Friday, October 31, 2014

What I'm Into (October 2014)

I am linking up with the precious Leigh Kramer for this fun What I'm Into series. Once a month I'll take inventory about what I've been up to and share them with you. Fun, huh?


Read and Reading: so...the blogger who wrote this read 13 books last month. Thirteen. I need to read more books. *sigh*
I did do a study through the book of Esther with LoveGodGreatly.com and I also read through 1 & 2 Peter with SheReadsTruth. Both of them were excellent and the devotional content that both blogs provided along with the studies were fantastic.

I've also been reading back through the Valley of Vision book of Puritan prayers. It is so rich and even if I read the same prayers over and over, it still makes me think. I love it.

Also, I've been reading The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple,  I've been working on it for months, and might still be working on it months from now. Honestly, it's a little over my head but I'm getting through it and trying to retain as much as I can, because it is such great information!

Also, Practical Paleo, which has been sitting on my nightstand for 3 weeks now. I don't have time to read as much as I want to!

TV: Ok, so after complaining that I don't have time to read much, I can definitively answer this TV question... :-(

Parenthood, obvs. Best show ever and I am SO sad that it is ending. Also, Joel & Julia FOR-ever. That is all.

We've also been watching The Good Wife on Amazon Prime. We've tried like 5 times to get in to it, but it seems to have stuck this time because we made it to season 2. We're sort of suckers for legal shows.

and of course...the ROYALS. We watched a lot of baseball in October. Honestly, more than I have ever watched in my life. I'm not exactly a baseball fan, but when your hometown underdog team makes the WORLD SERIES, you just can't help but be interested! Really stinks that they didn't win, but hey that's life, right?

Music: ummmm....Taylor Swift.

Things I Love: oh! so many things...

the weather in October is my favorite. It is the best and makes me so happy.

Got to spend some time hearing from Young Living corporate when they came to Kansas City earlier this month! Love these pics with some of our awesome team. we LOVE Young Living!


This girl hit a HUGE milestone this month like it was cake and is so humble and gracious about it. She has worked her tail off and deserves every bit of the award she earned!! She is a servant leader, truly.
Fun friends and this lady is so smart and encouraging and we always have such good conversations. And, we have some fun things up our sleeve! (teehee)
 

Squash. Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Spaghetti, Kabocha. I love ALL the squashes! 
Plus they're the cutest! 

Coffee... as usual. This one might make the "Things I Love" list every time.


October is hubby's birthday month, and we celebrated with an amazing gluten free pizza at Rock & Brews, a breakfast party with my parents and siblings (including an awesome skillet apple pie), and a breakfast-for-dinner party with hubby's family. 

I accidentally made another paleo chocolate cake from Zenbelly. Oops.d

We spent a weekend in Branson, MO with my family and did some of the stereotypical things like Silver Dollar City and the Sight & Sound Theatre. We saw the performance of Jonah, which was actually a really compelling telling of that familiar Bible story in a way that made me view it with fresh eyes. Not only was the theatrical aspect very well done (giant sea creature balloons flying over your head and live animals? yes), but the way they portrayed the biblical principles of obedience, trusting in the Lord, repentance, mercy, forgiveness, and examining your own heart before God were so well done. I have caught myself thinking about parts of it many times since then.


Of course, at Silver Dollar City we enjoyed the beautiful fall weather, obligatory rides like the Flooded Mine and some river raft ride I got suckered into riding, in which I got completely doused with gallons of water and spent the rest of the day soaking wet in a pair of jean shorts that kept expanding throughout the day. By the time we returned to the cabin, they were about six sizes too big.

But, I digress. We enjoyed the last day of the Harvest Festival at SDC and walked around for about 8 hours, and everyone got a little rosy cheeked from an unusually warm, sunny day at the end of October. I was toas by the end of the day, so Loren went in search of coffee and came back with this ginormous cookie that took up my entire lap!  And I wasn't even mad. And  I could have eaten the whole thing but I only had a few bites.

on Sunday morning, we all went to have brunch at the Big Cedar Lodge. I had never been, and oh my it was a beautiful hotel! We didn't even see the main part, but we had an awesome breakfast buffet at Devil's Pool and got to sit outside on a huge deck and enjoy the gorgeous weather. 

