Simplify Your Life – Go Smaller

Smaller living

Why We Went Smaller

I have written several posts before about how to simplify your life and why your family will thank you.  Due to our simplification process, we decided to sell our home and move into a smaller place. We left a 3 bedroom home to go to a 1 bedroom home and couldn’t be happier! We have finally settled into our new, smaller home with everything in its place.  Consequently, many people we have spoken to do not understand why anyone would do this. It seems as if we are going backwards.

You know the American dream is to buy a big house and have a great job with children. Oh, I forgot the white fence. And the dog. It seems like everyone always wants to get more stuff and bigger homes. Yet, people seem unhappy and grumpy.  The problem with us was, we didn’t feel like we had time to invest in each other and our daughter because we were so busy taking care of all of our stuff. And working on the house, because that truly never ends. Just ask anyone who owns a home! Something always needs to be fixed, painted, updated, cleaned, etc. And then, there’s the outside. It is never ending.  Rather than fixing up physical things, we’d rather invest in relationships.

How We Feel Now

After moving out and getting unpacked, we are completely at peace with our decision.  The smaller home can be cleaned in no time at all.  We have more time to spend with each other and less stuff cluttering our space.  As I have written before, it was very difficult to start the process.  Many of us have an emotional connection to our stuff.  Hence, getting rid of stuff is very personal.

But, now that we have come full circle, I can tell you that it is worth it!  I can tell a difference in my stress level.  We are happier and feel free.  There is freedom in simplifying!  Since moving, we now have more time and money to continue to pay down debt.  God does not want us to be in debt.  It’s not healthy to owe money to others for things that we cannot afford.  Many people go their entire lives in debt, whether it’s a mortgage or car payment, or both.  As a result, they may never experience the freedom that comes with having less stuff.  Most of all, humans were created to thrive on relationships, not FaceBook status or how big your house is, or how much stuff you buy.  Relationships matter.  All of our stuff really does not.

Benefits of Going Smaller

  • More time to spend with family
  • Don’t take things for granted
  • Shifts priorities – you learn what is important
  • Less stress
  • Everything serves a purpose (or two)
  • Peaceful (Especially if you live on a farm like we do!)
  • You learn creative ways to do certain things
  • Less waste – you’re not heating/cooling space you don’t use

How many of you actually use your dining room, anyway?!

I would encourage anyone reading this to look at what you are currently holding on to.  Does it serve a purpose?  Could you part with it?  Everything that we own is stored in our subconscience.  All those unnecessary trinkets are really clogging up your mental space.   Read more here and here.  Start in a closet.  Or the garage.  Is there enough space to park your car?  If the answer is no, then that should be the goal.  It’s so sad to see all of these homes with garages and cars parked outside.  Don’t pay for storage, go through your belongings and purge!  I promise, you won’t regret it.  The long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term feelings.  Don’t be afraid to go against the grain or “norm” just because others aren’t.

 

Want to read more?  Click here to purchase my ebook about Living Simply.

Living Simply – Are You Ready For It?

Less is More

I viewed a documentary called Minimalism, focusing on living simply in a world of I Gotta Have It Right Now.  Very inspiring and eye-opening with interviews of many people, including people with PhDs discussing the poor social state that many of us are in.  Less is more.  Why have we let the marketing industry brain wash us into thinking we must have __________ to be happy?  Thinking about people trampling  others at Black Friday sales makes me sick.  At the end of the documentary, one of the authors of the minimalist blog said, “Love people, use things, not the other way around.”  That is a mouthful!  As believers we are called to love others, but I’ve never thought of it like this before.  So, instead of “listening” to someone talking while you are using a smart phone, put down the phone and invest in that relationship!

The Love of Material Things

We are living in a current society where many people do not want for anything; they buy whatever they want whenever they want it.  Living simply isn’t even a thought.  You don’t have enough money?  That’s fine; there’s a credit card, or store card that you can charge.  This is SOOOOO unhealthy!  Instant gratification has spoiled so many of us.  I remember growing up and saving up my birthday AND Christmas money to buy things that I wanted.  Those wish lists that I created so my friends and family knew what I wanted……. that has all gone by the wayside.

