Apr 16, 2015

Oh Happy Day! {Exciting Happenings}

That was NOT me most of today. I've had one of those "what-else-could-go-wrong" kind of mornings. Minor stuff but irritating none-the-less. So instead of stressing about trying to get a Therapeutic Thursday post done (because I had a lot I wanted to cover!) I decided to instead share some positives from the past couple of days!

I started working with a long-time (long-term?) organizing client again, and he's also hiring me to do some additional office work for him. I'm excited because that means additional income as I continue to gradually phase out of daycare. By the time school rolls around I'll be down to two kiddos, one in school full-time and the other partial days, so I can devote more time to My Blissful Space!

In addition to that, I joined our local chamber of commerce, have nearly completed my professional organizing certification course, and the local paper contacted me about doing another feature! I've been getting forms and binders organized so that I can really start working the business and tracking everything. While I started Young Living for my family's health, I have been loving the oils more and more and through my excitement have started building a little team. I don't know where that's headed but even if it continues to grow at a rate to support my habit ;) I will be happy with that. If it grows beyond my expectations, there will be more supplemental income! I have a long way to go and things are still going to be really busy and require a balancing act for quite a while, but the wind is back in my sails and I just continue to feel blessed about making my dreams a reality!

Just a while ago Fed Ex delivered my new planner and I'm DYING to get diving into that, so I'm off to fill the pages! More on that soon! :)

Apr 14, 2015

Party Decor Staples to Keep on Hand {And My Daughter's 1st Communion}

Sunday we celebrated my daughter's 1st Communion. I remember my own so it was crazy to think she's that old already. #kidsgrowwaytoofast #canigetanamen

We were expecting a small amount of family and friends, so I really hadn't planned on decorating beyond using a table runner and buying a cake, despite having a Pinterest board (now deleted) that had some cute ideas. I just haven't had a lot of time lately and didn't want to stress out about it. But the day before I got the itch to do something, albeit simple. While running errands to get last minute paper plates and food, I threw together some easy decor. The things that I used are similar to what I've done in the past, so I thought I'd share them with you as some staples that you could keep around to put together for easy, last-minute decorations for your own gathering!

1. Paper plates, cups, plastic silverware and tablecloths

I'll start with the obvious. Typically if we're not having more people than we have "real" dinnerware, I will skip the disposables in the name of the environment. But sometimes that's just not possible and/or you just have to give yourself a break from doing dishes. We now use cloth napkins and rarely use paper dinnerware, so hopefully the footprint I'm leaving here is small. But it's not a bad idea to just keep some on hand for such occasions as this (just don't get lazy tempted to use them in a non-party-too-many-people-for-real-dishes scenario). I recently picked up some hot pink and turquoise ones that we wound up not using for Easter, so I put them away for Faith's birthday which is coming up in May. When Wal Mart was out of all white paper plates and cups, I decided to throw in some pink since her cake also had pink, and whatever's left can be used with the others...either for her birthday or another occasion down the road. Choose colors you'd likely want to use for multiple occasions.

2. Burlap table runners

Burlap table runners are great because they're neutral and can be customized for your party colors if you choose (more on that next). I have a roll of plain burlap that can be cut for runners, and also found some pre-cut runners at Target this weekend for $4 each. This lace version is from Wal Mart and I believe was $5.99. Table linens are a good investment because they can be reused for another party! This runner was 12' long, so I cut it to make two runners for both our dining table and the card table. 

3. A variety of ribbon and trim

This runner is the 3rd that I've embellished with ribbon, and I just LOVE it! I like to choose 5 various ribbons and trim and hot glue them down the center of the runner. I did this for a MOPS tea and again this past weekend for a 4-H display at our library. If you didn't want the ribbon on there permanently, you could carefully straight pin the ribbon to the runner. Just be careful that no person or table will get scratched! Double sided tape would be another option. (Side note: I've also painted burlap runners, so that's an option, too!)

I also used burlap ribbon and regular ribbon around vases for both Faith's communion party and the MOPS tea (above pic). In order to be able to reuse the vases, I just hot glued the burlap to itself, not the vase. It can slide up and down, so be careful when picking the vase up so that it doesn't slip away from you, but it otherwise stays put really well. If you use a cylinder vase, you can slide the ribbon off and reuse that again, too!

4. Vases

I'm not saying keep every vase you ever get. I personally am not a fan of the flower shop variety. I have one crystal vase that was a gift from an aunt and that I use when the hubby brings me flowers, and then I have 3 cylinder vases for decor and entertaining purposes. Clear cylinder vases are great because they can be used a variety of ways and don't exude a particular "style". You can wrap ribbon or decorative paper around them, fill them with rocks or glass vase filler, candles, flowers or branches. Oh, and did I mention they're CHEAP?? You can find these vases at the Dollar Tree, Wal Mart and craft stores for $1 each. BOOM. (But you don't need 10. Unless you actually do.)

5. Flowers or other vase fillers

And that brings me to this. As stated in #4, you can use rocks, glass stones or vase filler, candles, branches, flowers...even candy! I wish I could afford to buy fresh flowers every week because I love having them on my table! I sent Brad out for these the morning of Faith's first communion...he did a good job and they still look great!

6. Don't forget the food

This isn't something you'd necessarily keep on hand, and isn't technically decor. But don't overlook the party food as a way to fill "holes", tie in theme colors, or to use as a centerpiece. This cake wasn't included as decor necessarily, but it turned out so cute it could have been!

I attempted an amateur mini photo shoot before mass Sunday so I thought I'd end today's post with some of my favorites (not in any particular order). 

This was my mom's dress that I also wore for my 1st communion...

This rosary was given to Faith by my grandmother when she was baptized.

As much as I wanted several outdoor pics, we were dealing with this...

