Friday, November 30, 2012

Have I got a treat for you...

Suzy at Worthing Court spent a little time back in September visiting a few very talented ladies.  They design and decorate professional Christmas Trees.

She has posted on her blog about her visit.  If you ever wondered how they made those trees looks so perfect...well, here you go... a step by step how-to.

Hope you enjoy!  Watch them take an artificial tree from this

To this - in just a few simple steps!

Please stop by and visit Suzy at Worthing Court to see her 
Designer's Christmas Tree Decorating How-To.

Only By His Grace,


Giving thoughtful gifts...

I recently read an article about gift giving.  It was rather informative, and I must say, enlightening.  

One of the things that drive my nuts is buying a gift that goes unused and takes up valuable space.  I don't want to receive that kind of gift, and I don't want to GIVE that kind of gift, either.  

I know, I talk a lot about "there's no such thing as perfect."  Gift-giving is no exception.  So many commercials talk about "the perfect _____________."  I hear people say things like, "I can't seem to find the perfect gift for __________________."  That's because there isn't one!

When buying gifts think about what you remember most about past Christmases? 
   Was it the year you went to a cabin for Christmas?   
   Was it the year you gathered up 20 of your friends 
   and went caroling?  
   Was it a ski trip?

In most instances, when I ask this question, I don't hear "It was the year I received...."  Most of the time it was an experience that makes the lasting impression.

Stuff won't make you happy -- experiences will...

Experience gifts are a great option for those on your list that are hard to shop for.  Yes, they tend to cost a little more, but in most cases, they are worth it.  Experience gifts can be done alone but are usually more fun with a friend.  

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are a few ideas for you to consider:

Tickets:  Plays, movies, concerts, air shows, sporting events.

Adventures: Hot air balloon rides, bi-plane sight seeing tours, ski lessons, race car driving opportunities, foreign language lessons

Memberships: Zoos, museums, theme parks, water parks, swimming pools, the gym

Activities: Skating dates, paint your own pottery, photo sessions, cooking lessons, golf lessons, photo classes

Wrapping the gift is important to the whole gift-giving experience.  Having a small box to open suggests to the recipient that this was a thoughtful, meaningful gift  -- and not just an afterthought.  

As you start - or finish- your shopping this year, think about ways you can give the gift of the experience.  

Only By His Grace,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Tree Auction...for Children's Hospital

Our city hosts an event every year where decorators design Christmas trees and wreaths to be auctioned off for charity.  All donations go to the local Children's hospital.

Here are a few that inspired...

I have plenty more to post later... but that's another day.

Only By His Grace,


Better Bones...

Calcium supplementation remains the best way to get the calcium you're not getting in your diet!  But what most people don't know is that the vitamins D and K are necessary for your body to absorb calcium and enable it to keep your bones healthy.

Vitamin D3:  Direct exposure of skin to sunlight is still the best source of vitamin D3.  But for people living in northern latitude, sun exposure is limited.  Dark skin is poor at converting sunshine to vitamin D3, leaving dark-skinned people at greater risk of bone problems and other concerns associated with low levels of D3 and calcium.  
     Certain dairy foods contain some vitamin D, but for susceptible groups, as well as the elderly, children, the obese, vitamin D3 supplements can elevate vitamin D to the levels needed to allow calcium to work more efficiently.
     The institute of medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, recently updated its recommendations to include higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D3 based on the latest scientific research.  

Vitamin K:  Vitamin K helps to control calcium regulation, but has been ignored as critical to bone and blood vessel health.  In people who are deficient in K, calcium may leach from their bones into their arteries, potentially leading to bone loss.
     K is found in meat, poultry and dairy products.  Research suggests that it is effective at maintaining normal calcium levels in the body.  Supplement with between 40 - 80 micrograms daily, but consult your pharmacist first.  Supplemental vitamin K can interact with other medications and may impact the effectiveness of the blood thinner Coumadin.
Taken properly with calcium, vitamins D3 and K are important components of an overall bone health regimen.
Dr. Joseph Maroon
board certified neurosurgeon and
expert in nutrition and sports medicine.

