Monday, January 20, 2014

Made It Monday: Apple Pies

Looky what I made!  

It's been a while since I've made anything for fun.  Well, I didn't set out to make them in fun.  We were actually making the mini pies for my daughter's club tomorrow.  I had to do something with the left over crust and filling.  

What I thought was me just being lazy in placing left over bits of crust on the top turned out to be kind of pretty :).  What a happy accident!

What did you do today?  Did you make anything for fun?  Did you have any happy accidents?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Creating Homemaking Routines

The one thing I seem to have the most trouble with is housekeeping.  There are just too many things I'd rather be doing than cleaning sinks and bathrooms.  And let's face it, they will just need to be cleaned again tomorrow.  It is never ending!  

I used to keep a spotlessly clean house. Yes. I did. Believe it!  But life happened.  A series of life happenings started in 2010 that kind of shut me down for a while.  It became a success for me to just get through the day with the kids fed and some school done.  The apartment we lived in got more and more cluttered.  The carpet more worn. The sinks and bathrooms more overwhelming.  Life can do that to you.  

But God restores all things and 2013 was my year for restoration.  God mended my heart with the birth of our sweet Simon.  And He opened a path for us to buy a home.  A home that I am determined to keep clean and clutter free.  A place for refreshment.

How am I going to do this?  I looked back to the time when I was able to stay on top of the chores.  I had a routine then.  But it wasn't one of my own making really.  At that time I was purchasing an e-book annually that had a cleaning schedule already laid out for me.  I used it for several years until I thought I had a good routine down and then I quit buying it, thinking I could keep it up in my own.  I didn't though. 

In the interim I tried a couple of other resources.  One in which I used color coded (I love color coding) post-it's to arrange tasks for specific times of the day.  This was visually appealing to me, but too detailed as I was never on schedule and so I constantly felt behind. The other I tried used e-mail reminders as motivation to complete tasks.  I quickly learned to ignore those e-mails.  Yeah, that didn't work so well.

So with the new year coming up quickly, I decided to go back to my favorite chore schedule! MOTIVATED MOMS. I love it because it not only schedules the little day to day things (so I get to satisfy my "box checker" tendencies and look like I'm actually getting  something done, but it also includes the annual home maintenance things that we tend to neglect or forget (such as changing the furnace filters).
I was truly excited about ordering the e-book for 2014 when I got a big surprise.  They now have an APP!  Yay!

AND, I CAN COLOR CODE IT!!  Yes, little things make me happy! Perhaps the most exciting thing about the app for me is that I can assign tasks to different family members so it's not all on me :)

More Great News!  Motivated Moms is on SALE thru 1/2/14!

• Get $2 off all e-books using code MM2014.(regularly $8)
• Android apps are $5.99 at Google Play and Amazon (regularly $7.99)
• iOS app is 99¢ (regularly $1.99) and a year subscription, an extra 12 months, can be added for $5.99 (regularly $7.99). That's a total of 14 months!  Can you say "BARGAIN"!!

New year, new home, new baby, and a new app for a new start on my housekeeping routine!  I can't wait to get started!

Creating Personal Care Routines

I love routines.  I think they are an easy way to reduce the stress of daily tasks. If tasks are done in a certain order each day they become automatic and we can use that mental energy to stress over other more important things ;) 

I used to be really on top of our daily routines, but over the past year or two I've increasingly let them go. It's gotten to the level that even the most basic things aren't getting done.  In my defense, I have been pretty busy this year.  First with a new baby, then overcoming breastfeeding challenges; add to that house hunting (stress), and finally moving (STRESS).  I was doing good just to get food in the big kids' bellies and many days my husband did that for me. 

Now that all of our big transitions are over for a while I've been thinking of four main areas that I find routines beneficial in our home. Personal Care, Homemaking (cooking and cleaning), Home Management (budgeting and administration), and Homeschooling. This week I've decided we're going to tackle Personal Care since that is the area that seems the most foundational to me and in which everyone needs to take some responsibility for themselves. 

