Natural Laundry Detergent

Oh Hello! It’s #seizetheDIY time again!

DIY Natural Laundry Detergent

This DIY item for your laundry room uses many of my favorite Young Living products.

What you’ll need:

Do you already have these ingredients on hand?


Holiday diffuser blends

Make your home smell like the scents of the season with these fun Holiday Diffuser Blends! What are some of your favorite diffuser blends this time of year?

Convinced yet that this is a good investment for you and others in your home? Let’s talk about the best way for you to have your own Young Living account and start stocking up on life-giving products that are safe for the whole house and effective as heck.

You’re going to want your own account – and the best way to do that is with any of our starter bundles. This is the bundle that about 90% of people start with – but there are other options. Become a member today:

Join our team. And then join our online oil community. I’m passionate about sharing HOW, and WHY, and WHEN, and WHERE to use essentials oils. You are not alone.

I like my coffee…

It’s true.  I like my coffee, and I like it strong.  I’ve heard it said “With enough coffee I could rule the world.”  Well, that’s cute and snarky and all… and it’s probably true.  But I don’t want to rule the world… so I just wear this…


I picked up this handcrafted necklace from one of my new favorite jewelry makers…  and just had to share it!  And I’ve worn it every day since!  … ahem …

But it got me thinking, that I should share my secret weapon for when I need an extra dose of coffee.  This is my secret coffee weapon… mostly utilized when I’m in the office.


You see, we have a coffee service that brings us pre-measured packets of Starbucks coffee, a medium-bodied blend.  We place it in the coffee filter and hit a button that reads “full pot brew” … and it’s all pre-measured, pre-poured, etc.

That’s fine and dandy… for those who like a weak cuppa joe… just sayin’…

And so, I found myself searching out more…  more flavor, more caffeine, just more… 


Until I found this…

Trader Joe's | Instant Coffee Packets
Trader Joe’s | Instant Coffee Packets

That’s right… instant coffee packets.  I know, I know… it sounds a bit unbelievable.  Just go with me here…

instant coffee packet + brewed coffee = awesomness!
instant coffee packet + brewed coffee = awesomeness!

instant coffee packet + brewed coffee = awesomness!
instant coffee packet + brewed coffee = awesomeness!


That’s right… you guessed it!  I add a single serving packet of the instant coffee (which comes packaged with a bit of creamer/sugar already) to my already prepared brewed cuppa joe.  And voila!


coffee makes me awesome!
coffee makes me awesome!


There it is… an awesome cuppa joe!!!


“No matter what historians claimed, BC really stood for “Before Coffee.” – Cherise SinclairMaster of the Mountain

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.” ― Louisa May AlcottLittle Women

“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” ― Dave Barry



Oct 1… the first birthday without him…

Oct 1 – It’s a bittersweet day

It would have been his 85th birthday…

Instead I’m reminiscing on his 84th birthday

We will get together with family today

those who were together with him on his last day

Oct 1 won’t be the same

But getting together today will give us another chance to heal

We will be together and do what we do


Reminisce, eat… be…

and heal…

It’s bittersweet… family is the sweet part!


As part of my healing process I’ve been reminiscing…  I’ve been keeping myself busy by scanning old family photos and slides.  Some of them date back to the late 1800’s… and they’ve been hidden in an old trunk.  I’ve never seen most of these pics.  So this was like a treasure chest!

The family photo storage bin has been endless… I believe we have scanned well over 5000+ images!!!

As a lover of both history and photography I find it so important to preserve this history.  A big priority has been to make sure all of the family members get copies of these digital files.  At some point in the future I hope to start an account soon to link up our family history with distant relatives.
This process has taken months. Endless hours have been spent on this project. Scanning.  Digitally re-coloring, adjusting tone, cropping.  Renaming files.  Burning discs for family.  Backing up files on disc.  Phew… my computer and fingertips are worn out!
But it’s a process I wouldn’t trade for the world.  Can I put a dollar amount on the amount of time I’ve spent on this?  No.
The best part of it all?  Finding some gems, in the form of photos, of my grandparents in their dating days… priceless.  Simply priceless!

Wine tasting in Paso Robles, Ca

On Memorial Day we packed up the car and headed north … final destination Pismo Beach. Other stops included: Santa Barbara, Arroyo Grande, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo and of course Paso Robles…

Every now and then I get a longing to drive through these rollings hills where I once lived… my childhood full of memories of beach days, camping trips, playing with frogs in the creek and that sweet feeling of surrender… so we made it happen! After MUCH deliberation we planned our trip… and wouldn’t trade it for the world!

So today I am finally getting around to blog about our wine tasting tour through Paso Robles…

We parked downtown Paso Robles and waited for the The Wine Line bus to pick us up. How does The Wine Line work? Well, like a true tour bus…

Of course you can check out their website for the full story.

