Friday, January 23, 2015

Valentine's Mantle {& Why We Celebrate}

Confession: I just took down our Christmas decor yesterday. 

That's totally out of character for our house. I like it down before New Year's but my husband prefers to keep it up until New Year's Day. It all has to do with the way we were raised and 'how it was done when we were kids.' 

This year, though, is a weird year for us. We are living temporarily in an apartment while our house is being built. This apartment happens to have one overhead light and it's hanging over the fireplace. And it's florescent. {read: horrible lighting choice} Our lamps are mostly still packed in boxes from our move 5 months ago. We really have no idea where they are. I guess we are mostly hoping they made it here to northern KY with the rest of our unpacked stuff. 

That said, our Christmas tree provided a lot of nice lighting for this dark, tiny space. That's the main reason I left it so long. The other reason? We were busy with a lot of things like homeschooling, traveling and trying to stay warm next to the space heater. 

It's down now and all the fake tree needles have been vacuumed up; the few decorations have been packed away.

 I knew before taking down the wreath over the mantle that I was going to decorate it for Valentine's Day. Nobody likes a naked mantle! And seeing how that's really the only place in the apartment to decorate seasonally, I started gathering things from around the house. 

Last week, I bought the cute red heart garland from Dollar Tree. I love red and I love hearts so it was a no-brainer. 

The metal arrow marquis sign was a Christmas gift from my sister. I love it. And I'll be using it often. Because again, I love red. Red goes with everything. 

The chalkboard I've had for a long time. I {heart} chalkboards. I know I'm not alone in that. So, I cleaned it off really good and decided to write something simple, but meaningful. Love. That one word sums up a lot of my life - past & present. It has more meaning than I could even describe here {without using up a year's supply of Kleenex and bringing everyone to tears - maybe some other time}. 

The pretty flowers are from a bouquet that my sweet husband bought me for our 13th anniversary on the 5th. I just cut the good ones that were still living down to fit into smaller vases. 

My friendship sign fits perfectly in this little happy place. It was given to me by a dear friend the day before I moved away. It holds a lot of meaning and makes me miss my people SO much but is a great reminder of the abundant love in my life.

The polka dotted covered books I put there because my sister does it all the time. Just cover books in various sizes in your favorite wrapping paper.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? We celebrate in this house. My husband and I get each other a small gift and we give the girls small gifts with hearts and X's and O's and other symbols of love. Love is a big deal in our house. I hope it always is. But the main love we celebrate and want our girls to know beyond a shadow of a doubt is this:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:10, 19 KJV)

I've had this on my mind so much in these last few days. I'm so thankful for love. I've been blessed with so much love in my life, but the greatest love is God's love. 

Unconditional. Perfect love. Love that cannot be earned. Freely given. 

God loves me {and YOU!} not because we loved Him first. Because we didn't. Only because He loved us first and proved it by sending His only son, Jesus, to be the sacrifice for our sins. A price we could never pay. To give us eternal life in Christ! That's love. 

And that's why we celebrate love. We celebrate in tangible ways and express love the best we know how in our silly ways.

How do you celebrate love?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Guide {or What She REALLY Wants...}

I know it's only mid-January, but let's face it - Valentine's Day is right around the corner. It's not too early to get a head start on hinting thinking about what you want or what you want to give {in case any men are lurking around this blog}. It's no secret that most women wear makeup. And if I had to guess, I'd say most of us won't leave home without it. That said, I've made a great list for you of some of the best, most affordable skin care and makeup products available today. I admit, I'm a little biased, but seriously these are the kind of things practical women would love to try because they might not splurge on themselves very often. Valentine's Day is a great time to pamper yourself or that special someone in your life. Let's get started!

1. I'm starting with my very FAVORITE PRODUCT I've ever tried. MOODSTRUCK 3D FIBER LASH MASCARA.
I know, you may think "All mascara is the same." Let me assure you, it is NOT equal. Do you have what my cousin, LJ, calls "Ho-Hum Lashes"? Not quite as full as they used to be. Even the curler doesn't help those lashes stand up all day. Short lashes? Light lashes?
Well, this is your lucky day! Check out these before & afters of me and my personal friends.... The results speak for themselves.
 Yours Truly - 3D Fiber Lash on the LEFT, Maybelline The Falsies mascara on the RIGHT.Notice how it opens the eye and really makes the eye pop!
 3D Fiber Lash on the LEFT, store bought mascara on the RIGHT
 This speaks for itself! 3D Fiber Lash adds 3X the length and fullness!
Even awesome for women over 50. Believe me, my mom has told all of her friends about this magical mascara.

2. Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powders
At $12.50 per container, these pigment powders really pack a punch when it comes to color. How many times have you bought eye shadow from any store and got home to realize it doesn't show up as bold or bright as it promised? It's a bummer.
Victoria says, It is "highly pigmented with a great formula that is easy to apply. Great sleek packaging! Provoked really does make green eyes pop!" She is also wearing "Ladylike" Lucractive Lip Gloss.
I've never been very daring in the eye shadow department, but this inspires me to try! I'll probably need to watch these tutorials first, though.

3. Skin care is the cosmetic industry's leading product. It rakes in more money than any of the other cosmetic products available to us women. That tells me that skin care is a very important matter to most women. I mean, all of us want to age well, and skin care is a major component of that.
Let me tell you about Illuminate Clean.
Illuminate Clean, made in the USA, is brand new and formulated for normal to dry skin, or for people with very sensitive skin. Containing superleaf extracts, Ginkgo biloba, and horse chestnut, Clean's more mild formula is still powerful enough to gently cleanse your sensitive skin.
and Illuminate Clear Illuminate Clear started out as our popular first cleanser, Awake. It contains the same key ingredients, but we've refined the formula and brought the manufacturing to the US so we can produce it on a larger scale, and more easily maintain complete control over our proprietary formula. This is for oily skin.

4. Lucrative Lip Gloss
My favorite color is "Luxe" because it's a great natural color, but there are some great colors available...See for yourself!
At just $15/each, this is a steal for gaining these lucrative, smooth and colorful lips. I love that the tube has a mirror on the side of each tube to help you apply it neatly on the go! What's your favorite color?

5. And don't forget to check out the awesome Moodstruck Precision Pencil Eye Liner - my must-have every day along with my mascara. Can't leave home without it! Eye liner defines your eye shape and is a great filler for gaps in your lashes. Eyeliner hides a multitude of issues! $15/each and these pencils can be sharpened and are CRY-PROOF, SMUDGE-PROOF AND GOES ON SMOOTH!

Younique Sassy Lashes by Amy {yours truly} is sponsoring this blog this month - and hopefully the next several months{!!} so please stop by and see what other awesome products we have available!

Will you please like my Facebook Page Younique Sassy Lashes by Amy? Pretty please? I will keep you up to date on the latest and greatest in this awesome line of cosmetics!

Would you like to earn some of these products for free? You can host a party online. Everything is done online - no house cleaning or food to bake - just online. You can stay in you jammies if you wish! Ask me how.

You can also earn extra cash by selling this yourself! Ask me how! Sign up is easy and it's only $99 for your kit full of over $200 worth of products you'll use, a personal website with no fees and no automatic shipments or contracts involved!

Thank you kindly!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Daytrip: Dayton, Ohio

Our family loves daytrips, weekend trips, and traveling of all sorts. We've always tried to fit in day trips here and there over the years whether it was a drive through the mountains, a hike, a picnic, exploring nearby cities, etc. We love spending our time together finding new places.

This past weekend was no different. We decided on a whim to drive to Dayton, Ohio to visit the Wright Brothers Museum and The Wright Cycle Company. So, after running some errands and visiting another great place (for a later post), we headed to Dayton.

The original cycle company of the Wright Brothers
We only had two hours to spend because we got to the Wright Brothers Museum around 3 and they close at 5 right now. However, it was the perfect amount of time to go through the museum and visit the cycle shop next door.
When we arrived, we were greeted by friendly, informative staff members who gave us an overall idea of the museum and where to start. The first thing we did was watch the 30 minute video on how the Wright brothers got started and how they endured failure after failure and then small successes here and there to become the very first people to fly an airplane. It was fascinating and inspiring and I was amazed at how they never gave up. They both lived to see their dream become reality. Little did they know just how far their invention and dreams would go. Orville actually lived to see interstate flights, then WWII planes and the great advantage planes were to the war. He also saw passenger flight become reality in the States and even internationally. Then, he witnessed NASA's aerospace flights before he died. It must have blown his mind!

