Black Friday weekend offers for new and current Young Living members!

If you’ve been toying with the idea of jumping in with a Young Living starter kit, NOW is the time my friends!  Young Living is giving you a free bottle of Christmas Spirit oil and I am giving $25 cash back to those who sign up through me so for only $135 (after the cash back) you’ll be getting 12 fabulous essential oils and a diffuser!  That’s an AMAZING deal!

my-young-living-black-friday-special

Young Living is also doing a Black Friday sale for current members so if you’re already a member or if you join with a starter kit on Black Friday and want to add on some of these items you can get some other great deals too.  Lots of items 15% off and a couple 20% off!  Woo hoo!young-living-black-friday-saleyoung-living-black-friday-doorbusters

Ready to get started?  Step by Step sign up instructions are here.  If you need help shoot me an email (caitlin@mychocolatemoments.com) or message me through my Facebook page.  Happy Black Friday shopping!

the 12 emotions every new Roomba owner experiences

the-12-emotions-every-new-roomba-owner-experiencesA couple of months ago we bought a Roomba.  Yep, a robot vacuum cleaner.  Never thought I’d own one of those!  After having it for several months I thought I’d share my self proclaimed 12 Emotions Every New Roomba Owner Experiences.  Very important for all who might venture into the world of robotic house help.

1.  Refusal: A robot vacuum? No way am I getting one of those, surely it doesn’t work.
2.  Intrigue: *starts reading reviews on Amazon* Hmmmmmmm…interesting…
3.  Research: How do they work?  What’s the best deal?  Can I use here, there, with this, with that?  Pros?  Cons?
4.  Excitement: Yay!  We bought one!  I can’t wait to use it!
5.  Fascination: *follows Roomba around the house as it moves in a seemingly erratic pattern to see if it’ll hit that piece of furniture, get up on that rug, or get stuck behind that object*
6.  Shock: *empties full bin into trash can* It picked up HOW much dirt during that first run?!?
7.  Disgust: More!?  There was MORE?!
8. Horror: My house was a filthy dump and I had no idea!
9.  Vengeance: I will Roomba my house from top to bottom non stop until it finally quits picking up loads of yuck each time!
10.  Reality: This deep cleaning is taking WAY longer than I expected.  We are obviously animals.
11.  Maintenance: Now that we’ve cleaned up the years worth of build up now it’s time to run Roomba frequently so that we can continue to keep the house clean.  Maybe we should make a schedule.
12.  Schedule: Roomba becomes an integral part of your family.  Your very own house elf.  You give it a nickname.  Your child tells it “Good job!” Running Roomba becomes a regular part of your routine.  You seriously don’t know how you lived without it.

If you couldn’t tell from this post we lovvvvvvvve our Roomba.  I was totally skeptical but it has been amazing!  Our old vacuum was horrible and picked up almost nothing from our rug.  When we decided we were ready to get a new one Michael suggested a Roomba.  I didn’t think they actually worked but after doing some research we decided to give it a try.  Needless to say we were impressed (and shocked at how much it picked up).  Several months later I’m *still* shocked at how much it collects if we skip a couple of days of running it.

On our main level (where we use it the most) we have mostly hardwood and tile floors with a few area rugs.  It does fine with the rug in our bedroom but struggles (struggled, I should say) with the rug in our living room.  Our living room rug has large dark circles on a light background and the Roomba thinks that it’s on the edge of a stair or something so it won’t cross over from light to dark (good morals, that one).  Michael fixed that by taping some paper over the Roomba’s sensors so it doesn’t see that and now it runs fine on the rub.

It does a great job navigating around objects, under furniture, and not bumping in to walls.  Corners are hard since it is round and corners aren’t (obviously) so sometimes I do have to sweep up a little junk out from the corners but honestly for the most part I don’t use a broom or Swiffer anymore.  I just run the Roomba and somehow it magically gets everything up – dust, hair, dried food chunkies.  Amazing.

We have the the Roomba 860 model.  I’ve linked to it here on Amazon but we actually bought it from Bed Bath & Beyond because with the 20% off coupon it was about $100 cheaper than buying from Amazon.  It has been a great purchase!

What do you think, would you try a robot vacuum?12-emotions-every-new-roomba-owner-experiences

9 easy essential oil DIY recipes

9-easy-essential-oil-diy-recipes-copySo you’ve got this beautiful, brand new, essential oil starter kit and you have no idea what to do with all your new oils.  Or maybe you don’t even have any oils yet but you’re wondering what all can be done with these essential oils that everyone is so crazy about these days.  Or maybe you have lots of oils but haven’t ever tried making any of your own concoctions with them.

