This Week’s Friday Favorites – 12.16.16

Happy Friday! These are the items or ideas that I found interesting or inspiring during the week.

  1. I’ve fallen in love with the Happy Planner. I will be writing more about this in a future post. Planner love! I can’t wait to start planning for 2017. 
  2. Getting the Christmas tree each year is something that my husband and I have made our tradition since we were married. We do not go and cut it down, but we have a Christmas tree lot that we support each year. Our plan is to decorate it this weekend.

I will be away from the blog next week. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Until next time,

My Lantern Obsession

I’ve never met a lantern that I didn’t like. I use lanterns in my everyday decor. Initially, I used candles in all of them. I talked about my love for candles here and here. Since then, I have found other items to use in the lanterns. There are so many creative ideas of items to use in your lanterns.

One of my favorite lanterns in our home is a teal blue color. I have several hand-blown glass balls that I have collected. Two of them were created by my boys, when they were younger, when we visited a glass-blowing shop. The owner let them participate and blow their own. Very cool. I added the glass balls to the lantern and asked my hubby to drill a hole in the bottom of the lantern so that I could add some lights. I love the soft glow that they add to the glass balls.

Other lanterns, in our home, have a filler that I added to them. I find bags or boxes of filler at Homegoods, T.J. Maxx, and Pier 1.

Some of my lanterns do have candles inside of them. I used frosted candle holders to fill the lantern with more than just a votive candle.

Other ideas for Filler

I also use filler in other decorative bowls and vases throughout the house.


Until next time,

Why I Changed the Makeup I Use

A couple of years ago, I started changing the personal products that I use daily. I was concerned about the chemicals that were in the items that I was using and wanted a change. The main reason for the switch was related to my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’ve previously spoken about my journey with the disease here, and here.

It is important to me to not only eat clean but to use products that are clean, as well. Right now, I have autoimmune flares that could be brought on by diet, chemicals, or stress. Flares cause inflammation in the body, and when I have them, it mostly impacts my legs. I find it extremely difficult to walk when I have a flare. It also makes me tired and achy which can put me in bed for up to a week.

Changing my personal products included changing out hair products, body products, and makeup. I use the Think Dirty app to determine the chemical makeup of the products that I use along with a visual look at the ingredients. If I can’t pronounce an ingredient in a product, I don’t use it.

I also create products for personal use. You can find some ideas on my Pinterest page. Some of the items that I’ve made are deodorant, lotion, and dry shampoo. Within the products I make, I  use a variety of Young Living Essential Oils. I also use the oils on their own for various things.

Products that I use

If you are looking for inexpensive products, it would be best to make your own. I have certain products that I buy that are as expensive as the department store, not drugstore makeup. My thinking is that you can’t put a price on your health and piece of mind and my makeup budget is spread out. That way I’m not spending so much at one time.

I use quite a few Ecco Bella and Vapour products. The following is a list of the products that I currently use.

primer – Emani Flex Mineral Face Serum and Foundation Primer 

foundation – Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation

skin perfector – Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Luminous Instant Skin Perfector

concealer – Ecco Bella FlowerColor Cover Up

powder – Ecco Bella FlowerColor Face Powder

blush – Ecco Bella FlowerColor Blush

eyeshadow – Ecco Bella FlowerColor Eyeshadow

mascara – Ecco Bella FlowerColor Mascara

eyebrow pencil – Lavera Eyebrow Pencil

lipstick – Ecco Bella FlowerColor Lipstick and Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick

nail polish – Zoya Naked Manicure Set and Zoya Nail Polish Remover

deodorant – Tom’s of Maine Natural Long-Lasting Deodorant Stick

lotion – Ecco Bella Original Organic Water-Free Herbal Body Lotion and Burt’s Bees Milk and Honey Body Lotion

skin cleanser and moisturizer – ART skin care system from Young Living

Until next time,

10 Facts About the Teacher

TwitterToday, I thought that I would give you a snapshot of the teacher behind the Organizing My Teaching Life blog. I’ve been blogging now for almost three years.  I started out with wanting to blog about teaching, lesson planning, and organizing in my classroom. Within the last few months, I’ve now taken the blog toward more of a lifestyle style blog instead.

