A List Maker's Life

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Predictions Reviewed

On New Year's Eve we like to review the hopes, wishes, dreams, wonders, and predictions from the year. Here were the predictions the kids shared for 2015.  It is always interesting to see how they turned out and even more fun to hear what they think is to come for the new year!  For today, here is the cliff notes version of our year in predictions reviewed.

Gabe I will not get yelled at by my teachers at my school

Gabe does a whole lot of yelling about going to school every morning, but he puts on all his best manners during the day at school.  He has done a wonderful job transitioning to the unexpected as he joined his siblings in their elementary school this year for Young 5s, instead of heading back to his favorite nature preschool for one more year.  He is making friends, adapting to an all day schedule, learning so many things, and impressing his teachers with his sweet smiles & silly sarcasm.

 Maybe I will eat goldfish at school for snack

I am quite certain Gabe has consumed more than his fair share of goldfish during snack times at school so far this year!

We will play with the new toys we got from Christmas

Gibson loves to create, play, and imagine! His animal collection is still his all time favorite toy to pick up and play with on a lazy Saturday.

 We will build lots of Lego projects

Gibson loves Legos.  He has been lucky to receive several great Lego sets as gifts in the last year.  We have discovered, however, he likes to sit back and direct as we put together his Lego projects so he can play with them when they are finished.

 I will make more new friends at school

This dear 1st grader has so many friends at school this year.  It is such a joy to walk down the same hallways with him each day and be greeted by his friends with a "Hi! Gibson's mom!"  Gibson's friends have also been kind to take Gabe under their care as they introduce him to all things elementary school.

 I don't think I will play soccer again, but maybe baseball

We could not convince Gibson to give soccer a try again this year, even though his first season was a success. He enjoys watching Anne Hope's soccer and Gavin's baseball, but prefers to cheer from the bleachers next to his grandparents (and their ball game treats) than to be on the field. He did start taking piano lessons this fall and is catching on quickly. He loves to impress us with the songs he has memorized.

Anne Hope
We will get the movie Annie when it comes out on dvd

Of course! Annie and Inside Out were definitely favorite movies for our 9 year old this year!

 We will want to go to Florida again this year for Family Forward, but we might not be able to

Our family didn't travel to Florida this August after all, we were really missing our Family Forward friends! With our new school schedules and responsibilities Labor Day weekend just wasn't a possibility for traveling to our favorite theme park.

After very low gas prices, in 2015 the prices will hit an all time high shocking everyone

It has been interesting to see Gavin's interest in following the gas prices as they continue to fall.  He is always asking if the prices are as low now as they were when he was born, when we were born, etc.

The Tigers will win the division, be in the play offs, but not win the World Series

Honestly, I have no clue how the Tigers did this year.  I guess I feel like the guys talked more about being disappointed with game scores than celebration, so no division win?  Regardless, Gavin LOVES baseball.  He enjoys both playing the game and watching as many games as possible.  Going in to his own baseball season he was pretty sure he didn't want to pitch again this year, however when his coach put him back on the mound he did a great job.

I think I will have to go to the dentist for something big this year. Braces??

As much as Gavin would love to have braces, he still has way too many baby teeth that need to pop out.  Being in middle school he is pretty sure some level of maturity is measured by the amount of metal in one's mouth.

 How to Train Your Dragon book 12 will come out this year.

Gavin plowed through this book as soon as it was released.  He is also enjoying many new series he has discovered in the last year.  He loves to read and takes a book with him everywhere he goes.  Love it!

Taking classes to renew my teaching certificate will kick start my dreams for what I really want to be when I grow up

One of our family's most unexpected surprises this year was the job offer to return to full time teaching in the same school our children attend.  When I resigned from teaching 10! years ago to be home with our babies, I was quite sure my return to education would be in some capacity outside of the classroom.  However, I am teaching Kindergarten this year and  REALLY enjoying it.  Kinder kids grow and learn so much, so quickly.  They are so full of JOY and expectation.  It really is the best way to spend the days. In addition, it is an amazing blessing to be able to see my own children throughout the day - to eat lunch with them, play with them at recess, and appreciate my fabulous 4th grader and her helpful friends volunteering in my room each afternoon.

More natural remedies and less doctor visits (one can hope...)

We are all loving our oily remedies around here.  Being back in the classroom has proven I need to build up my immunities to the sniffles and coughs again, but it is nothing a little thieves, oregano, and RC hasn't been able to help.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Santa's Workshop Exposed '15

Since all of our holiday gifts have been given, I was excited to share what we mixed up in our Christmas workshop this December.

Anne Hope and I put together several pedicure sets with Peppermint Foot Scrub and Stress Away Foot Soak. The small wooden scoops we  found on Amazon made these packages fun to wrap up together.  I found them to be kind of adorable.

We also mixed several rollers of  "calm" and cuticle oil to add to theme of a relaxing pedicure.

Kevin has been incredibly creative with pallets in our home in the last couple years.  He has built keepsake boxes, walls, ceilings, playhouse, and bookshelves with pallets.  There are also plenty of pallet scraps hanging around our garage, so Anne Hope and I painted up some special nativity sets.

