My Life in a Want Ad

want ad

 

Who else feels like they must do it all and be at the top of your game ALL the time? My husband was talking yesterday about what a “WANT” ad would look like if he was trying to replace me. I’m sure I missed some things, but here’s what we came up with off the top of our heads:

 

WANTED: CARETAKER

Hours: 24/7

Requirements:
Must be good with small children.
Must be good with animals.
Must have excellent cooking skills.
Must cook on demand.
Must have excellent housekeeping skills.
Must have excellent organization skills.
Must be able to decode unknown languages.
Must be able to handle physical abuse that comes out of nowhere.
Must be able to handle 1-13 or more children by yourself at any given time.
Must be able to run errands at the drop of a hat.
Must be able to listen to or watch the same thing repeatedly.
Must be available to drive to various locations up to 2 hours away.
Must make out daily schedules.
Must wake up early.
Must stay up late.
Must be able to go weeks or months at a time without any time to yourself.
Must make frequent trips to the library for massive amount of books to read aloud daily.
Must deal with whining and back talking.
Must do laundry daily.
Must occupy children at all times.
Must do bookkeeping.
Must do sales from home.
Must be good at paperwork.
Must have excellent typing skills.
Must have good photography skills.
Must be able to tutor in all subjects.
Must be creative and think outside the box.
Must be a good listener.
Must be able to handle deadlines.
Must be ready for anything at the drop of a hat.
Must treat any medical issue that arises.
Must have knowledge of toxins and what to avoid.
Must be good at debating.
Must do well under pressure, especially when being rushed.
Must be adventurous.
Must be able to extinguish fires.
Must be able to handle wild children.
Must have caretaking skills.
Must have a good sense of humor.
Must keep the house fully stocked with food at all times.
Must enjoy board games and card games.
Must enjoy music and performances.
What would you add to this list if the ad was for YOU?
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How to Build an Oil Shelf

pallet title
I’m super excited about sharing my oil shelf with you! I receive a lot of compliments on it, whether it’s people over to visit or people seeing a picture. The best part is that I used a pallet we picked up for free!
SUPPLIES:
1 pallet
Box of 1 5/8″ drywall screws
Cordless Drill
Sawzall or pry b
Level or Piece of 2×4
Pencil
DIRECTIONS:
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  1. Take the pallet apart to get all strips. A sawzall works great for this.
  2. Remove nails from pallet.
  3. Line up half the boards with the nice side facing down.
  4. Measure the length of the width of all the boards together. Cut 2 runners from the pallet to that size, minus 1.” You could also use furring strips instead of the runners.pallet 4
  5. Screw the first runner into the boards 4″ from the top. Place 2 screws in each board.
  6. Screw the second runner into the boards 4″ from the bottom using the same method.
  7. Flip the unit over so the strips are in the back.
  8. Keep in mind what you will be placing on the shelves. If it’s only oils, then you can place the shelves 4″ apart. If you want to leave room for books, carrier oils, and other things, make sure it has enough height. My first unit has 6 shelves for oils, a shelf of rollers, a shelf for jars such as sore muscle cream and bath salts, then the last shelf has enough room for mason jars, carriers, and smaller sized books. We have built two others to meet the needs of my supplies/homemade items. Write down your measurements on a piece of paper.
  9. Measuring from the bottom up, make marks where you will be placing your shelves. Keep in mind the width of the shelves you are placing on it, so 4″ then 4″ is not going to give you 4″ shelves if you didn’t account for the width of the shelf itself. The bottom shelf will be level with the bottom of the unit.
  10. Flip the shelf over on its side.
  11. Carefully screw the shelves into the boards where your measurements are, screwing from the back into the boards for your shelves. It’s okay to have a lip left at the top, because you can still store oils there. That’s where I put my vitality oils and other natural cooking stuff.pallet 6
  12. Pick the shelf up. Have one person hold the shelf up on the wall while a second person screws the pallet shelf into the wall. Put the screws in about 1/3 and 2/3 of the way down the shelving unit.

*You can also do this with a board and shelves you buy at the store. You will need furring strips for the back. We did this with cedar.

pallet mine

 

Product Review: Younique’s Royalty Detoxifying Mask

product review younique

 

Not long ago, someone asked me to try a detoxifying mask that she raves about. She was sending a sample to me for free because she just knew that I would love it (even with me being picky), so I figured why not? I’m always looking for non-toxic items.

 

How do I decide what I do or do not use? Lots of research. Check out Skin Deep. You can plug each ingredient of a product into the search and it will not only give you more information about it but also give you a rating 1-10. I try to stick with 1-3 whenever possible. A rating of 4 is okay, but I don’t like to use things with any ingredients that have a higher rating than 4.  Check out the ingredients in some of the things you use, such as shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste. You will most likely be surprised at the results.

