Monday, June 16, 2014

homemade citrus cleaner recipe

Last fall I shared some of my favorite cleaning products, tips, and tricks in this post. I not only enjoy a clean house, but a clean smelling house. Today I am sharing a simple recipe for a homemade cleaner that smells amazing. I followed this recipe posted by Jen of IHeart Organizing. Enjoy!

homemade citrus cleaner

1 cup water
1 tablespoon citrus castille soap
10 drops citrus fresh essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and use everywhere! 

I love finding new uses for my Young Living Essential Oils. If you have not tried them yet and are interested, let me know! I would love to help you get started. I use this cleaner everywhere-- on the countertops in the kitchen, in the toilets in bathrooms, the woodwork in bedrooms and living rooms. *Note: If you have granite countertops, lemon essential oil could etch and dull your surfaces so this recipe would not be fit for use on them.* Dr. Bronner's soap is my favorite-- all natural ingredients and great cleaning ability. I started out using it in the shower as body wash and have branched out to now cleaning our home with it. The bottles can seem expensive ($10-$15 for 32oz), however the soap is meant to be diluted when used so they last a long time. There are many different scents available: almond, unscented baby mild, citrus orange, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose, and tea tree. Depending on the scent you select and the essential oils you choose to add, you could create many different combinations! The soap themselves contain essential oils as their fragrance so the addition in this recipe is just to enhance the aromatic effect. I told y'all I enjoy a lovely, clean smell! 

Have you made any of your own cleaners using essential oils or other natural products? 
I'd love to know your recipes! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

a new look.

Thanks to Kerrie Williams from Life On a Mission, my blog has a new look and I just love it! Kerrie is wonderful to work with and really captured my vision. Her patience with my many questions, vast knowledge about blogging/design, and beautiful creativity are so appreciated! If you are looking to personalize your online space, Kerrie is your girl! Definitely check out her many great design projects! I stumbled upon her when another blog I follow featured a blog Kerrie designed. (Think I could say blog another time?!) I loved the idea of a custom design, I loved her talent, and after learning more about her, I loved her heart for Christ and missions.

A little over a year ago, I became a "blogger." I didn't know much about the blog world (honestly, I still have so much to learn) but I knew I wanted to create a little online haven. A hospitable place to share recipes, book recommendations, random moments in our life, and my heart. I also wanted it to be a place to encourage others to do the same. When I think about cozy, comforting, safe places of refuge, the first thought that comes to mind is home. So that was my inspiration for the new design.

You will notice the "rooms" in the header. In the "kitchen" you will find posts including recipes and nutrition tips. Oh how I wish we could all whip up some healthy deliciousness together in my real kitchen! On the "porch" you will find posts that share more of my heart. These posts I would love to discuss over tea in the rocking chairs on our back porch. In the "library" you will find my book reviews and recommendations. While in reality, a library may never make the cut in a home we own, I love that I can have one on here!

I hope you enjoy the new look as much as I do!

Kerrie, thank you again for your beautiful design. I am so grateful and feel so inspired in my new space!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: summer favorites

Since Summer will be here before we know it, for June's 7 on the 7th I am sharing what I enjoy most about this season!

1. Grilling
Nothing says summer like the smell of firing up the grill. Stop whatever you're doing and go to the store for any of these ingredients you may be missing so you can have this delicious meal tonight! Dustin made these sweet & savory chicken kabobs a couple weeks ago and then again last weekend. They are DELICIOUS! We used this recipe as inspiration and tweaked it to make it our own. Seriously, you will impress your loved ones, friends, and self with these.

2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

about 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 breasts
8 ounces sliced or whole mushrooms
1 orange bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1/2 fresh pineapple
1/2 red onion

Soak 12-15 wooden skewers in water for one hour. Chop all kabob ingredients, except mushrooms, into 1 inch cubes. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken and vegetables in a large bowl. Let marinate for as long as possible (4-24 hours). Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken, vegetables, and pineapple onto the skewers. Place skewers on grill and rotate frequently until cooked through (about 15 minutes). Enjoy! I loved the sweet, savory flavor and the beautiful colorful combinations of vegetables! Feel free to use any combination you like. 

2. Gardening
I shared our garden tour not too long ago and I am so excited to see continued growth! We have several cherry tomatoes, big boy tomatoes, leeks, jalepenos, and bell peppers growing. We have enjoyed some Swiss chard on several occasions already. Our squash and zucchini are blooming and I've noticed a couple blooms on our cucumbers too! My ranunculus are continuing to grow as are my zinnias I just planted last weekend. I also can't wait to scour the Farmer's Markets for gardening goodies I won't find in our own yard!

