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A Few of My Favorite Things

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Here are a few of my favorite things right now.

Cameron 15

This girl is definitely one of my favorites! She is 15 years old today. I wish everyone had a girl like my Cameron. She loves only 2 things: People and Life.

Breakfast StationsThese breakfast stations are GENIUS! Kids can get their own healthy breakfast from a stash of already prepared options.

Pack 1 includes:

  •  yogurt filled crepes
  • oatmeal muffins
  • energy balls
  • instant oatmeal packs
  • gluten-free cereal
  • pumpkin chocolate chip granola bars
  • breakfast burritos

Pack 2 includes:

  • pancake muffins
  • mini quiche
  • croissant breakfast sandwiches
  • smoothie packs
  • french toast sticks

Get your breakfast station here.

essential oils rack

I ordered this wire rack from Amazon to hold all my essential oils, and I am in love! It has plenty of rom to hold all my favorite essential oils, plus extra space to hold all the oils I would love to try but haven’t got yet. (Fortunately, I am earning points every month to get FREE oils, so it will be simple to fill it up!)

This is the third time I’ll be using for teaching one of my teens to drive. If you know someone who needs a parent taught drivers’ ed. course, pass this along to them so they will get 40% off!

schoolhouse rock

This anniversary edition Schoolhouse Rock, of one of my favorite memories from childhood tv, is on sale for only $9.99!

Emelyn ballet

Here’s another favorite. This girl has waited her “whole life” and is finally taking ballet lessons. It makes me smile to watch her.

What are your favorite things right now?

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This post contains affiliate links.

I heard from a few of you that you wanted to take advantage of the terrific sale at Build a Menu and get a full year of printable menus, recipes, and shopping lists (with approximate prices) for only $35, but you couldn’t get the coupon code to work.

Thankfully, the kind gals who run the site heard the frustration and answered with a SWEET deal for you!

They are extending the sale for ONLY 3 DAYS, plus throwing in a bonus!

Screenshot 2015-02-02 05.10.44

Anyone who signed up for the one year subscription during the sale, and anyone who signs up now, will also get “Cooking With Kids,” the 12 week eCourse specifically designed to give kids experience in the kitchen. This 12 week, 129 page course includes hands on activities, videos, customized worksheets, and even quizzes, plus 10 kid-friendly recipes with step by step instructions and photos! This course regularly sells for $14.95, but you will get it totally FREE only until Wednesday at midnight!


You now have until Wednesday, Feb. 4 at midnight to take advantage of this great deal! Sign up with Build a Menu today, and get a full year of menu planning, PLUS the Cooking With Kids ebook bonus for only $35!

Use the code “JOIN435″ at checkout to get the special price and the free bonus ebook.

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A Day in the Life of a Preschooler

A day in the life of a preschooler

  • Wake and notice no one else is up yet.
  • Put on Winnie the Pooh costume. Leave pajamas on floor.
  • Go into kitchen to see what’s cookin’.
  • Open silverware drawer for no reason. Hang on it. Leave it open.
  • Take single bite out of apple. Note that it wasn’t as juicy as expected. Put apple back in fruit bowl.
  • Change into last year’s Easter dress. Leave Pooh costume on dining room table.
  • Hug kitty cat. Wonder if kitty cats can pop if squeezed very firmly.
  • Drop kitty and lick scratches kitty left on arm.
  • Wander into bathroom and “help” Mommy peel the stickers off the giant bandaids she keeps under the sink.
  • Change into gymnastics suit with leggings and snow boots. Try 12 times to throw Easter dress onto ceiling fan. Leave dress on floor.
  • Undress big sister’s American Girl doll.
  • Hear big sister coming. Drop doll and scram.
  • Disregard repeated signals from very full bladder that it needs to be emptied.
  • Pee in pants.
  • Strip naked. Leave wet clothes in pile on floor.
  • Painstakingly and carefully write name on bedroom wall from right to left in all caps. Remind self to deny writing name on bedroom wall.
  • Remember nudity is frowned upon. Put on swimsuit and tutu.
  • Go back to kitchen for more to eat.
  • Dump Lucky Charms on floor. Scoop handful from floor into bowl. Leave remaining Lucky Charms on floor. Leave bowl on fireplace.
  • Decide eggs would be “healFier” for breakfast than cereal. Go outside to collect eggs.
  • Get distracted by need to chase chickens.
  • Remember egg mission and try to ride tricycle up steps to hen house.
  • Ditch tricycle and go inside on foot. Hold edge of tutu with one hand and put eggs in with the other.
  • Trip while going down steps.
  • Smear smashed eggs off tutu while crying.
  • Spot one egg on ground that didn’t break open. Wipe tears with dirty hands and retrieve egg. Only 3 cracks!
  • Go inside and see that the numbers on the microwave clock say “7:02.” Time to wake Mama!
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Build a Menu {HUGE SALE}


Have you heard of Build a Menu? Or as I like to refer to it, BAM! 

