Sunday, December 27, 2015

Outlet Sale Coming!

Who doesn't love an awesome sale?  Here's the link: OUTLET SALE.  Be sure to go on right away, as sale items are while supplies last!  Thank you so much for supporting my Direct Sales business!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Support Your Own Direct Sales Business For the Holidays!

This idea actually came to me several years ago, when my relatives started giving our Christmas gifts away to charity in our name (although they get the tax write-off).  Don't get me wrong, that sounds super warm and fuzzy and honorable to do, if we had everything in the world, and have not needs or wants.  But that's not the case for our family. 

Each year when we got the card from the charity organization, I would comment that it would be nice if they gave to the Charity of Us.  (Painfully, we have 5 kids on one income, and one of those Christmases, my husband had been out of work for 6 months.  We were starving and had no gifts for our kids, but some 3rd world family got our Christmas gift of food that year!  Sorry for my lack of excitement!)

It occurred to me then that I actually can do the same, but give my own family back that gift.  I started to purchase their gifts from my own direct sales business through out the year.  Each month, when there are extra specials available for my parties, I try to purchase at least 1 or 2 of them for my Christmas gifts. 

Here's how it helps my business:
1. I get the commission - not Walmart, Amazon, etc.  This isn't selfish at all!  Trust me, the owner of the dealership my hubby works at, would never by a vehicle from another place of business.  Why would I buy gifts from another gift store?
2. I get advertisement. My family hopefully uses my items, and their friends see them. In theory,  they in turn pass my information on.
3. I get my gifts at a portion of the perceived value - saving a ton of money!  I only buy it when it's on special, usually at least 50% off, plus my 25% commission.  They get more, and I spend less!  Win- win!
4.  I get the credit for the purchase.  My ds company gives incentive periods to earn more free products, so knowing that, I make my purchases for gifts during those incentive times.  So in addition to my discount, I earn extra incentives and get sales credit for them.
5. Job security!  If you and your family get their gift needs from you instead of the box stores, it's job security!  Giving them that for Christmas and birthdays, gets them thinking about other options for their own gift giving needs, too!
6.  I'm done shopping for my extended family, way before the Christmas season even begins!
7.  My holiday spending is spread throughout the year, making it less painful on the wallet.
8.  My Direct Sales business is paying for Christmas gifts!  This makes Mr. Right happy that he doesn't have to find gift money at Christmas.
9.  My Direct Sales is not just a hobby, it's actually paying a bill.
10.  Who doesn't love to get a special, personalized gift for Christmas?

As finish up the holidays and begin a new year, set a new goal to support your own direct sales business for the holidays next year!  Do you buy from yourself?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Get Laundry Done Quicker

With five very active kids, I find myself doing about 20 loads of laundry a week, just in clothes.  That doesn't include towels, sheets, and other extras that come along.  As I verge on my 20th year of being a stay-at-home-mom, I thought I'd share some of my tips for getting laundry done quicker. 

How to Get Laundry Done Quicker

  • Pick one day a week to devote to laundry!  I shoot for Mondays for my laundry day, and I'll be honest, I can't usually get it all done that day, but I'm usually close at the end of the day.  If you work during the week, you might have to choose Saturdays.
  • Everyone must submit their laundry to get it done and then pick it up after it's finished.  If you don't put your laundry in the laundry room, you don't get laundry services for the week.  (Sounds tough, but it works for the youngest to the oldest member of our family.)
  • All stains should be removed by the person who makes the stain prior to going to the laundry room.  If I don't know about the stain, I can't fix it.
  • Start a load of laundry the night before, and change the load first thing in the morning.  My laundry is in my bathroom, so this is easy for me.  It gives me a head start on Monday, to have a load ready to go to the dryer in the morning.
  • Never take clothes out of dryer without folding them.  I don't like to touch things twice, so I fold clothes, standing next to the dryer and put them right into piles in my bathroom.  My bathroom is long and narrow, so that long counter is on the right and the machines are on the left.  I've lived in a house with no folding space and literally line the piles on top of the washer and dryer and put them away as I go.  I also line baskets on the floor down the hallway if need be.
  • Sort clothes as you go.  If you can have a basket for each person to sort clothes into as you fold, you don't have to touch the clothes again.
  • On laundry day, I go to the laundry room every 20-30 minutes no matter what!  I change loads  in the middle of homeschool, while I'm on the phone, before and after I run errands, etc.
  • Everyone over the age of 10 get's to turn their clothes right side out for themselves.  I would love to have the time to turn clothes right side out for everyone, but I don't.  So, anyone who is capable of turning their clothes right side out, get their clothes just how they come out of the dryer.  If they are half and half turned right, I turn them the right way before folding them.  This probably saves me the most time.
  • Socks are the most time consuming to match up, so I try to do them as I go. Trust me, whites take the longest to fold, but once it's done, I don't have a huge pile of unmatched socks.
  • Have a basket of unmatched socks handy.  When the next child needs an extra chore for bad behavior, this is the first job I dole out to naughty kids!  It's a huge undertaking and they don't want be naughty again!
  • Have a box of too small clothes handy.   I usually have 2 boxes, one to sell, and one to give away.  I sort them as I go.  That way, clothes that need to be sorted out, never goes out to the kids' drawers.
  • Each person in my family has to put their clothes away themselves.  I call them to come get them, and they are responsible for putting them away.  I've been known to take them away if they are still out the next day.  I teach them that I go through the work of washing and folding, the least they can do is show respect by putting them away!
  • I also have been known to charge a quarter (or a chore) per item that is either clean or doesn't belong in the dirty clothes. (I'm sure you don't have those kids that clean their rooms by way of putting it into the laundry basket instead of putting it away!
  • I put towels from the bathrooms and kitchen in the child's basket that is responsible for that room. Then I don't have to put them away!
  • Sports clothes, work clothes, sheets and towels are done 2-3 days after laundry day (Even I need a break!).  At most, those take 4-5 loads, so it's not hard to get them done on another day.  Four loads doesn't seem like much compared to 20 on Monday! lol  I know, perspective is everything!
  • I might have to do the sports uniforms 2-3 times a week, so I always try to get the work clothes into the same load.  I sneak those loads in when I can!
I know this may seem like a lot of rules, but it works for me.  I find if I can transfer some of the work load over to the rest of the family, I'm not caught in the business of getting clothes found and delivered throughout the house.  I only focus on getting the clothes cleaned and folded.  If I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the clothes, I try to pray for the person I'm folding clothes for at that moment.  This gives me something to focus on instead of my own laundry frustrations.  It also gives me a great chance to pray for my household, while I'm getting the mundane chores finished!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Burlap Christmas Tree Skirt

