Oils Explained and FREE Printables

I’ve been using “oils” since before they were cool. Meaning, I would get them off the shelf at Whole Foods. I didn’t realize there was a difference between those and the oils you’re hearing about now from Young Living, DoTerra, etc. My oil journey started a few years ago by going to one of those oil parties…wait, that sounds weird. You know the old fashioned “tupperware parties” people used to have? Well it’s the same type of thing except you’re learning about and buying oils.

I was definitely sold on the idea of using oils as a natural remedy to avoid doctor visits at any cost! Since Turner was starting school for the first time, I wanted to feel like I had some influence on keeping germs and colds at bay! So, I signed up with my first set of oils through DoTerra but it was sort of hard to manage on my own. After about a year of using their oils, I made the switch to Young Living. I signed up under a friend of mine because I felt more comfortable picking her brain. I also liked the set up with YL because I could order them through my own website and not have to deal with any sort of salesman trying to make me buy things I didn’t need.

I’ll start with a little background on these oils. I actually went to a local seminar on Young Living because I was that obsessed and wanted to learn as much as I could. My inner hippy was jumping for joy! So…what’s the hype?

  • they’re derived from plants (cold pressed, resin tapped, or steamed)
  • they’re easily absorbed
  • they’re extremely potent (75 lemons makes a 15mL bottle of lemon oil)
  • they can be used internally (*vitality oils), topically, and aromatically (diffused)

There’s a lot to know about these oils. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So I started with two simple tasks: making roller bottles (order HERE) and making spray bottles (order HERE) of my favorite blends. These will be listed on the free printables I have for you a little later in the post.


 How to Get Started?

  • Sign up online HERE (enter 3514969 where it asks for sponsor and enroller ID).

  • Select your starter kit. Below is the one I chose. It lists out the oils it comes with. **Vitality means it can be ingested. It can also be used aromatically and topically. This kit also comes with a diffuser. If you find that you want another diffuser (I have four), here is a link to my favorite diffuser ever.

  • Sign up for “Essential Rewards” replenishment (optional!!!). You actually have to choose to “Confirm Autoship” if you want that. You can change that order by logging on to your account at any time. Also you can “Add more products”. If you do that, I recommend getting the carrier oil. If not, you can find another carrier oil (anything cold-pressed: olive, avocado, grape seed).


 

Now for the fun part! Let’s make some oils. Here are links to FREE printable labels for your oil bottles:

Spray Labels

Oil Bottle Labels.

The spray bottle labels were printed on THESE LABELS and the roller bottles were printed on these address labels.

So, basically, I want to make it as easy as possible for you to get your hands on these oils! I love them and I know they help us live a healthier life! Please reach out if you have any questions. I never get tired of talking about these babies! I also love hearing your favorite mixes and ways you use your oils. So please share on the blog!

Back to School Meal Prep

Is anyone else craving the fall like I am? It’s still about 90 degrees in Charleston. But the calendar is telling me that the weather should be cooling down (wishful thinking)!

This time of year is my favorite! It means apples, pumpkin spice everything, and back to school shopping! Turner starts school on Monday which will get us in full-on schedule mode! I’ve enjoyed the summer, but I’m really looking forward to the change of seasons with our kiddos this year! To help with back-to-school time and to honor my love of all things fall, I wanted to share a few of my fall favorites and a recipe game plan that will help organize your upcoming week!

Meals:

  1. Teriyaki Chicken Casserole (use your prepared shredded chicken and pre-packaged stir-fry veggies).
  2. Meatball Sliders (make meatballs ahead so all you have to do is heat on a bun with some cheese).
  3. Sloppy Joes
  4. Baked Chicken Enchiladas (use your prepared shredded chicken)
  5. Chicken and Dumplings (use your prepared shredded chicken)

 

The beauty of this meal game-plan is that you can customize it based on your family size. AND you are only buying two types of meat for the week: chicken and ground turkey (or beef)! A lot of the ingredients you probably have on hand so you should just need a few items from the grocery store. So browse through each recipe and plan your grocery list accordingly. See my time-saver tips below to make dinner making a breeze!


 

Time Saver Tips:

  • Make ahead as much as you can over the weekend so you’re prepared for the week.
  • Weekend Prep: Put 4 chicken breasts in a crock pot with salt and pepper on each side. Add water halfway up the side of the chicken and cook on low for 4 hours. Shred chicken and store in an airtight container in the fridge for all of your meals!
  • Use pre-packaged stir-fy veggies in a bag in the produce section for the teriyaki chicken dish.
  • Make meatballs ahead as they’re just as delicious, if not better, when re-heated!

Now that we have the meal plan out of the way, let’s talk fall favorites. Here are a few of my favorite things!