I am so excited because I just signed up this week and I’m thinking this is going to revolutionize my chicken spaghetti/stir fry/Mexican mess/pot roast rotation all to pieces.

Here’s Build a Menu works:

Step 1. Choose your store.

Step 2: Choose from the large catalogue recipes (or add your own).

Step 3: Print your recipes and shopping list.


Could it be any simpler??? (It’s available as an app for your smart phone too!) And you’ll be able to see a running total of the approximate cost of your shopping trip as you are adding recipes. Of course, you’ll cross off any items you already have in your pantry.

And the best part? Build a Menu has enough recipes that they run on a 4 month cycle without repeating! That means your family won’t be stuck in the boring spaghetti/stir fry/Mexican mess/pot roast cycle! (I mean, as if anyone would ever be that uninspired in your meal planning. Psh.)


And THROUGH THIS WEEK ONLY you can have access to one full year of Build a Menu for only $35! That is less than one dollar a week to have your meal planning, recipes, and shopping lists HANDED TO YOU, with the approximate price included!

For about 67 CENTS a week, you can take the stress out of meal planning. Build a Menu helps you plan a variety meals with hundreds of recipes at your fingertips and gives you a print out of your shopping list. No more repeating the very same meals from week to week. No more getting to the store and not remembering what ingredients you need!

HURRY! This special offer ends on Saturday, Jan 31!

Use the code BAM35JAN1 at checkout to get a 12 month membership for only $35!



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Are Essential Oils Dangerous?

Recently I saw a post about how dangerous essential oils are and how the average person really shouldn’t be dabbling in them because it takes research and intelligence to understand all the implications and interactions the oils can have on your body.


Just like salt can be dangerous, even deadly,

and ladders

and magnets

and water

and Tylenol.

Each of the above examples shows how these things have killed. Yes, there are lots of everyday things that are beneficial to our lives that can also be dangerous if used improperly.

Would you hand your child a bottle of Children’s Tylenol and tell them to use as needed? No! Neither would I. Would you disregard the instructions and blindly take a handful of Extra Strength Tylenol for a headache. No. Would you turn up the salt shaker and guzzle it? No. Would you sit idly by while your child did? Would you encourage your child to swallow magnets?

Do you believe these things are too dangerous to be owned and used by the average person without medical training? The thing is most of us have the common sense and the wherewithal to do the research and take the precautions in using these things.

The same should be true for essential oils. 

Essential oils are very potent and powerful agents that can do amazing things for a body when used properly.

Ramen burns 3

When my daughter was burned, I did not just open a random bottle of oil and pour it over her shoulder, hoping for the best. That would have been foolish.

Instead, like I believe any reasonable person would do, I researched what would help skin in this condition. I dug in and looked for any adverse reactions to be cautious of. I was in frequent contact with my friend, Stacey, who gave me the oils, asking her advice. She in turn did her own research to answer my questions. She gave me a 485 page reference guide to essential oils so I would have the answers to my questions at my fingertips.

When my mother broke her leg and came to live with us, I carefully read each oil label and looked up any interactions the oil may have with her medications before applying them when she asked me to. By doing this, I saw that some of the oils are not recommended for use when taking blood thinners, so I set those aside and warned her not to use those since she is taking blood thinners daily.

These are the very same things I see my friends doing when they decide which oils would be beneficial for certain issues in their own families. In today’s litigious society, I know it’s common to assume people don’t have reasoning abilities, but I believe in you, dear reader! I have faith that you are intelligent enough to wonder if a product is harmful when used indiscriminately. I comfort myself with your ability to read instructions and follow them. I know if the oil label says “not for children under 6,” you won’t apply it to your child under 6.

