Friday, December 26, 2014

Just a little more about our adoption #2...

One thing I am thankful for this Christmas is that we did NOT have a baby in the house this week. Poor little one would have most certianly caught the "crud" (my name for the unnamable virus that struck our house this week). Kurt and the girls both came down with an icky-nasty virus and, while they tested negative for the flu, I am not entirely convinced that it wasn't a strain of the dreaded stuff. Hazel had it easiest, while poor Kurt and Mabelle had high fevers. Little sister was definitely unlucky in getting tummy symptoms to go along with hers. Somehow--and I am crediting it to all that vitamin D and B12 I have to take in general, I have managed not to be stricken. Usually, I am the first to fall victim, so this is something new and encouraging. However, in the midst of the battle, I did fall victim to a pulled muscle in my back. Talk about pain!! I could only walk in a hunched over ape-like position that does nothing for ones self esteem! This morning, we are doing so much better and are on our way to our next Christmas celebration. 

So, where are we now in our adoption journey? Right now, we are in the middle of paperwork!! We've started our home study and are in the process of gathering all sorts of information. There are several different background checks we have to do and we sort of have to pull double time there because we've lived in two different states. We've ordered copies of birth certificates, our marriage certificate, been finger-printed, have appts for physicals and many other forms we are in the process of filling out. The next step in this process will be to turn over all the information to our social worker and have our home visit/ interview with her. We've also gotten our application for the consulting group we will be using and are working on filling that out too. It's exciting and overwhelming to see all of these forms. I think I've read them each many times, afraid that I'll mark the wrong box or write the wrong thing and be forced to do them again!

Once our home study is complete, we will be able to start applying for grants and loans, so there will be more paperwork yet to go. We're looking into different ways to receive tax-free donations but those are a bit more complicated and must go through the appropriate channels to count. Part of our goal in early fundraiser was to be able to pay the home study fees and the agency fee with cash. Thankfully, our home study is completely paid for and we have a little over $1,000 for the agency fee so far (it's $3,500.)  Because of our move last year, we depleted a lot of our savings, but we know God will provide and Kurt should have a timely bounus to cover the agency fee soon. It's crazy to think, but I added it up yesterday and I think we've spent almost $300 on paperwork fees, so far. 

Part of what we will apply for after our home study is complete is an interest free loan. We know we'll get $13K tax credit for adopting and Kurt's job offers $5k towards adoption. However, we can't claim this money up front. We'll need to prove we adopted before that can happen, so the loan will help cover the gap while we wait. 

We've had several conversations with the girls and both are excited over the idea of a new baby. They have both said they want a brother too! Hazel seems to understand a great deal and we've had some interesting conversations about what adoption means, how this baby will not be in my tummy, and how he might look different than our family. We've talked a lot about how our hearts are the same and how love is what makes a family. Since Hazel accepted Jesus into her heart this summer, we've also been able to start talking about how we're adopted into Jesus' family. We're all adopted and this just makes adopting a baby make sense! 

As the year comes to a close, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how incredible this last year has been. If you'd asked us last December if we'd be adopting next year, we would have said "There's no way!" We had just moved, we were buying a house and had the burden of would have seemed impossible....but then does Jesus changes everything. How incredible that He brought us to a church body that is so willing to adopt--to love, love, love?! How  amazing that we heard message after message that challenged and changed us, messages where I wanted to run out of the room rather than "deal with it"! How wonderful that we met person after person who showed us love and welcomed us into their lives? And then Jesus said to our hearts "Go rescue my little one". We want to know how and when but really we don't need to know all that. We just need to "go" and do. 

Each time a person has given us a gift of money for adoption or supported our fundraiser, I have been so humbled and moved. It seems as though each gift came right after a moment of dispair or doubt. I'd  be wallowing in my own inability to do this and there would be an email or message waiting for me with hope. God is constantly whispering to me, "You can't do this, but I can. I will." Boy, the tears I have already shed from the way people are loving on us and on this little one we don't even know yet! 

Right before Christmas, I did some last minute shopping and I saw this canvas print for sale in Hobbly Lobby. As many of you know, both the girls had "literary" nurseries. Hazel's was Peter Rabbit (traditional Beatrix Potter version) and Mabelle's is Olivia by Ian Falconer. I've always, always wanted a "Where the Wild Things Are" baby room. When I saw this print, I new it would be the first thing I bought for this new little one. It's sitting up in our guest room as a beacon of hope for the newest little member of our family. Oh yes, we will love him so...

