DIY facial cleansing rounds {recipe}

These simple yet functional rounds make freshening up a breeze. They are made with therapeutic grade essential oils and natural ingredients. Yay! What are you waiting for?

IMG_8403Here’s what you’ll need:

Here’s how to make:

Gently whisk together fractionated coconut oil, Lavender, Melaleuca, witch hazel & water in a glass dish. Take your 4-ounce glass jar and fill with about 15 cotton rounds. Pour mixture over cotton rounds and seal. Now, whenever you need to refresh or clean up your face in a hurry, these gentle rounds will be ready!

Isn’t it great to D-I-Y?

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33 years in the making

IMG_8334In honor of my 33rd birthday– just for fun– here are some little-known facts about me:

 

1. My first name is Jenny not Jennifer.
2. I am a huge foodie but some of my faves are shrimp tempura sushi & french fries.
3. I have one sister, no brothers and lots of cousins.
4. My word of the year is THRIVE. I’m trying to apply this to all areas of my life.
5. I once won the audience prize on The View but it kind of wound up being a total bust. I don’t watch the show anymore (for many reasons…)!
6. John Piper is my homeboy.
7. My favorite TV show as a kid was Ghostwriter.
8. If I could add any flavor to my coffee it would be creme brulee.
9. I recently quit caffeine. Yawn.
10. Growing up I was sure my daughter’s name was going to be Bianca. Yeah, that never happened.
11. My favorite essential oil blend is Balance. And Serenity. And Digestzen.
12. I am a night owllll. My kids are morning people. It’s a fun combination.
13. The book “Created to Be His Help Meet” inspired me to be a better wife.
14. I married a “Mr. Steady.”
15. Though my husband and I went to the same high school, we really got to know each other through chatting on ICQ. (He sent me a flower.)
16. This year we’ll celebrate 12 years of marriage.
17. And 5 kids.
18. We said we were going to have 17.
19. #onlytimewilltell  😉😉
20. My favorite essential oil is Lavender. And Lime. And Vetiver.
21. I’ve never been on the West Coast but hope to change that this year.
22. I don’t have a cell phone.
23. Bubble baths are my jam.
24. I love Boggle.
25. And Zulily.
26. And Amazon Prime.
27. I never enjoyed reading as a kid but now I love it!
28. I love the mountains (I love the rolling hills. Boom De Ah Da).
29. All of my kids have names that are either from the Bible or derivatives of Bible names.
30. I started working at age 13. First a babysitter, then a waitress, then a hostess, store clerk, Disney gift shop attendant, telemarketer, administrative assistant, technical writer.
31. I fell in love with writing in the 4th grade when I won a writing contest. I think it was the first thing I really felt like I succeeded at, so I ran with it!
32. My college degree is in Professional Writing & Public Relations.
33. My parents were small business owners when I grew up, so were/are my in-laws. Now my husband manages a small business and I run my own essential oils business. It’s in my blood!

A well-spent life

Where does it all go? That’s a question I’m often asking myself.

When I think about spending habits, I’m certain to first think of money. Maybe I’m more of a consumer than I should be but, let’s face it, raising a growing family puts a little bit of a dent in your bank account. I think it’s safe to say most of us try to be cognizant of our spending habits when it comes to money. But what about other expenditures?

Like time.

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Where does time go? Yesterday my baby was swaddled in my lap, pink skin touching mine as he nursed. Today he’s days away from taking his first steps. Time flies.

Lately I’ve been thinking about whether or not I’m a “good spender”– of both my time and my money. I think I’m pretty fiscally responsible. I can budget with the best of them. But budgeting my money isn’t just about pinching every single penny to get the most monetary value out of it. It’s also about pinching every penny to get the most life value out of it.

If I were so concerned about stretching every single dollar to the fullest monetarily, I would never eat at a restaurant again (because, of course, it’s way cheaper to cook your own food); I would walk to my neighbors instead of take my van (because, of course, gas costs money and, well, walking doesn’t); I’d never buy portioned, pureed applesauce pouches for my kids (because, of course, whole apples are cheaper).

But sometimes in life it’s not purely about monetary value. It’s also about life value.

Last year my husband and I committed to once a week at-home date nights. He was working long hours and time was just so limited. Even though his paycheck had not increased, we decided that we would make $25 takeout a priority. And, you know what, God saw us through. We did not find ourselves in want or lacking anything last year. Quite the contrary, we found ourselves full, our marriage full, from that one, small expense.

