Monday, December 31, 2012

Our little Christmas

Happy New year’s eve! After seeing all the pictures of friends doing parties, games, and food with their kiddos tonight, I started to think that we were pretty lame for all going to bed early, as usual, and then I remembered that we have young kids. Ha ha! I guess parties will happen when they can stay up later and not get cranky, right? Hope everyone is having a great time tonight:)

We had a lovely, quiet, little Christmas this year. Shaun did not work on Christmas, like many years in the past, and that was a wonderful gift. We were able to get some presents for the kids starting back in August. Another huge blessing. It was a good day.

We got the boys remote controlled cars, and they loved them!







Fun hats from Aunt Dana, and a Kindle fire from Shaun!



I always like to get Shaun nice clothes from Target. He’s so sweet, and wears anything I get him. It’s like having your own Ken doll:)


Brooke was happily swimming in paper.




Playing on the kindle with Kevin, and the house aftermath.



And that was our happy day. Just playing with the kids and their toys, watching “Christmas story”, and staying in pajamas all day. Best way to spend the day.

I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone. This year has flown by. We learned so much this year, and were greatly blessed. It started out rocky and fearful, yet we were strengthened in our trials, and learned great lessons. Humbling times. I’m still trying to grasp all the great things I’ve learned this year, and yet, 2013 is tomorrow! I’m not ready, ahh! Yet, more great memories lie ahead. What a gift life is. I still can’t stop thinking of the families in Connecticut who lost their children. My heart aches for them, and I am constantly reminded to savor every moment I have with my family. I’m so thankful for it all.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and is having a little party of their own tonight. My party, since everyone is asleep, is to get under my down comforter, and watch a little more of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. A bit of a change from the days of sitting on my friend’s roof in Vegas with a bunch of friends, and watching the fireworks go off from the strip, but it’s something:)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Our family pictures 2012

My kind friend Addie White took our pictures for us this year, and I love them. Here’s a peek from the shoot:)


Looking at these pictures, I see the growth and change from last year to this year. For one, we’ve lost so much weight since cutting out processed foods. My jeans are huge on me in these pictures. These were taken at the end of October. I wasn’t prepared to drop pant sizes from a 16 to a recent 10. It feels so good. I’m a firm believer that eating processed free is way more effective than weight watchers or any other diet. It’s just so fabulous.

Two, I just love my family so much. My sweet boys, and little darling Brooke. The first picture blows me away; everyone is looking at the camera! Amazing! Ethan and Brooke’s expression cracks me up, just chilling.

I love being a mom. I love stopping what I’m doing, sitting on the ground anywhere in the house, and holding Ethan or Kevin for a few moments. I think one of the best things you can give your kids is ‘holding’ time, just wrap your arms around them, and help them feel safe. Love doing that for them.

Ethan is getting so big and doing so much better. His eyes twinkle when he smiles and laughs, and his whole face lights up. He’s so handsome and darling.

Kevin is a giggling little ball of fury. He’s going through his mischievous phase of being three. This week, I turned the oven on to make Christmas cookies with the boys. After a few minutes, I smelled a very bad smoke smell, and saw white smoke coming out from the broiler area. I opened it, and found some shoes for Brooke that Kevin hid in there. He told me so, smiling. One was on flames, and the others melting like crazy. Argh! Took them out in a pan, doused them with water, and tried to explain that we don’t hide shoes in the broiler. Crazy Kevin! He flies through the air, off the couch, being Batman, and tickles us all the time.

Brooke is crawling like crazy, pulling herself up, and making talking sounds all the time. She is so darling, and I’m so in love with her. She clicks her tongue at me, and giggles. She hands me things off the floor, and loves her soft blankets. I love carrying her around in the baby carrier. I still can’t believe we have a sweet daughter to join our crazy boys. So blessed.

My sweet best friend, Shaun. He wears a necklace everyday that he made. It’s a small chain, with silver block letters that spell out ‘Erin’. I just think that’s so darling, and I love him so much. It’s such a joy to see him happier this year, to work less and have more time with us, and to start school. He’s working on some pre requisites to start nursing school. We’re just so happy that we’ve finally started school, at last!

Next week is Christmas! Shaun doesn’t work that day, so happy. We have some batman capes and remote controlled cars for the boys, and a few goodies for Brooke. They’re going to go nuts with excitement Christmas morning, around 6am probably, while we attempt to wake up and get the cameras out to document. Shaun and I just can’t wait to play with the kids and their toys. That’s the fun part. Got a turkey to cook. All will be well in the kitchen world:)

Merry Christmas, everyone!! Enjoy every little moment with your family, and eat some good food, too:)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thoughts about Friday

Shaun was out running errands with the boys, and I was home resting from the flu bug. I was on Facebook, and I saw my friend’s status about a horrible school shooting. I went from there to the internet, and looked up the news. My heart sank, and my stomach felt sick for the rest of the day. I saw pictures of sad, scared kids, and could not believe what I was reading, what just happened a few hours before I got on the computer.

