I believe in using natural ingredients in my daily life and that is why I strive to use essential oils whenever possible. However, I don't have a lot of different kinds of oils (Of course this is because I like to keep things as simple as possible!). So I have a basic go-to assortment of what I call my Five 'Must-Have' Essential Oils because they cover just about everything I need to use them for on a daily basis. So whether you use essential oils already, are new to them, or if you're considering getting started, then these are the five oils I personally recommend you have!
Feel free to download and print this FREE instruction card about the Five "Must-Have" Essential Oils and their uses!
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This post is dedicated to two special people: my daughter since I am making it for her wedding day and my friend Patty who recently said "I want to make one for my kids room." I will be posting another giant dreamcatcher soon, however the difference is that the center is crocheted a little different and there are no feathers so the bottom part is much simpler to make!
Make the hoop and wrap it with yarn.
Crochet the center:
HINT: always do an even number of loops.
Add the fringe and feathers:
Supplies (some are affiliate links):
P.S. Sorry if some of the pictures are a little blurry - it is kinda hard to be working and snapping pictures at the same time!
I made a second dream catcher for my daughter as well - that post will be coming soon!
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My daughter did not want to spend any of her time opening presents during her recent bridal shower. Instead she wanted all gifts to be unwrapped so they could be set up on tables and viewed by everyone. This created a slight problem because bridal shower games were basically created so that guests are not too bored during the "present opening." I loved the idea of my daughter not opening the presents because I personally find that part of showers excruciating, but I still wanted there to be some fun games to play. Actually I needed guests to play some games because I intended to do a small auction during the party (I got that brilliant and fun idea from my sisters recent bridal shower and I loved it!).
The auction I made had about 20 gifts to give away so we gave everyone about 20 tickets as soon as they arrived. We did this simply by putting the 20 tickets in the mason jar mugs everyone would get to drink from but you could easily just hand them out which is what they did at my sisters shower. This was not enough tickets though and that is why games were necessary! Winners could earn more tickets! More tickets = more chances to win a prize gift.
NOTE: nobody would go home empty handed even if they did not win one of the auction prizes because guests could keep their mason jar mug and they also received a mini dream catcher favor - See how the mini dream catcher favors are made here!)
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So basically since we needed to give out more tickets I came up with these two simple fun games (Thank you to Pinterest for the general ideas!).
The first game is a matching game of famous 'love quotes' from movies. There is a free MS Word document download below. We had a mix of ages at my daughters shower so the movies I used spread over a long period of time. Feel free to change them as you see fit and enjoy!
The second game is a multiple choice 'test' about the bride and grooms lives. again, there isI have a free download for you below (MS Word document) where you can cut and paste in your own questions and answers. Don't forget to put the brides name and the date of the shower at the top too!
Both games were given out during lunch time for the guests to collaboratively work on. Toward the end of the lunch I gave out the answers and guests graded their own answers. They were rewarded an extra ticket for every correct answer! It's all in fun so nobody checked for honesty or not, because well, who really cares?
During desert the bride pulled a ticket for each prize gift and they were distributed to the winners to take home! So simple!
Everyone had great things to say about the games and the way the shower was run. The bride to be had quality time to be with all the guests during the shower and I have had many people share with me how wonderful and relaxed everything was. In my eyes that spells S.U.C.C.E.S.S.!! But most importantly, my daughter was truly happy and enjoyed herself immensely. What more could a mother ask for?
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Just the other night someone asked me if I was planning to stay up and watch the solar eclipse that's going to occur on August 21, 2017. I didn't even have an answer. I just stared at them with open eyes and mouth....thinking.....stay up???? The science teacher in me nearly had a heart attack. Clearly this person had no idea what a solar eclipse is. If they did they would have realized that the Sun has to be in the sky so that the moon can move in front of it. This can only happen during the day. So unless they think I sleep all day, there's no reason for anyone to 'stay up' and watch it. In fact, it's going to be almost impossible NOT to watch it! And that brings me to safety.
The eclipse is going to occur on August 21, 2017, during the day, across the USA.
