Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Journey Home: The BIG Idea

Pin It Well, if you are a friend or family member, then you already know a little about what "My Journey Home" means to me. My Journey Home is my BIG idea of taking my love of being home with and for my family, along with my talents and need to provide an income, and somehow forming them together into a perfect, balanced, life style. Like I said before... this is one BIG idea...

I've discovered recently that I'm not alone. There are millions of other mothers out there who also want this amazing since of balance. Well, I think it's safe to say that all moms dream of balance. And let me tell you, the possibilities are out there and they are endless! The goal is to find the right fit for you and your family.
And that is no easy task. Yes, there are all kinds of groups you can join, books you can read, steps you can follow, but, every family is different. Every lifestyle is different. Every mom is different. And, every dream is different.

I'm slowly seeing little bits and pieces of what God's plan is for me and my family and I have to tell you that with each and every piece that is revealed to me... I get more and more excited. I also gain more and more confidence that my dream can become a reality (and soon!). I wish I could write you an outline of things to do to achieve your own goals, but, as we know, you are different. What I can do is share with you each and every little step I took and hope that it will inspire you and give you confidence in your own journey. Because honey... if I can do it... SO CAN YOU.

So, what's this BIG idea you ask? My dream is to eventually become a work at home mom. Now, we can sit and debate ALL day about the real definitions of WAHM and SAHM... but... let's put the debate aside and just talk about individual lifestyles.

I love our life just as it is, right now. I've found that you have to be happy where you are at this very moment. SURE things can be even better, so, that's where we start. "I'm ok with things if they just stayed as they are... but... what could make things better? And, what small steps can I make to achieve that 'Better'?"

That's where I started.
I'm excited to share each step I've take so far. I'm gonna share with you the mistakes, the "ah ha" moments, and some WONDERFUL resources and advice I've learned so far. Again, I hope it will inspire you to take the next step toward your BIG idea.

Here is an awesome quote to end this post:
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Words of Wisdom: From my Mother

Pin It As an adult (and a mother) I catch myself repeating the little "mantras" my mother used to say to us. I remember rolling my eyes as a teen when she would chime in with her little rhymes or words of wisdom. I laugh now, only because most of them have become my inner voice... forever reminding me that I can do & think better. One of my favorites is: "Can't never did anything... but... I'll try sure did!"... I hear this in my head daily. LOL.  So, to pay tribute to this little tid-bit of positive thinking... I decided to design a 4x6 card that I'll print and frame, to hang in my art space (and possibly my office too. lol) I decided to use flowers from Tangie Baxter's collection to beautify this card... they always make me think of my mom.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Products we Love: Great Skin... Then and Now!

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Growing up, this Proactiv arsenal lived in our bathroom cabinet. I remember discovering this for the first time as a teen and was SUPER excited to have a clear face! And it worked like a charm. I used this stuff all through college... I was just as excited to get a box in the mail of Proactive as I was to get a care package from mom.

Now, as an adult, the days of major brake outs are over. I have blemishes pop up every now and again when I'm stressed, not eating healthy, or when I sit with my hand on my chin at my computer (do you do this too?) But I no longer have to rely on the Proactive solution to stay clean and clear.

BUT, what are the skin issues I now face as an adult and what should I be looking forward to (or dreading) in the future? Sun spots? Wrinkles? Bags under my eyes? Oh no... I think I'd rather have pimples... at least I could manage those! lol.

Well, I've been envious of a friend of mine for years... She wears little to NO make up and always has a glow to her smooth skin. I will admit that I've used Cover Girl liquid foundation for years (it's what my Mother uses) and what I'm finding is, I have large pores and black heads. No matter how hard I scrub my face or steam... I just can't get that smooth complexion. (sigh) I've tried every microderm product you can find in the store.. even a battery operated facial scrubber... nothing is working. Will I have to cover up my skin with thick foundation forever? I sure hope not.

Yesterday, a new friend of mine mailed me a sample of a new product by Rodan+Fields Dermatologists (the makers of Proactiv Solutions). The sample packet included:

This stuff goes on dry and it's super thick! When they say beauty is painful... well... let's just say that I could actually FEEL this stuff! So, I know it was working as I rubbed it on my face.

