What's the big deal about Young Living

Why I Love Hamilton, the Musical

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(Click on the pic to preview the cd.)

Have you heard about the hottest ticket on Broadway right now? If you are my real life friend or you follow Smockity Frocks on Facebook you probably know I am obsessed with this musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of our founding fathers, George Washington’s right hand man, and the creator of our financial system (his face is on the ten dollar bill), among other accomplishments.

One of the incredible things about Hamilton’s story is that he overcame incredible odds and was extremely driven to accomplish as much as possible in his life. The musical is almost completely historically accurate. It has a few places where the writer took artistic license, but almost every single detail is backed up by letters from Hamilton or one of his associates. I know this because I have been so drawn to the story that, since falling in love with it, I have read biographies on Hamilton, Washington, and LaFayette. It really is amazing how much material from the actual letters was incorporated into the lyrics of the musical!

This musical is NOT kid-friendly, though. Think History Channel documentary, rated PG-13-ish. There are some cringe worthy instances of lewd conversation and swearing, so my youngest children have only listened to certain songs. During his lifetime Hamilton was involved in war, politics, and infidelity so there are lots of topics not appropriate for children. (Be sure you use ear buds to preview first.) My teens and young adult children, ages 16 and older, have listened to it completely and adore it as much as I do.

It is such an inspiring real life historical story of overcoming, of determination, of forgiveness that I think it’s worth overlooking the bad language in a few spots.

I won’t go into how fan girl crazy I am about the writer, Lin Manuel Miranda, and all the performers in the show but just know they are all my pretend BFFs.

If you think you or your older teens would be interested in this fascinating glimpse into our country’s beginnings you can *preview the cd or see it on iTunes.

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On Mom Encouragement and One Rep at a Time

I have 3 baskets of laundry sitting at the foot of my bed. They’ve been there for a while. There. Now you know.

I look at those 3 baskets and think, “I really need to put those clothes away. But first I’ll have to clean out my dresser and get rid of all the t-shirts, jeans, and pajamas I never wear so I can fit those clothes in.” And then I realize we are out of big black trash bags, and I would need to make a run to the store to pick those up so I would have something to put the give away items in to take them to the donation center.

And then one of the kids hollers from the kitchen that they just spilled a gallon of milk all over the floor, and the clothes stay in the baskets, forgotten, for another day.


My long time friend, Michele, called me this week. Do you have a friend like her? We can go months without talking and pick up as if only a day has passed. I love having friends like that.

She was calling because someone had invited her to join her local CrossFit box (that’s what they gyms are called in CrossFit) and she wanted to know the reasons I love it and have continued to go every single morning for the past 11 months.

(Stick with me, now. This actually relates to those baskets of laundry up there and isn’t about gym memberships at all.)

Here’s what I told her.

This morning’s CrossFit workout was SO HARD that I thought multiple times about quitting before the 45 minute time limit was up. I couldn’t feel my arms. I was gasping for breath. I was thinking, “This is ridiculous. It’s TOO HARD. I CAN’T DO THIS.”

But I kept going. Do you know why?

Because the others were cheering me on. They were standing next to me (since I was the last one and they were already finished) shouting, “You can do it! Just do one more rep! Now ONE MORE! You are strong! DON’T YOU DARE STOP! You can do one more. KEEP GOING!”

They were repeating an often stated mantra at my CrossFit box. “One more rep.” You may have heard, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The idea is that you don’t think to yourself, “There is no way I can do 50 sit ups.” You think, “I can do one sit up. Then I can do one more. And then one more.”

There is no other place I go, no other activity I participate in, where people gather around me to tell me not to give up, that I am capable and strong, that it isn’t too hard for me. 

Now, what in the world does this have to do with baskets of unfolded laundry? Just this.

This is what we should do for one another, Mom Friends.

When the days get so tough that we think we can’t go on, we can come along side one another and say, “YOU CAN DO THIS! I am right here to hold you up! You are doing a great job! YOU ARE ABLE!”

But the thing about our mom struggles is we have to let one another know what they are. Since we don’t gather at the gym to fold our laundry together, since we are each really doing it in what amounts to adult solitary confinement, none of us realizes the others also have 3 baskets of unfolded laundry at the end of their beds, too.

