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Isn’t it funny how we all make our lists of things we are never going to do.

I am never going to co-sleep.

I will never stay at home with my kids.

I will never breastfeed past one year.

I will never home school.

I will never use those essential oil things.

I will never ever sell those essential oil things.

Oh goodness gracious. It is so funny to me how we limit ourselves not realizing the gigantic blessings we could be swearing off.

I began using essential oils about 6 months ago now all because of my husbands level of stress with his business. I was to the point where I would do anything to help him. I ordered my starter kit on a whim and wasn’t expecting much.

Hopefully it won’t be a huge waste of money.

I shook my head time and time again as I watched the oils help.

Stress, yep.

Stomach flu, yeah.

Sleep, that too.

Over and over and over again.

I quickly realized how huge of a blessing these oils really were and wanted everyone to have what I had. So I jumped into the business side. I just couldn’t help myself. I loved the product, so I didn’t even feel like I was selling. I was just sharing something I loved with others wanting nothing more but for them to have that blessing too.

That’s what makes the business side of Young Living so beautiful. It is all about sharing with others. Building a community and relationships trying to better the quality of life of those around you. I say it over and over again. Oils aren’t the end all be all. They are a piece of the puzzle. My job is to help you put all the pieces together. Good sleep, healthy foods, exercise, water, and essential oils are all keys to an amazing and healthy lifestyle. God gave us all we need, we just need to utilize every piece.

If you are looking for a way to earn money while being at home, or have a passion in helping others, want to join a team that will cheer you on, mentor you, and bless you to pieces? Well I would love to have you. I really would. Pouring into others is exactly what God made me to do. So let me pour into you, so you can take it out and change others lives as well.

Email me and we will chat. And I wont be pushy or scary or intimidating, promise;)

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Yes.

I will let that sink in for just a second because….yes.

What a vessel that man is, yeah?

Believing our circumstances are more important than Gods command. I don’t even think one person can say that this isn’t them, that they haven’t chosen their circumstances over rejoicing.

Because really, we are human, with perfectly imperfect human nature and desires and ego’s.

Friends, my circumstances feel all consuming at times. It is easier to look at my life and cry and pity myself.

So much laundry, broken car, sick kids, allergies, cooking, cleaning, homework, this, that, and the other.

Wah Wah Wah is what is being heard up in the heavenly realm.

Can you imagine for just a second how ANNOYING that must be. I mean if I was God looking down on my people at all the beautiful and wonderful and perfect gifts I have given them and all I heard was wah wah wah I would probably have to try my darndest not to strike those whiners down with lightening. That whiner, me, right here, I would strike me down.

Life is hard, God didn’t promise it would be easy, he promised struggle, he said that we would have trouble but to rejoice and take heart because he has overcome the world.

This world, this perfectly imperfect, awful, horrible, sin ridden world.

So friends, in my trouble, in my heartache, in my struggles, and crappy situations, I am going to go against the grain today, and I am going to rejoice, I am going to look up to heaven and say yes God, this sucks, but praise you, praise your glorious and wonderful name because YOU are here, YOU are present, and God, You are good.

And when I get it wrong again tomorrow or even ten minutes from now, Lord have mercy on me, because that beautiful servant of yours, Francis Chan, he said it best…

“I find myself relearning this lesson often. Even though I glimpse Gods holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all.”

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 The humble blueberry muffin.

A fresh out of the oven blueberry muffin with a pad of butter melting over the top is seriously my most favorite thing ever, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t shared a recipe with you all.

I remember all the way back when I was younger making blueberry muffins out of the box, you know the one with the little teeny tiny dried blueberries. Well I remember the smell that would fill the whole house and the excitement I would have while I sat by the oven door waiting for them to be done baking.

Not much has changed.

I may or may not still wait by the oven door as these delicious muffins bake and fill my home with an amazing aroma.

I experimented a couple of times trying to find my favorite combination of flavors and I think I finally landed upon it. The sour cream lends a slight tang and keeps the muffins nice and moist. The coconut oil lends a subtle flavor that isn’t overpowering but instead delicate and enticing. The topping of the coarse sugar is exactly what’s needed to get the crunchy caramelized tops we all love. All of these ingredients make these muffins my perfect muffin, which as I have said before is the reason why baking/cooking is so fun, adapt recipes to your taste, and friends these flavors do not disappoint.

Make these for your next breakfast or brunch or if you’re anything like me, midday when you’re craving something warm right out of the oven, and enjoy.

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 Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 3/4 Cup Flour

2 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Sugar

1-2 Drops Lemon Essential Oil or grated lemon peel

1 Egg

3/4 Cup Sour Cream

1/3 Cup Coconut Oil softened

1/4 Cup Milk

1 Cup Frozen of Fresh Blueberries

1 Tablespoon Flour

1 Tablespoon Sugar

Coarse Sugar for topping

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Blueberry Muffins

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with muffin liners, set aside. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. After mixing dry ingredients make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients and lemon essential oil or peel. Carefully combine being sure not to over mix.

