DIY | Beeswax Jar Candles


We (ahem, I) tend to fill our home with beeswax candles every fall and winter.  The soft yellow glow and sweet smell makes our early mornings and late evenings extra cozy.  Last year, I made some jarred beeswax candles as Christmas gifts and it was so fun to make them.  There's just something special about making something, instead of just buying.  :)


I will link the products I used both last year and this year for those who want to make some for yourself. :) It really is an easy process.  Tie the jar with some twine and a handmade label and you've got yourself a great gift for neighbors, teachers, or friends!


What you will need:


Rhythm | Afternoon Tea


Rhythms make such a difference for us, which is why I talk about them often.  We can be flexible, but there are things that create pillars in our days and as we transition from season to season.  

Afternoon Tea Time is something that gets lost when the warm months arrive and we spend all of our time outside, but at the first sign of fall, tea time comes back.  It's a simple ritual to have in that hard part of the day where the kids are working through being both tired and, maybe even, a bit bored.

Tea and cookies and chatter always makes the afternoon go better.  We usually talk about our morning and then about what the kiddos can do for the rest of the day as we slide into the evening hours.

  

I made a short video sharing how tea time gets prepped.  I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and make sure you turn up the sound... music is a very important part of tea time. :)

Seasons | Fall Diffuser Blends


I love that I can change how my home smells with just a few drops of essential oils.  I can take it from fresh and citrusy to pumpkin spice in no time... and leave all of the nasty candle chemicals behind.

When I started digging into the health benefits of oils I also noticed the bad effects of the chemical laden products I was using in my home.  Candles were the hardest thing for me to let go of.  I love how they smell and the flicker of the light was always so comforting and cozy.  :)


Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find that diffusing has tossed out all of my candle woes and beeswax candles have satisfied my need for the flicker.  As we roll into fall, I wanted to share a few of my favorite fall diffuser blends.

Fall Wreath | Eucalyptus + Rosemary + Balsam Fir

Fireside | Vetiver + Cinnamon Bark

Flannel Shirt | Northern Lights Black Spruce + Stress Away

Holiday Hustle | Thieves + Lemon + RC

Orchard Stroll | Bergamot + Orange + Cedarwood

Pumpkin Spice | Clove + Nutmeg + Cinnamon Bark

Mulled Cider | Orange + Ginger + Cinnamon Bark

Thanksgiving | Thieves + Idaho Blue Spruce


See... it's fall in a bottle!  I hope you enjoy these blends.  Not only do they smell incredible, but they have so many health benefits, too!

Style | Fall Capsule Wardrobe


Three years ago, Mark and I made our fourth move into a cute, little ranch home. Prior to that, we had ample closet space in each home.  When we moved into our ranch home, we both shared a quaint master closet.  We didn't have much room for any extras, so I decided to seriously downsize my wardrobe.  I took everything that I either couldn't fit in, or that I no longer wore, to the thrift store.  It was a bit scary... what if I needed that black sweater ten years from now??? :)


That little closet in our sweet ranch home was the beginning of my capsule wardrobe.  Our current home, once again, has plenty of space in our master closet, but I still embrace the capsule wardrobe because of so many other reasons.  What started out as an "I don't have room" problem ended up solving so many other problems for me.

The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is to have pieces that you love and can wear without much thought.  It's about combining and mixing and matching pieces in fun, unique ways.  When you wake up in the morning, you don't have to stand and stare into a closet of clothes that you aren't wanting to put on because your closet will only be filled with clothes that you do love and feel good in.  


With that being said, I'm working on my fall capsule wardrobe and I'm going to be participating in a fun "10 in 10" challenge.  It doesn't start for a couple of weeks, but I wanted to mention it now so you can get your own 10 in 10 pieces ready.  :) It isn't anything serious, but I'm going to share it in hopes that you might want to join me.  I have two other mama friends that are going to be doing it and we are sharing our "looks" on our Instagram feeds.  I am not a "fashion" blogger, but I am a mama that wants to look pulled together and not sloppy all of the time.  The capsule has really helped me to do that.


Here's how the 10 in 10 works.  You pick out 10 items in your closet (this includes tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes) and wear only those ten items for ten days.  You will mix and match them and see how easy it is to live with less when it comes to clothes.  Now, this 10 item wardrobe does not include things like bags, jammies, camis, or things like gym clothes.  We are talking about "real" outfits. ;)

Not only does having a capsule make getting dressed easier, but it also makes me want to get dressed.    I can grab anything from my closet, because I love it all and I know it all fits well (this was very hard for me to do when my body was still changing a lot after having kids, so make sure to let this be a fun thing and not a stressful one).  This challenge starts on October 22, so let me know if you will be joining me!  Tag me on Instagram or send me a message telling me you are participating.  :)

Homemaking | Recipes and Resources


This is Part II of my Meal Planning posts.  If you missed Part I... go here.

