Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Printable

I don't believe in subway art. It goes against everything designers believe in.

But there is no denying the popularity (and the cute factor).

We are hosting Thanksgiving for my family at our home this year. I wanted to start getting up some fall decor. I always have good intentions to be festive, but with my littles it always seems to be destroyed (mom's of boys: represent!). I thought I would put up a few printables in old frames. I couldn't find any I loved so I wanted to design my own. This is hard. My brain hates designing things that don't make sense. Hats off to all of the designers who can do this and be ok with it.

Here is what I came up with. Feel free to download and print. :)

Also, I've been absent for two months. Sorry, guys! I will post soon about what I have been up to. I hope all is well with all of you. Do any of you have ideas for decorating with indestructible decor? I would love to hear them. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1 Cup Dump Flaxseed Cookies

I have Celiac's Disease. You know what stinks? Avoiding wheat! I hate it. All of my favorite foods are light, fluffy and full of flour.

If you also have a gluten intolerance, I highly recommend
No joke. Most of their mixes taste like they were made with good old fashioned all purpose wheat flour. If you have to make a cake, this is your mix.

Enough of that gluten-free crap. Let me tell you about these dump cookies I invented. I needed (well, wanted) a flaxseed cookie recipe without oats. I added the coconut to keep my husband away (oh yeah. I'm selfishly tricky). I've been trying to eat more flaxseed because of the health benefits that can be found here. I recently found out that I am high risk for colon cancer, and I will do just about everything to avoid putting my family through that.

So here is my recipe:

One Cup Dump Flaxseed Cookies

1 Cup All-Purpose Flour (Gluten-Free? I like this one)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
2 Cups Ground Flaxseed
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  

1. Mix flaxseed, flour, sugar, salt, coconut, and cinnamon and set aside.
2. Melt butter. Cream together butter and eggs. Beat in Vanilla.
3. Combine wet and dry mixtures with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Fold in Cranberries.
5. Drop about a TBS of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.
6. Eat and love.

Don't trick yourself into thinking these are healthy. Do you see all of that butter and sugar?! Treat yourself in moderation, and eat guilt-free by convincing yourself the flaxseed, cinnamon, and cranberries are good for your bod. :)

Did anyone else notice I blogged twice today?! That's like four months worth of blogging for me.

Logan Temple Printables

Does anyone else get tired of all of the cute printables being a picture of the Salt Lake Temple? I do. The Salt Lake Temple is great and all, but Logan is my temple. I saw a picture of the Temple in Salt Lake with these words, and reworked it a little bit so that I could frame it for our home. Feel free to download it, change the colors, whatever. I'm not going to be really picky about this because I mostly designed it for me.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

The First Born is 3!

On Tuesday, our first little one turned three. There was quite the excitement over his super hero themed party. My favorite part, hands down, was when he stripped in front of everyone to put on a new outfit. I was out of the room, and no one else bothered to stop him. AH! Who is supposed to be embarrassing who here? I will post pictures once I upload them from my camera.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Two Year Old's Sick Day: Part 1

Yesterday, while happily driving to buy some tylenol for my little one's fever, I heard the dreadful sentence, "Mom, my tummy hurts." Oh. No. I know what's coming, and it's going to be all over my already-toddler-decorated car. "Mom, my tummy..."
And yep. There it is. All over my sweet little two year old, his car seat, my car... oh joy. My poor little bean feels awful, and all I want to do is help him to feel better (despite his older brother yelling, "B! You can't throw up. That is a no, no!). So we pull over, I wipe him down, my husband frantically tries to take my direction as I clean off our kiddo.

Once back in the car, my husband presses forward to the only store open in our little city: Wal Mart. I get on my phone and look for remedies for sick babies and toddlers. I didn't find much that I didn't already know: saltines, ginger ale, Pedialyte, and Jello. These are all dandy, but we've tried them all before with little success. I wanted a miracle.

