My Top 10 Parenting “Pearls”

Top Ten Parenting PearlsRecently, a friend asked me to share my top ten list of parenting “pearls”—you know, those ten phrases you’re saying over and over again; those most important things you’re always praying about or discussing with your spouse.

It was actually harder than I thought it would be. So much of parenting is intuitive and boiling down my “pearls” to a list of ten was helpful for me to see exactly where my parenting is currently. I definitely want to continue emphasizing those parenting areas where we’ve been.

But looking over the list also showed me a few areas where I want to address more intentionally, too.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Mom, May Is Coming! Are You Ready?

April is National Poetry Month. In honor of that, I thought I’d try writing a poem. Inspired by the chaotic whirlwind that is the end-of-the-year and a classic children’s poem, I wrote “‘Twas the Week Before May.” I dedicate this to busy mothers everywhere! 

'Twas the Week Before May

‘Twas the Week Before May

‘Twas the week before May, and all through the land
Not a mother was ready for all that was planned.

The schedules were filled with too much to do
As everyone wondered how they’d make it through.

The children were waiting for the year’s end–
Summer vacation they wanted to spend.

With Mom in the minivan, the kids strapped in back,
We braced for May 1 as we would for attack.

As the clock chimed twelve and April turned to May
We dove headlong into the chaotic fray:

Final tests! And projects! And banquets and games!
“Help me,” I cried, lest we go down in flames.

Picnics! Elections! Concerts! And prom!
“I could use some wine to get back my calm.”

Graduation! And board meetings so next year we won’t sweat!
“Tell me, is it Memorial Day yet?”

To the end of the month, to the week, to the day,
Now go away! Go away! Just. Go. Away.

And then in a twinkling, the calendar was clean
Like that! It was over—my month fueled by caffeine.

I sighed a relief and gave a pat on the back
I’d made it through another May Attack.

I spoke not a word, but instead smiled inside
Sanity intact, I swelled with pride.

But my moment was short as I realized, now sober:
I’ll be doing it again in October.


Do you know about Grammarly? It’s a super-cool service that I’ve just discovered. I’ll write a full review post on it in a few weeks; but go check it out now, especially if you need some extra writing and editing help with your kids’ papers, your own business-related correspondence, or even blog posts.

The #1 Writing Tool


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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Best Tips for Shopping at Aldi

Tips for Shopping at Aldi | save money on groceries without clipping coupons

I hate grocery shopping. Loathe it. Despise it. Always have.

Until I discovered Aldi, that is.

Aldi grocery stores offer terrific savings on outstanding products. The stores are “no-frills,” which both keeps costs low and makes shopping easier, I think. Groceries are stacked in boxes on pallets, which creates aisles. There are no fancy shelves, end-caps, or signs. At least in the Aldis in my area, they all have a similar layout, which means I don’t have to “re-learn” a store when I shop there for the first time. Aldi only carries the most frequently purchased items, which ensures that I’m not overwhelmed when it comes to choosing products. I love the simplicity that comes with fewer options.

What does all of that mean for us? Lower prices and fewer barriers to getting to the items you want to purchase.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

4 Simple Steps to Stress-free Homemaking

stress-free homemaking

I’m constantly looking for new ideas to improve my homemaking skills. I’m not very good at homemaking, I must confess.

Laundry? Ugh. I’m always behind.

Cleaning the bathrooms? They are usually a mess.

Organization, time management, budgeting? Oh, man. I struggle with all of these.

So, when I discovered this mini-ecourse, I was thrilled! I thought you may find it helpful, too. It’s free! Plus you’ll get a free downloadable PDF with each lesson to help you implement in real life what you’ve learned.

