End of School Year Business Part 2

Phew! So, are you ready to find out what else my family and I have been up to this past month? Well, here it is! [If you havent read part 2 from yesterday, check it out here!]

 

On Memorial Day, the LBJ Library and Museum was free to the public. So, the hubs, kids, and I headed out to check it out. I didn’t really take many pictures because I was too busy reading and explaining to my younger 2 children about all that “old” stuff (from the 60s!) that they had no clue about. I know I wasn’t alive back then either, but it is crazy to me how much of that stuff was still around when I was a kid (in the 80s and 90s) but is almost unrecognizable to my children today. They were very excited to learn that my grandma still has a rotary telephone that works. They plan on calling their daddy on his cell phone next time we go up for a visit. We really have made some incredible advances in technology in recent years.

Here are a couple pictures that I did take though:

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The other thing that kept me busy for a few days was our Beagle, Katie. About 6 weeks ago she had a random seizure that freaked me out and I took her to the vet immediately (thankfully it happened at noon). I didn’t really think to take a video at the time that it happened, so I just had to try to explain what I saw to the vet. She agreed that it sounded like a seizure and they did a few tests. All tests came back normal and I was instructed to get it on video if it happened again. Well, it did happen again, 34 days later. I was able to get it on video this time. It happened at 9:30 pm and Katie was back to normal very shortly after it was over, so I took her to the vet the next day. They watched the video and reviewed her test results from the previous visit and diagnosed her with Epileptic Seizures. No medication is required at this time because the seizures are mild and more than a month apart. If that changes, medication will probably be necessary to prevent them from occurring. Other than the seizures though, Katie is a healthy, happy dog. She loves our family and is adequately spoiled.

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I also just completed a 6 week Early Childhood Education class with my little guy, N. The class was 2 1/2 hours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It focused on teaching parents how to help their preschool aged children be successful in school. Here is the breakdown of all 12 classes:

Class 1

Introduction. What should I do before my child starts kindergarten? Ready for School Checklist

project: dream catchers

 

Class 2

Social and Emotional Preparation

project: feeling faces

 

Class 3

Phonological Awareness

projects: rhyming memory game and hearts

 

Classes 4 & 5

Letter Knowledge

projects: ABC visual, ABC visual (mixed up), name book, vowels book, name tree, ABC Bingo

 

Class 6

Narrative Skills

projects: 3 little piggies, sequences, story book dice

 

Classes 7 & 8

Math Skills – Numbers, Colors, and Shapes, Math in Our World

projects: math visual, counters, number book, shapes activity, bean numbers, number Bingo

 

Class 9

Pre-Kindergarten Science – Physical Science, Life Science, Earth & Space Science, Physical Safety & Health

projects: color wheel, popping pepper, weather chart, sink or float

 

Class 10

Vocabulary Skills

project: new words dictionary

 

Class 11

Print Motivation and Fine Motor Skills, Developing Writing Skills

projects: play-doh exercises, lace-up apple

 

Class 12

Review

projects:graduation picture frames and graduation caps

 

At the end of the class we had a little party/graduation to show off all the projects that we had completed over the 6 weeks. Each of the participating parents had to get up and talk about 2 projects, the child’s favorite and the parent’s favorite. It was a fun class to take and I really enjoyed making and playing with the projects with not only N, but his older siblings as well.

Here are some pictures of my spread of projects. It really was a lot of work over that 6 week period.

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My next post will be about awards ceremonies, my boys’ graduations as well as school year before and after pics.

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End of the School Year Business Part 1

I wrote in my post the other day that I would share about how I have been so busy lately. Turns out that when you have kids in school, May can be as busy as November and December. Add the end of year school business to everyday life, and wow, it is a busy life for me!

So, what have I been up to?

For starters, I’ve been teaching my youngest child to read. I am using the same book I used with his older brother and sister, Tech Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. I am so excited to be able to say that I have successfully taught all three of my children to read. My older children will sit and read for hours. My youngest doesn’t quite have the enthusiasm for reading as his older siblings (he’s like his daddy that way), but he is still very proud of his accomplishments.

