So Much Going On!


Life around these parts has been crazy these days.

First: We went for an awesome family camping trip over the weekend!

It was SO much fun.

It was my Dad’s birthday and 4 out of 5 of us kids, my Mom and Dad and some of our friends went camping up at Teanaway; where we used to go camping every year for a few weeks when we were kids. My brother Jason couldn’t make it cause he lives in Missouri and well, that’s a long way to come. πŸ™‚


Ethan watching my sis Emily, family friend Colton, my brother Scotty and his girlfriend Carly dance. πŸ™‚

We took up three campsites and spread out and had a nice big space to chill and for the kids to run around in.


Me and my brother Brian deep in conversation.

We gathered firewood. We drank a lot of coffee. We ate bacon. Three essential camping activities. πŸ™‚


Β We went on a hike up the mountain to “the big rock”- which is really big. And the view is just breathtaking.


Just starting out- we hiked about 5 1/2 miles all together. We were all SO tired by the time we got back, especially the kids! They slept well that night.


Papa Don helping Ethan. They were so precious! I love my Daddy and my son.


My Brother Brian, his girlfriend Sarah, my hubby Tim and our kiddos, Ethan and Eliana


Cool rocks!


Gorgeous fragrant flowers.


These flowers were growing out of the big rock. They were so beautiful!


This is “The Big Rock”. It’s a sheer drop off from up where everyone is standing. I couldn’t even get close to it without starting to freak out, so I stayed back with the kids.


The view from the big rock- Mt. Stuart and some other gorgeous mountains. That road is the one you drive in on the way to the campground.

And under the big rock is Β “The Coliseum”. It’s amazing how the rock has been worn away over the years to create this cool amphitheater space.



It’s just so majestic!



Emily and Sarah, being cute like they are. πŸ™‚


Family picture! Kinda. We never can get both kids to look AND smile at the same time.

We went shooting, we enjoyed just being unplugged and relaxed and hanging out near the river.


My little sis Emily shooting the bb gun at a can across the river.


My turn! I actually hit the can too! Woo Hoo!


Mom and Dad enjoying the stories around the campfire.

It was a great camping trip, with lots of good memories made.

Then– the day after we got home we started cleaning the house we’re moving in to!!

As some of you may know, we lost our house last year and moved across the country and have been living with my parents until we were on our feet enough to be able to rent.

Well, God worked out an awesome situation where some people we know moved far away but have a house here still and didn’t want to rent to someone they didn’t know…so we’re renting their house!

We’ve been cleaning and packing up their stuff (since they live far away and still have a bunch of stuff in the house) and getting it ready to move into for the last 3 days. Β I am so exhausted! Moving and cleaning are hard work!

We spent our first night at the new house last night and it was nice. We still have a lot to do to make it “ours” and some of our stuff to move. Thankfully there’s no hurry.

It’s bittersweet leaving my parent’s house. They are so gracious and sweet Β and we have loved living with them for the past 9 months! Β I’m glad they’ll only be about 20 minutes away so we can still come over a lot and my mom is watching the kids for me on the days I work for awhile, so we’ll see them often and let them get their grand kid time. πŸ™‚ Β Plus, our chickens and our garden is at their house so we’ll be there regularly.

It IS nice having our own space though- our new house is 1900 square feet; which is twice the size plus more than our old house in Memphis. I keep getting lost in our house! It’s funny.

And the master bathroom- oh, my. I will be spoiled beyond all reason. There’s a big round soaking tub and a separate shower with double shower heads. AND the room is like as big or bigger than our dining room in Memphis. It’s so spacious!

And there is a double oven in the kitchen. And organic raised garden beds outside that deer will eat from if we don’t protect it from them. And a worm bin.

And the owners left a bunch of dishes and some furniture so we pretty much have everything we need. The only things we have to buy are dish towels and dishwasher soap and dog food. And I get to use their gorgeous Le Cruset cookware! Seriously, I can’t believe it! ( I’ll do a home tour post soon so you can see.)

God is so good, to orchestrate everything to work out perfectly and give us more than we ever dreamed we could have. He is amazing!

So that’s what’s been going on around here.
I apologize if posting has been a little sporadic. It probably will be for a few more weeks until we get settled in. But I’ll try to give you something once a week to read. πŸ˜‰

I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of summer! It’s been beautiful and sunny and warm here- finally!!

