While I have yet to photograph beautiful assortments of cookies for y’all this year….fear not!!

I have posted plenty of cookie recipes, can you tell that they are my weakness, so I decided to post a small compilation of some of my favorites for you all today.

I don’t always gift presents to all the teachers and helpers and amazing neighbors in our lives…but I do bake. And I have learned the key to anyones heart usually lies in their stomachs….at least I know mine does! So I just bake my little heart out and make the kids take the cookies to the neighbors…it teaches them to be kind and to give to others…and I only have to wave and say a few words from the distance…(raise your hand if you are an introverted extrovert….this girl!!!!!)

So here you have it…make some, make all, but be sure to share a few;)

Simply click the picture and it will take you right over to the recipe….

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These cookies are seriously decadent. They are sweet and nutty and delicious and they will win over any mans heart…promise;)

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Browned butter, coconut, chocolate chips, I mean I am pretty sure this cookie has every teensy piece of my love language wrapped up into it.

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While I doubt you would pass icecream cookies out to the neighbors…the recipe for the chocolate chip cookies is my go-to. This recipe calls for browned butter, which creates a chewy nutty and perfectly soft chocolate chip cookie. And save the icecream for when the kids go to sleep;)

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This may not be a cookie…but this candy is by far my most requested Christmas treat. Every year people make super strange noises as they bite into these delicious salty sweet pieces of heaven.

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And now we begin to get into my older photography…its kind of funny to see your pictures change over time. While I should probably re-photograph this recipe. These snickerdoodle cookies are divine. Moist, soft, fluffy, chewy, and perfect in every way.

Enjoy my friends. Indulge and treat yourself because we all know as soon as January hits we will be throwing out all the sugar and doing every cleanse imaginable.

So December has kind of gotten away from me.

Between moving, getting unpacked, a complete shift in our routine due to some answered prayer, and a whole lotta other life moments, this blog began to collect some dust, as it should when life gets in the way.

While I am still checking in a couple times a week its nothing like I would like it to be.

I have yet to do a home tour, or even a recipe, mainly because I don’t feel settled enough to show you around, and I still haven’t figured out the lighting in this house. But, I have decorated for Christmas, and I think this is my most favorite year of decorations yet.

I scaled back, kept things simple, and really quite natural. It’s funny how your taste and decorating sense develops and changes over the years. I still remember our first bathroom, red with black everything. And now I don’t even want to put a thing on the walls.

So, my Christmas decorations involve a whole lot of greenery some natural colors and a touch of glitter. Because really, what other time of year can you get away with glitter.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

-Buddy the Elf

If I had a quote for Christmas mine may be something about spreading glitter, oh yeah, and eating cookies, all the cookies.

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This is our first year ever having a fire place.

Needless to say the husband asked if there was even a mantle underneath all that stuff. Guys just don’t get it do they? But…..hashtag nice rack?!? Yea???

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Sometimes I laugh at my own jokes….

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Give to me all the glitter, specifically gold.

Please and thank you.

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I have seriously contemplated calling Christmas off and filling all of these stockings with coal. Mine included. But I am not sure these sweet little stocking holders could handle that much weight.

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I still so love our Christmas Tree.

The memories are amazing but I also love how simple it is. Kind of reminds me of a perfect combo of the tree from how the grinch stole christmas and charlie brown.

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Our tree is a nice combination of homemade ornaments and super special ones, like my hand blown glass ones that go all the way up at the tippy top so curious little hands can’t even think about touching them.

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Simple is key this year.

The simpler the better.

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And what it is all about anyways.

I love this Nativity set. If it was the only Christmas decor I had I would be happy.

Oh and that mini teeny tiny nativity, that is the saving grace of the big one. Little hands can set it up and take it down over and over again until they lose interest. Thank goodness.

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I love all the green scraps left behind from the christmas tree. I think that is the best part of having a real tree. Free decoration, that doesn’t need to be stored afterward.

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And there you have it.

A simple Christmas.

Not picturing all the piles of laundry and half full coffee mugs.

Have a blessed week my friends.

/He leaves us with Peace print via Naptime Diaries

/Let it Be.. and Better Person sign via Jaxn Blvd

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I’m continuing my series of unpacking the premium starter kit with y’all. Today we will unpack Purification.

Purification oil is a blend specific to Young Living, and it is amazing. When you smell it you immediately notice the citronella aroma, but purification is also made up of lemongrass,  rosemary, melaleuca, lavandin, and myrtle oils.

Because all of those oils have a purification property this is a very cleansing oil. Some of the main uses of this oil is to cleanse and purify the air, repel bugs, and help treat insect bites.