A replica of the grocery they used to shop at.
Did you know the Wright brothers started out in the printing business and then owned a cycling shop? Their original bike shop building is still there and you can go inside it where it has been recreated on the inside to look like what they think it may have looked like back in the day. There is only one picture of the shop from its glory days and in that picture, the building was in the background of a picture of a lady holding kittens. Historians took the photo and used the picture to recreate the facade of the actual building. The family lived just around the corner from the shop.

 Upstairs is a parachute exhibit. Pretty cool!
We are fascinated by the Wright brothers mainly because aviation is a big part of our family due to my husband's job. We have visited Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk, NC where they did some test flights of their planes. There is a monument built there, as well as, a museum documenting their time in NC.

If you have a chance to visit Dayton, Ohio, I'd definitely recommend this inspiring little museum and cycle shop. You can also visit a couple other locations like the air field where they did their many trial runs on a few of their prototypes. There are tours available and we hope to go back very soon to see the sights we missed this time!
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Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Secret for Staying Healthy During Flu Season....

A couple of years ago, I caught the flu. Influenza Type B to be exact. My daughter caught it first and she was pitiful. I had never had the flu in my life, but because I'd heard about it going around and knew what the symptoms were, I had a sneaky suspicion that's what she had. So, off to the doctor we went and sure enough...flu. I knew it was a matter of days before the next one of us was knocked off our feet with the flu and wouldn't ya know it, I was the lucky recipient. A friend found out and within just an hour, she came knocking on my door with a Starbucks coffee in one hand and unbeknownst to me, a real life saver in the other. She gave me a roller bottle with something in it that she called the 'Flu Bomb' and a spray bottle of something, as well. I knew she was really into essential oils, but had never tried them myself. However, rolling those oils on my wrists and bottoms of my feet daily (as well as, repeating that on my family members) lessened the impact the flu had on me. It was just a few days until I had gotten over the flu. And no one else in the family caught it after that. Thus began my interest and belief in the effectiveness of essential oils. Have you ever tried them?

I began learning about essential oils and started using different ones that I'd heard about. Luckily, I had a friend that sold them and told me several oils to try that had worked for her. Recently, I became a consultant for doTerra so that I could buy my own oils for a discount since I no longer live near my friend. I want to encourage you to try the oils for yourself, and if you'd like more info on how to enroll with doTerra to get yourself a discount on products you love and use, contact me through my website or through this blog and I will respond quickly to you.
One of my favorite oil blends I use right now is On Guard. It is formulated to support healthy immune function. It's made of wild orange oil, cinnamon, clove and rosemary and blended perfectly to help fight off viruses and bacteria. You can dilute it in a roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil (or any vegetable oil) to apply topically. Another GREAT way to use this is to dilute it in a spray bottle and clean your countertops of germs and bacteria. It's so effective!

I've gotten my family on board with these oils, too! I made them roller bottles of On Guard (mixed with others) for the Flu Bomb. And some others that I'll post about another time.

Because oils are absorbed into the skin rather quickly and effectively, only therapeutic-grade essential oils should be used. doTerra oils are natural and very effective and pure, but essential oils should allows be used safely and carefully. Read about that here.

Getting started using oils is pretty simple and you will be amazed at the results. If you don't know where to start, On Guard is the perfect one to start with this time of year. (Found under Oil Blends)

Another place to start is to try out the Introductory Kit (under Product Packages). It includes the three most commonly used oils Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint. You can get that kit for just $26.67  It comes with suggested uses for each oil.

  • Lavender - I use for sleeping, calming, and for minor burns. I put this on my husband at night and he rubs it around his sinuses and nose. He swears it opens up his sinuses and helps him breath better at night. It also smells wonderful!
  • Lemon - I put one drop of lemon in my water first thing in the morning. It has many benefits. Read this article about that. Lemon can also be used for making homemade cleaners, among many other uses.
  • Peppermint - GREAT for headaches. Mix all three of these together in a roller bottle with a carrier oil and rub it on the temples/forehead for headache relief. You can also buy peppermint in beadlet form which I highly recommend. Great for the breath, for a burst of energy, for upset stomach. My favorite blend is mixing peppermint with lavender, lemon, rosemary for immediate relief of upset stomach and stomach cramps. Tried and True. Just trust me on this. I carry it in my purse and it has never let me down.
Are you ready to try it yet?

