Sunday, August 10, 2014

I've MOVED!!!!

It's been a long time coming...I first started this blog when my babies were...well, babies.  And in that time I have grown, and changed, and so has the blog!  I wanted to start a new blog to reflect those changes!!!

 The Essential Idaho Mom

Thanks so much!!!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Salsa Ranch Pasta Salad



Salsa Ranch Summer Salad




In our house summer time meals pretty much consist of BBQ and salads.  I love to make a couple of salads at the beginning of the week to have in the fridge so that after a long day at the beach I can have my sweet husband bbq some chicken or burgers and the salads are already prepared.  


(A day at the beach, or lounging poolside with my bestie!  I'd rather do this than cook in a hot kitchen!)

I’ve recently decided I need to start creating my own salads.  I’ve always done the standards:  potato, macaroni, pasta, etc.  kind of sick of them to be honest!  So here’s the salad that I whipped together on Sunday and served along with grilled chicken thighs and corn on the cob!  Pretty delicious if I do say so myself! (and easy!!!)

Ingredients:

1 lb dry spaghetti noodles (prepare as suggested on the package)

1 cup Ranch dip (I make mine with a ranch packet and a container of sour cream, this really makes a huge difference)

½ cup salsa (for this I really really love buying a salsa seasoning package in the produce section and either making it with fresh tomatoes and cilantro or the Rotel lime and cilantro)

3 drops Young Living lime EO (these oils give it the most DELICIOUS and fresh flavor!!!)

4 green onions, chopped

2 tbsp real bacon bits (option, but so good!)

1 cucumber chopped

(really at this point you can just get creative.  I wanted to add black olives but I was out, I also could have added some shredded cheese)

Mix all these ingredients together and chill until ready to serve!  I garnished ours with a LOT of cilantro! 

 

Enjoy and Happy Summer!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DIY: Body Scrub




One of the downfalls of living in a small town is not being able to run to Target, or someplace else for a gift when you need one quick!  I am the kind of person who loves giving gifts, it's definitely one of my love languages, and to me, something homemade is even better.  I recently tried some simply DIY body scrub recipes, and I was super excited with how they turned out.  The first one I made was a combo of orange and peppermint which smelled awesome.  This made a great gift for teachers at the end of the school year!  I love that I can just pull out some simple ingredients from my cabinets and make a little gift whenever I am in a bind.  





I also love how versatile peppermint is!!  I put it on my aching shoulder, use it in my favorite weight loss trio, put it on my head when I have a headache, diffuse it for a boost of energy, it aids in digestion, so many awesome thing!




So, I also had a baby shower to go to recently and I love that I could just throw together some coconut oil, sugar, and lime to make this sweet little gift.  I threw in a gift card, and wrapped it up pretty and I felt like it was perfect!

The recipes:

Orange/Peppermint Sugar Scrub


1  cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup coconut oil melted,  5 drops of Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil and 10 drops of Young Living Orange Essential Oil.  The sugar , the coconut oil moisturizes and lemon and peppermint provide a mood boost.   (personally I added more essential oil, just start with these drops and add until you love the smell)
This recipe filled three of my 4 oz. quilted mason jars

Coconut/Lime Sugar Scrub
I used the same recipe as above, but I just used Young Living Lime Essential Oils instead.  Basically, you can really have fun and play with your oils to make your favorite combinations!

Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lord, I want to contribute




There's so much I could say about chapter 7 of Limitless Life, it's almost hard to know where to start.

I could start with how I used to be the girl that looked for a church that served me.  "people with empty self will choose a church to 'go to' if the sermons are good and make them feel better and if the music is their kind of music (pg 133)."  I would visit a church with the sole purpose of finding the worship service that made me feel good.  I love to sing, and I couldn't even pay attention during the service if I didn't feel like the worship was very good.  I hate to admit that, but it is the truth.  And to be honest, it's where I was in my walk with the Lord.  While I wasn't a new Christian, I had gone through so many trials and times away from God, that I needed to be nursed back to health.  So, that's where I was, and I am thankful I grew past that, but I am also thankful that I started somewhere.  

