My Favorite Educational Apps for Kids

My favorite educational apps for kids | www.morethanmundane.com

We’re new iPad owners and I have been so impressed by all that we’ve found in the way of fun and educational iPad apps for kids. I decided when we got the iPad to only put educational apps and games on it because I knew if there were other just for fun apps on there my kids would gravitate towards those. I’m guessing there has to be a way to lock certain apps so the kids can’t use them without a password, but I haven’t figured that out yet.

We’ve also been trying to be good about setting time limits for how long the kids are on the iPad. Usually if my daughter uses it at all, it’s during her quiet rest time in the afternoon. I have her read for at least 30 min-1 hr first, and then I give her a little iPad time.

My son is the one we really have to watch, because I’ve already noticed he has a tendency to get sucked in and it becomes really hard to pull him away. We try to remember to set a timer for 15 min. so that he can actually hear it go off and that’s his signal that it’s time to stop. I’ll admit though, that we’re not always on top of this as much as we could be.

Here are the apps we’ve found so far that we love.

Apps for Preschoolers:

Endless Alphabet: This has got to be one of my favorites. Cute little monsters come along and mess up words, scattering the letters all over the screen. Then, as you drag each letter back to its place in the word, the letter/monster makes the sound that corresponds with its letter. It’s adorable, plus teaches letter sounds and new vocabulary!

Monkey Preschool LunchBox: This app uses a cute little monkey to teach kids basic counting, shape identification, matching, size identification (smallest, largest), colors, and some basic letter identification.

Funbrain Jr.: This app is a little more advanced than the other two. It has several different games. * Free

  • Balloon Blowup: The player has to identify which balloon has the most items in it and pop that balloon.
  • Flashy Cards: The player has to match picture cards with the letter the picture starts with.
  • Heat Wave: The player has to connect letters in alphabetical order.
  • Mushrooom Bounce: The player has to jump from mushroom to mushroom in number order.
  • Shape Shack: Player is given a pattern and has to choose which shape comes next in the pattern.

Grandma’s Garden: I love this one because it teaches kids colors, counting, letter identification, shapes, sizes, and matching and also includes educational videos all about gardening, planting, and vegetables. Plus Grandma sometimes dances when you get the right answers! And kids are learning all about vegetables too.

Grandpa’s Workshop: This app has the player help Grandpa in his workshop with different projects like painting (color identification), measuring, “cutting” boards into fractional pieces, number identification, and contains educational videos all about tools. As the player progresses they get to “build” a clubhouse.

Grandma Loves Bugs: Grandma is back and in this fun app uses cute little bugs to teach counting, letters, colors, matching lower and upper case letters, identifying the one that is different, matching, and has a fun magnifying glass to look up close at different bugs. Plus they learn about different bugs and how to identify them and Grandma does her crazy dancing again!

A-Z Music Videos from ABC.mouse: There’s a catchy song and music video for each letter of the alphabet. And by catchy, I mean…after I hear one of the songs it’s stuck in my head all day! But my 4 year old really loves these and they help him learn his letters, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make! *Free

Educational Apps for Kids | www.morethanmundane.com

Apps for Grade Schoolers:

Stack the States: This is my daughter’s favorite app and it has definitely improved her knowledge of states, capitals, and location of states. The player has to answer questions about which cities are in which states, capitals, state flags, identifying states, etc. and when they get a question right, they get to drop the states into a stack until the stack reaches a certain height. They earn states until they get the whole US Map filled in.

MoMA Art Lab: This app allows kids to create their own art masterpieces including sound compositions, shape poems, collages, and more. There’s also a section that teaches specific drawing techniques step by step. They can save all their masterpieces in their own Art Gallery. *Free

Grandma’s Kitchen: This is similar to Grandma’s Garden and Grandpa’s Kitchen, except with a kitchen theme. Players add ingredients to the bowl to make a cake, practice patterns with kitchen utensils, identify first two letters of words, identify equal parts, practice telling time, make compound words, counting practice, learn poems, put spices in alphabetical order, count and add by 10′s, There are also videos about different baking techniques and healthy eating.

Sushi Monster: This is one of my personal favorites! You get to practice addition and multiplication by feeding sushi to the different sushi monsters. *Free

Extras:

Bible for Kids: This app is a favorite with my 4 year old. It reads various Bible stories aloud and the kids can interact with the pictures. They also ask questions to check for understanding. *Free

BrainPOP Jr. and BrainPOP: These are a couple of our favorite learning websites filled with videos for kids on all kinds of educational topics. You can check these out online or put the app on your iPad/iPhone.

