DIY with Essential Oils

I love my essential oils! I could name a million reasons why, but I will save that. Unless you really want to hear, but then you have to email me! Today, I want to show you the many different ways that I love to use my oils.

DIY with Essential Oils

DIY Essential Neck Wrap

DIY Essential Oils

Now this…this is one of the best creations in the world! Warm on the back of your neck at the end of a long day with the essential oil of your choice drifting up to breath in. Yes, this can be possible! Ray Ray loves to warm ours up with his favorite oil to cuddle up with when he isn't feeling good.

DIY Sugar Scrub Recipe

DIY Essential Oils

Sugar scrubs, oh my! These are heaven in a jar! I love pampering myself, yet knowing that it is all natural and pretty inexpensive. This site shows many of the recipes that I love to use!

Homemade Bath Salts

DIY Essential Oils

This goes together with the sugar scrubs. I love sitting down with a glass of wine while pampering myself. Now when I think of pamper and wine, I think of the bathtub. After a long crazy day at home, this is nice to have! Look at how simple this really is!

Eucalyptus Essential Oil Shower Melts

DIY Essential Oils

If you don't have the time to slow down and take a bath, why not make your shower a spa for the time being? Check out these super awesome shower melts! They don't require abstract items, and if you are like me, you probably already have everything you need to make these right now, check it out!

Diffuser Necklace


I love my diffusers, and some days I wish I could bring them with me! When I can't, I throw on a necklace and enjoy the same benefits from before. I love how simple the directions are for this necklace are. This is something I will soon venture to make with the kids, right now we have some cute necklaces we got from our family reunion.

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer

DIY Essential Oils

This is the newest thing I have found that works wonders for me! I love the scent in my house and I love that I can customize it to my mood. I love no chemicals and I feel good using this and letting the kids and animals roam on it! If you try any of these DIY ideas, this is the one I would tell you to try!

Moisturizing Foaming Hand Wash

DIY Essential Oils

Now this is a new one that I really want to try out. This is similar to the carpet deodorizer in that I can pick and choose my own scents and know what is really in the soap my family uses every day. I plan on making some later this week and would love to hear your favorite combos of essential oils.

These are just some of the things I make, or want to make with my essential oils. I know there many other things out there! What are some of your favorite things to make with your essential oils? I would love to know! Leave me a comment and/or link below so that I can check them out!!


God Bless


SimplyFun ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are you looking for a new family game for game night? One that is fun and requires logical thinking at the same time? Then I have the game for you! I'm reviewing The Climbing Knights, one of four of SimplyFun new releases. This game has it all!

SimplyFun The Climbing Knights Review

The Climbing Knights is a game that is recommended for 2-4 players ages 8 and up. We had no problem adding Little Miss into the game, in fact, she was our first winner! This game comes in pieces, and once it is put together it measures 29 inches tall! Even though assembly is required, it takes less than 2 minutes, for the kids to figure out!

SimplyFun The Climbing Knights Review

To play this game, you must be the fastest, smartest climber and not be caught by the guards. You have 3 dice, one for each of the 2 guards and one for you. Each turn has you moving the guards around their posts, or putting them down for nap as well as moving yourself, up or over to make it to the top of the castle. Once you reach the top, you grab your flag, and find a safe time to slide down. Once you have claimed both of your flags, you are the winner of the game!

In the process of climbing to the top of the castle (which is a magnetic castle, hello quickie science lesson) you have to make sure you are out of sight of the guards. There are ledges to hid under, but you must watch and plan your moves accordingly. If you are spotted, you must start from the ground again. This is what got the boys. They were in such a rush to reach the top, they forgot to slow down and think about the guards.

SimplyFun The Climbing Knights Review

We were excited to check out this game from the moment we got it. This was one of those reviews that I didn't have to make the kids use the product (usually happens with math), but rather I had to limit…not more than twice a day! The kids worked together to figure out how to set up the castle, getting it done in no time. That is saying something for kids who fight to work together.

