Replenishing

What a horribly long, stressful and at times, depressing week. Thankfully my little family recognizes just how overstretched and worn out I am because this is my current state:

  
Bean is throwing me a “tea party” on the couch. She even whispered in my ear, “I’ll bring you pop.”  Who can refuse a fake pop from her?!?!?

I got approximately 0% of my to-do list done this week and that just adds on to the stress.  Here’s hoping I can kick butt in the next two weeks!  

For now, I just have to let this week be done and over with. 

I don’t even remember exactly where I saw this on Facebook this week because I held my button down as quickly as possible to save it. But I knew it was just what I needed. And maybe someone else out there needs it too. 

  
And this is just what I’m doing right now.  I’m on the couch, enjoying my tea/pop party, the kids are playing, my hubby is cooking dinner, Hulu is playing and I’m trying to clear my mind and emotions.  When you cry at two different banks in one day you need to do that. 
P.S. I’m currently wearing StressAway like it’s perfume and I’ll be falling asleep to the sweet sweet woodsy smell of Peace & Calming. 

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Field Trip: Gregg’s Gourmet Cafe

Hi!  My name is Amy and it’s been 334 days since my last blog post.  I promise to {try} not to let the distance between this one and the next be so long. 

I go through seasons where I think I have a lot of valuable things to say and then seasons where I think I’m probably not as entertaining to others as I feel I am. I don’t know. It’s hard to share my thoughts and not know if it’s going to speak to someone or if it’s just me babbling on. 

BUT, I’m in a totally different place now than I was a year ago and my audience is different.  I figure I’ll write about things we do around town, things we make, funny stories of things the kids say, things that puzzle me, or things that bring out the momma bear in me. So here goes…

Are you looking for an awesome, local pizza joint to frequent on a Friday or Saturday night?  Our most favorite, non-chain has to be Gregg’s Gourmet Cafe located just south of downtown Clarkston, Michigan.  It’s the place all the local guys and gals worked at during high school and it’s the place you keep coming back to after college and beyond. The staff is very personable and will remember you even if you haven’t been in as much as you were when you were pregnant {GUILTY!} And honestly, they are hands down the BEST BREADSTICKS you’ll ever eat locally. 

We’ve been frequenting Gregg’s for most of our marriage, moreso during every pregnancy {one of the ladies today said it doesn’t seem like 17 months since Asher was the little guy in my tummy. Seriously. The KNOW their customers}. They have graciously opened up their kitchen to our preschool for a few years now and have given us a great opportunity to have a hands-on field trip experience.  Today was our third experience and it was so much fun. First we started with a tour of the kitchen. 

 
The oven where all the pizza and breadsticks are made. 

  
The large walk-in refrigerators. 

  
The large mixer. {I’ll take one please, my dear}

  
And this is where the pizza sauce is made.
Since we had a large group today we split up into groups for tours and pizza making. While another group went on the kitchen tour we prepped our pizza dough for toppings. 

  
First the sauce…


Then the cheese!
Next we went back into the kitchen to choose our toppings. 

  
A pepperoni masterpiece that quite “resembles” Daniel Tiger if you ask Little Miss. 

  Our finished product ready to be made!

I wasn’t able to be in the kitchen during the cooking process and I didn’t get any pictures of the end of the process. But that’s okay. This little guy had me {and other moms and dads} on our toes most of the morning.   
 Thank you Gregg’s for a learning experience that the kids will talk about for weeks to come.  I’m 99.9% sure there will be a lot of pizza makers during imaginative play time at the preschool come Friday. 
Go check them out: http://greggsgourmetcafe.com

How To Guide: Reusing Young Living Essential Oil Bottles

By now I’m sure you’re quite aware if you follow my Facebook or Instagram that we love our Young Living Essential Oils!  It has been a great investment for our family to help aid in our health and to help bring more natural products into our home while tossing all those harmful chemicals we have under our sinks and in our medicine cabinets.  If you’re anything like me, your heart sinks every time one of those 5 or 15 mL bottles winds up empty.  My heart literally stops for a second and then my mind starts racing wondering how quickly I can order more and just how soon it can be at my doorstep.  I’ve been saving my empty bottles because I just couldn’t bare to toss them but not quite knowing what to do with them yet.  That is until today.  A girlfriend of mine is flying soon and is pretty anxious about it.  I decided to drop off some Valor to her to help overcome her fears and build confidence.  I really wanted to reuse my empty Peppermint Oil bottle and it worked out perfectly. 

