Art teacher: Your son is, like, an artistic genius.  But, he’s disruptive in class.  I need him to take it down a notch.

Me: Yeah, it’s like that in school, too.  I don’t really know what to tell you, but if you can email me exactly what he is doing, then I can ask his teachers how they manage it.

Is normal overrated?

Because if it exists, I could use some.


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An Announcement! (and evidently my job history)

It’s been five years since I’ve had a ‘job’.  I am a stay at home mom, so I am definitely working, but I have not been contributing to the household financially.  I have been very happy with this arrangement, because I love being with my kids (most of the time), staying in my jammies all day, and not having to deal with a commute or structured work hours.

But now that my daughter is in preschool, and will be in Kindergarten in a couple years, my view is shifting.  I will have all day…. to do…. what?  Ok, to be honest I could fill my day with all kinds of fun activities – running, yoga, swimming, going shopping and out to lunch, or especially spending an obscene amount of time with my guilty pleasure – Facebook.   *Note – if this is my husband reading this, I am totally cooking and cleaning all day.

But there’s something inside of me that needs a change.  I need to feel useful.  I need to achieve.  I want to be successful.  I want to talk to adults again!

Looking back through my work history, I have always had somewhat flexible jobs.  Those that were not flexible lasted no longer than a year.  The standard 9-5 job does not work with my personality.  To say I do not like structure is an understatement.  As a teen, I was a lifeguard and worked on the city crew (both summer jobs), I worked for the tennis coach in college, but was able to choose the hours and days I would work.  I worked for my dad stocking Little Debbie for a season.  Moved to South Carolina to do some temp work, and eventually land a ‘real job’ in accounting (which only lasted a year, too much of the same!).  I then started working for a church directory company where I traveled to different places everyday to photograph families.  That was fun!

I moved back to Ohio and started a photography company in late 2002.  We specialized in School photos and Weddings, and over the course of eight years, I was able to build it into a nice little business.

Then my husband and I decided to have kids!  I realized quickly that I would not be able to run a full time business, and also be a full time mom, so I gave up the business.


Which leads me to this moment – I have become a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA!  Choosing this company was not random.  A seed was planted more than two years ago by Lisa Menning, which piqued my interest to do more research on doTERRA and find out what they were all about.   I love the products and I love what the company stands for.  Pure, safe, and effective essential oils, which are already helping me in several ways.  I love the idea of healthy, organic, and pure living.  Finding ways to help myself and others achieve healthy living through the use of these potent oils, without harmful or toxic chemicals is exactly the kind of company I want to be a part of.

Sharing doTERRA is a choice I have made, mainly because I get to set my own hours, to work as little or as much as I want to or am able to!

What does this mean?  Well, it means I will be sharing these oils with others.  I will be doing facebook parties and in home parties for those who are interested.  If I see a need, I will try to help you.  My intention is not to annoy you, or to make you scared to talk to me.  I am still me!  I am laid back and practical.  Your choices and decisions are yours and I will respect them.  But I will be here to help, if you choose.

Soon, I will be hosting a facebook party called Intro to Essential Oils.  You can be a part of it while wearing your pajamas and sitting on your couch!  If you are interested or curious, this will be a great place to start.  Also, there will be giveaways!!

I’m excited!  This is a new beginning for me, and a new journey!  I’m looking forward to increased happiness and healthiness for my family!

Thanks for reading friends – have a great day!

My site:

(Please note, you do not have to share doterra with others, many people simply enjoy the benefits of using the oils, without working it as a business).

*Photo credit: Jeannette Palsa


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One Small Thing

My house is a disaster.  There is clutter everywhere.  The worst part is that when I clean a room, or part of a room, it is just as messy the very next day.  And when I say ‘clean’, I really mean ‘declutter’, because let’s face it, there’s only so much time.  Other than the kitchen and bathrooms, my house doesn’t get much attention.  I don’t really need to decorate for Halloween, because the dust and spiderwebs are already up.  There is definitely more I could do on a day to day basis, but when the kids don’t need my immediate attention, and we aren’t playing, I choose to relax and ‘check out’ online.  Cleaning can’t compete with that.

I have visions of my house being organized, clean, and free of clutter.  It’s so appealing to think of living in a space like that, but the enormity of taking on that project is so intimidating that I can’t even start.  And like I said, what is clean today, is a mess tomorrow.

Having said that, I’ve decided to try something different.  I’m going to try and clean one small space every day.  Depending how I feel that day, it may be a really small space.  Or one small thing.  The difference is that I’m really going to clean it, not just declutter it.  So, instead of just moving crap around every day, I’m going to look at a space and first decide if anything needs to be donated, then clean, and then move the rest around into an eye pleasing arrangement.

I tried it out yesterday, deciding to do one corner of my family room.

Here is one corner of my family room.  No, I'm not joking.

Here is one corner of my family room. No, I’m not joking.

