“Some Kind” of Wonderful

Two-and-a-half months home. Two-and-a-half months of laughter, cuddles, silent treatments, frustration, tears, and more cuddles. When someone asks, “how is it going?” I really struggle to come up with a response. Because it’s not something I can answer in one word, or even one sentence. The usual answers: “good” or “it’s going!” don’t cover it. “Good” implies life is all back to normal. And the other, well unless you have adopted “it’s going” doesnt’ mean anything to you.

There is a LOT of good. Like, I-can’t-believe-how-good. But even the good is draining. Connection takes work. Older kids adjusting well takes work. (Heck, us adjusting takes work too!) Younger behaviors (even good ones) in an older body are work. But to say that seems to negate the good that is.

That song “Some Kind of Wonderful” was humming through my head suddenly this afternoon. There is a lot of wonderful in my life. Some kinds of wonderful are pure joy, other kinds are heart-achy and overwhelming. But still wonderful. 

My heart is full. There is a “completeness” that is so very satisfying. There are moments when I just want to escape for respite, and moments I want to sit and bask in forever.

Christmas will be wonderful. There will probably be an undercurrent of comparison and stress that Little Man won’t even know he is facing.  There will be excitement and laughter and love, too. And afterward, some of us will probably want to nap for a week! And if you’ve been wondering how things are going, the answer is “some kind of wonderful.” Either the good kind, or the hard kind, depending on the day. :)

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Deodorant– SUCCESS!!

Finally posting this here, because people ask me for my deodorant recipe ALL. THE. TIME. JENNIE-MAE. (Inside joke. Go see  the play The Diviners if you ever get a chance!!) :)


I started with doTERRA’s deodorant recipe on their blog. But come summer, it was too runny. (Picture liquid deodorant flinging all around the bathroom when your husband tries to take off the cap). Sooooo…. I had to tweak it for the hot weather.

Here is my tweak:

1/4 cup aluminum free baking soda

1/4 cup arrowroot starch (corn starch would also work)

3 tbs ish coconut oil

2 tbs cocoa butter

1-2 tbs beeswax

5-10 drops essential oils your choice (I often do 5-6 drops of sandalwood with 3 -4 drops of melaleuca, or sub lemon for the sandalwood)

Meld the coconut oil and cocoa butter and beeswax in a stainless steel pot, then add to dry ingredients. Mix with a pastry cutter, or food processor etc. Add essential oils at the end, and then pour/scoop the soft mixture into empty deodorant containers. Voila!

Takes only a handful of minutes, and THIS STUFF WORKS! My husband used to have to put store-bought deodorant on twice a day (with a sit-down job). I kid you not, I had to sniff his armpit to believe when he told me once a day with this stuff worked! LOL We will NOT be going back to store-bought deodorant! Avoid the chemicals (esp toxic aluminum) and try something that really works!

*This made two sticks of deodorant. Sometimes I double it to make a bigger batch.

Lotion Bars– my new fav!!

Tried a new lotion this week. After a couple batches struggling to stay blended (can borax get old?) I decided it was time to finally try a lotion bar, since I’d been wanting to try one for ages.

lotion bars

I started with this recipe that a friend sent me, but I decided to tweak it because #1 the blogger mentioned the bar being too hard for a lot of people’s preference, and #2 I really wanted to include some shea butter. (I once had a shea body butter stick that I LOVED).

So my tweak is:

1 oz beeswax (in pieces so it melts faster

1+ oz coconut oil (I think it was like 1.2, I was not super picky as I weighed the ingredients)

1 oz shea butter

I melted this in a stainless steel pot and and once it was melted, I removed it from the burner and added:

5 drops of doTERRA lavender essential oil

2 drops of doTERRA frankincense essential oil

a drizzle of vitamin E oil (again, sorry… but I wasn’t picky)

I poured it into my metal mini-muffin tin, and when they were cooled/hard the popped right out! But even better, is how WELL THEY WORK!! My new little Haitian son has really struggled with dry skin adjusting to our harsh winter climate. I was having to put lotion on him twice a day to prevent dry skin from appearing everywhere. This lotion bar worked so well, that after applying it one evening, his skin was STILL soft and moisturized from the night before! My 9 yr old daughter has been having trouble with very dry skin on her hands as well, and this lotion once again worked amazingly well. Once a day was all she needed. Now I am also trying it on my face. (I need a heavier moisturizer in the winter) I am loving the results. Not greasy, but moisture barrier that keeps my skin from drying out during the day.

If you try to make it, let me know what you think!

*This little batch made 6 1/2 tiny bars in my mini-muffin tin. I worked small as it was a new experiment. I”ll double it next time!



Coming back to life after a long winter… slowly. Feel a little bruised in the soul after the last several months.

007 My mind is having a hard time believing winter is over.

026 Shifting my eyes UP, for some perspective.

027 The kids leap headlong into the new season.

002 I think I need to follow them :)



Here’s to brighter, longer days, warmth, and the long exhale, getting winter out of our lungs.