"Jesus wants us to grow from being consumers to become contributors (pg 139)."

Up until the last 2 years I have spent many many years being a consumer in the Christian church.  I went to the classes, went to the service, used the nursery, used the day care options, etc.  Those things were a total blessing for where I was in my walk as a Christian.  There comes a time when a girl needs to start contributing.  

This week was the perfect chance for me to contribute at my church that I love dearly.  It's VBS week.  I admit, for the last 4-5 years I have dropped my children off at VBS and RELISHED  greatly, the 3 hours of peace and quiet. 

Which was fine.  Super fine.  I never want a weary mom who needs rest to read this blog and think she is doing something wrong.  But there is a season for everything, and my children are big now, and I do get more rest.  They are also to the age where they see their mom participating and contributing and it is a blessing to them.  

So I signed up to volunteer, to contribute.  I am very familiar with VBS,  I went to them every summer as a kid, and when I was a teen I spent many summers visiting churches and helping with their VBS.  So I was excited, and glad to contribute.  Then I got my assignment.  Arts and Crafts.  Hmmm..  I do like arts and crafts, but I have never done arts and crafts at VBS before.  I was a little curious how it would go, and a little nervous!  

The day came for VBS to start, and I was filled with a little sadness that I wasn't going to get to rest while my kids learned about Jesus.  Then I opened up my limitless life book, and the chapter is all about being a contributor, not a consumer.  

Seriously!?  Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me why I signed up to help.  For reminding me why we even decided to find a small local church to become members of, for loving me and growing me to the place where I am right now where I feel like I can contribute to our church that has just welcomed us and loved us!  


So VBS begins and I am touched everyday by the beautiful children that God has sent for me to love on.  For me to do crafts with, and laugh with, and hopefully during that 10 minute craft time I (and all the other awesome contributors) can be a little shining light to them that makes them remember what they learn at VBS.  Maybe they will ask their parents to bring them back to church because they had so much fun!  

The question this week, are you a consumer or a contributor?  Well, it's so important to think about and pray about.  I do believe that we all have times in our lives where we need more than we can give.  But it is super exciting to get to that place where we can start giving a little more, too!  Just like a newborn baby needs to be fed, and loved, and held, and cherished, we all go through that time in our walk with the Lord.  It does get pretty exciting though when you grow and grow and eventually you don't need to be nursed anymore!  You can contribute!  

Dear Jesus,

Thank for you the people that came beside me when I was weak, and couldn't contribute very much.  They loved me, and because of that, I grew closer to you to a place where I feel like I can finally contribute.  Lord, you never ever gave up on me.  You loved me every single day, even when I had nothing to give.  I love to walk with you and feel your love and guidance in my life.  It is the most exciting thing I have ever experienced.  Ever.  

 Amen.  


Saturday, June 14, 2014

This is something different


So I love essential oils.  I am sure you can see that.  But something that I love (almost) even more is the group that I am in called the Lemondroppers.  We do things different.  We talk about essential oils, and we are very excited about them, but we don't pressure people and we don't try and sell the oils to people.  You aren't interested?  That's fine.  I'm not going to beg you to listen to me.  You don't have the money?  No worries!  I am not going to lecture you about how you will save the money in the long run by not having to by cold meds and emergen-cee.  I always go to parties for stuff and feel pressured to spend money that I don't have and I don't want to do that to anyone.  I would never want a friend to hide their purchase from a husband, or pay me in cash so that their husband doesn't know how much it costs.  This is all about helping people and educating.  

I love to share, I love to help people.  But I don't love pressuring, and if I felt like I had to do that I wouldn't have joined this group.  I would have ordered my oils and used them without uttering a peep.  

I love that 6 months ago I asked my friend for information on the oils she was using, she gave it to me and she waited for me to ask her how to order.  Another thing that I love is that she took the time to educate me.  When I first got my oils she answered a million and one questions, and never made me feel bad.  She gave me my awesome Lemondropper handbook and really helped me until I felt comfortable and confidant enough to start helping myself and others.  

