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New Path

I have loved Facebook from the moment my sister introduced me to it. Twitter I never understood (then I listened to a Reply All podcast that basically said I never would) and Instagram I have love/hate relationship with.

I began this blog as an alternative to social media platforms. I know that any browser can shut me out or bury me but it feels a little more free than some other sites right now and I want to be my authentic self at all times and not hide behind emojis and bad spelling to escape the censors.

I’m taking my Facebook back to private and will let this be my public face.

My life is not monochrome and I don’t have the photo talent Instagram takes so I’m not going to try so hard there. I still love IG stories but most of my posts will probably just direct people here. I’m a writer at heart and I needed to do that. Not stress about my grid or my 9 or if I’m using the right filter to be attractive to others. I don’t take enough selfies either.

So I’m moving on to a platform where I can be more myself. Where I don’t have to worry (as much) about being shutdown because I want to talk about what worked for me the last time I got sick. Where I can use the gifts and talents God gave me and not try to fit a square peg in a round hole.

I know I already kind of did an intro post but I felt this gave a little more of the why. It gives you more of an idea of where I’m coming from.

Little Devil’s Tower Trail in Custer State Park

Sunday Takeaways – 11-22-20

What a blessed Sunday it was! First, our Sunday School hour was shared among the classes as we had a guest speaker. She shared her heart for the Lord and others as she shared her humanitarian work that she does on a tiny island on the other side of the world. It was so good and very encouraging.

Our church used to be known for these amazing Easter Contata’s. They were true, full on performances with a big choir. Eventually we got kind of burned out on them but once in a while the director of those cantatas will put together an ensemble and they’ll sing a special. Yesterday was one of those days. It was so uplifting to hear those voices sing praises to God. We have so many talented singers in our church-the tenors really shined yesterday.

Pastor’s message was on Philippines 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. He focused specifically on praying. What a gift prayer is. How we have a direct connection to God through prayer. We can pray anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance.

Some nuggets I wrote down is that we should give thanks for even the gift of prayer. When things are bad we can give thanks that it’s not always like this. Acknowledge it’s a rough time and acknowledge that God is with us in those times. Worry cannot survive in an atmosphere of prayer. Read that again. Pray specifically. When your child comes running to you saying, Mommy! Mommy! You ask what they want. And you want them to be specific. We are to be the same with God.

The service ended with a musically talented couple singing Kari Jobe’s new song, “The Blessing.” What a blessing that was.

But wait! The day wasn’t over. It was the night of our annual soup and pie supper. A fundraiser for missions in our church. Time to fellowship with church friends and catch up. The speaker from the morning blessed us again by sharing more of her work and the culture she is in and just moved us all so much again.

Whew! My cup is full from such a Spirit led day of joining with others in the body of Christ. Truly a special, special day. Thank you, Lord.

Picture taken during the golden hour Friday. The way these “dead” flowers just glow in the sun is so beautiful.

Making Butter

I attempted making butter today! I felt so Pioneer-ish. But, man, I’m glad I have a stand mixer I don’t know how long it must’ve taken with an old-fashioned churn.

Philip grew up with a dairy cow. They milked each morning and always saved the cream for ice cream on Saturday nights. When Philip started getting raw milk from a local dairy again he was saving cream for that. Then I mentioned butter and he thought that was a good idea. But I literally have psyched myself out about for weeks. Like I don’t know what I’m doing so I’m not going to do it.

So I did what I always do. I read up on it. And read some more. And decided I didn’t have cultured buttermilk so I couldn’t do it. But the cream was going to waste!

I also worried about the noise. I hate white noise and from what I’ve read the mixer may run for hours and I wasn’t sure my nerves could handle that so again I put it off.

I had decided I was finally going to use the latest batch of cream while it was fresh and just do the thing this weekend. So today I had a full slate of work to do downstairs-perfect! The mixer can run upstairs and I’ll be far from the noise. I also read a few articles that said I didn’t need the buttermilk so we were good to go! Oh! And one said it could take only 15 minutes so I just did the thing!