One of the keys to meal planning is having your tried-and-true recipes that you know your family will love.  It takes some time to develop that list, but once you do, it makes meal planning so much easier. Take a minute and try to jot down 5-10 recipes that your family always enjoys and then come back and read the rest of this post... :)


Another key is having your tried-and-true resources to go to in order to hunt down new/fresh recipes. That's where cooking blogs, Pinterest, and wonderful cookbooks come into play.  I enjoy flipping through cook books so much.  Pinterest is so helpful when I have certain ingredients in my pantry/fridge that I need to use up.  I just do a simple search in the Pinterest search engine using those key ingredients... and voila- a list of recipes pop up!


A few of my favorite cook books are:

 Feeding a Family.  Sarah is a mama of two little boys and her cookbook is arranged by seasons.  The recipes are different, but easy, and they don't require a bazillion ingredients. I received this one for Christmas last year and have enjoyed it every season since.   

If you are a cook that likes down home cooking and comfort food... Magnolia Table is the book for you.  I have made several recipes and we have enjoyed each one.  Most of these are a bit heavy for us to eat on a regular basis, but we do enjoy them from time to time.  I think it is a great book to have on hand in every lady's cooking arsenal.  

My Family Table is a great one to have for when you want to include delicious, healthy meals/sides into your meal planning.  These recipes have good ingredients and come together nicely.  This book is arranged according to types of meals/foods.  

And every cook needs a basic, stood the test of time cook book.  This is where the Betty Crocker cook book slips in.  I was given this one for our wedding and I have pulled it out countless times.  It has basic recipes that turn out every time and sauces, spices, and roux recipes.


Now to jot down a few of our favorite recipes for you to check out:

Soups-

Taco Soup
2 lbs ground beef
Yellow onion diced
Can pinto beans
Can corn
Can diced tomatoes
Large can/bottle of tomato juice
jar of salsa
2 packages taco seasoning

Brown beef with diced onion- drain.  Pour other ingredients into pot and add beef/onion. Let simmer.

Chili- this one is probably pretty self-explanatory :)



Other Recipes-

Tacos are a favorite and we eat them in one form or another every week.  Some weeks we eat them traditional.  Other weeks, I might make them as a taquito, quesadilla, or as a taco sweet potato.  

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are loved here in this house.  I will usually make a meat of some sort for my kids to eat along with the potatoes.  Mark and I simply eat the potatoes.  

My Eat and Savor Pinterest board...

Hamburgers are always a hit at our house.  I like to sauté mushrooms and onions to slather on top.  Or, maybe some sliced avocado and cucumber.  I usually make baked sweet potato fries and recently I baked these squash fries and they were amazing! I like to take the normal "boring" meal and jazz it up a bit so we don't get bored with it.  

We like to combine BLT ingredients with Chicken Salad ingredients and eat either on a whole wheat pita or inside of a lettuce wrap.  We've even been known to put a spoonful of the mixture on a slice of cucumber and eat it just like that. :). To make this you will need to combine:

7 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled
2 cups of chopped chicken
Quartered grape tomatoes
chopped pecans
diced bell peppers
diced red onion
Mayo and Dijon mustard to taste
Maybe some "everything but the bagel" seasoning from Trader Joes

Lay on a bed of lettuce or inside of a pita!


I hope that helped get your cooking juices flowing.  Enjoy!





Homemaking | Autumn's Arrival


Autumn's arrival brings with it many things.  The season turns from hot and heavy to cool and crisp.  Cozy blankets get placed throughout the house to make curling up easier.  The tea cups that have been stowed away for months are suddenly feeling brand new again and the tea kettle has found it's cool-weather home on the stove top.


Our leftover beeswax candles from last winter are layered here and there and give a soft, warm glow during the early morning and late evening hours.  Cinnamon Bark diffuses with Orange and Idaho Blue Spruce and suddenly everything smells fall-ish.  It's one of my favorite feelings.


Soups simmer weekly and windows are propped open all day long.  Sunlight glows as it is filtered through the creamy linen curtains. Lamps begin to light the rooms as we prepare for bedtime due to the days disappearing quicker.

