Friday, November 21, 2014

Link Love


There's been a lot going on at our house lately (just for starters, my microwave broke, then Tad's car broke, then the oven broke...yet still we have much for which to be thankful!), and my family is coming in this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with us on Saturday and we're getting ready for their arrival, so I thought I'd share some great blog posts with you that I have read recently!

- "Young women who stay at home with your children, hear me: the scope of your service is not what makes it valuable; bigger is not always better. You don't have to do elaborate things to serve and to encourage. The smallest of gestures can encourage someone more than you can possibly know. You may not be writing books, going away for weekends to speak at conferences, or traveling across the world to minister to someone, but you can be an encouragement right where God has put you." Read more here...

- "At our house, we want to invest in our children being unafraid to try things – and this area as a great place for us to make that investment. We want them to have ideas, give it a whirl, and then sit around in a big mess of plastic canvas pieces wondering why they did that. We want them to learn to use their hands, use their minds, and get the two to act together for the occasional wild success. We want them to not be afraid to work – and to learn about the rewards that can only come through making messes."  Read more here...

- "We’re built for friendship, yes. We have community in our bones. And when we’re desperate and blinded by the taunting mirage of the inner circle we will end up drinking the sand- angry, gritty, bitter and confused.We can fight to find a way in or we can love on the women where we’re at."  Read more here...

- "We are called not merely to teach right propositional statements, but to cultivate imaginations capable of insight into and communication of the beauty, goodness, and truth of God in the world around us, in Scripture, and in the other fragile, precious human beings we meet. We are called to perceive the storied nature of life, to discern value and meaning where the secular imagination does not. And we are called to cultivate that imagination in children." Read more here...

- "As we walk through our valleys, we do not have to dwell on our pain. Often it seems wrong and backwards that we would dare to find joy in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that a betrayal of the pain? Shouldn’t we be ashamed that our prayers were not answered? Should we be embarrassed that we believe in a God who, to someone on the outside looking in, seems to have ignored us?
Saying we’re thankful and hopeful in these situations may sound naive and even a bit crazy to those who are watching. But the Gospel never has made sense on paper, has it?"  Read more here...

- "Remember: it’s about the gathering, not about the food. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. I know Thanksgiving might be the most food-driven of all holidays, but the people are always more important than the food. The gathering is what’s significant…that’s what you remind yourself when the turkey’s taking forever or the stuffing’s dry. And it’s TRUE."  Read more here...

And a light-hearted post to finish things off...

- "First, though, I find a stack of Christmas cards and begin to flip through them—pausing to marvel at how big so-and-so’s kids have gotten. And then I spot it: an apostrophe in a last name that isn’t supposed to be possessive.  I shudder, flipping past the unwarranted punctuation.... Gone is my Christmas cheer! All my glad tidings, replaced with fury.  'Did no one teach these people how to make their last names plural!?' I scream as I chuck the cards into the fire heretofore crackling peacefully beneath the mantel."  Read more here...

One final note:  Native American Nutritionals is offering FREE SHIPPING today only (11/21), plus, one of my favorite blends, Tummy Rub, is on sale for 20% off! Happy shopping!  (Affiliate links)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Handmade Holiday Link Up


Get ready... and link it up!  I'm joining Liz from The Quick Journey for this fun link up.

Welcome to the Handmade Holiday Link Up!  

This is the place to go to discover hidden (or not so hidden) jewels in the handmade world
just in time for Christmas!  If you are a shop owner who makes handmade goods, join this link up so we can shop handmade this holiday season!

If you are wanting to buy handmade, do it now!

Since handmade items are, well... handmade, it takes time to create the products and there are usually cutoffs for Christmas shipping.

Please spread the word on your social media channels so other handmade businesses can join in on the fun!

Make sure you check out the other handmade businesses in the link-up, as well!

Happy linking... and happy shopping!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Orange Counter Top Spray

I don't know about you, but I'm always a little paranoid about spreading germs around my kitchen when I cut red meat or chicken on a cutting board on the counter.  Even after I wipe down the counters thoroughly, I still wonder if there are germs lurking there!

