Monday, December 17, 2012

Making Bath Salts

Recently I discovered my absolute love for relaxing in a hot bath with the oils and aroma of the bath salts easing the chaos of my day. After spending money over and over again on these, I decided I would attempt to make my own - not knowing what in the world I was about to get into. Now, my family love it - immediate and extended and the girls and I have a great time making it!

Ladies (and men), this is SUPER easy to do!

4 cups Epsom Salts
1 cup course ground sea salt
2 teaspoons glycerin (skin protectant and can be found at Wal-Mart next to band-aids in the pharmacy area)
1-2 cups baking soda
1.5 cups ground (powdered) oatmeal

Optional Additives:
Food Coloring - amount of drops depends on the color desire you are looking for. I have found that food coloring works the best when dying salts
Essential/Aromatherapy Oils - amount of drops depends on the strength of the scent you are wanting
Dried flowers or herbs - again, this is optional and depends on your wants

Using a plastic or wood bowl will absorb ingredients and scent, so make sure to use a glass (or metal) bowl when mixing and store in glass containers. I mix all of the main ingredients together first, making sure they are all mixed together. Make sure there are no clumps before proceeding.  I will then either store it in my glass container and add oils and dyes at a later time or I will add the optional additives last. I tend to stay away from doing adding oils and dyes at first because not everyone likes the same scent. A good way to know if the ingredients are mixed right, look at the coloring. If the (food) color is spread evenly, with no clumps, then you are good to go!

Oils that Benefit:
Peppermint - it can help sooth nausea, cool overworked muscles because of the menthol, help contain itching.

Lavender - improve sleep quality, soothe joint pain, and help calm the nervous system. It is all around a soothing oil for the body and mind.

Geranium - helps soothe nervousness

Chamomile - improves sleep quality

Green Tea and Cucumber - relaxes the body and helps de-stress

All combinations will help ease muscle aches due to the epsom salt that is added.

Storage for Salts - Found at Marshalls for $5

Lavender and Green Tea - found bottles at Marshalls $2/each

Lavender, Cucumber Melon, and Jasmin

Christmas salts - Red and green striped ones are peppermint and there is also Cucumber Melon and Lavender


Do not eat salts

If you medical issues, please consult with your doctor before taking a salt bath. If you are pregnant, please consult with you OB/Midwife before soaking in bath salts about certain herbs/oils.

There are some oils that are hazardous and need to be avoided, please make sure you research Essential Oils if you are not sure of which ones to keep away from.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Hold Your Children a Little Tighter

I sat down a few hours ago to update our blog and instead, have sat here in tears, watching the news. My heart is breaking as I watch and I hear them speak of this tragic elementary school shooting in CT.  At least 27 lives lost...18 of those are children. There are three in ths hospital right now, it is unknown of their condition. Please say a prayer for these three, as well as all families directly impacted by this tragedy, school officials, the community, and most importantly - the lives lost and the families left with this devestation.

As shots rang through the school and authorities were contacted, teachers told their students to gran a friend and make their way to the door. Teachers at this school managed to keep the children from screaming and running off track and instead working quietly together to get out of the school. The children have been moved to a local neighboring firehouse, where they await accountability for each child and then partnering them with their parents. Their are parents wondering aimlessly around this firehouse with no idea if their child was one of the casualties or whether they are safe inside the firehouse.

The shooter was 24 years old and entered the school, believed to be carring four weapons. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, entered the school, and began shooting. Authorities are not yet sure of the motive. As I write this, I cannot help but to wonder what in the hell made this man act in this way. How do you just wake up and decide to cold heartedly take lives of so many lives? How can someone take the lives of anyone, but innocent children? These are babies that had so much ahead of them.

As some families are reunited with their children and siblings, the years and moments before are flashing through their minds. They are reliving moments of the past and holding their little loved ones closer than they have ever held them before.

This situation makes me think of how schools are set up and makes me think how schools should be arranged as the elementary school my kids attended in Arkansas. The only way to enter the school was through the front doors at the office. The only way to enter anywhere that kids would be was through entering the office. There they would have to allow access by buttons into another set of double doors, that led into the rest of the school. This is something that needs to be done for every single school, as well as metal detectors. State taxes should cover this to be done at all schools. The safety of our children is by far the most important thing.

