Friday, October 3, 2014


I know, I have been more absent from the blog lately than ever! My excuse is that I have been BUSY! Sheesh. It's a good busy, I don't feel stressed or frantic, thankfully. I tried to choose our activities very carefully this year, for that very reason. Things needed to fit into our life in a way that wasn't going to make Mommy crazy, haha. But, homeschooling now three school-aged children is making homeschooling more of a full-time job than it's been before, albeit a very fun one! I'm enjoying homeschooling more the older they get, for sure.

Added to that, my doTERRA business is going AWESOME! Holy cow. I think people are just really ready for alternative options for health and healing than what conventional medicine has to offer.

But this isn't a doTERRA post ;) In random order, from the pics on my iPhone, here's what we've been up to lately.

If ever I get too busy to sew, I'm too busy. Sewing is my brain break. I need it to stay sane! Last week I made up this top. I was unsure about it (it has a lower hem in the back), til I tried it on with this skirt. I won't be wearing this polka dot skirt with it! but I'm going to use the same pattern to make a black twill skirt with a scalloped hem. I think it will be fabulous. I'll post the outfit when it's done, of course.
 The girls want to be these monster girls for Halloween! So cute, I'm thrilled. We will not be wearing long sleeves and tights, however, that would just be too hot, haha. Never have I had to worry about being too warm on Halloween night, usually it's the opposite problem! Kelby wants to be the Flash. Today. That could change tomorrow. Because it did change yesterday ;)
 There was an air show over the AF Base last weekend, so we watched the Blue Angels do tricks over there and then circle around right over our house for four nights in a row. Two for practice and two for the event. Those four tiny specks in the sky are them. I couldn't manage to get a better picture! Kelby loved it.
 There was a homeschool field trip to an historic church and cemetery on Wednesday! It was too cool. We learned about the earliest Christians here on Oahu. What a legacy!

After that, we got caught walking in a CRAZY rainstorm. We had one umbrella and were huddled under it just trying to get to the car. It did not work, we go totally drenched. Layla was crying because she was afraid of the rushing water flooding the parking lot and I couldn't stop laughing. A memory was made!

We have hit a nice balance here! We are starting American Heritage Girls, Natalie is in a musical theater class, Layla's taking piano lessons and Kelby is being kept on his toes by the plethora of little girls in our neighborhood. There are a LOT of girls. The other day, I had a house full of them and they found me in my sewing room and oohed and aahed over the baby Elsa dress (almost done, I'll share soon!) and then they started making requests. Hahaha!

I'm teaching classes about using essential oils and it is so *my thing*, it's not even funny. I love it. I'm actually teaching a Facebook class starting next week! If you've been curious about essential oils and what they can do, find me here on Facebook, add me as a friend and I'll invite you to the class! It's a no-pressure, post-as-we-go, week-long fun class, where I'll share my oil stories and you can get your questions answered! :)


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A better hand sanitizer--doTERRA DIY

On Guard! I love saying it like a sword fighter ... but really it's one of my fave essential oils!! Boy do I have stories about this one and I've only been using it for about a month.

Today, Natalie woke up pukey, poor baby. I cleaned that up and made her comfortable, rubbed some peppermint on her belly and put her on the couch with a movie ... and a big bowl ;)

Then, I immediately grabbed a glass spray bottle and whipped up some sanitizing spray and made everyone use it on their hands! I've used it multiple times since. I do not want to get sick.

Here's the recipe:

5 drops each of Melaleuca, Lemon and OnGuard essential oils in 4 oz. of water. That's it! It smells good, it kills bacteria and fights off yuckies. Hooray! No chemicals or alcohol or unpronounceable ingredients. Unless you have a hard time saying "Melaleuca" hahaha.

Always use glass bottles for essential oil recipes because the oils will dissolve plastic ones! The oils are meant to get rid of synthetics, after all. You can buy these pretty blue glass ones very inexpensively here and various other places around the web.

