The Easiest and Cheapest DIY Car Air Freshener You Will Ever Make

One of my new favorite places here in Wisconsin is the recycling center, or, as we have dubbed it, the dump.

Less than a 1/4 mile from our house is the center where the entire township brings their trash, recyclables, and things they no longer need or want.

It is this last category of items that makes the dump so exciting.  The couple that manages it sets aside what they deem usable and allow people to grab items that others have discarded.  Literally, one man’s trash becomes another man’s treasure at this place.

I have come home with something almost every week from the dump, ranging from toys, lamps, furniture, and the least of all this:

coffee filters.



The woman managing the dump suggested I put these in the bottom of my potted plants to keep soil from leaking out.  Although this is a fabulous idea, I had another thing in mind for these babies.


I poured in 1/2 cup baking soda.  Then I added 30 drops of essential oils.  IMG_0756

I made two air fresheners:  for the van I mostly drive I used a stress relief blend that my sister sent me; it has a few citrus oils and ylang ylang, and it is lovely.  For my husband’s commuter car, I made the manliest blend I could think of:  10 drops each frankincense, cedarwood, and pine needle.

I smooshed the baking soda and essential oils around a bit and tied these off with some twine.  IMG_0760

This was the quickest, easiest DIY project I think I’ve ever done!

(And it helps to keep our cars fresh!)

Hand, Foot, and Mouth: A Conclusion

Readers, I promise I won’t be posting anymore pictures of my feet today.
You’re welcome.
Do you know why?

They are spotless.  As are my hands.

You can barely tell where the rash had been on my hands, and you can see a spot or two on my feet.  Henry’s one spot on his chin isn’t visible anymore, and the few on his hands are barely noticeable.

We have survived hand, foot, and mouth disease without any open rashes.

I count this as a huge win.

I will say upfront that I don’t believe we caught a severe case of the disease.  I believe the milder case of hand, foot, and mouth we had simply didn’t run as long as the disease often can (I read online the rash can be itchy for several days to a week).

However, I do believe that the essential oils blends I used help to heal the rash more quickly and prevented the rash from opening (in addition to not scratching, of course).

That being said, I want to share with you again the oil blends I used for the rash that came with hand, foot, and mouth disease:

On the rash itself:

5 drops lavender

5 drops tea tree

5 drops lemon

I put these together in a small roller and filled the rest of the roller with extra virgin olive oil.  I applied this about every hour when the rash was itchy/painful and less often as it bothered me less.


On the bottoms of the feet:

5 drops thieves

5 drops oregano

Same as above:  I put these in a roller and diluted with olive oil.  I applied this to the bottom of the feet about four times a day when the rash was itchy/painful and only twice a day the days it was visible by not bothersome.

I pray you never get this disease, but if you do, please try these blends out.  They just might help!

This is Real Life, Friends

A few days ago I connected with a local mom on an international Facebook group to buy something.  I knew exactly who she was, as I had met her a few times before at some kids’ events; I could see her face in her profile picture.

I, however, do not use my own face in my Facebook profile.  When this woman answered the door she was surprised to learn that it was indeed me (someone she had met) that she was selling her item to.  She couldn’t tell, she said, who it was because I had a picture of Baby Brother as my profile picture.

Of course, getting back into the car, I mentioned this to my husband.  I told him that I couldn’t remember the last time someone had taken a picture of me; I was always the one taking pictures.

(And I honestly don’t remember to do that very much.)

His (very honest) retort:

“I do try to take pictures of you, but every time I do, you make a ridiculous face.”

Today, I tried to take a picture of Baby Brother’s “nonplussed face”, which is best taken when he is being held.  I think I proved my husband’s point:


Also, please enjoy Bean’s photo bomb in the bottom right.  She was either imitating my face, or she is so hopelessly like her mother.


You heard me correctly.


Around here we pronounce the “h” in rhubarb.

(And by we, I really mean just myself.  My poor husband walks around shaking his head at the ridiculous things I say all day.)

When we first came to look at our rental house it was 40 degrees, cold, and very wet.  Nonetheless, the landlord walked us through the 1 acre lot, showing us where tenants before us had grown grapes and had a vegetable garden, as well as kept chickens.

What excited me most, though, was next to the small “chicken” shed, was a patch of dirt with what looked like tiny alien heads sticking out of the ground.


I find that rhubarb is one of those foods you either love or you hate.  Or you have never tried it before in your life.

Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, similar to celery, but the stalks are most often used in desserts.  Rhubarb is tart and lovely on its own, but pairs well with sweet berries, like strawberries.

My first introduction to this unique food was in the UK.  While studying abroad, the university dining hall would often serve rhubarb crisp with custard (not ice cream!) for dessert.  I was quite skeptical at first, especially since a British friend of mine described the taste as “making your tongue numb for just a little while but in a lovely way”.  Fortunately, I got over that and took my first bite.


I also forgot about rhubarb completely upon my return to the U.S.  I had plenty of braciolis and sopressata to make up for it, though.

My husband’s family, though, grows and loves rhubarb, and since we have been married I have had to experiment with this tangy vegetable.  I’ve made pies, crumbles, and cobblers.  I’ve even tried my hand at some strawberry rhubarb jam (which was more difficult than I had anticipated).

When we found our little rental place we found there was a small patch of rhubarb next to the shed.  That alone would have sold me on this place.  I wasn’t able to grow rhubarb well in the south.  I didn’t even have to start rhubarb here; someone has already done the work for me!

