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More About This Momma

Sunday, October 20, 2013

doTERRA Essential Oils Garbage Disposal Fresheners

Just stopping by to drop off a quick, fun and easy doTERRA DIY Craft Recipe! YAY!!! I made these the other day and my kitchen smells soooooooooooo good! I got this recipe from the official doTERRA blog.  However, I did not have any liquid castile soap on hand and I quickly discovered any liquid soap will work.




Ingredients:
2 Cups Baking Soda
1 Cup Salt
1/2 Cup Water
30 Drops of Essential Oil (I used Lemon Scent; you might also try Lavender for a softer, sweeter smell, or any other scent that you really like!)
1/3 Cup Liquid Dish Soap (no particular brand required)

Directions:
In mixing bowl, combine the Baking Soda and Salt, stir until well blended.
Add soap and oil into the mixture, do not stir yet
Add water BUT only 1 tablespoon at a time, stopping to mix the ingredients together inbetween
Continue adding water ONLY until you reach a "wet sand" consistency (note: if the mix gets too watery, add a little more baking soda and salt to thicken it up)
Use tablespoon or regular spoon to scoop out and drop the mix onto wax paper, about 1 inch apart.  The consistency should be thick enough that it won't run.
Let dry overnight, make take up to 24 hours, until they completely dry and hard; place in container until ready to be used.
Once you finish doing dishes, drop one into your garbage disposal and smell the beautiful doTERRA scents freshen the air in your kitchen!

To purchase oils for this recipe, go to my web site and enjoy shopping!


Enjoy the rest of your weekend... What's left of it, anyway!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Building A To Do List

The question I receive the most from my friends, family, and followers is, "How do you find time for everything that you do?"

Yes, homeschooling, raising an infant, editing for a transcription company, blogging, laundry, cooking, baking, crafts, couponing, planning a wedding, and cuddling with my honey does seem next to impossible.  There are days where I feel more accomplished than others.

Thankfully, with each passing day my life has seemed to get a little more organized on its own.  That wasn't until I made an executive decision to get control of my schedule, though...

The very first step I had to take, as a Christian woman, was to focus more on God and putting Him first in my every day life.  For me, in my own personal experience, the days where I wake up and start out with prayer and devotion tend to become my most productive days.  Choosing to be spiritually focused allows everything else to fall into place for me, and keeps me more centered and balanced.

The second step for me is prioritizing.  This isn't always easy.  On the days when Stud walks into a messy house, he could easily think that I didn't prioritize my day very well (thankfully, I have a man who knows I'm always hard at work on something).  On the contrary, those are some of my best days, when I finally allow the laundry and toys to build up and accept that I have more important things to focus on.  I have had to learn that a tidy house does not always signify a well-disciplined house wife.  Being home all day with the kids does not mean that your house should be spotless.

Once I have God and my priorities in line for the day, the last step is much easier to accomplish: make a schedule! Originally, I tried to follow a pre-set schedule but then I realized, my life is too crazy, too hectic, and too sporadic to stick to a daily itinerary.  My schedule needs to be flexible in order to keep up with my life.

So, my days will typically start out looking something like this: "Wake up, shower, help Stud get his day going and off to work, go into my room and have prayer/alone time with God and my Bible, feed the children their breakfast and do devotions with them, write out my list of things to do for the day, check my emails while Ninja does his chores, and then start school..." The rest of the day follows whatever I wrote on my list, until 5pm when Dr. Phil comes on.  That's the only time I turn on the TV during the day, while I cook dinner and/or put laundry away.

However, recently I came across something way cooler than I could have ever thought of, myself! The author of the blog Tales of Beauty for Ashes created an EPIC Daily To Do List.  She found it in her beautiful, wonderful, amazing heart to share it with other desperate mothers, like myself, and make it downloadable.  Thanks Becky!

So NOW.... instead of scribbling my list of things to do onto the nearest sheet of paper or a sticky note, my list looks more like this!

What I love most about this list is the fact that she included a place at the top for a Bible verse (or, if you prefer, an inspirational quote) to read throughout the day and keep yourself motivated.  Secondly, I love that she created a spot where you can circle how many glasses of water you have drank so far.  I am an avid believer in drinking plenty of water throughout the day; it is the most natural and healthiest way of giving yourself the energy and focus that we all need!

Yes, I did also steal Becky's idea to put the list inside a picture frame so that I would not need to print a copy for myself every day. No, I'm not near as creative as Becky is.  Yes, that is why I love web sites like Pinterest so that I can steal other people's ideas.

