It’s All a Phase

It's All a Phase

Hey parents, I learned a secret today. It’s life changing. Are you ready for it?

It’s all a phase.

That’s right. Everything. The morning sickness. The cravings. The tummy flutters. The kicks and jabs. The hip and pelvic pain. The hospital stay. The terror of taking care of a new life. The heart-stopping fear. The fragility. The sleepless nights. The concern over not getting it right. The nursing. The pumping. The washing of bottles. The tediousness. The sweet smells. The not-so-sweet smells. The blood-curdling screaming. The wonder of discovery. The awareness. The schedules. The deviation of schedules. The sleeping-through-the-night. The not-sleeping-through-the-night. The illness. The cuddles. The cries for Mommy and Daddy. The smooshing of faces against the window when you come home. The crying when you leave. The clutching when you are near. The stream of IloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIloveyou and Mommymommymommymommymommymommy and nonononononononononono.

They are all phases. The good and bad. The ones that make us laugh our heads off and the ones where we want to just huddle up in a ball and pull a blanket over our heads and hide until forever.

They say to enjoy it all because it goes so fast. That’s true, it does. But remember that it’s all a phase. Things will ebb and flow. I’m not saying you have to love every minute. I certainly didn’t. Parenthood is hard and in many ways it is a thankless job. But one day your child will no longer insist on playing hide and seek by opening and closing the door to the bathroom while you are in it. Too soon you will put away the bottle for the last time (good riddance) only to one night wish for the ease of the bottle over that dreaded, leaky sippy cup.

As I sit here writing this, it is almost 10 PM and my children are still in their cribs jumping up and down refusing to fall asleep. But they are laughing harder than ever. And I am loving it. One day they will no longer want to share a room or delight in each other’s company. For now, I know that this is just a phase.

And I am enjoying it.

Ditch the Dryer Sheet (Feeling Fluffy Dryer Ball Review)


I could totally tell you that in an effort to live more chemical-free, we ditched the dryer sheets, but in actuality we stopped using these money-sucking, chemical-laden sheets of fibers years ago when we got our new steam dryer. You see, you can’t use the steam drying cycles with dryer sheets.

But I guess you could say that this was our first step into using fewer chemicals and relying more on natural methods (water/steam).

Throughout the past couple years, however, we’ve gotten more and more chemical-free. As we were working through our Adventures in Cloth Diapering, we became curious about dryer balls and actually purchased two of them from Franklin Goose.

However, I also came to realize that you actually need quite a few dryer balls in your laundry load to effectively complete the drying cycle. When I had the opportunity to review a set of 6 dryer balls from Feeling Fluffy, I was thrilled and jumped on the opportunity.

Benefits of Using Dryer Balls:

  • Chemical-free: Many of the chemicals found in conventional dryer sheets contain A-Terpineol (may be associated with central nervous system disorders), Benzyl Alcohol (an upper respiratory irritant), Camphor (listed as an EPA Hazardous Waste), and Benzyl Acetate (carcinogen linked to pancreatic cancer). This should honestly be the biggest reason why you ditch the dryer sheet!
  • Reduced drying time: the 100% wool dryer balls will pull and absorb moisture in your fabrics.
  • Hypoallergenic: There are no irritants in these natural dryer balls, meaning that it’s great for sensitive skin.
  • Keeps home quiet: Compared to PVC or plastic dryer balls, wool dryer balls won’t bang or clunk around. Note: I did find that the wool dryer balls from Feeling Fluffy were as quiet as the others that I already had. That being said, as they are used more and more, they will most likely grow softer and quieter. They were still much quieter than the alternatives.


When I first got started, I had a few concerns:

  1. Would my clothes be more static-y?
  2. Can’t I just make them myself?
  3. Do they really work?

Boy, I love to research when I have questions! I quickly found that my clothes did not have any more static when I used dryer balls than beforehand. This shocked me, as I assumed that the wool in these dryer balls would be Static Heaven. In fact, because the balls help to reduce drying time, that will also help to reduce static (longer drying time = more static). The more you have, the quicker drying time and less static. The balls also create a more humid environment, cutting down on static.


Can you make them yourself or use tennis balls? Tennis balls are heavy and will make lots of noise when you are drying. Not good when the dryer is right next to the nursery, and you run it at night and during naps. So DIY? Sure! But from what I found, it was so much more a hassle to make them than to just buy them. Plus, the price of the Feeling Fluffy dryer balls are incredible (currently $16.12 for a set of 6). Why would you spend so much time and energy on making something that you can buy so easily and inexpensively?