  1. Pumpkin Cupcake candle (use offer code BX5XG2 for $5 off): I have bought several of these candles. Every scent I try is amazing! They have a hidden ring inside which is always fun. You can apparently win a ring up to $5000 although I have yet to win one.
  2. Pumpkin Banana Bread: I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and it was amazing! I added chocolate chips. It’s a must!
  3. Toddler Backpack: I ordered this for Turner for school. His other backpack was too small and the LL Bean ones are huge and super expensive! This fits his style, is the perfect size, and is super affordable!
  4. Thieves Essential Oil: More on that in a separate post (recipes and labels coming soon)! I diffuse this in Turner’s room to keep the germs away once school starts!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help make your week a little easier!

Asheville Vacation

We just got back from our first family vacation in Asheville on Thursday! Describing it as amazing would be an understatement! There was a lot of snuggling, porch sitting, and coffee drinking. I’m not a big traveler. I like the comfort of my own home and I like my routine. But this was the first vacation I didn’t want to end!

The first day we got to our cabin (blog post HERE) was great. We spent the afternoon relaxing, getting some groceries, and soaking up the incredible view of the mountains in our backyard! We grilled up dinner in our outdoor kitchen (dream come true) and stayed up late to watch the stars.

Day two and three were spent out on the town exploring! We spent Tuesday in Asheville all day. We shopped, ate lunch, and went to our favorite coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up. Stew carried Gracie in the Bjorn while I pushed Turner in the stroller once he was too tired to walk. The kids did surprisingly well considering nap times were non-existent and it was hot as heck during the day!

Wednesday was our day to hit the apple orchard! What a cool spot! There was a play area that Turner adored. We got some energy out there before heading down the hill to pick apples.

The good news…it was completely dead and the apples had just ripened to perfection! The bad news… it was about 85 degrees in the sun. While the apples were delicious, it was a sweaty adventure to say the least! But, nothing apple cider donuts couldn’t fix!

After the orchard, we drove into Hendersonville for lunch and more shopping. There was a children’s museum that we wanted to hit while we were there. The kids loved it! It was similar to one we have here in Charleston. It was the perfect place to stretch our legs.

It’s funny how vacations before kids meant doing everything we wanted to do. We had no naps to worry about, no bedtimes to plan for, and no potty breaks to schedule. We would eat wherever we wanted and go wherever we wanted. This vacation was a different experience, but it was the most exciting yet! The kids loved it and we really soaked up our uninterrupted family time. And now it’s back to reality! Until next time, Asheville!

 

Asheville Part One

At the end of every peak season, Stew and I try to sneak away for a few days for some much needed rest and relaxation! That usually involves staying in our favorite condo in Asheville and eating at amazing restaurants for every meal! This year we planned a vacation to the same area, but this time we took the whole gang! We found a beautiful mountain cabin in Hendersonville! We’re 15 miles from Asheville and 15 miles from an apple orchard that our friends told us we had to see! This is our first official family vacation! I planned on doing one post at the end, but with all the photos I already took, I will definitely have to break it up!

Our drive was exactly 4 hours. We got here at noon and got settled. We made ourselves right at home. It took us approximately 3.7 seconds to cover the living room floor with toys.

We planned our menu and grocery list and I hung at home while the kids napped and Stew hit the grocery store. We have an amazing outdoor kitchen (the main reason we chose this house), so every meal will involve the grill! Tonight the menu was lemon chicken, brussels sprout and bacon kebabs, and potato wedges. The weather was perfect! We hung out on the back deck for most of the afternoon. The lighting was just right for capturing the kiddos in all their underwear-wearing glory!

This has been the best start to our vacation! Can’t wait to see what sort of adventures we have over the next few days! 

Gracie Gets Tubes

Gracie has had two ear infections and has had fluid in her ear for over a month. During our last visit to the pediatrician, he gave us a referral to see the ENT to check her ears for tubes. I didn’t deal with this with Turner, so this was new to me! But I knew I didn’t want her to be in pain, and I definitely didn’t want to keep putting her on antibiotics. So, we went!

They checked her ears for fluid and checked her hearing. She still had fluid and, because of that, was experiencing hearing loss in her left ear. I almost cried! My baby!! After hearing that news, the doctor came in and discussed tubes. I was totally freaked out by this. Of course, he had to tell me the risks involved in the surgery, and all I could picture was my sweet little baby on an operating table passed out from anesthesia! I choked back the tears as I signed the paperwork and set up her appointment.

I talked to my friends who have gotten tubes for their kids and they all agreed that it was a good decision. They said it would be super quick and she would bounce back quickly. I even spoke to my pediatrician who also said it was a good idea so I wouldn’t be constantly questioning her discomfort!