3. Reading
I love to read but it seems like the last few months reading has been put on the back burner. Whether you're by the pool, on the porch, at the beach, or on a road trip, summer lends itself to some quality time for reading. One of my sweet friends shared her copies of the Divergent series with me this week. I am ashamed proud to say I read them all in 6 days. I realize I am a bit behind seeing as the movie has already been released in theaters, but that's ok! I am hoping to continue reading this summer, just maybe not in such an, emotionally invested, obsessive manner. What books are on your Summer Reading List?

4. Celebrating 
Summertime is full of celebrations. While it technically isn't summer, Memorial Day definitely kicks things off. Then there's the 4th of July! Three short days after America's birthday is our Anniversary! Also, several family members and friends have birthdays during the summer season, myself included. Every day is worthy of celebration. Isn't it so much fun to be festive!?

5. Relaxing 
Whether you're out of school or taking a vacation, summertime is great to relax and enjoy the sunshine. You may not can tell by my current skin tone, but I do enjoy soaking up the sun by the pool/lake/beach. I look forward to making more time for that to happen! We are currently in the process of creating a patio space off our back porch. I can't wait until it is complete and we can relax around a fire pit!

6. Exploring
Summertime is the perfect time to visit a new town or state. With all the different markets, festivals, concerts, ball games, and events there is always something new to try or do. You may even find a hidden gem in your own area! Our town has Market Days that are fun to attend and being an hour from St. Louis provides endless opportunities to find new, fun things to do.

7. Serving
Every season, month, and day are great for serving. Summertime is no different. There are always opportunities to give to those around us. Make plans to share your time with loved ones. Look for needs in your community and find ways to meet them through volunteering or donating. Support members of your church going on mission trips. Clean out your closets and donate clothes you aren't wearing. Consider providing fans to a shelter in your area to keep people and animals cool during the hot season. Stock up on school supplies early for children who will need them in August. Provide healthy options for the food pantries in your town. The possibilities to share and serve during this season are endless.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 
{Galatians 5:13}

Happy Early Summer to you!

What are you looking forward to the most about this season?

Sunday, June 01, 2014

one year.

One year ago today Dustin and I left our hometown in Kentucky and moved to Illinois for his new job. Oh how quickly this year has passed! A year ago I was excited for a new adventure, nervous to be in a new area without our family and friends, and very much unsure of where this path would lead. Today I cannot even describe the peace and thankfulness I feel when I think back on this last year. Month after month, what was at first an unfamiliar place, feels more and more like home. God has blessed us with sweet friends, a wonderful church, jobs we both enjoy, and a house we love making a home.

Do we miss our family and friends back home in Kentucky--and the many other areas they live? Absolutely! Every day! But we are so thankful for the visits and phone calls to keep in touch. Having an encouraging support system is such a blessing.

Shortly after we moved I read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. You can read more of my thoughts about it in my post here. After reading, I started my own 1000 gifts list. Just a couple days ago, I reached my 1000th gift. I took a moment to read back through my list over the past year-- the things that have meant so much to me. Farmer's Market trips with a sweet friend. Visits from our family and friends. Purchasing our first home. Celebrating successes in our careers. Being re-baptized together. Enjoying the everyday moments of life-- both the pleasant and the not so pleasant. While I know my list of gifts and thankfulness will never be complete, reaching the 1000th gift has shown me so much. My perspective has changed drastically over the past year. The joy I have found in Christ through counting the gifts He gives is indescribable. If you haven't read the book or started your own list, I highly encourage it!

When we first got married, I never imagined we would leave our home. A year later, we were in a new town, a new state, and with new jobs. Another year later, we are becoming more and more comfortable in this new "home." When I think back over the past year, I am filled with thankfulness for this season. For this time that Dustin and I have had to grow individually and as husband and wife. For this time to learn more about our Lord and ourselves. I am so thankful to have a better understanding of what Emily Dickinson meant when she said,

"Where thou art, that is home." 

Home, for me, is where my husband is. Where our love is shared. Where our people gather. Where our puppies play. Where we worship. Where we cook together, laugh together, pray together, and live life together.

The Land of Lincoln has been good to us this year and I look forward to what the future holds!