Make Room: Advent

It is almost impossible to believe that Thanksgiving is this week. I feel like this fall has completely flown by in a haze of busy work weeks, side projects, house renovations, and taking steps towards bigger dreams. While it was still one with plenty of treasured moments, we are making a definite effort to slow things down a bit. And what a perfect time to do so with the beginning of Advent!

Advent is my favorite season of the year, and each year becomes more and more special as our little one grows. We are saving a lot of the Advent crafts and activities for when he is a little older, but we will be talking, praying and worshipping as a family every day in an effort to make room for the Lord. If there is anything in our life that we need, it is Him. 

http://www.naptimediariesshop.com/collections/advent/products/2015-naptime-diaries-advent-devotional

This year, we are starting  a new tradition of using the gorgeous Naptime Diaries Advent devotional + calendar to help us celebrate! I simply cannot wait. The digital download is so beautiful that I am checking the mailbox daily for our printed version. And I love that we can share this beautiful devotion as a family. Use this code to get 15% off of your order!

Five Things

This week was a short one, but somehow still managed to be a doozy, so we are looking forward to a little downtime tomorrow. I do believe some cashew flour pancakes are in order. Other than a delicious breakfast, I'm thinking we will spend some time outside, adding a little fall color to our porch and taking multiple family walks, save time for some afternoon yoga, and spend lots of time playing soccer in the backyard with the littlest. That is what weekends are made of, am I right? 

And so, a few of my favorite things for a this FriYAY:

1 - These high riser jeans are on my fall/winter capsule list. My pre-motherhood jeans just aren't as comfortable as they used to be, so I'm thinking going high rise may be the ticket.

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2 - My sister shared this article with me, and it is definitely worth the read. It resonates with our current season of life where we are reevaluating and our dreams are evolving.

3 - Call us crazy, but we are considering a last minute trip out west. Not sure if the details will line up, but making the final decision this weekend! 

4 - Here is another good pancake recipe if you like bananas + chocolate!

5 - Last weekend was our anniversary - six years! We had a mini celebration with breakfast out, flowers, and my favorite almond butter. Because sometimes, it is the littlest things that touch you the most. 

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Our Fourth (In Pictures)

We had a great long weekend just hanging out as a family of three. We took a couple day trips to look at campers (we may have found one!), spent the days barefoot in the grass, grilled burgers + asparagus, make watermelon chillers with lime oil, and played in the baby pool with E. I'd take another weekend just like that any day. 

Also, if you are interested in essential oils, I hosted an Instagram class here and am doing a fun Facebook class here! <3 

Fourth of July

With so much going on in our country and so much going on in our life as a family, the freedom of Independence Day feels especially sweet this year. This year our celebrations will be low-key, which is honestly just what we need. A few friends, lots of time outside (with plenty of outdoor spray and sunscreen!), a family day trip, simple decorations, sparklers galore, and lots of good food, some healthy and some treats. Here are some of my favorites for a simple, but festive Fourth of July. 

An almond matcha superfood smoothie to start the day right and get in some greens!

pineapple + flower centerpiece. Colorful, festive, smells divine. I love it! Carve out the fruit from the inside and grill it or add it to some homemade guacamole, then save the exterior for the perfect party vase. 

This grilled potato and cannelloni bean salad would be a great side to pair with burgers or Bbq and a big green salad. I would use dried beans that you soaked and cooked instead of canned. 

These paleo chia and almond chocolate parfaits would be a delicious, simple desert and look great when layered in individual mason jars. I also can't get enough blueberries this time of year!

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Summer and peaches are synonymous here in the South, and this peach gin fizz would make a great signature cocktail for a small gathering.  Also, more blueberries! 

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We love games, and backyard Twister sounds so fun! Find more backyard games here. And what Fourth of July celebration would be complete without sparklers and a good BBqsauce?

Family Photos with Jamie Sapp Photography

Just after Elliot's first birthday we had a little afternoon photo shoot with the talented Jamie Sapp, and I am overwhelmed with how beautifully she captured our little family. It was a fun afternoon where we just played in the fields and grass, and E had just started walking, making it even more of a fun play-filled afternoon. I love how Jamie captured those sweet little moments and brought out just how much light and love this little one has brought to our lives. 