Personal Care is the way we keep our bodies healthy. Yesterday I asked the kids to list all the ways they could think of to keep our bodies healthy.  
We are starting with this list and I plan on expanding on the topics throughout the year; perhaps doing a unit on nutrition and learning to make healthier foods and snacks. Have we missed anything?  What ways do you keep your body healthy?

Monday, September 17, 2012

How I Kicked My Sugar Addiction

It wasn't that long ago that I was addicted to sugar.  
I was so addicted to sugar that I once pulled over at the dollar store when the craving hit me.  I had to ban Nutella from our house because I would eat nothing else until it was gone.  
I would eat it spoonful by spoonful all day long and even skip dinner.  I asked my husband to stop bringing me chocolates because I would not eat anything else.  

I had absolutely no will power. 

My drug of choice.  (photo credit)
One day I was visiting a friend and I was talking about my acne and about how discouraging and upsetting it was.  I told her how I felt that it was effected by my consumption of sugar.  She told me that an overabundance of yeast in your system would make you crave sugar because yeast eats sugar.  So I spent about 6 months doing research on it and found a lot of information about the candida yeast.  
There is a lot of information on-line about it.  

My favorite web-site for information on candida is  
I feel it is the most comprehensive and they don't require you to buy anything to get the information you need.  
I looked at a lot of sites and this one had it all. 

I started reading about the symptoms of candida overgrowth and decided I needed to follow the candida diet. 
I was worried about what eating so much sugar was doing to my body.  I also have a family history of diabetes and so I was really worried about becoming diabetic.

Using the Candida Diet website, I pretty much diagnosed myself and laid out my own treatment plan. 

I did want to consult a medical professional first, to make sure I was healthy enough to do the diet.  I printed out a list of my symptoms, what I felt happened in my history to cause the candida overgrowth,  and the treatment plan from the website.
When I met with my Nurse Practitioner I thought she'd roll her eyes and think I was an "internet hypochondriac", but she listened to me and looked over the information I'd brought. 
She'd only had 1 or 2 other patients that she'd gone through this with but she felt that my discovery was valid.  
She did want to do a liver function test to make sure I was healthy enough to take the anti-fungals. 

According to, phase one is a cleanse.  
I tried the cleanse for one day and I couldn't do it because it was just too icky for me, so I skipped that and when straight into phase two.  

I have a good friend who went to a doctor for candida herself.
Her doctor told her that you only have to reduce your carbohydrate intake by 80% for 5 weeks in order to kill off the candida overgrowth.  That is because carbohydrates are turned into glucose (sugar) by our bodies.  So cutting out the carbs basically starves the yeast of it's food.  I thought, I can't measure how much I reduce my carbs because I'm just not smart like that. But, if I set a goal of eating no carbs at all, even if I cheat a little bit it would be okay.
On the diet you can only have plain kefir.  But now the flavored kefir is my go to treat.
I started my pro-biotics two weeks before the anti-fungals. 
When I was at Sprouts looking for the anti-fungals, a lady there told me she used Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to help cure her candida overgrowth, so I decided to try that too.  

I started by drinking 1/4 tsp of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in water (with a straw so as not to damage my teeth) and also eating a little chunk of garlic* (about 1cm square) each day.  
Yes, I was pleasant to hang out with :)  
After about 2 weeks I started the other anti-fungals, rotating and overlapping as directed on so that the candida yeast wouldn't become resistant to them.  

I also drank plain kefir.  
It is like a drinkable yogurt and is packed with pro-biotics.  
The plain kefir tastes a bit like sour cream, which sounds icky but I actually grew to like it. I added a few drops of stevia to it and the taste grew on me. It also has a fun, tingly feeling. 

Flavored kefir has carbs, so it's not allowed on the diet, but I drink it every day now that I'm done. 
By the way, my NP said that everyone should take a pro-biotic every day and that you can't over-do it.

