Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: a year at a glance

Time flies when you're having fun! Honestly, I think it just flies no matter what. I can't believe 2015 is just a few days away. What a year 2014 has been! As I transfer birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and appointments to my 2015 planner, I have enjoyed looking back at the past year. *Also, this is my second year using Emily Ley's Simplified Planner & I love it! You should check them out!* This is just one of the many reasons I like keeping an agenda-- not only does it keep me organized for the future, it provides a great way to reflect on where we have been. Here's a glance back at 2014:

-first day of work in my first position as a dietitian
-we traveled to Texas with Dustin's work

-lots of Illinois wintery weather meant using 4wheel drive & the fireplace often
-lots of learning & growing in my new role as a dietitian

-March was full of madness & we enjoyed cheering on the CATS

-we had fun doing some updates around the house with the help of our family
-Dustin & I were baptized together, a moment I'll treasure forever
-we started our first garden

-I was diagnosed with a tick-borne illness, thankfully my coworkers encouraged me to see a doctor
-we traveled to celebrate two beautiful weddings of loved ones in California & in Tennessee

-we cheered for the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium a couple of times
-we received an opportunity to move from Illinois back home to KY
-many meals were enjoyed with produce from our garden

-we celebrated our 2nd anniversary
-we learned that we were expecting a baby
-I celebrated my 25th birthday

-we shared the news of our little one coming with our family
-we traveled to Florida for a work trip
-we celebrated another sister-friend's wedding in KY
-we put our house up for sale

-we shared the exciting news of Baby C with everyone
-we went to St. Louis for a fun concert & time with friends
-I started working as needed at a hospital back home in KY

-we finalized the sale of our home in IL & moved in with some hospitable friends in KY
-we found out Baby C is a GIRL
-we celebrated Dustin's 28th birthday

-Dustin went on a hunting trip
-I attended a week long course to become a certified lactation counselor
-we counted our blessings & ate tons of dressing with family & friends for Thanksgiving

-I received my letter stating I passed my CLC exam
-Dustin hunted anything that flies
-our puppy sisters, Callie & Chloe, turned 1
-we played Dirty Santa, drank lots of hot chocolate, & celebrated the birth of our Savior with family & friends

By no means is this an complete list of the highlights of the year. It would be an even longer post to try to include all of the laughter shared, tears shed, prayers lifted, & memories made. This year has been more than we could ever ask or imagine, which is exactly how our God works according to Ephesians 3:20. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness & provision. I am always amazed by & thankful for your mercy, grace, & love.

Looking ahead to 2015: we cannot wait to find a home to call our own, welcome our baby girl into the world, & continue to seek Christ & share His love.

Have a very Happy New Year, y'all!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 
{Ephesians 3:20-21}

Sunday, December 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: a few of my favorite things

7 on the 7th is a monthly post in which I share seven of my favorites with you. I always love when others share their favorites & I hope you do too! I chose the number seven and the 7th of each month because of the love I developed for that number once we set our wedding date, 07.07.12. I love that we continue to stumble across special meanings to or connections with the number seven. Some months I try to have a theme while other months I share a random compilation of sorts. This month I'm going smorgasbord style...

1. revlon colorstay gel envy nail enamel
I am a huge fan of getting a manicure and pedicure. Dustin (aka the Budget Police) is not which means mostly DIY manicures for me! Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy polish lasted a good week before noticeably chipping. I went with "Hold 'Em" which is a deep purple, and love it! They have several other colors I would like to try. Walgreens happened to have a coupon for $3 off two bottles so I snagged the Diamond Top Coat while I was there. I have been really pleased with the durability of the polish and love the rich color!

2. sparkly green earrings by melanie shankle
These next two favorites could easily be their own post but I wanted to include them as favorites instead. Sparkly Green Earrings, a memoir of motherhood tales, is so encouraging and uplifting. Melanie Shankle is the author of Big Mama blog, which is nice for a daily dose of her humor. I debated holding off on reading Sparkly Green Earrings until after our little girl arrives but I just couldn't wait. I am glad I didn't. I loved this book. Few people can combine sentiment, scripture, and sarcasm in such a beautiful, hilarious way.

3. the antelope in the living room by melanie shankle
This book is to marriage, what Sparkly Green Earrings is to motherhood. Hilarious, genuine, and honest. I laughed until I literally cried, which really doesn't take much for a pregnant woman, but Big Mama is seriously funny. She has the ability to share her experiences of motherhood and marriage in a way that leaves you feeling inspired without being intimidated. Both books are such easy reads. I can't wait for her next book about friendship to be released next year!

4. bacon wrapped dates
When I read Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist last year, I shared a couple of the recipes I loved from the book here on the blog. One that has been on my list to try is her Bacon Wrapped Dates. This year for Thanksgiving we finally did it! They are delicious! The perfect blend of salty and sweet. The recipe couldn't be easier, which makes it even better.
8oz package of dates
4oz goat cheese
12-14 strips of bacon
Slice the dates in half from top to bottom. Also cut the strips of bacon in half. Spoon some of the goat cheese into the dates. Wrap in bacon. Bake for 25 minutes at 400. Enjoy warm or room temperature. 

5. advent readings
I so love this special time of year. Last year I followed along with Ann Voskamp's Advent book, The Greatest Gift. This year I was excited when she released a new family Advent devotional and ordered while it was on sale. Even though I can't wait for our baby girl to be in our arms as we study and read about Jesus' birth, I am really enjoying this tradition we are starting now. I love love love Advent! 

6. trader joe's cookie butter cups
What's not to love about cookie butter and dark chocolate!? These delectable treats pair so well with a cup of coffee. I enjoy indulging in a sweet morsel every now and then. If you do too, make your way to the nearest Trader Joe's. 

7. gift bags
I love pretty wrapping paper & beautiful homemade bows, however, my gift wrapping is not my gift. Which makes a cute gift bag my BFF. Plus, I love the functionality of a gift bag. You can easily carry your gift home. Another perk: they're reusable, so basically a gift that keeps on giving. Of course, you have to watch for when the corners are crumpled and the handles are falling off. At that point, it's time to part ways. I picked up a few darling polka dotted bags at TJMaxx & love finding pretty tissue papers to spruce up more simple bags.

