My Surprising Week With Beautycounter Beautycounter - My Surprising Week with the High-End Skin Care Line


Last week I had the incredible opportunity to try out the high-end Beautycounter skin care line. My sweet friend Jan recently became a Beautycounter consultant, and I went to her kick-off event where I learned all sorts of disturbing things about the cosmetic industry.

I learned that the European Union has much stricter laws for beauty manufacturers than we do for our products sold here in America. They have banned around 1300 ingredients from their beauty products. Here in the U.S. we’ve banned only ELEVEN ingredients. Did you know that the last time the federal government passed a law regulating cosmetics, this guy was President?




Yep, that’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The products (and chemicals) we apply to our face and bodies haven’t been regulated since 1938 – that’s during the Great Depression, and before my own grandmother started wearing makeup! Even though this particular info is brand new to me, I’ve been gradually researching and replacing my makeup and body care with more natural products over the last couple of years. The EWG website is a great way to look up the products you use every day and see how their ingredients score with concerns such as overall hazard, cancer, developmental & reproductive toxicity, allergies & immunotoxicity, and other high concerns.


Vintage train case turned into a makeup case! ~


I’ve had good luck with oil cleansing my face at night, and more recently I’ve switched to using Norwex facial cloths to remove my makeup at bedtime. My new routine has worked just fine, but I was thrilled when my lovely friend Jan asked me to try out a Beautycounter line of skin-care products! I’ve read wonderful things about Beautycounter from the Whoorl blog, and I was excited to try them out! Beautycounter products


My ten-year-old son tried out the kids shampoo one day, and since he is especially averse to getting clean I thought he would be a good judge of the shampoo! (What is it about little boys and not wanting to shower?!)

Aiden came out of the shower with his towel-dried mop of hair, and told me what he thought. His verdict: It smelled like lemons, and it made his hair feel fluffy!

I double-checked with him, and he meant both as good things. As a growing tween boy, he doesn’t like products that smell girly – and this one passed the test.



I had already started using the Beautycounter Countertime skin-care line on my face, and was loving it! It didn’t have a heavy fragrance, but it was more like a fruity essence – like walking past a fruit stand at a farmer’s market. Each morning and night I felt so pampered applying the different products to my face, neck, and décolletage. It was heavenly. Beautycounter


Wednesday night – Felt like I was at the spa. Lovely.

Thursday morning – My Beloved said my face smelled nice. Amazing.

Thursday night – Felt positively spoiled and noticed smaller pores. Awesome.

Friday morning – A friend said I was glowing. Incredible.

Friday night – Reduced dark circles around my eyes. Also felt a slight itching near my jawline, but it was hardly noticeable. Meh.

Saturday morning – I woke up to a burning, bright red rash all over my face – and spreading down my neck. Uh-oh.


Cue the disappointing womp-womp sound effect – and lots of itching. I was so bummed that my body had rejected all the pampering I had given it over the week. My Beautycounter friend Jan graciously offered to help however she could – even to help me see a dermatologist. I frantically texted my sister-in-law who happens to be an aesthetician. I knew she could help me! She instructed me to apply cold compresses – and that helped to ease the burning quite a bit. Then I took Benadryl & ibuprofen, applied hydrocortisone cream, and didn’t wear much in the way of makeup for several days.


My face was still pretty raw on Sunday, so I stayed home from church and only went in for a pre-Kenya trip meeting in the afternoon. I know it was vain of me, but I just didn’t want to be out and about with my face on fire.

The next day things had started to subside a little, and my face gradually calmed down over the rest of the week. I kept up the routine of icing down my face when I needed it, using hydrocortisone cream, and staying away from anything other than mascara. As I’m writing this, it has now been just over a week, and I only have a tiny bit of redness left on my cheeks. Muuuuuuch better.


Onto the good part – I really have loved the brand new Beautycounter mascara that I tried as well! There aren’t many good, natural, “green” mascaras out there on the market. I have been using one by Perfekt, and I didn’t have any complaints, but I was excited to compare it to Beautycounter’s version! Beautycounter Mascara


Whereas Perfekt gave me thicker, fuller, plumber lashes, Beautycounter gave me a boost in length. I have short, stumpy lashes – so I loved the va-va-va-voom factor of longer lashes! No crazy, spider-like clumping. No flaking. And the only smudging was one day when my springtime allergies (ugh…Kansas!) were flaring up, I had a fit of sneezing several times in a row with my eyes watering. When I looked in the mirror, I had a slight smudging underneath my lower lashes – but that happens with pretty much any mascara that I try. One quick swipe, and the smudge was gone.

It doesn’t appear to be technically waterproof, but it stays on really well. I had some trouble removing it with just the Beautycounter products, but when I switched back to using my trusty Norwex cloths at night, the mascara came off like a dream. glasses Beautycounter mascara


My gracious friend felt awful that my face had broken out, and I felt so awful that I didn’t have a better review for my friend and the Beautycounter line. Jan wanted me to go ahead with the review so anyone else who is interested in trying out Beautycounter knows to sample the line somewhere other than your face first – like the inside of your elbow or under your jawline (near your ear). If your body doesn’t react after a few days – feel free to try it on your face! So many people have glowing reviews of this very same Countertime skin-care line, and I’m sure many of you would LOVE it. I just love her willingness for transparency and an honest review of the items she let me try!

If you do ever try out a product that doesn’t agree with your skin, remember my sister-in-laws advice:

  • apply cold compresses
  • take some ibuprofen
  • and let your skin breathe while it heals


I plan to continue my quest to find better, more natural products for my family and myself, but next time I’ll be a little more careful about testing them out first!

If you have any Beautycounter questions for my gracious friend Jan, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope! Please don’t hesitate to seek her out to learn more about the chemicals in your own cosmetics, find out about the current push for more product regulation, or if you want to try any of the Beautycounter line!

