Giveaway for Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil

Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil

Giveaway for Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil

(Sorry for the bad picture!)

So here we have yet another giveaway – my first on this particular blog, in fact.  This product is from a FabFitFun box that I received a couple days ago, and posted about yesterday - FabFitFun Box!

So since this is a product for frizzy hair, and I don’t have that particular problem with my hair – I have other issues, let me assure you – I decided to have a giveaway, and see if I could get it into the hands of one lucky reader of this blog.

You can enter starting today, and this giveaway will last until next Friday – when a winner will be chosen.

So … here we are:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


FabFitFun Box!


FabFitFun box

FabFitFun box – unopened and waiting

I recently signed up for one of those “beauty box” subscription things … the kind you see all over the place, in other people’s blogs, etc.  I had been thinking how much fun it would be to get a package of goodies in the mail every so often, and be able to try some new products.  Well, I just got my first box o’ goodies from FabFitFun … it came in the mail yesterday … and it was a lot of fun!

Lots of neat treats

Lots of neat treats from FabFitFun – goodies galore!

This box is the “Best of FFF Box 2014” – some of their all-time favorite, “must have” products from seasons past.

Well, the grand total for all the items – if I had paid retail – would be $251.95.  But I got them for just $49.95

My two favorite items

My two favorite items – the apron and the peds!

My two favorite products?  The adorable retro apron from Jessie Steele, and the Great Soles Pink Ribbon Ballet Barre Ped.  This apron is so cute, and I love the vintage design.  I am so wearing this next week when I cook stuff for Thanksgiving – even if no one is there to see me wearing it!  And the socks are very cute (they have the little strap across the instep, reminiscent of ballet slippers) and very comfy – I have a tendency to put on socks when my feet get cold, but then get irritated with the socks and slip them off.  I have a hard time finding socks that don’t feel too thick, and these are nice and light feeling.  I wore them last night after my shower, and I almost forgot I had them on.  They kept my feet warm, but didn’t bother me in the least.  The apron retails for $30, and the socks retail for $12.

So here is a run down of the other products I received:

Cool cosmetics

Cool cosmetics

Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil – now I don’t have a problem with frizzy hair; in fact, quite the opposite.  So since I am not a good candidate for this product, I am going to host a giveaway for this item.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!  :)  It retails for $13.

Sonya Dakar Flash Facial – I am told that Sonya Dakar is Gwyneth Paltrow’s facialist, so I guess she must know a thing or two.  This product is an exfoliator that works in about 60 seconds.  I tried it last night before I hopped into the shower, and then rinsed it off while I was in the shower.  My skin did indeed feel soft and smooth after using it.  The bottle recommends using it daily; I will use it every other day to make it last longer, and because I don’t think I need to use it daily.  But it is good stuff.  It retails for $95 – ouch!  But so nice that I got it to try in this FitFabFun box!  :)

pur-lisse pur-protect:  This is a daily moisturizer with SPF 30 – just want my fair skin needs!  Alright, maybe its MORE than I need, considering that I live in Oregon and I won’t see the sun till Spring.  But it’s good to have SPF anyway, regardless.  It retails for $55.

More goodies!

More goodies!

KISSTIXX Lip Balm – OK, this was kinda cute; there are two tubes of lip balm in the package.  One is called Fire, the other Ice.  And you are supposed to put on one, and then have your sweetie put on the other – then you kiss.  Sadly, I will probably not get the full effect, having no one to share it with.  But that’s OK – more lip balm for me!  It retails for $5.99

FitFusion 3-Month Digital Subscription – This is new to me; FitFusion is “a digital platform that offers you tons of premium fitness video content from famous trainers.”  This card has a code for a free 3-month subscription, and you can stream the videos from your iPhone, Ipad, laptop, TV, Chrome, or Apple TV.  Too bad I don’t have any other those hi tech things.  Ok, well yeah, I have the laptop.  Guess that will be my choice.  :)  This 3-month subscription is worth $29.97 – so I guess the monthly subscription fee is $9.99.

Mary’s Gone Crackers – so this is a little taste of these vegan, organic, non-GMO, whole grain, kosher crackers.  I don’t think I can handle so much health and nutrition!  This was a little bonus item – I have no idea what it retails for.