LOL! It was a beautiful day anyway and I was so proud of my beautiful girl! 

Apr 9, 2015

Spring Cleaning With Oils {Therapeutic Thursday}

It's a getting-nowhere-fast kind of day! It's the fourth day of cloudy, rainy, gloomy weather around here which isn't helping motivation a whole lot, and our (only) toilet broke this morning! It's going to need to be completely replaced, so we are literally flushing by pouring water from a bucket into the bowl. Super. Fun. I almost didn't post at all today but decided I better do something, and I have things to share today, so here it is!

I've probably said this before but it is really, honest-to-goodness not my intention to turn this blog into a blog all about essential oils. But that's what I've been spending a lot of my time learning about and working on lately, and I love them more every day! And the other things I've been working on around the house are either not ready to share or aren't entirely share-worthy. When I get excited about something that I think can help you, too, I want to share it...and the oils have made me excited in so many ways that each Thursday I struggle with which ONE to choose!

I've been using Young Living essential oils now since about mid-February, so just a couple months. Already they are impacting my health and life in positive ways, and I am quickly amassing quite a stash. Today I thought I'd share a couple ways I've been using the oils to clean, just in time for all of us to do our spring cleaning. However, in the process of writing this I got some bad news about my ex-father-in-law who has been battling cancer. He's taken a turn for the worse, and I'm heartsick right now. So through tears I'm going to just share ONE of the little spring cleaning tricks I wanted to share today. I'll save the rest for another day.

When I decided to make our household healthier and really delve into using oils, I sold all of my Scentsy warmers. I had learned some time ago that wax burners and candles can emit bad-for-you chemicals, and since I was going to be using an oil diffuser, I didn't need them anymore anyway. But the one that had been sitting on our TV stand had left a waxy ring. Lemon Oil to the rescue!!!

I just dropped one, maybe two drops on the area and wiped it up! It was truly that easy and fast! You can use Lemon to remove sticky residue, labels, etc. as well as so many other things. (And I love it in my water!) I'm sure I'll be sharing more about the awesome powers of Lemon Oil in the future. :)

Apr 6, 2015

Great Weekend!

Did you have a great Easter?? We had a really nice weekend with family. Saturday we went to my hometown for an Easter egg hunt where we spent the afternoon with my family, celebrate my sister's birthday with some cupcakes, and I was able to drop in on a friend that I haven't seen in a long time.

My daughter was a little attitudinal at the hunt, hence the scowl. ;)

Lemon raspberry cupcakes for my sissy!!

Faith had decided a few days ago to leave the Easter bunny a treat...love this!

Yesterday we went to mass and then my sis-in-law and her boyfriend came up for lunch (Grandma was in the hospital so Brad's parents couldn't make it). I failed to get pics of any of us, but this was the table Faith helped me decorate...

We enjoyed some ice cream in the afternoon and after they left, cleaned my car inside and out (with Thieves cleaner...more on Thursday!), and put stuff away in the basement. Yes, it was getting out of control again. Faith and I added to the garage sale pile that just keeps growing and growing! Sale planned for April 25, so hopefully the weather holds out!

Apr 2, 2015

Lavender Linen Spray {And An Easy-Peasy Label}

When someone starts using essential oils, it's so exciting and overwhelming at the same time. There are so many possibilities! Deciding what to do with them is sometimes a touch choice, but the main thing is to USE THEM. OPEN the BOTTLE. Well, this is an easy thing to make with one of the oils that comes in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit! When I first got mine, I took a few drops of Lavender Oil in my hands, rubbed both hands together, then spread the oil on my pillowcase to help me sleep. The Lavender was very relaxing and did the job! If you don't want to mess with having the oils on your hands, though, this is a great option. I found the recipe here at Decor Chick. It's pretty easy! 

  • Add 6 oz distilled water to a glass bottle (I got mine here but Amazon also has some)
  • Add 20 drops of Young Living Lavender essential oil (or another YL oil of your choice)
  • Mix together and shake before each use
*Emily cautions against using darker oils as they may stain your linens...lighter colored oils are best!

To make a quick and easy label, I just took some washi tape, wrapped a piece the diameter of the bottle around, then a second piece just below it. Then I used my label maker to make a label, stuck it on and done! (I realized after the fact that a white label would have shown up better but I had clear in the machine at the time.) 

Anyway, there you have it! A good-smelling, relaxing night of sleep is coming your way!

*Please note that I am talking specifically about Young Living essential oils. Not all oils are created equally! Because Young Living oils are genuinely pure, they can be used aromatically, topically and ingested (read the bottle for each specific oil's uses and dilution information). If you'd like to know more, feel free to contact me!

Apr 1, 2015

Simple Organizing {Our "Downstairs" Basket}

Sometimes organizing is trial and error. Sometimes you just get it right. This problem area has seen both scenarios, but I'm happy to say I think I finally figured it out! When I saw this cute basket at Hobby Lobby I couldn't pass it up. I'm not sure I entirely knew what I was doing with it, but it didn't take long to decide!

It's really a mess right now, but this is real life! ;) I use it to corral those papers and things that need to be taken downstairs. Our stairway door is just to the right of this space. The basket is narrow enough to go on this wall without fear of someone walking into it and getting hurt coming around the corner, yet deep enough to hold more than a stack of papers. 

That's Mya photo-bombing. ;) 

When it gets full (like it is NOW), then I take everything down and sort it. This has kept all but some larger items off the kitchen counters and table. Typically I don't have things bulging out the top like it is now, but again, being real with y'all, and this is how it's been this week.

I worked on some other mini-organizing projects that I'll share in the next few days. Tonight is Faith's 1st Communion dress rehearsal, so I have a veil to steam! 

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!