Well you’re in the right place!  I’m going to give you 9 very easy DIY home and beauty recipes to try out.  Most will use oils that come in the Young Living premium starter kit since that is what so many people get first but these can be easily adapted to use other oils that you might have.

1.  Bath Salts

Bath salts are easy peasy to make. All you need are some Epsom salts (usually found in the pharmacy section of the store or something like this on Amazon), baking soda (which is actually optional but a nice addition and usually everyone has some at home anyway), and your oils.

For one bath use:
– 1 cup of Epsom salts
– ½ cup baking soda
– 10 drops essential oil(s) of your choice
– a glass jar to store them in

There are SO many combinations that you can make and it’s totally your personal preference but here are a few ideas to get you started:

Sleepy Time: 10 drops lavender
It’s Been a Long Week: 10 drops Stress Away
Breathe Easy: 7 drops RC, 3 drops peppermint
Post-Workout Soak: 5 drops PanAway, 5 drops Copaibadiy-essential-oil-bath-salts-recipes-copy

2.  Sugar Scrub

Next up is another easy one – a sugar scrub!  The “base” recipe includes:

– 1 cup of sugar
– ¼ cup of fatty oil (olive, grapeseed, coconut, etc.)
– 5-8 drops of essential oil (depending on how strong the oil is you’re using)
– a glass jar to store it in

Again, TONS of options you could use but here are some suggestions:

Sunshine Scrub: 8 drops lemon
Candy Cane: 5 drops peppermint
Glowing Skin: 4 drops lavender, 4 drops frankincensediy-essential-oil-sugar-scrub-recipes-copy

3.  Coconut Oil Rub

If you are unfamiliar with coconut oil it is a solid fatty oil that has a low melting point (76 degrees) so it’s a great carrier oil for your essential oils that is less messy than using a liquid. Coconut oil itself is really good for your skin so when you use a rub like this you get the benefits of both coconut oil and your essential oils.

Because coconut oil is (usually, depending on how warm or cool your house is) a solid you need to soften it up a bit before you mix your essential oils in. If you are making a large batch then scoop out your coconut oil and whip it up for a couple of minutes with your stand or hand mixer. It’ll whip it into a nice soft consistency and you can easily mix in your essential oils. If you’re just doing a little bit then I find that using a fork to whip it up is just as effective and requires less tools ;).

Again, this varies so much depending on your preferences and how strong you want your rub, but the general ratio I use is 30-40 drops of oil in ½ cup coconut oil. Store in a glass jar.

Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:

Luscious Face Cream: 10 drops each of lavender, frankincense, lemon, and geranium
Muscle Rub: 10 drops each PanAway, copaiba, peppermint, and frankincense
Chest Rub: 10 drops each RC, lemon, peppermint, and copaiba

Another recipe is one that I made for my post-baby belly here.diy-essential-oil-coconut-oil-rub-recipes-copy

4.  Oil Rollers

. To make these you’ll need some sort of roller bottles (you can use empty Young Living essential oil bottles and put a Young Living roller fitment on it or you can order roller bottles separately from somewhere like Amazon or Etsy) and a liquid carrier oil of your choice like olive, fractionated coconut (a form of coconut oil that won’t turn solid), grapeseed, sweet almond, etc.

Wellness Blend: 10 drops Thieves, 10 drops Melrose, 10 drops lemon, 5 drops frankincense, 5 drops oregano (roll on feet)
Sleep Blend: 10 drops each lavender, cedarwood, Stress Away (roll on feet)
Focus Blend: 10 drops each peppermint, lemon, frankincense, vetiver (roll on wrists and back of neck)
Seasonal Blend: 10 drops each lemon, lavender, and peppermint (roll behind ears and down side of neck)
Tummy Blend: 15 drops each DiGize and peppermint (roll on tummy)

(Put in a 10 or 15ml roller and top with carrier oil)

I have so many roller bottles all over the place! They’re just super convenient for using on my wiggly kids or taking on the go or so that I don’t have to get oils all over my hands.

