Mar 30, 2015

So I Almost Ditched Our Microwave...

Ditch Your Microwave
Image from One Good Thing By Jillee

I've known for a while that cooking in the microwave wasn't the healthiest, and that maybe we shouldn't stand close while it was running, but when I heard the first few minutes of this webinar I decided "out it goes!!!". It took me another couple weeks to actually move it, but I got it done one day. The extra counter space was GLORIOUS! I didn't feel like my counters were overrun with appliances (we don't have a cabinet mounted microwave, which stinks but made it much easier to remove!) and things just looked less cluttered overall.

My husband wasn't quite as excited. First I got an eye roll and that look that said, "oh good, more hippie voodoo...". Then he joked. "Would you like some Ramen noodles? Oh WAIT...we don't have a microwave!" (To which I replied they can be made on the stove...and let's talk about not healthy!) And OH MY LORD how will we ever heat things up??!!! For someone who is cool with living pretty simply and who has old fashioned values, he sure wasn't embracing my attempt at healthy change.

Faith panicked for a moment. "How will I make hot cocoa??". But when I told her we can make it on the stove, she was cool.

Personally I prefer heating up pizza in the oven anyway, and found out this week that spaghetti reheated on the stove is also much better. In all reality it really doesn't take that long to reheat food sans microwave. I had a couple moments where, out of habit, I left something for last minute while doing lunch prep because I was used to microwaving it in a few minutes (like frozen broccoli). But I knew with a few weeks of adjustment I could retrain my brain.

Sadly, the hubby couldn't take it anymore and brought it back up within the week. He refused to heat up the oven (and threw out some ridiculous amount that our utilities would cost to do so) "just to heat up pizza",,,or whatever. I mentioned to him last night that a toaster oven would be a good compromise, and he didn't argue, so I may just ditch the microwave yet. If you're considering doing the same, here's a great post at One Good Thing By Jillee listing some helpful appliances to have in the kitchen to make that transition easier!

My toaster oven is ordered, so maybe we'll be able to ditch the microwave AND the toaster for this one appliance!

Mar 27, 2015


Finally at the end of a long week! Whew! It was a busy one, as evidenced by my lack of presence on the blog. Aside from the usual daycare/Jazzercise/housework stuff, I ran Faith to dance on Monday followed by the grocery store, Tuesday we had our first 4-H meeting for this year, Wednesday I attended a Young Living event (awesome!), and last night we had a Jazzercise class for some local college students. The weekend is looking about as packed but I'm excited to have some quality time with my girl and go see the high school production of High School Musical!

Since last week I've learned so much more about Young Living oils, signed another friend onto my team, and started using some new ones myself. I fall more in love every day! So I was super bummed to have to skip a Therapeutic Thursday post yesterday, but will have tons to share in the coming weeks.

Aside from that, I have plans to redo Faith's room and will of course be sharing that on the blog, and I still have to share what I'm doing in the office! But the next month or two will likely continue to be pretty busy, as we get closer to Faith's 1st Communion, birthday and dance recital. So I'll post as I can, and rest assured that project posts are coming and it won't just be about oils (though the near future might seem that way). Thanks for hanging in with me!!

Mar 20, 2015

Spring Bathroom Refresh

I failed to get before pictures because I was so anxious to get going (bad habit), but you can see what it kind of looked like here and here. Just imagine it a lot more messy and dirty. I started as I always do by taking everything out...and then I cleaned my acrylic cosmetic organizer. YUCK!

These 3M hooks have been working great to store my headbands, but sometimes one would fall off because there were just too many. So I kept the skinnier ones here, and created a bin for the wider ones.

My make-up had been in the open section of this built-in cabinet, and while it was easy to see and access, it looked cluttered and I hated it. I almost ditched the acrylic organizer altogether, until I had the idea to try it on this shelf. I was able to fit it here, where I can still see everything, and the taller bottles of hairspray, lotion, etc. fit behind it.

Now I'm back to just looking at a few "pretty" things in the open much better. Since this photo I also made a body butter (will share soon ;)) and added that here as well...