There were two items that didn’t get included in the photos:  Zoya Nail Polish – in a cool coral color.  When I was taking photos, I guess I forgot to grab that.  It’s now in the bathroom, waiting for the next manicure session.  And there was a small travel size can of Skintimate Shave Gel.  I think that didn’t make the photo session because it went straight to the travel bag for my next trip – whenever that might be.

Well, the grand total for all the items – if I had paid retail – would be $251.95.  But I got them for just $49.95.  And it was fun – the anticipation of what was coming in the mail, the unpacking of the cute box, etc.  It takes very little to make me happy, obviously!  :)

If you want to try out FabFitFun for yourself, just click on the banner at the top of the webpage.  Also, this would make a great gift for someone!  They could be thinking about you 4 times each year, when these goodie boxes show up in their mailbox.  And each box is curated with the coming season’s coolest and fun-est products.


DIY Pillowcase with Cuff

DIY Pillowcase with Cuff

DIY Pillowcase with Cuff

Here is a great new project that I found – making pillowcases!  I have had massive amounts of fabric in a dresser for years – owing to my enthusiasm for all those projects that I was GOING TO DO for my daughters.  Well, those haven’t happened yet, and I need to do something useful with all that fabric.  And since I am needing to make a little extra money right now, I want to make several items to sell at a local Christmas bazaar that is coming up in December.  After much perusing of patterns, I have come up with an easy craft item to make and (hopefully) sell!

These are super easy, and you can tailor them to fit any theme or person

These are super easy, and you can tailor them to fit any theme or person.  Got a kid that likes Dora the Explorer, or Thomas the Tank Engine?  Want to make some pillowcases to match a certain décor, but can’t find them in the store?  No problem!

My daughter is on a “Paris” kick right now … well, Paris and England.  She is starting to change her room from a little girls room into a young preteen room.  So I made her a couple of Paris pillowcases for her bed. Here are the instructions and some photos of the actual construction of one of the pillowcases:

You will need 3 pieces of coordinating fabric; 27″ x 44″ for the main fabric, 2″ x 44″ for the insert fabric, and 9″ x 44″ for the cuff fabric.  Remove selvages from each piece of fabric, if necessary.  Fold the insert fabric in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.  Press.  You will now have a piece that is 1″ x 44″, with right side of fabric showing.  (Sorry, I didn’t get a photo of this step.)

3 coordinating fabrics

Coordinating fabric; main fabric, insert fabric, and cuff fabric

Lay out the main fabric with right side up.  Layer the folded insert fabric along the 44″ edge.  Layer the cuff fabric on top, wrong side up.  (You are sandwiching the folded insert fabric between the main fabric and the cuff fabric.)  Keep all the raw edges aligned.  If necessary, trim all fabrics to the same width.  Pin layers in place.

Sandwich the pieces together

Main fabric, right side up – then the insert fabric, then cuff fabric with wrong side up. Raw edges aligned.

Stitch all layers together with a 1/4″ seam.  Press the cuff fabric with seam toward the cuff.  Press the remaining raw edge of the cuff under 1/2″, toward the wrong side of the main fabric.  Fold the cuff to the inside, covering the raw edges of the seam.  Pin in place.  Then I always press it again, just to smooth everything out.  Sorry that it’s hard to see the 1/2″ turned up on the raw edge of the black cuff fabric.

Press seam and 1/2" allowance on cuff fabric

Press seam toward cuff fabric, then press remaining raw edge of cuff under 1/2″, toward the wrong side the main fabric.

On the right side of the cuff, topstitch 1/8″ from the cuff edge (where the insert and cuff meet), stitching through all the layers.

Top stitch 1/8" from seam of insert and cuff

Stitch 1/8″ from seam of insert and cuff, catching all the layers.

Now it’s time to stitch up the sides!  If you have a Serger machine, you can just serge the seams.  I do not, so I will show you how to do a “French seam” (fitting, yes?) to finish the pillowcase.  French seams are great, because they don’t leave any raw edges.  :)


Mission of Hope

Mission of Hope - Helping Hands

Mission of Hope – Helping Hands

Sitting here in front of the fire, with the dogs stretched out on the rug nearby, and the cats hovering close to the warmth … it’s a slow Saturday afternoon around here. It’s been cold lately …colder than normal for this time of year.  Last night’s low was about 25 degrees, and it’s now barely above freezing.  Youngest daughter and I just got back from volunteering at Mission of Hope, the food distribution ministry that our church has twice each month.  This was the first time that we volunteered there, so everything was new to us.  But it was a wonderful morning, and both of us came back anxious to volunteer again in two weeks.