What are you loving right now? Do we share any favorites? 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

life of a hunter's wife

rifles & carharts, cabelas & camo,
waders & antlers, duck calls & ammo,
a day's limit of waterfowl tied up with string,
these are a few of my husband's favorite things

the first time dustin took me hunting was while we were dating. i may or may not have shown up to his parent's house bright & early, fresh from the shower. his response was "what is that smell!? are you wearing perfume!?" well duh. what girlfriend doesn't want to smell good for their boyfriend!? how was i supposed to know that you should either be odorless or smell like deer urine while hunting?! nevertheless, we trekked over to the deer stand & proceeded to wait for a few hours with no luck. apparently deer don't find vanilla body lotion an attractive or natural scent. i also have yet to receive another invitation to go hunting.

i've always admired my husband's love for the outdoors, despite the hard time i give him for leaving me early in the morning. i may not fully grasp the thrill of waking before dawn to spend hours outside in the cold and sometimes wet conditions but i appreciate the fact that he, along with many others in our neck of the woods, do. i've learned that the hunting seasons go quickly so it's important for him to take advantage of the time, even if it means him being gone for days. what i haven't convinced him of yet is that i need to plan a spa getaway with the girls that coincides with his week long hunting excursions. he can hunt for the perfect buck or duck; i will hunt for the perfect nail color.

since dating & marrying dustin i have definitely expanded my palate & culinary abilities. growing up my meme prepared fried venison occasionally but only a handful of times that i recall. my mom could easily be a vegetarian & the thought of bambi or daisy duck being on her plate could bring her to tears. she struggles with beef & chicken too! i, on the other hand, need my meat sources of protein, which has now expanded to include deer, duck, and the occasional quail/pheasant/dove. deer stew, deer chili, & deer meatloaf have all been somewhat mastered. ground deer meat is pretty versatile and can be used for just about any recipe calling for ground beef. duck is still in the works. our favorite ways to prepare it: wrapped in bacon & covered in brown sugar or stuffed with cream cheese & jalepenos. seriously, what wouldn't be enjoyable with those ingredients?! i'm hoping to branch out a bit, though. his uncle makes a delicious duck stew & while in san antonio this past january we had some wonderful duck gumbo. i've learned that brining & marinading are absolutely essential. one time i skipped that step when attempting to prepare pheasant, or maybe it was quail. it was so bad, the dogs wouldn't even touch it.

being a hunter's wife is pretty awesome. if a situation ever arose where we had to fend for ourselves, i'm confident & glad he could do it. while i don't deck out in camo on a regular basis (ok ever), i do keep a pair of his hunting gloves in my coat for those super cold mornings. sure i miss him during the long hunts, but i think there's some truth to that old saying: absence makes the heart grow fonder. i also think it's important for both spouses to have their own hobbies & interests. last, but certainly not least, it's nice that he puts food on the table, both figuratively & literally.

are you married to a hunter? or maybe you are a huntress yourself! what are your favorite aspects of this role? any favorite recipes?

Friday, November 28, 2014

taking stock

this time of year, it is easy to rush around from house to house, project to project, event to event, holiday to holiday. it's nice to slow down and take stock of the here and now. ashley who blogs over at the vanilla tulip had a "taking stock" post a few weeks ago. i loved the format and idea. here's mine.

making :: lists of nursery ideas and dreams.

cooking :: delicious warmed leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast (not really cooking but close).

drinking :: decaf coffee with a splash of cream.

reading :: sweet children's books to our baby girl. so looking forward to holding her in my arms. 

wanting :: opinions on e-readers/tablets. yay or nay?

looking :: for baby girl bedding.

playing :: with sweet puppies. our callie and chloe sure do love our friends' pup, rupp.

wishing :: best of luck to my hunter and all hunters enjoying the waterfowl opening weekend.

enjoying :: a restful day after a busy past few weeks.

liking :: the fact that there will be a new cinderella coming to theaters next march! ok really loving.

wondering :: who baby girl will look like.

loving :: this time of year-- the weather, holidays, flavors, colors, scents, you name it. 

hoping :: for some plans to become reality soon.

marveling :: at the thought of brave black friday shoppers. may the odds be in your favor. 

needing :: to recognize that i don't actually NEED all the books in the world, but it feels like it.

smelling :: christmas spirit essential oil diffusing. 

wearing ::  cozy, comfy pjs.

noticing :: the little things in life are such sweet reminders of God's love.

knowing :: the Lord's works are wonderful {psalm 139:14}.

thinking :: about the upcoming advent season.

opening :: scripture more often through the day.

giggling :: everyday thanks to my hilarious husband.

feeling :: blessed&thankful.

Friday, November 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: pregnancy favorites

Yesterday marked the halfway point! 20 weeks! I cannot believe we are 20 weeks away from meeting out baby girl! This month I am resuming my 7 on the 7th posts by sharing my 7 favorites during this pregnancy so far.

1. Waiting in Wonder devotional journal: My mom gave me this sweet book for me to document my pregnancy. I love the scripture that fills each reading and the space for writing prayers and things to remember.

2. Bubbies Pickles: So cliche, right?! In all seriousness, I haven't really craved any certain foods. I just enjoy them all more than usual. Which for a food lover like myself, is a lot. Hands down, these are my favorite store bought pickles ever. The flavor is superb. I also love the health benefits of these particular pickles. The Bubbies brand uses lactic acid fermentation to make their pickles and sauerkraut. Fermented foods, such as certain sauerkraut, pickles, and kefir, contain probiotics which promote healthy gut function. Great taste + health benefits = a win win. You can find them at most health food stores or co-ops.

3. Maternity Clothes: A couple weeks ago I transitioned from regular to maternity clothes. I had been squeezing into making do with my clothes for as long as I could. I'd used the Belly Band only to have it roll down my hips and look awkward. I'd tried the pony tail holder trick only to have a it fly off my pants at random times. Both of these tricks worked at first, but as the sweet lady helping me in Motherhood Maternity said, "If you're having to "make do" with your regular clothes, it's time to invest in maternity clothes!" Such truth! For a girl who always searches for longer shirts to cover my long torso, I am so pleased with the fact that I can wear shirts that are long enough to cover my growing belly. The lovely world of maternity pants and clothes is magical and oh so comfortable.