I even cheated a little bit with this photo, because there was a table in the corner with crap on it.  I moved that into Logan’s room, and put his Little People play sets on it.  You can see my problem here, right?  Too many toys!  Our basement is not finished, and we have already designated our dining room as the ‘Thomas the Train’ room.  Where is all this stuff supposed to go?

I moved everything out of that corner, vacuumed, cleaned the baseboards and wood around the window, and cleaned the toys that went back into place.  I am going to have to make some hard decisions about the toys.  Some can go into the kid’s rooms, but others need to be donated or sold.  I moved a few into the ‘donation room’, and the others were moved into another area of the family room, because I want to see what toys don’t seem to be generating any interest at all.

The after photo.  How long can this last?

The after photo. How long can this last?

So, here is the new space.  I am going to get some shelving this weekend, and that will help with some of the loose toys.  If anyone else has any other suggestions, I am open to them!

Posted in Home, One Small Thing, Simplifying | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Buckwheat and Delicious Curry

A month or so ago, I bought some buckwheat at the store.  I sometimes buy things that I find interesting, even if I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with it.  It sat in my pantry, because recipes usually call for rice, pasta, or quinoa.  I finally decided to cook it, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Buckwheat is actually a seed, but it cooks like a grain.  You simply cook it at a ratio of 1 cup buckwheat : 2 cups water.  Easy.  I only made a cup in case it was really gross, which of course, it wasn’t.  Buckwheat does not contain any wheat, despite half of its name being ‘wheat’, so if you are avoiding wheat for whatever reason, you can still eat buckwheat.

Uncooked Buckwheat

Uncooked Buckwheat

Cooked Buckwheat

Cooked Buckwheat

In the meantime, I was making this amazing curry that I found on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Blog.  Yes, that blog has a lot of great desserts on it, but as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew it had my name all over it.  I have made it several times, because who doesn’t love coconut milk, peanut butter, and red curry.  Yum!  I am not going to write out the recipe here, but rather send you over to her blog to drool over it and her many other recipes.  Click here for Thai Coconut & Peanut Butter Curry.

It worked really well mixed with the buckwheat, which continued to soak up the curry, like rice would.  I love all the veggies, and if you don’t have exactly what she calls for, you can sub what you have in your fridge.  I have a feeling I will be making this dish many, many times in the future!

Thai Coconut & Peanut Butter Curry

Thai Coconut & Peanut Butter Curry

Thai Coconut & Peanut Butter Curry on Buckwheat.

Thai Coconut & Peanut Butter Curry on Buckwheat.



Posted in Food, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is a traditional Costa Rican dish of black beans and rice.  The literal translation of gallo pinto is ‘painted rooster’, and the reason is because the rice and beans mixed together (somehow) looks like a painted rooster.  But no worries, there were no roosters harmed in the making of our dish.  In my last post, I shared my recipes for both black beans and rice, and this is a way to combine them with a few additional ingredients to make a super delicious dish.  The secret to this recipe is Lizano Salsa. If you cannot find Lizano locally, you can purchase it on amazon or elsewhere online.  You will not be disappointed.

To make gallo pinto, you will need the following:

  • 2 – 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 onion (diced or chopped)
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic (fresh or from jar)
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (with liquid)
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1/8 cup of Lizano Salsa (more or less depending on taste)
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in pan and saute onions, garlic, and red pepper until soft.

2. Add black beans and cook on medium/high heat for 10 minutes.  Make sure there is sufficient liquid in beans (either from the juice they were cooked in or you can add vegetable broth if they need it).

3. Add in Lizano Salsa and mix well.

4. Add in rice and mix well.  Once heated through, turn off burner and remove from heat.  Serve and garnish with cilantro.

Gallo Pinto is traditionally served for breakfast, but I like to eat mine any time of the day!

A little bowl of gallo pinto is a great way to start the day!

A little bowl of gallo pinto is a great way to start the day!

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Rice And Beans

This month I am participating in Vegan MoFo, which means Vegan Month of Food.  If you are not vegan, that’s ok, you can just think of it as ‘Month of Food’.  In fact, I think the label scares people away sometimes, which is too bad.  I love to eat, and I eat really delicious foods, so there is no reason to think that vegan food is bland or boring.  In fact, the variety of foods I eat now has increased dramatically since ‘giving up’ meat and dairy.  I’ll be posting about some of my favorite foods and products this month, and I hope you enjoy what I’ll be posting about.  And now……… on to rice and beans.  So simple & so delicious.

Rice & beans are easy to make, and when you have them cooked and ready in your fridge, you can easily throw them together with some veggies and/or more protein and you have a meal!  It makes ‘what’s for dinner tonight’ a little easier, because now you have a base on which to build.  I should add that my husband is from Costa Rica, so rice and beans are his staple foods, and he got me hooked on them as well.

I like to make about 3 cups of rice at a time and 3 & 1/2 cups of beans at a time.  You probably want to cut the serving in half, unless you plan to eat rice & beans every day, or if you are going to freeze some.

