2.05.2018

february love list

We are almost a week in to February and I have so many favorite things to share!! We celebrated Adaline's Golden birthday last week when she turned 1 on February 1st. She started the day with a pumpkin muffin and wasn't quite sure what to think about the candle and singing and all the excitement (this is hands down one of my favorite photos of her ever because of her cute little expression -- she looks just like Dustin). Then that evening we had a small family party for her and had so much fun watching her dive in to a big cupcake and open her presents. This past year since she was born has gone by so fast -- I'm convinced that the more babies you have, the faster time flies by. It's so bittersweet to watch them grow so quickly but deep down I know we're not quite done having babies so there is also so much to look forward to!


I wanted to share a few of the things I've been LOVING lately!! 

one | If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your girlfriends, your Mom or sisters, try this grapefruit & peppermint sugar scrub made using coconut oil and essential oils. It's so simple to make and you can personalize it with a cute hand stamped or hand-written tag and message. A thoughtful way to pamper the mamas in your life and it smells incredible! 

two | And if you love essential oils as much as we do, Essential Glow has become my new favorite book for all things DIY.

three | How darling is this polka dot sweatshirt?! I recently got it for Adaline and its even cuter in person. It's so Springy and fun.

four | The sweetest book we have been reading nonstop lately with the girls.

five | The espadrille sandals that have me dreaming of Spring. I got mine in cognac but they also come in black.

six | The cutest popsicle nightgowns for the girls. We love everything Tea Collection makes and their newest arrivals are so much fun. Thinking the nightgowns will have to make their way in to Olivia and Penelope's Spring baskets this year!! Also loving these cute socks for Della, this Make Waves swimsuit and this Tropical Floral swimsuit. Clearly, Summertime is on the brain over here. I blame it on being knee-deep in snow and below zero temperatures.

seven | If you're looking for a Valentine's book for your little ones, If I Wrote A Book About You is a favorite of ours. The girls have also been requesting Snow Sisters nonstop. They love reading it together and pointing out which girl is Poppy and which girl is Olivia (the one with the braids of course). They also love the kitchen baking scenes where Poppy makes scones and then a few pages later, Olivia puts the icing on, especially since we make scones together a lot. This would make a sweet gift for one sister to give to another.

eight | The coziest sleep hoodie ever. I haven't bought new pajamas in so long and stumbled upon this the other day with Olivia. It's lightweight enough to sleep in and so so soft. I have been living in it!!

nine | The book I recently picked up for myself but that would also make a great gift for a new Mom. I am always finding new books to read and my stack is ever-growing, but this one seemed like a perfect fit. Excited to dive in soon!

ten | Polka dot shoes with Poppy's name all over them. I mean, how cute?! She has outgrown her current pair of tennis shoes so I've got my eye on these for her. Bonus: Thinking they will be easy enough for her to get on and strap by herself.

eleven | The Valentine's cards I just couldn't pass up for Olivia's class party. She is so excited to pass them out to all her friends!

Hope the month of love has been wonderful for you so far!! If you've got any favorite things this month, send them my way!! XO

1.04.2018

lemon scones

In my love list last week I shared my favorite scone recipe ever. I didn't think it was possible for them to get any better and then I made a lemon version of them. Oh my goodness. Talk about the yummiest pastry I've ever tasted. I used The Pioneer Woman's basic scone recipe and then added a few of my own twists using lemon essential oil. My recipe is below.


What you'll need

SCONES
+ 3 cups all purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup gluten free flour)
+ 2/3 cup sugar
+ 5 teaspoons baking powder
+ 1/4 teaspoon salt
+ 2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter, chilled
+ 1 whole large egg
+ 3/4 cups heavy cream (more if needed)
+ Zest of two lemons
+ Young Living's Lemon Vitality Essential Oil

GLAZE
+ 4 cups powedered sugar, sifted
+ 1/2 cup whole milk
+ Zest of one lemon
+ 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
+ Young Living's Lemon Vitality Essential Oil

What you'll do

1. Start by pouring heavy cream into a bowl and add the zest of two lemons, plus 8-10 drops Lemon Vitality EO; set aside

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt

3. Cut cold butter into pats and using a pastry blender (or your hands), cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs

4. Add an egg in to the lemon cream (from Step 1) and whisk gently

5. Combine lemon cream with flour mixture; stir gently with a fork until it just comes together (do not overmix); if it seems too crumbly, add a splash of heavy cream (I always need to add a little)

6. Turn dough on to a floured surface and lightly press together until it forms a rough rectangle (mixture will be pretty crumbly but should stay together enough to form)

7. Using a rolling pin, roll the rectangle about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick 

8. Use a knife to trim into a symmetrical rectangle, then cut the rectangle in to 12 symmetrical squares/rectangles. Next, cut each square diaganolly to end up with two small triangles (if you dont get 12 squares, use leftover dough to repeat process)

9. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in fridge 15-20 minutes

10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

11. While scones are chilling, time to whip up your glaze! In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup whole milk with the zest of one lemon. Stir in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Then add 8-10 drops Lemon Vitality essential oil. If glaze needs to be thinned out, use lemon juice.

12. After scones have chilled, bake for 17-18 minutes, removing them from the oven just before they start to turn golden. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

13. Once they've cooled, dip each scone in to the glaze on one side, then the other, to fully coat it. Transfer to parchment paper (I use the parchment I baked them on and flip it over) or wire cooling rack. Allow the glaze to set completely, about an hour. 

14. Store in sealed glass container for 2-4 days. I usually take half my batch and freeze them that night in a freezer bag and then leave the rest out to enjoy! 

Using the Lemon Vitality gave them such an incredible lemon flavor. Wish I could send each of you one, I am already ready to make them again!! To see lots more ways we love using essential oils, follow along on instagram @blessednestessentials. Hope your New Year is off to the best start!! XO

12.27.2017

love list

Happy Wednesday! All 3 girls are napping at the exact same time this afternoon so I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things we've been loving lately! I have been taking some very intentional breaks from blogging and instagram to focus on my girls and to be present for every moment, especially when it feels like time is passing much too fast. I know I will never regret the time I spent with them. So thanks for your patience while things are quiet!! 

Dustin went back to work today after almost a week off and although we miss him, it feels so good to be back to our normal routine. All our Christmas decorations are down and the house is clean & quiet. We kept gifts super simple this year and mainly gave the girls a bunch of art supplies, a few new books and things to occupy them. Best decision ever ;)

one | This darling bead set is 50% off. We gave it to Olivia for Christmas and she has made necklaces for everyone in our family; she asks to do beads every morning when she wakes up. Her and Penelope love play jewelry and instead of buying it for them, I figured giving them something to make their own would be even better. It would also make a great birthday gift for your little girl! Poppy is 2 and can use it with supervision but its best for kids 4 and up. 


two | The cutest book comes out next week and I can't wait to give it to the girls as a New Year's gift (is there such a thing??). We put all our Christmas books away yesterday and are now filling their book shelves with some old favorites and some new ones. This one is also releasing next week and this series is one of our favorites so I'm excited to add it to our collection.

three | This sweet potato waffle breakfast sandwich recipe has been on my brain since I came across it last week. Planning to make them this weekend for NYE brunch!

four | If you're dreaming of Springtime like I am, I can't wait to put this chambray dress on Della. Sizes 12-18 months up to 5T. On sale + an extra 20% off {no code needed}.

five | One of the gifts we gave Olivia this year for Christmas was this stencial art kit. Perfect for quiet time or rainy days inside.

six | The cutest floral shirt {on sale!} that I picked up for Adaline last week. Even cuter in person.

seven | My best friend first made these vanilla bean scones for me last year and they were one of the yummiest treats ever. I made them on Christmas Eve for our whole family and they were a huge hit. We've got a batch in the freezer for easy breakfasts (they are great paired with scrambled eggs) and just a few left on our counter because they're that good. Tips: Chill cut scones on baking sheet for 15-20 minutes before baking and don't overmix. If dough is way too crumbly to even form (which it usually is), add a splash of heavy cream!


eight | I've shared our love of essential oils here on the blog as an integral part of pursing a natural lifesyle, and if you're not yet following along, jump on over to my oils account @blessednestessentials where you can learn so much more. We started using oils in 2015 after Penelope was born, mainly because I was just curious what all the hype was about and figured, "Why not?" Here we are, over two years later and my only regret was that I didn't start sooner. 

