DIY Foaming Hand Soap with Essential Oils

So I’ve been using essential oils for a couple months now, and the main thing I love them for is cleaning. I am a big “green” cleaning person, and I have been using Shaklee products for our household cleaning needs. I use their “Basic H” concentrate for our all purpose cleaner and add a few drops of my DoTerra oils. I use “On Guard” or “Wild Orange” for cleaning because of their natural anti-bacterial properties (and the good smell!). In addition to our cleaning supplies, I recently started to make my own foaming hand wash. I tried it out for a few weeks a few different ways before sharing this final product, and I love it!

DIY Foaming Hand Wash recipe using essential oils- super easy, natural and budget-friendly! - from mycoffeeiscold.com

I searched Pinterest for some recipes for soaps, and I saw some that added fractionated coconut oil, which I thought was so smart. I made my own soap previously and thought it was too drying, so this really made a huge difference for me. It’s so, so simple to do, and it’s all natural. Here’s what you need:

– Foaming Soap Pump (I ordered mine from DoTerra- they’re three for $5)
– 2 tbl Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castille Soap
– 1 tsp fractionated coconut oil
– 5 drops of DoTerra “On Guard” or “Wild Orange” or other essential oil with antibacterial properties (like Thieves)
– Enough warm water to fill the bottle (leave room for the pump to go back in)

Add your oil and soap to the empty bottle first. Then, add your oils, swish them around a bit, then top the bottle off with warm water. I only used five drops of oil because my pump isn’t super big.

That’s all there is to it- it’s incredibly simple, it works great and it smells amazing! It’s also very budget friendly considering how many bottles of soap you can make with just one batch of ingredients.

What’s your favorite way to use oils? Have you jumped on the bandwagon yet?

Frozen, fire and a holiday feast

I don’t even have anything important to say, but I figure you guys are probably used to me rambling and may even kind of like it since you keep coming back here! This weekend was awesome at our house. We just relaxed and didn’t do anything super exciting, but we were intentional about spending some good time together, and that we did! On Friday, Brody spent the night with Trevor’s parents, so we had the whole afternoon and evening alone with Knox. He loved it. He has really been needing some good mom-and-dad-time with us. We spent Friday just being silly, playing and talking with him. We laughed so, so much. The kid is hilarious. Even though communication is tough for Knox, his general demeanor is so silly- he has Trevor’s sense of humor for certain. He uses a lot of echolalia (which basically means that he memorizes things and then repeats them later on) in conversations with us, and in particular, he used “Frozen” to get his way this weekend. He told me that he wanted me to “open the door” to our room. He is obsessed with climbing into our big bed and burying himself in our blankets and pillows. He really loves when we lay with him in there, too. Anyway, he wanted in, and our door was locked (<— we lock it to keep them from running in there 457 times a day and climbing the shelves in our closet… because they do that). He again said “open the door!” I said “nope. Not doing it.” He repeated himself a few more times before he finally yelled “OPEN THE GATES!!!!” I laughed so hard, I finally gave up and just opened the door. He’s a snuggly little thing.

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Later on, we had a bonfire outside. Knox is a bit of a pyromaniac and LOVES fire. He was pretty thrilled with this situation, but he was making Trevor and I very nervous by standing too close to the fire. He didn’t want to sit in our chairs, he just wanted to stand right next to it. We told him “Knox, you’re too close, back up.” His response? “Don’t mind me, Captain!” (<— Octonauts reference). So funny!

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Anyway, we ended up getting him to sit down, so we could all enjoy the fire and relax together. The next morning, Trevor needed to spend some time outside getting our yard in order. Since we built our house on our own property, Trevor was very insistent on doing all landscaping himself. He refused to have anyone haul logs away because he “can just burn those later.” So, five months later, we still have massive piles of trees, brush, etc. all over the place. He was busy ALL DAY with his chainsaw and ax, and was burning up a lot of it. While he was doing yard work, I decided to clean the house. While I was cleaning, I made a little stovetop air freshener:

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(2 cups of water, 1 sliced orange, four cinnamon sticks, a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg… I would have also added 1 tsp of cloves and a handful of cranberries, but we didn’t have any).