4. Body Butter: While at Motherhood Maternity, I received a promotion of a free skin care item. I selected the Lavender & Vanilla Body Boost Butter. Not only do I love the soft scent, I love the way it makes my skin feel. As your skin expands and stretches, it itches. I've found using this body butter along with coconut oil has helped the best.

5. The Bump App: Baby Girl is about the size of a banana right now according to the Bump App I keep up with on my phone. I love the little insights the app provides regarding the growth and development at each week. I also love how they equate her size to produce. It's like they know my love language is food.

6. Peppermint Essential Oil: I am thankful to say morning sickness has only affected me a handful of times. I have noticed a tendency to get motion sickness in the car. The few times I have experienced it, peppermint essential oil is my go-to. Just inhaling the minty goodness alleviates my nausea. It is also a great pick-me-up when I am feeling tired. Naps are also great for that too!

7. Psalm 149: This chapter has always been one that comforts me. Now it is even more special. Especially verses 13-18. How I pray our sweet girl knows she is fearfully and wonderfully made and thought about more than she can imagine by our Creator.

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, 
and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, 
When as yet there was not one of them. 
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! 
How vast the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. 
When I awake, I am still with You.

The past 20 weeks have been wonderful. I so look forward to the next 20 and meeting our baby girl!

Do you have any pregnancy favorites? I'd love to hear them! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

what's new

Hey friends! Care to join me for a cup of something cozy as I attempt to share what's new in our lives? I'm still here! Promise. It's been over two months since my last blog post. While this little hiatus from blogging was not really planned, I have to say it has been good for me. To be quite honest, it is so easy for me to get caught up in the mindset of thinking I need to blog a certain number of times a week/month/etc or that I need to post certain topics however often. When I joined the blogworld I wanted to avoid that mentality. This break was a great reminder. I am continuing to learn to avoid unnecessary, and often unrealistic, expectations for myself and others. I have had to put blogging on the back burner the past few months but I am hoping to resume now that things are somewhat falling into a routine again. That said, to those who are pros at regularly posting on their blogs-- way to go! You encourage so many, including me.

So what's new? Well A LOT! 

First, we sold our home and moved from Illinois back to Kentucky for my husband's job. To say we were excited to get back home closer to our family and friends is an understatement. However, leaving our newly made friends, coworkers, church, and first home we purchased together was so bittersweet. We will forever be grateful for our time in Illinois. I have no doubt God brought us there to grow closer to Him, each other, and the people He placed in our lives for that season. To our Illinois friends, thank you for opening your homes and hearts to us. We miss you and are so glad you are not too far away! 

We are currently residing in our dear friends' basement as we look for a home here in Kentucky. They are so generous by allowing us to stay with them. Not only are we thoroughly enjoying our time with them, our puppies are loving their little pooch too! 

We both have started new positions in work-- Dustin has a new territory in his job and I was able to begin working as needed at the hospital where I completed my dietetic internship. We are so thankful for both opportunities! 

Last, but certainly not least, our family of two is growing to three! We found out in July that we are expecting our first baby! Just this week we learned we are having a sweet baby girl! We are beyond thankful and thrilled for her to join our family next March. Poor Dustin will continue to be outnumbered with a wife, daughter, and two female pups for now! I have no doubt he will be just fine and an amazing daddy to our little girl. 

That about sums up the major life events in the past few months! It has been a little overwhelming at times, but I am so thankful for the lessons God continues to teach me-- to trust His plans, His timing, and His faithfulness. I joined a Bible study at church this week and it could not be more perfect for this season in our lives. It is Beth Moore's latest study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians. In the opening video she reminded me of such truth-- we are not here in this world to stay the same. For a girl who loves routine, order, and familiarity-- oh how my heart needed to hear that this week! However, can I also say how thankful I am for freedom and grace through renewal as well? I don't want to be the same person I was five or ten years ago and I pray five or ten years from now I am continuing to become more Christlike. I am so grateful for the transformation God gives us through His son Jesus Christ. I look forward to what else God will reveal to me through this study and during this special time in our lives. 

I hope y'all are doing well! What's new in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: road trip essentials

Who doesn't love a road trip or vacation? Today Dustin & I are returning from a trip to Florida. Technically, it was a work trip for him but we had such a fun, relaxing time. There's nothing better than the sun, sand, and salty air at the beach! For this month's 7 on the 7th I am sharing my road trip essentials!

1. A roomy bag
Whether your flying or driving, a nice large bag is great for storing your must-haves & souvenirs. I snagged this lovely while we were in California in May for my brother's wedding. I thought I was saving space by not taking a carry on & ended up making our checked bag over the weight limit! Yikes. Once we landed in Cali I was on a mission to find a nice large bag to carry home. I fell in love with this LL Bean lookalike and the fact the shop would monogram same day! Y'all know how I feel about monograms! This bag is the perfect weekender, carry on, or road trip bag!

2. Snacks
As much as I love stopping on the side of the road at little mom & pop shops or scoping out the route for a Chick-Fil-A, sometimes the goal is to reach the destination as quickly as possible. In those cases, easy snacks are must haves. I like keeping fresh fruit and nuts on hand for healthy snacks. The combination of carbohydrate with healthy fat and protein makes this dietitian happy.

3. Water
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Water is my go to for hydration. Bypass the sugar laden beverages and be sure to drink some good ol' H2O.  I love this glass bottle I picked up at Target because I can add my essential oils to switch up the flavor. Lemon or Citrus Fresh are my favorites to add.

4. Essential Oils
Speaking of  EO, I don't leave our home without them. I take my collection with me. Lavender to diffuse at night and also use to calm sunburned skin. Lemon to add to my water. Peppermint for car sickness or headaches. Thieves in case we start to feel ill. I also packed my diffuser since it is pretty compact & I like making a hotel or condo smell nicer.

5. Games
I can't remember a family trip or get together that does not include playing some sort of game. Someone always has a deck of cards, Phase 10 cards, or a board game. As kids we played the Alphabet Game on road trips. Don't you remember how difficult it was when you got to X?!

