Tom and Jerry Mix

Tom and Jerry MixLast year during our “Cozy Christmas Giveaway” we added a yummy holiday drink to the basket. The recipe for this Tom and Jerry Mix has been in our family for years. Our Great Uncle gave it to Grandma years and years ago and I can’t remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas without it.

This creamy, sweet hot toddy is sure to please your dinner guests this holiday season. We like to drink ours with a jigger of whiskey or rum. If you’ve never heard of a jigger before, it’s just a different…WAY cooler, way to say shot. You should start calling your shots, jiggers, it’s more fun. If you don’t drink, they’re yummy without the booze too. :)

To start you’ll need:

6 eggs, separated into whites and yokes
2 lbs of powdered sugar
1 tsp (ground) each of  cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves
a pinch of salt
1 cup of whipping cream

Step 1: Whip it real goodT&J Mix 1

You’ll need to whip all of the liquids separately and set them aside. I start with the egg yokes and whip them until they’re a bit creamy. Then set them aside in their own little bowl. Then I whip the egg whites until just before peaks begin to form and set them aside. Finally the cream…I whip this until it just begins to thicken and set it aside too.

Step 2: Eggs and SugarT&J Mix 2

Mix the egg yokes, whites and powdered sugar in a large bowl or stand mixer. Mix them together well. I had to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.

Step 3: Add your spices

Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. It looks so pretty once those spices are all mixed in!

Step 4: Cream it together

Pour your cream and mix it well. T&J Mix 3

After everything is mixed together, pour the batter into a large bowl or a few mason jars. It will need to be stored in the fridge. This recipe is big enough to last us through Thanksgiving and Christmas. You can store it in the freezer between holidays, if you’re worried about it expiring.

To make your Tom and Jerry:

In a coffee mug, add 1 TBS of the batter, 1 jigger of whiskey or rum (if desired), top it off with hot water, and enjoy!

From our family to yours, we wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Make sure to check in at the blog next week. We’re starting our Christmas giveaway…It’s going to be a good one!! :)


Posted in Cozy Christmas Giveaway, Fun Recipes, Giveaways, Home Recipes, Kitchenaid Stuff, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DINO-sized Breakfast Sandwiches

DinoBSWow…when I decide to take a break, I REALLY take one. I have been pretty lack luster in the writing department so you’re going to have to forgive me for this fairly soft post. That being said, these breakfast sandwiches are easy and super delicious. They don’t last very long in our house due to the fact that I am in it. I eat them.  I make them for my husbands morning breakfasts but more often than not I eat them for lunch. They are huge… being meant for a hard-working-man-sized breakfast (or a sneaky housewife who, after building the little peoples lunches, has no energy to find something for herself). I generally get a dozen sandwiches out of one batch. They are wrapped in foil and frozen to be taken out at our leisure and devoured.

raisingEMFirst things first. The English Muffins. You can use store bought english muffins if you want but I would suggest you at least try to make your own. They are SO good and pretty easy. They are cooked on a griddle rather than baked, so if you like to make bread or rolls (pretty much anything with flour) these are going to be a breeze for you. I bounced around Pinterest trying to find a recipe for english muffins that would suit my cupboards and my patience. There are so many bakers out there that really like to complicate things and I don’t have time for that crap. I use this english muffin recipe from The Woks of Life. However, like many of the recipes that I find I tweak them to suit my own needs. This recipe calls for semolina, which apparently is a fine ground corn meal. I like to keep the essentials in my kitchen, semolina isn’t essential. I do, however, have corn meal. So… I put about a cup in my bullet with the mill attachment and grind it up so that its a finer grain. BOOM Chrissy Semolina. Since I have never laid eyes on actual semolina I don’t know if its comparable but my english muffins ARE english muffins so its safe to say that Chrissy Semolina and actual semolina are the same. The second tweak I make to this recipe is that I swap out the greek yogurt for sour cream. *GASP* I know … I know greek yogurt is much healthier for you. I do buy it and have used it. It gets moldy in my fridge before we use it and I don’t like to have waste, so I just rarely buy it. Now sour cream…THAT we eat. On everything almost. Seriously. Its surprising that we aren’t all little butterballs rolling around with sour cream mustaches.

Ok brass tacks.