Over 10 years ago when I was expecting my first child, we needed a new mattress. We could have gotten by with the cheapest one on the market but, instead,  we decided to purchase a Sleep Number bed with the rationalization that it would help us both have better-quality sleep. We also knew that this was just the beginning of my childbearing years and very likely I would find myself pregnant again (4 more times to date!) and a good mattress would be helpful. And, indeed, has it been helpful! Something as simple as a mattress, has incredible life value to us.

Lately I’ve been thinking about taking my kids to the park more often. It’s something we all enjoy so much but the problem is that we don’t have a park super-close by. Meaning that every park is about 10 miles away. However, I thought about date night and where we were at just a year ago– hardly ever enjoying a date together– and where we are today and I think, the 20 miles round trip to the park will be so worth it. Yes, it will cost some gas money but I believe it will be a small price to pay. How soon it will be that my kids are all grown and too big for monkey bars and jungle jims and tires swings! Am I really going to forgo this aspiration just because it’s going to set me back a couple of bucks?

This same principle can be applied to the spending of time.

My husband and I agreed about a year ago that one thing we wanted to impress upon our children was how to spend time wisely and be productive in life. Do we always set the best example? Of course not! But what a great motivation to try harder, knowing little eyes are watching!

So, when I look at my average day, I try to question myself: Am I spending my time well? For our family the majority of my time goes into taking care of my family and training my children. What an incredible responsibility! And time well spent for sure. Some other ways I choose to spend my time are reading God’s word daily, growing a business from home and having evening alone hours after everyone is in bed. There are, of course, other ways I spend my time but these are my priorities right now.

Just like with money, some things take more time but have greater life value. Examples being: taking a road trip rather than traveling by plane to get somewhere, baking bread with the kids instead of buying it, using your God-given gifts to help others instead of watching TV, preparing your family’s favorite meal instead of making boxed macaroni & cheese as an afterthought. How we spend our time really, truly matters. How terrifying and liberating at the same time!

For me, it’s been so helpful to just spell it all out. Just like it’s helpful to have a budget on paper with numbers and guidelines and goals, it’s the same way with our time. Knowing where we want to spend our time can actually help us to get there. It can help us say no to the things that we need to say no to and allow room to say yes to the things we need to say yes to.

As a recovering fearful spender, I say to you–don’t ever be afraid of spending, be it time or money. When your days are up and God calls you home, time and money will be of no good to you. Do your best to be a good steward of all He has given to you. Don’t be frivolous with it, don’t waste it, don’t take it for granted. Strive to have a well-spent life.

With a light wallet & a full heart,

Jenny

 

New video series on YT: DIYdinners!

Hey friends! I’ve got so many exciting ideas floating around in my head and this has been one of them! Hoping to be able to showcase what we had for dinner in a week (roughly!) to help inspire others to enjoy their time in the kitchen. Check out the first DIYdinners video here!

And– please!!– subscribe to my channel. It would mean so much to me! 💓

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The necessity of self care (part one)

Lately I’ve been feeling awful. Though I can’t really pinpoint one specific ailment, I’ve just felt all-around junky. My attitude has been bad, my mood has been swinging and my energy has been low. I’m not here to complain but just to explain to you all where I am at.

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The thing is, I’m no stranger to feeling like this. I try to give myself a little props though– I’ve been pregnant or nursing for all but one year of the past ten years. My hormones have been up and down, my sleep patterns have been up and down, overall my health has been up and down. But I press on.

A few years ago, between babies, I got to the point where I felt the worst I had ever felt. It got so bad that I was waking up, taking care of the kids for an hour or two only to collapse back onto the couch and fall asleep– a deep sleep– for a few more hours. Then headaches came on every.single.day. And I reached my breaking point.

I was concerned that I was having thyroid issues (which sometimes can happen temporarily after a baby). The thought sort of bothered me because I really didn’t want to have to rely on a medication to feel better.  In the end, it was confirmed that I was suffering from something altogether different– candida overgrowth.

It may sound silly but I was kind of happy with the diagnosis. I was familiar with the condition and knew that a few simple (but big) changes should result in a complete restoration of well-being. And I was right. I changed my diet to include mostly whole foods, steered clear of grains and sugars and added a bunch of supplements that my body was lacking– including a good probiotic, extra vitamin D, a fiber powder and more.

After a short time, I felt better than I had felt in YEARS. It was incredible. My energy was through the roof and my headaches disappeared (I’d also eliminated dairy products due to a sensitivity I didn’t know I had). I lost 10 pounds without even trying. The changes were so profound not just for me, but for my whole family who I was given charge over.