Living simply doesn’t even make sense to so many people.  Who needs anything?  It makes me sick to think of the hundreds of dollars that I have spent on clothing!  Fashion that changes every month is too much to keep up with and not even worth the time or energy.  Many people are trapped in this state of keeping up with their neighbors, or showing up their family, or outranking their friends.  We can’t even enjoy our lives because we are working so much to pay for things that we don’t need and to live in houses that are too large.  For more information about clutter, click here.

simplify your life

Living Simply is a Process

We have slowly made small changes over the course of 2 years.  First, we slowed down our spending.  Just because Apple launches a new product, doesn’t mean that the old one stops working.  Why is it that we feel like we have to have everything the second we want it?  Three and four generations ago, people worked hard for everything that they had and I bet they were more grateful and lived happier lives.

The next step my family took was looking at some of our larger furniture and knick knacks.  Do we need all of these tables in our living room?  No.  Do these little figurines serve any purpose?  No.  Do we ever use that?  No.   Is it necessary to have 3 of one thing?  No. Having lawn sales was extremely helpful in getting rid of things we didn’t value and making some extra cash.  We are living simply and are actually happier with less stuff.

Learn more about de-cluttering here.

We are currently in the process of moving into a one bedroom apartment from our 3 bedroom home.  This is not something that will happen overnight, and it will not be easy to begin.  However, once you begin this process, it is SOOOO FREEING!  You feel free when you simplify and downsize.  It helps you focus on what really matters in your life.  I want to spend less time cleaning my house and more time with my family.

And don’t forget about your digital life.  Click here.

Ripple Effects

Not only are these habits and thoughts unhealthy for us and our families, they also affect our society.  I am a teacher, so I see the next generation on a daily basis.  Talk about struggle.  Talk about frustration.  I can see it in the kids and the adults.  It almost seems like we are speaking different languages.  So much time is spent on social media that face-to-face conversations, social etiquette and common courtesy are becoming nonexistent.

Communication is breaking down because people don’t have the life skills to function around other human beings!  It is so aggravating when you are talking to someone and they won’t put down their phone/tablet/whatever the newest gadget is!  Human beings are relational.  We are wired to function as collaborative groups, relying on each other and helping each other.  This love for material things has made us so selfish and introverted that we’ve lost something along the way that I think is detrimental to the species!  It is so encouraging to view other people snapping out of it and realizing that the best things in life aren’t things.

living simply

Make a Change Today!  Less IS More!

Be intentional.  Live Simply.  Enjoy life.  Love who you are, regardless of what you have or what you are wearing.  Evaluate how you are spending your time and money.  Are those things that you have in your closet really worth anything to you?  Could you get rid of some of your clutter to eliminate having to pay someone else to store your stuff?  Start small.  Tackle one room (or closet) at a time.  I like to give myself challenges.  Eliminate the need for one shelf in your closet, or fit everything into one box.  We just went through our Christmas decorations and have everything other than the tree fitting into one tote.

Don’t go to work just to make enough money to pay the bills, or to pay for the things that you don’t need.  Life is so much more than stuff!  Slow down and pause to smell the flowers in your garden.  Listen to the animals chattering in your backyard.  Spend time with your kids.  These are mood-boosting and “bucket” filling.  (If you haven’t checked out the book, Simplify, I strongly recommend it!)  These are the important things in life to focus on, not cleaning your 4 bathrooms in your huge home.  As the minimalist said on the documentary, “Love people and use things.”  How can you love someone today?

Read more here.

Playing Hand and Foot

Hand and Foot

Hand and Foot shuffling

This card game called “Hand and Foot” is really popular in Florida.  You work on teams and play cards to make books.  The game duration varies in length, so there is time for talking and snacking.  We have a lot of fun in big groups playing this game.  Apparently, there are different versions of this game, depending on where you play.  Here’s the version that the Schell family uses.