 My very sweet 17 year old daughter saw a ruffled tree skirt at a friend's house and decided that she had to make me one for a Christmas gift this week.  A little background on this first.  My daughter was a reluctant participant in sewing in 4-H for 6 long years!  She is not very detail oriented, so it was a struggle for both of us to get projects done right for the fair each year.  She was more than happy to be finished with that project, and hasn't had an interest in sewing since.

Well, this project was quite the project.  She found all the material herself, and even tried to find ruffles she could sew onto this skirt all over town.  When she came up with a dead end on ruffles (she knew she couldn't make her own ruffles), she found bias tape instead!  I personally think that she's a genius!  I've seen these ruffled skirts and love them, but this actually makes my skirt special!
Mr. Right even got involved and tried to print the lettering out on the computer, but couldn't figure it out.  On Tuesday night, while I was working at a home party, she sewed like crazy while the boys tried to figure the computer out.  My daughter finally decided to have her boyfriend do the printing for her.  He did a fabulous job of printing the "S" and established date on the tree skirt free hand!  Beautiful work on both of their parts!

When she pulled out the sewing machine, they couldn't find the cord, so Mr. Right made a new one from some cords laying around!  I'm pretty impressed that she thought to trace my other tree skirt to make it.  I know I've contemplated how to make a perfect circle for a skirt!

 So here's a glimpse of it under my tree.  It's off the ground, because I tried something different this year, by putting my tree in an old washtub.  I have to say, the burlap skirt is much more beautiful!  What do you think?  I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of my girl that even though she's not a fan of sewing, she was able to pull this off all by herself for a very special gift that I will truly treasure!  It gives me hope that I may have made the right decision to teach my kids homemaking skills.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Small Business Saturday

Today is Small Business Saturday!  Consider supporting someone who owns a small business today!  Why not help individuals instead of the big box stores this weekend?  It's easier, no lines, shop from your seat, not your feet!
 Of course I'd vote for you to shop with me today!  I'm running a 12 Days of Christmas Sale on my VIP Facegroup page Here.  Join my group for detail.  Here's a direct link to my website, too, if you'd like to shop with me!  The order will go in on December 8th and will be delivered on time for Christmas.
I hope you and yours enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Zucchini Cake

I'm not sure if it's a Midwest thing, but it seems that many of my Western friends don't know about freezing zucchini or what to do with all of the zucchini from the garden, like Midwesterners do.  So lately, when I bring a dish to pass at potlucks, my friends are surprised at how good my zucchini recipes are.  You can check out how I freeze zucchini and one of my favorite muffin recipes Over Here.
One of my favorite zucchini recipes is this Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  I get a ton of compliments when I bring it as a dish to pass on how moist and delicious this is.  I'm not usually a fan of cake, but this one has a crunchy chocolate chip topping, so no frosting needed!  I love that you don't have to make a separate frosting for it to taste wonderful.
My Mom used to make this when I was young.  I remember how proud she was that she found this recipe and tried to lie to us about it being a real chocolate cake, and yet she had snuck in the much dreaded zucchini on us (she was always looking for ways to use up all of her zucchini without us knowing!). 
Back in 2010, I started to search for the yummy recipe that has a very distinct taste and crumb topping.  After much trial and error (fortunately, my family likes zucchini!) I was able to find a recipe on HERE.  In case it every disappears from there, I'm going to put it here for you as well. 

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. oil
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. grated zucchini
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour milk
4 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Then sprinkle with a topping of 3/4 cup each chocolate chips, brown sugar and chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks & 12 Days of Christmas Sale!

Hoping you and yours are blessed beyond measure today! 
As you begin your holiday shopping, please consider shopping with a direct sales consultant.  Although I don't have a physical store front, every purchase you make directly effects me and my family!  Beginning today, I am having a 12 Days of Christmas sale in my Facebook VIP Group.  Please come check it out!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why I don't unfriend people on Facebook

I've had very few occasions where I have unfriended people on Facebook for any reason.  I've had a couple of scuffles with some people where they were stealing my pictures and content and using it for their own, and in that occasion, I actually block them, rather than unfriend them.  I don't friend people I don't know in the first place.

I was recently posting a post on my Facebook wall encouraging my friends and family to consider making their holiday purchases with some of my friends that are direct sellers.  In my effort to tag all of my fellow direct sellers, I noticed that one of them had unfriended me recently.  I messaged her to ask if she was still doing it, and she replied that she still was. 

