Tuesday, July 28, 2015

From Toxic to Not Sick

Some of the herbs and supplements I've been taking this month.
Late last month I started having difficulty breathing. I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling like my throat was closing up and like there was a weight on my chest. It sometimes happened during the day, but most of the time it would be at night. I was getting so run-down and tired from not getting adequate sleep, and I was feeling fearful about what might be causing these periods of shortness of breath. 

Around the same time, I received Suzanne Somers' book Tox-Sick in the mail. 
After reading several chapters, I started fearing that my problems may be caused by mold. We have had so much rain this spring and summer, and unfortunately, water was getting in our finished basement due to a drainage issue. Even after spending hundreds of dollars and having many different people try to help us with the issue, water was still getting in. It made sense that the breathing issue may be connected to a hidden mold problem.

Suzanne interviews several doctors who understand the toxic syndrome behind numerous illnesses (including cancer, mold, Lyme disease, hormone issues, and more). She also shares a list of supplements and various natural detoxifying treatments. Honestly, there's no way we could ever afford to do everything Suzanne suggests, but she does include a couple of simple and inexpensive recipes (for sauerkraut and yogurt) that would be doable for most people.

Suzanne's book has been an encouragement to me to get rid of some of the toxins in our life. It seems we're living in a time where we will be forced to live with a certain level of toxicity, but there are things we can do to minimize the toxic burden.

I'm thankful that for the past couple of weeks I haven't been waking up unable to breathe, and I'm praying that it stays that way. It's terrifying to wake up feeling like that, and it's so nice when I actually get to sleep at night instead of spending the night praying for relief!

Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. The opinions expressed here are my own. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

What I Wore: Sweet 16 Edition + Link Up

Today my oldest child turned sixteen! I can hardly believe how quickly the time has flown by. It seems like just yesterday that she was a little girl, playing with dolls and picking wildflowers in the field behind our house. Now she's wading through Algebra, wearing makeup, and dreaming of the future.
Elyse planned her entire birthday party (which was on Saturday) herself. I know it may seem kind of strange to plan your own party, but all the while she was hoping to create a fun and memorable day for her friends. It was a chance to peruse Pinterest, do some crafting, and learn how to plan and coordinate an event. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for her, so I just let her do it. :)

Her cake was amazing. She really wanted a professionally-made cake, so we ordered this one from the same talented cake-artist who made the teapot cake for my 40th birthday party (another party my daughter planned). I thought this cake was so beautiful! It fit perfectly with the beachy theme of the party.
Elyse and her younger sister (who will be fourteen in a little over a week) made cupcakes, candy-coated pretzel sticks, and the "sweet 16" burlap banner decorating the dessert table. We're planning to share more details and party photos over at Elyse's blog sometime this week. Feel free to follow her over there if you want to see all the details! :)

My creative contribution to the party was to create a photo booth. One night the idea just popped into my head, and all the kids thought it would be so fun. Our whole family had a fun time with this, and we got some hilarious photos. This would also be a great idea for a family fun night!
I'm so glad we got a few group photos of everyone dressed up or holding a photo prop!
I had a hard time finding something in my closet to wear to the party. I was leaning towards pink, but then I saw this fun ruffle top and it seemed perfect. I love ruffle tops because they hide so many figure flaws!
I've had these shoes for a few years (got them for free with Zulily credits!), and I really like them. They're actually wooden clog wedges. Kind of interesting, but I love the color.
Here's What I Wore:

Layering Tee: Forever 21
Ruffle Top: Aeropostale outlet store (for a few bucks on the clearance rack!)
Skirt: Walmart
Shoes: Zulily

No on to the link-up! Sorry I'm late with this. We had Elyse's birthday party on Saturday, then got up Sunday morning and drove a couple of hours to spend the day with my husband's parents. We spent the whole day there and didn't get home until almost midnight. Then we had more birthday activities today, so I'm just now getting around to being on the computer.

The most-viewed post at last week's link-up was this lovely post, The Career of Homemaking, by Libby at The Whispering Cottage:
If you're a blogger, I'd love for you to link up your posts below! Feel free to share as many as you'd like. Please link back here so others can find this link-up!

Friday, July 24, 2015


It seems we're always making something around here. I'm still working here and there on a few more dresses for my youngest daughter. And then I dug out the quilt squares (above) that I'm hoping will become a quilted table runner one of these days.
I've been wanting to make my own elderberry syrup for awhile. We have a couple of elderberry bushes in our backyard that I really ought to use, but this time I went with this simple DIY kit from Beeyoutiful.
The process was really simple, and I thought it was also a lot of fun. I'm planning to make some more as we get closer to fall. We've already begun using this batch, since there's been something going around among our friends lately. :)
But here's the biggest thing we've been working on:
Preparations for my daughter Elyse's 16th birthday party, which is tomorrow! We've been making decorations and food and all kinds of things. Hopefully I'll have more details and photos to share next week. 
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Healing Adrenal Fatigue {Adrenal Tonic Tincture}

The past few years I've struggled off and on with adrenal fatigue. Sometimes it's better and sometimes it's worse. I've spent a lot of time studying how to overcome this, and one of the things that has helped is taking various herbal supplements and tinctures containing key herbs useful for combating adrenal fatigue. 