On that note, I would like to conclude by asking my readers, what routines do YOU follow in order to keep yourself on schedule and organized every day??

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Fighting Woman & Her Story

I want to take this time to talk about someone who I consider to be a very near and dear friend.  I haven't physically seen her in about 6 years but I still love her now just as much as I did the last time that I was able to hug her.  Barbara is a friend who comes from my "Army Wife" days, when I was still married to Ninja's dad.  She was the first friend I made when we were stationed at Fort Hood, TX.  Within the same night that we met, it took us no time at all to see that we were going to become very good buddies.

We met in 2005, which was my first official year of living as an Army Wife. I was 1,300 miles away from all of my family.  I have always been an independent natured girl, but I was also 20 years old at the time and I missed my momma. When I needed comfort, Barbara stepped up to the plate and took me under he wing.  She was almost like my big sister during those days.  She showed me how to shop on a budget (not that my mom hadn't already taught me, but this time I was actually spending money from my OWN bank account!) and how to cook good, cheap meals.  Barbara had two handsome young boys, Payton and Kyle.  She demonstrated for me the love of a young mother through them.  Her world revolved around her husband and two sons.

There is one other thing, *the greatest thing*, that Barbara taught me: how to be a strong woman.  I learned very quickly in Texas how different the military life was.  While I am very happy with my life now and wouldn't trade it for the world, I still look back on those days and miss the friendships that I built. They were some of the shortest lived, yet strongest friendships I will ever know.  You see, in the military even the spouses don't have their family around them. So you learn to adapt and become a family with each other.  That's why, even though we now live across the country and haven't seen each other in years, Barbara is still like family to me, along with 5 other women whom I still keep in close contact with.  That is also why, when Barbara began experiencing severe health issues, I longed to be by her side.

A few years ago, the doctors found a tumor on Barbara's brain.  It's okay, you can breathe --- she went through chemo therapy and has been successfully cancer free for 3 years now! However, Barbara's battle is far from being over.  She still has a benign pituitary tumor, which interferes significantly with her life because it screws with her hormones, her cognition, and it can even cause her to have slurred speech at times.  She suffers with her brain swelling over and over again, and she gets terrible migraines.



These photos were taken during Barbara's chemo




To add to her history with cancer and her brain tumor, Barbara also has Interstitial Cystitis; something that I too was diagnosed with 12 years ago.  It's a disease of the bladder and if anyone has experienced a Urinary Tract Infection, imagine having one every day for the rest of your life.  Antibiotics do nothing for it because it is not caused by a bacterial infection.  It is something you are born with, though it doesn't often show up until you are older.  It is a painful and miserable disease, which I can testify in my own life leads to depression and anxiety, as well as lack of sleep! While there are some treatments for it, IC is still a bit of a newly discovered disease and therefore, the treatment options are slim... and expensive.

Even though my days as an Army Wife are over, Barbara's are not.  She is often left alone with the boys and her own, personal struggles while her husband, Michael, is either out in the field or across seas, working hard to provide for his family and protect his country.  She is proud of all that he does, and so am I.  Michael is a very loving and devoted husband and I can only imagine how hard it has been for him to leave his family, especially his wife in her times of need.  But this couple is a true symbol of what a military family goes through when they put their own needs and desires aside to serve their country.  In my opinion, Barbara and Michael BOTH deserve a standing ovation, a thank you, and a salute from anyone who is reading this.

Yet, through all of the pain Barbara has never let her faith be shaken.  She has never shown any signs of weakness or regret for her husband's service to his country.  When I speak to her all I see is a beautiful, courageous woman who continues to praise God for her wonderful life.  She certainly has a lot to be thankful for!

When Barbara agreed to let me share her story on my blog, this is what she said:

" I really, really don't want anyone feeling sorry for me. I am truly blessed. By no means has it been easy with Michael gone and Payton's autism ups and downs, but you know there is always someone worse off. I keep that in mind on bad days. It is truly my friends and few family members that keep me going, physically, emotionally and mentally. So right now I am brain cancer free, praising God. " Amen, Barbara.  Praise God.

I hope I have done a well enough job, painting Barbara's story by portraying her struggles that are out-shined with her strength and faith.  But of course, my words could never come close to truly doing her beautiful story justice.  I wish that everyone could be blessed with Barbara as a friend, the way that I have been blessed. So I believe it honestly goes without me having to say, what a strong and beautiful woman Barbara is, and she needs our prayers.