Update:

Somehow I messed it up. Me, who can make pies, cinnamon rolls, and decorate beautiful cakes failed on making butter. I blame no Better Homes and Garden or Betty Crocker recipe. I need clear, detailed instructions.

I told my sister-in-laws about the disaster-my mixer ran for 6 hours! Kelly told me she makes butter every year with her second graders and they do it in a jar in 30 minutes. I have to try again. Butter is not defeating me.

Update #2

I did it! I watched a YouTube video and learned I needed to put my mixer on high. I had it on medium yesterday. I also took the cream out ahead of time as another blog said it should be room temp to start. And it worked! It all worked. Can’t wait to do it again. It takes such a short time it’s instant gratification!

My first round of butter

From the Empty Nest: Kitchen Hacks

I’m starting with kitchen hacks because I love to cook. I have an eye for good recipes and love to make all kinds of food. I get bored easily so I don’t have a menu rotation and we don’t make any of the same things each week. We ate together as a family every night and when schedules got crazy we just aimed for as often as possible. Our middle son was diagnosed with celiac at age 8 and when you live in a small town there are zero options for him. I was so happy when our little grocery store started carrying gluten free pizza!

So how did I do all of this as a working mom and needing to cook for a special diet? Here’s some tips.

Plan your meals. Do one week at a time, two weeks, whatever works for you. Buy all the groceries for those meals ahead of time. This way you aren’t running to the store and wasting valuable cooking time. You don’t have to religiously stick to this plan, but you at least have five to 14 meals planned and purchased for to choose from each day.

Cook double. If you are browning one pound of hamburger, brown two. Freeze one pound for quick meal prep later.

Cook chicken breasts in the crockpot, shred, and package in 2 cup servings. Most chicken recipes call for 2 cups of chicken. Voila! Yours is cooked and ready to go.

The crockpot and Instant Pot are your friends. Learn to use them. These two devices shorten time you spend in the kitchen. I never had an Instant Pot but I used my crockpot all the time. Throw the ingredients in the night before. Refrigerate. Take out and plug in before you leave the house the next morning and it’s ready when you get home.

Have your kids help. They can chop, stir, open cans etc. Have someone cleaning out the dishwasher, someone setting the table while you’re cooking. You’ll be amazed at the conversations that happen when you are all organically together. And they are learning to be a part of the family. To help each other. I always stressed that a family was a team and each person had to do their part.

Set the expectation for family meals when they are little. Everyone up to the table at the same time. If it’s a habit they don’t question it as they get older. Again, small town. We didn’t have many alternatives to eating at hone either and most of their friends were doing the same.

This is something I have started doing again now that we are empty nesters-freezer meals! When it was just three of us sometimes a recipe made too much. Rather than get sick of the leftovers (we did that a few times) freeze the leftovers. Sometimes if the recipe called for a 9×13 casserole dish I would intentionally separate it into two 8×8 pans and freeze one for later. I’ve started doing that again now that it’s just Philip and I.

This really came in handy recently when my back went out. I went to the freezer to get ingredients for the nights meal and saw some frozen leftovers. I made the smart decision to just reheat those rather than try to cook. Sometimes I’ll put them on my menus and sometimes they are there for just such an emergency.

I hope these tips help you as they did me! I still make menus every two weeks and wouldn’t know how to grocery shop with them now!

Young Living Holiday Launch

The Young Living Holiday Launch is happening today! (No, really, it’s happening this time!) While there are several new products being added to our catalog, there are also many limited time products so don’t delay in ordering.

Not a member yet? Let’s fix that today! Message me for an easy referral link that takes you right to sign up. Your Young Living membership is like a Costco membership rolled with Amazon prime. You get a 24% discount off retail, a loyalty program that earns you points to spend like money, free shipping on orders over $100, and free products! Let’s get you started in time to grab some of these products. There’s even a special Holiday Starter Bundle with a cute cheetah carrying case. 😉

Christmas Spirit is one of the best oil blends to diffuse and one of the most economical!

