Posted on

Working from Home with a Newborn

Wow, it’s been almost a month since my last post! Our newest little man joined us on May 16, 2018, and it’s been a whirlwind since. Even though our older son hasn’t yet reached three, I somehow forgot how demanding and tiring a newborn can be.

A couple of months before the new dude was born, I put together a blog schedule for both of my blogs. The schedules were broken out by week, with two post topics (for each blog) scheduled for the week. The plan at the time was to work ahead and have several scheduled. While I did a great job (right up until the week before he was born) writing and posting the two topics for each week for each blog, I never really got ahead.

Needless to say, when Coulson was born, everything halted, and new content stopped coming. Looking at my awesomely planned out schedules now, I see I’m four weeks behind! While I likely won’t get completely caught up (ever, probably), I will do my best to get back to a good schedule going forward.

As you may (or may not) know, I own two home-based businesses, and I teach part-time at Southeast Tech here in Sioux Falls. Both of my businesses include blogs that I (theoretically) keep updated, and they both have clients/customers to take care of. My teaching schedule and course load varies from term to term, and I do teach year-round. For this summer term, I am teaching just one online class. Although that means I don’t have to be in class in person, I still have a good deal of prep, grading, and email replying to manage. Those three jobs plus a newborn and a toddler make for a fun schedule!

As a general rule, I’m admittedly a bit of a procrastinator, but I’m also very good at scheduling and time management. Don’t ask me how those two extremes even go together, but somehow it works for me. While our new son is home with me all day every day, our older son is going to daycare 15 hours a week. That’s not a huge chunk of time, but the goals were simple:

  • Give me some time to work without a high-energy toddler to tend to
  • Allow me to focus on the newborn and all the tasks associated with him
  • Keep the toddler in a structured, engaging environment throughout the summer months

As I’m now looking at the workload that I’ve somewhat neglected over the last 3.5 weeks since Coulson’s birth, I know my scheduling and time management skills must be put to work! Since my husband works long hours, leaving early in the morning and getting home well passed the bedtime routine, it’s important that I find a schedule that works for me and that I STICK TO IT!

So here I am on a Sunday night, writing this post and putting together my plan. When will I work? What will I do when? When will I tackle the household chores of laundry, dishes, yard work, etc.? When will I run errands? When will I sleep? Here’s my plan going forward: schedule it out one week at a time–because we all know things will change, and I’ll have to roll with the punches.

Every Sunday night, I’ll sit down and look at what’s ahead of me that week. What school work do I need to do? What blog posts do I need to prep and write? What tasks do I need to complete for my customers and clients? What do I need to get done around the house and out and about? I figure I should also take into consideration the weather, so I know when I can mow, when I’ll need to water, and when I can take care of the garden and the flowers. I’m not suggesting it will work out perfectly, but it certainly has to be better than no plan!

Wish me luck!

Advertisements
Posted on

Make Your Own Bath Bombs

BathBombs.pngAdmittedly, I’m not a bath person. It’s probably because I’m short and find it nearly impossible to comfortably recline in a tub. Plus, I’ll admit I don’t keep my tub clean enough to like the idea of soaking in it for enjoyment. However, when I started making all-natural products, bath bombs were a constant request. Adults like them to relax and address specific needs, and kids just seem to love the fizzy, colorful aspects.

In any case, I quickly got to experimenting to find a great recipe. My first couple attempts were absolute fails. I’m happy to report, though, that I finally found a great recipe that is easy and results in a great product!

A quick note on molds first: New molds are always awful the first time or two they’re used. The bombs stick in them, and you may find yourself fighting to get your product to release. My best recommendation? Don’t fully clean them between uses. Leaving them “seasoned,” so to speak makes removal much easier on future batches. If your first batch or two is a mess to get out, don’t fret! It gets better.