Here's to a healthier New Year!
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mayday! Mayday! or What to Do When You Find a Red Crayon in Your Dryer

This morning was going so well. Everyone had a good, healthy breakfast. The girls were all busy doing their school work. The bathrooms had been deep cleaned, floors vacuumed and mopped. The third load of laundry had just finished and had piled it all on the couch to fold.

That's when I noticed it....RED wax on EVERYTHING!!!
My husband's favorite new shirt and his favorite pair of jeans were included in this pile and I was about to panic. Immediately, I perused Google and found a post that looked promising. I was skeptical because, I mean, red crayon?? That's a nightmare. But I had no choice but to try it.

I followed Diary of a Doctor's Wife's suggestion and couldn't believe the outcome! Here's what you do:

Turn your washer to the hot water setting. (I even added boiling water as the link suggests to make sure it's hot enough.)
Add, your detergent. Mine is Purex at the moment.
Then, add 1/2 cup white vinegar and 4-5 tsp of dish soap. I used Dawn original.

Put the stained clothes in and let them soak for 15-20 minutes.

Then, run through the normal wash cycle.

Once the wash cycle was done, I rushed to the machine to see if it worked. And MUCH to my surprise, it was AWESOME! It came out of EVERYTHING leaving only two light spots on my husband's favorite light plaid shirt and my daughters light gray pants.

I decided, per the comments on the original post, to run those two items through again using the same method as before. And would you believe it ALL came out!!!!
Now, when my husband gets home, he'll have no idea what even happened. He doesn't read the blog. (Imagine that!!) That'll teach him not to read my blog from now on! ;)

I just had to share this with you because it is bound to happen to some of y'all. All I know is those pesky little restaurant crayons will never sneak their way into my kids' pockets again. They were the culprit.

Happy Laundering!
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Time Management for 2015

Home management involves a lot of things, not the least of which is time management. Now that my precious kids are all in school, I find that my need for organization and time management is at an all-time high. It's true that I do have more free time in the sense that I don't have anyone at home demanding my attention from 8am to 3pm. However, I have a lot of things on my to-do list that still will not get done if I'm not organized about it. Time is so very easily wasted. {And we can't always blame it on the kids.} I am learning that having a list to follow everyday of the things I need to accomplish is the best way for me to get it all done. I love checking things off of a list. There's a big sense of accomplishment from that. The older I get the more I need a list to follow because I cannot do it all from memory.
Do this little exercise in time management to see if you are using your valuable time wisely.
  • Journal your day starting from when you wake up until you go to bed.
  • Write down what you did that day in 15 minute increments. You may want to stop every hour for a second to write it down otherwise you may forget. We do SO MUCH everyday!
  • At the end of the day, look over it and analyze how your time was spent.
  • Did you find you had several sections of time that were not productive? I know that I do have some that I could be using to do those small things on my list. I'll give you some ideas below.
  • Do you have too much on your to do list? It's possible you need to rethink your list and determine what things you need to remove or move to another day/time.
Now, if you have slots of time that are not productive, here are some things you can do in small amounts of time:
  • Clean out a drawer.
  • Fold a basket of clothes.
  • Distribute clothes to a room.
  • Wash windows in one room.
  • Dust one room.
  • Vacuum one room.
  • Sweep the porch.
  • Clean a half bath.
  • Refill paper products - toilet paper, napkins, paper towels.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Hang up clothes.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Send a card or email or text to someone you need to connect with.
  • Write a grocery list
  • Pick up everything in one room that doesn't belong and put it away.
  • Throw in a load of laundry.
  • Switch clothes to dryer.
  • Wipe down counters
  • Wipe down kitchen sink.
  • Clean out refrigerator.
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Load dishwasher
  • ETC.
During this time, you can also make a phone call to return a call, make an appt., pay a bill, etc.

The goal is to multitask when you can and use every slot of time in the best possible way. Schedule some down time if you need it, by all means, but make sure you're not just wasting time when there are a million things to be done.