OnGuard is a must have in any family's medicine cabinet! I gargle and swish it every night, I have warded off sore throats and a cold. My mom stayed well in a house full of sickies last week using it! And, added bonus, my teeth and gums haven't looked this good in years. No joke. I'll spare you the gross details, but since I started swishing with OnGuard and/or using a drop on my toothbrush with my toothpaste, my teeth and are whiter and my gums healthier. Totally wish I'd taken a before pic. Since it's antibacterial and safe for ingestion, it's a double whammy for your immune health and your mouth's health! 

The best part, I no longer feel that sense of dread when one of us gets sick. I would always think, "oh no, here we go. No one's safe, we'll all get it, it's only a matter of time". That's not true anymore with my made-over medicine cabinet :) 

These oils are all available from my doTERRA site.  

If you'd like more info on getting started with essential oils or about doTERRA or about the wholesale membership that you save you a lot of money on your oils, email me at penelopey4[at]yahoo[dot]com. I LOVE talking about this stuff! So hit me with your questions!! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

two tops

I have two recently made shirts to show you! Awhile ago had a big cotton sale and I payed a crazy low amount for some cottons.

I wanted loose tops to fit my lifestyle and the climate here. Anything clingy just becomes pretty miserable when it's hot and humid. Once you get sweaty in a clingy shirt, you just can't be comfortable, lol.

The first is McCall's 6512:

I was concerned that it would be too baggy, but I made a muslin and decided I liked it. I did something different with the sleeves because I wasn't liking the bunched up into a tab look. I took a larger hem and then added a pleat with a button to each sleeve. Worked just fine. I didn't bother making button holes, I just sewed the buttons through both plackets, as I don't intend to wear this unbuttoned. 

Side note, I'm not sure what's up with my camera, but I am having a really hard time getting good colors out of it lately, especially with my 50mm lens. The camera body got a little damaged sometime during the move and I'm wondering if a good cleaning of my camera and lenses is in order. I really prefer not to have to do a ton of post-editing because if my colors aren't right to begin with, I have a hard time editing them to be any better. 

Anywaaaaaay, next up is Simplicity 1430:
I really, really like this one!! (See, colors again, not great). This is a really pretty cotton gauze. There's a longer dress version of this pattern that I think I'd like to use for a really soft purple linen in my stash!

There! I blogged two shirts I've been wanting to share, even though my pics are not very good, I had to crop the goofy look on my face out of the first one, my shorts are too big and my pose in the last pic is frumpy, hahaha! Done is better than perfect. Who's with me? #notPinterestperfect ;)

Next up a baby Elsa dress for a friend! It's gonna be soooooo cuuuuute!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

my absence explained in iPhone pics

We had company last week!! My parents were visiting and we were out showing off this beautiful island. Beach, eat, shop, eat, shave ice, eat, shop more, eat, etc...

I didn't take my big camera along on any of our excursions and I don't really regret it because I made a conscious effort to take plenty of phone photos. Plus, the sand and the DSLR do not mix. I feel like I have to be too careful with it when I have the big camera and I don't always feel like being careful!

 Watching the Apple announcement:
 Look at my Mom, you guys! Classy Granny:

 My fave:
 Had to get some Matsumoto's shave ice!

 Mom helped the girls embroider.
 Once they got the hang of it, they went to the park with a picnic quilt and taught allll the little neighbor girls how to do it too. It was adorable.

Granny babysat so we could go on a date! I wore my newest Stitchfix dress! I haven't managed to blog my Stitchfixes in months, I know. I'll try this week, I promise.

And now, it's Monday and we are back to our routine. I really like Mondays. Weekends are relaxing, but Monday feels like recovery from the weekend, haha! I think that's what breaks are for, to help you desire your routine again, don't you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

doTERRA Breathe

Aloha, friends! I am beyond excited about today's post. I have recently had such a good experience with essential oils for healing an ongoing (months-long!) sinus infection, that I am happy to share with you that I've become a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA essential oils!