Woks of life recipe …with a sour cream and Chrissy Semolina swap

1 pound of breakfast sausage

A dozen eggs

2 cups of cheese

Whip up your dough. Instead of using a glass or round cookie cutter for my muffins I use a square tupperware…its just easier for me to make mine square and the uniform shape is more attainable creating less waist and soothing my OCD desire to make it all the same shape. I actually use the freezer jam ziplock containers and its perfect.

sausageemWhile the muffins are rising, I press a third of a pound of the sausage into a 8X8 square pan. I cook it at 350 until it looks good and done. Do two more times with the other two thirds. I stack the huge sausage patties on a plate to drain off the grease. Pour the grease out of the 8X8 pan but don’t clean it.  Whip up 4 of the eggs with a little bit of milk the pour them into 8X8 and bake them until they start to look lightly browned on the top. Remove your egg cake from the pan and top with cheese. Stack your first batch of eggs on top of the sausage patties and bake the the other two batches of 4 eggs but don’t stack them up unless you want a good cheesie mess. So 3 sausage patties and 3 cheese topped egg cakes.

cookingemWhen your muffins are done raising, heat up a griddle or any frying pan. I usually throw a little butter in but you can use any type of oil you have handy to grease your pan slightly. Gently pick up and place your muffins in the pan to keep their glorious fluff. They will raise further in the pan while cooking but everybody loves sky high, fluffy muffins. Cook until good and brown on one side (6-8 minutes) flip and do the other side. Repeat until all 12 of your muffins are done.

Allow the muffins to cool before you cut them in half. In the meantime cut your patties and egg cakes into fourths. Stack one fourth of egg and cheese on top of a fourth of sausage and put them onto a muffin that has been cut in half. Wrap them all in tin foil, then to a ziplock bag, and put them into the freezer.

When you have a hankering for a breakfast sandwich take them out of the tin foil, place them on a paper towel to suck out some of the moisture, and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Check them and cook longer if needed. The muffin can sometimes get soggy so I put the top into the toaster if I feel like taking the time. I also like to take mine apart and put mayo on the muffin. MMMMMMM…..


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Coping with Depression

Revised 11/5/15

Ever since I had my first child, everyday worries and hardships were progressively getting harder to handle. After my second, things got a little bit more intense. It seemed like each new year, it was getting harder and harder to look on the brighter side of life. The school year of 2013-2014 was the icing on the cake. After a strange ER visit with an overnight hospital stay, my husband being gone most of August and September on wildland fires, going back to work, an ulcerative colitis flare up in November (with a lovely colonoscopy and going back on medications), and my husband being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February…I hit ROCK bottom in March and had to figure out a way to pull myself out of the dark hole I was now trying to function in on a day-to-day basis.depression post

My husband finally convinced me to go see a doctor, who automatically wanted to put me on prescription medications. I respectfully declined with the reasoning that I would much rather find a more NATURAL solution to overcome my depression. I wanted to find coping strategies that would help me find healing for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to mask my symptoms because I was worried that I wouldn’t be healing the root problem. So…my doctor referred me to a clinical therapist…who was AMAZING!! I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself out of the black hole I was living in had it not been for this patient, caring woman. We spent some of our time talking about my past and how certain things made me feel. She diagnosed me with situational depression with some chemical imbalances.
Now almost two years later, I feel like I have a handle on my depression (most of the time). I’m not going to say that it’s a thing of the past because it’s not…I still have days and sometimes weeks where I have to work a little harder to pull myself out of the mud, BUT I have so many more good days than bad. AND I’ve made the journey without prescription medications; which, in hindsight makes me so proud of myself.

So…you may be wondering what I did to put this disease on the back-burner of my life. I would love to share. :)

#1: Please go see your doctor…if you are wanting to stay off of prescription medications and are able to, a good doctor should be able to support you in this. My doctor  recommended St. John’s Wort; which is an herb that helps you stay in a more positive frame of mind. You can learn more about this amazing herb here. I still take it most every day. ***If you do end up having to take prescription medications, don’t be hard on yourself…consider it a short term means to your long term goals.

#2: Find a good therapist that will support you and your desire to heal your depression naturally. If you don’t like the person whose treating you, find someone else. Always remember…YOU are in charge of YOUR healthcare!! Find people who can help support you and guide you on your journey.

#3: Exercise at least 3-4 times a week or everyday if you can manage it. When you exercise it creates happy hormones in your body called Serotonin…these hormones are vital in keeping a happy, positive outlook on life. This has been the hardest one for me to be consistent with. I do really well in the spring, but, by the end of summer, I get out of my routines.

#4: Meditation is a great way to stay grounded in the moment and help train your brain towards self-acceptance. For me, this is a big deal!! Even just stopping in the middle of my day and saying: “I AM ENOUGH!!” makes a big difference for me. I’m currently working/reading a book called A Course in Miracles. It recommends short 1-2 minute meditations throughout the day. I’m loving it!!