I didn't get one. I did however, use a little creativity to make our lives a little easier last night. Here are the things that made our lives a little simple:

Sick Station:
 Next to B's bed, I placed a bucket. I placed a little tupperware (for throwing up), a sippy cup about 1/4 full of water and a bowl with a couple of Saltines. I explained to B before falling asleep what each piece of the station was for. I also placed blankets on his floor between the bed and the door (washing a blanket is easier than shampooing a carpet, right?) It worked like a charm. All of last night's vomit stayed right where it was supposed to, in the "barf bucket."

Mommy Bucket:
 I knew that I would be up all night, and I didn't want to have to leave B to run back and forth from the kitchen. So, in an ice cream bucket, I made myself a quick kit too. I had the thermometer, Tylenol, IBU profin, a notebook, a bottle of water (to refill B's sippy), some extra Saltines, my phone (to use as a clock), a hand towel, and a package of wipes.

Pedialyte Jello:
You know what is more disgusting than Pedialyte? Nothing. That stuff is gross. But, I used it to make strawberry Jello. And it tastes like strawberry Jello. This is how I did it:
1 Cup boiling water
1 Small packet of strawberry Jello
1 Cup strawberry Pedialyte.

I made the Jello like it said to on the package, replacing the cold water with the Pedialyte. Wooo hoo! Something my little can keep down a bite-full at a time.

Otter Pops:
I never opened them for him to eat, but they are easy for him to hold and suck on while he is feeling too hot. He snuggled with a couple at bed time, and it seemed to help bring down his fever.

I think the real key to sick kids is patience. You have to remember how miserable they are. Remember? Ok, now don't panic so you can think straight. Got it? Ok, so while considering how sick they are, and keeping your cool, now take care of them with out any sleep. That's it! Right? No. Now you need to take precautions for the rest of your family so they don't get sick as well. So, cuddle, disinfect, sympathize, stay calm, don't sleep, keep track of fevers, keep track of medecine, wash your hands, wash the vomit dishes, wash your hands, give little a bath, wash his bedding, feed him a bite of Jello or a TBS of water every 15 minutes, WASH YOUR HANDS, find a little bit of rest in between. Did you notice that I said to wash your hands? You don't want to be sick too.

But that's it. Piece of cake. I always remember how much I LOVE laundry when there is twice as much of it to do. Ok, not really, but at least it makes my house smell good.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sick Boy Bummers

B has asthma. It gets pretty crazy sometimes: trying to take care of his needs, our needs as a family, keep my sanity. Yesterday he relapsed and we needed to take him in for  oxygen and steroids (Bleg. Steroids. Don't they know I want grandbabies?!?). So, this week we will be needing to give him frequent and regular nebulizer treatments, which he hates. We're lucky to get him a treatment when he's having an attack, honestly.

Today something very special happened! This morning we made cookies for Mother's Day to give to my Grandma when she comes to visit. I gave Brennan a cookie as we sat down for a treatment. I thought, "Maybe if I reward him, he'll stay on my lap." We were about 10 minutes late to start his treatment, so I was pretty much willing to do anything to get him to sit with me for 10 minutes. We flipped on some Sid the Science Kid, sat down with the nebulizer and turned it on. I put the mask over his face. Here is the novel part: he didn't push me away. In fact, he took a bite of cookie, stuck his face in the mask, and told me about his medicine.

"Momma, my may-sine make my tummy feel all better," he says pointing to his chest.

As we continued with his treatment, he even took his own turn holding the mask. At the end, cookie got some Albuterol too.

Words cannot express how grateful I am for this experience. For a year, I have been fighting him for every single treatment. All of the screaming, and crying, and working him into a greater attack just to treat the original symptoms: it's stressful. Most of the time, I would rock him to sleep, slip his anti-static chamber over his face, and sneak some Albuterol into his system so he'd stop wheezing. Now that he understands his noisy little panda bear helps him, our lives will become a little more peaceful.

