Why You Should Embrace the Mud

why you should embrace the mud

Kids love mud.

I don’t think any mom can argue that fact. Yeah, there are probably a few kids out there that aren’t too keen on frolicking in puddles. But for the most part, kids are attracted to mud. Or maybe in some cases mud is attracted to kids. When and where they find mud sometimes is a mystery.

As a mom to an all-boy toddler, mud is a regular part of our lives. I’m learning to embrace it. And here’s why you should too.

When you and your child(ren) are faced with a mud puddle opportunity, you should ask these three questions:

What is the source of this mud? – Most mud encounters will be in the backyard or neighbors yard. Typically these places are A-ok for mud jumping. You may want to avoid run off from farmland (cattle or crops). Construction sites might have some stray debris with sharp object so you’ll want to avoid that too. Our best mud is on the dirt road leading to our house.

Are we going anywhere that requires clean clothes? – If you aren’t parked in a clean garage, your kids will find mud (or even dirt because they have some sort of honing beacon for these things) between the house and car. This could cause problems if you are headed somewhere nice, like church or a wedding. Even the grocery store merits clean clothes from time to time. A strict command to go straight to the car is in order for this situation. Or even a bribe.  If you’re home all day or have time to clean up, those clothes and shoes will wash just fine.

Is there really a reason not to jump in this mud? – Most often the answer to this question is “no”. Mud is FUN. The joy and entertainment a simple mud puddle can bring is quite amazing. I love the smiles my Little Man gives me when he’s running through mud.

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Muddy kids can stress you out, or bring you joy. The choice is yours. I’m learning to find joy in the little things.

If it tends to stress you out, prepare the kids to play in mud by sending them out in older clothes and muck boots (because you know they will find it, especially after a stormy day). Have a plan in place for when they come back inside (strip at the door and straight to the bath).

And better yet, go out and play with them. It’s fun to splash in puddles and feel the slimy mud in your hands. Embrace the joy that mud brings.

It’s actually really good for kids to play in the mud and dirt. In our super sanitary society, kids need a little dirt on their hands and mud between their toes. I don’t have any science-y stuff to back this up, but I’m sure the minerals and clay in the dirt soak into the skin and provide a little extra goodness to growing kids.

Imaginations and simple play can help the development of kids much more than a TV show or tablet app. Even toys can overdo the “learning” aspect. Simplicity can grow a mind better than lots of bright flashing colors and sounds.

With Spring on its way and rain in the forecast, look for those mud puddles and embrace them! You’re kids will love it. Mud is good, clean fun!

When was the last time your kids played in the mud?


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One Small Change That Gave So Much Freedom

One Small Change

There is one tiny thing that I recently changed that gave me immense amounts of freedom. Freedom I didn’t realize that I’d lost. Time that I didn’t realize was missing. Joy in the little things that had slipped away.

I wonder sometimes, if all the technology around us these days is making life easier, or just more complicated.

Think about it. Yeah, our washing machines help A LOT. We no longer have to spend an entire day scrubbing and line drying the family’s clothes (and cloth diapers). Dishwashers are nice (although I’ve lived the last five years without one). Oh and central heat, I’m not giving that up! (Ours went out last week and it was COLD.) There are some aspects of technology that I don’t want to lose.

But what about your TV? Your tablet? Your smart phone? Uh oh, I’m stepping on some toes!

There is definitely room for allowing entertainment and enjoying technology for sure. And access to the internet brings in a whole new world of learning and communication, and a world of opportunity! It’s hard to complain about that.

What I find complicated is the distraction that some of these things cause. I’ve talked about Unplugging. That can help tremendously in reducing the interference our devices cause in our relationships. But I found that one or two hours in the evening wasn’t enough.

Want to know my secret? I turned off ALL notifications on my phone. ALL OF THEM!

Oh. My. Word. You have no idea how FREEING it is!

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I somewhat tried this before. Most of my notifications were off. But slowly as updates came, I allowed them back on. And I was suddenly sucked in to keeping up with the notes across my phone or the red dots alerting me that something had “happened”.