WWF Together: This app from World Wildlife Fund features interactive information on endangered animals, including amazing videos, animal facts, image galleries, and a 3D globe that shows you how far away you are from different animals around the world. *Free

Nighty Night: This is an adorable interactive bedtime story where you turn off the light throughout the farm and say goodnight to all the animals. The thing I love about this app is that you can choose from all kinds of different languages to listen to the story in.

Like I said, we’re new to the iPad world, and I would love to hear of any educational apps you’ve found that your kids love!

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On Guard Hand Sanitizer Spray

Make your own hand sanitizer spray using just 3 ingredients! | www.morethanmundane.com

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

I have to admit, I’m a bit obsessive about hand washing and sanitizing, especially during cold and flu season. Any time we walk in the door from being out somewhere I have my kids head straight to the sink to wash their hands. If we’re out and about I like to use hand sanitizer. I prefer to make my own because it’s more cost effective and because I know what’s going into it. Many hand sanitizers are not safe, and especially not safe for kids. I find a spray easier to use than a gel.

My recipe includes witch hazel, aloe vera gel, and on guard essential oil, although there are other great essential oils that would work well too.

Witch hazel: Witch hazel has anti-bacterial and astringent properties, which makes it great for use in a hand sanitizer. You can dilute it with water for sensitive skin.  This version even contains aloe vera, so you could skip using the aloe vera in the recipe altogether.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is moisurizing and will keep hands from drying out. Your hands will feel nice and soft after using this this hand sanitizer spray. Just make sure you use 100% aloe vera.

On Guard essential oil:  On Guard is one of my favorite essential oil blends from doTERRA. It contains wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary and is formulated to support a healthy immune system. During cold and flu season I use On Guard on a regular basis in a variety of ways to help boost our immune systems and protect against flu, colds, and viruses.

Here’s how to make On Guard Hand Sanitizer Spray:

Using a small glass spray bottle (I use these ones):

  • Fill 3/4 full with witch hazel.
  • Add aloe vera gel (I used approx. 1 teaspoon in a 2 oz. bottle)
  • Add On Guard essential oil (I used 10-15 drops in a 2 oz. bottle)
  • Shake well to combine.

If you don’t have On Guard essential oil, here are some other essential oils you could use:

I keep this in my car so I can easily spray on our hands after school pick up, grocery shopping, etc. Make sure to spray hands thoroughly, rub together and let dry. If you prefer the gel based hand sanitizers, simply use more aloe vera.

Super easy! And it smells way better than the kind you buy at the store.

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Pinterest to Real Life {February 2014}

This month, pretty much the only Pinterest inspired things I tried were in the kitchen…but I’m okay with that because we had lots of successes and found a bunch of yummy new recipes.

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New Recipes Tried and Loved

Real Food Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: This turned out delicious! I’m not usually big on pork, but this recipe had so much flavor and made for great leftovers as well.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: My daughter helped me make these and declared them “the best cookies I’ve ever made”. We stuck them in the freezer so we didn’t eat them all in the span of one weekend and it’s been great just taking a few out at a time, letting them defrost and then enjoying them, but not going overboard!

Apple-Cheddar Fondue: We had this for Valentine’s dinner with french bread, broccoli, cubed potatoes, and sausage. Super easy to make and kid-friendly! Definitely will have it again.

For my husband’s birthday I made this delicious chocolate cake. This is the perfect recipe for when you need a chocolate fix. Easy and delicious!

I have been getting tons of cauliflower in my produce box, so we decided to try this Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts. We ended up really loving it so if you have lots of cauliflower on your hands, give this recipe a try!

cutie valentine

Since it was Valentine’s this month, we made these Clementine Valentine‘s to hand out to Charlotte’s classmates. They were definitely a hit with the parents, although some of the kids were not too sure!

That’s all I got to this month! Did you try any new recipes this month or make anything inspired by Pinterest? Come link up over at Gidget Goes Home and share your Pinterest to Real-Life.

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Three Ways Alcoholism Has Helped My Marriage

Today I’m excited to have my husband, Rick, sharing about some important principles that we’ve been using in our marriage for the past couple years. The change that has happened in our marriage is nothing short of a miracle and I am so thankful to God for how He has worked in our lives.