The hubby and me on our wedding day.

10 Facts about the teacher

  1. Michigan has always been my home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
  2. My Mom and I share the same first name, but we have different middle names.
  3. I am left handed. My parents are/were right handed; both of my sisters and myself are left handed.
  4. I graduated from Central Michigan University. Fire Up, Chips!
  5. Before I started teaching, I worked retail.
  6. My hubby and I were set up by mutual friends. Our first date was at the same place we got married.
  7. Together, we have four children.
  8. We have two dogs, Tucker and Cooper. Of course, they are spoiled rotten.
  9. I have been teaching seventh graders, in the same district, for 23 years.
  10. My favorite hobbies include reading, crafting, journaling, genealogy, and of course, organizing.

Our kiddos

Until next time,


My Journey With Journaling

TwitterJournaling is something that I have dabbled in from time to time. Especially, when things get tough. It’s relaxing for me and takes my mind off of things.

I first started art journaling about four years ago. It was a tough year with a lot going on, and I needed an outlet. Art journaling was a way for me to get my mind off of what was happening at that time.

Art journaling is a very personal experience. I have shared a few pages from the approximately ten art journals that I have created. I continue to work on a page until I feel that it is the way that I want it. Sometimes, I will go back and add items.

I usually purchase an artistic sketchbook to use for an art journal and have used various sizes. I remove the spiral binding of the sketchbook and replace it with three binder rings. Starting out, I use smaller rings, and by the time I am finished, I’ve changed them out to the larger ones.

Journaling ideas

A journal page can be comprised of:

  • Personal pictures
  • Your favorite quotes
  • Writing prompts
  • A favorite memory
  • Your favorite holidays or seasons
  • Dates that are important to you
  • Letters or numbers

I also include patterned paper either as a background or an accent, stickers, ephemera, and hand-drawn items on my pages.







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Next year, I will be continuing with my art journaling journey. I will update more in a later post.

Until next time,


My Weekly Friday Favorites – 12.9.16


Happy Friday!  I’ve been thinking of a way to incorporate a weekly blog feature that I could change up each week. Today, I’m introducing my weekly Friday Favorites feature. I will include items or ideas that I found interesting or inspiring during the week.

  1. My household has adopted an Instant Pot. We purchased the 6 in 1, 5-quart, on sale from Amazon. So far, the hubby has cooked a whole chicken, and chicken, potatoes, and carrots. The instant pot cuts the cooking time, and everything that we’ve made so far has been tasty. Easy prep and clean up, too.
  2. I have several of the Robert Sabuda pop-up Christmas books. His latest entitled The Christmas Story may be one that I’ll have to add to my collection.
  3. Chalk paint is a new favorite of mine. I recently painted  a brown tray that was sitting on our       coffee table. The color is Tranquility and adds a nice pop on the red and white runner. I have also repainted three pieces of furniture with chalk paint and detailed those here.

Until next time,



Searching My Family History


Tracking my genealogy

I have always been intrigued with my family history. Where do I come from? Where did my ancestors live? One of my hobbies is to research my family history. I am so interested to see my family’s story come to life. In my research, I discover pictures, birth, wedding, and death notices, newspaper articles, and of course, censuses.

My dream, someday, is to visit the places where my ancestors lived. One of my paternal great-grandmothers was born and lived in a town that only ten minutes from our home. It’s amazing to me that we have settled in an area that is so close to where she, her parents, and her siblings lived.

23 and Me

I read an interesting article not too long ago about the distribution of DNA among siblings. In wanting to discover my background further, I ordered the 23 and Me DNA and health test kit. I chose the 23 and Me over the Ancestry DNA kit because I wanted the health report, as well.