If you're looking for an all-natural option, these supplements are an excellent choice.  This particular supplement contains calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K.  

• Now with more vitamin D–600 IU
• Improved natural berry flavor
• Does not contain vitamin K
• Unique combination of nutrients and trace elements

** Regular exercise and a healthy diet with supplemental calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in the elderly. Adequate calcium intake is important, but daily intake above 2,000 mg is not likely to provide any additional benefits.

Clinically proven OsteoMatrix provides a unique matrix of critical nutrients that go beyond calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.*
In addition to building strong bones and teeth, the nutrients in OsteoMatrix:*
  • Help retain normal blood pressure
  • Assist in muscle contraction and nerve transmission
  • Help reduce PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramps, water retention, irritability, and moodiness
OsteoMatrix Provides:
  • 1,000 mg (100% DV) of elemental calcium from nature’s most concentrated and easily absorbed sources
  • 600 IU (100% DV) of vitamin D to stimulate calcium absorption
  • 400 mg (100% DV) of magnesium to help incorporate calcium into bones and strengthen them
**Regular exercise and a healthy diet with supplemental calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in the elderly. Adequate calcium intake is important, but daily intake above 2,000 mg is not likely to provide any additional benefits.

If you suffer from osteoporosis, or light to moderate bone loss, see your doctor.  Talk to him/her about he benefits of supplementation.  I'd love to help you achieve a healthier bone density. 
Building Better Bones,

Only By His Grace,


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don't forget to remember...

Ever thought about Christmas Cards?  Really?  We go out and we buy them by the box, in bulk, sometimes 40 cards to a box, for as little as $15.00.  Then we sit down and we scrall out a generic message, we address them with our computers, and we mail them en-mass.

When was the last time you received a specific card, to you, for your family, that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was picked for you in mind?

Oh, I'm preaching to the choir here.  I bought 4 huge boxes this year...and our family signs every single card...

But I had an idea...a terrible, wonderful, awful idea. This year, I'm going to sit down with my kiddos (ages 8 and 11) and we are going to make a few hand made Christmas cards for a few "special" people in our lives:  teachers, the mail man, the widow lady down the street who doesn't even know us...

Oh, I won't spend a lot of money on this little project.  In fact, I'm sure I have enough craft supplies in my basement to cover the whole idea without spending a dime.  But this year, I want to send out a few cards that make someone actually look at the card and say, "wow...this was made just for me..."

Here are my inspirations...simple, pretty, special and real...

This one is pretty ornate. I don't think 
my kids would have the patience for this, 
but it's really, really cute!

 When I saw this one my first thought was,
"the kids could draw that..."  Super simple doesn't
have to mean "forgotten."
I love this!  How cute would these little
mittens be made from craft felt?  And sprinkled with 
white glitter for "snow?"

 How about a simple triangle Christmas tree with a star?
You could just write the word "wish" with black sharpie...

 This one could be mass produced.  Just cut out the same shape out of various printed papers.  Attach and write your message.

Please don't misunderstand me.  I'm not encouraging you, or stressing you into mass producing 100 of these cards for everyone you know.  But, rather for the special people in your life... a pastor, a baby sitter, a great grand parent...

Think about those in your life you want to really take notice of this year...

Only By His Grace,


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A "simply" amazing gift...

One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was probably one of the simplest, least expensive, but most thoughtful.  I don't have an exact photo of the gift because it was nearly 18 years ago, but I can show you some similar ideas I've found online that come pretty darn close.

Imagine if you will one red taper candle tied with a plaid Christmas ribbon - not a bow, just a single ribbon tied in a small knot -- a single brown craft paper tag attached with the following poem printed on the tag:

"Little candle red and stately 
with your softly glowing light,
bring thoughts of joy and gladness
for my friend, this very night.