Once it was put together, and we got over the fact of how really tall it was, heck, almost as tall as Little Miss and Baby Girl was trying to climb it, we went over the rules. While it was a tad confusing the first 2 times around, we got the hang of it. Once we understood the dice and how each guard was supposed to move, we were rolling! I loved watching the kids thinking about each move they made. However, I think my kids over analyze everything.

When shaking the three die, you move one guard one way, the other goes the opposite and you choose how your knight will climb, makes for a lot of thinking. Instead of playing, mom decided to supervise the first game, and I was glad that I did. When playing this game on the table, you have to stand up each time to remember which way each guard moves (there are small arrows on top), but when you are on the floor, you have no worries. After playing for more than two times, we had the movements figured out and were rocking the game.

SimplyFun The Climbing Knights Review

My kids love this game. They won't stop playing it. They are at the point where the game actually takes some time now. Each child thinks before moving. It is no longer a race to the top, but a decision on how to get to the top. They plan each move to try and stay hidden as much as possible, sometimes even skipping a turn because they don't like the placement of the guards. They are having fun and mom and dad are watching them think! We all win with this game!

SimplyFun has other games that recently released, check out the reviews from the Crew and see if you find the perfect game for your family!


SimplyFun Review


When you are done, stop by and say hi to SimplyFun on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Have you played any of these games yet? Which one is your favorite?

God Bless!!


Crew Disclaimer

5 Freezer Meals for the Week

It is the start of another week. Another week means another menu plan for the week. This week I again plan to use my freezer meals to help me provide yummy, healthy, real meals for my family with little to no prep each day from me!

5 Freezer Meals


Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Soup from Our Jolly Life

This soup is DELICIOUS!! I can say this because I have been eating it all last week! We have made this more than once because everyone in the house will eat it and it has everything we need, protein, veggies, and flavor! You can add potatoes, but we did without and loved it. Serve this with some biscuits and a nice side salad or just plain.



Baked Tortellini Casserole from Number 2 Pencil

I have yet to find a tortellini recipe that I don't like. This is sure to live up to the standard. I had two of these, but one went across the road to a new mom with a baby in the NICU. She is a tortellini lover and says that this is a hit. I am taking her word for it and looking forward to this with a ceaser salad on the side.


white chicken chili better

Crockpot White Chicken Chili from Sweet Annas

I have always wanted to try Chicken Chili, so when my mom (Gaga Bebe) made this for the freezer, I was stoked! Wednesday is our busy day and it is the one night we don't eat together so finding a meal that can sit in the crockpot is awesome. This is that meal for us. We plan to have some breadsticks with this and mommy wants another salad (everyone else is tired of salads now).



Chicken Fajitas from New Leaf Wellness

I personally love fajitas and to have them in the crockpot sounds like heaven! Thursday is the second busiest day of our week. With this meal there is no prep involved, other than throwing it in the crockpot and eating it! I can't wait to try this, as I have heard great things about the idea of cooking these that way. I can't wait to try this one out!


bacon chicken

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Rosemary from Allergy Free Cooking

The last time we had this we used real rosemary, this time we are trying dried rosemary. I am super excited to try these again as they were delicious the first time. I will be serving this with some mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

I love having all the meals prepped in one day and just heating them up the night that we need each one. This makes it very easy to feed the meals that we need to eat each day. I love using my crock pot, like this one. It makes it so nice! And these liners make the clean up even more easier (is there such a thing?)! Do you do any freezer cooking? What is your favorite recipe?


God bless!!


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliated links which mean that if you purchase from the links provided I may be compensated a small commission, as always thank you for your support!

Tips for the Picky Eater in Your House

Tips for Picky Eaters

Do you have a picky eater in your house? That one child who will only eat read food, but not green? Or the one who won't eat veggies and just fruit? There are many different stages of the picky eater, and sometimes it is not a picky eater, but a growth spurt or something more.

Tips for Picky Eaters

We have gone through the many stages of a "picky eater" in our house with all the kids. But they haven't been just picky. Moe Man has a texture issue. This has nothing to do with the actual food, but the way he was raised the first 5 years of his life. I have had to readjust my thoughts from the get go with him! This has made it easier to for me understand the other kids when they went through their phases. Right now Baby Girl is in the middle of this stage. At least with her I know she can outgrow it, where Moe Man may have to deal with this for some time.