How about you? Have you had a good (or bad) experience with Beautycounter or other more natural beauty products? I’d love to hear all about it!



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What I’m Into ~ June 2015 Edition

What I'm Into ~ June 2015 Edition


Happy July, friends! Are y’all having a good summer so far? I’m wishing that these summer days would slow down a little. It feels like it is flying by much faster than I’d like – but I guess that’s just a challenge to be present and soak it all in!


It’s that time again – time to join the lovely Leigh Kramer in rounding up what we’ve been into in June. I love checking out all the awesome blog posts to find new ideas for books to read, movies to watch, and things to enjoy! Grab a glass of lemonade, curl up in the air condition, and check them out!


 Pretty Things ~


I could give up shopping, but I'm not a quitter! ~


I saw this sign at a local consignment boutique, and I just had to snap a picture for Instagram!


Purple GUESS booties ~



And speaking of consignment stores, I found these purple GUESS booties on clearance at one of my favorite local consignment shops for only $8! They were begging me to bring them home – and I just couldn’t resist! Now I can’t wait for cooler weather so I can wear them!


Vintage train case turned into a makeup case! ~



I’ve been looking for a better way to store my makeup. I don’t have very much in the way of cosmetics, but I was outgrowing my little antique bowl. I hated that brushes and blush would fall out of the container, and it was leaving me feeling disorganized – which is not now I want to start the day.


I started browsing Pinterest for ideas, but nothing seemed to fit my needs. It was then that I remembered a vintage train cases! Many of them had small mirrors and trays – perfect for a retro woman on-the-go! I found this one on eBay. It’s faux leather, and in awesome condition! Someone replaced the fabric in the bottom of the case – it’s rather groovy now – but once I set my plastic tiered organizer inside, I couldn’t see it any more. It’s been the perfect solution to my makeup organizing woes. It has plenty of room for my small-ish collection, and a little more room to grow. *Wink* And I couldn’t be more thrilled!


Date night decisions - boots or wedges? ~


We had a couple of date nights this month! I sent out a plea for help on Facebook and Instagram one night when I couldn’t decide which shoe to wear to our mystery date with a group of friends from church. I ended up picking the boots because I learned that our date was outside, and I didn’t want to be teetering around in heels when I didn’t know what we were going to do. We ended up going to an awesome little airport that also has a restaurant attached. We watched bi-planes take off and land as we devoured burgers and visited. What fun! Have you ever been on a mystery date?


What I’m Read in June~


Scary Close, by Donald Miller – I was excited to finally get my hands on his newest book! I’m introverted by nature, and tend to be pretty guarded – too guarded – to protect myself from the hurt of others, but this helped me to see that I am not gaining anything by keeping people from getting close to me. It was an eye-opener, for sure!


Still Alice ~


Still Alice, by Lisa Genova – Wow. This one really got to me. I felt as though I was getting an unveiled look into what it must be like to have Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m a stickler for reading the book before seeing the movie, so now I’m excited to finally see the film soon!


The Life-Chaging Magic of Tidying Up ~


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo – Now I know what all the fuss was about! This was a fabulous little book – so challenging and inspiring! I wasn’t even through the book yet when I purged a large portion of my closet. I have been hanging on to clothes and jewelry that I never wear. Even though my things were well organized, I didn’t realize how much the “clutter” of having more things than I need was affecting me. I love walking into my newly purged closet and seeing ONLY the clothes that I enjoy wearing. There’s also something much less stressful about knowing that whatever you pull out of your closet is going to feel good, look good, and boost your confidence.


Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay – This had been sitting on my Kindle for several months, but it wasn’t until my friend Crystal from Money Saving Mom recommended this book to me that I finally started reading it. It was perfect to read by the pool when the boys began swimming lessons. It was heartwarming, thoughtful, and kept me engaged through the last page. It was just light and fluffy enough for summer, while inspiring me as a writer!



Reading in July ~


What I'm Reading - June 2015


Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos – I’ve spent the last 10 nights trying to read this book before bed, but I kept falling asleep and losing my place! I picked it up this morning on our way out the door for swimming lessons, and by the time our hour was up, I thought the story was pretty promising!


The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty – I finished (and LOVED) Big Little Lies over Memorial weekend, and decided to dive into this one in July!


Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I keep hearing over and over again what a wonderful book this is – so I used our Audible credit for the audio version to listen to this month! I recently watched Chimamanda give a commencement speech online, and was so moved, that I had to move it up on my to-read list!


Stories I Only Tell My Friends, by Rob Lowe – I’ve had this one on my radar for a while. I enjoy celebrity memoirs, and I’ve heard this one is especially good. I remembered recently while ordering other books from the library – so I just added it to the ever-growing stack. So many books, so little time!


The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva – This one comes highly recommended by my friend Ashley. She loves spy books, and it sounds like this is the first one in the series. I loved the Bourne books, so I’m excited to step into this series!


A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness – Our oldest has to do a book report over the summer and hand it in when he starts middle school in August. The book has to be over 150 pages, have literary merit, and be written between 2005 – 2015. We looked up lists of the best YA books, and this one piqued his interest. He flew through it, and was excited to get started on his book report – so I had to add it to my list to read this month!


Feathering My Nest ~


I finally tackled our middle son’s room this month. I’d only put it off for nearly *cough* four years *cough*! I had procrastinated because the former owners had put up a wallpaper border (blue flowers, btw) near the ceiling, and THEN painted the rest of the walls up to the line of the wallpaper. When I steamed and removed the flower border, it left a definite and unsightly line of demarcation.


That’s when I got out the spackle and filled in the area around the line, and the other areas that needed a quick layer.


Boy's room mid-project - rock wall, hanging ladder ~


Then I sanded the whole room – and ended up with gray hair to show for it! Thankfully it washed right now. Whew!