6. A hat
Whether you have had too much sun or want to go another day without washing your hair, hats are essential for road trips. Plus it's always nice to support your favorites.

7. Reading Material
No trip is complete without some reading material for the car/plane/pool/beach. I saved my copy of SL until we left for Florida. Confession: I also enjoy walking through the airport or on the beach and seeing what everyone else is reading.

What are your road trip essentials?

Monday, July 28, 2014

an essential oils giveaway

I'm hosting my first giveaway-- a sample pack of 5 essential oils! You can read some of my other posts about essential oils here and here. I have experienced their benefits and I love to share them with others! Some say essential oils are just a fad, but when you are utilizing the healing properties of plants which have been around since creation, I have to disagree such a statement. I'm glad to see that more people are investing in their health in natural ways. I am a Young Living essential oils member. I value their focus on quality from seed to seal. If you're interested in learning more about the oils and trying a few for free be sure to enter the giveaway!

Sample Pack of Young Living Essential Oils: 

add to water for a refreshing drink
diffuse for a bright, fresh aroma
use to make homemade cleaning products

apply to the bottoms of feet for restful sleep
diffuse for a calming environment
apply to blemishes, cuts, and scrapes as an antiseptic 

apply to neck/temples to alleviate a headache
diffuse with lemon + lavender to alleviate allergies
add to warm water for a stimulating tea

Peace & Calming:
diffuse for a relaxing environment
apply to the bottoms of feet for restful sleep

diffuse to reduce airborne bacteria
apply to the bottoms of feet for an immune booster
use to make homemade cleaning products

To enter: Comment below or on any social media post linking to this blog post with the oil you are most excited to try! I will select one winner on Thursday, July 31st to receive the 5 samples. Each sample packet is 0.25ml and contains 6-8 drops of oil. Most applications only need 1-2 drops so you can get up to 3-4 uses out of each packet.

If you're interested in ordering any oils, I would love to offer you my wholesale prices. If you have questions, please feel free to ask in the comments or email me for more information.

Good luck! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

mustard glazed salmon

Today I am guest posting over at my friend Jenni's blog. I'm sharing a delicious, simple recipe for Mustard Glazed Salmon. I love simple suppers during the week so I can spend time after work with my husband and our puppies! Click here for the full recipe on Frankly My Dear blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

recipes found in the attic

I've expressed my love for Instagram before. I just love the combination of a pretty photo and a catchy caption. I love following my family and friends, as well as "meeting" new people.

I stumbled across Rachel Reeves of Attic 17, a lover of all things vintage. She created a fun project where she would send (via snail mail, which makes it even better) old, classic recipe cards to those who signed up to participate. The challenge is to re-create the vintage recipe with the liberty to put a modern twist on it. Everyone shares their creations on Cooking Day. You can find all three editions and the participants by searching for the hashtag Rachel coined "#recipesfoundintheattic" on IG.

I had the pleasure of participating in Rachel's third, and the first savory, edition of #recipesfoundintheattic this last week. It was so much fun receiving my recipe card in the mail and gathering the ingredients to prepare Dorothy's Zucchini Casserole. I was especially excited to use zucchini from our garden and to wear my apron that just happened to perfectly match Dorothy's recipe card!

On "Cooking Day" last week I made her recipe my own. She used the microwave for all of the cooking, but I prefer to use the stovetop and oven. She used bread crumbs with her bacon, I just used bacon. I also added some garlic and onion powder for extra flavor. I enjoyed the fact that there was not a can of "cream of something" soup in the ingredients list! Here is my adapted recipe for Dorothy's Zucchini Casserole.

4 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
salt & pepper
4 slices cooked and crumbled bacon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté the sliced zucchini until soft or about 15 minutes. While the zucchini is cooking, mix the egg, sour cream, flour, seasonings, and cheese to form the sauce. Once zucchini is tender, combine with the cheese mixture and pour into a greased 8x8 casserole dish. Top with crumbled bacon and extra shredded cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes until golden and bubbly. 

I loved this dish and will be making it again for sure! What's not to love about zucchini, cheese, and bacon!? You could definitely use whatever cheese you prefer and I just know yellow squash would also be tasty. 

Definitely check out Rachel's Instagram for the next installment of #recipesfoundintheattic. I loved participating and look forward to future rounds! Thank you Rachel! It was so neat to slow down and think about a woman years ago making the same (for the most part) recipe for her loved ones. To sort of time-travel back to when life was a bit more simple but just as meaningful. As Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, 

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

sunshine award.

Julie over at Homegrown State of Mind nominated me for the Sunshine Award a few weeks ago. Because things have been pretty eventful in our household, I am just now getting around to posting. We found out recently that Dustin was approved for a transfer within his company which will allow us to move back to Kentucky near our family and friends! We are so excited for this opportunity but will so miss the friends we have made here in Illinois. Since finding out we have been working on getting our home ready to sell, looking at houses for sell back home, packing a little, and watching tons of HGTV. But back to the Sunshine Award... I really enjoy learning random facts about people so I think these awards are so fun! Thank you Julie for nominating me!

Rules of the Sunshine Award:
- Post 11 random facts about yourself.
- Answer 11 questions from the blogger that nominated you. 
- Nominate 11 bloggers to receive the award.
- Write 11 questions for those bloggers to answer.
- Notify the 11 bloggers that they have been nominated.

11 random facts about me
{1} I have every episode of HGTV's Fixer Upper on our DVR. I absolutely love the show. 
{2} I have a soft spot for farm animals. Primarily pigs, but I would also love to have a cow, goat, and chickens.
{3} Anytime I can use an alliteration, I'm thrilled. 
{4} I am a Young Living Essential Oils member. I'd love to help you get started with them!
{5} While I totally appreciate and enjoy crafting, I am really not that good at it.
{6} Fresh flowers are my favorite. So happy to see my zinnias growing!
{7} I love making lists.
{8} There are very few foods that I don't like, celery being the least enjoyed.
{9} Old books make me happy.
{10} I will be 25 this month! Weird.
{11} I enjoy learning new words. 

Julie's questions for me:
What's your favorite childhood memory?
I'd have to say anytime I was in the kitchen with my Meme. She is the one who introduced me to cooking and encouraged my love of food. She was never put off by me making a mess, slowing her down, or eating our culinary creations before they were finished. 