Young Living’s Balance Complete

Over the last few months I have tried all of Young Living‘s protein shakes and meal replacement shakes. More for variety than anything else. I’m surprised to discover that I actually enjoy the Balance Complete the most because I’ve heard some people just don’t like the taste.

I feel Balance Complete has the most moderate taste and lends itself to more variety. Although the Chocolate Pure Protein Complete would be a close second. I like the Vanilla Protein Complete fine – it tastes like a chai tea! But it doesn’t lend itself very well to different fruit combinations and such. The Slique Meal Replacement shake was probably my least favorite and that’s only because it’s berry flavored and I’m not a fan of that. It tastes like the strawberry part of neopolitan ice cream which I’m also not a fan of. If you like berry flavor you’ll probably love it.


Balance Complete is part of the 5- Day Nutritive Cleanse set from Young Living but can be purchased alone too. It features Young Living’s proprietary V-Fiber™ blend, which supplies an amazing 11 grams of fiber per serving, absorbs toxins, and satisfies the appetite while balancing the body’s essential requirements.* Instructions say to say 2 scoops in 8 oz of milk or water but I only used 1 scoop since I was using it as a snack not a meal replacement.

I typically drink it in just unsweetened almond milk at about 11:00. Sometimes I use it in my shake in the morning.

Favorite shake recipe:

I scoop Young Living’s Balance Complete

2 cups Great Value frozen Triple Berry Blend

1 cup unsweetened almond milk.

Blend

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Hamster Wheel

Do you exercise? What do you like to do? What kind of exerciser are you?

Up until about 15 years ago I was not an exerciser. I hadn’t been active and I recognized that it wasn’t a good idea to continue that way. So I made a change. I was really regular for a number of years and then life got in the way and I just got back to it a year ago. I’ve paid for a streaming Beachbody membership and so far I’ve done MM100, 21 Day Fix Real-Time, PiYo and then got hooked on Barre Blend. I’ve done two rounds of regular barre and now I’m doing Elise Joan’s Pre/Post Natal Barre Blend program using a calendar that Elise said would be good for anyone – even if you haven’t had a baby in 40 years! Since my “baby” is 19 that sounded good. I’ve seen great results from it and love it.

Due to chronic back issues I decided a couple of months ago that I needed to change the cycle of chiropractor visits and massage therapists and see if I could do something more long term so I talked to my doctor about physical therapy. My physical therapy has two parts; exercises to strengthen my smaller stabilizing muscles and walking. Walking, it turns out is one of the best things you can do for back pain.

I told my physical therapist I hate walking, it’s so boring! (And I’m also afraid of dogs so I won’t walk outside. Our town has too many dogs running around despite a leash law.) After finding out I have a treadmill he told me to find a 30 minute show that would keep my interest and turn it on while I walk on the treadmill. Turns out, I need the visual stimulus to keep me engaged. That’s why I find walking boring.

Except, I’m still bored. My treadmill is old and falling apart so none of the electronics work on it. My phone won’t fit on the holder because I had to go for the big upgrade and get the iPhone 11 Pro Max. I can’t see my timer while I’m walking. I find myself counting commercial breaks to guess how long I’ve been on the treadmill. All the shows I find are 40 minutes not 30 minutes (currently Gilmore Girls) so I’m getting good at figuring out how far into the plot we’ll be when I’m done. My goal is to get through a whole 30 minutes without getting off to look at the timer. So far, I’ve achieved it once. I’m terrible! I don’t know why it’s so boring to me but it just is. I’ve tried listening to podcasts, finding a dog-free route around town, varying my speed, all the things! Walking has just never been my thing. Can anyone else relate??