Essential Oils are fun!  I love making homemade concoctions, and I love that when the kids have an owie or a headache, or a tummy ache they come to me for oils now!  I love that at bedtime my son will come and remind me to put oils on him.  I want everyone to have oils in their homes because they are so much fun and so rewarding, but I'm not going to be chasing you down or begging you to order.  Eventually you will just want to find out what is so great about the oils I am talking about, and you will have to see for yourself!  :)  


Friday, June 13, 2014

My sweet, sweet son



It's no exaggeration when someone tells you there is just a pure sweetness to the relationship between a momma and her son.  My relationship with Elliott is exactly that.  This little guy brings me so much joy (and he can also frustrate me beyond words, but that is for a different post)!

Yesterday was the day we got to go pick up the kids' report cards.  Report card time has never been fun for Elliott.  He seriously has never even one time gotten a report card that didn't make him cry.  There would always be one or two "No's" (in regards to meeting district standards), and that made him very sad.   Not that we put any pressure on him, because we don't.   He just tries so hard, and really does do his very best, but never could quite get the scores in order to get that "Yes" grade.

Well, yesterday was the day!  I went and picked up the cards and couldn't hardly believe it!!  2nd grade was definitely his most challenging year.  He worked really really hard and had some hard lessons, in needing to focus and pay attention rather than goof around and try to entertain his friends.  But he didn't give up and I couldn't even tell you how awesome it was to show him that report card and to have him see that it was worth it to work so hard!!  Such a rewarding moment for him.

I just love him to pieces.    

DIY: Homemade Sunscreen!


Today was a super fun day with one of my dear friends!  She came over with her carrot seed which has an SPF of 38!  (who knew!) and we had an awesome time melting oils, adding ingredients and making something fun!  I just want to say, this is not a budget friendly DIY.  It's super easy, and simple, which is all that I do, but it is not a way to save money.  It is a way to put sunscreen on your babies and children that does not have any chemicals in it!  YAY!


We started with 1/4 cup of coconut oil mixed with 20 drops of carrot seed oil.  The consistency was not  good, so I threw it in my kitchen aide and mixed it really really well.






Then I put the oils in this jar and just very slowly melted them along with melting the beezwax (which makes the sunscreen waterproof)








Finally I whipped the coconut oil mixture and the beezwax until they were combined and poured them into these cute little bottles!  Yes, it's a little greasy, but the beezwax really really helps with that!  I didn't mind it at all.  The smell...well, the beezwax helps with that, but it's not the smell that you have grown to love out of most sunscreens!  My friend actually suggested that we try adding orange or lime, next time and I love that idea!


Heroes in my home!



I recently started brushing my teeth with these little heros!  Coconut oil is a major staple in our home.  I use it in all of my baking, cooking, and homemade concoctions.  The kids go into the kitchen when their lips are chapped are open up the coconut oil!  That always makes me laugh and smile  :)  I'm so glad they have adapted to their silly mommy and her crazy ideas.  

So, I've been trying to transition into using more natural toothpaste, and when a friend told me she was using coconut oil and she had heard there were some good oils for brushing teeth I had to investigate further!  

Thieves® was created based on research about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. This proprietary essential oil blend was university tested for its cleansing and anti-microbial abilities. It is highly effective in supporting the immune system and good health.* It can be used for a variety of applications from cleaning to gum - tooth care. 

I put a tiny dab, probably 1/4 tsp of coconut oil on my toothbrush and added one drop of thieves, and I cannot even tell you how great my mouth feels!!  Better than any toothpaste I've ever tried.  And how awesome to be brushing your teeth and building your immune system.  I'm sold.  I cannot wait until my dentist appointment in August.  I think they're going to be pretty impressed!


I also purchased the thieves mouthwash, which is pretty strong, so I dilute it 50/50 (a mom's gotta save money!).  I love that it's alcohol free, and no preservatives, but even better, you can gargle it when you feel a cold coming on!  So cool!