Here he is reading a book for fun. I can’t even describe in the right words how happy this sight makes me!
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I also spent a day recently with my daughter doing a couple of activities that we both enjoy: running and shopping!

We started our day out going for a run with not one, but both of our dogs. We have a 62 pound Plott Hound named Roux-B (pronounced Ruby) and an 18 pound Beagle named Katie. Now I can’t hold both leashes at the same time while running (it is a skill I have yet to master), but O wanted to bring both dogs along. She was confident that she could run and hold Katie’s leash. So, I entrusted her with our smaller dog and off we went on our run. The first route we took was 1.83 miles. After that, we dropped the little dog off and took a water and potty break before heading out for our second run of the day. That route was 1.22 miles. O did an excellent job running! At one point when she had Katie’s leash, she tripped and fell, bumping her knee and chin on the cement. I asked if she wanted me to take the leash and head back home, but she just smiled and said, “No. I’m okay. Let’s keep going.” She is such an inspiration to keep going no matter what happens. Not just in fitness, but in all areas of life.

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Then, we went shopping. O had some money that she had saved from her birthday that she wanted to spend on new summer clothes for vacation. So, off we went to Old Navy and The Children’s Place to check out the sales. She ended up getting a total of 4 pair of shorts, 4 shirts, 2 dresses, and 1 pair of sandals.

After shopping, we went to Starbucks of some Frappuccinos (decaf for her). It was a fantastic day spent with my little girl who is growing into a fine little lady.

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Next up on our schedule was the school talent show. A, my oldest, did a comedy routine with his friend. The boys made the routine up themselves and it included green whipped cream “pies”.  Here is the only picture I took as I spent the whole time trying to figure out all the 5th grade boy humor that all the other children thoroughly understood and enjoyed.

 

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My daughter also participated in the Talent show. She did a hula-hoop routine that was a big hit. She stood on 1 leg and jumped during parts of it. The song she used was ‘Let it Go’ from the movie ‘Frozen’.

Here she is during her routine:

 

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That is only part of what we’ve been up to lately. I don’t want this post to be too long, so I will be making this a 2 (maybe 3) parter. Stay tuned for more updates from the Payne family including a trip to an Austin museum, my classes I’ve been taking with N, our Beagle’s medical problems, and last but certainly not least: graduations.


Beauty Tuesday – Multi-Purpose Facial Serum

Wow! It’s been a whole month since I’ve posted a blog. I guess you could say I’ve been a bit busy. I’ll post on that another day.

Despite being so busy though, I wanted to make sure to post for Beauty Tuesday. Today I am sharing my recipe for my awesome facial serum. But first, I want to share a little story about how my husband discovered the awesomeness of this stuff.

My dear husband whom I love very much isn’t so into all the homemade, DIY, homemaking stuff (now if it has to do with a motorcycle, that’s a different story). The first night I made this serum he asked, “Is it really worth the time and effort to make all this stuff yourself?” My answer was, of course, YES! Fast forward a month or so…

He comes out of the bathroom after showering and says to me “I’ve been using that stuff in the brown bottle with the Hello Kitty Duct Tape* on my face and it works really well for my dry skin. What is it?”
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*Yes, I used Hello Kitty Duct Tape on this bottle. Don’t judge. You’d do it too, if you had found it on clearance.

My reply, “That’d be the stuff you teased me about making a few weeks ago. I guess it really is worth it, huh?”

And to this day I may or may not tease him for belittling the wonders of homemade beauty products.

 

Anyway, the point of this story is to share that I made one of the biggest doubters I know into a believer without even trying. It really is that amazing. Oh, and it’s not just amazing for my husband’s dry skin. It works wonders for my crazy combination skin. (I have patches of skin that are dry and oily at the same time. How does that happen?!?!)

 

So, here’s the recipe that I know you are dying to know by now:
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Multi-Purpose Facial Serum

Ingredients:

1/8 Cup Aloe Vera Gel

1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin

1/4 tsp Jojoba Oil

1/4 tsp Sweet Almond Oil

5 drops Melaleuca Essential Oil (tea tree)

5 drops Lavender Essential Oil

5 drops Frankincense Essential Oil

 

Directions:

Mix all ingredients into a dark (blue or brown) glass bottle. Shake well before each use. Apply desired amount to face and neck, avoiding mouth and eyes.

