Natural Hygiene Options!

Happy Saturday, y’all! It’s turning out to be a productive day for us and I’m thrilled to say some decluttering and cleaning and work are happening! We even snuck some exercise in this morning! 🙂

I don’t blog about these kind of topics because I claim to be an expert on homemaking, healthy eating, non-toxic cleaning or non-toxic options in general. However, these are all things I am passionate about and are part of my daily routine and I see my blog as an outlet for sharing what I find or learn. I know doing research about non-toxic products can be overwhelming and I’m always interested to hear what others are using, so I thought I’d share! This post will cater towards women but Corey uses a couple of the items listed. 🙂

Please know up front that some of these are products that I sell, but they are only items that I’ve tried and truly love. There are a few Norwex products that I’ve tried and didn’t love and for that reason I don’t share much about those. 😉 Sometimes I think it’s sad when we who are in sales have to make this disclaimer, but as I see many of my hard-working honest friends in sales, I trust that they wouldn’t be selling products unless they loved them. So I hope you know that’s where I’m at. 🙂

  1. Let’s jump right in! Toothpaste! Lately for toothpaste I’ve been loving the flouride-free Tom’s of Maine toothpaste in Peppermint. I get mine at Target and it’s under $5 which I’m a fan of. 🙂 I tried this same toothpaste but in the Spearmint flavor and was not a fan! It left a strange aftertaste in my opinion but that may just be a personal thing. I have tried A LOT of natural toothpastes and for my price range this is what’s working for me. 🙂Toothpaste

2. For toothbrushes I feel as though I’ve found an excellent option for life and as long as Norwex carries these I will be buying the refill heads. Both Corey and I have this toothbrush and I want to take a little time chatting about it. I’m adding some stats because I hadn’t thought much about the bacterial growth on my toothbrush bristles until I discovered this toothbrush.

ToothbrushAccording to research, the most common bacteria found on toothbrushes are the same ones that cause plaque, cavities, gingivitis and bad breath. And after I stopped to think about it, I realized that all the yucky bacteria in our mouths has nowhere to go once it’s in our toothbrush bristles. Not to mention the airborne bacteria in our bathrooms! Enter, the Norwex toothbrush.

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I love that the removable heads elimate the need to throw away an entire toothbrush. They are designed to stay in place and mine has never fallen out, which I was concerned about. I use my refill head for 4-5 months before replacing. A few things about this toothbrush from the Norwex website…

  • Antibacterial properties interrupt the survival of bacteria, viruses and fungi
  • Helps reduce bacteria by self-sanitizing within hours
  • Flexible nylon bristles clean teeth gently and effectively
  • Gently curved handle provides non-slip grip
  • Replacement head extends the life of your toothbrush!

I chose the medium bristles for both of us and the refill heads come in a pack of two that we only need to get twice a year (only once the first year since the toothbrush initially comes with two heads) and that covers both of our toothbrushes. While $20.99 may seem like a lot for a toothbrush, the 2 refills are only $14.99 for the set. This has proven to be well worth it for us, considering all the benefits.

Read more and purchase your own HERE —> https://amandafarnsworth.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/shop/product-detail/121610

3. If by any chance any menfolk are here, you can just skip this next section, lol. The struggle to find non-toxic options for that time of the month is real, y’all. I have tried SO. MANY. THINGS. Eventually I want to try a Diva Cup but I’m just not quite there yet. Here are my current favorites, which I get from Target. They are more affordable than many options out there and I’ve had a better experience with these than others I’ve tried.

The price for these range from $3.99 to $6.99 so I don’t feel like I’m breaking the bank. 🙂

4. Moving on to shampoo and conditioner! I have only tried the conditioner in this brand so far but I plan to get the shampoo soon. Again, keeping price down is important to me, so I don’t know that I’ll ever pay the price for the truly non-toxic “safe” shampoos and conditioners out there. These are $4.99 each and there’s no mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, silicone, phthalates, gluten, paraffin, propylene, PABA or DEA. So far the conditioner has been awesome so I’m looking forward to trying the shampoo, especially for this price! I find this brand at Target.

5. Deodorant…ok, can we all just raise our hands right now and agree that finding a natural deodorant is a struggle?! I truly hope I’m not the only one; otherwise I’m about to feel very alone in this endeavor. Again, I feel like I’ve tried SO. MANY. options for deodorant and THIS one is currently my favorite, recommended by a friend, so I cannot take credit for it! 🙂 It’s the roll-on natural deodorant by Real Purity. It absorbs smell and moisture and doesn’t leave a thick residue like many natural deodorants do. If you’re trying to stay away from aluminum in your deodorant and don’t know where to start in your search, I would definitely try this one. It’s aluminum-free and organic, and the ingredients are all listed on the website. Here’s a link for $5 off your purchase! https://www.realpurity.com/?ref=Nmtyd0kvSzhkWGc9