So, I'm all about packaging and these little capsules are fun. lol. Anyway, the blue one goes on after you scrub your face with the Dermabrasion paste. It felt SO smooth! I actually ran into the kitchen as I rubbed it in and MADE my husband FEEL my face! lol "It's SO SMOOTH!"

The silver capsule is for your lips. It goes on just as smooth and feels SO GOOD! 

Needless to say.. I'm SOLD on this stuff! I wish I had more to use tonight!
I believe I found my tools needed to carry out my "No Makeup" plan, but, if I do find myself in a situation that I might need some cover-up... they have a solution for that too!

I'm excited to check out more product from  Rodan+Fields. They saved my face as a teenager, and it looks like they will save my face as an adult. :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bucket List: Be Brave

Pin It So, I've been slowly working on collecting the photos for Wyatt's 2012 Summer Bucket List book. If you remember, I started by designing the cover. You can see it here. The Lily Pad gals created a WONDERFUL kit that is themed around summer and a bucket list. Sure makes it easy and fun to find just the right pieces I need to finish a layout! :)

One of the things on Wy's bucket list this summer, is, to ride his motorcycle. Not just SIT on it, but, push the red pedal down and go! He has had this bike since last Christmas and just can't muster up enough courage to make it go! But, I know as soon as he dose, he will LOVE it and we'll have a hard time getting him off! Until then, we cheer him on and encourage him to BE BRAVE!

Here are the photos I took and the layout I created from extracting the photo and hand doodling!

Were your kids ever afraid of something that, to you, seemed silly? Maybe you knew they would LOVE it once they just tried it?!? Leave a comment and tell me your story! :D

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Products we (continue to) Love: Wittlebee

Pin It Do you remember my post back in March...the very first post on the subject of "Products we Love". I was highlighting a new company called Wittlebee. Here is a refresher;

If you haven't heard of Wittlebee, you're in for a treat. This company will ship you a box of children clothes, each month, for $39.99. These clothes are new clothes, brand name, and your box is put together by a style profile you fill out on their website. One of their stylists actually called me to verify that my form was correct and if there were any specific items I wanted in my box. Love the customer service! I was excited to see the little yellow hive logo on a box delivered to our house! We opened it and spread the clothes out right away. I asked Wyatt to "pick your favorite one" and he stuck a "Great Job!" sticker on the hero t-shirt. LOL. The box consisted of American Apparel, Gap, and Old Navy. Thanks Wittlebee! Can't wait for the next box!

If you want to try it, I'll share a $10 discount on your first box! Fill out your style profile here!

So, we received three boxes of clothes after that first post. At the end of May, I realised that we had PLENTY of clothes for the rest of spring and summer. I logged back on to their website and found that I could actually PAUSE my account and then start right back up when we were ready! No canceling... just pausing. I LOVE THAT! And do you want to know a secret? well, it's not really a secret... but, for every person who ordered a box of Wittlebee through my blog, I received a $10 credit toward my next box. Even while my account was on pause! That's amazing! What's even more amazing is, we are ready to start our box delivery again to collect clothes for fall and... drum roll please.... my first box is FREE thanks to all the referrals!

I just received an email saying it shipped today. So excited to see the little yellow beehive box again!

Thanks again for your WONDERFUL service Wittlebee! You guys ROCK!
And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who ordered their first box from my blog! :D

Monday, August 6, 2012

Home Cooking: Turkey Shepard's Pie

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Another AWESOME recipe from Mesa de Vida!

Tonight's menu: Turkey Shepard's Pie
I've made many variations of Shepard's pie in my lifetime, but, this recipe was a first and now my FAVORITE! Super good and full of healthy stuff! I will admit that I've used instant mashed potatoes to top most of my pies in the past... but never sweet potatoes... FRESH sweet potatoes! I think this was the first time I've ever used our hand potato masher... worked like a charm! lol.

You know I had to snack on some of the left over turkey from the first menu while I cooked. :) I was excited to use my special pie dish for this menu too! I'm amused by the little things.

Another stamp of approval on another great menu! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Home Cooking: Vegetarian Fajitas

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Another AWESOME recipe from Mesa de Vida!