Little Miss is the child who has given me a run for my money! She started out as a dream eater. She would eat anything and everything. She went from nursing straight to table food and skipped the baby food stage. But when she turned 2 years old, she stopped. Just quit. She would only eat hot dogs, chicken nuggets and fruit snacks. This child taught me that the saying "They will eat when they are hungry" is not a saying you tell a parent who is worried about the food that is, or isn't, going into their child!

Ray Ray has been the good eater. I don't think he has ever had an issue with food until recently. His deal right now is no chicken nuggets. He will do chicken tenders, but nuggets are out of the question! Now this kid is the kid who NEEDS sautéed mushrooms on his t-bone steak, so I will deal with the chicken nugget issue!

Now, how in the world do you "make" your child eat their food? First off, you don't make them eat anything! They won't. No matter what you think, you won't be able to make them do it. But there are some tips on how to help them change their minds about what they do and don't eat. We have tried all the tips, some of them work for one child and not the others, some worked for all the kids. It really depends on the child. You are their parent and you are the only one who knows your child the best.

The very first thing I recommend is to read the book, French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters*. This book helped open my eyes to a lot of things that we were doing wrong and showed what the French do and why their kids truly do eat so much better than we do here in the States.

After reading that book, we made some new rules for our house. Each child has their one "no-no" food. The one food that they really don't even want to take one bite of. This food is not decided upon at the beginning of each meal, not in the middle of the meal, this is something that mom and dad have taken notice of. We have sat down with that child and talked to them about it. This is Ray Ray's chicken nugget. Little Miss has her green peppers that she won't touch. This is fine by me. This is the one food per child that I will make something different for them.

Now, we also have set meals and snacks. The kids don't get to just run to the snack cupboard and grab a snack when they want to. We like to try and space the meals and snacks out so that when the important meals come along they are hungry. We aim for a snack no later than 2 hours before the next meal. Water is fine, but the actual food has to be timed just right. This has helped us, and them, to be ready to eat a real meal and not be full from the snacks.

Now, just because we know that not all kids are the same, I want to tell you want else we try to do. We are members of the "one bite" club. This club is only for those of us who will try one bite of all the foods on our plate at every meal. Now this works well with the keep having them try the same food more than once. Just like when they were babies, you need to keep trying those foods more than once before your child can really know if they like something or not.

I like to have the children at the table. Even if they don't plan on eating what you make, I still make the kids sit at the table with us. We are a family and I expect them to sit with the family at the table for supper. But to make it fun, once or twice a month, sometimes more, I allow the kids to make the Hopkins Restaurant come to life.

What does this mean? Well, the kids plan a menu, from beginning to end. They also need to plan the ingredients, and shopping. They work together to print up a menu, they decide who has what job between the server, cook and dishwasher (I make them all work together, but one person has a name each time). When I give them the chance to be in control of the food, they seem to enjoy eating it more. Funny how that works!

While all these are wonderful ideas, I know that not everyone will work with every child. How to do you help make sure that your picky eater gets to eat?


*Affiliate links may have been used in this post. That doesn't change anything for you, but does help keep this site up and running. Thank you!

Tips to Prepare Puppy for Baby

Tips for Preparing Puppy for Baby

We love our four-legged babies as much as our two-legged babies. Today I have an awesome guest post from Doug at for those of you who are bringing a new baby home soon!

tips for puppy

Things were good. Your four-legged ‘baby’ was king, and ruled the kingdom with a mix of playfulness and determination.  It was just the three of you, until now.

Suddenly, the dog’s “room” is being turned into central staging for an event that seems (to the dog) very exciting and new.  Strange new furniture is coming into the house, an abundance of tiny clothes are showing up everywhere and the couch has been taken over by a woman who gets larger every day. The dog doesn’t realize it yet, but things are about to get a whole lot worse. 

