm, some rosemary to evoke confidence, and send out the appropriate equivalent of butterfly kisses to my co-workers in hopes of encouraging them to get beyond survival as well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's Here!

I finally received my latest shipment from Mountain Rose Herbs. For some reason, it was re-routed to Michigan and I've been waiting about two weeks for it! It has what I need to once again try to make soap without lye. I've ground up my soap nuts. I have my coconut oil, mango butter, and beeswax, and I'm excited to give this another try.
I've done a little research on natural preservatives as well (this time, hopefully, the soap will trace and not get moldy...yeah, I know...SO gross!)
If it goes well, you'll be seeing tutorial soon! If it doesn't, there will be some interesting things to add to my compost pile.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Catch of the Day!

Our dog, Rory, has been in training for about the past year and a half. Chasing leaves, attacking bugs, and demolishing any toy that moves. Well, just as punching frozen meat prepared Rocky to become a champion, today our little Rory became a victorious protector of our home.

I woke up this morning and Evan had to leave for work, and Rory was out in the sun room barking like crazy. I'm thinking, "Of course, my hubby realized that I'm sleeping with our baby, hoping desperately that he doesn't wake up. Of course, he took the dog out this morning." I don't know why I thought this, because...well, yeah. Anyway, I finally get up in a huff to let the dog out and she is hunched next to her bed (which happens to be torn apart). So I go in to make sure everything is okay, and she is hunting. Y'all might be able to tell me exactly what this little guy is, but it looked like a little mole to me. She finally got it out of her bed, quickly caught it, and with a chomp and shake of her head, dropped it dead. I was in awe! I gave her lots of love and told her she was the best dog in the world. Doesn't she look so proud?! Our little puppy has grown up.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Want to Go to There!!!

Photo posted on Flickr by dedge555 on July 3, 2009.

In Woodburn, Oregon for five weeks during the spring the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has a festival. I REALLY want to go...and wear a pair of wooden shoes when I do! Anyone else in?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Next on the List...RMS Beauty!

I am so excited about this!!! I can't wait to try it. Go check out RMS Beauty. Rose-Marie Swift has been a celebrity make-up artist for years. She's been featured in just about any big-time magazine, and she has such a cool story. I guess she was an artist that was in high-demand but her health started failing, and after some medical testing they found that she had high levels of metal and toxic chemicals in her body. All of this was from her constant exposure to make-up. (If you haven't done much research on it, most make-up has aluminum and cadmium, some of it even has mercury and lead.)
ANYWAY, in my search for skin care that feeds my skin instead of stripping or starving it. I've come up against a roadblock with make-up. Even the mineral make-ups that claim to be natural, have been tampered with, and making your own mineral make-up can be not so good for your lungs. A lot of cleansing products are saponified (which means that lye is added...have you ever looked at a container of straight-up lye...I just think it's really scary!) and other products are heated up a lot or processed in other ways that make the properties that would typicaly interact with your skin, ineffective.
Our skin is a breathable organ, what we put on it is what goes into our bodies. So I think to myself, "Would I feel comfortable eating that? Would I freak out if my son got into that and messed around with it?"
So I've been doing some research on natural preservatives and other such things, and I found that Rosemary Oil Extract and Vitamin E are two very stable good preservatives that don't alter the structure of things. WELL! Guess what RMS uses to preserve their products?...that's right ROE and Vit. E! They also use coconut oil and jojoba oil as their base. These oils nourish your skin rather than clog your pores.
So anyway...that's it! I'm stoked. It's a little expensive, but I think it will be TOTALLY worth it. Let me know if you decide to try it too.

11 Months

Elliot is 11 months old today. I am so enjoying watching him learn and grow. He's communicating so much in his own little ways. He says mama, dada, dog, and hi pretty regularly. He's standing by himself and squatting down to pick things up.
He can now tell us what he wants for the most part, which is interesting, because he can't always have what he wants and so we've seen some of his first little temper tantrums this month. (They make Evan and I look at each other and wonder what has possessed our child.) He likes to open and close things, take things out and put things in. He loves baths and Baby Einstein and books and dancing.
He has also started playing with Rory...can we say, "adorable?!" It is really a beautiful thing to see him try to throw a tennis ball, watch Rory run after it and bring it back. Elliot will waggle his little bottom crawling vigorously as he tries to keep up with her.
I'm getting a sand and water table today from Kayla and I'm so excited to see him playing with it!!! Happy 11 Months, Elliot!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cool Cool C-UH-EWWWL...Baby Toys!