Friday Favorite // Oils + Babes

One of the main reasons that I started using essential oils was that I wanted to have natural alternatives for all of the things that come with little ones. I wanted to be able to control my son's exposure to harsh chemicals in the products that we use - diaper cream, bug repellant, household cleaners, etc. There is a list of our DIY recipes here, but I wanted to share some of my other oily favorites for littles, from newborns to kids!

Oils:
+ Lavender: truly the swiss army knife of oils, we use this for just about everything - skin support, respiratory support, relaxing + unwinding, the list is endless! I use it in our linen spray, diaper rash ointment and wipe solution.
+ The Young Living Kid Scents collection: Sleepyize, Owie (we use a lot of this lately!), Snifflease, Bite Buster, and TummyGize.
+ Copaiba: a must-have for the early years!
+ RC: a must-have for the winter months, this blend stands for "Respiratory Congestion."
+ Purification: a main ingredient in our repellent, we also use this for respiratory support in the winter, and for a DIY room spray (love it on the dog bed!). This is a great alternative to those wall plug-ins that are unfortunately laced with formaldehyde. Our diffuser is constantly running, and this oil is our go-to.

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Other Young Living products:
+ KidScents Tender Tush: amazing ointment infused with essential oils that is great for skin support.
+ Rose ointment: another great one for skin support, we use this for making diaper cream, after-sun cream, etc.
+ Thieves spray + Waterless Hand Purifier: for being out and about and for all the things that get dropped on dirty floors.
+ Bamboo Diffuser: we splurged a little and got a second diffuser to keep in E's room, and it was absolutely worth it! This diffuser has a one or four hour setting, so I love putting just a few drops of oil in it and turning it on during nap time or before bed. 

Other oil-related items:
+ Gentle Babies: my go-to reference for all things pregnancy, baby and child!
+ A cute travel case for taking oils in the diaper bag.
+ Paracord bracelets work great as diffusers for older kiddos!
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And lastly, a completely superfluous item but one that has come in handy so many times, a diffuser paci clip, especially for long car rides and traveling!


More information on essential oils here and here

In the Bag

I love having a peek into the lives of other people... what they keep in their fridge, what their pantry looks like, what they keep in their bags... those tiny details and nuances that make their world spin. Sometimes it's a camera or a pencil and paper. Sometimes it's a book or magazine or a favorite lip balm. I find it interesting to know what items people can and can't live without, what things they take with them wherever they go. So here's a peek into my life, the things currently residing in my day to day tote.

+ The standard things: a kelley green wallet, my iPhone, car key, weekly planner, sunnies.

+ As much as I love real books, I keep my Kindle loaded with some of my current favorites. (And the case for those interested)

+ My favorite vannila-mint lip balm + a turquoise hair tie.

+ A lovely turquoise moleskine journal from my husband + a pen for writing all the lists, ideas and dreams.

+ Oily info + oil samples for sharing with friends.

+ Thieves spray and waterless hand purifier for all the public things... shopping carts, gas stations, child seats, door handles, things that fall on dirty floors (which is everything with a toddler!). Also, DIY foaming hand soap to go so we don't have to use the terrible-smelling chemical-laden stuff in public restrooms.

+ Oils (naturally) + a gorgeous case gifted from a now dear-to-me-friend*:
- Stress away roller for braving the grocery store with a toddler. It's also my summer perfume because hello lime + vanilla.
- Sunshine roller blend because, hello happy. Another great summer perfume.
- Diluted peppermint for tension, digestive support, icy cool relief!
- Seasonal trio + Breathe again rollers
- Owie for little man 
- Lavender aka my swiss army knife for everything


*I am constantly amazed by the incredible friendships that I have built through this oils community and the ways that the Lord has blessed me through those relationships. There are so many strong, intelligent, inspiring women that I now call friends that I would never have met otherwise. This community is such a blessing in my life and one of the reasons I am so passionate about sharing oils and helping people start this journey. 