The Sun rises in the Western US first so this is where the first eclipse will be able to be viewed. The first total eclipse will be viewed in Oregon at 10:15 AM PST (Pacific standard time). Here in New York we should begin to see the partial at about 1:23 PM EST, and it will continue until 4:00 PM - that is 2 hours and 37 minutes smack in the middle of the day my friends. Pretty hard to miss. And pretty tempting not to look at!
Check the times for any city here: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/
And yes, a total eclipse can be viewed without protection. BUT THE PARTIAL CAN NOT. I mean, you can choose to, but that would be like committing vision suicide. Stupid choice. The partial leading up to the total, and the partial that will be viewed by the millions upon millions of people that are not in the path of total eclipse MUST be viewed safely.
Now considering that it is pretty much in the middle of a regular work day (Monday), and considering it is the summer, this means that most people, including children, will be out and about. Knowing it is human nature to be curious (especially children) it is extra important to be prepared. Whether you will be picking the kids up from camp, hanging out at the beach, or simply barbecuing dinner in the backyard YOU KNOW HOW TEMPTING IT WILL BE TO LOOK UP. So please, look up safely!
Here's why you need to look safely:
Remember looking at the Sun and then seeing black spots? Or how about temporary blindness when some idiot flashes his brights in your eyes at night? Why do welders need to wear special eye protection? Basically, the rods and cones in your eyes get over excited from bright lights and it takes a few seconds to minutes (longer, maybe never, if you looked at arc welding light) for your eyes to adjust back to normal. Watch this educational video for more detail:
So what does that have to do with an eclipse? Well, you are still looking at the Sun, and probably more often for a longer period of time in order to watch the eclipse. NASA's website states: "The solar radiation that reaches the surface of Earth ranges from ultraviolet (UV) radiation at wavelengths longer than 290 nm to radio waves in the meter range. The tissues in the eye transmit a substantial part of the radiation between 380 and 1400 nm to the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye. While environmental exposure to UV radiation is known to contribute to the accelerated aging of the outer layers of the eye and the development of cataracts, the concern over improper viewing of the Sun during an eclipse is for the development of "eclipse blindness" or retinal burns."
Bottom line: view the partial eclipse safely. Check out NASA's page about when and why.
Oh, and using a filter for your eyes and then looking through a camera, telescope, or binoculars that doesn't have its own filter is a huge NO NO. Your eyes will not be protected enough. The device must have it's own special, approved, filter because of the magnification. So be smart and do your research!
Here's a few ways to view the eclipse safely with your eyes:
NOTE: even with these precautions do not stare constantly at the eclipse. Look, then look away. You need to continuously give your eyes a break.
A Few things NOT to do:
Enjoy the solar eclipse safely. It will be worth it!
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My new thing lately is making dream catchers. My daughter decided that she wanted a giant dream catcher for her wedding day and that was the beginning of my 'dream catcher' research! That led to the absolute first, and largest dream catcher I have made to date (post coming soon)! Since then I have made many more out of many different types of materials but my absolute favorite are all the dream catchers made out of what would normally be thrown out as garbage (or recycled depending upon where you live). I came up with this idea out of a need to make a lot of similar dream catchers as favors for my daughters bridal shower, and I think I need to pat myself on my back because, well, I absolutely love the way they came out! But you be the judge :-)
Completed Dimensions of Dream Catchers: Approximately 2" wide x 7" long (including loop to hang it)
FREE PRINTABLE (and editable) LABELS BELOW!
P.S. I know this is a lot of pictures so I am sorry ahead of time!
(see pictures, links, and prices at very bottom of post for affiliate link supplies)
Check out this simple picture for how to weave the center part http://www.craftsforkids.com/projects/dream_catchers.htm
I have to say that everyone loved these and my daughter was so excited over them! So not only are they repurposing plastic, but they are something nice that are small enough to be hung anywhere!
FREE PRINTABLE TAG LABELS:
The two sides are separate so you can choose to just do one side, for example, just the "Dream saying" side. They are also MS Word documents so that you can edit as needed as far as the date and the name for the bridal shower side. Definitely do a trial on white paper if you are printing both sides so that you can tweak the positioning as needed. These were my final prints so they should be good but you never know.
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Recently we had a last minute backyard barbecue. My sister and her family had nothing to do, and neither did we. Since we literally live on the same block, and it was really hot out and we have a pool, they came on down for some swim time, and of course, food. We are Italian and we had to have food. Not just a little either. We had enough to feed half the block because well, you never know who else might decide to visit!