(Pssst…if you’re not sure how to put the roller fitment on or off check out this post I did)essential-oil-roll-on-recipes-copy

5.  Oil Sprays

Another incredibly easy DIY to make are oily sprays. To make a spray you’ll need a spray bottle (you can get glass ones like these on Amazon, which I have used some, but I’ve also used some plastic ones from the travel section at Target and haven’t had an issue with the oils corroding the plastic), some water, and some sort of emulsifier.

What’s an emulsifier? Well as any of you oilers know, essential oils float on the top of water. If you’re making a spray bottle and the essential oils are floating on the top then when you spray you’re mostly just going to get plain water from the bottom. If you use an emulsifier like a pinch of Epsom salt, some vodka, or some witch hazel, then that helps the oils disperse evenly through the water. I typically use a pinch of Epsom salt.

Some recipes to try out:

Sleep Spray: 10 drops lavender (spritz on pillow before going to bed)
Outdoors Spray: 5 drops Purification, 5 drops peppermint (sprintz on exposed skin before going outside)
Portable Cleaning Spray: 20 drops Thieves (spray on restaurant tables, high chairs, hands, toys, etc. while on the go)

(amounts are for a 2 ounce bottle so adjust accordingly, add oils then top with water and your emulsifier of choice)essential-oil-spray-recipes-copy

6.  All purpose cleaner

Here’s an easy all purpose cleaner you can whip up in seconds:

– 1 cup water
– 1 cup vinegar
– 20 drops of Thieves or lemon, depending on what your smell preference is
– store in a spray bottle

DIY cleaners were the WHOLE reason I began looking into essential oils in the first place so I was very thankful for easy homemade cleaner recipes like these. However I’ll be honest…almost all homemade cleaner recipes call for vinegar and even though the essential oil helps mask the vinegar smell your house will still probably smell a little bit  like pickles.

Here’s a tip…get some of Young Living’s Thieves cleaner!  It smells wayyyyyy better than cleaning with vinegar and it’s incredibly cost effective, even for those people who want to DIY to save money. It’s so concentrated that a little bit lasts a LONG time.diy-all-purpose-cleaner-with-essential-oils-copy

7.  Hand Soap

DIY hand soap is so easy and helps you avoid the nasty chemicals that most store bought soaps contain.

– 3 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s castile soap (you can find this at Kroger, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, health food stores, Amazon, etc.) – I prefer the Baby Mild since it is unscented so you can add any scent of EO
– ½ tsp vegetable glycerin  (if you have hard water, this helps it to suds up better)
– 5 drops of your essential oil of choice
– 8 oz  foaming hand soap bottle (I get mine from Amazon)

I usually do Thieves but you could do lavender, lemon, Citrus Fresh, Christmas Spirit, peppermint, etc.diy-foaming-hand-soap-with-essential-oils-copy

8. Deodorizers and fresheners

In addition to being great for helping to eliminate toxins (which is why we put it in our bath salts), baking soda is also a gentle abrasive and eliminates odors – all kinds of good uses!

Fabric deodorizer: Mix 2 cups of baking soda with 20 drops lavender, sprinkle on carpets, furniture, mattresses, etc. Let sit then vacuum up.
Diaper Pail Stink-Be-Gone: Mix 2 cups of baking soda with 20 drops Purification, sprinkle in bottom of diaper pail

(Tip: the lid from a parmesan cheese container screws nicely on a mason jar and is perfect for sprinkling the baking soda mixture)

9.  Cleaning paste

Cleaning paste: Mix ½ cup baking soda with 5 drops lemon or Thieves, then add water until it is a paste consistency.

Alternatively you can use Thieves cleaner for your cleaning paste. Check out my results when I used this to clean my stainless steel appliances!

We just touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to DIY projects! Depending on how crafty you are or how much DIYing you want to do there are a ton of ideas out there. Toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, dryer sheets, nasal spray, cough drops, are just a few of the things you can make. Here are some of the other recipes I’ve made like deodorant, mints, and diffuser necklaces.  You can also check out my Pinterest board for more ideas that I’ve collected!

Don’t have any oils yet?  Get started here!9-easy-diy-essential-oil-recipes-copy

Are you an essential oil DIYer?  What’s your favorite recipe?

(Some links may be affiliate links)

apple cinnamon oatmeal

apple-cinnamon-oatmeal-a-delicious-trim-healthy-mama-e-breakfastI tend to gravitate toward yummy S smoothies for my breakfast most days but I try to incorporate some E meals in there too and especially with the weather getting cooler I like a warm bowl of oatmeal.  A fellow THM friend of mine shared her oatmeal recipe with me and now I want to share it with you!

