Dec 1, 2014

25 Children's Christmas Books

This year, I am trying a super cute idea that I found on Pinterest - find 24 Children's Christmas books, wrap them and use them as an advent.  My girls will unwrap one book each night and we will read it before bedtime.  I am so excited about this idea!


Even if you don't want to go all in and buy TWENTY FOUR books, I wanted to give you a list of my favorite children's Christmas books.  I love kids books - they are so simple, so beautiful, and so poignant.  Plus, it is so important to read with your kids, so this makes it a little more festive and exciting.


25 Children's Christmas Books

  1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss 
  2. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  3.  Santa's Favorite Story:  Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas by Hisako Aoki
  4.  Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
  5.  Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck
  6.  Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
  7.  The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
  8.  Little Blue Truck's Christmas by Alice Schertle
  9.  Who is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate
  10.  Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
  11.  Merry Christmas, Mouse!  by Laura Numeroff
  12.  Room for a Little One:  A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell
  13.  The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing
  14.  Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean
  15. Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
  16. The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
  17. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
  18. Bob by Sandra Boynton
  19. Olivia Claus by Kama Einhorn
  20. The 12 Days of Christmas: A Pop Up Celebration by Robert Sabuda
  21. How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen
  22. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  23. Twelve Cats for Christmas by Roger Priddy 
  24.  (And for the Bigger Kids) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  25.  (And for the Parents - funniest book ever**) Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
**Not safe for kids.  Adult Content.



Right now, if you purchase a book through Amazon and use the code HOLIDAY30, you will get 30% off!

I have linked these books to my Amazon Affiliate Account.  For the month of December, the money I earn through my affiliate program will be used to donate toys to children in need in my community.  Thanks for your help providing a fun Christmas for these children!

Merry Christmas, Friends!  I hope you have as much fun reading these awesome stories as we will!

Nov 4, 2014

Organizing My Young Living Essential Oils

Today, I am welcoming one of my very best friends to the blog.  Nancy blogs over at Spreadsheet Mommy and is here to share with us how to organize all those beautiful little bottles of oil we have all over our house :)  Be sure to check out her blog after you read this entry!



Hi, I’m excited to be a guest blogger on Mama Marcie.  My blog, SpreadsheetMommy.com, is about using spreadsheets to keep things organized! I blog about other topics too – being a mom, cooking, having fun with my family, and living in Dallas.


This month I wanted to help Marcie organize her collection of Young Living Essential Oils.  Since essential oils are part of her everyday routine, it’s easy to see how tiny bottles of oils end up in rooms around the house, in the car, at work or at the bottom of her purse!


With this spreadsheet, Marcie can keep track of her oils and know what she has on hand. I added shading to the spreadsheet so she can shade in gray oils to purchase; this will make placing her next order fast and easy.




What are some ways you keep your essential oils organized? While my collection is not as extensive as Marcie’s, I have a small case at home that holds 30 bottles and keep a travel case in my purse with several I use most often.


Happy organizing!

Nancy


Want to know how to purchase your own oils?  Check out this information HERE!


As always, please remember that I am a Mama and not a doctor. These things work for us and I am in love with using oily remedies for health in our home and I am excited to share them with you, but please use your best judgement for your own home. 

Sep 13, 2014

Easy, Healthy, Kid Friendly Dinner

Did you hear the awesome news?  For a week now, we have been homing three chickens!  Millie, Lily and Hattie have moved into our backyard, and we are all having a great time caring for them and watching them.  We haven't started getting many eggs yet (only 2), but the girls are absolutely fascinated with the idea of getting eggs from our chickens.  We talk about it often.


So the other night, I was out of dinner ideas, I was tired, I wanted my kids to eat something healthy, but didn't want to spend a huge amount of time on dinner - and since eggs were on all of our minds, I came up with Build Your Own Omlet dinner.  It was a HUGE success!




Here's what we did:

1.  Cut up veggies and other ingredients and place in individual bowls.  We used spinach, mushrooms and onions this time because it is what I had on hand, but we have also used tomatoes, bell peppers, and other veggies before.  We also sometimes cut up some turkey lunch meat, left over chicken from last night's dinner, sausage or other meat and we always have a small bowl of grated cheese.