Look at these! They are made by a couple in Columbus, Ohio from locally grown maple trees and finished with organic flaxseed oil. (Cool!)
Their Etsy shop is Little Alouette. They have a bunch of toys ranging from teething rattles to little safari sets. (Cool!)
These wooden toys are the absolute best. We definitely have our share of plastic toys, but I definitely want to get some of these for the E-Man. Wooden toys are better for the environment, they're more durable than plastic toys, they won't break into small parts, and there's no risk of crazy chemicals like PVC or BPA or anything like that. (C-UH-EWWWL!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Fall Garden

Thanks to Sarah...again! I have my fall garden mostly planted. Tonight we planted red lettuce, kale, collards, broccoli & cauliflower. Coming up next on the list...garlic! As soon as it starts doing well (crossing my fingers, praying for rain), I'll put up my garden plan and tips. I think putting it up now before anything has even sprouted would be a bit premature. :)
Adam (the chive plant), DoubleFun (my spearmint) are doing great. And hopefully, with her recent transplant Lydia (my English lavender) will perk up.
Until I feel comfortable giving gardening advice, you all should check out Little House in the Suburbs. She has some great gardening tips and resources!

Dot Com

It's TRUE!!! I have a .com. Just try it. Type in look! You're already back here. Okay. Now. Try it again. Just for kicks! :) Isn't that cool?

Thanks to my husband for making it happen!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Punch Bowl to Planter

So...I have wanted to start planting stuff, but I haven't been able to this week for various reasons. Finally, last night I put my nasturtium seeds in some water to soak. I'm reading this great book Little Herb Gardens: Simple Secrets for Glorious Gardens - Indoors and Out. It gives step by step instructions on what to plant, where to plant, where to get it, when to plant, etc. For advanced gardners it's probably too limited and elementary, but for me it is fantastic!
It told me that I needed a planter that was about a foot deep and over a foot wide. I only had one that fit those dimensions and I was saving it for my lavender plant. Plus, I wanted to plant this
one in my kitchen. We got this four-in-one cake plate/punch bowl/veggie tray/something else for our wedding, but I think we got about three cake plates and punch bowls and veggie trays.

So I turned this one into an herb sorter and planter! I put my dried herbs on the bottom and I'm not planting nasturtiums in the planter. I can't wait til it starts to vine and bloom! I'll take a picture then too.

To plant your nasturtiums (or similar plant) like I did, find a punch bowl and follow these instructions:
  • Soak seeds overnight
  • Line the bottom of bowl or glass planter with a layer of decorative rocks, then with a layer of colored marbles (for water drainage - you can put a layer of charcoal in as well that helps with reducing bacteria)
  • Wet soil until it is moist, set aside 1 cup of soil
  • Sow nasturtium seeds 3 in. apart
  • Cover with set aside soil and lightly pack down
  • Keep soil moist and spray leaves as they emerge
  • Nasturtiums are quick growing and viney with orange blossom (look them up)

My Ballard Designs Project - Finally!

Inspired by Thrifty Decor Chick (check her out) who was inspired by Ballard Designs (DIY tutorial - check it out)...I completed my first two projects tonight (I'll post the other one too) at our new house.

(sorry about the poor quality pic, you can't see the detail of the patterns very well)

Total Cost = $14 (Poplar on clearance cut at Lowe's, free Glidden paint, and clearance scrapbook paper at Michaels)

Similar Project in Ballard Designs Catalog = $89 a piece (SERIOUSLY NOW?!)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Detecting Chiggers and Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

So I don't know that I was EVER bit by one of these little devilish puppies until last week. Right on my stomach! It's still there. It still itches. It's awful. So here's the deal. Chiggers are REAL! You can tell whether or not you have a lot in your yard by putting a black piece of paper or cardboard upright in your lawn. In just a few minutes you can check the top and you'll be able to see those little red guys crawling all along the edge. Their size is deceptive and they seem harmless, but they're not and you can't really see them when they're on you. Get more info on them at Wikipedia.
You can protect yourself by using an insect repellent, but with a little baby and a dog. It makes me cringe to think about spraying deet on them. Check out Little House in the Suburbs on making your own bug repellent naturally. I put the recipe below, but she has some good points about frequency of use and such. There are TONS of essential oils that deter specific kinds of bugs, and you can customize yours for the needs in your areas. You can even add in an oil for your pet spray that deters fleas!

