Friday, June 29, 2012

Home Made Body Wash

In my pursuit to save my family money, I am always looking at what we use and how I can save money at it. One way, is making our own body wash. The last time I made some body wash, it turned out fine, but you had to use quite a bit of it just to get clean. The kids didn't like how it felt on their skin, so now I use it to make the Baby Wipes. This time, I wanted to make something that was a little more moisturizing, and would be thicker. My internet searches lead me to make body wash out of Dove body bars. I combined 2 different recipes I found, and ended up having to modify the recipes, just so I could pour it in the bottle! Here's the recipe:

You Will Need:
3 Dove body bars (I bought the Wal-Mart generic brand, Equate. They have a version that says to compare to Dove's brand, and it costs $4 for a 6 pack, vs. $6 for a 6 pack.)
9 cups of distilled water (every recipe I found said to use only 6, but I'll show you why I used 9)
15 drops of lavender oil

To Make:
First put your water in a stock pot and get it hot. I started with the 6 cups of water, heating that first. Then, take 1 bar of soap, put it in a bowl and microwave for 90 sec. only. You can grate the soap, but keep in mind that the soap has lots of moisturizers in it, so it will be slick. Microwaving it, for 90 sec. only, will melt the soap, making it dissolve super fast in the hot water.
This is what it looks like, after you've microwaved it! Cool, huh?! Add the melted soap to the hot water, and whisk slowly to help melt it.
After I added all 3 bars of soap, I added about 15 drops of lavender oil to the pot. I love how lavender smells, and how relaxing it is! After the soap is all dissolved, remove the pot from heat and set it somewhere to cool. Because the AC is on in the house right now, this took about 4 hours.
After 4 hours of cooling, this stuff hardened hard! I could barely dig the spoon it, let alone pour it into the empty body wash container! This picture above was made using the recipes I found online, using only 6 cups of water. So, I put the pot back on the heat, and once it was melted back down, I added 3 more cups of distilled water, once again whisking it slightly to mix.

After leaving it all night to harden, I came back, and the batch was much better! It was hardened, but I didn't have to try and chip at it with a spoon! I took my electric mixer, and using only 1 blade, I mixed it up and made it smooth.

It kinda looks like frosting! Mixing it really made it smooth and pourable. I was able to funnel it into the containers. It does look, and feel, a bit like slimy mucus (sorry for that gross mental picture!) but it soaps up nicely, smells great, and cost me about $3 for 92 oz of soap! Not bad!
I had an old 28 oz. body wash bottle that I poured some in, for the shower, and poured the rest into an old liquid soap refill bottle, that was 64 oz. I think I have soap for awhile! I wonder if I decorate the soap pump bottle, if it will last in the shower? Hmmm...

Until Next Time,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Newest Family Member

I normally think the best of people, unless you've proven that my faith in you is unfounded. You could ask my husband, and he would tell you that I normally give to many chances to people to prove themselves. But there are some people, even those who I haven't met, that I can't even find a spark of hope for. Alot of those people will remain nameless here.

The reason I bring up this topic is because something happened that broke my heart. The other day, after taking the kids to the grocery store, we passed a lot that our neighbor had turned into a garden. She's an amazing woman, and you can generally find her there making things grow. Well, on this day, she wasn't there, but there were 2 baby puppies, tossed into one of her high gardening crates. Keep in mind, that this day it was 90 degrees, with the full sun beating on these puppies. It was only by God's grace that I heard their whining.

For the next 30 min. I gave those babies water, and made phone calls to the owner of the property, my husband, and the police. The owner didn't know whos dogs they were, but because the crate was so high, and the dogs couldn't jump out, there's no way they jumped in. The police offered to send out Animal Control, and pick up the puppies, but my husband said he wanted them at our home.

After I brought them home, and got them stable, my sadness turned to anger. We live in an area that is nothing but parks. One thing that is great about where we live, is there is the animal control shelter not 3 blocks from where I found the puppies. Why, in the name of all that is good, would you just leave 2 babies to die?