As a mother to three children in an elementary school, my heart is even more heavy. This hits a place within me that I cannot quite explain. I want to run and pick my children up right now from school and just hold them close. Everyday, as parents we take safety for granted when we drop our children off at school or watch as they board the bus, "knowing" they will be taken care of and kept safe inside the walls of their school. As parents, we don't tend to think that some random person will walk into a school and will receive the alert that your childs school has just been under an attack of a shooting. Let alone, that children and staff have lost their lives. As I look at photos of my children that surround me, I cannot help but to think of the innocence in ach of them. They still have so much ahead of each of them in this life.

Before this news outbreak, I had already started planning things out with our children for the weekend. Now I just want to sit on the couch and hold them close. I know that is not going to happen, as we all know how active my kids are! However, my weekend will revolve around them more than normal. Times like now leave us as parents realizing even more how fragile life really is and that we need to cherish our children and the small moments we have with them. We tend to cherish them as children because childhood is so short and time is precious, not because we fear someone shooting them or fatality in other ways.

Parents, let the little things go with your children - they are only children for a short time. We are blessed to have them fill our lives with chaos, laughs, tears, and even fights. Even when we want to run away because our children can make us crazy, we have been blessed to ahve them fill a void in our lives, to fill our hearts with a love that we could have never imagined without them. I can tell you our weekend will be filled with fun things around the house and in hopes many smiles and a lot of laughs! So, if you call and cannot reach us, this is why. I have been down for four weeks now due to my recovery and even though I am still recovering, I am better - just real sore and still a bit limited. However, we are going to enjoy this weekend! I encourage each of you to do the same. Wrap your arms around your children and let them know you love them. As parents, we tend to allow life "get in the way". Why? Life is short and time is precious. Remember that as your children make their way home from school in the next few hours.

As you are loving on your children, keep all in CT that are living this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers. So many lives have been forever changed due to such a horrific act.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting Back Into the Groove

What a crazy month or so it has been! I am beginning to feel as though our lives will never just slow down enough for me to get caught up and maintain what I am working on! As many know, I had surgery a little over three weeks ago and it has kept me a bit behind with recovering. I am feeling better now, but still have a good bit of recovery ahead of me. I am trying as hard as I possibly can to NOT overdo it, but with this life I live that is nearly impossibly to do. Between three kids, Kevin and his injuries, and other things - slowing down is just not happening!

I am going to spend time over the next couple of days updating here, so be prepared for quite a few posts and photos! There is so much to share from Halloween to today. I first have to go back and see exactly where we left off last.

Thanks for all the prayers and warm wishes during this time and a huge thank you to the amazing people that have kept me going these past few weeks! Without the few of you I would be a total mess!

We love you all!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shop Britt's Thirty-One Black Friday Specials

From Midnight to 11:59om on Friday November 25, 2012 there will be discounts, specials, and FREE products all day long!!!

Midnight to 3am:  Spend $35 and receive a  FREE Timeless Beauty Bag
3:01-6am : 20% off of your order
6:01-9am: FREE Shipping
9:01-Noon: FREE Embroidery on 1 Item
12:01-3pm: FREE Mini Zipper Pouch with a $35 purchase
3:01-6pm: Free Key Fob & Nail File with a $35 purchase
6:01-9pm: FREE Tax
9:01-11:59: Spend $35 and receive a FREE Timeless Wristlet
All Day Specials
Spend $31 and get one of the following for just $5:
Timeless Beauty Bag, Timeless Wristlet, Cinch Sac, Thermal Tote, or Mini Utility Bin

Book a Party during this time: Receive a credit of $25 to use at your party (party must be over $300)
Join My Team between NOW and Monday evening:
Join & Qualify ($1,000 in sales) by December 31 & receive $50 in products of your choice from the Spring 2013 line beginning January 1!!!
Shop my online catalog at & then email me your order, name, address, phone number, & payment information at
The time stamp on your email will determine the special you will receive!!!
Bonus: If you refer any family/friends to shop with me from now through December 10, you will receive a FREE Little Carry All Caddy if they spend more than $50!!! Just tell them to let me know you sent them!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Surgery Update

First and foremost, thank you for all the prayers, warm wishes, text messages and calls. I truly appreciate them all. This has again shown me that family isn't always blood. So many friends have become family to me and my family.