2.  Mom or dad can crack the egg and put it in a bowl with a fork.  My girls took turns mixing up their omelets.  First, break the yolk and add a little bit of pepper.  Izzy, my 3 year old, can eat a 2 egg omelet, but Olivia only likes 1.  Let the kids choose their veggies and then mix again.  Tell them to be sure all of the veggies are coated with the egg.


3.  Send the kids to set the table while you cook the omelets.  Have a skillet preheated to medium.  Melt a small pad of butter to ensure your eggs do not stick.  Cook your eggs for 2-3 minutes on each side (should be slightly brown when done).

4.  Serve with fruit for a yummy, healthy dinner!


Enjoy!

Sep 5, 2014

Young Living Essential Oils for the Fall Candle Addict

Brace yourselves, my friends.  The news I am about to bring to you may be.... disturbing.  Pull your fingers out of your ears and stop saying "la la la la".  Because along with this bad news comes a fabulous alternative!

Did you know that those amazing candles you burn in your home are actually toxic to your health?  Yeah... I know.  Sad.  We are literally burning lead from the wick, petroleum from the paraffin, and filling our home with indoor pollution!

I won't go into huge detail, but if you are interested in reading more about why you should ditch candles, check out the links below:


Now for the good news - there is an alternative!  All you need is a diffuser and an assortment of Young Living essential oils.  They last a great deal longer than a typical candle and, not only do they smell good, but they offer amazing benefits to your health, too!

I haven't had candles in my home for years - I was terrified that my kitties or my babies would knock one over or burn themselves, so I just didn't burn any.  Last summer when I "discovered" Young Living, I realized how amazing of an alternative diffusing oils in my home was to burning candles.  

Here are my top 5 recommendations for Fall Scented Essential Oils:



1.  Thieves - Supports premium immune function and smells so delicious!  

2.  Clove - Supports premium immune function and has a warm smell that is so inviting for fall.

3.  Nutmeg - Nutmeg supports a healthy immune system and also gives you a boost.  This oil reminds me of pumpkin pie!

4.  Cinnamon - Another oil to support a healthy immune system (are you noticing a trend here?), cinnamon instantly puts me in a holiday mood!

5.  Orange - Uplifting and balancing, Orange is a great addition to your fall oil arsenal.



Did you notice a trend?  This is just my theory, but perhaps we associate these scents with fall because of their immune boosting properties?  Cool thought, huh?

Try mixing any of the above for awesome scents - my favorite is Orange with Cinnamon and Clove!


Want to know how to purchase your own oils?  Check out this information HERE!


As always, please remember that I am a Mama and not a doctor. These things work for us and I am in love with using oily remedies for health in our home and I am excited to share them with you, but please use your best judgement for your own home. 



Aug 27, 2014

What's in My Purse?

The Mama Purse - a magical space.

Does it remind you of this?


I thought it would be fun to show you what is routinely found in MY purse - a mama, artist, teacher, oiler.

Thanks to my awesome mother in law, this is the purse I am currently carrying:


Large with pockets inside and outside.  Brightly colored a plus and chevrons a double plus!  This purse happens to be a Vera Bradley, but lately I have been REALLY into Thirty One bags.  Check out my cousin's Thirty One site here.

The cavernous purse of a mama.... a truly incredible sight!


Want to know what all this junk is??  I have to say, when I pulled it all out, I was impressed that there wasn't anything weirder in my purse.  Usually, I could win competitions for the most bizarre items in a purse, haha.

Here's what is in my purse now:

1.  Crayola Twistable Colors - I keep these in my purse for my girls.  When we are at restaurants or waiting rooms, they love to color.  Mommy wins, too, because the girls are occupied and being creative.

2.  Home Made Peppermint Lip Balm using Young Living essential oils (stay tuned for a tutorial!)

3.  Various Essential Oil Products - currently, I have home made bug spray, Tranquil and an Respiratory Blend that I made.

