Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh, Gracious! My Newest Adventure!

I got a whim a few weeks ago that I wanted to start another work at home business, because staying home with two very active boys, plus growing my Shaklee business, all the while making sure everyone has semi clean clothes, good food to eat, and all most of the bills paid wasn't keeping me busy enough! Was that a run-on sentence or what?

So, welcome to Oh, Gracious! Jewelry and Accessories!

If you've been on Facebook lately, you may have noticed there are lots of jewelry and accessory 'auction' pages. Pretty much all those businesses sell/auction/list very fashionable costume jewelry for very cheap prices.

While I love trendy costume jewelry, what I REALLY love is custom, one of a kind, handmade jewelry. So that's what Oh, Gracious! is really going to focus on. Yes, my prices will be more than the other pages, but that's ok. I'm certain Oh, Gracious! will be successful because we're going to offer different items.

There you have it!

Visit my new Facebook page, like it, share it, bid on pieces, and wish me luck!

I'm still going strong with Shaklee! It's not going fact, this month is going to be a record month for me! Yay for work at home opportunities!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Homeopathic Approach to Pink Eye

Our oldest developed a mild case of pink eye on Sunday. I'm certain he got it from a birthday party at the local germ bounce house.

I took him to the doctor just to be sure, and of course he prescribed some kind of eye drop/antibiotic. I'm really working towards building our home remedies cabinet to treat things like this. I really didn't want to get a prescription medication if there was a safe alternative to treat the pink eye.

After doing a lot of research and chatting with some of my 'greener' mom friends, I decided I would purchase a bottle of colloidal silver to use instead of the prescription meds.

Luckily for me, there were 300 prescriptions in front of us and I didn't want to wait forever for the eye drops. Perfect excuse reason to skip the meds and try the colloidal silver.  A note on the 300 scripts in front of us: the flu has hit our area big time, so our local pharmacies are running triple-time to get meds out to everyone. Yuck. 

So how did the colloidal silver work? Great!

Since he's four and has never had eye drops before, I didn't want to totally traumatize him. I had him lay down, close his eyes, then I put the drops on the inner corner by the bridge of his nose. When he opened his eyes the drops would flow in. Much easier than trying to get him to keep his eyes open.

The pink eye cleared up completely within two days! Yay for homeopathic remedies that are safe and effective!

Disclaimer: This information is NOT intended to be used in place of your personal doctor recommendations. I do not have medical training, am not claiming to be a doctor, and am not claiming to be an expert in the medical field. If you choose to use any homeopathic remedies listed on this site, you are doing so under your own discretion. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting Our Pots and Pans CLEAN

As you may know (since I complain about it in just about every post), I hate doing the dishes. I especially do not like scrubbing pots and pans that have yuck all over them.

Well, Shaklee's Scour Off have definitely helped eliminate the frustration and the yuck of scrubbing our pots and pans.

You see, my sweet husband is a fantastic cook. Lucky me! However, he's not always the best as cleaning up after himself. Sigh.

Quite often, there are pots and pans with stuck on stuff, grease, and what have you sitting on the counter just calling my name.

Enter Scour Off.

Do you see the mess on that pan? Gross.

All I do to get it off, quickly and easily, is get a very wet sponge, a dab (less is more!) of Scour Off and start rubbing in on the pan. The key is a little Scour Off and quite a bit of water. As with all of Shaklee's cleaning products, it's concentrated and you don't need a whole lot to get the job done.

What I L-O-V-E about Scour Off is that it's non-toxic, so my kids can help clean. That's my four year old's hand you see in the picture. I also love the fact that a little goes a long way, and that is smells good! No fumes, no chemical smells. In fact, it's made with cherry pits, so it smells like cherries!

Our home has been Shaklee-ized for almost a year and we couldn't be happier! Shaklee's non-toxic cleaners are wonderful; they work and their saving us money!

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Expressing Gratitude With Kids

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

I don't know about you, but I think putting pen (or in this posts' case, crayon) to paper is a lost art. I love to write and journal, but admittedly, I don't do it on paper near enough. I'm slowly starting to get back in the habit of it though. And there's nothing more I enjoy than receiving a handwritten piece of mail, like a thank you note or a card.

Our four year old is learning how to write all his letters at school, and he's gotten so good at it. He can spell his name, his brother's name, mommy, and daddy. (I'm bragging on him a bit!) I love watching him put his pencil or crayon on paper and form letters with hand.

In our home, we want to teach our boys to show thanks and gratitude for what might seem like the smallest thing (Christmas presents are not small, by the way). We've noticed the our oldest is picking up on some of the grumbling we do about our finances, the constant mess of our house, or frustrations about other things. Every now and then we'll hear him repeat some of the things we've said.