Once I turned them all off, and I mean all, no emails, no Facebook, no Instant Messenger, nothing on my lock screen, nothing telling me that something somewhere out there was going on, my life became my own again! Wow.

The ONLY exception is text messages and phone calls. (I should go back to an old school Nokia! Ha!) The reason for that is to keep in contact with my husband and close friends. A ding or beep now means that someone is specifically needing my attention. In my circles, most all other forms of communication are not time sensitive or can wait until I have sit down time at the computer.

The reason that this works for me, is if I have to intentionally unlock my phone and open an app to find out what has “happened”, then I’m going to think twice about that action. Is this something that I have to do right now?  Most often the answer is no.

I’m breaking the habit of picking up my phone and letting it distract me from my day. That is the freedom that I am enjoying. I have time to finish the tasks on my to-do list. I’m finding joy in the little things in life again, like a quiet moment right after Little Man falls asleep. And when he’s awake I can give him my undivided attention when he needs it.

I just have to say again how freeing it is. Maybe I have a problem with my excessive phone use, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I’ve read about other’s that struggle with this, so I hope this one simple change can give you freedom too.

If you find yourself distracted by your phone, tablet, TV, or whatever device that becomes your vice, turn it off for a while! See if you can find some freedom and take back your time. Enjoy the day to day aspects of life. Be in the moment with your kids and spouse. It brings a renewed level of satisfaction in those relationships. It keeps you connected to the things and people that really matter.

Do you find yourself distracted by technology?


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Top Ten Reader Favorites from 2015

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I still can’t believe the new year is here. I’m not sure I’m ready to embrace it! But I have my theme and I must move forward. Before we move on, I want to celebrate some of my reader favorites from this past year! This blog has grown quite a bit and I am always blown away at the positive response I get from my lovely readers. So, a big THANK YOU to you for joining me in this journey!

Here’s the count-down to Never Lacking Zeal’s reader favorites:

How to make garlic oil

10: How to Make Garlic Oil – With its high nutritive benefits, garlic is one of the best things you can have in your kitchen. This simple garlic oil is great to have on hand this time of year to boost your immune system and ward off infections.

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9: 5 Reasons You Need Epsom Salt in Your Life – Plus a recipe for a relaxing foot soak! Epsom salt has some really amazing health benefits. Read the list to find out more.

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8: The Benefits of Baltic Amber – Is Amber all it’s cracked up to be? Although Baltic amber is often just looked upon as a hookey hippie necklace, there are some proven benefits that can make positive changes in your body. I don’t think we could have made it through teething without it.

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7: DIY Sore Muscle Rub – Don’t forget to pack this in your gym bag. Sore Muscle Rub uses natural ingredients to help your body fight the inflammation caused by a tough work out. You can make your own Muscle Rub or buy some from my soap shop, Southern Vines Soap Company.

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6: The Benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil – If you’ve never smelled Cedarwood, you are missing out! One of my favorite essential oils to diffuse in my home and has quite a few benefits for the body too.

DIY Flea and Tick Repellent Dog Shampoo

5: DIY Dog Shampoo – Let’s not forget about our furry friends when it comes to switching to green household products. This shampoo will clean your pooch and help repel fleas and ticks. Make sure to whip up a batch before the Spring hits.

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4: DIY Liquid Shampoo – Although I’ve switched to using Herbal Shampoo Bars, you can’t go wrong with a wonderfully scented liquid shampoo. This combination of liquid castile soap, coconut milk, and essential oils will leave your hair nourished and smelling great.

DIY Static Stopper

3: DIY Static Stopper Spray – The dry season has recently hit at my house with the increased cold and use of the central heat. With it comes the static on my clothes and hair. And it drives me nuts! Thankfully, there’s no more craziness with this quick recipe.

DIY dry shampoo

2: DIY Dry Shampoo – I LOVE this recipe and so do my readers! So easy to make. And I use it almost every day (when I don’t shower).

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1: 12 Ways to Use Grapefruit Essential Oil – This quick list has gone viral on Pinterest! Grapefruit essential oil is a mom’s best friend. Go read it to find out why it’s so amazing.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I love writing and I have some really amazing stuff for you this coming year. I hope you are encouraged and inspired to live a simple natural life.