4.  A travel case with 8 sample bottles of Young Living essential Oils.

5.  Work Keys

6.  Organic lollipops - my husband calls these bribery ;)  We rarely get to this point, but occasionally the girls need a treat, so I keep a couple on hand.  I bought these at Sprouts.

7.  Green Tea Mints from Trader Joe's

8.  My wallet - with a thousand receipts because I am terrible about remembering to clean it out.  It's rather worn - might be time for a replacement soon!  Use it up and wear it out is our motto though :)

9.  Wall charger for my phone

10.  Toys - Likely, this was something that Olivia walked out of the house with and handed to me before school, but I generally have something to keep the girls occupied in my purse.

11.  Checkbook - who uses checks these days??  I do.  Once a month for our milk co-op and rarely for school stuff.

12.  Diapers - We use Honest Company diapers and we LOVE them.  Have you tried them?  Click my link and you can order a FREE sample - you just pay shipping.  I was sold after seeing the adorable designs, the amazing packaging and reading about their quality and attention to purity and the environment.


Ok, now tell me - what is the weirdest thing in YOUR purse??


Aug 19, 2014

7 Verses to Pray Over Your Child as They Go Back to School

Back to school - such a bitter sweet time in our family. My girls were so excited to start at a new school today - to make new friends, be in a new room with new toys and new books, to sleep on cots and eat at new tables! But it also means that they are not with me 24/7 - that I am missing out on those silly little things they say that keep me going through the day. And it also means that I am not there for those teachable moments. But I trust their teachers and in our most amazing God to care for them and to love them, and to ease my worries, I pray.

Here are 7 verses I will be praying over my girls as they go back to school:


1. 1 Timothy 4:12 - Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

Lord, help my children to be little shining lights - a sign to all of your love for us. Help them to make good choices and develop good friendships. Help them to love their neighbors.


2. Joshua 1:9 - This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Lord, remove all fear from my children about school this year. Help them to adjust to a new schedule, help them to not be afraid to talk to new people and make new friends.


3. Philippians 4:8 - Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.


Lord, I ask that you please fill their heads with so many true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable things that there is no room for anything negative. Give them JOY in their day, and good thoughts and dreams as they sleep.


4. Isaiah 30:21 - Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.


Lord, guide their steps. Even as preschoolers, they are learning to make choices that will stay with them in life. Please help me to guide them in the way they should be going and to encourage them as they learn to listen to you. Please help me teach them to pray and to always turn to you first.


5. Matthew 18:10 - Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.

Lord, I ask that you surround my children with your presence and your angels. I ask that you protect them from harm and from illness. I ask that you place people in their lives that will value them.


6. Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.


Lord, help my children to honor you with their speech. Help them to talk to each other and to their friends, teachers, family, and parents in a way that is pleasing and deflects anger. And Lord, as parents, help us to model this loving, gentle speech.


7. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Lord, above all else, I ask that you bring my children in to your arms. That you help them to KNOW you, to desire you, to trust you, and to rely on you.


Blessings on your school year, whether day care, elementary, middle school, high school, home school, private, public, or even teaching!  May you also find Joy in your days and remember to turn to your Heavenly Father when you feel overwhelmed or afraid.

Jul 30, 2014

Birthday Blessings

I come from a long line of week long birthday celebrations. Every year when I was a kid, we had a family lunch with my grandparents, a nice dinner with my mom and dad and a friend party to celebrate another year of life. It was simple, but it was magical.

Now I have children.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social medias have made kid birthdays a mom competition. I ask this - is it about us, or about the kids? When we check ourselves and our motives, and then ask ourselves if the birthday celebration will really be any more meaningful to our babies if we stay up til 2 am working on a banner on our Die Cutting machine, the answer is probably no. Do they care if you have a themed party? Probably not. Their joy comes in the celebration and the attention.



How do we tone it down and still feel like we are doing something special for our kids? Here is an awesome product that I have the pleasure of reviewing for you today and even choosing one lucky winner to receive one for free!


Birthday Blessing is a way to spend special time focusing on your child the week of their birthday. A beautiful, hand crafted, wooden birthday cake sets the stage for a week long celebration. This beautiful cake is to be displayed in a prominent location in your house the week of your child's birthday - a symbol to others that something special is going on!



