DIY All Natural Relaxing, Lavendar Massage Oil

We are a very active family and we occasionally have some sore muscles. Okay, that was a lie…it is definitely more than occasionally.

Our big kids are both very active in sports and often have sore muscles.  Plus, as we get older we find that we get sore muscles from the simplest of things.   I am always happy to try and help my family feel better so I was always willing to try and massage out the muscle pain. I’m not big on lotions and oils though because they have countless ingredients that I cannot even pronounce.  I was looking for a good alternative, when I thought why not make my own homemade massage oil?  Because it’s what I had on hand, I decided to use coconut oil and Lavender essential oils to create an oil/paste to use for those sore muscles.  I

My husband had a muscle injury last year that I like to massage for him so I figured who better to check out the new massage oil on.  The verdict?  It’s a hit.  Because it is oil based, it helps make it easier to massage.  Plus, it is all organic so I don’t have to worry about the chemicals that are seeping into our bodies.   Lavender is known for its relaxation qualities so we used that to help relax the muscles and ourselves (I find it useful for sleep).

Here’s how I created this All Natural Massage Oil:

I mix them together into a paste and that’s it.  It’s time to massage.

 

I have also decided that I’m going to be creating this for gifts for this year’s holiday season, so I just ordered these containers to put them in.

 

 

While it does depend on personal experience, I always end up with 2-3 uses with this amount.

 

Our Camp 18 Experience

Over the last couple of years we have been trying to do a lot of traveling on a budget.  That means that we have been taking a lot of local/semi local road trips and exploring the super awesome stuff that Oregon has to offer.  I plan to talk about some of our many adventures, so I figured why not start with Camp 18 Restaurant.

We took a small trip to Seaside this week and we had a blast, but we were wanting to explore outside of the area as well and my in-laws had recommended that we go to Camp 18 Restaurant.

Camp 18 Restaurant is logging themed restaurant located on Hwy 26 which connects Portland to Seaside.  It took us about 25 minutes to get from Seaside to the restaurant.  Camp 18 is located in a Log Cabin Style structure that is amazing in itself.  It was built in the 70’s by Gordon Smith and features authentic materials such as an 85 foot (4 foot in diameter) ridgepole that is the largest that you will find throughout the country.  It is simply amazing.  We couldn’t stop looking at it throughout our meal.

Our meal, oh my goodness, where to begin.  My son and I each ordered a cheeseburger.  They were absolutely delicious and so much food.  My one complaint is that they were messy!  The fries were cooked just right, not too greasy or salty.  My husband had the clubhouse sandwich, which was probably the best one I have ever tasted (he shared a bite with me).  My daughter ordered the biscuits and gravy breakfast (served until 2) and they came out with 2 plates of food for her!  The biscuits and gravy on one plate; eggs, bacon and sausage on the other and she ate every last bite.  I didn’t taste her food, but she says it was delicious.

The food prices were pretty much what I expected.  For the 4 of us to eat (baby doesn’t get his own meals yet), it was around $50 with drinks.

The adorable little old ladies at the table next to us had one of the famous cinnamon rolls delivered to them once their meal was done and wow!  The one cinnamon roll took up the entire plate and it smelled delish!  We were too full to even consider it, but I can’t say that we will pass next time.

The outside of the restaurant was almost as exciting as the restaurant itself.  They have lots of authentic and antique logging equipment, train cars, etc.  They even have a little hiking trail.  Luckily we went on a beautiful day in May so we got to stroll around and check everything out and even went hiking. 🙂 (okay, it’s only 3/10 of a mile, but it’s beautiful!).

If you are traveling from Portland to Seaside, definitely consider stopping by and if you are going to be in the Seaside area, head East and have fun!

 

What’s For Dinner? Lettuce Wrapped Turkey Burgers

Healthy-Turkey-Burgers

We are a family that is trying to get healthy!  Several years ago, I lost almost 40 pounds and while I kept it off for a while, I did have another baby and life happened.  Now I am back to working on getting the weight back off.  When I lost weight before, one major change I made was reducing the amount of complex carbs (breads, sugars, etc) that I eat.