Fortunately, I found a home for the little girl dog, and we're keeping the golden puppy. Jackasaurus loves this little dog more then anything. We were able to get the mounds of fleas off of them, get them eating, and they are thriving with us. I hadn't planned on getting my children a dog till they were old enough to care for it, but I guess God had other plans.


Little Lady

Brother and sister love!

If you have an animal that you can't care for, please do the humane thing and turn them over to the nearest Humane Society. These are not trash, for you to toss out in the street. They are living, breathing, loving animals. And please, spay and neuter your animals.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mini Vacation to Nebraska

This past weekend, the family and I went on a mini vacation to Lincoln, Nebraska. A friend of ours got married at the SAC Museum this past Saturday. Hubby and I have planned on taking the kids to all of the states, and this was the perfect opportunity to start! The kids had a blast, mom and dad had a blast, and it was a perfect weekend get away for us!
Beautiful building, inside and out!

Nothing beats a free pass for the whole family!

Mopsey was VERY excited about the pink bomber jacket!

It was a very enjoyable trip. We made sure that the kids got out of the car every hour, let their legs stretch, and just took our time! It was a perfect Father's Day for the best dad! He loved all the planes, and so did the kids! I think my favorite part was the road trip. I love seeing all the funny highway signs! Those always crack me up!

Um, if you don't know where Iowa is, then I can't help you!

These coffee pot shaped water towers were everywhere!

What a welcome sight!

one more magnet to start our collection for the family!

We've already got plans for our next mini vacation, here in a few months. We had so much fun, and we can't wait for next time!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, June 16, 2012

3-2-1 Cake

I love a good cake, who doesn't? The problem in my house, is that it never gets finished before it's dry and stale! Then I have wasted cake that I have to throw away, and that's pretty sad. I came across a recipe, on Pinterest, that I just had to share! Plus, it's a way for everyone to have their own custom cake, with the wide variety of add ins you can put in! Here's the recipe for the worlds easiest cake!

1 Box of Angel Food Cake Mix
1 Box of any flavor cake mix you want.
Chocolate chips, walnuts, sprinkles, or whatever add ins you want!

Directions: Mix the 2 boxes in a large, resealable container. I pour my boxes in a big tupperware container, close the lid and shake it till it's mixed. Then, to make the cake you take 3 TBSP of cake mix, and put it in a mug. Add 2 TBSP of water, and mix well. Put whatever add ins you want, in there, like chocolate chips. Put in microwave and cook for 1 min. Put whatever topping you want on there, like a bit of frozen whipped cream! It's heaven in a mug!

Because the mix is powder, it doesn't get all dried up and gross, like a cooked cake would get. This is the only way that we have cake, now, in our house.

Until Next Time,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thank You, Suzanne

I found out today that my midwife, Suzanne, has decided to close her midwife practice in Kansas. When I read it, at first I thought she was mistaken. But, after reading it 3 times, I figured that I was reading it right.

There seems to be a bond, that is created, when a woman gives birth. There's the bond between mother and child, and that can't be broken. But, I think there's another bond that is created, between the woman who gave birth and the one who was there helping her. I knew that I wanted a home birth, with my last child, and knew that I could handle it. There's just something about the security of having other people helping you fulfill that potential. So, with alot of emotion going on, I would like to share my birth story. As much as it is my birth story, it is also a testament to the peace and strength that Suzanne lent me, so that I could have this birth the way I wanted.

"When I heard that I was pregnant, I was excited to be having my last child. Then I started thinking about the labor and delivery part, and my heart sunk. My first 2 children were born in a hospital, with me having to be induced. With my oldest, it took 2 epidurals for the pain meds to kick in, with my 2nd child, I had 2 epidurals, and they never took effect. So, I was stuck lying on my back, feeling every Pitocin contraction. I later found out that I have a curved spine, and that epidurals are hit and miss. That would have been nice to know ahead of time! I really didn’t want a hospital birth, and the fear of being induced again was fresh in my mind. Fortunately, my sister encouraged me to look into a home birth, with a midwife. As soon as I saw the movie, “The Business of Being Born” I knew that was what I wanted to do.