This orange spray helps give me peace of mind knowing that the counter, sink, and cutting boards are disinfected!  As I mentioned in this post, orange essential oil is antimicrobial, it inhibits the growth of bacteria such as E. Coli, and it can reduce foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella.

Orange essential oil is very affordable, so this counter spray is extremely economical!


DIY Orange Counter Top Spray

glass spray bottle
orange essential oil
white vinegar
water

Fill the bottle halfway with water, then fill almost to the top with vinegar.  Add 5-10 drops of orange essential oil (I used 5 for this size bottle).  Shake well.

Spray on counters, sink, cutting boards, and anywhere you want to disinfect!

If you're interested in purchasing orange essential oil from Rocky Mountain Oils, make sure you use coupon code "feathers10" to save 10% off your whole order (valid through 11/20/14)! Expired!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to the essential oil company I use and love. By making a purchase through these links, you are supporting this blog and my family. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful Tree {Guest Post}

Today I'm excited to share this guest post from my mom!  I know you're going to love this idea for celebrating Thanksgiving in a tangible way!

Hi!  I am Valerie, the blessed mother of my dear daughter Aliesha...and "MiMi" to those adorable kiddos, Vera, CC and Jude.  Along with their hubby/daddy, Tad, they are some of my most precious blessings!

For the past three months, I have been part of a great Bible Study on gratitude, using the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  It has been a wonderful challenge to obey God's exhortation to "be thankful in all things."

One young woman, Aimee, in our group has been endeavoring to teach her little ones about gratitude.  She has three little guys very near in age to Aliesha's children (so we trade toddler stories!)  Aimee cut out lots of fall leaves and she made a "branch tree" to hang them on.  Each day she asks her boys what they are thankful for and after they give her their answer, she writes it on a leaf and hangs in on the tree.  I think she said she had to get a bigger branch since they had put so many "THANKFUL leaves" on the first one.

Aimee plans to use snowflakes after Thanksgiving and flowers in the spring.  Think what a family memory treasure this will be if she saves all of these thankful shapes in a box or book!

This is such a good way to create the contagious attitude of thankfulness...in our hearts and the hearts of our children and grandchildren.  Maybe it might be something you could incorporate into the life of your family!

Thanks for letting me share this little idea!
Love,
Valerie


Aimee added this: "Its a great way for my husband and I to keep our thankfulness at the forefront of our minds and train our boys to have attitudes of gratitude to GOD."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jude Updates

This little man is growing so much, and even though I don't post monthly updates any more, I thought I'd share a few of his latest accomplishments!
Jude has been changing in so many new ways!  He is starting to talk more, and he's very insistent on telling us what he wants.  He'll point to things and say "dat!"  He loves to play tickling games, and he's learned how to point out where a few body parts are (nose, hair, belly button).

He claps sometimes, and he waves his hands and dances when we sing or play music.  Call me crazy, but we even think he tried to sing a line from "Jesus Loves Me" the other day!

Jude knows a few signs, such as milk, more, and thank-you.  He loves using "more" at the dinner table to get more food!  He signs (and often tries to say) thank-you as well.  It's so sweet!

He likes when I read books to him and swing him on the porch.  He is a super fast crawler, and he's getting so close to standing on his own and walking!  We're pretty sure he'll be walking within a month (at least we hope so!).

We're so thankful for our happy little guy!

P.S. I know it looks like he has a sucker in that photo, but it's really a toy spoon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Motherhood // Encouragement {Guest Post}

Today I'm so excited to welcome my friend Liz from The Quick Journey to guest post on my blog!  Liz is a sweet friend and she is a great source of encouragement in mothering, homeschooling, and blogging.  I asked her to share something encouraging regarding motherhood, so she has written this lovely post for you today!  

Thank you, Aliesha, for letting me invade your part of the blog-world for a bit. 
 I am always encouraged by your words and wisdom.

*****


There are some mommas who know in their bones they were made for motherhood.
They spent a great deal of their childhood playing "house" 
and dressing up their pets so they could treat them as their baby.
I was one of those mommas.
From very early on, I dreamt about what motherhood would be like.
To be honest, I thought about being a momma more than I did about my wedding.


Now, as a momma to my four little crew-members,
I can taste and feel motherhood in my bones.
I am on the battle lines of motherhood and it is so much more
fulfilling and overwhelming than I could have imagined it to be 
as my young self so many years ago.