#5: If you are a religious person, I recommend finding a daily devotional that you can read. I’m Catholic, so I read “The Living Faith” daily and then spend some time reading and studying my Bible. I have found that spending time with God first thing in the morning is the best way to start my day.

#6: Start a “gratitude journal.” This is a huge one for me. I write in it everyday and can see a difference in my attitudes when I don’t. In this journal I write down 3 things that I’m grateful for and then a detailed description of one thing good that has happened in the past 24 hours.

#7: Supplements…I take doTERRA’s Life Long Vitality vitamins and they play a huge role in keeping my chemical imbalances in check.  And of course my St. John’s Wort on days where I need a little added boost of positive.

#8: Essential oils…We use pure essential oils in our home. For my depression I use Grounding Blend at least 2x a day to keep my thoughts and emotions centered on the present, orange or citrus blend to keep my thoughts happy and positive, ylang-ylang for calming when my anxiety kicks in, bergamot for self-confidence, and peppermint and Calming Blend for stress headaches. These oils are great for helping me quickly calm down and stay positive. The Grounding Blend is my favorite oil of all time. I just dab a little on my wrists and breath it in…calming and grounding at the same time!! If you’d like to know more about what essential oils I use and would like a few tips, please send us an email or Facebook message.

#9: My newest goal to keep myself on the path to healing is to read at least 10 pages of a good self help book every day. There are so many authors out there that have amazing advice for people. Find a book that fits your needs. The book I’m reading right now is called A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. If you don’t know who Marianne Williamson is, you need to check her out…SHE IS AmAzInG.  If you’d like to know what other books I’ve read that have been helpful, leave a comment below or send us an email.

#10: If you’re a religious person, prayer can be a great way to communicate your gratitude and concerns. I’m constantly praying for guidance, but at least once a week I focus on all the things I have to be grateful for; which is SOOOO much! Letting go of my depression and allowing God to lead me has made a big difference over the past year.

#11: When negative, depressing thoughts try to overtake you…center yourself by taking 5-10 deep breaths and remind yourself to stay focused on the present moment. Tell yourself that you are enough over and over. For me I try and center myself on the immediate moment because I tend to get lost in my future and the “what ifs” in life. If you revert to the past, pull yourself back to the present by reminding yourself that the past is the past and there is no way to change it.

#12: Take AT LEAST 20 minutes a day to do something for you…something you enjoy! For me it’s playing with my kids or taking a bath. The house work can wait. Try and not be too focused on all the things you feel you “need to” get done. For me, it made a huge difference when I came to the conclusion that my house didn’t always need to be clean. Sometimes it can wait…especially if it means keeping you happy.

#13: Learn how to say “NO” (politely of course). Feelings of overwhelm can be a big contributor to depression. Getting burnt out can drain your energy…energy that mommies don’t have to spare in the first place!! It’s important that you prioritize things and tell people no if you can’t take on any more in your day.

#14: Sleep at least 7-8 hours a day…I’m still working on this one. We’re night owls in my house and so getting to bed at 10 can be a challenge, but since I started waking up earlier I have been really trying harder to be more strict on my own bed time.

#15: NO EXCUSES!! The only person that will take care of you is you. Our hubbies do a pretty good job most of the time, but they can’t do it all…You have to take control of your thoughts, your attitudes, and be in charge of making time for yourself. If you need some time to yourself, your husband won’t know unless you tell him. No one can make you exercise, but you. Listen to your body and mind!! It is a wonderful tool to help on a path to healing.

It’s been a long journey for me. I’ve learned SO much about myself as a mommy and wife. I’m able to support my kids and husband in the ways they need to be supported because I’m happy with myself and content in my present day life. Not every day is peaches and cream, but I do my best and THAT is all that matters to me. I’m so proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished and hope this post can help others find natural ways to cope with depression.


Depression post 3


Posted in Essential Oil, Ginny's Journal, Health and Wellness, Herb and EO Journal, Herbs not food, Natural Mommy, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snot Busters

snotbustersIts that time of year again…snot season. GROSS! With four little people running around my house during the week, you can wade through the river of slime making its way through here. I’m not above the whole “two-fingered grab and wipe it on your pants” technique, but after a good day of cold and flu season my pants can stand up by themselves. Fuh-get about people who come to visit…everybody knows not to come here during the winter. Talk about make you wanna puke. On the off chance that I have the time to track down a box of Kleenex or a rouge roll of TP the snot level has reached def-con 5 levels. So sometimes its best to just grab and go… on to the next kid with a leaky sniffer that is. All that finger-action, sleeve-action, wiping it on the dog-action, and the occasional tp/klean-ex action (I’m not a complete heathen OK!?) has a tendency to make our little noses a little raw. So I have been using this awesome little concoction to combat the “ouchie node” or “booders on ma face” (that’s what the kids call it).

snotragsTo start, I’m not much for paper products. TP is an obvious necessity but I’m not huge on paper towels or even napkins. You could use totally use a soft paper towel for this . I have flannel scraps pouring out my ears after the “pajama elves” generously gave us all the leavings from making our Christmas pj’s this year. So I cut 4″X6″ rectangles out of it and put it all to good use. I would say all together it amounted to about 2 yards of fabric. After it was cut, half of this went home with Ginny because 50% of the runny noses go home with her when school gets out.