*Note: I did not wipe these shelves down though they could use it. The entire cabinet needs repainted, but since it has layers of paint to the point that the doors don't close, and since I would rather GUT it and rebuild adjustable shelves in its place, I didn't spend time on the shelves themselves. I'm working on Brad for the rebuild. ;)

Storage (or lack thereof) is an issue in this bathroom and below the sink has always been a challenge as far as figuring out how to best utilize the (awkward) space. I had my cleaning caddy and a basket with feminine products under here until last week, then decided maybe there was a way to better use the space. I moved the plastic drawers with hair ties and bobby pins, etc. from the upper cabinet to the vanity, and then stacked shoebox bins on the left. I put feminine products in one (now I can stack more stuff here since they're not in a basket), and made a bin for Brad's things. This way, he can grab his box of stuff out to get ready in the morning and it will all be in one place. He tends to forget that he has some things if he can't see them very well, so that solved that problem, too!

After these were taken I added two more bins: One with extra skincare and make-up, and the other with extra toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss. That allowed me to free up space in the hallway built-in that I shared on Wednesday.

So far this is working really well and I'm relieved that it all looks less cluttered and yet I added storage!

Mar 19, 2015

Why Young Living Over Buying EO's Elsewhere? {Therapeutic Thursday}

Essential oils are really big right now, to the point that many think they're a "fad". But in all reality essential oils have been around thousands of years and you can even find references to their use in the Bible! When you decide you want to use oils, whether for cleaning your home, making health and beauty products, for diffusing, or for other therapeutic benefits, it's important to know that not all essential oils are created equally! 

I'm not a fan of reinventing the wheel (#aintnobodygottimeforthat) so I'm going to share some info that I have gotten from other distributors as to why Young Living is the way to go. Many of these graphics have a reference on them as to who created them. Some are from Young Living. The others I unfortunately am not able to cite back, but if anyone knows where they came from I'd be happy to give credit. I didn't make any of these. ;) 

If I'm going to be putting oils on or in my body or my family members, I want to know that I'm actually using something that will help them, not hurt them. I feel confident in Young Living to do that! If you'd like to know more, or are interested in ordering or joining, let me know!!!

Mar 18, 2015

Medicine Cabinet Spring Clean!

It amazes me how I can have four days off of daycare and still wind up not blowing through the entire house, getting it at least all cleaned and somewhat organized. Memories of pre-motherhood days?? But I am trying to be happy with having gotten through the bathroom, daycare cubbies and medicine cabinet...and having time each day to spend with my family. #themostimportantpart I also managed to check off some deadline-related things on my list, like ordering Faith's 1st Communion veil and cake, and figuring out how we're making her Stations of the Cross diorama for school. Eek! And I joined the local Chamber of Commerce a couple weeks ago and met with the membership director to get more info about what I'd gotten myself into. ;) That is going to lead to some advertising which led to the reminder that I need to update the photo gallery on the blog. I have quite a bit more time to spend on that and am currently staring at a mound of "other stuff", so maybe this weekend.

I wanted to share some of last weekend's progress on Monday but it was a busy day, and yesterday I was busy making food for St. Patty's Day (my favorite corned beef recipe and a chocolate mint ice cream cake!), and suffering the after-effects of a night with little sleep. In addition to being restless and suffering a little insomnia, Faith woke from a nightmare around 2:30/3:00 am and I'm sure it took me an hour-and-a-half at least to fall back asleep. #notenoughcoffeeintheworld That makes for a long daycare day!

So we're to Wednesday! But I'm glad to have some projects to share finally!

At first glance you probably won't think this medicine cabinet looks all that bad...

It wasn't terrible, which means the baskets I chose last year were successful. I do, however, still tend to rush and not always put things away, so there are some more frequently used things (or things I just didn't get put away) that sit in front.

In addition to stuff not being put away and sitting in front of the baskets, the insides of the baskets were in disarray, too. It just happens and that's why I annually go through them! Plus it's good to purge expired meds and things at least once a year.