I first got my premium starter kit during the summer and my most favorite way to use purification was to make my own bug repellent. Now that the bugs are away I love to use it to deodorize rooms and for a natural deodorant.

Yea, I’m that crunchy now.

I knew it was just a matter of time, but once I continued to allow myself to read about the harmful effects of deodorant and then read about the benefits that come from using essential oils, I jumped right on board.

I will highlight a few of my favorite uses of purification oil, but as always if you have any favorites that I haven’t touched on, please leave a comment letting us all know.

  • Natural Bug Repellent:: I fill a small stainless steel spray bottle with purified water and add in about 10-15 drops purification oil. Simply mist over your body and clothes before heading outside. The nice thing about this bug repellent is that you can safely spray your face and children and not worry about all the added and harmful chemicals of other bug repellents.
  • Natural Trash Can or Diaper Pail Deodorizer:: On a cotton ball pour on 3-5 drops and place in bottom of trash can or diaper pail. When scent is no longer noticeable add a couple more drops to the cotton ball.
  • Purify Air:: To rid unwanted smells such as smoke, cooking aromas, or any other unpleasant smells diffuse purification for up to an hour three times a day.
  • Natural Deodorant:: I use a tiny amount of coconut oil to help with the stickiness under my armpits and apply one drop under each arm and stay fresh all day. Like really. I even exercise and am super surprised with how well this works.
  • Clean Washing Machine or Dishwasher:: Add 2-5 drops to your washer or dishwasher to help clean and disinfect the equipment.

There are so many other ways to use this amazing oil but these are my favorite. I think the thing with all essential oils is this, we are trained for the very perfumy smells of cleaning agents and even candles and air fresheners. With that being said, some of the oils may smell better to us than others, but I promise you this, once you eliminate all the artificial chemically made smells and replace them with the natural aroma of essential oils, you will no longer like the artificial smells. It may take a minute to appreciate the more earthy aromas but it will happen.

If you would like to get your hands on this oil, I always recommend the premium starter kit. You can follow this link to learn more about the benefits of the premium starter kit and find more information on how to order, or you can leave a message in the comments and I will get any and all information over to you. Come back next week as we continue to unpack the premium starter kit.

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We haven’t had a real Christmas tree in quite a few years. As a matter of fact we haven’t even had a fake one. We sort of went on a tree hiatus, but this year….well, my husband and I wanted to put a little more magic in the traditions. So we not only did a real tree…we went to cut down our own.

Yea, yea, yea….

In most states this is a totally normal thing…in fact in most states there are farms for this sort of thing. But in AZ we kind of lack in the Christmas tree weather department…so, you travel far and wide to reach elevations where this kind of thing can happen.

So the Saturday after Thanksgiving we did just that. We packed up sandwiches and snacks, bundled up (kind of) and drove a few hours north to find our tree.

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I think it took less time driving up to get the permit and more time driving to find the one.

If you know my husband even in the slightest then you know that he can’t have just the ordinary of anything. It has to be the best, and if it isn’t the best…he will make darn sure that it will be as close to the best as it can possibly be. I love him for this.

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We drove, and walked, and drove, and walked.

Until we finally settled upon a certain area that had to house our tree.

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The kids were so excited and followed closely behind Daddy. We finally found the one and cut it down. It’s crazy to me that I have boys big enough to help their Daddy perform tasks like this. It wasn’t long ago that my boys were running wild through the tree lots and tearing lights and decorations down.

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Now they are helping Daddy drag the tree, tie the tree, cut the tree, and set up the tree.

This growing thing is so weird.

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We had so much fun. And I can’t help but think this will be a new tradition. Sure, it’s much easier to just go to the tree lot and pick out the perfect tree. Drive ten minutes home and set it up. But the memories that were made, the moments that were had, the giggles, and laughter, and fights, and tears, those were all a part of the experience that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t driven three hours and walked two more.

I love moments. I live for them. And so many special ones were had this day.

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Every year at Thanksgiving I make all of us get together for one family picture. It’s kind of a tradition and you can see through the years the way our family has grown.

I love it.

And even though most years I cringe seeing myself in the picture….because most years the pictures are of me postpartum (curse of having four babes I suppose;)) I love seeing us all together. But, I am beginning to realize exactly how difficult it is to get a decent picture of all of us..

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yea…..and the best we got….

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From my family to yours, the happiest and merriest of holidays. And remember to jump in front of the camera every now and again, you and your kids will appreciate it years from now, I promise you that.

