Foodie Penpal: June

As I’ve mentioned before I participate in a fabulous program called the “Foodie Penpal” program put together by the lovely Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  After you sign up {here}, you are randomly matched up with someone to send a package to and another person that will send you a package!  After contacting your person, you put together $15 worth of food yummies {can be anything from local classics, to favorite snacks, to homemade goodies}, package it all up and send it their way!  Then for the bloggers in the world, on the 1st of each month you post about the package you received.  What a fun way to connect with other food lovers across the country!

This month I was paired up with Kaycee from the blog My Crafty Zoo.  It’s always an extra bonus to get matched with a fellow blogger {especially when she’s so cool}!  Kaycee hit the ball out of the park with this one.  I felt like Mary Poppins practically  perfect in every way pulling things out of this box o’ goodies…they just kept coming {and kept getting better!}

mary poppins

2 yummy flavors of Biff’s Coffee {Swiss Chocolate Almond & Bifferdoodle – real pumped about the bifferdoodle…hello that is an amazing name!}

2 boxes of Swanson Flavor Boost…for an extra boost of yummy when you cook

a Box of Hodgson Mill Flax Seed and pack of xanthan gum

a Box of Large Pearl Tapioca {and she didn’t even know that my #1 favorite dessert is Tapioca pudding…reminds me of my Nana!!}

2 different Walnut Creek jams {strawberry & peach}

a handful of Sunbelt Bakery oatmeal raisin granola bars

2 different Blackberry Patch syrups {blackberry & raspberry} Perfect for our next breakfast for dinner date!

a giant package of Turmeric {which I can’t wait to cook with…did you know Turmeric is really good for reducing inflammation and can be a natural pain reliever which means it can help with things from colds and flu to arthritis and cancer!}

some candy and kool-aid {because every girl needs a little sugar rush every now and then!}

and a GIANT homemade jar of orange marmalade!!!

I’m telling you…she sent me the MOTHER LOAD!  It was awesome.  So huge thank you to the wonderful Kaycee for such a thoughtful package.  I’m so glad we found each other {awwww}  So to all you readers out there…if you haven’t looking into the Foodie Penpal program…you’re crazy…Do it!  You will love it.

Happy Eating
~ Jillian


Monday Mantra: inner peace

Happy Monday to you!  Hope your weekend was wonderful and you are awake ready to kick off a great week.  Did you catch the super moon last night?  So beautiful!!  After a busy weekend of visiting with friends and doing lots of housework and yard work, it was really nice to just sit outside for a few minutes last night and enjoy the gorgeous view.  We tried REALLY hard to get some pictures of our view of the moon…but the camera just wasn’t on the same page.  So for now…just trust me…it was awesome!!

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose
not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”

inner peace

Find Joy!
~ Jillian

Baskets baskets eVerYwhEre

I’m trying my hardest to dig out of the piles and boxes of craziness that happen when you make a big move.  {literal crazy piles and figurative life is just crazy so I haven’t had as much time to devote to my favorite blog readers kind of piles}  For the most part we have settled into our new digs.  At least now we have a permanent home for the important things like underwear and coffee mugs!!

We lived in our small little {no storage} townhouse for quite a few years, and over that time a lot of the nice to have but not necessity items got shoved into random little corners with hopes of some day finding the perfect home.  Its been so much fun uncovering lots of these little {and some big} gems as we’ve made this move.  After the basic things were put into place, I started collecting all of the accessories and artwork into one empty room so I could take my time spreading them around the house when the mood felt right. {full disclosure…its a mess…and its been that way since moving day BUT i’m slowly distributing all the stuff around the house as I work on turning this empty place into our home!}

pile o junk
Once all of that stuff was out of boxes and on the floor I realized…I have a problem…a Basket problem.  {wonder if there is a support group for that…basket hoarders anonymous??}  Baskets are just so lovely.  You can use them to store just about anything and they add such warmth to a space.  Let’s just say if you are ever in the country and stop on by this girl’s casa, prepare to be hit in the face with at least one basket {not literally…unless you really so something to deserve it}

Island BasketKitchen Island “catch all”

games and bathroom

Collection of outdoor games or some extra TP in the powder room

pantry and fireplace

Pantry organization or random fireplace goodies

blanket basket

GIANT extra blankey holder basket

And these were just the baskets that were close enough for me to snap a quick pic of!  So as you can see, the basket is really a girl’s best friend.  To make this minor obsession even sweeter…some of the best places to score unique and lovely baskets are places like Goodwill, TjMaxx & Homegoods!!  Here are a few other sweet finds that are out there right now to support your basket collection habit…

Crate Barrel 1

crate barrel 2

These beauties from Crate & Barrel

Ikea baskets 1

ikea 4

Fabulous finds from Ikea

cpwm 2

cpwm 3

cpwm 1

I had trouble narrowing them down from one of my favorite stores Cost Plus World Market

Chances are you have a few baskets laying around the house already.  Maybe its time to find a new use for those lovelies?!  What’s your favorite use for the baskets in your life??