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6. Face care (both by Norwex!) Body cloths to replace my face wash, makeup removal products and also for exfoliation, acne and blackheads…if that’s not saving $$$ I don’t know what is! 😀 I just use water with these and the embedded microsilver goes to work with self-purification properties against the mold, fungi and bacterial odor within 24 hours so that it’s ready to use again. I have a set of 3 (so does Corey) and we rotate our cloths every few days. 🙂 I LOVE the aloe-based face and neck gel because it’s a light moisturizer that doesn’t leave greasy residue. Highly recommend both of these. I got my moisturizer for free, and it’s lasted me well over 6 months, but if you’re not looking to pay that price, that’s totally understandable. Next on my list to try is the Acure Argan oil. 🙂

7. Body care (both by Norwex!) The Norwex body scrub mitt and shower gel give me major peace of mind! Skin is your body’s largest organ so it’s important to me to be aware of what I’m using on it! Derivatives from fruit sugar, sweet pineapple, coconut and lemon provide a light, citrusy scent (I always say it smells like Hawaii!) and a little goes a long way which I’m always in favor of. 🙂  The body scrub mitt with embedded microsilver means I don’t have to worry about all the bacteria that my loofah used to hold!

All four of the face and body care items can be found on my website if you want to read more. They are tried and true tested products for me and have a 60-day money-back guarantee. 🙂 http://www.amandafarnsworth.norwex.biz

Next up! Finding a natural shaving cream that I actually LIKE and a natural mascara that doesn’t break the bank! Suggestions welcome. 😉 Continue reading

Favorite Lunch Lately!

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I struggle with finding lunch ideas that are yummy and made from mostly unproccessed foods…so I was SO thrilled when I happened upon this easy and yummy Chicken Salad recipe on Pinterest! I wanted to share since it’s the perfect combo of ingredients in my book! The grapes add a little sweet but the purple onions balance it out nicely and the slivered almonds add the perfect amount of crunch! Delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 -3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Mix all together and try not to eat it all at once. 😉 I have been eating a little more bread lately and have been loving the Simply Nature Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted 7 Grain Bread from Aldi! You could add hummus to the bread then butter lettuce or just the chicken salad itself. So yummy! Just wanted to share a tried and true Pinterest find in case you’d like to add it to your recipe stash! 😀

Happy Hump Day!

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

 

Our Love Story…Part One

I always love reading love stories on blogs and I want to document ours while I still remember! Corey is the one with the better memory but I wanted to record my account here, plus I thought it was a good excuse to drag out our big bin full of dating memories! 😉

My first memory of Corey was at his parents’ church in South Carolina. He was wearing a blue shirt and I think khaki pants. Our families met before he and I ever did, since I was away at school. I don’t remember the timeline of when I met him, I just have the visual in my mind!

I worked at my college (which was located in Florida) yearround so I rarely came home for breaks, and when I did, they were whirlwind trips consisting of quick church visits, trying to rest and trying to spend time with my family and maybe a few friends. Once I graduated college in 2011, I spent a summer in Wisconsin as a lifeguard but felt sick and weak most of the summer and it only got worse as the summer progressed. I thought it may have something to do with my diet, so I made some changes, but by the end of the summer I was in bed with achey joints and wanted to do nothing but sleep.

Looking back on it I wonder if my college years finally caught up to me and feeling so sick that summer was my body’s way of screaming that I needed to SLOW DOWN. My college years were extemely hard on me and my body, (another story for another day) and I was constantly sick, tired and going to the clinic on campus. I was diagnosed with strep several times, took stress tests, and was sent with a prescription for antibiotics several times. I know you may be wondering what all this has to do with our love story but my health has played a huge role in our relationship. I’m getting there, promise. I’m a details girl. 😉 Side note: I plan to do a full blog post on my health and weight journey another time because I often qet questions about it.

Back to how I met Corey…I ended up flying home early from summer camp to get some blood tests and to give my body the rest it needed. I really wanted to purchase my own car though, and at the time I don’t think I realized how weak my body was so I got some blood tests done and quickly started a nanny job to save for a car. This was August of 2011 (hard to believe this was 6 years ago!) When I wasn’t nannying I was home in my pajamas, sleeping, resting or spending time with my family. Enter, Corey. 😉 He was 18, (I was 22) a sophomore in college at the time, and my younger brother and he were good friends. Our home was actually closer to his college than his home was so he would often spend time studying or working on schoolwork or just hanging out at our house.

Most of my friends from before college had either moved away or were in different stages of life so after I graduated I honestly didn’t have many close friends who were local. I was living at home which gave me a lot of precious time with my younger siblings, but it was still a bit of a lonely season for me. Corey and I quickly formed an unlikely friendship and I liked that he was trustworthy and would talk about spiritual things with me. I always felt at ease around him and he made me laugh. I remember one day we were sitting at my parents’ kitchen table and I think he was probably working on schoolwork. He was telling me about this tutoring program that he was involved in at his school and how sometimes he would get free movie tickets for helping. He casually asked me if I would want to go help him use the tickets. I was like, “well, I know this isn’t a date, but you still need to ask my Dad.” Nice, Mandy. Shortly after Dad came in the dining room and next thing you know, we were on our way to the mall for some food and then to our local theatre to see Captain America. I remember exactly what I wore (my dark-wash jeans from Maurices and my black camp T-shirt with neon lettering.) Nothing fancy, but if you know me you know I’m not fancy. 😉

