Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Did Your Kids Get an A+ at Their Last Dentist Visit?

We've had a few too many of  those dentist appointments where I leave feeling like I just received the Worst Parent of the Year Award!  Why do some kids just keep getting cavities.  My oldest kids had no cavities when they were young and my youngest kids have all need major cavity repair.

What am I doing wrong?  I've been more vigilant with brushing.  Hasn't helped.  Still new spots at every appointment.

Last year I decided to try some changes.  Trying to make them remember to brush in the morning, not just at night.  Floss.  All basic parenting 101.  However, the biggest change: Making our own toothpaste!  Only time will tell.

I read a lot of pinterest posts about making your own toothpaste.  Some lead you on a never ending race to find the original source.  Some have a lot of ingredients.  Some have bentonite clay, which has some debates around its use.  I also read up on oil pulling.  Well if oil pulling alone can improve your teeth, then coconut oil alone should be good enough to brush with.

End result, I made my own.  And by the way, I am not a jump on the band wagon kindof gal.  I was not into the whole coconut race.  However, as I needed to use something I thought I would try it.  I'm loving it.  It doesn't taste coconutty even.

So here is my recipe for DIY - Homemade Toothpaste.

Coconut Toothpaste:

2 TBSP Coconut Oil

3 TBSP Baking Soda
10 - 20 Drops Peppermint Oil (optional)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Just put it all in a bowl together and stir with a spoon.  Literally takes a minute.

I then divide it up into little jars.  Everyone in the family has their own jar.

Now for the truth:  T8 had one check up and no new spots to watch or new cavities.  He has already had a lot.  But . . . His last check up was shortly after we switched to our new toothpaste.  So really hard to tell weather this is it or not.

However!!!!!!  T9 had a check up today.  1 year after we started.  Absolutely NO CAVITIES!  NO SPOTS!  NOTHING!  Not even a smidge of anything that needs to be watched.  This is the same child that had her 4 front teeth rotting and capped by the age of 2.  Even the dentist and assistant were impressed.

Bonus! My teeth actually feel cleaner because of the grit in the baking soda.  When I wake up they still feel clean.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Homemade Ornaments They'll Love

I LOVE ORNAMENTS!  Don't you?  The first year I was married we had 4 ornaments on the tree.  I wouldn't buy any either.  I wanted to fill my tree through the years.  I wanted to love and enjoy each ornament because of how we received it.  29 years and 9 kids later we have too many for the tree.  YAY!

However new ornaments each year can be really expensive.  We've tried our hand at homemade ones that are, um, not the most impressive.  Or that just don't hold up (egg carton bells).  But now with the wealth of ideas and how to's available, we gave it another try.

Salt Dough

When all else fails revert to old fashion salt dough.  Add the hooks or a wire loop for a hook before you bake.

We of course love the Ford emblem.  I made several of these for the older boys and dad.

For one of the girls that was holding a title and competing in pageants I made a salt dough sash.  I made it out of salt dough so it would be stiff and hold it's shape and then I could paint her title on it.  I did add glitter, though you can't see in the pic very well.  

The younger boys were totally into legos all year.  So salt dough lego men it was.

Cardboard Letters

I thought making cardboard letters would be super easy.  But when they are this small it was a little challenging.  I traced cookie cutters, cut them out of cardboard, cut teeny tiny pieces of cardboard and glued stacks of them in between, paper mache the whole thing, painted it green, then glued layers of green glitter.  These are the letters of the college our daughter was attending last year.

Any Item into an Ornament

One of our boys is all about the woods, hunting, shooting, fishing.  I keep finding these fun little cans laying all over the house.  So I naturally put a hole in the top and turned it into an ornament.

 For the Neighbors and Friends

 It's nice to give little gifts to everyone.  We made some cute little ornaments out of tin can lids so we could give to anyone we felt like giving a little gift to.

Lavender Eggs – Valley Food Partnership Recipe

These were last years.  This year we are going a completely different way and I think you'll enjoy.  Here's a hint.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Should You Homeschool Your Kids?

Before you read the article I want you to know a few things about me.  1) I am a true stay at home Mom!  2)  I have 9 children! 3) This is my 22nd year of homeschooling!

Have you ever thought about homeschooling?  

Do your kids hate school?  Do your children cry about going?  Do you cry because they go?  Do you just miss seeing them grow up? Are they being bullied? Who loves your kids more than you?  How many millions of things did you teach them before they were 5? Where in the Bible does it say kids are suppose to be seperated from their mother at 5?  Why do you think you aren't smart enough to teach your own children?

Questions like these are often the first thoughts that lead up to a decision to homeschool.  There is hope!  There is also a tremendous amount of resources out there.

Where did I begin?