3 Ways Alcoholism Has Helped my Marriage | www.morethanmundane.com

Hello, my name is Rick and I’m an Alcoholic. There, I said it…phew! I’m an Alcoholic in recovery and an Alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink, in any form, for two years one month and twenty three days. Based upon the previously mentioned condition I probably need not tell you that there was a point in time a few years ago that my marriage was, in a word, a nightmare. I’ll spare you all the gory details but suffice it to say there was little communication, zero trust, no companionship, and a general lack of any semblance of “normalcy” on all fronts. Over the last two years, one month, and twenty three days I’ve learned a thing or two about how to live in order to keep my condition at bay. My wife has so graciously asked me to jot a few of these things down because, both she and I agree there are a few basic principles that if applied in any marriage are sure to have a great effect.

Handing It Up

The principle that I’ve come to call “Handing it Up” involves letting go. There are few things in life that I can change. For many years I was under the delusion that if my wife would just behave in the manner that I saw fit I wouldn’t have any problems. Needless to say, I wasted the majority of the first six years of our marriage trying to convince her to see things my way. My wife and I are radically different people in pretty much every aspect of life. Trying to change her point of view leaves little room for common ground, understanding, or even simple listening. So, these days, whenever she and I find ourselves at an impasse I do my best to take whatever it is we are disagreeing about and…hand it up.

I believe in a God who listens and answers the prayers of those who honestly seek. When I hand it up, I give it to God and He takes it away so that I don’t have to carry the burden. The practical application in the moment is simple, and involves asking God to take whatever it is and to help me listen and understand. I don’t ask God to change her mind, I don’t ask God to make me right, nor do I ask God to make the problem disappear. The direct result of this process doesn’t make the issue go away, but it gives me ears to listen and makes way for open communication and common ground. Being as it’s a mental process of communication with God, it takes mere seconds and can be done in the midst of anything.

My Side of the Street

3 Ways Alcoholism has Helped my Marriage | www.morethanmundane.com

Principle number two is very much connected with principle one and is commonly referred to as “My Side of the Street”. My problem is not her, them, you or anyone else. My problem, generally speaking, is me. Whenever something occurs in my life, there are very few times when I had nothing to do with whatever it is. At first glance my part in the mess may be hard to see, but 99.9% of the time it’s there. In fact, if I’m honest, I can usually trace any issue back to me trying to do something “my way” in one form or another. When I look for my part in whatever the problem is,  I find I have less problems.

This is because it’s my part that I can change. I have little control over anyone else.  I spent many years of married life trying to play a role I was never assigned. Things never seemed to change until I stopped trying to play God in my marriage. The catch here is I have to be willing to look, and I have to be willing to correct what I find. Being willing doesn’t mean being perfect and many times I fail. But, to coin a phrase, it’s about progress, not perfection and as such can be done by anyone provided they remain willing and open to change.

Acceptance

This brings me to principle number three, which is also interrelated with principles one and two. If I’m going to make any headway with one and two I’m going to have to do my utmost to live in a constant state of acceptance. Acceptance of not only my own shortcomings, but also the shortcomings of other people. Acceptance, in my humble opinion, is the answer to anything life throws at me and the answer to most any of my domestic problems as well. Acceptance requires resigning myself to the fact that most people, my wife included, are generally doing the best they can, with the tools of which they are equipped, at any given moment in time.

Once I’m able to see through my own selfish desires of the moment I’m able see my wife for the person God has made her. Then I might perhaps have the ability of entering into what it is that’s giving her trouble, as opposed to trying to change her mind about whatever the issue may be.

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake…I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention I was the chief critic. I was always able to point out the flaw in every person, every situation…A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.

~”Acceptance Was the Answer”, Alcoholics Anonymous p. 417

All of these principles are symbiotic in nature. Each one relies on the one that came before and is not easily implemented without the one that comes next. As a direct result of doing what I can do to abide by what I have written here I have seen a great change take place in my married life. As I said before, my wife and I are about as different as they come. I am not perfect and miss the mark in all of these things on a fairly regular basis. But, provided I remain willing to practice, under these guidelines my wife and I are able to find a means of communication which makes way for a common ground that we can both understand and agree upon.

