Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hooray for Adult Coloring Books!

Alright, I kind of thought the whole adult coloring book thing was overrated. I do like to color, but the coloring books I buy my kids are fine to use, right? Why should I buy a special "adult" coloring book when I have perfectly good Curious George and My Little Pony pages awaiting some artistic expression right here at hand?

But then they made a Harry Potter one.

And then my mom bought it for me.

And now I get what the big deal is! There are so many intricate little tiny parts that need individually colored to make the whole picture work. It's time consuming and completely addictive!

So far, I've only had time to finish the title page:

and these vines:

and this one of Harry and Hedwig...

And of course I had to get to work on Professor Snape in honor of the great Alan Rickman.

 I think this book is going to last me a long time and I'm totally fine with that. I imagine that by the time I get to the last page, I'll be sad to see it done.

But that doesn't stop me from buying another one, like this Brother's Grimm coloring book I found while I was shopping the other day!

Oh, the possibilities...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Five Essential Oils for Tummy Trouble

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for supporting the the body's many functions. I, however, have only been using them to support my family's health for a couple of years. But I will never look back!

My essential oil tips are recommended for use only with pure, quality therapeutic grade essential oils. If you would like information on where to get them, please send me a message!

These are my top 5 essential oils to help with stomach problems for your whole family:


Peppermint has naturally soothing qualities. The go-to tea for people with tummy troubles is always peppermint tea! But what if I told you that one drop of pure peppermint essential oil equals about 28 cups of peppermint tea? It makes sense, then, that a drop of peppermint on your tongue or a couple of drops rubbed on your abdomen would help ease the occasional upset stomach.


Fennel essential oil is my daughter's very favorite. It tastes like black licorice so she always feels like she's getting a special treat. I love it because it helps calm the odd bout of nausea or indigestion. Again, a drop on the tongue or a couple of drops rubbed onto the abdomen.


Ginger is great for the digestive system. It can help to ease occasional discomfort from gas, indigestion or nausea. You can take a drop or two in a veggie capsule or dilute 1-2 drops with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and rub it over your stomach. Another good way to use this one is by putting a couple of drops on the bottom of your feet. It may sound crazy, but it's true! It gets into your system quickly that way because that's where our biggest pores live!


I love cypress oil! I think it smells great and it gives me a sense of calming. I also use it to help "deflate" when I'm feeling bloated. Just a couple of drops rubbed around my abdomen! (Are you sensing a pattern?)


Alright, I don't actually have this one yet. Hopefully soon! But I have smelled it and used it and it seriously smells so good. It has a lot of similarities to Peppermint, but I think Peppermint can sometimes be a bit in your face, while Spearmint is a little milder. But since they are similar, they do share some benefits, including aiding you when you sometimes get that crabby tummy.

Please remember that pure essential oils are powerful so a little goes a long way. Dilution with a carrier oil is recommended for skin sensitivities and when using oils for your little ones.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Banana Blueberry Smoothie

I have never made a smoothie that my kids like. I blend it up, pour them each a cup and then they taste it and it sits on the table until I dump it down the drain.

But this one! They both wanted a second cup and my daughter asked me to make it again the next day. I'm calling this one a winner!

Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Half of one banana
1 tsp sugar

I doubled it so there was enough for all four of us. Happy blending!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Book Review--The Silver Star

The Silver Star is the first novel by Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle. This is the first time I've read Walls and I am impressed!

The novel tells the story of two young-teenage sisters, Bean and Liz. Told from Bean's point of view, we learn about the girls' less than normal upbringing due the erratic nature of their mother. As their mother's mental condition deteriorates the two embark on a cross country trip to find their closest relatives. Once nestled safely in Virginia under the wing of their mother's brother Tinsley, the girls begin to acclimate. Bean discovers  her father's family and they welcome her with open arms. But it's not all rainbows and sunshine, especially once Liz endures a gut-wrenching ordeal which alienates the family from much of the town. The Silver Star shows us the amazing bond only sisters can have and how important it is to hold your family close.

I wasn't 20 pages into the book before I started feeling a connection with both girls. I found myself worrying for them and cheering for them. Plus, Walls does an excellent job of bringing her characters to life. It's a rare book that allows me to envision a character so clearly that I can see their face with no effort and by the novel's conclusion I could see eleven of those faces.

