Fall is in the Air

If you know me you know that I love fall. I love everything about it – beautiful leaves, cooler weather and the first fire in the fireplace. In New Mexico the coming of fall also means hot air balloons, geese returning for the winter and roasting green chilies. We grow our own green chili for a couple of reasons that include the smell of roasting them on the back porch. If you don’t know this smell. You NEED to visit New Mexico in the fall. I brought some of the last unroasted chili to Arizona. Amber was excited to have that fresh roasting chili smell and we get to eat them as well.
Green Chili Stew
1 pound stew meat*, cut into bite size pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
2T vegetable oil( we use avocado oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste.
4 cups chicken stock( homemade is best)
Chopped green chili- the amount will depend on how spicy you like your food. If you are unsure try 3-4 mild ones for starters. You can used canned or frozen.
2 carrots diced
3 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 yellow squash, cut into bite sized pieces-optional **
Sauté the onions about 5 minutes in the oil. Add the meat and continue until browned. Add garlic and cook another minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add stock and chili. Let this simmer an hour or so. You might need to add water if it looks dry. When the meat is tender add the vegetables and cook until the are done, about 20-25minutes. Serve with warm tortillas..
*Pork is traditional but beef works well. We use elk when we can.
** We added this because we had it in the garden. Add it during the last 15 minutes.
As I was setting up the diffuser recently I had planned on mostly orange oil with just a few drops of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon bark. I was going for a fresh fall scent. Well……. what really happened is the generous amount of orange oil I thought I was adding was really clove. I just went for it. IT WAS GREAT! The house smelled amazing. What a happy accident! The moral of the story is that there are countless combinations to try in the diffuser. Give it a try and let us know your favorites.


Natural Kitchen

One  of the reasons I like gardening is because I know what I am eating.  It’s real food with no pesticides grown in good soil with natural fertilizers.  Over the last few years or so I have been moving toward a more natural life.  Essential oils are a big part of the natural life but I’ve wondered , ” What else can I do?”  I decided  to try to be more natural in the kitchen.

Petrochemicals are everywhere and I don’t think we can escape them completely but I’ve taken a few little steps to reduce them.  Here are four ways I’ve reduced plastic and toxins in my kitchen:

Wooden cutting boards 

These are better for your knives and eliminate plastic.  You aren’t adding micro particles of plastic to your food.

Glass bowls for leftovers  

The leftovers can go right into the microwave when I remove the lid.  They have plastic lids but I NEVER put plastic  in the microwave or dishwasher. NEVER!!!

No nonstick pans

I’ve read a lot about the teflon coating on cookware.  I just decided to give it a try.  I put my nonstick skillet and pans away for a month.  It took a little bit of practice but by using heart healthy oils, I don’t need nonstick.  Does it add calories? Yes, but I think the elimination of a possible toxic material is worth it.

Natural dish soap

I’m now using natural dish soap.  I was slow to convert because it doesn’t create as many suds.  When I decided to give it a try, I bought one that said natural, all plant based.  I didnt read the label until I got home (I had left my reading glasses at home).  It had SLS, a toxic chemical I don’t want.  So be careful.  If you search, you can find truly natural soap.  Thieves dish soap is one you can trust.

None of these cost much money.  I’m not saying I never use plastic but I have been successful in reducing the amount it is in my kitchen. I hope this gives you a simple way to be a little more natural.

Be well,


Do You Kombucha??

While kombucha has been around a really long time, I think it has only really gained such widespread popularity in recent years due to the Paleo diet and other whole food lifestyles making a resurgence.  I remember the first time I tried kombucha, I was skeptical about it.  The smell is not what I would naturally lean into and that other funky stuff in there honestly didn’t exactly have me licking my lips.  I did try it though and it was better than it looked.  Since then I have tried more different store bought flavors than I can remember.  Let’s be honest though, at $3-$4 dollars a bottle it’s not exactly something I am picking up every day.

Drinking kombucha on a regular basis is a really good idea though.  The cultures in the kombucha are incredibly beneficial to your health!!  The probiotics are a major necessity for your gut health. Not only that but it also has a plethora of other benefits.  It’s full of healthy acids, enzymes and helps to detoxify the body.  Kombucha is a slightly carbonated beverage that is a great alternative to sodas as it is slightly sweet yet, when properly brewed, it is low in sugar.

So how do you incorporate this health boosting drink to your day without breaking the bank?? Brew your own!  A good friend of mine suggested this to me and gave me a SCOBY, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast.  These SCOBY’s can also be purchased on Amazon if you don’t have anyone making one available to you.  It looks super funky!! Kind of like a super dense booger if we’re being honest, but a magical one!