It smells amazing and just like Christmas. So, then, I started thinking about Christmas. Which means I thought of food, because hi, I’m me. So I decided to start cooking dinner… at 3 p.m. I *may* have gotten a little carried away. Okay, so I essentially made a Christmas feast for dinner. Roasted pork loin, gravy, cornbread dressing (from homemade cornbread), spaetzle (German noodle/dumpling that you cover in gravy), homemade green bean casserole (i.e.: no condensed soup) and drop biscuits. I was out of control.

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Then I decided, I’ll play Christmas music, too, just because. Trevor came in, and his whole face lit up. Christmas is his love language. If I’ve never mentioned it before, my husband is Buddy the Elf on steroids. So, then, we ate until we felt sick, and then we did some dancing with our kids to Christmas music. They LOVE to dance with us, and they’ve gotten very into family hugs (where we each pick one up and all hug together at once). It was just a relaxing, silly, loving weekend with my little family, and I loved every second of it. And for real, how cute are these boys?!

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Side note:  Trevor now mentions decorating for Christmas every day. He can’t be helped. I try to respect the turkey, but seriously, I don’t think it will happen this year because we are both too excited to decorate this house for the first time for Christmas. What about you guys? Do you wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate, or do you do it as soon as you possibly can? I think we’ll wait another two weekends, but that’s probably about all Trevor’s heart can take- it’s the most wonderful time of the year a little bit early over here!

 

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Sometimes you just have to laugh at your own life

This past week, we had a great time celebrating Halloween at our church during our annual “trunk or treat” event. This was Brody’s first time trick-or-treating by himself (last year he threw up in the car on the way there)… I think he liked it? He was super confused by what was going on, and he wore an expression of “huh?” all night long. He knew that he liked all of the candy he was getting, though- he just didn’t understand why it was all in his bucket and not in his mouth! Knox was very overstimulated and didn’t say a whole lot, just took everything in with wide eyes the whole night. His favorite thing was a visiting camel (who was helping us advertise our Christmas event) and a “Frozen” themed trunk that had snow and the movie playing. He didn’t want to move past that! He was good as long as we didn’t get close to the large inflatables because he’s scared to death of them. If I got too close, he’d plant his feet and say “Do you want to go to Knox’s house? Yes I do!” aka, let’s leave, Mommy! Aside from that, though, it was a great night.

The boys dressed according to their personalities- Brody and his car-obsessed self was a John Deere tractor (costume from here). He was pretty excited about it because Tractors are his FAVORITE ever. He didn’t smile in a single picture, but he’s still so cute!

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Knox, our little runaway escape artist was a marathon runner (costume: runner’s bib made by me in Photoshop and sweats from Target). Because, sometimes, you have to poke fun at your own life. Really, it’s okay. And kind of funny.

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All of his teachers from church saw it and laughed- they’ve all chased this runner down the hall a time or two on Sunday mornings! In true Knox fashion, he tried to dart away from me once at the beginning of the night, but I caught him by the arm before he even got by me. My reflexes are much quicker than they used to be around this kid!

Here are a few more pictures from the night:

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Knox catching “snow” at the “Frozen” trunk:

 

 

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Brody really needed a candy break.

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When God doesn’t listen

IMG_6884I never thought I’d be a special needs mom. In fact, the thought of that used to absolutely terrify me. I remember when we were trying to get pregnant, reading about all of the things that can “go wrong” and just begging God to give us a healthy child. Praying that I’d rather have no child than one with special needs. I was clueless, and honestly, I make myself a little bit sick. I was absolutely terrified of having a kid with a disability. To the point where I literally cried daily when I was pregnant with Knox, just worrying about him. Looking back, I am so glad that God didn’t listen to me. I’m so glad that Knox is here. Because really, I was the one with the problem, not him.

