Glittery Christmas

Everything needs more sparkle, right? Christmas crafting just isn’t fun at our house unless there’s glitter involved, and we enjoyed our fair share last week.

We decorated the house after Thanksgiving, with a “tree in every room” goal and truly enjoyed ourselves. My oldest folded and glittered pages from a songbook to resemble trees as well as glittered clothespins with felt wings to make angels. My youngest glittered some glass balls to hang in the entryway.

We decided to use these Norfolk Pine plants in the entryway and living room. They are a tropical evergreen and will make a lovely houseplant year-round [if I can keep them alive through the holiday season].

For the living room, I made a “Fa La La” garland out of felt and these little singing ladies to hang on the tree. We love Christmas music and our Christmas decor will hopefully inspire our guests to keep singing all through the season.

Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

Fall Meal Planning Menu 1

A few weeks ago, I put together 3 fall menus, complete with grocery list and prep schedule. We were starting a bad pattern of eating out, and ditching our home meal plans because the prep would take too long for the time we had available or well, laziness.

These menus make it easier for me to grocery shop in an hour, stay on budget, do a little everyday, and use what’s in the fridge to make economical and healthy dinners. Our only “official” breakfast is on Sunday mornings. The other days we usually grab cereal, oatmeal or make some quick eggs before we dash out the door. Lunches are usually salads and sandwiches, sometimes soup made with leftovers if we need to use more of what’s in the fridge. We usually plan to eat out or pack a peanut butter sandwich on Wednesdays because that’s the day we have the most extracurricular activities.

Menu 1:

Sunday Breakfast: Sausage & Pancakes

Sunday Dinner: Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Green Beans

Monday Dinner: Ground Beef Tacos

Tuesday Dinner: Slow Cooker BBQ Pork, Slaw, Corn on the Cob

Wednesday Dinner: Eat Out

Thursday Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese with Green Salad

Friday Dinner: Carnitas

Saturday Dinner: Sausage Potato Soup

“The Plan”

  • Saturday: Grocery Shop, Prep Cabbage/Onions/Romaine, Make Rice
  • Sunday AM: Pat Sausage into patties & freeze half before breakfast, make breakfast
  • Sunday PM: Roast Chicken & Green Beans at same time, Boil Potatoes & quick mash with butter, sour cream and garlic salt
  • Monday PM: Cook all ground beef, put half in fridge before adding taco mix; Assemble taco bar with tortilla chips, soft tortillas, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream.
  • Tuesday AM: Salt and pepper the roast and start in slow cooker with some water, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
  • Tuesday PM: Boil corn on cob, assemble quick slaw with most of previously shredded cabbage and mayo. Shred pork with two forks, serve with BBQ sauce. Save extra pork for Friday.
  • Wednesday: Out
  • Thursday PM: Heat your favorite jar of pasta sauce with leftover ground beef while noodles cook. Mix a quick dressing and dress quick salad of romaine and tomatoes. (I mix olive oil, dijon, mayo, and vinegar for my quick dressing.)
  • Friday PM: Reheat pork. Serve on soft tortillas with shredded cabbage and cheese with a little BBQ dipping sauce.
  • Saturday: Start grocery trips for next week & prep. Make some potato soup with that sausage you stored in the freezer and have a cozy movie night!

Grocery List:

Meat: Pork Roast (Bone-In gives more flavor), Chicken Breasts or Thighs (with skin gives more flavor), Ground Beef, Sausage

Produce: Cabbage, Potatoes, Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, Corn on Cob, Romaine Lettuce

Center Aisles: Soft Tortillas, Taco Mix, Tortilla Chips, Pasta Sauce, Noodles, Pancake Mix, Maple Syrup, Brown Rice, Corn Starch, Olive Oil, Mayo, Dijon, BBQ Sauce

Dairy: Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Butter

 

Forest Floor

hat

I literally finished this hat as we were pulling into the parking lot to camp at Big South Fork and it was wonderful and timely because those nights were quite chilly. The yarn is my absolute favorite for hats. It is so soft to knit and even softer to wear. Just be careful, it felts easily. My last favorite hat met that fate when it was stuffed into a jacket pocket and washed/dried.

Pattern: Forest Floor, Never Not Knitting

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted

twin-arches

Our group hiked to Twin Arches and the view was wonderful. My fearless, animal-loving daughter was especially excited to see another hiker with his pet kinkajou. Crazy, right?