 

The Royalty Detoxifying Mask is a wet mask that looks a lot like mud. I put it on and rubbed it in. Of course, my toddler had to get in on the action, too. And while I was at it, why not find out how it works for my husband’s skin. All three of us have different types of skin, so putting it on all of us was a true test of how well it works.

 

Results? You can feel when it is finished drying on your face. It’s really easy to clean off with a warm, wet wash cloth. It leaves your skin feeling amazingly smooth. I had my husband shave his face before putting the mask on, so his face was insanely smooth and soft after the mask. To be honest, I kept stroking his face all day. It felt AMAZING. If only the skin everywhere on our bodies felt like that ALL the time!

 

Tip: Do this in the morning because you can feel the results on your skin all day long. Or do it mid-afternoon for a little pick-me up.

 

Would I use it again? Definitely! I’m sure my 15 year old daughter would love it as well. This is the only product I have tried from this company and loved it so much that I will definitely be trying more products.  If you want smooth skin with this refreshing mask, you can find it HERE.

 

Why did I choose THIS particular consultant? Rachel is amazing and will work with you for hours if that’s what you need. She also has a BEAUTY GROUP where people can ask questions and get opinions from others. She knows that I’m very picky about ingredients and is always willing to listen to what I have to say on the matter and helps me despite it. I’m not super girly, so I don’t know much about make-up or skin care products, so she spends a lot of time educating me so I can have healthy skin for the rest of my life. For this, I am very thankful. You aren’t just buying a product – you are also getting support from an amazing woman. And who knows, possibly even friendship, too.

 

Have YOU tried the Royalty Detoxifying Mask? I would love to know if you loved it, too.

How to Make Tissue Paper Flowers

tpf 1

 

My daughter has been making these for a couple years now (she is 11) without my help. She enjoys making bouquets to give to people as gifts “just because.”  They are great for making for a grandmother or teacher.

 

HP

Cut the tissue paper lengthwise into thirds.

 

HP

Fold each third into half widthwise.

 

 

Take 6 ply of tissue and fold them up like a fan.  Use clothespins to secure.

 

Cut small triangular shapes from the center of the fan.

 

Put a pipe cleaner over the middle to hold it together, securing the pipe cleaner to itself.

 

HP

Remove the clothes pins.

 

Carefully separate the tissue layers all around.

 

The edges of the flowers can be round or peaked for different looks. You can layer colors for a different look as well. Use your imagination to make beautiful tissue paper bouquets.

I would love to see your beautiful tissue paper flower creations.

Switching Toxic Cleaners to Healthier Alternatives

Do you get sick to your stomach from the cleaners you use? Did you know that many of them are respiratory hazards? We switched out cleaners to healthier alternatives, and I am AMAZED at the difference it has made in our home. We don’t get sick as often, the house smells amazing, and my children actually fight over who gets to clean the stove!

The company that I use? Young Living. Why? Because Young Living’s desire is to protect us. Owner Gary Young bases all of the cleaning products around thieves essential oil, which contains clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary. The blend is based off the legend of four 15th century thieves who covered themselves with an aromatic blend before robbing those who died from the plague. But why did they not die from the plague as well? It was because of the blend they used. Thieves essential oil promotes a healthy immune system.

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Thieves cleaner can be used for everything from counter top spray to laundry detergent to cleaning toilets – and more! Seriously, I use it in place of all other cleaning chemicals I have used in the past. It even works as a stain remover for clothes!  The best part is that it doesn’t have all the crazy hazards of the other cleaning chemicals that can cause so many illnesses. It not only reduces the toxins in your home, but it also purifies the air.

What else do I use to clean my home?