We helped out with serving hot soup and cookies to the individuals and families that showed up this morning in the cold. Distribution of the food started about 10 a.m. and went until noon. but the church was open by 9 a.m. for folks to start showing up and getting in out of the cold.  We tried to make sure that everyone had something warm in their stomachs before they left with their food boxes.

By noon we were getting low on soup, and most of the folks had come and gone – taking a large box of pantry items with them, along with bags of apples, pears, onions, and tomatoes. Large squash were added to the pile as well, and a bag of frozen items like chicken strips, vegetables and soup pouches … and a large bag of tortilla chips for each family.

Then it was time for clean up, and organizing for the next food distribution in two weeks. As we were putting away carts and boxes of produce and frozen food, we were told that there were some items that needed to be used up very soon.  So we were invited to make use of some of the food that was left over.  Before long someone was pushing a cart to my car – filled with fresh produce, frozen chicken strips and beef strips, pouches of frozen soup, bags of frozen veggies, and a large box of canned items.  And I was reminded of the fact that when you answer God’s call to give of your time and energy to help others … God makes sure that you are blessed as well.

And that food from Mission of Hope is a definite blessing to us. It’s been about 5 weeks since I lost my job, and the money is getting a little tight.  Not to the point of “we don’t have money to pay our bills,” but to the point of “we have money to pay our bills, but groceries are a bit of a question mark right now.”  We still had stuff in our cupboards, but I was having to be careful about trips to the grocery store.  As I loaded the food into my car, I had tears in my eyes.  God is so good, and so faithful.

Now our freezer is full, our pantry is full … and my heart is full; full of gratitude to God, who never lets us out of the palm of His hand. Youngest daughter had asked me earlier this morning if WE would be the ones who needed to come to Mission of Hope to get food soon.  She is natural born worrier, much like her mom.  (You can read more about my thoughts on worry here:  Worry Is Useless )  I told her that I didn’t think it would come to that.  But even though you tell that to your kids, there is still that nagging “what if” that hangs out in the back of your mind.

What I know for sure is this – “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD–and he will repay you!”  (Proverbs 19:17, New Living Translation)

And here is another one of my favorite verses, one that inspires me very much:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  –  Luke 6:38

Do you have an example of when you have given to someone, and it has come back to bless you?  Please share in the comments below!  :)



Brown Sugar Pound Cake Recipe

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Old Fashioned Brown Sugar Pound Cake

OK, so you might recall me mentioning in a previous post (A Day Of My Own) that I remembered having a recipe that I loved, and that was well-loved by my family, for an Old Fashioned Brown Sugar Cake.  And that I couldn’t find said recipe, but I wanted to share it here on my blog.  Well, I went hunting and found one that is just as good, if not better!

I found it at www., and you can see the original recipe here:  Brown Sugar Pound Cake

So I made this cake over the weekend.  You may notice that the photo is not one that I took, it is the photo from the AllRecipes website.  

That’s because by the time I wanted to take a photo of my creation … half the cake had disappeared!

That’s because by the time I wanted to take a photo of my creation … half the cake had disappeared!  I mean literally … and I was to blame for most of it.

This is a great pound cake.  And I love a good pound cake.  This one has lots of butter, lots of eggs, lots of brown sugar, and lots of pecans … although I had walnuts, so that’s what I used.


Review – OZ Naturals Vitamin C Serum

OZ Naturals Vitamin C Serum

OZ Naturals Vitamin C Serum

(This product was provided to me by OZ Naturals for free, in exchange for an honest review on this website.  All opinions in this post, and on this website, are my own opinions.)

Here is my review of the second serum that I reviewed for OZ Naturals.  (You can read the other review here:  OZ Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum)

So why review two different serums?  Well, to be honest – they were both pretty similar.  I could use one or the other and be totally happy with either one.  I would consider both of them high quality, and recommend both as a part of your everyday skincare regime.  For me, the difference in the two was that the Hyaluronic Acid Serum worked to pull my moisturizer deep into the skin, and the Vitamin C Serum worked to combat the environmental hazards to my skin.