(If you have no clue what on earth what the letters S, E, and THM mean…I have been following the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) diet plan for several months now and those are principles from the plan.  Someday I’ll blog more thoroughly about it but for now I’ll just say it’s a wonderful plan!)

It’s quick and easy and very yummy!

Recipe:

  • – 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • – 1 cup almond milk
  • – 1/4 apple, chopped
  • – 1 tsp vanilla
  • – 3 tsp Pyure (adjust for your sweetner and/or preference)
  • – 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • – pinch of mineral salt

Mix all ingredients except apples into a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.  Stir it up and add in apples.  Let cool so you don’t scorch your tongue and then enjoy!

If you are super rushed in the morning you can make this ahead of time and then reheat it in the morning.  It tastes great the next day too!  Or you could mix all your dry ingredients together in a baggie and just add the milk to make it fresh.

Are you an oatmeal fan?  What’s your favorite oatmeal combination?

Usborne Books & More review and giveaway!

We are serious bookaholics around here.  I guess my kiddos come by it honestly because Michael and I both love to read and I was an elementary librarian for crying out loud.   I mean, I went into labor with Hudson in my library.  It’s kinda in their blood.

Anywho, we LOVE books.  Hudson would have us read to him all.day.long if we could/would.  It’s his favorite.  So when my friend Laura, who is an Usborne Books & More consultant, asked if I’d like to review some books on my blog and do a giveaway I was like SIGN ME UP!  Right!?

She sent me these books that she’d picked out for us and I am in love with them.  They are so interactive and fun!img_2205That’s Not My Monster is part of a That’s not my …. series – all the books have the wrong whatever (monster, train, etc.) on each page up until the end.  But the really cool thing is that they’re very tactile with hairy eyebrows, fuzzy spikes, etc.  Perfect for little ones!
img_2208 The Fingertrail books that Usborne carries are unique – each page has these little “trails” that dip down into the books so you can both see them and feel them.  Very good for developing those fine motor skills as they follow along the line with their fingers!img_2213 img_2216 There was also a book called Bug in a Rug that I didn’t get a good picture of.  It was a little bit of a higher level and will be a good first reader once Hudson gets to that stage.  For right now he just enjoys listening to me read it and helping me “read” as he memorizes the words.

These came at the perfect time too!  I brought them with me when we went to Parker’s well baby visit and they kept Hudson occupied for quite a long time (which was good because we had a long wait!).img_7576

One of YOU lucky ducks will get to win your choice of one of the That’s Not My … books as well!

To enter to win:

  • – Comment below telling me what topics your child(ren) (niece/nephew/grandchild/friend/etc.) are interested in right now
  • – Make sure you use an active email address when you submit your comment because…
  • – I will send you an invite to Laura’s Usborne Christmas Facebook event via the email address you used when you submitted your comment so make sure you check your email
  • – Click through and join the event

This giveaway ends tomorrow night during the Facebook event.  May the odds be EVAH in your FAVAH!

(P.S. This is the first time Laura or I have tried inviting to Facebook event via email so if you have any issues comment below or email me at caitlin@mychocolatemoments.com and we’ll get them worked out.)

my Young Living skin care routine

my-young-living-skin-care-routine-what-products-i-love-and-useI’m 29 and until about a year ago I used pretty much the same skin care routine that I’d followed since I was, I don’t know, 12?  Just some drugstore facewash and some drugstore lotion and occasionally if I got a sample or a gift of something else I’d try that too.  Thankfully I’ve never had awful skin so I didn’t feel a need to try a bunch of other things but once I became serious about my Young Living business I figured I should give my own company’s skin care line a try and see what I thought.  In the last year or so I’ve completely switched my routine (as well as most of my other personal care products…but that’s a post for another time) to Young Living’s line of skin care.  I expected it to work just as well as what I’d been using for years and that my skin would look fine.

What I didn’t expect was for it to actually improve my skin!  In fact, since I’ve started using the Young Living products I’ve had multiple people comment on how great my skin looks and here I am, pushing 30, with better skin than I ever had in my teens and early 20s!  I go without makeup way more than I ever used to…partially because I’m a stay at home mom now and have gotten lazy but also partially because I feel so much more confident in my skin!  And when I do use makeup it’s very light since I don’t have as much that I need to cover up.

