Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The inner mechanics......

I have a dirty little secret.... my blog posts......they are written up to a month in advance and scheduled to post throughout the month.

Why am I confessing this?

We are about to load up the car for our big adventures and will be without internet access through out the spring and summer. My plan is to continue writing my blog posts via Word documents throughout the month. I will then upload and schedule the posts once a month while accessing our family members wifi.

This means that it will probably become pretty obvious very soon that our posts are about a month behind the current calendar month. Such as talking about our 4th of July celebration in August. I usually write these time sensitive posts as they happen and squeeze them in between scheduled posts. That however is not going to be a possibility while we are without internet access.

So I ask that you hang in with me as we go through this time of transition! I look forward to sharing our adventures with you all! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Homemade Sugar Scrubs!

A few years ago I went through a period where I became very interested in natural products and essential oils. I spent quite a bit of time and money in places like Whole Foods shopping through the natural health care aisles and drooling over all of the products. As you can imagine I still have quite a stockpile of natural ingredients hanging out in my bathroom.

I am trying to downsize my stockpile by making use of the items I have on hand. Two of the items I would like to use up were Sweet Almond Oil and Apricot Kernel Oil. I decided to make a simple sugar scrub with the oils and some dried flower blossoms I also had on hand.

Sugar scrubs are very simple to make and can be easily adapted to use items that you already have on hand.

The basic recipe is:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
5-7 drops of essential oil

I started with the Sweet Almond Oil and sugar and then added 7 drops of a Rose Essential oil from my stash. I have dried roses in my stash as well so I crushed up some of the buds and added them to the sugar scrub as well.

Five minutes of work and I have two 4 oz jars of homemade Rose Sugar Scrub!

Next up I used my Apricot Kernel Oil, sugar, lavender essential oil, and dried lavender buds to make two 4 oz jars of homemade Lavender Sugar Scrub!

As I said this basic recipe is very easy to make substitutions to and can be very easily adapted. If you do not have any fancy oils laying around you can just as easily use Olive oil.

I am looking forward to making more homemade beauty products from my stash! If you have made some natural beauty items I would love to hear about them!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The case of the rusty jingle bell......

If you are the mother of toddlers you know where this is going....

Over the years I have removed countless objects from our children's noses. I am not sure what the exact appeal is to shoving random things up their nose but they all seem to feel the need to do so. I have removed beads, feathers, wheels, and now a rusty jingle bell all from my beloved little children's sinus cavities.

As a new mother I was slightly terrified to find random objects up my child's nose. I mean this isn't something they teach you in "How to take care of a baby 101".......maybe I skipped that day of training..... The thought of using tweezers or any other object to grab the item and remove it is not something I want to do on a squirming little person.

So how does one go about removing a foreign object from a child's nose? After raising 6 toddlers I have seen and tried just about all of the methods, complete with the trip to the ER. The simplest and fastest way by far has to be "The Mother's Kiss" technique. This technique requires the mother (or any responsible family member) to block to clear side of the nose by pressing it closed with their finger, put their mouth over the child's mouth ,and blow firmly through the child's mouth to clear the object from the sinus cavity.

I simply explain to the child that the object has to come out. I tell them "I am going to push here on this side of your nose and then I am going to blow into your mouth". They always look at me like I am nuts but we do it quickly and boom! There is a bead or in this case a rusty jingle bell laying on their chest.

I did make sure and check that our son is up to date on his tetanus vaccine since he had a rusty piece of metal up his nose. He is good to go however and I would like to think he has learned his lesson about putting objects up his nose. This isn't his first rodeo however so I doubt it will be the last.

I hope you never have to use this technique with your own child but if your little ones are anything like mine it is a good thing to know just in case!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

We are in the middle of packing for our newest adventure and unfortunately that also means paring down our pantry supplies. We will not be able to take anything more than snacks with us on our 14 hour drive south so as items are used up in our pantry I have not been replacing them. We have instead been working on some creative meals with what we do have on hand.