Payton's Birthday Party, 2005

Inside my kitchen at our Christmas party



Me (prego with Ninja), Barb and Becky at Barbara and Michael's wedding; I was her maid of honor
Ninja and I visiting our friends in Texas, 2007

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Missing Puzzle Piece, Part 2

I was rocking my little 1 year old this morning, as she babbled away to me with some story about somebody who did something.  I love her stories.  I may not understand them but they sure do appear to hold a lot of meaning for her.  I have a feeling she is going to turn into a passionate writer just like her mother, some day.

As I was listening to her talk, I started reflecting on life.  I can't believe almost a year has already past since I started this blog; since I wrote my post, The Missing Puzzle Piece.  I started thinking about how it's only been a year and yet, I can't remember life without Miss Roisin Ruby in it.  Naturally, I started trying to think about life before she came into it.  That's when I realized, this time 4 years ago is when I met Stud, and while I thought he was adorable from the very beginning I blew him off for the first three months while he tried respectfully to pursue me.  He would call and text me, ask me out on dates, and I wouldn't reciprocate...






It sounds like a horrible memory, I know.  Believe me, I am ashamed of how cruel I was to such a wonderful man.  Still to this day, if it gets brought up I apologize profusely to him.  In fact, Stud, if you're reading this, I'M SORRY!! 

Believe it or not, though, that marks a very important milestone in our relationship.  I was in a dark place at that point in my life.  Truthfully, so was Stud.  Even though the first night we met felt like "love at first sight," neither of us were really over the heart ache that we had both gone through in our past.  After we parted ways on that first night, it was like the brick wall in my heart immediately went back up and I started doubling up on the cement to protect it from crumbling for anyone, including Stud.

You could say I was a little bit of a "man hater" at that point.  I didn't trust men as far as I could spit anymore, and I couldn't spit very far.  I felt like this cute Irish guy was just too good to be true and eventually he would end up breaking my heart just like all of the others.  I also had a 3 year old son whose heart I was trying to protect as well.  It wasn't until he started leaving me alone that I realized, I really didn't want this man out of my life; I wanted him IN it.  I'm not sure what made Stud decide to give me another chance, after how rude I was to him. Knowing him the way I do now, he does not give second chances very easily to just anyone.  Whatever the reason was, I am very grateful that he did.  

I almost gave up one of the best things that ever happened to me, but I needed to feel like I was going to lose him before I could appreciate what I had in him for years to come... Like I do now.

We both needed more than physical attraction to get us through life.  We both needed to go through a stage where we felt like we almost lost the other person before realizing what we had in each other went beyond anything physical; it was the friendship we had that got us through the hard times AND the good.

Stud is truly my best friend.  There is not one thing that I hesitate opening up to him about.  We have reached the point where I don't ever worry about him wanting to leave me, even if we argue (yes, believe it or not, we have our spouts from time to time :-P).  It may sound crazy but I have never felt this way with someone before; the freedom to share our differences in the comfort of knowing it isn't going to break us--to not feel like our relationship is threatened just because I dare to disagree with some things he may say or do, and vice versa.  

I have never understood what it felt like to be entitled to my own opinion and what's more, to be valued for my own opinion, before this wonderful man came into my life.  He honestly gave me a whole new meaning for myself in the way he has respected me, lifted me up, and made me feel like my thoughts and feelings truly matter.

Now, for those of you reading this who are seasoned in your relationships, you may be thinking to yourself, 'duh!' This may all seem like simple logic to you.  Honestly, though, it is seen in so many young relationships (yes, I still call us "young").  A person loves someone until they find something that they disagree on.  Their first instinct is to give up on the relationship, even if they are married, because it just became too challenging for them.  Their usual way of escape is through affairs, because it is the weakest and easiest way to run away from their problems.  I have always loved a good challenge, though, and I finally met my match when I met Stud.

I could never give up on him, and I know without a doubt in my mind he feels the same way about me.  Not just because I "love" him, but because he is my companion and that is what friends are for.  It is an unbelievable feeling to go through years of abandonment and to feel like love no longer exists for you, only to finally meet someone who is just as devoted and faithful as you are in your darkest of hours.

I love that song by Rascal Flatts, God Bless The Broken Road, and I know that it is overplayed but it truly is a song that describes mine and Stud's love for each other (as well as millions of other relationships, I'm sure).  I truly hope for everyone to experience a pure love like this because it changes your whole world and perhaps even your perspective on life.  You could live 80 years as a multi-millionaire but without real love on your side, you will still die a lonely person.  

Stud and I were talking a while back, and almost giggling at the fact that the people who once hurt us are people who we now owe our gratitude to.  If they had not let us go we wouldn't have had the privilege and honor of meeting each other and falling in love.