Young Living has quite a few creams and serums and other things for your skin full of oily goodness but I am a skin care minimalist so while I have used most of the products off and on there are only a few that I use consistently.  Here is what my usual routine looks like:

young-living-orange-blossom-and-art-face-washOrange Blossom Facial Wash –

The Orange Blossom facewash is my favorite and it lasts FOR-ever.  I actually turn mine into a foaming face wash by mixing a small amount of face wash with water and putting it in foaming soap bottle.  I use this every night to wash my face.  I have the ART foaming face wash as well and I use it too but the orange blossom is my favorite and once I use up the ART that I have I’ll use the Orange Blossom only.

young-living-mint-satin-face-scrubSatin Face Scrub (Mint) –

I have never been able to use a scrub of any kind before because every time I tried they would break my skin out horribly!  This is the first time I’ve ever consistently used a scrub on my face and it is incredible!  First of all it smells so amazing that I could literally eat it right out of the bottle.  But more importantly is how smooth it makes my skin.  A while ago I ran out and while I was waiting to get some more my skin was noticeably more rough and uneven than it is when I’m using the scrub.  I use this every other night after I wash my face.young-living-art-tonerART Refreshing Toner –

I love this cooling, refreshing toner after I wash my face.  Sometimes I put some in a spray bottle and spritz it on my face and other times I put it on a cotton ball and swipe it on my face.  The spray bottle method makes it last much longer but the cotton ball method feels more thorough to me so I switch off and on.  I use this every night after I wash my face.

young-living-art-light-moisturizer-and-sandalwood-moisture-creamART Light Moisturizer and Sandalwood Moisture Cream –

Young Living has a bunch of different lotions and moisturizers to choose from.  I’ve used several of them and liked them all.  My current routine is the Sandalwood Moisture Cream at night after I wash, exfoliate, and use toner; then in the morning I use the ART Light moisturizer. The Sandalwood Cream is very thick so I only use a tiny bit.  It does make my skin feel a bit greasy so I use it at night and then rinse it off in the morning.  The ART Light moisturizer is very light (as the name suggests) and is perfect in the morning whether I am putting on makeup or not.  If cost is a factor the Genesis Hand and Body Lotion is actually a really great face moisturizer for day or night too.

My Routine –

Like I said, I like to keep it simple.  At night I wash my face with the Orange Blossom face wash, exfoliate with the Satin face scrub (every other night or sometimes only every third night), use the ART Toner, and then finish with Sandalwood Moisture cream.  In the morning I don’t wash my face at all – since I washed it before bed I don’t really feel like it has gotten dirty or anything.  I just rinse my face off with water (which helps get the slightly greasy feeling from the Sandalwood Moisture Cream off) and then apply a little bit of the ART Light moisturizer.  Easy, only a few steps, and very effective!

Other products –

Other skin care products Young Living offers include eye cream, wrinkle cream, various serums and masques, and essential oils that are great for the skin such as frankincense, sandalwood, jasmine and myrrh.

Want all or some of these products for yourself?  Here’s how to order!

Have you tried any of Young Living’s skin care products?  Which one is your favorite?

DIY s’mores costume – $25 and 3 hours

diy-smore-family-halloween-costumeI know Halloween is lonnnnnnnng gone by now and most people have totally shifted to Christmas (and skipped over poor Thanksgiving) so this post isn’t really relevant but maybe you can pin it and and save it for next October :).  Some years, like last year when we were mad scientists, I have an idea a long time in advance (though I might not actually execute it until the day of…) however this year I had no idea what we were going to be for Halloween.  I was scouring Pinterest the day before our church’s Trunk or Treat trying to decide what to dress up as.  I finally decided we would be a s’more so the morning of Trunk or Treat I ran to Hobby Lobby, picked up all the supplies I needed, and put it together during nap time.

All the supplies I purchased cost me $25 and in total I spent a little less than three hours making the costumes. I’d like to say that’s because I’m an amazing magical crafty goddess but really it just means this is a super easy costume that anyone could whip together in a short amount of time.

I stink at remembering to take pictures WHILE I’m actually making a craft so there are no visuals, you’ll just have to use your imagination.