Lori Jean’s version? Riders can hop off the bus at any vineyard or tasting room, hang out for a while, and then hop back on the bus when they’re ready to move on to the next stop… and for the record, they are THE best way to experience Paso Robles’ vineyards!

Since we’d never been through wine country in Paso Robles before we let them suggest which vineyards we should stop at and in which order. There was 1 additional couple on the bus with us… and we all just tagged along and enjoyed the day together. Afterall, we do love talking to strangers, meeting new people and finding out what we have in common… it was a perfect day!

Come with us on the pictorial review of our tour… ?

How wine tasting works in Paso Robles
As we visited various vineyards we found each vineyard has a different deal on prices for tasting. One place gave us 5 free tastings, another let us try ALL 10 of their wines for $3 and others were the standard $5 for 5 tastings. And yet another waived the tasting fee if we bought a bottle of wine.

You see, the proprietors want you to taste their wine in hopes that you’ll buy wine (and buy a lot of it). Obviously they don’t make much on selling tastings… they make their money by selling wine. (And sending people like us home share pics and talk about how great the wine is, friendly the vineyard staff is and how priceless an experience it all was!)

We started at Castoro Cellars … where we learned they are currently bottling the “Coastal” brand for Trader Joe’s. (note to self!)

The vineyard and grounds look like you’d expect a vineyard to look like. There is a long walkway up to the tasting room, rolling hills of vineyards, a large patio with chairs and tables placed strategically to enjoy the view, bundles of California poppies and lavendar speckling the planters and large empty barrels sitting about.

The tasting room was as comfortable as my imaginary italian aunt’s home … the walls painted in warm yellow tones and rich cabinetry… sofas and chairs and a big fireplace. Our Wine Line Guide was right… this was the perfect place to start!

While I had been wine tasting once or twice at local tasting rooms my hero-of-a-hubby has not. So we asked for the beginner’s tour at our first vineyard stop. The friendly wine steward took her time to help us become comfortable with the “in’s and out’s” of tasting. She explained “how” flavors work, how to taste, how to ALWAYS ignore the first sip and to judge the wine off of the second taste.

She was patient with us, funny, knowledgable and excited about 2 particular wines that we couldn’t wait to taste!

We tried 5 wines for FREE and bought a 2007 Zinfusion (this was not her favorite – but it WAS in our price range). Perfect way to start the tour!

I took a gander through their shop and stopped briefly in front of the syrups, jams, marinades, etc.

I could literally sit here all day… but alas, this is the just the beginning. We had several more hours of this.

So I kept walking…

Afterall, this is just the first stop!

We came, we tasted, we conquered! Time to hop back in the bus and move on to vineyard/tasting room #2…

Tasting #2 at Zenaida Cellars – surrounded by yet another awe-inspiring view from the patio…

This tasting room had a completely different feel to it… dark black-brown painted cabinetry, antiqued gray-tan walls, blue neon lights hanging from the ceiling. Just felt a bit more “cool” and updated, like a downtown loft.

We enjoyed 5 wines for a small fee… and took home their Zc Red. While my hubby was paying our bill I took the opportunity to stroll around their property a bit…

And you guessed it, again I found that I wanted to sit here all day!

But no sitting was going to be done quite yet. I just couldn’t… afterall, it’s only noon! We’ve got some more touring and tasting to do! Let’s get a wiggle on…

Tasting #3 – (admittedly, my favorite stop of the day)… AronHill Vineyards

We drove up, climbed out of the van and saw THIS view…

Now THIS?! THIS is where I was going to sit for a while.

I mean, can you blame me?! Look at that view! It was a perfect 71 degrees outside with a slight breeze and we were among fantastic company!

Our Wine Line guide brought out the pre-ordered lunches (sandwich, potato salad and fruit) as we were treated to a remarkable wine tasting affair.

It is apparent that Judy, the proprietor of Aron Hill Vineyards, is in love with what she does on a daily basis! Not only did she personally deliver our tastings and talked to us about each wine… but she had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye that showed me she has found her passion in life and is living it outloud!

Can I tell you how much I love that?!

We sat, enjoyed lunch, enjoyed 5 tastings and took in this view…

We didn’t rush to get up and Nic, our Wine line guide, talked to us about the history of this region, how certain aspects of the wine industry work and his personal travels.

We brought home a bottle of the best wine we’d tasted all day, Judy’s 2006 Primitivo and two pieces of her stemware.

We helped ourselves to a self-guided tour of her new tasting room (it opened less than a month ago), which included her new shiny (and fully-stocked) chef’s kitchen where they will soon start preparing/selling food for lunches, etc. I noted she had a few panini presses and said “Oh – we’ll be back!”

