The beauty of being a substitute teacher is the flexibility.  I’ve written about this before (here and here), and I still feel the same way.  I love subbing, I love middle school kids.  I love it as my job, and I’m happy with how my life has taken me into this position.

Most of my time is spent doing short jobs – a day here, a day there – and I love those assignments.  I love popping into a classroom and seeing what they’re working on, spending some time with the kids, but moving on.

Right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of an 8 week long-term sub job – covering for a woman who had a baby.  For four weeks, I’ve been getting up everyday, going to the same school, teaching the same kids, planning lessons, grading work, and working.  I love it.

Whenever I start one of these long-term jobs, it feels like I need to relearn how to work.  Before it even begins I need to figure out where the girls will be everyday.  It is a balancing and juggling act that takes some work, but thanks to all the fabulous grandparents, it always works out.  Once I get to the school I need to figure out who to ask for what I need.  I need to build a stock of snacks and other supplies.  I need to recalibrate my body to only getting to use the bathroom and eat at certain times.  Luckily, this time around I don’t have to figure out a pumping strategy.

Now I’m in the groove.  I’ve figured the good times to pee.  I have my stash of rice cakes.  I have a great support system in the classroom and the office when things come up.  I have my essential oils in my Essential Pouch (if you’re wondering, I have rollers of Panaway, Stressaway, Gratitude, and a salve of allergy relief trio).

I know the kids, and the kids know me.  It’s always a tricky transition from sub to long-term sub in classrooms where I regularly sub.  The dynamic is certainly different when I’m the main teacher, and that’s what I am until the end of the school year for these kids.  I can let myself be silly, and let things slide when it’s just a day job.  I have to be more serious and strict when I’m here for a few weeks.  The kids are always a bit surprised in my change in demeanor.

But, here I am.  Twenty days left of school.  Then back to my other job as full-time mom.  I have to be honest and say that I’m not as scared of summer this year.  Last year I was terrified of all the unstructured, unscheduled days looming.  This year, I’m excited to get back to those unstructured, unscheduled days.  I’m looking forward to spending each day with the kids.  I’m looking forward to getting a vacation.  The word vacation definitely means more when there’s somewhere which I will vacate.



listening to Ordinary Days right now, but Dave Matthews Band most of the time.

wanting the girls to have Dave in their lives.

remembering my childhood soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Dan Fogelberg, and my parents’ other favorites.

choosing to be more present in my creative life.

planning five things to do each day that will help me reach some goals.

playing too much HearthStone, and wanting to quit, but not knowing how.

feeling like a huge super nerd for typing that last sentence.

reading Scarlet, the second book in a YA series about a cyborg and normal stuff like that.

knowing that I should be reading other things.

wondering what the heck is up with Olivia Pope.  Is she control now?  Is she secretly working with her dad?  Is she just taking control?

using my Get To Work Book everyday and loving having an organization to my day and to-dos.

waking up early everyday.  Not always before the sun, but pretty darn close.

controlling my seasonal allergies with the help of essential oils.  Amazing.

counting the days until the end of school and the start of summer vacation.

looking forward to summer days with my girls and all our friends.

Essential Pouch, for your Essential Oils – Giveaway 7/36

I jumped on the Young Living bandwagon just a couple months ago.  I wanted to do something to promote wellness for our family, and essential oils seemed like a great place to start.  My friend Megan (I’ve written about her before here and here) invited me to an informational DIY oil party.  I’ll be honest, I went to the party with a healthy amount of skepticism.  I thought I would go, smell some oils, make something fun to take home, and maybe I’d buy a bottle or two from Megan in the future.

I went to the party and listened to everyone’s stories about oils.  People went on and on about how the oils had changed their lives.  The scents were uplifting and inspiring, causing people to go through their lives with better attitudes and get more done.  These people, with conditions and occasional aches and pains, were supporting their bodies in amazing ways!  I started to feel like there must be something to all this oily mumbo jumbo – either that or Megan hired a bunch of very convincing actors to come to the party just to fool me.