I had to undergo another surgery yesterday between my abdominal and pelvic cavities because of the ripping and tearing pain. It was once again affecting my daily life and in return, putting too much on my family. In the beginning the surgeon was hesitant to perform another surgery on me because of the risks that come with my surgeries as well as the fact that I have had WAY too many surgeries. He just didn't want to perform something that would be up being unnecessary and explained to me that he could not promise anything positive from a surgical procedure. I informed him that I didn't expect him to be a miracle worker and that if we didn't do surgery we would never know what was causing the pain, even though I was already 100% sure the adhesion's were becoming worse and worse. He also explained to me that he feared I have a chronic pain condition due to so many surgeries and the trauma. I think some of his hesitance lies within the fact I can be in a tremendous amount of pain and still smile. I hate showing when I am in pain. As I told him, I have literally been on my death bed, so I know how that feels. Which, we all know that I spent a week at home in kidney failure, refusing to get seen.

The outcome of the surgery is my abdominal area for the most part, looked great! However, my pelvic area was saturated in adhesion's from wall to wall, thus causing the pain. If I sneezed, moved a certain way, coughed and so on, I would feel as though my stomach was just ripping in a horrible way. He cleaned me completely out. The surgeon showed photos to Kevin after he left the OR, leaving Kev in shock over the before and after photos. He said it was a huge difference.

This was an outpatient procedure, so as soon as I was able to urinate, I was able to go home. It took me a couple attempts and a few hours before I was finally able to urinate, but when I did I was like a kid on Christmas. I was so excited that I left the restroom grinning from ear to ear in a ton of pain, telling Kevin "I was able to pee!!!". This is not something that most get excited over! However, when a person go into  kidney failure this is the thing that excites them more than anything! I felt very accomplished after this! Haha It doesn't take much to make my day, people!

I have had a rough time with the gases that I was pumped full of since last night when my body came back to life. My upper abdominal area and shoulder (especially right one) are causing a lot of pain. I can't wait to finally be able to pass the gasses. I am allowed to walk a little today to jump start this process. Yesterday I was confined to bed unless I had to use the restroom. I can't take a shower until Monday morning. Ick! I am not okay with that part, but will manage. Of course no baths for a few weeks. I have come to the conclusion we desperately need more decor in our bedroom because the walls are awfully boring. :) The things I notice when I am stuck in one room...

The hospital experience was superb! Everyone was absolutely amazing from the nurses when I walked in to the ones when I left. We didn't have anyone here to stay with the kids, so Kev and the kids dropped me off yesterday morning around 5:20 at The Surgery Center which is a part of The Medica Center of Central Georgia. I was so nervous going in without Kevin. I have never had to do that. He made it up there a few minutes after they took me to the OR, so I was unable to see him until lunch time when I went to the second recovery room.

Again, thank you to those that helped me through my anxiety over the past two weeks, for checking up on me, praying, well wishing, and just being here! Without you, I am not sure I would have made it through! I love you all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: In His Stead; A Father's War

Recently I was contacted by IronWord Press and asked to review an Advanced Copy of In His Stead, by Judith Sanders.

From the beginning of the book, my curiosity pulled me in. I instantly felt intrigued by the words I was reading and the story line of In His Stead. Judith Sanders has a way of capturing the attention of her readers, leaving them wanting to know what the next move of Lane would be.

As a Retired Army Ranger, Thomas Lane had already spent time deployed in a war zone and had struggled at times with his own PTSD from Iraq. His eldest son, Tommy, had followed in his footsteps, leaving every families worst fears a reality. Tommy lost his life due to an IED and the Lane family learned the price of freedom and war.

Lane's youngest son Donnie found himself in a situation that left him enlisting in the National Guard. Within a matter of pages, readers find that the unit Donnie was assigned to was being called to action and would be deploying. After much debate and trials, Thomas finds himself in front of his sons command, JAG, and the post command - taking his sons place. As Lane re-enters the military, he is stripped of the rank he retired with and holds the rank of his son, a Private. He is faced with those that love him and refer to him as "Dad", as well as those that despise the fact that he is level headed and in his son's stead. Lane's character holds strength, dignity, compassion, loyalty, and so much love. By the end of the book, readers can't help but to feel the emotions him and his family felt and in a sense feel "attached".