This past week while walking through the aisles of Target I began to pick and choose my kids holiday outfits.

Seriously, I always question my sanity when I do this. Mainly because I usually have all four kids with me and two of the four are too big to be strapped down in the cart, and the other two…well I can never seem to get the straps tight enough. But that’s a different story for another day..one that I think requires a glass of wine so I don’t break out into hives.

Back to the story at hand…so here I am kids running around like crazy laying different outfits on the floor right in the middle of Target.

Yes, I am okay…just planning outfits. What do you think? Yes! Blue leggings…I think so too.

The sweet sales lady quickly disappeared when she saw where this was going.

Finally after twenty or thirty minutes of grabbing every sweater I could find…I came up with their outfits. But I quickly realized said clothes would be stained and dirty quicker than I would eat every last one of my pumpkin cheesecakes..so I again got a wild hair and decided to do our family pictures right then.

We got home, changed, and drove to the park I had in mind.

And I…like the crazy lady I am took their pictures all by myself.

I couldn’t love them more…they turned out just how I wanted and I even got all four in one picture, which is beyond a miracle.

Mom of the year….now where’s my wine?

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frankincense

Frankincense.

I think this is an essential oil that we are all pretty familiar with. At least the name. Frankincense was one of the three oils presented to baby Jesus the night he was born. It is considered a holy oil, and plays key parts throughout history dating all the way back to King Tut, it was found in his tomb. 

This oil, when ordered on its own has a pretty hefty price tag, but if you order the premium starter kit you are lucky enough to have it included in the pack of the ten everyday oils.

Frankincense has quickly become one of my favorite oils. The smell is very earthy, sweet, and warm and I actually really love it, but I rarely diffuse it just because of all the other benefits of this oil and me treating it special because of that price tag.

The uses of this oil vary from healthy lung support to calming and centering to reducing fine lines and wrinkles to helping you feel more spiritually centered. It really is a powerful oil. I will highlight some of the ways I have personally loved using it.

  • Face Cream– I premix a nightly face and body cream in a mason jar and use it nightly and after I shower. Frankincense is known for reducing fine lines and wrinkles and preventing premature aging, it is actually used in Young Living’s line of age defying products, so I just make my own. I fill a mason jar with coconut oil and add in ten to twelve drops of frankincense and ten to twelve drops of lavender oil. That way I get the preventative benefits and the moisturizing and calming benefits of the two oils combined.
  • Healthy Lungs– I especially used this benefit over the weekend. My kids all seemed to come down with croup one after the other so I tapped into the healing property of this oil. I diffused frankincense (which I know I said I don’t like to because I savor this oil, but I really needed to) with peppermint oil, to help cut through the bronchial irritation. I also mixed a couple drops peppermint oil and a couple drops frankincense oil with some coconut oil and applied directly to her chest and throat.
  • Calming, Centering, and Uplifting– Simply smell frankincense directly from the bottle before you begin your meditation or quiet time and it will help you to become more spiritually centered and focused.
  • Immune System– Rub on bottoms of feet, along spine, and behind ears to help promote a healthy immune system.

There are so many other uses for frankincense oil but these seem to be my most used and favorite ways. If you are interested in ordering the starter kit, or any oils… I have added an essential oil page to help you along the way, but like always, leave your questions or emails in the comment section and I would be more than happy to help you out.

//Don’t forget about the Minted giveaway

love

I don’t usually take to this space and talk about controversial things. This place is a place of encouragement, a place for hope, and for love, and for honesty.

But today, I had to step away from any and all forms of social media. I had to rid myself of the hate and evil of this world.

I had to just make it go away.

I wasn’t promised this life would be easy. I don’t believe in a God that promises sunshine and rainbows. But I DO believe in a God that has overcome this world, a God that promises that one day life WOULD be easy and that evil and sickness and hate would be no longer.

But until that day, it is here.

Evil surrounds me and all I can do is pray that it breaks my heart, over and over again. Because the day that it doesn’t anymore, the day that I no longer hope for better, well that is the day that I become content with the way this world is. And friends, I don’t ever want that to happen.

This world is sad and evil and angry.

There is so much oppression, so much hatred, and so much evil.

Children shouldn’t have to die, and we shouldn’t have to worry about the intentions of those that are supposed to protect us.

But they do, and we have to.

Children shouldn’t know violence and there shouldn’t be rapists and murderers and shoplifters.

But they do, and there are.

Mothers shouldn’t have to worry if their babies will live a full and happy life, and police officers shouldn’t be shot at and attacked.

But they do, and they are.