A couple of years ago I came across this Adrenal Tonic Tincture recipe in Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs book. In her book, she gives the basic directions and the "parts" of each herb you should use. I worked out how much to use of each herb based on her formula and the size of jars I had. 

I actually made this tincture last summer, and then I never got around to posting about it. I've used all of it up and I'm ready to make some more, which is what reminded me that I hadn't shared it here. The great thing about buying herbs in bulk and then making your own tinctures is that it's a lot more cost-effective in the long run. I still have lots of herbs left to make this tincture several more times.
  • 1/4 cup chopped licorice root
  • 1/4 cup chopped Rhodiola root
  • 1/4 cup chopped Siberian Ginseng  (Eleuthero Root)
  • 1/8 cup chopped cinnamon bark
  • 80-proof alcohol (I used vodka)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
I got most of my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, but a few of them also came from Bulk Herb Store


1. Place the herbs (the first four ingredients listed above) in a clean glass jar.
2. Pour enough alcohol over the herbs to completely cover them by 2-3 inches.
3. Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the herbs stay covered. If you need to, add more alcohol.
4. Place the jar in a warm, sunny spot, and let the herbs soak for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar daily.
5. Strain the herbs from the liquid.
6. Before bottling, add 2 Tablespoons of honey to the herb mixture. Stir to combine. Then funnel the tincture into dark glass bottles. I got mine from Mountain Rose Herbs.
7. Label your bottles with tincture name, date, and dosage instructions. Store the tinctured herbs in a cool, dark spot. 

To Use Your Tincture:
  • Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon three times daily for 3 months. Discontinue use for 1 month, then repeat the cycle as needed.

Disclaimer: This information is being shared for entertainment purposes only. I'm not a medical professional. I'm simply sharing something that has worked for me personally. If you have a health concern, be sure to see your healthcare professional. Disclosure: This post contains my affiliate links. When you shop through these links it's a huge blessing to our family. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Meal Planning With Build A Menu {Giveaway!}

Meal planning has never been my greatest strength. It's probably one of my least-favorite homemaking tasks. So, when I heard about Build A Menu I couldn't wait to try it out!
Build A Menu to the Rescue

I was especially excited when I saw that Build A Menu also has a Trim Healthy Mama option. That was one of the things I was struggling with--not just planning regular meals, but specifically planning Trim Healthy Mama-friendly meals. Build A Menu has really been a life-saver for my meal planning dilemma!
I've been using Build A Menu for about a month now, and we have found so many new family favorites! 
We loved the Broccoli Quiche, the Kale and Cabbage Stir-Fry (shown above), the Shepherd's Pie, and the Cheddar Herb Drop Biscuits (shown below). And all of these are Trim Healthy Mama-friendly! 
The delicious Cheddar Herb Drop Biscuits contain coconut flour and they're a THM--S. They were so easy to make, and everyone really liked them.

The Chocolate Muffins were another favorite. My kids even enjoyed these!
Build a Menu With These 3 Simple Steps:
  1. Choose your favorite grocery store (Walmart, Safeway, Aldi, etc.--if you don't see your grocery store listed, you can pick "any grocery store")
  2. In  Step 2, you choose from the Build A Menu recipes to create your menu. I usually pick from the Trim Healthy Mama recipes, but sometimes I'll choose another category for my children. You can pick from several categories as you make your menu.
  3. In Step 3, you print your shopping list and recipes. Build A Menu does all the work of putting together the shopping list and compiling your recipes for you. They also calculate about how much your menu will cost!

Two of My Favorite Features

Build A Menu rotates their recipes, so each week there are different recipes to choose from. But if you tried something and really liked it, you can add it to your "favorites," and then it's available to you all the time! I use this feature regularly.

Another favorite feature is the option to add your own recipes. I've added several recipes that I use on a regular basis that I wanted to have on my weekly menu. For instance, we regularly have scrambled eggs for breakfast. We get eggs from my parents, so we usually have a large supply of them. It's easy for my girls to make, and it's nourishing. So, I typed in a quick and simple scrambled egg "recipe." Now I can include it on my weekly menu. It's a pretty simple feature to use, especially once you've done the initial work of typing it in.

But Does It Work for Large Families?

This was one of the questions I had. And the answer is yes! Our family is on the smaller side of "large" with seven people. Many of the recipes list the serving size as 4-6. Usually I aim for at least 8-10 servings, to make sure there's enough for everyone with a decent-sized serving. So, what I do is I select the recipes that serve 4-6 twice. When you select them twice, it will add the doubled amount of ingredients to the total cost, and it will also add the doubled ingredients to your shopping list. This has worked out perfectly for us. Occasionally there are recipes available that serve 8-10, but the Trim Healthy Mama ones usually are for 4-6.