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Picture from the earlier days of our friendship. I heart this picture! Thank you, Dad Farnsworth, for being our personal photographer while friends, dating and now forever! 🙂

While we were at the mall on our “friend date” I remember feeling very tired and weak and like I needed a lot of food. I was embarrassed because I was already feeling chunky after those extra college and camp food pounds I had put on and if I remember right I think we went to Chick-fil-a before AND after the movie because I felt so weak. I remember standing in the mall and Corey’s hand lightly on my back asking me if I was ok and if I needed to sit down to rest and at that moment I remember thinking, “I like this guy.” He was kind and gentle and smart and stable. While we were sharing a peach milkshake at the mall I got the call from my Mom that my blood test results were in and that I had tested positive for mono. I wasn’t sure if I was shocked or if I expected it, but it was actually relieving to know there could be a reason for me feeling like crap all the time. Mom made a joke about not kissing Corey which we all laughed about because we all knew it was just a friend date. 😉

And now is the part where I leave you hanging until next time. 😉 I’ve got to get some work done and also start organizing our memory box, apparently!

Happy Hump Day!

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

Crustless Sausage & Egg Quiche

This crustless quiche is a super easy recipe I’ve added to my arsenal of recipes recently! It could be healthier, but Corey and I LOVE it and it’s so easy and perfect for those times when I just don’t feel like cooking. It also keeps well in the fridge so if I want to make one for Corey to eat throughout the week for breakfast with some fruit on the side, it works well. This is so tasty and filling…don’t try it unless you’re prepared to be addicted! 😉

Quiche

Ingredients: 1 lb. sausage, 2 cups sharp shredded cheese, 1/2 cup milk, 8 eggs

Directions: Brown meat, drain and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350. Whip milk and eggs in a mixing bowl, then add cheese and meat. The mixture will be thick and that’s fine!

Pour mixture into a 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes (I usually do 45 minutes to get the top perfectly browned.) Cut into 8 slices and serve!

All ingredients compliments of Aldi! 🙂 I like that their sausage doesn’t have a ton of added ingredients! I want to experiment with some different meat and veggie mextures because I’m certain I’ll be making this many more times to come! Enjoy!

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

2017 Summer Goals!

19420381_481597068842276_6548624938133761440_nHappy Thursday! I’m so confused about which day it is because of having a holiday on a Tuesday…I know I can’t be the only one!

Today I decided a mid-year goal setting session was in order as I have been in a big rut lately (in many areas of my life!) I did make a few goals when 2017 started but it seems difficult to me to know how to navigate or predict a full year when you’re in the midst of recovering from all the emotions and details of Christmas and New Years. I don’t like being rushed into decisions or commitments (or so my Myers Briggs results keep telling me, no matter how many times I take it!) so resolutions on January 1st or even any time in January are overwhelming to me! Anyone else?!

I do think it’s important to re-evaluate your life values and consider which direction you’re headed on a regular basis because Jesus tells us our hearts are deceitful, not to lean on our own understanding and just because there are different seasons of life…I want to be aware of each season and seeking Him when it comes to pursuing an eternal mindset. For example, there was a recent season of major grieving in my life and it was appropriate to rest and be still…sadly I don’t think I grieved or processed correctly nor did I rest appropriately…I have regrets about this but I don’t want to wallow in guilt because I know Jesus has covered it all and knows I’m weak. Now I’m at a place of wondering how to grieve appropriately without withdrawing from engaging in life itself. Therefore my list for the second half of the year is not one full of extremes as I’ll be happy to just accomplish these little things to engage in abundant living and hopefully restore some joy in Jesus again.

When it comes to goals, I can never decide if I should aim high to inspire myself or aim low to feel better about myself. I decided not to overthink it and just jotted down a list of things I would like to accomplish before this Summer is over. I’m recording it here on my little blog so it’s more set in stone and maybe it will trigger some Summer goal ideas of your own! I find if I am not intentional things don’t get done so here’s hoping this little list will help me. 😉

  1. Organize that top dresser drawer (somehow turned junk drawer!)
  2. Save $100 for travel fund envelope.
  3. Complete the two books I’ve started (if I don’t make these reading goals it just doesn’t happen, y’all!)
  4. Try three new doTERRA oils, including their bug spray!
  5. Successfully brew my own Kombucha (please arrive soon, scoby!)
  6. Swim 30 laps in one session.
  7. Seek God and take action on where I fit in the stories of the poor, the abused, the suffering.
  8. Pray for at least one family member a day.
  9. Start counseling and face hard things.
  10. Find my refuge in God and pursue Him diligently; avoid passivity (I realize this one is very vague but there’s just too much I could say about this so I’ll leave it at that!)

There are a few other goals I have that I in my head but these are the ones I wanted to record! I plan to write these down and hang them on our fridge to help me and remind me but I also hope to give myself grace, especially as I wade through some difficult spiritual things.