So, do they work? In short. YES! There is a learning curve to remembering to keep them in the dryer and shortening your drying cycle, but they do work! I also feel like our clothes are so much softer (after years of not using any fabric softener, I can feel the difference).


Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post. All thoughts are 100% my own. I did receive the dryer balls at a highly reduced price in exchange for my review.

Repainting a Brass Headboard

How to Paint a Brass Headboard
I belong to a local buy/sell/trade group, and when I saw someone post a full-size brass headboard, my brain started turning. I realized that I could totally repaint it a fun, bright color and finally have a finished look in our guest room.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have looked twice, except for the list price for the headboard was only $20. We talked them down to $15. Then, with about $30 in spray paint and primer, I had only spent a total of $45 for this entire project.

To paint a brass headboard, you will need the following:

  • primer (we used 2 cans of Rust-Oleum 2x Ultra Cover Flat White Primer)
  • paint (we used 2 cans of Rust-Oleum Coral Spray Paint)
  • drop cloth
  • extra-fine steel wool
  • optional: spray paint comfort grip

It truly couldn’t be easier to complete the project:

1. Layout the drop cloth and headboard.


2. Rub the steel wool across all surfaces to create an abrasion and give something for the paint to stick to. Wipe with a dry rag to remove any dust.


3. Spray the primer over one side in long strokes. Let dry for 1 hour (if a non-humid day) or as detailed on the paint can.


4. Spray the primer on the other side. Let dry for 24 hours (if non-humid) or as detailed on the paint can.



5. Spray the paint over one side. Let dry for an hour.


6. Spray the paint on the other side. Let dry overnight.

7. Check for any spots for touchups.

8. Attach to bed frame once the paint has dried for at least 24-48 hours. We waited until the paint smell went away a little bit too.IMG_5947

Sewing a Mason Jar Sleeve

Sewing a Mason Jar Sleeve

For my twins’ first birthday, I knew that we needed to celebrate the adventure of making through the first year with twins. One of the things that I wanted to make for their party was mason jar sleeves, but I couldn’t find the right fabric for it. We decided it would be better to create it ourselves instead of continue to search.

We started by having a gifted artist (Amelia Murdock of My Grandest Adventure) create an illustration of our babies. We turned it into a fabric on Spoonflower, and after going back and forth on the type of fabric, we decided on Performance Piqué because when the fabric stretches, it still retains details of the print.



Once we received the fabric, we were ready to start our projects. For this, I created two different kinds of sleeves, one using a standard sewing machine, and the other with my (new) serger/overlock machine.

Creating a Mason Jar Sleeve on a Standard Sewing Machine

First, I measured the circumference of the jar. In this case, it was 8.25” around.


From there, I created a template that gave a quarter-inch seam allowance for the top and bottom of the sleeve, and then I added an extra allowance on the side of 1 ¼”.


The great thing about using a template is that you can try it out on the mason jar first to make sure you are happy with the size. I used this template to cut the sleeves from the fabric.


Normally, I would press the seams, but Performance Pique doesn’t press well at all, so I just had to pin the quarter-inch seam allowance and sew the top and bottom seams.




I wanted a nice, chunky side seam on the top, so I let that seam allowance be ¾”, while I didn’t finish the final side.


To make sure I would have it fit the jar correctly, I sized the sleeve on the jar itself and marked it with a pin.


Using that pin as a guide, I carefully sewed the sides together to create the finished sleeve.



Creating a Mason Jar Sleeve on a Serger/Overlock Machine

I recently got a serger, and I wanted to see how well it would work for this project. Because I didn’t have to do any work or measurements with seam allowance, it was a much faster method of sewing 24 mason jar sleeves.

For this version, I used the same template as before, simply because I wanted my original rectangles to be slightly larger than what I would need in the finished product.


From there, I just ran the top and bottom sides through the serger.


This left me with unfinished sides.


I then pinned the sleeve onto the mason jar with the right sides touching.


I used that pin placement to serge the final side together.


Once the sleeve was turned right-side-out, I had the finished and clean edge where the two sides joined together.


So, with the two different machines, I came up with two completely different styles of mason jar sleeves. If you have a serger, I would definitely recommend that, because of the ease-of-use and speed in finishing a high number of mason jar sleeves. By using the sewing machine, it took some more time, but still came out with a great final product.


Don’t Buy Oils from Amazon!

Why You Shouldn't Buy Oils from AmazonAfter much research, I personally only use Young Living Essential Oils. Why? Because YL is the ONLY company with the Seed to Seal Promise. This means that YL controls every single step of the way, from planting the seeds (they own their own farms) to harvesting the crop to distilling to bottling to shipping. Young Living is the ONLY essential oil company to have complete control over each of these steps. They even do testing in-house (in addition to independent third-party labs as well).