So, how do you do it??  It starts with a super dark brewing of black tea, about 16 cups.  I boiled 8 cups of water and added 12 bags of black tea and left it covered for over 10 minutes.   Then add 1.5 cups of sugar and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Then transfer the sweet tea to a large glass jar (it must be glass so it does not interfere with the fermentation) add the remaining 8 cups of water and wait until the tea is cooled to room temperature.  Then add the SCOBY along with about 1 cup of plain kombucha and cover with a tea towel or cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band.  Place this jar in a dark, room temperature place where it won’t be disturbed for at least a week. Be patient!  After 7 days you can take a peek to see how things are coming along.  The SCOBY will have grown significantly and the whole mixture will have that unmistakable kombucha smell.  There will also be yeast tendrils coming down from the SCOBY which is good!!  Mine wasn’t ready until day 9.


At that point the first brewing of kombucha is complete.  You will need to remove the SCOBY and place it in a jar with about 1 cup of the kombucha so you can start again.  There will also be a SCOBY baby which will look like what you started with.  Place that in a jar with a cup of the kombucha and pay it forward to an unsuspecting but certainly grateful friend.

Now you can either drink the kombucha the way that it is or you can go for a second brewing.  I immediately went for a second brewing because I was excited about the option for adding different flavors.  The idea is that you portion the kombucha out into smaller glass containers and add fruit juice or other sweet flavorings and continue the brewing process.  The kombucha will continue to feed on the sugar of whatever flavorings you put in with it causing it to ferment further and also to carbonate!! It’s pretty amazing to see how that happens.  The drink stays low in sugar because the bacteria feeds on the sugar in the fruit juice using it up.  The variations that I did were blueberry and basil, watermelon, mango, and Ningxia Red with honey.

Here are the instructions that I followed for a more thorough explanation.  They are very easy to follow and he also has a follow up video about the second fermentation process.

Don’t delay, get your home brewing on!!  Hope you all are well!!

XOXO -Amber

Change is Sometimes Easy

As I sit here this morning casually drinking my coffee looking at Facebook, I see lots of back-to school pictures.  This is the third school year that has started without me in a classroom.  Anyone who knows me knows I loved teaching.  Today I love everything about retirement and have no desire to return to teaching. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about school and the current climate of education.  I get to have discussions with friends still in the classroom. I’m even planning on helping in my nephew’s class if the teacher is responsive. (Retired teachers are not always welcome in the classroom since they come with their own ideas of what to do. I hope I’m not one of those!)
Another change in my life is my church.  I attended a large mega church on Sunday with my son and his wife.  The worship was great and the message was moving and thought provoking. I loved it, but it’s not the place for me at this time in my life.  I love my smallish church and the people that I know there.  I love the community and fellowship.  It’s wonderful to have someone tell me they’ve missed me if I have been out of town.  And of course I love being in the handbell choir.
Being retired doesn’t mean I ignore what’s going on around me, it’s being content with knowing I’m  in the right place at this season of my life.


In anticipation of Taco Tuesday we have two salsa recipes for you today!

Cathy’s Salsa

About this time of year we have an abundance of tomatoes.  One of my favorite things to do with the tomatoes from the garden is to make salsa.  It’s easy and delicious.  It’s great in tacos or just on the back porch with chips when the neighbors come over.

2 lb. of ripe tomatoes
2-3 jalapeños, seeds removed and diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 drops lime essential oil  (Use a vitality oil that is approved for consumption like Young Living.)

To remove tomato skins, first blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drop in iced water. Remove the skins and core.  Chop the tomatoes to the size you like.  I do about a half-inch dice because I like it chunky. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

You can serve this right away but I like to make it an hour or so before I make tacos so the flavors develop.

When I served this to the neighbors with chips they asked what was that extra little flavor.  That’s the lime oil.  I makes a real difference.

Amber’s Salsa

Our Taco Tuesday sometimes consists of fish tacos, I’m a big fan!!  The best salsa to go with a fish taco is grilled pineapple salsa. Yum!!

1 Pineapple
1-2 jalapenos, roasted, peeled and diced
handful of cilantro, diced
1 small red onion, diced
Lime, juiced

Pineapple is a favorite in my house, all of my kids love it and ask for them all the time.  The easiest way to cut a pineapple is to cut the top and bottom off and then cut it into quarters down the core.  When the pineapple is in 4 pieces cut the core out and then cut down the outside to remove the skin.  Cut the 4 pieces lengthwise in half so you have 8 total pieces.  Rub the pineapple with olive oil and salt it, then grill on both sides until browned.  The sugar in the pineapple almost caramelizes, it’s delicious!  Cut the grilled pineapple into small bite size pieces.  From this point on you will have to watch for little fingers sneaking in to snatch bites!

