DIY Body Scrub

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So super easy, it needs no introduction. Moisturizing and exfoliating, yes please and thank you.

Supplies:

  1. Glass jar
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Sugar (or epsom salts)
  4. Essential oil of choice (I chose bergamot)

 

Mix the coconut oil, sugar, and about 20 drops of essential oil in your glass jar. I did not measure, but I would guess that my ratio of coconut oil to sugar was about 1:1. Just continue mixing and adding one or the other until it’s the consistency that you like.

I use this in the shower and looove it. I especially like that the coconut oil moisturizes my skin during the dry winter months. It’s so simple and I’m sure I’ll be making it over and over again, experimenting with different oils.  Just Google the benefits of bergamot oil…I sure don’t mind using it on the regular!

#TrueLifeMondays

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We all know that Mondays get a bad rap. And sometimes Mondays are just, well, a bit crappy, am I right? But I’ve decided to start a little something to hopefully lighten up those made-worse-because-it’s-Monday “tragedies” and remind me that not all things about Mondays are bad.

The bad truth about this Monday?

  • Three minutes before I had to leave for work, I dropped a container of pesto on my kitchen floor which proceeded to splatter all over my pants. Cue a frazzled rush to clean the floor, change my clothes, and finish making my lunch for the day.
  • I had a meeting by my work about an hour after I got off, so to kill some time, I decided to go the a Starbucks in a nearby Safeway and grab a chai. I was also hungry and even though I kept saying “don’t eat it, you’ll feel gross and it’s not good for you” I went to the food counter and bought chow mein. It didn’t even taste good but I kept eating it. Can we say “consciously bad food choice”? Ugh.
  • I got home later than usual and started making some nicoise salad sandwiches for dinner. As I was slicing baguettes, I stopped paying attention for a second and gave myself a bit of a scratch on my ring finger and a nice ⅛” slice in my pinkie. Lots of blood. I felt like a lousy cook (I haven’t cut myself in years!) and I felt bad that dinner ended up being late because of my absentmindedness.

But here’s the good truth about Monday:

  • My husband knows how to use super glue to close up a deep(ish) cut.
  • No one minded that dinner was late but me.
  • I finished my first book of 2016 today!
  • I’m finishing my day with tea and Jesus. Is there really anything better than that?

 

All in all, this wasn’t a bad Monday, but I’ve had better ones. And I’ve had worse ones.

Will you join me in this weekly challenge attempt? At the end of the day, sit down for a minute and reflect on your Monday. Post of picture of the mess your kid made on Instagram. Or your bandaged finger. Be able to laugh at it, and let’s stop pretending on social media that our days are perfect more often than not (whatever perfect means in this day and age). But all the while, remember that our blessings far outweigh our messes.

#truelifemondays – Rejoice in living!

 

Ten Favorites of 2015

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A year is a long time and granted, most people purchase quite a few things throughout the space of one year. I enjoy hearing about things that people use in their life on a daily basis and thought I’d share some of those types of discoveries from this past year with you.

So, in no particular order…

1. Short Rain Boots

You guys. I live in Oregon, and it rains A LOT. I also work at a grade school which means I’m in and out of the building a few times a day to be with my students during recess. Hence, rain boots are a bit necessary. I have a pair of knee high Hunter rain boots, but when I’m moving around with little kids all day, those can get a bit bothersome. The ankle length boot is so great and I’ve been known to wear them five days in a row with all kinds of outfits. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

2.  Leather Journal Bible

Journaling has been a big part of my life and the way I process things since I was about eleven years old. When the binding on my Bible completely fell apart, I knew I wanted to save up and invest in a leather journaling Bible, one that would last me for years to come. I found this shop on Etsy and worked with Susan to have a custom Bible made. I couldn’t find a journaling Bible that I liked anywhere else and Susan was absolutely wonderful to work with! I’d totally recommend her shop if you’re looking for any type of custom Bible or journal.

3. Makeup Eraser

I totally thought this was a hoax when I first saw it. There was no way that a cloth and water could remove all my makeup at the end of the day. But, after doing some research and reading reviews I decided to give it a try.

