6 Ways To Use Coconut Oil Outside of The Kitchen

6 ways to use coconut oil outside the kitchen and as part of your daily routine!

Fan of cooking with coconut oil? I know I am, and if you haven’t discovered how versatile this oil is ( both in and out of the kitchen), you’ve got to give it a try! We cook everything from eggs in it and use it as a butter substitute in baking.

You can also use coconut oil in your daily skincare regime and as a substitute for toxic things like (makeup remover or cold cream).

Conditioning Hair Treatment

I make a mixture of organic coconut oil, castor oil, and rosemary essential oil as a deep conditioning hair treatment. I started doing this after I went to a hair salon to get some highlights in my hair and they basically destroyed it. I dyed my hair back to its usual dark hue, but the texture was so brittle I knew I had to start attempting to restore it.

I therefore use this oil-based hair treatment and also take he shu wu, a Chinese herb that can help with hair growth and is purportedly taken to restore hair.

If you make a similar coconut oil hair treatment, leave it on for a few hours and then shampoo it twice to make sure all of the oil is out of your hair. The product- at least for me- is softer hair.

Makeup Remover

Coconut oil is by far the best makeup remover I’ve ever used! Simply put a little on a washcloth or damp paper towel and use it to remove your makeup prior to bed.

DIY Body Scrub

Do you like coffee? Would you like to make an easy peppermint mocha body scrub? I bet you would, and guess what the base of our recipe is? Well yes, coffee. But the hydration part is coconut oil.

Mix organic brown sugar, coffee, coconut oil, and one or two drops of high-quality peppermint essential oil together and put it in a glass jar in your bathroom. You can add as much coconut oil to this mixture as you wish as the texture and consistency of this scrub is down to your personal preference.

You may also like to read: Self-Care For Moms

DIY Coconut Oil Lip Scrub

Similar to the coffee scrub, this easy to use lip scrub consists of just two ingredients: brown sugar and a little coconut oil. Mix the two together til you get the desired consistency of your liking and use your finger to massage it on your lips. Wipe off the mixture with a wet clot when you’re finished.

Shaving Gel Replacement

I’ve been using coconut oil instead of shaving gel or soap for several months and it’s been an easy adjustment. Plus, no harsh chemicals or fake scents that are in shaving gel. But it’s again down to personal preference. You may prefer a foaming type of cream when you shave or a rich lather soap, but it’s worth trying coconut oil as a substitute.

DIY Charcoal Toothpaste

Our favorite way to use coconut oil in our daily regime is as the base for our home-made charcoal toothpaste. While this recipe will make your sink dirty, it will make your teeth pearly white and it’s sans fluoride.

Like with the other DIY recipes I listed, how much coconut oil and other ingredients you add depends on what texture you want it to be. The ingredients we use to make this are activated charcoal ( we open & use two capsules), coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oil of choice ( we mainly use peppermint). Mix these ingredients until desired consistency is reached, then have fun brushing your teeth! We love this DIY coconut oil toothpaste so much that we never buy toothpaste anymore as nothing we’ve found makes our teeth this white.

With regards to cleaning your sink post use, because the toothpaste is in a base of coconut oil, it’s rather easy to remove; simply use a sponge or damp paper towel to remove the charcoal remnants from your sink.

What do you use coconut oil for in your home? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Self-Care for Moms: creating nourishing routines for yourself

Self-care routines for Moms! Nourishing routine ideas you can implement daily, even if you have little time.

Self-Care for Moms

Do you feel overwhelmed by your to do list, or are you in desperate need of time to yourself?

Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us Moms are hustling waaay too hard, both at work ( or in our businesses) and at home. We’ve got a house to clean and a family to feed, so how can we possibly fit in time for ourselves, right?

I know how it feels to be completely exhausted and emotionally depleted. I have vivid memories of how tired and ‘off’ I felt when our daughter was a toddler. I was nursing her 24/7 and my husband was working long hours, which meant I had little to no time to myself, whether to have time for creative hobbies or to just take a break.