Not good. Definitely not what we want him to pick up on! And you know what? We have a ton of things to be grateful and thankful for. We shouldn't be grumping around like our lives are so bad.

So we've decided to change things around and start expressing how thankful and grateful we are for...well really everything!

Now that he's gaining the ability to write more everyday, we've decided to start adding to that skill by teaching him to show gratitude through thank you notes. 

We've been slow about getting them done (mommy's fault), but we are working on sending out thank you's for his Christmas gifts. Maybe we'll get them done by February at this rate.

Here he is helping to write his first thank you note to his cousin. Of course, all he can do right now is write her name and his name and I pen the letter. But the point of this exercise is to talk about how we show our gratitude and thanks to others by writing notes to them!

By doing this simple exercise of writing thank you notes, we're really hitting a lot of important areas in our boys' life:
  • He's learning how to show gratitude
  • He's learning scripture
  • He's learning how to improve his writing skills
  • He's getting that all-important one on one time with mommy (or daddy)
This is such an easy, important task for us to instill in him.

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

How have you taught your kids to show gratitude? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Learning About Essential Oils

Are you familiar with essential oils? I wasn't, until about 6 months ago when a few friends introduced me.

Essential oils:  Are the natural, aromatic volatile liquids found in shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. The distinctive components in essential oils defend plants against insects, environmental conditions, and disease. They are also vital for a plant to grow, live, evolve, and adapt to its surroundings. Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plant sources via steam distillation, and are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs.

I wasn't too sure if EO's were for us, mainly because I had no idea what we'd use them for. Well, my sweet bloggy friend Jenny, over at Conscientious Confusion explained their uses very clearly to me, the newbie. She recommended Young Living Lavender for its calming effects and Young Living Thieves for it's anti-viral uses. You can read about them in the links below. If you're considering purchasing essential oils, Young Living is the brand to buy. It's the only company that produces pure, therapeutic grade EO's. You'll find others in stores like Sprouts or Whole Foods and they're much cheaper...but as with most health related items, you get what you pay for. And that's all I have to say about it.

We have tried both oils and are loving the results! I can't wait to try some more!

Young Living Lavender

 Here are some ways we use lavender in our home:

  • Put a drop on the boys' feet before bedtime to help them calm down and relax.
  • Put a drop in some lotion and put on my feet in the evenings to help me relax!
  • Put a drop on a small cut to help stop the bleeding
Our oldest boy asks for his lavender every night before bed, so it must have some kind of soothing affect on him!

Young Living Thieves

 Here are some ways we use Thieves in our home:

  • Put a drop on the boys feet before going to preschool, the germ bounce house, or other places where there will be lots of kids and germs.
  • Put a drop on a cotton ball and put in the car vents.
  • Use in a diffuser to help kill airborne viruses.

Do you use essential oils? What are your favorites? I'm looking to expand my collection!

    A Few of My Favorite Things

    I love to read favorite products of all my blogging friends, and I love to share what my favorite products are! Here is a small selection of my latest favs!

    1. Burt's Bee's Radiance Facial Cleanser - I love how lightweight this cleanser is! It has a light fragrance and leaves my skin feeling super soft and super clean!
    2. O-P-I Cozu-melted in the Sun - There are two reasons why I love this nail color. One is because my four year old picked it out all by himself for me for Christmas (from a selection held by hubby). Secondly, it's because it's so darn pretty and sparkly! The color can be worn year round, even though it's pink!
    3. Shaklee's Herbal Blend Multipurpose Cream - This lotion smells so yummy! It has menthol in it so it has that soothing, minty smell. And it really is multipurpose. I use it on my feet at night to help me relax and I just recently discovered it's FANTASTIC for babies bottoms! My baby had some diaper rash recently. I was out of my usual and gave the Herbal Blend a shot...and it worked! Plus his diaper smelled good. Double bonus! :)

    What are a few of YOUR favorite things?

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    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Teaching Our Children to Lead

    He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

    Our oldest son, age 4, attends a wonderful Christian preschool in our area. The teachers are fantastic, the kids in his class are sweet; all in all it's been a great experience. His teachers always rave at how well-behaved he is, how sweet, kind, and friendly he is. Our boy is all of those things!

    Then, the dreaded impromptu parent-teacher conference happened last Thursday. Ugh.

    His teachers said our boy had been talking yucky and not listening to instructions. The yuck talk is something we've been working on. He's picked up on a lot of it at the preschool from some of the boys who are really in to superhero pretend play, war play, etc.