Plan a Menu, Help a Child

And in case I needed one more reason to love Build A Menu, here's one more. For every member who joins their site, they donate to one of their selected orphan care charities. And not just once, but every single month that member stays with them! And, you get to select from a list of charities where you'd like your donation to go. I love this! Lisa and Karee, the Build A Menu founders, have 5 adopted children between them, so they really have a heart for orphans.

The Giveaway

Would you like a chance to try out Build A Menu? Today I'm excited to be giving away a FREE 6 month Classic Membership, with the bonus Done-4-U plan! (The Done-4-U plan is just what it sounds like--every week they send you a menu plan and shopping list that's already done!)

If you'd like to try out Build A Menu for free, simply enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form below. If you don't want to wait for the giveaway, you can get your own membership here!

Disclosure: I received a free Build A Menu membership for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains my affiliate links. Your support is a huge blessing to our family--thank you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Cleaning and Home Management Schedule

After sharing about my new homemaking binder, I received some questions about my exact schedule, routines, and cleaning lists. Last week I shared my schedule and routines, and today I'm sharing my cleaning plan.

Again, this isn't something that works out perfectly, it's just what I aim for. Also, my five kids help out a lot! Some of these chores our children are responsible for, and some of them I take care of myself.

I've gleaned lots of my ideas from many different time management books, websites, and just figuring out what works for our family through the years. I recently changed a few things on my cleaning list, so there may be some items that are different from what you see in the photos.

My Cleaning and Home Management Schedule

  • Make beds
  • Pick up
  • Laundry every day
  • Dishes 
  • Sweep floor
  • Clean Kitchen
  • Monday: Catch up on laundry, wash kitchen and bath towels
  • Tuesday: Vacuum living room
  • Wednesday: Catch up on filing and clean desk area
  • Thursday: Wipe out refrigerator. wash kitchen and bath towels
  • Friday: Whole house cleaning, dust, vacuum, mop, water plants, change sheets, restock toilet paper, disinfect toothbrushes, place online orders
  • Saturday: Make ahead food for Sunday/guests, prepare for Sunday (get out clothes, shoes, etc.), Plan Menu, plan homeschooling, print chore charts and schedule checklists
  • Wash walls throughout house (a child does this job)
  • Clean and sweep garage
  • Clean all windows
  • Clean outside of cupboards
  • Vacuum/Clean out van (kids do this)
  • Dust baseboards 
  • Vacuum edges of all rooms
  • Vacuum furniture
  • Clean door handles (we sometimes do this weekly)
  • Organize/declutter pantry
  • Dust blinds
  • Flip/rotate mattress
  • Go through papers and file/purge
  • Go through entire house and purge unnecessary items
  • Clean Carpets
Yearly/Spring Cleaning 
  • Clean/dust bed frames and air mattresses
  • Vacuum mattresses
  • Wash all curtains and window treatments
  • Vacuum under beds and furniture
  • Thoroughly clean out and straighten all closets and dust/vacuum
  • Thoroughly clean refrigerator and freezer and organize
  • Clean out kitchen cupboards and drawers and wipe out
  • Clean light fixtures
  • Touch up trim paint around doors/paint bedroom doors
There are other jobs that I do on an as-needed basis. When I notice something needs cleaning, organizing, or straightening, I add this task to my weekly list, or try to fit it in somewhere that month. Switching out seasonal clothing fits into this category. I also have a "yearly/spring cleaning" list that I add to as I see things that need to be cleaned or organized.

Both of my printed cleaning lists were heavily influenced by Crystal's. She always inspires me, and I loved her lists. I tweaked hers to fit our family, and I re-created my own lists using Excel. But you can take advantage of the editable forms she has available to create your own!

As I've looked through various cleaning lists, I've come to see that everyone has different ideas about cleaning and how often certain tasks should be performed. I'm always learning and revising my lists!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What I Wore + Link-Up

Last Sunday morning we were in a hurry. My oldest daughter was busy, so my 9-year-old daughter took pictures for me. They're a bit blurry, but she did a great job! :)

Here's what I wore:

Black and White Chevron Skirt: Walmart
Black Top: thrift store
Coral Knit Vest: Local department store
Sandals: Walmart, years ago
Rose Bobby Pin: Lilla Rose

This new Lilla Rose bobby pin just matched the color of my coral top.
I love these new bobby pin sets Lilla Rose just came out with. My oldest daughter already claimed the rose one, and I think the bee and butterfly will look so cute in my youngest daughter's hair.
I really love the colors of this new headband and beach-themed bobby pin set, too:
Also, I wanted to mention that right now Lilla Rose is having free shipping on all enrollment kits! If you've ever considered signing up as a consultant, now is a great time to join! I love working with Lilla Rose--it has been a huge blessing to our family, and I spend very little time on it. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks again to all of you who linked up last week! The most-viewed post last week was Carol's post at Pur et Simple. I love Carol's kitchen and the lovely curtains she made!

Please link up any family-friendly posts you'd like to share, and feel free to link up more than one!