What you need:

  • – 4-6 pieces of foam board (this depends on how big you need your chocolate bar to be.  I was able to get by making the chocolate bar using the leftover from the graham crackers so we only needed four; if an adult or older child is going to be the chocolate bar you would probably need five or six)
  • – a roll of brown kraft paper
  • – 1 or 2 large pieces of dark brown paper (I found some that was perfect in the foam board section of Hobby Lobby, it was thinner than posterboard but the same size; I only needed one piece for Hudson’s chocolate bars but if you’re making them bigger you would need two)
  • – ribbon or twine for the shoulders
  • – silver paint pen or silver paper (depending on if you want to write the Hershey’s letters on or cut them out and glue them on)
  • – white fabric (I found some fleece in the remnants section)
  • – white ribbon
  • – batting or something else to stuff inside the marshmallow (you could even just use a blanket or something)
  • – sharpie, glue gun, scissors

To make the graham crackers:

Cut the foam board into a square.  Wrap the brown kraft paper around the foam board (I basically just wrapped it as if it were a large present) and glue or tape to the back.  Use a sharpie to draw the lines and dots that make it look like a graham cracker (make the lines thick and the dots large – mine looked fine close up but from a distance it wasn’t very noticeable.

Repeat that four times so that you have two crackers per person.  Then attach two crackers together with two strips of ribbon that you can slip over your head and wear your graham crackers like a sandwich board.

To make the chocolate bar:

Cut the foam board into two appropriate sized rectangles.  If you are making one for someone very small like I was, the rectangle pieces left from cutting the graham crackers will be plenty. If you are making one for an adult then a whole length of foam board may be needed.  Wrap with dark brown paper and attach with ribbons to go over the shoulders.

If you don’t have a Cricut or Silhouette you can hand letter the word Hershey’s, thankfully I have a Silhouette so I downloaded the Hurshey’s font from Da Font, used my Silhouette to cut it out of cardstock, and used that as a stencil to fill in the letters with paint pen.  Alternatively you could also use your Silhouette to cut the letters out of silver paper and glue them on.

To make the marshmallow:

I can’t really tell you sizes since I was making this for an 8 month old and you could very well be making one for a 15 year old, so you’ll have to do some measuring to decide how wide you want it to be and how long it needs to be to go around the person.  But the execution is easy – fold your fabric into a rectangle and sew the long side up.  Flip it inside out so that you have a tube and stuff the batting (or blanket or whatever else you use to stuff the marshmallow) inside.  Cut four pieces of ribbon and sew in to the openings on each end (I did one on the top and one on the bottom of each end) so that you can tie the marshmallow “tube” around the person’s middle.  Sew the ends shut (I hand sewed it really quickly so I could turn the ends under, you could machine stitch it too, either way it doesn’t have to be fancy).

And there you go!  A super easy, super quick, and super cute Halloween costume!

8 reasons why you might want to do a staycation instead of vacation…and 2 reasons why you might not

ever-thought-about-taking-a-staycation-here-are-some-reasons-why-you-might-want-too-and-some-reasons-why-you-might-notThis year we decided that instead of taking a vacation somewhere we were going to do a staycation at home.  Michael had mentioned doing a staycation before and I was kind of meh about the whole thing but after another friend shared their experience it started to sound more appealing so we decided to give it a try!

Based on our experience here are 8 reasons you might want to consider a staycation for yourself:

  1.  You get to sleep in your own bed.  When I was younger I didn’t really care but the older I get the pickier I am about my bed!  I just never sleep as well away from home as I do at home and hotel sheets gross me out.  And even more importantly than my own comfort is the fact that my kiddos got to sleep in their own bed (which is, coincidentally, our bed…but that’s beside the point).
  2. No packing.  If you’re an overpacker like me then packing to go anywhere is an ordeal, but especially on vacation for a week!  And when you add kids into the mix you might as well rent a uhaul for all their stuff.  With a staycation you don’t have to pack anything and you don’t have to worry about forgetting things since you’re at home with all your usual stuff.
  3. You save money.  No hotel costs, no plane tickets, significantly less gas usage…that saves you a bundle and make staycationing a wonderful option for people on a tight budget.
  4. It’s easier to eat healthy.  Maybe not everyone’s top priority but it’s important to me.  I’ve packed food with me on trips before so that I could save money and/or eat semi-healthily and it’s quite a hassle!  Doing a staycation meant I had access to my own kitchen and ingredients and food so that helped so much!  We ate breakfast at home most days, I packed snacks to take with us while we were out, and I had yummy but healthy late night snacks.  Of course we still ate out most of the time (it was vacation after all!) and I indulged some but this helped it not be a total free for all.
  5. Less travel.  If you’ve read my blog for a hot minute you know my kids HATE the car.  Well, Hudson is better now but for two years he hated it and now Parker is following in his footsteps.  Listening to Parker scream for hours and hours on end as we drive to a vacation spot is in no way, shape, or form my idea of a good time.
  6. You can stay somewhat on a routine.  This isn’t so important unless you have little kids…which I do so it was important to me!  They definitely weren’t totally on their normal routine but being at home at least for bed time and in the morning helped a lot.
  7. Your vacation can be longer.  With a typical vacation you are limited by the number of nights at a hotel you can afford and you usually have a couple of travel days that eat up vacation time, with a staycation you don’t have to worry about those things.
  8. Less stress overall.  Vacations, while fun, are a lot of work.  Staycations are (in my experience) much more relaxed and less stressful.