This blog is obviously not becoming an oil blog, haha, but occasionally I will be sharing what I've learned and experienced because, well, it'd be a shame not to ;)

Today's exclamation-point-filled post is brought to you by doTERRA's Breathe blend. I have lived with sinus and allergy issues my entire life, but moving to Hawaii, where there is so much more vegetation and mold than I've ever known, left me in a constant state of painful sinus pressure and misery. And, many of you may relate, the worst part of sinus problems is the fatigue that comes with it! I'd been this way for months. UNTIL ... I got ahold of some Breathe and pulled out my trusty Melaleuca (aka tea tree oil) and nipped that sinus infection in the bud! I steamed my head with the Breathe oil (boil water, remove and wait five minutes, add 2 drops of oil and drape a towel around your head and the pot and breathe deeply) and added a drop of Melaleuca to my sinus rinse. I did this twice a day and was completely better within 48 hours. Rid of a sinus infection that I'd had for months and that antibiotics couldn't even touch!

I've added a convenient button to my sidebar that will always link you directly to my doTERRA shop, where you can get some Breathe and Melaleuca for yourself. Breathe is also very effective for head colds. Just apply to the chest (maybe in a little coconut oil) and/or to the bottom of the feet. Melaleuca is antibacterial, which is why it gets rid of yuckies in the sinuses. Also good for yeast infections and about a hundred other things ;)

If you have further questions for me about essential oils, doTERRA, using them, selling them, any questions at all, or if you'd like some samples from me, you can always email me those questions at penelopey4(at)yahoo(dot)com. You can also, of course, fire away in the comments.

Happy breathing :)

I made a pretty cute shirt last week that I'll share with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

camera play

I've been tinkering with my camera this week! It's fun.

If you want waaaay better photos than mine to admire, I've been following Captured: A Photo Blog, hosted by The Week news site (which I do not read so have no idea of it's appropriateness or political stance or general accuracy) and it is amazing and informative looking at those pictures of current events and goings on in the rest of the world. It could really open up a lot of discussion with kids too and help us all remember to step out of our Western bubble once in awhile.

On to a few of my faves from my photography efforts of the week :)

Playing with toys.
 Playing with silhouettes. Still working on those.
 Playing with perspective:
 Playing while playing. Ha! Pun.
 Playing with macro.
 Playing with sunsets.

Monday, August 25, 2014

What we're reading

Yesterday in the car, both my girls were reading chapter books for pleasure and I said, "I've done it. Our kids love reading. My work here is done." Ha! But, seriously, I've prayed to raise children who love to read because if you can read and like it, you can self-educate. You can learn anything! 

Here's what we're reading lately :) 

  • Fancy Clancy - A chapter book mystery series featuring our favorite Fancy Nancy. I think there are three or four in the series so far and they are favorites of Natalie's. 
  • Nancy Drew graphic novels. We love Nancy Drew, I loved her books as a kid and I couldn't wait to share her wonderfulness with my girls! Natalie wasn't quite ready for the original series (she can do it, she just gets intimidated by smaller words and no pictures, but she'll get there.) We love the movie and we've listened to some of the Clue Crew series on CD from the library and then I got these graphic novels used. Natalie ate them up. Graphic novels for kids are a GREAT way to help timid kids get into reading for pleasure! The Thea Stilton books and the Boxcar Children graphic novels are some good examples! Layla has loved both of those series. 