Now that our daughter is older and my husband and I both work from home, it’s easier for me to focus on my self-care. However, even before we got to this point in our lives/businesses, I still managed to prioritize spending even a 20 minutes for myself.

In today’s post, I want to give you some ideas for creating self-care routines that work for you, whether you are a stay at home Mom, working Mom, or work from home Mom.

How Much Time Do You Have?

To start building regular self-care routines, you need to assess how much time you have to devote to yourself, and to your wellbeing. Back when our daughter was a toddler and Billy was frequently at work, I had little time. However, I still had some time each day to get in me-time…I just had to force myself to take that time off.

For starters, I realized that I needed to really prioritize that 20-40 minutes. My husband was totally on board, and understood that it was integral I got that time for self-care and creative time eachday. Plus, he wanted some time to bond alone with Kaya, so we decided that when he got home from work, I would head to a local coffee shop to study for a short creative course I was taking while he took Kaya to get a snack. We would then meet up for dinner, or we would cook at home.

Sometimes I would just go for a walk in our neighborhood, and other days ( on the weekend or holidays) I’d meet up with friends for lunch or dinner. Yes, I felt guilty for taking that off-time, as many Mothers do. But it was so integral for me, especially because I was just recovering from post partum depression.

If you’re a single parent or your partner is frequently gone on business trips, mission work, volunteering, or is an entrepreneur, you may have very little time each day ( or each week) to devote to yourself. But I’m guessing that you could still fit in time to listen to an audiobook or journal when your kids are napping or when you’re commuting back home from work. And if you have older kids, could then watch your little ones while you head to a local cafe or meditate in your room for a while?

If you’ve just had a baby and are breastfeeding 24/7, you may only have a few minutes to take time for yourself. Nap times for your baby may be a great time for you to nap! Or take a shower/bath. Or make yourself something nourishing to eat!

Write down approximately how much time you have each day for your creative hobbies or wellness activities.

If you still feel like there is no way you can do this daily, ask yourself: how much more productive will you be if you take this time for yourself? Will you feel refreshed afterwards, and therefore be a more relaxed/patient parent?

You may also like to read…3 Powerful Books on Simple Living

Finding What Self-Care Routines Work For You

Because we’re all unique and have different interests and desires, it’s important to create a self-care routine that’s right for you, and that’s also doable for you to fit into your schedule.

For me, I feel refueled when I pursue my creative and intellectual hobbies, whether I read a thought-provoking book or have a deep conversation with someone about art, philosophy, and travel.

When my daughter was a baby, I was frequently at home, so just taking time to go out ( even for a short walk) was so incredible. I felt revived and more content. And when I developed post partum depression, I started learning just how important taking the right herbs for my body and mind were to improving my condition; after seeing a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and getting the right herbs to treat the imbalance I was dealing with, I became healthier and happier, and realized that taking herbal medicine was a must-have part of my daily self-care routine. And something that took no time at all.

Many Moms feel like they’re missing a connection to like-minded women who deeply care about them and want to help them on their mothering journey. If you feel the same way, try prioritizing meeting up or talking with fellow holistic Moms. Apps like Hey! Vina can help you connect with people that share your interests in your local community.

In order to find out what self-care routine works for you, sit and think about what’s important to you, and what you’re missing right now in your life.


Ideas For Self-Care Routines 

If you’re stuck on what you could fit in time for each day to help you feel like the best version of yourself, here are some ideas:

+ 15 minute exercise routine ( like this one)

+ Take a yoga classes a few times a week ( or adopt a home-based yoga routine using an app like Gaia

+ Do a daily devotional 

+ Keep a daily journal

+ Meet up with friends once or twice a week and speak with them daily on the phone/messenger

+ Take a long bath

+ Meditate for 20 minutes

+ Devote a certain time each to prayer and reflection

+ Take an evening walk

+ Go out for coffee

+ Listen to an audiobook while commuting back from work

+ Listen to your favorite podcast when your kids are napping

+ Take naps when your baby naps!


How to teach your kids about health and wellness

How to teach your kids about health and wellness

Perhaps what’s lacking most in today’s schools is that few teach children about wellness, health, and self care.