Two special things also happened at Christmas: First my mom, who has embroidered and quilted blankets for both the girls ran across some cute quilt squares to embroider for a nursery. She told me she bought them to start  working on a blanket for the new baby. Again, hope against all odds. Love bursting forth out of darkness. Then, Christmas Eve came and we opened gifts at our house. Since we knew we would be adopting Kurt and I have both refrained from buying anything we don't absolutely need. We agreed that we wouldn't exchange gifts for Christmas and we've both put any birthday money or extras into the adoption fund. So, I didn't expect a gift for Christmas. Well, I've wanted a Vitamix blender for's one of those crazy things you think you might save up for one day...maybe. I love to make as many things from "scratch" as possible and just thought it was an awesome (made in the USA!!!) gadget. During our move, we got rid of almost all of our "baby" items including our handy little baby bullet. So, on Christmas morning when Kurt pushed this huge box over to me, I had no idea what it could be. In fact, I imagined all sorts of awful things because usually with gifts Kurt is either right on the money or way off :). When I pulled the paper off, I just sat there for a second. The first thing, I thought was "we have to take this back" but I didn't say that out loud. Kurt must have known what I was thinking because he immediately said, "I've had this planned and it's ok." He also added, "I thought we would use it to make baby food!" Well, that's all it took to have me crying (all this crying business is so odd for someone who hates to cry in public and refrains at all costs)! So, I'm enjoying a gift from my sweet hubby that I know he's sacrificed for, making it all the sweeter. We will defintely be making lots of baby food!! We made smoothies last night and they were a big hit all around. I can definitely tell I am a mom because I am already thinking of how many green veggies I can sneak into things! 

We'll keep updating on our process. Perhaps by sharing we can also encourage another family to embark on a journey Jesus is urging their hearts to consider. Above all we can share love, and that, after all, is our goal.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Just a little more about our adoption...#1

We're adopting and we've gotten many questions about why we are chosing to adopt and the route we are taking. I just wanted to pop on the blog to be able to share some of our thoughts! 

Normally, this blog has been a place to discuss decorating, cooking, and fun family projects! Well, adopting is the biggest family project we've ever undertaken! Our journey to adoption probably started before Kurt and I were ever married or ever met! I think we've both grown-up being exposed to adoption and the joy that it can bring. Kurt, coming from a larger community than me, saw several families in his home church adopt and he already had a love for helping kids and youth--which explains why I met him when we were both camp counselors! I remmber saying when I was pretty young that I'd love to adopt becasue I knew there were already so many children in the world who needed homes. I remember on one of our first dates, Kurt and I discussed families and children and we both remarked that we'd be open to adoption. In fact, I'm pretty sure the topic also came up in our premarital counseling. 

Fastfoward nine years and here we are with two beautiful daughters of our own. I have to admit that when we were able to get pregnant pretty easily with our first daughter--adoption wasn't a prominent thought of mine. However, when Hazel was still small, I witnessed, via the powers of the media, the horiffic events during the earth quake in Hati. I was glued to the screen as I tried to process in some sense the devestation the beautiful people of Hati were dealing with. One image struck me to the core: a tiny child in an orphanage who had the same exact kind of paci in her mouth that Hazel used. I realized at that moment that the child I saw was "a Hazel"-- someone who desperately needed to be resuced, loved, and made a part of a family. I remember sobbing that night because physically I couldn't go there and rescue these trapped children. I felt God speaking to my heart that night and reitering in greater detail what I already knew deep down--that those precious children were just a valuable to Him as my darling daughter. Both Hazel and the little girl with the paci ultimately belonged to Him--He'd graciously given me the opportunity to parent Hazel and, if I was willing, I could also parent a child in need. 

It was later that year, we discovered that we were pregnant with our second child. Because of health issues after Hazel's birth, I poured myself into being as healthy as I could and felt "guarenteed" to have a much easier time after this little one arrived. Mabelle arrived as healthy as one could wish and for the first eight weeks my health seemed as though it was stable. Shortly after that time, things took a turn for the worst. After weeks of testing, heart monitors, and different medications, I was left with an indefinite diagnosis though feeling better. It wasn't until two years later (after dealing with relapses of all my strange symptoms and feeling pretty hopeless), that I was able to see a wonderful doctor who "listened" and did thorough testing that I finally got a dignosis: I had hypothyroidism, was vitamin D deficient, and I have a genetic mutation called MTHFR (you can read more about that here: MTHFR). I have a mutation on the C677 gene and thankfully it is a milder form of the mutation, though I can still cause symptoms and is probably linked to my lower levels of B12. Never have I been so glad to see some abnormal test results! I immediately started treatment and have improved so much! There are still days when I am more tired than normal, but I'm doing great! 