  • I just mentioned two series that Layla likes, but more recently, she's been getting these Mercy Watson books from the library. This is a chapter book series for younger kids just getting into chapters. It's funny and silly (Mercy is a pig who lives with people) and it's the perfect cross between picture book and chapter book. I wish there were more series like that! 
  • Kelby is just learning to read! I'm so proud of him. To teach him, I'm using my trusty The Reading Lesson and also the Explode the Code: Get Ready for the Code series. He's much more workbook oriented than either of my girls were! Which is nice, actually. 
  • While we always like the B.O.B. books, a similar learning-to-read series that we like even a little better is the Now I'm Reading books. These are so great, they're the same size as the B.O.B. books, but the pictures are more wacky and colorful and the stories are silly and funny. We have only two sets, but I've used these for all my kids. 
My turn! 
  • I recently read Timothy Keller's The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness because my brother-in-law recommended it on Instagram. It was really great. It's very short, I read it in about 45 minutes during Layla's piano lesson and the Kindle version in only $1.62. I'm eager to read it again very soon. Highly recommend! I also have The Prodigal God by the same author and plan to start it today. 
  • I started The Charlotte Mason Companion while we were still living in the hotel and I love pulling it out about once a week to digest a new chapter. The Charlotte Mason method has done so much for our homeschool! I can talk more about that in a later post, but I'm not sure how many homeschooling readers I have so I won't drone on about it here and now ;) 
  • As for fiction, I am sooooo picky. I don't like to waste time on twaddle (that was a Charlotte Mason reference--if you got it, you're a homeschool nerd like me) and I often start books and quit them because I think they're dumb. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier has been on my to-read list for a super long time and I finally started it last week. It was written in the late 30's and it is SO GOOD!!!! I haven't yet finished it, so don't hate me if you read it and the ending is bad, ha! 

This is the best part! I looooove reading out loud to the kids. I could make a whole post of our faves and maybe I will. But for now, 
  • We are finishing the Wayside School series. It is so funny. The second one is probably my favorite. Grown-ups listening laugh just as much as the kids. We read aloud a lot at school time, but I like to have a just-for-fun book going too. 
  • As we study Egypt in school, I read The Curse of King Tut's Mummy out loud to the girls. This is the true story of Howard Carter and his finding King Tut's tomb, written for children in a way that is exciting and interesting for them. It's difficult to find well-written books in this genre, so I thought this one was worth a shout out. We loved it. 
  • Tirzah We've read one chapter of this and although the girls weren't super into it, I really think they will be if we continue. It's the story of an Israelite girl whose family is part of the Exodus from Egypt. I love homeschooling history because I get to teach Biblical history alongside ancient history and this book is a perfect example of that. 
I think that's all for now! I'd tell you what Casey's reading, but his current reads are for his Master's degree and have terms like "ethnomusicology" and "Iranian sung poetry".  No lie. 

What are you reading?? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Natalie sews

Last week I ordered this book for my girls:
 I've always given them free reign with their sewing machine and the box of up-for-grabs fabrics, but they are wanting to make more sophisticated things, from patterns and such. I try to make time at least weekly to sew with them, but I wanted them to have a little freedom to follow directions and make things without me. This book is great for that! There are color coded projects, according to how much help they might need. I helped Natalie make the first of these felt flowers and then she was off. She moved on to another project from the book and made it with no help at all!

 She made a headband out of this one, sorry the pic isn't better.
She taught Layla how to make these too and now both my girls are skilled with a glue gun. I think it's revolutionized their crafting, haha!

I haven't sewn a ton the last few weeks, I've been working on other things and enjoying homeschooling. I did make Casey another pillow case yesterday. He picked this fabric himself at the quilt store a couple weekends ago. He doesn't ask for much, so when he wants me to sew something for him, I try to oblige :)

I've been working on a photo book for allllll my 2013 photos. I finished my Project Life scrapbook for 2012. But, I've decided that while it's something I really do enjoy, I don't make time for scrapbooking. It requires a lot of gear, which costs a lot of money and takes up a lot of space and I am really wanting to pare down our belongings even more than we already have. Clutter affects my mental state so much. Really, I just want the photos off my computer and in my hands. And Shutterfly photo albums fit the bill for that. Plus, they take up a lot less shelf space than my scrapbooks, which are all on a closet shelf right now!

I've also been getting friendly with my camera again. I realized I haven't been taking many photos these last few months, other than with my phone (which still count, especially since Shutterfly can upload right from your Instagram account!) Making the photo album inspired me to pick my big camera up again for the sake of memories! Someone said some kinda mean things about my photo skills awhile back and it really discouraged me more than I was willing to admit. Made me feel mediocre. But, that's dumb and I need to forget it and do it because I think it's fun and not because there's some educational/fancy gear criteria for calling yourself a photographer! Ha!

So, I think I should be compensated for my endorsements today, from Shutterfly and that sewing book, don't you?? ;)