This is lack of attention being placed on eating a Whole Foods based diet and staying active has created a society that’s sick and out of shape, where cancer rates are skyrocketing and billions of dollars are spent on pharmaceuticals.

It’s therefore integral that parents begin to teach their kids how to adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

The best way we can do this is to be an example, and to also devote a little time each week to learning more about herbalism, nutrition, and wellness. The more we learn, the more inspired and motivated we will be to begin adopting healthy habits ourselves, and our children will begin to see this lifestyle shift in our own lives, which may inspire them to also want to learn more about plant medicine and nutrition.

Keeping our children informed on why we’re eating certain foods and avoiding others is crucial. By letting them know of a recent study or book you’ve read or having them watch a documentary with you, you’re keeping them involved in the process and helping them understand they why behind your lifestyle choices. This will also help them too want to make informed decisions in every aspect of their lives.

Related Post: Helping your kids make healthier meal choices

Getting your kids to help you make herbal tinctures and tonics or when you prepare your meal is another key way to help your kids learn more, from a hands on perspective. Children that learn these life skills at an early age are more likely to turn into healthy adults later in life.

There are great books and games for children that are looking to learn more about health, such as the Herb Fairies audiobooks and Wild Craft board game.

How are you teaching your children about health and wellness? Leave your tips in the comments below!

We we love simple living ( yet aren’t minimalists)


We we love simple living but don't consider ourselves minimalists.

Over the past few years, our family has learned first hand how wonderful ( and sometimes challenging) it can be to embrace a slower, simpler lifestyle.

At times, we scaled back out of necessity, and now, we choose to live simply. And yet, we don’t consider ourselves minimalists.

In fact, we enjoy collecting hard-to-find things, such as vintage toys and even TV shows from the 80s that Billy and I both enjoyed when we were kids. And everyone in our house is a gamer!

Nor do we want to have a house that’s got that uber sterile, everything-is-perfect type of vibe.

I prefer a house that looks likes its lived in, and so does Kaya and Billy.

None of us has a capsule wardrobe, nor do we want one. And owning a set amount of possessions is of no interest to us.

Having a slower pace of life and prioritizing time spent with family is what we focus on.

To some, this does make us minimalists. And to others, it doesn’t.

You see, since the minimalist blogger scene has exploded, there have been subtle hints at what it minimalism should look like. While bloggers may say that there is no set of rules for the minimalist-seeker needs to follow, their is a sort of perception about what is and what is not a minimalist home.

Some say it’s owning 100 items. To others, it’s living in a tiny home or RV.

Related post: 3 powerful books on simple living

As I’ve stressed in our blog posts, labels are limiting, and I don’t like using them. If you want to downsize and find happiness in living simply, follow your instincts and do thatIf you want to have only 100 items in your home, you can do that too!

But don’t feel that you have to adopt a certain lifestyle just because your favorite blogger tells you ( directly or indirectly) that it’s the best way to go.

Instead, follow your intuition and your budget. Converse with your family members about what brings them joy, and make a list of the things that your family values above all else. Then, seek to prioritize that list.

Having a slow-home or a simple lifestyle looks different in each household that chooses to embrace that lifestyle, and the same goes for minimalism.

Do/Own What Sparks Joy 

One of the many reasons we love the Konmari method is because Marie Kondo places an emphasis on keeping in our lives that which sparks joy. Not owning a certain number of items or comparing your home to Marie’s. No.

She places an emphasis on keeping the things that bring you joy.

This is SO KEY because Marie is basically saying that we are all unique, and our homes and lives will reflect that!! In Japan-the land of otaku culture- many people collect figurines and other kawaii items. Perhaps those that collect items ( like we do) don’t actually mind having more belongings, nor having a ton of white space in their home.

And what about fellow bibliophiles who feel happy when surrounded by books? Do you need to suddenly rid your house of them because you haven’t gotten around to reading them all, or because your fav minimalist blogger tells you to?

Marie Kondo’s method of owning and keeping only that which sparks joy is a fantastic way of figuring out the route to having a home that sparks joy for you, and can help you kick comparisonitus out the door.