And this little guy is always entertaining. I got my phone out and he wanted to cheese it up so I took his picture about 20 times. 


On a healthier note, we have recently started drinking Young Living's Ningxia Red super-antioxidant juice in the mornings to help to support our immune systems with the coming cold, nasty winter months. We each drink just 1oz each in the mornings. Some of our favorite ways to drink it is to add it to some OJ, and I LOVE adding it to our homemade kombucha! I even like adding a little bit of it to water and sipping on it throughout the day. It is dad gum delicious and I love that in addition to eating a real/whole/paleo foods diet, it gives us an anti-oxidant boost in a supplement that comes from real food sources like berries, not synthetic substances and that its anti-oxidant sources are varied instead of just loading up on one type. Studies have shown that just supplementing with one kind of antioxidant can be detrimental, instead of helpful. Nutrient synergy, man!!



In the Blogosphere:

I honestly have not read very many blogs lately, other than to look up recipes, or write posts on my own! I love reading blogs but I don't have a ton of time to read at leisure, but that sounds like a dream! Next month I'll round up some blogs for you.

Favorite:
Pic/Instagram
it's kind of a tie between these two. In the mornings lately, Stella already knows she has to go into the laundry room for the day. It breaks my heart to leave her all day every day, and one morning last week, I found her already curled up in her little bed. So cute and precious. And a little sad. :-(
 And this was at SDC last weekend. Uncle Loren is a crowd favorite with the little munchkins.


Hopefully you are welcoming November with open arms and thankful hearts! 
It's one of my favorite times of the year!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Granola-Dipped Apple Slices (Kid-friendly!)

If I had to pick a favorite food, I think it would be apples. I love them year-round, but especially in the fall when they are all in season! Apple butter, apple sauce, sauteed apples - these are a few of my favorite things. But by far my favorite way to eat an apple is raw...with nut butter! 

I eat an apple and peanut butter frequently as a pre-workout snack. We got a bag of this amazing chocolate-strawberry granola at Costco last week, and I was struck with inspiration:

This could be a healthy-ish alternative to caramel apples that are popular around this time of year!  Plus it is totally cute, fun food and who doesn't like that! For those of you who like to let your kids help make their own food, this would be a totally easy and fun little project 
that little hands could help with!

I used an apple slicer and then cut each of the wide slices in half to make thinner slices 
(optional unless you're weird like me). 


Once your apple is sliced, use a butter knife to spread a little bit of peanut butter onto one side of each apple slice. 



In a separate bowl or plate, pour out some granola for dipping. Once your apple slice has been peanut butter-ized, dip it PB-side down into the granola and wiggle it around a little bit 
to make sure it sticks. 

You could use a variety of toppings like shredded coconut, raisins, chopped nuts or chocolate shavings and let kiddos completely customize their snack! Obviously, you can also use almond butter or any kind of nut butter you wish if you don't do peanuts. 


Easy-peasy and CUTE, right? Hope you are enjoying beautiful apple season, wherever you are! 














Friday, October 24, 2014

DIY Body Splash

Back in the day...("the day" being junior high)
...it was really cool to collect different flavors of body splashes from the wildly popular Bath & Body Works store. Remember? I was a little bit obsessed with them at one point and probably had 4-5 at any one time to choose from!

I've never really been a big perfume person. It always gave me a headache if it was too strong and I could never really find a scent I wanted to commit to. I really liked body splashes because the scent wasn't overpowering and it would wear off more quickly than real perfume.

Since using oils, I've discovered my perfume sensitivity is actually a sensitivity to synthetic scented substances, but pure plant extracts don't bother me at all. I'm still not 100% committed to a scent (let's face it I usually smell like a lot of different oils), but I do have one that I wear most often and I still think it smells so heavenly I can't even stand it.