I’m doing really good at performing the exercises and my back has been so much better lately. Sometimes I can modify Barre exercises to my PT exercises and kill two birds with one stone but that walking, mmhmmm, well, we’ll get there. Hopefully.

Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota

From the Empty Nest

I recently did a Bible study that challenged us all to be mentors. There is always someone we can encourage and teach. I’ve been feeling called to share more motherhood tips lately and that can be scary. I am not and have never been the perfect mother. There are several things I wish I’d done differently, but those are lessons I can pass on. I don’t want any mothering tips or advice to come from a place of perfectionism, because I’m not perfect. But I do feel like I learned some great things along the way.

Older picture but one of my faves

I haven’t really talked about being a mother too much here. My husband and I have raised three young men. One has graduated college and is in the work world. The second one will graduate college this semester and the baby will graduate college in May. My goal always was to raise responsible young men who contributed to society. I think we’ve managed that. We made them do chores from an early age. They have cleaned the bathroom, washed dishes, washed clothes, vacuumed and dusted. Some cooked more than others but they have all proven they can live in apartments, cook and survive. At some time all three of them have learned what it’s like to live with people who didn’t have to be responsible. They’ve met people who don’t respect a clean bathroom, other people’s stuff, or known how to do basic household chores. And I’ll admit one is a complete slob despite my best efforts. The other two can be a tad neater but they still have a ways to go too.

There are so many ways we got lucky too. None of them ever struggled in school, they all graduated in the upper percentages of their class. Even though one has several autoimmune diseases, he’s never let them stop him. Part of his college is paid with a track scholarship. We’ve had no major accidents or injuries but we have went through a terrible 2 years of dealing with post-concussive syndrome. Thanks to vision therapy that one no longer struggles.

No, our life isn’t perfect and some people would say we’ve taken more than our fair share of hits but we just keep moving forward. So, I’ll try to share some lessons, things I learned that worked for our boys and I’ll share some struggles too. This isn’t Instagram after all – I’m here to be real.

Body Burden

Have you heard of Xenoestrogens? Xenoestrogens can be natural or synthetic and they mimic the estrogen in our bodies. Synthetic Xenoestrogens are found in phthalates. Phthalates are most commonly found in personal care products mostly hidden under the word “fragrance.” These fake estrogens cause a hormonal imbalance and then things go wonky. These are several oils I use regularly to help balance things out.

I wear Joy over my heart every day.

I’ve had great success lately with using SclarEssence Vitality in a capsule before and during my cycle. It helps with all those PMS symptoms.

You all know I love Progessence Plus! Nightly on my wrists.

Dragon Time is also great during the week of your cycle for discomfort and emotions.

Use Lady Sclareol for a little boost to your, um, desire. 😉

Clary Sage every night on the bottom of my feet so I’m not tossing off the covers at 2 am.

Any of these oils can help clean out the fake estrogens in your system that enter through personal care products, cleaning products and more. Getting rid of those fake hormones help balance out your real hormones so everything runs smoother. Add one or two to your daily routine today!

Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak

I’m a casual fruit and veggie washer at best. A quick rinse with water and I’d be on my way. If I even did that. Then I started learning what all might be on my fruit and veggies and geez, I’m glad I didn’t die!

Another big factor that prompted me to start washing my fruit and veggies is seeing other people’s results from using the Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak from Young Living – guys, the broccoli literally changes from that dull green to a brilliant green color!

I actually received my first (and so far only – it lasts forever!) bottle of Fruit and Veggie Soak for free through Essential Rewards. When I started soaking my produce I noticed it completely took the waxy look and feel off of my cucumbers, apples and zucchini’s. That sold me right there.

Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak combines three of Young Living’s Essential Oil Blends; Thieves, DiGize, and Purification for an all natural, plant based clean. It comes in a concentrate and only takes 1-2 Tblsp for a gallon of water. Unless you are washing a lot of produce you’ll hardly ever use that much.