This is one of a pair of candles
the other I am keeping here.
The light that burns will bridge the distance 
and keep our hearts ever near.

So light your candle on Christmas Eve
and I will light mine, too.
Though thoughts or miles divide us,
I will keep my watch with you."

I loved that gift for years and years, and duplicated it numerous times.  This year, wouldn't it be wonderful to send this simple blessing to your distant family, your neighbors down the block, or to a lonely widow spending her first Christmas alone?

Here are some simple ideas of how you can recreate this inexpensive, but thoughtful gift to share with those closest to you.  (By the way, they make great anonymous gifts to leave on co-workers desks... just remember to leave one on your desk, too so you won't look suspicious.)

Make sure your candles are red or the poem won't make sense, but this pretty ecru colored cloth is gorgeous.  Wrapping the candles 
in an old book page first would be neat, too.

This pretty gingham ribbon is festive. Add a paper tag or an ornament and this would be an amazing surprise to leave for a neighbor. Who needs all those cookies anyway?

Jar candles can be inexpensive.  Tie them with festive Christmas ribbon, some twine and a jingle bell?  Who wouldn't love that?

A simple tiny pine cone and a bow with the poem attached...Type that poem and print it on brown craft paper and you have a gift that is sure to melt the coldest of hearts.

Anyone can bake cookies... but remembering a neighbor or 
co-worker by lighting a candle?  That's a great feeling...

Only By His Grace,


Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Special

This offer is only available on Cyber Monday.  Don't miss this opportunity.  It won't last long!

Hello Loyal Friend and Customer,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

I am so thankful for your loyalty & support throughout this past year with my small business.

I would like to extend a special "Cyber Monday" sale to you.

Shop any time on Monday, November 26, 2012 and get FREE shipping on any orders over $50.

To get your FREE shipping, please email me your order -- the discount will not be reflected on my website.

I will enter your order and call you for your credit card or debit card number.

Just visit my website, pick out what you would like to order and email it to me with your phone number included.

Holiday Shopping couldn't be any easier!

Thank you again for all your help this past year!

Only By His Grace,

Billie to place your order

Remembering the reason for the season...

I love advent calendars.  They come in all different shapes, sizes, prices, and styles.  Know the ones I like the most?  The homemade ones.  

I wish I had  photo to show you, but one year I cut out one giant Christmas Tree from green wrapping paper.  It was so big it filled my entire back door.  Then, I cut out enough circle ornaments for each scripture of the advent reading.  One single gold star "Jesus" was the tip top of the tree.  I wrote the corresponding scriptures on each ornament, and every morning while my kiddos had breakfast we would read that day's scripture reading of the advent.  Then they would take turns gluing that ornament on.  Jesus was the star of the story, so he was the star of our advent tree, too.  It was wonderful.

Here are some really clever advent calendars I've seen floating around the web at various places and on pintrest.  You still have plenty of time.  Pick your favorite and duplicate it for your family this year.  It's a meaningful time each day to stop and reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.

Only By His Grace,


I love the simplicity of this.  You can purchase these blank tags at craft and scrapbooking stores, print your own numbers on them, and add the appropriate scripture.  Gifts optional.

This is a simple, inexpensive and clever idea.  Save up enough canned food cans, cover them in plain white paper, and tie up the top with tissue paper.  Clever, so clever!

This one is probably my favorite if you're going to use "gifts" for each day.  These little buckets are so darling, and they can be used again and again each year.  Come to think of it, you could incorporate the tin cans from above and make your own.  Recycling at its finest.

Get the kids involved.  Have them write the appropriate scripture on a slip of colored paper and make an old-fashioned paper chain.  What a great way to get them involved in the whole process.

Have a stack of unused envelopes?  Gather up some clothes line, twine or colored yarn, some clothes pins and hang this little beauty from the mantle.

Here's another idea with the little buckets.  This time used against a stair banister with colored gross grain ribbon... What a sweet and simple look for less..