I consider her method a sort of practical minimalism that’s flexible and that varies individual to individual, which is why the Konmari method has been so life-changing for us.


Holistic Homeschooling: How we unschool


Unschooling: a holistic form of education driven by a child's interests and unique way of learning.

Are you considering homeschooling or unschooling, but aren’t sure where to start?

I know it can feel overwhelming. At least, it did for us, particularly when Kaya turned 5 and was officially Kindergarten age. We had purchased a somewhat Waldorf-inspired curriculum for her that I thought we could loosely follow, but it was so overwhelming I basically had a panic attack, and we decided to find another way to teach.

If you’ve read some of our other posts, you know we’re not a fan of labels. I feel that they’re inadequate for most things in life, especially in home education, when the focus should be more about doing what’s right for our family and less about impressing others with our homeschooling choice.

But because we don’t follow a set curriculum and use various home education theories and styles, we could be considered unschoolers or eclectic homeschoolers. We value learning by doing, and take a slow-learning approach that’s Waldorf-inspired.

We’re combining several different methods to teach Kaya how to read and write. She has a reading program she follows called Reading Eggs, and she reads to us from the Bobs Books everynight. Reading Eggs has accompanying worksheets that are super helpful too, and she does the sheet that accompanies each lesson daily. We will be adding copywork to the mix soon, which is inspired from Charlotte Mason, and as Kaya’s writing ability grows, she will start doing notebooking, which is akin to journaling. And every evening, either Billy or myself read to Kaya before bed.

While they’re are numerous benefits to slow-learning, there can be immense pressure from society to have kids learn to read quickly and be on advanced levels of math and such at an early age. Waldorf education starts teaching children to read at around age 7, and unschoolers sometimes learn to read even later then that. This can lead to family members not understanding or being supportive because they compare what your child is doing to that of a kid in public or private school, and assume you’re doing something wrong.

In reality, there are various forms other educational theories, some which emphasize learning at a slower pace, and others, at a faster one.

I personally believe it really depends on the child and what works best for them. I was an early reader, and my husband struggled with it until he was older. We both ended up as writers, and he even has a degree in writing, so despite our differences, we basically arrived at the same place!

My sister homeschooled her three kids in a more traditional route, and perhaps because she is a scientist ( with a phD in chemistry), they are all very adept at advanced math and science, and one or two of them are studying medicine at University.

You may also like: Balancing Homeschooling and Working From Home

Homeschooling in a holistic way is going to look different in every household. We like to have structure in our daily education plan, which may be very different than many ‘unschoolers’. We also plan our days around Kaya’s extracurricular activities, such as her robotics classes and taekwondo, as well as when she goes to play with friends or at the various playrooms in Chiang Mai.

When Kaya gets older and we’ve finally moved to Canada, we’ll go on more field trips to museums and such, and dive deep into reading the classics together. Thomas Jefferson Education talks about the various learning phases children go through, and the scholar phase ( where they get into more academic subjects) is during the teen years, and this is something we plan of somewhat following, although we may get more academic sooner. There learning philosophy is very similar to Waldorf in how the early years are focused on play and home-life, and developing a curiosity for the world. This is the phase we’re currently in.

For now, we worldschool by traveling within South East Asia. Worldschooling is a concept that’s basically learning from the world around you, or it can be used to describe combining unschooling and travel. We talk about our journey as worldschoolers ( in the travel sense) on our other blog.



5 excellent essential oil brands we love

5 great essential oil brands

Are you a fan of essential oils? I know we are! But when it comes to finding out where to purchase them, one can easily find conflicting advice and a lot of negativity. Why is that? Well for starters, we all have our personal favorites, and some bloggers/holisticpreneurs sell essential oils, and because of that, people can be biased. And with more and  more essential oil brands choosing the MLM model, there’s more competition out there for sales reps.

At the time of this writing, I don’t currently sell essential oils, although I’m not against it. I’ve signed up with the two big MLM brands in the past and personally loved both companies, with regards to their oils. But I didn’t like promoting just one brand when I liked both, and when I tried different oils from other companies, I started talking to my friends and family about them too.