Weekend Retreat- Belfast, ME

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the pictures tell the story of our little weekend retreat… the sunsets, and moonrises, the early morning coffee walks as the tide went out, the quiet adventuring with my kids who are getting so grown up, and yet loved a chance to be away with “just us” just as much as we did. Blessed. Recharged.

cottages low tidesisters low tide sunset over rockland breakwater sunset boat on the breakwater sailboat rich skip rocks rich rock in air rich in belfast rich at sunrise phoebe phoebe skips rocks morning mist rising morning chatty crew morning breakfast crew moonrise mom looks on molly finds shells molly batik Levi breakwater Levi breakwater lighthouse levi and dad skipping rocks girls jumbo chess girls explore sea creatures fluffy sky distance rich sunrise

A More Natural Medicine Cabinet (AMNMC)- high blood pressure

My story of dealing with high blood pressure has many twists and turns. It started out as “gestational hypertension” during my second pregnancy, that didn’t go away after the baby was born. The side effects of the medications for treating high blood pressure are not fun. Many people end up on other medications just to treat the side effects or an original medication! I didn’t want to stay on that track.

So I tried a variety of things, including different diets and exercise, and finally eliminating certain foods from my diet that my body personally cannot handle (like gluten and corn). I have blogged more about this part of the story here. I was off medication for nearly 4 years, when my blood pressure began creeping up a bit again. (My weight had also crept up, which could be the issue. Did you know a difference of 5 pounds can measurably impact your blood pressure?!

bp alernativesThankfully, I have a wonderful doctor who is not opposed to using meds if absolutely necessary but is first likely to offer something like hawthorne berry to treat your blood pressure. This, in addition to his suggestion that I up my magnesium and potassium supplement, was enough, and at my physical this summer, my blood pressure was a beautiful 119/78. For a gal , not on meds, who has experienced regular readings of 160/125 in years past, this was an amazing thing!

I have since also learned about some essentials that help to treat hypertension, especially ylang ylang and marjoram. I look forward to experimenting with those in the near future! In the meantime, it is most important to uncover the route cause of the blood pressure increase, and treat the root. So I continue to exercise, and reduce my grains/carbs/sugar in an effort to get the weight-creep off of my middle! :)

Did you know that sugar raises your blood pressure?! And healthy fat does not!

NOTE: This is not my usual magnesium/potassium. I usually order them through Purecaps via my doctor’s office. They are very pure/allergen free.

Please do not mess with your blood pressure. I did this experiment at the advice and under the care of my doctor. Take this information and discuss it with them before discontinuing any medications.

This is part of a series on taking steps to A More Natural Medicine Cabinet, in which I am chronically our journey for friends and also for my kids as a reference.  See the entire list of posts here!

_____ Days to a More Natural Medicine Cabinet

Pardon the blank, but the timing wasn’t right for the 31 Days Challenge this year. (I had so much fun participating during the last two years, with a series on Less Stress in Allergy Free Eating, and one on Embracing Autumn: So Long, Seasonal Affective Disorder.)

I had to leave it blank, because I have no idea how many posts this will be, but I am very excited to share how we have been making the change from a standard medicine cabinet, to one with natural alternatives that have been working so well for our family.

herbs drying in kitchen windowHerbs drying that a friend shared with me from her abundance-I’ll let you know how I”ll be using them!

I’ll be sharing a variety of things, things I make, things I buy… herbs, essential oils, rubs. Feel free to chime in the comments with things that have worked for you!


#1: Treating High Blood Pressure



In the Raw

I don’t blog very often these days. I kept trying to figure out why, when I enjoy it so much. I think I’ve stumbled onto it…

The most popular posts on my blog are recipes… for allergy-free foods and homemade lotions and soaps. I didn’t blog them on purpose for popularity; I blogged them because I was just writing about my life. I enjoy writing about what I happen to be learning, trying or discovering.

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Haiti- in numbers

I am recently back from my 5-day visit with our Little Man in Haiti. Our Little Man who is now legally our son. I can’t tell you how happy everyone here is about this! As always, so many thoughts swirl around in my head during my time there. For starters, here are some things I learned about Haiti- in numbers.


$1 US = 47 Haitian Gourds (according to the sign in the restaurant we went to)

The days in Haiti are 27 hours long, and the nights are 12 hours long.


1 Haitian Hour= 4 US Hours (this affect does not wear off until you are in the air, and approaching US space) Think of it as like visiting Narnia… you live a lifetime while there, and then when you get home, you find you’ve only been gone a few days.


93 degrees, at 70% humidity is a “feels like” temp of 112+ degrees. Every day.

Surprisingly (because I don’t pay attention to this sort of thing), the sun rises a good hour+ later in Haiti than here at home, and it was dark by 8 p.m., unlike the 9:15ish p.m. here. Important to catch on quickly, due to frequent lack of electricity. Things like teeth brushing, and setting out the flashlight needed to be done before then.

7 new/old friends + 6 adopted kids = plenty of chaos, lots of laughs, and memories galore.

So glad I went. So happy to be home. But I left a piece of my heart there. On my next trip, I hope to be bringing that piece home with me.