Wives shouldn’t have to worry if their husbands will come home at night, and children should never be violent and hateful.

But they do, and they are.

Those of different races and religions shouldn’t ever feel oppressed and different, and there shouldn’t ever be widows and orphans.

But they do, and there are.

It’s easy to see the evil.

It’s easy to see the things that are wrong with the world, the ways that people fall short, and the mistakes that are made.

It’s harder to see the light, to see the love, and to see the change.

Maybe that is because there is less of it now? Maybe that is because in the world today everyone is so concerned with having their voice heard, their opinion made known...that they push aside the love.

What would the world look like if we all stopped talking and just started doing?

What if we all started to try and be the change, and the light, and the love?

Stop and think about that for a second.

What if when you wanted to share your opinion you just held your tongue and showed love and grace?

What a world that would be.

I can’t help but think that must be what heaven will be like.

Love.

Just love.

Oh what a glorious day that will be.

Friends, today there is enough hate in the world.

Be the love.

Be the light that shines in the dark.

Friends!

Can you even believe we are just weeks away from Christmas, already?!

I know we haven’t even enjoyed our turkey and pies yet but I wanted to share this awesome giveaway with you all, as my gift of thanks for each one of you!

Minted is offering one lucky reader $100 toward their holiday cards. The giveaway is easy to enter and there are many chances to win, so make sure to enter!

Minted cards are beautiful and such great quality you won’t be disappointed, promise.

Here are a few of my favorites, I cannot decide which I love most…

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Aren’t they great?

Make sure to head over and find your favorite! Good luck friends, and again, thank you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

thieves

I am continuing my series of unpacking the Young Living premium starter kit.

I started off just introducing you to essential oils, and last week we learned about lavender and today we are going to learn more about the essential oil Thieves.

Thieves oil is a blend of essential oils exclusive to Young Living.

I also think it is the most well known of the oil blends and definitely one of the most popular, with good reason.

Thieves oil is a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This blend makes for an amazing rich earthy aroma, and because each of those oils individually are known for their strong immunity boosting and antioxidant properties, together they make for an amazing oil to be used to support a healthy immune system.

There are so many uses of thieves but before we get started I want to make sure you take note of a few precautions. Because of the spicier oils that make up Thieves blend you want to make sure to always use a carrier oil when applying topically or taking internally. The only time that I don’t use a carrier oil is when I am using it on feet. I feel like feet aren’t super sensitive and can withstand the slight burning sensation that is felt when Thieves is applied directly. Another thing to keep in mind with Thieves is that when diffusing it is best to set the diffuser on the burst mode. You don’t want to continually diffuse Thieves like you do the other oils. So setting the diffuser on the burst mode allows it to be diffused appropriately. Simply press the on button twice and you’re good to go.

Now on to the ways to incorporate Thieves into your everyday life.

  • Apply to bottoms of feet when you begin to feel run down, or apply daily to bottoms of feet to support a healthy immune system during cold/flu season.
  • If you feel a sore throat coming on, dilute a drop of Thieves with a small amount of coconut oil and gargle for a few minutes.
  • Mix a drop of Thieves with coconut oil and swish in mouth for ten to fifteen minutes (known as oil pulling) for better oral health.
  • Add a drop of Thieves to your toothbrush and brush to help maintain healthy gums.
  • If you have a toothache apply a drop of Thieves to a Q tip and rub the gums of the tooth that hurts, it will help to numb the tooth.
  • Diffuse on burst mode to help purify the air and rid the environment of germs.
  • Inhale directly from bottle when feeling run down or tired.
  • Add a drop to your washer to help freshen the clothes.
  • For acne take internally in a vegetable capsule, diluted, and apply topically directly to face, diluted.
  • Apply diluted to upper chest if suffering from a respiratory infection.
  • Use to disinfect toys, counters, floors.
  • Add to hot tea to help support healthy immune system.
  • Apply topically for warts, and take internally in a vegetable capsule diluted.

The list could really go on and on. Anything that you need to rid germs off could essentially be on there. Thieves oil is gold during this season, and I am so excited to introduce it into our everyday.Especially because those of you who have followed along for some time may know, but my boys suffer from pretty severe asthma. Last year my second born was hospitalized in the ICU because of the flu, so you better believe we are using this daily.

If you have any favorite ways to use Thieves oil, please leave a comment and let me know:) I love the community of essential oil users because we all have one common goal in mind, a healthier life, naturally.

Please follow along my new IG account, I would love to connect with y’all.

If you want to get started or join my team please click here. And please if you have any questions, please leave your email or contact me. I can’t wait to help you get started!