This morning was the big day! We woke up at 6am, changed Gracie’s diaper and hit the road. She had to be there by 6:45 for a 7am procedure. I was nervous about “nothing to eat or drink” because she wakes up HANGRY, but she was completely happy! I was also nervous about the nurse taking her away because Gracie is definitely not into strangers these days! But, again, she did great. 

We sat in the waiting room for maybe 10 minutes and they came to get us! It was SO quick. The hardest part was her waking up from the anesthesia because she was hysterical and out of sorts and nothing could comfort her. We tried to give her a bottle and she kept throwing it on the floor. She just needed time to snap out of it! Eventually she took her bottle and started to calm down.

She fell asleep in the car on the way home and by that time she was back to normal, thank God! She pounded a few meatballs and was back to her smiley self!

I’m so glad we did it and relieved it’s over! I tried not to have anxiety about it, but it’s hard to give someone else control over your baby like that. It also made me realize that parents who go through far harder things with their kids have a strength like no other! I believe with all my heart that God gives us the strength we need to handle whatever comes our way!

 

 

Baby Food Purees

I really love making baby food. When Turner was a baby, he was the only child AND I didn’t own a business. So he got only the best homemade purees. He never had store bought (insert gasp). I breastfed until he was a year and never gave him a drop of formula. He was “the first child” indeed.

Now I love Gracie to pieces, but life is a tad busier these days. I own a business managing 16 rental properties, have a toddler, and attempt to maintain a certain level of sanity. I adore making Gracie baby food and make most of it! But I need to plan ahead for that, and I do throw the occasional store-bought food in the mix. I also had all intentions of breastfeeding her a year, but with working and parenting a toddler, my supply wasn’t as good as with Turner. I ended up making the switch to formula at 9 months (more about that transition HERE). I did have some guilt with that but ultimately knew it was the best decision for all of us! 

Life has gotten exponentially easier since Gracie can now hold a bottle and feed herself using those pouch things! The pouches add to the convenience of feeding my baby, but I don’t want to use store-bought food all the time! So for the past few weeks I’ve used those reusable food pouches! I found a great brand that is easy to fill and clean so now I’m able to put her food in that. That helps alleviate the mom guilt just a tad! So here are some of our favorite purees these days. I peel, steam to fork tender, and puree.

 

Carrot & Golden Beet

Corn Plum Apple & Sweet Potato

Spinach Blueberry & Apple

Red Beet, Sweet Potato & Blueberry

There really aren’t measurements. I sort of just peal veggies, cut into small chunks, and steam on average 10 minutes. I DON’T steam the berries. I just make sure to wash them and buy organic especially when not steaming. For spinach and other greens, I throw them in my steamer basket for the last few minutes to soften and make them easier to digest. Then I blend it all up in the Vitamix. Add water, formula, or breast-milk to thin to your baby’s desired thickness. I don’t add water at this point because Gracie eats chunkier purees. But when she was a baby I would add the steam liquid at the bottom of the pot. Store in small glass jars in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays for easy prep for the rest of the week! I also mix in some baby oatmeal if I need to bulk it up a bit. I hope you like these! What are some of your favorite purees?

Provencal Summer’s Eve Supper Club

Our supper club is one of the highlights of our social life. Each couple that hosts goes all out! Every month we rotate hosts. They are in charge of the theme/entree and the others bring a side, dessert, and cocktails. We were the hosts for July. The theme was Provencal Summer’s Eve. I wanted to do something summery but not quite a BBQ. Hence this theme!

I started with a charcuterie board because I’ll use any excuse to eat cheese! I went to Whole Foods for this particular selection. They are just so darn excited about describing cheese that I had to go with them! The guy behind the counter picked the most delicious assortment of french cheeses that I paired with some meat, crackers, and fresh figs. This was a crowd pleasure for sure!

For the table-scape I picked a few french things to adorn the table. French Peonies were a must! I put out a few bottles of Perrier and a baguette with a Provencal Herbed Butter (softened butter mixed with thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, chives). The name tags were held in place with a Fleur de Sel Caramel.

The entree was Filet of Beef au Poivre with a side of hericot vert (french green beans), provencal orzo, and a delicious St. Germain cocktail to wash it down!

Of course, after supper, we made our way onto the screened porch where the men smoked cigars (I complained that I couldn’t breathe) and we played Cards Against Humanity.

 We had SO much fun! We laughed hard, stayed up late, and enjoyed hilarious conversation with close friends. This group is so comfortable with each other that no matter what we do, it’s a blast! Can’t wait to do it again next month!