Weekends are spent around the fire on the back patio with the twinkle lights hanging overhead.  Friends and neighbors are invited over to enjoy the cool evenings after a long summer of staying indoors.  I have gone to the basement and dug out the jackets that now hang on the wall and make our already small laundry space feel a bit more dainty.  Summer clothes have been stored until the warmer months return and fluffy sweaters fill our drawers.


I am impacted by seasons more than I'd like to admit.  Mark and I have tossed around the idea of moving off several times throughout our marriage, and we have both come to the strong conclusion that we could never settle where there aren't the changing of seasons (unless the good Lord were to call us to such a place:)).  I love how the air changes and memories from my childhood come to me as we ebb and flow from spring to summer... summer to fall, and so on.  So, as we head into one of my very favorite seasons, I hope you find some sweetness in the transition.

Homemaking | Meal Planning Introduction


One of the most stressful parts of motherhood is when my kids are surrounding me asking me what's for supper and I have no idea because I have next to little "supper-type" foods in my kitchen and no plan.  This usually happens to me after I have a long stretch of being a productive cook in the kitchen... followed by me being lazy because I think I have "earned" not having to provide meals. *insert monkey covering face ashamedly emoji*

I love when we sit down and everyone enjoys the meal I've cooked. It is one of my favorite times of the day.  I also love searching for recipes and being in the kitchen cooking, but I do get lazy sometimes.  There are times that I get out of the habit and then I feel as if I've completely forgotten what meals we even like, or how to plan a week's worth of meals.  If you are in this season, I hope this post helps jump start you.  If you are in a season of productive planning and executing, I hope this post helps keep you inspired.


I usually sit down with my cook books, recipes, and computer either on a Friday (if I'm on top of my game) or Sunday (if I get a wee-bit lazy ;)).  I'm all about making the normal, mundane enjoyable, if I can, so I pour a cup of coffee or tea, play some classical music, and light a beeswax candle as I plan my week.


I write down my days on a piece of notebook paper.  I jot down important events that I need to consider when planning- evenings when the girls have dance, evenings when Mark will be late, evenings when we will have guests, etc.  This helps me remember to plan slow-cooker meals on days when we have dance and double my recipes on evenings when we might have guests.

I try to keep a list of recipes that work well made ahead and left to themselves to cook.  These are wonderful for evenings when we have dance and arrive home at supper time.  Since we have entered the fall season, these mostly include soups/stews, one pot recipes that simmer for several hours, sloppy joes, homemade calzones, taco twists, etc.  These things can be made ahead and left, or I can make them, throw them in the fridge, and reheat them within 15 minutes of arriving home.

I wrote a list of these things, so I can quickly throw them on the menu for the days when we will need them without having to put much thought into it.  I also have a list of family favorites, which include meals such as- tacos, lasagna, pizza, steak, and hamburgers to name a few, that I will add to the rest of our week/month menu since they are always well-received by everyone.  I like to try at least 1 new recipe/week to keep things fresh and add to our rotation of recipes.  I will share my favorite resources for recipes in my next post and also link to a few of my favorite recipes.

Many years ago, my sister recommended that I pick themes for each day of the week.  At the time, I had itty-bitties underfoot and I needed to streamline all of the things!  If you are in this season, picking themes helps sooooo much.  This is what my themes looked like once upon a time:

Sunday: Roast with veggies OR hamburgers
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Casserole
Wednesday: New Recipe
Thursday: budget meal (a cheap meal to help bring down grocery costs)
Friday: Homemade Pizza (I have my crust recipe in the "recipe" section of my blog)
Saturday: Sandwiches and Leftovers

I was tired and didn't have much brain energy to think of different recipes every week, so I just stuck with the same basic recipes.  It worked fine and we all survived. :) Now, I like to switch things up a bit and we eat a lot more veggies with our meals. I always dice/chop veggies and throw them in wherever I can.  I also chop a lot of raw veggies to eat on the side.  My kiddos love raw carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, so those get eaten quite often with our meals. I will toss a quick salad to enjoy with our main dish, too, but I'm not the best at making sure we have 2-3 side dishes. We seem to make do, so I don't stress too much.  I would like to get better about that as time passes, though.

I think that's enough to digest for now, so I will leave it at that.  One thing I've recently started doing, and then I will save the rest for another time, is saving my weekly lists of meals that way if I am in a pinch and don't have time to meal plan I can pull an old one out and call it a day. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, having those weeks already planned makes things easier.