Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 word of the year

2015 was a whirlwind of selling, packing, moving - repeatedly packing and moving. Hurry up and wait seemed to be what we did a lot. Now that we are moved and mostly settled I want to focus on a new word for 2016.


I want to do a lot of things slowly this year. I want to eat slowly and enjoy my food. Slow down and listen to my kids even when they seem to go on forever. Take our time going places, and enjoy the slow pace my younger two give me when we are out and about. Slow down and cuddle with my husband and kids. Slow down and think about what really needs to be done *right now* and what is just fluff that can wait. 

Sure, sometimes we will need to pick up the pace and get somewhere or get something done. But my focus in 2016 is to slow down and be more mindful. So my word for the year is slow. Do you have a word of the year or a focus you will bring for 2016?

Friday, December 25, 2015

This moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Small Batch Beard Balm with only 3 ingredients

What am I doing talking about beard balm??  Well, my gorgeous husband decided to grow a beard for me.  (I only asked for a year... or two... maybe 3?)  Anyhow, I wanted to make him some beard balm for his new furry chin to keep it conditioned and soothe his skin underneath.  Apparently skin can get kind of dry under there.  Who knew?

Searching the internet for a recipe, they all called for huge amounts of ingredients I didn't have that made batches of 6 or more.  I only know two men with beards, so I decided to make my own after checking out many, many recipes.

Here are the required ingredients for two 2oz tins:

Coconut oil (I buy as a co-op from here)
Beeswax (I got mine locally from a man who sells honey, but you can get on Amazon also)
Essential oil of your choice (I chose a blend of peppermint and orange)
2 - 2oz tins or holders of your choice (I bought a 6 pack of these 2 oz twist lid tins on Amazon, I will use them for other salves)

That's right, 3 ingredients plus a holder!  Can it get much simpler?

Why did I chose these ingredients?
Beeswax - helps manage the beard, conditions, and smells fabulous
Coconut oil - also helps manage the beard, but mainly for conditioning purposes and soothing the skin.  Also, smells fabulous!
Essential oil - while this smelled pretty good on its own, I love adding essential oils for both their fragrance and their health benefits.

How to make it:

Scrape off about 1/3 of an ounce of beeswax into a heat-proof bowl.
Add a few spoonfuls of coconut oil (about 3.5-4 oz)
Melt in a microwave in 15-30 second intervals (starting with the higher, and less as you go on - don't over heat!) stirring quite a bit in between heating sessions.
Once it is all melted, add in approximately 10 drops of your (or, his rather) favorite essential oil.  Mix well with a spoon.
Pour into tins, allow to cool, accept praise.  You're welcome.


Pic to show approximately how much beeswax I used off of a 1 oz bar. Also, the one on the left is cooled, the one on the right is cooling to show the difference.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Plum Creek Popcorn String

For day 22 I thought it would be fun to make a gift for our bird friends, and maybe a couple for our tree as well. 
Another project from the Little House book of Christmas Crafts - Plum Creek Popcorn Strings. 
The girls did such a wonderful job - though Kaybug gave up and ate more popcorn than she strung.  Hers ended up a little short. Haha!
But Jujubee and CocoBear loved it and made theirs very long.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ma's Clove Apple

It's no secret we love Little House on the Prarie around here. Last week I found the "My Little House Christmas Crafts" book at the library and we are making some of the crafts this week. 
First up is Ma's Clove Apple
CocoBear and Kaybug had a little trouble getting the cloves poked in, but finished   

Jujubee had more fun and created a design in hers.
I love that we are taking a break from lessons and have time to make fun crafts and gifts this week before Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


We have at least 10 hats around here. That's 2+ hats per person!  However when it's cold out and time to go outside, someone is always missing one. That was the case today.
I have had a wool sweater for a few years that I picked up at goodwill. I've made so many things from it!  Wool longies for Kaybug when she was in diapers from the sleeves, bean bags from the main body, and now... A hat from the turtle neck.  And I still have more sweater left! 
It's not the most round, perfect hat, but it keeps the ears and head warm!  All I did was cut the turtle neck part of the sweater off, needle felted a heart on it, and sewed up the top. Voila!  Instant hat! I can't wait to give it to her!

Kaybug's favorite winter story

We have a lot of books (understatement?), and I feel like leaving them out all the time can be overwhelming for little kids - and can turn into a big mess!  So I rotate books out every so often, especially for holidays and season changes.
We have our all-year-round favorites like "The Great Gracie Chase", "Goodnight Moon", etc. But for winter, this book has been a favorite among all three kids at some point. Most recently being Kaybug. 
She requests I read it nearly every day for nap, and I'm happy to be a part of it, occasionally changing "Sam" to "Kaybug" which always gets a smile. 
It is called "You Can Do It, Sam" by Amy Hest. The story is about a bear and his mama who bake cakes and then deliver them to their friends on Plum Street. Sam - the very brave bear that he is, walks to each door "all by himself". It's such a sweet story, and always makes me want to run to the kitchen to do the same. If you are looking for a good book to put under the tree for your little ones, Kaybug would like to recommend this one. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

This moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Christmas pants - for the dolls!