Sweet Summertime

This summer has been the most amazing summer to date! Life is starting to get a little bit easier. We’re at the point where Gracie really likes hanging out and playing with Turner and he feels the same! They occupy each other which helps me out big time! She also has started eating more solids and is more independent when it comes to eating. I can sit her in her high chair and give her a bottle, a baby food pouch, or finger foods and she can feed herself. She falls asleep at night and nap-time without crying, sleeps a solid 7pm-7am and is such a happy girl!

We spend most of our days doing much of the same. First thing in the morning, the kids eat cheerios and play while Stew and I drink our coffee in bed. That is, and always has been, my favorite part of the day. Everyone wakes up in a great mood! Turner always says, “I missed you! I’m so happy to see you!” which melts my heart. It’s as if he gets amnesia and forgets the way I yelled at him the night before! Thank God for a short memory and an ever-forgiving heart!

We hit the gym in the morning and then either go to the pool or play at home. It has been SO hot that the only way we can be outside is if there is a pool or hose involved!

The other day we met my mom for breakfast at one of my favorite spots (thanks Kirsten). It’s called Vintage Cafe. They have the best food and coffee. Super hip little joint. In the back, they turned an old pickup truck into a little playground. Is that not the best idea ever!? That way the adults can eat and enjoy their coffee while the kiddos entertain themselves! The only problem was that it was about 115 degrees with the heat index so we were dripping with sweat and red-faced. That didn’t stop us from having a great time (and drinking tons of water) though!

I’m already getting the itch for cooler weather! Work will be a little slower, we will spend the entire day outside, and the food is just so stinking good in the fall! Considering it’s only July 16th, I have quite a ways to go. So for now, I’ll hold my horses and be in the sweaty moment! We will pack as much summer into our days as we can handle! Have a great weekend!

Cheapest House Remodel Projects Ever!

Have you ever used chalk paint? If not, I highly recommend it! You can literally paint anything. Hence my cheapest remodel projects ever!

I had a quick tutorial with my neighbor and now I feel like a pro!

Project One:

This set of built-ins in our dining room. They’re beautiful shelves but they are a dark Charleston Green with a shiny finish. So it would have taken a million coats of paint to cover. But not with my beloved chalk paint!

I used Paris Grey and it covered beautifully! I did one coat, then a thinner coat that was watered down for a smoother finish. Final step was to apply the wax and buff it with a rag. I used Old White chalk paint for the mirror in the center, which was a shiny black color. We also swapped out the light fixture for a more rustic feel.

Project Two:

We have a dark wood living room end table that has beautiful lines, but has a few water stains on top. I mixed 1 1/4 cups Old White with 4 tsp Florence to create the perfect color to fix up this table!

Project Three:

And probably the most insane and daring… our kitchen tile back-splash! We’ve been toying with the idea of replacing the tan back-splash and counter-top. While it’s pretty, it’s just not my taste! So I thought, before we throw big bucks into fixing what ain’t broke, let me just see if chalk paint will cover the tile backs-splash. Here is the before:

I used Old White for this project so it would match our trim. And guest what!?!? It looks incredible! I did a regular coat and then a watered down coat for a smooth finish. We changed the switch plates to white and swapped out the light fixture as well. It’s so much brighter!

I did all of these with the same cans of Old White, Paris Grey, and a sample of Florence. Can you believe that!? Best. Invention. Ever!

Happy Birthday America!

As I sit here typing this post, I’m listening to the fireworks outside our door and all I can think with each BOOM is, please don’t wake up my kids! When did I become such a grandma? But seriously, STOP with the fireworks people!

We had a festive few days celebrating our nation’s independence! I really love the 4th of July. But according to my husband, I say that about every holiday!

I had Turner and Gracie dressed in their most festive outfits since Friday! It’s never too early to start celebrating, right? We pretty much spent the weekend lounging, grilling, and playing outside, while Gracie perfected her RBF (I had to google that too. Don’t feel bad).

 

Saturday afternoon, the kids woke up early from their naps, so we went out for an early ice cream treat before supper. There’s a cute little hole in the wall called Jack’s Cosmic Dogs where they have retro soft-serve that hit the spot!

This morning, we did some last minute grocery shopping to get ready for our BBQ this afternoon. Gracie took an early nap so we had some quality time with her while Turner napped, which rarely happens! So she played with Turner’s giant garbage truck and we passed her around like a hot potato to get some photos because she’s SO stinkin’ cute and poses for pictures!

We had some friends over, all of whom have kids. So it was a fun and crazy day! We set up the sprinkler so they could run around outside and get as messy as they wanted!

Everyone had a great time. It was the perfect celebration! Every holiday gets better and better with these two. But this was one for the books! This weekend was what childhood dreams are made of. Happy 4th, Friends!