On to the good stuff!
2 cups of the hottest tap water
1 tsp salt (I used Himalayan Pink salt for all its uber amazing properties)
2 tbs Aloe Vera Gel
4 Vitamin E capsules
1 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs witch hazel
2 drops Clove oil
5 drops Lavender and 5 drops Roman Chamomile (you could go with all of one or the other of these two)

Using a stainless or a glass bowl (If you use plastic your essential oils are going to stick to it and that’s $ man!) add your HOT water to the bowl and immediately drop your vitamin e capsules and your coconut oil so they can start to melt and dissolve. (The original post said to poke a hole in the vitamin e capsule and squeeze out the juice…I have four noses on AWOL here so I don’t have time) While your coconut oil and pills are melting and dissolving add the fine ground salt and all other ingredients. Stir it up. Meanwhile, place your flannel pieces in a container. Preferably glass but anything will do. I used an old Huggies wipe box. Reserve one scrap. When everything in your bowl is good and incorporated pour on top of the scraps. Use your reserved scrap to wipe down the inside of the bowl if your super cheap like me and don’t want to waste even that little bit. Squish it around until all the wipes are soaked. There is a lot of liquid so your wipes should be surrounded by the mixture. Now they are ready to use!

Round here we like our wipes to be damp but not soaked so when ever I go to clean up a face I will squeeze it out on top of the others to remove excess liquid. We can go through an entire box in A DAY! So I throw the used one in a huge bowl and throw the box of clean ones on top of the monster pile. Not the most sanitary of conditions but it keeps it all together and is easy to tote around. When washing, put them all together in a mesh bag so they don’t get eaten by the sock/small item eating monster that resides in every washing machine.

My pants are officially snot free and all visitors with snot aversions are welcome here again! Give these wipes a try!


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Sensitive Skin Doggy Wash

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis adorable princess is our first baby. Her name is Lily. Loyal through and through, this dog loves me to her core. I see nothing but pure love and devotion when I look into her
eyes. Sweet as she may be to me, Lily can be a very sassy pup. Her and my hubby have a love/hate relationship…heavy on the hate with just a little bit of love. 😉

Sadly, Lily has a few sensitivities. Like her mommy, she has a very sensitive tummy and sensitive skin as well. Ever heard of dogs having similar traits as their owner? Well…If I were to be transformed into a dog, I would probably turn into Lily.

She was diagnosed with doggy colitis about 2 years ago…For those of you who haven’t visited our blog before, I have had ulcerative colitis for about 15 years. Shocking I know, but apparently my anxieties have rubbed off on my poor sweet dog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhenever there is an extremely stressful situation in our house, Lily ends up either pooping blood or puking it up…Poor baby! :'(

On top of her colitis, Lily has very sensitive skin. She gets, what looks to me, like doggy eczema and she develops cysts all over. The vet has reassured me that these cysts are harmless, but still…my dog is lumpy!! It’s kinda weird…
Most of the cysts stay small, but she does have one big one on her back that we’re having a hard time getting rid of.

I’ve discovered that in order to keep her skin healthy and also to keep the cysts at bay, regular baths with my homemade doggy wash makes a world of difference in how her skin looks and feels.

It’s a very simple recipe and it’s been working wonders to support her sensitive skin. I haven’t been as religious as I would like about washing her since I went back to work, but her skin looked amazing over the summer months.

Here’s what you’ll need, if you wanna give this doggy wash a try:

IMG_0518A pint mason jar
1/4 cup castile soap (I use the sensitive skin kind)
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
2-4 TBS of fractionated coconut oil (depending on how dry your puppy’s skin is)
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
Poor all of the ingredients into your mason jar and fill to the top with water. Shake it up really well and you’re ready for bath time…even if your dog isn’t! 😉

This dog wash works wonders on all dogs. Big or small. Sensitive skin or no. We use it on our griffon as well and it makes his coat look amazing.