What's you favorite band?
Currently, NEEDTOBREATHE and Hillsong United are my favorite Pandora stations. 

What's your favorite dish to cook?
I can't choose just one!? Probably roasted vegetables. Of any kind. They are just delicious. And so simple. And so good for you.

Mac or PC?
I had only used a PC until I met Dustin. Now I use his Mac all the time. So Mac. 

What's your favorite nail polish color?
OPI Bubble Bath

Do you workout/run/exercise? If so, what do you do regularly?
Honestly, no. Insert embarrassed emoji. I know how important it is to be physically active, I just don't make it a priority as I should. My favorite is a good spin class-- although I'm not sure it can be as fun without my BFF, Gracey. We developed a love for cycling our senior year of college. Two years later, we still text each other good "spin songs." 

Do you have fur-babies (pets)?
YES! Love love love our  sweet puppy sisters, Callie and Chloe.

Have you ever been fishing? Did you enjoy it?
I grew up fishing at my grandparent's pond. My first fishing pole was a blue Snoopy pole. I loved fishing then, and love it now. 

What motivates you to blog consistently?
Such a great question. While at times I wish I blogged more often, I enjoy posting randomly. I guess I could say I am consistent in my 7 on the 7th posts! I do want my readers to enjoy my blog and get to know me better, but I also don't want to put pressure on myself to post a certain number of times in a week/month/etc. 

What's your favorite guilty pleasure? Shopping? Chocolate?
Manicures. No matter how much I take my time, I can never do them as well myself. 

What's your favorite social media platform? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, other?
Instagram, hands down. I so love a pretty picture and catchy caption (and alliterations, remember!?).

My Sunshine Award Nominees:
McKinzey @ Whisk & Thread
Michelle @ Becoming Michelle

My questions:
{1}  Which meal of the day is your favorite?
{2} What's your favorite social media platform? FB, IG, Twitter, other?
{3} What's your favorite season?
{4} What's your favorite part about blogging?
{5} What verse or quote are you clinging to right now?
{6} What's the most recent book you've read?
{7} Do you have a favorite TV show? If so, what is it?
{8} Do you DIY or buy?
{9} What song do you currently have on repeat?
{10} Where has been your favorite trip/vacation so far?
{11} What is your favorite family tradition? 

Thanks again for nominating me, Julie! I had so much fun!
To my Sunshine Award Nominees, I can't wait to hear your responses!

Monday, July 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: two year anniversary edition

Two years ago today, I said "I do" to the one my soul loves.

For this very special edition of 7 on the 7th, I am sharing 7 of my favorite images from our wedding.  I love looking back through our photos and remembering our day. I love that like almost every event and moment in our life, it was very much a group effort. Family and friends worked together to create the wedding of our dreams. Our photographer, Tonda Thomas, captured SO many special moments. Friends and family also took some great shots. Selecting only seven favorites is nearly impossible because I love them all!

This photo made me feel like a princess. 
Doesn't every bride want to feel that way on their wedding day?

The "Somethings" Old, New, Borrowed, Blue
Such special pieces from even more special people. 

Our First Look
I'll never forget that giddy, excited feeling I had when I saw him. 
I'm thankful to say it still happens everyday. 

The Ceremony
I love that this photo captures our bridal party, our families, 
and the beautiful church decorated by my sister in-love. 

Father-Daughter Dance
My sister in-love captured this photo and I just love it.

AOII Friendship Song
Some of the most special women in my life surrounding us in a sweet tradition.

A sweet moment.
Here's to a lifetime of countless more.

Dustin, thank you for two years of wedded bliss. 
Your love, grace, humor, and joy are some of my greatest blessings. 
I'm so thankful God gave me you. 
I love you!

Monday, June 16, 2014

homemade citrus cleaner recipe

Last fall I shared some of my favorite cleaning products, tips, and tricks in this post. I not only enjoy a clean house, but a clean smelling house. Today I am sharing a simple recipe for a homemade cleaner that smells amazing. I followed this recipe posted by Jen of IHeart Organizing. Enjoy!

homemade citrus cleaner

1 cup water
1 tablespoon citrus castille soap
10 drops citrus fresh essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and use everywhere! 

I love finding new uses for my Young Living Essential Oils. If you have not tried them yet and are interested, let me know! I would love to help you get started. I use this cleaner everywhere-- on the countertops in the kitchen, in the toilets in bathrooms, the woodwork in bedrooms and living rooms. *Note: If you have granite countertops, lemon essential oil could etch and dull your surfaces so this recipe would not be fit for use on them.* Dr. Bronner's soap is my favorite-- all natural ingredients and great cleaning ability. I started out using it in the shower as body wash and have branched out to now cleaning our home with it. The bottles can seem expensive ($10-$15 for 32oz), however the soap is meant to be diluted when used so they last a long time. There are many different scents available: almond, unscented baby mild, citrus orange, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rose, and tea tree. Depending on the scent you select and the essential oils you choose to add, you could create many different combinations! The soap themselves contain essential oils as their fragrance so the addition in this recipe is just to enhance the aromatic effect. I told y'all I enjoy a lovely, clean smell! 

Have you made any of your own cleaners using essential oils or other natural products? 
I'd love to know your recipes! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

a new look.

Thanks to Kerrie Williams from Life On a Mission, my blog has a new look and I just love it! Kerrie is wonderful to work with and really captured my vision. Her patience with my many questions, vast knowledge about blogging/design, and beautiful creativity are so appreciated! If you are looking to personalize your online space, Kerrie is your girl! Definitely check out her many great design projects! I stumbled upon her when another blog I follow featured a blog Kerrie designed. (Think I could say blog another time?!) I loved the idea of a custom design, I loved her talent, and after learning more about her, I loved her heart for Christ and missions.

A little over a year ago, I became a "blogger." I didn't know much about the blog world (honestly, I still have so much to learn) but I knew I wanted to create a little online haven. A hospitable place to share recipes, book recommendations, random moments in our life, and my heart. I also wanted it to be a place to encourage others to do the same. When I think about cozy, comforting, safe places of refuge, the first thought that comes to mind is home. So that was my inspiration for the new design.