With all the wonderful blessings that come with motherhood, 
there comes a fear- almost from instinct.
Being on the front lines can be suffocating and often times can make you feel
like you weren't cut out to be with all the other mommas in the trenches.


Other moms are doing life better than you.
Other moms have it together while you struggle to simply tread water.
Other moms were made for this journey, 
while you somehow snuck your way in through the back door of motherhood.


I want to encourage you.
I want to tell you that you are exactly where you need to be,
relying on God's grace and provision in spite of your weaknesses.
I want you to know that your babies were knit inside your womb
because God knew that you were the momma your kiddos needed.
Those mommas who are part of the blessing of adoption,
God created your child for you.
He knew, from the very beginning,
 that you were the perfect one to love, train, and kiss that baby,
even though you didn't carry him in your belly.

So, when you are out there treading water with one last breath to take,
remember that you are right where you need to be-
being stretched and molded by your Father in heaven.


Liz is a stay-at-home momma and wife to her four "crew-members" and her high school sweetheart hubby.  She enjoys decorating their home on a budget, drinking a piping hot cup of coffee, and being in the kitchen.  Liz  is the author of the lifestyle blog The Quick Journey, where you will find her chatting about her journey through motherhood.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Adventures in Soap-making {Review of Homegrown Collective's October Box}

Last Friday, I made some bars of soap!  I can't take much credit for this project, since I had a lot of help from a wonderful subscription box.  This was a fun way to relax on a Friday afternoon, and I enjoyed knowing I could fully complete a project from start to finish!

Homegrown Collective is kind of like "Pinterest in a box."  Each month they send a special curated box filled with everything you need to make eco-friendly projects.  Key words:  everything you need.  No more rounding up supplies only to find you're missing an "ingredient" when you go to start the project!
This month's box contained a melt & pour soap kit.
I was really excited about everything in the box!   Melt and pour soap is very easy to make, since you just have to... yep... melt the bar (grated first) and pour it into the mold along with any add-ins.
Here's what was included:
-directions and recipes for three kinds of soap
-goats milk melt and pour soap base
-clear melt and pour soap base
-white melt and pour soap base
-metal grater
-loofa
-mason jar
-stirring sticks
-pipette (for transferring oils)
-essential oils: lavender/chamomile, cedarwood, and tuberose
-rolled oats
-chamomile flowers
-dead sea salts
-activated charcoal
-three plastic soap molds
The first kind of soap was charcoal and cedarwood.  This is a nice, manly soap that Tad will definitely enjoy using!  The charcoal is detoxifying to the skin, and the cedarwood has a woosdy scent.
The next soap was dead sea salt and chamomile soap.  This bar also included a loofa to cut up and put in the mold if you wanted.  I got a little crazy with this one and left out the dead sea salts and loofah and swapped out lavender petals (from another box).  So what I really made was lavender chamomile soap!  The clear base allowed the flower petals to be visible and suspended in the soap, which was neat!
The last kind of soap was oatmeal, luffa, and tuberose soap.  The tuberose essential oil smells amazing, and this was definitely my favorite soap.  The oats add moisture to the skin, and the loofa exfoliates.  I liked the goats milk base as well!
Here are all three soaps I made!
There were plenty of leftover add-on items to make many more bars of soap, so I ordered more soap base from an etsy seller so I can make more soap for gifts!
Homegrown Collective sends out a completely different box every month, so I can't wait to see what next month's box contains!  As a busy mom, having everything all together in one kit really helps me out, plus I get to try new things that I maybe wouldn't without this little "push"!

Learn more about the Homegrown Collective here!

Have you ever made soap?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall Hospitality (& How Vera Helps!)

Something about fall just makes me want to show hospitality!

I love having people around my table, serving them warm food and talking while the candles burn down.

So many "fall dishes" are warm and comforting, and perfect for easy hospitality.  Beef stew, ham & potato chowder, lasagna, enchiladas... all of these are warm and delicious, yet simple.
Our new wall art is so special to us.  We sang this hymn at our wedding and at Tad's ordination.  It's a Lindsay Letters print we bought at Hobby Lobby.