I looked through all the literature they had and decided that getting a Premium Starter Kit was the best idea.  The Kit is pretty amazing.  It is full of 11 of the best, most versatile essential oils that Young Living offers, along with samples of a few others.  Making it an even better idea (and deal) is that it also comes with an oil diffuser.  25517831594_f9753d650c_z

I started diffusing right away.  I instantly noticed a change in my house.  It smelled delicious and my mood was instantly enhanced.  I was invigorated and inspired.  I started making things like sugar scrubs, bath bombs, smoothies, and teas!  I also made salves, room sprays, shampoo, and cleaning supplies all from The Droppery (an amazing oily resource).

I am sold.  Now, when I go to the oil parties, I’m the person sitting there, talking about all the lovely and amazing things oils can do.

The only problem was that I didn’t have a way to carry my oils from home to work and everywhere else.  I decided to change that and designed the Essential Pouch!

I’m calling this the Essential Pouch because it’s prefect for carrying around your four favorite – or essential – bottles.

I have plans to make many more oily accessories, but this is a good place to start.  It is a quilted 4-pocket pouch that can hold 5ml bottles, 15ml bottles, or roller balls.  It is fully padded, and has a snap closure.

You can buy one today, at my Etsy shop, CaroMadeCo! I have it available in three different fabrics, and have more on the way. I’m also thinking of ways I can make things that will hold more than 4 bottles.  This, and any other things I make in the future, will be available on CaroMadeCo really soon.

Here’s the giveaway!  I will send one of these Essential Pouches to anyone who orders a Premium Starter Kit through me before June 30th, 2016.  To get started with your Kit, click here or send me an email (carolynfwilliams at gmail dot com).  It will take you to the signup page and you can get started.  I’m also happy to help you through the process if you’d like help!

Why do you want to choose Young Living for your essential oils?

  1. UNMATACHED SELECTION. We’re all different and with the most single and blend choices offered by an essential oil company, you’re sure to find lots of oils that you love.
  2. UNMATCHED EXPERIENCE. As the leaders of the essential oil industry, Young Living has over 20 years of experience.
  3. UNMATCHED QUALITY. Young Living sets the standard for essential oils. They go above and beyond with their SEED TO SEAL GUARANTEE.

I’m planning on having my own oil party pretty soon, so if you’re local and would like to come learn more and make something fun to take home, let me know and I’ll make sure to invite you!

Soothing Tea Drops with Thieves – Giveaway 6/36

I sort of stumbled upon my new favorite way to drink tea with soothing tea drops with Thieves.  This has been the worst winter with everyone in our family being sick over and over again.  I started looking for recipes to make some natural cough drops when Alma had an especially bad cough.  I found this recipe and made a batch of drops.  I added in a few drops of Young Living’s Thieves Vitality oil to up the immune support that honey and coconut oil naturally provide.

Alma’s doctor suggested giving her a spoonful of honey to help her cough.  In fact, it’s the only cough treatment that’s approved for the little ones.  The honey coats and soothes their little throats, while coconut oil is shown to have antiviral and antibacterial properties.  Thieves is also great at supporting our own immune systems as they fight off any bugs that might be getting us down.

I made a batch of the drops and put them in the fridge.  A while later, I was thinking a cup of tea with honey sounded good.  I’ve been adding a little bit of coconut oil to my coffee and tea, along with a drop of Thieves for a while.  I remembered the little drops in the back of the fridge and realized that I could just drop one of them into my tea for an instant, ready made boost.

Here’s what I do:

Soothing Tea Drops with Thieves
(modified from The Coconut Mama’s homemade cough drop recipe)

  • 1/2 cup organic, unrefined, cold-pressed , virgin coconut oil.
  • 1/2 cup raw, organic, local honey.
  • 5-10 drops Thieves Vitality oil.

Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer.  Whip it all together until it’s smooth and well incorporated and fluffy.