The other thing I’ll mention about molds is I have found it to be a nightmare to make nice spheres with my bath bombs. Despite multiple attempts, I can never (OK I think I got it to work once or twice) get the two halves to actually stay together when the time came to remove them from the molds. I finally decided it wasn’t worth the trouble, and now my bath bombs are just half-spheres instead. They still do the job, so it’s no big deal for me. If anyone has any tips on this, I’d love your feedback!

I ordered my molds online. There are tons of options–including fun shapes that I like to use from time to time. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve purchased:

As for the ingredients, you’ll need baking soda, citric acid, salt (I just use coarse salt, but you can certainly use epsom salts or sea salt if you prefer), arrowroot flour (cornstarch also works, but arrowroot is great for your skin), liquid oil (I keep it simple and use olive oil, but really, any liquid oil will do–fractionated coconut, sweet almond, avocado, grapeseed, etc.), witch hazel (you may use water instead), vanilla extract (you may also use water in place of the vanilla), essential oils, and mineral mica powder (for color, optional). Click the provided links in the recipe list to purchase the items on Amazon if needed.

Finally, before you get started, I like to measure the dry ingredients by weight using a digital kitchen scale. I’ve provided approximate measurements if you don’t have a scale, but I find the recipe to be a bit more precise when measured by weight instead. I simply place my medium bowl (plastic NOT metal) on the scale, zero it out, and add the ingredients watching the weight as I go.

As for the essential oils, be sure to only use pure, therapeutic grade oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils. Please do not use the oils you can purchase at the big box stores or your grocery store. They are often “watered down” with synthetic ingredients and will not be good for your skin. I like to make a variety of bath bombs for a variety of purposes. The chosen essential oils for each batch will address specific concerns–be it relaxation, energizing, respiratory clearing, or any number of different things!

Ingredients:

  • Dry:
    • 4 ounces baking soda (approx. 1/2 cup)
    • 2 ounces citric acid (approx. 1/4 cup)
    • 2 ounces salt of choice (approx. 1/4 cup)
    • 2 ounces arrowroot flour (approx. 1/2 cup)
    • 1/4 tsp mineral mica powder color of choice (or more if you want your bath bombs to be more vibrant)
  • Wet:
    • 1 tbsp liquid oil of choice
    • 1 tsp witch hazel (or water)
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or water)
    • 20-30 drops essential oils of choice

Make Them:

  1. Lightly flour your molds with arrowroot, and set them aside. I like to set them all on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to help contain the mess.
  2. Place a medium plastic bowl on your digital scale, and zero it out.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, watching the weight as you go.
  4. When all dry ingredients (including the mineral powder color if using) are in the bowl, remove it from the scale, and stir the ingredients together. Be sure to break up any clumps with your fingers.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate small bowl. I like to use a small Pyrex glass measuring cup. It makes for easy pouring when you’re ready to add the liquids to the dry ingredients.
  6. Stir wet ingredients thoroughly.
  7. SLOWLY pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Do small amounts at a time, or the dry ingredients will start to fizz up. I like to pour little bits with my left hand and use my right hand to mix it in.
  8. Using your hand(s), mix the wet ingredients into the dry. In the end, it should be the consistency of lightly damp sand. If you squeeze some together in your hand, it should hold its form but not be hard. (See the third photo below.)
  9. Transfer the mixture into your molds. Press firmly to ensure the mixture will hold together when it’s dry.
  10. Allow the molds to sit for several hours until dry and hard. In a dryer environment, they should be dry in 6-8 hours (or even sooner). In a more humid environment, drying may take 24 or more hours.
  11. Gently tap the molds to release your bath bombs.
  12. Store in an airtight container or bag until ready to use.

Don’t want to make them yourself? Buy them now!