Other oil companies may use outside farmers or distilleries or bottlers or even unauthorized distributors (like Amazon). This means they don’t exactly know what is happening with their oils. The farmers may use pesticides on their crops or the distilleries or bottlers may clean with bleach (chemicals). Not Young Living. They know that each step is completely chemical free.

So why is there such a high price tag if there aren’t any middle men? It’s because the oils are such a high quality. Gary Young has developed a very precise schedule and routine for each plant and oil, and that doesn’t come without a price. But the benefit is that we as distributors and members get the products directly from Young Living. When we sign up to be a YL Member and Distributor, we sign a statement that we won’t sell the oils for less than the wholesale price (24% off retail). There are business accounts that can purchase at a deeper discount, but they also cannot resell for less than 24% off retail. This is very important. So if you see anything from YL priced below the wholesale rate, run far, far away.

Why can’t you buy on places like Amazon? This is an easy answer: we as distributors are not allowed to sell on sites like this. Anyone who is selling YL products on Amazon is not authorized to do so. So they are not YL Distributors.

Is that really a problem? Yes! I have come across countless examples of people tampering with bottles to make it seem unopened and direct from YL, but in fact, that is further from the truth. It is actually really easy to fake a bottle of YL oil. With an abundance of companies that sell empty 5 and 15 mL bottles, you can easily get an unopened cap for an essential oil bottle. All you have to do is buy a bottle of YL Frankincense, split it up into two (or more) bottles or sub in a lesser-quality or similar smelling oil like Elemi, and then you can add the new top and resell it. If you have actually diluted it, you can sell even more, making it possible to make money from the process.

Amazon vs YL

You can actually see the cap difference in this image, taken by Niccole Perez from We Can Oil It, our team of YL Distributors. The YL cap (Purification) has deeper teeth, whereas the fake Frankincense has almost unnoticeable teeth.

Moral of the story: Do your research with the brand of oils that you purchase. But also, make sure that you understand that you can’t just purchase these products from anywhere. Any Young Living oil should be purchased directly through the Young Living company. I will, from time to time, pass my YL wholesale rate on to friends and family (I purchase for them and they pay me back), but because we have a pre-existing relationship, they can trust that these oils come directly from YL.  You can’t say the same with an online retailer, especially because this is specifically against our Member Policy.

Octopus Tripod Review

Octopus Tripod Review

I have been doing more Periscope broadcasts lately (come find me @dorydoyle), and if there is something I’ve learned, you need to have a steady camera/phone. I have a long-armed adjustable phone holder that clips onto my desk, but sometimes it’s just too bulky if I need to move my broadcasts to other rooms. I was really excited to try out the Octopus Tripod as a more light-weight option.

It is a series of plastic spheres with rubber grippers, so however you want to adjust the three legs, it is can move there. Be careful when you first get it and bend it around, because I pinched my fingers a little bit in between the spheres. Once you first move it around, you will find that you can easily adjust it. When you attach your phone to the top, you may have to readjust the legs so it doesn’t topple over. I love how easily the phone attaches and how secure it is… but you can only have your phone horizontally (it doesn’t stretch enough for a vertical placement, which is tough for Periscope broadcasts). To be honest, it’s not the most well-made of tripods, but it works fine for what is needed from it, especially for the price ($7.99 normally, but on sale for $2.44+$1.55 shipping).

Come check out my video review on YouTube:


Here are some stats from the company:

  • Include a camera lock for camera safely
  • Universal screw allows a variety of cameras to be mounted (make sure that your camera has the screw hole)
  • Retractable holder fits most cellphone (Max width 2.6 inch),for example Iphone 3GS 4 4S
  • Adjustable 360 degrees legs to form perfect shape Material: ABS Plastic + Rubber
  • Dealzip is a registered USPTO trademark No. 86610217


Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for my honest review. I did not receive any compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.


#octopustripod #ad #review #tomoson

#TBT: Greatest Gifts

Sometimes the greatest gifts are the ones that are free. Last weekend, we were in Cleveland with family, and my cousin Jessie and her daughter flew in from California. She brought me this bag that she had… I’m sure she found it at my grandmother’s house after she passed away years ago. It also had one of Grandma’s scarves in it.

TBT Free Gifts

I don’t know what meant more… that my cousin saved it to give to me (knowing how much it would mean to me) or that my grandmother had kept this cheap bag with a picture of the two of us for all these years. Thank you, Jessie, for the wonderful gift!