All this goes to say, that before Mabelle was even a year old, we made the decision that we wouldn't have any more biological children. We felt like God had closed that door. Shortly after we'd made that decsion and while it was on my heart, I remember getting into our van and hearing the song "I'm Adopted" come on our radio. If you haven't heard this song by Randall Goodgame (who is also an adoptive parent) on his album "Slugs and Bugs: Under where?", then you should listen to it now! I'm Adopted Song. My heart felt broken in some ways and, at the same time, as though it was about to take flight on a new adventure. 

Last Fall, we made the decision (after Kurt received a job offer) that we we would move to be closer to my parents. I am an only child and had been dreaming about this for a long time. It was a very big, scary, and hard change though. I've sworn now that I'll never move again!! Ha ha! But, boy was God working for us--even though things were terrible at times! We could not sell our house! Offer after low offer came; days with nothing. We replaced carpet, we treated mold in our crawl space (and lost money when the first company we used wemt out of business suddenly), we waited and still it didn't sell. We took a leap of faith, in order to take some of the stress off of Kurt from driving every day, and bought a home. Our house still didn't sell. We didn't really understand why God wasn't allowing it to sell and I am still not sure I see the "whole picture" but I desperately wanted to be in control and sell that house myself! God had other plans and led us to a renter. 

It was during this time that we felt like God was teaching us more and more about "not living for the dot" as our pastor was teaching us. We had spent most of our time thinking about the future in terms of vaction, family time, what we could buy one day...and while there isn't anything necessarily wrong with that, we were putting any dreams of adoption on hold. We wanted to be in control of that too and do it at a time when "we had the money", "we'd been in our house longer", "we woudln't need to ask for help from others", We were living for the "dot" right now and not thinking in terms of how God wanted us to make a greater eternal impact. We wanted to be in control and not take a "leap of faith". I know I was in the boat with no plans to bail out! There were many days when I convinced myself that I was the last person who should adopt--the least patient mother, the mom who hates to get up at night, the mom who needs time to herself, the mom who just couldn't have a baby again! 

And this was the time, right when our house rented, when God told us to "get out of the boat". What? Now? This is the worst possible time! Why not before we moved? Why not in another year when we've been saving? Why not another mom who was better suited thatn me? I can't speak entirely for Kurt (maybe I can coax him onto the blog one day!), but God clearly said to both of us that it was time to stop talking and just dreaming and actually do something. 

There is so much that went into this that I could go on and on about forever: how God brought us to our church here, the adoptive families we met this year, friends in our small group who are/have adopted---but I'll bring this to a close before I write a novel! 

So, we got out of the boat...and we're scared, crazy excited, and just keeping our eyes on the One who is in control and who knows the little one that He wants us to parent. He doesn't need us but we are very thankful to be used by Him. 

In the next post, I'll share more about our specifc adoption plan! 

Much love, 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

And we have a winner!

As many of you know, I did an "enveople sale" including my One-of-A-Kind Ju-Ju-Be bag to raise money for our adoption. What you don't know is the sweet story behind the winner! I'd had the sale going for several days without garnering much interest and was pretty discouraged. I checked my email shortly before the time ended and what I found was several paypal emails in a row all from my sweet cousin! I went from discouraged to laughing out loud and trying to wipe the misty tears from my eyes. So, the winner of my darling OOAK is my cousin, Taryn. She's a cousin by marriage and just one of the many great reason I am glad I married Kurt :). Since we annouced that we are adopting, Taryn has been an encourager to me and has made me feel like we are "expecting a new baby"! Sometimes it's hard to feel that way without all those fun pregnancy symptoms (and there is some scarcasm in that "fun"). I am so blessed to have her in my life and I know she'll probably murder me for posting a photo of her and her girlie!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Calling all my Ju-Ju-Be Pink Ladies!

Shortly before Mabelle was born, I discovered Ju-Ju-Be--the makers of the most awesome diaper bags on the planet. My first bag was a gorgeous Blue Bouquet Packabe! It was the most versatile bag and a backpack to boot! Best of all, it was washable! So began my fantastic love of all Ju-Ju-Be bags and my relationship with the other "Pink Ladies". I really connected with these moms--in the forums online in the "Pink Room" and on Facebook; we chatted about our fab bags and most importantly our lives as moms. In 2012, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a Pink Lady Get-Together in Colorado Springs, Colorado! We were on vacation in the area and my sweet husband made sure I made it to the party! I was able to meet several Pink Ladies in real life and we had a great time playing games, laughing, and talking about mama stuff! At that GTG, I was lucky enough to win my very own One-of-a-Kind Ju-Ju-Be bag: a gorgeous tan re-colored BeLight! I named her "Desert Jewel" and have loved her ever since! What other company sends free bags in never-before-seen prints to their mamas? I was also fortunate enough to host a GTG in Saint Louis, prior to our move, and again had so much fun connecting with fellow Pink Ladies--and handing out the goodies JJB gave me to distribute--again totally awesome and kind! 