What can you do to prepare Fido for the imminent arrival of a new baby and the sudden ejection from the throne he once had?

Tips for Preparing Puppy for Baby

Teach expectations early

Don’t wait for baby to come home from the hospital before the lessons begin. Start training your dog to stay out of the baby’s room, leave baby toys alone and stay off of furniture long before the baby is born.  If you want to keep the dog from going in the baby’s room, introduce the use of baby gates or other barrier methods to keep the dog out. 

Introduce the new smells

Baby powder, diapers, baby oil – the nursery is full of new and interesting scents.  Let the dog get used to the smells before the baby arrives.  Once baby is born, send home a blanket or shirt from the hospital to help acclimate him to the particular smell of the new baby.

Include Baby and Doggie in plans

If your dog is used to heading to the park for some weekend fun, don’t be afraid to include baby in those plans. Load up a stroller and take both babies to the park for some outdoor relaxation. Find ways to include the dog in plans so he doesn’t start to feel left out and get into trouble.

Use baby noise

During the days before the baby is born, turn on baby noises to help the dog get over any anxiety or fear that they may exhibit with strange sounds.  Recordings of crying babies can prevent the dog from barking when they hear it live the first time.

Set up a schedule

Establish a definite feeding schedule for your dog: after you’ve eaten. Once the baby is at home, your first priority in the morning will be feeding the baby. Get the dog used to eating after everyone else has had breakfast. It will prevent stress for everyone! When the dog is finished eating, pick up the food bowl – even if there is food still left in it. It’s tempting to feed the dog leftovers when there is so much going on, but a new baby doesn’t change the dietary needs of the dog, no matter how cute those pumpkin doggie treats are. Make sure you know and understand what dogs can and can’t eat.   

Practice dog safety

Use a life-size baby doll to teach the dog good baby manners and behavior.  Once the baby is home, make sure you are following dog safety rules.  Never allow the dog to sit in baby equipment, such as swings and slings. Never leave the dog alone with the baby. 


Bringing home a baby can be an exciting time for everyone – including the dog. A few simple changes to the routine can have the dog ready to meet baby and start a life-long bond. 


Doug is a lifelong dog lover and has a Border Collie named Brodie. When Doug isn't out with Brodie looking for squirrels, he writes at


Where Have I Been?

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

You may have noticed that I haven't posted much this month. I am sorry. You may be wondering, where have I been. Well Let me tell you…or better yet, show you!

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

Baby Girl has arrived and added to our student body here at Hopkins Homeschool.

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

Little Miss is loving the role of big sister and has to hold Baby Girl often!

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

Ray Ray is finding out that he can do selfies with Baby Girl.

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

Great, Great Grandpa got to meet Baby Girl on his 100th birthday! 

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

And she made an appearance at his birthday party too!

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

The girls are loving having matching "Edith" hats from GaGa BeBe, my mom. (check out the Facebook page for some other fun creations she has made).

Baby Girl ~ Where Have I Been

I can't wait to get back into a schedule, both on the blog and in the house!


Snake Oil Party Potion ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Game nights are a fun time of bonding and laughing together. When Out of the Box Games let us play their Snake Oil – Party Potion for this review, we were excited! But the fun we got out of this game was more than we bargained for!

Snake Oil Party Potion - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What It Is

Snake Oil – Potion Party is a physical game for ages 8+. This is for 3-6 players and only takes about 5 minutes to learn how to play. A game can last 20-30 minutes, depending on how you play…

The rules that come with the game are fun and easy to understand. You have your customer cards (who you need to sell the oil to) and you have your word cards that you combine two words together to make your item you want to pitch to your customer.

Snake Oil Party Potion - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

During your first round, one player gets to be the customer, they pick a card out of the customer pile, and take on the role of that customer. Once the other players have chosen two of the six cards from their pile, they go and pitch their item to the customer as best as they can to get the customer to pick their item over the rest.

The customer picks the “winner” of the round and then you get to move on to the next round with a new customer and a new set of words.

The best part about this game, the option to make a variation if it is needed!