So, let’s be real and vulnerable with one another. On those days when we think we just might fall apart, let’s say, “Sometimes this all feels too big. I just don’t know if I can really do this whole mom thing well. Honestly, some days I don’t know if I can do it at all.”

And that’s when we can gather around and hold her up with our encouragement. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we felt like we had a team of moms who were right there in the trenches with us cheering us on? Moms who really had managed to fold and put away those 3 baskets of laundry and were telling us, “It’s not too hard! It just feels that way way right now. YOU CAN DO IT! One more pair of socks! DON’T GIVE UP! YOU GOT THIS!”

Encourage one of your Mom Friends today. Yours may very well be the voice that keeps her going.

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It’s Not My Fault

Broken iPad

It was the kind of pounding that made me wonder if I needed to turn off the water with the shampoo still in my hair and call 911 from the bathroom.

“MOMMY! I need you!” she sobbed.

I grabbed a towel and shouted through the door, “What is it? What’s wrong?”

I could only hear indiscernible sobbing and mumbling from the other side.

When I got the door open I saw her holding the shattered tablet. All at once I was relieved and furious because she had had me thinking there was a dead or dismembered sister somewhere on the property.

“What happened?” I asked. This was the tablet she had saved her money for, the tablet she had debated for months about buying.

“It’s not my fault!” she cried.

I thought she must have accidentally dropped it down the stairs or knocked it off a table.

“It’s okay. Just tell me what happened.”

That’s when the real story came out. It turns out that she had left it on the seat of the recliner in the living room when she had gone to bed the night before. Someone must have unknowingly sat on it in the dark room.

“Hold on,” I said. “Dropping it accidentally is a very different thing than leaving it a dark room on a surface WHERE PEOPLE SIT. If you had dropped it, I would say you were right, that it isn’t your fault. As it is, you KNOW that people sit in chairs. You KNOW it is hard to see in the dark. You KNOW that your tablet is made of glass. It IS your fault. If you cared about it getting shattered, you could very well have put it in a better place before you went to bed.”

I then asked her a series of questions which she answered.

“Why was the recliner a bad place to put your tablet?” (Because people sit there)

“Where would have been a safe place to put your tablet?” (My desk drawer)

“Why is your desk a better place than the recliner?” (Because no one sits there)

I went on to discuss with her how unhappy her life would be if she continued to have the “It’s not my fault” attitude that doesn’t take responsibility for her mistakes. We all make mistakes, but it is the learning from those mistakes that gives us the freedom to not repeat the same mistakes time and time again.

If she would accept the responsibility for making a poor choice about where to put her tablet before going to bed, then she would be sure to never again leave a breakable glass item on a seat in a dark room. She would realize that she does indeed have control over whether someone sits on her tablet. If she holds onto “It’s not my fault” then she will always think that someone sitting on her tablet is a completely random possibility.

Don’t we all know adults who seem to be perpetually in a downward spiral of “bad luck”? One negative happening after another seems to plague them, but upon closer inspection it becomes evident that the negative happenings are a result of poor decisions. They lose one job after another, go through several abusive marriages, are constantly worried about having their car repossessed or being evicted from their apartment. Why are some people so bad at making good, healthy decisions?

I firmly believe this cycle of “bad luck” can be a result of not taking responsibility for poor choices. If something bad that happens is completely random, then there is no controlling if or when it might happen again. However, if something bad that happens is the result of a poor choice, and the chooser realizes this and learns from it, then there is an element of control over happenings in life.

My speech may have been difficult to hear and even hurt my 10yo daughter’s feelings, but more importantly, I hope it impressed upon her that there are happenings in life that we can control.

Accepting the responsibility for our mistakes is the first step in controlling those.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting this page with your purchases. 

Are you the type that convinces the family to let you buy your own Mother’s Day gift?

I love all the hand-made cards, the crayon-drawn gift certificate booklets, and the crocheted bracelets, but when it comes to anyone spending money on me, I have finally gotten to the point that I ask my family to allow me to do the honors myself.

This year, with some of my blogging income, I got one of these for my own Mother’s Day gift:

Garmin step counter

(Please, ignore the hairspray residue.) It is the *Garmin Vivosmart HR step counter ($129), which keeps track of my steps, stairs, heart rate, shows my texts and phone calls, wakes me up in the morning, and controls the music on my phone.