 

See my DIY Facial Toner post for other essential oil options.

Today I’m linking up with my dear friend Kate’s blog, Teaching What is Good, for her Women Helping Women link-up. Head over and check it out!

Let me know in the comments if you use this recipe and how you like it.

 


Beauty Tuesday – DIY Facial Toner

It’s the first Tuesday of the month. That means: Beauty Tuesday!
Today I’m sharing a recipe for a fantastic facial toner. I use this toner not only on my face, but also as an antiseptic wash for small scrapes and cuts*.
The main ingredient in the toner that I use is witch hazel. Witch hazel is excellent for fighting blemishes, reducing puffiness on the face and under the eyes, soothing razor burn, healing bruises faster, locking in moisture, relieving eczema and psoriasis, and soothing sunburn.

The remaining ingredients are essential oils. The combination used depends on your personal needs. I use lavender, melaluca, and frankincense. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right oil or oil blend for your own needs:

 

For Dry Skin

Cedarwood

Clary Sage

Geranium

Jasmine

Lavender

Lemon

Myrrh

Patchouli

Roman Chamomile

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

 

For Sensitive Skin

Geranium

Jasmine

Lavender

 

For Oily Skin

Bergamot

Clary Sage

Cypress

Frankincense

Geranium

Helichrysum

Lavender

Lemon

Lemongrass

Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

Orange

Patchouli

Peppermint

Roman Chamomile

Rosemary

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

 

For Wrinkles

Clary Sage

Cypress

Frankincense

Geranium

Helichrysum

Lavender

Lemon

Myrrh

Orange

Patchouli

Rosemary

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

 

For Acne

Cedarwood

Geranium

Lavender

Lemon

Lemongrass

Melaleuca

Orange

Patchouli

Roman Chamomile

Rosemary

 

(Note that not all oils work for all people. Experimentation may be necessary to find what works best for you. I recommend no more than 4 oils be used at a time, but that is just my personal preference.)
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DIY FACIAL TONER

Ingredients:

1 16oz dark glass bottle (to preserve the integrity of the oils)

16 oz Dickinson’s Witch Hazel

40-50 Drops Essential Oil/Blend

 

Directions:

Pour witch hazel into glass bottle. Add essential oil(s) to witch hazel. (I use 15 drops each of Lavender, Melaleuca, and Frankincense.) Shake well. Apply a small amount using a cotton swab to skin, making sure to avoid contact with eyes and mouth. Shake well prior to each use due to separation of oils and witch hazel.

 

I hope you enjoy this refreshing toner as much as I do.

If you try this and like it, please leave a comment below and let me know!

 

*See Disclaimers Page


Influenster #UniVoxBox Product Reviews

I am a part of an awesome program through Influenster where I get free products to test out and review. You can find more about it at the Influenster website.

Recently, I received the #UniVoxBox filled with fun products.
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Here’s what’s in the box:

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick, Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures, Pilot Acroball Pure White, Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancers, and Playtex Sport Fresh Balance.

 

Pretty much all of these products are going to get raving reviews from me. Here are my thoughts and experiences with each of these products:

 

 

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick in Forever Fuchsia

Here was my thought process about this lipstick:

“Wow! That’s pink! It’s not just pink, it’s fuchsia. Forever Fuchsia! Who in their right mind would wear such a color in real life?”

“But, ya know, I’ve got to review it, so I guess I’ll give it a whirl.”

*after putting it on, along with the Rimmel foundation* “Wow! This actually looks pretty good on me! I feel really cute and girly. I may be a fuchsia lipstick kinda girl after all…”

*after receiving, not one, not two, but three compliments on my new lipstick* “I LOVE this color!”

The lipstick does smudge off a bit on contact (kids cheeks, water cup, husband’s lips, etc.), but it doesn’t really fade much. In fact, I could still see a bit of fuchsia on my lips when I woke up the next day after having washed my face the night before.