Tonight's menu: Vegetarian Fajitas.
Now, as a meat eater (lol) the title didn't thrill me... but, once I started reading the list of items in the fajitas, I soon changed my mind. Again, I'm LOVING all the fresh produce instead of frozen veggies. Just look how wonderful this looks!!!

This was super quick and easy to slice everything up and throw it in a skillet with the other flavors and spices. Mmmmm..... While these items cooked, I mashed up a fresh avacado for the topping. These are gonna be SO good! Excited to have a fresh and healthy meal waiting for my husband when he comes home from work later tonight. And, I guess if he wants meat, we still have plenty of turkey left over from last night's menu! (which I've been snacking on leftovers ALL day!)

Last step before serving up tonight's dinner - A little salt and lime. ;)

Happy Sunday and I hope you have a wonderful week!

The Scent of Kansas - Inspiration

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Where did I get the inspiration for the scent I created, COUNTY FAIR, for the Better Homes and Gardens® State Fragrance Contest? The local Harvey County Fair! No... they didn't name the fair after us... LOL. We happen to live in Harvey County Kansas. ;)

 The fair is in town this week and we couldn't WAIT to go see the sights! Last night was perfect for it too! The weather FINALLY took a break from it's 100+ temps and gave us an overcast evening and a cool breeze (followed by much needed rain!). This was my son's first outing to our local fair and I wanted to make sure it was a wonderful experience. We did it all, the fresh lime aid, cotton candy, and tickets to ride ALL the rides! Only... he wasn't quite ready to do that yet. But we still enjoyed watching the colorful horses and cars go "round and round" with all the blinking lights.  We had a wonderful time and look forward to the many fairs to come. Our next stop, the Kansas State Fair in September!  Check out their video!

Maybe then he'll be ready to hand his ticket over for a fun ride! We'll see. :)

Friendship Day

Pin It Did you know that today is Friendship day? Well, I'm usually on top of these special days, but, this month has already started with a crazy busy beginning and I'm afraid this day, to pay tribute to those near and dear, slipped right past me! So, This post is dedicated to a very special gal... my dear friend Amy.

An unlikely friendship... we probably never would've given each other a chance if we hadn't been shoved into a kitchen to make dinner together...alone. LOL. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was standing at my sink shucking corn when she came in the back door and smiled. "hi"

There is something to be said about preparing a meal together... the awkwardness fades away quickly with the tasks at hand, and, before you know it... you're pouring glasses of wine and laughing together. Well, that's how it went with us anyway.

Since then, we've had some awesome moments together. From scrolling through pintrest to decide how she was going to cut her hair, to open heart discussions where all the walls came down. We've tackled birthday parties decorations together, a massive garage sale (if you saw two girls on a street in Newton, one girl on the other's shoulders... stapling a sales sign on a light post...yeah... that was us...) I've cried on her shoulder and she has cried on mine.

We shared each others joy in the birth of our kiddos (9 months apart) and we've turned to each other in times of frustration. We can go for a couple of months of not hanging out and we can meet up in parking lots for 10 minuets just to catch up and share a quick hug before going to our destinations.

She is the friend I always wanted in my adult life and I know we will continue to be friends for many many years to come. I love ya Amy girl. xoxo - Les

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Scent of Kansas - Convenience

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The Better Homes and Gardens® State Fragrance Contest is in full swing and the excitement continues to grow! Read the first post about the contest and get the recipe for the scent of Kansas - COUNTY FAIR here.

I wanted to share a little more about the benefits of Better Homes and Gardens®
Wax warmers and cubes! I love this product! Not only do I LOVE the new scent I was able to create for their contest... the smell has now been adopted by many friends and family members! I also love the convenience of the wax cubes verses candles or bulb scents. The price for a package of cubes is only $2. Compared to a high-end candle ($15-$30) or a plug-bulb ($6.50 each), the cubes are already saving me money.

Last fall, I decided to put a scented bulb plug in every room of my house, my living room had two double plugs (taking two bulbs each). I loved the smells, but, it cost me a small fortune and each bulb only lasted a month. I also learned that the plugs only lasted 3-6 months before they burnt out and had to be replaced ($8.50 each). This became too much to try and keep up with.