I followed the directions that were enclosed with my order and then logged into the website and filled out the questionnaires that were part of the registration process. One of them related to what I believed my ethnic background was. The other questionnaire related to what I knew about my health issues. It also asked about auto-immune issues including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

My results

My ancestry results were as follows.

Based on my genealogy research, I knew that my genetic makeup was European. The one that surprised me was the 4.1% Scandinavian background. I do have a great grandmother that came from Denmark, but there has got to be more to that equation. Definitely fascinating.

One of my sons was so interested in this that he asked for his own kit for Christmas. I am excited to see what his results show.

Until next time,


Gift Giving and a Free Printable

TwitterIt’s hard to believe that Christmas is a little over two weeks away.  For many of us, there is still much planning, shopping, and wrapping to do.

Our decorating is done with the exception of our tree. My husband loves having a real tree each year, so we continue that tradition. We purchase and decorate our tree a week before Christmas and take it down after New Years. We plan on purchasing and decorating one next weekend.

GifT giving

I am thankful to be done with our shopping for this year. I blogged about the ornaments that we purchase here as part of a family tradition. Due to personal circumstances, I did all of our Christmas shopping online.

Wrapping gifts is something that I enjoy doing. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be one the gift wrappers at the department stores. There was a local department store in my town, and they would have tables with two or three different types of wrapping paper to choose from. I loved watching them wrap each gift and top it with a colorful bow. Perfection.

I’ve created some gift tags for you to use to label your gifts. You can print them off, cut them out, and use a hole punch to put a hole in the top. I use twine or string to attach them to our gifts. I like the simple touch that it adds to the gift.


Until next time,


A Tour of My Studio Office


I spend a great deal of my time in my studio office. It serves a dual purpose, and I have filled it with some of my favorite things. I spoke about my studio office and shared a few pictures in a previous blog post. I thought that I would give you a more detailed tour today.

My studio office used to be my son’s bedroom. When he changed rooms, my hubby and I debated what to do with the space. The room has a pocket door that leads to what used to be my other son’s room.

We live in a ranch style home. Since the rooms were down at the end of the master bedroom, we didn’t want to create a guest room. We have other rooms in the home that could serve that purpose.

Instead, we turned one bedroom into my studio office and created a doorway from the master into the other bedroom to create a walk-in closet or dressing room. The pocket door still exists but has a shelving tower in front of it on the closet side. We don’t use the pocket door, but someone could change that out in the future if they wanted to.

Storage areas

One aspect of my studio office that was important to me was having adequate storage. The room isn’t terribly large and having a place for everything and everything in its place was important to me.



Armoire storage


Closet storage


I love books. I can’t help it. There are three bookshelves in my studio office to help house my obsession. They also give me space to separate out my books by topics.


My desk

My desk was purchased about two years ago. Originally, I had my son’s old bedroom desk which was too heavy and bulky to move to his new room. I wanted a desk that had several of the same components of the original desk but was more my style.



My craft table

My craft table has seen a lot of paper and glue sticks. I do a lot of paper crafting but will also attempt anything that appeals to me. Pinterest is a great source of crafting inspiration to me like it is for so many others.



Until next time,


Printables for Christmas


With the holidays approaching soon, I thought I revisit my Christmas printables put them all into one post for easy access. It comes up so quickly, doesn’t it? You can also access all of my printables under the Free Printables tab at the top of the blog.

Gift Planner


Christmas Card Planner


Christmas Dinner Planner

Also, I created a Christmas Planner to do list. I am all about a to-do list, so I can cross things off when they are finished. It’s a nice visual cue.

To-Do List


These trees are part of my studio office Christmas decor. I used wooden snowflakes and small, blue ornaments. These trees will stay up throughout the holiday season and remain up until March. I like the extra glow that the lights provide on the dark Winter evenings.


Until next time,