Put a couple teaspoons into mini muffin tins. I’m sure there are molds that would make beautifully smooth drops, but I’m more about using what I have and what I have is a mini muffin tray.  You could even just scoop onto a cookie sheet.  Note:  Since there are essential oils in here, you should use metal, glass, or silicone since oils and plastic don’t play well together.

Stick it in a freezer for about a half hour, just long enough for everything to solidify again.  The drops should slide right out.  Pop them in a jar and keep in the fridge for a long time.

When you’re ready to make the tea, start by steeping your favorite tea as you normally would.  Add one soothing tea drop to your tea. Sometimes I add another drop of Thieves, just to enhance the flavor and immunity support.

Mix it all up.  My favorite way to mix is with a few pulses with my immersion blender.  It really gets it all blended together, and even makes it a little bit frothy.

For this giveaway, I’m going to give away this Mug Rug (or one like it).  I’ve been working on a quilt for a while, and have lots of scraps left over.  I’ve started making these fun, scrappy coasters and I’m planning on adding them to my Etsy shop later this month – along with some other oily accessories!

Head over to my Instagram account for a giveaway of a handmade, quilted mug rug!  This is part six of my 36 Things for 36 Years project.  I’m giving away 36 things this year, and this week will be a whole week of oily giveaways! Details on how to enter here!

Also, make sure you enter my other Essential Oil Giveaways this week!  Essential Oil Sugar Scrub can be found here! Bath Bombs can be found hereGreen Smoothie with a bottle of Citrus Fresh can be found here!


My Essential Green Smoothie – Giveaway 5/36

This week I’m giving away lots of fun ‘oily’ goodies.  On Monday I posted a sugar scrub, on Tuesday, I posted bath bombsToday you can enter to win a bottle of Citrus Fresh Vitality essential oil.  Make sure you read the bottom of this post to find out how to enter (hint: entering is super easy!).

I love starting my day with an essential green smoothie.  I figure that I start my day with something full of the good stuff, even if the rest of my day goes off the rails, at least I got some veggies and fruits and water in.

I’ve been having a smoothie a day for a long, long time, but I’ve recently begun adding essential oils and it’s really upped the smoothie game.  Young Living has an incredible line of Vitality oils that are FDA approved for using in foods and drinks.  I love adding a drop or two of these oils to my smoothies for a flavor boost, along with the support they provide!

I will share my basic smoothie recipe here, but know that you can do whatever you want.  I have figured out what I like, and what works for me, but feel free to experiment or use another smoothie recipe you already love.

My Essential Green Smoothie

  • 1 or two big handfuls of organic baby spinach.  Spinach is incredible – high in niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. I buy a pound each week, and it lasts for the whole week.
  • 1 organic banana.  This is important for a few reasons.  They are sweet, and adding sugar or another sweetener would negate all the good effects of having a smoothie for breakfast – add a banana to skip the added sugar.  Bananas also have antioxidants, lots of potassium, and other vitamins and nutrients.
  • A handful or two of organic frozen fruit.  If you want the beautiful green color in these photos, use frozen peaches or mangoes.  I also love, love, love frozen cherries (this almost tastes like dessert, it’s so sweet and lovely).  Frozen blueberries, strawberries, tropical fruit, whatever you love and have on hand.
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of nut butter.  My favorite is almond butter, but peanut butter works.  This adds a bit more protein, and the oils in the butter help the essential oils distribute into the smoothie.  I feel like adding the nut butter helps this feel like a full breakfast; I don’t get hungry until lunchtime with this addition.
  • 1-3 drops of essential oil. See below for some suggestions.

Throw the spinach, banana, frozen fruit, and nut butter into your blender.  Add water to your preference.  I like my smoothies to be on the thin side, so I put enough water in to almost reach the top of my other ingredients.  I also use this as a way to make sure I’m drinking a full glass of water in the morning.  Blend away!

Put 1-3 drops of essential oil in the bottom of a glass mason jar, or glass – remember that oils and plastic don’t get along well.  Pour your smoothie into the glass and give it a good stir or shake (that’s why I love using a mason jar).