So in today’s post, I want to share with you the essential oils brands our family currently buys from, plus which blends from them we love. Please note that there are hundreds ( if not thousands) of companies out there selling oils, some good and some bad. I’m sure there are excellent oil companies we haven’t yet had the pleasure to try ( such as Neil’s Yard and Living Libations), and I’ll write about them in the future when we eventually do order from them.

Young Living

We started purchasing from Young Living when we found out that they ship to Thailand. We ordered one of their premier essential oils packages that contains a diffuser ( which my brother stole from us), samples of oils and their goji berry drink ( which Kaya LOVES), and 5ml sized bottles of an array of oils.

I think YL is actually my favorite brand so far, but shipping to Thailand is expensive and so are the prices of their oils, even if you do sign up as a distributor.

Some of my favorite blends from Young Living include:

  • Stress Away ( this is my favorite!!)
  • Joy ( very uplifting floral scent)
  • Thieves ( a must-have)

Because of the shipping costs, we have been purchasing more from other brands lately, but when we eventually move to Canada, we plan on ordering more oils ( both singles and blends) from YL.

You can buy Young Loving Essential oils from your local distributor, or by going directly to their website.


Plant Therapy

We started purchasing essential oils from Plant Therapy after getting a discount coupon, which was included in an eBook bundle I got from Ultimate Bundles. And because Plant Therapy ships to Thailand relatively quickly ( less than a week sometimes) and their shipping and oils costs are affordable, we order from them the most often. Their blends are nice, although there are some I don’t like ( their Sensual Blend smells strange to me) and others that they have changed ( Anti-Aging was better before).

Plant Therapy also sells an organic range of essential oils for you to choose from, as well as a kid-safe blends. Our daughter is OBSESSED with the roll ons from the kid-safe collection! She has her little stash of oils that she keeps near mine and applies whenever she has the sniffles.

They also make holiday blends, such as Autumn Harvest, which smells divine and is my fav holiday blend.

Our favorite essential oils blends from Plant Therapy include:

  • Relax
  • Energy ( an excellent uplifting blend)
  • Germ Away ( cheaper alternative to Thieves and On Guard and available in 30ml and 100ml)
  • Sniffle Stopper ( from the kids’ line)
  • Balance
  • Anti-aging ( it was better before but it’s still a nice blend)

5 great essential oil brands


The very first essential oils brand we tried ( in recent years), DoTERRA offers fantastic oils that are sold through distributors, just like Young Living. Or you can also sign up on their site as a distributor yourself and get wholesale prices. Like YL’s site, DoTERRA’s is a bit of a pain to navigate, but their oils are great so worth the tech-issues ( and high costs).

This is my husband’s favorite brand of oils. He specifically loves their blends and prefers On Guard to YL’s Thieves. We stopped buying from DoTERRA because they don’t ship to Thailand, so we had to have them sent to a family member or friend in the US and have them ship them to us, which was an inconvenience for us all. We look forward to buying our favorite blends from them when we move to North America. 🙂

DoTERRA makes some of our favorite blends. Some of our favorites include:

  • Immortelle ( a very potent anti-aging blend in a roll on)
  • Serenity ( beautiful, sweet blend with vanilla and chamomile)
  • On Guard
  • Clary Calm 
  • Whisper ( a warm, alluring blend for women)
  • Balance 
  • Deep Blue ( incredible headache-stopped)

Want more inspiration? Check out this post: 3 powerful books on simple living

Rocky Mountain Oils

We ordered from Rocky Mountain Oils once, during the holiday season. After doing years of research about the various oils companies out there ( and still having no clue which is ‘the best’), we heard of Native American Nutritionals, but they didn’t ship to us internationally…until they merged with Rocky Mountain Oils. I was excited to finally get to try this company’s products, and we ordered a few blends, including Nerve Support and True Blue. I like them both, but found True Blue to not be nearly as good as DoTERRA’s Deep Blue, which has blue chamomile in their blend, making a relaxing yet headache-killing combo. Nonetheless, I do still like True Blue.

We plan on ordering more essential oils from this company, and I’ll update this post as soon as I’ve tried their other blends and singles.