We hope this post gives you some easy, practical ideas to implement in your own marriage or really, in any relationship in your life. If your marriage isn’t what you’d like it to be, have hope. If you’re in a hard place with your marriage, Rick and I pray together most nights and would love to pray for you. Feel free to email me at krissa (at) morethanmundane (dot) com.

Also, if you haven’t already signed up for my weekly newsletter, I’d love to have you as a part of our community. Each week I’ll send out updates and other special content that is just for my newsletter subscribers. Would love to connect with you there!

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10 Quick and Easy DIY Valentine’s Gifts

Don't worry, there's still time to make someone you love a gift for Valentine's Day! Here are 10 Quick & Easy DIY Valentine's Gifts | www.morethanmundane.com

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, so in our home this week we’ll be working on putting together something for the kids to bring to school for their Valentine’s parties, thanks to Pinterest, along with making this simple heart banner as a fun decoration for our home.

I also got to thinking it would be fun to make gifts for some friends and loved ones. I kind of miss being in elementary school and getting to pass out Valentines to all my friends. I love making homemade gifts and since I’m not super crafty, anything I’m going to make needs to be quick and easy, and not require too many ingredients.

Here are some ideas I came up with–any of these would be great to bless a friend, sister, mother, neighbor, or anyone in your life who you want to show love to. And all of them are easy enough that you still have time to make them happen before Valentine’s Day!

You can’t go wrong with a delicious sweet treat! Here are some Edible Gifts for the sweets lovers on your list:

roasted strawberry goat cheese ice cream

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

1. Roasted Strawberry Goat Cheese Ice Cream | More Than Mundane

It might sound strange to give ice cream as a gift but I think most of us would love a pint of homemade ice cream for a special Valentine’s Day treat. I love using these Frozen Dessert Containers to package my ice cream. You can even personalize the containers, making them perfect for gifting. And if Roasted Strawberry Goat Cheese Ice Cream isn’t your cup of tea, you can try my Simple, Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream, or check out my Ice Cream Pinterest Board where you’re sure to find a flavor you love!

2.  Herb Infused Mint Chocolate Truffles | A Delightful Home

Perfect for the chocolate lover in your life! Plus, they seem super fancy and yet not too difficult to make. You could also infuse your truffles with vanilla, lavender, or just keep them plain chocolate if mint isn’t your thing.

3. Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix | Deliciously Organic

This would be perfect paired with some homemade marshmallows and a cute mug.

4. Herb Infused Honey | Simple Bites

This one takes 5-7 days, so if you start it today it would be ready on time. There’s a recipe for lemon-rosemary honey or vanilla bean-cardamom honey, which both sound lovely. Or you can get creative and come up with your own combo. I think lavender chamomile would make a great infusion as well.

DIY Body Care Gifts:

delightful frankincense & wild orange sugar scrub

5. Body Scrubs: Perfect for your sister, friend, mom, or daughter–or really anyone in your life (my husband actually loves using scrubs too!) These are a few of my favorites:

I like to package my scrubs in Plastic Jars so they don’t break in the shower, but Wide Mouth Mason Jars always work great as well.

6. Chocolate Peppermint Lotion Bars | A Delightful Home

You could make these lotion bars heart-shaped using this Heart Mold Pan. And you can use this same recipe to make lip balm too!

7. Whipped Body Butter | The Nourished Life

This recipe only requires ONE ingredient, but of course you can always add some essential oils in to scent it however you want. Or you can try this Mint Chocolate Whipped Body Butter if you’re going with a chocolate themed Valentine’s gift.

8. Lip Balm

If you’re making the chocolate peppermint lotion bars above, you can use the same recipe to make lip balm. Or you can try one of these easy recipes:

You can use these Lip Balm Tubes and personalize your own labels.

Get Crafty with these Sew-Easy Handmade Gifts:

9. Heart-shaped Hand-warmers | Modern Mrs. Darcy

Even for someone like me, with no sewing ability to speak of, these hand-warmers wouldn’t be too difficult to make. Plus, you could also mix in some dried lavender or add some essential oils to make them smell good too!

10. Felt Coffee Cozy | Life Your Way

Perfect for the coffee lover in your life. This also would pair well with the homemade hot cocoa mix and a chocolate peppermint lotion bar.

So, now I just have to decide what I want to make…I think the truffles are calling my name!