Oils I love to add to my smoothies:

  • Peppermint is an uplifting oil that can support your mood and a healthy respiratory system.
  • Lemon tastes great and the scent is invigorating and energizing.  It can also help with detoxifying.
  • Thieves is a blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary oils that has a lovely, spicy scent.  It can be used to support your immune system and just tastes wonderful.
  • Citrus Fresh is one of my favorite oils to add to smoothies.  It is a blend of Orange, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Lemon, and Mandarin oils with a hint of Spearmint.  It is refreshing and happy.

I’m giving away a bottle of Citrus Fresh Vitality to someone on Instagram.

Head over to my Instagram account for a giveaway of Citrus Fresh Vitality Essential Oil!  This is part four of my 36 Things for 36 Years project.  I’m giving away 36 things this year, and this week will be a whole week of oily giveaways! Details on how to enter here!

Also, make sure you enter my other Essential Oil Giveaways this week!  Essential Oil Sugar Scrub can be found here! Bath Bombs can be found here!


Essential Oil Bath Bombs – Giveaway 4/36

I’m not a huge bath person.  Wait, I should take that back.  I love taking baths in a big, deep tub where I can just float around and relax.  Unfortunately we have a super tiny (well, probably normal sized) tub, and I don’t find that very relaxing.  I decided to try making some bath bombs to up the relaxation game in my bathroom.

These are so great.  The moment you drop them in the water, they just go berserk, fizzing all over the place.  My girls love them in their baths, and I love how they are both moisturizing because of the oils, and add a calming scent to the whole bathroom.

I found quite a few different recipes around the internets, and settled on a combination of a few.  Most recipes have the same basic ingredients, just different ratios or other things thrown in for fun.

Here’s what I came up with:


  • 1/2 cup carrier oil (almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • 10-12 drops of essential oil (I love to add relaxing oils to the bath, so I used about 10 drops of Release this time.  I think you could do pretty much anything and it would be great.)

Mix all ingredients together in a glass bowl.  You can use a spoon, but you might as well just use your hands and get the benefit of the oils while you mix it all up.  It should feel like wet sand, and hold together if you squeeze it in your hand.  You can add more baking soda if it’s too wet, or more oil if it’s too dry.

There are silicone molds you can use, but I don’t have one, and didn’t want to spend the money on one, so I just used my mini-muffin tin.  I just pressed the mixture into the cups.  The more firmly you press the mixture in, the better it will solidify.

Let it dry for at least 24 hours, pop them out, and store in an airtight container, glass is always best.

Please let me know if you have any questions!  I’d be happy to suggest some other oils, or help you get started with essential oils if you don’t know where to begin!

Head over to my Instagram account for a giveaway of some of this sugar scrub!  This part three of my 36 Things for 36 Years project.  I’m giving away 36 things this year, and this week will be a whole week of oily giveaways! Details on how to enter here!

Also, make sure you enter my other Essential Oil Giveaways this week!  Essential Oil Sugar Scrub can be found here!


Essential Oil Sugar Scrub – Giveaway 3/36

Couldn’t we all use a luxurious, exfoliating, moisturizing addition to our shower routine?  This essential oil sugar scrub is seriously the best stuff ever.  I’ve made it before with just sugar and oil, but adding the essential oils this time really takes it from wow to WOWZERS THIS IS AMAZING.

This couldn’t be easier to make.  It is just a few ingredients, and comes together in less than five minutes, no joke.  And, get this, everything you need is probably in your kitchen right now.  Which makes it easy, cheap, and edible.  No harsh chemicals or things you can’t pronounce.  Just good, clean, delicious smelling fun!


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (you could use white sugar if you wanted)
  • 1/2 cup carrier oil – I like a mix of 1/4 cup sweet almond oil and 1/4 cup coconut oil; this makes it smooth and creamy.
  • 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (see below for some combinations and ideas!)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  I find that using a mixer helps ensure that all the oils and sugar get fully incorporated – this is especially helpful if you’re using coconut oil that is solid.