I must say, this is probably the winner for simplicity, fun and cost consciousness.  Colored paper party cups filled with slips of tissue paper, hung from a string with clothes pins.  You could place small gifts within, and write the scripture reading on the bottom.  

Why do I think an advent calendar is so important?  Because where your treasure is, there your heart is also.  Make sure your treasure this season isn't in the gifts underneath the tree, but rather in the reason for the celebration!

If you choose to make a paper chain, or a reading list, here is the compiled list I use from The One Year Chronological Bible.

Dec 1 - Matthew 1:18-19 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Dec 2 - Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirt.

Dec 3 - Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins."

Dec 4 - Matthew 1:22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Dec 5 - Matthew 1:23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, "God with us." 

Dec 6 - Matthew 1:24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Dec 7 - Matthew 1:25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.  And he gave him the name Jesus.

Dec 8 - Luke 2:1 - 2  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Dec 9 - Luke 2:3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

Dec 10 - Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Dec 11 - Luke 2:5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Dec 12 - Luke 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

Dec 13 - Luke 2:7a ...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

Dec 14 - Luke 2:7b ...She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Dec 15 - Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Dec 16 - Luke 2:9 An angel of the lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Dec 17 - Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, "Fear not, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

Dec 18 - Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord.

Dec 19 - Luke 2:12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Dec 20 - Luke 2:13-14 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Dec 21 - Luke 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

Dec 22 - Luke 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.

Dec 23 - Luke 2:17-18 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Dec 24 - Luke 2:19  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Dec 25  Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

If you want to incorporate the story of Anna the prophetess, and the visit from the magi -- that comes later in the story.  Those scriptures can be found Luke 2:21 - 40, and Matthew 2:1-23. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Tree Decor 101

I'm sure you've all seen the Christmas trees at the mall that are so chock full of ornaments that you can't even see the tree.  

I love Deco mesh as much as the next glitter-loving gal, but come on folks, everything in moderation...

I wanted to just give you a few of my own, simple girl tips for timeless Christmas trees that will always brighten your home, and won't break the bank.

I want to share a few simple tips with you about how I decorate for Christmas.  Here is the plain and simple truth in a nutshell -- with photos attached.

I love Christmas trees.  I do.  It's a sickness, I know, but I love them.   I want one in every single room of my house.  And that's practically what I've achieved.  But on a very low cost, low expense budget.

1.  My trees come from Wal-mart.  They are $20 6 ft - 7 ft trees.  I know they're spindly, and you can see through the branches to the bare metal pole and the cheesy platic stand... But I love them. I decorate them simply, too.  I don't spend a lot, and I keep my decorations from year to year.  I'm not saying everyone should buy $20 trees.  In fact, every year, we go out and purchase a very large LIVE tree for our living room.  You have to find the tree, and the price point that suits your lifestyle.  

2. For my "every room" trees I use one strand of 100 lights per tree.  Yes, I know the "rule" is 100 lights per foot.  But that's time consuming and it uses an enormous amount of electricity.  Fact is, I plug in my trees at 5:30 every morning, and they stay on until I head to bed at 9:30 or 10:00 each night.  I use the low cost, low usage lights, and it's only a few weeks a year.  So I'm willing to splurge a little for the glow these trees add to my home.  However, for my home, 100 lights per 6 ft tree is plenty.

3.  Use what you have!  We have been married for 21 years.  I still have many of the ornaments we bought the first year we were married.  I still use them.  Oh, sometimes they need a little bow, or a spot or two of new glitter to jazz them up, but for the most part, I use what I have.  In fact, the tree in our master bedroom has many white paper ornaments we made with the kids last Christmas.  They have touches of glitter, and they are wonderful reminders of the time we spent together making them.

4.  If you're going to buy ornaments, buy the inexpensive ones.  You'd be amazed at how great some of the ornaments you buy 2 for $1.00 can look when you add a ribbon, or simply place it on the tree with like colors and styles.  You don't have to spend a ton of money to make your home twinkle.  Let's face it, the cat is going to destroy them, the kids are going to break them, and you've been meaning to redecorate anyway.