Aura Cacia

I bought a few bottles of Aura Cacia when we lived in Los Angeles, nearly a decade ago. Because essential oils weren’t extremely popular back then and the general public ( including yours truly) didn’t really know what to do with them ( apart from smell them out of the bottle), I don’t remember even using them.

However, I found that iHerb carries their range of oils, and since iHerb ships internationally, I decided to include a few bottles in my order. We’ve so far tried their Vetiver and Geranium, and we love both! Their Vetiver is much better than the one I got from Plant Therapy, smell-wise; it’s thicker too. I’m not an essential oils expert so I can’t say which company makes ‘the better oil’, but I do think Auracacia’s is darn good

We have yet to try any of their blends, if they have any, but I’ll update this post when we do.

All in all, there are some excellent essential oils brands on the market that offer 100 percent pure oils, and more and more companies are offering a line of organic essential oils too.

3 Powerful Books to help you live simply

Looking to adopt a slower, simpler lifestyle? These 3 inspiring books will help you and your family simplify.

If you’re interested in adopting a simple, creative, and slow-paced lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start, here are some fantastic books on simple living that are geared to helping families. Because if you’re like me, chances are you’ll find some of the uber minimalist books available to be either too limiting ( or placing a strict limit on what you own ) or geared to singles. Thankfully, more and more parents are writing books that give simple living tips for families, and that have doable suggestions that you can tailor to your family and lifestyle goals.

 In today’s post, I want to share with you the three books that have had a huge impact on our family’s life, and that I think you too will find helpful on your path to a slower lifestyle.

Living Simply With Children by Marie Sherlock

This book served as incredible inspiration for our journey to intentional, simple living on our terms.

Loaded with examples of different families who chose to live simply, this book gives you great tips, regardless of where you live. It also gives great advice for single parents and those that choose to work part time, full times, or are a stay at home parent.

Living Simply With Children talks alot about buying less and downsizing, as well as steering away from purchasing from name brands and big companies.

I love this book so much I constantly refer back to it and recommend it to friends!

Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman

Talk about a book that made me reflect on how I approach my business and life! Simply Tuesday is not only well-written but it delivers a powerful message for those of us that are caught up in wanting to do more and be more. This book emphasizes the importance of being small, and not having the size of influence that we want ( which is especially applicable to us entrepreneurs).

The book is named after a somewhat ordinary day of the week that we can all learn to actually value, even if it’s laundry day or has nothing eventful going on. In fact, that’s exactly why Freeman wants you to recognize it: if small things don’t matter, then what does?

If if you’re looking to savour your life more, his book is a must-read!

Want more inspiration? Check out this post: 5 essential oil brands we love

Radical Homemakers by Dr. Shannon Hayes

Are you yearning to make more of your belongings are participate more in your local community, or downsize? Do you want to be a home-based parent but feel shamed by society for your choice? Then this book is for you!

The author grew up on a farm until she left to pursue her academic career, only to return to farm-life when she had her family. What I find fascinating is Shannon’s academic perspective on modern day feminism and homemaking, and how she devilifies the role of a homemaker. However, she does go in depth into the benefits of the feminist movement and also breaks the myth that homesteading was just for women.

She interviews families and individuals from around the U.S. who are living simply and are adding to their local economy through creating crafts or putting their skills to use in exchange for things. Whether you’re a single parent that’s working full-time or are even a newly wed, this book will give you loads of food for thought. My advice is not to get overwhelmed and think you need to start making everything to replace what you own.

I will probably never make my clothes ( I can barely sew a button on my husband’s shirt haha) but I’ve spent some time thinking about how I can help our local community more through cooking, teaching marketing skills, and also giving wellness tips. I have in fact given marketing advice in exchange for gluten free bread from my Cordon Bleu-trained neighbor! #whynot

While some of the concepts discussed in this book may seem radical ( hence the title), I love this book and read it cover to cover in a short period of time. It goes over the history of homesteading and also the industrial revolution and why we should strive to buy less and make more.

What are you favorite books on simple living?