Here's the awesome part - Birthday Blessing created this beautiful notebook to help you intentionally celebrate your child. Each day the week before your child's birthday, the Birthday Blessing journal guides you through a devotion with your child about how special they are. There is a space to write about them each year, too!


I love the idea of keeping this for my girls and presenting them with it when they are older!  What a great acknowledgement of how special they are to you.

How would YOU like to win a Birthday Blessings set for your little one?

It's so simple!  Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!  I hope you win ;)

Jul 11, 2014

Why Every Mama Needs A Best Friend

Today, my best friend turns a year older (29, right Macy?).  In honor of her, I would like to spend a few minutes and give you a list of 5 reasons every Mama needs a Best Friend.

But first, back story:

I was 5 years old and walked into my Kindergarten class.  Mrs. Dunnam was my teacher and I was excited to be there.  Sitting at my table was a boy named Jonathan.  As it turns out, Jonathan was a twin and his twin is my BFF, Macy.  I didn't even know yet that she would be my BFF because I hadn't even met her yet!


Through the years, we have had fun and laughter, tears and sorrow, but we have gone through it all together.  We were pregnant together, we have been through terrible losses together, and through it all, no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other, we can pick up the phone and just BE.  I am so incredibly grateful to God for allowing this woman to be a part of my life.

Here are my top 5 reasons why having a Best Friend Forever is the GREATEST:

1.  You have someone to call when your baby's poop looks funny, and they will not think you are disgusting or creepy.  Mama's understand things that other women, or even your husband, can not.  When you are a Mama, it is SO important to have a close knit group of ladies to share those weird Mama things with.  Who else can you tell about your cycle, about your sex life, about your parents, etc without judgement?  Everyone needs someone to talk to!


2.  When those horrible moments in life happen (the death of your aunt, your father collapses in the kitchen, your dad has a stroke and passes away - all those things that make you loose your breath and want to run away and pretend you don't exist in this life), your BFF will be there.  Just typing this makes me want to cry.  Life is SO hard.  Everyone needs someone to call when those life shattering, world changing, defining moments happen.  I am so glad I have you, Macy.


3.  When the amazing moments in life happen, you have someone to share that with, too.  Macy and I have been there for each other during weddings, pregnancies and child births and so many other little joyous occasions along the way.  So great to be able to call someone to tell them about those funny little things that no one else cares about, and the big stuff, too!

4.  You have an encourager.  Someone who prays for you, who builds you up when you are running low, who fills your emotional cup.  AND you have someone who tells you where the best iced coffee in town is :)

5.  You have someone that knows your history.  You don't have to explain who people are or why you act the way you do around your family.  They know!  And more than likely, they are invited to those crazy family events, too!

I could really go on and on - I am truly a lucky girl.  I am blessed with several women who I deem worthy of the title of BFF (Rebecca, Nancy, etc), but Macy was the first.

So, this year on your birthday, Macy, I hope you know how loved you are, how special you are, and how thankful I am to have you!


Jun 25, 2014

Lunch Time!

So, it's summer here and with two teacher parents and two toddlers, we have officially done more dishes in the past 2 weeks than in the past 2 months combined ;)  Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the gist.  Eating at home is great - you can choose much more healthy options and really watch what you consume.  We do our BEST to eat whole foods with very little processing, but honestly, it gets hard when you are trying to cram fun stuff in the day, too.

So, with that in mind, I'd like to show you a lunch that I have fed my girls this week with natural options that are easily accessible at the grocery store, take less than 5 minutes to prepare and my girls totally clean their plates. 



1.  Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

There are TONS of options for nut butters (or seed butters if you have a nut allergy).  This particular butter is from Whole Foods, but you might also try Jiff's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (hydrogenated oil free) or Sunbutter, a Sunflower Seed spread.

For Jelly,  look for your favorite flavor that is organic and does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  Try a local jelly from the Farmer's Market :)

My favorite bread is this recipe from Wholesome Mommy, an awesome home made honey wheat bread.  Be sure to let it cool completely before you slice so that it doesn't smush for sandwiches.  (Confession, this is not home made bread in the photo - I am trying to clean house today for company this afternoon and haven't had time to bake).