I went through each basket, tossed things that were expired or that I no longer need. As I am becoming more familiar with Young Living essential oils and how I can use them in lieu of medicines for our family, I want to gradually phase the drugs out and the oils in, so that also went into some of my decisions. But there is a learning curve I am finding, and it takes a little while to figure out which ones are effective for your family, so some of the basics will stay at least for now.

Purging expired meds always frees up a little storage space, which is nice, but I was able to clear two baskets up! I put things back in a more tidy way, utilizing small plastic organizers and dollar tin buckets (thank you Target dollar section!) to corral the small stuff.

First Aid/Cold bin
 I was so excited to have a big basket available to put the supplies I need to make homemade health and beauty products with my oils, like liquid castile soap, beeswax pellets, extra epsom salts, and various carrier oils, like avacado, coconut and apricot.

Once I had determined what was going back into what baskets, I stuck on some Martha Stewart labels that I got at Staples, and used my label maker to label them. *Note: While the sticker labels I used last year worked just fine, these fell off day one. So I'll be making some tags instead!

The basket contents are as follows...

Small baskets on top shelf: 
  • First aid/pain/cold - pretty much sums it up but I have band-aids, antibiotic ointment, Watkins salves (used in my family since I was little!), thermometers, pain and cold medicine, and my first aid kit
  • Daycare meds (and a lock-box in case I ever have to store refrigerated meds...licensing requires they be locked up), sunscreen, bugspray, hand sanitizer, ear/eye meds and travel containers
  • Extra deodorant, soap and feminine products
  • Stain and static guard, wrinkle release spray (which I've never used but decided not to toss just yet), lint roller
Two large baskets on bottom:
  • Peroxide, rubbing alcohol, cotton rounds and extra q-tips, extra toiletries (hairspray, shampoo/conditioner, etc.), and extra contacts
  • Natural health products for my "concoctions" - liquid soap, epsom salts, various carrier oils (coconut, avacado, apricot, V6 from Young Living), shea butter, beeswax

That's better! Check back on Friday to see what I got done in the bathroom!

Mar 12, 2015

Organizing Essential Oils & How to Get Started {Therapeutic Thursday}

It's time for my 2nd installment (that sounds so official ;)) of the Therapeutic Thursday series, where I share a little tidbit about essential oils from Young Living. I managed to get my personal stash organized just in time, too! Last weekend I was at HomeGoods for the first time in forever and I found this adjustable silverware tray. I really wanted something that would hold each individual bottle up so that when the spaces aren't full they wouldn't all fall down (which you can see they did in the first pic), but for the time and cost effectiveness factor I decided to go this route. If I hate it, it can be repurposed in the kitchen for an office drawer, so no loss!

No worries. I think I'll fill that drawer in no time and no more tipping bottles!

I wasn't able to put the divider vertically in the drawer and expand it width-wise because the drawer wasn't deep enough. Once expanded I could add at least one more section, so that's possible for down the road if I decide to move my oils. For now I wanted them in the antique wash basin by the front door where I currently have my diffuser. 

Right now I have my 5 ml bottles in one section, and the 15 ml in another, but eventually I'll organize by individual oils and then blends. I put the V6 oil and pump in a 3rd spot when it arrived the other day, but I will find a place to put it so that it can stand now that I have it open. On the left (photo above) are roller bottles (to apply oils to the skin diluted with a carrier oil, like V6) and I put samples in the back of the drawer.

I also picked up some glass sprayer bottles at Abundant Health (where I got the roller bottles as well), which are on the left. I'll show you my plans for those later!

What I'm Crushing On Now...

I'm anxiously awaiting my next order! I got a 2nd diffuser because I love diffusing the oils!! I want to leave one in the living room and eventually get one for each bedroom. I ran out of Thieves oil last week and am feeling lost without it! It's great to diffuse and apply for immunity support, and Brad now has the respiratory viral whatever that I had a week ago...and my congestion is back, too. I had also started applying it to my feet morning and night in a carrier oil (I was using avacado oil) for hormone support. And now that I'm going to start spring cleaning this weekend I'm really anxious for the Thieves cleaner to arrive! 

