Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY Thieves Essential Oil Foaming Soap

Winter will soon be upon us here in Arkansas! We already had our first snow a few weeks ago, but go figure, the temperatures rose to the 70's again today. All of these up and down temperatures combined with the inevitable illnesses that winter brings have left many of our friends sick lately. I'm the perpetual planner and worrier so of course I need to combat sickness before it has a chance to sink its teeth into my family! Last year we were plagued with many illnesses - the stomach virus hit me 3 times and I landed in Urgent Care on an IV each time - so I need to stay on top of our health.

Therefore, I decided to prevent sickness the natural way with Young Living. Each month I get an order of my choice as a part of my wholesale membership. Ask me how you can sign up as a wholesale member under me! In December, I will be getting this Thieves essential rewards package!

Thieves is an essential oil blend created after grave robbers from the 14th century concocted a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary to keep them well while robbing the graves of recently deceased victims of the black plague. The mixture works well today in promoting health and wellness, and boosting your immune system.

I swear by this little stuff and always diffuse it and/or rub it on us when I hear about someone on Facebook who is sick I've been exposed to an illness!

In the package: 2 Bottles of multi-purpose cleaner, 1 mouthwash, 2 hand sanitizers, 1 bottle of Thieves oil, 1 toothpaste, 2 foaming hand soaps, and 2 surface sprays

That Thieves foaming hand soap looks pretty great, right? I knew I could make my own version of the soap (as well as the hand sanitizer and spray) to refill the bottles that come in this kit, but until I get this in the mail (mid December) I wanted to make some to last me a few weeks!

After all, some of our best friends are down for the count with my least favorite illness - stomach bug - right now, so I can't take any chances!

I made my own Thieves foaming soap, with help from a few people on Pinterest, and I'm really pleased with the turnout.

-1 foaming soap bottle (recycled works!) You must use a foaming bottle, as a regular soap bottle will just produce liquid.
-10 DROPS Thieves essential oil blend
- 2 TBSP Dr. Bronner's castile soap
-1 TBSP Vitamin E (optional)

I used Peppermint castile soap (purchased from Kroger - also available at Target or online) which mixed really well with the Christmassy fragrance of Thieves.

  • First take your rinsed foaming soap container and pour in 2 Tablespoons of Dr. Bronner's castile soap. 

  • Add 1 Tablespoon of Vitamin E oil for moisture. I always get dry hands after washing, so I added this organic Vitamin E oil I had on hand from the days postpartum when I actually thought I could reduce stretch marks. ...Am I laughing or crying? 

  • Next put 10 DROPS of Thieves essential oil blend in.

  • Fill up with warm water, leaving room for the pump top to go in or it will overflow and waste your materials. 

  • Shake the bottle really well and give it a few pumps into your hand!

I tossed my old anti-bacterial soap (which contained microbeads anyway!) and a put this guy in its place

I used it last night for hand washing and then today decided to try it for a body and face wash in the shower! It was a bit tingly on my face, but was diluted enough not to burn or hurt at all. This soap is a BIG hit with me and I will be using it indefinitely!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Desperate Attempt To Get Organized

Lately I've really been purposing to get more organized and in sharing some ideas on my personal Facebook, I've had friends comment about how interested they are in my suggestions  as well.

(link to this Holiday Organizer in the article below)

To be honest with you, I'm not very organized at all! In my heart of hearts, organization makes me giddy. After a good long day of cleaning, I love to sit down and bask in my spotless home. This is a rarity, however because of a few simple set backs.

I'm a pack rat. Not like, you will find me on Hoarders or anything. I'm really pretty clean. I just can't stand to get rid of anything potentially useful. Empty milk jugs for my homemade laundry detergent line the upper shelves of my laundry closet. Empty glass salsa jars clog up the back of my cabinets to be used to collect who-knows-what. I've never thrown away a glass soda bottle in my entire life. Ask my mom; there is still evidence of this at her house. A really sturdy box came in the mail? Of course I must keep it to repack Christmas gifts in...even if the package comes in February.

This is the type of decorating I do with glass soda bottles. Also check out the major clutter!

I recently listened to a podcast in which Dana from A Slob Comes Clean detailed how prepared and organized her mother was. She went on to say that having grown up around such preparedness (Think - cleaning supplies for months and never having to make an emergency trip to the grocery store in the middle of cooking dinner) that she also purposed to store up supplies like her mother had. However, she found out that she just couldn't manage that much stuff. Try as she might, it ended up cluttered, lost, unused, unorganized. She had to admit this and pare down.

Maybe it's time for me to pare down.

We live in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment which is great for a 3 person family. Only...this 3 person family has an abundance of decorations and furniture hanging out in my parents attic and can't keep the kitchen counters or our bedroom floors clean to save our lives! Next year we will be moving into a larger rental house and we are ridiculously excited.