Hand and Foot Rules

  1. Use one more deck of cards than the number of people playing.  For example, if there are 4 people, you will need 5 decks.  We bought a multi-card pack at Sam’s Club.
  2. Card point value: 4-7s are worth 5 points each, 8-10 and Face cards (King, Queen, Jack) are worth 10 points each, Ace and 2s are worth 20 points each (2 is a wild card), Joker is another wild worth 50 points, Red 3s are negative 300 points, Black 3s are worth 0 points.
  3. There are four rounds, with specific points required to begin laying down cards.  Round 1: 50 points, Round 2: 90 points, Round 3: 120 points, Round 4: 150 points.
  4. A completed book is 7 cards.  Red books have no wilds and are worth 300 points at the end of the round; Black books have wild cards and are worth 100 points.  We usually play that you have two Red books and 3 Black books before you can end the round.
  5. Black books must have one less wild card than non-wild cards.

How to Play Hand and Foot

  1. Assemble teams.  We usually play with 2-3 people on each team.  There can be 2-3 teams.  You cannot sit next to the person(s) who is/are on your team.
  2. Shuffle the cards really well.
  3. Hand and Foot starting outMake two piles of cards face down.  Each player turns over a card(s) from anywhere in the stack of cards, revealing its value.  The highest value goes first. Hand and Foot
  4. Each player tries to grab 22 cards.  If you do, your team gets 100 points.  Make two piles of 11 cards each, face down.  Just for the record, while I was laying cards out to snap a picture for this post, I got 22!  Woot woot.  Too bad it didn’t count. Hand and Foot starting out
  5. Keep one pile as yours to play.  You may look at these cards – this is called your hand.
  6. Pass the other pile to the person on your left.  They may not look at these cards yet – this is their foot.
  7. Organize your cards by grouping like cards together. Hand and Foot starting out
  8. When it is your turn, draw two cards and discard one card.  Plays move clockwise. Make sure to discard Red 3s!  Hand and Foot main pile
  9. One person from each team needs to have enough cards to lay out based on the points above.  You must have 3 cards of a kind.  You cannot make a book of 3s or wilds.
  10. Once one person from your team has laid out cards, other players can lay down their cards.  They may play off of cards already laid out or start new books. Hand and Foot starting out
  11. When you play all the cards in your hand, you go into your foot.  This can all happen in the same turn, meaning you can play right into your foot.
  12. Once you have the correct number of books (see above), you can get rid of all of your cards, called “going out.”  The team who goes out receives 100 points. Hand and Foot laid out
  13. Count the points of your books first, then your cards that you played, making sure to take out any cards that count against each player.
  14. Record points of teams, then shuffle and repeat.

 Just try it!

I know there are a lot of rules and things to remember!  When I started playing Hand and Foot, I remember feeling so overwhelmed. As with anything, the more that you play, the easier it will get.  We have played this game for years and really enjoy it.  So, give it a try!

 

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Jewelry Display DIY

I make my own diffuser jewelry to sell at craft shows and vendor events.  Displaying the jewelry was taking up soooooo much space on my table, that I wanted to come up with another way for a jewelry display.  Below are some of the necklaces that I have made.

diffuser jewelry

You put a piece of felt or those little pom poms inside the locket and then add the essential oil to that.  Read more about essential oils here.  Read why I use essential oils instead of perfume here.  I really like having them on the card stock for transporting and selling, but was struggling with displaying them for sale.  So, I decided to make my own display.

