REUSABLE Christmas Wrapping Bags – Alternative to Wrapping Paper!


I LOVE paper. I have a couple of collections of scrapbooking paper that I keep around just to look at…and smell…and pet. (Really! 2008 Basic Grey Lines.)

BUT, I don’t like wrapping paper. For many reasons.

  •  The big long rolls are hard to store.
  • They always have little flappy pieces sticking out everywhere.
  • It can get expensive.
  • It’s hard to work with and my arms are NOT long enough to cut across the whole roll.
  • I am really bad at wrapping(like, terrible!).
  • Last, but not least, all that time and effort spent painstakingly folding and taping is destroyed and ripped through in 1.4 seconds and can never be used again. That is not cool.

I decided to take care of the problem once and for all. And, whadd’ya know…it worked! Read More →

Dehydrating Bell Peppers


Our starter garden looks a little sad.  It should.  It was planted in soil that was basically used as a driveway for some time and covered over with sod even though the sprinkler system was inoperable.  We decided to change the course of this little patch of land and start rebuilding the soil.  We knew the plants would have a rough go this year, but we planted anyway.  Surprisingly, some of the vegetables are doing well!


I harvested a dozen heirloom Purple Beauty and green bell peppers.  Some I used for dinner tonight (fajitas!) and because there are more peppers on the plants that will be ready in a few days,  I preserved some of the ones I picked today.  In the past, I’ve chopped and frozen them and that worked well. This year I wanted to try the Excalibur dehydrator.  


I diced 8 peppers and laid them out on two trays.  It didn’t look like much.  After drying them for 6 hours,  it looked like even less. In the middle of winter though,  a sprinkling of these in a pot of chili will add a bit of flavor and a touch of green.


They’re light and don’t take up a lot of space. I think they’re kind of pretty. I’ll be doing more dehydrating for sure!


Because these are organic heirloom peppers,  I made sure to save some of the seeds for planting next year.  I dried them separately and will store them in the freezer.

So far our little garden has given us lots of zucchini,  a bunch of green tomatoes and a couple spaghetti squash.  We did get a handful of green beans and a few pea pods along with collard greens,  kale and lettuce.  There’s still a bit of time left in the growing season so we’ll see how the rest of it grows.  Josh has his eye on this baby pumpkin.



Instant Pot Accessories











Playing with the Instant Pot

I’ve used an electric pressure cooker for a few years now to cook beans and soups and such,  but when the 7-in-1 Instant Pot came along I was intrigued.  Could I really put away my rice cooker and slow cooker and pressure cooker?

I ordered the Instant Pot here and when it arrived I first used it to make rice.  7 minutes for brown rice and it turned out moist and soft!  It was perfect.

I then tried streaming a spaghetti squash.  Again…perfect.


Once I was pretty sure this pot would get used A LOT, I did order a few accessories to make it even more versatile.













I found that when I cooked something in bulk like Pinto beans,  I wanted to leave them in the pot and put them in the fridge and be able to use the Instant Pot to reheat them.  That meant I couldn’t cook anything else in the meantime.  A second pot lets me cook rice or stew for dinner without having to transfer the beans and wash the pot.









I wanted to give the slow cooking function a try but I like checking on it periodically so the pressure lid was a problem.  I ordered this glass lid and it worked like a charm.  I like the display keeping track of time for me and I LOVE the pot turning to keep warm mode automatically.










Another accessory I’ve found helpful is a silicone suction lid. I can cover the inner pot without putting the pressure lid on.  It’s great for putting leftovers in the fridge,  too.

I’m also trying out a couple of steaming baskets but haven’t had time to get it right yet.

If you have other accessories for the Instant Pot that you love,  let me know in the comments!

The Day I Went to The Planetarium


On October 1st I went to the BYU Planetarium. I got to see a 48 minute movie about planets on the dome ceiling. I liked Jupiter the best because of how strong the gravitational pull is. It is big and gaseous.

I also saw constellations. My favorite one was Pegasus.

Going to the planetarium made me want to learn more about space.

GIVEAWAY! Dressing Your Truth Course!

Dressing Your Truth™. You’ve been hearing me talk about it, blog about it, post about it and go on about it. NOW is your chance to see what it’s all about for yourself!


I am giving away a FREE Dressing Your Truth™ FULL course ($297 value) to one of YOU, my readers! This course does more than give you fashion tips. It can change the way you feel about your unique gifts and help you identify your greatest strengths. It can change the way people perceive you and help them understand who you really are. I have loved the steps I’ve taken in the program and am excited to keep making positive changes in all areas of my life. Besides all that…it’s been REALLY fun!

If you haven’t taken the free online video course, DO IT TODAY! Check it out HERE. You won’t regret it!