Oh.my.gosh. You must get one. I was a fan from day one. The best time that I ever used it? On my wedding night to remove all the wedding makeup (yes, it was a lot), including water-proof mascara. No joke, that mascara was no match for this washcloth.  This would be great for someone who doesn’t like to wash their face at night because the Makeup Eraser is so quick and easy to use. And going to bed with your makeup on is gross, okay?

4. Cast Iron Skillets

I would dare to say that our most used wedding present is a set of cast iron skillets. Now, these skillets also hold sentimental value to me. When my husband and I got engaged, my mom-in-love collected these skillets for us. She got them from thrift stores and re-seasoned them so that they would be ready to use in our new home. Cast iron is amazing and we use these every day. If you are careful to never use soap and always oil them a bit when you’re done using them, they just keep getting better and better with time. I can definitely say that I will never be without cast iron in my kitchen!

5. The Spark Planner

Over the past year or two, I’ve tried various planners attempting to find one that I could use easily…and every time I’d give up after a week or two. Most of them were too structured or not structured enough, and once I even tried making my own but failed miserably. I found out about the Spark Planner during their Kickstarter campaign and immediately thought that this might be the thing that works for me. Now, I will confess that I bought this in 2015, but have only been using it since the beginning of January (it is the 2016 planner after all). So why am I including it on this list? Because I know I’ll be using it all year long and I’m already planning on buying another one for next year. For the first time, I actually enjoy using a planner and look forward to using it! The genius about this planner is that it is goal-focused. The emphasis on yearly, monthly, and weekly goals really helps you think through your tasks and keeps you on track. This is critical for me as someone who can easily set goals but completely sucks at completing the small steps needed to achieve the goal. Or even really think of the small steps…

*The 2016 Spark Planner is all sold out, but you can pre-order the Spark Notebook that will be delivered in March. Check out with website for more info, but the main difference is that the notebook covers six months instead of twelve and it is NOT dated so you can start any time! It also includes lined pages for note taking. I might actually go with this for next year instead of the planner….we’ll see!

6. S’well Water Bottle

I love my water cold, cold, cold. And my pet peeve is having the ice cold water that I put in my water bottle in the morning warm up to room temperature in a few hours. I’m the same way with hot drinks. Who wants their hot tea to become lukewarm tea when you’re traveling with it? The S’well bottle fixes all my first world water bottle problems. When I first got it, I decided to test it out with some hot tea. Steaming hot tea went into the bottle around 7:00 pm and when I got up the next morning at 6:00 am, I opened the bottle and…

the tea was still steaming. Like, STEAM was coming from the bottle.

Sold. Their claim of keeping drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 is no joke.

7. Tangle Teezer

Using this is the only way I can comb my tangled hair without any pain. It’s amazing! I’ve used it exclusively since I bought it at the beginning of summer, and I don’t miss any of my old brushes. I’m loving it even more now because of how little I’m washing my hair. Lately, I’ve been washing my hair about every four days. (Don’t worry, I shower much more often than that!) I usually just finger-comb my hair on days that I don’t wash it because I like the texture and volume that my dirtier hair has (this is just sounding really gross, sorry) but that also means by the end of that time, my hair would normally be sooo painful to brush out. But not anymore, woohoo!

8. Essential Oils

Okay, so I feel like I’m cheating a bit by only counting this as one, because I now use essential oils for so.many.things.

Sleeping better. Seasonal, ahem, annoyances (curses!) brought about by pollen. Washing clothes. Skincare. Brushing my teeth. Boosting my immune system. Making my home smell like Christmas. Hand soap. Burns. Digestion. Cleaning every surface of my home.

You guys, it’s crazy. I love that by doing all these things I’m not just avoiding stuff that’s bad for me…I’m using things are are GOOD for me.

“Kids, clean the bathroom! It’s good for your health!” That’s totally what I plan on saying to my kids someday thanks to this amazin’ stuff.

I bought a kit back in April and it was probably the second best thing I did all year. (First best was marrying my husband, of course. And I always hesitate to for sure say it was the second best because what if I’m forgetting some super important thing? Yikes. Anyways, you get the picture.)