4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking

In these four videos, you’ll learn:

  • How to overcome laundry overwhelm and stay on top of laundry for good
  • How to conquer a messy kitchen and a sink full of dirty dishes
  • The 3 daily “must-do” tasks, which will keep your home on track
  • The key to making it all work well with your family

Just click the picture and get instant access now. Make sure you leave me a comment and let me know how you’ll make changes in your own homemaking routines.

stress-free homemaking

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Thieves Essential Oil Better Than Bleach And Lysol

Thieves Essential Oil Beats Clorox Bleach and Lysol in Cleaning BathroomsI love school. I do. I always have. I’d be in school right now, getting another degree in something if time and money would allow.

But I must say that RE-living school through my children’s projects borders on torture. I straddle that line of trying to be helpful and guide them so they will develop excellent study skills and here-let-me-do-that-so-we-can-just-get-it-done-already.

The latest project in the parade of projects, however, was for the sixth grade science fair. And after the late nights and head scratching and double-sided tape fiascos, it actually proved interesting.

While some kids were sticking wires in potatoes and such, my 11-year-old wanted to focus on germs in dirty bathrooms. Specifically, she wanted to test my beloved essential oils against chemical household cleaners. Yes! I was hooked. I wanted to know, too, just how well Young Living’s Thieves essential oil blend performed when placed side by side against Clorox Bleach and Lysol bathroom cleaner.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

What Lies Do You Believe?

truth lies single woman lies

Have you ever given much thought about the power that lies have in your life?

Maybe it’s that persistent thought that, “I’m just not good enough.” Or what about the idea that surely God’s forgotten about you or that your past can’t be forgiven.

Sometimes the lies become so loud and so frequent that we start to actually believe them. That’s when we must offset lies by turning to God’s Word for truth. It’s this battle that is the subject of a new book by my friend, Allison Flexer.

Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press) is targeted at Christian women who long to be married and have children but who remain single.

[Read more…]

Waiting for Empty Laundry Baskets

Waiting for Empty Laundry BasketsDoing laundry drives me a little bit crazy.

Tell me you get this. I mean, we wash, we wear, we wash, we wear. Over. And over. And over again.

The monotony of household chores, in general, bores me to tears. More than once, I’ve raised my hands to God to say, “Why? Why the same thing over and over?”

My family members, especially, are not good stewards of their dirty laundry. They do not alert me to stubborn stains. They do not separate whites and colors as they stack dirty clothes in piles. My daughter often wears layers and pulls everything off at once, leaving me a tangled mess to unravel at the washer—socks and inside-out pants, underwear, tanks, and tees. And my husband rolls up all his dirty clothes at once into a ball. I have often found a surprise black sock in a load of whites because it was tucked into an undershirt.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Guest Post Today at Blonde Mom Blog

Blonde Mom Blog guest post | 5 Easy Changes to a Better You

I’m thrilled to let you know that I have a guest post today at Blonde Mom Blog! Jamie is a longtime friend of mine and now a colleague as we’ve worked together for a couple of years.

I love her blog, her wit, and her writing. If you’ve not checked out Blonde Mom Blog, you must!

And while you’re there, check out my post, too, in her 15 Minutes to Fabulous summer series (intro below):

5 Easy Changes for a Better You

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” No matter what’s going on, what task you’re facing, or for which goals you are reaching, you must take baby steps to get there.

Little bites of elephant one at a time.

That’s why I love the idea of 15 minutes to becoming fabulous. Those 15 minutes here and there add up. You start nibbling at the elephant and before you know it, you’ve cleaned your plate!

And so, I’m challenging you with these small bites you can take today, this week, or this weekend for all-around life improvement. Generally, they are so easy to incorporate into your routine that you’ll probably find they become healthy habits before you know it.

Read the entire blog post here.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

What I Learned While Mowing the Yard

What I Learned While Mowing the Yard - 4 principles for reaching goals

A few weeks ago, I decided to surprise my husband when he came home from work.

No, no. It was nothing romantic and didn’t even involve his favorite meal.

What brings a smile to my man’s face and a “Wow, honey!” to his lips?

Our yard—freshly cut.

That’s right. I mowed the yard.

Now, I’m no stranger to mowing the yard. I grew up on a farm where our yard was three huge grassy areas. I have mowed my share of yards. I have logged my time on mowers—both riding and push.