It is an oil called Abundance and it is a blend of:

Orange (Citrus sinesis), frankincense (Boswellia carteri), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and spruce (Picea mariana).
Image Courtesy of Young Living Essential Oils on Flickr.com

So the other day, I was reminiscing about body splash because I found an old one in our linen closet. It was some weird pear scent that I didn't even like, and then I had an a-ha moment! 

I poured the entire contents of the bottle down the drain without even one tinge of guilt (bye toxins!) and washed the bottle and spray nozzle out really well with hot hot water. Then I made the following recipe:

DIY BODY SPLASH

1 8oz spray bottle (new or used, plastic or glass is fine)
4oz purified water
4oz witch hazel
20 drops Abundance (or your favorite EO)

Combine all into your spray bottle and give it a good shake until mixed. 
Spritz on when you want a light mist of scent! 

Image courtesy of Felipe Ernesto at Flickr.com

Since there aren't any added emulsifiers in this, it will start to separate and the oil will rise to the top. Whenever you want to use, just shake really well for a few seconds and the oils and water/witch hazel will mix again. 

I LOVE having this on hand when I want a refresh right before I walk out the door. I had completely stopped using body splash a few years ago when I started rethinking all of my beauty products because I knew they were basically breathing in toxins. But having something handy and pre-made to use as a quick perfume spritz is so nice and convenient! 

If you'd like more information about Abundance oil, or are interested in learning more about Young Living Essential Oils, please send me an email at hbshanks@gmail.com or send me a message on facebook. I'd love to share more with you! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bulletproof Chai

I've never been a big fan of bulletproof coffee. If you aren't familiar with it, it is basically coffee with coconut oil and grass-fed butter added to it and blended. It's supposed to give you laser focus and sustained energy or something. Anyway,  adding coconut oil and butter just seems to create an oil slick on the top of my coffee, which no matter how much I try, I just don't like.

But recently I heard someone mention a bulletproof chai latte, which sounded like it was worth a shot and it actually turned out delicious! Here's my "recipe":

Bulletproof Chai "Latte"
2 cups hot brewed chai tea (I like this kind)
1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 Tbsp grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold brand)
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
2-4 Tbsp organic half/half or heavy cream (yum)

Add your ingredients to a blender and blend for a few minutes. You'll need your tea to still be hot so the coconut oil and butter will melt. It will turn frothy and creamy! 

Makes 2 servings - for sharing...or seconds. 

I can't say I've notced laser-sharp focus or anything but it is a fun, tasty fall drink that is quick and easy to make! Hope you enjoy!!

Image Courtesy of Yasmina Haryono on Flickr.com

Monday, October 20, 2014

Essential Oil Drawer Inserts

My husband is pretty much the best. He is super supportive of my essential oil habit and is gracious to let me go out and teach classes and spend time with my team and others. He even *sometimes* uses the oils himself!!

Several months ago, I asked if we could convert a drawer in our kitchen to somehow store all of our oils in an organized way. I was getting sick of oils being literally all over the house and never having a "home" where we could find what we needed quickly. He went downstairs and drilled some holes into a piece of plywood and cut it to fit one of our kitchen drawers, and I was thrilled!

It didn't take me very long to fill up every hole with an oil and we were out of room. Oops.

THEN he decided to make all of our wildest dreams come true and came up with the new and improved version of the oil drawer using a drawer organizer insert.





The end result is AMAZING, as you can see, and fits 101 different bottles of oil, plus has extendable sides so you can fit your capsules, sample bottles, carrier oil, and other accessories all in one place!

It is made of bamboo with a solid wood insert in the middle where he has drilled the holes which fit the 5ml and 15ml bottles perfectly! When I saw how awesome it was, I told him he needed to offer to make them for other people, too! He is selling them via an Etsy shop, and you can have him make one for you for $75 here!

 Each drawer will come with a set of the bottle labels from Young Living so you can easily see the names of your oils on top of the cap (best idea ever!).

I can't tell you how nice it is to have all of our oils in one place with all of our accessories right there with them! It makes choosing an oil so much easier and if one of us needs to use one, we aren't asking or wondering what happened to the oil we need! Plus it looks impressive to roll out a whole kitchen drawer full of oily goodness.