Our Life in Pictures

Hey, everyone!
It’s been a bit since I did an informative post, mostly because I’ve been pretty busy lately, but hopefully later this week I’ll have something to share . For now, here are some pictures of my beautiful everyday life:

My dad brought home a bunch of branches from a tree job he did, and this is how he and my brother (in the excavator) got them out of the back of the truck. Pretty smart, I think! It sure was cool to watch!

My dad brought home a bunch of branches from a tree job he did, and this is how he and my brother (in the excavator) got them out of the back of the truck. Pretty smart, I think! It sure was cool to watch!

My current knitting project: a scarf for my mama. I hope I get it done before it gets too warm to wear it!

My current knitting project: a scarf for my mama. I hope I get it done before it gets too warm to wear it!

Eliana and I made cookies Saturday morning while Hubby and Ethan were at a men's breakfast.
Eliana and I made cookies Saturday morning while Hubby and Ethan were at a men’s breakfast.

Cookies! (my mom actually made these ones)

Cookies! (my mom actually made these ones)

Yes, we have an indoor clothesline. Because we have lots of wool clothing. And it rains so much we always have things to hang up to dry!

Yes, we have an indoor clothesline. Because we have lots of wool clothing. And it rains so much we always have things to hang up to dry!


My to-do list today. I can cross off "blog post" now! :)

My to-do list today. I can cross off “blog post” now! πŸ™‚

Books from the library. We go about once a week, and the kids love it!

Books from the library. We go about once a week, and the kids love it!

My fabric stash. I can't wait to make something from that fabric on the top! Don't know what I"m going to make yet though.

My fabric stash. I can’t wait to make something from that fabric on the top! Don’t know what I”m going to make yet though.

Oranges and grapefruit are on sale right now. They're a little bit of sunshine in the rainy days!

Oranges and grapefruit are on sale right now. They’re a little bit of sunshine in the rainy days!

We had Β a lovely weekend full of bonfires, pruning bushes, easy dinners and lots of sitting by the fire reading. I hope you have a great week!!

Natural Body Care Series: Baking Soda Face Scrub

It’s been a few days since our last installment of Natural Body Care Products-
I’ve been slowly replacing our store-bought toiletries with homemade ones and am having fun sharing them with you!

First, I made Homemade Body Wash out of bar soap, castile soap and water. It works great!

Then, I made Avocado Lemon Hair Conditioner last week and am enjoying it thoroughly.

The first time I used it, I used WAY too much and my hair ended up being super oily. Like, ‘hair that just came from a photo shoot at the beach, messy, wet look even though it’s dry’ oily. Ick. Not what I was goin’ for at all. πŸ˜‰
I figured out that if you just use a small scoop, it works much better. And if I use it before I shampoo, it seems to work better for my hair because my shampoo gets out any extra oil that would weigh down my hair.

On to my next natural body care experiment:

Baking Soda Face Scrub

I’ve been having problems lately with clogged pores on my forehead- I made the mistake of using body lotion on my face while we were on vacation instead of facial lotion.
(Don’t EVER do that! You will break out and get bumpy clogged pores. Trust me. I should’ve just went and gotten some facial lotion.)

Anyway, I was asking a friend what she does for clogged pores, and she told me about just using baking soda as an exfoliator. (Is exfoliator a word? My computer doesn’t think it is. If not, it is now!)

I tried using baking soda and it’s really nice!
My pores are looking a little bit better too, although they’re not totally clear. But they look overall a bit smoother and my face feels so much cleaner!

Here’s what you do:
(it’s so easy I almost feel silly writing a whole post about it!)

~Start with a make-up free face.

~Get some baking soda out of your cabinet.

~Open up your pores by splashing your face with really warm/hot water or by holding your face over a pot full of steaming water.

~Then, pour a bit of baking soda into your hand and scrub it around on your wet face for about 30-45 seconds.
Make sure you really concentrate on your problem areas- for me, that’s my forehead, chin and nose.

~Rinse with slightly warm water, then follow with your regular moisturizer.

That’s it.