Make Your Own Jewelry Display

wire for project

I wanted to make something that was cheap (meaning using things that I already had laying around) and easy.  I had some extra wooden frames, clothespins and this floral wire.

pliers for project

  1. First, carefully remove the glass from the frame.
  2. Then, use pliers to cut the wire length.  I just held it up to the back of the frame and guessed.

cute little clothespins

3. Next, thread the wire through the spring part of the clothespins.  They will hang but still be able to spring open.

hot glue gun keeps wire in place

4. Use a hot glue gun to attach the wire ends to the back of the frame, making sure the little clothespins stay on.

clothespins on wire

Almost finished!  Jewelry display DIY at its best.

decorative paper added

5. Finally, add decorative paper – this is scrapbook paper – to the back, in addition to the backing of the frame.  Push down all those annoying little metal pieces to hold the frame back on.

ready to hang jewelry

6. Attach desired jewelry.  Or whatever you want.  I designed this to hold jewelry, but the options are endless.  You could hang pictures, notes, mail, etc.  Just decide what you are using it for before you create it, so you know where to put the wire and how many clothespins you will need.

finished project

Here’s another one that I made going landscape.   They were a big hit at the vendor event and helped draw people to my table.  The jewelry is usually a great seller.

Make Homemade Pizza for Dinner Tonight

Why Make Homemade Pizza?

Homemade pizza is a weekly tradition in my home.  Over two years ago, my family decided to get healthy for real, after reading The Daniel Plan.  Um, can we say #LifeChanging  ?!  Read more here.

I started researching the ingredients in most boxed/packaged foods and they are not good.  Most processed items purchased in stores do not contain food; they contain food-like ingredients.  Our bodies are amazing creations with lots of abilities and processes in place to pull nutrients out of food.  However, when you are fueling your body with food-like substances, the body does not know what to do with the food.  Plus, eating food-like substances is not getting you the nutrition that you get from eating FOOD.  It’s really not difficult to make food from scratch; it just takes time and planning.

Steps for Making Homemade Pizza

  1. Make the dough.  I love making dough in the bread machine, because I’m not a fan of the whole kneed thing.  Dump ingredients into bread machine and press start.  The one drawback is time here.  My machine takes 1.5 hours to make dough.  Early afternoons on Sundays, we start preparing for dinner.  Our favorite recipe is from Mom on TimeOut.  Find it here.     Homemade pizza starts with homemade dough
  2. Of course, I also love our Pampered Chef pizza stone.  You can let the dough set for a few minutes – I have left it in the fridge for 30 minutes – one hour.  Here recently, I have baked it right away and that works fine also.  So, either put it in the fridge for later, or jump to the next step.  Make sure you preheat your oven!  I do 400 degrees.

Rolling the dough

3. Roll out the dough.  I am definitely not an expert with this!  Each time, it comes out differently.  I roll it and pick it up and stretch it out.  Anything that works, right?!  With this recipe, I’ve not had to use flour because it doesn’t stick to the roller.  This is my least favorite (and most time consuming) part of the homemade pizza making process.

The Crust is Ready

4. Next comes the sauce.  I just pour some in the middle and spread evenly with a spoon.  How much you use depends on your sauce preference.  I enjoy more sauce!

Add sauce

5. Cheese is next.  I mean, what is pizza without the cheese?!  Now, dairy is not really good for your body, so I have tried to cut back on my family’s intake of dairy products.  The pizza dinner is really a treat.  We buy mozzarella in bulk and shred/slice it ourselves.  (Shredded cheese that you purchase in the store sometimes has not-so-great ingredients to keep the cheese from sticking together.  You know, like saw dust and other chemicals.  Yum-not!)  Shred and slice your own cheese.  Seriously, how has the food industry been allowed to get away with this nonsense?!  But, I digress.  Here’s what the cheese looks like: cheese

Happy with just Cheese?  Skip Step 6.

6. The final prep stage is the toppings.  Here’s where you can really get creative.  This is probably one of my favorite reasons to make homemade pizza in the first place.  My family loves Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham, sausage, veggies, banana peppers, etc.  The possibilities are endless!  I have even made one with ketchup and mustard instead of sauce, with ground beef.  Cheeseburger pizza.  For this baking session, I didn’t have any fun ingredients, so I just stuck with the staple, pepperoni.

slice it up

Yes, we slice our pepperoni also.  I try to prep as much as I can at home.  The less that the food company does, the better.