Let us know what you think about this recipe if you give it a try!! We love to hear your feedback. :)

Email us if you want to know more about what essential oils we prefer to use in our household. :)

Have a great day!!


Posted in Essential Oil, Furry Family, Ginny's Journal, Herb and EO Journal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homemade Bagels

bagelsFor whatever reason I refuse to make my husbands lunch. It could just be that I’m lazy and just wont wake up early enough. Surprise!  I’m not a perfect wife and that’s my dirty secret. He likes to eat leftovers so I make extra dinner and it works out. Since I don’t make lunches and there’s no way in hell-oooo that I’m getting my crusty bum out of bed to cook a full course breakfast, I like to make sure my honey has some decent grab and go breakfasts. If it were up to him he would just eat a PB & J every morning with his coffee and call it good. I like to make sure my guys gonna eat a decent breakfast because he works hard. I try to have 3-4 options for him to choose from waiting in the freezer. I do breakfast burritos, sandwiches, zucchini bread, banana bread, and a couple versions of this bagel recipe your about to discover.

Plain Bagel

1  3/4 cup lukewarm water

1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 TBS sugar

2 tsp salt

5 cups flour (more or less)

I use this recipe for all of the bagels that I do. Its easy and straight forward. Today’s post is going to include the instructions for the apple cinnamon bagels. At the bottom of the post will be instructions for Jalapeno bagels as well. Check it out if your interested.

Bagels are super easy! Its just dough…that you boil! Homemade bagels will not keep as long as store bought bagels. Especially if they have any fruits or veggies in them. The water in the fruits will cause them to mold quickly so I freeze the bagels as soon as they cool off. We take them out as needed, set the microwave on defrost (bagel inside) for two minutes and then pop them in the toaster. The apple cinnamon bagels are better with butter but work fine with cream cheese too.

Apple Cinnamon Bagels

Plain bagel recipe above only 1 1/2 cups water and only 1 tsp salt instead of 2.

2 apples (I used Gala) diced small

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 tps vanilla

applesbagelsCaramelize the apples in the butter, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. When all the fluid has cooked off set aside to cool and add your vanilla.

Put together your plain bagel dough.

Mix the water, yeast, sugar, and salt in your stand mixer. Add your flour a cup at a time. Make sure it mixes well before you add your next cup. The dough will be stiff and your mixer will whine… make sure its on speed 2 (the kneading setting) and allow the dough to knead for a while. It takes longer than normal dough and is a really dense and heavy. Hand kneading is not recommended unless you would like to look like Pop-eye. This is a great workout but I doubt your going to want to make bagels ever again. When all the dough is done add your flavor/filling/…good stuff.

The apple cinnamon filling should be cool enough to go into the dough without killing the yeast. Throw it in there and keep it on the 2 speed. The dough is going to go from stiff to slippery fast so add more flour as needed. The dough should go back to the hard dry-er ball that you had before the filling went in. Go slowly because its hard to go back from too dry. When all the flour is incorporated and your dough has gone back to tough stuff, let it rest for ten minutes.


My sweet grandma made me these! There is one for each day of the week.

After 10 minutes, I cut the ball into 8ths. The 8ths are always way to big to make into bagels so I eye ball my sizes by rolling a ball big enough to cup between my two hands. This recipe usually gives me about a dozen bagels. After making my ball I then poke a hole in the middle with my thumb and forefinger and slowly work the dough with my hands so that it looks like an evenly shaped bagel. This isn’t the typical way of making bagels. Usually, you would make a cigar-shaped snake out of the dough and combine the ends to make a circle. This takes too long and pretty much never worked to my liking. Doing it my way alleviates the question of whether or not it will fall apart while boiling. Place your bagels on a greased baking sheet cover with a damp cloth or tea towel and allow to rise for a hour and a half.

The row on the left has been boiled and the right hasn't.

The row on the left has been boiled and the right hasn’t.

After an hour and a half is over, it literally looks like the bagels haven’t risen at all. Don’t sweat it. They are super dense so they wont puff up like a roll would. However, they do get bigger when you boil them. I use my beautiful large dutch oven to boil my bagels. It will hold 3 regular sized bagels at a time. Place the 3 bagels in the water and let them boil about 3 minutes on each side. Then scoop them up with tongs. I always try to lift them from the center hole so I dont squish down the bread. Place them back on the greased baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 400 for around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them because I have never had the same cook time on two batches. I usually take them out when the tops are slightly brown and the bottoms are golden…not burned 😉

For the jalapeno bagels, add a 1/4th cup dry red peppers (diced) to the dry ingredients. After the bread has mixed well add a 1/3 of fresh jalapenos and kneed until every thing is well combined. Go about business as usual like above, but after you boil your jalapeno bagels, add a slight layer of finely grated cheddar cheese. While baking the cheese will turn a glorious crunchy-cheese topping that really adds a great texture to this tasty morning treat.