So here is the low down on the Vitamin C Serum:


Review – OZ Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum

OZ Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum

OZ Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum

(I was given this product for free by OZ Naturals in exchange for an honest review on this website.  All opinions in this post, and on this website, are my own opinions.)

Here is the second in my series of reviews for OZ Naturals – This time I reviewed the Hyaluronic Acid Serum.  You can also read my “pre-review” of this product here:  OZ Naturals Product Review Update.

So what’s the fuss about this serum?  Well, here you are …


Review – OZ Naturals Eye Gel

OZ Naturals Super Youth Eye Gel

OZ Naturals Super Youth Eye Gel

(I was provided with this product free from OZ Naturals in exchange for an honest review of their product.  The opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.)

Well, here it is … the review of the OZ Naturals Super Youth Eye Gel.  It’s taken me awhile to get around to writing this, because I wanted to give it a good, honest try-out before I posted my results.  I hate it when someone writes a review of a product without giving it a good test first.  :(  So I wrote a post about 1/2 through my testing, to give a brief idea of what I was seeing.  You can find that post here:  OZ Naturals Review Update.

So what did I think of this eye gel?  Well, first of all – I like the fact that it’s a gel.  It is cool going on, and feels smooth and soothing.  It doesn’t pull on delicate under eye skin when you are putting it on, and that’s a plus – who wants more tugging and pulling, adding to any bags or sags under your eyes?

So here’s the low down on what’s on this product:
  • OZ Naturals Super Youth Eye Gel addresses dark circles, wrinkles, sagging, puffiness and dryness.   It definitely had the sags and dark circles to work with for me.
  • It is formulated to not clog your pores, and doesn’t contain parabens, sulphates, or alcohol.
  • The active ingredients in the eye gel are 100% natural and 75% organic.  You have such things as aloe, jojoba oil, cucumber hydrosol, etc.  There is a light but definite “cucumber smell” to the eye gel.
  • The eye gel can be used multiple times per day, and works with all skin types.
  • You can even use it as an all-over face treatment, and it works great under makeup.  Just make it a part of your everyday, morning and evening skincare routine.
  • A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly.  This also helps it last longer!

I had really good results with the eye gel.  I just used it after the serum and before my moisturizer.  I saw a definite improvement in the dark circles – those have seemed to dog me for awhile; it’s somewhat hereditary, I think.  Also, I had begun to notice that there was more sagging under my eyes than there used to be – but the eye gel put a stop to that!  :)

This eye gel gets a “thumbs up” from me!  I would recommend it to anyone who needs to see some anti-aging effects around the eye area.  Here’s the link to the website for OZ Naturals:  Super Youth Eye Gel

And here’s the link to the product on the Amazon website:


Happy Marine Corps Birthday!

Marine Corps Emblem

The Eagle, Globe and Anchor

Yes, today is the day!  The United States Marine Corps turns 239 years young today.  Oorah!  :)

My husband was a Marine, so this date was always circled in red and “starred” on the calendar.  We would have my version of “mess hall chow” – S.O.S. (if you have to ask what that stands for, you’ve probably never had the pleasure of eating it), some type of over-cooked vegetable, canned peaches, etc.  :)

My girls knew the date “November 10th, 1775″ and for what it stood.  They could tell you the birthplace of the Corps – Tun Tavern, Pennsylvania.  I always thought the tavern part was rather appropriate, after I attended a few Marine Corps Balls back at Camp Pendleton before Robby and I got married.  :)

Here is the annual message from the Commandant for the 2014:  Marine Corps Birthday Message

Here is a brief history of how the Marine Corps got started, from

“On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, these first Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in March 1776, under the command of Captain (later Major) Samuel Nicholas.”

And in case you were wondering … here are the words to the Marine’s Hymn.  Come on … you know you were wondering.  :)

The first verse is probably familiar, but did you know the other verses?

From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the Shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title

Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze,
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job —

Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded

And, last but not least, the Marine’s Prayer.  My brother found this, and had it matted and framed as a present for Robby.  It hangs on the wall in the hallway, just outside the bedroom.