My Thoughts on Aldi

Aldi Sign


When the grocery store Aldi opened up in our area, it was all I saw on my Facebook newsfeed. Still, it took me months to actually get into the store to check it out myself. When I finally did get there, this was my face:



Not Impressed


There were some things that I found interesting, though. Here’s my overview of the store:

  • In order to get a shopping cart, you have to put in a quarter to unlock it. That’s great to keep the outside area organized, but it was hard to figure out where to put the quarter. Big thanks to the family who was coming out and saw my struggle, and they gave me their cart. I offered my quarter, but they said that they got it from someone else.
  • There is only one pathway in, and it’s down the aisle with all of the packaged Aldi-brand stuff. Now, it is great that everything is so inexpensive because there aren’t any brands. But when you have a child that has a soy and peanut allergy, it means that you can’t purchase anything.
  • The rest of the store honestly reminded me of a very cheap, old grocery store (despite the fact that this particular location had just been built and opened a week earlier). It also had that really funky old-store smell to it. No good!
  • The prices were great though! Did I mention that?
  • I liked the bagging section, but it was honestly much more annoying to get everything over there to bag. This was just one more step. I’m quick at bagging my own groceries because I put them on the conveyor belt in a particular order.
  • The carts. Let’s talk about the carts again. Thankfully I went on an Audrey-Mommy Date day (when Tim had David), because it was absolutely not the store that you can shop with two toddlers. Because the carts are all connected together, you have to carry your child to the carts, put in the quarter, and then put the kid in. Yes, there aren’t any double carts, but even if you wanted to put one kid in the kid section and one in the basket section (I’m not saying to do this, as it is dangerous, but people do it all the time), how do you unload the cart? Take the kids and cart to the car, unload and put everyone in their seats, and then go back to return the cart? So you leave your kids in the car for someone to call the police on your neglectful mothering. Sigh. No, if you are going to Aldi, better just leave the kids at home.

So basically, Aldi is not a place for me. It just doesn’t suit my shopping style, wants, or family diet needs. But for those who love it, I can see why you do.

So, do you love this store? I would love some convincing to try it again some day!

A Month of Gratitude: Life

A Month of Gratitude -

Today Southwest Virginia faced yet another gut-wrenching shooting in the deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. My heart completely aches for their families,  friends, and their community.

To be honest, I have purposefully hidden my head in the sand today. I saw something about it briefly on Facebook right after the shooting (before it grabbed headlines) and was grateful to be running errands all day. You see, ever since the VT shooting, any time I hear about another shooting, I stay away from social media and the news. I can’t handle it. I have tried (once, after another shooting happened a couple years after 2007)… but it took me back into such a dark place. So this is how I cope. I say a short prayer for those involved and then stay away. I focus on the positives… the things that I can control. I focus on the life and light around me. It is the only way that I know how to bear with such unspeakable and undeniable tragedy. I’m not pretending it isn’t happening, but it’s the only way that I can honor lives lost.

So if you ask me if I heard about the shooting, please excuse me if I start to get teary eyed and become short with you and want to change the subject. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m not ignoring it happened and ignoring those lives lost, but I am dealing in the way that I can.

I’m not telling you what to do. Each of us handles tragedy in different ways. I would just make one request. Today, honor life. Fill your heart with gratitude that it is beating. I am so blessed that tomorrow I can wake up and get to find something else to be grateful for.

A Month of Gratitude: 21 Months

A Month of Gratitude -

Today Audrey and David turned 21 months. 1 year and 9 months. 1 and 3/4 years old. In just 3 months, our toddlers will be 2. Today I am grateful for birthdays and growth and new developments. Today was an average Saturday: Tim got to play with the twins so I could run out and do a couple errands. I got to feed them lunch and put them down for a nap while Tim had to run out. Then, in the afternoon, we went to a local mall.


Lately, it seems like David has just exploded into about 2 new words a day. He will say something as a way to ask for it. Then, while we are trying to figure out what he is saying, he will then say (and sign) “Please.” Then he will excitedly nod his head yes constantly as if to say “Yes, you got it Mom! Now please get it for me.” I can’t help but laugh every time. Half the time we can’t figure it out, but every day he does this throughout the day.


Audrey’s vocabulary has gotten better in her own way. She adds new words daily, but she puts them together in complete sentences, like: “Audrey wants the flower cup of water.”

We’ve also made a great improvement in the twins’ toddler moods and transitions. I will save our method for another post, but it’s quite exciting to see a way that actually works.

21 months. So much has happened in those 21 months. I can’t believe how far we have come as parents and how far they have come as now toddlers.

We love you, Audrey and David. Happy birthday!