    We have nothing against superhero play, in fact, we encourage it. Pretend play is wonderful, and encourage our boy to pretend to be a superhero but we limit the 'talk.' No talking about killing, hurting, hitting, etc.

    As I said, he's picked up on that kind of 'talk' from some of the other boys. He's brought that 'talk' home, we let him know it's not accepted, he complies, he forgets, then we do it all over agin.

    After the parent-teacher meeting, I tried explaining to him why it's not ok to use that talk at school and how he must listen to his teachers. His response was, "Well XXXX says it."

    I was not sure how to answer that statement. I could've just popped off and said, "Just because he does it, doesn't mean you do it." and leave it at that, but I really felt compelled to give him more.

    I said a quick prayer, "God, please give me the words."

    And the words that immediately flashed in my mind were, "Be a leader." Don't you love how God gives you what you need?

    So, I explained as best I could to a fidgety four year old how in our family, we are leaders. Being a leader means doing what is right, even if others are doing what's not right. For our boy, that means just because his friends are doing the yuck talk, doesn't mean he should do it.

    I said, "When you hear XXXX saying those things, remember that it's your job to be a leader. Lead your friends by doing what's right. It may seem fun to say the yuck talk, but you know it's not right and it always gets you in trouble. Getting in trouble is no fun, huh?"

    Surprisingly, when I looked in the rearview mirror, I could see he was really listening to me (score for mommy!).  He said, "No, I don't like getting in trouble. I know I'm not supposed to say yucky things."

    I told him that we understand that it's hard to always do the right thing, especially when his friends are all doing something else, but it's always the best thing to do.

    I hope these kinds of conversations continue with our boy. Teaching him early the difference between right and wrong, being a leader versus a follower, and how to show God love all the time is going to be a lifelong training session for him.  And we're excited to be a part of it!

    He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

    How do you talk to your kids about being a leader?

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    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    Dish Soap Comparison - Shaklee vs. Seventh Generation

    Here's a question you might not ponder very often: How long does your bottle of dish soap last you?

    About two weeks ago, I ran out of my Shaklee Dish Soap and had forgotten to add it to my most recent Shaklee order. Grr. I was super peeved because I love our dish soap, but didn't want to pay shipping on one single bottle. Unfortunately, I'd just placed a HUGE order and really couldn't justify buying anything else that soon.

    I grabbed a bottle of Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid at the store. It was $3.78 for 25 oz. OK, not a bad price for a natural cleaner that I can have right away. Since I'm always thinking about cost and getting the most bang for our buck, I started thinking, "Well, this is cheaper, this may be our new dish soap."

    Now let me back up a bit and talk about Shaklee's soap. A 16 oz bottle costs $6.90 (member price), plus shipping. What?!? Almost SEVEN dollars for dish soap? I know what you're thinking. "No freaking way, lady."

    Hear me out. I was seriously skeptical about it before I tried it. It came in my Get Clean Starter Kit, so I felt obliged to use it. But I knew how much it cost and always rolled my eyes at it. I'd had it for several months and was waiting til I finally got rid of my other dish soap.

    OK, we started using the dish soap on our about October 15. I am rinsing or washing some kind of dish all day long. We use dish soap all day long.

    We ran out of the 16 oz bottle of soap on or about January 2. That's 2 1/2 months of using the same bottle of dish soap! How long does your bottle of dish soap last you? A few weeks? Maybe a month, tops?

    Fast forward to later that day when I was doing dishes for the umpteenth time. (Have I mentioned how much I hate being in the kitchen, yet I'm in there all the livelong day??)

    I was sorely disappointed with Seventh Generation's soap.

    1. I've been using it since about Jan 3, and it's about 1/4 empty.
    2. It DUMPS out every time I tip it over just to get a squeeze. Annoying! So annoying!
    3. It works ok, not great. I have to use more than I want to in order to get some dishes really clean.
    4. I'll be needing a new bottle of dish soap in just over a week at this rate. Which means the bottle will last 2 weeks. No bueno.
    5. $3.78 x 2 = $7.56 for one month of soap. For 2 1/2 months, it's gonna run $18.90
    Why Shaklee is better

    1. The dish soap is so concentrated that you only need a few drops to deal with greasy dishes. Seriously. 
    2. It lasts so much longer than store brands!
    3. It doesn't dump out when you turn the bottle over. You have to actually squeeze it out, which lets you decide how much soap you want to use!
    4. For 2 1/2 months, it's going to cost you less than $10!
    This is just another (justified!) reason why I'm choosing to continue Shaklee-izing our home! Our products are safe, they work, and they're saving us money! Woot!