5.  Don't get sucked into the fads.  I know there are lots of people who love the latest fad for Christmas ornaments... the optic ornaments, the singing trees, the deco mesh mass, the sprigs of glittery glam...  When you're putting up your tree, think about what you want your tree to mean to you.  It should be decorated with meaningful ornaments, cast a warm glow, and give you a sense of joy when you gaze upon it...  Just think of all the money you'll save when all that deco mesh isn't in style next year, anyway.

Spend your time making your memories meaningful.  Keep your holidays simple.  Find the joy in the moments you share under the mistletoe.  Snuggle up by the fire with your kiddos while they're still young enough to snuggle, and while they still like you enough to want to be there.

Only By His Grace,


Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's time to focus...

You've awakened from your turkey coma. 

 You've survived the Black Friday madness.  

Now the truth hits you:  It's time to decorate for Christmas!  That's right ladies and gentlemen, Christmas is officially one month away.  One month from today is Christmas Eve... and you want to be ready, don't you?

I wanted to just take a few moments and give you some encouragement, and also be the voice of reason.  

Over the next few weeks you will read articles titled things like, "7 tips to a cleaner home,"  "14 days to prepare for winter guests," "Making every minute count," and "Having it all without spending a dime."  No, these aren't titles I will be writing any time soon, these are actual titles I've come across in past Decembers.  

I want to give you a few simple things to remember over the next few weeks.

#1.  It doesn't matter how much you have, as long as you're spending time with those you love.  
If you operate on a limited budget, or you just don't like the commercialism of the holidays, then express those feelings now.  Let others know you wish to buy gifts that can be "consumed" or "shared."  Let your friends and family know that you would like to share a dinner out with them instead of exchanging gifts.  Offer to host a cookie exchange.  Suggest a white elephant exchange.  Draw names.  Pass the hat for charity... It isn't the gift, the cost or the size.  It's about being with those you love.

#2.  Your house doesn't have to be perfect. 
I know, I talk a lot about cleaning around here.  I love my Shaklee cleaners.  But you know what?  Having a spotless house is nearly impossible when you work part time or full time, have children at home, have church programs and school events to attend.  All of these things are wonderful memory making opportunities. The truth is, I have a dozen people at my house for Thanksgiving - and I didn't get my floors mopped.  Guess how many people noticed?  NONE!  

Don't stress out about having a perfect house -- people aren't coming to see your house...they're coming to spend time with you...  

#3.  Make every moment count...
 OK, so I did say it...  But not in a task list context.  It's okay to cuddle in by the fireplace, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa (extra whipped cream, please) and share some time with your family.  No one ever said, "I wish I hadn't spent so much time playing games with my kids."  Keep the main thing, the main thing.  Making memories is central to good times... Every moment you have is the opportunity for a memory... make the most of every one.

#4.  Decorate the way that suits your life.
I put up nearly a dozen Christmas trees.  I start the first weekend on November. That's what works for my family.  If that doesn't work for your family, then don't stress over it.  If you only like one single 4 ft table top tree, then that's what you should have.   Just make sure you're not stressing over making the perfect memory, when really,  their vision of perfect isn't what you're trying to create after all.

These are the moments of your life time.  These are the memories you are making.  Don't miss a single opportunity.  Make them count.

Before you get caught up in decking the halls and spending every extra dollar, focus on what really matters to you and your family.  Then decide together what is important.  Maybe it's volunteering with the Salvation Army as a bell ringer.  Maybe it's taking out your neighbor's trash can when you notice they forgot while they were out of town.  Maybe it's baking cookies for your Sunday School class.  Your holidays will be brighter, you won't be stressed to the max, and you will walk away with long lasting memories.

Only By His Grace,


Friday, November 23, 2012

Attention Black Friday Shoppers...

In honor of all you Black Friday shoppers, I have some exciting ideas for you.