If there are things on your list that never get done, ask yourself:
  • Is this item absolutely necessary?
  • Does it benefit my family or cause me to neglect my family?
  • Is doing this item causing frustration in me or in my family members? {Maybe from lack of planning, feeling rushed, doing too much...}
Sometimes we place unneeded stress on ourselves by taking on too many committments. I mean, school is demanding, family obligations can be demanding, ministry can be very demanding, sports, etc. We don't have to do it all or be involved in everything that is available to us. In fact, it's impossible to do it all and maintain a balanced family life. Sometimes, we just have to say no. Sometimes, we can say 'later' and even fewer times we can readily commit where the whole family benefits and doesn't suffer. You just have to take these things one at a time as they come because some seasons of life are busier than others and one month we may feel like taking on the world, but the next month be completely maxed out. Balance is the key. Life is a balancing act.
  • Determine your priorities ahead of time. {Family, Church, Work, School, etc.}
  • What are you willing to sacrifice and not sacrifice from time to time?
  • What kind of demands fall into each of those categories?
Plan ahead and when opportunities/demands present themselves, you will already have a plan in place to determine whether or not you should commit.

How do you manage your time? Do you use a daily to-do list? Do you plan each item for a specific time? Or does it work for you to just fly by the seat of your pants? I'd love to hear your tips!

Here are some great day planners for 2015 you can get for a good deal!
The Inner Guide 2015 Planner - 5 Star Reviews! From Amazon...
  • 8"x9" light-weight and convenient carrying size, 204 pages
  • 2-page spread per week for appointments including a structure for developing awareness, accountability and reflection
  • 2-page spread BEFORE each month to help you plan ahead and a 2-page spread AFTER each month to help you assess the quality of your month. Plus, a BONUS 2-page Mid-Year section
  • Unique goal-setting chart featuring nine important areas of life to help you brainstorm your yearly and monthly goals
At a Glance Monthly Planner 2015 - Perfect for looking at your whole month. I like to use monthly planners for doing bills, keeping track of family appointments, events, etc.
2015 Mom Do-it-All Weekly Planner - Great reviews and perfect for all the busy moms running from this place to that with a van full of kids or teens.

This is part of my 31 Days of Home Economics series. You can find the full list at the tab above {Home Economics}.

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I'm sharing this with a few of these friends! Thanks for stopping by!
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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Won't Believe Your Eyes...

I love a good before and after! Home renovations (that aren't mine),furniture makeovers, beauty makeovers, etc. I am always amazed at the afters. Recently, I was introduced to a product that I absolutely love. My sister first tried the product out after seeing a friend's before and after. She bought it, tried it and before I knew what hit me, I received a text like this...
Left: 3D Fiber Lash - Right: Regular mascara
She has been batting her eyelashes ever since! So, like a good sister, I looked into the product. I sort of got side tracked because of all the crazy going on in my life, but then I saw a giveaway for the very same product and just had to enter. Low and behold, and much to my surprise - I won! I couldn't wait to get it in the mail and when I did it was nighttime, so I decided to wait until morning to try it out. The next morning, I tried my new Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara and was SHOCKED at the results.
So, last week when my family was gathered at my sister's house for Christmas, my mom got wind of this amazing mascara and immediately bought it. I cannot believe I didn't get a video of her reaction. It was EPIC. There was a lot of "Oh my word!" and "Goodness Gracious!" and "I cannot believe this!" And looking at this before and after of her that day, you'll see why...
This Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara is totally awesome and once you try it you will never go back! On my sister, my mom and myself, it has made our lashes look 1/4 inch longer, as well as, thicker and fuller. I am loving it so much I decided to sell it.
The technique is easy and takes 1 minute to apply. The mascara comes in a nice case with two tubes. One is the Transplanting Gel which is basically just awesome black mascara. The second tube is the Natural Fibers. It looks like a fuzzy wand. You put on your regular mascara first. Let it dry. Then, start with one eye, lower lash and apply the transplanting gel. Right after, apply the natural fibers. Then, another coat of transplanting gel to seal the fibers on. Then, move to the top lid and then do the other eye the same way. Don't forget to take a picture after you do one eye because you'll need it to show all of your friends your amazing before and after!
This stuff is water resistant, stays on all day long and cleans off easily with facial cleanser and water. Unbelievable. It's what you've been waiting for your whole life!
If you want to try this for yourself (which I highly suggest), check out my website or my Facebook Page: Younique Sassy Lashes

Right now I have a Younique Party going on and I'd love for you to check out all the cool products that Younique has to offer. This party will close in 10 days.

Thanks for stopping by!
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