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*Homemade Laundry Detergent: 1 bar of Fels Naptha heated then chopped in a food processor, 1 1/2 cups borax, 1 1/2 cups washing soda, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 10 drops essential oil (I make a double batch, and it lasts about 6 months for 6 people)
*Homemade Bleach: Equal parts peroxide and water with a few drops of lemon essential oil
*A drop of purification or other essential oil inside the tube of a roll of toilet paper to help with bathroom smells
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*Homemade Carpet Powder: 1 cup baking soda with 8 drops of purification (or whatever combination of oils you would like to use. I like to switch it up). This is fantastic for pet owners to use weekly.
*Room Spray: Equal parts distilled water and witch hazel in a spray bottle – add a pinch of salt as an emulsifier, then add a few drops of desired essential oil and swirl to mix.
*Whatever homemade dish soap I feel like making when we are almost out.
*Thieves or Lavender Foaming Hand Soap
*Homemade Hand Sanitizer: Equal parts distilled water and aloe vera gel (with not additives). Add 4 drops vitamin E and 6 drops thieves.
*Diffuser: instead of air freshener, Febreeze, or candles (the toxins in those are a whole nother story!)
That’s it! Those are ALL the cleaners I use in my house.
But WHY did I make the switch? There are so, so, so many hazards in cleaning chemicals.
*232 toxic chemicals can be found in a newborn’s cord blood (babies born in the United States).
*Chlorine can cause asthma, allergies, and respiratory irritation. Prolonged exposure has been linked to an increased chance of coronary heart disease. It is also believed to be linked to Bladder and Rectal Cancers.
*Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats) is one of the leading causes of dermatitis. It can also cause asthma, even in healthy people. It helps breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
*Phthalates are believed to be endocrine disruptors. Exposure could lead to issues with the reproductive system. Short term exposure in drinking water can lead to gastrointestinal issues and vertigo, while long term exposure in drinking water can lead to damage to the liver and testes, reproductive issues, and even cancer.
*Formaldehyde can cause headaches, dizziness, itching, coughing, and even trouble breathing. It is also a possible link to ALS.
*2-Butoxyethanol at high levels can cause pulmonary edema, narcosis, and severe damage of the liver and kidneys.
*Triclosan causes hormone disruption, which can lead to infertility, altered behavior, and learning disabilities.
*SO many more. If I listed them all, I would bore you to death, and you would be reading all afternoon. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
I STRONGLY encourage you to look at the list of ingredients on your current cleaners then think about this list as you read through them.  If you would like more information on switching cleaners, you can email me at sunbeamsandheartstrings@gmail.com.

Crustless Peach Cobbler

crustless peach cobbler

Ingredients

8 medium or 6 large peaches

1 Tbs flour

3 Tbs brown sugar

2 Tbs old-fashioned oats

Raw honey

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cut the peaches into small pieces and place in a 13×9 baking dish.

3. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and 2 Tbs honey.

4. Sprinkle the mixture over the peaches.

5. Drizzle the top of the cobbler with honey.

6. Bake for 20 minutes.

7. Mix well before serving. Serve hot.

My kids love this, and it's perfect for people who don't like crust with their desserts. You can make
this with regular honey if you don't have access to raw, but I highly recommend raw honey. You can
also use coconut flour in place of all-purpose.

Baked Italian Chicken, Potatoes, & Green Beans

one pan Italian chicken dish 2

I discovered this super easy dish that I decided to save for a night when I don’t have much time to prep dinner.
Sometimes, life gets really busy, especially when you have kids in sports and activities.  I like to keep several ideas in mind for easy dinners that can be thrown together or made ahead then popped into the oven when we get home.  This recipe is very easy, involves only 4 ingredients, and tastes delicious.
At first, I was wondering if this would all taste the same, so would it be worth it?  BUT I marinade the meat and vegetables in Italian dressing when I make kebabs, and those taste AMAZING.  So I decided to give it a try when I wasn’t feeling too well.  My kids have a tendency to ask “Is this all we are having?” If I make less than a four course meal.  They were very happy about this one, and there were NO leftovers.
The chicken is moist, especially if using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I cut the potatoes small because the smaller they are cut, the more tender they turn out to be. You can actually use several different kinds of potatoes for this, so the dish is very flexible with whatever you have on hand.  I prefer baby red potatoes. The green beans can be fresh, canned, or frozen.  You can also replace them with another vegetable, such as carrots or corn.
This is definitely on our “redo” list (as my kids call it).
one pan italian chicken dish

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

strawberry chocolate chip cookies

Check out these delicious cookies that combine the tastes of a chocolate covered strawberry!

Let me start by saying I LOVE cookies – ANY kind of cookie. They are at the top of my list of things I love to bake (and eat, of course). While I have plenty of different recipes that I enjoy making, I’m always scouting for new and different kinds.

One morning, I was in a baking mood, so I asked my girls what kind of cookies they wanted. Cori said Chocolate and Cadi said Pink.  Then Izech came running over and said strawberry! So I looked around on the Internet for a recipe that included all of those ideas and I found something that looked and sounded delicious!

At first, I was a bit nervous about using cake mix in cookies because fluffy cake cookies are my least favorite.  But these sounded good, and the comments reassured me it wouldn’t be super cakey. The recipe was very easy to follow and fast to whip together.  The cookies came out of the oven, and I could resist trying one right away.  SOO yummy!  Soft, not cakey and definitely different.