DIY Natural Bug Repellent

1 cup vodka
2 T. aloe vera juice
2 tsp. favorite conditioning liquid oil (soybean, olive, castor, etc.)
1 1/2 tsp. essential oil blend (I use this preblended one)

Combine in a spray bottle and shake before each use. These oils have less staying power than chemicals such as DEET so they need to be reapplied about every 30 minutes or as needed.

You can buy a blend or create your own blend from these oils found to have insect repellent properties.

  • Catnip Oil–mosquitoes
  • Cedarwood Oil–lice, moths
  • Cinnamon Oil–ants
  • Citronella Oil–mosquitoes
  • Clove Oil–mosquitoes
  • Eucalyptus Oil–mosquitoes
  • Geranium Oil–flies, mosquitoes
  • Lavender Oil–mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, flies
  • Lemongrass Oil–mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, flies
  • Litsea Cubeba–mosquitoes
  • Patchouli–gnats
  • Peppermint Oil–lice, spiders, ants
  • Rosemary Oil–fleas, ticks
  • Tea Tree Oil–mosquitoes, lice, ants

Although found in many lists of repellents, I avoid pennyroyal because of its potential toxicity.
All essential oils are best used in dilution. Don’t apply them directly to the skin in full strength.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Puppy

It's time for Blue's Clues! Every day that Elliot and I go get the mail, we sing the "Here's the Mail" song from Blue's Clues (yes, we even wag our tales). My mom and Emily got some great new pjs for Elliot, but I forgot them at her house today, so I wanted him to have something warm to wear to bed and this was the only long sleeved item in the bottom of his pajama drawer. If I would have waited any longer it would have been to small.
When he put it on...I about died! Evan came in and almost fell over laughing. Elliot just thought we were weird and played in his room forever.!!!

I'm Falling in Love...

...with the book of Galatians! 1 Peter has been one of my favorite books in the Bible for a long time, but over the past several months, I keep getting drawn into Galatians. If you haven't read it, it's a book about grace and freedom. Paul wants to make it perfectly clear what the purpose of the Law is and it's utterly ridiculous ways that it is used by Christians. I find it so interesting that while we rebel against the Law in so many ways, we don't really want to let it go. And even if we do let the specifics of Old Testament law go, we create a new Law in our heads and hearts that we feel we need to live by to gain an advanced standing with make Him like us more, to earn His approval, to somehow show that we are worthy of His love, or to pay Him back for what he's done for us. We seek perfection, when we've already been made perfect. We seek righteousness by following a set of rules, rather than by displaying grace and love, when we've already been washed with His blood and can approach the throne of the Almighty God with confidence. We seek to level the playing field, to back a debt, that we simply cannot pay back, because if we could, Christ died without cause or reason. Here's how Eugene Peterson transliterates Paul's words in The Message:

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it's obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God's Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren't smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don't these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God.

Scripture backs this up: "Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law."

The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: "The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that's the real life." Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping, a fact observed in Scripture: "The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them."

Galatians 3:1-8, 10-12

God's love for us is limitless. It does not get bigger or smaller based on what we do or do not do. As a father loves his children, he wants the best for us and lays out clearly what that best is - the ways to be most alive, most radiant, most free, until we fully are because we see Him face to face! The ending behavioral result may not look much different to an unskilled observer, but there are worlds of difference between a slave to the law and a free man who lives in gratitude to his gracious and loving Redeemer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm a Weirdo...

...but I think that's okay. About a year and a half ago, when my friend Kayla was trying to discretely apply some coconut oil that I gave her to a cold sore, a co-worker asked her what she was doing and she said that I told her that it would make her cold sore go away. The co-worker was skeptical, especially when Kayla mentioned that I grind my own flour too.
I still grind my own flour. I use coconut oil a WIDE array of household and beauty projects. I love tea! I'm learning more and more about herbs and essential oils and using them prolifically. I've abandoned tampons and pads and embraced the Diva Cup with excitement. I'm about to embark on a task of making my own essential oils and grinding soap nuts into a powder. Yes, that's right, I use a berry that grows on trees to do my laundry. To top it all off, I am now known for making my own deodorant. Yep!...I'm a weirdo. A green-making-my-footprint-smaller-patchouli-smelling-headband-wearing-tea-drinking-garden-growing hippie.
But don't be to quick to make assumptions about what that means. I'm trying to take what I learn and act on it in small ways, as much as I can. However, there are striking inconsistencies. For example, my husband was introducing me yesterday as "somewhat of a health nut" --- while I was eating a huge double-cheeseburger and fries with a cup of ketchup. I use thyme oil to disinfect and soap nuts to wash my clothes, but I print off paper like there's an unlimited supply constantly coming out of my ear. I guess I'm just trying to come to grips with this dissonance. Maybe some of you can help. Because I'm completely fine with it, and I'm loving life!
Here's the deal. I'm kind of just an aspiring weirdo, maybe I just haven't reached full maturity in it yet. Regardless of my developmental progress, I'm enjoying this journey and I'm thankful for those of you that are traveling its bumpy road with me - even with its potholes of inconsistency. So thanks for your love, grace, and support!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spa Water on the Go!

