About Me


I'm Jenny. Thanks for stopping by my little place in the blogoshpere! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about this little blog o' mine.

So, you're probably asking, "What's with the birds and the soap...and the soap...and the birds?" Well, I guess you could say I've never had a penchant for naming things, lol. My blog started as a place for me to write about stuff I love and birds and soap are just two of the things that top my list!

Here's the story...

It all started way back when in my teen years. My parents moved our family to the mountains, it was always a dream of theirs to live somewhere in the forest. There I was, 15 years old and living on a mountaintop just one mountain range behind Bogus Basin Ski Resort. (which was cool, because we could sit on our deck and watch the skiers at night beneath the glow of the lights). Needless to say, I was an outdoorsy kind of girl. I spent a lot of time hiking the forty acres our family owned, as well as the surrounding Forest Service Land. It was bliss, really. So I did what any young girl without a social life would do.

I got into birdwatching. We put up feeders and kept a nature journal every time we saw a new species. We used our Audobon Field Guides religiously, taking them on walks just in case we could identify something new (that's a Western Tanager on the cover).
 I learned the names of all the plant species in the area (Latin and common).

Did you know that an Yellow Fawn Lily is also called an Alpine Lily, a Dogtooth Violet AND a Glacier Lily? I do. Yep, I am THAT BIG of a nerd.

Not only did my parents move to the mountains, but my Aunt and Uncle did as well. In fact, they purchased the land adjacent to ours and built a house. It was like having our own compound. Forty acres, nine miles off of the highway, down a dusty, bumpy, dirt road. We were a mile off of the county road and at the end of a private drive, so we rarely had "drop-ins" by unexpected guests. My Dad got all crazy posting "Private Property" signs too, so it kind of gave you the feeling it was our neck of the woods- and only ours, lol.

My Aunt Farel was my life support during that time. During those tumultuous teen years when parents and children often collide, she was my saving grace.

We spent much time together, drinking in our surroundings and finding fun things to do. My Aunt decided that she wanted to try her hand at making soap and like any good helper, I was along for the ride. What started as a hobby in soapmaking soon blossomed into a business, and before you knew it "Timber Mountain Soap Company" was established at the Capital City Farmer's Market in downtown Boise. I spent my Saturday mornings peddling soap with my Aunt, eating fresh baked bread from the local bread shop, and talking shop with the other vendors at the farmer market.

Aunt Farel

 Over the years, my Aunt lovingly taught me the art of soapmaking. It was there on that mountain I fell in love with handmade soap and incorporating the art of Aromatherapy into everyday life. When she made soap, I made scrubs and lip balms. I used these skills to eventually start my own soap business.

In 2004, "Essentials by Jenny" was born.

See, I'm not good at naming things! 

I can't tell you how many business names I tried to conjure up before I just went with this one because I had to have a label on the soap before I could sell it! 

It won by default. I've never been crazy about the name, but for five years, that was me. I loved it.

The knowledge of my lackluster ability to name my business came full circle one night after watching an episode of "The Office" with my husband and my brother-in-law, Jake.

In this episode, called "Cocktail Party," Jan gets fired from her job and starts a candlemaking business called  "Serenity by Jan." The VERY SECOND those words were off her lips, the laughter ensued. And it STILL hasn't ended. "Essentials by Jenny" and "Serenity by Jan" now go hand-in-hand in this house.

I'll say it again, when it comes to naming things like blogs and businesses, I would be better off hiring a consulting firm.

 I operated my business at the Eagle, Idaho Saturday Market for five years. As the babies came along, and the downturn of the economy slowed my business, I took a break from my soapmaking ways.

However, unlike "Essentials by Jenny," I like "Birds and Soap." I smile when I read it because it just gives me happy thoughts. I have great memories of my time in the mountains, and sometimes I really long for that place again.

If it weren't an hour commute into town, and I had a million dollars, I would probably consider living there again.

Good times, good times.

Well, that's the story.

So here I am now.

I am a wife, a mother, a soapmaker, I am blessed.  I've been married to my husband Sam for almost nine years. We live in Idaho in a tiny 2 bedroom house with our 2 tiny girls.

I am a stay at home mom to Ava and Lyla, and I am currently staring down the barrel of a future in homeschooling!

I'm creative and I love to transform something old and give it new life. A DIYer who is always looking for her next project. I am constantly inspired by things around me; living on a budget has only challenged me to make more out of what we have. It's not fun unless I can get my hands dirty!

I Love to sew. I can sew like the wind! Upholstery and slipcovering projects are my friends. 

I've gutted and remodeled our kitchen (TWICE now) (while the baby was sleeping), bathroom too. Crown moulding and beadboard are a must! 

Party Planner. 

Nose-picker (got ya!).

And this past year, I've discovered my latest passion: 


I've never shied away from tools and when I stumbled upon Ana White, the world just opened up for me. It's like we've all been waiting around for someone to tell us "You can build it!"

Join me on my endeavors. I'm sharing my passion and I hope it will inspire you too!


  1. Wow! This is such an inspiring story. And I love the story about cracking up at Jan's candle-company name (I love that episode). Thanks for taking the time and space to share from your heart. (You make me want to go back and write more in my "about me" on my blog.)

    1. Thanks! I'm so wordy, I just can't help myself!

  2. Stopped by from Amy's blog. Excited to be introduced!!! XO, Aimee

  3. Great blog! I was just sitting at my desk enjoying some leftover meatloaf (grandma's recipe), and googled Florence Burlile....and what a surprise, she is mentioned in your blog. Awesome posts. I loved reading about her yard sales. Great memories... sean.burlile@va.gov

    Miss you guys,

  4. I couldn't find your email address, but wanted you to know:I have nominated you for a Liebster Award because I love your blog! See the link below for details and rules, if you want to participate (if not, no worries!!!)
    Congrats :)


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