I'm so proud of this little sugar bean. I cannot count the nights I have stayed up all night with him just praying and hoping he will make it until morning. I know that there are many of those nights to come, but I am so happy today. I am so grateful that I will have the ability to peacefully help his little lungs relax. I'm grateful that it will be less of a fight to make him feel better. I'm grateful for movies and snuggles at 3am. I am so grateful for modern medecine. I don't know what mommas did before they could help their little ones.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I love you, Matty

My husband's birthday was this last Thursday. I started the day out giving him a Nerf gun and 3 darts that read "Thank You." He proceeded throughout his day (he works for a family business) being shot by anyone and everyone with whom he came into contact. Each dart shot at Matt finished the sentence "I love you because..." My favorite two, which I believe were written by Kelsey Huff and my grandma, read "Mad Scientist," and, "You're a hunk." I saved 50 darts for myself to shoot at him. It had me thinking about the incredible person he is and what I love about him. I want to share just a few of the reasons I am SO proud to wake up every morning and call myself his wife.

I love him (in no particular order) because:

1. He's kind. 

Let me put this into perspective. Before I fell for Matt, I guess I was into the "bad guy." I dated guys who liked to fight, swear, break the rules, and all of that boring stuff. Let me tell you what that did for me: 1. It made me uncomfortable. 2. It got me stalked. So finding Matt (6'8" of snuggly teddy goodness) was truly the highlight of a positive note for my life. He is the kind of person who just kind of loves and accepts everyone. 

2. He's smart. 

Why, hello, Mr. Chemist. His memory is near photographic. He's not one of those debating, English, philosopher, I-know-everything-because-I'm-better-than-you kinds of smart. He's the kind of smart where he and I can sit down and have a conversation about the physiology of the body. He breaks down the chemistry, I break down the medical terminology, and together we actually have a good time doing this. (I know, I know, this is the part where 90% of everyone who is going to read this says, "THANK GOODNESS you two found each other. That sounds boring as hell). He's the kind of smart that remembers random (and totally useless) facts and busts them out when he sees fit. He's the kind of smart that remembers song lyrics and sings them years after the last time he heard the song because a situation reminds him of said lyrics. He's the kind of smart, that is intelligence and not pride. I love that about him. He doesn't need to make sure everyone knows just how well he is educated, but he does hold the capability to have a compelling conversation when the opportunity arises.

3. He is faithful. 

We are LDS. To learn more about our beliefs, click here. He is the boat that keeps us afloat in our crazy lives. Because of his eagerness to be faithful and hold the priesthood, in the middle of the night when I'm freaking out because our youngest has stopped breathing and I'm just sure this is the end (again), he may step in with a blessing for our child and for the comfort of our family. His faithfulness sparks my faithfulness and vice versa. We are a beacon of strength to one another. Without his faith, my faith wouldn't be what it is because my faith is partially based on my faith in him. 

4. He's handsome.

Alright. We knew this was coming. Look at those pictures (and excuse the long overdue haircut). The man is 6'8" for heavens sake. Not to mention he's tan, brunette, fearsomely strong, and with those bright blue and yellow color changing eyes... my, my. That is one handsome man. 

5. He is gentle.

You might think that this goes hand in hand with kind, but the two can be rather different. One can be kind without meaning. The gentleness of Matt's heart ensures that everyone with whom he will come in contact with feel the peacefulness of him. He is gentle with everyone from me, to our boys, to Prince (his family's dog). We went to see The Avenger's this weekend, and a couple brought a little girl (somewhere between the age of one and two) to the movie. She kept peeking between our seats and playing with Matt. She would stand behind him and play with his hair. While most people would be annoyed if not enraged by this, Matt had fun returning the playful fun. He didn't even passively speak loudly, as he sometimes does, about the inappropriateness of the movie for a baby. He just acted as though he felt blessed. 