How We Used It

Since we were playing with little ones who were much younger than the recommended age, we did a variation on our end of how we played the game. We kept the main idea of the game, but we had one person designated to be our customer, daddy. Daddy would pick the customer we was going to be for that round, and let us know. We (meaning the kids) would get their cards, and I would help them decide what to make up to sell to the customer.

Snake Oil Party Potion - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Little Miss hung out for the first round, where our customer was a dad, ironic, and she was able to sell him a Discipline Bubble…to keep those naughty kids in when they won’t listen.

Snake Oil Party Potion - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

We had planned on having 3 rounds, which would give each child the chance to win once, but after those three rounds, the boys were begging for more time.

What We Thought

Well, I thought we would have fun, I didn’t realize how much fun we would have. The boys kept begging for another round, and everyone was laughing the entire time. I would never have told my kids that they were learning while we were playing this game. Why would I ruin that for them 🙂

Little Miss was a little too little for this, she did well for one round, and I was happy with that. Since she was way under the recommended age, I wasn’t too worried…however, Ray Ray. He is my little salesperson! I didn’t know how long he would last, but this kid can sell! Who else would try to sell a trumpet trampoline to a clown or a how about a magic bucket to a wizard? He could take any two words and make it work into whatever that customer was after!

Snake Oil Party Potion - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Moe Man loved the game, but has a fear of public speaking and thinking fast on his feet. It didn’t matter how easy it was, he would clam up and have a hard time. I loved that he wanted to play and that we could work on the speaking fear as a family and in a fun way.

Snake Oil Party Potion - A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Out of the Box Games has another, original Snake Oil game also. I can’t wait to read what the other wonderful reviewers have said about both of these games. Why don’t you hop on over and see what everyone is talking about!


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Treasure Hunts for Kids ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Do your children love scavenger/treasure hunts as much as mine? Do you need a way to get your kids to actively focus or learn something? Need some fun play date or birthday party ideas? Well let me tell you a little about Clued In Kids! We were able to play with their Homework Reward Treasure Hunt ($5.99) and the Princess Treasure Hunt ($8.99) at our house.

Clued in Kids Review

What Is It

These treasure hunts are nothing but fun! My kids, all three of them had fun with them…but Moe Man won’t admit to it, being 14 and all 🙂 Little Miss was thrilled the day we received “her” Princess Treasure Hunt in the mail. I decided to take a break from our day to set this up for all the kids. The boys were told to “help” their sister and work on the hard parts that she couldn’t do. The age range was 4 and up and there was some writing that was involved, so I wanted her to have help. Even though it was a princess theme, the boys joined in and helped out.

Clued in Kids Review

Each clue is printed up, either from the PDF version, like the Homework Reward Treasure Hunt, or pre-printed like the Princess Treasure Hunt. On each clue there is an activity that will lead the child(ren) into the direction of the next clue. The bottom of each clue gives the “hunt leader” the directions as to where to hide the next clue, hello easy for mom or dad!

Clued in Kids Review

As the kids keep completing the clues, they are working on their thinking skills…going through mazes, solving riddles and figuring out coded messages. There are even some fun(ner) things added in like making paper airplanes, or balancing a book on your head to show your “princess posture”.

Clued in Kids Review

The treasure part of the treasure hunt is left up to you. You can pick and choose how big or small these treasures are. We did our afternoon snack with the homework hunt and money for the princess hunt. I loved being able to decide what I wanted to give to the kids. I love that I could adapt to make smaller gifts for more kids if I had done this with a birthday party group or play date group.

Clued in Kids Review

How We Used This

I was impressed when we got our preprinted copy of the Princess Treasure Hunt Clue Pad. The colors were beautiful and everything was ready for me to hide right away. I didn’t have to plan, I didn’t have to organize anything or even go out and purchase anything crazy to make this work for the kids. I opened it, sent the kids outside to play and put all the clues where they needed to be and the treasure at the end. After calling them back into the house, I laid down the rules…my own; 1. No fighting over the clues, 2. Take turns finding the clues, 3. Share the treasure. And I handed them the first clue!