Balancing working from home and homeschooling

How to balance working from home and homeschooling your kids!

My husband and I feel both very blessed to be able to work from home. Initially, it was me that began the entrepreneurial and freelancing path, having both a writing business and being a coach/consultant. But around 4 years ago, my husband ended up working from home too, which has been such a blessing!

You may be considering working from home and are wondering how to balance it with homeschooling your little ones, or perhaps you already do work from home and are thinking about home education. For us personally, it’s been generally very easy to balance the two.

Because we ‘unschool’ and don’t follow a set curriculum, we have a lot of flexibility. My husband works at night and I work a few hours in the evening and a few during the day, which means we take turns watching Kaya. She goes to robotics classes for four hours during the weekend, and has two taekwondo classes during the weekdays, so we schedule our work around driving her to her classes. This has been difficult during the weekday because it’s right when my husband has orders due for work, and because I lost my driver’s license somewhere back when we lived in Korea, I can’t drive here ( nor do I want to as the traffic in Chiang Mai is cray cray!).

If you are doing a classical form of home education, you will probably need more structure to your daily schedule. For Kaya, we’ve focused on using the Reading Eggs program ( highly recommend it!) for teaching her how to read, plus we used the Bob’s Books to have her read to us every evening. Reading Eggs has both an online video-based program as well as accompanying worksheets. She typically does the online part in the morning, and the worksheets when she goes out with her Father during the day ( when I get in some time to get client work finished).

If you’re a single parent or the only one in your household that’s home-based during the day, balancing working from home and homeschooling can be a challenge. My top suggestion is to go easy on yourself.  You don’t have to pick the hardest, most advanced curriculum available nor have your kids in loads of activities. A few suggestions:

+ Find a family-friendly restaurant that’s open during the day and take your kids there to play and have lunch while you’re doing some work

+ Find out if there’s a homeschool coop in your area

+ When your kids are at any extracurricular activities ( or classes), get as much work done as possible

+ Ask a friend if they can bring your kids to any shared classes so you can use that time to work ( or for self-care)

+ Wake up early so you can get work done before your kids get up


If you’re completely new to the concept of working from home and aren’t sure where to begin, take some time to ask  yourself what your strengths are, and how much time you have each day to devote to your home-based biz or freelancing career. You can still work from home and only work a few hours a day, but you need to be SUPER FOCUSED both when you start and market your biz, and also when you start working during the day.

Enjoying this post? You may also enjoy: 3 powerful books on simple living

Challenges To Working From Home

Which brings me to one of the top challenges my husband and I have faced: being interrupted when we work.

Because our computer and workspace is located in the living room ( worst idea ever), we’re right next to the TV, and Kaya prefers playing down here to going and playing in her room. Billy and I share a desktop computer, and my Mac is quite damaged and old ( going to get a new laptop soon) so I can’t really use it for work as some of the keys are broken. This is what lead us to working out the schedule where Billy goes out with Kaya to do homeschooling worksheets while I get in an hour or two to use the desktop.

After we get home from running errands in the evening, I usually take Kaya upstairs to watch Are You Afraid of the Dark on my Mac while I start making dinner, so Billy can get some work done. We then either all eat upstairs ( because we’re strange) or in the living room, and either Billy puts Kaya to bed and I get a little more work in, or I put her to bed and go to bed too.

Our schedule may sound strange, but it works for us and is the perfect balance!

Do you work from home and homeschool? If so, how have you balanced the two? Leave a comment down below and let us know!



How the Konmari tidying method changed our lives

How the Konmari method of tidying changed out lives

Our family is pretty messy and unorganized. And while we don’t particularly mind this, it can feel pretty embarassing when we have people over to our house. We usually have to explain why our place looks like a tornado went through it. My husband and I work from home and homeschool, so we’ve got loads of books and papers everywhere, plus Kaya’s toys.

But late in 2016, we decided to do the Konmari method of decluttering ( or tidying as she calls it) to get rid of the things we don’t need anymore and that are mentally weighing us down. Things we’ve acquired over the years that we don’t want or need, or that was an impulse-buy.

