A List Maker's Life: 2015

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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Friday, April 17, 2015

Essential Oils: Easy Peppermint Fudge

Anne Hope and I have been prepping to teach a Girl Scout troop a bit about the benefits of essential oils.  We have put together several fun activities, a short slide show, and 2 great make & takes for the girls to mix.  It seemed the only thing missing was a yummy snack.  With a quick modification to a quick and easy fudge recipe, we have a delicious oily treat to share.

The directions really are simple:
1. Melt a full bag of chocolate chips. 
2. Stir in a jar of frosting. 
3. Add essential oils for flavoring.
4. Pour into 8x8 pan
5. Let set & cut to serve

I did use chocolate frosting this time, but when I make it again I will use vanilla instead for a creamier taste and a little lighter color.  I think it would also be delicious to try this recipe with white chocolate chips and orange essential oil.

We are going to serve our Chocolate Peppermint Fudge with a citrus flavored ice water.  Hopefully the tastes don't clash too much and give the girls a good idea about some of the ways essential oils could be used in our food too.

While I was feeling brave about mixing essential oils into our food, I also added a couple drops of lemon oil to our favorite hummus recipe.  Yum!  What have you cooked/baked with essential oils?
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lego Minifigure Storage Solution

Last week I posted this picture of an almost complete project with the hashtag #boyproblems.  My friends with children between the ages of 8-11 immediately recognized which mess we were hoping to organize with this creation. 
Gavin has been carefully collecting all of his Lego minifigures in rows along the ledges in his bedroom to keep them from losing little hands, swords, and hats in the big box of Legos. It worked to keep them from getting lost, but made it very difficult when it was time to dust his shelves. 
To prep for this project we counted out the favorite figures he wanted to display and dug through the Legos for enough 2x2 squares for each of those.  There were a few bigger characters that required 2x4 Legos.  We picked out a few extra 2x2's as well since his collection continues to grow. 
Then we headed to our favorite Hotel Furniture Outlet.  They warehouse and sell furniture and accessories that have been taken our of hotels when they are remodeled.  It takes some careful examining and searching through the stacks but we have repurposed many of these items for projects around our home.  In this case we bought a large framed painting and the deal of the week was Buy 1 Artwork, Get 1 Free
We cut through the backing on the frame and popped out the art work. We wrapped the existing piece in a slab of butcher paper and secured it back in the frame. It took a little bit of dry erase marking to be sure we had the blocks measured out in even rows, but we arranged the pieces then wiped the marker off once everything was glued in place.  The 2x2 lego bricks are directly on the glass.  The mini-figures easily snap on and off  their platforms for easy play or storage.
Gavin was excited to arrange his favorite minifigures and hang them on the frame.  Seeing how it came together inspired Anne Hope to organize all of her favorite Lego Friends ladies and their little accessories.  She chose to paint her frame, mixed a color she liked, and even ironed a piece of fabric she found in the scrap box to use instead of butcher paper.  We didn't have enough pink 2x2 bricks to finish her board right away, so we are waiting for our $4 ebay order.  As soon as they arrive we will glue this baby together and hang it in her room as well.
I love it when the kids' creativity and my need for organization collide to make a fun and functional project!
How do you store your Legos? 
 Do you kids like to keep sets together or do they all end up mixed in one big pile?
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Friday, April 10, 2015

"Owie" Spray

Our family has been benefiting significantly from many different essential oil blends in rollers, lotions, and sprays. With the kids playing outside more often again, riding their bikes, and practicing baseball we have plenty of opportunities for cuts, scrapes, and road rash.  This all purpose "owie" spray is our new solution for quick relief and healing. 

I am looking forward to sharing other blends as we try them. 

Are you using essential oils?
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Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Break Sensory Bubbles

This simple, soapy sensory activity was fun for all ages.  A dab of dish washing liquid and a little water met the Kitchen Aid and grew, grew, GREW!  We filled our mixing bowl with three different colors and then scooped the foam into cake pans for some good, clean play. 
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter '15

Won't you take this cup from me
Cause fear has stolen all my sleep
If tomorrow means my death
Pray you'll save their souls with it
Let the songs I sing bring joy to you
Let the words I say confess my love
Let the notes I choose be your favorite tune
Father let my heart be after you
In this hour of doubt I see
Who I am is not just me
So give me strength to die myself
So love can live to tell the tale
Let the songs I sing bring joy to you
Let the words I say confess my love
Let the notes I choose be your favorite tune
Father let my heart be after you
~Needtobreathe, Garden
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happiness...Look for It

Morning Groove, after the kids load the bus, with a group of the sweetest ladies with the best moves.

#SheReadsTruth: well written studies, the app, my rotating lock screens.  Love.

Virtual dress shopping with mom on Mikarose and eShakti in anticipation of a summer wedding.

A four year old boy who finally lost his fight against an afternoon nap 7 minutes after my 2 hour conference call ended.

Researching natural recipes for health and beauty products using Young Living Essential Oils.  Fun stuff!  Leave me a comment or email if you want to hear more.

An inspirational and encouraging Beachbody coach who has motivated me to be consistent for the past 60 days...even if I still think protein shakes taste like dirt.

My songs of the day (so, far they are my faves of '15).  You know, the ones you set on repeat instead of shuffle. Repeat mode brought to you today by All Sons and Daughters, Called Me Higher & Taylor Swift, Out of the Woods.

Scheduling a creative outlet birthday outing for myself.  Want to meet me there?

Thick cream wool in an arm knit infinity scarf to keep me cozy when the temps are below zero.

Blue Man Days at our kids' school. Their music teacher is an even bigger fan than Gabe is ;) and she has quite a week of highlighters and black lights planned for them!

What is bringing you a warm smile on this chilly January day?
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P.S. None of these links are sponsored, that is just so 2012. HA! 
No seriously, they are all just for fun.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

#oneword 2015 : Listen

to hear one another

to hear your parents

to hear your body when you've eaten enough, when you've given your all, and when you need to rest

to hear without bias

to hear God break your heart for what breaks His and to recognize the next steps He wants you to take

to hear constructive feedback and make positive changes

to hear with your heart because there is often more to what a person is saying than just the words they share

to hear music encourage and inspire

 Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.  James 1:9

In 2014 we focused on JOY.
Do you choose a word for the year? 
What is your word for 2015?

With open doors, an open mind, and open ears,
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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Predictions for 2015

Perhaps the result of long standing college traditions and rivalries, or maybe it really is the calendar, heading in to odd years my #1 prediction is always "Brace Yourself!" In my mind the odd ones always seem to require more peace.  Anyway, our predictions for the year aren't overly clever or diverse. We watch very little tv and try to avoid news we aren't very in tune with the whos and whats up and coming, so they are primarily family focused this year. Still worth recording if only to give us something to look back on at the end of this year!

I will not get yelled at by my teachers at my school
Maybe I will eat goldfish at school for snack

We will play with the new toys we got from Christmas
We will build lots of Lego projects
I will make more new friends at school
I don't think I will play soccer again, but maybe I baseball

Anne Hope
We will get the movie Annie when it comes out on dvd
We will want to go to Florida again this year for Family Forward, but we might not be able to

After very low gas prices, in 2015 the prices will hit an all time high shocking everyone
The Tigers will win the division, be in the play offs, but not win the World Series
I think I will have to go to the dentist for something big this year. Braces??
How to Train Your Dragon book 12 will come out this year.

Taking classes to renew my teaching certificate will kick start my dreams for what I really want to be when I grow up
More natural remedies and less doctor visits (one can hope...)

The possibilities are endless.  What do you think will happen in '15?


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