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My Favorite Things for Back to School

A Few of My Favorite Things - Homemaking Unplugged

This is where I share with you some of the simple things that make me smile.

In honor of the back to school season, I thought I’d share with you one of my guilty little pleasures. You’re going to laugh, maybe even wonder what kind of life I lead that would make me consider THIS a “guilty” pleasure. I mean, it only costs what? Twenty cents?

But let me explain. I am a bargain hunter. I don’t pay full price for anything. At least I try not to. I have my buy price for certain items, and if the price isn’t right, I don’t buy. The same goes for something as small as a pencil.

My kids like to use mechanical pencils. I refuse to pay more than $0.05 a piece for mechanical pencils. I wait until the back to school shopping season and rock bottom prices, then stock up for the entire year.

I like to use good old fashioned No. 2 pencils. And for the longest time, I applied the same shopping practices to my pencils – the cheapest price I could find. That is…until I met…TICONDEROGA!

It was love at the first sharpening and our relationship only deepened after we shared our first to do list together.

3I love the way they feel in my hand. I love the way the soft lead glides across my paper. I smile every time they effortlessly sharpen in my x-acto manual pencil sharpener. And the eraser? Don’t even get me started.

So this back to school season, I treated myself to a 72-count box of brand spanking new Ticonderoga pencils from Staples and I paid a whopping 13 bucks! Imagine my chagrin when I saw that I could’ve gotten a 96-count box on Amazon for just $15.02!

If there’s one thing this relationship has taught me, it’s that you can’t put a price on true love!

What’s your guilty pleasure?




Tell Your Time eBook

Time management. The sound of those two words make me cringe.

I’m constantly praying for efficient time management because honestly? It’s usually the other way around and my time is managing me, know what I mean?

Self-discipline and follow through are not my strong suits. Not because I’m lazy or unambitious but because I get side-tracked very easily, many times for good reason and most of the time without even realizing it until it’s too late. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately this has created unmeasurable amounts of chaos and unrest in my life.

Time management isn’t rocket science. In fact, there’s one simple key to managing your time – make sure all the things on your to-do list can fit into the 24-hour period you are allotted each day. Simple, huh?

Maybe you’ve got time under control, or maybe you’re more like me… I struggle with fitting everything into my day. Especially when I remember that I need to somehow set aside time to sleep, eat…oh!  AND ENJOY LIFE, on top of all the other stuff.

Then I purchased Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews.

If you’re having difficulty with time management, I would strongly recommend buying this ebookTell Your Time makes time management seem friendly and achievable rather than ominous and impossible. I love how Amy Lynn Andrews walks you through the thought process, step by step, without bogging you down with pages and pages to read.

While I don’t incorporate all of this book’s concepts into planning my days, it did help me to recognize that my issues with time management are created by my failure to outline the roles I play in life and set real, tangible, achievable goals within those roles. It also helped me to determine the activities that are negotiable and non-negotiable in my life.

You can buy Tell Your Time in either PDF Download or Kindle Version. Both are just $2.99.


Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas

Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an excellent author. I loved reading his first book, Sacred Marriage which calls us to embrace the idea that God designed marriage with the intent to make us holy more than happy. He continues this theme in Sacred Influence by exhorting wives to a higher calling.

I don’t know about you, but the default of my flesh – nagging, lecturing, manipulating, bargaining, controlling – hasn’t brought about any change in my marriage. In fact, in the past, it’s torn down my marriage in ways that have taken years to repair.

I want to be a woman who inspires and influences her husband to move toward God’s purpose for his life. I want to help my husband be the best spiritual leader that he can possibly be for our family.

This book really convicted me to practice an attitude of gratefulness toward my husband instead of giving in to a complaining spirit. It also challenged me to walk worthy of my husband and made me take a long look at myself and ask “what’s it like to live with me?” The words of Thomas encouraged me to get up every morning asking myself, “how can I love John better today?”

This is not a “how to” book (although it does give practical advice), but more of a much needed “attitude adjustment”.

Have you read Sacred Influence? How did it inspire you to be a better helpmate to your husband?


Colorado Family Vacation 2014


There are many reasons why Hubs and I practice frugality. One of them is so that we can afford to take a family vacation each summer. The memories made every year are priceless and we  cherish the time with one another, away from the hectic, busyness of our day to day routine.

Aside from the amazing places we get to visit, my family loves that they don’t have to hear about blogging for over a week – I do nothing but check email while we’re away- and Hubs and I get to enjoy going to bed at the same time and sleeping in together – a rarity.

This past Saturday night, we returned after spending eight awesome days in Colorado – a couple of days in Denver and the rest in Silverthorne and surrounding areas. I didn’t want to come home and can totally see myself living there some day. Hubs and I have already been dreaming and planning!