 Our calligraphy name art can be found at MiMi's Soda Shoppe.

Vera has been so excited about showing hospitality when we've done it lately.
Here are some ways she helps:
-straightening up her room
-picking up books and toys in the living room
-setting the table (with a little help)
-greeting guests at the door
-serving dessert (she loves to carry plates in for people!)
-thanking our guests for coming


My best tip for showing hospitality... just INVITE them, and then figure everything else out!  I bet you'll get that table cleaned off if you know they are coming.  ;-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I've Been Interviewed

If you're visiting from CLH's blog, welcome!  You might enjoy learning more about us, or reading some of my encouraging posts!

Courtney Lynn Harris interviewed me on her blog today, so I thought some of you might enjoy reading the post!
In the interview I share:
-how I view my priorities
-why homemaking matters to me
-tips for sprucing up your home even if you have little ones
-my struggle as a homemaker
-how we stay (relatively) organized)
-what a typical day looks like for us

You can read the interview right here!

My Stash of Essential Oils - and Research for How to Use Them



When I first become interested in using essential oils (beyond just lavender and tea tree oil), my sweet husband was a bit skeptical.  He wanted me to do lots of research to make sure that essential oils really are effective!

After having done months of research, I've decided that you have to pick a camp:
A) Either essential oils are not in the same category as medicine, so we shouldn't act like they treat diseases and heal maladies, OR
B) Essential oils have medicinal benefits, so we should take precautions when using them, just like we would with over-the-counter drugs!

I fall in camp B.  After lots of research, I believe essential oils are effective for many different purposes, including having medicinal benefits, so we should take great care when using them so that we don't overdose or use improperly!

Over the last few weeks, I've spent many hours compiling scientific studies that have been conducted using various essential oils.  I hope that all of this research will help you see that essential oils ARE effective and have a variety of uses!

I'm starting out by sharing the single oils that I own personally.  I'll have to do future posts on the blends that I have, as well as other single oils!  If you have any specific requests, leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to research those oils too!

Try not to be overwhelmed by this list of 12 oils... if you're new to essential oils, here are the three I recommend starting with.  Oh, and if you haven't read it yet, here's a link to the post I wrote telling why I chose this particular essential oil company!

Clove Bud
This oil can be used as a topical anesthetic.  It's great for tooth pain and it is proven to be as effective an anesthetic as benzocaine (source).  It smells great (just like cloves you use in cooking) and it's helpful for relieving pain caused by sore throats as well.  (To use it for this purpose, I would dilute it in fractionated coconut oil and put it in a spray bottle.)  Clove is antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral (source) and contains natural antioxidants (source) so it's great for treating colds, the flu, and other infectious diseases. Learn more about clove bud.

Cypress
Cypress is commonly used for treating respiratory issues. It is known to help with cramps and spasms and it tightens tissues.  It has been studied to reveal high antioxidant properties (source). Cypress may be helpful in preventing diabetic or cardiovascular complications (source). Cypress helps with many different conditions and is safe to use with children (when diluted). Learn more about cypress.

Frankincense
This amazing oil is anti-inflammatory and is wonderful for supporting the immune system (source and source).  Frankincense could be helpful in treating swelling of the large intestine or colon (source).  It may be helpful in treating arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, and Crohn's disease (source and source).  Frankincense is prized for its skin care qualities.  I love using it on my face every day, and I've seen a reduction in acne scarring since starting to use it.  Frankincense has an uplifting fragrance.  It can also be used to help prevent stretch marks, treat anxiety and stress, and reduce labor pains. Learn more about frankincense.

Lavender
Lavender may be one of the most versatile essential oils! It is excellent for relieving pain caused by burns or irritation caused by bites or stings.  I have used it on burns and stings and it's such a great healer.  I also use it for headache relief. Lavender is effective for treating anxiety and depression (source). Several studies have revealed lavender to have sedative and mood enhancing properties (source).  I love using lavender at night to help me fall asleep quickly! Lavender can reduce stress (source). Lavender can be used to treat gastrointestinal problems without disrupting the beneficial gut flora (source).  Because it is antimicrobial (source), lavender is a great oil to have on hand for many different uses, including athlete's foot, thrush, earaches, allergies, and more.  It is great for use in massage, as it is very soothing to the muscles. Lavender is very safe to use with children! Learn more about lavender.