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Pinterest to Real Life {January 2014}

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In January, I didn’t end up trying many new pins, but I did try a few things that I really loved!

After Nicole mentioned this chicken pot-pie soup in her post last month, I thought it sounded like something we needed to try, and it was delicious!

sleepy time bath salts collage

I made these sleepy-time bath salts to add to the kids baths in the hopes that it would make bedtime a little easier.

This healthy mexican meat and potato melt is our new favorite dinner and a great way to use up the potatoes that I keep getting in my produce box.

I’ve made these breakfast cookies twice now and I love them! It’s so nice to have something already made and on hand for busy mornings when I just need to grab something and run out the door.

gummies

These healthy gummies for cold, flu, and sleep sounded like the perfect way to get some goodness into my kids…but my kids are the pickiest eaters in the world and they were not huge fans. I thought they tasted great though and I definitely recommend them!

I love Nicole’s idea of looking through her pins at the start of each week and picking out some to plan on trying. I’m going to try the same thing so that I actually end up making some of these pins happen! Here are a few I’m going to start with (I figure if I put them on here I’ll have some added incentive to make them happen):

Vegan Butternut Chili in the Crock Pot because I always love a good crock pot recipe and I have a ton of butternut squash sitting on my counter right now.

This is my plan for Charlotte’s Valentines this year.

I’d love to make these Meyer Lemon and Olive Oil Cupcakes with Lavender Whipped Cream Icing as a special Valentine’s Day treat!

For more Pinterest to Real Life posts or to share your own Pinterest successes and challenges, head over to the link-up at Gidget Goes Home.

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10 DIY Coffee Shop Drinks to Warm Up Your Winter

10 DIY Coffee Shop Drinks to Warm up Your Winter | www.morethanmundane.com

It was in college that I discovered my love for coffee shops. Whether it was meeting a friend to talk, taking some time to myself to read (or to actually study), I loved heading to one of the many fun and unique coffee shops that filled the college town I lived in.

I still love treating myself to a fancy latte at the coffee shop. But, it’s a rare treat because I have a hard time paying the $4.00 or more price tag, and to be honest, it’s not always as convenient to go the coffee shop with kids in tow when I can make myself a fancy coffee shop drink at home!

So, I’ve searched for (and found) homemade recipes to copy the ones I love to order at the coffee shop. And as an added bonus–these all are made with natural sweeteners and can be made in the comfort of your own home.

Gingerbread-Latte

1. Gingerbread Latte | Red & Honey (photo credit): This is one of my favorite coffee shop drinks and I usually keep ordering it well into January until they tell me it’s no longer available. But with this recipe, I can have my favorite drink anytime of year!

2. Cinnamon Dolce Latte | The Greenbacks Gal: The Cinnamon Dolce Latte is my next preferred drink, when I’m looking for something sweet for a special treat.

3. Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer | Live Renewed: I always love a vanilla latte or vanilla flavored coffee, so this vanilla coffee creamer is perfect to keep on hand for everyday enjoyment.

4. Homemade Peppermint Mocha Latte | Don’t Waste the Crumbs: This is a favorite, especially around the holidays. I always think mochas at the coffee shop are a bit too sweet, so I love being able to make them at home and adjust the level of sweetness.

honey lavender latte recipe using honey lavender syrup | morethanmundane.com

5. Honey Lavender Latte | More than Mundane: You might think lavender sounds strange to have in a drink, but it’s absolutely wonderful! Try it, I promise you won’t regret it.

6. Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate (or Mocha or Latte) | 100 Days of Real Food: I know there are a lot of pumpkin latte lovers out there, and in the same way I mourn when the season for Gingerbread Lattes is over, you mourn when it is no longer pumpkin latte season…but now–you can make one whenever you want!

7. Homemade Chai Tea Latte with Dairy Free Option | Live Renewed: Sometimes I get a little burned out on coffee, even though it is my first love, and when I do, I love a good chai tea latte.

8. Simple Hot Spiced Cider | Gnowfglins: If you’re trying to avoid caffeine, or looking for a drink to warm you up at night, hot spiced cider is the perfect treat. This one is great for the kids too!

9. Naturally Sweetened Homemade Hot Chocolate | DIY Natural: Another one that’s great for the kids is hot chocolate. Perfect for a special breakfast or movie night!

vanilla steamer

10. Vanilla Steamer: This is my favorite thing to make before bedtime, if I’m not having a cup of tea. It’s super simple too. Plus it reminds me of my college roommate, Monica, my non-coffee drinking friend. This was her discovery and now it’s something I love to make for myself as a bedtime treat.