6. He is the BEST father in the world.

Let's be honest, we all lose it a little bit as parents. With Matt, the losing it comes few and far between. He greets our children with kindness, soft, but firm discipline, and love. He consistently reminds our boys that they are loved, they are smart, and they are his. He goes above and beyond to make them laugh. He will take them out for Fro Yo the night after buying them a slushy because "they earned it." He's teaching them to work hard, to love, and live in his example. He is incredible. In the morning when he leaves, he always says, "Bye, boys. Love you." Every day they say in return, "I love you too, Daddy." (Our boys are pretty conservative with those "I love yous"). The beautiful part about it is that they really do love him, and it really does show. 

These are only 6 of the 51 things I wrote down. There is so much to love about Matt. I did include a couple of nonsense darts like, "you're my favorite Dragon lover," and "You're the best, I win," but what would a birthday game be without a couple of inside jokes? I'm proud that I am comfortable to say that I love him and that he will be my husband, my best friend, forever.

I love you, Matty.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crazy Karo Crunch


This is a recipe that my family remembers my great grandma making. She passed away before I was born, but she is quite the inspiration to me in many ways.

More on that later.

This carmel corn is the best carmel corn you will EVER try. I used her recipe with a touch of a modification. I like more pop corn than carmel. It gets too sweet. It is seriously like eating pieces of heaven, as far as carmel corn goes.

Crazy Karo Crunch
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 Cup Karo Syrup (Light)
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Quarts air popped dry pop corn
Cooking spray

Preheat Oven to 200 degrees

1. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray (I actually cover my cookie sheet in tin foil for easy clean up).
2. Spread the pop corn across the cookie sheet and PICK OUT ALL OF THE SEEDS! (so important)
3. In a pot on the stove, combine butter, sugar, and syrup on high. Stir until boiling. Reduce heat to Med-High and boil for EXACTLY 5 minutes. Add Vanilla.
4. Drizzle over pop corn, stir, and bake for 15 minutes.
5. Remove pop corn from oven, mix the pop corn and carmel around replace in oven for another 15 minutes.
6. Repeat step 5 until carmel corn has been in the oven for an hour and has been mostly covered in carmel.
7. Allow it to cool, break apart, and serve.

Things you may want to know in advance:
1. I know the caramel mixture looks frightening delicious, but don't lick the spoon. It's hot. I know, I know. You're thinking "I'm not stupid, of course I won't lick the spoon." Just wait until you think about licking the spoon. You'll thank me.

2. This recipe tastes like Wethers Original in pop corn form.

3. I know baking soda helps the mixture spread. I know it spreads things more evenly. Don't use it. It also takes away from the lovely Werthers taste and makes it plain old carmel corn. The mixture won't get as crunchy and delicious if you add it.

4. Add peanuts for the last 15 minutes. Viola. Home made (and better than the original) Cracker Jacks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sick Day Potato Soup


Being sick stinks. This week my kids and I have all had strep throat. I wanted to make something for dinner tonight that would go down easy, but be filling for my boys. They're famished, I can tell. ;)

Because I have been feeling terrible, I want this to be something I can do quickly without a lot of effort or mess. In this instance, the simpler, the better.

However, we still live on a student budget, so my mind still tries to make meals as inexpensive as I can. So, I decided to go for crock pot potato soup. Here is how I did it:

Crock Pot Potato Soup (Prices are approximate. Consider that I buy the least expensive brand I can buy)

5 Large Potatoes ($.75-I buy the $1.29 bag of Idaho Potatoes)
1 Small onion ($.79)
4 Stalks of Celery ($.75)
4 Cups (1 Quart) of Milk ($1)

1. Peal and dice potatoes, onion, and celery.
2. Combine vegetables with milk in a crock pot.
3. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
4. Turn the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6.

It costs about $4 to make, and it FILLS a regular sized crock pot. We will eat this for dinner tonight, and probably for lunch the rest of the week. When it's finished, we can sprinkle cheese and bacon bits on top for a loaded potato soup feel, or eat it plain. It's delicious either way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I've updated this blog. I will probably post a couple of times within the next few days.