I can't say enough good things about Ju-Ju-Be. Their products are fabulous and their customer service and the community they have created has meant so much to me as a young mom! However, now I feel it is time to let my sweet little OOAK go. Why, you ask? Well, for some time (especially since our move to Kentucky), hubby and I have been praying about and dreaming of adopting! Because of severe illness after both my pregnancies, we decided after our youngest was born, it would be better if I didn't go through that again--and we'd always said there are so many children in the world already that need homes! So, we are preparing to make our final decision on an agency and move forward with that application and a home study. As many of you know, adoption can be very expensive. After a huge move last year, this seems like the most inopportune time to make such a commitment, but after much prayer, we feel it's time to start this process! We are pursing a domestic adoption and if you want more details about that, feel free to email me or ask questions below. 

So, I will be doing a special "Envelope Sale" for my neat-o BeLight! To enter, you will need to send $10 via the paypal "gift" option to Please include your Pink Lady Name (if you have one), your real name, and an email address. Each person who enters is guaranteed to win an virtual envelope--some of those will contain a special recipe and one will contain the OOAK BeLight! 

How will it work? I will generate numbers for each entry via the time stamp once the payment is sent to paypal in a spread sheet. I will create the total number of envelopes IRL in accordance to the total number of entries (100 envelopes for 100 entries).  Then (we'll video it) my husband will let my girls draw out the winning number! That person will receive the BeLight and a Ju-Ju-Be Shopper Tote! 

I will post photos of the Light below. We are a smoke-free, dog friendly home. I did carry the bag a few times, but it looks beautiful. There is one tiny pen dot on the inside bottom as photographed. She is fresh out of a bath and all dry! 

The Envelope Sale will be open from the date of this posting till Monday, November 24th at 6:00 P.M. EST. You may enter multiple times. To do so, please send separate payments. You may want to space them out at different time intervals if you want really different numbers (ie 1, 35 VS 1, 2). At least 10 envelopes must be purchased before the drawing will proceed. If they aren't I will refund all money and try something else :). If you are in the US, I will cover the shipping cost. If you are in Canada or an International buyer, you must agree to pay the shipping costs to you. 

The funds from the envelope sale will be used to pay for our application fees and initial home study. I will update this blog with the total amount and confirmation when we start the process. I have been a Pink Lady since March 11, 2011, have feedback records, etc.

I also promise to post, in both the Pink Room and on the Facebook pages, progress on our adoption and when the baby arrives, I will most certainly be sharing those famous "baby in the bag" photos!
Even though I will be selling most of my Ju-Ju-Be, I look forward to the day when we are holding our newest little one and can shop for those cute BFFs and BePrepareds again! This baby will be a Ju-Ju-Be Baby! I may never have another OOAK but our little one will be my true OOAK :D 

And, for those of you who read my blog and have no clue what I am talking about, check out for their awesome products and information! 

*Ju-Ju-Be is no way affiliated with this post or the sale. I just love them :) 

This is Erin (Erinrachael26) and I (my Pink Room name is Pippy) the day we won our OOAKs back in 2012. Looking at this photo makes me realize how lucky I am to have had her (and how much I will miss her). I hope she goes to a mama who will love her as much as I have! 

Much Love <3, 

Priscilla aka "Pippy" 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I've broken my own rule...

Well, I've done what I said I would never do...decorate for Christmas prior to Thanksgiving! However, I am full of several good excuses for throwing caution to the wind: my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their four kids are coming for Thanksgiving (!!! happy dance--and obviously I must do some decorating prior), Kurt will be out of town next week, and we're not putting THE TREE up yet--I mean, that's what counts right? Frankly, I've told Kurt and everyone else who rolls their eyes at me that I intend to celebrating Thanksgiving, and count my blessings just the same--only surrounded by these pretties! 

Why do I care about decorating? It's not very hard to answer that question. For me, it isn't about having the best or being so concerned with how our house can "look". It's more about celebrating home, family and, most of all, continuing the traditions that meant so much to my mom, dad and I. Many of you know I am an only child and I spent a great deal of time doing activities with my parents. One of those, and my favorite, was decorating for the holidays. I loved helping my dad check the big, bright bulbs each year, running around outside "helping" hang lights, making homemade outfits for the church Christmas play, decorating the tree, and baking. I remember falling asleep at night watching the colored bulbs shine through my frosty window with a profound sense of peace and love. Shouldn't one of the grandest celebrations we throw throughout the year be to celebrate the Savior's birth? So each year, I love to drag out my favorite items and remember the moment love poured down from Heaven and the blessings of home and family. 

Here are a few of my early projects! We did hit a snag when we realized that several of our boxes are still in our attic in Saint Louis! Good thing we didn't sell the house! I might have turned up on America's Most Wanted for murdering my husband-- just kidding! Hee hee! 

Forget those $100 decorated, lit garlands at the stores! I made my own from a $10 garland and a $12 bucket of ornaments! 

I love the 1950s and I think this love probably stems from watching "I Love Lucy" with my mom and from cherishing my grandmother's ornament collection that stems from the 50s-60s. So, I finally found my 1950s aluminum Christmas Tree! Sorry, Charlie Brown! This thing is even more awesome with the color wheel projector and the fact that the base rotates and can play a music-box version of Jingle Bells. Yes, that did drive us insane after about five minutes. I can't wait to add my grandmother's decorations and share those memories with my girls! 

When we moved into our new house, I went crazy with paint and settled on this creamy, light orange color for an accent wall in the living room. About two months later, it hit me. What in the world would I do with an orange wall at Christmas?! Well, this seems to work! I just replaced the fabric in my hoops with some Christmas versions and covered my "J" with,  you guessed it, aluminum foil :) It was a cheap and cute solution to my orange wall situation! Now, I just need to add some presents to the wire basket and nix the magazines and get my type writer back out--and add a typed letter to Santa, of course! 

I can't forget my Pyrex collection! Pieces have been few and far between this year, but I love this! My dad did buy me the cute cherry tea tray recently! He's the bestest! 

Savannah bought me this adorable tea towel last year! 

I'm also currently obsessed with 1950s-1970s Blow Molds. We're saving for adoption right now, so I haven't given into my desire since I got my tiny little Pumpkin man for Halloween. However, I am an only child and my dad can't help spoiling me. He loves to go to antique stores/malls as much as I do and bought me this adorable Santa, toy soldiers, and the candles. 

While we do have some Santa things in our house, we haven't pushed the idea too much with our girls. However, this guy did prompt some great conversations about the real St. Nicholas and about the reason we give gifts at Christmas. The girls have already had fun with their Little People Nativity (one of the best toys, for you moms!) and are talking about baking Jesus a birthday cake again this year! 

We're celebrating with even more joy this season, as we have decided to pursue a domestic adoption and are currently saving for all of the fees involved. This season of hope and love is truly overflowing in my heart as I think about how I have been graciously adopted into God's family and anticipate welcoming a new little person into our family! 

With a thankful heart, 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

 After trying out homemade sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, foundation, and powder this year, I'm trying to branch out into other products for our family. We were running out of our Toms Toothpaste, so it was time to try out a homemade version. I found several recipes online and adapted this to what I wanted! 

Here's the recipe: 
2-3 tablespoons of bakingsoda 
1/2 cup of coconut oil 
2 packets of Stevia
15-20 drops of an Essential Oil like Peppermint or Cinnamon 

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. If you coconut oil is more firm, use a fork to mash it all together. Place in individual glass jars for members of your family. 

Baking soda has a long record of being great for our teeth, as does coconut oil (especially as oil pulling has gained in popularity). Stevia is a good sweetener source as it is natural! Essential Oils add flavor and have great antimicrobial/antiviral properties. 

Basically, I wanted to find something fluoride-free and easy to make. After over a week of use, I have to say that while it definitely has that baking soda salty taste, it works great. My teeth feel clean--time will tell how the health of my teeth and gums improves. After reading of the benefits of coconut oil on teeth alone, I have high hopes. 

There are many recipes out there and I also want to try this recipe to mimic Earth Paste from "Don't Waste the Crumbs

Up next: Shampoo and body wash! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Update on Deo, makeup, sunscreen and bug spray!

I wanted to take a few minutes to post an update on how well I like the homemade items that I posted about a couple of weeks ago. Now that I have been using them for awhile, I feel as though I can give some better input on them!

Here's the scoop:

Deodorant: I absolutely love this! The first day I used it, I could immediately tell that it worked better than the Toms I had been using the past few years. I had a sweaty day playing outside in the hot sun with kids and I didn't need to reapply! This product has also caused me zero skin irritation. I had noticed that Toms would cause my skin to become irritated---it kinda came in a cycle that would go away and return. Remember, this recipe does not contain an antiperspirant, so it won't hold up as well as those deodorants that do (but you are avoiding those nasty chemicals too--and I think that is worth having to reapply deodorant once a day!). I used Lavender and Tea Tree Oil in my recipe and those smell great. Next time, I might try Geranium to mix it up a bit. I think the Tea Tree Oil really helps keep down the bacteria and reduce odor. The 4oz jar that I made still has about 1/4 left in it, so it also lasts a reasonable amount of time.

Foundation: This feels like dessert for your face, and you know I love dessert! Honestly, I think the best thing about this is how "good" the ingredients are for your face. The sunscreen factor works very well. I have worn it several times swimming with no sunburn. If you are looking for a concealer, I would choose another product but as a basic light-weight tinted moisturizer, this is great. I use a separate concealer when need for blemishes.

Powder: This has been a trickier one for me to get the right shade. I am pale, pale, pale, so I ended up reducing the amount cocoa in my first recipe and getting a much better shade for my skin tone. I like that it is light weight and feels nice. I suggest using a large brush and applying lightly to get an even application. Getting this evened out has probably been my biggest challenges.

Bug Spray: This has worked well for us this summer. I think I will up the amount of citronella in future recipes, but the mosquitoes stayed away from me and usually I am a magnet for them. We also noticed that we didn't have any trouble with ticks while wearing this--and hubby did end up getting one when he didn't. For the kids, I sprayed their clothing very well and we reapplied often. With something like this, I think repeat applications are necessary to get good results. Obviously, this isn't going to be as powerful or long-lasting as the chemical sprays, but I think a reapplication is worth avoiding the chemicals!

Sunscreen: This as been a great success for us! We have used this exclusively this summer without any burns (except for the time I didn't apply evenly on myself and had some sunburn designs that were interesting)! We have been at the pool tons this summer and the kids haven't had one burn!! This sunscreen smells wonderful and lasts for the 2-3 hours we usually stay. I would suggest reapplying every 2 hours, especially for lighter-skinned individuals. We also are fans of rash guards and I even wear a long-sleeved one in the pool (except for the day of catastrophic sunburn incident). We have almost used up our two 4oz jars, so I'll be making some more soon. I am so glad that we are through with commercial sunscreen!

Friday, May 30, 2014

DIY Bug Spray and Anti-Itch

I have been trying to find a more natural bug spray option for the last few years. The past two or three, I've just bought whatever "natural" bug spray happened to be at the store. Usually, it didn't
do a great job in our mosquito-plagued back yard. The girls and I must be really sweet, because we get bit a lot. As I've become more educated on tick-borne illness, I have been trying to avoid ticks like crazy too. The effects of tick-borne illness can be devesating. 

Anyway, I have gotten into essential oils lately and wanted to develop an oils based spray that would be suitable from kids 3+. Before I share my recipes, I do want to do a quick PSA about EO safety. 

First, there is so much misinformation out there that is is overwhelming to sort through. However, I am a sorter by nature and a researcher by training! The best resource I've found has been Robert Tisserand's book "Essential Oil Safety". Now this book is pricey, so I also depend on this website Lea Harris is a certified aromatherapist and has some awesome information here, including dilution charts, lists of essential oils to avoid/use with children, and some great age-appropriate recipes. In my opinion, one cannot be too careful with essential oils. They are highly concentrated and should be used with proper education---basically do your research! Since I have started learning, I have seen so many cases of misuse that it sorta knocked my socks off--in a bad way. 

Ok---I'll get off my soap box and on with the recipes. 

First the Bug Spray:

In a 2oz bottle (use glass and a darker color is best for preserving your oils), combine:

1% dilution 
 Texas Cedar wood 3 drops
citronella (citronella java) 3 drops
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) 2 drops
Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca alternifolia) 2 drops
geranium 2 drops (pelargonium graveolens) 

Fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. You will want to shake this vigorously before spraying each time to mix the oils with the witch hazel. We tried this out on my parent's farm this weekend with great results. When my hubs didn't wear it, he ended up with a tick. The patchouli is supposed to be a tick repellent. For young kids, try to spray mostly on their clothing,especially. If you are using for adults, away for a day of hiking in the woods, you could use 24 total drops for a 2% dilution. Oils are happiest cold, so you can store this in the fridge when not using. It will be fine in your bag, just won't stay potent as long. 

Now, if you get those pesky bug bites, heat rash, etc, use this recipe: 

In a 2oz bottle combine, 

5 drops lavender (lavandula angustifolia)
2 drops Frankincense (boswellia frereana) 
3 drops Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia)
Fill the rest with witch hazel. You will also want to shake this one vigorously before spraying. 

With all essential oils, it is better to start with a low dilution and work your way up to get the results you want. Most of the the time it only takes a small amount to get a desired effect! Also remember higher dilutions carry more risk for sensitazation and be extra careful with dilutions of kiddos! 

Hopefully these will make your summer much easier! They've already improved ours! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY foundation and deodorant!

In my quest to create my own natural products, I made a DIY foundation and deodorant this week. Both have worked really well for me and I'll give you a basic run down of how I made them. They were much easier to do than I thought! 

First, DIY foundation---you can find the full recipe and instructions at I won't retype all of that here! Her website is awesome! 

Ingredients for foundation and where I found them:

Organic cacao powder- Whole Foods 
Zinc Oxide powder- Amazon
Almond oil- Whole Foods 
Shea butter- Whole Foods 
coco butter- Whole Foods 
Liquid Vitamin E- Whole Foods 
Beeswax- Whole Foods 
organic cinnamon powder- Whole Foods 

You basically create a double-boiler; I used a glass pyrex bowl. Another little item you will need is a kitchen scale. I got this one for $20 at Target and it works great. 

Melt all the oils and butters together and then add your powdered ingredients. The foundation sets up really fast. I used my 4oz mason jars. This recipe makes 4oz and I divided it between two jars to share with my BFF. I also made this pretty light as I am pale, pale, pale! You can add as much cacao powder as need to get the tint you want. Scratch Mommy has instructions for doing that! The Zinc Oxide also adds an SPF of 20, so you get sunscreen too! You can apply using your fingers or a makeup wedge. I'd call this a light coverage foundation, more like a tinted moisturizer for me. You'll still need a concealer to hide any blemishes! Oh, and it smells great! 

Now, for the deodorant! This is also a recipe from You can go to her website for the full instructions. One reason I chose her recipe was because it doesn't contain baking soda, which is an irritant for a lot of people. I have been using Toms and it does irritate my skin from time to time (plus it still has some icky chemicals). 

This recipe contains:

Coconut oil- Trader Joes 
jojoba oil- Whole Foods 
Shea butter- Whole Foods 
Beeswax- Whole Foods 
Arrowroot powder- Whole Foods 
Liquid vitamin E- Whole Foods
Diatomaceous Earth--(this is a powder substance and you MUST use Food Grade!) Amazon---and you may want to order a smaller box....I apparently ordered the jumbo and can make deodorant with it for the next 100 years! 
Essential oils: I used lavender and tea tree oil (melaleuca--it has great anti-microbial properties)

You use the same set up as before with your kitchen scale and double-boiler.

^^^kitchen Scale


It gets all meted up and I poured into my 4oz jar. This also set up really quickly. I love the scent with the lavender and tea tree oil. You could also use patchouli or geranium would be nice too!  

How does it work? I have to say this worked better than Toms for me! Usually if I am really active, I have to reapply, but I didn't have to with this. I applied it with my fingers, which isn't a big deal. It feels nice! I felt like it was too liquid to pour into deodorant molds...there might be a way to hack that though! Remember that this deodorant is not an antiperspirant, so it won't stop you from sweating but it willl keep you smelling nice. Also, be aware that if you are switching from a conventional deodorant to a more natural one it may take several days before your natural version functions at 100%. I've experienced this with Toms and crystal deodorants. This is super healthy and easy to do! 

Stay tuned for a post about bug spray and an anti-itch blend! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

DIY Foundation Powder

If there is one thing I never pictured myself doing, it was making my own beauty products. I am a pretty down-to-earth, simple girl who doesn't wear much make-up, but when I do I want something natural and also something that doesn't break the bank! I've been shelling out way to much $$$$ on expensive, natural make-up that still has some of the chemical ickness that I am trying to avoid. So, when I stumbled upon the blog "Scratch Mommy", I was pretty thrilled to see some awesome looking recipes for foundation, sunscreen, deodorant, etc. While I was checking out her foundation recipe, I clicked on the link to a facial powder recipe that she uses and decided to try it out! You can check out the recipe and the how-to, including a video here: Live Simply 

The powder includes these ingredients:

I'll list them and where I bought them:

-Cacao Powder (organic) Whole Foods
-Arrowroot Powder (organic) Whole Foods
-Liquid Vitamin E (organic and non-GMO) Whole Foods
-Ground Nutmeg (organic) Whole Foods
-Ground Cinnamon (organic) Whole Foods
-Ground Ginger (organic) Whole Foods
-Bentonite Clay - Amazon
-Lavender Essential Oil- DoTerra

Following the directions are pretty easy and the recipe yields about a cup of powder. I bought cute little 4oz. Ball Mason Jars at Target to use as containers and filled them both. The powder (with the original recipe on the blog) is a light shade, perfect for a red-head like me! You can add additional Cacao to get the right shade for your skin tone and test on your arm as you go. I really love the light feel of the powder and the smell is heavenly! So far it is working out great and the supplies I purchased should make many more jars of powder at a fraction of the cost I was paying before---and I'll be healthier too :)

The finished product! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cosco Chair Makeover

This past Saturday two of my best friends and I hit some antique stores after a fabulous tea at the 
Greentree Tea Room, here in Lexington. One of my favorite stores is a booth-type store where I have found several goodies. Towards the end of our trek, I spied this vintage Cosco step-stool chair. I have to admit I debated getting it, but the fact that I have wanted one forever and the great price sold me. My bestie, Savannah, owed me some cash so she had the proud right of purchasing this lovely! It's all mine though:). 

While we were checking out, I remarked that I was thinking of painting it "pink". The cashier looked at me like I was crazy, but when I told her about my vintage Pyrex collection, I think I earned some cred. 

Anyway, I carted her home and started to dissemble her---when I need hubby's help I just start doing something and he'll come to the rescue. He finished taking it apart and after a coat of pink spray paint,  matching Gooseberry, of course, the chair is as cute as a button and looking awesome in my breakfast area! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's been too long!

As many of you know, we moved from Saint Peters to Lexington, Kentucky! We technically moved in October and stayed with my parents until we bought and closed on our new house this January! Now that we have a house the decorating, unpacking, and crafting is going full steam. Here are a few photos of what I've been up to and some of the Pyrex I've collected lately! 

I am definitely a ditz about the price of paint! When did that stuff get so expensive?! Here are some of the colors I have been looking at for accent walls, the girls' bathroom and our bedroom! I'm thinking of being brave and choosing Emerald Isle for our master bedroom. I think it will look nice with our new white iron Ikea bed! 

This is our tiny breakfast nook! I haven't painted in here yet, but the walls are going to be a teal called "mermaid's song". The unfinished pine table will be painted white and we have wooden chairs to match that will be painted a slightly darker turquoise color---matching Butterprint Pyrex, of course! The funky white chairs are for or our dining room. The Billy bookcase with glass doors from IKEA will house my favorite pieces of Pyrex!!

This is the living room wall--well a section of it! You can see the lovely boxes of our wooden chairs in here too :). I'm painting the wall here "Fresh Peaches" and will accent the room with shades or orange and turquoise. 

This is my awesome reclaimed mantle! Thank you Aunt Betty! There are additional "boxes" that make the bottom chunkier. This will go in the living room, probably with some cool fabric filling the opening until we install an electric fireplace or something in a few years. Should I leave it rough or finish it by filling in the wood and painting bright white?!

I have found a bit of Pyrex lately. This Bridal promotional casserole is so cute, especially for spring! It was just $6.99 in great condition! 

Here's another divided dish (I'm the queen of divided dishes!). I love this black scroll promotional and plan to use it for Halloween! 

My best friend Savannah surprised me with this Christmas promotional dish! I will have to share the whole story and post a better photo later. Let's just say I am completely oblivious when shopping! I love this dish and have wanted it for so long. I kept passing it up at this one store probably three or four times! Now it's mine! 

Here's a bit more of the the kitchen. Notice the utter chaos that is this house :) 

This is the dining room area near the front door. The accent wall is a Salmon color that I love! I plan for the space by the window to be a sitting area. 

I love this black extendable dining table form ikea! It can seat 10! My funky white chairs will go with this and a funky light fixture that I also got from ikea, below, and the art work sitting by the table will also go on the wall. I think I need a rug though...

Pillows with cute covers that match the orange shades and turquoise in the living room! 

This is my funky dining room light from Ikea. It's made of awesome white paper flowers. It will probably take me 3 to 5 years to assemble! 

As you can see we are busy...and that's just the main level of the house! I have the girls' rooms and bathroom to paint, our bedroom to paint, guest room to fix up, a loft/play/school area to make pretty, and a whole basement to deal with! There will be lots of posts :)

We also have a much smaller backyard, so it's my goal to see what kind of garden we are going to do! Raised beds, definitely and probably lots of focus on the principles in the book "The Square-foot Gardener"--growing vertically! We're close to my parents, so we have access to fresh strawberry fields, chickens (and hopefully eggs soon!), a barn and country fun too! 

Looking forward to making this house...home!