Vanilla Steamer

Ingredients

Milk
Honey
Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Instructions

Heat up 8 oz. of milk. Add in 1-2 TBSP honey, depending on desired level of sweetness. Add in 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg on top and enjoy!

For my everyday coffee, when I’m not making a special coffee shop drink, we add one of these delicious mixes to the coffee grounds before brewing for some yummy flavor. I drink my coffee with maple syrup and half & half.

  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Cinnamon and cocoa powder

What’s your favorite coffee shop drink?

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A Day in the Life 2014

Today I’m linking up with Simply Rebekah to share a Day in the Life. This is my 3rd year participating and it’s always lots of fun. This particular day was January 24, 2014 and although every day looks a little different in our home, this is a fairly typical Friday, except for the fact that my husband was out of town for a work conference, which is rare.

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

I woke up at 6:45 and jumped on my phone to check my email, FB, etc. (not a great habit, I know!) I didn’t remember yet that I was planning on doing a day in the life photos for today so I don’t have any to document the start of our day (this is probably a good thing!)

Shortly after I woke up, Isaac (4 yr. old) woke up and of course, called for daddy. Since Rick wasn’t home, I went in to get Isaac. Isaac was disappointed and missing Daddy, so we called him on the phone to talk and then I got Isaac breakfast,  and went to wake Charlotte (7 yr. old) up to get her going. Turns out, she was already up and working on this puzzle, so I asked her to come out and have some breakfast. I got Charlotte started on homeschool while I hopped in the shower. Usually I make the most of my shower-time but since Rick wasn’t here to keep an eye on the kids, I rushed through my shower.

charlotte spelling

Around 8am I saw the note in my calendar reminding me to take pictures for a day in the life. At this time Charlotte was working on spelling and I was made some hot water and lemon for myself.

Fridays are one of the days Isaac goes to preschool, so I packed a lunch for him, took care of a few things online, kept Charlotte going with homeschool, and then we all headed out the door to take Isaac to preschool.

preschool pj day

9am: Dropped Isaac off at preschool where they were having pajama day. Then I headed to Starbucks since I got this awesome tumbler for Christmas from Rick’s parents that came with a free coffee drink every day in January! I got my caramel machiatto with an add shot since I had stayed up late the night before and needed an extra kick. We got home, worked on some more homeschool and then got ready to head out for a play date with Nicole (a blogging + in real life friend) and her sweet kids.

charlotte by car

10am: Getting in the car to head to the park to meet our friends.

at the park

11am: Hanging out at the park with Nicole and her kids. The kids are eating snacks and doing Rainbow Loom. They really were having fun but you wouldn’t know it from the look on their faces!

exchanging addresses

12:15 or so: We started giving our five minute warnings that it was almost time to go. Charlotte and Gigi exchanged addresses so they could write each other. Before I knew it I was running late to go get Isaac from preschool so I left in a hurry.

preschool pick-up

1pm: Picked Isaac up from preschool and played on the playground for a bit. Then we headed home, and I attempted to get the kids down for rest time. Rest time is something both my 4 and 7 year old do just about every day. Isaac still falls asleep and takes a nap about 60-75% of the time. For Charlotte, she just spends time reading, or playing quietly in her room. But on this particular day…she wrote a letter to her new friend Gigi of course!

working

2pm: I finally get the kids settled for rest time, and sit down to get some work done, with my grapefruit soda and grapefruit candle (best candle ever, by the way–from my friend Kara for my birthday).

3pm: Still “working”, although not getting much done–same scene so I spared you a repeat photo. Not every rest time is, shall we say, restful…there are days (like this day) when Isaac calls me back numerous times with numerous requests and asks every 5 min. if it’s time to come out. But I stick with it because the 85% of the time when rest time goes well, is worth the 15% of the days like today.

movie time

4pm: Kids are now up from rest time, and I put on a movie so I can (hopefully) get some work done, and turn on the diffuser with my favorite blend of frankincense, wild orange, and On Guard essential oils.

pizza

5pm: I’m still working, so I throw a TJ’s pizza in the oven for the kids and I for dinner.

bath time

6pm: Bath time with sleepy-time bath salts, except I didn’t have crushed lavender so I added rose petals in. Isaac was not such a fan of things floating in his bath water, but I loved the coconut oil and the kids came out with moisturized skin.

bible for kids

7pm: PJs on, a phone call from Dad, and some iPad time with the Bible App for Kids (Isaac loves it!)

prayers

8pm: Saying prayers together in Charlotte’s room. Put the kids to bed and cross my fingers that tonight’s an easy night because I’m all out of patience. I make myself some tea and head to the computer to try and get some more work done.

