He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

29 November 2012

Pantry Rescue for Bored Boy

CJ is four.
He gets bored easily.

He loves to build.
Pantry to the rescue!

Marshmallows and toothpicks.
That's it!

Happy Thursday!

27 November 2012

Inexpensive Closet Update

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Ours was all kinds of relaxing.
We sat on the couch most of the morning watching the parade snuggled up on the couch and then headed to my parent's for a relatively small gathering around their table.

So... with another little man in our family, CJ is going to start sharing a room and a closet.
The boys' room is a good size but it's also the room with the best toys and books so it is the room to be in when the kids are upstairs so I wanted to ditch the dresser we have in there as soon as I can. That meant the closet needed an upgrade and thanks to Hubs, some plywood, and a nail gun we got just that.

It started out as a standard closet...
We stripped the closet and mapped out our plan based on the height of the door opening and the duct work on the right hand side.
We decided on half of the closet being shelving and half of it being hanging space including two bars, one for each son.
To get started we measured the height of the laundry basket we use and added about ten inches in case I slack on laundry, which I will. Then we divided the remaining space above the basket to fit five shelves.

Using a 3/4 plywood we cut a side wall do the depth and height we needed (in this case 18" by 72").
Then, we took inexpensive furring strips and cut them to the depths we needed and nailed them into place at the distances we planned.
(You'll notice that we shorted the top two rails. The very top one is short because our top shelf was so close to the top of the door frame that we wanted to be able to access what was up there. The second one down is short because we ran out of furring strips and didn't feel like buying more just for the couple extra inches we needed.)

Hubs then measured the distance of wall we could access behind the duct for the other side supports (13.5") and nailed them into place at the same distances as the shelves on the upright piece of plywood. (If you were making this and didn't have duct work, you'd want to match the length of these side supports to match the ones on your ply.)
 Next we cut five shelves. For us, that meant four 18" x 24" and one 13.5" x 24" (for the top shelf).
Remember that duct work we had to maneuver around? To solve that problem we notched out a corner.
Time to assemble.
Hubs marked the vertical line to where he wanted to attach the side wall for a general guideline.
He then attached the bottom and second shelves by nailing the shelves into the shelf supports.
Ideally we will have supports on the back wall to nail the shelves into as well but we ran out of strips and time so for the moment the side rails are doing all the work.
 The side unit is complete and off to bed we all went....
Day two, Hubs used the wood we stripped from the old closet and cut it to work for the new setup.
For us, that meant cutting a rail to support another shelf above the bars, cutting the shelf as well, and cutting the original bar into two, as well as reusing the screws and brackets to support the bars. 
At the very end, we decided to throw in one more shelf on the bottom left for toys because, as I said, CJ's room is THE place to play.
And there you have it. We are planning to finish the closet with some trim to clean up the edges of the shelving and to paint the whole thing but for now, it's doing it's job and with a 2 week old it's likely to be a while before that happens.
Here's to progress and a wonderful Tuesday!

20 November 2012


Four kids.
That's a'lotta kids!
Hubs and I tried a trip to the grocery store.
This poor man did not realize what he signed up for.
Once again, he's AMAZING!
Granted... that's a'lotta cute.
{first bath at home}
And of course... a lot of ... well... let's just say that these three crafty kids are all waiting for a change. 
I swear they planned it!
Family pictures will of course be much more difficult. 
...good luck to whomever tries.
Blessed beyond measure. 

15 November 2012

Baby Jack is Here!

 Jack Arthur 
12 November 2012
7 lbs 10 oz  - 20 inches

 After a LONG labor, little man showed up in mint condition. 
10 fingers. 10 toes. A quiet cry and as handsome as can be!
We are now a family of six. "What have we done?!"

12 November 2012

Homemade Vapo Rub

I'd been looking for an alternative to store bought vapo rub which all seem to be petroleum (or mineral oil) based.
Why do I skip the petroleum based products? Do a Google search and you'll find plenty of reasons. If nothing else, I figure that when something is strong enough to run my car, it has no business being ingested via lip balm on my lips or sucked in through my biggest organ, my skin. I'm not here to convince anyone of anything. Skipping petroleum is just what we do in our home.