I don’t know of a single account of an acquaintance or friend opening a bottle of oil and pouring it over their body, or their child’s body, without reading the label to see what kind of use is recommended. I haven’t seen a single account of someone handing a bottle of oil to their child and telling them to drink up.

Yes, it’s true that essential oils are extremely powerful. In fact, they are so powerful that they are making a huge impact on many families, like mine (see above photo) every single day.

Yes, it’s true that essential oils can be dangerous if used improperly. Just like table salt. Or magnets. Or Tylenol. Or water.

I trust that if you are using essential oils and enjoying the many benefits they offer, you are using your common sense and reading and following the recommendations, just like you would do with Tylenol, or table salt, or magnets.

If you are seeing the impact the oils are having in the health and daily lives of your friends and are interested in getting started with essential oils yourself, be sure to see why I began my journey with them here.

Essential Oils Pocket Referenc

And rest assured, for anyone who signs up through my link I am always available to provide support, answer any questions, and point you in the direction of research pertaining to your questions. I always give anyone who signs up for the Premium Starter Kit the same 485 page reference guide Stacey gave me. I add each person to the private 1400+ member Facebook group for oil users.

I do all these things to arm you with the knowledge you need to use your oils responsibly. I want to provide you with the resources you need so your oils will benefit your family as much as they have benefitted mine.

(As a bonus, I have ONE $20 promo code for use when ordering the Premium Starter Kit through my link to give to the first person who asks for it. Email me or leave a comment below.)

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What’s Been Going Down

Whew! Things have been so whirlwind crazy here that I have barely had time to catch my breath, and I certainly haven’t had time to catch up on blogging.

Here’s a brief rundown of what’s been going down in Smockityville.

1. Just before Christmas my mom was trying to get back onto the ladder from on top of an upright freezer (don’t ask) and she fell onto the concrete floor, hit her head, passed out, and shattered her tibia.

After 2 surgeries and about a week in the hospital, we moved her in with us.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 07.00.24

Since the doctor’s orders were for her to be non-weight bearing for 3 months, that meant we needed lots of hospital equipment delivered to our house.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 07.00.35

So, you know, what else could we do? We had to test it out to make sure it functioned properly.

Bed raises and lowers? Check.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 07.00.51

Wheelchair comfy? Check. Reacher reaches? Check.

2. While my mom was still in the hospital, we got word that the sweet, precious 19yo daughter of a friend died inexplicably, from no known cause while getting ready for church.

So much heartbreak and so many unanswered questions. The funeral was beautiful and tragic. It was lovely and cruel.

One of the songs the family requested, “There’s a stirring” was perfectly suited, and I thought that must have been just how it happened with sweet Colby. Even so, though she is rejoicing with her savior, I can’t help but think of Colby’s family and the emptiness left behind for them.

3. Immediately after Christmas we began feverishly preparing for our annual county fair and livestock show. This is the event my children look forward to every year and begin preparing for many months in advance.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 07.09.23


There were pies to be baked, index cards to be filled out, goats to be groomed, and so much more.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 07.13.34

You may remember that we came this close (holds thumb and forefinger really close together) to not being allowed to participate in this event. You can read the hair raising tale of that here.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 08.22.47

My animal lover made the premium sale with one of her goats, which went for $600 at the auction. That means there will be money in her account to buy another goat for next year’s stock show season. Which this tired mama may or may not have been fervently wishing against, but that is another post.

All told, we collected blue ribbons, and red ribbons, and participant ribbons, and even one Grand Reserve Champion banner, so everyone came home happy and feeling proud of the work they had done.

4. Finally, I have been working with my fellow team members to do the final preparations for The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit, which is kicking off THIS WEEKEND in San Marcos, Texas, and then again next weekend in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Winter Summit

Door prizes are rolling in (You didn’t hear it from me, but who doesn’t like Vera Bradley??? Amiright?), worship songs are being finalized, sessions are being formatted, and moms from all over are preparing to come together to get refreshed and renewed.

Unfortunately, I had to back out of my speaking obligation since I will need to be at home with my mom, but that shouldn’t stop you from attending the most encouraging, uplifting event of the year. It’s not too late to register! Use the code “Smockity10″ to get $10 off your registration.

I can’t wait to hear all the stories of shared laughter, meaningful teachings from moms who have graduated all their homeschoolers, and sweet worship.

And that’s a wrap, as they say. That’s what’s been going down in Crazy Town.

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