Do you struggle with the idea of setting goals in January? What are some of your Summer goals?! What are some of your goal-setting methods? I would love to hear!

XOXO

Amanda Mariah ❤

Our Life-Changing Chore Chart! + What Is This Norwex Stuff?

A chore chart…super fun, right?! You know you’re excited. 😉 A few months ago I felt really in over my head with chores which I felt guilty and ridiculous about since there’s only two of us living here, but nonetheless, that’s where I was at. Corey suggested making a chore chart (he has such good ideas!) and while I don’t follow it as religiously as I should it has been so very helpful to have some structure. It’s so nice to know that Monday is grocery day and my night off from cooking, Wednesday is laundry day, etc. We try to take a break from chores on the weekends and focus on getting outside, spending quality time with each other and friends or family, and working on the woodshop! It’s amazing how little choices that provide structure help me throughout the week! I’m sharing some of my favorite multipurpose cleaning goodies below, but first, here is our rough draft chore chart!

Chore Chart

We need to tweak this a little but this is what we’ve currently got and I’m so thankful for it! 🙂 Today is laundry day so I’ve got dirty laundry spread all across our bedroom floor waiting to be sorted and washed after lunch!

I have never loved cleaning so one of my goals when I changed my cleaning routine and products about a year ago was to find things that were as multipurpose as possible. I love things I can use in multiple rooms in our apartment because I feel like I’m getting more bang for my buck. I won’t be sharing all of my favorite multipurpose tricks today, but there’s always other blog posts! 😉

^^^ My favorite glass spray bottles! These have been a recent addition to my cleaning stash and I’m IN LOVE with the way they spray…plus I just like they way they look. 😉 I try to stay away from plastic when I can and these have proven to be amazing. I use one for my all-purpose bathroom cleaner (I dilute it with water) and I plan to use the second one for my natural air freshener/odour eliminator or some citrus essential oil for a nice fresh scent! I didn’t have a nice label for this one so I just put a blue dot on it so I know what it is. 🙂 I got these bottles from Amazon and I have them linked at the bottom of this post!

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^^^ Moving on to WHAT I use to clean, these three basic items pictured are the Norwex Household Package and I use these all the time, everywhere you can think of. I’ve been using them for over a year now and they have already saved me a good bit of time, frustration and money and I am so thankful for them. They are all very multipurpose and have made buying paper towels a completely foreign concept to me! Yay for keeping those landfills as empty as possible! 😉 Here’s a little rundown of these. 🙂

1 . EnviroCloth – I like to think of this cloth as the “Everything” cloth, because it literally cleans everything. I use it with warm water on pretty much every surface you can think of, even to get stains out of our carpet and upholstery! It removes up to 99.9% bacteria from surfaces when used and cared for correctly. The fibers are embedded with microsilver which is an antibacterial agent (odorless and completely safe for you and your littles) that actually self-purifies your cloth and fights against things like mold, fungi, bacteria and yucky odors within the microfiber. This means I can use my EnviroCloth multiple times before it starts to smell or I have to wash it. No more buying paper towels or all-purpose cleaners! Woot woot!

2. Window Cloth – The sister cloth to the EnviroCloth, this silky smooth microfiber leaves things like mirrors, windows, faucets and STAINLESS STEEL (can I get an “Amen!”?) nice and shiny and free from those paper towel particles and streaks that normally get left behind when cleaning! My favorite places to use this cloth are on mirrors, windows (when I actually clean our windows!), faucets and the front of our microwave, stove and dishwasher. I love how shiny things look when I’m done with it!

3. Dusting Mitt – My life is so much easier because of this guy! First of all, I actually DUST now, because it’s pretty fun to watch this microfiber go to work! It literally just picks up dust like magic No dust fly-a-ways and no sneezing! I usually use my dusting mitt dry but you can lightly spritz with water for things like dirty window screens. My favorite places to use this mitt are…everywhere! Just everywhere. In our garage, bathrooms, living room, kitchen, and bedroom. It dusts awkward spaces like our piano keyboard and lamp stands which is awesome.

A little more about why these three work so well…The high quality of Norwex microfiber is what enables the removal of up to 99.9% of bacteria when used and cared for correctly. Think tiny little fingers (microfibers) picking up bacteria instead of pushing it all around! These awesome tiny microfibers allow you to use JUST WATER and clean even better than things like 409 and Clorox! The tubes with purple pictured below represent proteins (like the nasty ones from your raw meats that cause bacteria) and the tubes with the green represent the absence of those proteins and just think…GREEN is CLEAN. I heart Norwex, y’all.

Science-Experiment

  1. If you want to read more about the Norwex Household Package you can check it out here —> http://amandafarnsworth.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/shop/product-detail/108571
  2. Best glass spray bottles ever, in my humble opinion 😉 —> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01G98Y1BA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

P.S. Side note: I love to use our oils diffuser to help give a nice fresh scent throughout our bathroom and apartment after cleaning since I got rid of all our candles earlier this year! My favorite is lemon for purifying the air but I love to experiment with almost all of the ones I have!

