Saturday, December 31, 2016

2 Timothy 1:7

Scripture Writing, 2 Timothy 1:7

May God grant you a New Year filled with love. May you continue to have sound minds, and may you be filled with the peace of His presence!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Most Read Posts of 2016

most read posts 2016, year-end wrap-up, reflecting on 2016

As 2016 winds down and we prepare for 2017, I thought it would be fun to see which posts were the favorites of you - our readers - for this past year. Hands down your favorites were the hand-lettered Bible verses from the Scripture Writing posts, and the tutorial about how I make them.

Thank you!

When I first started putting my Scripture Writing posts up, I was not sure how well they would be received. Your response has blown me out of the water! I am humbled and overwhelmed to think that so many of you come back here several times each week just to see the Words of God that I have illustrated. It shows the truth that God's Word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11)

Since nine of the top ten most read posts are Scripture Writing ones, I'm also including ten more top-read posts that are not from our Scripture Writng series. The seventh most read post of 2016 was our NaNoWriMo Take One post about the beginning of Arlene's  novel writing in November. You'll be happy to know she met - and exceeded - her goal of writing for the month, and she is now in the throes of editing. When we were downtown Indianapolis last week looking at the Christmas decorations, and visiting the Statehouse, she was working on adding the particular details necessary to her story. Hopefully sometime in 2017 she will be ready to share it with the world. I'm thinking an e-book would be her first publishing choice.

Our most read page on the blog in 2016 was the continuing saga of our reviews. We will be posting an update on that in early January, somewhere around the 10th, because there are a whole host of new things to discover over there, and it has been a while since we updated it.

So without further ado... in no particular order, here are our top 20 Most Read Posts of 2016!

Just click on the picture to be taken to the original post!

Happy New Year!

Crunchy Mama Morning Routine ~ for Older Moms!

Crunchy Mama, morning skincare, holistic health, Truly's, Beeyoutiful, Koru Naturals

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase using these links you receive the same awesome products at the same price, but we receive a small commission that helps fuel this blog - and our field trips! Thanks!

When I was younger, the term for a more natural approach to your skincare, holistic healthcare, or general lifestyle was being called a "Granola." 

Times change, and so do catch phrases. Now the term is "Crunchy Mama." Same general ideas, new generation.

The thing is, not everyone who is choosy about their skincare, or what they eat, dresses in the Bohemian style. Some of us care about what we put into and on our bodies and still wear jeans and t-shirts most of the time, or a pair of slacks and a blouse for professional work.

That brings me to today's topic of what is a Crunchy Mama to do about her skincare if: 1- she doesn't want to make it all herself, or 2- she works and would rather pay someone for a quality product and spend her free time with her family?  

What I've done is tried a LOT of natural skincare products over the years, and only kept the ones that work.

The picture above is of the 4 products I use the most often after the shower and before the t-shirt and jeans. Most of these are good for any ladies, but number 3 is NOT for use by Mamas who are pregnant or nursing, so be sure to read more about that one below!

1. Beeyoutiful Balance (Progesterone Cream)

After struggling for quite a while with irregular cycles, and then developing headaches that were not related to allergies, it was suggested that I try using a progesterone cream to get my hormones back in sync. Because I knew that meant adding something potent back into my body's system, i wanted to choose the best one I could afford, from a company I already trusted. I went with Beeyoutiful's Balance cream and I must say I was amazed! The headaches went away after just a few days, and after about three months of use (following the instructions) my cycles are more regular than the have been in a long time. 

Because of the raw power of progesterone, please consult your healthcare provider (whether its your M.D., D.O., D.C., N.P., Endocrinologist or Naturopath) before you begin using Beeyoutiful Balance. Make wise choices, because if progesterone is not what you're lacking, it could make your symptoms worse. Follow directions! Too many crunchy mamas are bad at follow through, don't be like that, use it as your healthcare provider directs you!


2. Lavishmint Daily Moisturizing Lotion

I was first introduced to Lavishmint four years ago when it was offered as a review item to the Homeschool Review Crew. I've tried lots of other facial moisturizers both before then and since, and this is the one I come back to and spend my own money on because it is so consistently good!  The color of this lotion varies a little from almost white to pale pink with different batches.

Lavishmint is a wonderful concoction of aloe and coconut oil for moisture, mixed with Peppermint and Lavender essential oils to both cool and relax your skin. It is smooth, creamy, and smells delightful. It is easy to spread and works wonders on irritated skin. It is my go-to moisturizer for my face. The only times I pass it by are those days where the thermometer isn't going to reach the freezing mark because the peppermint oil is a little too cooling to my face if I'm headed out to work early on those mornings. In that case, I just pull out my extra virgin coconut oil and slather it on knowing I'm going to need extra protection from the wind.

3. Emu Oil and Blue Tansy Oil Cream from Koru Naturals

This stuff is the bomb for those of us older Mamas with stiff or sore joints. Let's not mince words here - its not turning 40 that did me in, it was turning 41! Sometime during my 42nd year all of those great adventures and long days at work started catching up with me. I started realizing I need to go to the Chiropractor a little more often, and sometimes I ached. I've been using natural supplements, a whole food diet, and other good-for-me routines for a long time. The thing was ... sometimes I still needed something more - especially for my right shoulder. Then along came a chance to review the Emu Oil and Blue Tansy Oil Cream. Since I'd already like the other offerings I had received form Koru Naturals I was practically begging to get chosen for that second review. It was a lifesaver! You can read that review if you'd like more details.