Choose your toppings on your homemade pizza

As you can see, hubby likes pepperoni more than the girls.  This is another perk!  You can completely customize the toppings to fit your family’s needs/wants.

7. Put on the bottom rack for 9 minutes.

img_3919 Bake that pizza

8. Spin pizza and put on the top rack for another 9 minutes.

homemade pizza almost done

Always Use Caution!

Confession: I forgot about how greasy pepperoni can be and put some a little too close to the edge of the stone.  Enough dripped over the side to make quite a mess in the oven.  Don’t make the same mistake!  Line the bottom with aluminum foil, or don’t go so close to the edge.  On a side note, this pizza had a slightly smoky flavor from the small fire I caused in the bottom of my oven.  It was not intended, but unexpectedly good.  I don’t think it’s worth the fire hazard, but I was glad that the pizza was not ruined!

Ready to eat

9. Optional: I like to make a crust oil to spice up the crust.  Olive oil, salt and spices.  I think this is Oregano.  If I don’t have any spices on hand, I will use my essential oils.  Read more about those here.  When the pizza is finished cooking (Again – learn from my mistake.  AFTER the pizza has cooked, not during!) brush the oily goodness on the crust. Experiment with different flavors and spices.  It will only enhance the homemade pizza experience.

crust topping

Here is the oily crust topping ready to go!

Compliment Your Homemade Pizza With…

I usually pair this meal with a nice, green, leafy salad topped with seeds and veggies.  For salad dressing, I enjoy mixing 2 parts olive oil with 1 part basaltic vinaigrette.  For an extra nutritional punch, I will cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and bake with sliced onions, sea salt and olive oil.  375 degrees until sweet potatoes are soft, usually 30 minutes.

Added Bonus

This is a great way to bring the family together to wrap up the weekend.  J is still a toddler, so she “helps” make dinner, but as she gets older, I will give her more responsibilities.  Education is key.  I want her to know where her food comes from and that it’s important to prepare as much as possible from scratch.  The detachment so many people have with food is alarming.  Here I go rambling again.  Enjoy the pizza!

Interested in another laborious but lovely recipe?  Click here to read about my homemade applesauce.

Natural scents or Chemical-laced Perfumes

Chemical free perfume

Using Natural Scents vs. “Fragrance”

Natural scents say exactly what they are scents that come from nature.  Fragrance is an ingredient in many cosmetic, hygiene, and household products.  Companies market the bottle like it contains natural scents, but read the ingredients.  I bet you will find fragrance in the list.  Natural scents that I use with my family include using Young Living’s therapeutic grade essential oils.  Read more about that here and here.  I use these essential oils to make all kinds of products for myself and my family.  Perfume is one thing that I ditched as soon as I stated researching fragrance.  I now make my own 🙂

Why is Fragrance a “Bad” Ingredient?

According to EWG (Environmental Working Group – a great resource if you haven’t already heard of them), companies can legally use the word “fragrance” as a cover for any number of chemicals used to create a scent.  Many of these chemicals have been linked to weight gain, respiratory problems and other minor – but unnecessary – issues.

Using products with these chemicals is not good for your body’s endocrine system.  This is the system that controls your hormones, which have a direct impact on many things that happen inside your body.  Even more disturbing, these companies are not always required to test their products to make sure that they are safe for human use.

Here’s what EWG’s website states: “under U.S. law, the term fragrance is defined as a combination of chemicals that gives each perfume or cologne its distinct scent.”

I’m not sure if this image is clear to see, but it shows that after testing many perfumes, it was found that they contained MANY chemicals.

Tested perfumes and chemicals
Source: http://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy

This is not something that I will voluntarily expose my body to!

What are the Natural Alternatives?

Diffuser jewelry

I choose to say no to chemicals, especially ones that will be sprayed onto my skin and clothes!  I don’t want to breathe in chemicals all day!  Instead, I make my own diffuser jewelry and add pure essential oils to fabric inside the locket.  The scent is pleasing to the nose, and packs extra body benefits.  Joy is what I commonly use to boost my mood throughout the day.  Smelling a scent is a great way to gain access to your body’s cells.  There is a direct path from the nose to the brain.  Scents are a powerful thing, and I want to steer clear of chemicals whenever and wherever possible.

