Good Livin’

“A good life is when you

assume nothing,life3

do more,

need less,

smile often,

dream big,

laugh a lot,

and realize how blessed you are.”


Living “a good life” takes intentionality. We can’t just sit back and wait to see what’ll happen… and then REACT. We must be purposeful.

I enjoy writing about my view of a good life and have dedicated part of my blog to highlighting choices we’ve made to live in a health-conscious way.

After 26 months at Reflections Of A Homemaker, I thought I’d offer some abridged portions of previous posts from the “HEALTHY LIVING” section of my blog.  cropped-beautiful-nature.jpg

If you’re intrigued by any of the samples, simply click on the colored words. It’ll take you right to that article. Hope you learn something new!


~ Laughter is a wonderful medicine. Research conducted by the UCLA Medical School found that there are physical benefits of happiness… and that laughter and joy are the perfect antidote for stress. Did you know that the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, and lungs are given a massage during a hearty laugh? Yep. During a laugh, you get a massage on the inside! A hearty laugh is great therapy for the body, soul, and spirit. And it’ll build fun memories with your family, too

~ As the weather gets colder and the sniffles begin, add ‘whole chicken’ to your grocery list. According to Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, “Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate.” Both delicious and nutritious, chicken stock has been tagged as ‘superior’ to everything else, even more relaxing than Tylenol. ‘Good broth’, says a South American proverb, ‘resurrects the dead.’  Just don’t wait until then to try this recipe!

~ Here is my favorite cleaner for the sink and tub. A year ago, I finished up my bottle of Soft Scrub and replaced it with this totally natural version, Earth Paste. Wait till you see how easy it is to make! And when you read the ingredient list… you’ll love it even more!

~ Perspiring is the pits, isn’t it? It’s just awful! But let’s be honest. We all sweat. Sweating is a natural, normal way for your body to rid itself of toxins… but it doesn’t have to cause you to smell bad. Check out this simple deodorant recipe.

~ Here are some recipes for those holiday leftovers including steps to make the wonderful Creamy Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti.

~ Last winter when my six-year-old-sweetie began coughing and coughing and coughing, I grabbed for the Vicks Vapor Rub. When I turned it around to check for an expiration date and found, instead, an ingredient list that included petrolatum and turpentine*, I decided to check into making my own. Here are the instructions for a homemade vapor rub.


Until next week, be intentional about living the good life

by realizing how blessed you ALREADY are!




Cold Treats for Hot Days

Earlier this year, I shared our homemade root beer recipe with you,

hotand last year I told you about making homemade ice cream.

Both of those are great options for summertime entertaining.

Here are a few more choices to cool off the crew this summer….

each one is easy, inexpensive, and kid-approved.



First, a tasty apple-slushy.hot1

Apple sorbet

1 ¼ c. unsweetened applesauce

6 oz frozen apple juice concentrate

½ t. cinnamon

¼ t. nutmeg

Freeze the applesauce in an ice cube tray overnight.

Remove from the freezer and let warm 10-15 minutes.

Put the juice concentrate and the spices in a blender. Mix.

Add partly-unthawed applesauce cubes (2 at a time) and blend till smooth.



Now, a fun fizzy drink without the unnecessary preservatives.

Homemade grape pop

1 liter club soda (about 32 oz)hot2

3oz frozen grape juice concentrate (or whatever flavor you choose)

Put the juice concentrate in a pitcher. Add the club soda.

Stir carefully.

Drink happily!


And finally, how about some popsicles?


Purchase a plastic freezer pop mold (or ask your mother or grandma to look in the back of their cupboard!).

Add something liquidy (In other words, experiment and have fun!) and freeze it!

Some of our favorites?

  • Blend up some fruit with a bit of Almond drink… and freeze it!
  • Pour in your favorite beverage… and freeze it!hot3
  • Like drinking Chocolate Milk? Freeze it!
  • A touch of ice cream and some homemade jam… freeze it!

Any flavor of popsicle is a great idea for a sunny summer day… and when you’re using the ingredients you already have in your home, you’re making the tasty treat for mere pennies.

However you choose to make them, just keep those popsicle molds filled and in your freezer.

They make a splendid treat!


Keep cool!

A Sticky Subject

This is sort of a sticky topic for my blog…. but I’m not going to shy away from it. Nor am I going to ease into it slowly. I’m just going to take the plunge. So here it is. Ready or not.


Mailing tape.

 See? I told you it was a sticky subject! Ha ha ha!!! Had you worried, didn’t I?  But seriously, tape is sticky and I LOVE tape.

Mailing tape. Packaging tape.  Heavy duty tape. tapeWhatever you want to call it, I am fond of tape. The wide, thick, sticky adhesive is the kind I’m partial to. And I’ve found all sorts of ways to use it. Rolls and rolls and rolls of it over the years.