Now that I have the Better Homes and Gardens®
wax cubes, I am able to do away with the bulbs and plugs! One wax warmer is enough for the whole house! I can smell the COUNTY FAIR scent in every room!  And the amount of space I save in my storage cabinet has me SUPER excited! Just look! I use the bottom shelf in my corner storage cabinet for all my seasonal candles and bulb plugs...

Now that I'll be using the Better Homes and Gardens® wax cubes exclusively, 
I have more room to store fun things!

 Or I guess it could be a new hiding place for a small boy. LOL.

Don't forget to check out the COUNTY FAIR scent recipe and vote for Kansas!

Home Cooking : Herbed Turkey Breast

Pin It One of my major goals for 2013 is to start cooking more meals at home. And not just prepackaged meals in the freezer isles or boxed meals that have the word "helper" in the title, but, from scratch home cooking. I began the year by searching for menu ideas, digging into our recipe books, and trying to make a menu plan and grocery shopping schedule. What I've found... preparing and planning this is A LOT OF WORK! So much so, I gave up quickly. I didn't want to spend my entire Saturday finding meal menus and typing up grocery lists.

I stumbled upon a website the other day that seemed to have the solutions to all these issues! The sample menus had my mouth watering!

Mesa de Vida is a fairly new company started by Chef Kirsten, another talented Mom with a dream to do great things. You can read her full story here. (it's a great one and VERY inspiring!).

By signing up for a membership we will receive:
  • Weekly Menu plan (in PDF form) for 5 dinners, plus a bonus healthy dessert recipe delivered to your email box every Friday at 7:00am- go shopping over the weekend in half the time and be ready for the week ahead!
  • Detailed grocery list, simply formatted for printing, with only what you need for the week – no more throwing away money on groceries that go in the trash!
  • Easy to follow recipes – also simply formatted if you want to print, that are fresh, affordable and include items you can find in most grocery stores
  • Every month you subscribe you get new amazing recipes that you can reference again and again, saved right on your computer!

A membership only cost $9.95 every 4 weeks (1 month).  That works about to be about $2.50 each week for healthy menus, a complete shopping list (organized by store department!), and a print out planner to help you keep everything organized. SO WORTH IT!

There are several different menu membership options,
Gluten Free Menus, Healthy Family Menus (This is the one we are doing!), a 30 Day Slim down Plan, Metabolic Meal Plans, and more!

Our first 5 day menu plan arrived in my inbox on Friday! I was so excited to use the pre-made grocery list to pick up or supplies for the week. It was so nice to be shopping for fresh produce instead of boxed or canned meals. Our grocery bill was the same as it usually is for a week of groceries, but, I know for sure that we won't be running back to the store to pick up an alternative meal. And I'm excited to take left-overs to work and not run to a fast food place on my lunch break!

Our first meal for the week: 
Herbed Turkey Breast, Butternut Squash and Carrots, a Side Salad, and whole grain rolls. This menu serves 4-6 (so I will have leftovers) in addition to the left overs, there will be extra turkey leftover for the day 3 recipe! This is a slow cooker meal, so, I was able to get up early this morning and put the meal together in the crock pot. It took me roughly 20 minuets (including stopping to tend to my son a couple of times).

 I can already smell the goodness!

I minced Garlic for the first time! bought fresh and not in a jar!

Wish you could smell this picture! :D

I'm excited to try this tonight for dinner and really looking forward to the menus for the rest of the week!
I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Scent of Kansas - Voter Review

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 A friend and fellow Mommy Blogger decided to do her own review after reading my Kansas scent recipe: Check out her awesome review!

My friend, and fellow blogger, Momma Harvey, has had a very exciting few weeks!

She was chosen by
Better Homes and Gardens®, to create the State of Kansas', state fragrance! 

I know she put a lot of time and effort into this project, and what she came up with was a delightful fragrance called "County Fair".  Don't you just love the name?!  It smells even better! *Takes a deep breath in*


Once she published the instructions; I wasn't going to miss out on testing it out. So here we go...