I plan to do a whole blog post on bathroom cleaning so stay tuned for more fun! 😉 And now, for your viewing pleasure…Norwex vs. Lysol wipes in about a minute. This is nuts, y’all! —> https://youtu.be/Adk9LRdneRE

Happy Hump Day!

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

Meal Planning Lately!

Hello, all! Happy Thursday! Corey has off work today and he’s bringing me a donut treat after he runs some errands so I’m just chilling here at home with my coffee. 🙂 The mornings have been cooler in Florida because of all this blessed rain we’ve been getting, and I’m not complaining!

Some of you have kept up with my journey this past year or so and know that I’ve become much more aware of what Corey and I are eating and I love fresh healthy food. I also love my snacks and Starbucks so it’s been a struggle. 😉 If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself it’s that I have extreme all or nothing tendancies and I feel it must apply to every area of life because it keeps popping up everywhere. Cleary as I’m waiting on my donut from my hubby I’m not completely against splurges and honestly I’m a work in progress not associating food with guilt. I do strongly believe in food being fuel though and I believe good fuel doesn’t have to break the bank! My dream is to one day have a garden with all my favorite produce and I’m contemplating sneaking some potted plants onto our little apartment balcony but not sure how they would do in this direct Florida sun!

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After two Whole30s, lots of ups and downs and trying to find a balance with grocery shopping (it’s not enjoyable to me to go to four different stores a week), here’s where I’m at!

First, we currently shop mainly at Aldi and our local produce market. This has been a goal of mine as I used to only shop at Aldi when we were first married and hardly spent anything on groceries. Looking back, I realize part of why we ate for so cheap was because we weren’t eating healthy at all and I was trying to figure out what this cooking thing was all about, etc. When I say not eating healthy I don’t neccesarily mean junk food all the time but I bought a lot of processed things, we had a lot of carbs, sugar cereal and not enough fresh fruits and veggies. (My entire health journey as it relates to food is another story for another day but let’s just sum it up and say I felt horrible health-wise during that time.) Any other Aldi lovers out there?!

Second, this is our current new normal since I’ve recently started using the Dave Ramsey EveryDollar app. I have learned that I have an unhealthy relationship with food and money so the app has been helping me with the money side of things! I highly recommend it. It’s much easier than apps like Mint in my opinion and I really love it. I budget a certain amount for groceries per week and I go to Aldi every Monday. Occasionally there will be an item that Aldi does not carry that I need and I usually hit up our local grocery store to fill in those occasional gaps. I also go to our local produce market on my way home from Aldi for better-tasting produce like sweet potatos and some citrus items but I can’t beat Aldi prices on fruit and often they carry some locally-grown produce which I’m a huge fan of!

Here’s our weekly menu that is a continued work in progress!

Breakfasts: I keep every weekday breakfast for myself Whole30 approved and it gives me peace of mind that I am starting my day right and it gives me the sustained energy I need. This usually looks like eggs, sweet potatos, brussels sprouts, fruit and sometimes a Whole30 meat. Yum! Breakfast is my FAVORITE meal of the day so I don’t skimp on it! Corey usually eats cereal or a bagel with a banana. Sometimes I’ll make muffins for his breakfast but it just depends. I would like to improve on Corey’s breakfasts but it’s so much better than what I used to get him so that encourages me!

Here’s one of my favorite ways to fit veggies into my breakfasts lately! —> http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2015/11/23/roasted-sweet-potatoes-and-brussels-sprouts-recipe/

Lunches: I pack Corey’s lunch the night before and it’s usually a sandwhich, kettle chips and fruit or leftovers from dinner. I usually eat a salad with some sort of protein or fat for lunch or leftovers from dinner.

Dinners: Y’all, do dinners stress you out?! We FINALLY have a system down and I’m thrilled! 🙂 On Mondays we always get takeout Chipotle. It’s basically the highlight of my week. 😉 I budget for it and we can split a chicken bowl so it’s less than $11 for both of us to eat dinner and that INCLUDES chips and guac! Hallelujah for guac! Tuesdays I pull from my stash of tried and true recipes and Wednesdays are either date night out or I make breakfast and we do a movie or activity at home. On Thursdays we eat dinner with our church family at our pastor’s home. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are usually a hodgepodge of leftovers, salads, sandwhiches, smoothies and sometimes a lasagna or crockpot meal for Sunday lunch/dinner. The stash I keep for meal ideas is in a three-ring binder with healthier meal ideas that I can have on hand so I’m not stressed. I occasionally add new recipes when I actually try some of those recipes I have pinned on Pinterest. 😉

Some of my favorite meals for dinners are —>

1. http://www.thehealthymaven.com/2015/09/sweet-potato-turkey-chili.html (I have tweeaked this to make it how we like it but it’s awesome!)

2. http://www.themagicalslowcooker.com/seasoned-chicken-potatoes-and-green-beans/?hc_location=ufi

3. http://laughingspatula.com/sheet-pan-fajitas/

4. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pork-chops-roasted-apples-brussels-sprouts

Snacks: As far as snacks go, Corey NEEDS snacks because of his fast metabolism and the snack department is still a work in progress over here! There are a few things I like to have on hand for him (fruit and trail mix) but I’m still figuring out the veggie department for snacks!