Once upon a time I worked out of the home.  That sounds like the beginning of a fairytale.  But working while raising children is a far cry from the palace and glass slippers.  I cried every day when I took my boys to daycare.   I had a good job working for the State.  Highly respected, well paid, insurance.  I longed to be home with my babies.  By the time I was pregnant with our 3rd I knew I just couldn't do it anymore.  Giving up our health insurance as well as a the income, we took the plunge just before our oldest turned 5.

That fall our 5 year old would have been off to kindergarten.  No Way!  I just couldn't let him go.  Thus the decision to homeschool was made.


I had no one.  I knew no one who homeschooled.  I had merely heard mention of it.  I had no books, no groups, no co ops, no charter schools.  Just me, 3 boys and 1 supportive husband (he didn't know what he was getting into).

There was a store in the town over that sold teacher books, etc.  I went down there bought a big workbook and we started kindergarten.

I definitely recommend starting young.  The first years include coloring, painting, play doh, naps, Hi Ho Cherry O's.  Who wants to miss out on that?

Time Goes By

The nice thing about starting young is your homeschool style can change with your kids.  You have a couple of years that you can learn together before highschool.

Resources grew.  With the boom of homeschooling came a lot more resources.  It is easier than ever to find curriculum, a homeschool group or a co op.  Or even enroll in an online academy. Our state has online school that is free. They provide the curriculum for free and the kids are still home with you.


What about socialization?  Won't they be socially akward.  I heard this so much when my kids were young (my oldest kids).  I mean really, who do you want them to socialize with anyway?  I don't want to constantly be surrounded by people that are bad influences anymore than I want my kids to be.

My children have always been in community sports, jr. high and highschool sports, Awanas, youth group, Young Life, Sunday School, homeschool groups, 4H, Miss American Program (the girls), volunteered in their community.  They are by no means lacking socialization.

Adjusting to the Real World

What about when they grow up? sports? go to college? get a job?  

I had all those questions thrown at me from the time I started homeschooling.  

For me, the nice thing is I have 4 grown children now.  I have children that have gone to community college, university, joined the Marine Corps, held jobs, been promoted, owned and sold homes, 1 engaged, 1 married, bought cars, have friends outside the homeschool circle.

I have no doubts that homeschooling was and is the best choice for our family.  I know they'll grow up and become functioning adults that lead productive lives.


Making a decision to homeschool doesn't necessarily mean forever.  Plenty of kids are homeschooled and later return to public school.  If it doesn't work out or if you change your mind, 1 or 10 years from now, you can always go back to public school.  We made our decision and never gave the alternative to our children to go to public school.  Our kids have never questioned us on it or requested to go.  I feel you set yourself up for a battle if you are always asking "Do you want to go to school?".  Most times when the kids are out in the world other kids express their wishes to be homeschooled too.

This Year

This year I'll have a only 4 babies at home for the first time in 16 years.  A Freshman, a 6th grader, a 2nd grader and a 3 year old.  Since the 3 school aged kids are all boys they may do a lot of Science and Wood Shop.  That is work, on their Tree Fort and Play in the Pond!

Happy Homeschooling!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Choosing Lamps for the Master Bedroom Makeover

I have found two lamps that I'm thinking are going to work for my Master Bedroom Makeover.  

I found the first at Goodwill 1/2 off.  I paid $1.99 for it!  That's a find.

Then I found these 2 shades at a garage sale.  I kinda bundled everything I bought so I don't really have a price but probably around $2 for the 2 of them.  They were in great shape.

Later at another quick stop I scored this cute lamp.  Definitely this one is for my side.  Love the curves of the legs.  Guess how much?  $0.50!!!!  I thought it was broke and would need rewired, but it wasn't.  It just had a bulb broke of in it.

I just need to decide.  Should I leave them brass, or paint them or what?  Here is a few of my inspiration photos that I have been pinning.

Love  the French Country on this.


The shiny on this is what attracted me.

Transform some Goodwill lamps with Krylon’s Looking Glass spray paint, which dries into a mirror-like finish

Love the lamp shade on this one.

Love this Lamp/ DIY along with 13 other great ideas!

I feel like the shade is too big on the curvy lamp.  The shades are a little too white.  (Though the pics here don't show it.)  What do you all think?

When I think of how much I have spent on home decor in the past.  And how I thought everything had to be new and perfect.  Not sure if I should sulk in the thought of how stupid I was or relish in how far I've come!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Art Wall - Love Your Rustic Country Home & Display the Kids Art

One day while sitting, Pinning happily, I thought, "I need to make an effort to make my real home look like my Pinterest Home!"  Am  I right, ladies?

There are so many little things, that don't take long to complete.  Even if I just get one done at a time, eventually I'll have a real life Pinterest Home.

This week. I snuck outside (while hubby was at work) and snatched up an old bed frame that the guys thought they were going to use like a hog panel.  AhAh!  I had other plans for it.


I washed it thoroughly, clear coated it and headed upstairs to the school room.