Black Beans: We prepare our beans in a pressure cooker.  It’s a fast and efficient way to cook many different foods, especially beans.  Before cooking the beans, I soak them overnight so they get softer.  This allows them to cook for less time in the pressure cooker.  My husband bought our pressure cooker more than ten years ago, and the brand we have is Chef’s Design.    If you do not have a pressure cooker, and aren’t interested in getting one, you can still soak the beans overnight and then boil them, but it will take a couple hours for them to cook vs. 18 minutes.  (You can also buy cooked canned beans and saute them with the onions and garlic if you don’t want to deal with dried beans.)

Here is what you need for the beans (12-15 servings):

3 cups black beans
1-2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion (diced or chopped)
3 tbsp minced garlic (we use the kind in a jar, that is already minced)
1 tbsp salt

1. Rinse the beans well until the water runs clear.  (Do not skip this step!)

2. Put the beans in a pitcher (or another container) and fill with water.  Make sure there’s  enough water for the beans to grow to three times their size.  Let them sit over night.  If you don’t have time for that, at least let them sit for three hours.  (If you only let them soak for a few hours, you will have to increase the time in the pressure cooker by about 10 minutes.)

3. Heat oil in the pressure cooker (with the lid off) and saute onions & garlic until they are soft.

4. Add in the beans and water, the salt, and put the top on the pressure cooker and seal.  Turn your oven burner on high. Wait for the cooker to start releasing pressure, turn the burner to low, and set the timer for 18 minutes.

5. Once the timer goes off, turn off the burner, and remove the cooker from the heat.  The pressure cooker will take a while to release all it’s pressure, and you will hear a click when it does.  This usually takes about a half hour, but if you need to eat your beans right away, then put the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over it.  This helps it cool down, and you can open the top in a few minutes.

Rice: I have been working toward eating only brown rice since white rice is stripped of nutrients, but my husband strongly prefers white.  If you choose brown over white, the main difference I’ve found is that you need to use more water, because brown absorbs more, and brown rice takes longer to cook.  Cooking times for either type of rice may vary, so you need to keep checking and stirring your rice as you go.

Here is what you need for the rice (12-15 servings):

3 cups white rice (or brown)
4 & 1/2 cups water (you will need 6 cups if using brown rice)
1-2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 onion (diced or chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 tbsp salt

1. Saute oil in pot and saute onions and carrots until soft.

2. Add in water and rice, flax seed and salt.  Stir together and turn burner on high until boiling.  Once boiling, turn burner to low and put lid on the pot.

3. Continue to check and stir rice every few minutes until the water is absorbed (about 20-40 minutes).  Remove from heat.

And that’s it –  side dishes for a week!  On the next blog post, I will be making one of my favorite dishes from the rice and beans – gallo pinto!

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Klean Kanteen

It seems like people are obsessed with bottled water.  Suddenly, water from the sink just won’t do.  Even though the bottled water is from some other tap (in New Jersey), we think that it is superior.  Also, it is also convenient.  Just grab and go when you head out the door.

But, what about all the waste those bottles create?  I think it’s safe to say that most people are not refilling those plastic water bottles.  They are just throwing them in the garbage, or hopefully, in the recycling bin.

I started to feel guilty whenever I bought one of those bottles.  So, I started seeking out a permanent solution.  I had reusable plastic water bottles in the past, but sometimes I could taste the plastic, and it wasn’t good for keeping drinks hot or cold.  And it would sweat, which is really annoying.

Then I discovered stainless steel insulated water bottles.  They look good, come in a ton of colors, sizes and have different options for the mouth of the bottle.  Best of all, since it is insulated, you can keep liquids cold or hot for several hours.   Originally, I had a HydraSip,but I lost it earlier this year (I’m secretly still looking for it).  I couldn’t believe how much I missed my bottle.  Everywhere I went, I felt thirsty.  When I tried to buy another one, I found that the company was out of business.  At least, the website seemed a little sketchy, and was not working properly.  So, I did some research, and people had nice things to say about the Klean Kanteen.  I ordered it from amazon, and while $25 might seem pricey fora water bottle, that’s really nothing compared to how much it gets used.  Everywhere I go, it’s with me.  I don’t leave the house without it.  When I go to bed, it’s on my night stand.  When I watch t.v., it’s holding my hand.

I only use it for water, and it really helps me NOT drink other sugary/bad stuff throughout the day.  I always put a few ice cubes in it, and since it’s insulated, it always stays cold.  I usually keep the lid off, so the ice melts, but when I leave the lid on, the ice stays in there for longer than you would expect.  The insulation also means that when you pick it up, your hand doesn’t freeze.  It keeps a nice temperature outside no matter how hot or cold your drink is inside.

No matter what you drink out of, consider using a vessel that is reusable.  It’s so much better for our environment.

My constant companion.

My constant companion.

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