Posted in Being Self Sufficient, Fun Recipes, Home Recipes, Kitchenaid Stuff, Stuff we do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Young Independent Readers

5987326059_cc6944d5ae_oNow that school is back in full swing and we’re all getting back into our “school-time routines,” I thought I’d take a moment to talk to you about one of my passions….READING! I’d love to share some tips with you about how to teach your kids to be independent readers and in turn…life long learners.

Reading is such a huge part of our lives. It’s in almost everything we do and of course it’s everywhere we go. Chrissy and I are very passionate about reading. I enjoy reading everything from self-improvement books to the Harry Potter Series. As far as I’m concerned there’s never enough time in the day to read as much as I’d like. At any given time, I have 3-4 books that I’m reading. I just can’t get enough!! :)love reading

I love reading so much and think it’s SOOO important that a few years back I decided to go back to school and get my masters degree in…Reading and Literacy of course!!! My two years of studying taught me a TON, but I’ve still got so much to learn about teaching children to love reading. My hope is to foster an independence in ALL my students that they can carry with them when they leave my class.

Much of our attitudes about reading comes from what we see at home. Think back to when you were a kid…Did your parents read a lot? Not just to you, but for their own enjoyment? Our mom loves to read…This made a huge different in my attitude about reading; which turned out to be a really big deal.

Reading didn’t come easy for me. In fact, my love for reading didn’t come until after I was in college a year or so. In elementary school, I hated reading out loud in front of my peers…I was slow and I stumbled a lot. Even through high school (which was even more embarrassing), I struggled. BUT, in spite of my embarrassment, I never hated reading and I strongly believed it’s because of the model I had at home.

readingLet your kids SEE you reading for pleasure. It might make a huge difference in how they feel about reading…ESPECIALLY if they are struggling!!

If they’re older (7ish and up), share a fun chapter book together. Make it a special time for one-on-one time with them. Make sure the book you’re reading together is something they are interested in. Make it fun…they don’t have to read, but they should be able to understand most of what you are reading to them. “Listening Comprehension” is a big piece of the foundation for reading success.

Talk to your kids about why they are interested in certain books and allow them to read what ever is interesting to them. I mean…WHATEVER!!! Even if it’s comic books or comicmagazines. As long as they are reading, THAT’S what’s important.

If your child is having a hard time picking a book to read, follow this strategy by “The 2 Sisters” (another pair of sisters that love working together). Their strategy is called “I PICK”:

I look at a book (inside and out)
Purpose (Why do I want to read it?)
Interest (Does it interest me?)
Comprehend (Do I understand it?)
Know most of the words

Once kids understand this strategy and have practiced it with an adult several times, they are ready to be more independent.  All it takes is a couple of minutes. Either they know most of the words or they don’t. Either they understand it or they don’t. Either it seems interesting to them or it doesn’t. Its’ as simple as that. What a quick, easy way for them to pick a book that not only is interesting for them, but they can read and understand it all on their own. Nothing empowers kids more than being able to do things on their own. Check out more great tips on teaching reading by the 2 Sisters here.

A love for reading has to be gradually fostered and nurtured…not just by teachers, but by parents, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, and friends. Try to spend at least 20 minutes a day reading with your child or listening to them read. The more books children are exposed to, the more words they are exposed to…the more things they will understand  about the world around them.

Please comment or send us an email if you have any questions about teaching your child to read. I’d love to help in any way that I can.

Peace to you…Happy reading!!


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Let the blogging re-begin!

welcomebackSOOOO yeah… we’ve been pretty busy. :( I’m talking cRaZy busy. I haven’t even thought about drafting a post since May. That’s pretty sad and no way to be a successful blogger and I apologize for that to any of our loyal friends that read our blog.

Here’s what we have done in a nutshell….

We have been at the lake…pretty much all summer. We’ve been camping, swimming and boating our buns off. Teaching our kids how to swim and water ski and watching them tube. Jumping off the lime creek bridge and remembering some great lake experiences from when we were kids. We got to spend more time with friends this summer than we have since we started our families and that has been absolutely amazing.

In June we participated in the Sawtooth Relay, a great running experience that starts in Stanley and ends in Ketchum. This was a great achievement that we were able to share with our mom, aunt, friends and EACH OTHER. It has been a while since we pulled an all nighter and we forgot how funny we both were when we were so tired we could hardly keep our eyes open. Like…pee the pants funny. no lies.

