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Butterfly Express Essential Oils  This is where I buy my Essential Oils.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils of the highest quality, but they are priced affordably because they cut out all of the "middle men," and because the owners seek only to make a modest living so that their customers really can get the best price available and they can help as many people as possible. The oils are not only as potent as higher priced, popular oil companies', but often I have found them to be more potent and effective.  They also have a large selection of individual and pre-mixed herbs and tinctures, as well as accessories.

 Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide  This is the first book I checked out from the library when I first began searching for more natural health pathways.  It is educational and informative, and a perfect introduction to anyone wanting to test the waters with herbal medicine.  Butterfly Express has a great herbal book that goes into more detail, and has a whole pantheon of recipes for various ailments for those who are getting a bit more advanced, but Rosemary Gladstar's book is the perfect place to start.

God's Psychiatry by Charles L. Allen.  This book has been life changing for me. As a Pastoral Counselor, Mr. Allen has a great deal of insight into what can help Christians with feelings of depression and anxiety. I really do believe there is a place for psychiatry and psychology, but I also believe that many suffer from emotional issues that can be helped without medication.  Use your best judgment, and seek counsel from those you trust when trying to decide which road or path to take for your mental health.

Helping Yourself With Foot Reflexology by Mildred Carter.  This book, first published in the 1960s, is out of print.  But thanks to Amazon, used copies abound, and usually at affordable prices.  If the link doesn't work, go ahead and search for it, because there are several listings. Ms. Carter believes that when God created man, he put nerve endings in the bottom of the feet that correlate with the organs and systems of the body. He designed us so that as we walked barefoot, as Adam and Eve did, we would trigger those nerves which would send signals to those systems in the body to "wake them up," if you will.  In this book, she gives insight into what parts of the foot correlate to which organs and systems and instructs how to use foot massage to trigger those points.

The Good and the Beautiful Curriculum We are not homeschooling at this time, but have used The Good and The Beautiful language arts curriculum during school breaks, and book list for reading at home. If I ever work up the courage to jump in to homeschooling, this curriculum is what I plan on using for language arts because it is so amazing, and I also am impressed with the History curriculum as well.  Jenny Phillips, the creator of the curriculum, is LDS (Mormon), but most of the families that use the curriculum are not.  She went out of her way to make sure that the curriculum represents a non-denominational Christian and Biblical worldview.  If you are concerned, the Language Arts curriculum is FREE in .pdf form, so you can download it and preview it to make sure it jives with your beliefs. You can then either print it yourself, or purchase the workbooks from the site (which is significantly cheaper for most people).

Math Inspirations Another homeschooling resource that I use to supplement at home, but plan on using more if I ever make the leap.  The idea behind Math Inspirations is that kids need to discover math on their own. They really emphasize playing logic games to get your kids thinking mathematically and independently.  The free starter kit includes their math and logic games book and a few training videos, and is worth the time even if you can't purchase their entire training.

Norwex I absolutely love my Norwex microfiber products. Many of their other products can be found cheaper from other sellers, but no one makes microfiber like Norwex. The EnviroclothWindow Cloth, and Body Cloth have been game changers for my family in trying to eliminate toxic chemicals in our lives, because they clean using just water.  They have also saved us money in the long run because I haven't bought cleaning supplies in over a year.

Health E Options, LLC If you live in or near Southwest Idaho, Pat Jensen is a MIRACLE WORKER.  She practices most days out of Meridian, but also works one day a week in Emmett.  She is a Licenced Practical Nurse AND a Licenced Massage Therapist.  She specializes in restorative body work, and does so through manipulation. I had suffered for five years after my second child was born with hip and lower back issues. Chiropractors helped short-term, but I always had to keep coming back, and things kept getting worse over time.  Pat got my hips back in place and after two sessions they stayed that way for over six months until I did something not too bright (never underestimate the weight of a shipping pallet, guys). She also taught me stretches and exercises to help keep them in place in the future, and fixed some chronic wrist issues I had been having. I highly recommend her for anyone with pain!

Some of the links above are affiliate links, for which I do receive compensation. Some of the links are not affiliate links, and I do not receive compensation.  All links are to products and resources I use and love, otherwise I would not share them.


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Christmas Planning Part II: Our Christmas Gift Philosophy

It is very easy around the Holidays to get caught up in the "magic" of Christmas. And what could be more magical than a giant pile of presents under the tree, right? While this may paint a lovely picture, it can't always be the reality financially. And even if you can swing it for one year, it might set up an expectation or precedent for years to come. Years that might not be as abundant. In our family, we have decided to shift the focus as much as we can from getting and gifts, to giving, making memories, and traditions (more on that to come).  We still give gifts, but we have pared it down quite a bit to make it more manageable.

We have settled on giving our kids 4 presents each year, based around the following rhyme shared with me by a friend: "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read." I can already hear your brains ticking, "Do you seriously only give your kids ONE TOY at Christmas?" Well, no. These are the fo…

Christmas Planning Part III: Emphasizing Traditions and Memories

We have all been brainwashed.  We have been taught by society at large that the most important things in our lives are, well, THINGS.  And that those THINGS make us happy.  This idea is promulgated more around Christmas time than any other time of the year.  So, in order to make a simpler, less expensive Christmas possible, we have to shift our focus from THINGS to something else.  What do we focus on instead? Traditions and Memories. This goes hand in hand with my life philosophy that experiences are more important than stuff.  Here are a few ideas for simple, inexpensive traditions, and a few ways to make Christmas memories with your families.  

Our family acts out the Nativity each year at my mother's home, sometime the week before Christmas. My mother has a nice manger that we use, and we all dress in costume (think bathrobes, sheets, and towels) , read Luke II, and act it out. Since our family is smaller, we all get to take turns playing different roles. The boys oft…

Christmas Planning Part IV: Paying for Christmas

While scaling back can take a big chunk out of the burden of paying for Christmas, the burden won't be completely gone. We still have to buy gifts or materials to make them, and we want to do fun things around Christmas that sometimes cost money. Since I don't advocate going into credit card debt for anything short of the most dire emergencies, here are a couple suggestions on how to pay for Christmas. One way we have done it in the past is to set up an extra savings account at our credit union and transfer $10-$20 a paycheck into it depending on what we can afford. If things are really tight, we sometimes only move over $5. If we have a windfall (such as a bonus or tax return) we will take a portion of that money and add it to the Christmas account as well. This Christmas account pays for both gifts AND activities thorough the Christmas season.

I know someone that insists that they are too poor to save even a few dollars a pay check, so they put everything they buy for Christm…