I responded back that I was trying to tag and recommend my friends that are direct sellers and noticed that we aren't friends anymore on Facebook.  Here's the response I received back:
"It is nothing personal, about 3-4 times per year I go through and delete a ton of people... I try really hard to keep fb limited to family (because ours is huge and we live far away from them) and closer friends. Sorry! I usually message people to let them know, I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. Thank you for thinking of my little business"
I wanted to scream back at her that it is personal, if she chose to remove me!  It hurts my feelings. Not only that, but, I won't be recommending her, or purchasing anything from her in the future! This leads me to sharing with you the top reasons that I think, especially as a small business owner, why it's unwise to unfriend people on Facebook.

Top Reasons not to Unfriend People on Facebook:

  1. It hurts their feelings - Ok, I know that Facebook doesn't notify you that someone unfriended you, but I do notice when people have removed me.  I usually stumble upon it when I try to message that person, or I see them comment in a group or common friend's posts. 
  2. It's bad PR!  Let's face it, we all usually have some sort of agenda on Facebook at some point.  Whether you are in direct sales, looking for a job, trying to sell something in a rummage sale group, or just trying to network with others, it's very important to be friendly with everyone on your Facebook page.  I's just not friendly to unfriend them.
  3. "It's who you know, not what you know."  A quote that really ruffled my feathers recently when a very successful business person in my town told me that.  I don't really like the thought that you can get an up in this world by who you know, but the truth is you can.  You don't know who can help you find a job, or recommend your product that could lead you to the next million dollars!  A comment I made on Facebook recently on our struggle to find affordable health insurance led me to a friend I went to grade school with that is an accountant and he's willing to help with our taxes!  You just never know who might be able to help you in the future (or you help them!).
  4. Unfriending, makes your in-person interactions awkward at best!  I just don't know what to say to my "unfriend" above the next time I see her in the grocery store with her kids, or when I go to have an X-ray done by her at our local clinic.  Do I say: "Oh, hi unfriend - so good to see you in person.  I really miss you on Facebook?"  or "Now that I have no idea what's going on in your life, how are the kids?" or "Are you still talking to me, now that I'm not good enough to be your Facebook friend?"
  5. There are so many options to make sure that people are not seeing you or that you are not seeing them that you don't need to unfriend them.  You can block people from seeing posts.  You can even hide their posts from you seeing them in your feed.
I personally spend a lot of time networking with people online through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to promote my direct sales business.  I don't need to make one person feel hurt by unfriending them on Facebook.  No relationship is worth that!  If you are concerned about that, then don't friend anyone in the first place!  In fact, don't even be on Facebook, because everyone has a reason behind being there.  If you can't commit to being friendly on Facebook, don't go on Facebook.

What do you think, are there any reasons to Unfriend someone on Facebook?  The only reason I can think of that they are a danger to your life.  Hopefully, that's not the case.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

DIrect Sales Tipping

I don't know why I've never thought about this before, but I recently had an aha! moment with tipping.  Drum roll please!  Here it is:  When you leave a tip, leave a mini catalog or flyer with a nice note for the service provider thanking them for their service!  So simple!  I try to be sincere and hand write a note on the back of my mini catalog from my direct sales business as well as leave a generous tip, and that's it.  I haven't yet received a call from one of these, but I've only gone out two times so far where I could leave a tip. 
This is a tip that I left for the maid of our hotel room recently.  I'll be honest, I don't always tip in a hotel room, but this room was so fantastic, clean and a free upgrade from management, that I felt like I should give back to the maid.  My husband used to be a hotel man service, and he feels you should always tip too!
I went out to Red Lobster, recently, and left a tip with a note thanking the server.  I used to be a waitress, and there were very few people who went out of their way to compliment my services.  The ones that did, still stick out in my mind - 20 years later. 
What if it made that server's day? What if you made someone smile today?  What if you built up someone's self esteem by making them feel special? What if that just led to one new lead for your direct sales business today?   I think it's worth a try! Let me know how you thank your servers and make an impact, too! 
Of course, you can support my businesses HERE and HERE, too! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Elderberry Tincture

I'm new to elderberries.  I don't ever remember seeing them in the Midwest.  I've heard quite a bit about them since moving to the West, but have been really intimidated by the.  The house that we moved to last year has the bushes (or shall I say trees) everywhere on the property.  Several people told me how poisonous they are and how they can cause stomach problems if you don't handle them right.  Last year, I thought about harvesting my many bushes of them all season, but chickened out!  
This year, I decided that I wasn't going to use them again, but at least I would try to let people in my friends circle come pick them. So I put up a post on a local Facebook group.  I got a couple of takers.  Of course, the one evening that we could pick together, it was pouring rain and really cold!  While I was helping my friend pick a 5 gallon bucket of elderberries, I got to thinking that maybe it was time for me to give this a try, too.
Let me tell you what I've learned from locals to my area about making Elderberry Tincture:
  1. Pick the elderberries. Most people in this area, wait until it frosts to pick them.  You can just snap the bunches off the trees, and in our case, we just cut the branches down with a chainsaw and then took off the bunches.  They grow back like crazy, so you don't have to worry about pruning the bushes back that much.
  2. I then put a couple of Walmart bags of the berries, stems still attached into the freezer and then I left them for another day when I had more time for them.. 
  3. Next, I had my 5 and 9 year old pick all the stems and leaves out.  You can use a fork to push them off, but mine just fell off. 
  4. Wash the berries and pick anymore stems from them.
  5. Fill clean jars with the elderberries.
  6. Cover the berries with your favorite Vodka.
  7. Put a lid on it and store the jars in a dark cook place for 2-3 months.
  8. In 2-3 months, strain off the berries and re-jar the tincture.
  9. Take 1 teaspoon as needed for any number of ailments.
When picking out my Vodka, I chose a brand I was familiar with (and knew tastes ok) as well as was reasonably priced.
Check out this great article about elderberries and about some other uses for them.  I plan to use this as a immune booster for my family when we start coming down with colds and flus.  I just hope we don't have too many more bouts of illnesses before it's ready!
For younger children, I've heard that you can mix a teaspoon of this tincture into hot tea, which would cook off the alcohol.
One Walmart bag and about 1/3 of a large bottle of Vodka made 3 quarts of tincture.  I think this is a great payoff for not a lot of work.  I'll keep you posted about how it works in a few months! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fall Happy Mail