Check out this awesome link for a list of Non-GMO condiments (including butters and jellies).

2.  Barbara's Baked White Cheddar Cheese Puffs

Try this cheeto-esque chip that even Daddy Drew approves of.  Non-GMO verified, baked products that are far more healthy than the alternative and tastes good, too!

3.  Fruit

This time it is an organic banana, sometimes it's strawberries, sometimes apple slices, sometimes orange slices... whatever you prefer, get those fruits and veggies into the diet!  We eat fruit with every meal AND for snacks!

4.  Kale Chips

I love anything from Trader Joe's, but you can find Kale Chips anywhere... even on Amazon!  You might try baking your own, too!  Wash and dry your kale, lay out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Bake at a low temp until dried!  So easy! 

I try hard to serve something green at both dinner and lunch.  Another thing my kids love is raw broccoli with a dip.  To save time, I clean and cut the broccoli when I bring it home from the grocery store and store it in a container in the fridge for easy access.


Lunch time is a great time to have the kids help in the kitchen, too.  Allow them to spread the peanut butter or choose what to put on their plate (with supervision of course).

I also highly recommend that you teach your children to clear their spot at the table when meal time is through.  This is an age appropriate chore that is simple to do and instills a confidence and work ethic in your kiddos from a young age. 

What is YOUR favorite thing to serve your kids for lunch?

Jun 17, 2014

7 Tips for Camping with Kids

Ah, Camping.... I have such fond memories of being outdoors at State Parks with my family when I was a kid.  About a month ago, we took our two toddlers camping for the first time. 

We learned a lot.

I should put that in bold, because the learning curve was steep.  So here in lies the motivation for this blog post.  Being outdoors is INCREDIBLY important, especially when you are young.  Camping shouldn't be a scary task to dread, it should be a fun family bonding experience.  I'd like to share with you 7 tips for Camping with Kids that will make your life much easier (and make the trip a ton of fun!).


7 Tips for Camping with Kids


1.  Prepare your Kiddos

When our babies are used to playing Legos inside or watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates at a certain time each day, camping can be quite a culture shock.  Prepare them and get them excited by talking about what camping is, watching videos, and reading books.  You might even think about a short day trip to a nearby nature preserve or State Park for a day hike to help them get a feel for what camping is like.  Get them excited by talking about the animals and birds you will see, or swimming holes you will visit.

2.  Involve your Kids in the Planning and Packing

Need a few pieces of gear?  Take your kiddos to the sporting goods store to let them help you pick out what you need.  When they are involved in the planning and packing, they take ownership of the trip and everything goes more smoothly.  This is even true for my 3 year old.  She was in charge of the outdoor toys - she had a bag full of buckets and shovels and bubbles and she made sure it got packed and put in the car.  She was proud of herself and it made playing with those toys even more fun!

3.  Pick a Great Campground

Ok, I have done a lot of camping in my life, but camping with kids is a whole different animal.  When we took our girls for their first camping trip, we chose an incredibly beautiful, privately owned campground without reading reviews at all.  When we selected our camp ground, we got our first red flag when our neighbors came over and said "oh, I see you have children.  Please let us know if our partying gets too loud tonight." (Cue the movie Neighbors...)  Needless to say, yes, they were too loud that night, but so was every camp ground in the area.  Rave like music until 2 am is not my idea of a good time, especially when I am in Mama Bear mode and trying to get my babies a good night's sleep.

State Parks are safe bets because they are patrolled by Park Rangers who enforce quiet times and take care of noise complaints. Read reviews on Trip Adviser and  Yelp, ask friends, follow facebook groups who know their stuff - do your research.  I truly believe that the camp ground you select plays a large part in the success of your trip.  Pick a place that has activities and swimming locations.  Check on burn bans before you go if you plan on having a fire.