For the price of this lipstick, I will be hunting this down when I run out. I may even give a try to another color I would have previously blown off.

 

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in Light Ivory

I really liked this foundation. I’m not much of a foundation wearer because I don’t like the feeling of makeup on my face. This product didn’t give me that feeling  at all. When it says “lightweight” on the tube, it means just that. The Light Ivory color was a bit too light for my skin tone. It was the color I picked because, if I remember correctly, it is the second lightest color they have available. I need to remember that I live in the south now, so I spend much more time outdoors in the winter and early spring months which leads to a slightly darker complexion than I’ve been used to for the large majority of my life. In hindsight, the Ivory alone or combined with the Light Ivory would probably be better suited for my new, darker skin tone. [Man, that last sentence really tells how white I am!]

The only downfall with this foundation is that it doesn’t have an SPF rating. I’m thinking it will remain in my cosmetic bag for date nights, but for times when I wear makeup during the day, I will stick with my Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm that has SPF 30.
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I am wearing both makeup products in the pictures above. I’m just loving that Forever Fuchsia still!

 

Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures

Ok, so these are fancy press-on nails with fun, funky patterns. They also sell them in solid colors, if funky isn’t really your thing. I honestly didn’t like these at first. They were super easy to apply, but they felt way thicker than my natural nails and were thicker than the nail wraps that I have used (and liked) a few times. I did get used to the thickness though, and even with manually doing the dishes every day, they did last the week that they promised to. I received several compliments on these nails from middle school girls to grandmothers. They are about half the price of some of as the fancy nail wraps that I have seen sold online. I’d say when you factor in cost and value, these are a great deal to make you feel super fancy and girly even on a budget. With the variety of patterns available, there is something for everyone’s style.
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Here’s me, having fun with patterns for a Ladies Mingle at my church. The nails were a big hit!

 

Pilot Acroball Pure White Pen

Oh, a pen. That’s cool. I love pens! Seriously, I used to collect pens from drug reps when I worked as a pharmacy tech. So, as an unofficial pen expert, you can trust my opinion on pens. This baby writes smooth, like butta! The colorful grippy part is comfy too, so it works great when you have to take notes or write a long grocery list. I got a yellow one, but I definitely will be using my $1.50 coupon to buy a pack that includes turquoise and purple.

 

Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancers in Blackcurrant Raspberry

I am a tea lover! This is a concentrated blend of tea that you squeeze into hot or cold water These are lightly sweetened with cane sugar, but there is very little. One serving is just 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories, so it’s not gonna blow your “diet” or mess with your diabetes. Unless you just squeeze in the whole bottle, which I do NOT recommend. I tried this tea both hot and cold. I prefer it hot, but I also prefer all types of tea hot. If you are struggling to get in your daily requirement of water because, like many people, you just don’t like plain water, this is a great product to try. One squeeze and a little stir and you’ve transformed your water into a yummy glass of tea. Now just 7 more glasses of water to go…

 

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance

These are tampons designed with active women in mind. If you’re like me, working out during a certain week of the month can be uncomfortable. But at the same time, I’ve read lots of research (that I’m too lazy to google and cite at the moment, so do your own searching if you want specifics) that shows many benefits of working out at that time, including a reduction in cramps. Ok, I’m in! These tampons have an Odor Absorber (that’s how it’s listed in the ingredients) and a light fragrance to combat that stanky feeling you get when working out while dealing with your period. I used them during yoga and while running and had no problems. The fragrance and unidentified “Odor Absorber” might freak out some of the more dogmatically health conscious (or just your random skeptics) out there though.

 

 

I am looking forward to reviewing more products from Influenster in the future. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these products or if you are wanting to.  Happy Monday!

 

 

 

*“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.*

influenster


Mommy and Child classes and Eating Healthy on a Budget

Hello!

You may have noticed that I didn’t post a workout journal on Friday. I felt like those posts were a little dull, so I won’t be posting anything that is just workouts for a while. I will give you a little update on my progress though. I’ve been plugging along with my P90X schedule, but the running hasn’t happened since my asthma attack. I’m planning on getting out for a run tomorrow. I’m a bit nervous about it. My lungs are feeling back to normal, but I’m still dealing with Texas allergies. Yuck!