Posted on

My Favorite doTERRA Holiday Diffuser Blends

holidaydiffuserrecipes

Don’t you just love the holiday season? I’m not generally a fan of winter–or snow, or ice, or any of that other fun stuff, but I make an exception for the holidays! I just love the sights–fresh snow, lights and decorations, a lit tree through the window. I love the smells–baking goodies, hot apple cider, pine trees and garland. Every year from Thanksgiving through the New Year, I love putting different blends of doTERRA oils in my diffusers to create a holiday aroma in the house. Here are a few of my favorites:

Holiday Joy

  • 3 drops wild orange
  • 3 drops peppermint
  • 2 drops frankincense

Christmas Tree

  • 2 drops douglas fir
  • 2 drops Siberian fir
  • 2 drops juniper berry

Hot Cider

  • 3 drops wild orange
  • 2 drops cinnamon bark
  • 1 drop cardamom
  • 1 drop clove

Candy Cane

  • 5 drops peppermint
  • 3 drops bergamot

Ginger Bread House

  • 3 drops ginger
  • 2 drops cinnamon bark
  • 2 drops clove

Merry & Bright

  • 3 drops Siberian fir
  • 2 drops grapefruit
  • 2 drops frankincense

A quick search on Pinterest will find you LOTS more! What are some of your favorites? Share them in the comments!

Posted on

DIY Reed Diffuser Air Freshener

reeddiffuser.png

Reed diffusers are wonderful air fresheners. We have one in each bathroom in our house, and we have one in the laundry room (the litter boxes call the laundry room home). Have you ever bought the oil for them?? It is crazy expensive! One small bottle will run you at least $10, and that only gets you (at best) two fills! Fear not, frugal friends…I have a recipe!

For the bottle, you can buy any glass bottle you like, so long as it has a narrow opening. I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby. I especially like that it came with a cork top. While it won’t get used often, it’s a nice cap for when you want to swish the solution in the bottle. The reeds were a bit tougher to come by. I couldn’t find them in a store locally, so I ordered them on Amazon.

*One note: in order for the fragrance to really get out of the jar, you need to fill the jar at least 3/4 full. Adjust the recipe accordingly for your chosen jar.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. Add all ingredients to bottle (or mix in a separate container first).
  2. If your bottle has a cap, simply cap it and swish to mix ingredients together. If not, use one of your reed sticks to stir it.
  3. Add 8-10 sticks to the bottle, and fan them out.
  4. Be patient! It can take a day or two to really smell the fragrance.

20170305_133534

Maintenance:

  • To maximize fragrance, flip the sticks every few days.
  • Replace the sticks once per month.
  • Fill the bottle with new solution as needed.

When making a new solution, experiment with different oils (or combinations of oil) to find the fragrance you enjoy most!

Posted on

Homemade Play-dough

playdough.png

My son LOVES play-dough! Well, let’s be honest, he loves anything he can dig into and make a mess with! While Play-Doh isn’t actually very expensive, I was all about making it myself to save some money.

If you do a quick Google search for homemade play-dough, you’ll find TONS of recipes. At first, being the lazy person that I am, I chose what looked like the easiest one. While it came out ok, it was beyond messy. Every time you touched it, you were left with flecks of it between your fingers, on your clothes, and in a trail wherever you traveled. Now, imagine that with a toddler…it was a disaster! He kept bringing me the container wanting to play with it, and I kept secretly wishing he had forgotten all about it.

Fast forward a couple months, and I finally threw it away – not because it had dried out or anything (it was actually still in its original state) but because I just couldn’t bring myself to let him play with it anymore. I did some more research and found the KEY ingredient I was missing was cream of tartar. Who has that stuff anyway?? After a quick trip to the store and another search for dos and dont’s, I came up with a great recipe, so here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 tbsp oil (I use vegetable)
  • food coloring of your choice (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar (the KEY ingredient!)

Make It:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heat-safe bowl, stir together flour, salt, and cream of tartar
  3. When water is boiling, add oil and food coloring to the pan
  4. Pour boiling liquid over dry ingredients
  5. Stir together with a spoon
  6. Allow to cool to a handle-able temperature
  7. Knead together with hands
  8. Store in an airtight container

Enjoy!