In all honesty, I am very thankful to the woman from his past because he would have never ended up in Florida from Ireland for me to meet him, if he had not moved here with her first. For that, I can never have any negative feelings towards her.  And now, I am just as thankful for the woman who helped bring an end to my own past relationship.  If it weren't for her, I would have never had the freedom to fall in love with the man God truly planned for me.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.

People can view our past and our relationship and judge it for how they want to see it, but that is where faith comes in.  Fact is fact. God knew our hearts; he knew how hard headed both Stud and I were, and still are.  He knew exactly what it would take to get us to soften our hearts to each other and to learn to accept real love instead of pushing it away for fear.

God gave us TuTu because He knew the way to our hearts better than we did.  She melted any part of the brick wall and cement that may have been left standing in our hearts, by simply gracing us with her presence.  She will forever be our missing puzzle piece, whether she is a year old or 75 years old.  Between both of my children, I have learned that each human being holds a purpose in this life and it is not up to us to decide what that purpose is.  If you let go and let God, you will be amazed at His power and mercy.

God Bless The Broken Road ...



Another song between Stud and I (I Won't Give Up)...




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Work Vs. Passion

It is no surprise that I love to write.  Writing goes beyond “love” for me, though.  I can’t live without it.  That may sound silly to some, but it’s the truth.  My emotions, my gifts, my job all requires for me to write.  If I couldn't write, I would no longer be able to provide for my family.  If I couldn't write, I would also be far less in tune with my own emotions.  It is the only way that I am good at expressing myself.  Verbally, I stink at it.

I was looking through my folder of old writings.  This folder is sacred to me.  It holds the key to every aspect of my life; from poems and prayers, to songs, essays and articles that I have written.  Some, I will never share with anyone.  Others, I am currently in the process of trying to have published by magazines!


I will never make money from this blog, and I've accepted this.  The reason is my heart is TOO passionate about writing.  Writers who make a living off of their blogs typically pick one topic and write informative pieces, or reviews.  Me, I’m all over the page with my writing.  One day I could write about how in love I am with my husband-to-be, and the next day I could write about how sick it makes me to know there is sex slavery going on around the world and everyone seems to stick their heads in a hole about it.  All the while, I may throw in a few entries about my experience with homeschooling and the curriculum that I’m using, weight loss and nutritional tips, and perhaps even some DIY craft ideas! I write about whatever inspires me in my current state, and I wouldn't want to have it any other way. 

As I was looking through my folder I came across one of the first essays I had to write for my English Composition course in college.  It was titled Rhetorical Analysis on The Onion Newsletter’s video “Home Depot Honors Fallen Soldiers With Great Prices On Tools,” which is pretty self explanatory by the title, itself, what the essay is about (and yet, at the same time it is a pretty confusing title).  I won’t bore you with the whole essay just to get to the point of what my professor wrote to me, along with giving me an A+ for my grade:

“April, my goodness.  This is the smartest, most well-researched piece of writing I've encountered in an introductory composition course for quite a while.  Your critical faculties are exemplary.  I look forward to enjoying more of your work!”

That professor, Liz, (she did not like being called “Ma’am,” “Miss,” or “Professor,” and she made that very clear!) made a huge impact on my life.  However, I didn't realize it, nor did I appreciate it, at the time.  I had just gone through my divorce and at the moment, I thought I was going to college to be a Respiratory Therapist.  English Comp was just a pre-requisite. Little did I know that she would open my eyes to pursuing what my real dream was; writing.  She took time outside of school to meet with me at places like Chick-Fil-A so that I could let my (at the time) 2-year-old son run around on the playground, while she spent hours advising me in the best ways to have my writing published.  She truly believed in me and my talent; more so than I believed in myself.

At that point in my life I didn’t hold much merit to what she was telling me.  It isn't that I wasn't intrigued by her encouragement, but at that point in my life my focus was on one thing and one thing only: desperately trying to support myself and my child off of one income. I had no faith that writing would provide enough of a stable income for me and Ninja, and even if it did it would take years of struggling before it got us to that point.  I was too scared to let go and have faith.  My faith could have and should have been stronger. I was just a very young single-mom, who taught herself quickly not to have faith in anyone but herself. Ironically, I didn't really have any faith in myself, either. I had to discover myself, first, before I could figure out where my faith truly stood.  That didn't happen until a few years later.