DIYers gone wild! Gray hair! ~


I put up a few paint samples around his room, and let him choose his favorite. He chose this gorgeous color from Benjamin Moore – Hudson Bay.


I love Benjamin Moore colors, but I’ve always been so impressed with the durability and coverage of Behr’s Ultra primer and paint in one, so I had it mixed at Home Depot. I finished it in one day, and applied a few touch-ups the next morning before moving his furniture back into place. Now he has a brand new room!


And look how good his Ninja Warrior equipment looks against the new wall color!


Navy blue boy's room! A rock wall and a hanging ladder are a great way for little boys to get out their energy! Benjamin Moore Hudson Bay ~


I’ll be sharing more about Aiden’s room makeover soon! Next up, Quinn’s room is going to get a fresh new look! I just might get started weekend!


What about you?


What have you been up to lately? Have you read any good books? Watched a fantastic movie? I can’t wait to hear about it!


As always, thank you so much for spending a little bit of your day with me. Your encouragement and comments mean the world to me! You can also find me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!


Until next time,


~ G

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5 Summer Must-Haves for a Busy Mom

Summer Must-Haves for a Busy Mom!


It’s getting warm outside! Summer is in full swing here in Kansas. Our family was been busy with VBS last week, and we will be heading to swimming lessons and playdates over the next couple of weeks. I love the time that we get to spend as a family during the summer, but it can be crazy with so many activities!


My Three Sons - Swimming


I shared with you last week how much I love my new Beeyoutiful mineral foundation. Love, love, love! I enjoy hearing about the things that people found – what makes life easier – that I thought I’d share with you a few more of my favorite things.


Here are some of my go-to, can’t-live-without, must haves for summer!


Summer Must Haves!


Dry Shampoo ~


I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to wash, dry, and style my hair every day. Between getting up early to work out, meeting up with friends at the park, and spending afternoons at the local pools and splash pads, I need something to help my hair stay fresh, easy to maintain, and looking good between washings. Dry shampoo is the bomb diggity!


There are two brands that I love:

Suave Professionals Refresh & Revive is cheap, smells great, and gives my hair a little extra volume oomph! I can pick it up at Target, blow dry my hair after a sweaty workout, and spray it in before styling. It’s a great way to buy myself a little time until I can wash it later.


Big Sexy Hair Power Play comes in a powder form that you sprinkle in at the roots. I wait a few minutes before I rub it in and brush it through my hair. I love that this one leaves the rest of my hair feeling silky and clean so I can go about 2-3 days between washings.


Benefit Eye Bright ~


This has been called A NAP IN A STICK – and I love it! It’s the lightest shade of pink, and when I apply it to the dreaded dark circles on my face, it helps light to bounce off that area! I look so much more awake, alert, and refreshed when I am sporting my Benefit Eye Bright!


Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review and Giveaway!



OGX Argan Oil of Morocco  ~


Heavenly. That’s how I would describe this stuff! I use OGX’s Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner, too, but this penetrating oil makes my locks soft, silky, and so touchable. I can’t keep my hands out of my hair!


Future Hope Jewelry


I bought the small travel size at Ulta months ago, and I’m still working my way through it! I rub a small drop between my palms and run my hands through the ends and middle of my wet hair after a shower, and then I style it.


Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review


P.S. – It smells divine, too!


Pucker up! ~


I’ve become a big fan of having a pop of color on my lips! My sweet friend Heather gave me a pretty gold tube of Bésame Red Velvet for my birthday this year!


I tend to have dry lips, so I always wear a lip balm – even over my lipstick. My favorite is the Burt’s Bees “Red Dahlia” tube from Target. It adds just a hint of color to my lips, and looks great over a darker lip color as well!


My sister-in-law Amy gave me a new lip lavender mint balm from Honest Company, and I love it! It’s clear, but adds a nice little glow to my lips while keeping them soft and hydrated.


Red Lipstick


Sunglasses ~


Pulling weeds in the flower bed. Mowing the yard. A family walk around our neighborhood. Swimming lessons. Park play dates. Driving our kids all over God’s green earth for summer activities.


I couldn’t do it all without my shades! I keep these Kate Spades with me all the time, and it makes active summer life so much better. Plus, all you need is a little pop of color on the lips, and no on can tell if you have bags under your eyes from being up at night with a sick kiddo like I was last night, staying up too late reading a good book, or just didn’t have time to put on your Eye Bright!


Sunglasses and White Summer Dress


What about you?


What are some of your must- haves for summer? Do you have a favorite sunscreen? A fabulous lotion? A delicious summer drink? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!


Wishing you a fabulous week!




~ Ginger

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Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup…and GIVEAWAY!!! (Winner announced!)

And the winner is #21 – Heather! A big THANK YOU to each of you who entered our giveaway! I encourage you to check out Beeyoutiful, and let me know what you think! 🙂


3 Ways to Love Mineral Makeup


Psssst… Can I tell you something? I’ve been on a mission recently… A mission to gradually replace my old beauty products with ones that are more natural. Have you ever looked up the details of what is in our cosmetics? Yikes! It’s pretty scary! Even though I want to turn to more natural products, I don’t want to give quality or appearance. There’s a reason I wear makeup! *wink*


And that is why I couldn’t be more excited to share my latest discovery with you! Eeeeeeek!


Tinted moisturizer had been my go-to “foundation” for years now. I started out with Cover Girl, then eventually switched to Aveeno thinking that would be more natural – but it would sting and make my eyes water even when I lightly applied it to my face. That can’t be a good sign. Then I tried a pricier tinted moisturizer, but it really wasn’t anything to get excited about. I was still using it every day when I read this article by my friend Rosanna which introduced me to Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup:





She asked me if I would like to try a sample foundation kit from Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup to review here on the blog, and of course I said yes! Rosanna is a busy wife and mom just like me – but she’s gorgeous, talented, and always looks amazing! I knew that I couldn’t go wrong in trusting her advice. Even though I still wasn’t sure that mineral makeup would work for me, I was willing to give it a shot!