But it’s been oh, several years now that I’ve done yard work. And it’s sort of an understatement to say that I’m out of shape.

These realities did nothing, however, to quell my zest for getting work done! For surprising my hubby! For feeling productive!

[Read more…]

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Making Perfect Iced Tea: Things My Mama Taught Me (and a few I learned from HGTV)

Making Perfect Iced Tea| How To Make a Perfect Glass of Iced TeaToday I’m resurrecting a series of posts called, “Things My Mama Taught Me.”

I wouldn’t really call myself a domestic diva, but I am a good Southern cook, who routinely OD’s on information. I love all things about hearth and home, I am always on a quest for finding the most efficient way of doing the most mundane thing.

Thus, this series. I’ve got a lot of odds and ends of info rattling about my head, and I figured some of you might find them helpful and/or interesting.

In this series, you will find tips, tricks, recipes, favorite resources, and the like.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to make delicious and perfectly brewed iced tea.

When I was in college and living with three roommates in a two-bedroom apartment, I was the tea maker. My roommates—Southern girls though they were—had no clue how to make iced tea. They thought tea came in a brown powder form in a can.

Sacrilege, I tell you. Absolute sacrilege.

Since then, I’ve been perfecting my iced tea skills, and we always have a gallon in the fridge. I can’t go more than a few hours without a cold glass of tea. Alone, I probably drink 1 gallon every 2 days or so.

Making perfect iced tea is simple. Follow my tips below.

Iced Tea

makes one gallon

In a small saucepan, boil about 3 cups of water. I never measure; just fill up the saucepan.

When the water boils, add 3 family size tea bags. I actually use decaf tea now and have never been able to make any distinction in flavor.

Remove the pot from the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to steep. I think it should steep at least 10-15 minutes, but 30-45 minutes will give you a deeper flavor.

Next comes the controversial part: sugar. I am not a big fan of super-sweet tea. When it is super-sweet, the flavor of the tea is obliterated by the syrupy flavor. If I want syrup, I’ll drink Coke. So, I typically only add about 1/2 cup sugar to the warm liquid and stir to dissolve. (Obviously, add more sugar to adjust to your taste.)

Pour the tea mixture into a one gallon jug. Fill the jug with cold water to make one gallon.

In my ideal world, my iced tea is served over a glass FULL of ice, with fresh-squeezed lemon, and sprigs of mint.

Absolutely, positively perfect refreshment. Ahhhh.

For sweetness/more flavor without the sugar:

  • Try using Stevia instead of sugar.
  • I also use 1-2 drops Lemon, Orange, and/or Bergamot essential oils per glass. The oils give a delicious flavor. You may find you don’t miss the sugar when flavoring with essential oils. *Note: Never add the oils to iced tea unless it is in a glass container. I only consume and recommend consuming 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils by Young Living.
  • I periodically experiment with brewing a herbal or flavored tea along with the original teabags. Just replace one tea bag with about 3 smaller bags. I like to use orange spice, green citrus, and raspberry leaf.
  • I also use an Iced Tea Maker frequently now to make iced tea. I do love it, and I think it does a fine job. I bought some bulk cut herbs (raspberry leaf ), and brew them in my iced tea maker with my tea bags.
    Directions: Follow machine’s directions for making tea. Place 3 large bags into the maker. Put 3 heaping T of raspberry leaf herb (or herb of your choice) into a plain coffee filter. Fold the corners of the coffee filter like wrapping a gift. Staple together to close. Place herb pouch on top of tea bags and brew as normal.

Some good fast iced tea options when you’re out:

  • Sonic Route 66 iced tea, half sweet and half unsweet with extra lemon
  • McDonald’s large tea, half sweet and half unsweet with extra lemon

What about you? What’s your favorite iced beverage? What’s your favorite hot beverage? Do you have any tips for making the perfect glass or cup of whatever?

photo: dreamstime.com

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.