I had no idea what it would be like, and how could I? I was close-minded and had no personal experience with anyone with special needs, aside from seeing them every once in a while out in public. I just didn’t know. In fact, I had no idea. That’s not to say that I don’t wish Knox could instantaneously be rid of Autism forever- because, yes, that would be fantastic for him to not have to struggle. BUT the fact that he has Autism, doesn’t make him any less of an amazing kid. It doesn’t make me want him any less. If given the choice, I’d choose him exactly as he is, every single time. Because knowing him is so much better that not having a clue.

Autism is a weird thing. It makes me furious one second, makes me laugh the next, and right when I think I have it figured out, it says “Ha! No you don’t!!” This has been a super crappy parenting week at our house. Knox is getting in trouble at school for the first time ever, and he’s being defiant at home, as well. There’s been lots of running off, swatting, kicking and even spitting. I don’t know where this is coming from because Knox normally has the best disposition ever. He is highly stubborn, and my only thought is that he’s just reaching an age where the frustration over his communication skills has pushed him a little over the edge.

AlIMG_6856so, I think he just plain misses me. I work full-time, and by the time I get home, I have two hours with him before he goes to bed. Most moms know that the hours between 5 and bedtime can be “the witching hours” where your kids lose their minds and cause you to lose yours, right along with them. I feel like so much of my evening time with Knox consists of disciplining him, and it makes me feel awful. My guilt eats me alive, sometimes. I tell myself that I need to be this great parent, do lots of fun outings & activities and spend tons of quality time with my children. But then reality hits, and I feel like all I have to offer them are a couple of worn-out hours of my life, where I’m no fun to be around at all. There have been a lot of tears lately (mine) and yelling (me) and hitting (Knox) and frustration (everyone).

And the thing is, there’s no magic answer. There’s no perfect solution. Parenting is always hard. I don’t care if you stay at home, work full-time, have ten kids or one. Being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. Adding any sort of special circumstance only compounds the stress. I’m learning in all of this, through this hard season, that all I can do is pray and ask for God’s help in all of this. To seek His face and just bury myself in His Word. To pray that I don’t screw this up too much. To pray that God removes the guilt from my spirit. To pray that God revives me and gives me the energy I need to keep up with this kid. And to pray a prayer of thanksgiving that He knew all along just the boy He was going to give me.

Because even when it’s hard, Knox is worth it all.

 

 

Crockpot Chicken Quesadillas

I know what you’re thinking. How do you make a crispy, golden, delicious chicken quesadilla in a Crockpot? Well, you don’t. I mean, you do, but just the filling. The crispy part comes later! This is one of my favorite, super easy weeknight dinners. It’s also budget-friendly because it uses black beans to stretch the amount of chicken you need:

Super easy Crockpot Chicken Quesadillas- quick and budget-friendly weeknight dinner! Kids love this, and so do the adults!! From mycoffeeiscold.com

Ingredients:

Crockpot Filling 

1 1/2  to 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken (tenders or breasts are fine)
1  (14 oz) can of Rotel (I use mild for the kids)
1  (32 oz.) can of black beans (the big can or two normal 16 oz. ones)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Quesadilla

Prepared filling (above)
Shredded Queso cheese or your favorite queso dip
Flour tortillas
Butter

Directions:

Dump everything for the filling into  your crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is falling apart (if you need this to cook while you’re at work all day, use frozen chicken to keep it from getting too done).

When it’s done, take two forks and shred your chicken. This should be very easy to do! Drain the excess liquid (keep a little for flavor). Check your seasoning and adjust, as needed.

It will look like this:

IMG_7133 Now, for the quesadilla making.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Rub butter across the bottom to coat. Lay your flour tortilla in the pan.

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Add your cheese to half of the tortilla.  If you’re using a queso dip instead of shredded cheese (our country grocery store doesn’t have block queso, so I do this sometimes) keep it in the center of your tortilla so it doesn’t run out. Top with your filling.

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Fold over.

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Flip it once the first side is brown. It should look like this when it’s ready.

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Eat it!! Serve with salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro (<— do it) or whatever else you like. Enjoy!

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