Desserts: I rarely make dessert at home and when I do it’s usually cookies that Corey can take to work with him so I don’t eat them all day! Lol! However, we love occasional ice cream runs and try to get smoothies for cold treats too! Sometimes for date night we’ll order a sugary treat but we are usually too full, haha. I also sometimes make dessert for company which is nice because I get that occasional baking fix. 🙂

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We try to have friends over for a game night or dinner on the weekends and we recently started a budget fund for “food with friends” and I love it because it’s separate from our personal grocery budget and it helps me feel like I can serve others with food because we have a budget designated specifically for that! The fund is used for meals in our home when we have others over, snacks like chips and salsa (our go to for game nights!), baby/bridal showers, when we bring a side to a church function, when we have company from out of town, or want to bring a meal to someone.

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In general I try to buy at least 50% or more of fresh produce when I do a grocery run. Things like cantaloupe and watermelon last a long time when there are just two people eating it so those have been two of my go-to’s lately! I have also been roasting a ton of veggies lately (especially broccoli and asparagus) because they’re nutritious and an easy side that both of us like! It took me awhile but I recently added a jelly roll sheet pan to my kitchen stash and it has SAVED my life. It’s so easy to roast my veggies and I use THESE to clean it easily and gently so I’m hoping it will last me a long time!

1. http://amandafarnsworth.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/shop/product-detail/108471

2. https://www.amazon.com/Palmolive-Ultra-Liquid-Power-Degreaser/dp/B01MR8ZWME/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1498142418&sr=8-3&keywords=palmolive+oxy+power+degreaser

I always try to have spaghetti and salad stuff on hand for when I just don’t feel like cooking or if we want to have people over last minute and I need something fast!

As far as food sensitivities, etc. I do still always feel better when I’m eating the Whole30 way! I still try to stay away from bread and processed sugar when I’m home but when we travel I allow myself more freedom and I’m sure to bring my Plexus BioCleanse and Peppermint essential oil with me because they’ve been the best thing ever for my tummy. I’m sure this meal plan will change again but I’m hoping this will help those who are in between like I am right now. I would love to hear your meal planning tips and what you’ve found works for you! I don’t pretend to have it all figured out but I will say that having a PLAN has been so helpful! And it’s fun knowing Mondays are Chipotle night and Wednesdays are breakfast nights and I view it as little traditions that build memories! Happy meal planning! 🙂

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

P.S. All pictures are from Pinterest and are not my own. 🙂

May Favorites!

Hey, y’all! I feel like May will be over before I can blink but before it does I thought it’d be fun to share some of my favorites lately!

Adidas Shorts

  1. Adidas shorts. I pretty much live in these year round here but I recently bought a new pair for less than $10 (hooray for the Ross clearance rack!) and they’ve reminded me just how much of a fan I am of these comfy shorts. I am an ADIDAS fan anyways (I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to ADIDAS!) but one of my favorite things about their shorts is they carry some athletic shorts for women that aren’t booty shorts and they have different materials for all different sorts of activities. Score. I find the best places to but these for less are Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory or Ross.Every Man Jack
  2. Every Man Jack hygiene line for men. Obviously this isn’t a favorite for myself but I’m so happy I’ve stumbled upon this line for Corey! Check them out at Whole Foods or Target! LINK: http://www.target.com/p/every-man-jack-cedarwood-body-wash-16-9oz/-/A-13406706Flip Flop3. Rubber flip flops that I wear all the time, everywhere, for everything! I used to get all of mine from Old Navy until they switched the design up a little and they started hurting my wide feet so GAP flip flops it us. My last pair from GAP lasted me several years and while the quality doesn’t seem to be as great as it used to be for their rubber flip flops, I snagged two pairs for less than $10 and I’m calling that my summer shoe collection. 😉 If you struggle with Old Navy flip flops, give these a shot! I suggest checking them out in store as their online selection is somewhat limited.Kombucha4. GT’S Kombucha. Oh. My. Word. I just found out that SOME Aldi’s are starting to carry this brand of Kombucha and if there’s ever a day our Aldi gets them I will stand and sing a Hallelujah chorus in the aisle! Divine Grape is probably my favorite flavor, but I also love anything Ginger so their Gingerade and Gingerberry are lovely as well. I may or may not be sipping on some of the Gingerberry now. 😉 You can find these at Whole Foods (though they are pricey), TJ’s and I just found out our Walmart carries certain flavors so I included one of these in my pickup order today. The cheapest place I have found these are at TJ’s with Walmart being a close second. Any other GT’S lovers out there?! Read all about them HERE: http://synergydrinks.com/
    Norwex Detergent5. I’ll be honest. I was not sold on the Norwex laundry detergent when I first tried it, but I am in love with it now! It’s perfect for those with sensitive skin or with allergies or if you just don’t want nasty chemicals, fillers or dyes filling your clothes. I finally see how this detergent can help your clothing last longer because it’s free from pretty much everything (meaning it doesn’t clog fibers) but still gets your clothes CLEAN. I especially love this for our sheets and towels because it leaves them soft and fluffy and also for my Norwex cloths. I think this would be a nice gentle option for baby clothes too. I only use about a tablespoon per load so it lasts awhile which is a blessing. 🙂 Read more HERE: http://amandafarnsworth.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/shop/product-detail/111229
    Peppermint6. Another surprising favorite to me has been the doTERRA Peppermint oil! I used to wonder what in the wide world I would EVER use Peppermint oil for (as in I had the same bottle for several YEARS; that’s how much I DID NOT use it!) but then I took a class on oil basics and learned how many issues Peppermint can support and I have started using it daily on my tummy to help ease discomfort and bloating.  I can also be used as an energy pick-me-up. I’m sold for LIFE. Read more HERE: https://doterra.com/US/en/p/peppermint-oil
    Sunglasses7. Prescription sunglasses. I finally took the plunge and ordered this pair from Zenni and have been very pleased with this pair! These are called the Premium Square Sunglasses 1132525. Search these and more styles HERE: http://www.zennioptical.com Sunscreen8. Bug Guard Plus by Avon. This is an insect repellent that doubles as a sunscreen and it goes on smooth and doesn’t leave a horrible greasy residue. I haven’t tested this out in a water setting but it works great for camping or sitting outside when the bugs get bad or even if you just need some sunscreen for being out and about but want to ward off the bugs at the same time. More HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Avon-SKIN-SO-SOFT-Bug-Guard-Moisturizing/dp/B0001ZWPI4/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1495652084&sr=8-3&keywords=skin%2Bso%2Bsoft%2Bavon&th=1