Here is a partial list of the ways in which I’ve used mailing tape.

  • to attach labels to containers

(turning that old baby-wipes tub into a crayon carton, etc)

  • to attach recipes to containers

(the recipe for my homemade all-purpose cleaner, for example, is right on the bottle… so handy! Saves time and energy when making a new batch.)

  • to make a cast for an arm or leg of an injured doll or teddy

(simply wrap the injured appendage in toilet paper or Kleenex, then roll a bit of mailing tape over the ‘cloth’ bandage and Voila! you’ve got a cast.)

  • to fix book covers that are torn or falling apart

(you knew that one was going to be a part of this list, right?)tape2

  • to “laminate” often-used recipe cards, instruction cards, etc.

(they last longer and are so much easier to wipe off if (when) they get messy!)

  • to attach paper or plastic plates to the picnic table

(I know, I’m weird.  BUT if it’s a nice day outdoors {just a bit WINDY!} and the kids want to eat outside, I’m not too keen on chasing plates around the deck/yard OR refilling plates with new food because the first serving is now grub for the squirrels and ants!!! By taping the plate down, my troubles are the only things that fly away!)

There you have it. A few reasons why a roll of packing tape can always be found near my desk. We’re good friends, Tape and I. We kinda stick together!

(I’d love to hear some of the ways YOU use tape around the home… Will you share your ideas with me??)

Feasting on Fowl and Foul Breath

Tis the season for celebrating and merry-making. With the holidays just around the corner, there will be times of feasting ahead, and also times when the overabundance of food and the overabundance of time in the company of others necessitates a bit of breath odor control. You know what I mean… too much time between brushing and not enough space between friends.

Here are some recipes for those holiday leftovers and a few breath saving instructions. Are you ready? Well, even if you aren’t, your family and friends may be! So here it goes.

Holiday Leftovers (for chicken or turkey meat)

Turkey Salad

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.

2 T. lemon juice

¾ c. mayo

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 t. salt

½ t. pepper

Add the remaining ingredients, diced or chopped.

2-3 celery ribs, diced

1 c. pecan, toasted and chopped

2-3 T. onion, finely chopped

2 c. halved grapes

4 c. (2lb.) diced, cooked turkey

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Great on bread or dinner rolls or served with crackers.


Creamy Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti

1 lb. cubed, cooked turkey

½ t. salt

¼ t. pepper

¼ t. garlic powder

3 jars pasta sauce (26 oz)

1 lb. spaghetti noodles

½ c. Parmesan cheese

4 oz. cream cheese

1 – 2 c. chicken broth

Pour one jar of pasta sauce into bottom of crock pot on high heat. Break spaghetti noodles in half and place noodles over sauce. Dump leftover turkey over noodles, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and top with cubes of cream cheese. Pour another jar of pasta over cream cheese.

Close lid and let cook on high for 3 hours. After 3 hours, give a good stir (will be thick) and add last jar of pasta sauce and 1-2 cups of chicken broth (more if you want a thinner sauce). Close lid and let cook another hour or until ready to serve. (Makes 10-12 servings)


And you can’t have spaghetti without garlic toast, right? So here it is!

Garlic Toast

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl.

5 T. butter (or palm oil) – softened

2 t. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic (or ½ t. garlic powder)

½ t. oregano

¼ t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

Spread on the top of 10 slices of bread or leftover dinner rolls, open faced. Put on a baking sheet. Broil for about 5 minutes. Delicious!


And now, the moment that you’ve been waiting for… the one that will take your breath away (at least, we hope it will!):

Breath Saving Instructions

Breath Freshener

In a bottle, mix:

2T vinegar, 1T sea salt, and 1c water.

Shake, gargle and rinse. Enjoy fresh breath!

This recipe, from the Jan/Feb 2013 edition of Mother Earth Living, should be used to ‘eliminate onion and garlic odors’. (Appropriate placement for this recipe, right?)

From the book Worst-Case Scenario, here are a few more ways to keep your breath from offending your party partners.

  • Chew gum or mints.

This will get your saliva flowing and will keep bad breath at bay for an hour or more. Chewing for more than a few minutes is not necessary.

  • Chew parsley, mint, or a cinnamon stick.

These are common garnishes. Parsley and fresh mint leaves are natural breath fresheners and a cinnamon stick, if chewed, will also clean your breath; do not use ground or powdered cinnamon.

  • Eat a salad or some fresh carrots.

Coarse foods can help clean the tongue, a major source of bad breath. So chew on some crunchy lettuce or carrots.

And of course, brushing, flossing and even tongue scrapping before bed is a big help, too. But then, you already knew that, didn’t you?


May your feasting on fowl this weekend be fabulous,

and your breath free of foul odor!