I haven't taken a lot of time to introduce myself and my family. I'll also get on that as well.

But for now, here is another AWESOME protein smoothie recipe I generated earlier today. Enjoy:

Banana Blueberry

1 Banana
1 6 oz Light Banana Yogurt
1 Cup Blueberries
1 1/2 Cups Ice
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein
2 TBS Stevia

Blend until smooth and enjoy. As always, I split my smoothies in half and keep half in the fridge until lunch time. It's delish.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Family Meals. Student's Budget

Every time I make an inexpensive meal for dinner, I think, "I should post this on my blog. I'm not really doing anything on my blog, anyway. It will give it substance."

Well. I'm finally doing it tonight. I'm going to add some of the meals I have made this past week for our family of four (that eats like a family of seven).

1. Chicken Noodles

2 boxes of Chicken Pasta Roni ($1 each), a cubed chicken breast (we buy the frozen chicken breasts. It's like $7 a bag making 1 chicken breast = $1.17). I cook those together and then heat up a can of corn (My kids LOVE corn. It's about $1 a can, depending on where we buy it)

So that made tonights meal a whopping $4.17 for 6 servings.

2. Food Storage Chili

We thrive off of our food storage. We build it up in the summer when we are making more money, and eat from it all year long.

1 Can Tomato Sauce ($.89), 1 can corn ($1), I can of black beans ($1), 1 can of Kidney Beans ($1), 1lb of Hamburger ($3.49), 1 TBS Chili powder, 1 Onion ($.79).

Brown the meat, mix it all together in a pot, let it lightly simmer for 30 minutes. $8.17 for 6 servings.

3. Sloppy Joes

1 lb Hamburger ($3.49), 1/4 small onion, chopped ($.20) 1 cup Ketchup ($.50), 3 TBS Brown Sugar (hardly enough to count), 1 tsp yellow mustard, 1 tsp garlic salt, 8 hamburger buns ($1.50)

About $5.85 for 8 servings.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pa Kirkham, We Love You


As I am sitting down to write, I know that my heart wants to say something, but my brain isn't sure what to write. I'm sure when I hit that little orange "publish post" button, I won't have said nearly as much as I have wanted.

I guess it started in the late morning yesterday. I was on a commercial shoot and as I looked outside, it felt ominous. The clouds hung over the surrounding mountains of our little valley, and the light that reflected from them brought a peaceful daylight. The juxtaposition of those two created a bazaar feeling within me. February had already been a heart-breaking month within our small group of friends. It seemed as though I had been placed where I was to help carry several of our friends who needed companionship through the trials of their lives.

In all honesty, I was burned out. My kids have reached the fighting milestone, the never-ever-napping-again milestone, the terrible twos, and they have come full circle with sibling rivalry. They listen to everything I say, really, they do. They take it into account, consider their options, and find humor in what will be the most stressful option for me. This sounds complex, but anyone from my family knows: it's how the brains of the young O'Neil's work. I was once just as cruel to my parents. My patience was running thin.

As the day progressed, I began to look forward to the weekend. I knew that my husband and I would have time to spend together this weekend, and we may even be able to travel to Utah to see his maternal grandparents and spend some time with my dad. As I was making dinner, my mother-in-law texted me, informing me that they had taken my grandfather (Ok, Matt's grandfather, but honestly, I love him just the same) into the ER because he had been feeling dizzy. I asked her to keep me updated. Twenty minutes or so later she texted me again, letting me know he had a stroke. She did not let on the the severity of his condition. Moments after I received the news of his stroke, my husband came home, we put dinner on our children's table, and assembled in the kitchen to prepare our dinner when Matt received a phone call.

We drove the children to my parents house so that we could go to the hospital to say our goodbyes. We tried to explain to Mason, our two and a half year old, what had happened. "Pa Kirkham" is Mason's hero. He has his very own tractors, two dogs, and a trampoline in his bedroom: this is just the icing on the cake. Since the day Mason was born, Grandpa has praised his every move. He has never let Mason feel as though love falls short. This little boy acknowledges and appreciates that.