Here is one of my favorite recipes that was a staple for the first time around and will be again!

Lettuce Wrapped Turkey Burgers

I mix the following ingredients to create my turkey burgers:

  • Ground Turkey – 16 ounce package
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Tapatio sauce (yep..I like my burgers spicy)

Mix ingredients together and cook over medium heat.  Wrap in a leaf of Romaine Lettuce and serve with your favorite toppings.

*My burgers are topped with a thin slice of cheddar, tomatoes, peppercinis, mustard and occasionally ketchup.

 

 

My First Reiki Experience….I Loved It!

reiki

For years now I have been a big believer in alternative treatments.  I suffer from horrible migraines and have visited countless chiropractors and naturopathic doctors to help.  I have experienced pretty decent results from those treatments, but over the weekend was suffering from a horrible migraine and spent a majority of my day Saturday in bed.

My husband’s family often gets together to make a trip to the cemetery on Memorial Day and I didn’t want to miss that, so I decided I was going to suck it up and deal with the headache.  While at the get together, my uncle-in-law could see that I wasn’t feeling well and offered to perform a “Reiki Massage” on me.  I had no idea what that was so I politely declined.  He pushed on and explained to me what it was and frankly at this point I was desperate and ready to go home, so I conceded.  I have absolutely no regrets that I let him show me what Reiki was all about!

I finished the massage feeling more relaxed then I have ever felt in my life and honestly  my headache was almost gone.  The relaxation continued well into the night and I woke up completely refreshed.  I am now very intrigued and plan to study up on Reiki and teach myself some meditative tricks!  I loved it!

Do you have any experience with Reiki or other alternative treatments?

 

(This was several years ago, but I have only learned to love Reiki even more since then)  Have you tried it out?

How We Paid Half Price on Our Home & Paid Off Our Mortgage in Less Than 6 Years

Everyone wants to be debt free, right?  I know we do.  We’ve been in the debt spiral before.  Up to our eyeballs in bills with not enough income coming in.  Sure we did some things to ourselves (spent too much, etc), but we also had some stuff happen to us that was completely unexpected (disability).  Anyway…it took us a long time to climb out of that hole and we were determined to never let that happen again.  So since those days we have been trying to live as simply as possible while working toward being debt free and one of those goals for us was to own a home outright.  That’s right, no mortgage.   Sounds crazy right?  But guess what?  In less than 6 years, we have accomplished that goal!

Here is our mortgage portion of our debt free journey…

Living in a rental was driving us crazy.  We are the type of family that loves to have their own space, if I wanted to paint the walls I wanted to be able to do that.  If I wanted to plant a garden, I wanted to be able to do that too.  The fact is we simply wanted to start paying toward something of our very own that we could create a home with for our family.  The real estate prices in our area during this time were skyrocketing and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay $1000+ per month for a place to live, especially since we had experienced disability before.  We never wanted to be in the position that we couldn’t afford our house payment.

We began discussing the desire to buy a home and started keeping track of the real estate ads in the local newspaper and on Craigslist and I even become a stalker of the local Multiple Listing Service website.  We just weren’t seeing anything in our area in the price range that we were looking for.  So, one day we decided to simply drive around the area and see if we could spot any for sale signs.  We did see several, but we also saw what appeared to be an empty house with an overgrown yard and no signs that anyone had been there for a while.  We decided to keep an eye on the property for a week or so and we drove by daily to see if we could spot anyone there.  When it became apparent that no one lived there, I began to do a little bit of digging to find out who owned the property.  I went on to our county website and researched the tax records to find the owner and I decided to write them a letter.

I initially wrote a letter to the lady listed on the tax records and in my letter I stated that it appeared as though the home was empty and I asked if she was interested in selling it.  I got a response about a week later from that same woman stating that she was about to lose the home in tax foreclosure and it wasn’t in great shape so she didn’t think we would be interested.  In my next correspondence I stated that I was, in fact, interested and asked for permission to go onto the property and check it out.  She was right.  It was not in good shape, but we have never been the type to shy away from hard work.