Another thing I've been loving is putting citrus oil in my water. I was using Lemon exclusively, but tried Citrus Fresh the other day and I love it just as much! I've been diffusing Purification quite a bit, which helps purify the air and can also help with immunity support. And I've decided that I'm really going to love Frankincense because it does SO MUCH! That's a post in and of itself. 

How To Get Started...

If you're interested in trying the oils, you can purchase them from my website here. However, I think the best deal is to sign up as a member by purchasing the Premium Starter Kit. For $150 you get 11 awesome oils (actually there's a 12th bonus one in the kit!), a diffuser (one of my favorite parts), and some other samples and info to get you started. You don't have to want to make a business of Young Living to purchase the kit! You can enjoy 24% off products as a wholesale member and your only commitment is to purchase $50 in product in an entire YEAR. That's AWESOME. And when you realize how much you love the oils it's also EASY to meet that $50 in the year. Here's a picture of what you get...just be sure to (please!) use my link to sign up. :)

New Young Living Premium Starter Kit
Graphic from The Well Oiled Life blog

Eventually I want to share why you want to choose Young Living rather than another company or by simply buying essential oils at a health store. But today starts a 4-day break for me and Faith and I have lots of plans, so for the sake of time I'll save that for another day (or you can contact me for more info). But if you're thinking that you'd like to try the oils, you can simply go here to sign up for the Premium Starter Kit (there are other kit options available as well). 

I'll have tons more to share later but lots to do today including enjoying this sunshine! Have a great day!

Mar 9, 2015

Kitchen Organizing {Jess & Dan's New Home}

I had the privilege this weekend of helping a client unpack and organize their kitchen and the beginning of their master bath! They finally got to move into their new construction home, and it's absolutely beautiful. Jess, her sister, a friend and I made pretty quick work of setting up the kitchen and unpacking boxes, and I really enjoyed myself!

We started by bringing in all the kitchen boxes and unloading so we knew what we had...

This is Jess. ;) Loved getting to know her better this weekend! Btw, her hubby, Dan, is my daughter's principal. I tried to not tarnish Faith's reputation. ;)


I wish I'd stood back farther and gotten more shots of the kitchen and pantry area, but I was trying to hurry and take pics so I could get back to, you know, WORKING. ;) This pantry space is behind the oven and fridge wall. There is one set of cabinets that we made into wine glass storage (above) and appliance storage (below). To the left is an entire wall of built-in cubbies...

It took some continual readjustments to figure out what would work best where, especially since Jess had never cooked in her new kitchen and wasn't sure where things should go! As we went along we also made plans for some bins. 

This section of the built-ins was a good place for their nice serving platters. Now she can see what she has and will be more likely to use it all. Smaller items were put to the back so that the view everyone sees isn't cluttered.

It took a while finding all their barware and it became kind of a joke as the day went on when we found another box marked "glasses". ;) But in the end I think this cupboard turned out nice! The wine rack and silver serving bowl are decorative enough to sit out but can still serve their functions when needed. 

Though the kitchen has lots of cabinet space, these pantry cubbies made the most sense for canned goods and most of their other food items. Glassware and plates took up the upper cabinets on either side of the stove in the kitchen, and the other set of uppers will hold baking staples, everyday food (pasta, sauce, etc.), and smaller prep and mixing bowls. That didn't leave many other options for the rest of the food, so to the pantry it went! (I failed to get pics of that but I spent most of my time in the pantry, and when I left Saturday for the day there was still one more load of food yet to be delivered.) Jess told me last night she's loving her pantry, so I guess it all worked out!

The taller cubbies in the middle worked great for her Kitchenaid mixer and her stoneware and cutting boards. She was able to finally use a Pampered Chef organizer that she hadn't opened yet! 

The lower cubbies are twice as deep as the uppers, creating an organizing challenge. No one wants to get on hands and knees and dig! So the plan is to get rectangle baskets or canvas bins and keep lightweight things here, such as bags of chips, extra paper goods, etc. A couple of these cubbies also store her larger stoneware pieces.

Last night I went back and we worked on unpacking their master bathroom. I think she was appreciative of having a functional kitchen on day 1, and the rest of the necessities were getting put into place shortly after! Now she has a better idea of what kinds of containers she needs, and the organizing will continue!