Last week, I made the girls their christmas pj pants to wear for Saint Nicholas day and Christmas. Normally I don't give them out until Christmas Eve, which means I don't have anything to give them this year on Christmas Eve.
Instead, the dolls will get theirs!  
This pattern is by fleece fun, it is the free basic pattern and it is SO quick and easy. Especially if using a knit, fleece, or minky. You don't even have to hem them. I'm all about quick and easy when I have 1,000 things to do before Christmas. 
Miss Kitty, however, had different plans. Thankfully I have two chairs and just rolled hers away from the machine. She has a hurt hip/leg so I just couldn't move her. Look how cute she is!  
Ok, back to the pants. I got two pairs done in about 20 minutes, and another cut out. I'm not kidding when I say quick and easy. My 10 year old made a minky pair for her 6 yo sisters doll in about 30 minutes a few days ago. 
3 Christmas Eve gifts down!  Now I just need to make little white t-shirts for them. 
2 weeks until Christmas....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent days 4-10

I decided a post a day for advent may be boring, so I'm consolidating!  
Day 4 was going to be an art project, but these awesome boxes from Lowe's arrived so we altered our plans and enjoyed them instead. 
On day 5, we went to see Santa arrive via helicopter and then watched the parade. Here he stopped to take a picture with the girls!  So exciting!
Saint Nick came on the 6th day. Here are the girls in their new mommy-made pj pants. We also put our tree up. 
The 7th, we made paper snowflakes, and they are now decorating the entire house...
Day 8, I'm going to have to come back to because I can't remember!  
Day 9 was family game night 
And today, day 10, the girls will be putting on a "fashion show" which is one of their favorite things to do!  

Trying to come up with something every day is hard!  But the girls love it so much, so I don't mind. 😊

Monday, December 7, 2015

It's just "temporary"

We brought our chickens home in late October, and - against my better judgement - went ahead and used our previous run. "Temporarily" of course. Just until we get the new run up!  

Well, it is December 7th and the ladies have turned everything that was once green into a lovely shade of brown. They are also restless and tired of their 18'x6' accommodations. Unfortunately we do not feel safe free ranging them here for a couple reasons. First, there aren't any trees near the run, and I feel like they would be huge prey to the many predators. Second, I have seen several stray cats and dogs around. My neighbors dog also is incredibly smart and climbs his fence. I don't know if he would hurt the chickens but I'm not willing to take that chance. 

So, what is a crazy chicken momma to do?  Install yet another "temporary" thing, obviously!  I was desperate the other day and used garden fabric and clamps. It worked okay for that day, but wasn't something I could use often. 
Saturday I ran to Lowe's and picked up 100' of lovely construction fencing and 4 t-posts. Voila!  Instant run!  It is not predator proof, and I will only let them out when I am right there, but the ladies sure were happy with their extended buffet!!
Of course, this is only temporary... 😉

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent day 2

The girls enjoyed putting together the advent spiral last night and lighting our first candle. The first light of advent is the light of stones, so we put one of our crystals next to the spiral. It amazes me how in awe they were, I love this tradition.

 Then we listened to the sparkle story for day 1. Jujubee decided she does want to listen, so we will begin and see how it goes. 

Today is day 2, and Kevin and I decided on Rudolph and popcorn for after dinner tonight. I'm sure the girls will love it. 

I am no chalkboard artist!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent day 1

Each morning, I try to wake an hour or so before the kids and have some quiet time to pause, reflect on yesterday, plan today, to write, and just be still.  I am so grateful for this short period of time I gift myself.  Some days it is the only quiet time I have, alone, and it helps me get through the day.  

It is dark outside right now and almost 7:00.  I feel for my husband who leaves for work early and comes home after dark.  I cannot imagine not seeing the sun each day, but that is just how this season goes.  

Today is December 1st, and for my family it is the first day we celebrate of Advent.  Normally we listen to these wonderful Advent stories by Sparkle Stories, but since we have listened to the same ones for two years, Jujubee has requested we do something different.  I can’t blame her, but I did love that little pause at the end of the day where even I could listen to a story, instead of being the host.  

So, this year, I am trying something different.  I have dug a basket out of the boxes still in the basement and decided to put a note, activity, book, movie, etc in it each day for the kids to find.  Today, they will find our Advent spiral and candles.  They will build it on our plant window and we will light a candle for each day as we progress through Advent.  Now, I just need to plan the other 23 days…