Throughout the book, Sanders makes readers feel as though they are there in the midst of the action with the detailed description of each scene. While readers are absorbed in every word and action, they will feel as if they are saying their "see you laters", boarding the C-130, in the face of combat and holding their own weapon. Emotions from laughter, tears, frustration, anger, and heartbreak are felt through each page.

About the Author

Judith Sanders was born and raised in a rural town in New Jersey. She received her BS from Graceland College and worked as a registered nurse for many years, including serving the military as a nurse in Maryland. Sanders, a mother of three boys, now makes writing her full time career and divides her time between her homes in New Hampshire and North Carolina. Her first novel, Crescent Veil, is a reality fiction novel about a hunt for terrorists. With her second novel, In His Stead (A Father's War) Judith honors the memories of those fallen in war.              

Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: IronWord Press, LLC (November 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938573838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938573835
To purchase In His Stead; A Father's War on Amazon, click HERE

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Help a Combat Veterans Family

A (Combat) Veteran family in Jacksonville, NC lost everything in a house fire recently and has now found housing. However, they are starting over *from scratch*. The family is currently sleeping on foam pads from the camper they have been living in since they lost their home in a fire a few months ago.

Now is our chance to help this family out! You can do so by shopping Thirty-One! I have set up an event to help this family in their time of need!

All commissions from purchases made off of this event will be sent to this family! Please help us spread the word and help us send a generous amount to a veteran and their family at a time in need. 
Let's help to make their holidays extra special in a house they want to turn into a home!

This event is set to end on November 18 at 8 PM

Please shop directly at this link:

Please feel free to join the Facebook Event page at:

Veteran's Day 2012

Veterans Day is a day that rolls around once a year, every year on the same day - November 11. It is a day that people give thanks to our veterans and let them know how proud they are of them or honored to know them. It is a day that strangers will approach those that they have never met and show their gratitude. They will shake their hand and say "Thank you for your service"...

Yet, it is a day that so many veterans will dread, my husband for one. It is a day that he will normally not want to go out and deal with people. It is a day that he dreads the "Thank You's" and hand shakes and just acknowledgement in general. He will look at me and say, "If only they knew what I did or saw.." It is a day that gets the best of him.

This year, Veterans Day holds a different meaning to our family. It is the first one that Kevin is not Active Duty and it will also mark the one year mark of us leaving our last duty station.. Kevin is now retired from the army due to injuries he sustained during his deployments. Days like today bring back even more memories of what veterans have had to endure and leaves them feeling a bit more isolated. It can cause flare ups with their PTSD and other issues. Many just want to be left alone on this day...

I look at Kevin and I now see a different man than the one that enlisted almost ten years ago. I see a different man in the expressions he holds, the way he carries himself, and how he reacts to things. I look at him, as I do many veterans and my heart goes out.

So, if you walk up and Thank a Veteran and they do not act in a way you hoped they would, do not take offense to it. Instead, understand that their time in the military may not have been easy and that they may be fighting  a war of their own. The internal war is often much worse than the combat they faced while deployed.

Veteran's Day is a day that we as a society should observe and be grateful for as so many selfless individuals signed the blank check and were willing to put their lives on the line. It is a day to remember that many did put their lives on the line and did lay their lives down. Kevin for one take part in a couple hundred combat missions, constantly putting his life on the line and had many close calls. So, for today and everyday, be thankful for those that have stepped up willingly to defend out country. They have sacrificed so much and the war doesn't end just because they are home.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Year Ago

On this day one year ago, Kevin put on his uniform for the last time. We spent the day on Fort Bliss for the last time and we bid farewell to the army life that had molded us into who we are today. We left post with a mixture of emotions as we knew that was it and in two months Kevin would officially be medically retired.

One year later we have learned so much in life and have come face to face with so many decisions. We miss the military and the bonds of the army. It has been a hard transition and it is one that is still taking place. The civilian life is much more difficult to transition into than we ever imagine we find it hard at times to fall into the routine of most and struggle with the lack of discipline and structure that society carries.

The past couple months have left us reminiscing over how the army life was and has left me personally a bit angry with what deployment did to Kevin. War changed him mentally and physically. In return deployments and war changed our family.

It is so hard to believe that one year has passed since Kevin last woke up and slipped into his ACU's and tied up his combat boots. In a serene way it still feels surreal. Tears still come and go as we think about the past and reminisce of what use to be, but smiles and love are shared through it all as we realize how blessed we are for Kevin to still be here with us and for the many years we still have ahead of us.