I LOVE going to the spa! Seriously...every birthday, Christmas, anniversary, whatever, Evan asks me what I want, and every time I have some various items and/or a trip to the spa. I love the robes, the slippers, the smells, the complimentary showers and steam rooms, the little cookies, AND of course, the spa water.
While I will never be able to completely recreate going their on my own (since part of the point is being pampered by someone else), there are some things that I enjoy intentionally incorporating into my life that just make me smile and feel pretty and help me breathe a little more easily. One of these things is my healthy new Spa Water On-the-Go!
Just try it...
  • Take a re-usable water bottle (we have these great Voss water bottles, compliments of my friend Lynette's wedding)
  • Add a sprig of fresh rosemary, a two or three very thin slices of cucumber and a thin slice of lemon
It's pretty and tastes great! Enjoy!

Cuteness by Elliot

I wanted to share some recent pictures of our son with you. They make me smile and he just delights my heart!

He really likes his juice boxes now that he can drink out of a straw!

Trying to feed himself with a "spoon"...yeah, still working on that one.

The cabinets are one of his favorite places to hide.

Playing his new piano!

FREE SoapNuts Giveaway!

FREE Soap Nuts giveaway today at Passionate Homemaking! Enter there to win and check out Lindsey's website for a bunch of other great advice and fun tidbits. You can enter HERE!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rentals, Rain, and Robbery

WHAT A WEEKEND! Friday started out wonderfully with the in-laws bringing a second rental U-Haul up to help get the rest of our items from the apartment. Mama had purposed in her heart that they would not be leaving the apartment until everything was out of it. By the end of the day, I think her heart was wishing it had kept its mouth shut, because it took from 9:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night to get everything out and unloaded at our new house. We are SO grateful for their help though! Now, I just have to purpose in MY heart to attack the garage this week.
Next, I had a lovely morning on Saturday with Elliot as we painted a pot for the garden and some wood for a project that I'm working on. Then Ev unpacked some boxes and we headed down to Noblesville for The Beatles Tribute at Symphony on the Prairie. We had a yummy dinner at the Gilmore's and Mimi was there too, whom we were delighted to see. Then we headed out, it sprinkled and spat rain, we listened to the first half of the concert and Elliot and I danced. :) Then it started spitting quite a bit more rain so we decided to leave.
We spent the night in Noblesville and awoke from a great night's sleep anticipating a tasty, organic brunch at Traders Point Creamery. I went to put the baby bag in our car and noticed something was a little different. Where our GPS/Stereo unit had been there were a bunch of cut up wires sticking every which seriously took my brain way to long to figure out that we had been ROBBED!!! We got robbed! It was crazy.
So we filed a police report and signed up for this identity theft insurance called LifeLock later that day to make us feel a little safer. We decided to continue to our brunch which was SO fun. Elliot got to pet some cows and see chickens and the brunch was definitely delicious.
Then we gathered things up to head out and pick up our new dryer (because the other one that we got a few weeks ago isn't working), and to get Elliot a new pair of shoes (because the other ones that we got a few weeks ago don't fit anymore). We found a great sale at The Childrens Place, got a couple pairs of shoes and came home to hook up the dryer.
We went to Ivanhoes and then came home, where Evan dropped Elliot and I off so he could head out to pick up a couple items for the new dryer.....He then came in about five minutes later with THE look on his face. Ev doesn't get this look often, but when he does you know he's had it. Our car ignition was suddenly not working.
Yep! C'est la vie!
There is a season for everything! Beautiful brunches, loving family, juvenile robberies, and raining concerts. I am convinced that I would not want to venture through any of these seasons without my loving groom by my side.
And at times like this we both just echo the epicly wise Carrie Underwood and say, "Jesus Take the Wheel!"


Blog Widget by LinkWithin