You'll Need:

1/2 cube of Baked Apple Strudel
1/2 cube of Enchanted Evening Walk
1/2 cube of Vanilla Carmel Spice
1/2 cube of Cinnamon Spice
1 Better Homes and Gardens Fragrance Wax Warmer (or something similar to)


(be sure to check out all her DYI projects and crafts too!)
Read more about the contest and find my COUNTY FAIR recipe here.

Products we Love: Kitty Caps

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Little Miss Hunny
So, I did the unspeakable and picked up a kitten the other day, despite my husband's concerns with our furniture, cat hair, and his overall disgust with litter boxes... Here is why I brought her home:
  1. I LOVE cats. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs too... we have three of them (outdoors). But there is something about a cat, basking in the sunlight on the kitchen floor, that makes a home complete.
  2. I read an article the other day that talked about the importance of having a family pet, indoors, while raising children. Good for learning, health, and social development. Read the full article here.
  3. August is "Name your own price" for kittens at our local Humane Society. Typically, kittens can cost anywhere from $75 - $100. When adopting an animal from our Humane Society, the following steps have already been made: Vaccinations, Spayed/Neutered, Wellness Check, Micro-chip. Visit their site for more info!

Now it was time to look at the other issues that my husband was concerned with. I wanted to make sure everyone loved our new family member... not just me.

I decided to look at the claws issue.The first and obvious option would be to have her declawed. I decided to do a Google search on what this would mean for our new kitten and found this article. I already had an uneasy feeling about putting our little miss through a manipulating surgery that would only benefit our material items... but, once I read this article, I knew for sure, I wouldn't put her through it. So, what was option B? Was there an option B? Yes...

Kitty Caps!
Kitty Caps for Cats provides a safe and human alternative to surgical declawing and help prevent damage to furniture caused by your pet's natural desire to scratch. Kitty Caps are made from a safe and nontoxic natural vinyl resin. They are durable and easy to apply. After application, you pet's claws can extend and retract without any disturbance. Kitty Caps will fall off as you cats nails grow and shed generally 4-8 weeks after application.

I decided to give them a try. Here's how it went: 

wrapping her in a towel
  Step one:

After reading the instructions... I knew that I better have ALL my supplies set out and ready to go... I had NO idea how little miss was going to take this... I also decided that I would wrap her in a flower-sack towel (tie-dyed of course) to hopefully keep her calm and contained (and to protect myself from her back claws!)

trimming her razor blade nails
Step two:

Using clippers designed for cats, I trimmed the tips off her claws. No wonder these little things do damage! They are SHARP!
I made sure to read the instructions for this step a couple of times... I didn't want to cut into the wick of her nail, causing bleeding and damage. She sat so still and did so well! Maybe the towel really helped?

add the glue

Step three:

The next step was to insert some glue into the nail cap. This stuff is exactly like press-on nail glue, so, I had to make sure not to get it on my fingers or little miss's fur. The kit provided a handy-dandy applicator tip that made it easy to do... even while I held the kitten. Going great so far.

apply the cap

 Step four:

Time to apply the cap! this was super easy. I just pressed on the center of her paw so the nail would stick out. I was sure not to get any fur inside the cap as I fit it on. They fit on perfect after her nail was trimmed. I was a little taken back by how calm she was... I figured she would be biting me at this point... Nope... she purred the whole time.

wait 5 minuets

Step five:

After all the caps are applied, the instructions said to wait five minuets before letting the cat "loose". I suppose this is time to let the glue dry. I used this time to praise her and pet her for doing such a great job! GOOD KITTY!

Cat's Review:

Once I let her down.. she checked out her paws... she licked them and nibbled a bit at the caps. But, another 5 minuets later, she was off playing again. She was super calm during the process of applying them and never twitched or seemed like she was in any type of pain. She continued to jump on things and kneed her paws after the caps were on, so, they didn't seem to bother her at all.

Momma's Review :

 Kitty Caps seem to be a great solution and the best alternative for surgery. They came in bright colors or clear and in different sizes for different stages. They last 4-8 weeks before you have to replace them. And... they are kind-of cute! lol. As I set out the product to take a picture, little miss came over and curled up on the towel. I guess she wasn't traumatized and looks to be a supporter of kitty caps too!

My next Kitten project will be finding ways to reduce the loose cat hair in the house. Wish me luck.