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In a separate bowl add blueberries. Coat with flour and sugar carefully. Gently fold blueberries into batter.

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Spoon batter into muffin muffins liners about 1/4 cup to each. Top with a generous sprinkle of coarse sugar on each muffin.

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 Place muffins into preheated oven and bake until tops are golden, approximately 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for just a few minutes and then remove muffins from baking tin. Enjoy muffins warm with a pad of butter.

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Recipe highly adapted from here.

 

**The suggestion of using essential oils in this recipe is only that, a suggestion. Essential oils have not been approved by the FDA. The only essential oils I would ever recommend ingesting are Young Living because they are beyond organic and back this up with their seed to seal promise. Please do not ingest essential oils if you are on any medication without consulting a physician.

Tiny fingers and toes patiently awaiting the red with sparkles.

she squeals, so pretty Mommy

Wisps of baby hairs blowing about as we dry it with the big girl brush.

she shouts, so pretty.

Pursing her lips as she sees the curls bounce upon her head.

she whispers, just right Mommy.

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Hopping down and skipping to her dress, she steps in while being ever so careful not to ruin her new sparkly nails.

she stares up at me, I’m so pretty.

She pulls on her shiny new shoes that were picked out especially for this day, inspects each nail to make sure nothing has been ruined.

I’m ready, she manages between excited laughter.

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I watch as she twirls and spins and twists in her dress as she awaits her date.

Daddy!!!!

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This night is one that needs to be filed away in the memory banks because my heart quite possibly exploded right out of my chest as I watched her run to him. He’s hers, and he’s special, and she’s his, and his love for her….

Oh, these are the moments.

I spent the late hours of the evening last night writing love notes. Something that I honestly haven’t done in a really long time. Each note started off with I love you because…

Can I just say that as I sat there last night, thinking of all the reasons for my love for him, that I began to get the same feelings that I had nine years ago.

Our marriage is the thing that takes the back seat a lot of the time. Between babies, and chores, and work, and life, my husband can always be tended to later.

But sitting down and intentionally writing those notes…it felt good.

I hid them around the house. Taping them to the mirror and coffee pot, hiding them in sock drawers and coffee cups. I felt like a giddy high school girl wondering what he would think when he found each one.

Would it make him smile and feel the same feelings he had when we decided to make that walk down the aisle?

I love surprises, I love this man, and I love love.

This love that we share isn’t new, its beginning to age. It’s showing the wrinkles and stretch marks that come with each passing year. But that’s what makes it good. Each wrinkle has memories and lessons learned and stories to share. Our love isn’t shiny and new because it has been through loss and excitement and tragedy and good and in each one of those we have laughed and cried and loved and smiled.

That’s what a love story really is, yeah?

All the wrinkles and stretch marks weaving through your life creating memories and stories. All the feelings that have been felt through the years and yet finding yourself still choosing love, still choosing him.

That’s the kind of love story I want my children to see. Not the perfect fairy tale one that ties up pretty with a bow. I want them to see the real, raw, and passionate love of two people choosing each other again and again even if they don’t want to. I want them to see a love that is wrinkled and stretched and perfectly worn in.

That is the love story I want to share.

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My love, you are everything to me. You hold me up when I can’t hold up myself. You are strong and steady and confident and honest. You are a good guy, one who cannot be shaken and will do anything for anyone. Your word is valuable to you and you love others hard.

You are the one who still makes my heart skip a beat when you walk in the room. You are serious but funny, strong yet soft, and I love the way you melt into the arms of our children.

Nine years hasn’t been easy, but they have been good and full. Full of more love than most people would ever know. I would never trade the day my nineteen year old self walked down to you and said I do, because you have grown me and stretched me and loved me in ways I never knew possible.

You my love are the best part of me and I thank you for these past nine years.

I love you and I love us and I love that we keep on choosing all of this over and over again every single day.

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 Allergies are kind of a funny thing when it comes to food and kids.

You don’t want them to feel like they are missing out too much when they are little because everyone around them can eat all the “kid” foods, but now, since we have done away with most processed food for so long, you also realize how much you don’t miss it at all as a parent.

Yes, things take a little bit longer to make, but pretty much everything that is homemade is better than the package.

Take these homemade chicken nuggets for instance.

They are so good, I even crave them at times.

And the kids?

They pretty much rave about them being better than every chicken nugget they have had.

And even better?

You can name every ingredient and know what it is.

I very quickly realize how the way I feed my family is oftentimes in the minority, but I wish more than anything that I can educate moms on how to healthfully nourish their family, in really simple ways.