Try it!
It feels so nice; the baking soda is a gentle yet effective exfoliant because the little particles just rub away dead skin and get the dirt out of your pores without any of the synthetic additives that you’d get in a store bought exfoliating scrub.
If you wanted, you could add a bit of essential oil to your baking soda for an aromatherapy-like scrub. (I’m imagining lavender, mint or eucalyptus, or whatever your favorite herbal scent is.)
I just used plain baking soda because that’s what I have, but I’m looking forward to playing around with it and seeing if there are any combinations that I like.

Have you ever used baking soda as an face scrub? How did it work for you? I’d love to hear about it! πŸ™‚

If you want to know some more uses for baking soda, check back soon because I’m in the process of writing a post about all the ways I can think of that baking soda can be used for. There are so many!

I’m also linking up to The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop and Like a Mustard Seed’s
Living Green Link-Up.  There are SO many other talented people out there sharing a wealth of knowledge about all things frugal, homesteading and natural; go check them out!

Natural Orange Cleaner

A couple of weeks ago I saw a pin on Pinterest about how to make natural orange cleaner, and I thought I’d try it myself.

It’s really simple.
All you need is some orange peels and white vinegar, and a jar.
I always feel guilty about throwing out my orange peels, because I just knew there had to be some cool way to re-use them but wasnt sure how to go about it.
Here is a super easy way to make those orange peels work harder for you, and to get some nice natural cleaner in the process.

Simply take some oranges, peel them and put the peels in a jar. How many oranges you need depends on your size of jar. About 3 large orange peels will fill a quart size jar. I only had two oranges for this batch, so it didn’t fill the jar completely. ( Save your jars from honey and pasta sauce to re-use for things like this!)

Pour white vinegar over the peels to cover them.

I added lavender into this batch for some extra scent and cleaning power.

Put a lid on the jar, let it sit for 10 days (at least.) I lost count, but I think I did let it set at least that long.
Maybe if you’re like me, you should label the date on the jar, or write it on your calendar or in your iphone or something. πŸ˜‰

Then, at the end of 10 days, strain out the liquid throw away the peels and you have an all-natural, all purpose orange cleaner! I added lemons and limes to my first batch, because I had the peels and figured that since they were citrus, it would still work fine. This is what it will look like when it’s done:
You can put it in a spray bottle and clean away! (I need to make a trip to the dollar store to get a spray bottle.)

Vinegar works especially well to clean windows, in addition to your usual bathroom/kitchen cleaning needs.
I’m so excited to use it, because I”m just running out of my store-bought cleaner and am thinking I may never have to buy cleaner again. πŸ™‚

What are some natural cleaners that you use?

This post is shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday at Mind Body and Sole

Right now, I am:

Things are always crazy the day after you get back from vacation, but I wanted to write just a quick post.
I'm mixing in a few pictures from our trip for you too. πŸ™‚

So, right now, I am….

About to get Eliana down for a nap or at least a "quiet time" and then going to try to decide what I will try to accomplish with the rest of the day. I'm sure I have too much planned in my mind, so I'm going to be realistic and re-set a few goals for the day.

Food Waste Friday, November 11, 2011

Ooh, it’s 11/11/11, Y’all!
I really have nothing else to say about that, other than it looks cool on paper. Or a screen. πŸ™‚

I missed posting last week about my waste, but the only thing we wasted was some milk that went sour.
 (No picture either, I took one but for some reason can’t find it!)

Usually we do a really good  job of drinking all the milk before it goes bad, and I know that there are a lot of things you can make with soured milk, but it smelled disgusting and we were pretty much out of every kind of grocery you can imagine and I didn’t really feel like improvising on a recipe so much that it would have probably flopped anyway, so I just chucked the milk down the sink and threw the carton in the recycle bin.

Have you seen the cool lunch pouches you can make with a recycled milk carton??

 I saw this on Pinterest, and some day will get around to making one. It looks so neat!

This week’s waste was a little worse than last week’s. We wasted quite a bit of half eaten meals; oats, pasta, the end of a sandwich. I always put the leftovers in the fridge for later, but these bits that we wasted had sat out too long to be safe to eat. Most likely either the cat had nibbled at them, or they were harboring who knows what kind of bacteria.

Oh, and this poor hummus started growing  nice fuzzy spots on it…

They’re there, trust me.
I double checked to make sure it was really mold, and not just a bit of feta that got left in there on accident.
I was sad about wasting this, since I love hummus. Next time I should make more Greek pitas for lunch, I guess.