 I have outlined my steps for you so you can “Do It Yourself”! 

 
Step 1: Remove the label

Did you know that you can easily remove the label from any Young Living bottle?  One corner on the bottom of the bottle will say, “Pull Here.”  Underneath that you will find the Supplement Facts as well as the ability to see just how much is left in your bottle.  {Maybe I was too excited to notice but I never knew that!}  Carefully peel away the label to reveal the clean amber bottle.

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Step 2: Remove the Cap and Top

Unscrew the cap to your bottle and take off the seal from around the neck of the bottle.  With your fingernail, pop the clear dropper top off your bottle.  Keep these for future use.  If you don’t plan on replacing them right away, throw them in a ziplock type bag and store them for later.

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Step 3: Place bottle and cap pieces in Epsom Salt

This specific bottle smelled strongly of Peppermint and since we know that Peppermint Oil is a very strong oil I needed to figure out how to draw that smell out of the bottle and cap pieces.  Soaking essential oils in Epsom Salt during a bath will help preserve the purity of the oil better than dropping them straight in the water so I decided to utilize this concept to help clean them out.  It was magical!  Shake your oil bottle over the Epsom Salt to release any last drops of oil.  Then place all the pieces of the bottle in a glass jar filled with Epsom Salt and screw a lid on it if you have one.  I let mine sit about 20 minutes while I made lunch making sure to shake it around as often as I could remember to allow it to soak in to as much of the salt as possible.  The result?  Deliciously smelling Peppermint Infused Bath Salts for future use.  Killed two bird with one stone on that one!

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Step 4: Rinse pieces and soak in White Vinegar

After your pieces have set in Epsom Salt for the time you allot, rinse them off with water to get any remaining salt off.  In a dish or container soak all pieces in water and 2-3 Teaspoons of White Vinegar.  Allow them to soak for 2-3 hours.  For best results, soak overnight.  After soaking, remove your Young Living Essential Oils from the water and vinegar mixture.  Inspect your pieces to see if there is any residue from the label that still needs to be wiped away.

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Step 5: Dry

Rinse all pieces one last time in warm water and lay out to dry.

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Step 6: Recycle your clean bottle

Now that your bottle is clean and dry you can reuse it for anything you need.  Maybe you want to use it to pre-dilute some of your essential oils or make your own blends to have readily on hand for topical use.  {Don’t forget the clear dropper top and cap.}  If you would rather make your bottle a roller you can purchase a 10-pack of Young Living AromaGlide Roller Fitments in your Virtual Office or through your distributor.  Keep an eye out for a soon coming video on how to install and remove your roller ball fitments!

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The Finished Product

In the end, I was able to put together this little makeup bag with an “essentials” kit for my girlfriend.  I gave her a small container of Coconut Oil and a small container of Young Living’s V-6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil for easy application.  And I gave her 20 drops of Valor along with a little note telling her how Valor would be of an aid to her and how to apply it.

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*Want to know more about how you can start your journey to an Oil Living life?  Please contact me or the person who referred you to our Oil Living community.

**COPYRIGHT Amy Holmes and Essentially Amy, 2015.  Proper uses of this material include sharing on social media and/or the use of this URL to post onto another website or blog with a link directing back to this website.  Direct copy and paste of information or pictures from this post may not be used without prior contest from author.  All images are available for use on social media as long as no altering of them takes place.  Use of images on other blogs and/or websites are prohibited unless previous consent is made with the author.  Furthermore, this post along with it’s words and/or images may not be used for print and distribution purposes unless prior contest from the author takes place.  Unauthorized use and/or distribution of this material and images is strictly prohibited.  

***DISCLAIMER The information provided on this website is from my own personal usage and research of Young Living Essential Oils.  The statements made and suggested on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore are not meant to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease.