We decided that we wanted to move forward and we offered her half of the home’s (county appraised) value, but since the house couldn’t be financed due to its condition, she also needed to carry the contract for us.  Again, the home was about to enter Tax Foreclosure, so we set a plan to pay the taxes of $2500, taking that away from the price we offered her.  Also, because of the work that needed to be done on the house we requested the first 8 months to be mortgage free.  Because she didn’t have the money to pay the taxes or do anything with the house, she was more than agreeable to our offer.  Not only was she no longer going to have a tax foreclosure looming, she was able to relax a little bit and now she would now be receiving a monthly check.  She was thrilled and quite thankful that we happened to drive by the house that day.

It is now six years later and guess what?  We just sent in our last payment!  Remember that 8 month delay?  That means that we have actually paid off our home in just 5 years and 4 months!  I don’t know about you, but I know very few people who are mortgage free and this is a goal that I never knew I would reach in my lifetime.   As a mom, I love having the peace of mind in knowing that no matter what, we have a home forever and my children always have a home to come back to.  No worries about what may happen in case of unemployment or disability because my home does not belong to the bank and no one can take it from me now that I have this deed in hand.  Of course we still need to make that property tax payment every year, but believe me, when you compare that with a monthly mortgage or rent payment, it’s nothing.

We aren’t done yet though, hubby and I are looking for a new deal to work on!  And p.s…I still stalk the MLS website.

 

Frugal Fitness: Hiking, Nature’s Best Workout! My 3 Favorite Oregon Trails


favorite oregon hikes

I have been on a mission to be healthy.  My mission started just about a year ago and since then I have lost about 30 pounds and I feel great!  I am now more focused on a healthy life rather than the numbers on the scale.  I also want to share this healthy lifestyle with my children so that it is ingrained into them to love living healthy, rather than dreading exercise.  I have no desire to leave my children at a daycare or sitter while I hit the gym, I want them to be a part of it.

One way we have found to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into our family is by hiking.  We take family hikes often (we try for 2 weekends per month).  This is a mostly free and awesome way to get a great workout, experience new places and have fun with the entire family!  We love to pack a healthy lunch (nuts, apples and PB, sandwiches for the kids) and head out for the day.

We live in Oregon and have what I was surprised to find to be an endless supply of hiking trails near us.  We are making an attempt to try them all.  Here are my favorite three so far:

Drift Creek Falls

drift creek2

I absolutely loved this Drift Creek Falls hike.  There were some moderately difficult parts of this trail, but it was still easy enough for our children to go on the full hike with us.  They are 6 and 10.  This hike was about 3 miles and took us about 2.5 hours in and back (that was counting the time we took to stop and have lunch) and was absolutely worth the views!  These falls were amazing and I just fell in love with the suspension bridge that you have to cross.

Silver Creek Falls

silver creek falls

Silver Falls State Park offers 25+ miles of hiking and if you are a waterfall enthusiast, you will not be disappointed.  There are 10 falls along the complete trail.  There are many routes you can take to make this hike as long or as short as you want.   We went to Silver Falls twice last summer doing separate trails each time and we will definitely be going back this year!

There is even a great swimming hole for the kiddos (or adults) to cool off in at the end of the hike!

silver falls swimming hole

(our kids cooling off after a long hike at Silver Creek Falls)

Peavy Arboretum

 peavy

(Our kiddos posing at just one of the neat sights at Peavy Arboretum)

No grand waterfalls here, just lots and lots of trails featuring beautiful plants, trees and more!  We just finished our third hike at Peavy Arboretum this last weekend and we still have so many new trails to hit!  It is gorgeous and perfect for all levels of hikers.  Some of the trails are finished and maintained forest roads, while others are more obscure and difficult.

To make things even better this trail happens to be less than a 30 minute drive from my house, which I love!