All the kids were amazed at the pretty pink cookies that tasted like strawberries and chocolate.  One batch didn’t make it thru the day, and now the kids ask for them all the time.

You can find the recipe here:  http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/01/23/strawberry-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Let us know how yours turned out!

Handprint Spiders & Footprint Ghosts

halloween crafts 1

It’s Halloween! Do your kids still want to do a Halloween craft?  Here are two easy ones you can even save for next year.

halloween crafts 12
Handprint Spiders
I actually got this idea from an episode of Barney that my son really likes.  I added a little bit of my own creative spice to it.
MATERIALS:
Black construction paper
White construction paper
pink construction paper
yellow construction paper
pencil
Black marker
Scissors
Glue (we used a glue stick)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Take your piece of black construction paper and fold it in half.
2. Trace a hand, starting with the palm at the fold, leaving part of the palm off the page, otherwise the body looks a little too wide.
halloween crafts 2
3. Cut out the hand, but cut off the thumb so that you have four fingers (these are the four legs on each side of the spider).
Halloween crafts 3     halloween crafts 4
4. Open up the hand and glue it onto the yellow piece of construction paper.
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5. Cut out two small white circles from the white construction paper.  Glue those on the bottom of the spider.
6. Cut out two small black circles from your leftover black construction paper.  These circles need to be smaller than the white circles.  Glue them inside the white circles.
7. Cut out a mouth from the pink construction paper and glue it upside down above the eyes of the spider.
8. Draw a black line from the center of the spider body to the top of the page.  This is the string from the web.  Add a small web extending out from it.
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My kids really enjoyed this.  You can make a bat if you don’t separate the fingers and leave the thumb on!
halloween crafts 13
Footprint Ghost
 
I got this idea from the same episode of Barney, except they used paint.  I decided to give it a try using construction paper to go along with our spiders.  The kids were VERY excited about the way these ghosts turned out!
MATERIALS:
White construction paper
Orange construction paper
Scissors
Black marker
Glue (we used a glue stick)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Trace your child’s foot on the piece of white construction paper.  Cut it out.
halloween crafts 7
2. Put glue all over the pencil side.  Since it is white, and pencil marks would show up, so I made sure those went underneath.  Glue the footprint onto the orange construction paper.
halloween crafts 10     halloween crafts 8
3. Draw on two ovals for eyes and on for the mouth.
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That’s it! SUPER easy! Even my almost two year old loved having his foot traced.  This was so quick and easy that it kept his attention long enough to do it

Last Minute Homemade Halloween Costumes

halloween costumes 1
Check out these DIY costumes for the whole family!
We mostly used things that we already had around the house, so purchases were minimal.  We spent less total than we would have on one costume!
 
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DELUXE HAIR STYLING KIT
My 10 year old decided during trick-or-treat LAST year that this was the costume she wanted me to make her for this year.  Last year, she was a hot air balloon, so she definitely likes creative costumes.  We already had all of this stuff except a box, which we got for free.
MATERIALS:
Box
Packing tape or duct tape
Box Knife or Pen
Yarn (any color)
Permanent markers
Paint
Paintbrushes
Make Up
Accessories
DIRECTIONS:
1. Fold the flaps of the box in on all sides (top and bottom).  Tape them down with the tape.
2. Paint the box.  I chose to do the front and back pink then the sides purple.
3. While the paint is drying, sketch out on a piece of paper what you want on your box.
4. Design your box.  I put the name and pictures of contents on the front; a list of contents on one side; As Seen on Tv and a price on the other side; the name, warning, and age group on the back.
halloween costumes 2     halloween costumes 5
Halloween Costumes 3     halloween costumes 4
5. Poke holes in the box near the top, a couple inches in, on the left and right – front and back.  You will use the box knife or pen for this.
6. Cut yarn to length of arm pit to armpit.  Thread the yarn through the holes on the right side and tie knots.  Do the same for the left side.  These will hold the box on the body.
7. Do hair and make-up.
halloween costumes 10
LEMONADE STAND
 