Here’s how I changed after 30 Days…


Once you’ve looked at the free course you’ll definitely want to take the full course to get all the tips and tricks of dressing for your Energy Type™. Use the entry form below to enter to win a Dressing Your Truth ™ FULL PAID COURSE and MEMBERSHIP!!

1. Visit Dressing Your Truth™ HERE (and sign up for the free online course if you want to get started right away!)

2. Sign up for my updates (optional). If you don’t see the sign up button, make sure your ad blocker is off.

3. Like my facebook page HERE for more entries

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4. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to officially enter!

Enter through April 15th, 2014. Winner will be chosen at random and announced by April 17th. Winner will be notified by email and must reply within 48 hours.

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My Transformation – Dressing Your Truth™

It’s been 3 weeks since I ransacked my closet and tore out all the black clothes (read about that HERE). After taking Carol Tuttle’s free online Dressing Your Truth™ course, and reading Discover Your Type of Beauty, I typed myself confidently as a TYPE 3SM woman – The rich, dynamic, substantial woman. I move forward with purpose and get things done swiftly. That played out with this process just as expected. Tossing the black came first…and then the grey…and then the white…and then the frilly stuff. And then there was not a lot left. I got a few key pieces at thrift stores and stared wearing the colors I did have, but I was still a little hesitant. It looked OK. But not quite like I had expected.

I decided my hair was the problem. I almost chopped it off myself in true TYPE 3 fashion, but I was patient and made an appointment with a friend. IT MADE SUCH A DIFFERENCE! My hair was no longer pulling my features down. I lightened up immediately and my clothes began to work together with the rest of me.

Here’s my before and after. Before – lots of black and contrast. Straight, ashy hair. Black eye makeup. Downward movement, stillness. After – warm shades, jewel tones, brown makeup, warmer, edgier hair that has an upward movement with action.

People noticed immediately. Some said I looked healthier, others that I had a glow. They complimented my skin and asked if I had lost weight. (I had lost about 10 lbs in the previous month). The most important thing, though was that *I FELT GREAT!* I felt like my vibrant self again. I realized it had been a while since I expressed that. Life events (like failed pregnancies and heath problems) had been pulling me down and making me more still and reflective when my true energy is active and reactive. When I ditched the black, and started wearing the colors and styles of my type, my true energy and nature came roaring back. I studied the psychology of color in college, but I had never applied the principles to myself and my moods and how I felt. As soon as I put the principles into action, the difference was apparent.

In the last 3 weeks, I’ve lost another 10lbs, de-junked a bunch of problem areas of my house, got rid of things I didn’t use or need AND put some clothes in the right style and color in my closet. Lots of forward movement! THAT’S ME! I feel like me again! And I realize that when I dress true to my type, OTHER PEOPLE know what I am about and what they are going to get when I open my mouth to speak. No confusion, no other expectations.

Here’s what my closet looks like now. It’s not all perfect, but it’s evolving!


I am not an expert by any means. I am still learning and figuring out what works for ME, but through the course and video helps on the Dressing Your Truth™ site, I am getting more confident in my choices and am finding creative ways to adapt the things I have to fit my new way of being. I had a favorite pair of black boots that are now a rich cordova. WHO KNEW YOU COULD PAINT LEATHER?? I used this paint and it worked like a charm!


It has been really fun to fit my style to my Energy TypeSM, BUT…that’s not the best part of this whole thing. The best part has been figuring out our types as a family and having a FAR better understanding of why we tend to do or say certain things in certain ways. My husband and I are opposite energy movements and when something comes up that we don’t understand about the other person, we can generally attribute it to their unique perspective and see it differently ourselves. It’s been helpful! Carol also has a book called The Child Whisperer which addresses the different ways children express their energy. My children are all different types (I have a 4, 2 and a 1) and I can see why certain types of discipline work with one child but not another. I can better meet their needs by knowing how they process. My fun type 1 child is going to react to a surprise FAR differently than my studious type 4 child. If I am sensitive to that, things will go SOOO much smoother in the long run.

I have really enjoyed the process so far and my hope is that I can continue to grow and express myself in a way that lets my true energy movement shine through. What Energy Type are YOU? You can find out for free through the online video course or with Carol’s books on energy profiling.

And look into The Child Whisperer for a better understanding of your children’s types. It has pretty, much solidified my decision to keep my energetic, bouncy 7 year old home with me next year for ‘life school’ so he can learn his own way. He’s excited and I am really looking forward to seeing him happy to learn every day. I had a copy of the Child Whisperer from the library and when it was time to turn it in, I debated keeping it longer and paying late fines, but I ended up turning it in on time and buying the book. The e-book, of course. (Type 3…I need it NOW!) I know you’ll find the books and videos eye opening and maybe even life changing. Friends who have taken the course have said they feel like they finally have permission to be themselves and they finally understand the people around them. I hope you will, too.