Zesty Ranch

9. Last but certainly NOT least is the Tessemae’s Zesty Ranch dressing and marinade. I was getting tired of making my own dressing and when I found out several of the Tessemae’s dressings are Whole30 approved, I put them on my list of things to try! Umm, SO GOOD, y’all. I haven’t tried the other flavors yet but this one is a winner for sure and it was less than $6 at Whole Foods. I believe other stores are starting to carry the Tessemae’s brand (I think our Walmart carries a couple flavors.) I love that the Whole30 approved ones are labeled as such (some labels may be on the front but check the back too). Read more HERE: https://www.tessemaes.com/

That’s about it, folks! I hope you enjoyed getting a peek at some of my latest favorites! Happy Hump Day!

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

Year 27.

IMG_1515I’m not one to journal, mainly because I feel as though I have to record everything if I’m going to record anything. I’m a details girl and I don’t think they deserve being left out!

That being said, I thought it might be nice to reflect on year 27 of my life and Corey asked if I was doing it for a blog post. I initially just wanted to do it for my own benefit but thought it might be nice to share here. I am not as much of a writer as some of my siblings but I am learning that my words and opinions matter because I am God’s and made in His image, with His Holy Spirit in me.

I’ll dive right it. Year 27 was full of brokenness, full of healing and full of doubt and hope. Most days I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I struggled a lot with the basis of my faith, and I asked God a lot of questions. I knew He was real but there were still questions. Certain things didn’t feel fair. I cried a lot, all the time. I put up barriers to protect myself and experienced confusion as I felt the pain and beauty of raw vulnerability, community and accountability. Spiritual warfare became up close and personal. I battled with a lot of fear and guilt and asking myself why so much fear and guilt? I don’t think I realized just how much of a soul-searching year 27 was until I started reflecting yesterday. Here are a few of my thoughts that I don’t want to forget about this year.

  1. This world is broken and as a child of God it is NOT unnatural to long for wholeness and to ache for Heaven. This world isn’t my home and there is appropriate sadness and grieving over brokenness and sin that separates humans from God.
  2. My decisions should never be based on guilt or fear. Self talk became HUGE for me this year as I learned to evaluate choices and ask myself why I was saying “yes” or “no” to things.
  3. I am human and my faith does not always need to be strong or perfect. There is a reason we hear the cry “help my unbelief” in God’s word. I falter and fail and I am not God.
  4. My story is not your story. The hard and the easy of my life are not the hard and easy of your life and God designed it that way. Who am I to think I should have it harder or easier or to compare my story to yours? He is sovereign in my story and in all the things He gives to each one of us. I don’t need to feel bad that my story is not your story and I also don’t need to understand your story or my story…just allow God to write it and be faithful and obedient.
  5. I am loved by God and in the end His love is the only kind that truly matters. I am whole because of Him and that wholeness in the midst of brokenness is a beautiful gift.

I often get discouraged on this roller coaster. I am an optimist turned pessimist and an extrovert turned introvert in my late teens and it’s good for me to reflect and record the growth that God is gracing in my life. He has given me more compassion in the midst of suffering and helped me identify with pain in a new unique way and for that I praise Him and glorify His name!

