Saturday, January 19, 2013

Homemade Hand Lotion

Back in December I received an email from my cousin containing a recipe for homemade hand lotion. Now, my hands get pretty dry in the winter, so I kept the recipe thinking it might be worth a try. A few days ago I finally got around to gathering the ingredients and making a batch. Let me tell you…this is GREAT lotion!! Not only do my hands feel wonderful, it lasts through a couple of hand washings as well! I did halve her original recipe,  and my recipe still fills a quart jar. Here is the recipe if you want to give it a try.

Homemade Hand Lotion

8 oz. jar of vitamin E cream
15 oz. baby lotion (I used the nighttime variety because I love the lavender scent)
½ of a 7.5 oz. jar of petroleum jelly
A few drops of essential oil if desired

Simply soften the petroleum jelly for about 30 seconds in the microwave and then whisk all the ingredients together.

As I said, I love lavender, so I added some lavender essential oil to boost the scent. My vitamin E cream was yellow, so the hand lotion has a buttery hue to it, which I rather like. This lotion goes on with a slight greasy feel, but that goes away very quickly.

Enjoy ~Marla

Friday, January 18, 2013

Multigenerational Living

I promised in my last post to give you a little more insight to the growing trend of multigenerational families. First let me say, this is not my first experience living in a multigenerational home.

When we moved into our current home in 2001 it was specifically in order to move my mother in with us. Her health was failing and we felt she needed additional care. We found this home to be ideal for two families living together. With 3 living areas, 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, a HUGE storage room, and a large game room that could really be whatever we needed it to be, the home could easily accommodate several people without feeling like we were constantly bumping into one another.

Our experience was one I will always cherish. I loved having my mom with me. My husband, always gracious, enjoyed it as well. Our children learned an important lesson about sacrificing for the ones we love and taking care of our elders. In fact my daughter often talks of the impact it had on her growing up, watching me take care of my mother. This is something she wants to instill in her own children…a love of family. I admit that I am honored my children want to be physically close to us as adults.

But what do the experts say about this? Surely it can’t be good for our relationships to all be under one roof! Well, actually, it can be. Studies show that 75% to 80% of families find they actually grow closer and have better relationships in a multi-generational household. Why? The following excerpt from Ladies Home Journal may provide some insight.

In a multigenerational household, seniors find respite from loneliness, kids learn history firsthand, and those sandwiched in between get reliable childcare, help with bills and chores -- and a little less squeezed by modern life. "They're realizing families are stronger together than apart," says Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on intergenerational cooperation.

So what are we doing to make this work for us? 
·        We sat down and discussed how things would work ahead of time. This included designation of living areas, private areas, chore delegation, parking, how bills would be divided, etc.
·        We wrote it all down! Yes, we have a “Roommate Agreement” a la Big Bang Theory! Actually it helps prevent misunderstandings and serves as a resource if something comes up at a later date.
·        We have designated private areas. We have private bedrooms and bathrooms for each “family.”
·        We have designated living areas for each “family.” This allows for personal decorating and even added privacy.
·        We respect each other’s privacy. We knock. As parents, my husband and I are more than happy to have our kids plunk down on a sofa and watch TV with us. But I always ask before doing the same with them. As a younger couple, without children, they are used to a little more privacy.
·        We have a designated cook…me! Luckily I love to cook and am happy to do it. I post a menu and try to stick to it. Of course my son-in-law likes to grill, so that will give me some nice breaks in warmer weather.
·        We communicate. I am working on this one…but generally things should be addressed immediately to avoid further problems.

The list above is not at all conclusive, but it does give a little insight to how we are handling our changing lifestyle. Keep an eye out and I will post updates occasionally on how we are doing.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Baby Changes Everything

I am having a lot of difficulty with today’s post. Not because it is a hard subject to address, or because it is personally painful. No, it is simply I don’t know where to begin. In less than 2 weeks my husband will be working in the Oklahoma City area. We originally thought that by now I would be preparing to move with him. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men…

When we first discovered that his job was to be transferred we had some big decisions to make. Would he accept the transfer offer? Or leave Boeing and try to find other employment in a Wichita economy that was not in an upswing. Would he commute on the weekends? Renting a studio apartment in OKC and driving the 2½ hours back to Derby each weekend. Or would we jump in with both feet, and leave a town we had both been raised in, and move? Leaving our married children, an elderly father, and a church we loved behind.

At first we both liked the commuting idea, but then I felt this was selfish on my part. My husband has 3½ years before early retirement is an option. That did not seem so bad, but the reality was that staying with Boeing until full retirement age made the most sense. Commuting for 13 to 15 years? Not a pretty picture. So moving it was…until December.

By December we were pretty discouraged. Only one offer had been made on our home, and it had been a joke. We felt we had chosen the wrong realtor, the wrong time to sell, and were trying desperately to understand God’s plan for us. My daughter admonished me at one point for my lack of faith, saying “The buyer isn’t ready yet.” At this point we began making plans for my husband to move without me. A prospect that worried me as I depended on him to help me with things my back wouldn’t allow me to accomplish on my own.

Well, as always, God is sovereign. On a December evening we received the joyful news that we were to become grandparents! My daughter was unexpectedly pregnant! While happy, they were concerned. They had hoped to be in a larger home before having children, in fact they often commented they wished they had a large enough down payment to buy our home. No one remembers who mentioned it first, but suddenly the idea was flying around the room. Move in here, sell your home, and save for the down payment needed. My husband would commute for the time being and I would remain here.