9pm: Amazingly, kids went to sleep without a peep (which is rare), and I’m getting lots of work done.

bedtime

10:15pm: Finishing up with work, and heading to bed. I grabbed Charlotte and asked her if she wanted to sleep with me. One of the things I missed most while my husband was gone was our nightly prayer times. Usually, right after we get the kids to bed we take a few minutes and pray together. Since he was out of town, I spent some time praying before falling asleep.

For more Day in the Life posts, head on over to Simply Rebekah. If you want to look back on previous years, you can find 2013 here, and 2012 here.

Green Your LIfe: Get Started Today!

Green Your Life: A Husband’s Perspective

Green Your Life: Get Started Today!

Note from Krissa: Shortly before Christmas, as my husband and I celebrated our anniversary, he expressed an interest in learning more about green & natural living. I had just received my friend Emily’s new ebook, Green Your Life, and thought it might be the perfect introduction to natural living for my husband, so I suggested it might be a good place for him to start. He agreed, and then I roped him into writing a review! So…for the first time ever (but I’m hoping not the last), please welcome my amazing husband Rick to the blog!

I’m about as un-green as they come. I was raised in Oklahoma where recycling is an afterthought and consumption is king. So, when my wife started her journey into natural living it took me a while to realize that, for her, it was more than a fad. Out went the paper towels, in came the reusables, and for me it was all a bit of a shell shock. A number of years went by, and, during a recent conversation at a dinner by candlelight, I decided the best thing to do would be to try and enter in to this way of life that was clearly here to stay. In an attempt to join what I was unable to beat I said something to the effect of…

“What’s the best way for me to get on board?”

Her answer came in the form of an ebook that she asked me to read and, being as I was already on the hook, I sat down one afternoon and read it. The first thing that resonated with me was in the first few pages. When it said I didn’t have to keep up with the Joneses, I decided to keep on reading.

This way of living has also resulted in a huge shift in our priorities over the past few years. Our lives have been changing in deep and meaningful ways as we have realized we have a much greater purpose than chasing after the next best thing or trying to “keep up with the Joneses”.

~Emily McClements, “Green Your Life”

I’m a big fan of practical application. I need to be told what to do, when to do it, and how to get it done, or chances are, I’m probably not going to do it unless it’s something I’m really passionate about. On the practical application front this book nails it. Wanna know how to make disinfecting wipes? It’s in there. Wanna know how to make detergent? It’s in there. Instructions on how to line dry your laundry without the dreaded fabric crunch? It’s in there. Wanna make your own shampoo, facewash, and deodorant? It’s in there. Need a master class on green baby care? Yup that’s in there too. Everything from baby food to sunscreen, to cleaning the garbage disposal, it’s all in there with reasons and whys to boot.

The only chapter I skipped was the section on “Natural Feminine Care” because, let’s face it, the less I know about that the better.

Coming in at 268 pages the “I’ve got better things to do reader” like me might be a little daunted. But I breezed through it and at no time did I feel it was over my head. It’s well written, to the point, concise, and informative with a friendly voice that will make you feel like going green is something you can actually do.

As for me, my old habits are going to be very hard to break. But reading this definitely changed some of my notions about the effectiveness of natural products and presented firm arguments as to why I should use them. While I have yet to throw away my favorite speed stick, I have a few weeds that need tackling and my first stop is going to be the vinegar.

 

green your life challenge

Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living walks you through making simple changes to your home and lifestyle that can have a big impact on the world around you. 

Plus, as a thank you for purchasing the book, and to give you extra support, encouragement, motivation, and community to help you make changes in your life, Emily is providing a free membership to the Green Your Life Challenge she is running in February, a $14.99 value! 

