making frugal & simple beautiful

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diffusing like a boss

diffusing like a boss

  So you keep hearing people talking about “diffusing”? Do you wonder what the heck is the big deal? Is diffusing confusing? Heehee. Well, here is the down low. Diffusing essential oils is an incredibly simple way to reap their many wonderful benefits. All you […]

may in the mountians

may in the mountians

So I think spring is my favorite. (This fall I’ll say fall’s my favorite.) But right now, spring is just too glorious. It’s so good to have warm and sunny days, and all the green back. We’ve had a couple cold snaps lately as we […]

soft and wonderful essential oil play dough

soft and wonderful essential oil play dough

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Growing up, my mom always had homemade play dough for me. I remember cooking it with her on the stove top, reading the recipe out of a thin, fun, idea book for kids that had a cute picture of children playing in the yard on the front. That book got pretty well loved and that play dough recipe remained my favorite through the years.

I taught preschool for quite a few years and made many, many pots of play dough, trying different recipes, always measuring them next to this one, and never being quite satisfied. They were always to dry, or too sticky, too oily, or crumbly. Not just right!

So, years ago, I decided to try to find the old book for myself. I believe it to be long out of print, but I found a copy on Amazon for a few dollars. When I went to look it up on Amazon, it said “you purchased this item in 2010.” Ha! You can find it here –> A Mother’s Manual for Summer Survival. It’s a sweet book, filled with simple ideas for keeping your kids busy with good, clean fun!

Needless to say, this homemade play dough has some sentimental ties for me. No wonder I love making this with my girl. I’ve never met a child that didn’t love play dough, and this homemade play dough has such a soft, squishy texture, that it’s irresistible!

 

 

 

 

The Best and Softest Homemade Play Dough

(with essential oils)

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 cups water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

food coloring and essential oils of choice

 

Stir all ingredients together in a saucepan, except coloring and essential oils. (Unless you are only making one color, then you can add coloring now.)

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until dough starts to follow spoon and appears cooked through.

Turn out onto counter, allow to cool a bit, and then knead. Knead, knead, knead! It will get softer as you do. Divide into sections. Press a cup into it with your thumb and add desired colors to each section, kneading in carefully. Now add essential oils if you desire.

Store in a plastic baggie, or airtight container. This play dough will last for months!

Sometimes when this is freshly cooked, it will appear to form a dry crust as it sits on the counter. Don’t worry, after it is kneaded, and stored in an airtight container, it will become very soft and smooth.

In my most recent batch, we decided to make 4 colors, with 4 different scents! We made pink with Thieves oil, green with lime oil, blue with peppermint oil, and purple with lavender oil.

 

affordable mother’s day gift guide, 2 ways

affordable mother’s day gift guide, 2 ways

  {We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}   I have made a list of some of my favorite Mother’s […]

5 of my favorite gardening books (and a couple i’m dying to read)

5 of my favorite gardening books (and a couple i’m dying to read)

{We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}   The second best way to learn about gardening, aside from knowledgeable friends […]

the feel of a home

the feel of a home

 

{We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

How my home feels is so important to me.

Beauty in your life and home often gets overlooked as not necessary and frivolous. But to me, if I can take something that I use everyday, or something that I have to look at everyday, and find a way for it to make me smile, that’s very important! Your home and the things you surround yourself with effect how you feel about yourself, and how you function in your daily life.

Everyone has their own sense of style and taste, what makes them feel good. Some people love bright color, and energy, others like soft muted shades, whites, quiet and natural elements. Whatever your personal “essence” is, go with that. What makes you feels calm and happy?

 

 

For my personal taste, which is the latter mentioned above, I think about these tones in my home:

  • clear, clean surfaces – Counter tops, table, bathroom counters I try to keep clutter free.
  • wood tones – Wood furniture, wooden kitchen utensils and cutting boards instead of plastic.
  • natural elements – Natural baskets instead of plastic tubs, potted plants in terra cotta pots, salt lamps, pottery dishes, scents in home from essential oils and natural sources.
  • lots of sunlight – No window coverings on most of the windows. Maybe some sheer white curtains in the future. Plenty of light comes in all day.

Something as simple as slowly replacing all my ugly, old plastic cooking utensils and cutting boards with bamboo, wood and metal utensils and wood cutting boards had made my kitchen feel so much better to me. Some may not bother with such things, but if you’re like me, you may understand what I’m talking about.