Let it be known – the tour could have been over at this point. My expectations had been greatly exceeded and the rest of the day paled in comparison… (sorry in advance to the next 2 vineyards, I’m just sayin’… )

Tasting #4 at Norman Vineyards … known for their Monster Zinfandel. We brought home 2 bottles…

It was obvious they were cat lovers (that’s neither a good or bad thing) … not to mention the company logo.

I enjoyed strolling around their property with my camera, and of course with the cats following every move…

And it was time to get back in the bus…

Tasting #5 at Rotta Winery… the oldest family-owned winery in San Luis Obispo county.

As soon as I walked in I wondered if I was on the set of “Will & Grace”. Why? Our wine steward was the spittin’ image of Karen! Rather weird and comical all at the same time… but I didn’t say anything to her until the end.

On one end of the bar was a group of 3 guys who had obviously been drinking (oh, rather “tasting”) for a good portion of the day (and one who smelled pretty ripe, I might say)… these boys were “good ol’ boys” and were giving the wine steward quite the trouble. But it was all in fun…

Here we enjoyed a taste of each of their wines (I think a dozen of them?) for $3! Yes, only $3. We were definitely feeling our wine at this point…

Look at all those awards! They wanted us to TASTE what made them so good!

Ugh… it was now about 4:30 pm and we had been “tasting” since 11 am. Phew… I needed to sit down again (while I’m on that subject – why don’t these tasting rooms have chairs to sit in?!)… but the tv show look-alike was keeping us on our toes!

We brought home the 2007 Estate Zinfandel… she explained that this was the reason we came in today. And she was right! It’s pretty darn fantastic!

As we said our goodbyes at Rotta I asked the wine steward if anyone had ever mentioned her uncanny resemblance to Karen of “Will & Grace”… she laughed out loud (just like Karen, of course) and said “NO – but I love it!”

Then we hopped back in the bus, rehydrating with WATER and took the leisurely drive back into town… and our thoughtful and helpful Wine Line driver dropped us at a dinner locale downtown Paso Robles, just about a block from where we had parked. We slowly ate dinner, drank WATER and chatted over the favorite’s of the day, how we were impressed with the whole experience, etc.

We eventually walked back towards the truck and made our way back to our hotel in Pismo Beach.

We talked about how glad we were to have been able to experience this, and dreamed about how soon we can come back! We are glad we toured Paso Robles for our first wine tasting tour together… it was a complete experience!

(And we have half of a case of wine to prove it! Sheesh!)

Best part of it, my hero-of-a-hubby and I haven’t gotten away (just the two of us) for quite a number o years. We relished in the opportunity to reconnect, dream and relax together. What a treat…

And I leave you with this…

“When wine enlivens the heart, may friendship surround the table.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

When I was 8 years old I received my first cookbook

A gift from my Mom’s Mom, a fabulous Gramma. She was a wife and mother who was known to make a new dessert every night of the week. When you have a husband with a sweet tooth and 3 kids running the house… yes, it is necessary!

When I was 8 years old I started drooling over cookbooks. I remember standing for hours at the kitchen counter, reading each detail of each recipe… looking at all the details of all the hand drawn illustrations.

I mean, who wouldn’t when you have graphics like this?!

In all seriousness, this kid’s cookbook has more technical information in it that most “grown up” cookbooks! Check it out… this goes into detail on necessary items, safety precautions, proper names of kitchen utensils, cooking methods, etc! (I think I even learned something again when reading it again yesterday!)

I do recall making a killer cinnamon toast… thank you to my very first cookbook! Mmmm…. makes me want some now!

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

My view…

I fully recognize that I’m the most fortunate girl in America. THIS is the view from my seat in the craft room…

A few moments before this picture was taken the rain and hail had ceased, the wind had blown the storm passed my house and a beautiful rainbow appeared in the east.

I stopped for a few moments to gawk at the hail on the ground, to watch the fluffy clouds slowly blow by and then I got back to manipulating paper into cards.

A good time was had by all…

Lovin’ our homemade pizza…

A new favorite in our house… an old classic. I found this multi-grain crust at my local Albertsons. “Culinary Circle” is their upscale store brand name. And wow… they sure know how to make a good upscale store brand pre-baked pizza crusts.

And then we topped it with some really good pizza toppings to make a Manly Meaty Pizza… garlic-infused olive oil, marinara of choice, Gallo salame and pepperoni, mozzarella cheese… you know, your favorite pizza toppings, whatever those may be.

On the “girly” side of the pizza I used my pesto of choice and a vine-ripened tomato… and maybe a few slices of pepperoni slipped in there too.

Next, I drizzled some garlic-infused olive oil on the crust… and brushed it over the top of the whole crust.

And I will say here that I’m convinced that broiler pans bake pizza doughs just as good as pizza stones. The air circulates up under the crust and dries it out… so it gets nice and crispy and perfectly done!