Do your own research.  I bet you will be surprised at the information that you find.  First, the food industry’s complete lack of concern for the consumer, now the cosmetic industry carries that same integrity (or lack thereof).  You must be educated and seek the knowledge out for yourself.  It seems like we are doing so many things wrong!  Any small change that you can make is for the better.

Interested in taking the plunge to get healthier?  Find lists and explanations of many different things that you can try in previous posts.  Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  Try to cut out one major source of fragrance in your home today!  Candles, body wash, lotion, scented cleaning products?  Remember, your family’s health is at stake!

Homemade Applesauce

finished applesauce jars

Why homemade applesauce?

This is my first real experience making homemade applesauce…and going through the entire process…. yum!  Let’s talk about why you would want to start this process in the first place.   If you haven’t done any research about the food industry, let me just shorten it down for you.

S-U-G-A-R

Sugar is relatively cheap to use and is very addictive.  For the company who is trying to make a profit, that’s great news, however, for the consumer, it is NOT.  Sugar feeds cancer and makes your body crave more sugar.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to find products without sugar in the ingredients – be careful; there are tons of different names for sugar!

Think that’s bad?  Here’s more:

Also, if there is a small enough amount of something, companies don’t have to list it as an ingredient – thanks a lot FDA!  So, knowing exactly what is in the applesauce (hello, apples!) is very appealing to me and my family.  If you’d like more information on foods and why I read the ingredients, click here.

The process of making applesauce – Part I – Preparation

  1. First, get jars – I prefer quart sized because my family of 3 loves applesauce and we go through quite a bit.
empty jars
Make sure you run the jars through the dishwasher beforehand.

2. Second, get apples and wash them.  I prefer Staymen apples, but got Golden Delicious and Jonagolds which were also good.

pretty little apples
I got seconds apples from a local orchard, TS Smiths.

3. Since you will be cooking these apples, make sure you cut them and remove any bad spots.

sliced apples
Quarter cut and core apples.

The process of making applesauce – Part II

4. Then, cook the cut apples.  This may take a long time, depending on the kinds of apples that you purchase.  Stir as needed.  Smells of homemade applesauce filling your home = bonus!

cooking apples
Add apple quarters to a large pot to cook. Add water if you want to also make apple juice.  Pick a cool day because the kitchen gets HOT.

5. Once apples have cooked and are soft, dump into a bowl to cool (if you’re making tons, you will need to refill the pot on the stove and keep cooking).  If you added water in Step 3, you will need to strain the juice out of the cooked apples now.

cooked apples
Cooked apples ready to run through the Victorian Strainer

6. Run cooked and slightly cooled apples through Victorian Strainer.  You will need something to catch the peels (we used a glass bowl inside of this steel one) and something else to catch the applesauce.

Victorian Strainer
This machine removes the peel and any part of the core that was missing in the cutting process.

The process of making applesauce – Part III – Packaging the Goodness

7. If you have help, have someone sterilizing lids while you are straining apples. Cover with water and bring to a boil on the stove.  Keep the lids in the hot water until you are ready to put on the filled jars.

lids
Sterilize lids on stove

8. Once your applesauce has no peels, fill up those jars!  Be careful not to make a mess!

yummy applesauce
Use a funnel to scoop applesauce into empty jars.

9. Now, take care to remove any residue from the very top of the jar where the lid will go.  It is super important that the lid seals in the next step, or all of your hard work is wasted when the applesauce goes bad.

wiping tops of jars
Use a wet paper towel to wipe the tops of the jars where the lid must seal.

10. Put the lids on!

Make sure you have this magnetic tool to grab the lids out of the hot water!
Make sure you have this magnetic tool to grab the lids out of the hot water!