I’m more of a medium tone, so they sent me an adorable fuchsia gift bag with EIGHT different shades of medium foundation to choose from and sample! EIGHT! And a small kabuki brush! One of the reasons that I’ve relied on tinted moisturizer for the last few years is because I’ve always had a rough time finding just the right shade of foundation to match my olive-ish skin – but Beeyoutiful was different.


(Ooops! I forgot to snag a photo of all eight samples… These were the remaining six shades that came with the sample package.)


Beeyoutiful Makeup Samples


I carefully watched Rosanna’s video on how to find your perfect match. There were so many shades that came in my sample package – but I chose the two that seemed like they might be the better matches, and I gave it a whirl. I was surprised to see that both shades matched pretty well! I ended up choosing the slightly darker shade because we were going into warmer months and my skin tans pretty easily when I’m outside in the summer.


Rosanna helped me put in my order – and a few days later this pretty package arrived in the mail!


Mineral Makeup


Once again, I followed along with the next video as Rosanna demonstrated how to use a kabuki brush to apply the mineral foundation. I loved that she also shows two other ways that we can apply the makeup. I had fun playing around with the different techniques, and over the next few days I tried all three!


Dry Brushing ~


First I tried the regular dry buffing method. Before trying mineral makeup, I had assumed that it would feel caked on, dry, and just gross, so I was surprised to see that it wasn’t any of those things! It felt light and fluffy – almost as if I wasn’t wearing makeup at all!


coconut earrings


Blending with a Moisturizer ~


Next I used a drug store moisturizer to blend with the mineral powder – and it was another great look! This created a little more coverage, so I will use this for a more dressed up, nighttime look. Even though my freckles weren’t as visible with this approach, I still didn’t feel like I was wearing heavy makeup. Oh, happy day!


Future Hope shirt


Airbrush Technique ~


This one is my favorite, and is now my go-to way to apply makeup each morning! I ran to Target and found NYX’s Dewy Finish Setting Spray to try. I look how it turned out! I like this look so much that I’m eyeing Beeyoutiful’s Lavishmint Hydrating Toner for when I run out – just like Rosanna uses in the video.


I love how this method evens out my complexion, but still light enough to show my freckles! I feel natural, as if I’m not wearing anything on my face – without scaring my friends and family!

Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup ~ Review


My skin has never felt better!


I love that Beeyoutiful Mineral Makeup is a full disclosure company, and I can know exactly what I am putting on my body. At 34 years old, my skin has honestly never felt better. I’ve already told my Beloved that I’m excited to stick with this brand! I may get the slightly lighter shade of foundation to use as my summer tan glow fades this fall/winter, and I’m already looking at replacing my other cosmetics with Beeyoutiful’s fabulous choices!


It’s a GIVEAWAY!!!


Have you ever tried mineral makeup? Would you like to? Rosanna and the awesome folks at Beeyoutiful Skin have graciously offered to give away a FREE sample package and full-sized foundation to ONE LUCKY READER!!! This is the perfect opportunity to try something new! You can find your perfect shade and see for yourself how fabulous it is!



Just leave a comment below telling us your very favorite, can’t live without, gotta have it if you were stranded on a deserted island piece of makeup! Do you swear by a certain concealer? Are you a lipstick girl? Blush? Mascara? I’d love to know all about it!


The winner will be announced Friday evening!


Be sure to connect with Beeyoutiful on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in the loop – sales, makeup tips, inspiration, and more!


Wishing you an exquisite week, my friends!


~ Ginger


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What I’m Into ~ May 2015 Edition

What I'm Into May 2015


Once again it’s time to link up with the lovely Leigh Kramer and gab about what we’ve been into this month – (er, the past couple of months in my case)! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful links for the best book ideas, movie and tv reviews, and more!


My Birthday ~

Last month I celebrated my 34th birthday. The thirties have been hard for me, but this year wasn’t so bad. I welcomed it – and somehow 34 didn’t feel quite as daunting. Maybe that’s because I’ve been working so hard to take better care of myself, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and finding out who I really am as a woman.


It probably helped that I had started an exercise routine 30 days before my birthday. I was feeling squishy, tired, achy, and self-conscious about how my clothes weren’t fitting very well. I had melted into a puddle of tears more than once, but I have a wonderful Beloved who pulled me into his arms and assured me that he loved me exactly how I was. I was inspired to stop moping and actually do something about it, so I began the 30 Day Shred exercise program, then progressed into trying PIYO.


I’m getting stronger, leaner, and more energized – which helped me to usher in this birthday with a smile.


Book Exchange Parties ~


I wish that I had snapped a picture from the other night! I hosted a white elephant book exchange party for the ladies of our new church – and I think everyone enjoyed themselves! My friend Kaila and I handed out invitations printed out on vintage-ish library check-out cards, and everyone brought snackies to munch on. We took turns picking out a wrapped book and finding out which books had impacted our friends.

Here are some of the AWESOME books that were shared:

The Chronicles of Narnia

For Men Only

For Women Only

The Pact

Sacred Marriage

Gods at War (I ended up with this one!)

Harriet the Spy

The Best Yes

One Thousand Gifts

Me Before You (This was my contribution to the evening’s festivities!)


And Speaking of Books…


Look at what my Beloved and our boys gave me for Mother’s Day!


Unfinished bookshelf


They really do know what speaks to my heart – a special place for my antique books!