Needless to say, when our patch grew ripe (well, long enough?) for harvest, the girls and I were out there with a bowl and some scissors.

The first thing we made with our harvest?

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothies!!

I was so surprised how delicious these turned out:


1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup cut rhubarb

1 cup milk

honey to taste (we used about 2 tbsp)

Blend until smooth and enjoy!


Some Notes to My Future Self About Moving

Hello Friends.

I am peeking my head above the pile of boxes for yet another post today about how fun it is to move with young children.

First, let me preface this by saying that I have some of the world’s most helpful children ever.  They love to ask what they can work on or help me with, even if what I am doing is too difficult or not appropriate for them.  They are, however, normal young children, and seeing their books and toys again after six months in storage has made them excitedly little people.

Messy excited little people.

We are so close to having all of our things in their permanent places in the home that I feel the move is just about over.  We do have to, however, acquire a few more pieces of furniture to really make this place livable.  Like a couch.  And a dresser for my husband to replace the large, clear plastic bin his clothes currently reside in.

As this crazy season comes to a close, I would like to share with you guys (and yes, my future moving self) some tips, tricks, do’s, and don’t’s for moving with little kids.

  1.  Get rid of excess stuff before you move:  I did this pretty well when we packed up our home in Virginia.  I sold a lot of things at yard sales that I knew weren’t worth the amount of space they would take up in a moving van.  As my poor husband knows, my rule of thumb is:  If you haven’t used it or missed it in a year, you won’t use it, so get rid of it.  I use this rule for just about everything:  movies, music, clothes, games, toys, etc.  Books are a different story, since one can only read so many books in a year.  This one small rule helped us get rid of several boxes and garbage bags full of things we were holding on to for little to no reason.
  2. Don’t get rid of things you will actually need:  I get a little trash bag happy when it is time to clear things out of my house.  I really err on the side of having way too few things, rather than having too much.  This is all fine and dandy until you move in, unpack your kitchen, and realize that you donated your toaster to Goodwill before you left Virginia.  (Yes, that really happened.  We had to buy a new one.)  There are some items that just don’t make sense to get rid of because you will have to replace them anyway (like a toaster, or an iron).  Unless you are planning to replace the item anyway, regardless of your home-moving status, keep it!
  3. Label boxes as specifically as possible:  When we were packing our home in Virginia I may have been a tad emotional.  It was the first home my husband and I owned, and it was the home we brought our girls home from the hospital to.  We had made many memories in that house.  We built a great life out there, as well.  We had family and friends that were like family, plus a fantastic church.  It was so hard to leave.  And, you know, I was pregnant.  I was having all the feels.  I procrastinated packing up, then in the end I wound up throwing items in boxes and labeling them “Random”.  I wish I was kidding.
  4. Write whether boxes are for “storage” or “immediate use”:  This would have come in handy for our latest move.  We had a big crew of helpers who did a fantastic job of getting our things out of the grandparents home and into our new home very quickly.  Unfortunately, I stayed behind to finish packing up at the grandparents and wasn’t able to direct the final placement of all the boxes.  This meant we were left with some boxes that weren’t going to be used immediately (like Christmas decorations) in the middle of our living room.  I’m sure, had I said which boxes could have gone into the attic, our moving crew would have happily obliged.
  5. Make a plan for unpacking:  This I felt I did pretty well for this latest move.  There are a few rooms in one’s home that are completely indispensable, the first, in my opinion, being the bathroom.  As the storybook says, everybody poops.  And everybody needs to shower and brush their teeth.  You will need a functioning bathroom immediately, and having everything put away in there just makes life so much more pleasant.  I found that getting the bathroom put away was an early, quick victory that helped me gain momentum. Next on my agenda was the kitchen; we need to eat in order to poop, yes?  That took a bit more time, but was also very worth the effort.  The kids bedrooms were next on my list, since they had to be done when they were otherwise occupied (by my lovely husband), then our bedroom, then the living room.
  6. Occupy your children while you unpack:  Next time I will do a better job of securing some childcare for a few days while the hubs and I unpack the house.  I thought I could use the girls’ help as I put things away, but as it turns out, they were so excited to see some of their toys that they were little help at all.  Duh.  I found that packing was a three steps forward, two steps back kind of process as I put items away, only to find them in the middle of the living room 30 minutes later.  Having several dedicated hours (or days) to unpack would probably have made this process go a lot more smoothly.


We’re Still Here

Folks, allow me to reiterate, if I haven’t already said it enough, that moving with three children is no joke, especially if your spouse cannot take days off to help put the new house back together.

I spend my days alternately unpacking boxes and laying around in my pajamas.  I have never been one who can moderate my own work level, so instead I work myself exhausted one day and do basically nothing the next.  It’s truly how I function best.

The kitchen, of course, was the first to be unpacked.  I had that done the first day we moved in.  A family has to eat, and in order to eat, we need plates, utensils, cups, etc.  So that was unpacked first.

The bathroom next, of course, because, well, no one likes the smelly new family next door.

We are slowly putting things in their places, and as we clear out the boxes I am so glad to be sharing photos of our new home.

It is amazing to me that we are living in this home.  We have so many thing sin this home that we didn’t in our first home:  a walk in attic, a basement, a garage, healthy rhubarb patch, and a heater in the bathroom.  It has more than enough space for us, and it has enough character to suit my love for old, lovely things.  I can’t wait to share it with my readers!