 

This year’s hiking trips have just recently started for us, but at the end of last summer my legs were in great shape and I was in pretty good shape.  I know that hiking had a lot to do with that.   The calories burned during hiking is higher than your typical workout too.  A 150 pound person who hikes with a backpack for 90 minutes will burn over 750 calories!

Another awesome benefit to hiking is the low cost!  Besides the cost of gas and snacks we had to pay only $5 to park at two of the trails (Silver Creek Falls and Drift Creek Falls)!  Compare that to the cost of a gym membership and besides the lower cost, you will likely get a better workout and a much better experience!

He Says, She Says: The Best Cardio Workout Playlists

As I have mentioned before, we, as a family, have been working hard to become healthier.  Together as a couple, we have lost over 100 pounds in the last couple of years.  Diet, exercise and overall lifestyle changes have helped with our success.  (I have had a baby this last year though…so I have some work to do again)

We workout a lot, both cardio and weights and we both LOVE listening to music during our workout.  It should also be noted that we do not have  gym membership, we use at home equipment and we love to hit the road walking and running and hit the trails hiking.

These are our favorite cardio playlists:

She Says:

He Says:

You can either buy these songs separately or, you can sign up for Amazon Unlimited and have virtually endless music options to listen to!

 

Do you have any favorites that you would add to these lists?

 

 

Giveaway: “Dogs are Family” Print

Do you have a dog at home that you consider part of your family?  We have two dogs here that we love love love!  Both of our canine kids are Staffordshire Terriers (also known as the “Nanny Dog”) and they love our children beyond we could have ever imagined.  Because of our family connection to our pups, this Dogs are Family print from Charlie’s Mercantile really caught my attention and I knew we needed it in our home!  Because I love it so much, I decided to offer one to one lucky ready as well!

Oh…and p.s. if you love dogs and you love personalized gifts, go follow Charlie’s Mercantile on Facebook!! You are going to love her creations!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A little bit about the creator:

Amy Atkins from Charlie’s Mercantile “Charlie’s Mercantile wants to inspire you to add some color to your home decor. Each print is inspired by the love of colors and simple shapes and designed in Durham, North Carolina. Charlie’s Mercantile story is a positive one. In 2013, I moved across the country, lost my brother to cancer, and got a new puppy within a 2 week period. My new puppy, Fonda, really saved me in my new life. She reminded me to live outdoors and take time to play. Soon I became a dog sitter and I began to process my grief creativity and started enjoying the brighter side of life again. Dogs are truly a wonderful gift. My journey on Etsy started with a shop called ‘Siblings Matter’ in 2013 and has evolved into Charlie’s Mercantile. My other dog, Charlie, was Mrs. Charlie at the rescue. Charlie is also my brother’s middle name. Seems like you don’t have to look too far to find a Charlie somewhere:) Charlie’s Mercantile offers personalized gifts for your home, dog prints, and house warming gifts. We all deserve a personalized gift in our home. Let me know what I can create for you. “

My 30 Day Burpee Challenge – Want to Join?

Burpee Challenge

So, almost a year after having a baby, I am finally ready to get my butt back in shape!  My dreamy husband being the rockstar personal trainer and health coach that he is, is helping me and I am already making progress (7 pounds down!!).

I’ve decided to add in some dreaded burpees to my regular workout, but since I haven’t done them in forever I am taking it in slowly.  Does anyone want to join me in my 30 Day Burpee Challenge?  Check out the graphic above to easily follow along.

Let me know how it’s going!!

11 Fun, DIY Backyard Projects that You Can Do This Year!

Do you want to spruce up your yard and/or patio for the nice weather this year? Are you wanting to try out some new DIY projects? Check out this cute and (mostly) easy DIY Backyard projects! I think I might try a couple of these out with my kids.

1. DIY Outdoor Cinder Block Bench

2. DIY Pallet Planter Box

3. Terracotta Pot Table

4. DIY Garden Markers

5. Patio Bench Refinishing Project

6. Fairy Garden

7. Easy, DIY Splash Pad

8. Backyard Obstacle Course

9. DIY Pool Noodle Games

10. DIY Rope Swing

11. DIY Container Garden