I’m so happy that my husband was on board to help me do Konmari because I couldn’t go through the boxes of papers and books without him, since many of them were his or needed his seal of approval to discard ( in the case of old paperwork). Because all three of us did Konmari tidying together, it was a real bonding experience, and we all enjoyed it, although some of the phases of discarding were more challenging than others.

If you haven’t heard of Konmari, she is a Japanese organizing coach and expert that has two best-selling books that have revolutionized the field of tidying. Instead of getting rid of things by room, Konmari’s method is to discard by category.  This is where the magic seems to happen, or at least it did for us. And the second revolutionary aspect to Konmari’s method is that you only keep what brings you joy. You don’t hold yourself to someone else’s standard, aka like the whole concept of only owning 100 items.

This is what attracted me to Konmari’s style of discarding because while I do enjoy many aspects of minimalism, I don’t agree with one having to possess a set number of items. Especially families! We have so many random things ( like collectables and video games) that bring us joy, and we have no intention to discard them because someone else things we own ‘too much’.  Plus, we do enjoy shopping small as much as possible, like on Etsy and at thrift stores.

How the Konmari method of tidying helped change my life!

You start by going through all your clothing by bringing EVERY item you own and putting it in one room/pile for you to go through and see what brings you joy ( that you want to keep) and what you want to discard. You then move onto the next category, which I believe is books and do essentially the same thing. You can find out more details about the process by downloading her free app on iTunes or purchasing her books, particularly The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which goes in detail about the whole process of how to discard.

The way that the Konmari method of tidying and discarding has changed my life is that I feel less mentally weighed down, and feel great about the fact that we’ve gotten rid of unwanted things. This may sound strange, particularly if you have never decluttered before, but in reality, I think the worst effect of having excess items is the mental space those items take up, even if you’re not aware of it. 

We aren’t yet finished with the categories we’ve got to tackle ( as part of the Konmari process) but are already feeling so much more peace of mind, and have more space in our house.

On top of that, doing this whole decluttering process has inspired me to delve deeper into organization, and I’ve begun building a mini library of decluttering  resources to help us get inspiration and tips when we feel inspired to do more.

Related Post: How to have a clutter-free home in 2017

The Challenging Part

One of the many reasons I recommend the Konmari method to basically everyone is not only can it make a huge impact in your life, it’s extremely doable. But that doesn’t mean each phase of discarding is easy!

I found discarding books to be very challenging. Because many of the books we went through were in boxes ( since we’ve moved quite a few times and are in desperate need of shelves), we had to go through our storage area and confront books that I thought I’d like to read, but that I didn’t end up reading or that I lost interest in. Billy had to also go through books from when he was an actor, and this was a challenge as he quit acting when we left the States, partially because there were little acting opportunities where we lived and also because he didn’t have the time. He’s also unsure of if he wants to act here in Chiang Mai, so it meant he had to decide on if he will again pursue his passion as some of the books he owned were quite expensive. He ended up keeping those that he loved and found helpful and got rid of the ones he never got around to.

The paperwork was also challenging to go through and discard. We had bills, receipts, and sooooo much more to wade through. While it was less exhausting then doing Konmari on the books, it still took time and we had to yet again open boxes and go through drawers. But it was well worth it, and we feel so much better not having all of those pointless papers anymore!

Additional Decluttering & Homemaking Resources

I’ve also begun reading ( or listening to the audiobook of rather) How To Manage Your Home by Dana K. White, who has excellent suggestions for creating a doable cleaning schedule. I highly recommend her podcast and book, if you’ve already done Konmari and are looking for additional homemaking tips from a fellow slob. 😉

Have you done the Konmari method of tidying? If so, what benefits have you gained from doing it? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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The Herbal Academy of New England has created a Free Herbal Materia Medica Course to guide you through the process of studying, researching, and observing plants in order to create an herbal materia medica. Designed for herbalists in the making, seasoned herbalists, and those of you not yet sure if this is the right path for you, this program will walk you through the process of studying one herb at a time, teaching you how to create (or add to) your materia medica.

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We are proud affiliates of the Herbal Academy of New England and I’m also a student of their courses.