                      ” Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will.  Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear.  Protect my family.

      Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance.  Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

      If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

      Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.”

Both the Marine’s Hymn and the Marine’s Prayer can be found at this site, www. USMCPRESS.COM

My favorite Marine ... on our wedding day

My favorite Marine … on our wedding day


A Day of My Own

Not exactly how Outdoor School looked this week.

No, this is not how it looked at Outdoor School this week. We are in Oregon, remember?! It rained all week.

Earlier this week my youngest daughter left for Outdoor School for about three days. It was a new experience for both of us.  She hadn’t been gone for that long (2.5 days), and been that far away (2.5 hours) from me, in her whole life so far.  I had never had her be gone that long or so far away from me before in my whole life so far.  Now granted, she is my youngest, so I have had experience with kids being away for periods of time before.  Just not her.  And it’s different with each child, in my experience … so far.

So what was I doing with myself while she was gone? Well, let’s see ….

Day 2 with Youngest Daughter Gone to Outdoor School:

Didn’t set the alarm, but still woke up at exactly the same time I always do on a school day. Nuts!  Thought since Youngest Daughter wasn’t there to get up for school, maybe I could sleep in.  No such luck.  But that’s OK, I needed to get up anyway.  A whole day stretched in front of me, with nothing scheduled – no drop offs at school, no dance classes to drop off at and pick up from, etc.

Stopped for a moment to wonder what they were doing at Outdoor School this morning.

So I started laundry, then headed to the computer where I spent the morning continuing my job search – finding a few more companies to which I can apply and/or send resumes. Also, I got in some time updating this blog and checking in on Twitter and Facebook.  No, I am not addicted to either form of social media.  I can quit whenever I want.  Honest.

Made some lunch about 1 p.m. Had soup (delicious vegetable soup) and crackers.  While I ate my soup I watched a DVD I had borrowed from the library about Julia Child – it was a compilation of some of her best episodes.  Learned a few tricks and felt a little inspired.  I may try some new recipes soon.  I thought about posting a recipe I have for an Old Fashioned Brown Sugar cake that I make for holidays; everyone really likes it.  So I looked through my recipe drawer (yes, I have an actual drawer for my cookbooks and recipes), but couldn’t find it.  Oh well … I’ll have to find another recipe to share on this blog sometime soon.  That really was a great recipe, though.

Stopped for a moment to wonder what they were eating at Outdoor School.

After I was done watching Julia create in her kitchen, I gathered up that DVD and 3 others that were due back at the library and headed for town. After turning in the DVDs I chose 2 more to check out and bring home.  One was a Salsa/Reggae workout video, one was called “Now You See Me.”  When I got home I decided to clean out the car … much needed, I might add.  So I hauled the vacuum out to the garage, along with rags and Simple Green.  30 minutes later, the car was clean and fresh smelling.   Whoop whoop!

Soon all the house plants were watered, 3 loads of laundry folded and put away, garbage emptied and kitchen cleaned. Go ME!  Time to exercise – but after about 5 minutes of the Salsa/Reggae DVD I turned it off.  Not a good exercise DVD.  In fact, it was pretty terrible.  So I got one of my Zumba DVDs to work out to instead.

Stopped for a moment to wonder if they were getting a lot of exercise at Outdoor School.

Now for a little down time. It was about 5 p.m., so I settled myself on the couch and watched 3 episodes from “The Guardian, Season 1, Disc 5.”  Thank you, Netflix.  During the breaks, I cooked myself a little dinner of scrambled eggs and English muffins.  I also brewed myself a cup of tea, and left it on the counter to steep for a few minutes, going back to continue watching the final episode on the DVD.

Decided to go take shower. On my way through the kitchen I saw the cup of tea on the counter, where it had been sitting for the past hour.  Oh well, that’s what microwaves are for.  Showered and into my jammies, then scrubbed out the kitchen sink while I waited for the tea to reheat in the microwave.  Then just watched a little TV while typing out a blog post on the computer.

Stopped for a moment to wonder how Youngest Daughter was doing without TV at Outdoor School.

Not much excitement in my daily routine. But don’t tell Youngest Daughter   – I told her before she left that I would be eating pizza and ice cream every day while she was gone, in between going to movies and shopping.  :)