I won’t comment on how mortified I was when my 8 year old was fiddling with it during the quietest moment in church on Sunday morning and decided to press “play” while I wasn’t paying attention. Let’s just say all my music isn’t altogether appropriate for sacred contemplation during church. (Think: Hamilton Cast Recording.)

small quick freeze ice cream maker

Here’s another nifty gift idea for under $40. My daughter requested a *small, quick freeze ice cream maker for her 8th birthday, and her grandmother got her this one. It only takes about 10 minutes to whip up a frozen treat for us. We all love it and use it weekly!

Another perfect Mother’s Day gift for a few more dollars than you would spend on the Garmin step counter would be *this Premium Starter Kit:New Premium Starter Kit3Our family uses these oils EVERY SINGLE DAY. Here is the recipe for the face cream I use each morning before I put on my makeup. Frankincense is SO good for the skin! Here is the spray we use whenever we are going to be outdoors so nothing will bug us. Here is the formula of essential oils my kids use every night as their “sleeping oils.”

What does your Mother’s Day usually look like?




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Screenshot 2016-04-18 15.11.54

I see her walking over across her yard, down the little gully, green with clover, through the gate and into the field that leads to our yard. As the dogs and children run to greet her I make a patting motion for her to sit next to me on the big rocking chair on our front porch. She’s 84 and still adjusting to living alone. It’s been almost a year since he’s been gone, but it seems like just yesterday that he was listening to all her thoughts about the life she’s lived so far and the living she still has left to do.

The children have told me often recently that she repeats the same stories she has told them before whenever they go over to visit. I tell them to be patient because they are stories she needs to tell.

So we sit, and she tells me again for the 3rd or 4th time how devastated she was when her sister died and how her niece was a paraplegic and how lucky I am to have my children and how she came to own her German Shepherd.

She reveals some new things like how she never expected to spend her entire life childless and how regretful she is about that.

I listen patiently. These are stories she needs to tell.

She is just like the rest of us. She wants to be heard, to be understood, to be valued.

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Emergency Spring Cleaning with Scrubbing Bubbles

*This is a sponsored post. The story is real and all opinions are my own.

When you have 8 children, and they each participate in sports, you know the weekends are going to be super busy, especially during spring when soccer season kicks up.

So, last weekend when a friend asked if she could bring her adult mentally challenged son over on Saturday evening so he could spend some time outdoors enjoying our animals and acres of woods, I said, “Of course!” and made a little mental note that I needed to make sure to check the condition of the guest bathroom between driving everyone to all the games. (And please know I use the term “guest bathroom” loosely here. See above note about having 8 children.)

I had to get children to 3 soccer games in 2 different towns, 1 gymnastics meet in another city, and 1 homeschool conference in ANOTHER city, all on a single Saturday.

On my way out the door, I hollered some instructions for the kids who were still at home and ended with, “…and make sure the bathroom is clean! We’re having company later!”

scrubbing bubbles dirty sink

And in between events, I go in the bathroom to look at it and say, “… I thought I said to make sure this bathroom was clean,” and everyone says, all innocent like, “We did,”

scrubbing bubbles dirty sink closeup

and I was all, “…uhhhh…”

So, besides confirming that we needed to review the definition of “clean” I knew I needed to give them a step by step lesson and some tools to make cleaning easy.

Scrubbing Bubbles WalMart


Since I had to run by WalMart® anyway to pick up water bottles and snacks, I darted in the cleaning aisle for some Scrubbing Bubbles®. SCORE! The 2 pack was cheaper per ounce than the single!

After one of the games and before another (at this point in the day I really don’t know if I’m coming or going) I called all the kids into the bathroom for a quick demo of Mom’s Super Fast Cleaning Technique.

Scrubbing Bubbles foam

“Look, kids. Step one: Spray.”

The best part of Scrubbing Bubbles® is that the foam expands to get into all those hard to reach areas.

Scrubbing Bubbles wiping

“Step two: Wipe.”

(That pic is actually after only one swipe of the paper towel, so they were super impressed.)

Scrubbing Bubbles Clean

After a couple of more passes with the paper towel and showing them how to get in the cracks with a toothpick, we were in business.

Scrubbing Bubbles clean closeup

MUCH BETTER! Thanks, Scrubbing Bubbles®!

Now, I’m ready for company.

And a nap.

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