After researching midwifes around the area, I found Suzanne Ryan. I had my consult with her, and immediately felt comfortable with her. She treated my pregnancy as something normal, something to be celebrated, not a medical procedure. She was able to answer every question I had, calm any fears, and put me at ease. She genuinely cared about my health and my baby. As the time grew closer to have my baby, I grew more excited knowing that I was in excellent hands, and that my last time to give birth would be everything that I wanted it to be.

On September 20th, about 8 pm, I started having a few contractions, but nothing unusual. I had been having contractions off and on for the past week. My due date was September 29, so I knew I had a little ways to go. I went to bed about 11pm to try and get some rest. At 11pm, my contractions were about 7 min. apart and not strong at all. At 2 am, the contractions were a bit stronger and closer together, but still not that painful. It felt like I had eaten some bad Chinese food, and my guts were cramping a bit. But, the contractions were close enough that it made sleeping difficult, especially while lying down. So, I got up, moved around and just breathed. At 3, the contractions weren’t lessening at all, so I thought maybe sitting in a warm bath would help, and if it was false labor a bath would help them to go away. The warm water felt so good, and immediately helped ease some of the cramping. But the contractions were still there, closer together. They still weren’t painful, like the contractions I had when I was induced with my first 2. I was waiting for my contractions to get super painful, to tell me that I was in labor. They never did.

At 3:30, I got out of the bathtub, and just rocked my hips back and forth for the next half an hour. By the time that 4am hit, I knew that I was in labor and that could have this baby any minute. So, I woke up my husband, and had him call Suzanne, and tell her what was going on. He told her that my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, only lasting about 30 seconds, and they weren’t that painful at all, but they were constant. She said that she was on her way and to get everything set up. After he got off the phone, he got the birthing tub blown up, and filled up, while I got everything else set up. At 4:45 am, the doula arrived and started setting up all the medical stuff she would need and my husband finished setting up. The contractions were nearly on top of each other, but they weren’t that painful. I was able to walk and rock thru them, and keep talking. Everything about the contractions were odd for me. I had always heard that you’re not in true hard labor until the contractions are so bad that you can’t talk thru them. Well, I could talk thru them, and did.

At 5am, Suzanne arrived, and checked to see if I was dilated enough. About 5:10 she had me get into the birthing tub, and my contractions just felt lifted. They were still there, but it felt like they were not on my body at all. She had me get on my knees, with my head over the side of the tub, holding onto my husband’s hands. Immediately, I felt the need to push, and I did. Suzanne said to just listen to my body and push when I felt the need. In about 5 min, she had me feel where the birth sac was coming out. In the next push, my water broke. It honestly scared me, because it felt like a balloon was popped inside of me. I had never had my water break naturally; I had my water broken at the hospital for my 2 oldest. After that, everything happened so fast. I felt the head descending, and I felt like I needed to push. I tried to get into a different position, to make it easier for the baby to get out, but I couldn’t stand any position other then on my knees, with my bottom in the water. My husband was so calm and collected. He kept whispering that this is what I wanted, that I was doing a wonderful job. And wouldn’t you know it? My daughter woke up right in the middle of a contraction, as the baby was coming down! As I pushed, it started to burn a bit, but just as it started to burn, my baby came flying out. I tried to slow down, but that wasn’t happening! This baby wanted out and now! My son was born at 5:23 am, in a warm birth pool. He cried a little, when I first held him out of the water, but calmed right down once I had his back in the warm water. My daughter came downstairs and her eyes looked like it was Christmas! She refused to leave her baby brother’s side! After holding him for about 15 min, in the water, I cut his umbilical cord; we got him dried off and in his daddy’s arms. When we weighed him, he was 8 pounds even and 20 inches long. This birth was everything I could have hoped for. I had a wonderful experience that I will never forget; I only wish that I would have had my first 2 children at home too!"

I know that you are on to your next adventure in life, Suzanne, but thank you for being a part of our lives for awhile. I hope you know how loved you are, how empowering your presence is for those in labor, and how grateful I am that you were there to help me have my dream birth. I am so thankful for everything that you've done for me and my son, and I wish you the best.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Cream Cheese Chicken in Crockpot

I made this the other night, and it turned out so good! It was super simple, satisfying and made plenty for leftovers the next day!