Finished bookshelf


Future Hope ~


I am so excited about the work that my friend Katie is doing in Haiti with Future Hope Haiti! Her heart has been moved and she is working toward bringing hope to the people of Haiti! I love supporting them any way I can, and I won a t-shirt! One look at it, and my oldest son asked if he could have one, too. I’ll probably end up giving him mine. I love that he’s excited to spread the word of the work going on in Haiti!


Future Hope shirt


I love wearing my coconut earrings and bracelet from Future Hope! They go with absolutely everything!


Future Hope Jewelry


I love mine so much that I gave away a pair of coconut earrings on Facebook last week for my birthday! The giveaway went over so well that we just might have another one! Stay tuned!


Future Hope Earrings



Celebrating Being Seizure-Free!


Our middle son is officially finished with taking his epilepsy meds! He was declared seizure-free at his last EEG, and has been weaning off the medication. Our family celebrated this HUGE milestone with him – and we couldn’t be prouder for all of his hard work! He helped me write this post:


5 Things You Should Know About Absence Seizures

Crashing Into Grace ~


I had the unfortunate experience of backing into my Beloved’s car last month. I felt absolutely horrible about my mistake – and I managed to flog myself pretty well for not being more careful. It was my family who surrounded me with love and forgiveness that taught me the most important lesson of all:


Sometimes the best thing a mom can do for her family is to give herself grace. ~


The End of the School Year ~


Quinn hat


Things have been pretty crazy around here lately! We finished up our school year, and it seemed even busier than in past years. My blogging took a back seat, but as life slows down a little this summer I’ll be able to share a little more of our story with you!



Books I’ve Read in April & May ~


I didn’t get to read as many books as usual. With getting up so early, I’ve found myself going to bed earlier and earlier – unable to keep my eyes open to read at night, but I did manage to get through a few!


The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett – LOVED IT! Can’t wait to finally watch the film!


Glitter and Glue, by Kelly Corrigan – Another great book by Kelly Corrigan. This memoir focused more on her relationship with her mom, and it made me laugh and cry.


Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford – I’m going through this one slowly and soaking it up… Convicting and inspiring at the same time, and it’s helping me to stop and really be in the moment with my family.


Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty – WOWZERS! I loved her book What Alice Forgot, but when I started her newest story, I couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I had pretty much given up, but I’m so glad that my friend Jeri encouraged me to push through and keep reading. I’ve shared parts of my story with y’all, and I could relate to each of the three main characters in some ways. When I clicked past the last page on my Kindle, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even cry. I just sat and soaked it all in – there were so many memories and emotions flowing through me. It was a good thing, honest! A fascinating page-turner, it also nudged me to dig deep and face some painful corners of my past.


Reading in June ~


Do Over, by John Acuff


Scary Close, by Donald Miller


Love Walked In, by Marisa De Los Santos – and if I enjoy it, I have the sequel ready to read, too – Belong to Me.


Gods at War, by Francis Chan


The Marriage of Chani Kaufman, by Eve Harris



What About You?


What have you been into lately? Have you read any good books? Watched any must-see TV? Found any great bargains? I’d love to hear all about it! I’m always looking for good recommendations for books, movies, and more! You can find me here, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! I’d love to connect with you!

Wishing you an exquisite month of June, dear friends!



~ Ginger

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Take a Little Time ~ One Little Thing

Take a Little Time for You! header



Happy Monday, Friend! Can you believe that it’s April already? Are you finding ways to take a little time for yourself? Have you been staying hydrated this week?


Last time I set a goal for myself to do at least ONE thing for myself every day. I’ve set this goal before, but haven’t always crossed it off my list. Some nights I’d be dragging myself into bed and realize that in the busyness of the day, I hadn’t taken the time to do anything just for me. I was determined to change that last week! I’m a busy lady, just like you – with kids, activities, responsibilities, and good things pulling me in different directions. I’ve found that when I take just a little time for myself, I am a more rested and refreshed person. I’m energized, happier, and a better wife and mother.


Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a big production, expensive, or selfish… it’s just taking a few minutes to recharge so you can have a better outlook on life as you take care of the people and responsibilities in your life. It’s a whole new mindset that I’ve been working on just a little bit at a time.


Here’s how it went down last week:


MONDAY – I spent time playing my piano. It’s hard to believe that she’s been mine for almost a whole year!





TUESDAY – I tried some new teal eye shadow! My friend Anna has an awesome series of beauty videos, and she recently shared a Pop of Color tutorial where she showed us how to add some color to the eyes to bring a fresh bit of color to the face! Our family has been very careful to not spend extra money over the last few months, so this was a nice treat for myself! 


blue eyeshadow



WEDNESDAY – I lit a candle and took the time to really enjoy the fresh scent… We were also under a tornado warning and I thought it would be best to have a candle lit in case our electricity went out while I was making a poster for Game Night at our oldest son’s school. Sometimes a girl’s gotta multi-task!


(We used spray adhesive to attach the Captain America poster and the superhero-inspired letters to the giant poster board. Perfect for the class game – a ring toss!)


Freedom Toss



THURSDAY – I wore my new coconut earrings from Future Hope. They are lightweight, unique, and go with everything! I love them so much, that I think we might have another Favorite Things giveaway soon! Stay tuned!

coconut earrings


FRIDAY – I met with a friend from our new church to talk about a book we are reading together, and I was excited to learn that I could join in helping her plan events for the ladies of our church! 


SATURDAY – My sister Natalie treated me to a sister-date and a pedicure on Saturday afternoon! I had the most relaxing time sitting in a massage chair and catching up with her while our tootsies got the royal treatment!


Before I went to see my sister, I stopped by one of my favorite consignment shops and TJ Maxx with the gift cards that my parents and siblings gave me as an early birthday present! I hadn’t been shopping for myself in so long, and it was fun to try on clothes and find something special just for me! I found a cute summer skirt and a vintage looking top. I still have plenty left on my birthday gift cards, and I can’t wait to go shopping again soon!