Check out these 20 other uses for Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak courtesy of Oily Little Hands on Facebook.

1. Clean your Young Living diffuser with it. (caution, use this only after the 1 year warranty onthe diffuser has expired) Young Living will only accept rubbing alcohol to clean the diffuser duringwarranty.

2. Use the water after you have washed your produce to water your house or outdoor plants!They love the ingredients of Digize which helps them grow better!

3. Put a capful into your Young Living Thieves dish soap, for the bubble action while washingyour dishes.

4. Get rid of stubborn laundry stains. Dip a Q-tip into the Thieves fruit and veggie soak, rub iton the stain, let it sit for a bit then wash as normal.

5. Wash your pasteurized eggs.

6. Use it as a degreaser on items that need grease removed!

7. Add a little to your diluted Thieves cleaner, again for the bubble power and action!

8. Add a capful to your toilet bowl, plus a little baking soda to give that royal throne a goodscrubbing and helpful in removing hard water deposits.

9. Don’t wait to do the Q-tip method for stubborn laundry stains, add a good splash to yourlaundry. Especially if someone in your family works with any products all day that contain grease like landscapers, auto mechanics, etc. You can also find this tip helpful you use cloth diapers in your family.

10. If you have spots on your dishes after being washed in the dishwasher, add a little product soak in the rinse aid compartment.

11. If you use crystals, you can soak and scrub them in the Thieves fruit and veggie soak.

12. While traveling, you bring home some souvenirs from nature, and they are smell, soak themin the Thieves fruit and veggie soak to remove the smell.

13. Use it as an all-natural ant remover from your home.

14. Then spray the areas of your home that insects and ants tend to populate as a preventativemeasure.

15. Spray diluted Thieves fruit and veggie soak into that stinky, smelly shoes for amazingresults.

16. Spray diluted to stainless appliances to remove fingerprints, especially if they are greasyfingerprints

17. Spray then wipe down clean the outside of your shoes to make them almost brand new!

18. Buy the dying plants at your local hardware store especially as it is the end of the seasonand see those plants come back to life by adding some Thieves fruit and veggie soak totheir soil

19. Of course, always wash your fruits and veggies in the solution. It will help remove all thatpesticides, waxes and other unmentionables your produce picks up on its way to where youpurchased it from.

20. Great for cleaning pans that have burnt on food or greasy stuck on food.

Didn’t have time to wash your fruits? Not a problem! Just rub a drop of Young Living Lemon Vitality over the fruit for 30 seconds and rinse with warm water. Voila!

Wedding Panic

I attended a wedding yesterday that was the sweetest, most faith filled wedding I’d been to in a while. It moved me to tears so many times! (Maybe hormonal empty nest mothers shouldn’t attend weddings.)

I almost didn’t attend. We have just began to know this couple and I felt like my husband knew them better than me but as luck would have it, he had to work. I sent in our RSVP with the thought, “I can go myself, no big deal.” As this week crept by I began to feel like it WAS a big deal. A very big deal.

I can’t go by myself, what if I don’t know anyone? What if no one else from church is there? I barely know these people! What was I thinking?! I can’t go by myself! What about the reception? Do I go sit with people I don’t know? Sit at a table by myself and let them come to me? And on and on it went.

I reached out to a couple of friends that I thought might be going but for various reasons they weren’t. I told myself to be brave. I told myself this would be a growing experience. I told myself I would be so proud of myself after. Yesterday I had an epiphany – treat it like a library conference. I go to library conferences all the time by myself and I don’t worry about it. I know I’ll meet new people and it’ll be fun. Why was this any different? (Sooo many reasons!)

So I went. And with great relief I saw one of my friends and her husband there. There were other people from church there. We crowded 8 people around a table so we could all sit together at the reception. I got to know some young couples from our church that I really didn’t know that well. I had the BEST time. When the dancing started I was tired and didn’t feel guilty for leaving. I said my good-byes and headed home. I was so glad I went.