Walls is known for her memoirs but her fiction proves to be well worth the read.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Rosemary for your Hair

Rosemary essential oil is so great for your hair! I have found so many different ways to incorporate it into my everyday routine and I can't tell you the amount of compliments I get. Everything from the shine to the length to the texture and rosemary is my secret weapon ;) Here are a few easy peasy ways to use it.

In Shampoo and Conditioner

I try to use an essential oil based shampoo and conditioner. They're a bit more expensive but I think the difference is totally worth it. Sometimes my budget is a bit tighter, but even then I try to get the most natural ones I can find at the store. No matter what the brand, I always add a few drops of Rosemary oil in the bottle and shake it up. If, partway through the bottle, I decide I can't smell the rosemary well enough, I add a little more.

Spray for Abundance 

I have always had really thick hair but as I've gotten older it has thinned out some. I got maybe a little irrationally upset when I noticed a couple of months ago...Anyway, I made myself a little spray bottle with 30 drops of Rosemary oil and 15 drops of Lavender oil then filled the rest of the way with water.

About once a day I spray my scalp and kind of massage it around. It's super simple and super effective.

Deep Conditioner

I found a great recipe for a deep hair conditioner on Pinterest. (You can check it out for yourself here.) The recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of coconut oil, 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 8 drops of Rosemary essential oil. You combine all the ingredients and blend for about 5 minutes. Then you put it on your dry hair and leave it for 20 or 30 minutes before washing it out. I haven't done this one yet but it's on the agenda!

Hair Detangler

This one is used every day in our house...for my preschooler. She's got crazy curly hair. It's long and it tangles and it hurts when we brush it. So I have another handy spray bottle just for her. It's about half conditioner and half water (or more if you need a thinner consistency) with 15 drops of Rosemary and 5 drops of Lavender. It makes it so much easier to brush through that poor tangled mess!

Do you have any other ways to add Rosemary into your hair care routine? Or maybe another oil that works well for you? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mom's Banana Bread, Madeover

*This recipe is not gluten free, but could easily become so by substituting a gluten free all-purpose flour*

When I moved out into the big scary world all by myself, my mom, who is a seriously excellent baker, gave me a bunch of recipes for things that she had made all through my childhood. One of the recipes was for the world's BEST banana bread.

I've made it many times since then and it typically lasts less than a day in my kitchen. However, since the last time I whipped it up, I've made some changes in the ingredients I'll include and the food I'll serve my family. So I didn't have a couple of things that go in this recipe.

To begin with, I don't cook with shortening anymore. Actually, shortening is not something I've ever really had around the house, but in the past I've substituted margarine. Now, though, I use margarine as sparingly as possible. So, hesitatingly, I decided to use coconut oil in place of the shortening this time.

The second change I made was to the peanut butter. I usually try to make my own rather than use the store bought kind. It's super easy to do: I just put shelled peanuts in the blender, sometimes add a little bit of sugar, and blend it for about 5 minutes until it turns itself into something spreadable. It's really yummy! But I still wasn't sure how well it would taste in my mom's recipe.

Well...I pulled my loaf pan out of the oven about 19 hours ago and this is what's left ...

 It tastes exactly the same: Delicious!

Here's my mom's recipe with my changes:

Banana Bread

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup homemade peanut butter
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp milk
3 frozen overripe bananas, thawed
1 cup nuts, chopped
2 tsp almond extract

1. Cream sugar, coconut oil and peanut butter.
2. Add eggs.
3. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix until just combined.
4. Add remaining ingredients.
5. Pour into greased loaf pan.
6. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Happy baking!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review--The Fatal Shore

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm a nerd and I'm a little bit weird. I am. I find one snippet of information interesting and then I have to find out everything I can about it. I've spent hours doing research on random pieces of information so that I can gain a good understanding when there's really no need except my own curiosity.

That being said, at one point I decided I needed to research the treatment of the Australian Aborigines during Australia's founding because of some sentence I came across while doing research for an American art history class.

I told you.

Anyway, while I was researching THAT I learned about this book "The Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes, which chronicles the colonization of Australia.

Wow! I can't imagine a deeper investigation and history of the beginnings of a country than this one. So many interesting and terrible things went on during this time period and I can only imagine that Hughes touched on them all. The book was incredibly thorough; detailing everything from poverty in England in the 18th century to the harsh conditions of the Australian outback.

Hughes offers a complete picture of the circumstances surrounding the establishment of Australia as a penal colony and its trek into freedom. I would recommend it to anyone who has a deep interest in history.