…and 2 reasons you might not

  1. If you need to actually go somewhere to feel like a vacation.  Sure you’re off work and you’re doing things outside of your norm but you don’t have the packing, loading, driving, staying somewhere different, arriving home from being gone, etc. that is typically a big part of vacation and for some people being away from home is important.
  2. If you have a hard time not doing things around the house.  You’ll be at home and might have the tendency to fold laundry and clean the kitchen and work in the yard and do whatever other things you typically do during the week that you wouldn’t do if you were on vacation.

I had some misgivings about staycationing at first.  For Michael getting to stay home from work was a vacation in and of itself, but for me as a stay at home mom staying home is…well…just another day in my life.  Also, I was concerned that I would get pulled into the “Let me just fold this one load of laundry” “I’ll just clean the kitchen real quick” “Oh sure you can come by the house, we’re home anyway” mindset since we were at home.

Thankfully we went out and did plenty of things and ate at all kinds of cool new restaurants so I didn’t feel like it was just another day in my usual routine.  And we made a conscious effort to be lazy, relax, watch tv, hang out, etc. instead of doing work around the house.

All in all it was a blast!  I still think vacations are great and I enjoy going new places so we won’t staycation every year but for right now, at the stage of life that we’re in, it was absolutely perfect!

Would you ever consider a staycation?  Or do you need to go somewhere away from home for it to feel like a vacation?

DIY playdough with essential oils

diy-essential-oil-play-dough-with-young-living-essential-oils

Recently I hosted a Mommy and Me essential oils make and take event and one of the things we made was oily play dough.  It was SO fun, super easy, and a huge hit!  This would be a great craft for a playdate, homeschool project, or activity with your kids.  You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry anyway!

Play dough with a side of relaxation, calming, and immune support?  Yes, please!

Recipe:

  • – 2 cups flour
    – 1/2 cup salt
    – 2 tbsp cream of tarter
    – 1.5 cups boiling water
    – 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    – 4 drops each of 4 different essential oils
    – food coloring

Mix the flour, salt, cream of tarter, water, and vegetable oil together in a large bowl.  Adjust the water or flour as needed if your dough is too wet or too dry (it was a rainy day and mine came out too wet so I had to add some extra flour).  Divide the dough into four sections (or more or less if you prefer) and add 4 or so drops of essential oil to each one (you may want more or less oil depending on how strong you want it to smell).  Then add a little bit of food coloring to each section and knead it in until it is thoroughly combined (You can see in the picture below that ours started out kind of marbled.  The more we played with it the more mixed in it got and you can see in the picture at the end that it looked more like store-bought playdough.)

We chose to use Stress Away, Citrus Fresh, lavender, and Thieves for our four essential oils.  There are so many other good options too – Peace & Calming, Valor, Joy, Grounding, orange, lime, peppermint…pretty much whatever smells good to you!  (I use Young Living essential oils so many of the blend names are specific to that brand).  I intended to make the dough the same color as the label but my green and red were dried up so instead we went with blue for Stress Away and pink for Thieves – close enough!

(Not an essential oil user yet?  Check out my post here about how to get them.)

fullsizerender-1img_5905The food coloring part can be pretty messy so be aware if you are doing this with young children!  Most of it washed off easily though.img_5906
Then play, play, play!  The dough feels very similar to traditional play dough.  It’s a little more crumbly but still totally great to play with and definitely smells better!fullsizerender-2You can see here in this picture that the more you play with it the better the colors get mixed in.diy-essential-oil-play-doughWhich essential oil would you pick to put in your play dough?  

my weekly cleaning schedule

Back before I had kids I would do all of my cleaning in one day.  During the school year when I was working my cleaning day would be Saturday (or Friday evening or Sunday afternoon if I was busy on Saturday).  I loved that – I would clean for several hours, run a bunch of loads of laundry, and get it all knocked out at once.  And for at least a small amount of time everything in my house would be clean all at once.  Very satisfying.