4.  Bring Toys and/or Friends

During the day, we had no problems keeping our kids entertained with hiking and swimming.  They had a BLAST!  But once it was wind down time in the evening, the sun started to go down, but it wasn't quite bedtime yet, we got bored quickly.  I packed lots of flashlights and my girls truly enjoyed sitting in the tent (they thought the tent was SO cool) and looking at Look and Find books.  Be prepared for some down time at the camp ground with games, outdoor toys, bubbles, and a disposable camera for the kids to use.  If you can go camping with friends with kids the same age as yours, even better!  Camping with friends is the best!

5.  Stay Positive and Stay Flexible

Let me just tell you now - things will not be on a strict schedule, things will not go exactly how you plan them - no matter how many lists you make or how well you prepare, something will go bonkers.  Roll with the flow.  Take a deep breath, remember that you are away from the city, away from responsibility, and just let it go.  If the kids don't nap, it's not a big deal.  If they eat a little dirt, they will have a stronger immune system (so says my Grandma!).  Put a smile on your face (remember, this is supposed to be fun for THEM, too) and Stay Posi (one of my favorite quotes from my husband).

6.  Be a Kid Yourself

Have FUN!  See through the eyes of your child - explore, hop in puddles, get dirty.  Stop and look at the bug or the garden snake slithering along the trail.   Take the time to get on your kids' level and see things from their fresh perspective.  Not only will your kids love this, but you will have a much better time, too!  My girls and I were on our way back to the camp site after a potty break and Izzy spotted a tiny little frog hopping along the trail.  We followed it for a while, and then the rest of the day they hopped like frogs.  It was magical for them!

7.  Be Safe

Be prepared for situations that may arise.  Be sure to pack sunscreen, bug repellant, rain gear and dress for the weather.  Bring lots of water to avoid dehydration.  Also make sure you pack gear for water play - life jackets or puddle jumpers for the little ones.  Keep a balance of relaxation and watchfulness. 


Now tell me... where is your favorite place to go camping??

Jun 15, 2014

Traits of a Good Daddy (And Why My Girls Are So Blessed)

On this special day, Father's Day, I would like to take a second and tell you 5 very important traits of a daddy and why I feel so blessed that my girls have the daddy they have:

1.  Godly


 This is a photo of Drew, Myself, our Pastor and our Children's minister at Olivia's baby dedication.  I love that my husband finds this important - that we present ourselves as a family before our church, vow to raise our children in a Godly home, and ask for support from our church family.  He is a leader in our church, teaching Sunday school, volunteering for nursery duty every so often and even accompanying the youth group on a backpacking trip.  He shows our children by example what it is like to love the Lord your God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.  Taking the girls and I to church is a priority for him, and we are so blessed to have a strong Spiritual leader in our home.

2.  Hardworking

In the nearly 9 years Drew and I have been married, I could count the number of days he has taken off work for personal reasons on one hand.  He is dedicated to his teaching job not for the money (obviously), but for the sheer fact that he has incredible work ethic.  He cares for those he comes in contact with each day (hence the Funniest Teacher Award hanging on his classroom wall) and then comes home and works some more.  He sets an excellent example for our daughters in his work ethic.  I love this photo because it is proof that the girls are watching and learning by his example.  He does it without grumbling, always pushing on even when he is tired or doesn't feel like it. 

3.  Fun


 One of the biggest reasons why I married Drew, and one of the biggest reasons my girls are so blessed to have him as a daddy is that he loves to have FUN!  Whether it be a simple fort in the living room with blankets and dining room chairs, a trip to the park, or a family vacation.  He is showing our daughters that it is important to have fun and what GOOD fun looks like.  I asked Izzy this morning what her favorite thing about her daddy was and she said "he likes to tickle me and then I laugh."  They love his fun loving side, too!  Who wouldn't?

4.  Cares About Education

I love the quote by Emilie Buchwald that says "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." This is certainly true in our home.  Drew makes it a priority to read to the girls before bed, whether it be one book or ten.  We love trips to the library and book stores, too.  Just part of ensuring that our girls find worth in being educated and being a child of God, not in being pretty (even though they are and he does make sure to tell them so).  He is such a great daddy to teach them this valuable truth.