Seasons…

The way I see it, there are many seasons in parenting.  There’s the newness and freshness when you first dive into the adventure.  Then there’s the frustration of nursing, sleepless nights and endless diaper changes.  Then you hit the fun phase when they start tottling around, talking and exploring the world around them.  Next you hit the terrible two’s/three’s with tantrums and time outs galore.  And before you know it they’re in school, learning to read, doing homework and thinking they know “all the things!”

Right now, I am in the midst of three of these seasons: newborn, toddler and school age.  And I feel like I’m sinking.

I can’t keep up with it all.  The housework, the pile of laundry, the meal planning, the reading chart, the baths, the book fairs, the pumping milk for baby, the meltdowns, the appointments, the fear of the unknown.  So many things come my way each day and I feel like I’m not doing a good job keeping up with it all.

Our oldest is very sensitive and full of fear.  Many times his fears seem silly to us as parents and we have a hard time knowing how to guide him through it.  It seems like the times we don’t prepare him he flips out.  And the times that we do prepare him he flips out.  There’s rarely a time that I can think of lately that he is okay with change or the unknown.  He has cried many tears lately.  And I’m going to be very transparent with you–I find myself welling up with tears too.  The fear is starting to set in with me and I know it’s just a ploy of the enemy but I can’t get passed it right now.  That boy has my whole heart.  They all do.  They were given to us to guide and raise and I feel like I’m not fully equipped at the moment.  And it’s really tearing me apart today.

It’s so silly but I have to take him to a dentist and eye appointment in the next month and my heart just can’t handle the tears and fears I am expecting him to have.  It often makes me wonder where we went wrong.  What did we do?  Or not do?

Seasoned parents–when will this be over?  And how can I help calm his fears?  I know the years are going to get tougher as we go but, right now, this is my lowest low.  Even with all my educational background nothing there prepares you to be a parent and have your heart fully immersed in three little ones who depend on you to guide and direct them.  This is harder than I ever thought it would be.   I know it will get better.  I believe it with all my heart.  But, how can I help him in the meantime?  I am desperate to help him.  I know that will help my momma heart too.

Therapeutic

I can’t tell you how many times I am told I should write a blog. It’s quite often. Well, as you can see I do have one. I wish I had more time to maintain it but life happens and it gets busy. When I’m not busy with life I spend too much time comparing myself to other bloggers and feel like the things I have to share aren’t that important.

That has to change.

I know I need to find what my passions are and write about that–so I’m going to keep praying on that because I think it is something that encompasses so many areas. It’s hard to narrow it down. For now, I know my passion is being a wife and mom and serving my family.

One way I can serve my family is through laundry. Yes, laundry. Call me crazy but I love doing laundry. It is so therapeutic to me. There’s just something about my OCD brain that loves the thrill of sorting laundry, washing it, drying it, folding it, hanging it, organizing it by color and length in the closet, and labeling all the dresser drawers for the kids.

I love spraying stains with a stain removing solution.

I love pulling the lint trap out of the dryer and cleaning it out before each cycle.

I love making sure to even out the ends and edges of shirts so they don’t relax flipped up.

I love knowing that my family has clean, warm and comfy clothes to wear.

It’s my duty and my privilege to serve them in this facet.

Now, I haven’t always been so diligent and thrilled to do laundry. It took me a good 5 years or more into our marriage to get the hang of it. It has really helped having the laundry room access on the main floor in our current home.

I have multiple laundry baskets and sorters that I can just drag across the hall to wash. They are labeled for darks, lights, whites, underwear, socks, reds/pinks/oranges, and towels. Now that Mr. Man is reading he’s doing a lot better about keeping this up for me.

On laundry day {or the night before} I sort them one more time–this time by wash cycle. Some are warm wash. Most are cold wash. I then add underwear and socks in with the appropriate color scheme to help minimize loads. On average, with a separate baby load, I do between 7-9 loads weekly for our family of five. I do laundry ONE day a week unless we have a major blowout or need more towels.