Idea #1:  For that mom on the go, the co-worker who crashes every afternoon at 2:00 or the family member trying to kick the caffeine habit - gift them with all natural cinch energy tea.  Tie with a pretty ribbon and stuff in a personalized mug and you're ready to go.  Great for teachers, too.  Can be made hot or cold.

Idea #2: For that person in your life who suffers all winter with dry, chapped lips... this lip balm, is "da balm!"  Once you use Enfuselle for lips, you'll never go back to ChapStick.

Idea #3:  Enfuselle body wash and a luxurious pouff.  This is the shower they've been craving... This body cleanser leaves your skin feeling soft and angel smooth... all natural, and won't leave you feeling dried out.

Idea #4:  The Healthy Home Laundry Kit.  If you know someone with allergies to fragrances, or chemicals in laundry products, this is the perfect gift for them.  These products are all natural, non-toxic, and get the job done right the first time!  

More Options are available on under the Gift Ideas at the top of this page.  

Contact me today with questions.  I'll be happy to help you check off that Christmas list.

Only By His Grace,


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Healthy Thanksgiving...

Wishing you blessings and treasured memories with your family and friends.

Only By His Grace,


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Avoid Weight Gain During the Holidays!

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, the average American does not gain 7-10 pounds during the holidays, as is widely reported.  It is more like less than 1 pound.  The news gets worse for overweight people.  A Tufts University study reports that they're likely to gain 5 unwanted pounds.  Follow these tips to ensure that the holidays are about celebration, and not weight gain.

Ho, ho, H2O!  Carry a bottle of water everywhere you go and drink it throughout the day.  Water fills your stomach and reduces feelings of hunger!  Drink your fill before going to dinner or a party and you will probably eat less.

Avoid the break room!  People snake more when they see goodies, so avoid the areas in your office where well-meaning co-workers leave sweets.  Instead, at break time, take a brisk 5 minute walk and fill up on healthy portable snacks like veggies or nuts.

Choose the small plate: Research shows that people tend to eat whatever the put on their plates.  If you hit the buffet line with a large plate, odds are you'll fill it up.  Instead, take the smallest plate possible.  If you're still hungry, you can make a return trip.  Odds are, you'll be full after one plate.

Take a walk: One of the simplest ways to prevent holiday weight gain is to exercise every day.  Unless weather is terrible, find reasons to walk daily.  Park in the space farthest from the shopping center.  Walk to the mail box on the NEXT block.  Take your puppy to the park instead of just around your neighborhood.  Getting a few extra steps in could mean keeping off a few extra pounds.

Cinch 3 in 1 Boost: These all natural supplements boost metabolism, help keep blood sugar steady, help you get the vitamins and minerals you need.  Can these ingredients solve all your problems?  Not really, but they can solve three of them. 

Let's make smart choices this holiday season,

Only By His Grace,


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Keeping your home healthy...

Even if you clean your house regularly, germs like Staph and E. Coli, and cold and flu viruses can still be present unless you disinfect regularly.  You know about high-risk areas like toilet handles, door knobs, and changing tables.  But what about areas more likely to be forgotten, like TV remotes, telephones, washing machine buttons, dish washer knobs?  

I'm not a germ-o-phobe, but I do take keeping my family healthy very seriously.  

Here are some areas I suggest taking a few minutes to wipe down.

Cellphones:  Because your cell phone spends much of it's time near your mouth or in your hand, it can harbor more bacteria than a toilet seat.  Alcohol and ammonia-based disinfectants can damage touch screens.  Be sure when wiping down the surface of your phones that you do not get any  liquid in the phone's openings!  Just spray a little disinfecting spray on a microfiber cloth and wipe the surfaces*.

Sinks:  Your kitchen sink contains about 1,000 times more bacteria than the average American toilet!  Wipe your kitchen and bathroom sinks regularly with disinfecting wipes to kill bacteria and viruses*.

Dishcloths: In one study, 10 percent of household dishcloths contained salmonella; 32 percent contained E. coli.  During flu season, 60 percent are positive for influenza.  Launder dishcloths after every day's use using a disinfectant additive in your laundry*.
*Kelly Reynolds, Ph. D, is a microbiologist at the University of Arizona 
Zuckerman College of Public Health.