Now you know what you want for Christmas, right?!

If you have questions about the drawers or about Young Living essential oils, send me an email at hbshanks@gmail.com, visit me here or contact Loren through Etsy! (If you are local, contact us FIRST before paying for shipping!)

Friday, October 17, 2014

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday! 

Linkin up with The Lauren Elizabeth to share my top five things from this week!


1. Gorgeous weather. This is one of my favorite parts of the year with all the sunshine and brisk temperatures! 

2. Winter Squash. I get a little obsessed with squash when it starts appearing in markets in the fall. We've been trying all kinds of new squashes lately because I went a little nuts when they all went on sale recently. Last week I roasted a kabocha squash  which turned out tasty. And this week I roasted a delicata squash, which was amazing. It reminded me a lot of a sweet potato, except a little sweeter. All I did was drizzle with coconut oil and salt and roast for 30 minutes! Squash candy. So good.
Butternut Friend
3. Royals! Ok so I am totally a fair-weather fan and really (still) don't care much for baseball. But it is WAY exciting to live in KC these days! We can ALL relate on some level with a good underdog story and the Royals have one of the best! I think it's pretty cool all the people who have stuck with the Royals as loyal die-hard fans for so long, and now all their dreams for their team are coming true! 

4. Engage-iversary! Yesterday marked 5 years from the day we got engaged! So fun to look back at all the pics from that season of life and reminisce. It was definitely the best choice I ever made! I would say yes a million times over again! 



5. My hubby's birthday is tomorrow! I just love him. He is always way more concerned about others than himself, and even more so when it's his birthday. We have a weekend full of celebrating planned - and a few college and NFL football games in there, too. I'm excited to have some time off together this weekend and enjoy this beautiful fall weather! And eat paleo chocolate cake. Yeah, that too. 

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend!! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

High Five for Friday!

This particular Friday deserves a particularly excited high-five, because I am sorely in need of a weekend! If you could have seen me at 6:30 (just kidding, I overslept) 7:30 this morning you would understand.

I'm linking up with Lauren over at The Lauren Elizabeth blog to share 5 things about this week.

1. We've had tons of activities going on lately! Sometimes it feels like hubby and I just pass each other briefly on our way to the next thing. It's all good stuff and such is life, but I am really really looking forward to not having any major plans this weekend. At least not ones that involve working!

2. It seems like fall came a little early this year, which I am totally okay with. Even though we had a really mild summer, it is so nice that the temperatures are cool enough to leave the windows open and enjoy being outside. Last weekend, we decided we HAD to do something to enjoy the perfect weather so we headed out to play some disc golf! Our little podunk town doesn't have many things to offer, but it does have a beautiful disc golf course surrounding the city lake. We took our dog and let her run (kind of) free in the fields and threw frisbees at baskets for awhile. I'm realizing more and more that being outdoors and doing something active is so good for you. Duh, kids know this that's why they love playing outside! I was never an active kid and always hated exercise until a few years ago, so it's a whole new experience to me to love being outdoors. Being in nature is good for the mind, emotions, and soul.

3. Some good friends of ours started an awesome little "support group" for those who want to learn more about eating a Paleo/Real Food lifestyle. Our first meeting was this past week and it was SO good I wish everyone in the world could have been there!! We shared resources and ideas and tips with each other and I came away even more inspired to be intentional about how I approach nutrition. (I'm sure I annoy the heck out of people who don't care one iota about nutrition and real food and natural lifestyle. Sorry. Maybe I was sent to be a thorn in your flesh...)

4.
I had a rotisserie chicken in the back of the car and she was sniffing like crazy trying to figure out where it was! If this face doesn't make your day, I don't know what will. (It makes mine!)

5. Black bean brownies. I made a batch on Sunday from Chocolate Covered Katie  and then tried a different recipe that a friend brought to small group on Tuesday night. Both were super chocolatey and fudgey and so hard to believe that they had black beans in them! I just love things like that where you can hide good stuff in something indulgent. Makes it feel a little bit less bad. 


Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend ahead!