In just 4 weeks you will:

  • Purge your bathroom cabinet of toxic and harmful personal care products.
  • Choose beauty and personal care products for your family that are safe and effective.
  • Make your own homemade green cleaners.
  • Clean your home with non-toxic cleaners that really work and are safe to use around your family.
  • Begin making simple and easy changes toward more real food and less processed, conventional foods
  • Use more reuseable products and fewer disposable ones around your home.
  • Work to eliminate and remove toxins all around your home.
  • Determine how you and your family can make an impact on the world around you!

Read more about Green Your Life the ebook and the Green Your Life Challenge here.

This post is part of a Blog Hop to celebrate the release of Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living. Check out what other bloggers are saying about the great new book:

Jan. 8 – Ninth Street Notions
Jan. 9 – Red and Honey: This post shares Emily’s DIY Disinfectant Cloth Wipes from her book!
Jan. 10 – Running Family
Jan. 12 – Five Little Homesteaders
Jan. 13 – My Blessings Homeschool
Jan. 14 – Vintage Kids | Modern World
Jan. 15 – The Humbled Homemaker
Jan. 17 – Accidentally Green
Jan. 20 – Home With Purpose
Jan. 21 – Intentionally Simple
Jan. 22 – Feed Me Mama
Jan. 23 – Saving by Making
Jan. 24 – More Than Mundane
Jan. 27 – My Humble Kitchen
Jan. 28 – Sorta Crunchy
Jan. 29 – Simply Rebekah
Jan. 30 – A Delightful Home
Jan. 31 – Gidget Goes Home

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

Green Your LIfe: Get Started Today!

Essential Oils for the Shower

essential oils for the shower

I love starting my day with essential oils. One of the safest ways to use essential oils is aromatically. There are many ways to use essential oils aromatically, and I have found using essential oils in the shower is one of the easiest ways to work essential oils into my daily routine.

It’s this simple: After stepping into the shower I drop 2-3 drops of essential oil onto the floor of the shower, out of the path of the water. The essential oils are at my feet and I can easily breathe them in. The steam and heat from the shower also helps with this process. It’s that easy! I keep several bottles of essential oils in my shower so I remember to do this each day. *Always remember to keep essential oils out of the reach of children.

Another way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils is by adding them to your body care products, or by making your own body care using essential oils. My favorite thing to make is body scrubs.

  • They are super easy to make (takes about 5 min,)
  • they don’t require many ingredients,
  • they exfoliate and moisturize your skin,
  • and you can personalize them using your favorite essential oils.

My latest favorite is this Delightful Frankincense & Wild Orange Sugar Scrub, and here’s a list of 101 Scrubs so you can choose one that’s perfect for you!

You can also add a drop or two of essential oil to whatever products you already use. I do this with my conditioner, but this would work with body wash as well.

Here are the oils I keep in the shower to use on a regular basis:

Lavender: Well known for it’s relaxing and calming properties, lavender essential oil is a great choice for those days when you’re feeling anxious or for if you’re showering at night before bed. Lavender has been called the “swiss-army knife” of essential oils and can work wherever there is a need. So, if you’re not sure, go for lavender!

Balance: This blend from doTERRA contains spruce, rosewood, blue tansy, and frankincense and promotes a sense of balance and tranquility. It is my favorite oil to use in my daily showers.

Peppermint: For those days when you need help waking up, peppermint has a fresh, energizing scent and is known for stimulating the mind and helping with memory and mental performance.

Citrus: Uplifting and refreshing, citrus oils like grapefruit, lemon, and wild orange are the perfect way to start the day. Citrus oils are also known for their cleansing and disinfecting properties, making them a great choice for the shower. doTERRA also makes a blend called Citrus Bliss which contains a blend of citrus essential oils and vanilla bean extract and smells amazing.

Frankincense: This amazing essential oil helps improve concentration, reduce irritability and impatience and is perfect for those mornings when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Frankincense also has great immune boosting properties and is one of my favorite scents.

Rosemary: This is the essential oil I add to my conditioner. Rosemary is known for strengthening hair and preventing hair loss. Rosemary is also helpful for fighting the cold and flu and has immune building properties.

Eucalyptus: This is my go-to oil for clearing up congestion and helping with breathing. If you ever have a cold or wake up feeling congested, drop a few drops of eucalyptus into your shower to clear it right up! It’s also got a great, refreshing scent which not only helps clear your sinuses, but your head as well.

Do you use essential oils in the shower? What are some of your favorites?

Green Your LIfe: Get Started Today!