I always feel so empowered knowing that I am teaching my kids good eating habits now, only to have them take off and run with them when they get older. Am I perfect at it? No. We still order pizza and frequent In-N-Out. But I try my hardest to get whole foods into their little bellies.

Make up a double size batch and freeze half before you cook them. Then, you can pull them out just as you would the premade frozen ones.

Its all baby steps, but its all really worth it,

Enjoy.

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 Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients

2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts cubed

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Pepper

1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1-2 Cups Flour

2-3 Eggs

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 Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Directions

Add seasoning to flour and mix to combine. Prepare your dredging station by having the flour first then bowl of eggs then plate of bread crumbs and Parmesan. Begin by dredging chicken in the flour, followed by dipping in the eggs, and then dredging in the bread crumbs. Do this for each piece of chicken and place on a prepared baking sheet, preferably with parchment paper, I find that they stick to the foil.

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  Continue this process until all pieces of chicken are breaded. You may need more eggs or flour but you should be good. Once done breading, allow the chicken to set up for a few minutes while the oven is preheating to 425 degrees. At this point you could wrap and freeze half the batch or go ahead and cook it all. You will cook the homemade chicken nuggets for approximately 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Allow to cool for a few minutes before enjoying alongside a salad or sweet potato fries. Be sure to whip up some homemade ranch dressing to pair with these, its delish.

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It’s been so fun jumping back into a regular presence on this space. I have loved getting my creative juices flowing and starting back up with my food photography, did you catch this recipe and this one? I think one cancels out the other, hopefully.

Currently I am enjoying that all my shows are back, I was slowly mourning the end of Parenthood, I feel like I am good and content with closing that chapter because the past two episodes have left me a little disappointed. I mean don’t get me wrong, I will forever love the show, but I feel like they could give us a little more, right!?

I am excited for a midweek date night with my main squeeze to see this movie. I love movies that are based on true events. I am one of those people who truly invest into characters, and having them be real people makes me do so even more. I think that it’s interesting though that we need movies to remind us of what these men and women do for us, and how they don’t just sacrifice the years that they serve, but rather their entire lives and those of their families.

Currently it is 70 degrees in Phoenix. I am in a tank top, cut offs, and barefoot. I am not saying this to rub it in for the rest of you who are freezing, but just reminding myself to appreciate this because come June I will be jealous of you all!!!

I am pretty excited to say that come next week I will have been married to my love for nine years. Nine. Y’all that seems like a big one. So much has happened in nine years. Two homes, a business, four kids, a dog, and lots and lots of ups and downs and in betweens. But man, has it been worth it. We always promised each other we would travel somewhere big for our ten year, and I am surprising him with a bank account designated for our trip. 

It’s going to be a great weekend friends, we are having the Superbowl here on Sunday, wait, who’s playing?! Ha! We are about the only family who doesn’t watch any professional sports. But there will be lots of activity and hustle and bustle. And not all of it good. Did you know that the week of the Superbowl shows the biggest increase of prostitution and sex trafficking? Arizona wasn’t buying it, and they have done a really good job at trying to raise awareness. Can y’all just do me a favor? Cover my city with your prayers because I know we will need it.

On a happy note, I think I will close out with this. Known as tips for Jesus. This group of people are blessing unsuspecting servers socks off.

Choose love my friends.

I talked a little bit last week about our need for community, how it takes more than a village  to raise babies in this busy world.

God created us to do life together. It is something that we thrive off of. I know that because after an entire day of being home I can almost attack my husband with conversation the second he walks in the door. Even the most introverted person needs their people.

But, as the world is shifting and changing sometimes that relationship is lost. We silence the phone and respond with a text. An email or Facebook message is enough to get the point across. We have become a society of people who prefer to look at a computer screen over a persons face.

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But, God knew what he was doing when he created this online world too.

He knew the good that could come from it. The community, the help, the blog post you could read and go yes, me too. But with the good comes the bad. The negative comments, the pornography, the bullying, the addiction so to speak to countless hours spent online.

I struggle with that last one.

Checking emails, instagram, google. Anything and everything. It got to the point where when I sat in church on Sunday and was challenged to think of the values my kids were learning from me I wondered what they thought of the phone. This good thing that God gave us to benefit and help us, became an idol. I was so embarrassed, I deleted instagram from my phone the second the service was over. I felt good, that was done it would help and I could change, but just as fast as I deleted it I found myself walking to the nursery to pick up my babe and habitually tapping through to open it up as I walked.

I felt the kick in my heart. I put the phone away and looked up, smiling at people as they walked past.

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I pretty much already knew the answer. I thought of the countless times the kids would come up to me talking to me and my face would be buried in the phone, not even looking up as I shushed them away. The hours spent sitting and scrolling through my phone as my husband who I rarely see sat just feet away from me. The taking, editing, captioning, and posting the perfect picture. The list could really go on and on.