Anyway, thats not the point of this post. The point is that when my niece was filling the pot to boil the fresh corn I noticed that she was using the hot water to fill it so I said that she shouldn't be using the hot water out of the tap. And of course being a highly intelligent young lady she questioned me as to why. Naturally I was more than willing to share my reasoning with her but it started me thinking that maybe a quick post with some information for anyone who is interested in why would also be a good idea.
So why not consume hot tap water? This is really a personal choice and I personally choose not to drink it because I would rather be safe than sorry. The science teacher in me further solidifies this decision and I have taught my children to never consume hot tap water as well for three basic reasons (and in this precise order): lead, contaminants, and disease.
How old is your house? When was it built and what are the pipes made of? Just about any home or building built before 1986 has lead in the pipes unless they have been fully replaced. Even newer metal pipes have some lead in them. Read about this at the CDC.
I live in a house built in 1931 and I KNOW there is lead in these old pipes. Drinking the cold water without running it for a few minutes (5 is recommended) first would be foolish, but drinking the hot tap water would be even more foolish! Keep reading for the reason why...
Where does your water come from? Is it treated by a water company with chemicals or does it come from a private well? Do you have a filtration system in your home? If it is well water have you ever had the water tested for contaminants and particulate matter?
I have lived in both situations. Years ago I had well water and I paid to have it tested once a year. I also had a filtration system since we lived in an area where the water table was only 4' below the surface. Now I live in an area with a government run company that pumps up the groundwater, tests it, filters and treats it with chemicals as needed. Not ideal, but it is what it is. But either way, using hot water means that the contaminants and/or the added chemicals are more concentrated. Think about it: when you boil water only the water is steamed away. Everything else remains behind in whatever water still hasn't become steam. Simply put, the amount of contaminants stayed the same and the amount of water decreased. The heating that boiled some of the water created a greater ratio of contaminants to water. The same thing happens in the hot water tank. As the water is heated and some turns to steam, the amount of ratio of contaminants and/or added chemicals to hot water in the tank will be greater. When you use the hot tap water you will be getting water with a greater than average amount of contaminants.
Then if you cook with it the ratio of contaminants to water becomes even greater! Of course there are variable such as the temperature you keep the hot water tank set at, how often you use the hot water, how much hot water you use each time, etc. Me, I still prefer to be safer than sorrier. Oh yeah: and lead is considered a contaminant so that would mean there would be a greater concentration of lead in the hot tap water verses the cold.
Contaminants and Disease
How old is your hot water heater storage tank and how often do you use it? How long does the water sit in there heating up? An older tank releases potential contaminants into the tank. Some people say there is actually a sludge in the bottom. I am not sure if this is true or not, but why test the theory out? Maybe if I ever need the tank replaced I will open it up to get a look! But for now, I am not taking any chances.
The same goes for how often you use it. If your hot water sits for hours, or even days (or more if it is a vacation home) at a time in the tank this is just more opportunity for more water to boil away and the contaminants and chemicals to become even more concentrated. Sitting also allows molds and bacterias to grow in there. Some of the growth depends upon the temperature that you keep the water at, but it could be a potential problem that I don't even want to think about. Again, no thanks.
Do you live in a large apartment building? Or maybe you're away on vacation staying in a big hotel and just want a quick cup of hot tea. Don't do it! These types of buildings have huge water storage tanks with the potential for Legionaires disease according to the EPA.
I don't live in an apartment building but I have friends that do and I have stayed in many a hotel in my travels over the years. For me it is just something to remember and keep in mind during my visits and travels.
Those are my personal reasons for not drinking hot tap water in my home, or anywhere else for that matter. In my opinion, it's just not worth it to use it. Do you have any other reasons to add? I would love to hear from you! But remember, everything is a choice. I am not telling you not to drink hot tap water, just the reasons that I choose not to! The choice to drink it or not is yours!
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My brother and sister-in-law have had this old 1970's Vista duo tandem bike in their garage for several years now. I always thought it was the coolest thing to ride a tandem bike, especially as a kid because brings up good memories of when my cousin Lynn and I used to ride her families tandem around town. So when my in-laws recently said their's was going in the garbage if we didn't want it I jumped on the offer....but not for me.
My daughter is getting married in September and she and her fiancé live on Fire Island. If you know anything about living on Fire Island it's that there are NO cars driven around (other than for emergencies). You get around by walking or biking so what could be more perfect than having a "just married" tandem bike for them to ride around together on?
My brother and sister-in-law agreed that this would make an awesome gift to for the 'married couple to be' and so we set to work! And of course it is far better than simply throwing it out ;-)
With little bit of time, some MONEY, and a lot of love we finished it up just in time for my daughter's bridal shower. Let us know what you think!
Check out our video of how we did it!
We did have to purchase a few items to make it work, mostly from Amazon, but a few from Target, Michaels, Lowes, and The Vicious Cycle (the local bike shop that used to be Sally's) as well. Kudos to The Vicious Cycle by the way, who must have parts saved from the beginning of time! They actually had handlebars for the second seat that worked perfectly (we couldn't get rid of the rust on the originals)!
Other parts we purchased:
I also added a tin can wedding thingy to the back so when, and if, they ride it back to the house after the wedding ceremony by the beach it will be absolutely perfect! That DIY post will be coming soon, so stay tuned!
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I really hope you enjoyed this post. I have to say that this was one of my absolute all time favorite projects! Not only did I get to spend time with my husband, but we worked with his brother as well. Best of all the gift was for my beautiful bride-to-be daughter and her fiancé. What could be better? Doing wonderful things for our loved ones is what life is all about!
Don't you agree?
Happy people are healthier people. I know you have probably heard this a thousand times, but it is true, and it's pretty simple too!
Why are happy people healthier?
But how? How can you simply make yourself happy when you really aren't?
Mind over matter, with a little practice. Trust me when I tell you, I have my good and bad days just like anyone else but here is what I do to be, and stay, happy:
Of course you can find this extra time by creating a simpler life for yourself and your family!
You knew that was coming, didn't you?
Hang in there, my book "The ABC's of Creating A Simpler Life" should be out this fall, but in the meantime there are a lot of ways to help simplify your life throughout this site so there is no reason not to get started right away!
But most importantly, be happy :-)
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This is a great way to use up those leftover pieces of yarn that aren't big enough to do anything else with!
The beauty of this pattern is that the second row is basically the connecting row. There is no special connecting stitch to be done later on!
I got the idea for this project from Atty's Blog Spot. She does it a little differently and she makes a blanket instead, but there are pictures that can help you get the idea if you are having any trouble. I kind of simplified the basic pattern, but it is generally the same only I make a placemat and add a border. Enjoy!
Make the Spots:
You need a total of 29 spots for each placemat
Using scrap yarn...
**HINT: I just make 6 of every color this is enough to make 2 placemats with a couple left over.
Complete First Spot:
Using your background yarn....
Add Second Spot:
Using background colored yarn...
Add Third Spot:
Continue to connect more spots..
Crochet the Border:
It's beautiful! And it is for me...yes, I have finally made something for myself. Well, it is made with leftover scraps of yarn after all :-) How could I possibly give it away?
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Last fall I wrapped up our newly planted fig tree for the winter not knowing if it would survive or not (but I was really trying and hoping). Read more about Winterizing our Fig Tree here. This past spring I was nervous when we opened it up, but despite losing a few branches at the top to the cold winter, lo and behold, the fig tree was alive! It had survived the winter and the proof was the little buds that were growing on the lower branches. The way we wrapped it up apparently worked out pretty well and hopefully we will get better at it each year that we own this lovely, fruit producing, edible plant! As you can see in the picture we are now into summer and it is growing really well. We are so pleased with the results we thought we would share a few pictures with you.
The tree had figs last year while in the pot, however we are not expecting any this year or even next year because it needs to make itself at home in it's new location. But it will provide figs down the road and we can't wait!!
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Welcome! I'm Kathie, an educated, happily married mother and step-mother to four adult children. I wholeheartedly believe in creating and living a simpler, happier, and healthier life in this stressful and modern world! I work at creating a simpler life in ways that are as economically wise and environmentally conscious as possible. Please join me on my journey:-)