Speaking of shopping…Has this ever happened to you?


A Shopping Monologue -



 Last Week’s Goals ~


  • ~ Drink 3 qt. of water each day. I did this all but one day this week. I feel so much more refreshed and energized when I’m drinking enough water! I’m also drinking coconut water and eating bananas to make sure that I’m not running low on potassium. 
  • ~ Wake up at 0530 or before to get an early start on my day with exercise and a quiet reading timeCheck! Getting up early is becoming a routine for me, and it’s easier now – three weeks in – than it was in the beginning. 
  • ~ Complete 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga every morningYEP! I have finished three full weeks of both the 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga. I’m in Level 3 of the Shred, and while it’s not super enjoyable, I’m not finding it as challenging as I’d hoped. 
  • ~ Get back into writingI have been outlining blog posts to share with you soon. 
  • ~ Do ONE thing every day just for myself – maybe play the piano, read, light a candle, or take a walk.


This Week’s Goals ~


  • ~ Be up by 0530 every morning to get an early start on my day with exercise and quiet reading time.
  • ~ Continue with the 30 Day Shred and 30 Days of Yoga every morning, or find something more challenging to finish out my month of working on my health. But do not weigh myself.
  • ~ Drink 3qt. of water each day.
  • ~ Write two more blog posts this week.
  • ~ Find ways that I can encourage a friend this week.


Will You Join Me? ~


I’m curious – as I’ve been thinking about all the things that have kept me from taking better care of myself, I’m wondering – What things are keeping you from taking a little time for you? Kids? Work? Crazy schedule? Are you like me and forgot how to take care of yourself?

One of the hardest parts of taking a little time for myself has always been coming up with ideas for how to take care of me. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of 101 FREE (or nearly free) Ways to Take a Little Time for US! And I’d be thrilled to send it to you! Subscribe to the free email updates from Just One of the Boys – just enter your name and email address below -and I’ll send you your FREE copy!


101 Ways


I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week with the hashtag #takealittletime, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. And don’t forget to do something for your heart – get it pumping today! You can even tell me how you are taking care of your body here in the comments or tag me in your photos! Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!


~ Ginger


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Psssst… It’s Time for a GIVEAWAY!!!




“These are a few of my favorite things…”

I shared earlier this weekend that we’ve been having a blast over on Facebook where I’ve been sharing some of my favorite things with YOU in giveaways! And let’s do it again today!

Just head over to the Just One of the Boys FACEBOOK PAGE during the Super Bowl for a chance to win a cute new purse for spring! And on top of that, it’s from one of my favorite places – JOYN! I absolutely love their story and their mission:



JOYN takes artisans living in poverty and joins them with the thriving fashion world.
Each step of our process is done by hand—creating more jobs, bringing more joy, and connecting more artisans with YOU.


It all started when I told my friend Ashley that I loved her bag – and wanted to know where she found it. She told me about JOYN, and the rest was history. I have two bags myself, one I use as a spring/summer purse and the other is when I just need an extra bag to carry library books, extra papers, or even granola bars and water bottles for my guys.

I love both of mine so much that I wanted to spread the love and give away a brand new JOYN bag to you! So today I am giving away a brand new JOYN handbag! It’s so pretty – and has such a wonderful story behind it!


JOYN purse




JOYN Purse 2


Join us on Facebook during the big game for an easy way to enter the fun! Can’t wait to see you there!


~ G


P.S. Full disclosure – I bought this purse on my own. I don’t know anyone at JOYN and I’m pretty sure they don’t know I exist, but I love these bags and the heart behind them so much that I want to share it with you – my friends!

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Take a Little Time ~ Take 4

Take a Little Time for You! header


Happy Monday, Friends! How was your week? Did it fly by like mine did? I’m not sure where the weekend went, but it’s a brand-spankin’ new week and I’m ready to take it on… after I have one more cup of Earl Grey tea. *wink*


Last week I set a goal for myself to do at least ONE little thing for myself every day… just because. I shared my goals a few days late last week, but I was able to find just a few minutes here and there to do one little thing that made me smile. Best of all – they were free!


Wednesday: I turned on Pandora to enjoy one of my favorite stations (Glenn Miller’s In the Mood) while getting the house ready for our Home Team to come over that night. Cleaning is much more fun when you have swing music to help lighten the mood! What kind of music do you like to listen to while you clean?


Thursday: I shared this on Facebook and Instagram – “Know who aren’t getting much-anticipated root beer floats this afternoon? Three grumpy boys who shall remain nameless. Know who IS getting a much-deserved root beer float instead? ME! A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do! *wink*”

Root beer float


Friday: Curled up with one of my favorite writing books, Bird by Bird, before bed. I’ve been savoring its words for a few minutes each night ever since.

Books that Stick ~ Bird by Bird


Saturday: I wrote a story out about my boys that is very close to my heart to share with you this week!

A Mommy's Love - To Infinity... and Beyond


Sunday: I woke up with a hankerin’ to wear animal print. I remembered a retro-ish leopard print swing jacket that I hadn’t worn in a long time – and it became the basis for what I wore to church that morning! I don’t know why, but it made me smile, and it felt good to step a little bit out of my comfort zone!