First I had to move the giant chalk board that had been hovering in a corner for, um like 8 years.  I gave it a place on the wall.  The kids are loving it!

I was going to put it flat on the wall.  I decided that wouldn't work so . . . out to the barn again for some scrap lumber.  I screwed the blocks to the wall.  Then I used horseshoe nails and hooked the frame to the blocks.

A few clothespins from the laundry room later . . . and I now have someplace to easily display the kids art.

It'll be full in no time!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Master Bedroom in the Making

One of my goals this year (and for the last couple of years) has been to make my bedroom the MASTER BEDROOM.  It never has been.  It's has been the center point, the nursery, toddler room, computer central, meeting room.  Everything but a luxurious retreat for my hubby and I.  

After 29 years of marriage I am ready to take this room to the next level.  So by April 2016 I am going to have this done.  It'll be like a 30th Wedding Anniversary gift to myself and my hubby.

Love this room.  It's not mine.  But I could live here.  Linen, chandeliers, burlap.  Can you say Gorgeous?   

I decided this winter, while spending 10 hours sewing TiArra into a gown, that her dress was my inspiration.  She sang "Think of Me" from "The Phantom of the Opera".  How romantic is that?

As I held this dress in my hands it just reminded me of ROMANCE!  Puddles of satin, yards of

 lace, bows, ruffles, champagne colors, broaches and sparkly gems.  I want my bedroom to be all of that.

I created a pinterest board, of course, to keep me on track.  I am torn between this dress and French Country.  So it may wind up being a combo of the two.
Some must have elements include:

This Gustavian Bed  

I love it!  I have never had a headboard and I want one.  I will be making it with my husband. Even more romantic, don't you think?

Side Tables 

Adorable French Country side tables.  Big enough to make a statement.  One for him, one for me.


Mismatched probably, but what color?  I can't decide, but we definitely need some lighting.

Drapes that Puddle 

Oh how I want drapes that puddle on the floor.  This may wind up being the most expensive part.  Finding luxurious fabric.  Yards and Yards of luxurious fabric.

Side Chair

Some extra seating would be nice

Ceiling Light Makeover

I NEEEEEEEEEEED  a chandelier!!!!!!  I will somehow make a chandelier that doesn't hang too low.  My husband is tall and it wouldn't be very romantic if he hit his head everytime he walked in the bedroom.

Linens Linens 

I need a new bedspread, shams, pillows, skirt to go with this theme.  Finding it all at an affordable price.

Paint Those Walls!

This should probably be the first step, but. . .  Right now they are about the color of coffee with cream (as is my whole downstairs).  Time for a brighter color.  Maybe a whitewash?

If I could just make my home look like it is off the set of "Pride and Prejudice".  I'd be happy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Elegant Photo Backdrop

So I told you like over 2 months ago I would show you the finished Elegant Photo Backdrop.  Sorry it took so long.

Here is a finished picture.

Every year to celebrate Mother's Day our Church has a Ladies Brunch. This year I was asked if I would want to create a photo booth.  Of course I said yes.

They didn't have anything particular in mind, but the theme was "Dare to Be Beautiful".  Made me think elegant, damask, pearls.  Then I found out the speaker was handing out pearls, as they went with the message.  So excited!

I started with 3 closet doors.  You can actually find them on craigslist for free all the time.

I cleaned them.  I taped off the edge with wide masking tape. Painted the center white.

That was the easy part. Seriously!  What was I thinking.  

I found a damask stencil on sale at Joann's.  It was $2 something.  It was perfect.  I measured it out (after I got home).  Luckily it worked.  I decided to stagger every other row.

With a big square (the yellow ruler thing in the pic), lots of tape, lots of paper and weights.  I would measure out where it needed to be, tape it down.  Cover everything but the stencil with paper, weight down the paper.  Spray, wait a few minutes, spray.  Dry, remove all of that.  Start over.  A COUPLE HUNDRED TIMES!

Nothing is perfect.  Overspray, etc.  Had to go in with white and a brush and touch up a few.  Twice I actually put it on upside down. Of course I only noticed after I sprayed twice and not before.  I had to let it dry, paint it with white, let it dry, start over.

When all the damask was done, I removed the tape.  Then taped off all the white and damask and painted a black border.

After I took them to the church we used some old hinges to attach them together.

Yes, I needed my husband and boys for this.

We attached a long 2 x 4 across the top and draped the chandelier (we already had) over that.

We added a table with hats, pearls, bracelets, sample lipsticks for the ladies to dress up in.  We also had a free standing mirror for them to use.

It turned out fabulous!

Since I was using spray paint, I had to paint outside. The weather was not cooperating at all.  Then there were all these distractions.

The barn we are building for free.  (I'll post about that when it's done.)

The Spring Fair we were given tickets to.

And, this light I am trying to patina, or destroy is what my husband is thinking.

It was a challenge to create.  I love how it turned out. I might consider wall papering a backdrop with so much detail though.