I wanted Shaun and the boys to come home fast. I wanted to hug them so hard, smell them, and hear their laughter. It tore me up to think of the parents who lost their kids at that school. Thinking of the first responders who had to walk in to the scene and see the mess was too much to bear.

A friend of mine on FB knew one of the families personally. They lost their daughter. I glimpsed at the father’s FB page, and saw the countless people writing many tender and heartfelt words to him, expressing their deepest sorrow over his loss.  It was so sad.

I’ve offered so many prayers since Friday for the families of Newtown. I’ve thought of the shooter’s family, and the heartache they must be feeling. The news doesn’t mention anything about his funeral. I saw a beautiful picture of the Savior holding a little child in his arms. That’s where they are now; in the arms of the Savior, and in a perfect, peaceful place.

Since Friday, I’ve tried to move a lot slower. I’ve tried to be more patient with the kids, smile more at them, and hug them more. I told them that we needed to pray for the families who lost their children, and that someone didn’t choose the right. I’ve tried to live in the moment more, and notice the sunsets and beauty of the earth. I prayed for thanks to be alive, and have another day with my family.

This is the change that’s come over our family since that awful Friday, a change that has probably happened with many other families all over the nation. May we take the time to slow down more, and to be more gentle with our kids, more patient, and smile more at them.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My journey: the holistic learning

So, I never thought that the word ‘holistic’ would be apart of my lifestyle, and now, I want to become a home herbalist. Ah, just love the sound of that! Ok, time to explain.

In the last couple of weeks, I somehow began to research natural, chemical/toxic/synthetic, you know, free body products. ( I say somehow because I dive into learning about something with such wonderful passion that I tend to forget how I even got started onto the subject:)

There is a wonderful website called LDS holistic living. Each year, the holistic conference expo is held in June in South Jordan, UT. (My dear Utah friends and families, lucky!! Would love to attend this somehow next year:) Something wonderful is that you can purchase the talks from previous conferences on the site for $4 a talk. Not bad. I was delighted over this, and got a couple talks from Laura Bradford, a holistic skin gal. I learned a lot from her talks, mainly about what we put on our bodies, lotions, cleansers, etc,  goes into our bodies and can do quite a job, either damaging or repairing.

Listening to those talks got the wheels turning about making my own hygiene products that were safer for my body. A fabulous friend pinned on Pinterest a recipe for foaming hand soap consisting of three products; Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, ( a truly amazing, safe soap) tea tree oil, and water. I made some of it, and it turned out just dandy. My first step towards the wonderful kingdom of holistic land.  Go HERE for the soap recipe. It’s quite easy to make!

From that day, I started researching more, and then, a thought came into my head about essential oils. Two years ago, I was introduced to Doterra Oils, and was amazed at how effective they were for my family. I’ve been using them since then, and have a small idea of how essential oils work, but have realized that I am still a baby in this topic, and have much to learn about oils.

I wanted to learn how to create herbal/essential oil remedies at home, and save some money since Doterra oils are a bit pricey. I wanted the knowledge, and a great opportunity came along in the form of my friend Jonelle Hughes Herbal Academy, a class she was teaching in her home. I was so blessed to snag the last spot in her class, and could not wait to go and learn.


We learned how to make an Elderberry cough syrup, face cleanser, salve, cleansing grain, tinctures, deodorant, counter spray and more. It was SO worth it, and we took home everything we made. I was in heaven. Jonelle taught us that to be a home herbalist is easy, and so rewarding for you and your family. To not leave the house for anything when the kids are sick makes me very happy.

It was such a blessing to be in her home. As I watched her work around in her kitchen, doing her ‘cooking show’ with oils, I feel in love with the orderliness and light of her kitchen. Everytime she paused for a moment to get something, I would look everywhere in her kitchen and get totally inspired.

Inspiration is great, but it doesn’t do a darn good thing if you don’t take that inspiration into action. I went home that day, and went to work in my kitchen. I just wanted it to be more inviting and comfortable.