If you are concerned about the effects on the environment, the products I recommend are all natural and non-toxic.  They care highly concentrated and one 16 -24 oz bottle makes gallons of cleaner.  It can be used in your kitchen, your bathroom, your garage, your trash cans, your toilets, and your laundry!  This is especially good for families who use cloth diapers.  Often times the water in the home is not hot enough on it's own to kill the bacterial on those diapers.  It just gets spread around to the other clothing for other family members to share.

Basic G: one quart makes up to 64 gallons of disinfectant.  And it's also EPA registered!  Basic G kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can wreak havoc on your family's health.  Basic G tackles over 40 pesky microbes, including several animal viruses like swine flu.  Basic G is also safe to use around pets!  

For smaller jobs, I recommend Germ Off Disinfecting wipes. These wipes kill odor-causing bacteria found on hard and non porous household, kitchen, and bathroom surfaces.  Great for cleaning around the toilet!  Leaves your bathroom and your kitchen fresh and clean.  

*Kills 99.9% of Salmonella choleraesuis(ATCC*10708), 
Escherichia coli(ATCC*11229), and Escherichia Coli 0157:H7(ATCC*43895).

Here's hoping you stay healthy and happy during the holiday season,

Only By His Grace,


Monday, November 19, 2012

Clever Personalized gift tags...

Every year I search and search for gift tags that will match our personalities...or our decor...or the style wrapping paper I will be using this year...  But this year, I decided I didn't want to try to squeeze in all of our names into the 1/8 inch space that store-bought gift tags offer.

So, I decided to create my own.  They are standard business card size.  I made 2 similar designs.  I used photos of our family from our beach vacation pictures.  We can use them for gift tags, simply writing in the "to" portion, AND, we can include them in our Christmas cards.  They're small enough people can carry them in their wallet, and cheap enough they can trash them if they wish :)

Here are the two designs:

I went to, uploaded my image, chose rounded or square corners, glossy or matte finish... and had them printed them.  I had a coupon, so 300 of these babies (150 each) were less than $30.00  I can use them for years and years and years :)

If you're on our Christmas card list, well, you might just receive more than one...

Only By His Grace,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Little Thanksgiving project...

How are your Thanksgiving preparations coming?  Our preparations are coming together.   A few days ago I posted about preparing for the little ones that will be joining you for your holiday.  

Here are how our projects are coming.  When putting together these ideas, I had in mind lazy days after my son's surgery.  That's exactly what we had.  Together we sat at the table cutting out shapes, gluing them together, and deciding on printables...

Wanna see our projects?

Here are the little owl crayon cups.  They don't scream Thanksgiving, but they're really cute... and it kept us occupied for about 45 minutes or more.  I'll take it!  We just drew out our shapes, cut them out, and then glued them together.  When we were done, we glued them to a clear plastic up, and filled them with crayons.

These are our place cards.  We just found some artwork online, copied and pasted it into a doc and then printed out a few.  We will color the acorns and oak leaves.  Then we'll cut them out, and our place cards will be done.  

We probably won't use them as  place cards, we like people to sit where they like.  But I think maybe we'll use them as food markers for our buffet.  

Want a little more inspiration?  Here are a few cutie-patutie things I found online...

1) These would be super cute if you're inviting a group of people that may not all know each other.  You could tweak them to use as name tags.

2) Here's the inspiration to our little crayon cups.  These are super-cute.  I just didn't have the time or patience to make them as they are.  Sometimes you just have to take the inspiration and make it fit your needs.

3.) These are the inspiration for our name plates.  These are super cute.  If you have a handy-dandy scrapbook cutting thingy machine you could make these super fast!

How are your projects coming?  Are you getting inspired?  Keep up the good work.  Let me know what you're working on!  I can't wait to see your projects :)

Only By His Grace,


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