Our family is pretty hooked on our essential oil goodies, so it was also enjoyable to mix up our favorite roller bottle recipes in a sampler box to give to others.
For a couple of the special guys in our lives I also mixed an essential oil shave gel, aftershave oil, and beard balm. With Idaho Spruce and Valor it smelled fantastic and hopefully the benefits will extend beyond just the comfort of a good shave.
We also cooked and packaged many, many batches of Thieves & Peppermint or Orange & Clove candy.  The Orange/Clove is delicious in a cup of hot tea or cider.  The Thieves is very soothing on a scratchy throat. 
Do you give any homemade Christmas gifts?  What were the projects in your workshop this holiday?

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishing You a Merry Christmas...

...and the thrill of Hope for the New Year!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Spiced Candy for Cider

Alternatively Titled: The post where I skip over 7 months of family happenings to share a yummy idea you may want to try.

On the hunt for more oily inspiration, I recently attended a make & take class hosted by a fabulous and creative friend. She had experimented with essential oil cough drops, as have I, but didn't love the texture of the final product or the taste of the honey.  She decided to try an alternative, adapting a family rock candy tradition into thieves candy. The outcome was delicious.  While fighting bronchitis and strep throat in the last several weeks we made several batches of the thieves candy to soothe our throats. The peppermint and thieves taste was a bonus! This is not an all natural, all healthy recipe by any means. Yet, it is so easy to make and works better for us than the other cough drop alternatives we have tried. 

Beside the fact I am out of Thieves and waiting on an auto ship, I wanted to try adjusting this recipe to make a stir in spice mix for our Christmas Eve cider. I have been loving a clove and orange blend in the diffuser this month, so that is what I chose for our holiday cider flavor. Cinnamon Bark would probably be another great addition to this recipe. 

Begin by measuring the following ingredients in a sauce pan:
3- 3/4 cups of organic cane sugar
1-1/4 cups light corn syrup
1 cup water

Bring ingredients to a boil, gradually, stirring continuously. Boil until the temperature reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Take off the burner to cool slightly.  Continue stirring to monitor how thick the candy is hardening.  When you can not cool any longer and still be able to stir through the mixture it is time to add your essential oils.  For the spice cider stir in I used 30 drops of orange, 10 drops of nutmeg, and 15 drops of clove.  Just s note: you might want to experiment with ratios to personal taste. I started with equal parts clove and orange (15 drops each) and 5 nutmeg.  It didn't taste strong enough to flavor anything even though they tasted good on their own.  When the oils are stirred in pour the mixture on to prepared 9x13 pans (two per batch).  I spread about 1/4 inch of powdered sugar over both of my trays before I started.

Let the candy cool and harden completely.  When it is hardened, pick the slab off the tray and gently tap it against a metal spoon to crack into small pieces.

Package the final product or store it in a container until you are ready to sneak a few to just enjoy as is, or to drop into your hot water, cider and tea for a delightful infused flavor.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sublime: A Simply, Citrus-y Mom's Day Surprise

My mom is subLIME!
ORANGE you glad we have each other?
I love your ZEST for our family. 

Last year Anne Hope and I hosted all of the neighbor girls to create a special gift they could surprise their mommas with on Mother's Day.  Their moms never suspected we were crafting, hot-gluing, and arranging flowers instead of our usual hide-and-seek or Disney Headbands games.

A few weeks ago the oldest neighbor friend asked if we had a new Mother's Day gift idea for this year. Just like that - a tradition was born! 

We brainstormed several ideas, took inventory of the craft supplies we had on hand, and picked up a few fresh linen towels at the store.

Supply List
~White Tea Towels
~Citrus Fruits Sliced in Halves
~Citrus Colored Fabric/Craft Paint

Looks like a slice of sweet, summer sunshine to me!

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Essential Oils: Flavored Lip Balm

Lately, when Anne Hope has friends over instead of asking for a craft project she requests an oil recipe.  During our last playdate we were excited to give this raspberry lemonade lip balm a try!  Gather beeswax, coconut oil, frozen raspberries, and the citrus essential oil of your choice.  Our sweet ladies chose citrus fresh when they couldn't decide between orange and lemon.  We also prepped three 4 oz. glass jars with label stickers.   

The lip balm mixed up quickly and tasted delish on the lips.  The color wasn't quite as pink as the girls were hoping for, so perhaps we could have added a few more berries.  This would be a fun last minute pamper mom gift to put together before the weekend and needs only a starter kit oil!

Essential oils have changed the way our family cleans, cures, cooks, and copes with day to day stress...and the way we craft :)!

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mini Mural Studio

Have you ever been to a "wine and canvas" event?  There is great studio in our area that serves snacks and drinks while giving the step-by-step directions for paintings.  The patient instruction, and wait time for painting, makes every participant feel like a professional artist by the time they finish.

Last year for her birthday Anne Hope had a special date with Gram to Brush Studio where she painted a whimsical flower print for her room.  She loved the experience and was very mature about following along.

On her list for Spring Break activities Hope wanted a repeat visit to the studio.  However, it wasn't a great fit for the boys or our time.  With a little creative thinking between mom and dad we were able to make her painting dream come true, with a friend, in our home.

Using some cut pallet pieces, shelves from an old cabinet in the garage, and chalk board paint Kevin created easels for the experience.  Anne Hope brainstormed a painting she would like to make.  I made a model of the painting to teach the step-by-step instructions.  The girls followed along enthusiastically mixing, blending, sponging, and brushing.

They were both pretty excited about their final pieces.

We are excited to have the easels, brushes, and plenty of paints to repeat on a rainy summer day.  In fact, I might ask Kevin to build three more easels so the boys can join us next time!

What favorite experiences or events have you tried to re-create at home with your family?

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