I had to do something, change my values, fix this problem.

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So I did, and I am trying, but I can’t stand on this platform and say that I am getting any better. I still find myself downloading instagram during the day or late at night as I am sitting on the couch, scrolling through google to research more about homeschool or healthy recipes or anything at all,  but I see that something needs to change, and I try. I find ways to keep myself from being on my phone all of the time, I turn on music so its out of use, or put it in the other bedroom to keep it away until the kids are asleep.

Community, my people, my village.

I want them to see what I value most.

That first and foremost God is the one I worship, not a phone.

That my kids are important to me right now, right here.

God knew what he was doing when he created our community, both in real life and online, I just have to stop getting in the way, give myself grace when I mess up, and listen to him when he is nudging me in the right direction.

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I love cooking.

I could spend all day in the kitchen with my Taylor Swift station on Pandora and little people running around my feet.

It’s my happy place.

I grew up watching my Dad whip up fancy recipes but other than him a love for cooking wasn’t really in our family history.

I rarely walked into another home that smelt of pot roast that had been cooking all day, or eat a bowl full of warm fresh soup with homemade bread.

But to me, those things, like beans cooked from scratch and homemade bread being cooled on the counter top, those things are little pieces that bring together the entire experience. Things like slow cooked beans and homemade bread take you back to another time. A time where life slowed down enough to appreciate the energy that was spent on these tasks.

Slow.

It’s my word this year.

And so begins the time spent enjoying the process in the kitchen.

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Friends, cookbooks are a part of that slow culture. I don’t know how many of my recipes are stored on my computer or phone, but I love thumbing through a cookbook, marking the pages of recipes I wish to make. It’s just a part of the experience my friends.

This bread is one that has been marked in my homemade bread recipe book for the longest time. I made it on an evening that was particularly cold and served it alongside a warm bowl of stew.

The smells that will fill your home are worth making this bread alone. So friends, take the time, slow down, and enjoy.

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Italian Herb Bread

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3-5 Cloves Garlic minced

2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning

3/4 Cup Water warm

1/3 Cup Milk warm

1 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar

1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

3 Cups Bread Flour

2 Packets Yeast

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Italian Herb Bread

Directions

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, seasoning, and salt. Cook until fragrant. I use a bread machine to do the work for me, so if you are using one, add all ingredients to machine and choose the dough setting. Bread machines take the guess work out of kneading and rising, but I do love baking the bread in my oven.

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If you are not using a bread machine add the liquid and yeast to your mixer and wait for the yeast to activate. Once bubbling add dry ingredients and olive oil mix to the mixer and knead with dough hook attachment until just combined. Allow to rise and then knead by hand on a well floured surface. Place dough in a prepared pan and cover with a warmed towel. Allow to rise for another twenty minutes or so before baking. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 25 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container preferably in your refrigerator because of the lack of preservatives.

This is a crusty but soft bread and is perfect alongside soup or in a sandwich.

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My sweet wild one turns four on Valentines Day.

Oh my aching heart, four.

It’s the same thing every year but I just don’t know how we got here.

She is all sass and is all about her birthday this year.

We often have talks about her party, her request of course.

They go a little like this….

Mom no boys are allowed. Only girls. But little boys can come and that’s okay. You can come too mom but you have to wear a tutu. We are all wearing tutu’s. Only girls though because boys run and are loud. And we are having a tea party.

We have those talks approximately fifteen times a day. She’s her mothers daughter, what can I say?

I have had so much fun with her every year because he birthday is on Valentines Day, and she is my only girl, so bring on all the pink and all the glitter.

Well like she has stated over and over, we are having a girls only tea party, I have grand ideas and we are on the hunt for the perfect tea set.

For the food I was thinking teeny tiny sandwiches, these scones, some fruit, of course the most perfectly pink birthday cake, and other small snacks.

For drinks we will have real tea, with milk and sugar of course, strawberry lemonade, and some infused water with citrus fresh essential oil.

Now to the decor, which is probably my favorite part.

Minted has an amazing amount of Valentines Day party decor. Which is absolutely perfect.

They have packages where you can either pick or choose and create your own, or packages that are already put together for you like this one.

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I love that you can personalize it and I love the simplicity of it.

I always try and make those treat and sip signs myself and well, my handwriting isn’t particularly pretty so you can only imagine.

I also love this garland.

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I seem to collect garlands over the years and it goes perfectly with a few that I use every year.

I will probably also make coffee filter pom poms like I did last year because they were so simple and so cute.

And of course…since you have so many girls, I will have to get these crowns.

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They are so simple and so so cute!

I’m sure I will be scouring Pinterest looking for more ideas, so follow along if you would like.

And if you want to check out wild ones birthday from last year you can here, but don’t judge my hair. Such a bad decision.

Happy Monday my friends!