Anti-fungals.  The grape-fruit seed extract tasted so bad that I bought capsules to put it in.
I was really excited the first day I realized it was working.  
I was at my friend's house for a birthday party.  
Someone had taken the icing off of a cupcake with the paper wrapper and left it laying on the plate. Just two weeks earlier I would have snatched it up and squeezed every bit of icing out of it.  
That would have been a waste of good icing!  
In the past, I have eaten icing out of a tub I hid in the refrigerator. 
I felt so good when I realized that I didn't even want to eat it.  
I had no desire for it. My friends knew - I would have eaten the icing off of everyone's cupcake if they had let me.

I stayed on the diet for 6 weeks.  
I tried to pick a time of the year when there wouldn't be a lot of temptations, like holiday candies. I did cheat quite a bit at first. 
I had a hard time, but when I realized it was working, I was more motivated to stick with it.

One night we ordered pizza. I did cut a sliver off for myself, but for my dinner I ate a chicken breast with frozen veggies and seasoning.  
 By having that one little bit of pizza, I didn't feel like I was depriving myself.  It wouldn't have been enough for me before, but was plenty after completing part of the diet.  

Even though the diet lasts for at least 5 or 6 weeks, it wasn't has hard as I thought it would be.  I thought it would be nearly impossible to get through, but after starting to see results in a short time, I was encouraged and I was able to stick more closely to the diet and not want the carby foods that I had had before.  

Now that I'm off the diet, I am eating carbs. But, I can say "no" to them.  I haven't wanted a chocolate bar in weeks!  
(My friend shared one with me a couple of weeks ago, but I don't crave it like I did before, and I haven't had one since!)

My acne is noticeably less.  I am no longer having the large, painful zits.  I do still have an occasional pimple though.  
 I think I have other skin sensitivity issues that I need to address. 
I can do that now knowing that one cause is taken care of.  
I am currently recovering from perioral dermatitis
but I'll cover that topic another day.

Now, I'm keeping myself healthy by not going overboard on carby foods (sweets, grains, starchy foods), drinking kefir and by taking my Vitalizer every day.  
I feel GREAT!  My mind is more clear, I have more energy, and I've even lost a few pounds!

I went from piling my a plate full of brownies and treats at parties to being able to take just one and be satisfied.
If I can do it, you can do it!

*If you don't think you can eat straight garlic, you can get a garlic supplement here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Simple Steps: How to Remove a Mustard Stain

A week ago I went to a Labor Day picnic with a good friend.  They had super yummy hot dogs!  My friend's was super messy though and she ended up with a couple of globs of mustard on her khaki shorts.  

When she remarked that the oxy stain remover that she normally uses might cause light spots I told her that I might have just the thing.   Two days later I brought over my Nature Bright and Basic H Concentrate.

We made a paste with about a 1/4 tsp. Nature Bright and 1/4 tsp. Basic H Concentrate and just enough water to make it moist and easy to spread. When she applied it, it went to work immediately, changing the color from yellow to red!  

I haven't studied this in science yet, but I think this must be the enzymes working. 
I tried to google it to find out, but I wouldn't suggest that because all of the results were kind of gross.

I, of course, left before it was ready to wash but my friend told me that before going to bed she moistened the spots and rubbed them a little more. She left it overnight to do it's magic and tossed them in the wash the next morning.  Easy-peasy.



I love that it works so well!!  Even after having two days to set, the stain is completely gone!

Nature Bright Laundry Booster & Stain Remover uses natural enzymes and active oxygen instead of chlorine to brighten laundry, remove stains in upholstery more.   
Get your Nature Bright here.

Basic H2 Concentrate is an Organic Super Star!   Using 16oz. bottle of Basic H2 Concentrate, you can make 48 gallons of cleaner! There are hundreds of uses, and it's safe to use around kids and pets.
Get your Basic H2 here.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Karla's Daybook

Outside my window...     the world is waking up.