Fast forward to today. Here I am a couple of years (and another beautiful baby!) later and I’m starting to feel pretty UGH again. I’ve let my healthy lifestyle slip away. My hormones are definitely shifting again but I suspect there’s some other stuff going on as well. The positive thing is… I now know how to take care of my body. I know what it’s like to feel good and to truly be healthy and I am taking the steps to get back there. I realize now (again!) that I need to take those big (but simple!) steps toward taking care of little ole me.

This is not a self-centered approached, as I’ve often let myself think. Moms, this is about making sure we are on top of our game. I need to be a side-kick (help-meet) and cheerleader to my husband. I need to be a nurturer and teacher to my children. When I can barely peel myself out of bed in the morning and my head is throbbing, I am no good to anyone. And that’s not good or noble or God-honoring.

I know, Lord willing, that I can feel better. And so can you. Yes, our families need us but they need a high-functioning, healthier version of us.

Because I’ve rambled, I’m breaking this into two parts. The next post, part two, will spell things out a lot better and give practical solutions to combating this dilemma that plagues so many of us DIYparents. Let’s do this together! Stick around to read more!

With eagerness,

Jenny

Looking past interuptions

It’s as if something clicked. I was contemplating some mom struggles I’ve been having lately. And then I realized– I’m so frustrated with the kids lately (as in the past six months) because they’ve been interrupting me. Both literally and figuratively my kids have been interrupting me. They’ve been not only rudely jumping into conversations when they shouldn’t be but they’ve also been getting in my way of accomplishing what I want.

Ugh. Just typing that out is so ugly. So convicting.IMG_4046.PNG

My thoughts, while most definitely were silently occurring in my head, were as deafening as a nearby freight train. And also as frightening.

My kids are distracting me. That’s the lie I was feeding myself.

Distracting me from seemingly good things– a quiet morning cup of coffee, my daily devotional time with the Lord, an important conversation with a sister.

Yes, my kids need to learn obedience, they need to learn when to talk and when to refrain from talking, but I am just as guilty.

I need to learn that what I want to be doing is not always the task God has put right in front of me. My kids, my husband, my family– they need me. And they need a gentler, less frazzled, more-grace-extending version of me. Not only that, but they need to know, to feel, to see that they matter and they are worth my time and my energy.

It’s so easy to become sidetracked with good works– and for me this is my love language, this is how I feel loved and how I love others. But sometimes I forget that just going through the motions of motherhood is not enough and is surely not God-honoring. Slapping a heaping spoonful of home-cooking onto a paper plate with a begrudging attitude and a hardened heart is not love. It’s rebellion and a reflection of my brokenness.

And boy am I so broken sometimes.

But, then, there’s grace. There’s a loving Father extending an open hand saying, come to me, let me carry these burdens with you, my grace is sufficient.

And so this momma gives it another shot. I approach another day, another week with a refined outlook. I try not to cling to what went wrong in past weeks but learn and grow and look forward.

This time, I’ll try not to look at knotted hair as just another head that needs brushing but a beautiful daughter that needs my undivided attention for that five minute task. I’ll try not to look at requests for seconds at the dinner table as a pesky child always wanting more but a little boy who is growing and already appreciates the blessing of good food.

This shift will not come easily, for sure, but it is necessary and desired and a step toward right-reaping.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Each day I am thankful for a new chance, new opportunities to live this life to the full and to honor God with what He’s given me. This week, and in the weeks ahead, I’ll keep trying to do better…

With determination,

Jenny

The myth of “doing it all”

I recently made the decision to relaunch my essential oils business and I also joined a friend in a developing a homeschooling co-op and, ohh yeah, I had a baby a few months ago too. This is not me trying to brag, this is just telling you about my season of life right now. I am just like any other busy mom– we’ve all got a lot going on.

IMG_3411But because of my obvious busy-ness, I’ve been getting some questions– how do you do it? or how do you do it all?

And it’s got me thinking… just what is doing it all? I guess to most moms it’s managing the household. For some of us it’s homeschooling our children. For others it’s working outside the home. It’s keeping up with the messes, the laundry, the dishes, the bubble baths.

But really friends, I’m here to tell you that doing it all is just as much of a myth as having it all. It’s just not possible.

