Lip Balm

Several years ago I made some homemade lip balm. It involved olive oil, peppermint, beeswax and honey.  It turned out ok, but I noticed my big container started leaving a nasty aftertaste on my lips after using it. Yuck!   I don’t know what caused the taste, but it was probably just due to it being old.

Well, last week I decided to search pinterest for different lip balm recipes and found one that I had all the ingredients to!  I was so excited! The recipe is found at Nourishing Minimalism. 

Here are the ingredients I used:

DSC_4894 copyCoconut oil is my favorite oil in the world. I love the smell and taste of it! I also love the smell of beeswax, so this was the perfect blend for me. 🙂  I didn’t put very much peppermint (about the amount called for in the recipe) in my lip balm. Just enough to give it a subtle hint of it being in there. I also didn’t have the lip balm tubes – something I need to order sometime soon, especially if I make any more.  The little containers I used are to store extra paint in and are not very good for lip balm. They are hard to get into. lol

So if you didn’t click on the Nourishing Minimalism link above, here is the recipe:

1/2 cup coconut oil (I used more and will use probably use 3/4 cup or more next time)

1 ounce bar of beexwax. I had ordered this from some time ago.

8-10 drops of the vitamin E oil

6 drops of the peppermint oil

I put the coconut oil and beexwax in a small pan and filled up my medium pan with hot water on the stove enough to float my small pan in and let the wax and oil melt in there.

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Once it was all melted I added the peppermint and vitamin E oils and mixed it up with a whisk.  Once it was all blended I put the mixture in a pourable measuring cup and poured it into each little cup and my other container (that I’m keeping for myself).  I love it!

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I took this same recipe and switched out the peppermint oil with lavender oil (10 or more drops to smell delightful) and made hand lotion bars.  It really helps that dry winter skin on the hands.

Bucket List

I don’t have a bucket list, but I’m thinking I should write one.  So far, since I stopped writing on this blog, I have done a bunch of things I could mark off such list, if I had one.

Last year I went to hunter’s safety course, and passed, so I could go hunting with my boys. Hunting was quite cold and not really on my list of things to do, but I did it. One of those things I never would have thought to put on my bucket list.

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Last December Eric and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and our gift was a concert.  I had never been to a concert like that in my life. We went and saw Tran-Siberian Orchestra’s Lost Christmas Eve.  It was such an exciting and fun experience! 🙂

TSO2 TSO3 TSOticketsWinter lasted forever last year and I think this coming winter will probably do the same. It has been chilly these first days of October.  It’s a beautiful time of year though!  I love fall leaves!  Their smell, the crunch under my shoes and their beautiful colors!

Photography has been happening, though I haven’t been shooting a lot lately. :\ I did 2 photo shoots in September. One was a wedding and another was a maternity shoot.  Weddings are beautiful and I think I really love SMALL weddings! I’ve never shot a big wedding, but it’s not on my bucket list. 🙂 I get stressed out about small ones enough that a big wedding would just send me over the edge. hehe Anyway, it’s been an ok year as far as sessions go. I would definitely love more sessions.

This past July we went on vacation and had such a great time!  Vacation is NEVER long enough!  We decided to do a sight seeing trip and just enjoy the USA.  Our first stop was Colorado to visit my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Fred.  It was a visit that was too short, but we loved every minute of it!  My bucket list item from there was sitting on the summit of a mountain!  I had been to Colorado before, but never did that.  It was exciting, dizzying, and the road up the mountain was a tad scary!

DSC_0652 copyEric made a snowman in July because he could.

DSC_0496 copyDSC_0561 copy DSC_0582 copy DSC_0630 copyThe kids liked their mountain top experience ok, but Grace was a little freaked out over the heights.  Ryan experienced altitude sickness the worst out of all of us. He and Grace didn’t climb up to the summit of Mount Evans because it was freezing and scary. 🙂  Nathan came along!

We traveled through 16 states total on our trip and the kids still talk about it and what a great time vacation was this year!  I’m so glad!  It was such a fun, family time together!  I hope we can do another trip next summer and make more memories like that!

We started school in mid-August and I am enjoying the school year.  Of course, I was more excited about starting school than everyone else in the family. hehe  We are in Paths of Progress this year and are enjoying learning about different inventors this year!  Nathan is technically supposed to be a 9th grader this year, but i decided to just hold him back one more year.  I figure it’s ok if he graduates at 18.  🙂  Ryan is 7th grade and Grace is 5th grade this year.  These last few years of homeschooling have been so wonderful!  We love the Trail Guide to Learning series, and I am so thankful for them!

Maybe I’ll sit and write out a bucket list of things I’ve already done and things I would like to do in the future and make a page for it on my blog.

God is Good.

It’s Late…

 And yet here I am writing a post.