Pour into an jar and screw on a lid.  Use a good scoop in the shower to exfoliate your skin and lock in moisture.  Tip:  do this near the beginning of the shower because the oils can make the shower floor slippery.  I find that if I do it in the beginning, by the end of the shower all the oils have rinsed away with my soap and shampoo, and the next person who gets in won’t slip and slide all around.

Essential oil ideas:

  • Energizing Citrus Fresh, Sacred Mountain, Frankincense.
  • Calming Lavender, Release, Gratitude, Stress Away.
  • Fresh Purification, Lemon, Grapefruit, Lemongrass.

Please let me know if you have any questions!  I’d be happy to suggest some other oils, or help you get started with essential oils if you don’t know where to begin!

Head over to my Instagram account for a giveaway of some of this sugar scrub!  This part three of my 36 Things for 36 Years project.  I’m giving away 36 things this year, and this week will be a whole week of oily giveaways! Details on how to enter here!

Spring and Summer To Do List – 2016

Spring is almost halfway over, so I thought I should combine spring and summer into this next to do list.  This spring I’ve been feeling scattered and uninspired (you might have noticed).  I’ve recently started a full-time job, and that’s making me want to be more focused and organized.  It’s a choice that I’m making, and it’s feeling good to get back into it.

So, here are some things I want to get done this spring and summer.  A lot are repeats from last year because they were fun, or we didn’t get to them and I was to try again.

  1. Swim in the wild.
  2. Make ice cream.
  3. Go to the art museum.
  4. Go camping.
  5. Go to the beach.
  6. Bach Festival concerts/ events.
  7. Go to the mountains.
  8. Go to a track meet.
  9. Participate in a track meet.
  10. Fireworks.
  11. #93summerdays on Instagram starting on June 20th.  Play along!
  12. Go to a concert.
  13. Stargaze with Alma.
  14. Day date with Jesse.
  15. Day date with Alma.
  16. Day date with Harriet.
  17. Take the family to a movie.
  18. Lots of parks.
  19. Eat fresh produce from the garden/ farmer’s market.
  20. Tie dye something.
  21. Pick berries.
  22. Ice cream truck.
  23. Can some stuff.
  24. Eat the canned stuff from last summer.
  25. Ride bikes.
  26. Hike.
  27. Play outside everyday.

I’m Choosing the Sun

Alma has always been a late sleeper.  By that I mean she will sleep past seven most days, if we let her.  Harriet, on the other hand, has always been an early riser.  I think we’ve had two mornings in her life when she slept past seven.

I’ve decided to be more like Harriet.

My CHOOSE for now is to wake up before the sun.

I want to have some of those peaceful moments before everything, and everyone, starts going.  I want to have a moment where I can sit still before I have to go all day long.  I want to have moments with Harriet where we can explore together.  I want to take some time to notice these moments.

So, from now until the Solstice, I will be getting up earlier and earlier.  I have it all written out in my planner so I can set my alarm for ten minutes before the sunrise.

Yesterday, I was supposed to wake up at 5:52, but I was already awake at 5:50.  I went and sat in Harriet’s room and caught up on Instagram and stuff while she still slept.  I really noticed the sounds of Harriet’s breath as she slept.  I noticed the quiet all around us.  Then she stirred, turned over and saw me, and smiled.  I got her out of her crib and she said, “Thank you for staying with me, mommy.”

She was so happy that it made the whole morning shine.  She cuddled into me and her gratitude for my being there when she woke up was electric.

Today, I woke up with my alarm.  When I left my room, Harriet saw me, or heard me, and called out.  We got up, spent some time watching the sunrise in the backyard.  Alma joined us to make some hot cocoa, and our morning had begun.

It might be hard to wake up so early, but if all our mornings can be like this, I will have no reason to complain.

April 2016, In Seconds

I have been doing this project for 4 months now, and I really like it.  There have only been a couple days that I’ve missed taking a video, and I’ve always had at least a photo to include.

It’s a good way to record the mundane, everyday things we do, along with the more significant events.