5.   Encouraging and Protective


    
Our girls feel safe with daddy - they know he will protect them and he always encourages them to try new things, even when it is hard.  Being around daddy makes my oldest, Izzy, fearless.  If he isn't at home at night, she doesn't sleep as well.  He is kind enough to stop on a trail and empty her shoes of dirt, but still encourages her to keep going.  Such a great balance that my girls are lucky to have in their lives.


Drew, we are so blessed by you.  Thank you for your tireless hard work, your dedication to your family and your Heavenly Father and for making us feel safe and loved. 

And to you, reader, Happy Father's Day!  May we recognize the wonderful father's in our lives and help each other raise a generation of boys to be excellent Fathers in the future!

Jun 6, 2014

Essentially Summer: Homemade Ice Cream with Essential Oils

Hi Friends!  If you are joining me from Rooted Blessings, welcome!  I don't know about you, but reading all of these recipes is making my mouth water!  I had a BLAST testing out recipes to contribute for this series - I know you will love them!


The second I signed up to participate in this series, my brain went into over drive with all the amazing possibilities.  I have trimmed them down to three, to hopefully satiate everyone's appetite - even a non-dairy option! 

One of the reasons I was excited to participate in this series is to showcase more uses for essential oils than just a fix to a cold.  Quality essential oils (I can only recommend Young Living) can actually be used to flavor foods! 

The first, Dreamsicle Ice Cream!  Do you remember rummaging through your grandmother's freezer when you were a kid to find the Dreamsicles?  I do!  My mom didn't usually buy them, so when we stayed at Grandma and Grandpa's, they were a treat.  This recipe could not be more simple.  And when I brought it over to a family gathering for a taste test, it was totally a hit!


A variation on a theme, Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream.  Using organic ingredients, raw milk and Young Living essential oils, this recipe will take you back to Thanksgiving and make you wish for November!  A summertime take on a classic fall dessert, this ice cream is sure to please!  It was delicious!

 Homemade Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 can organic pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups raw milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 drops Young Living cinnamon bark essential oil
  • 3 drops Young Living clove essential oil
  • 3 drops Young Living nutmeg essential oil

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved.  Follow the directions for your ice cream maker.
  • Serve immediately for a soft serve consistency or freeze overnight for a more firm consistency.

And finally, for our lactose sensitive friends, Coconut Lime Sorbet.  This one might be my very favorite.  This is a deliciously light, dairy free option.  You can modify it to make it sugar free, too - just use honey or agave instead. 

 

Are you ready to jump in to this wonderful world of caring for your family with therapeutic grade essential oils? The time is now! Click here to learn more or contact the person who introduced you to the “Essentially Summer” blog recipe series

Next up is Katy @ Goodness Gathering!

Be sure to check out all 35 posts in the "Essentially Summer"  blogger recipe series, click here.



Bon Appetit!

May 31, 2014

Mini Me

I am one blessed Mama.  I have two beautiful girls who are funny, smart, kind...  I love them both beyond measure and they have rounded out my life like I never even could have imagined.

But my little Livvy... my "Baby"... she is my Mini Me.

  

 The photo on the left is me.  The photo on the right is Olivia.  There is definitely a resemblance, but our similarities go beyond looks.

Here are 8 Ways Olivia is my Mini Me:

1.  She LOVES to "huggle" (aka Snuggle).  I was born to snuggle. 
2.  She loves to shop.  Her favorite store is Michael's (the craft store) and she will tell you LOUDLY that she wants to go to MICHAEL'S!  As an artist, I love that her favorite store sells art supplies.
3.  Livvy has as much of a sweet tooth as her mama.  She would rather eat fruit and yogurt than meat any day of the week.
4.  The girl loves to sing - loudly.  And she doesn't care if it's the right words or if she sounds horrible.  She just wants to sing.
5.  And she loves to dance - same as above - doesn't matter the steps, she has a rhythm and she can't stop until she gets it out, haha.  So much like her mama.
6.  She loves to laugh and to make people laugh.  
7.  She is SMART!  She was saying complete sentences before some of her big sister's friends even were.  She knows her animals, songs, numbers... she is shockingly smart.
8.  She has a temper.  Sorry, Liv, for giving you that one ;)

 I would have to make a longer list for ways my oldest, Izzy, is her daddy's mini me ;)  I will work on that for another post!