There are a lot of ways to roast a jalapeno but my favorite is to put it under the broiler and rotate it every couple of minutes until the skin is charred.  Once the entire jalapeno is charred, pull it out of the oven and put it in a plastic bag for a few minutes.  The peppers will sweat while they are in the bag, this makes the skin practically fall off.

Mix together the pineapple, roasted jalapeno, red onion, cilantro and lime juice. This can be eaten right away or will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.


Cathy and Amber

Fresh Sauerkraut

So I got brave and made my own sauerkraut.  I am a big fan of kraut as well as pickles, kimchi, really anything crunchy and acidy/salty.  I was pleasantly surprised at how simple and easy this was.  Seriously, anyone could do this!!  I got the recipe from a cookbook called EAT DRINK Paleo by Irena Macri.

Start by thinly slicing a half of a head of cabbage and one carrot.  I used purple because I they did in the recipe that I was following and it was so pretty I couldn’t resist.

The next step is almost therapeutic.  Add the cabbage and carrot to a bowl along with a crushed garlic clove and top it with 1 1/2 Tbsp of sea salt and 1/2 tsp  of ground coriander and start mixing it all together with your hands.  The salt will make the veggies start to release their liquids as you are doing this and that is what you want to happen.  Keep mixing and squeezing the mixture together for several minutes, the more you squeeze the more liquid will be released.  Once I was pretty sure I had gotten all of the liquid out that I could, I pushed everything down into the bottom of the bowl and topped it with saran wrap.  Then I placed a saucer on top and weighted it down with a full tea kettle to continue pressing out more liquid.  Leave the mixture for a couple of hours as more liquid will come out than you think is possible.

In the meantime, sterilize a jar.  This is not as daunting as it sounds, just submerge an empty jar to a pot of boiling water for a few minutes and then retrieve it with tongs (be careful) and set it out to dry.  Add the cabbage mixture into the jar pushing everything down so it is submerged in the liquid and close it tightly.  Leave the jar at room temperature for about three days (ours was out for 4 days).  When you open the jar it will smell like sauerkraut 🙂  You can eat it at any time after that.  It keeps in the fridge for a long time.

Eating fresh sauerkraut is very good for you.  Any fermented food has probiotics which are very good for gut health because they balance the bacteria in your digestive system.  The majority of your immune system resides in your gut so it is extremely important to consume probiotics daily.  This can be difficult so I also supplement with Young Livings Life 9 probiotic.  It is the best option I have found as it has 9 different strains of good bacteria and 17 BILLION bacteria!!  No matter how you get your good bacteria, I encourage you to add it to your day.

Hope all is well!!

XOXO -Amber

The Pursuit of Physical Wellness

Exercise and fitness are an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  Not only is exercise important for a healthy body, it also creates a happy mind.  Everyone has heard of a runners high, but I personally think it goes way beyond that.  Working out is empowering, it gives you confidence.  When you are strong you feel good about yourself and your body feels good as well!!

I don’t usually go to the gym because I do most of my exercise in the dojang, training in taekwondo.  I also do some yoga at home and I enjoy hiking with my husband around our house (when it’s not 100 out with a chance of rattlesnakes).  The easiest way to incorporate some sort of workout and have any consistency is to find something that you really enjoy for more than the physical benefits.  I found a saying once, “fall in love with the process and the results will come.”  That is so true!!

To supplement my fitness there are several Young Living products that I like to use.  The newest being AminoWise.  Here is the description taken directly from their site. “It uses three blends for one powerful result: The Muscle Performance blend aids muscle building and repair, the Recovery blend helps reduce muscle fatigue, and the Hydration Mineral blend replenishes important minerals lost during exercise.”  I have been using this supplement for over a month now and it is fantastic!! I’m less sore and I have noticed the difference it has been making in my energy level through my workouts!!

There are also two different products to help with sore muscles, deep relief and Ortho Sport.  The deep relief is a roller ball that can be used directly on muscles that have intense discomfort.  The Ortho Sport is a massage oil that can be used on a large area and massaged in.  Both of these products contain oils that cool and sooth the skin and muscles without any unwanted chemicals or the grease slick most products leave on your skin!!

To boost your energy levels at the start of, or during a workout I would recommend using peppermint oil or the En-R-Gee oil blend topically to put an extra pep in your step!  I also really like the NingXia Nitro supplement for helping with not just my energy but also my level of focus.  Nitro contains ingredients that help with both cognitive and physical fitness.

It’s also really important to make sure you are drinking a lot of water.  I put the AminoWise in my water for more intense workouts and I like to use citrus in my water the rest of the time for a flavor boost and for the antioxidant benefits.

I hope this post finds you well!!  If you have any questions about how to get your hands on some of these awesome workout supplements use the contact me button and I will be happy to talk to you about your options and walk you through it.  I also strongly encourage you to either keep up your pursuit of fitness or take up something new, you might be surprised at all of the amazing things you are capable of!!