In other news…
~We’re having a yard sale on Saturday! I’m excited to get rid of the stuff that’s been cluttering up our laundry room and attic. Today we labeled everything with prices and got it all ready to carry out in the dark, chilly morning for those early bird, die-hard garage sale-ers.  We’re using the money we make to fund a trip to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Oklahoma.

Here is the “before we lay it out and make it look all pretty so people will want to buy it” picture. πŸ™‚

~Eliana is now 2! We had a quiet celebration for her at home, and bought her some cute boots and a my little pony toy for her birthday. I also made this butterfly mobile for her, because she is obsessed with butterflies.

I got the idea from here, and template to draw the butterflies from here. I am definitely not an artist, so I needed a template! I free-handed the little butterflies because I wanted different sizes for some variation. Ellie really likes it, although she just wants to touch it and play with it instead of looking at it.
I don’t blame her!

I made the butterflies from some scrapbooking paper I had laying around, and strung them on thread, then hot glued some sticks from the backyard together to tie the string on, then used a ribbon I had to hang the mobile from the ceiling.
Total cost: $0!
My kind of project. πŸ™‚

~Ethan got a hair cut. It was long over due.
I cut it first with scissors, but then had to bring the big guns in and finish off the job with buzzers, since sewing scissors + a wiggly 4 year old = a really choppy hairdo. He looks so cute with his little buzzed head! He told me he doesn’t like it, and wants his old, longer hair back. (Sorry, buddy. You’ll just have to wait for it to grow!)

That’s it for now, I hope you all are having a lovely Friday!
This weekend sometime I’m going to post a recipe for some French Bread that we can’t stop gobbling up as soon as I make it. It’s so yummy! So, if you need a new bread recipe, check back in a few days. πŸ™‚

Here’s a preview of what it looks like, to get you hungry for more. πŸ˜‰

This post is linked to The Frugal Girl, who is the brains behind all of this food waste documentation. πŸ™‚

Food Waste Friday, October 21, 2011

I missed last week, as you may or may not have noticed.

 Last week was one of those weeks where I just didn’t care if I took a picture of my food waste or not, of even if I wasted food. So I didn’t post.
( Can we say PMS, anyone? Yep.)
 I was also busy with the Kids’ Week Clothing Challenge, found hereherehere and here. With all that sewing, I was a little distracted. πŸ™‚

This week I mostly wasted little bits of stuff.
Like, this cilantro that went brown overnight.

Or, this tiny leftover bit of macaroni and cheese.

Or, these carrots and apples that didn’t get finished from snack time.

That little thing on the plate is not a dead fly, I promise! I think it’s a bit of tomato or apple.

The cilantro, apples and carrots went into the compost, so the main thing I wasted was the mac and cheese.
And the little bits of oats from breakfast that didn’t get eaten, but I’ve kind of given up counting those because its just a few bites.

Not too shabby.

Oh, I wanted to also mention this: I made Laundry Detergent this morning. Last time I made it was on May 10. This means that it lasted me five months!

This is everything you need, right here.

My 5 gallon bucket I use to store it in, along with the grater I use for the Ivory.

Yep. 5 months of laundry, from one batch of  powdered detergent.
 All for a fraction of the cost of store-bought detergent.
So. If you would like to save some money on laundry, try making your own detergent! It’s definitely worth the 5 or so minutes it takes to grate the soap and stir everything up. And you don’t have any extra chemicals or weird scents in your laundry. I really like having unscented laundry. If you want to add some essential oil or extract to scent your laundry soap, you can but my hubby is allergic to scented stuff, so we just go free and clear. Try it out! You may like it, and will save some cash.

Linking to The Frugal Girl, who is the brains behind all of this Food Waste Documentation. πŸ™‚

Today, I am..

Whew! This week has been a little crazy!

We’ve been going to the chiropractor 3 times a week, and that takes up a lot of time since the office is about 1/2 hour away. Lots of driving.

So, today, I am:

~Going to share some random pictures with you so this post isn’t totally boring. πŸ˜‰

Where we usually go fishing. 

~Going to try and get some laundry done. I started some yesterday, but forgot to put it in the dryer. Oops. Now I need to re-wash it.