Happy Basket Finding
~ Jillian

P.s If you are a SYTYCD fan…did you SEE the cool freaking top 10 guys routine…they danced with Sand…SAND…so awesome {if you don’t usually watch…its time you do…check it out!!}

Monday Mantra: Live Joyfully

Happy day after Father’s Day!  Hope all the dad’s out there had a wonderful one.  We were very lucky to spend the day with my dad and step mom and enjoyed every minute!  Really a very typical father’s day; unloading giant pew’s into our entry way, doing ear candles, trying to back a trailer out of our driveway…you know…the usual.

“Live well…Live Joyfully”


Hope this week brings you lots of unforgettable & enjoyable joyful moments!

~ Jillian

Clean it up: All Natural Granite Cleaner

In an effort to keep our new house squeaky clean and healthy,  I’m on a “make my own natural cleaners” kick {its a real thing…i promise}  First item on the list…finding a way to keep our kitchen and master bathroom granite counters clean without damaging the sealant on the granite!  We plan to be here for a while and the last thing I want to do is prematurely strip that protective coat off!  So off Pinteresting I go…and stumble on this easy to follow recipe from the lovely Melissa at No. 2 Pencil.  This could NOT be any easier and chances are you already have everything you need.


Things you need:

  • Empty {and clean} spray bottle.
  • 1/4 tsp liquid dish soap
  • 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • 2 1/2 cups water

How to:

  •  combine all ingredients in the bottle {I used a funnel to help contain the possible mess}
  • shake it up, add a little label to your bottle  and you are ready to go!

* You can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil for a little added yummy scent or just enjoy the natural good smell that comes from the dish soap.

Not only does this sanitize and clean up those counters, it leaves them with a lovely smooth and shiny finish.  Take care of that granite…its a keeper!  I’ve also used this on pretty much all my other “surfaces” around the house with great success!

Have you jumped into any natural cleaners?  What are your favorites?

Clean it up
~ Jillian

Posted in DIY

I’ve been bugged

I’m so pumped to finally have a garden to tend to {but MAN is it hard work!!}.  Our first weekend in the new house that we actually had a little free time to get out and play in the dirt; I was up and ready for TONS of planting and digging.  I lathered on some sun screen {my pale-ness has not really seen the sun much yet this year}, turned on some tunes and got to it.  We spent almost the entire day outside running around, soaking up some sunshine, enjoying our new surroundings!

2013.05.31 Garden Images

One thing I failed to think about was the possiblity of being attacked by garden pests.  And when I say attacked…I don’t mean a few bites here and there…I mean ATTACKED.  Apparently I have sweet meat; the perfect snack for all those pesky mosquitos because they literally destroyed me.  The backs of my legs  looked like they were covered in welts or chicken pox or red button candy.  No Bueno.

As soon as I realized I had been violated by those dang things…I ran straight to the internets for an all natural solution {we try to stay as chemical free as possible around here}.  I found this tutorial from the Wellness mama and then popped over to Amazon to order a few of the ingredients that I didn’t have in the house.  Wellness mama’s recipe calls for quite a list of different essential oils {which I don’t mind having around the house because you can use them for SO many different things} but I stumbled on a pre-mix blend of all of the necessary oils from Plant Therapy {Bug-Off Synergy Blend}!  Easy Peezy.  All the goodies you need in one little bottle.

bug spray ingredients


  • 8oz empty spray bottle
  • Plant Therapy Bug Off synergy blend essential oil
  • Distilled water {or cooled boiled water}
  • Witch Hazel


  • Fill spray bottle half-way with distilled water
  • Fill ALMOST to the top with witch hazel
  • Add 30-50 drops of the Bug Off essential oil
  • Shake it up & spray

It’s safe and all natural, smells delightful, keeps those pests away and costs pennies compared to the store bought, chemical filled bug sprays!  HELLO!

Have you experimented with any “home-made” concoctions yet?  Do you LOVE using essential oils for all sorts or are you an oil novice?  Wether you are a pro or a newbie, this natural bug spray is a easy and effective way to keep those nasty things away from you so you can get out and enjoy your beautiful surroundings!!

Happy {bug-free} Summer
~ Jillian

* Be sure to check out this tutorial from Wellness Mama.  And check out this post, stop by this site and look here for other fabulous {and simple} natural bug repellent recipes!

* HSE has advertising spots available!  If you are interested in a feature, or sidebar spot please contact us !

Monday Mantra: Dreaming

Happy Happy! Hope you had a lovely weekend.  We spent ALOT of time in the car this weekend, but it was all worth it to celebrate and hang with special friends and family.  As we continue to settle in to our new digs {I PROMISE pictures and more details coming soon…girl’s gotta finish unpacking first!} we are very aware at how truly blessed we are to have found our new home.  There is of course a very very long list of to do’s and needs but we are moving slowly so that we can truly enjoy the ride and appreciate all the moments as they come.  So this week, spend some time day dreaming.  Stop worrying so much about getting it all done right now and enjoy the journey you are on {who knows where it might take you!}

“If you stop dreaming, you’re just sleeping”


Happy Monday!
~ Jillian

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