My personal love language is gifts, so when I was reading posts about going the extra mile for my hostesses, Happy Mail jumped out at me as a wonderful way to do that!  If you're not familiar with what Happy Mail is, it's sending weird and fun packages in the mail to make the receiver happy.  Let's face it, we all smile when we get something other than a bill in the mail.
I've been trying to send out a Thank you Happy Mail to my hostesses following their party.  Here's what I mailed out for the fall. 
I found these cute candy corn gift bags at the Dollar Tree and knew that I could do something with them for Happy Mail.  There were 6 bags in the pack.  I also looked high and low for the Candy Corns in a smaller bag (so it doesn't weigh so much) and found this one at Walgreen's for $1 which is my price range.  I also added in some fake leaves to make it fun!
I cut the handles off the bag and put everything in.  Taped it down and put this label on it.  The label says: "This may sound CORNY, but you FALL in as one of my best hostesses! Thanks!" On the other side of the bag, I just put the address label for my hostess.  It cost my about $2 to mail it out.
I know that I would love getting something like this in the mail!  My post lady is about as excited as I am about my Happy Mail when I send them out. What do you think?
If you'd like to get some of my Happy Mail by having your own party, go HERE and email me for the details!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Daylight Savings Time Hangover

I'm not really sure about you, but I'm a creature of habit and struggle to change my internal clock to a different time overnight.  On Monday morning after daylight savings, I have to say, I'm going with God sitting up there trying to figure us out and wondering why we've messed with his clock!!  I feel like I have a hangover from Daylight Savings Time. I think it's going to be a long week in recovery around here. I plan to use my two favorite energy helpers today: Ionix Supreme AND my favorite energy shot, e+!  What about you?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Loving It: A Girl's Trip

One of the best things about being in direct sales, is that I get to share with others the products with I love, as well as help pay the bills for my family!  There's no better way to have a job!
This last week, I took my oldest daughter, as well as my two younger daughters on a trip for five days to visit a college!  It was so much fun to spend some girl time and create some new adventures with my daughters!  To top it off, we were packed in the very cutest bags ever, sold by yours truly!
Check out how many bags it took four of us to pack in for a five day trip!!  Come on over to my VIP Facebook Page and name those bags and their patterns!!  I also try to let my VIP customers know what is coming up for specials and even do some giveaways here and there!  It's a lot of fun, so I'd love to have you join me!
What about you, do you get to do what you love and do you love your products and share them? 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Homecoming Fun: School Spirit

Last week was a big week around our town -  it was Homecoming Week.  As a part of homecoming week, the athletes in football, volleyball, and cross country, do a Big Brother, Little Sister Exchange.  The volleyball players pick one of the football player's names out to give some school spirit to for the week.  Although we homeschool, my kids have played on the high school teams at the public school, so this has been a fun week for them for the past few years!  The school assigns my kids a locker to use for the week so that it can be used for a drop off place.
 As a homeschool, I have to say this has been a really great experience for my kids to not only bond with their teammates, but also feel like they are a part of the community.  My kids go to all the after school event during homecoming, including bonfires, cookouts, and even ride in the parade with their graduating class.
The week begins with decorating each others lockers and also hanging a huge sign up in one of the local storefronts for their big brother.  Here's my daughter's decked out locker for the week!  Most of the kids actually leave the locker decorations up for the rest of the year.
Each day of the week, the kids sneak a gift in the locker of their big brother/ little sister.  My daughter was really into this and used ideas from Pinterest to come up with ideas to go with her gifts.  You can check out my School Spirit Board. for more of the ideas that I have pinned.  I thought I'd share what worked for her.
My daughter went to the Dollar Tree to get most of the gifts so it doesn't have to be too expensive.  Putting ribbon and/or a cute container on the gifts make it that much more expensive.  Blue and white ribbon has become a staple in our house for the school colors!

This gift contained: Power Aide, Crunch Bar, and Trail Mix
Note: You have the POWER to CRUNCH the Maniacs on your TRAIL to victory!
Sorry this picture is sideways, for some reason my phone doesn't turn these when they load.
Gift: Large bag of chips (could use small one)
Note: You're all that and a bag of chips!
Gift: Bubble and Tootsie Pops
Note: Blow the Maniacs away!
Gift: Bag of carrots, Ranch Dressing
Note: Sack the Quarterback Snacks
One other gift that she did, that I didn't catch in a picture was:
Gift: 6 Large Tootsie Rolls & a Rolo tied together
Note: Roll over the Maniacs