The other night I had planned to have a simple meal of homemade pizza for dinner. That is until I realized that we did not have any flour left. I purchase our flour 50lbs at a time so running out was a bit bizarre for me. I stood there staring at the pantry trying to figure out what to make for dinner that would preferably include the mozzarella cheese and pepperoni I wanted to use up before we left. While staring at the shelves I saw a box of macaroni and remembered the Pepperoni Pizza Casserole I had made a few years back for our freezer meal stash.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole it is! This is a super simple recipe to put together. You can find my recipe for homemade pizza sauce here, or buy store bought if you prefer.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

1 lb dried pasta, cooked
2 cups pizza  sauce
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
1/2 bag pepperoni slices

Add your cooked macaroni to a 9x13in baking pan and stir in your pizza sauce. Top your casserole with the cheese and pepperoni. Bake at 375 for 15min until the cheese is melted and the pepperoni start to curl a bit.

Very tasty and honestly much simpler than traditional homemade pizza. You could put any toppings you prefer on your pizza casserole obviously.  I think olives, bell peppers, and some spinach would be delicious! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Financial Friday!

It is that time of the month again! My New Year's Resolution was to read one financial book per month and then sharing my thoughts here. You can find my thoughts on the February and March books to catch up if you like, or simply jump in here with me in April.

This month I decided to go to the library and see what they had to offer in the personal finance section. I chose Suze Orman's Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny this month. I have to say while I am a Dave Ramsey girl I do enjoy watching Suze Orman on CNBC and reading her books. She has a no nonsense approach that is refreshing to me.

I am very glad I chose this book for my reading this month. As usual Suze breaks down the complex financial terms and makes them easy for everyone to understand. Her Women and Money book started out addressing why we as women are so uncomfortable with money. I did find it reassuring that I am not the only woman out there who doesn't fully understand investing, or that other women worry about being a bag lady in their old age. Honestly just knowing that you are not the only one who missed the class on personal finance as an adolescence makes it easier to face.

I expected since Suze is a successful professional woman that her book would "speak" to the other successful professional women out there. I figured the stay at home mom would be forgotten or just skipped over. This wasn't the case however. Suze went out of her way several times to specifically address the stay at home mom. Specifically how hard our jobs can be, how we must respect ourselves, and stop putting ourselves "on sale". I was rather pleasantly surprised by that!

I was also pleasantly surprised that Suze shares her "back story". I have read several of her books over the years and there has never been very much shared about her life before she became a successful tv personality. After reading the section concerning her 20's I found I could relate to her so much more. She made mistakes with money, she dropped out of college, she didn't feel smart or successful...wow... you would never know it to look at her now!

Her main thought throughout the book is "no shame no blame". I love that. Too often we make mistakes because we simply did not know any better. Then we feel so ashamed of our stupidity that we try to hide it, or worse yet keep digging the hole even deeper! Anytime in the book that Suze talks about making a mistake she addresses it in a very matter of fact tone. Yes, you made a mistake, no shame no blame, lets fix it.  She feels like a friend helping you to answer the question of WHY.

Why did this happen, why do women feel so incompetent with money, why do women not value their time and skills, etc.

She doesn't stop there however. She has a 5 month action plan within the book. This is a very basic month by month approach to getting set on a firm financial footing. She comes to the table with a plan that starts at the very beginning and explains every single term in very easy terms to understand.

Month one starts with learning how to balance your checkbook and what type of savings account you should have. Then it is on to things like retirement savings, credit cards, insurance, and important documents. She covers every single thing you need to think about in your own financial life.

I found myself taking notes throughout the book and I am very glad I did so. I have since upped my husband's life insurance, changed to a higher interest rate savings account, and am working on setting up a special needs trust for our children. There is more to come but I needed a bit of a breather!

There is just SO MUCH covered within this book! I have to say this is almost the perfect beginners book to finance. I am, as I said, a Dave Ramsey follower and couldn't quite get myself in line with her worship of the FICO score. Needing to add my 15yr old child onto my credit card to build his/her own FICO score is not even on my radar in terms of future goals. I did however love her advice about sitting down early with my own daughters to change the recurrent roles women play in family based finances. Just because our maternal ancestors left the financial matters up to their husbands does not mean that it is a trend that should continue through the generations. 

Overall I am a big fan of this book! I kind of wish I had purchased it so that I could loan it to my friends and family. Definitely a great choice for this months financial reading material! I will have to look through her other titles for more choice down the line.

Have you read Suze's Women and Money? If so I would love to hear what you thought!

***This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated for my review in any way. I just read the book and wanted to share my thoughts!***

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