However, I don't want more space to equal more clutter. I'm purposing to use my space more efficiently and be more prepared for my everyday life instead of my 'what-if' list.

Without further adieu, this was my first step. I created a planning station next to my side of the bed and have been keeping up with our family's events for the last few months.

(I know you love that college dorm style lamp)

I bought this dry-erase calendar at Target because I never could manage to keep up with a paper calendar, and while the pictures may be pretty, its just one more thing I will have to throw away at the end of the year. Actually I'll have to force myself to throw it away. A few months ago I went through a bunch of left-behind junk at my parents house and found a calendar from 2007 that I had kept 'for all the memories' or some nostalgic BS. Don't worry...I threw it away this time.

As you can see, it's magnetic and I have my dentist reminder card (for an April cleaning) stuck up there right now. Next to it, I have a thumb tack on which I am holding my precious Holiday Organizer (up close picture at the top of this article), which gives you a week-by-week list of what to Shop, Make, Do, and Celebrate from October 5 to December 25 in order to feel more prepared and relaxed for end of the year holidays. 

I also have a paper calendar page to start collecting December dates. I might not do the paper version of an upcoming month all year long, but when I know I have a lot to plan for, I like to have it on hand. I've added a few more events on this calendar since the photo was taken.

This works so much better for me than an Agenda, pocket planner, and especially better than anything digital. I'm pretty old school in that I like to have a paper To-Do list where I can physically cross items off. Sticking my calendar up on the wall next to my bed stops me from misplacing it or forgetting about it. 

Please comment with a link to your favorite organizational ideas. Let's help each other out. My To-Do list for getting this house organized by the end of the year is astronomical and I'm whittling away at it day-by-day.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014: Follow Up!

Previously, I shared my thoughts on whether Christians should celebrate Halloween and now I'd love to share with you just how we celebrated on Halloween 2014!

Click to enlarge
The weekend before Halloween, I carved this jack-o-lantern for my son Roman who absolutely loves Scooby Doo! Our whole costume theme was Scooby Doo as well so it was really fitting. In order to achieve this masterpiece, I printed this Scooby Doo stencil, taped it to the pumpkin, and carefully poked holes (with a thumb tack) around the edges of each piece that needed to be cut out. Yes, this was tedious and the paper kept slipping! A stencil that stuck to the pumpkin and could be peeled off easily would have been much better! I then covered the pumpkin with flour to make the poked holes more visible and began slicing the pieces out with a small serrated knife. I find that a serrated knife is much safer and easier for pumpkin carving. Roman was thrilled when he saw the finished product.

On Halloween night, we made plans to meet friends at a large neighborhood in town and trick-or-treat. We live in an apartment, which is really not suitable for ToT (apologies for that really lame abbreviation) so we were glad to meet up with a big group in a nice part of town. For the first time all season, it was freezing! The low was in the 30's with a bitter wind. I'm in Arkansas, remember...and just a few days prior it was 80. All of us were frozen after a few streets.

Before I unveil our amazing costumes, I want to give a huge thanks to some of our best friends Derek and Rachel Johnson who dressed up with us to complete the Mystery Incorporated Gang! They were really helpful with the kids and we promise we will return the favor when their time to have kids comes along! 

Our little family before the festivities. Roman just wanted to play with his neighbor friend, Woody from Toy Story! I'm obsessed with how good these costumes turned out. After we got dressed up, Dillon and I sat down to eat a snack and I couldn't stop laughing at how weird it was for us to be sitting there eating, looking like cartoons. 

Derek - Shaggy, Rachel - Velma, Me (Bethany) - Daphne, Dillon - Fred, Roman - Scooby

Daphne Costume:
-Dress: local consignment store (will wear again)
-Tights: Target ($1.99)
-Necklace: Walmart ($5.00) (will wear again)
-Shoes: local consignment store (have worn many times)
-Wig: Walmart (super cheap and poor quality!)
-Headband: Target (stretchy head wrap that kept my ears warm)

Fred Costume:
-Shirt, Pants, Shoes: All Dillon's from before
-Ascot:  Walmart - Made from a strip cut off of a neon hunting t-shirt
-Hair Spray: Walmart ($2.00)

Scooby Costume:
-Scored it at a Rhea Lana's consignment sale for dirt cheap!

Velma Costume:
-Sweater: Old Navy
-Skirt, Tights, Shoes: Rachel had them
-Wig: Walmart (again, cheap!)
-Glasses: They were borrowed from my personal costume stash

Shaggy Costume:
All Derek's clothes. We teased him all night that he looked "normal" but the colors were perfect

We all went to IHOP afterwards with some of our other best friends and although we weren't the only ones in costume, we were definitely the most ridiculous looking people in the room. It was so much fun, though, and I would do it all over in a heartbeat.
I can't finish this post without showing you Roman's best friends who we ToT'd with: Cinderella and Gus Gus

There were a few creepy masked teenagers out ToT-ing with us, but overall, the night was really great and we can't wait to do it again next year with the same people. Love all of you so much and thanks for making Roman's 2nd Halloween the best one yet!