Just like there is always going to be a better car (minivan!) to drive, a larger house to own, a better (or more minimalistic) wardrobe to own– there is always going to be mom stuff not done. One more dish in the sink, another load of laundry left unfolded, a garden not weeded or a cranky child that just will not go to sleep.

If I spend my days chasing after getting it all done– and that’s all I find my satisfaction in– I will miss out. I will miss out on sweet afternoon snuggles, opportunities to teach my children how to bake cookies, giggles over bubble bath beards.

Yes, I want to be an awesome homemaker. I try to have clean underwear for my husband after he gets home from work and is desperate need of a shower. I try to make dinner– not always from scratch– every night. I try to run my dishwasher every night. So, I haven’t given up. I haven’t stopped attempting to get better at this thing called wifehood & mommyhood. But I have, at times, lowered my standards, settling for “good enough” instead of “perfect.”

So, in case no one has told you, I will. “Doing it all” is a big fat myth. Something has gotta give somewhere. Choices have to be made– get extra laundry done today or play in the sprinkler with the kids, skip going out to lunch with a friend to catch up on housework, pick up takeout for dinner so we can deep clean the car before vacation. It’s all about give and take.

At times I may look like I have more on my plate and am handling it better than someone else is. And at other times I look like a hot mess (probably because I am)! While it’s great to have friends to look up to and who encourage you to be a better person, it’s not always great to compare yourself to others. Right now, I have big kids who help me out a lot but just a few short years ago I was that always-frazzled mom with 3 kids aged 5 and under. That was tough.

I just want to encourage you all to do the absolute best you can do with where you are in life and with what is before you right now. And when you don’t have the strength to handle it all on your own– which I’m telling you, you won’t– turn to God and He will give you rest for your soul. He will help you carry your burdens and He will sustain you. Keep working hard and keep setting goals for yourself and aspirations for your family but also keep giving yourself grace. You can’t do it all, nor were you meant to.

With encouragement,

Jenny

 

 

 

 

Schedule summer? Why, yes, I think I will!

While most kids are just beginning their summer vacation, we’ve been “free” for about 3 weeks now! While it’s true we do homeschooling year-round, we definitely kick it down a couple notches come May. The weather is just too nice to stay indoors so much and the whole family (me especially!) is itching for a change of pace.

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So, here we are the first official week of June and things are… already chaotic. The kids long for structure and I long for a cleaner house!

It’s been decided, in an attempt to abate the chaos, we are starting our summer schedule this week!

 

Monday Make Food Monday

(cooking/baking meal prep for the week)

Tuesday Friends Day

(we’re gone for the day at our co-op and then run our errands)

Wednesday Movie Matinee

(after a busy Tuesday the kids just need to relax so a movie & snack is perfect today)

Thursday Thoughtful Thursday

(work on projects like baking cookies for a friend or writing letters to a relative)

Friday Fun Afternoon Friday

(field trip or afternoon at the playground or creek)

On the days we are home in the morning– usually every day but Tuesday– we pretty much operate under the same schedule. It’s our afternoons that are a bit trickier to navigate! Here’s what our mornings at home look like:

-Breakfast

-Devotional Time

-AM Chore Time

-Legos or Outside Play

-Lunch

-PM Chore Time

-CHAOS

It is my hope that this afternoon time, when things tend to get a bit loose around here, will now be replaced with the activity of the day!

Now if only we can come up with a better chore plan…

With anticipation,

Jenny

New beginnings

Life is full of new beginnings. Right now in our house we are experiencing lots of new beginnings: A new[ish] baby in the house. Two new beehives in the front yard. A new homeschool co-op along with new friends. A new shoe size for my toddler. The new just never ends. And it’s wonderful.

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I am not a person who fears change. I usually dive in with both feet and buy a new pair of shoes to do it in! It’s when things don’t change, that’s when I struggle. Though contentment is not something I’ve mastered, it is something I am working on.

So, if you’ve been with me over the years you may have noticed that consistency hasn’t always been my strongest asset. But that’s okay. I never claimed to be perfect. I only ever vowed to be real. And with real-life comes lots of “new”s, lots of changes and then many seasons of stagnancy (or, more likely, seasons of survival mode).

With this new beginning, this new launch of DIYparenting, I can promise almost nothing. I hope to be able to embrace writing, sharing and connecting with you in a whole new way now that my household is no longer filled with only littles. But who knows?! Thank you for sticking by me and reading my posts even if they were unpredictable!

Please hang on just a little bit longer. New content is on it’s way. And I can’t wait to share it with you.

With thanksgiving,

Jenny