  • 4-6 chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • Italian dressing mix – 1 packet
  • cream of chicken
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • angel hair pasta, cooked
*Be sure to buy regular cream cheese, instead of the fat free or reduced fat cream cheese. I accidentally bought the fat free cream cheese, and it didn't melt all the way. It was still really good, but if you want your cream cheese to properly melt, then buy the regular one!*

Put the chicken in the crockpot.  Melt the butter and soften the cream cheese in the microwave.  Stir those together with the Italian dressing mix, the soup and wine.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve with a side salad, and you're good to go!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Joyful Parenting

I love these 10 rules, and strive to live by them daily.

1. Today, I will make our home a house of prayer. I will pray at set times. And I will invite our children to come move into an interior space that lives with God.

2. Today, I will transfigure all things into beauty, and I will refuse to see anything else.

3. Today, I will not have any emergencies. There are no emergencies! Only amateurs hurry.

4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be intervention with verbal thanks. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times. Fight feeling with feeling!

5. Today, I will pray to speak words that are only STRONG words, words that make these children feel strong. Grace words. Grace is the only non-toxic air. All other words I breathe are death words.

6. Today, I will pray to be consistently consistent. I will create safe rhythms that our children can find security in. I will create daily ceremonies because everyday we are CELEBRATING the gift of now!

7. Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals -- because children's hearts feed on touch. I'll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible --- the taller they are, the more so.

9. Today, my priorities will be all Things Unseen.

10. Today, I will laugh! And I will let the little children laugh! I will create a culture of JOY!

You can find a beautiful, printable copy of these rules  HERE

There is nothing like trying to relax and enjoy your family. I only real job, in this life, is to raise 3 children who grow up to love Jesus and grow in Him. I don't care if my son decided to be a garbage man, when he could have been a CEO of a company. As long as he is on fire for God, then I've done my job. I'm learning that the cleaning can wait, the laundry can wait, the projects can all wait till the children are in bed, but while they are awake I am trying to take every advantage to enjoy them. I realize that every day won't always been sunshine and rainbows, heck most days won't! But, I am bound and determined to make the most of them!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

One of the Many Joys of Summer

 It's the smell, of the pool, that brings back memories for me; of swimming lap after lap, learning new styles, feeling as fast as a fish and so free.It's not a great smell, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does bring back a wash of memories. Great memories, filled with fun!

I love to swim. I've loved to swim ever since I can remember. My mom took me, and my 3 sisters, every summer to the pool. We had a friend who owned a private pool, and we would just make a whole day out of it. My mom made sure that we girls had swimming lessons. We were very blessed to have a youth pastor's wife, who was also a registered Life Guard, at our church. She taught amazing lessons, and then let those who wanted to continue actually take the Life Guard course. My sister and I took it, alright, and I can still make a life preserver out of my jeans, if I need to!

All 3 of my kids are water babies, have been since they were born. Only my 3rd can actually say he's been in water since second 1, though, as he was actually born in water. They've been begging me to put up the pool for awhile, but now that they are old enough, I knew it was time to start them in swim lessons, themselves. Thankfully, the Y had swim lessons available for the older 2 children, and we started them the other day. The look of pure joy on their faces, when they started, is hard to put into words! They loved it! All they've talked about, since their first lesson, is when they will go back for their next lesson! Who knows, maybe they will learn how to make a life preserver out of their jeans, one day. Until then, we'll continue to work on kicking our legs and blowing bubbles in the water with our nose!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Twisted Pigtails

For this hairstyle, I sectioned off the parts of the pigtail. Using a Topsy Tail

I inverted each portion, then gathered them all  together into a pigtail. This hairstyle took a bit of time, as Mopsy wanted to hold the Topsy Tail after every one I would make, but this hairstyle stays! Most hairstyles, I have to redo after nap time, but this one didn't budge!

Until Next Time,

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