THIS IS THE ONE I WARNED YOU ABOUT! Blue Tansy Oil is highly sought after as a joint relief ingredient, because it can be so very effective for so many people, however, you CANNOT use this cream if you are pregnant, nursing, or want to get pregnant! Blue Tansy and babies do NOT get along!!!

Blue Tansy Oil is sometime seasonally available to purchase from a few suppliers, but the cost by itself is exorbitant!  A quick internet search today shows it ranging from $35-$70 a bottle. I knew I would need to use it as a part of a blend to make it something that I could fit into our budget. A jar of this blend from Koru Naturals is only $14.80. I have used this for over a year. I Might be on about jar #5 or 6. I've lost track how many times I have reordered it. Let's just say I don't want to run out - ever! It has made such a difference in my pain level, how well my joints work, and how quickly I recover from a weekend of hiking!

4. Truly's Natural Deodorant

I've been using natural deodorants for about 15 years with varying results. They are usually something that you just have to try and try again to find something that works for your own body chemistry. Some of the ones I've used in the past didn't work as well once I was past those prime childbearing years. Some of them didn't work at all! Then about two years ago one of my blogging friends had a Facebook thread going asking people for recommendations for their favorite natural deodorant. Someone mentioned Truly's and I thought, why not? I've tried so many, and while I had settled on one of them for most of the time, it was rather drying to my skin. 

Enter Truly's Natural Deodorant. They offer a 5 pack of sample size jars for not much more than one of their full sized deodorants, so we went with that so the girls and I could all try it. Emily and I were hooked by the end of our first sample jars! Emily has psoriasis, and while her skin is somewhat tough, it was frequently irritated by traditional antiperspirants, and traditional deodorants just didn't cut it. Face it - no teenaged girl wants to stink!  I noticed Emily's psoriasis also improved some because her body was no longer dealing with the toxic overload of the antiperspirants. Arlene's naturally moisturizing skin isn't too fond of the baking soda in it for daily use, but in pinch, she'll use it for a day or two if she forgets to pack hers. I'm thankful we have all found natural deodorants that works.

I love how well Truly's works as a deodorant. I know I'm going to sweat when I'm hiking, biking, or gardening in July, but it is really nice to not stink! My overall level of sweating has gone down as well, probably because I'm no longer worried about my natural deodorant flaking out on me!

I don't know how Truly's works their magic to get a perfect blend of organic coconut oil, organic powdered sugar, baking soda and beeswax - but who cares? IT WORKS! I could spend hours, even days, trying to make something like this myself, or I could leave it up to the experts - so I do! We have reordered several times over the past two years. 

I keep getting the sample size containers for a few reasons: 

1- they're really portable! At about 1" across, it is easy to keep one in my gym bag all the time without sacrificing space. 
2- they last me 3-4 weeks (because you only use a tiny little bit each day, about the size of a Spring pea) and then I can just recycle the container and get a new one. 
3- The 5 pack  means Emily and I can both have a new container twice before I need to reorder, plus, if I wanted to give one away, there would probably still be another one for us to use. We keep the extra ones in the back of the refrigerator, still sealed up so they're always fresh when we need them.

I'm excited because Truly's just added several more all-natural products to their lineup. I think I need to try several of them too!

Ok Crunchy Mamas,  what is your favorite morning routine product? Leave me a note in the comments! I'm always on the lookout for great products to try!

Disclosure:  I purchased all of these products with my own money. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post. All opinions are mine. I wrote about them to let you know I really believe they are quality products you might want to try yourself.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. Have a great day!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Come Meet My Friends!

It is almost 2017! How does that happen? The days sometimes seem to tick by so slowly, and other times they just fly by. This has been a fly-by kind of year for us. Life has been full, and we've hopefully been living it well. 

With the start of another calendar year comes another year for us on the Homeschool Review Crew. 

Homeschool Review Crew, Blog buttons, new blogs to read, 2017

Since joining the Crew so many years ago, I have met some wonderful bloggers, many of whom I now call friends. Each year we add some newbies to the group, so I want to give you all a chance to meet them and see which ones speak to where you are right now. Below you'll find buttons that links you to the main pages of so many great blogs, that cover all sorts of topics. Because I'm being really honest right here: I'm not likely to post anything about finger painting next year, but if you've got little ones at home, some of these ladies are excellent resources for you! Maybe you've got all boys in your house - yup, you'll find some great encouragement here from other Mothers of Boys and a lot of humor too!

So whenever you've got a few extra minutes, drop back by and check out a few more blogs. You're sure to find some humor, some wisdom, and lots of encouragement. Fear not - we'll still be here next year - Lord willing - sharing Scripture Writing, Field Trips, Road Trips, and some honest words about the blessings and challenges of Homeschooling High School!

Have  great week!
Carol :)

Footprints in the Butter Every Bed of Roses Double O Farms Family Faith & Fridays Circling Through This Life At Home: where life happens Homeschool Coffee Break A Net in Time Gypsy Road Counting Pinecones Our Life ~ Home and School Tots and Me Delightful Learning Mom's Plans A Learning Journey This Day Has Great Potential Weiser Academy As We Bloom Homemaking Organized Mountain of Grace Homeschooling A Stable Beginning Home Sweet Life Through the Calm and Through the Storm Our Worldwide Classroom A Glimpse of Our Life San Gabriel Farm Trout Wife Castle View Academy homeschool Creative Madness Mama DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life Gift of Chaos McClanahan 7 Homeschool Review Crew