I am thinking...     "Wow.  It's really quiet early in the morning!"

I am thankful...    for my wonderful husband who works hard to provide for us.

I am wearing...    my Eskimo Joe's T-Shirt and jammie pants (yes I'm still in my jammies!)

I am creating...    another to-do list because the other one is full and I'm not actually going to do any of that stuff anyway :)

I am going...      to have a productive day if it kills me!   

I am reading...    through Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series chronologically.  ♥

I am hoping...    to get a good start on catching up on the housekeeping today.  It's a wreck!  Don't worry, there will be a picture below ;)

I am looking forward to...    moving to a house in a few months (God willing).  I really need to start purging stuff in preparation.  

I am learning...    to be brave.

In the kitchen...    there is stuff piled all over the counters that is keeping me from cutting up the chicken that I really need to prep and put in the freezer today.

Around the house...    are legos and toys that seem to come from nowhere.

One of my favorite things...    used to be to lay in bed a long time after waking up and just be; but now it seems to be to get up when I wake up and get something done.  What happened to me!

A favorite quote for today...    from Ethan: so in that song when it says "All the other boys try to chase me" are they really trying to chase her because they like her, or are they just trying to creep her out? 

A few plans for the rest of the week...    are to hire a real estate agent and start looking at houses.

A peek into my day...  

Read more Daybooks at:

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Importance of Routine

I think routines are something most people use, whether aware of it or not, in daily life.  From your morning routine of get up, make the bed, brush your teeth, get dressed...etc.; to your nightly ritual of a bowl of ice cream during TV time.  Routine is what carries us through our days.

I know some moms who prefer schedules.  They plan each task to a certain time of the day, and that's fine.  I'm sure that works well for some moms.  I tried that when my twins were babies.  It made me feel constricted and I focused too much on the when and not enough on the what.

3 of my whats.
I then realized that I might not get everything done in a day, and that's OK.  As long as I was able to get a few main things done I still felt like I accomplished something for the day.

I then sat down and made a list of the tasks I felt absolutely needed to get done every day (or every other day) just to keep my sanity the house in order.  For me, these were meals, dishes, laundry and budget.  Everything else could be forgotten for even a few days.  These things are my base routine.  I gave myself a break and decided that if I maintain these four tasks, everything else is cake.

As a homeschool mom, I know first hand how important routines can be to getting anything done at all.  My routines keep me on track with meals, chores, school, budgeting...  the list goes on and on.   And I don't have just one all-purpose routine.  No way!  I have several to mix-and-match depending on the day.

My fancy handwritten routine that hangs on the front of my fridge.

Now don't you already feel better about yourself when you look at the fancy routine I have hanging for all to see on my fridge!  The way it works is simple.  I do a task in each box and then start over, picking a different task the next time round.  This way I don't get burned out by doing one thing for an hour.  And if I find myself walking in circles, because I can't decide what to do next, it's right there on the fridge.  There are permanent tasks written in sharpie on the paper, and temporary tasks, written in dry-erase on the sheet protector.  I can easily slip a new task into my routine at any time.

Not written out is my School routine which goes like this:
  • Bible
  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Math 
  • Spelling
  • Seat Work
I keep the books we are working from in a crate near our table.  They are kept in order of our routine.  I work from right to left (I've always been a little backwards!)  And when our new Latin book comes this week, I'll add it to our routine by sliding it in with the other books.  That way it won't be forgotten because I didn't get to that shelf which is what happens to our art curriculum on most days.

Believe it or not, there are some days that I wake up and just cannot get into my routine.   But that's the beauty of having a routine.  It doesn't matter what time we get up.  It doesn't matter if we have a play date at 1pm or a doctor's appointment at 10am.  We can just pick up right where we left off in the routine.

Do you prefer schedules or routines?  Do you display your routines; what visual cues do you use?  What have you found that works best for you?

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