I know that there’s been a lot of hype lately about EO’s but I think it’s great that these oils that have been used for centuries are making it back into mainstream use! And the more I learn about how they work, the more I realize how incredible God made our bodies and our world. If you’re interested more about the science behind essential oils and why everyone should be using them, watch this Youtube video. So fascinating! Does anyone else like watching these kinds of things for fun? Please tell me I’m not alone.

9. iPhone

I know…this a bit embarrassing. I finally graduated myself from a cell phone with a slide out keyboard (not joking) to and iPhone. And besides looking so much cooler (or just thinking I do), I really get a lot of use out of it. I don’t think much more needs to be said about this one so…on to number ten!

10. Wedding Band

A second wedding band, actually. A couple of months after we got married, we spent less than $100 and got me a second wedding band. It’s very simple, just a plain rose gold band. We bought it for me to wear during times that I don’t want to wear my engagement ring/wedding band combo that has all the diamonds. More specially, I will mostly wear this band during vacations, traveling, missions trips, camping, etc. Any time when raised diamonds might get in the way or I don’t want to risk any of the diamonds falling out. I don’t want to ever have to be without a wedding ring though, so this was the best solution! And sometimes I just like the look of a plain band, so it’s fun to have that option.

 

There you have it! I’m sure the minute I hit “publish” I’ll think of another item that should have made it on this list, but right now it seems good to go. Maybe some of these you already have, but if one of them is new and the knowledge of it makes your life a bit better/easier/more fun, that’s great! I’d love to hear about some of your 2015 discoveries that you will be using for years and years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make It: Blanket Scarf

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The Blanket Scarf.

Ah, so wonderful. So big, so warm, so soft…wearing one feels like you’re still in bed.

But you’re not. 

What????

In short, if you’re not wearing them, you should. And might I suggest making your own? It’s so easy and it will be way less expensive than buying one. (Even if it’s from Target. shhh.)

Grab a Saturday afternoon and let’s get started!

 

SUPPLIES:

  1. A large square of fabric. Mine was about 48″x 48″. Feel free to go larger, but I wouldn’t suggest anything smaller than that.
  2. Thread in your choice of color.
  3. A good pair of fabric scissors.
  4. A sewing machine.

 

Okay, this is so easy. Cut your fabric to your desired size and then pick a stitch to use on your sewing machine. If you want to go subtle, choose a zig-zag stitch and use a thread color that matches your fabric. I wanted to try one of those decorative stitches on my machine that I’ve never used before.

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I chose stitch number 12. It looked cool. That’s all.

Grab your fabric and sew a continuous stitch around the entire piece of fabric. I stitched about 1-1.5 inches from the edge of the fabric.

This last part is the most time consuming but still simple. After you’re done stitching around the fabric, you’ll need to pull the horizontal threads of the fabric out on each side. Pull them out until you reach your stitching, and that will create the fringe on your scarf.

Here’s a closeup on how my edge looked when finished:

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After you finish pulling all those itty bitty threads, you’re done!

So…take your big square…

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Fold it into a triangle…

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And wear it like a shawl if you feel like it.

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And then realize your neck is freakin’ cold so wear the scarf like a…scarf. Gosh, it was so windy!

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Tada! You made a scarf! That’s pretty cool. ; )

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For the Sake of Reading

I used to read so much, all the time. Sadly, about the time I was going to school full time and working three jobs, I stopped reading as much (I wonder why…). Not only do I miss reading, but I firmly believe that reading has many benefits for your mind and soul. You can learn so much through the books you read, and reading a book forces you to slow down, sit still, and enjoy some alone time.

As a way to get me back to reading more, I’ve created a challenge for myself, dubbed #read10in12. (I’m trying to make it cool, therefore….hashtag. Sorry.) I’ve made a list of ten books that I want to read during 2016, five fiction and five nonfiction. Want to join? Pick your own ten books and get ready to read through 2016!

Here are my books choices if you want some inspiration. I tried to give myself a good variety of genres and topics.