We walked into the hospital not really knowing what to expect. Our sweet friend knew why we were there and immediately let us in and directed us where we needed to go. When we walked into the room, my heart was flooded with gratitude for the man who was no longer in the room with us.

Since the beginning of our relationship, Dale had been pulling for me and Matt. When we made the decision to get married, he was the only person who knew without doubt that it was the best decision for us. He is the only person who has boldly been behind us one hundred precent from the very beginning. He is the only person who openly sincerely loved and supported us with all of his heart when we were facing the greatest trial of our young lives. He helped us come into our home. He was there the day our first child was born, and the day our second child was born. He has celebrated first birthdays with us.

The thing about Grandpa is that he calls it as he sees it. He's a no BS kind of guy. This means that his kind words were always the purest form of genuine. He would say things like, "Well, I don't have a favorite, but if I did, it would be this guy." And he meant it. He said it to all of his great-grandchildren. Brennan has heard it the most of our children in the recent year, but all of his great-grandchildren are his favorite. His words spoken to me of my mothering were always kind. He always regarded my sincere love for my children, and my desire for their growth and accomplishments. He took the time to acknowledge the work that I put into educating them, and teaching them of reality. I will forever remember the great deal of love he had for our family and the kind words he spoke to me as a result.

I will remember the little things about Grandpa that made me laugh. I once had a client in the valley behind his house. He came up to us on his four wheeler, chatted, and then asked if we needed a ride. After declining his offer, he went on his way at a starting speed of something like 20mph. I will remember all of the times that genuinely voiced his opinion, and the several times it may not have been the appropriate moment to do so. I will remember going to the BYU football game with him, and the kind things he said about Matt who at the time was across the stadium. I will remember the Sunday dinners and the holidays. I will remember the extra effort he put into my children. I will remember all of the times he went out of his way to acknowledge me on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Birthdays, etc. Most importantly, I will remember who he is. Matt and I will teach by his example of honesty, respect, and adventure.

Goodbye, Grandpa. I love you. We'll see you soon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shauna Sotelo Give Away

We know I'm a photog.
And that I love to support my fellow photogs.

This one happens to be local. Her name is Shauna Sotelo and I can say without doubt that she is currently doing the nicest work in Pocatello. She is clean and precise, yet artistic. She is very professional and is kind in assisting others. I just love her a ton.

Click the link and check her out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tropical Protein Smoothie


So today I was in the mood for a smoothie that would be a little more uplifting. It has been a rough few days and I knew I could use an emotional boost. I wanted to make it creamy, like a milk shake, but healthy. I wanted the protein to enhance my workout. This is what I came up with:

Banana Pina Colada Protein Smoothie
1 Cup Dole Pina Colada Juice
2 sliced bananas
6 Ice cubes
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein
1 TBS of any brand Stevia

Blend about 1 minute or until smoothie is blended together well. I actually blended everything without the protein first, poured two cups for my little boys for a treat, and then put the protein in. It helped my little ones to feel special and it helped me to have only one serving, which is easy to handle. Sometimes I make my shakes so big that it takes 2-3 glasses before I get all of my protein.

I loved this recipe because the banana makes it feel creamy, like ice cream, the stevia makes it sweet like sugar, the pina colada juice adds just a touch of happy, and the combination covers the protein taste pretty well. I could use it as a comfort food without any guilt, because I am headed to the gym with enough nutrients to help me get in a good work out.

You'll have to excuse my crappy iphone photo. I was too lazy to get out my camera.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Healthy Cleaning


I make a lot of my own cleaning products. I have two little boys- one with severe chronic asthma- so I can't afford to be pouring chemicals around. My little guy needs a clean house (which is not always easy with toddlers) and clean air to breath.

So, we have air filters placed around our house. Spontaneously. And I use household items to make most of our cleaning supplies.