Not too shabby:)

So now, I’m trying to become more acquainted with essential oils and herbs, and what each one does for the body. It’s quite the mission. I guess start small with a few oils at a time. I just want to learn as much as I can. I love that I can make my own essential oil blends at home! So stinking awesome. Mason jars, empty soap, balm, and salve containers all became gold to me since the academy. Making this from scratch is such a fun process. I love it.


I am so blessed to have this magical store in town called Herbally Grounded. I keep getting drawn back to that place. It’s such a special, holistically wonderful little shop.




I met the great Angela Harris yesterday here this week. She’s a master herbalist, and always has such a big smile on her face. A kind lady, with a passion for all this stuff. She shared with me some neat things about Chia seeds. You put them into water, drink it, and they give you incredible energy, while scraping out toxins inside your body. Interesting! I must learn more about Chia seeds.

Took the kiddos to Star Nursery yesterday, in search of Lavendar and Calendula, good herbs. It was so nice to walk slowly around, and explore all the plants. Here’s the kids in the grape forest, lots of grape vines:)



Ethan’s been loving his Mickey doll lately. So sweet.


Lovely Lavender


Planning on drying these rose petals. They can be used for the cleansing grain recipe. Got lots to work with!


Last, Calendula! Great flower that I plan on making infused oil with. Use the oil for lipbalms, creams, and salves. Am I insane or what?


A few more garden pics. I cannot believe this ‘winter’ we’re having. So far, still getting tons of grape tomatoes from my two Juliet plants. Locals, if you want tomatoes galore next year, go to Plant World and buy a Juliet plant for $5. Heavy, heavy producer of grape tomatoes!! It’s awesome!



Really falling in love with snapdragons! Just makes me think of Grandma’s house, with her snapdragons by the chain link fence outside, and my good old 13 year old glory days.



This last shot is my favorite. I love my garden so much. It’s my little getaway in the morning. Love tending to the plants, and just sitting and thinking. I don’t get to do it for very long, as the kids need me, but I just love coming out here. Growing broccoli on the right. Tomatoes on the left will probably be gone this month when it starts freezing. Next year, I will finally water correctly, 30 minutes every morning in triple digit heat, to keep them living, yea!

So, that’s where I am on my personal education quest, my journey. Next, I need to blog about white flour. That will be the goal, and our Christmas pictures, and other goodies. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tons of catching up!


Time to get caught up again. I love reading my friend’s blogs when I have a moment. I see their cute pics of Halloween, birthdays, and think ‘Oh yeah, I should blog about that too. Oops.’

So, I now take a tiny break from my ravenous researching on holistic skin care recipes to try to come off as a normal mother and post some over due pics:)


Our cute, darling friends at a park play date. Wild hogs, ha ha!


Was at a friend’s house, and went nuts with excitement over her chickens. They are like little pets, and wait patiently at the door for her to come out and give them attention. Hilarious. Can’t wait to finish the chicken coop next year.


Trunk or treat! My little superheros. Ethan is obsessed with Spider Man, even though I don't date let him see the movies yet. A tad too violent for a little guy. We were at Costco recently, and ‘The Amazing Spiderman” was on the big TVs. ( Really liked that one. Different from the Tobey Maguire ones.) Ethan got about a 30 second moment to watch some of it. I was secretly happy that it was a part in the movie that showed Spiderman in action, flying through the air. Ethan was incredibly happy:)


Cutie pie Brooke!


Our little birthday party for Brooke. I’m really a simpleton when it comes to parties. Stress free. Cupcakes and friends, that’s all the kids seem to really want. Grateful for our little group of friends here in town:)



My darling friend, Jessica! Love you!!




Our happy camper!


I had the tremendous blessing of selling our treadmill to get this incredible Jumpsport fitness trampoline. HUGE difference between crappy springs tramps and bungee cord ones. Oh, how I love this thing. Been exercising, rebounding, on it consistently. Super great.


We’ve made Friday nights Family Fun Nights. The boys love to sleep in the pop up tent with a movie. I think it’s so fun to let them do that once a week, when they can sleep in on Saturdays. Sleep in, yeah right. 6:30 is sleeping in. The love the tent sleeping, and go crazy in there.



Our outdoor adventures, letting the kids get nature play time. Vital for their well being!


Ergo. Best baby carrier ever!


No bike riding. Ethan just really loved wearing his helmet. All day!



Ethan enjoying Calvin and Hobbes. Highly intellectual literature in our home, that’s for sure!


This place was SO much fun for the boys. They loved it!


Kevin on the left.


Is this not hilarious? There’s me on the right, cute baby picture. We look SO stinking alike!!!


And now, back to reality tomorrow. Mondays. Weekends tend to go by fast. Let’s see what this week’s treasures will be!