11. Add the screw top (sorry, I forgot to snap that picture!) and tighten just with your hands.  No tools needed.

The process of making applesauce – Part IV – Preparing for Storage

12. The vibration of the water boiling can cause your jars to crack if they are sitting directly on the bottom of the pot.  They sell bottoms specifically designed to hold jars, or you can just use extra screw on tops.  Once water is boiling, time it for at least 10 minutes.  This seals the lids.

hot water bath
Put jars in pot with something on the bottom and fill 1 inch above lid with water.

13. Carefully remove jars and set on a towel with a little space in between jars.  If you are making lots, fill pot again, adding water if needed, and repeat.  Once finished, cover jars with towels to help them cool slowly.  Do not move jars for at least 24 hours!  This ensures the seal on the lids is not broken!

taking jars out of bath
Make sure you have this handy little tool to remove the jars from the hot water.  Not the best photo here!

14. Once your jars have set for 24 hours, you may move them into your cupboard or pantry.  You could even give them away.  Who wouldn’t want freshly made applesauce?!

finished jars
Yum!  This is about half of what I made.

Now that it’s finally over

I purchased 4 bags of seconds apples and was able to make 39 jars of applesauce and 3 jars of apple juice.  It takes a lot of work and is exhausting, but it is so worth it!  I would definitely recommend doing a lot of jars.  It would be too much of a pain for only a few jars.

Overall, making homemade applesauce is super tiring, but when I consider all of the benefits for my family combined with the fellowship of friends during the process, it’s a win-win.

Back to School with Essential Oils

It’s hard to believe that it is August already!  In thinking about the upcoming school year, (thanks Walmart for putting your Back to School stuff out in July) I wanted to share ways that my family (hubs and I are both teachers) stay healthy using essential oils.  There are many products available through Young Living that help boost the natural immune system of your body.

Essential oils help your body's natural systems - a great way to stay healthy during the school year.
A few of my favorites

Thieves for Back to School

Here’s what Young Living posts about Thieves:

“Thieves® essential oil is a powerful combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils for an aromatic blend that fills any space with a rich, spicy aroma. Inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals used while robbing the dead and dying, Thieves is one of Young Living’s most popular products.”

There are so many Thieves products to choose from, including soaps, hand purifiers, detergent, and the essential oil.  Incorporating as much as possible will definitely help your immune system!  We diffuse Thieves oil every day using a diffuser that has a timer and runs sporadically throughout the day.  At night, we diffuse Thieves in J’s room to boost her immune system as she sleeps.

Use Thieves oil to boost immune system going back to school

Why Oils Work

Essential oils are the natural essence of plants.  They were created by God.  Perfect.  Our bodies know exactly what to do with them and can instantly recognize them, unlike many other things in our environment.  The body is an amazing group of organ systems that work together to perform necessary life functions to keep us alive.  Oils are able to interact with the body on a cellular level, many able to pass through the blood-brain barrier.  This means that they can travel quickly through the body and aid the body in maintaining homeostasis – which is where everything is balanced.

Watch a YouTube video about Essential Oils & Back to School here.

Why Young Living?

Young Living is a company that has been around for over 20 years and is known as a world leader in terms of essential oils.  They have high standards and hold their products to them.  My family has benefited over the last 2.5 years that we have used the oils and oil-infused products.  If you’d like more information about the company, click here.

Why Now?

Young Living has a special for the month of August.  If you sign up for a Premium Starter Kit, you get a bottle of Cedarwood oil for free!  If you sign up under me, you also get a diffuser necklace to fit your personality.  Click here if you are ready to begin your oily journey.

Taking Charge of Your Health – Part III of III

Here it is!  The last part (for now) of getting your health in check.    If you missed the other posts, you can find Part I here and Part II here.  So, without further ado, here are some more ideas to try that will benefit the health of your family:

-Cut out plastic.  Replace with glass.

-Use Essential oils to support your body’s systems.  For more information on essential oils and the company that I recommend, click here.

-Educate yourself on Emotions & how they can affect your body.

A great resource to healing from emotional pain

-Make your own products using natural ingredients.  Check out my store on square here.