In July we were able to join the rest of the ladies in our community and climb up the mountain for the Ladies Hike to Fourth Peak. We look forward to this every year! I cant even begin to explain how empowering this event is and we are both so proud to be a part of it. However, I did almost die on the way down. Luckily, I had Ginny right behind me to laugh as I tumbled, what I can only describe as, a billion feet down the hill (in reality it was like 6-8 feet)only to be saved by a giant bush. If your in our area PLEASE join us for the hike! Trekking up that hill has really brought many of us together, and in this tight knit community you wouldn’t think that was even possible. What a great opportunity to support and be supportive of the ladies in your community! <3 CANT WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!swthrly3

In August I got to go to the Mountain Home Country Music Festival with our closest friends and what a great time it was. We got to go to the lake during the music lulls and have a great time without the kids for 3 whole days! SUPER WILD! I had forgotten what it was like to wake up at my own speed… I pretty much was confused in the lack of purpose and didn’t know what to do with myself half the time. The other half was a hoot! This Festival isn’t for the faint of heart though and sadly I wined about the dust and heat constantly. The music was amazing, Blake Shelton was hands down awesome, but it will take some serious consideration before going back next year. For a small town girl that has lived in a dirt road metropolis almost her entire life… the dust was gritty, choking and covered everything in a good two inches and I didn’t care much for it. We made some great memories though, and that made it all worth it!

So with all the fun, training for races and hikes, and accounting for the 4 days it took to clean the dirt and dust from the festival off we didn’t get much else done. Here’s what we didnt do…

festlakeBlog obviously. When your away from your computer you can’t really post to your website. We did work on the site however, as we were dealt a devastating blow from a company that we promote heavily on our site regarding “compliance”. If you have come to our site in search of essential oil help and found nothing, its because most of our posts weren’t compliant and we had to remove them. This was painful and just about broke my heart. Ginny is handling it far better than I am because shes got a solid resolve and rolls with the punches like nobodies business.  We never looked at the oils as a money venture for our blog, they were a part of a multifaceted face of our blog and we have had to let that go. We are both still able to help in anyway we can with any essential oil questions you may have but please get in touch with us through email at instead of posting comments to our site. We still love to talk about oils and our preferred provider and urge you all to keep in touch with us with any questions. We may even do a few posts about oils but they will be compliant and a lot more vague than our posts from the past.

This guy was past out at the fest before 4pm. Poor lamb.

This stranger man was passed out at the fest before 4pm. Poor lamb.

I had a good deal of starts, seeds, compost and plans for my garden but didn’t get to tilling up my dirt…so this summer I didn’t get any sort of harvest from my garden. I didn’t can anything and didn’t use a single apple or plum off of my trees. I did absolutely nothing to put away food for the winter and that is going to cost me some money. I’m very depressed about it.

Right off the bat one of our hives took a dive this spring. We bought nucs this year with the hope that we would have two hives. About two weeks after installing, one of the hives absconded. That’s a fancy way of saying “peace out holmes” in bee speak. So they left us. Super depressing. The other hive has been also lack luster. Usually my backyard is full of the hum from the hives. This summer, not so much. I would go out and watch the entrance for ten minutes at a stretch and the activity was pretty sad. I decided to just leave them alone and see what would happen. They never did build up population and I’m definitely not hopeful going into the winter. God speed my little ladies, I’m just hoping for a miracle.

My husband loaded, cut and stacked all the firewood alone this summer, and I’m feeling pretty low in the “wife and partner” department. We are a family that survives by being as self sufficient as possible, that is a choice that Alex and I have made together and so far I haven’t held up my end of the bargain. Tomorrow is another day! Without the winter stores I’m going to be working my tail off and I’m hoping with all that work I’ll forgive myself for my summer off.

SO! Our blogging resumes as of TODAY! I hope everybody is as excited as we are to start seeing posts to Sisters Practical Magic again.

Pssst…we have plans for another giveaway! If you have read this whole long winded post about nothing particular…your already a leg up on the competition!


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Ginny’s EO #10

Children’s Allergy Relief Blend

I created this blend initially to help treat a nasty reaction to some mosquito bites. My daughter was getting very swollen and the bites were almost unbearable for her. Not really even thinking about it, I whipped up a blend of oils that I knew would help stop some of the itching and hopefully decrease some of the swelling. The blend worked wonders to help alleviate some of her discomfort.

Little did I know that I would also be using it to help treat my son’s allergies. He has never ever had issues with allergies in the past and now, all of a sudden, we can’t walk outside without his eyes becoming red and itchy. For my outdoor loving boy, this is tragic! It’s very frustrating for him to not be able to go out and enjoy the places he loves most.