I really enjoyed the weather yesterday. Beautiful, warm, and perfect. It’s been like that for a couple weeks now. Today Eric and I were talking, and I told him that I wish winter could be like yesterday all year long. haha  I dread winter.  Our driveway scares me, and I don’t like being stuck in the house all winter long.  *sigh*  Ok, I’ll quit my pity party now. 🙂

School has been going very well this school year. It’s been a little rough this week, but we did have a 5 day weekend and it’s always a little hard to get back in the groove after time off.

Trim Healthy Mama.  I just wanted to share the link in case anyone is interested in a new eating plan.  Some would say diet, but I say eating plan.  It’s basically a low glycemic plan that keeps carbs and fat meals separated.   Eric and I started eating this way in April. Eric does cheat, and cheat a lot sometimes, but I try to keep him on the straight and narrow.  That’s not always an easy job.  I’ve not lost a lot of weight, but I feel pretty good.  Eric has lost some, but seems to be at a stall right now.  I’m considering putting us on a fuel cycle (also in the book) for a few weeks.  We shall see.  I need to prepare for that! 🙂  Pinterest and the Trim Healthy Mama facebook groups are really helpful.

Well, it’s very late and I need to get to bed.  I’m a little rusty at this writing thing, but I am going to get back at it on a regular basis. Practice is always great! 🙂

DSC_3984 copyAnd just for fun, this is a Saddleback Caterpillar. I just found this the other day and thought it was super cool. I also learned that it has a very painful sting.


Why, hello!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted on this blog.  I’ve been toying off and on with the idea of actually blogging again and decided to at least write a little something today.  Some days I think, “yeah, I should blog about this or that” and then the thoughts go away. haha.  I generally spend a little time posting photos on my photography blog Em’s Photography Adventure (except for the last few days, ugh).

It’s been a very busy time since my last blog post – March of 2013!  Wow! 🙂  So much has gone on, and my children have grown so much!

We are stepping out of September and into October tomorrow!  It’s hard to believe how fast this year – 2014 – has gone.  I’m not sure which direction I’ll be taking with this blog.  Maybe just a journal of the family, of my journey and walk with the Lord, of just things I like to ramble about. It’s what I did before anyway. 🙂 I think I’ll just go with that! 🙂  My one friend requested that I start blogging about recipes that I make/try and share them, too.  That’s always fun! Lots of yummy goodness and lots of failures, too! lol

Until next time…


Maple Syrup


We tapped 8 trees this year.

We had some warm days and actually had enough sap to make some maple syrup.

I’m praying it warms up soon and we get a lot more sap!


Anyway, we cooked down what sap we did get during a the few warm days we had.

This is after I brought the sap into the house after cooking outside in the turkey fryer for some 18+ hours.


Getting bubbly here.

I had the candy thermometer in at this point.

To get maple syrup, the temperature has to be 219* F



This year we decided to strain the sap a little before it started thickening up.

Lots of minerals and stuff from the trees, as you can see.


Here it is after the straining and before the final boiling.

DSC_8647This first batch of maple syrup ended up being just a tad over 16 oz.

It’s such a neat thing to be able to do each year.

You just can’t be sure what the weather will be! 🙂


Hello, remember me?

Obviously, I haven’t been writing in my blog much lately.  I’ve been in a funk about writing.

Lots of ideas have come and gone over the last month and a half since my last posting.

Winter is really wearing on me this year.

DSC_8661Every day looks like this. *sigh*

Schooling the kiddos keeps me busy during the week.

This past week Nathan came down with strep throat.

Thankfully he is on the mend and no one else has come down with it! Yet. . .

My junk piles are crowding my house and my mind.

Today I managed to almost completely fill a 30 gallon garbage bag with junk from my craft corner.

Also almost filled another 30 gallon garbage bag with clothes and things to donate to the Thrift store.

The other day I cleaned out a bunch of old recipe books I don’t use and threw a bunch of junk paper away.

It’s refreshing!  I need to keep throwing things away and getting rid of thing we don’t need.

It’s amazing how it just builds up over the years.

We can sure stand to get rid of a lot more “stuff.”

Last week we made some maple syrup, but I’ll save the rest of that story for the next post!

If only it would warm up enough to get the sap flowing. . . 🙂

My kindle has many good books on it right now.  So many I don’t always know which one to read.

I decided to read a few of the devotional ones at the same time.

I’m reading one about Proverbs 31 and I’m sorry  the name escapes me right now.

Another one I started reading is a Lenten Devotional and there are hymns and a verse for each day of lent.

It’s really good and it gives a history of how the hymns came to be.

The other one I read from time to time is 101 Devotionals for Homeschool Moms and I love those devos too!

In fiction, I’ve really been enjoying books by Chautona Havig.

I’m waiting to get For Keeps (Aggie’s Inheritance) so I can have all 3 books in that series. The first one was so good!

Photography is still coming along, I guess.  I’ve been so uninspired lately.

You can see what I’m up to on my Photography Blog.

We did lose a chicken a few weeks ago. 😦

DSC_8214 copyCrazy Comb was her name.