Last Week’s Goals ~


  • ~ Drink 60 oz. of water each day, and coconut water once or twice this week. I missed my goal one day this week with regular water, and only drank coconut water once this week – but I feel like I’m getting better overall! 
  • ~ Eat a healthy breakfast (or brunch) each morning. Yep!
  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning. I’m pretty sure I forgot these on Saturday, but I remembered the rest of the week.
  • ~ Put on real clothes during the week, and post pictures to The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore link-upI wore my Jayhawk sweats on Saturday during the basketball game, but otherwise I stayed out of my shlumpy clothes! 

comfy outfit

  • ~ Work out for at least 10 minutes five times this weekCheck! And I have the sore abs from Pilates to prove it!
  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my toes. Would you believe that I still haven’t tackled this? I went to dig out my favorite winter polish and found that the lid was sealed tight. I guess I need to work on that so my toes can be a pretty peacock blue color this week!
  • ~ Memorize. Work on James 1:1-4 with a group of friends.
  • ~ Do at least ONE thing for myself every day… just because.
  • ~ Tackle that one project I’ve been dreading. I’ve started on it, but it isn’t finished. That will happen this week.
  • ~ Go easy on myself and my injured handThe swelling has gone down quite a bit, but I still can’t fit my wedding ring over my knuckle. My dad, the x-ray man, says I probably tore a ligament in it and have an evulsion fracture – and that I just need to be careful with it as it heals. It throbs when it gets bumped, but otherwise is  getting better – slowly, but surely!


This Week’s Goals ~


  • ~ Continue to drink 60 oz. of water each day, along with coconut water once or twice this week.
  • ~ Work out 5 times this week for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my toes.
  • ~ Memorize. Keep working on James 1:1-4 with my group of friends.
  • ~ Spend some time outside enjoying the gorgeous (unJanuary-like) weather we’re expecting this week!
  • ~ Continue tackling that one project I’ve been putting off.
  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning.
  • ~ Put on real clothes during the week and stay away from my shlumpy sweats or workout clothes unless I’m actually working out.
  • ~ Do at least ONE little thing for myself each day… just because!
  • ~ Continue to read Love & Respect with my Beloved.


What About You? ~


I’ll keep sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!


~ Ginger

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Take a Little Time ~ Take 3

Take a Little Time for You! header


Happy Wednesday, Y’all! I’m a couple of days late with this post. I had an incident this weekend… I’m pretty sure my finger is broken. This is what happens when you have a houseful of boys and you try to hang with them while playing basketball. I reached in for a steal – and now I have a swollen, throbbing, purple appendage where my wedding ring is supposed to be. Anyway – I’m doing my best to hunt and peck with my other fingers on that hand. Part of my goals for this week will certainly be to “baby” my hand so it can heal. It’s a literal pain to do anything – laundry, dishes, washing my hair. It will get better in time, just not fast enough for me!

How did you do this past week? Are you taking a little bit of time just for you? I’m still trying to get over the mental hurdle of believing that if I take better care of myself – Mom, Wife, Friend, Writer – then I can better care for my loved ones. But it’s true! Let’s find a few ways that we can all care for ourselves this week! Here’s how I did with my goals last week…


Last Week’s Goals ~

  • ~ Drink 60 oz. of water each day, and coconut water at least twice this week. I missed my goal twice this week, but I am feeling better by making sure that I’m drinking enough water!


  • ~ Eat a healthy breakfast (or brunch) each morningYep! Southwestern chicken salad, sausage/sweet potato casserole, chili… Odd choices for breakfast foots, but yum!

Chicken salad



  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my tootsies. I have to confess – I didn’t remove my old polish. *pout* I slapped on a fresh coat of sparkly red on top of my older polish. But it serves me right since I don’t like how it looks now. I’ll be changing this ASAP!


  • ~ Clean out my purseCheck! (Side note: My Beloved and boys gave me an Etsy gift card for Christmas, and this was exactly what I was looking for! It’s a fun and funky purse, but it’s also big enough to carry my laptop when I want to do a little writing-on-the-go. Check out the seller’s Etsy shop! I couldn’t be happier with my new bag, and the seller was a dream to work with!) I cleaned out the library receipts, Pokémon cards, church papers, and other things that have collected in my purse since Christmas. Ahhh… I love having a clean purse! Now it only houses my wallet, my sunglasses, lip balm, keys, and room for books or my laptop. Much better!

new purse



  • ~ Put on real clothes during the work week – stay away from my comfy sweats until after supper or over the weekendGuess what?! I didn’t put on sweats once last week! Sure, I wore leggings and a poncho, but that’s as close as I got. I felt more energized and ready to tackle the day. I’m still tempted to crawl back into sweats after I shower in the mornings, but I’ll keep working on it. I didn’t get photos of every outfit, but I did manage to get a few pics…

Take a little time to dress for the day! 1

Homeschooling and errands ~ (Red shirt – JC Penney, vest – Kohl’s, jeans – Levi’s 535 from Kohl’s, boots – Vince Camuto from Dillard’s, jewelry – my Beloved’s old AF wings and an antique watch necklace from my dad.)


Take a little time to dress for the day! Church outfit - red boots, red pashmina, striped skirt

Church outfit ~ (White shirt – TJ Maxx, striped skirt – consignment store, red Pashmina – Qatar {from Hubby’s last deployment}, red boots – Lucky)


Take a little time to dress for the day! Blue suede Toms and black shawl scarf! Practical mom uniform!

Homeschooling, cooking, errands ~ (Gray tunic – TJ Maxx, black shawl – thrifted, Domaine jeans – thrifted, blue suede shoes – TOMS clearance)


Take a little time to dress for the day! Orange motorcycle jacket and scarf.

Assisting in Science class at our homeschool co-op, homeschooling, errands ~ (Gray sweater tunic – Bass, orange motorcycle jacket – consignment store, scarf – Afghanistan {from a few deployments back}, jeans – Levi’s 535, boots – Vince Camuto.


  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning.


  • ~ Visit my counselor once this weekAnd what an encouragement it was! As always she challenged me, made me smile, made me cry, and made me think. I have assignments to work on and left feeling ready to tackle life once more!


  • ~ Work out for at least 10 minutes EACH day. This happened every day but one. Getting better! I did a 20 minute Pilates video most mornings in the dark, just me and my zebra socks…

Take a little time to exercise!