FICTION

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel (Random House Reader’s Circle)

The Great Divorce

Sarah’s Key

In Search of the Castaways; Or, The Children of Captain Grant

Hearts In Atlantis

 

NONFICTION

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

In Detail

Husband and I got married just about four months ago. When we recently received our wedding photos from our photographer, I did the usual…go through all the photos and post the best and most favorite ones to Facebook. It’s the most efficient way to share our day of joy with family and friends across the world, but it does lack a certain personal touch.

As I looked through the photos, so many memories and feelings came flooding back. What I loved the most was that our photographer (the wonderful Darby Cisneros) caught some moments that are very special to me…but no one else would know why they are special just by looking at them. So, here’s an inside look on the most special moments of our wedding day.

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Our first look. I distinctly remember saying to myself, “Finally.” A nine month engagement turned into almost two years, and not under happy circumstances. The year before our wedding was both the worst year of our lives but the best at the same time. God gave us each so much growth during that time, and we longed for our wedding day so much. I remember reflecting on the past year in this moment when, on that day, we were finally going to be joined as husband and wife. Definitely the sweetest hug we’ve ever shared.
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This is Becky. She is a wonderful woman who saved my wedding for me. I didn’t really enjoy the planning part of the wedding. I’m not a detail-oriented person, and for the most part, wedding planning stressed me out. She took my very vaugue vision for our wedding and made it perfect. She put together all of our centerpieces, decorated the stage and our tables. When I walked out to see it all, I was brought to tears because it was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. I am forever grateful for all her hard work so that I could enjoy my day even more.
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This is my wedding bouquet, put together with flowers from the property that my great-grandfather used to own in Corbett. He passed away a few years ago, so it was special to have something representing him with me at my wedding. My husband and I also met in Corbett, so that was a meaningful connection as well.
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During our wedding ceremony, we had a time of worship where all of our guests and us spent some time singing together. Both my husband and I come from very musical families and we have music intertwined in our lives. I met my father-in-law when I was in high school; he was my choir teacher. I love worshipping my Savior with my husband and I’m so glad this moment was captured.
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As the celebration ended and we got in the car to go to our honeymoon, I gave my dad one last hug and he reached in and shook Peter’s hand. Their relationship has been an amazing one to watch. I’m so thankful for the role my dad had during our years of friendship, dating, and engagement. There is such mutual respect and love between the two of them and I love that you can see a glimpse of that in this picture!

 

 

You Have My Heart

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I started working in special education a little over one month ago. This is a letter to the student I work with the most, things that have been heavy on my mind that I wish he knew.

Dear D,

Little boy, you have my heart. That is what I want you to know most of all.

I have bruises from your hands hitting me and your feet kicking me. But you still have my heart. It’s not going anywhere. Yes, you’ve called me names and thrown tantrums in the middle of the school hallway. I won’t lie and say that it’s not hard. It is a very difficult job, taking care of your little self during school five days a week. You’ve brought me to tears because my soul hurts for you. I wonder why your first instinct is to hurt and defy. How I long for your heart to be healed!

It may be easy to let one tantrum or punch define a day, but I will not let it do so. You fill me with pride and joy and laughter on many occasions.

When I see you playing so kindly with friends.

When you tell me you’re drawing a “cotlet” cake and it takes me way too long to figure out you mean “chocolate”.

When we kick a soccer ball back and forth during recess and there is no animosity, just happiness.

When you wrap your arms around me and lay your head on my shoulder because you’re too tired to stand by yourself.

When you, without any prompting, apologize for hurting me.

When your suspenders and glasses make you look like someone fifteen times your age.

When you get so excited you almost forget to breathe.

When you break the line in PE to run over and give me a hug.

D, I smile just thinking about these things.

I will always have your back, when you’re sad or mad or happy. When other kids try to take advantage of your reputation, I will defend you. There is no worse feeling than when I hear you ask the child next to you to be your friend…and they say no. It takes everything in me not to run up and hold you in my arms and tell you that I love you, that I will always be your friend.

Someday, maybe you’ll read this or you and I will meet again, under different circumstances.

I pray that God will use the little amount that I can do you for you now to change your life, heal your wounds, and take away the burdens you carry.

You have my heart, and someday I hope you know how much.

-Mrs. K