It was such a sad and awful day for the kiddos.  I felt bad for them and for the chicken.

The chicken suffered so much and I’m only just learning what it probably was that killed her.

DSC_8658 copyUnfortunately, Grace’s pet chicken, Henny Penny is now afflicted by the same thing.

What I thought was egg bound (which really might have been at first) is something else called Egg Peritonitis.

It’s pretty sad to see.  I’ve been giving Henny some penicillian shots, but I don’t know if it’ll help her.

I haven’t been draining her (I’d have to research how), but she is rather swollen.

I feel bad for her and especially bad for Grace, especially since it’s her pet.

Another hen has a really weird egg bubble near where the eggs come out.  I’ll have to keep my eye on her too.

Ahhh!  Sometimes chickens are too much!

I always wanted to be a vet growing up. . . guess I’m getting my unofficial run at it now.

School is going pretty good lately.

Is it going as I planned?


But it’s still going well.

The kids love hearing the stories about Daniel Boone.

They love doing their read aloud time.  Especially Ryan! 🙂

Have I mentioned lately that we LOVE Paths of Exploration?

We do!

Math has been a struggle lately with Nathan and Ryan.  I’m trying to decide what to do.

That’s something I’ve got to talk over with my husband and move forward  with a new plan.

DSC_8325 copyDSC_8320 copyDSC_8318_1At the end of January and beginning of February I took the kids roller skating.

They had a great time both times!

I had a great time chatting with friends at both skates.

We couldn’t go to yesterday’s skate since Nathan was sick.

That was a bummer because the kids really enjoy it!

Hopefully next month!

So that about sums up what has been going on lately.

If you made it through this post, God bless you! 🙂

Thanks for reading, too.


DSC_8033Grace thought my toenails needed painted.

She is quite right.  She should have painted my entire foot.

They are ugly feet.

DSC_8034 copy  She had a present wrapped for me for Christmas

and in it was the color she is applying to my toes.

DSC_8043 It’s quite the color on my oh-so-white feet.

BUT I am wearing it proudly on my feet because my daughter

thinks it looks really good. 🙂

DSC_8045Lovely toes. . .  I know you’re jealous. 😉

Stinkbug Eater. It Does Exist!


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This was a wonderful and surprising sight to see the other day.

I had my Stinkbug Burial Snow outside my upstairs hallway window and was surprised to see it gone

the day after I took the picture in the link.

Well, I was walking past and noticed this little birdie actually eating stinkbugs.

I didn’t think anything ate those nasty bugs.

Apparently if a bird is hungry enough in the winter, it will eat those things.

It’s a cute little birdie and, of course, I have no idea what kind of bird it is.

Should probably look in our North American Wildlife book and see if it’s there.


I have been thinking about gardening already.  Figured it’s probably best to decide what I want to plant and how I want to go about gardening this year.  There are so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest and lots of helpful ideas.  Here are some of the links I’ve been haunting the last few days.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  – I just love this company!

I printed this Garden Notebook – it’s free!

I’m thinking about raised beds for my garden this year and rain barrels to go with each of the beds.

My gardens mostly consist of green beans and last year potatoes.  I love them both a lot, but this year I wanted to grow a variety of foods that we can eat and can.  I just feel like we need to do this, especially given the way things are going economically.  I want to get canning more of our own fresh veggies.  It’s just better for us!    Anyway, I am looking into  this EarthTainer idea for growing tomatoes.  I always have the worst time with tomatoes!

This year I have to consider gardening with these wretched stink bugs and I found it interesting that Cornstarch is my gardening friend when it comes to these nasty pests.  I hate stinkbugs, just for the record.

Hopefully I’ll have a good harvest this year!  I want to make this Veggie Hod, also a pinterest find.  It looks like something I can actually make myself!

There’s also this Mini Greenhouse idea that I love!

Will I do ALL of these gardening ideas this year?  Not sure, but I would definitely love to try and get these things started.  My semi-green thumb needs some more work to have a productive garden that could actually feed us through a winter.


Chickens & Winter

This is mostly going to be pictures about the chickens.

They had been cooped up for a good 2 weeks or so at this point,

and they all needed out of the coop for a dirt bath and some exercise and fresh air.

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The coop surrounded by snow.  brrrr!

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The guineas braved the cold stuff and went under the coop first.

Then the chickens decided to follow.  They loved it.

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Guineas and chickens, getting their dirt on.


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They LOVED the dirt bath they all got that day!

Funny how getting bathed in dirt makes them look cleaner somehow.

It’s also good to keep the bugs away.

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Mo just hanging out, not wanting to touch the snow.


Patch deciding what to do.

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Yep, he decided to trek across the snow and his girls followed him.

It was really cute! 🙂

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I can only imagine how COLD that is on their little feet!

My feet were freezing inside my boots and I had socks on too!

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Shoe finally got to get a dirt bath.

Patch always chased him away, so when he lead the girls away,

Shoe took his opportunity.