What is your favorite post from this past year?


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Wellness Wednesday

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It’s Wednesday again!

I don’t know how these weeks are going by so quickly. Time seems to go faster with age. Hm..

I don’t have a feature today and won’t have one for a while. I’m going to suspend my Wellness Wednesday posts and link up for a bit. I may or may not pick them back up.

I enjoy sharing with y’all for a season, and will continue to do so in different ways.

My goal in life and with this blog is to empower others to live a simple natural life. To do that I need to be living it myself and sometimes simplicity means cutting things out.

Don’t worry though, I’m still here and still writing! I love it and it is a passion of mine, along with simplicity and natural living.

Thank you for being a part of Wellness Wednesday!


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Find Your Why

Find Your Why

Why do you do the things that you do?

That question is harder than it seems. It encompasses a lot. What area of life are we talking about? All of it? Part of it? Are we looking for a deep and meaningful answer? Or something just matter of fact?

In the courses and training I have pursued in blogging and my direct sales businesses (doTERRA and Jamberry), one of the main elements of success that is always taught is to “Find your Why.” Your Why drives your blog or business and helps you get through the hard parts and focus on what you truly want to share or accomplish.

As I’ve contemplated this for my various endeavors, I’ve wondered if it would be a good idea to have a Why for my role as homemaker.

Because, you know, it isn’t always easy. There are elements to being a wife and mother that aren’t so glamorous or easy. Having specific, single sentence of Why gives you a push through the hard days and into enjoying the little things.

  • Why do you scrub the toilets?
  • Why do you change that dirty diaper?
  • Why do you fold yet another load of laundry?
  • Why do you continually pick up the stray items that get strewn about the house? (again)

Not only are the Why’s of keeping the house in order important, but there are other aspects of homemaking that are worth questioning too.

  • Why real food?
  • Why natural health?
  • Why simple living?
  • Why green products?
  • Why shop local?

This seems like a lot of different things with various purposes. How can you tie it all into one sentence? Very carefully! It may take some time and thought to define your Why. But once you do it can create in you a more definite purpose.

I think it is a common struggle for people to wonder what their purpose is. Why do they need to do the things they do? What is the ultimate goal? And it is very easy to get lost in the mundane tasks of homemaking. How can sweeping the floor have a higher purpose?!

Somehow it does.

Prayerfully considering your why helps you define your identity. Ultimately your identity is in Christ. God has placed you in your role for a purpose and a reason. Ask Him to help you understand and define your Why!

Similar to creating a family mission statement, your Why drives you forward and is more personal than a family statement. Your Why can be light and simple: to create a clean and loving home in order to empower my family to go forth and be awesome.

Or it can be deep and profound: to glorify God in all I say and do in order to set a Christ-like example to my family and others. It could easily develop and change over time as well. Pick something simple to start and then as you dwell on it and find more meaning to your daily duties, adjust and redefine Why.

If you really need to you could write more than one Why. But I highly recommend keeping just one. Let that statement be your driving force to keep being the homemaker you were created to be. Once you find your Why, you will find more joy and peace in your day to day.

What is your Why?

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Your Simple Home Handbook Review

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Simplify. That sounds easy enough, right?

Easier said than done!

Have you ever tried to simplify areas of your home and then felt overwhelmed? Or your enthusiasm for simplicity wanes after you go through one closet?

I totally understand! As much as I talk about simple living and minimalism, I still struggle in some areas. (my craft supplies!) But I’m determined to make some REAL changes.

After our recent mouse debacle, I’m ready to get rid of all the extra stuff. But I’m overwhelmed with the idea of going through and purging our excess! How do I even determine what is excess?

I have found some help. A lovely blogger friend of mine has recently released an eBook called Your Simple Home Handbook. It is amazing!

In Your Simple Home Handbook, Elise gives detailed instructions on how to go about clearing out the clutter in various parts of the home. She covers Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Children, Housekeeping, and more. I particularly enjoyed her sections on Wardrobe, Kitchen, and Craft/Hobby Supplies. Those are my areas that need some help!