Then I had children.

I really struggled after Hudson was born finding my groove in the housekeeping area.  There was no way I could find a big chunk of time like that but I hated the thought that everything would never be clean at once anymore (ummmm…I shouldn’t have had kids if I expected that, huh?).

So it took me a while and I had to try a few things but I finally found what works (at the moment, life is always shifting and changing as the kids grow) for me.

What I decided to do was to assign one task per day that I could get done in 30 minutes or less.  I considered doing one room per day but then quickly realized that it would be a bit of a hassle to get the broom out every day and the vacuum out several days and the cleaning rags out every day, etc. and that it would be much easier to do one task each day, i.e. cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the floors, etc.

So here’s my schedule.  I am not super strict about it, in fact I love how flexible it is.  If I’m going to be super busy one day then I double up on tasks another day.  Or if I have an event at the house early in the week I go ahead and get everything done the first couple of days.  If life gets crazy and I just don’t get something done that week…no big deal, I’ll get it the next week.my-weekly-cleaning-schedule

Monday: Kitchen

I have to wash dishes, wipe down the counters, and sweep more than just once a week but I found that after the weekend with us running here and there and Michael being home all day things pile up and the kitchen gets extra messy so first thing on Monday I work on getting it tidied back up.  I do the dishes, clean all the counters and surfaces, wipe down the stainless appliances, and declutter.

Tuesday: Floors

Up until a month ago this was my most time consuming day.  I would move the chairs, baskets and bins, smaller toys, etc. and sweep, then Swiffer, and then mop all of our hardwood floors.  Recently though we bought a Roomba that has been amazing (I’ll save that for another post) and so now I only have to mop after it’s done doing its thing.

Wednesday: Dust

Just a quick dusting of exposed surfaces.  I move a few things to dust under/behind them but I don’t do a super thorough job each time.

Thursday: Bathrooms

Clean counters, sinks, mirrors, and toilets.  I should do the shower weekly too but I don’t.

Friday: off/grocery/catch up

I don’t have a cleaning task for Friday.  Going to get the groceries is my main “thing” for Friday so I don’t schedule a specific thing to clean but if I’ve gotten behind or skipped a day then I use Friday to catch up.

In addition to my weekly tasks we also (usually) pick up all the toys at the end of the day every day.  It seems silly since the boys are going to drag everything back out the next day but it really does make a big differenc.

You will notice that this is pretty bare bones.  It’s definitely not a good, thorough cleaning but it’s enough of a surface cleaning that it keeps my house presentable and livable and able to have people over without freaking out.  My blinds are dusty, my baseboards are dusty, and there are fingerprints on the glass doors so it’s certainly not perfect.  I have a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old so I’m not going for perfect!  Also this is just the downstairs.  We don’t really use our upstairs that much other than to bathe the boys and spray out cloth diapers, so I do clean the upstairs bathroom pretty regularly but we don’t so much dust or vacuum up there every week.  Once the kids are actually using their rooms I’ll add that in to the schedule.

I’d love to eventually have a monthly schedule of tasks that I do one week out of the month or specific things that I focus on each month, but so far I haven’t gotten organized enough to do that so I just clean the other things as needed or when I get the urge or whatever.

Something like this – I actually really love this one because you deep clean each area twice a year, I just haven’t gotten around to implementing this routine myself.  Maybe this will inspire me to print this off and get started!  (graphic source)

deep-cleaning-schedule-2016And one quick note: I do not have outside help cleaning.  Not that there is anything wrong with having someone else clean your house, don’t misunderstand me.  If you have a cleaning person that is great.  I’m only mentioning this because on occasion I’ve been reading a blog where someone shares their routine and their house is amazing and then you find out they have someone who comes each week and also cleans…well of course their house is going to be super clean!  Their daily spot cleaning is in addition to someone else doing a lot of the cleaning too.  So I only made this note so that you know that this is what I myself get done each week – it’s not much but it works for me.

Do you have a set cleaning schedule?  If so, what is it?