* This statement has not been evaluated  by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose,  treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Grace-Covered Girl



For about 9 months now I have been participating in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Program.  I have to say I LOVE it.  It has been by far the most rewarding bible study program I have ever done.  I have grown more in these 9 months, then I have in my entire life.  I love that I get to engage in an amazing facebook small group, I have women praying for me, and I do the same for them.  I love that I can participate in meaningful discussion all while being a busy working mom who is also earning her masters degree.  This brings me so much joy.  The current book we are reading is called Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray.  While I do love the book, and it has been very interesting to me, it hasn't spoken to me in the volumes I've experienced from past studies, until this week.

The chapter I am currently reading is called, "From religious to grace-covered."  I knew just from the title that this would be a chapter I would need to read a few times.  I was raised in a Catholic church.  I loved it.  I loved my first communion, memorizing all of the prayers, I had holy water in my closet, I would pray my rosary every night, I loved to go to confession, I had books on the saints that I just loved to read, etc.  I was the perfect little Catholic girl.  But I had no concept of grace, and forgiveness.  I knew that when I did something bad, I would go to the priest and I would say my prayers and all would be better.  

After I turned 9 my family started attending a non-denominational church.  It was very hard on me.  I remember being very angry that we weren't going to my Catholic church anymore.  I really mourned that change in my life.  It took me a few years to transition to where I felt like I wasn't missing our old church.  I did eventually learn to love the church that we went to, but I never lost the sense of needing to do something to be forgiven.  I love how in the book Derwin says, "When we live by religion, or works-based righteousness, we are never sure when God is please with our behavior (110)."  I was wrapped up in that for sure.  There was nothing I could ever do to know for sure that God had accepted me.

In my heart, I needed to be the perfect girl that I was expected to be.  I needed approval, and acceptance, and I thought that I had to be perfect to get those things.  I lied about big things and little things.  I was quite good at it.  I was also viewed in my community as a very good, "christian" girl, which I was....but I was hiding so much.  I was hiding hurts, and pains just like everyone around me, but I didn't have anyone to talk to about it.  All through high school, I indeed loved the Lord so very much.  I truly was excited about my faith.  It gave me so much of my identity.  I was a Christian, and that was so very important to me.  But, I had things I needed to talk about without feeling like I was letting people down, and that was definitely not something I felt like I could do.  

When I went to college I rebelled.  I was so tired of being religious, and being so good, and not having anyone to talk to.  The people I met loved me no matter what I did.  They didn't expect me to behave a certain way, or say anything perfectly.  I hid from my Christian friends, and my family.  I hid in sin, and while I felt free I was in bondage for sure.  I made so many bad choices. I knew everyday that I was missing something.  I felt in my heart so much grief when I was not in relationship with Jesus, my Savior.

But you know what's so awesome about all of this?  I got to experience God's grace personally for the first time in my life.  It wasn't even until after 9 years of marriage that I fully started to cling to the Lord, his promises and his grace.  I felt in my heart like I had been TRYING so hard for so long to live the Christian life, and failing.  I needed to stop trying.  and just let Jesus love me.  I needed to give all my anger, my pain, and my hurts to Him and let Him just love me.

"Religion says, 'Do something to earn God's acceptance, love and blessings.'  Grace says, 'Jesus has done everything so that God can love, accept, and bless you (pg123)!"  It is the most amazing and wonderful feeling to know that there is nothing I can do to make Jesus love me more.   I just need to accept his gift.  I almost added "and blah, blah blah..."  but there is no And that comes after accept God's gift of grace.  I just need to accept this gift, THE END.

Thank you Jesus.  Thank you for loving me through all of my ups and downs that I've gone through.  Thank you for your grace and for loving me at my ugliest.  It is so humbling to even begin to contemplate that you actually felt every sin while on the cross for me.  I want to live intentionally for you every day and shine for you like I never have.  Thank you for bringing me out of the bondage of religion and covering me with your grace.  Help me to give that grace to others in my life, every single day.      

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Say hello to DIY Bug Spray!



I recently made my own homemade bug spray with my essential oils and I have to say it is great!!!  I love the way it smells, I love that it took me less than 5 minutes to make all 4 bottles, and I love that it was super easy.  It's literally water, witch hazel (a common ingredient next to rubbing alcohol) and essential oils.  So awesome!  I can't wait to take this hiking, and camping this summer!  Here's the recipe, Enjoy!