  • ~ Make more facial oil cleanser by Tuesday. I’m almost outYes! And it feels sooooo good! 


  • ~ Do at least ONE thing every day just for myself – even if it’s just for a 5 minutes. I know that I did a few things for myself over the week, but I’m pretty sure a couple of days flew by without me giving thought to doing something for myself. 


This Week’s Goals ~

  • ~ Drink 60 oz. of water each day, and coconut water once or twice this week.
  • ~ Eat a healthy breakfast (or brunch) each morning.
  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning.
  • ~ Put on real clothes during the week, and post pictures to The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore link-up.
  • ~ Work out for at least 10 minutes five times this week.
  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my toes.
  • ~ Memorize. Work on James 1:1-4 with a group of friends.
  • ~ Do at least ONE thing for myself every day… just because.
  • ~ Tackle that one project I’ve been dreading.
  • ~ Go easy on myself and my injured hand.


What About You? ~

I’ll be sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually take a minute, SIT DOWN today, and just breathe. Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!


~ Ginger


*Linking up with Women With Intention and Coffee for Your Heart today!

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Take a Little Time… Take 2

Take a Little Time for You! header


Happy Monday, friends! How did last week treat you? How did you treat YOURSELF? I hope that you’re taking a little bit of time for you! I love that we have this little community!

For the most part, this week went much better. I ate breakfast most mornings, I put on real clothes, and I enjoyed a fun Mommy Playdate with some friends. The one thing that I am going to change this week is to have specific – very specific – goals. I didn’t exercise at all this past week, and that’s because I kept putting it off.

I’ll do it tomorrow. I have plenty of time. I’m too tired today. I’ll be sore if I do it now. I don’t want to get sweaty. Yeah, I’ll do it tomorrow. 

Sure enough, the whole week slipped by and because I didn’t have an actionable goal, I didn’t have to live up to it. This week I am trying something different – each of my goals are specific and measurable. And I am making sure that I exercise for at least 10 minutes each day. I have gained about 5-7 pounds – just an educated guess, I haven’t weighed myself to be sure. It’s not much – but for me that’s a whole jeans size. I’d really love to get back to where my clothes fit and I feel better about myself – and I think in order to do that, I’m going to need to set measurable and doable goals for myself.

Is there something like this in your own life? Like me, have you been setting vague goals for yourself? Are you willing to work WITH me this week? I’d love to know that I’m not alone!


Last week’s goals ~

  • ~  Keep hydrated with water and coconut waterThis week I’m gonna kick it up a notch and set definite goals.
  • ~  Eat a healthy breakfast/brunch each morning. I did a better job of this – remembering/making time to eat every morning except Sunday. I wish I had snapped a picture of the yummy spinach/egg bake that my Beloved made this week. Delish!
  • ~  Get my heart pumping at least 3 days each week with exercise. I was pretty abysmal at this over the past week. I didn’t work out once. I got up nice and early to have a little quiet time before things got crazy around the house. I’m changing up my routine a bit so that I can get back on track with getting/staying healthy.
  • ~  Get dressed in REAL CLOTHES and not stay in my comfy sweatsI shared this picture on Facebook and Instagram. Child: “THAT’S what you’re wearing to church?!” No, but it is what moms wear until exactly 12. 4965 seconds until they walk out the door because they are so busy getting everyone else ready. Am I right? *wink* We were visiting a new church yesterday – I’m sure a bathrobe would’ve made quite an impression!





IMG_8610 2

  • ~  Do TWO things every day just for me – (listen to a podcast, read a book, play the piano)I read some great books, mostly. I also played the piano, baked an apple crisp to share with friends just because it sounded good, and watched an episode of Call the Midwife on Netflix
  • ~  Make an appointment to see my counselor.
  • ~  Plan a “Mommy Playdate” with other grown-upsI was in charge of the activity/lesson for our homeschool co-op group’s meeting just for moms this month – so I used this time to have a little fun! There were 13 of us, and we played a hilarious game of Apples to Apples together! It was so much fun to be playing a game with other grownups! 
  • ~  Make a list of free or inexpensive ways we can all take a little time for ourselves to share here on the blogYes!!! Look for more news about this very soon!

101 Ways

  • ~  Get up early enough (5:30-6:00AM most days) to have a quiet time before the day begins for the rest of the houseYawn… Yep! I was able to get out of bed early enough every morning except yesterday (Sunday) to have a quiet time before the rest of the house began stirring – which really gave my a boost to my whole day! I’ll be adding in the element of exercise this next week – so we’ll see how that goes! 
  • ~  Curl up in bed with a book and my Beloved by 10pm most nights to get a good night’s sleep. Are we GoodReads buddies yet? Find awesome books and check out what your friends are reading! 


This week’s goals ~

  • ~ Drink 60 oz. of water each day, and coconut water at least twice this week.
  • ~ Eat a healthy breakfast (or brunch) each morning.
  • ~ Remove my old polish and apply new polish to my tootsies.
  • ~ Clean out my purse.
  • ~ Put on real clothes during the work week – stay away from my comfy sweats until after supper or over the weekend.
  • ~ Take multivitamins each morning.
  • ~ Visit my counselor once this week.
  • ~ Work out for at least 10 minutes EACH day.
  • ~ Make more facial oil cleanser by Tuesday. I’m almost out!
  • ~ Do at least ONE thing every day just for myself – even if it’s just for a 5 minutes.


How About You? ~

I’ll be sharing even more of my progress on Facebook and Instagram this week, and I’d love it if you joined me. It would be way more fun with you! Let’s find a second to actually SIT DOWN today and just breathe. Let’s put our health, our hearts, and our heads back on the to-do list – and let’s start taking better care of ourselves today!

*Fist bump*

~ Ginger


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I’m Ginger ~

I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.

Join the fun!