Eliana after playing in the sprinkler.

~Making some sort of bread/ rolls to put our roast beef and french dip on for dinner tonight.

Laying on the steps is so much fun! Especially when you’re in your jammies.

~Hoping that Eliana lets me do these things, since she fell and scraped both knees this morning and now wants to be held at all times because the band-aids feel weird on her knees when she takes a step. Maybe she’ll fall asleep soon.

Eliana looking at some Buffalo.

~Thankful that it is beautiful outside and not too warm.

A butterfly enjoying my Zinnias.

~Trying to have patience when Ethan doesn’t want to share with Eliana and  trying to act in love not anger; while disciplining him.

My sweet boy. 

Tomorrow is Food Waste Friday; I’ll see you then! I think we did pretty well this week on food waste, although I haven’t looked in the fridge too  thoroughly yet. We’ll see!
AND we’re running our first 5k this weekend! I’m so excited. You’ll definitely see pictures early next week. πŸ™‚

Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Momma

I was talking with a friend this morning about laundry and the struggles that go hand in hand with it.
Then I came home and looked around my house, and thought I should write up a “confessions of house-keeping” post; lest you somehow get the idea that I might be super cool or perfect or anything along those lines.

I most certainly am not.

Although sometimes I think I am…:)

But I”m just fooling myself.

So here we go!

I don’t sort my laundry before washing it.

Pretty much never.
Sorry, Mom!! I know you taught me well, but I just don’t care to take the time!
We mostly have colored clothes anyway- white doesn’t stay that way in our house for very long, so this may be one of the reasons. We also are very casual, and don’t have any “special” fabrics, except wool in the winter time, which you wash in cold water anyway.
Another reason is just that I don’t want to!
The only exception would  be if we were to do some activity that got our clothes really muddy or dirty, then I would wash those ones by themselves. Or if I need to bleach something.
But I pretty much just toss everything in there and let it get clean all together, using my homemade laundry detergent..
I always use cold water as well, so nothing bleeds and it saves energy to boot.

75% of the time, my house is messy.

With a face this cute, who cares if the house is messy?!

Or maybe 85%. With two kids ages 4 and almost 2, things get messy much more quickly than they get clean. I consider it a major accomplishment if I can get laundry and dishes done in the same day.
As long as I sweep the floor, I don’t really care if there are toys on it. I just can’t stand crumbs and toys everywhere.
I try to keep clutter to a minimum, which helps a lot. And we do clean up once or twice a day; things just get messy again really fast!
How fun is a house so clean that you can’t live in it anyway?
I know that as the kids get older, hopefully things won’t be so messy because they are learning to pick up and put away their things, so I’m willing to just not fret about it too much for now.

I only mop my floors about once every 6 months.

Yep. I know. Gross. But true.
I don’t really have an excuse for this one. I just don’t like mopping floors, although I really enjoy the feeling of that clean wood floor after I’m done mopping.
Now that Eliana is potty training and having several accidents, maybe it will motivate me to mop more often.
(And, for you people who have crawling babies and come over to my house, I usually at least spot clean so your child won’t be crawling on gross floors.)

I always forget to clean the tile in the shower when I clean the bathroom.

I’m not sure why I forget; the tile takes up the majority of the bathroom! It just doesn’t look like it gets that dirty, so I don’t think about cleaning it.  I remember to clean the tile on the floor, just not in the shower.

I don’t brush my hair.

Now, before you get all grossed out, I have very thick, wavy hair that is kind of coarse.
When I brush it, it gets super puffy and frizzy, and not like ‘I’m a supermodel with a blown-out hair-do’ kind of puffy. Like, ‘I just stuck my hand in an electrical socket puffy.’
I just use my fingers to comb the tangles out, and use a de-frizzing spray to keep the waves under control.
I also don’t use a blow dryer or straightening iron or anything.
I just go au natural and let my hair dry on it’s own. It has lots of body without any help!

What are some of your ‘dirty little secrets’? 
It’s nice to get it all out there in the open once in awhile, if for no other reason than to remind yourself that you don’t have it all together! No one does, we just like to pretend that we can. In reality, we do the best we can and hope for God’s grace to fill in the cracks. I’m learning this more and more as I get older.