This evening while I was in the midst of finishing folding a load fresh out of the dryer the big kids were struggling to finish what they were doing and start the bedtime process. I felt like the one task I needed to finish {move one load from washer to dryer then start a new wash load} was going to take me all night. After a while we finally got them in their room and closed the door. I walked straight back into the laundry room and finished folding clothes to put away. When I walked some of my things into our room I looked at my husband and said, “I love doing laundry. It’s so therapeutic for me. It’s so therapeutic for me!”

It truly is. When I felt my stress levels rising during bedtime they all started going away as soon as I started folding clothes and putting them away in their proper places. I’m telling you–my brain is wired for order, structure and completion. I have no doubts as to where my son got that from : )

And to add to my love for laundry–it’s almost time to add cloth diapers to the routine.

I may be crazy. But, it’s a pretty fantastic form of therapy for me.

What are your laundry processes, tricks or time frames? I’m always willing to learn new things. Let’s hear them!

Stop and Bake the Cookies

Wow. I can’t remember the last time I blogged. Life has been crazy busy the last few months. I was pregnant, then we started our first year of public schooling, then I had a baby and life continued on just as it was before Little Man was here.

Things started piling up like laundry, and dishes and paperwork. You see, not only am I a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend–I also run a preschool. People count on me in many different facets of life. I wish I had more time and energy to write out more of my thoughts or funny stories of the day or even great recipes we’ve tried but there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all that I do.

Little Man has been a really great and peaceful baby. A few nights ago his body was going through a growth spurt so there was little sleeping and lots of eating happening. And the sleeping that did occur would only do so if he was in my arms. I spent most of the day Wednesday sleeping on and off in hopes of gaining a few hours I had lost. My original plans of running to the craft store alone in the morning were totally thwarted by the lack of sleep from 2:30am-7:15am when my alarm went off. {P.S. It is REALLY hard to be responsible for getting a Kindergartner off to school when you are overly sleep deprived.}

Today ended up being my catch up day on a list of things that have been pushed aside or are on a timeline. Mr. Man had this great idea that our family was going to all dress up for Halloween as a certain super hero family. Without having to spend a ton of money on costumes for each of us individually I decided I would make them. I seriously considered the easy route of iron-ons but I don’t want to deal with resizing for each person, having a printer mishap or wrinkles in the transfer process. My next idea was to cut the symbol out of felt and glue it to a shirt for each of us. I ran and gathered supplies while Little Miss was at preschool and I was so anxious to get back home and start the process {mostly just to see if my idea would work or not}. Well, let me tell you. It is 10:00pm and I haven’t touched the bag since we came home this afternoon.

You see, the laundry baskets were calling to me! I HAD to do laundry. It was time. I actually really LOVE doing laundry. I like the process of sorting by wash requirements, then by color and then by priority. I LOVE taking freshly warm laundry into the bedroom to hang or fold. I LOVE seeing closets stocked and organized. And I LOVE checking another thing off the list!

As if I didn’t have enough to do in the moment I got the bright idea to bake some Peanut Butter cookies because I had seen on Facebook that there was a 3 ingredient recipe. I had no idea that even existed.

I put a load of clothes in the wash and a load in the dryer and started gathering my baking supplies. The kiddos were curious and started joining me. Since Mr. Man is in Kindergarten now he loves to write, read and draw. He gathered his paper, pen and crayons and started writing out the recipe step-by-step in his Iron Man notebook.

I thought some may enjoy the recipe as well:

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1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
Chocolate chips {if desired}

Preheat oven. Mix ingredients together. Scoop out balls of cookie dough on a baking sheet. With a fork make criss-cross indents in the middle of each cookie. Bake for 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sometimes you just need to STOP and bake the cookies.

I’m so glad I did.

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First Day of School 2014

I always love looking at pictures of kiddos, especially on the first day of school!  I saw so many cute ones of children that we’ve known over the years, but I didn’t get to share ours.  We had a very busy day for the kiddos and for mommy.  Here is our collection and day in review:

 

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First Day of Preschool for Little Miss and First Day of Kindergarten for Mr. Man!