For instance, to scrub out bathtub, I make a paste out of dye-free/scent-free dish soap, baking soda, and a teensie bit of water. Works like a charm. Instead of using bleach, we use peroxide. It cleans in the same way as bleach, but does not have harmful fumes. The one scented cleaner I can use is Dreft. And oh my heck, do I love to do laundry with Dreft. It takes stains out of everything. I mean EVERYTHING. I'll prove it later.

The problem with cleaning with household materials, is that my house never gets the chance to smell clean. I learned from my mom (who took a Somatic Archeology and Aromatherapy certification) that lemon oil and lavender oil actually have disinfecting properties. Not only that, but when you buy something that is "pure certified" or whatever the heck you oil people call it, it's completely safe to breathe.

Side note: this may not be true for all kids with asthma. Don't jump right into this without giving it a little test first. Keep your nebulizer close. With my son, who has severe allergies to EVERYTHING (it seems), he does not have a problem with what I am about to tell you.

So here is what I do. On cleaning day, I set a pot of water on the stove (about medium heat) to lightly simmer (you don't want a boil, or even a rapid simmer. The oil evaporates too quickly). When the water is heated, I drop a couple of drops of lemon oil in the pot. All of the sudden, my kitchen not only looks clean, but smells clean. I've noticed that I can do this any time in the week when we have a bad diaper, and it eats that bad smell right up. It doesn't cover it up.

It takes about 5-10 minutes for the oil to completely dissipate. Then I take the pot off the stove.

Occasionally I experiment. This week I tried a combination of orange oil, lemon, and grapefruit. Our kitchen smelled like citrus heaven.

When I need a little extra oomph in the bathroom, I put some oil in my Scentsy warmer and let it dissipate. (I don't know if I'm allowed to say that. I sell Scentsy, but I can't warm it in my house because of my little boy. So I buy cute warmers and warm oil in them).

I buy DoTERRA because my Auntie sells it, but you can honestly use any "pure" oil. Some can be found in the organic section at Fred Meyer. If you live in Pocatello, ID, Time Laboratories in Old Town is a good place to buy oils. They are a great local business, so I encourage you ALL to support them. I believe there is also an Essental Oil company called Young Living. The founder is crazy, though (seriously, he delivered his wife's water birthed baby in a bathtub and left it there until it drowned. Don't quote me, I read the story 3 or so years ago).

Smoothie Time

Good thing the last time I blogged was in October.

I've been working out regularly. To enhance my work outs and boost my energy, I decided I needed to increase my protein intake. Honestly, I'm not a big meat eater. I could easily be a vegetarian if Texas Roadhouse didn't call my name every few months. I don't like to eat dairy products. To top it all of, I have a mild gluten intolerance. As a result, I don't get a lot of protein.

I decided to remedy this with protein smoothies for breakfast. I bought a whey protein that doesn't aggravate my gluten allergy. I work out early in the morning so breakfast is the perfect time for me to consume my protein. I am, however, a picky eater. Not extremely, I will try new foods. I don't write off foods that aren't prepared well. I just know what I like and what I don't. I don't love the taste of any protein powder. That is that. So, I need to develop recipes that taste like smoothies, not protein.

So, here is my first stab at a protein smoothie recipe. It's not perfect, I can still taste the protein. But, it is pretty delicious.

Strawberries & Cream Protein Smoothie:
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein
1 Package (the kind you put in a 16 oz water bottle) of Strawberry Crystal Light
3-4 Large Strawberries
1 Banana
1 tsp Vanilla
8 Ice cubes
1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk

I blended everything together until all of the ice was crushed and my blender was creating a swirly vortex of doom. It was tasty. I have since tried similar recipes with the cherry (DON'T DO IT! It tastes like Pepto), orange, and peach mango. Nothing since this recipe has tasted as g00d. I can taste too much protein in my other experiments so I'm going to continue to experiment. When I find something I like, I'll post again.