It is not a solution for everybody, and six weeks later there have been a few little bumps…mostly dealing with having 2 extra dogs in the household. But I believe it is the ideal solution for us. Everybody was on board, and in fact excited about the changes. We all feel prayers have been answered. My daughter and son-in-law will be able to provide me the help I need, while in return I get to help with a little one.

Think we are making a mistake? This will ruin our relationships? Wait for my next post…you might be surprised what the research shows. ~Marla

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Travels: The Voyager of the Seas

In 2011 we took a cruise that was a departure from the norm for us…a cruise minus our adult children. Our DD had married in the summer of 2010, and preferred to cruise sans parents for her honeymoon…I have no idea why…we are a lot of fun on a cruise! Our DS was starting a new job in law enforcement and chose to opt out as well. I admit this left me feeling a bit uneasy about cruising with just my DH. Now don’t judge…I love my husband dearly! However, 20 plus years of marriage had convinced me that we do not always see eye to eye on what constitutes a good time!

Luckily we did not have to contemplate this situation long! A couple we are friends with, E & D, came to our rescue and booked the same cruise. We had “Cruise Buddies,” yay!! It was made extra exciting as E had never cruised before…and I love sailing with newbies! We had almost as much fun planning our trip as actually taking it. It included a road trip, as we were sailing out of Galveston, and included a stop in Dallas to meet with a missionary family our church supports.

The trip to Galveston was a long day, but the stop in Dallas helped the drive seem shorter. I drove, of course…because I have control issues and hate it when other people drive as my life constantly flashes before my eyes. There…I have stated it publicly…don’t expect me to change…just move over and give me the wheel!

Our visit with our Albanian missionaries was wonderful, if short. They were in the USA for a few years while the husband attended Dallas Christian & obtained his masters degree. We visited and enjoyed an awesome home cooked Albanian meal. If you know what a foodie I am, you know I was in heaven!

Once in Galveston we checked into our hotel…and then made a bee line to a store on the beach that sold comfortable flip flops. E had made the mistake of choosing fashion over comfort for the 10 hour car ride. Her dogs were barking away! I just shook my head and wondered how she tolerates me as a friend. My idea of being fashion forward is when I wear jeans to the store instead of sweats! Then on to Joe’s Crab Shack…yes, I am sure there are better places to eat seafood in Galveston…but I am a Joe’s girl.

The next day a very friendly taxi driver took us to the port and we began embarkation. It was painless as always…except for the confiscation of D’s pocket knife, which he had checked to make sure he could bring. For our safety Royal Caribbean kept it tucked away until the last night of the cruise…when in their wisdom they felt the danger of D running amok and murdering us in our sleep had passed, and returned it to him.

Next Thursday Travels: Introducing the Voyager of the Seas
Bon Voyage! ~Marla

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Inspirational Life

Mother Teresa
Inspirational – To offer something valuable, or uplifting, which in turn motivates others to bring out the best in themselves.

I have been thinking about this word a lot lately. What does mean to be inspirational? What must one do to become inspirational? What characteristics do inspirational people share? Why do individuals find different types of people inspirational?

Audrey Hepburn
One person may be deeply inspired by a favorite athlete. Another person may find a great person of faith to be inspirational. Some may find inspiration in the day to day struggles of a treasured friend. The same individual may find all of these people to be inspirational, though for very different reasons.

I took a look at my Pinterest Board “People Who Inspire Me.” What I found was a very eclectic group of people. Some were well known, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller. Others, not so much. 

My Niece & Friends, Joplin, MO.
What are missing are the people who have inspired me the most. My maternal grandmother, my mother, my niece who has made volunteer work a lifestyle, dear friends who have battled illness or disability, friends on the mission field who rely wholly on God for their every need. Though you won’t find their pictures on my board, and perhaps I should remedy that, they are my rocks, the inspiration I need to get through some difficult days. To make more of myself as a person.

As I look for the common threads that run through this very special group of people, I find these things.

Derek Redmond
Perseverance – Simply stated…They Carry On. No matter what is thrown in their path, they continue on. Does this mean they never falter or stumble? Absolutely not! But when they do they pick themselves up, brush themselves off, and continue down the road in front of them.

Goal Oriented/Ambitious – They know where they are and where they want to be.

Carol @ Female in Motion
Hard Working – It takes effort to accomplish goals and ideals. They are willing to put in the time and effort needed.

Humility – With possibly the exception of a few of the athletes…they do not see their walk as being anything special, and they certainly do not see themselves as special.

Acceptance – They accept what has been placed before them, in fact, they often embrace it.

Alida @ An Expat Journal
Giving/Sharing – They give to others. Whether reaching out to help monetarily, supplying physical labor, or simply sharing their story, they open themselves to others.

Adversity/Courageous – While this does not apply to all, I believe it does to most inspirational people. Most are overcoming some sort of adversity. Even if it is as simple as the sacrifice of pleasant living conditions and exposure to disease to help out in a third world country. They show courage.

Joni Erickson Tada

Positive Attitude – Possibly what makes them truly exceptional. Through trials and tears, they maintain a positive outlook.

My challenge to you is to take a moment and think about the people who inspire you. What traits do you see? What changes can you make to become an inspiration to others?