Closet Makeover – Bye-Bye Black – Dressing Your Truth™


Browsing through a few of the VGN Summit presentations, I came across one about dressing for your Energy TypeSM by Carol Tuttle. I thought I hadn’t heard of her before, but I realized I HAD from friends and family who have read her books or been through her Dressing Your TruthTM online programs. (You can find them HERE.)I listened to her presentation and went through the free energy profiling course online to confirm the type I already figured I am. Outward energy, ambitious, firey, outgoing, driven etc. So…the substantial, dynamic woman of TYPE 3SM. No surprise there.

I WAS surprised to find that my go-to color(or non-color and probably everyone’s go-to), BLACK was not recommended for any type but TYPE 4SM. WHY? Well, you can hear about that from Carol here. The more important thing is WHY *I* decided to go with the system and ditch the black. Well, not every piece, but almost!

I’ll start by saying that I have not taken the full course* (*UPDATE: I did order the class right after posting this. Lots of great info I will be using as I switch things in and out of my wardrobe! AND it comes with a great community of people who have been doing this for a while. That makes it worth the price to me.), because I’m a TYPE 3SMwoman and apparently we often say ‘I can figure it out for myself!’ In the book and free course Carol even has a list of ways you will react to the system based on your type. TYPE 3SM people want you to hurry up and get to the point. They want the info NOW and will spring into action once they have it – even if they aren’t 100% sure they are headed in the exact right direction. That’s me. So, here I am sorting and reorganizing and such.

So, back to the WHY. I decided to try this because I realize that I fall back on black a lot. I think it makes me look strong and tough and it says that I may not want you to come talk to me. I know why I do it, but lately I feel like I don’t need that as much. It’s my wall and it’s coming down because it’s NOT ME. Here’s the pile of black I pulled out of my closet. I also have a goal to “minimize” this year. Downsize. Myself and my possessions, so this is a double purge. It’s a really big pile. Bigger than it looks. 4 loads, at least.


I kept a few black pieces because there’s always that one event or function where they ask everyone to wear black pants or skirt. Like a choir performance (if I ever went to choir) or a silly skit at church or creeping around at night in a catsuit. You know, those kinds of events. Plus, I still like black. I’m just not going to build my wardrobe around it anymore.

So…here is my side of the closet without all the black and with about half as many clothes as there were a few days ago. (Yes, it took me days!)


It’s still leaning toward the type 4 color palette but as I slowly replace things I’ll choose richer colors. I will have to buy a couple of basics like skirts for church, but I had enough of the rich colors and textures in there the whole time! I just usually paired them with black. So, instead of this: Black shirt, teal sweater, black pants, black shoes, black bag, it will be more like this: Brown shirt, teal sweater, blue jeans, tan shoes, tan/teal bag and if I were feeling REALLY dynamic I would add a scarf and some big earrings, but that’s not me right now. Same main teal color, different feel. Not a TON different, but not as stark and unapproachable. Because, that’s not me! Here’s a visual on how it will be different (images from polyvore and pinterest).


I like the change and I think it will more closely reflect my personality and energy. We’ll see! For now, it’s just fun! Have you figured out your Energy TypeSM? What type are you and how have you changed your wardrobe? Has it made a difference in how you feel and act?

If you haven’t and you want to figure out which type fits you, check out the videos in the free online course here.

BOOK REVIEW: Solving the Paleo Equation


SO, I will start this post by saying that if you read this and other ‘real food’ blogs, you probably already know most of what is in this book. Matt Stone has been a great advocate for healing your metabolism and ditching mainstream trends and even bad nutritional ‘science’. This book won’t have many surprises for real food enthusiasts, but I REALLY hope it will seep out into the general public with its straight forward solutions to common weight and health issues. Below is the review I wrote for Amazon and Goodreads as requested by the guys at Matt’s site 180degreehealth.com in exchange for a review copy. It might be old news to some of you because you are already well on your way to healing. The book is *almost* ready to order on amazon. Check it out HERE.

**Solving the Paleo Equation** goes FAR beyond the benefits of eating a Paleo diet. Dr. Garrett Smith and Matt Stone cover everything from repairing your damaged metabolism to protecting yourself from harmful radiation in everyday life. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on living a life of good health, this is the book for you.

The book is nicely divided into sections of Stress, Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep/Recovery. Matt Stone and Dr. Smith have their own experiences outlined in neat boxes that are helpful and engaging.

You may be surprised at some of the information given on each topic because it does not go along with the mainstream hype of fads and quick fixes. This book gives a solid foundation for real health and well-being and gives great examples and references to back up the advice.