Princess Treasure Hunt

I watched as all three kids, yes, 14 year old tough guy included, raced through the house in search of the next clue. I was not allowed to take pictures of Moe Man, but he was involved in everything!

Homework Reward Treasure Hunt

Our Homework Reward hunt was used as a reward after a rough day of school. This could be used for any type of school…it is not geared toward homeschool at all! Once again I sent the kids out of the house, but had to make sure they didn’t see me going to the mail box this time. With the PDF printable I had to print the clues this time. There were two on the sheet and I used my paper cutter to slice them in half. Still, super simple set up for me! We used the same rules as the first time and the kids had just as much fun!

What We Thought About This

The kids were highly disappointed that I only had two of these treasure hunts! They would do them all day if I let them. I loved how simple they were to put together. The kids loved how much fun they had with them! There was an equal love on all sides! These will work for any house and any family. Our family gives these treasure hunts an A++

There are many treasure hunts available, I hope that you will head over and read the other reviews with me!

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Under Drake’s Flag Audio Drama ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review


History is brought to life for your kids when you listen to the story of Ned Hawkshaw in the audio drama of Under Drake’s Flag from Heirloom Audio Productions.

What It Is

Under Drake’s Flag is a 2 CD disk set that has over 2 hours of non-stop adventure for your kids to listen to. There is also a study guide included to go along with the CDs. There are listening well questions, thinking further questions and defining words. This simple little guide is just what you need to help drive home what you are listening to.

This is not a full history curriculum, it is just a supplement to go along with what you are learning. This is a fun way to add adventure without mom or dad needing to read out loud all the time. Not only do you get to hear adventure, but add in some courage, determination, virtue and character and you have a lot you can talk about after your done listening!

How We Used This

I used this in two different ways at two different times. First of all, we were busy with finishing up some history timelines and art projects. I wanted “noise” while we were doing this, but didn’t want the TV on, so I put this in the CD player. I did not prep the kids, I didn’t tell them what it was, I didn’t make them sit and listen. But within 5 minutes I had all their attentions and they were paying a lot of attention to the story while working. It was a very quiet house during that time and I got yelled at when I turned it off when we moved on to the next subjects. I can say, they were very happy to have the chance to finish listening to the story later in the day!

The second time I used this CD, I had the kids sitting down and told them we were going to listen to it. Each of the kids had something to color or draw so they could keep their hands busy while they listened.

As each section went by, we would pause the CD and talk about what we had just heard. We would go over the listening well questions to see what they could remember and I had Moe Man looking up the defining words and explain them to us. This not only allowed all of us to understand the words, but Moe Man learned how to search the words and had to speak out loud for us to hear him clearly.

The second listening of the story lasted for just shy of a week. We broke it down into different days (since we were answering questions and looking up words). Since we had already heard the story, it was easier for us to dig deeper into it.

How We Felt About It

The kids loved this story! Little Miss wasn’t too thrilled, but it is recommended for ages 6 to adult, so I understand that on her part. The boys, couldn’t get enough of it! They enjoyed it from the first time I put it in the player. Ray Ray kept asking me if this stuff really happened. I had to tell him probably, but we don’t know what people really said, so this is our best guess. He loved it the most, and being my adventure child, I see why.

This story hits the mark on an attention grabbing story with all the effects of a TV show without the screen. You have the people, the sound effects, and every little detail. It is very well done and prepared. You can tell their goal was to capture the child, or adult, and show them that their minds can make the picture instead of having to stare at a screen to get the picture. I love having the option of having stories without a screen for the kids, and have found some stories that are interesting…but nothing with the quality of an actual TV show that makes my kids stop and listen. Well, now we have! And I can’t wait for Heirloom Audio Productions to come out with their next adventure!

For the price of $29.95 for the two CDs and small study guide, I think this is a good price. You get an actual product, and don’t have to download or burn it yourself. Add in the fact of the quality of the story, I can’t find anything wrong with what they are asking. It is worth every penny!

Make sure to stop by and see what these other families thought of this super fun adventure!

Under Drake's Flag Reviews
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