You will notice the "rooms" in the header. In the "kitchen" you will find posts including recipes and nutrition tips. Oh how I wish we could all whip up some healthy deliciousness together in my real kitchen! On the "porch" you will find posts that share more of my heart. These posts I would love to discuss over tea in the rocking chairs on our back porch. In the "library" you will find my book reviews and recommendations. While in reality, a library may never make the cut in a home we own, I love that I can have one on here!

I hope you enjoy the new look as much as I do!

Kerrie, thank you again for your beautiful design. I am so grateful and feel so inspired in my new space!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: summer favorites

Since Summer will be here before we know it, for June's 7 on the 7th I am sharing what I enjoy most about this season!

1. Grilling
Nothing says summer like the smell of firing up the grill. Stop whatever you're doing and go to the store for any of these ingredients you may be missing so you can have this delicious meal tonight! Dustin made these sweet & savory chicken kabobs a couple weeks ago and then again last weekend. They are DELICIOUS! We used this recipe as inspiration and tweaked it to make it our own. Seriously, you will impress your loved ones, friends, and self with these.

2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

about 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 breasts
8 ounces sliced or whole mushrooms
1 orange bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1/2 fresh pineapple
1/2 red onion

Soak 12-15 wooden skewers in water for one hour. Chop all kabob ingredients, except mushrooms, into 1 inch cubes. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken and vegetables in a large bowl. Let marinate for as long as possible (4-24 hours). Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread chicken, vegetables, and pineapple onto the skewers. Place skewers on grill and rotate frequently until cooked through (about 15 minutes). Enjoy! I loved the sweet, savory flavor and the beautiful colorful combinations of vegetables! Feel free to use any combination you like. 

2. Gardening
I shared our garden tour not too long ago and I am so excited to see continued growth! We have several cherry tomatoes, big boy tomatoes, leeks, jalepenos, and bell peppers growing. We have enjoyed some Swiss chard on several occasions already. Our squash and zucchini are blooming and I've noticed a couple blooms on our cucumbers too! My ranunculus are continuing to grow as are my zinnias I just planted last weekend. I also can't wait to scour the Farmer's Markets for gardening goodies I won't find in our own yard!

3. Reading
I love to read but it seems like the last few months reading has been put on the back burner. Whether you're by the pool, on the porch, at the beach, or on a road trip, summer lends itself to some quality time for reading. One of my sweet friends shared her copies of the Divergent series with me this week. I am ashamed proud to say I read them all in 6 days. I realize I am a bit behind seeing as the movie has already been released in theaters, but that's ok! I am hoping to continue reading this summer, just maybe not in such an, emotionally invested, obsessive manner. What books are on your Summer Reading List?

4. Celebrating 
Summertime is full of celebrations. While it technically isn't summer, Memorial Day definitely kicks things off. Then there's the 4th of July! Three short days after America's birthday is our Anniversary! Also, several family members and friends have birthdays during the summer season, myself included. Every day is worthy of celebration. Isn't it so much fun to be festive!?

5. Relaxing 
Whether you're out of school or taking a vacation, summertime is great to relax and enjoy the sunshine. You may not can tell by my current skin tone, but I do enjoy soaking up the sun by the pool/lake/beach. I look forward to making more time for that to happen! We are currently in the process of creating a patio space off our back porch. I can't wait until it is complete and we can relax around a fire pit!

6. Exploring
Summertime is the perfect time to visit a new town or state. With all the different markets, festivals, concerts, ball games, and events there is always something new to try or do. You may even find a hidden gem in your own area! Our town has Market Days that are fun to attend and being an hour from St. Louis provides endless opportunities to find new, fun things to do.

7. Serving
Every season, month, and day are great for serving. Summertime is no different. There are always opportunities to give to those around us. Make plans to share your time with loved ones. Look for needs in your community and find ways to meet them through volunteering or donating. Support members of your church going on mission trips. Clean out your closets and donate clothes you aren't wearing. Consider providing fans to a shelter in your area to keep people and animals cool during the hot season. Stock up on school supplies early for children who will need them in August. Provide healthy options for the food pantries in your town. The possibilities to share and serve during this season are endless.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 
{Galatians 5:13}

Happy Early Summer to you!

What are you looking forward to the most about this season?

Sunday, June 01, 2014

one year.

One year ago today Dustin and I left our hometown in Kentucky and moved to Illinois for his new job. Oh how quickly this year has passed! A year ago I was excited for a new adventure, nervous to be in a new area without our family and friends, and very much unsure of where this path would lead. Today I cannot even describe the peace and thankfulness I feel when I think back on this last year. Month after month, what was at first an unfamiliar place, feels more and more like home. God has blessed us with sweet friends, a wonderful church, jobs we both enjoy, and a house we love making a home.

Do we miss our family and friends back home in Kentucky--and the many other areas they live? Absolutely! Every day! But we are so thankful for the visits and phone calls to keep in touch. Having an encouraging support system is such a blessing.

Shortly after we moved I read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. You can read more of my thoughts about it in my post here. After reading, I started my own 1000 gifts list. Just a couple days ago, I reached my 1000th gift. I took a moment to read back through my list over the past year-- the things that have meant so much to me. Farmer's Market trips with a sweet friend. Visits from our family and friends. Purchasing our first home. Celebrating successes in our careers. Being re-baptized together. Enjoying the everyday moments of life-- both the pleasant and the not so pleasant. While I know my list of gifts and thankfulness will never be complete, reaching the 1000th gift has shown me so much. My perspective has changed drastically over the past year. The joy I have found in Christ through counting the gifts He gives is indescribable. If you haven't read the book or started your own list, I highly encourage it!

When we first got married, I never imagined we would leave our home. A year later, we were in a new town, a new state, and with new jobs. Another year later, we are becoming more and more comfortable in this new "home." When I think back over the past year, I am filled with thankfulness for this season. For this time that Dustin and I have had to grow individually and as husband and wife. For this time to learn more about our Lord and ourselves. I am so thankful to have a better understanding of what Emily Dickinson meant when she said,

"Where thou art, that is home." 