Things that make me and my home feel happy :

  • quiet time in God’s word
  • fresh flowers in a mason jar
  • herbs hanging to dry
  • a garland of dried citrus
  • a bunch of eucalyptus hanging in the shower
  • fresh, clean sheets sprayed with homemade essential oil linen spray
  • an old, tattered quilt waiting on the couch
  • a hot bath with epsom salts and lavender oil
  • reading an old book that I loved as a kid
  • a hot cup of herbal tea
  • a delicious fried egg in a cast iron skillet
  • growing flowers and veggies of my own
  • rearranging the furniture in one room and decorating by “shopping” my home
  • cloth napkins
  • beeswax candles
  • a notebook and pencil by the bed to empty all my thoughts before sleep
  • my rosemary bush planted near where I walk by, brushing past it releasing it’s aroma
  • treating myself to new hand towels for the kitchen
  • a special bar of soap by the sink
  • a playlist of some of my favorite songs

It is amazing how small things put together can set the tone in a home. I want my home to be a place I love being, that feels good to me, and that replenishes.

I love the book Living a Beautiful Life by Alexandra Stoddard. It’s packed with small, inspiring ways to add beauty and intention to your everyday life.

What special things about your home make you feel warm and fuzzy?



get rid of them ants!

get rid of them ants!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin     I’m a pretty easy going  person. Until I see either of these two things in my house… A spider, or ants! Then, as the joke goes, I turn into Al Capone. ” I want him dead! I want […]

what’s in my spring cold frame

what’s in my spring cold frame

  Last summer my sweet husband built me a cold frame! He made it nice and deep, long enough to house lots of plants, and made an ingenious sliding plastic panel top to cover it. I just told him that I would absolutely have to […]

6 ways I save $ on groceries

6 ways I save $ on groceries

 

 

We are going through some life changes in our household! They are all good ones, but will require us to tighten our belts for a few years to see my husband change careers and go back to school. This has got me back into the frugal mama mode and I have been brainstorming ways to spend less in our regular expenses, including on groceries. A few years ago our family went on a journey to rid ourselves of debt and we did many things to cut expenses, so I am familiar with the concept. You can read more about our getting out of debt story here. I may not be super thrilled about it… Ha! But at least it’s familiar territory!

 

 

Here are a few things I plan on implementing (again) to save our pennies.

  1. Bake Bread – Baking bread is a great way to save money, especially if you are concerned about the quality of food that your family eats. If you normally buy organic, or natural whole grain bread, and don’t want to sacrifice the healthy stuff for the cheap, refined  loaves, baking it yourself may be the answer.  I can bake about 5 or 6 loaves of organic, homemade bread for the cost of one organic store bought loaf!
  2. Cut back on meat – Even exchanging one meat meal a week (4 meals a month) for another protein source can save you some money.  A few ideas are breakfast for supper, which is always a winner. Some nice coddled eggs and pancakes, or yummy friend egg sandwiches and hash browns. You could do something I love, nachos! I dump some corn chips on a plate, add shredded cheese and beans and microwave to melt.  Then I pile on avocados, onions, diced cherry tomatoes, salsa, whatever floats your boat. It’s so yummy! (Do you like my fancy recipe jargon? Dump and pile?) You could do cheese quesadillas with beans and rice, big veggie salads, grilled cheeses and soup, vegetable stir fry with rice… These types of meals tend to cost less per serving than meat.
  3. Shop the perimeter of the store – The healthier, whole food groups tend to be on the outside edge of the store. Produce, meats and dairy. There are few exceptions, frozen veggies can be a great option, flours and beans and rice, spices…  The processed food that come in cans and boxes and bags tend to cost you more per serving and also cost you in the health department as well. If I only have $100 a week to spend on feeding my family, the majority of what’s in my buggy need to be healthy, nutrient dense foods. I do buy things like tortilla chips, and jellies and nut butter, so this is just a general rule of thumb. But I find that the more fresh food I have in my buggy, the better cost and health. Most the time, you are paying for the convenience of pre-prepared foods, so I you are willing to spend more time in the kitchen as opposed to more money, then most the time you can make your own. Read about what you can make instead of buy here.
  4. Take a list – This one is huge for me. If I don’t have a list, watch out! I always try to make a meal plan by what I see is on sale that week at my favorite store(s). Then I make list to take with me. Deviating from my plan always costs me. Impulse buys rarely pay off and usually are regretted.
  5. Cut out buying drinks – Bottled drinks are so expensive! Soda and juice can really rack up the bill quick. Just drink water! It’s free!
  6. Use the app Ibotta – I love this app. I have to get back into the habit of using it every week, but you download it on your phone, see what the offers are at your store(s) that week and after you have made your purchase, you upload your receipt to prove your purchases and they put money in your Ibotta account. After you accumulate $20 or more, you can cash out through PayPal, or by gift card. It’s not going to make you rich, but hey. Every bit helps, right?!

Now, go forth and save money!

opening my young living essential oils starter kit

opening my young living essential oils starter kit

    It was finally here! My Young Living Starter Kit had finally arrived. Many months of debating and research and hemming and hawing had finally culminated to this beautiful moment. Okay… Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But it was almost that good.   […]