I found this little nugget over at Crunchy Betty and have made it three times already. I love this stuff. It was a big help during the nearly month long virus that overtook the whole family. It tamed the cough, allowed the kids to sleep, and, if nothing else, gave me a peace of mind knowing that there was at least a little something I could do to relieve their discomfort naturally.

The recipe is exactly as Crunchy Betty shares it but to save the trip I'll share it here... 

2 tsp beeswax
1/4 c olive oil (I've made it with grapeseed oil too)
25-35 drops of peppermint essential oil
15 drops of eucalptus oil
10-15 drops rosemary essential oil
{beeswax pellets can be found at most health stores as can the essential oils shown below}
Melt the beeswax and olive oil together in a double boiler.
Stir well with a whisk.

Continue whisking while adding essential oils.
*You may notice that the peppermint smells really strong while adding. Don't be tempted to skimp because of this. The strength of the smell fades as the mixture cools. 
Transfer to small lidded container (in this case a baby food jar)
Store in dry cool place for a year or more (It hasn't lasted that long in our house.)

I HIGHLY recommend giving this a shot in your home because of the number of times it's generally applied when we and our little ones are sick. 
Happy Monday!

06 November 2012

So... D'Ja Vote Yet?!

Hubs is quite the political enthusiast and has already informed me that he is commandeering all household media related technology tonight to track progress.Just figured I'd pass on his excitement.

By the way... I highly recommend taking the kids along to vote, if you've got 'em. It's a great lesson in civic responsibility and a shows them that having a say isn't just for adults.

Happy Election Day!

05 November 2012

Another Reason to Love Coconut Oil

As if I really needed another reason to love coconut oil.
I have been using it for a few years now.
As a matter of fact I have confused many a newbie with all the ways that I use it.
Off the top of my head...
body and facial moisturizer - makeup remover - diaper rash cream - taken with vitamins to enhance absorption - cooking oil for baking - oil for granola - massage oil- deodorant ingredient - frizz tamer
I promise, I could go on for a while.
Anyway... there are two downsides to coconut oil (hey, nobody's perfect!) BUT WAIT! It's okay... I found one solution...

The first problem is that for as moisturizing as coconut oil is, it doesn't do the trick in the cold winters the way I need. Living in New England means temperatures flux and my skin requires a little more hutzpa than coconut oil can offer. For the winters I often use something like Aveeno or homemade lotion bars a friend gave me which both work great!

The second problem (and the reason we are all gathered here today) is that coconut oil solidifies around 76 degrees F so anything cooler than that and I have to literally scrape it out of the jar or melt it on the stove to use. Not impossible, just annoying.
The solution...
You must whip it!
No additional ingredients are required, it's just like scrambled eggs, to get a great texture you need to add air. And the best part is, we keep our house between 63 and 66 in the winter and so far it's stayed soft and easy to use.
I found the original recipe at The Nourished Life and, as usual, tweaked it a little myself which basically just means that you can tweak it to work for you based on what you have handy. The original recipe can be found here (where the above picture is from) or you can take my word for it that this recipe isn't a science and wing it on your own kind of like I did.

What You'll Need:
coconut oil, no specific amount but I did a little over three cups
shea butter (optional), no specific amount but I probably used 2 tbsp
essential oil (optional), I used 20 drops

What To Do:
Place all ingredients into a large bowl. 
Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the oil for 7-8 minutes until light and fluffy. 
Put into container with lid (we buy shallow plastic dollar store lotions with screw on lids, dump the lotion, clean the containers, remove the labels) and use as needed. 

*the coconut oil does not need to be melted. I used it as a room temperature solid mass however if it's too hard it may do a number on your mixer whisk.

*I used 20 drops of lavendar essential oil because we usually use our coconut as moisturizer right before bed and it is usually calming. if you use yours in the morning then grapefruit would be nice pick-me-up or if you use it as a facial toner then tea tree oil could be good as it is antiseptic. It's really up to you. 


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