Not only does Elise work through the major parts of the home that collect clutter, but she gives you a variety of questions to ask yourself as you work through your stuff. She helps you decide what to keep and what to get rid of in a clear and concise way. Her suggestion to break down the simplifying process to a section at a time is very relieving. You don’t have to de-clutter the whole house at once!

It is encouraging to me to read Elise’s examples of how her and her husband simplified enough to live comfortably in a 600 sq ft cabin. But don’t think this is just for living in tiny spaces. Larger homes have more space for collecting excess!

You can read about my minimalist bathroom and my steps for spring cleaning, but those only touch the surface of simplifying your home. Your Simple Home Handbook gives concise directions and instruction on creating a breathable home.

One of her starting questions is, What are five adjectives I want to describe my home? My goal is to create a home that is cozy, open, fresh, beautiful, and free. I had some vague ideas of how to achieve that, but now I have some clear direction and steps to take to make that happen.

If you want to get your hands on a copy of Your Simple Home you can click on my affiliate link here: {click here}

I highly recommend this eBook if you are ready to simplify your home and be free from all the clutter!


 

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3 Simple Steps to Spring Cleaning your Kitchen


3 Simple Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen

Spring cleaning time! Yay or nay?

I’ve got some cleaning to do…

If you caught my post on Friday, I talked about putting a stop to the overwhelm and choosing the more important things.

I must confess; I’m still overwhelmed!

I cannot seem to get my kitchen in order. There are pots and pans and random appliances sitting out on the counter and on top of the freezer. I don’t like surface clutter! But I can’t put these items away just yet.

We recently had mice. Again. I don’t know what the deal is but we keep getting the little critters despite the traps and cat and other preventative measures. And they love to cruise around in all the cabinets and drawers leaving me little presents.

Yeah…not my favorite kind of present.

Once we were sure we had caught and disposed of the intruders I started working on cleaning the drawers out. That was three weeks ago. I still have cabinets that need cleaning!

Now this might sound like I’m being lazy. But it’s so hard for me to find the time to clean it up! It’s not something I can do while little man is running around at my ankles. I can’t do it while he naps since our home is tiny and dishes always wake him up. And by night when Hubby can keep an eye on the little man I’m just too tired to get it done.

Excuses. I’ve got to focus and get this cleaned up. It’s stressing me out!

Long story short, any time this happens, I’m ready to get rid of half the items in my kitchen. I usually end up with a box or two of things to donate. It might be more this time around. I mean really…I only need two cookie sheets.

Because I have this “issue” to clean up, and it’s spring, I’m going to make this a big spring cleaning adventure in my kitchen (and other areas of my house). It’s time to de-clutter.

There are 3 simple steps to take when it comes to Spring Cleaning your Kitchen.

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Pretty simple, right? Well, this could be a little more involved.

Keep those steps in mind and break it down just a little bit more and you can succeed at finally straightening up your kitchen! Or desk! Or laundry room!

Evaluating your clutter. For example, I have way too many coffee mugs. Yes I love coffee and I have a soft spot for cute mugs. But do I really need them all? No. I need a limit.

Get rid of the excess. I figure I only need one or two favorites that I use daily for coffee or tea. One or two big mugs for my hubby because he prefers a manly cup. And a few spare for when we have guests. Wow! I can get rid of about 15 mugs! Yikes!

Some of them I can list on eBay to see if I can get a little kick back from the original investment. (I have a lot of Starbucks mugs!) And the rest can be donated since I don’t see them to be of much value.

Organize the rest. Now I have a small number of mugs that will easily fit in my cabinet without stacking and causing a potential fall hazard. I might think of an old favorite mug from time to time, but ultimately I have what I need and life moves on.

Now, to do this with all the rest of the items in the cabinets as I clean everything. By hand. Again. That’s why I’ve been a little overwhelmed lately and it has taken me so long to get my kitchen cleaned.

But you see? It can be done. Just break it down a step at a time, cabinet at a time, and de-clutter your kitchen. There’s probably a lot that you can do without.

When was the last time you spent Spring Cleaning your Kitchen?

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