My favorite part of Denver was watching the Colorado Rockies play the Dodgers. Baseball is my favorite sport to watch and it was an exciting game that kept us on the edge of our seats.

Coors Field

On the way to Silverthorne, we stopped in Central City and spent some time walking  and site seeing. The town consists of beautifully cared for buildings and homes situated along winding, mountain roads.

Central City

While staying in Silverthorne, we hiked to Lilypad Lake which is about two miles round trip.

Lilypad Lake



On girls’ day out, my daughters and I went horseback riding at the Rusty Spur Ranch near Kremling, while the guys went on a guided fly fishing trip. If we’re ever back in the area, we’ll definitely visit the Rusty Spur again. They advertise NON nose to tail riding and it was truly an experience…trust me, I have the blisters and bruises to show for it.

Colorado Horseback Riding




Later, we visited the Outlet Malls of Silverthorne and I stocked up at Ann Taylor, The Loft, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle and The Cosmetics Company.

Silverthorne Outlet Mall

We spent an afternoon walking and shopping in Vail….





And took another afternoon to go on a jeep tour in Breckenridge…




We topped off the week with shopping and dinner in Frisco. I didn’t get any pictures there. Frankly, we were all tuckered out.

It was a fun week full of sightseeing and basking in God’s amazing creation. But my favorite part?

Sitting on the patio of our vacation rental with a good book, listening to the rushing of the Blue River and feeling the cool breeze completely absent of humidity!




Relieve Sinus Pressure With Young Living Essential Oils

This oily life is a journey. I’m constantly learning new ways to use Young Living essential oils to treat common ailments instead of turning to pharmaceuticals.

Here’s an account of an experience I had earlier this year….

This weekend, my friend Vanessa, shared her tip for relieving sinus pressure and I am forever grateful.

Let me first say that last week, I felt myself getting sick. I had a couple of late nights and before bed on one of those nights, I noticed my throat was starting to burn. The first sign.

I did what any oiler would do and immediately applied Theives Essential Oil Blend to the bottoms of my feet and throat and Eucalyptus (radiata) Essential Oil to Vitaflex points on my feet and palms. I also inhaled it. It helped and I was able to get a good night’s rest.

The next day (Friday) I still felt yucky, but functional. I could feel the sinus congestion setting in. I continued my regimen  of Thieves and Eucalyptus, adding Peppermint Essential Oil to my temples and back of my neck for headache. I also started drinking water by the bottle full with Lemon Essential Oil added.

By Saturday, I woke to the same pounding headache and sinus congestion which was only relieved by continuing to use the oils every 30 minutes. I was holding my own, but it wasn’t improving.

Saturday night, I was texting with a couple of oiler friends about how terrible I felt when Vanessa suggested something for me to try. It was so effective, I’m sharing it with you!

Relieve Sinus Pressure with Young Living Thieves and Lavender Essential Oils

How to Relieve Sinus Pressure

You will need:

  • Young Living Thieves Essential Oil Blend
  • Young Living Lavender Essential Oil
  • Qtips
  • Kleenex
  • Ice pack


  1. Blow your nose
  2. Put a drop of Thieves and a drop of Lavender on one end of the Qtip.
  3. Swab the inside of one nostril.
  4. Repeat with other end of the Qtip and other nostril. The first time you do this, it will burn like the dickens. You will feel like you are dying. But it stops relatively quickly, I promise.
  5. Use the ice pack to relieve the burning.
  6. Repeat every 15 minutes until your nasal passages are clear. Subsequent applications don’t burn quite as bad as the first.

After three applications, I could breathe, feel the pressure lessened and my headache was gone.

Before I went to bed, I still applied Thieves to the bottoms of my feet and throat, Eucalyptus to my throat and also sinus Vitaflex points in my palms and feet.

Sunday morning, I woke from a restful sleep to a stuffy head and pounding headache caused by a night’s worth of drainage. I went through three more applications of the nose swabbing regimen and it cleared right up.

I continues to apply Thieves to my feet and drink Lemon oil water throughout the day.

By nightfall, while I could still feel the lurking symptoms of constant allergies, I no longer felt “sick”. My energy had returned and the ever present sinus headache was gone!

The Essential Oils List

Thieves Essential Oil: combination of single oils – clove (antiviral, antiseptic, antimicrobial, relieves pain), lemon (antiseptic and amplifies immunity), cinnamon bark (antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial), eucalyptus radiata (anti-infectious, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory)

Lavender Essential Oil: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, relaxant – effective relief for allergies

Peppermint Essential Oil: pain relieving, helps with congestion

Eucalyptus Essential Oil:  antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, expectorant – effective for fighting sinus infections and relieving congestion

Lemon Essential Oil: antiseptic – kills bacteria and amplifies immunity

*Disclaimer:  This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

If you are interested in trying Young Living Essential Oils, click here.