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

100 pounds of tomatoes

This last week, I actually had to take time off of homeschooling to get my canning done.  Don't worry, the kids worked on their handwriting, math and grammar workbooks in the kitchen (if you can see all the clutter in the background - that's it!) while I canned away, but I couldn't do our history, bible and read-alouds or my tomatoes would go to waste. 
You might wonder where I got so many tomatoes.  I'd love to say I grew them, but that's just not the case!  It is so dry here in the summer, that it's difficult to get tomatoes to grow nicely.  BUT, we have a guy down in Lucille, ID area who's know as Tomato Tom!!! He has tomato growing perfected, and you can pick your own tomatoes for only $.50 a pound!  Why grow your own, when it's so cheap and fresh down the road?  Each year, we run down there on a weekend and pick with the kids about 100 pounds of tomatoes for the winter months.
I like to have enough salsa and canned tomatoes stocked up for the winter, and then I usually try another recipe out of my favorite canning book:       Last year, I tried pizza sauce, which has great flavor, but is really runny, so it's not exactly what I'm looking for.  This year, I thought I try homemade tomato soup.  I was pondering ketchup, so maybe I'll do it next year.
Canning tomatoes whole is so easy and quick.  I wonder why people don't do this themselves!  In fact, in my opinion, it is easy to can them whole and then make my own sauce when I need it.  To make sauce, I just pour a jar of whole tomatoes in a pan, and then simmer it with a package of spaghetti sauce mix in it.  These mixes, I get for less than $.50 each when they go on sale.  The kids will even make their own spaghetti sauce this way!  You could add your own spices if you prefer, but I like the ease of not thinking about it.
All of these recipes you can get from my favorite canning book, except my recipe for Dad's Favorite Salsa, Ball Complete Canning Book.  I love this one because all you do is sterilize your jars, add lemon juice and salt in the bottom, and then fill up the jar with peeled tomatoes.  All the liquid you see in the jar is from the tomatoes!  No added water and so easy!
This is our oldest and favorite salsa, which we've fondly named Dad's Salsa. The reason is, that it usually turns out pretty mild and therefore, it's the only salsa that Dad loves!  I got this recipe from a hostess probably over 15 years ago on a handwritten card.  I've used this same card as my recipe - it is almost beyond repair, but I know what I need when it's salsa time!  Here it is:

Dad's Salsa

  • 5 Cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 Cups Chopped Onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Cup chopped green peppers
  • 1 jalapeño pepper - if none use 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 C. vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt

Combine, boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  You can refrigerate, freeze or can.  I love to can this in a water bath for 20 minutes in Pint jars. 
Note: This does make a small batch, so I triple or quadruple it until it fits in my larges pot.                
I heard about making tomato soup and canning it last year, so I was completely taken with trying this year!  My warning for this recipe, is that there seems to be some debate over weather this one is ok to can because of the butter and flour in it.  Well, it tastes so wonderful, I think you'll agree with me that it's worth the chance.   Mr. Right thinks it tastes "just like Campbell's Soup from the can, but better!"  I searched this one out on Pinterest.  Here's the site that I found with the recipe I used: Canned Tomato Soup Concentrate 
My kids and I love a little bit more spice to our salsa, so this is the our Zesty Salsa that we make.  It comes again from my favorite book, Ball Complete Canning Book.  The only variation of this recipe that I do, is add a more spice pepper.  My oldest son has a knack for coming home with some really spicy peppers from different people, so that's what I use!  I love the chunkiness of this salsa.  You need the scoop chips to eat it! 
Well, that was this year's 100 Pounds of Tomatoes.  What suggestions do you have for the future for me?  I love to try something new!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to be Present with your children!

I ran across this quote on Facebook this last week and just had to share.  It's so powerful, and a great reminder to parents everywhere.  In the technological age we are in now, it's very easy to not be present in our children's lives!  With my first child leaving for college this year and my second headed that way next year, I've spent the last few years, really enjoying my kids and the time we have together.  Even that running to and from all the different games and events they have, I try to be present with them.
Here are some ideas for being present with your kids:
  1. Talk with your kids in the car when you're taking them places. Ask them questions.
  2. Attend as many of your kids events as you can!  Even if you each have to sacrifice other things, or tag team with your spouse.
  3. Make eye contact with your kids when they talk to you.  Even if my kids are interrupting a TV show, I pause it and look at them, no matter the subject for the interruption.
  4. Do something they enjoy doing, with them.  The other night, I practiced my trumpet with my 6th grader.  I told him I had 10 minutes to play with him, and we found ourselves practicing for 45 minutes!  I loved every moment!
  5. Brag about them! I try to brag about all the great things my kids do, and stay away from complaining about them!  Even if I'm tired of going to one more game, my complaint about it can personally hurt my child's feelings.  Go see my opinion about comments on Facebook Here.  I want to be certain that my kids know I love them and am proud of them!
  6. Be that "June Cleaver Mom."  What I mean is, do those little things that make a mom (or dad) special.  I wake up every morning of the week an hour before my family to make a baked breakfast for them.  For the last two summers, my oldest son worked a long day in Youth Conservation Corps, and had to leave at 4:30am.  I got up every morning and made him breakfast and had alone time with him before he left for work.  Of course it was a sacrifice and some mornings were hard to get out of bed, but I wanted to be a special person in my son's life!
  7. Let your kids know it's your pleasure to do things for them.  My kids know I don't like to cook, but I let them know that it's my pleasure to cook for them.
  8. Compliment them - genuinely and often!
  9. Hug them - I know, seems obvious, but I'm not a touchy person, so this is something I have to plan and think about.
  10. Tell them you love them - ALL THE TIME!
One of the things that helps me be there for my kids, is being my own boss!  Consider shopping with me to make that possible - HERE!  Do you have more ideas of how you can be present with your Kids?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Win a FREE Apron!

Who wants a FREE apron?

Did you know we have these ADORABLE aprons in our holiday line that just came out? Well, to celebrate, I’m giving one away!

All you have to do is tell me what YOU would put on an apron.  You can do up to 3 lines with up to 16 characters on each line.  You can enter three different times:  On my Personal Page,  on my VIP Group, and on my Business page on Facebook page.  We’re going to vote on my VIP page for the best “saying” and the winner gets their saying on their FREE apron! So…ready…set…who’s the most creative…LOL!

Winner will be voted on in my VIP group on Sunday!! I'll announce the winner on Monday!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Unloving Parents Today

Ok - I've had enough of  unloving parents these days!  I'm warning you now to that this is all my opinion, and you may not like it.  In fact, I probably won't even respond it you make nasty comments to me about it!  That's my disclaimer!