How did I discover this? Well, we’ve been using pizza stones for at least 10 years now (for frozen pizzas). And recently our pizza stone dropped and cracked in half. I hadn’t had a chance to replace it yet before I wanted to make another pizza. So, I gave the trusty broiler pan a whirl… and voila! Perfectly, crusty crust!

Now, on to the toppings… marinara sauce on His side, pesto on my side.

I sprinkled mozzarella cheese across the whole crust… then…

On His side I topped with meatballs (cut in half)
On my side I topped with sliced raw tomatoes

And then more mozzarella, and (oh yeah) also some crumbled bacon. Yes, bacon.

Next, salame… and some more mozzarella.

Last, a layer of pepperoni… followed by? What else… mozzarella.

TIP FROM LORI: If you like crispy pizza (and we do) then do what we do. If the instructions on the crust reads to bake the pizza at 400 degrees F, then we actually bake it at 425 degrees F for a slightly less amount of time.

So, it’s time for the close up shot…

Above: the Manly Meaty Pizza…

Below: the Girly Pesto Pizza…

Both are equally scrumptious… and a little sinful.

We also usually shake some red pepper flakes on top of one of those layers and sometimes some garlic salt too. Tonight I forgot… but we didn’t send the pizza back…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Christmas gifts for my kitchen…

For Christmas this year I received a beautiful gift (one of the beauties below) and then I purchased my kitchen a gift, or two (yes – the rest of the beauties below). In fact, I will openly admit that I love to buy gifts, for myself.

When my hero-of-a-hubby asked me what I wanted for Christmas I couldn’t think of anything except for kitchen stuff. I wonder if Gloria Steinem (or any of the NOW leaders from the ’70s would be disappointed at this wish list.) All I could think about was how upset some ladies used to get when they received a blender (or other small appliance) as a gift. But I digress… and now I’m thinking of a writing new blog post!

Anyway, I had my eye on most of these items for months… researched, and saved up my “allowance” to buy each one in the months leading up to Christmas. While I had already been using them I still wrapped their empty boxes and placed them under the tree! My hubby just laughed… “Another gift from ‘Santa’, huh?!” (and yes, he made the quotation marks with his fingers…sigh!)

The first perfect fit I found was this Lodge Logic cast iron 5″ skillet (pre-seasoned)… perfect for frying eggs, toasting spices and so many other things!!! Love, love, love… (the image below looks much larger than 5″… but 5″ it is.) (Approximately $15 at Walmart.)

I also found a Lodge Logic cast iron chicken fryer (also pre-seasoned), with lid… in this you can also make cinnnamon rolls, chili, cornbread, and so much more… (Approximately $25 at Walmart.)My hero-of-a-hubby bought me this early Christmas present: Kitty – the KitchenAid stand mixer. (Yes, I’ve finally named her!) This is something I have told him for years I wasn’t ready for you. You see… it’s a bad problem to have. I only have about 4 feet of counter space in our tiny/nearly antique kitchen. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to dedicate 1 of those feet to a mixer. This year I finally decided it was time. (Bought it at a great discount on several days before Thanksgiving… and the day after Thanksgiving it was only selling for $10 cheaper. I had it by then and couldn’t have been happier.)

We had the money set aside for it… so we took the plunge. It’s definitely an investment of both money and time… there’s more cleaning involved (I mean, ones DOES want to shine it up after every use – unlike the little handheld beater I’ve been using for over a decade), if you’re really into it you want to buy some of the accessories and additional attachments so you can grind meat, make your own pasta, etc… I’m not there yet. But I have a feeling I might want the pasta attachment at some point in the near future.

Um… and because I now had a stand mixer and could make some good doughs, then I also bought myself a Pie cutting board … but my hero-of-a-hubby still thinks that was from Santa. (Shhh!) (Approximately $28 at Walmart.)

And lastly I stumbled across these Matryoshka dolls (Russian nesting dolls) that also serve as measuring vessels. And when I think of nesting dolls I think of my childhood… and I feel happy. So I bought them.

Aren’t they adorable?!

Like I said, aren’t they adorable?! I’m going to put them out on the cupboard and see how long it takes my husband to ask when the babushka’s arrived… anyone want to place any bets? (These beauties were purchased at World Market, approximately $13.)

But lastly let me introduce you to a true gift… from an actual friend (not from “Santa”). A dear friend gifted me this adorable little porcelain birdy perched over the most perfect little porcelain bowl with the tinniest of porcelain spoons… from Anthropologie!!! (< — love that place!)

This truly is adorable!

But I’m afraid to use it… ‘cuz I’m notorious for dropping and breaking things. So, if you never see it in my kitchen again it’s either because I entered it into witness protection program (for it’s own good) or I have already smashed it to smithereens.

Love the porcelain birdy Mariam! Thank you for thinking of me and trusting me with this beauty…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…