Do you have children?  Do you notice that one of your kids is just like you or your significant other?  Or a blend of the two?



May 20, 2014

Young Living Essential Rewards

If you have already fallen in love with Young Living essential oils, you have purchased your Premium Starter Kit, you have checked out all the cool oily gear that you can use with your essential oils and you are looking for the next step - here it is!  Essential Rewards!



If you are like me and use Young Living from everything from your fruit to your kids to your toilet (yes, it's true), then a program where you can use your wholesale membership discount of 24% off retail price, get a discounted flat rate on shipping AND earn points back toward free oils is a no brainer. 

I wanted to take a second and answer some of the most frequently asked questions I get about Essential Rewards and show you what my ER order looked like this month.

ER FAQs

  •  What is Essential Rewards?

    • Young Living's Essential Rewards program is an optional autoship program for wholesale members.  Each month, you can select a minimum of 50 pv of product, select a date and have it automatically shipped to your home at a discounted flat rate. 
  • What is the benefit of joining Essential Rewards?

    • With each month's ER purchase, you receive a percentage of your purchase back in points that accumulate and you can use them toward FREE oils!  If you needed another benefit, how about a discounted rate on shipping and priority over regular orders when products are about to go out of stock?
  • What percentage do I earn back toward free oils?

    • For the first 6 months, you earn 10 % back, and it just keeps getting better from there!  For your second 6 months, you earn 15% back and after a year on ER, you earn a whopping 20% back on your purchases!
  • What is the catch?

    • Thankfully, there is no catch.  You can cancel at any time (be sure to use your points before you do or you will lose them!) and you even get a grace month each year if you need to take a month off.
  • How do I sign up?

    •  When you log in to your virtual office, you can select the Essential Rewards tab and opt into the program.  So simple!
  • How do I redeem the points I have earned?

    • So easy!  Either call Member Services or log on to Live Chat.  They will ask for your member number and your pin.  Tell them you want to redeem Essential Rewards points, give them your list and they will verify your address, tell you the shipping amount and you are good to go!
  • How long do I have to be on Essential Rewards before I can redeem my points for oils?

    • You must be on ER for 3 months before you can redeem your points.  
  • Can I redeem my points for anything?
    • You can redeem your points for anything that has the same PV and dollar amount. For instance, Deep Relief is 21.75 pv and also $21.75 - it is eligible!  But roller balls are $9.75 and 0 pv, so they are ineligible for this program.  

Here's a handy graphic with all this information condensed (made by a fellow Oily Family friend)




Take a look at my Essential Rewards order that came in this week.  Each month I choose different items.  Sometimes I am replacing oils that I am out of (often this is Believe, Lavender or Thieves), adding new things to my stash, trying supplements or household items (Thieves household cleaner, toothpaste, soap, etc) and I even add items to my order for my mom or my aunt if they forgot to add something to their order.



Last month I replaced my lavender and tried some Slique, the month before that was another combo of oils.  All of us are totally thrilled to see the Young Living box on the front porch!  My 3 year old daughter runs up to the porch yelling, "Mom, the oils are here!"  I love it.

Want to know how to purchase your own oils? Check out this info here!





Please remember that I am a Mama and not a doctor. These things work for us and I am in love with using homeopathic and oily remedies for health in our home and I am excited to share them with you, but please use your best judgement for your own home. 

May 5, 2014

My Awesome New Business Cards!

 I am SUPER excited about my new business cards that came in the mail yesterday. A friend referred me to Moo.com and I am so thankful!

I opened up the package to see this cute little box  - I am a sucker for things in cute boxes, haha.


And then I opened the box.  You should have heard the squeals of delight, haha.


 And then it gets better still!  Check out these adorable mini cards I ordered.  Their website is incredibly user friendly and I was able to use my own logo to design my cards.  The quality of the cards is excellent.  I love that I could print on both sides for no additional charge.  The cards are so cute and they were affordable!


If you are looking for a place to print business cards, might I suggest Moo.com?  I'm sure you won't regret it :)

TRY MOO.COM TODAY