Here's my opinion: What is wrong with parents today that can't wait to get rid of their kids?  They can't wait to send them to school, and can't stand them home from extended breaks!  Here's a post from someone (who will remain anonymous) on my Facebook just this morning that has pushed me over the edge:
"Sigh....the first day of the 4 day weekend and I already wanna send them back to school. Geez Louise."
What in the world would those kids think if they heard their mother saying that?  Really, four days is too much for you to spend with your own children? Does she really think that by putting that on Facebook, that her kids will never know that she essentially hates them?  Once you put it on the internet, it's there forever! 

A few years ago, I made the commitment to really think about what I post about my children on Facebook before posting it.  They may not be on Facebook right now, but someday they will be. I love to tell funny stories about them, but I'm really aware of not sharing things that would embarrass them now or someday.  In fact, I put up tons of praise and proud moments I have of them, so that they get a clear message that I love them, want them, and am proud of them.

I know I'd be hurt if my Mom shared my dirty laundry and bad choices I've made. I'd feel even worse if she didn't want to be with me and told the universe on Facebook.  In fact, a couple of years ago, my father (sperm donor) commented on his blog about how much weight I had gained since he last saw me. (fyi -  I've had 5 children since he last saw me!!)  I can't tell you the pain that has caused me ever since.  I'm 31ish!  I'm traumatized by a comment my father said on a blog about me as a full grown adult - imagine the impact that would have on a teenager when they find that their parent can't wait to get rid of them!

I have five children.  I am with them 24/7, as I homeschool them and keep them close to me.  I cried the first day of my oldest son attended the local high school for 2 classes. I cried when my third child wanted to go to band class every day.  My children have rarely been away from us, and have had very few occasions with sitters over the years. I want to be with my children! That's why I had them.  I can't wait for us to be together as a family! Don't get me wrong, I want them to go out and be upstanding citizens when they are adults and ready, but I don't need to pawn them off on anyone else because I can't stand them for a 4 day weekend. 

Why do parents today have such a distain of the children, that they don't look forward to every moment they have with them? Do they know that time flies and soon, they will be gone?  Why even bother having children, if you're not going to spend every moment loving on them?  What is going to happen to the next generation if none of the parents can stand their children?  These moments with our children are so precious so don't waste them!  Your children will get your message loud and clear and not want to be with you either!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Zucchini Overload

Do you have an overload of zucchini right now?  I have to say, I don't.  For whatever reason, my plants just didn't produce anything this year.  Of course, I really love baked goods with zucchini in them, so I picked up some at a local farm for $.25 each this week, to be sure that I have plenty for the winter.  
I shred all of my zucchini, yellow and green with my Kitchen Aid and my shredder attachment into my big bowl.   I especially like to shred up those huge, overgrown zucchini's!  Those big seeds get mixed right in.  If the seeds are too big, I'll just take them out and use the flesh only. Then I measure out the shredded zucchini into freezer bags two cups at a time. 
I like make all my freezer bags flat for my freezer, so I can stack them neatly and in less room.   I've found that most of my favorite recipes use two cups of shredded zucchini, so I'm ready to go all winter long for our muffins, breads and cakes.
I'll share one of my favorite recipes: Green Muffins!


Green Muffins                

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tins with Pam
  2. In a mixer, beat eggs  for 1 minute.  Beat in milk, oil, and sugar.  Stir in zucchini until well blended. 
  3. Add dry ingredients a little at a time. Mix will be a little lumpy.  Spoon batter into muffin tins.  Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake 20 minutes, or until muffin tops are golden brown and spring back when you touch them.  Cool muffins on a rack.
I will work on sharing my Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe here too, so stay tuned.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dream Journal

It's so easy to feel disappointed when a dream you have doesn't happen.  Whether you are working your own business, trying to lose weight, or really anything in life that you are trying to do!  I found this quote this morning, and thought it fit into what I've been working on myself: a Dream Journal.
This last week, I've started a Dream Journal.  I'm trying to be more positive and focused on achieving my dreams.  I've just opened a Word Document on my computer, where I spend most of my time while I'm working, and titled it Dreams and Goals.  Then I put bullets into a list form, and started to add. 

Some dreams are very specific, like "Earn $_____ a month."  Others are more vague, but I know I would love to do them, like "Give sports teams food when I want to."  This one came from sitting all day at my daughter's tournament and I enjoyed giving the girls granola bars between matches.  I would just love to be able to do that whenever I felt the urge, with money not being an issue. 

I revisit my list each day, and really think positively that I can achieve these Dreams and Goals.  Do you have dreams and goals that seem like they may never happen?  Well, what's stopping you?  If you had a focused list, I know that it will happen - someday!  I would love to help you make your financial dreams come true - We can dream more and achieve more together!  Join Me!  Want to join me on my weight loss goals?  I've recently lost 35 pounds and would love to coach you to that too - Weight Loss.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tuesday Posts: Asking questions

So if you remember, I shared a posting schedule here that I found, and on Tuesdays it recommends to "Ask a question, share a photo contest or quiz, or post a fill-in-a-blank sentence."  I started trying to come up with a question to post in my groups and couldn't make up my mind! 

Then I had a brilliant idea: look it up on the internet!  So cliché, isn't it?  I used to type in "Ask fun questions."  Low and behold, hundreds of lists of fun questions to ask came up!  Try it!  It works! Take your pick, and you now have a list of interesting and fun questions to ask to captivate your audience on your Facebook groups and Business pages!