My 8 year old decided since her sister was using a box for her costume, she wanted to use one, too. So we decided on a lemonade stand!  This one was much easier than I expected, and we used all materials that we already had around the house.
MATERIALS:
Box
Packing tape or duct tape
Box knife
Paint (Blue, Brown, and Green)
Paintbrushes
1 sheet of construction paper
crayons, markers, or colored pencils
tea set
Hot glue gun
suspenders (yarn will work if you don’t have any)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Fold the flaps in on the bottom of the box.  Tape them down with the tape
2. Measure your child from front to back and side to side.  You will use those measurements to cut out a rectangle (or, in my daughter’s case, closer to a square since I measured farthest points sticking out) from the box.  The rectangle will be at the BACK of the top of the box and centered.  Use the box knife to cut it.
3.  Tape any loose flaps in at the top of the box.  Keep in mind that you want the top to be sturdy.  So I taped what I could under the top.
4. Paint a big blue rectangle around each side of the box, leaving about 4-5 inches at the top, 2-3 inches on each side, and an inch on the bottom.
5. When the pain dries, paint the sides and top with brown.
6. When the brown is dry, paint the bottom strip green, then brush grass up from the green strip.
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7. Hot glue tea cups and a pitcher to the top of the box.
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8. Cut the piece of construction paper into fourths.  I used a yellow piece since it is lemonade, and the yellow really stands out.  Write “Lemonade 10c” on the signs.  Hot glue it on each side.  I glued it on crooked so that i looks like it would if a kid had posted it on a real stand.
9.  Hook the box up with suspenders or yarn.
halloween costumes 15
HULA GIRL WIND-UP TOY
Our five year old wanted to be a wind-up toy.  Since we had everything in the dress-up bin for a hula dancer except the skirt, that’s what she went with.  All I had to do for hers was make the hula skirt and the wind-up part.  You can find many Hawaiian accessories at Dollar Tree during summer.  It was cold, so we layered her items over the clothes she already had on.
MATERIALS:
Flower Necklace
Flower bracelets
Flowers for hair
Bodysuit or swimsuit
Coconut bra
Hula skirt (raffia ribbon for DIY below)
Cardboard
Foil
DIRECTIONS:
1. Make your hula skirt using raffia if you don’t have one.  I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics in the floral section.  Take five long strands and tie a knot at the ends (tying the strands together).  This will be your waist.  Measure your child’s waste to see how wide you need the skirt to be.  This will be how wide you need the strands handing down to be, not just the ribbon you just tied.  My daughter’s measured 22″ and I actually needed about 24″ (so add about 2″ to your measurement).  The raffia ribbon came in long and short pieces (mostly long), so I did not use the short pieces.  Grab a long piece and fold it in half.  Lay the fold over middle of the waist band.  Pull the strands through.
halloween costumes 11
I started in the middle and did the right side, then went back and did the left side.  The leftover waist on each side is for tying it.
halloween costumes 12
2. Cut a “B” out of a piece of cardboard and cover it in foil.  Cut a slit in it in the middle of the flat side.
3. Dress your child.  When you put the coconut bra on, thread the back straps through the cardboard “B” before tying it behind the “B.”  This will hold the “wind-up” part on.
halloween costumes 13     halloween costumes 14
halloween costumes 16
OLD MAN FROM “UP”
 
I honestly don’t even remember how we came up with this idea, but the only thing we had to get for this was the pieces for the cane.  We didn’t have a sweater that looked similar, so we just used whatever jacket during the chilly trick-or-treat.  It wasn’t a big deal when he didn’t wear the glasses outside.  People still thought he was adorable and understood the costume.  We DID plan to color is hair by putting flour in it, but we were running short on time and decided to skip that part.  We chose flour because it is natural and not putting dangerous chemicals onto his body (which would then seep INTO his body).
MATERIALS:
Dress pants
White dress shirt
Black bowtie
Black fake glasses (we used 3D glasses without the lenses)
Jacket or sweater (optional)
1″ PVC pipe
4 Way connector
(6) 1″ Street elbows
4 tennis balls
Duct tape
DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut the pipe to the height your child needs (using whatever tool necessary.  You can probably ask a worker at Home Depot to do this).  Cut a 1″ hole in the Four way connector (only on the top.  DO NOT go through the other side).  Wrap duct tape around the bottom of the 1″ pipe and insert into the whole.  Add a street elbow to each of the four sides of the connector, facing down.  Add a street elbow to the top of the 1″ pipe.  Add the last street elbow to the one you just put on, so that it comes out and down.  Lastly, cut holes in the tennis balls for the street elbows on the bottom and insert them.
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2. Dress your child right before it is time to take pictures and leave, because white is really hard to keep clean!
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halloween costumes 18
OPPOSITE TEAM FAN
 
So, I didn’t actually make these ones…  But anyone who is a die hard fan knows how painful it is to appear to be cheering for the other team.  I am a RED SOX fan, so I wore his Yankees jersey.  Grant is a YANKEES fan, and he wore my Red Sox jersey.  We actually had one guy ask us if we were dying a little inside!
You can easily make this with a plain colored button down shirt and fabric markers.