I’ve also been busy with a class that I’ve been taking through our school district with my preschooler. It is basically a parenting class that helps equip moms (and dads) to prepare their 3-5 year old children for success at school. We have weekly assignments that we do each class that are either done on our own for our children’s use or with our children. Most can be modified for older siblings as well. Tonight I will be making dream catchers with my older 2 children like the one my little guy and I made in our class together. Another assignment we had was to make a picture of something they like with their name in the upper portion of the picture. I really have very little artistic ability (even though I desperately would love some more), but here is what I came up with:

Nathaniel's Train

 

Yes, those are Texas wildflowers at the bottom. I am not sure how to rotate the picture using our new scanner (I guess my husband better help me with that next time), so I guess you just get a free neck stretch. Sorry!

 

As usual, we are saving money for something upcoming. This time, it is vacation.I’m guessing, like me, you don’t have one of these growing in your back yard:

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If you do happen to have one, might I inquire where to find another like it?

Ahem! Anyway, most of our expenses are not flexible, like rent, utilities, phone bill, etc. BUT, one area where I have some flexibility is our grocery budget.

The best way for us to save money on food is to eat at home as often as possible. For a while, on Wednesday nights, I would go to Whole Foods and make myself a delicious salad from their salad/hot bar and then go to church where the kids would get a Chic-fil-a meal. Just that one meal alone though was costing us almost $30. YIKES! So, much to my children’s displeasure, we are eating at home before church on Wednesday nights. The reward though is going to be great! The money we are saving just on Wednesday nights is going to be used to go play mini-golf in the Outer Banks one night while we are on vacation. When the kids get bummed about no chicken sandwiches, I remind them of the goal: MINI-GOLF! That usually perks them right up!

I also came up with this list of budget-friendly foods that fit nicely into a healthy lifestyle. Please feel free to add your ideas to my list in the comments section.

 

Protein

Beans

Chicken

Tuna

Nuts

Nut Butters

Canned Salmon

Greek Yogurt (the fat-free has more protein and makes a great substitute for sour cream)

Sardines

Eggs

Chicken Broth (free if you make it yourself)

 

Healthy Fat

Avocados

Coconut Oil

Olive Oil

Nuts

Nut Butters

Sardines

 

Carbs

Beans

Rice

Potatoes

Oats

Apples

Bananas

Tortillas

Popcorn

Pumpkin (canned or make your own)

 

Veggies

Carrots

Celery

Frozen Veggies

Broccoli

Beets

Spinach

Cabbage

Cucumbers

Radishes

Green Beans

Eggplant

Asparagus

Salad Greens (Spinach, Kale, Romaine, etc.)

 

I hope you find this list helpful when planning your meals. Again, please feel free to add to this list and let me know your addition in the comments.

 

 

[Linking up with Women Helping Women via Teaching What is Good.]


Cilantro Thai Chicken

Often when my husband is working late and won’t be joining us for dinner, I make dishes that I know he would have zero interest in eating. He isn’t a huge fan of chicken (unless it’s my amazing slow cooker chicken), he isn’t really into Asian cuisine unless its Crab Rangoon or sushi rolls, and he has a genetic defect that makes cilantro taste like soap to him. SO, one night a couple weeks ago, I attempted Cilantro Thai Chicken. I loved it! The kids loved it! It was a success!
Now, I will share the recipe with you in hopes that it is a success for your family as well.

Cilantro Thai Chicken
•2 TBSP Soy Sauce (can use tamari ro make it gluten free)
•2 TBSP Fish Sauce (or replace with more soy sauce/tamari if desired)
•2 TBSP Sesame Oil
2 tsp Dried Cilantro
1 tsp Garlic Powder
•Your choice of chicken pieces

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients except the chicken into a shallow baking dish or gallon bag.
2. Add chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. Arrange marinated chicken onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Bake until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (times will vary depending on size and thickness of chicken pieces).
6. Serve amd enjoy!

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Cilantro Thai Chicken Leg Quarters