Home, for me, is where my husband is. Where our love is shared. Where our people gather. Where our puppies play. Where we worship. Where we cook together, laugh together, pray together, and live life together.

The Land of Lincoln has been good to us this year and I look forward to what the future holds! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

our garden tour

There is nothing better than a fresh flower, vegetable, fruit, or herb straight from the garden. We have been fortunate to be the recipients of many home-canned goods and freshly picked flowers thanks to our family and friends. Shortly after we were married, we talked about our future garden dreams-- with a spreadsheet design and everything! Last year was our first full summer as a married couple but since we moved to Illinois in June, we were a bit behind in the planting process. We attempted an herb garden in a raised box but between our frequent trips home and my forgetfulness in regards to watering, those efforts were not successful. Thank goodness for Farmers Markets!

A few months ago, we started discussing a garden for this year. We wanted to give it another shot and really try this time. Not only did we want to give herbs another go around, we added vegetables and flowers to the mix. After much debate and scaling down our dreams to realistic plans, we finally came to the conclusion of which plants we would attempt to grow. We picked up some ranunculus, zinnias, and dahlias packets at the store. Dustin surprised me one day when I got home from work with a little raised bed using leftover wood from the fence in our backyard. It is the perfect size for our first garden! We went back to the store soon after that to pick out our produce and herbs.

Here's what we went with based on our tastes and preferences:

Big Boy Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Swiss Chard
Red, Yellow, Green, and Purple Bell Peppers
Jalepeno Peppers

Day One: 3 weeks ago
We first thought we would grow squash and zucchini from seed but later went back for plants. 

A few days ago
One of the squash seeds actually grew despite our doubts! 

We planted the herbs in one of the raised boxes. The veggies went in the raised bed Dustin made. He also fixed up a little fence to protect the garden from our pups and the deer we often have in our yard. All of our plants have been prayed over, encouraged, and begged to grow! And so far they have! Oh how I love walking out to the garden to see the growth and progress that occurs. Our cherry tomatoes have a couple baby green ones growing! Mini Fried Green Tomatoes, anyone!? I am so excited to taste, see, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. My mouth waters just imagining the fresh tomato sandwiches, smothered squash, and colorful sautéed swiss chard! The week we have received quite a bit of rain. I am hoping they all survive! 

Did you put out a garden this year? 

What blooms and veggies are you most excited to see grow? 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

stamp out hunger

I love checking the mailbox and finding a handwritten note from a friend or the latest issue of Southern Living. When I checked the mail yesterday evening, it was mostly bills and one card that caught my eye right away:

In case you haven't received yours yet, I will give you the rundown...

On May 10th (this Saturday) the National Association of Letter Carriers is conducting its 22nd annual  Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Letter carriers around the country will be collecting food donations and delivering them to local food pantries and food banks. 

All you have to do is: 
1. Collect food and bag it.
2. Place your bag by your mailbox for it to be picked up and delivered. 

Providing food for those in need is very near and dear to my heart. According to Feeding America, 1 in 6 Americans struggle with hunger and food insecurity, including adults, elderly, and children. Not only do the people utilizing these resources need nourishment, they often have or are at risk for chronic health issues that require specialized diets. In fact, for people with specific diagnoses, the heavily processed, sodium/added sugar laden foods often provided at food pantries are actually detrimental to their health. I also can't help but think about those who rely on food pantries who have food sensitivities or allergies. For children, proper nourishment is needed for growth and development. Rather than nutrient poor options, those who suffer from food insecurity need nutrient rich options. I encourage you to consider this as you select donations for your local food banks and pantries. 

Here are some healthier donation ideas:

Canned Vegetables--No Added Salt/Sugar
Canned Fruits-- In 100% Juice (not syrups)
No Added Sugar Dried Fruit
No Added Sugar Applesauce
Low Sodium Vegetable/Chicken/Beef Broth
Low Sodium Canned Chicken or Cold Water Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Sardines)
Unsalted Nuts and Seeds
Low Sodium Nut Butters
Brown and White Rice
Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pastas
Plain Steel Cut Oats
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Shelf Stable Powdered Milk or Almond Milk
Plain Bottled Water

These are just a few suggestions. Check with your local pantries to see if they accept fresh produce. I am aware of one pantry in our town that will accept fresh fruits and vegetables. The letter carriers are only picking up non-perishable items this Saturday, but for future donations it would be great if you could give produce as well. I ask that you consider the sodium and sugar content of the foods you provide. If the pantries you support provide lists of requested items, donate the lower sodium/no added sugar options. Also, consider the ingredient list of foods. If the list is a mile long, full of words you cannot identify or pronounce, I recommend you put it back on the shelf. By choosing lower sodium/sugar options with shorter ingredient lists, you are potentially contributing to better health for the individuals who receive them. Can I also encourage you to have this mindset when choices for your own pantry in your home?

Visit this link to use the interactive map and learn more about food insecurity and hunger in your area. 

Let's consider the health of those in need as we Stamp Out Hunger on May 10th and each time we donate to our local food banks and pantries.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: making a house a home

Have you ever been in a house where you just instantly feel at home? What do you remember about it that made you feel that way? When I think about the homes that evoke positive feelings, I can recall the layouts, decor, and aromas. More importantly--the people, the relationships, the memories. It is the combination of all of these things that help create a sense of belonging and hospitality. While I am by no means a decorator and our home is far from perfect, I do have seven favorite tips I've been given along the way and try to follow to make our house a home.

1. Find Inspiration
Do you have a family member, friend, or total stranger you follow on Instagram whose style you admire and share? Maybe you save magazine clippings from Southern Living or Better Homes & Gardens. Maybe you watch HGTV for new ideas. Chances are if you are reading this, you probably have a Pinterest board dedicated to your dream home. You may even have specific boards for particular rooms or projects! I support all of the above. Also, keep in mind those people who make you feel at home in their presence. What do they do and say that makes you feel that way? Be mindful of how you want people to feel in your home as your decorate and interact with them. 