Why use essential oils?

For me, the question is not why to use essentials oils, but why not?

I can think of at least twenty reasons to use essential oils, but here’s my top three:

1- Keep toxins out of my home – I primarily use Lemon to clean and Purification against odors, and keep the harsh chemical-based sprays to a minimum. I also keep my house as toxin-free as I can by using Young Living’s wide range of naturally derived products, like essential oil-infused dish soap and shampoo.

2- Better sleep- Diffuse or dilute as needed with a carrier oil Lavender or Stress Away as part of your bedtime routine. Better sleep gives me a healthier mind and spirit, and allows me to be more productive during the day and exercise regularly. Sleep is such an important foundation for overall wellness, and using essential oils to help relax is key for me.

3- Essential oils are energizing and immune boosting – Orange, Lemon or Grapefruit gives my water a flavor boost, and Peppermint on the back of my neck around 2pm (or just inhaling from the bottle) gives me the energy and focus to finish a difficult work day. Young Living carries a line of dietary essential oils so you can share and explore some of the best-loved essential oils in a variety of delicious ways. (A couple drops of Thieves and Lemon in some hot tea gives both an immune system and respiratory boost.) Anything I can do to ward off the cold and stomach virus feels right to me.

And here’s the kicker, why use Young Living? Aren’t all oils created equal?

The answer is no, they are not created equal. Young Living really has the best, most pure oils. Many bargain-priced essential oils found in common stores and websites are laced with synthetic perfumes, artificial dyes, and additives that can be irritating and toxic. With 22 years of experience as the world leader in essential oils, Young Living promises to deliver only 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade oils. This starts from the farms and seeds they choose to the final drop of oil they produce.

Wholesale prices and free oils– As a Young Living member, I buy my essential oils and oil-infused products at wholesale prices. I build points through my Essential Rewards program for free products. And by sharing the essential oils I love and use every day with others, I can build teams, which also help earn reward points that can be redeemed for free products.

They give back- with the Young Living Foundation, Young Living Essential Oils continually seeks to partner with organizations dedicated to educating the public about the versatile uses and profound effects essential oils have on the mind and body.

And the Starter Kit– it’s amazing. The oils lasted me around 6 months. Would you pay $7 this week for a better nights rest? The diffuser and lavender alone make this kit a worthwhile investment.

Seriously, sign up here or let me know if you have any questions.

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October Reading

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone – I think I am perhaps the last person on earth to read the series. My daughter expressed interest so I read it first just to make sure it’s not too dark. It’s great, really a quick read, and perfectly interesting enough to keep her attention (she has a problem finishing books). Is it revolutionary? Like theme-park worthy? I don’t know. My sister is bringing me the next couple of books in the series when she visits in a couple of weeks, so maybe after I’ve read the entire series I will want to pledge allegiance to Harry? We’ll see. (library ebook)

How to Build a Woman, Caitlin Moran- I think I’ve overdosed on Caitlin Moran, because I had to quit this one halfway through. I have a feeling it would have been great if I’d spaced her books out a few months or a year. I must have a vulgar threshold. And now when my youngest reads aloud how Little Critter brushes his fur, my mind goes straight to the gutter. (library audio)

A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler – This was a story of several generations of this family, and how they are shaped especially by ambition and charity. I love reading books like this, where you get so many perspectives on the same situation. Helps me to think outside of myself, and consider others’ motivations and experience. (library ebook)

Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly – Heart-breaking and lovely and exciting, and well researched. The story describes a war and concentration camp experience that was gruesome at best, but her book reveals the humanity in such a beautiful way. A story about family and forgiveness, and triumph. (library copy)

With Malice, Eileen Cook – If you are a fan of We Were Liars or I Was Here, you might like this. Maybe not as great as those, but a fun read. (amazon kindle)

The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton – I am a big fan of Kate Morton, and this book was just as great as the others. Slow to start, however once you are in it, it twists and turns from breaking your heart to buoy your spirit. (library copy)

Summer and the City, Candace Bushnell- It’s not often you get to write that the second book in the series is better than the first, but I truly liked this one better than the first Carrie Diaries. This isn’t one to think too much about, because the teen & 20 year old Carrie in my imagination was much more interesting. And I felt the dialogue was stretched (keep in mind this is a 17 year old Carrie), but the story was much more entertaining than the first, and fun to read. (library copy)

What about you- read anything worth recommending?