XOXO -Amber

Yoga Time

Yoga Time

We have reached the later parts of the summer and the kids are getting a bit unruly.  They start bickering with each other and (in my house at least) kicking each other.  It is impossible to entertain the children every second of the day and I get it, they’re bored.  Especially here in Phoenix where it really isn’t much fun to play outside when you don’t have a swimming pool.


To combat this phenomenon we decided to take a little time to do some yoga practice.  Yoga is great for strength and flexibility but it is also really good at slowing the mind.  Connecting your breath with your body and being intentional with what your focus is takes practice and concentration. I find it to be a great supplement to any sport, especially one that requires flexibility and focus like taekwondo.  Kids are fascinated by their bodies and naturally proud of all of the things they are able to do.  I find yoga to be a phenominal thing to practice with kids as they can challenge themselves in a way that other play doesn’t do.

Penelope prefers to follow along with a video and her favorite is Julia Jarvis.  Julia has a ton of free videos on instant streaming through Amazon as long as you have Prime, and who doesn’t 😀  Even if you don’t care for Julia’s style, there are so many free options that you can try from the comfort of your own home.  While they do have special videos with kids in mind, you might be surprised at how well a child can follow a regular practice video.


Hope everyone is well!! XOXO -Amber

Overdue Convention Recap

Hello!  I’ve taken a little while getting to you because we’ve been engaged in what my favorite part of the Young Living convention was, Relationships!!!

It goes without saying that relationships are important in a network marketing company, but the entire Young Living company culture is so heavily seated in strong relationships and building relationships and I love that!!!  Since we’ve gotten back we’ve had company and gone on a much needed trip with some great friends of ours, both opportunities to grow our friendships.  Several speakers at convention spoke about reaching out to people and listening to them.  Making yourself available and really looking outside of your own circle to help others, not just with oils but with life.  I generally don’t have the tendancy to just call someone out of the blue, but it’s a goal of mine to get better at connecting with people.

One other thing that I absolutely loved was the Mona, Utah farm we visited.  It is amazing there!!!  As far as the eye can see is nature; mountains, a lake, and 250,000 acres of farm land!! We had the opportunity to help plant lavender, walk through the farm to see lots of varieties of plants, go through the distillery, etc.  They also served us a healthy and delicious lunch!!  We asked a lot of questions about the processes they use and everything is completely organic.  They use no bug spray or fertilizers.  Everything is planted on virgin soil so we know it is clean.  It is all harvested at the peak time and tested for quality multiple times throughout the process.  Young Living takes the “Seed to Seal” process very seriously and it shows at the farm!!

Lastly, they announced a LOT of new products.  There is a new Seedlings line of baby care products.  I ordered the baby wipes as an alternative to chemical laden face wipes, they smell so so good!!  They now have toxin free sunscreen, insect repellant, and an after sun spray that is a sprayable lotion.  They have a few new supplements, one of which might be my favorite new product, Aminowise.  It is “a synergistic complex of amino acids and antioxidants that helps with fatigue and enhances muscle recovery during and after exercise”  and I’ve been using it at taekwondo ever since we got back and it’s GREAT!!! They also have a whole new line of make up called Savvy Minerals!! I ordered several of the items and they are a great quality and price point!!! Lastly, there is a new diffuser called the Desert Mist which is beautiful.  It has a lot of different lighting settings and can go for TEN hours!! We love it!

Hope all is well with you!! XOXO,


Bee Happy


Amber, Gelsey and I have returned from the Young Living Convention with  pages of notes about all the goodness that Young Living has to offer.  We learned TONS!!!!
The first thing to talk about is our favorite part.  My favorite part was the keynote speaker on Friday night, Shawn Achor.  He talked about happiness.  Really, who doesn’t want to be happy and find ways to be happier.  I know I’m an optimist and have a generally happy attitude but he showed us ways to be happier.
1.  Find specific things in your life to be grateful for everyday.
      I think this sounds simple but finding something new everyday isn’t always easy.
2.  Be specific about why you are grateful.
      You need to be more aware of why you are grateful for a friend or family member.
3. Exercise at least 15 minutes a day.
     I work out at taekwondo but this reminds me to do a little something every day.
4. Meditation- just sit still, be quiet and calm for 2 minutes
     Are you kidding?? I’m supposed to be still and quiet???  😜
5. Spend 2 minutes a day consciously doing something kind- a note or text is all it takes.
      It’s the conscious part of kindness that matters here.  I know that the  idea of writing a text or note to someone is not an area of strength for me but I’m going to give it a try.
When I was still teaching, I would sign student’s yearbooks with-
” Bee Happy.”  🐝🐝🐝.
I hope you will JOIN ME and take a few minutes each day to work on your happiness.