Life may not always go as we hope and plan, and typically it strays from both, but what you make of what you are given is what matters in the end.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bre's Birthday Photo's

I know, I know - I was suppose to share photos from Bre's birthday party more than a week ago! What can I say? It's been a bit chaotic around here and I have some MAJOR catching up to do!

You can read about Breanna's Birthday Party by clicking HERE.

Me and Whitney

Bre's bday cake she decorated

Bre and her close friends from school

Bre and my sister, her aunt, cutting the cookie cake - that tasted very yummy!

Bre with her Grandpa's

Bre with all the grandparents
Bre with her grandma's
Nic and Gavin

Me with my nephew, Gavin
Dustin playing on Bre's bike
Dustin "jumping" on Bre's bike
Kev and our nephew, Mateo
Kev and Mateo

Stepping Down

After taking adequate time to think things through - the business and personal aspects of my life, I came to the conclusion it was time for me to step down from the position of Communications Liaison with Family Of a Vet, Inc after two years.

This decision was far from easy and one that I have not taken lightly, but was one that needed to be made for personal reasons. I hope everyone understands my choice in this matter and that no relationships are severed due to my decision. I will still remain as a volunteer as of now.

I am still working with Combat Veterans and their families and am possibly looking at other Non-Profit Organizations in the near future. As for now, I need to take the next couple of weeks and focus on my family, our home life, and most importantly my health. I do have an upcoming surgery and need to be able to go into this with an open and clear mind. Which, I am trying my best to make sure I have. Surgery will take place on Friday, November 9.

Thank you for the support I have received in my decision and to those that have made it a point to reassure me that this in no way will effect our friendships. Knowing this makes this decision a bit easier. The last thing I wanted was for relationships that been formed during my amazing journey with FOV to be severed and I pray all will be okay in that area of things.

Please feel free to contact me in regards to this or anything else at

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy 11th Birthday, Bre

At this moment eleven years ago, I was in Labor and Delivery listening to Breanna's heartbeat stop... I was in the process of being prepped and taken back for a C-section.

This was my post on Facebook a little after midnight,

Happy Birthday to one of my reasons for living, Breanna

Eleven years ago right now I was "trying" to rest while in the hospital knowing that within the next 48 hours I would be giving birth to a preemie and terrified of the outcome. For 15 weeks I had been on bed-rest and fought like hell to keep my unborn baby alive. I had spent more time admitted in the hospital than I had at home and had hea
rd my daughters heart slow in beats and stop at times. After an Amniocentesis the morning of October 25, the docs had a better idea of how developed Bre's lungs were and alerted NICU that they would be inducing that afternoon. Within a couple hours of them inducing, Breanna's heart stopped beating and I was rushed to the OR where a perfect and tiny, 5 pounds even little girl took her first breaths. It took a few minutes for them to get her to breathe and for us to hear the soft and sweet cries... Kevin was able to hold her briefly and I was able to kiss her head before she was rushed off to NICU. Within a couple of days, we were able to take home our baby, weighing 4 lbs, 7 oz...

We have faced many obstacles with Bre in the last 11 years, but have been blessed with a smart and beautiful little girl that we were told would never live. She has beaten the odds and brings a smile to the faces of many.

Happy Birthday, Breanna! Thank you for changing our lives in the way that you have. We love you and are so proud of you, kiddo!

As I wrote that last night, I found myself with tears rolling down my face. What an eleven years it has been. In exactly 50 minutes eleven years ago, Kevin and I welcome a tiny baby, not even weighing what a bag of sugar weighs, into the world. At that moment, our lives were forever changed. It it hard to believe that so many years has passed and that our little girl is now turning into a young lady as every day passes. My heart still aches for the little girl she use to be, but pride swallows me as I see the intelligent and beautiful girl she has turned into.

Thank you to those that came out this past Sunday to celebrate Bre's special day with her and us. It was the first one in nine years and has made this birthday extra special.

Stay tuned for the birthday photos!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brings a Smile

No matter how emotional I feel with things in life, one of four people always find a way of bringing a smile to my face, while making me feel and know that everything will be okay...

Tonight, looking back at a couple photos brings the sense of peace over my emotions...