I tried this blend on him when he had his very first reaction to something floating around in the air. The reaction he was having was bad enough that we needed to throw him in the shower and change his clothes. His right eye was swelling rapidly. I put the allergy blend on his feet every fifteen minutes after he got out of the shower. Withing a half hour he was still a bit swollen, but the itching was gone. We’ve been using the blend every day since.

If you have a little one suffering from allergies and don’t want to give them a synthetic allergy medication, give this blend a try and see if it works. As with all essential oils, what works for us may not work for you, but it could be worth a shot. Feel free to tweek things to work for you and your child’s chemical make-up. We use pure essential oils because we feel more confident in where they came from and how safe they are. If you’re using a different brand of oils, you may need to change the amount of drops you’re putting in.

Here’s the recipe:

In a 10 mL rollerball mix:
20 drops Lavender
20 drops Lemon
20 drops Peppermint
15 drops Melaleuca
Top the bottle off with Fractionated Coconut Oil.

Rub this blend over your child’s feet every morning and at night for prevention and anytime during the day in between when their allergies are causing them some troubles. I also will swipe it across my son’s forehead if we’re out and about and his eyes start to get itchy.

Another great preventative measure is to have your child take a spoonful of raw local honey twice a day. Over time the honey may help build your child’s immunity to whatever type of pollen is causing their allergies. AND you won’t hear any complaints from your wee one about taking honey for a medication. 😉 Find out more about what honey can do for your allergies here. There is not much research out there to prove that this theory is correct or incorrect, but hey…if it tastes good and it’s also good for you, why not take a spoonful every once and a while.

I hope you are all able to enjoy this beautiful summer weather with all of your kids in tow! :)

**I’m not a doctor…please follow this protocol with caution and consult your doctor before beginning it. This blog post is meant to share a success story that I had, not diagnose or treat any ailment that the reader may have.


Posted in Essential Oil, Ginny's Journal, Herb and EO Journal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Severe Sinus Cold Protocol

Sinus ColdA couple of weeks ago I had a sinus cold hit me like a freight train. It came on fast and hard…and I’m pretty sure I was developing a sinus infection. The severe pain radiated from above my eyebrows clear into my teeth.

Lucky for me, I had an amazing sister who had just gone through something similar a month before. Chrissy shared what worked for her and I started the protocol right away. I thought that we should put the information out there since it worked so well for both of us. We both avoided a doctor’s visit and the dreaded antibiotics. With all of my tummy problems, I will only take antibiotics unless I’ve extended all other resources (in steps essential oils…a God send!!). Antibiotics can strip your body of much needed good bacteria. These good bacteria live within you digestive system and are important in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Here is what we did to relieve and help heal our severe sinus colds:

At the onset of any cold, Chrissy and I both recommend taking what’s called a “Flu Bomb.” For adults that is 2 drop Oregano, 4 drops Lemon, and 4 drops Protective Blend. Do this about every 2 hours until your symptoms are gone.

When I got my sinus cold, I was diffusing  Respiratory Blend and Protective Blend (in seperate diffusers) CONSTANTLY…If you only have one diffuser, you could alternate the two blends.

After the sinus pressure hit full force, I started taking Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint (2 drops each) in a capsule or small glass of water about every 2-4 hours. This helps to clear up the congestion and pressure.

Another oil that works wonders on the congestion is Digestive Blend (down the bridge of your nose and across your forehead). Weird to use a stomach blend on your face, but it works…trust me! I was using this blend on my sinuses about every hour to keep the pressure down.

We also recommend using a neti pot to help flush out your sinuses. I did it once in the morning when I got up and again at night before bed. If your sinus pressure is super bad, you could probably do it mid-day as well. There is a ton of information out there on the Web about how to use a neti pot effectively. Here’s the one I watched. I will warn you that using a neti pot is the weirdest sensation I’ve ever experienced inside my nose. If you’ve never used one before, it takes some getting used to, but it’s SO worth it afterwards.

The most important thing to remember with a protocol like this is consistency! If you aren’t consistently using your oils to help support your healing process, you won’t see results as quickly or effectively. Anytime you are using essential oils, you’ll want to remember to use a low dose, more often…especially for acute cases like a sinus infection.

**I’m not a doctor…please follow this protocol with caution and consult your doctor before beginning it. This blog post is meant to share a success story that I had, not diagnose or treat any ailment that the reader may have.


Posted in Essential Oil, Ginny's Journal, Health and Wellness, Herb and EO Journal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment