Thursday, November 28, 2013

I'm Grateful

I made a commitment to GATHER all the GOODNESS I could when I turned thirty has filled my heart with thanksgiving ~ truly so much GOODNESS that fills our days, and for that I'm grateful.
I'm seeing the small things, as well as the BIG now, and for that I'm grateful.
I'm grateful for my faith that has grown through trials in marriage,  infertility, relocation, & parenting. I'm grateful for a supportive spouse who meets all our financial needs and seriously is my best friend.  He prays with us, insist his babies say ma'm and sir and endures my thrifting and crafting addictions.

I'm grateful for babies. I cherish that feeling of babies asleep on my chest, their amazingly sweet breath and the feeling they give me of "I am needed."
I'm grateful for a son who has his Daddy's tender heart. A son who prays for his friends,  loves singing hymns and has a sense of humor that is just a gift.  I'm grateful he asks to take walks because he loves the outdoors, has enthusiasm for books, and loves cooking....oh and eating ~ I'm super grateful that he loves everything I cook! 


I'm grateful to have a daughter because it's more rewarding than I ever imagined.  I find new pieces of me all the time because of her. I'm grateful that she's "a noticer," genuine & compassionate.  I adore the way she communicates and the way she loves her brother.

I'm grateful that God closed one door & opened another in its place. Our church family is truly family - fulfilling a need our hearts had. Such loving servants who provide encouragement & friendship.  I'm incredibly grateful for those who give of their time to teach our babies about the Bible and show them love.
I'm grateful for a home that brings me such joy; a home that I can entertain friends & family in comfortably.
I'm grateful to have my health which allows me to focus on wellcare more than treating illness. I'm grateful to have the resources needed to eat well and care for my family. I'm grateful  that I can experience the seasons in both the weather and friendships. I'm grateful for the ability to educate myself so readily and the ease of both communication & inspiration at my fingertips. 

I'm grateful, friends. My days are filled with GOODNESS and I'm so grateful for the ability to see that!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Barefoot Seamstress - store is OPEN!

So, I have this dear friend....Becky.

Becky and I met through Instagram and it was just an immediate friendship.  I was living on the farm then and I can recall how even the most simple comments she would write on my photos would brighten my day.  I could tell I adored her style and one trip to her blog, The BarefootSeamstress, made me fall crazy in love with her talent.  "Seamstress" is never a word I could use to describe myself, but y'all, seriously - she is soooo GOOD!

Becky loves burlap, vintage fabrics and all sorts of scrappy goodness.  Know what else she likes?  Plaid + Lace.  These Plaid + Lace inifinity scarves are just ahhhmazing!  {You're going to want to nudge your hubby and tell him these are a MUST for Christmas!}  I'm not sure what color to choose...both, just maybe!
See this adorable garland?  I'm. In. Love.

Well, I'm pretty much in love with it all -

Good news - Becky is reopening her Etsy store NOW and you can run over and use my coupon code to get a little of this GOODNESS for yourself!
You can find & follow her here:
Let's bless Becky and her sweet family, friends....I adore her so!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fall is my season.

Fall is my season.  Fall is my happy place. 
Having never seen this season in our "new" old home, I had only imagined how incredible these HUGE trees in the downtown district would be....

I could likely do an entire photo book of fall... I lived with my camera in my hand!  Trees are pretty much my favorite!

We took lots of walks spotting fall all around us-
I soaked up every ounce of beauty my eyes could hold.

My dear friend The Barefoot Seamstress mailed me a box of fall GOODNESS, ensuring that I had beauty inside and out; isn't the fabric garland she made just the best?
That star was all of $1 thrifted and I threw the mantle together in a flash, but it made me happy everytime I walked in the room. 

I cooked more than my fair share of apples.  My friends are probably thrilled to get past apple season!
Oh my Rooney...yeah, he's declared he loves the cooler weather and playing in leaf piles. 
Fall is my season. Fall is my happy place.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Health Journal


Let me just tell you, my grandmother would be sooo incredibly proud of me!  As one suffering from lupus she journaled EVERYTHING health related.  Really, the thought should have crossed my mind sooner!

You see, I was worried about the potential learning curve with Young Living Essential Oils at first.  Not skeptic like some people are; I grew up in a very holistically minded household so I know that homeopathy can and does work.  I was just worried, for lack of a better word, that I would struggle to understand what to use & when.  I felt like I would be totally overwhelmed.  So I had this idea...

I decided the day the premium kit landed on my doorstep that I would start journaling the health of our family.  Sure, what oils I am using daily is an important part, but I am also keeping record of dietary concerns that I have (food plays such a major role in health), symptoms that we each possess from time to time, and even changes that I am making in our home such as detergents & cleaners that can effect our wellness (such as eczema & allergies). 

As a parent and caretaker it is so easy to get caught up in the actual care for our loved ones that eventually the days run together!  We "think" we recall how frequently our headaches are and we "think" we recall when the preschooler first complained of having a sore throat and the toddler starting coughing....

Keeping a journal of all things health based will help you to see patterns that effect your family's wellness.  Maybe when you look back you realize that in fact you have a recurring trigger for those headaches, or maybe you see that when you started diffusing a particular essential your children were no longer bringing home all the bugs that their classmates were.

There is a lot of potential with this, and ultimately you can tailor it to suit your family's needs.  You will see that as I journal I typically list an action made to improve our health and then days or even weeks later if I can visibly tell that the action in fact benefited that family member, then I add that little checkmark - this way when I refer back I know it proved a success and should be used in the future.

So all that worry about the learning curve with essential oils?  Complete waste of time.  The combination of this great Quick Reference Guide and my own health journal ((in addition to some free educational tools available to my team)), it has really just been a breeze.  Feeling GOOD is easier than I ever knew possible!

I share my "oily stories" because it is so exciting to see our family benefit from the what I call the "original medicines".  I'm NOT a doctor.  If you wish to read about how I got started with Young Living Essential Oils, start HERE.  You can read more about my journey with oils HERE. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

Ok.  I'm aware I'm about the 136,000th blogger to write about making homemade applesauce.  Mine is a "smidge" different than any of the pins/recipes that I ran across.  Not rocket science nonetheless...nope.  Good though?  Like really, really GOOD?  Yep!  Totally worth sharing!

My kiddos are great about eating applesauce, but I feel totally bummed when everything I pick up in the store has high fructose corn syrup, and applesauce is typically at the top of that list.

As I explained in my Confessions of a Semi-Crunchy, I'm really working hard at this thing called homemaking and embracing the fact that cooking healthy meals for my family is a labor of love.  I'm even adjusting to the fact that feeding my family for wellness means that I spend more at the grocery....but when I find a r-e-a-l-l-y good deal on real-deal-whole foods, well, I get excited.  That's why when I stumbled upon Eastern Apples at the grocery for 69 cents a pound you bet I quickly decided it was the time to try the homemade applesauce.   Typically we are a Gala Apple kinda family...for everything.  You can see there was a big difference in size & color, and despite the fact we stick by our Gala's, these Eastern Apples were sooo naturally sweet.  Just perfect for homemade applesauce.  My eye just adores vintage and I have to admit that these Eastern Apples just scream vintage looking GOODNESS.  Ok, maybe that's taking it too far. 

(Gala on Left, Eastern on right)
Now, you are probably aware it takes LOADS of apples to make applesauce.  I used between 6-7 pounds to yield 6 pints.  You do know you can wash your apples in Thieves cleaner, right?  You can read more about it HERE and you can read about purchasing Thieves and similar products through me on my Essential Oils Journey page. 
I peeled and cubed the apples, placing them directly in a dutch oven on the stovetop.  (And no worries over a hint of peel remaining here and there).  When I had the pot completely full I added the other ingredients and turned the stove eye to 400 degrees.  ((The old oven has settings like this!))  I knew that they would cook down drastically, and truthfully it happened rather fast.  I continued to peel & cube apples, adding to the pot a few more times.  It was afterall cooking them down rapidly and I was out to make as much as I could quickly.  Now I will also admit that while normally I am stickler for things such as this to be cut at basically the same size so they cook evenly, well, I knew I was forfeiting even cooking by adding to the pot along the way.  Also, I really wanted a rustic-like applesauce, so different size chunks were fine & dandy with me.
We, as a family, are a cinnamon applesauce kinda family.  After peeling & cubing the apples, I added:  
                1 cup of apple juice, 1/2 cup honey, & 1/4 cup cinnamon
It truthfully seems like a lot of cinnamon, but I promise this quantity of apples warranted that much!
I cooked the apples covered the majority of the time to allow the heat to disperse, but I did stir frequently.  Check out this GOODNESS.....
I cooked the apples for about 40-45 minutes total.  Several recipes I read said 25 minutes, but remember I was adding to the pot along the way?  Yep. I then chose not to run them through a food processor.  You could of course, but we were loving the fact that it reminded us of apple pie....pie reminders are always a super good thing ;)
Putting all that goodness into a mason jar?  Well, that just made this deal even sweeter.
Making six jars meant I could easily give away a couple of jars to some kind friends and still have four jars in the fridge.  They "should" last a few weeks.....well, they will stay fresh for that long in the fridge, if the family allows them to last that long!
So go make some, share some, and enjoy this yummy will wish you had tried it sooner, at least I did ;)