It’s funny, what a few years of “wisdom” can do for your life.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have changed my major instantly and I would not have wasted one more day on a field of study that was (though VERY admirable) not my cup of tea and never really was.  However, God knew my heart and His timing is perfect.

Here I sit today, a personal contractor and more specifically, an Editor, doing something I love; something a lot of other people would love to do, and making money doing it! It's not a ton of money, but more than I ever made managing an office.  I love my job, and I also love the time it allows me to have with my children.  Yet, it is still a job.

This type of writing; this blog entry, and the ability to write about whatever pops into my head, will always be my passion.  I don’t do it for money or for fame. I do it simply because I love it.  However, as I said, I have decided to pursue having some of my articles published.  Whether I succeed at it or not, I have no idea, but I won’t know until I try! Likewise, I am currently putting any extra time I have (which roughly adds up to 4 minutes and 35 seconds per week) into writing my first book.  It’s a work in progress but maybe someday it will become something!


The point is to love what you’re doing, and enjoy every second of it.  The moment you force it to become a “job” is the moment it becomes work and no longer passion.  Don’t stop pursuing what you love most, even if you aren't seeing a lot of money growing from it. The longer you stick with it the more it WILL pay off.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Beautiful Daze

BREATHE::: Today marks the first official day of Summer break for us!





Did you miss me? I missed me, too!

I could waste a lot of time here, covering every bases of what has kept me insane over the past few months (like a week in ICU with TuTu, Stud and I officially getting engaged, Christmas in Ireland, our apartment flooding, another hospital visit for TuTu which included surgery, planning a wedding... Oh, and HOMESCHOOLING Ninja) but instead, I will sum it all up into simpler terms: For those of you who think women that make the commitment to be fulltime stay-at-home mom's are lucky, lazy, BORED, or any of the other adjective I may have missed, think again. 
YOU.ARE.WRONG.

When Stud and I decided, together, that I would take the editing position for an online transcription company, and then branch out to become my own contractor, we both had imagined me at home with the baby, and while he was at work and Ninja was away at school for most of the day I would have laundry put away, the house spotless, and dinner ready by the time they both returned home.  I think, perhaps, in Stud's mind I was even barefoot and wearing a cute little apron, with my hair dolled up and makeup on.  

The poor man.

Instead, what happened was, because I made myself "more available" I quickly got promoted to Teacher-Principal-Taxi Driver-House Keeper-Secretary-Financial Adviser-Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable Manager-Scheduler-Office Manager-Chef-Nurse-Nutritionist-Wedding Planner-Editor-Personal Contractor-Wife-In-Training-Stay-At-Home-Mom...  Say THAT 10 x's fast! Yep, I now hold the most important title I have ever held in my entire career life, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I love every last minute of my life.  Some have said they couldn't handle so much stress, but I prefer to call it a beautiful daze.  Every minute of my life is worth the commitments and sacrifices that I've made.  My eyes may appear tired, but they are not sad.  

That is why I've decided to change my name from Self Sufficient Mom to A Beautiful Daze.  It suits me and this blog much better.  While I have lived the majority of my motherhood as a very self sufficient mom, I no longer need to depend on myself for everything.  If I'm going to refer to myself as Self Sufficient, I would need to cut back on how much I talk about Stud and not give him so much credit.  That's just not possible. Therefore, as my life is changing, so should my title change to fit the new me.

Needless to say, blogging and any other "leisure" activity has simply fallen by the wayside recently, but I'm making an extreme effort to step up to the plate during the summer.  I'm going to do a little more writing, possibly even make a start at the book I've always wanted to write! Maybe that's moving a little too fast.  
Baby steps, April.  Baby steps.


Most importantly, I'm making the executive decision to ENJOY my children this summer! Less electronics for ALL of us and more rays of light, whether the sun is shining or not.  I follow a few other bloggy mom's (more like Super Heroes, in my eyes, because they manage to some how find time to write AND do all of the other things aforementioned) who have truly inspired me to use electronics only for necessities, and otherwise enjoy the simplicities with my children while I still have the chance to do so.  Stud doesn't know it yet, but he is going to get in on this too.  Oh yes, he is.

I'm sure he won't mind, as long as it means we get to spend more time on the boat and fishing! 



-------------------------

I didn't set any New Years Resolutions for myself, but I have set some goals for this summer, and the two on the top of my list are "connect more with friends & family in the real world and less through social media, and lose 20 lbs!"

I'm counting on my readers to hold me accountable for my goals.  I know I can do it with your support and encouragement.

Have you set goals for yourself this summer? I would love to hear about them!

Slowing down long enough to appreciate the beautiful things that keep me busy!