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

After reading too many blog posts about why Christians shouldn't celebrate Halloween, I decided to let my almost 2 year old son try on his Scooby Doo costume.

Check out the havoc R wreaked on my blinds!

We are all dressing up as members of the Mystery Incorporated gang this year. I'm Daphne and my husband Dillon is Fred. I'll link up a post with pictures of our costumes after the 31st!

To be honest with y'all - we do Halloween in a pretty wholesome manner! I grew up trick or treating for a few years in my neighborhood where my parents had lived for years and felt pretty comfortable with the people I would be encountering. We also spent a number of years celebrating at our church's trunk or treat (Where members park their cars around the church and decorate their trunks. Kids go trunk to trunk getting candy in a safe atmosphere.). It's no surprise that I wasn't allowed to dress as anything creepy, evil, undead, seductive, or otherwise inappropriate.

If you want to know something great - my parents met at a Halloween costume party in 1986. (with permission, I give you... the cowboy and the clown!)

I had a great time on Halloween in this well-cultivated environment, so naturally I want to replicate that for my son.

When I became a Christian, I really started to examine my life and hold it up to what Jesus would want for me. Movies or TV shows that help me to entertain scary thoughts were obviously out! As someone who lives with sometimes-crippling anxiety, I knew I had to eliminate any temptation to doubt, fear, or cringe that I possibly could. Just remember any time you've watched a horror movie or criminal case show where someone broke in, took a life, etc and then you lay awake at night wishing you could unsee those scenes or wishing you could turn your over-imaginative brain off! To me, this type of entertainment isn't something that I can figuratively 'eat the meat and spit out the bones.' I might do this when watching a movie which has an overall great theme but uses a few curse words. While I can listen to the curse words and then safely go on with my life, untempted to start swearing wildly, I have a lot more trouble using self-control to reign in scary thoughts when I'm home alone or in bed at night.

I have a son who is the most important person on planet earth to me, so I definitely can't watch any show or movie that depicts something bad happening to a precious child, lest I end up in a weeping heap by his bedside praying protection over him.

With this said, you might think my natural inclination would be to eliminate the celebration of Halloween all together. I mean, we already nixed Santa, so foregoing Halloween wouldn't be such a far cry. However, we've decided to keep Halloween around under controlled circumstances.

  • You will never see me or my (future) daughters dressed as anything sexy! It's embarrassing how many ladies will basically leave the house in their underwear when it's 40 degrees outside (here in Arkansas). 
  • We avoid any monster/evil costumes such as the devil (obviously), zombies, horror film bad guys, and the like. 
  • I stay out of haunted houses. Anxiety + People jumping out at me = Nope. Not gonna happen! It's basically inviting me to say every cuss word I know as well as drill ugly thoughts in my head for days to come.
  • We don't decorate much for Halloween (aside from jack-o-lanterns) but we especially avoid gross or crude decor - think: dismembered parts, bloody gore. If it would typically make someone think you are a serial killer, it's not suddenly ok on October 31. 
With all of this being said, yes we do still like to dress up. And you might, Bethany...isn't Scooby Doo a show with a lot of creepy monsters in it? Yes. This is a strange world we live in. There are bad guys and evildoers out there. What I hope my family gets from Scooby Doo is that bad guys will go to great lengths to do evil and that the Mystery Inc gang volunteers to put bad guys away wherever they go. >>Draw Spiritual parallels here. <<

Am I attempting to redeem Halloween? Not really. I'm not handing out gospel tracts from my front door or hosting parties in which guests dress up as their favorite Apostle. Am I using it as a chance to evangelize? Not so much. However, I do believe that the first step in discipleship is forging an organic friendship with people, so if I happen to meet someone this Halloween season, it could be the beginning of a genuine friendship in which I get to share my faith.

Just like Christmas trees, Easter baskets, and any number of fun American traditions...I'm just enjoying life with my family and friends. I know that Halloween has origins in a lot of evil and modern people perpetuate this to a disgusting degree, but for us, it's merely an excuse to dress up our cute kid and fellowship with friends. 

Last year it was an excuse to support a local business with the purchase of this freaking adorable Yoda hat from Simply Crochet and drive around town visiting with friends. 

I make a habit of checking my actions against God's will and pledging to stay within it, so if at any point we decide that Halloween just can't be safely celebrated, we will eliminate it. We haven't gotten into the trick or treat scene in our town yet (with our son being so young) but if it turns out to be too scary, it's out. Believe me when I say that I am not just blindly staying set in my ways without concern for my family's spiritual well-being. I put great thought into the implications and ramifications of everything we do.

**Note: I'm terribly sorry to post this in November, but I genuinely thought I had hit "Publish" and actually never shared my thoughts! For the sake of not posting something too long, I'll post our family photos in the next Update