I had a lot of fears leading up to this birthday and thoughts of wanting to slow time, making it stop, so I can stay in my twenties forever. 30 is going to hit HARD, y’all. But for now, as the chapter of year 27 ends and a new chapter of 28 opens here’s what I hope for my time ahead. I hope and pray I allow myself to be used up and spent; to move beyond the brokenness and into the light so I can fulfill God’s purpose for my life. I hope to do so out of God’s outpouring of gracious love and strength saturating my heart and soul and mind. I want to live on purpose, enjoying each moment and remembering more good than bad and breaking repetitive cycles because I’m open to scary change and accountability. I want to live more fully, love more deeply and forgive when it hurts. I hope to live with “perfect love casting out fear” and that my heart will remember that God is my Lord and I have no true good apart from Him. Here’s to a year full of Him.

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Crazy About Essential Oils? Yep.

Hi, friends! As crazy as I am about essential oils this isn’t a topic I talk about a ton so I thought it might be fun to do a little blog post about how I got started on them and why I use them (and how to not break the bank while accumulating a collection of oils!)

A few years ago I started researching some natural options that would support my overall health and my immune system. After some research and some obsessive reading about which oils could potentially help with my issues, I bought a few oils from doTERRA and fell in LOVE. I mainly used them topically and internally (I didn’t have a diffuser to use them aromatically at the time) and I tried a variety of oils that were on the more affordable side. I did not, however, sign up for the discounted wholesale prices.

Time went by and most of my oil bottles emptied and though it was a dream of mine to get wholesale pricing so oils could be more accesible and so I could try a variety of them, I didn’t take the plunge until this year and I am so glad that I did! (I would like to note here that I did not sign up to sell oils and that you are able get wholesale pricing without commiting to sell them. This was something I had a ton of questions about as becoming a wholesale customer seemed like it should have strings attached but it doesn’t.) There are a few options when you become a wholesale customer but the one I personally chose is a small annual fee and I get graced with all the wholesale prices in the catalog (25% off!) No strings attached. I LOVE IT. I can also choose to sell doTERRA in the future if I decide to go that direction. I know I have friends who use a various brands of oils so if you want to chat about why I chose to solely use doTERRA, please feel free to reach out to me privately! It is never my goal to bash other brands, but to share what I have learned from my research. I also highly encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions before you settle on an oils brand for you!

One of my hesitations about using oils long-term was I felt that in order to use oils effectively, I HAD to try every single one that doTERRA had to offer. And while that is a lovely thought, it’s not within my current budget. I am pleased to report I have learned that I can keep my oils routine simple but still very effective and accomplish what I want with my favorites. I started 2017 off with an enrollment wholesale kit (if you are brand new to doTERRA oils or don’t have a diffuser or want a second one, this is THE WAY to go. I don’t regret my decision to sign up for a wholesale kit/pricing for a second!) and it saved me a TON of $$$. Here is the kit I started with. The specific kit I chose waived the first annual enrollment fee which just made sense to me!

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Before choosing my kit I wrote a list of some things I wanted to focus on and made my kit decision based on that. If you don’t know where to start I highly suggest doing this as it helps narrow choices down! Here are some of the things I had in mind when I chose my kit.

  1. Digestive Support
  2. Immune Support
  3. Energy Support
  4. Emotional Support
  5. Mental Clarity/Focus Support

I also knew I really wanted a diffuser and I loved that my kit included one. I finally have my very own diffuser and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world! 😀 Even if you only use oils for how they smell and solely diffuse them, taking the oils plunge is WORTH IT. Oils

This is part of my current stash. Most of these are on the more affordable side which I’m a huge fan of! Not pictured are Wild Orange and Lavender which are two of my favorites! There are several blends specific to doTERRA and I am happy to share my favorites if you want to know more. 🙂

I am thrilled to say that in a few short months I have been able to accumulate a little collection of favorites and have been able to target the areas I had on my list! It’s been nice to realize along the way that I can accomplish what I had hoped for without spending as much as I thought I would need to. It was a bit overwhelming for me to choose my oils at first, but I feel like I’ve come a long way in a short amount of time and haven’t broken the bank and I’m really pleased with the outcome!

Three Ways I Use My Oils:

  1. Aromatically
  2. Topically
  3. Internally

It’s important to note that you should always check how oils should be used before utilizing them in these three ways. They are lovely natural tools to support a balanced system but they are also potent! I love that the doTERRA catalog shows you exactly how you can use which oils so I literally don’t have to search outside the catalog for all the information that is neccesary to use the oils effectively, unless I want to. But let’s be honest, I enjoy reading about them. 😉

I chose to sign up under a sweet and knowledgeable friend so if you’re interested in getting wholesale pricing and building your oils collection on a budget, please feel free to ask me. I love passing on natural options that I believe in!

And now, just for fun…;-)

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I realize I didn’t go into great detail about what exactly oils are so if you have questions about that, send them my way! My main goal for this brief post was to share that oils have indeed helped me and to encourage you that oils don’t have to break the bank if you have a wholesale account! There are even ways to accumulate points to earn free product if you order a certain amount per month. I got a free oil last month and I was stoked!

Happy Monday night, lovelies! Enjoy your week! ❤

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