    I'd love to hear your thoughts about my personal dish soap revelation!

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    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Shaklee 180 is Here!

    Hip, hip, hooray! Shaklee's newest healthy weight product launched January 1 and I couldn't be more excited. Shaklee 180 is a wonderful way to lose weight or maintain your current weight, without 'magic pills,' body wraps, expensive (and gross) food, counting points, or going to meetings.

    And, the best part for me is that Shaklee 180 is all natural, no artificial anything, no GMO's, and low sugar!

    Shaklee has gone above and beyond with the 180 products. They've improved their shakes so much that they're now called Smoothees. Cafe Latte and Chocolate are my favorites!

    I could sit here and type out everything that Shaklee 180 has to offer, but it would be so redundant, especially when you can find out all the fantastic information right here! Shaklee 180

    I attended my team's very first 180 Turnaround Party last night and it was! I ordered my Lean and Healthy Kit right there! I can't wait for it to arrive!

    Now, I don't need to lose weight, but I do love to replace my lunch everyday with a Smoothee. Why? Well, I have two small boys who work me over daily. In a good way, of course. :) Lunch time gets crazy around here and a few months ago, I found myself actually forgetting to eat! I'd prepare their lunch, get them fed, off for their naps, then be too tired to move for awhile. Around 3pm, I'd realize that I'd completely forgotten lunch. No bueno.

    So I started making a Smoothee (then called a Cinch Shake) while I made the boys' lunches and would sip on it while they ate. Easy-peasy. Super yummy. And I'm not hungry, or experiencing low blood sugar by late afternoon. They fill me up with super healthy nutrients!

    My husband has been drinking a Smoothee every morning for lunch because he's usually running late. :) He mentioned to me last week that he's noticed he can go from breakfast to lunch without thinking about food or getting those hunger pangs. Added bonus: he's lost 5lbs...just by replacing one meal per day!

    So tell me, do you want to do a 180 with your health? If so, please contact me via this blog or through my Shaklee site. I'd love to help you get started on your healthy journey, plus get your 180 products for FREE!!!

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    2013 Goals

    Here are my 2013 goals! (I've broken them down into several sections because I'm OCD like that. Order, order, sequence, sequence.)

    1. Get in the Word daily. Every day. It's not difficult, I just need to do it. I've been very lax with reading and praying, except when I'm in need of something from Him. That's not good enough for me. I clearly remember a sermon from our old church where the pastor said our relationship with God is a two way street...we have to maintain our part of the relationship. Also, how would we feel if someone we really cared about only contacted us when they needed something? That sermon hit home for me big time.
    2. Worry less. Stress less. Fear less. Trust more. Believe more. Hope more. Pray more. 

    1. Do a creative project once a month. What? Once a month? That doesn't seem like much, but in my world that seems overwhelming! I used to sew several times per week, but I haven't touched my machine in over two years. I used to journal, but haven't opened my journal in at least a year. Life with two kids that do not sleep well has totally gotten in the way of my creativity and inspiration. That's going to change this year! Here are some of my ideas:
      • Take a creative writing class
      • Take a painting class
      • Bust out the dusty sewing machine and sew...something!

    1. More time offline, off phone, off social media. And more time engaged with the ones that are in front of me.  The days can be oh-so-long, but this time with my boys and husband is precious and I don't want to miss it by stuffing my face into a gadget. 
    2. Print photo books of each child's first year. My bigger goal is to print a photo book of each child's year of life, but seeing as how my oldest is FOUR and I've not started one for him yet, I'm thinking that goal is too big. We'll start with one book per child. 
    3. As a family, get our garden started again. We all had such a great time planning, planting, and reaping the rewards, but then we let life get in the way and neglected it. 
    4. Sunday = Rest day. We're going to take it seriously beginning now. 

    1. Blog more. Duh. Why have a blog when I'm not active on it? My goal is to have at least three posts per week. That seems doable, right? Of course, I want to expand my topics to more than Shaklee information. My blog title is Healthy Life, Happy Life so I want to include more information about my family's personal journey to our healthier, happier life. It may include recipes, health information, or even just activities that I'm doing during the day with my boys. 
    2. More exercise. We all need it, yes we do. 'Nuff said.
    3. Continue building my Shaklee business. 

    MY WORD FOR 2013
    I'm going to choose THANKFULNESS over frustration, sadness, exhaustion, weariness, jealousy, anxiety, or stress.
    I have SO MUCH to be THANKFUL for. I am blessed, truly blessed and I'm choosing to remember it and be THANKFUL for it every day. 

    Do you have 2013 goals?