 

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 Little Miss’s First Day of 3 year old Preschool

 

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 Mr. Man’s First Day of Kindergarten.  How did we get here?

 

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 Mr. Man Class of 2027.  That seems outrageous.

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 Waiting for brother’s bus to arrive.

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 I asked him to show me the cookie we bought for his bus driver.

He insisted on showing me his new Lego lunchbox too!

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One last picture with Momma before he leaves for his First Day of Kindergarten.

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First one on the bus!  I didn’t have the opportunity to cry or mourn the moment because Little Miss kept me quite busy during this time.  I walked up to the bus to say hello to the bus driver and ask her a question.  Sis took it upon herself to try to get on the bus too and I had to reach up and grab her from the top stair.  She decided it would be a great moment to throw a tantrum which also lead to kicking off her pink cowboy boots.  After I finally got a good grip on her and her boots I turned around to walk away and caught my foot in a broken piece of concrete.  I started to fall almost as if I was going to twist my ankle all while she’s still flailing in my arms.  I look up for Zac’s help and he’s videotaping Reese’s first bus experience.  Thankfully, I am alright and we watched the video and it stopped before catching any of this on tape!

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 Sis and I ended up driving to the school to drop off the large bag of supplies because no little Kindergartner should have to carry that!  The principal hosted a Tissues and Tears event in the Library for Kindergarten parents.  While there she gave us some additional insight, read us a book and answered last minute questions.  Sis snapped this picture and I think she did a great job.

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 Mr. Man’s school is also doing a new thing this year.  This cute little contraption is called a Little Free Library.  The concept is like “need a penny, take a penny, leave a penny.”  This stationary stand will be outside of his school and can be utilized by anyone in the area day or night.  It will soon be filled with books for families to take a book home and read.  Ideally, you should bring a book to leave before taking one but I’m sure not everyone will understand the concept right away.  I plan on filling it with lots and lots of books!

 

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After the Elementary we were off to Little Miss’s First Day of 3 year old Preschool.  This picture reminds me of one we  have of brother’s first day of 3 year old preschool when he was walking down the long hallway of the school with his oversized to him backpack.  I’m sure I’ll look back at this picture in a few years the same way I look at his.

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Little Miss and I went to an hour long Getting to Know You class at the preschool.  Miss Jen created this cute little “photo booth” type poster board for the kids to use for pictures.  That Miss Jen is so crafty!  It took her the WHOLE class but she finally let me take a picture of her before we walked out of the classroom.  I don’t think her smile could be any cuter.

After this we went to an ultrasound for Momma and Little Man.  My midwife wanted to check fluid levels and estimated size of the baby.  Everything checked out fine.  He’s small, but not unusual for our children.  Guessing he’s between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 pounds right now.  We weren’t able to see his little face or features because he is getting really smushed in there.  I did, however, see lots of spikey hair on his head!  AHHHHH!  Adorable.  Once we saw the midwife, got checked and talked a bit she said she thinks he will be here any day.  Two weeks away but he is welcome to come whenever he decides!

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My girl and I were able to grab a quick lunch together before we had to go wait at the bus stop for brother.  She talked my ear off all afternoon and on our walk from home to the bus stop.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard her talk THAT much.  I wasn’t able to get any photos of Mr. Man getting off the bus because I almost had a panic attack when everyone else got off but him.  Turns out he was in the back and didn’t know it was his stop.  It was his first experience and I would have thought the bus driver would have done a better job about preparing them for stops–especially kindergartners.  I think they should run their buses like my dad’s district does.  Kindergartners in the front rows.  That would help this momma’s heart a lot.

We had a great, fun and busy day.  Mr. Man survived until bedtime and I was shocked!  I thought for sure he would be down for the count a bit after coming home from school.  Nope.  He came home, finished what was left of his lunch, watched a little Magic School Bus, played, ate dinner, learned about Jesus Feeding the 5,000 and then went to bed.  He had a great day!

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 I also hijacked pictures from Daddy’s phone that he snapped at the bus stop in the morning.  Here are my two handsome boys.

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 TWINS!

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Momma and her two school bound kiddos.

 

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My big guy.  Maybe I’ll go cry now.