The section on exercise changed the way I think about ‘working out’. I am looking forward to moving more in ways that I enjoy rather than straining and overtaxing my body. If you find yourself pushing your body so far that you are exhausted, you should definitely check out this section. Dr. Smith and Matt Stone give great solutions to the common problem of overdoing physical activity.

If I had one criticism, it would be that there is a little too much over-analyzing in the Fats section. Paleo followers tend to know that fats are essential and know how to choose the right kinds. In my opinion, getting into which fats have more arachidonic acid and linoleic acid is not necessary if you stress the importance of quality meat, eggs, dairy and fats from grass-fed, free-range, foraged animals.

I highly recommend this book for those looking to improve their overall health.

I received an advance copy of Solving the Paleo Equation but was not otherwise compensated for my review.

Fresh Breath FAST – Naturally Flavored Toothpicks


Sunday mornings on the way out the door to church, I used to grab a stick of gum to make sure my breath was nice and fresh. It was usually sugarless and fruity or sugared and cinnamon. When I switched to real food and tried to eliminate toxins from my life, I realized the gums and breath mints I was using had some nasty ingredients. Some that have even been linked to cancer.

I looked for ‘healthy’ gum and found a few like this and this, but they weren’t the same. Not bad, just not what I wanted anymore. I still wanted fresh breath without having to bring my toothbrush or mouthwash along.

I found the solution at the health food store! Flavored toothpicks. The ones I found were only available with tea tree oil and I am not a fan of tea tree in my mouth. It’s a great oil. I use it for a lot of things, like my molluscum contagiosum treatment blend and as a topical anesthetic, but I do not like the taste of it. That led me to this bright idea!! I can make them myself! I have oils in various flavors that would work. I just needed toothpicks. I chose a natural sustainable bamboo toothpick I found at my local health food store. These toothpicks are pretty close and super cheap.


I chose cinnamon and vanilla for a bit of a ‘cinnamon roll’ flavor. You can also use peppermint, citrus, clove, etc. for different flavors. I put the drops right in the bottom of the container. (*Caution: cinnamon oil is strong and can be a skin irritant, so be careful while using it. I have not had a problem with the cinnamon being too strong once it is dried, but if you are concerned, dilute with a carrier oil. Wash your hands after handling the oils and toothpicks and don;t touch your face or sensitive areas. And because of a concern from a reader, I will mention that these and all oils should be kept out of the reach of children. Also mentioned by the concerned reader, wintergreen should not be used internally.)


I added a couple of drops of vanilla and put the toothpicks back in the container. They immediately started to wick the oils and soak them up.


After a couple of hours, I took 10 or 12 of them out and dried them flat on a paper towel. I figured I’d leave the rest in the container to keep soaking up the oils and dry them as I need them. I took a rollerball container and removed the roller ball and the toothpicks fit right in. I can stick these in my purse and have a quick non-toxic way to freshen my breath anywhere. They are cheap and easy to make and store.


What I Ate on GAPS Stage 2


By now, you might know I’m doing the GAPS Diet. If you wonder why, I will refer you to my previous posts HERE and HERE.

I just finished Stage 2 and have moved on to 3 with no problems. My headaches have gone away and everything is going great! 10 lbs down in 6 days is pretty nice, too. The food…still a bit boring, but doable for sure!!

Here’s what I ate on GAPS Stage 2:

Day 3
Chicken broth with boiled chicken
2tbsp homemade 24 hour ferment yogurt
touch of raw local honey

Ground beef in broth w/raw egg yolk
spinach in broth
lacto fermented pickles

Squash and Ground Beef Casserole (Recipe in THIS BOOK!!)


Day 4
soft boiled egg
Beef Broth

Chicken Soup w/raw egg yolk

Beet, cauliflower and chicken casserole (w/broth – can you see a theme?? BROTH, BROTH and more BROTH!!)

Day 5

Soft boiled egg

Meatball soup in beef broth
Lacto fermented vegetables

Beef Stew


Again, not all that exciting, but it is really not that bad. I could never do the Master Cleanse or something like that, but this is OK. I look forward to every stage as it comes and I appreciate the things I can add. It makes me more grateful for food and variety. The weight is coming off, but more than that, I haven’t needed to take a supplement to manage joint pain since we started this. I have needed a digestive enzyme a couple of times. (I use this one).

I feel pretty darn good so far and we are moving through the stages quickly. We don’t have any major digestive issues because we’ve been working on those slowly over the course of a year, so we’re able to sail through the stages. We’re giving each stage 3 days just to be sure we’re hitting all the points. My husband isn’t big on fermented foods, so pickles are his only food probiotic right now. He’s taking a probiotic in pill form, but I am doing fermented veggies and dairy for my probiotics. On to stage 3! (As soon as I finish the stage 3 post…the link will be HERE!)