2. Be Content
I think it is great to have plans and work to achieve them. When we bought our home, it was move in ready and we were so glad! Over the past couple of months, we started a list of the aspects of it we wanted to adjust over time to suit our tastes and personalities. It can be easy to fall into that mindset of we have to have the newest/biggest/brightest (fill in the blank with your choice of home related item) as soon as we want it. You may not have every room arranged and styled exactly how you like them. Maybe right now you can't afford all the changes you are wanting to make. That's okay. We have been eating around our coffee table for a year because we don't have a dining table yet. I should include that this has been an upgrade because before that, we just ate off our laps! Despite the less sophisticated dining arrangements, I love the memories we have with our people around that table. 

3. Do It Yourself
One of my husband's many talents is that he is very handy. I am pretty sure he can fix or make anything. I'm equally impressed by and thankful for his abilities. Our parents have been so helpful with design ideas, suggestions, and free labor! A couple of the updates we have made to our home have been to spruce up our master bathroom and add storage in our laundry room. Not only do I love the end results of both of these projects, I love that we spent time together completing them. Teaming up with family and friends to do your home renovations and design is so much fun and makes the process so much more special. Here are a couple before and afters just because I am so proud of him:

4. Mix and Match
So what if your furniture isn't all from the same designer/store/yard sale. We are fortunate to have been the recipients of many hand-me-downs, which means hardly any of our furniture "goes together." I am thankful that when we use various pieces in our home, we can remember who shared with us. Mixing and matching items definitely adds character to a room. I also like the feeling it gives that everything-- and everyone--has a place and belongs. 

5. Add Some Greenery
Fresh flowers and plants add life and color to a home. I am not exactly a green thumb, but I do appreciate horticulture. When we moved to Illinois last year, a sweet new friend invited me to go to the Farmer's Market with her. Each week there was a man who sold the most beautiful zinnias, sunflowers, and wildflowers. I love picking up a bunch of colorful blooms to place on the counter by the sink or on the coffee table. Grocery stores often have flowers on sale as well. This year I hope to pick my own zinnias, dahlias, and ranunculus from our garden! 

6. Infuse the Air
I love walking into homes that have distinct, lovely scents. Whether it's warm baked cookies, clean linens, or fresh picked roses, I so enjoy pleasing aromas. Diffusing Essential Oils is my favorite way to create a welcoming space. Stress Away, Joy, and Lemon are my favorite oils to diffuse in our home. If you haven't experienced the many benefits and uses of Essential Oils, I would love to introduce you to the endless possibilities they offer!

7. Fill It With Scripture
Far more important than any decoration, lovely scent, or pretty flower, having Christ as the foundation is the ultimate way to make a house a home. In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, Moses gave the Israelites commandments from the Lord before they entered the Promised Land. He told them:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."
{Deuteronomy 6: 5-9}
I love to decorate our home with beautiful Scripture. The multiple daily reminders of God's Word are so needed and appreciated. My prayer is that we fill our homes with scripture through our words, thoughts, and actions. 

What are your favorite ways and tips to make a house a home? 

Monday, April 07, 2014

7 on the 7th: YL essential oils

Happy April, everyone! March was fun and a month of madness for sure. *I must insert a "GO CATS!" for the UK Wildcats in the NCAA Championship game tonight!* I am so glad April is here along with the beautiful Spring season! I sure do love a fresh start-- to a month, to a week, to a day. Don't you?

This month's 7 on the 7th is all about my favorite essential oils. Dustin's momma introduced me to Young Living essential oils when he and I were dating. If you aren't already familiar, which many people are these days, essential oils (EO) are distilled oils from various plants and sources that can be used for virtually anything! They can be diffused in your home to create a calming environment, inhaled directly from their bottles to relieve tension, applied topically to treat blemishes, aches, and pains, or ingested for internal benefits. I can understand the skepticism when it comes to EO. In fact, Dustin jokingly refers to the oils as "voodoo magic." After more and more experimenting with them, though, he's come around! I love natural ways to clean, cook, and alleviate health issues. I used to be a candle addict-- however, now I diffuse EO to freshen up a room. Rather than reaching for chemicals or medicines, which I know can have their place, I'm learning more ways to incorporate essential oils in our routine to avoid using harsh ingredients. Here are my top 7 EO favorites right now:

1. Lemon
I love citrusy scents-- especially in the spring! I enjoy diffusing this oil to freshen up a room. I also add a couple of drops to ice water if I don't have any fresh lemons on hand. Lemon is also a great oil to use when making homemade cleaners. 

2. Thieves
Thieves is an essential oil blend that has a spicy scent that I love as well. It is a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. Thieves is great to clean with or diffuse to rid airborne bacteria. During flu season, this is an especially helpful oil! A few drops on the bottoms of our feet help boost our immune systems. If either of us starts feeling sick, I break out the Thieves! I diffuse it, apply it topically, clean with it, and add a couple drops when I wash our linens. 

3. Peace & Calm
I have just recently tried Peace & Calm and love it! Its citrusy scent reminds me of a spa experience. Who doesn't love that!? I have been diffusing it several times a day lately. 

4. Stress Away
Stress Away is a has a sweet scent that I enjoy diffusing or rubbing on my wrists and neck to create a relaxing atmosphere. The lime and vanilla notes in this oil blend remind me of a tropical drink.

5. Peppermint
Peppermint is another multipurpose oil. A couple drops can be added to tea. I enjoy diffusing peppermint during Christmas time. If we have headaches, or tension, a couple drops rubbed on our neck or temples helps alleviate the pain naturally. If you have issues with ants in your home, a couple drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball will ward them off. Peppermint can also help give a jolt of energy. 

6. Purification
I love diffusing this oil on nights I make meals with ingredients that have strong odors-- fish, onions, garlic, etc. The fresh, clean scent neutralizes the unpleasant ones. Sometimes I add a couple of drops to our laundry as well.

7. Lavender
I use lavender almost every evening. I place a few drops on the bottoms of my feet to help have restful sleep. I often wash our linens with a couple drops of lavender to reinforce the calming effect. 

I am a distributor for Young Living Essential oils. Check out their website for more information regarding their distilling process, farming, and products. I respect their Seed to Seal devotion to purity and quality. If you are interested in learning more about essential oils or trying them, email me at! I would love to help you get started! I am also always looking for new ways to use oils, so if you have any tips and ideas, please share! Have you tried essential oils? What's your favorite one to use?