Lemon
This is an excellent antimicrobial oil (source).  Lemon essential oil smells fresh and clean and it's wonderful to use in homemade cleaners.  It can be used to treat colds, infectious diseases, sore throats, and the flu. Many find that a combination of lemon, peppermint, and lavender can help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Learn more about lemon.

Melaleuca
Melaleuca, which is very similar to tea tree oil in its chemical makeup but it is more mild, is antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory (source).  Because of these properties, it is useful for treating respiratory issues, swollen glands, ulcers, and skin conditions (source). It is very helpful in treating acne (I personally use it any time I have a facial blemish!).   The scent is very medicinal. Learn more about melaleuca.

Orange
Orange essential oil is powerfully antimicrobial and inhibits the growth of bacteria such as E. Coli (source). Orange can reduce foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella (source).  Because of this, it would make a great counter-top or sink spray to help prevent the spread of illness in the kitchen.  It can also significantly reduce the growth of tumors in the liver (source).  Orange smells lovely and helps treat digestion, respiratory illnesses, muscle spasms, and anxiety. Learn more about orange.

Oregano
Oregano is antiviral and is useful for treating colds and coughs.  In a study done on rats, researchers found that there was a significant increase in pain tolerance after oregano essential oil was administered (source). Oregano is antifungal and has been proven useful for treating ringworm (source). Oregano has antioxidant properties (source), so many use it to strengthen the immune system! Learn more about oregano.

Peppermint
As another extremely diverse oil, peppermint is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, and a natural pain killer (source).  Peppermint has been proven to enhance exercise performance of athletes, including positively affecting blood pressure and respiratory rate (source).  Peppermint is very helpful in treating digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome or recurrent abdominal pain (source). Many people find peppermint to alleviate nausea, motion sickness, and morning sickness. It is antibacterial and anti-fungal (source), and many find it helpful in treating bronchitis, sinus infections, colds, the flu, asthma, and headaches. In a study done on food, peppermint essential oil was shown to kill or reduce the presence of Salmonella and reduce the presence of Listeria in several foods.  Peppermint is antimicrobial and antioxidant, and one study suggests that it could be useful in treating cancer, so more research should be done towards that possibility (source). Peppermint relieves some symptoms related to allergies (source). Learn more about peppermint.

Rosemary
This oil is antimicrobial and has been found effective against oral pathogens (source).  It is helpful for treating many different kinds of infections, including staph and strep. Rosemary stimulates the hair and scalp and can prevent premature baldness (source). It is used to boost the immune system and treat colds, the flu, and respiratory ailments.  Another study on rosemary found its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties to be effective against staph, E. Coli, and Candida (source).  Rosemary can ease stress and help with chronic fatigue. Rosemary essential oil may prevent damage to the liver due to its free radical scavenging activity (source). Learn more about rosemary.

Sweet Birch Bark
Birch bark is anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant (source).  It is NOT for internal use, and it should be kept far away from children since it smells so good!  Birch Bark is anti-inflammatory and it is helpful for soothing sore muscles and joints. Learn more about sweet birch bark.

Tea Tree
Tea tree oil is antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory (source). As part of a mouth rinse (combined with clove EO and basil EO), it is anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis, and antimicrobial (source). Tea tree oil is anti-fungal (source), so it is helpful in treating athlete's foot. Tea tree can be used to get rid of lice and scabies (source). Learn more about tea tree oil.

If you're ready to order some essential oils from
Rocky Mountain Oils, make sure you use this code:
feathers10
which will give you 10% off your whole order at checkout!
This code is valid until 11/20/14! Expired!

All of the research in this post was compiled by me and this post should not be lifted (stolen) or excerpted from in any way without express permission by the author. You are welcome to link directly to this post from your blog or to share it through social media (Pinterest, Facebook, etc.)!  Thank you for respecting the time it took to compile this content.

Disclosure: First, I am not a doctor, so please consult your physician if you are seeking medical advice.  Also, I have included affiliate links throughout this post to the essential oil company I use and love. If you choose to purchase oils through my links, it will help support this blog and my family! Thank you!
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