Life: Unfiltered / Long Weekend

My little family took advantage of the long weekend to spend some quality time together in the mountains, and it was so refreshing.  It was simple, unfiltered, uncurated, and full of so many great moments. We spend lazy days wandering around in the warm, green woods, splashing in the cold river water, reading and dozing on the porch swing, and exploring all the tiny rocks, sticks and leaves in our path.. E was in heaven. He walked around the front porch for an hour, was easily occupied with any and every little thing on the ground, and surprisingly, loved splashing in the cold river. He was so excited he decided not to nap, which left me slightly harried, but it was a good lesson in parental adaptation, and the afternoon wore on with only a slight change of plans, and added pre-dinner stroll and an early bedtime. 

Husband and I spent the evening and mornings reading, chatting, planning and dreaming. We made some decisions and put things in motion to truly be able to achieve our dream. It feels good. I'm excited and optimistic.

As much as I love this internet community, sometimes I need to just step away and be surrounded with just my people, my boys. I feel like lately there has been a lot of pain, a lot of heavy surrounding me, and my heart truly breaks when I see the pain and loss of another. I carry that weight too much sometimes, so this weekend was a gentle reminder of my purpose. To extend the sacrificial, unending love of Christ to my husband, my son, and everyone I encounter. My attempt will be imperfect, yet His love is perfect. It is all we ever truly need. 

I am so incredibly grateful for this beautiful family of mine. 

Saturday Dates + Water Bottles

This past Saturday husband and I went on a mini-adventure together, and it was just so fun. We woke up early and went to walk around and hike to the top of Stone Mountain, pushing ourselves to get in a mini-workout on the climb to the top. Then we sat and drank cold water and hot coffee and let the cool breeze blow in our faces and looked at the gorgeous landscape around and beneath us. There is just something about being on the top of the world that I just love. We talked and wandered and took pictures (me) and did hand stands (husband). Then we climbed back down the mountain and had a breakfast date.

It was so refreshing to spend some time alone with my man doing the things we really enjoy. I am learning as much as I adore spending time together as a family, it's easy to ignore the need for couple time, that this time that we have alone together is so vital to our relationship and well-being.  I tell you, I wouldn't want to share this life with anyone else. 

And to top it all off, my sweet man surprised me with what may seem like a trivial gift to a lot of people, but to me it was completely life-changing, a stainless steel insulated hydroflask. We both drink a ton of water and don't leave home without a 48oz water bottle in tow. And since I love having ice-cold water in the summer, I often tote around a dripping wet water bottle with half melted ice all summer long. But my thoughtful man used our dividend and a gift card to get us each one of the hydroflask bottles. LOVE. I had ice in my bottle all day Saturday, and even after sitting in the car for four hours, the ice hadn't melted! Life-Changing. Sometimes, it's the little things.

Friday Favorites / For MOM

I can hardly believe that Mother's Day is next weekend! Last year was an especially sweet year since it was my first year as a mama, and my husband and family made it such a special time. This year I am looking forward to spending the days surrounded by those I love - my husband and little, my sweet sister and her beautiful family, my grandma, father and of course, my very own mama. It's amazing to me to think how I would not be able to survive motherhood myself if it weren't for my mom. We never fully understand the hard work and sacrifice of parenthood until we experience it ourselves! So take some time to really pamper and thank the moms in your life. Their work is truly never done! Here are some of my favorite ideas:

+ Spa days: massages, manicures and pedicures, facials, the works!
+ A night out! Call up the babysitter and make dinner reservations, go out for brunch and perusing a farmer's market or antique store. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just make it about her and what she likes to do!
+ Personalized trinkets: a spoon with a sweet message for stirring her coffee or tea, a ring for each of her children 
+ Essential Oils! Seriously. I know so many moms who want to start taking better care of themselves (always putting themselves last!), and a kit would be such a great step in that direction. Added bonus is that it will benefit the whole family! Also, most moms need a little help de-stressing and unwinding at the end of the day, and there are some perfect oils for that in the starter kit (lavender, Joy, Stress Away)!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas out there!