Here are some of the ideas I came up with to try out on your blog or Facebook page to gain interaction from your audience:
  • What is the last text you wrote in your phone?
  • What is the last picture you took on your phone?
  • What have you always wanted? Did you get it?
  • What is your greatest strength or weakness?
  • What are your nicknames?
  • What do you do if you can't sleep at night?
  • Do you save old greeting cards and letters?
  • What is your guilty pleasure that would be impossible to give up?
  • Are you likely to avoid conflict or meet it head on?
  • Do you read the newspaper? And how often?
  • If you had to give up one of your senses, which would it be?
  • Do you prefer people to shoot straight with words, or tread lightly?
  • What position do you sleep in?
  • How difficult is it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize?
  • What is the best news you've ever received?
  • What is your favorite way to unwind at the end of the day?
  • How did you keep in touch with people before Facebook?
  • What makes you feel inspired?
  • Which TV family is most like your own?
  • If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
  • What is your favorite board game of all time?
What are some great questions that have worked for you?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Free Breakfast

I love nothing better than being able to use leftovers in a new way or even make breakfast from the fruit of our labors.  In this case, I provided a Taco Soup and Corn muffins for the Youth Group at church this week, so had way too many corn muffins left over to eat.  My family doesn't eat "old" breads, since I bake fresh so much, so I knew these corn muffins would go to waste if I couldn't figure out how to use them. 

My grandmother used to make bread pudding when she had leftover or old bread.  I've even found a recipe for making bread pudding from leftover donuts that tastes pretty close to my grandmother's bread pudding.  I was thinking about what I could do with my corn muffins and decided to make it into a bread pudding for breakfast!  The best part was, that not only did I have leftover muffins, but a neighbor gave us free milk from her cow, I used huckleberries we picked in the forest, and I was able to use eggs from our own hens!  That means, we had breakfast for FREE!  I love that!

So here's the recipe:
Huckleberry Corn Bread Pudding

8 cups corn bread/muffins - cubed
1 cup huckleberries (can substitute blueberries) - fresh or frozen
4 cups milk - I used  fresh cows milk, but I've also used skim milk.  Using a half and half will make this creamer
5 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup brown sugar - topping
Preheat oven to  300 degrees. Butter or spray 9x13 casserole pan.  Place cubed corn bread in pan.  Sprinkle huckleberries over it.  Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and spread over the bread and fruit.  Sprinkle 1/8 cup brown sugar over the top for  topping. Let stand 10-15 minutes, so the milk soaks into the bread. 
Bake for 60-75 minutes at 300 degrees.  Serve as is, or top with whipped cream or ice cream!
Enjoy! My Recipe Magic 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Posting Schedule

I got this posting schedule in a networking group I'm in on Facebook.  I always try to credit my sources, but in this case, it's all over and I can't find the person that created it.  I apologize to whomever made this great schedule, but I want to share it with you. If you have a Facebook group, business, or a blog, I think it's a really great idea to have a schedule or plan for what you post.
Along with this post, the first place I saw it, the lady that shared it stated that when you post on Facebook, it should be only 10% promoting your business and the rest personal interactions and developing a relationship.  That really resonated with me, because although I know that many businesses and direct sales people use Facebook and blogs to promote their businesses.   There's nothing worse than only hearing promotion after promotion!  (And I'll be honest - I'm very guilty of this myself.)
I've been trying to use it as a guide on my private Facebook VIP group for my business (You can join here) and even on my business page here.  It has also made me think about trying to nurture this blog a little more too.  I know there are many really successful blogs that have a very active schedule, but I find myself falling very short!
Some of this schedule is still hard for me to do. I don't feel like I have too much imagination or even originality.  I'd love to hear where people come up with ideas to do each of these things on the schedule!  I can tell you this, it would be great to actually get ahead of the schedule and not be doing today's post!  I have lofty plans, at least!
Here's my interaction for Tuesday:  What do you think about having a schedule for your website?  Do you keep to it?  For my part, if I attempt even five days of this a week, I'm reaching my intended audiences far more than I'm currently reaching.  I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Making Room in the Freezer

As the fall harvest begins, I was finding several different bags of fruit in the freezer from last year that we hadn't used yet.  On top of that, we had an obnoxious amount of rhubarb this spring already!  What started to be a batch of Huckleberry jam, turned into an afternoon of making jam and sauces! 
The jams I used from last year's berries were huckleberry, raspberry, strawberry rhubarb and cherry. My favorite recipe book is The Ball Complete Book of Canning, which if you don't have, you should get!  It has every recipe that you could possibly use and more. Only one recipe have we not likde and that was the Cherry Jam, where the optional ingredients we didn't like.  We leave them out and we love it!
 I still had over 30 bags of rhubarb in my freezer (what can I say we love rhubarb coffee cake all winter long, but this was a little much!) so was checking out the recipes in my canning book.  I've made Strawberry Rhubarb Pie filling and Rhubarb sauce, which my family didn't care for the texture.  Then I found a recipe for Victorian BBQ, which used rhubarb and raisons in it.  I thought, why not?  The jars in the far right row of the picture are the BBQ sauce.  I slow cooked a roast with the Victorian BBQ over it and it was a hit with the whole family!
This took me about three hours in one afternoon, and I now have about 35 jars of jam, 7 jars of Victorian BBQ sauce, and more room in the freezer for the incoming harvest!
If you're wondering how I have so much energy after canning everything in the freezer, raising 5 kids and homeschooling, you should check out my favorite Energy Drink!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wildfire Evacuation Plan

Sunset courtesy of wildfire smoke
I'm really not an alarmist or one of those people that thinks we'll all lose our homes at some point, but with over 200 wildfires going around our area, and threats of lightning storms, I'm starting to worry and plan for the worst.  Being from the Midwest, I've never lived under such threat of fire, so I asked my girlfriends last night for their advice on what to do if we have to be evacuated.  Many of their ideas were actually really great, so I'm going to give you a list of what to do in order of importance, with the idea that your family and children are safely evacuated (or on their way out) and you have some time to load your vehicles to leave. Don't ever put yourself or your family in harms way for things in your home!