Using essential oils to make products benefits your health

-Get rid of candles, scented soaps, lotions, etc.

-Cut out as much sugar as you can.  Sugar feeds cancer!

-Research oil pulling

-Research dry brushing

-Drink half your body weight in fluid ounces, but drink 15 minutes before eating, NOT during, and 30 minutes after.

Click here if you want to watch a video explaining all of this in more detail.

Why I Changed For My Family’s Health:

When I was expecting my first child, I really started thinking about how I was living.  Having a child really does change things.  First, I looked at our diet – which wasn’t great, but not terrible either!  Then, I started using Young Living essential oils and LOVED them.  The company sells other products, too, which are infused with essential oils.  That made me start to look at the products that we were using: shampoo, lotions, candles, soaps, etc.  To top it all off, my small group started a Bible study on the Daniel Plan.  There’s a book that goes with the study that is very informative and explains a lot.

Information about Health Comes From:

I have two friends who are studying homeopathic ways and they have shared lots of great information with me.  Much of this information is available online.  You just have to know what you are looking for and go find it!  I like to find the same information on several different reputable sites to confirm that it is accurate.

Make one small change every week!

De-cluttering Your Life

So, we’re on this journey of de-cluttering and downsizing for financial purposes among other things.  When you think of de-cluttering, you usually think of getting rid of stuff.  Read: Get rid of your junk.  That’s really only the first step.  It is the most difficult to get started, but once you get going, it does become easier.  Although it is not the only step, it will be necessary to start there.

De-clutter your life! Easy ways to downsize at your own pace.
We love this picture, but not as much as others. Thinking about living in a smaller home really puts things into perspective.

Step 1: De-cluttering your belongings.

We found it easiest to tackle this one room at a time, but do whatever is best for your personality. We started listing high dollar items that we knew we could sell on Amazon.  Hubby got rid of his Starbucks mugs – we don’t support Starbucks anymore, so it worked out well – and I got rid of my Willow Tree figurines.  I loved collecting them, but they do not serve a purpose.  I would get rid of a few each week.  Slowly winding down my collection until I had one left.  Have a yard sale, give to family members, or just donate if you don’t want any hassle.

This is very difficult, especially if you are a sentimental person.  I found it helpful to give yourself realistic challenges, like within one week, reduce the game collection from 25 board games to five.  Each day, remove two, and so on.  We found it helpful to go through areas more than once.  We’ve gotten rid of kitchen items and clothing probably once a month.

Step 2: De-cluttering your mind.

You do not NEED the thing that you are about to purchase.  Go home.  Think about it.  Decide if it is a necessity or just something that you want.  Will you still want it in 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years?  There are many things that we feel like we need, when really it is only what we want.  Watching shows like the “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House Hunters” helps you get a perspective.

We have tried to downsize over a period of months instead of days like the people on those shows do.  It is not as stressful when you know you’re not fighting a clock.  We will put items in a pile to see if we really need/use them or not, then after a few days/weeks, we will get rid of the items.

Step 3: De-cluttering your technology.

E-mail messages should at least be organized in folders and not cluttering up your inbox.  Sort through your other accounts like Pinterest and see if you really need to hold onto all of those pins that you saved.  I couldn’t believe how many pins I had saved more than once!

Everything has a place in your subconscious mind.  Clutter that has no purpose only clutters up your mind.  No one needs that!

Step 4: De-cluttering your calendar.

Many of us think and do so many unnecessary things!  I just started reading this book called “Simplify” as part of a Bible study.  There are so many great points in it!  There can be too many good things.  Learn to say no when you feel overcommitted.

Get your priorities straight!  I know as a mother, it can be easy to not take care of yourself, but it is necessary.  Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.  Schedule yourself some “me time” doing things that you like to do.  Go for a walk, take a bath, write, get alone with God.  This will help you be your best and ultimately benefit those around you.

These are the main experiences that I have had on our journey to becoming more minimalistic.  Anything that you can do is an improvement!