What to do before an evacuation:
  1. Put all important documents in a portable, fire safe file if possible.  Files to gather: Birth certificates, marriage certificates,Medical insurance cards, home and car insurance, vehicle titles, passports, cash if on hand, etc.
  2. Have all important photo albums in a ready location with a plan to take them.
  3. Talk to your children about evacuation route and where to go.  Maybe even make a map and laminate it where it will be available.  I know in our case, we will be having our teenagers driving our vehicles out, so a plan is good!  In our situation, we have trimming in the alternate route to make, so a plan for that is needed.
  4. Make a written plan for what to pack in each vehicle that is going.
  5. Pack a 72 hour pack.  This should be portable, but include food, water, blanket, basic personal care likes soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, toilet paper, and fire starter to last for 72 hours.
  6. Talk with family (and maybe even make a list in order of importance for each person) about what they couldn't live without, or would want to take with them.  Don't leave small children out of this conversation!  Small children will be more manageable in an emergency if they have their favorite blanket, doll or special item with them!
  7. Take a picture of all of your items of value and rooms as they are before the fire and store the pictures away from the home.
  8. Pack & update First Aid and survival kits in all vehicles!
In the case of an evacuation:
  1. Keep all cars, vehicles and trailers parked in a ready to go out the driveway at all times! 
  2. Hook up all trailers to the rigs in a ready to drive away position.
  3. Kennel family pets in safe place in escape vehicle, away from the chaos of packing.  They may frighten and run away, so better to make them ready and be certain to have them.
  4. Load most important livestock in trailer or truck if you have room for them.  In our case, we have 3 fair lambs that will need to go in our truck. 
  5. Turn all other livestock loose.  Apparently, most livestock, given the opportunity to flee from fire, will know what to do.  In our case, we have 25 chickens, which would be impossible to move at once, or even take care of.  On the other hand, they will survive if they get to a safe area without us!
  6. Load Important Document file
  7. Load 72 hour pack
  8. Each family member grab their one special item (hopefully you talked about that)
  9. Load small valuables.  This could be money, jewelry, etc.
  10. Load electronics.  All phones, cords, batteries, cameras, laptops, tablets.  I know this seems weird, but I know that I can't imagine living without these for long!  They are replaceable, but make life easier!
  11. Grab and extras you can fit for everyday living, like clothing, blankets, pillows, food
  12. When the vehicles are full, move them to a safe distance right away, with the children.
  13. If you can return or if time allows, load larger items of value if possible.
Keep in mind that NO THING is more important than the safety and well-being of your family, not even an animal, livestock or pet is worth more than your kids!

Have you ever been evacuated?  Have I missed anything?  I would love to update my lists if I don't have it all.  Also,  a good browse of Pinterest will produce some great lists to print.  If you follow me on Pinterest and check my Organization and Cleaning board, I have some of my favorites in there.

Monday, June 29, 2015

S'mores made better!

Ok, I love old fashioned s'mores.  You know, the yummy perfectly golden cooked marshmallows over a campfire between two graham crackers and three rectangles of Hershey's chocolate.  We've tried all different kinds of options for s'mores, but they just don't quite make the cut.  We've used Peeps instead of marshmallows.  We've tried Rolo's and Reese's peanut butter cups.  We've tried square marshmallows and the jumbo ones.  I love the off brand, cheap marshmallows the best.  None of these options quite match up, though!

Sooo..... this weekend, while we were camping, we went about making our traditional, only-way-to-eat s'mores as usual!  Then, for whatever reason, I decided that I would try my perfectly cooked, off-brand marshmallow between two homemade chocolate chip cookies!  Oh, my!! We now have a competitor to the original, traditional s'mores!  You don't even need the chocolate!  The chocolate chips melt with the hot marshmallow and it tastes so yummy!!!  Warning, you may have to eat several of these, though, which makes them not so healthy, but happiness created by eating them, may overrule the calories!  (Maybe!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Horizontal Rainbow

On the way home from town at 1pm today, we saw this horizontal rainbow above the mountain!  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but after doing a bunch of searching online, have settled with Wikipedia's version of it: (See the entire article Here)

 A circumhorizontal arc is an optical phenomenon - an ice-halo formed by the refraction of sun- or moonlight in plate-shaped ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, typically in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. In its full form, the arc has the appearance of a large, brightly spectrum-coloured band running parallel to the horizon, located below the Sun or Moon. The distance below the Sun or Moon is twice as far as the common 22-degree halo. Red is the uppermost colour. Often, when the halo-forming cloud is small or patchy, only fragments of the arc are seen. As with all halos, it can be caused by the Sun as well as (but much more rarely) by the Moon.[1] 
So, although the rainbow looks curved, it was straight across the sky and there is no sign of rain anywhere nearby (in fact, we are on the verge of having fire dangers in the area). It surely is a great sign today of "living blessed on the prairie!"
Please let me know if you have any better explanations for this, because it seems to be such a weird occurrence! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My BIG One Day Goal: $1000!

I have a great big goal for tomorrow!  To have a $1000 day!  Wow! I've never done that on my own, so I need your help!  If you can help, please contact me thru my "Shop with Me!" on the right column and then Click "What I love!"  For every $25 purchase on My $1000 Day Party, you will be put into a drawing!  When I hit $500 someone will get their order for HALF PRICE!  When I hit $1000, someone will get their order for FREE!!! I can't wait to hear from you all and thanks in advance!