If you are tired of having sick kids, need sleep suport for yourself and your little ones, want to ditch the chemicals and create a natural home or just improve your health + wellness by integrating oils in to your daily routine, let 2018 be the year to do that!! Starting on your oil journey is an investment in yourself + your family and how often, as busy Moms, do we get to invest in ourselves? I'll be offering a special New Years promotion for anyone who joins my team so watch for that on my @blessednestessentials account!! These 3 oils above are hands down favorites for my girls.

What has been on your radar lately?? Are you going out or staying in for New Years this weekend?! We've got a date night on Friday and then will be ringing in the New Year with our girl squad at home on Sunday. We are excited for all that is ahead in 2018!! XO

12.14.2017

essential oil sleep spray

We love using essential oils for sleep support, especially during pregnancy + with little ones. Make your own sleep spray as a simple way to incorporate oils in to your daily routine! Dustin and I use this with all three of our girls, for ourselves & love giving it as gifts! 


In a 2 oz amber glass spray bottle, combine 10 drops YL Lavender essential oil + 8 drops YL Cedarwood essential oil + 4 drops YL Tangerine essential oil. Fill to top with distilled water, shake before each use and spray on bedding, pillows & blankets at naptime and bedtime. Find our favorite bottles & oil accessories here.

I keep a bottle near each of the girls' beds and let Olivia and Penelope spray their sheets themselves, they love being included. They also make beautiful + practical gifts for friends, gift exchanges and teachers.

For the prettiest oil labels, we love Flair & Festive. Sara's shop is full of beautiful, customizable labels for all your DIY + gifting needs. Use code BLESSEDNEST for Free Shipping on Orders over $25 or NEST10 for 10% off your total purchase {no minimum}.

If you'd like to get started with oils, join my team or learn more, visit this post
You can also find a bunch of helpful links on my essential oils tab here.

Hope you're having the best week!! XO

12.08.2017

friday favorites

Happy Friday! This week just flew by for us. I feel like I woke up on Monday morning and blinked and Friday was here. Maybe part of it is that I've had Christmas parties what feels like every other night and the nights I haven't, we've been watching Christmas movies and enjoying Peppermint Bon Bon malts. Dustin and I have a Christmas Party tonight and the theme is Twas' the Night Before Christmas. I told Dustin he needs to dress up as the Dad in the classic edition of the book...now just to find old school pajamas and a stocking cap for him ;)


Other than that we have a low key weekend ahead. We moved the girls' rooms around over Thanksgiving weekend and they have been loving the switch. Adaline has her own room (she was previously sharing with Olivia) and now Poppy and Olivia share a bedroom. It's so sweet to hear Poppy say, "Olivia?" and hear Olivia's comforting response, "I'm right here Poppy, right across the room." We also moved Poppy to a twin bed and she has been loving that. I didn't originally plan to transition her until Spring but we got her bed on sale over Black Friday weekend so it seemed like the perfect time. 

Here are a few Friday Favorites to kick off your weekend!

one | I picked these comforters for the girls' twin beds. They both have this bed and I've had my eye on them for months. I don't think you can ever go wrong with polka dots and they match their sheet sets (here). I scooped them up when they went on sale a few weeks ago and shipping was free. The TWIN size is sold out but the Full-Queen size is on sale! They are so cozy, way nicer than even I expected. I added these matching shams (on sale!) and this star pillow to each of their beds.

two | I have had so many gift exchanges and Christmas parties lately with my girlfriends, Moms groups and bible study. I love giving a gift to the hostess because I know how much time & energy goes in to hosting, even with a small group. My fav gift is making a bottle of household cleaner using Young Living's Thieves Cleaner, a 16 oz amber glass spray bottle, a pretty label and a hand stamped tag. It's not only beautiful but a practical gift that is guarateed to be used every day, and for less than $10!


three | Speaking of pretty labels, our favorite shop ever for them is Flair & Festive. Sara offers the loveliest handmade labels for essential oil gifting, creating and storing. At any given time I am dreaming up fun labels and Sara so perfectly brings them to life. Within each listing you can cutomize your font, wording and select the exact size bottle or roller you'll be using and everything comes ready to apply. Application of the labels is so simple and shipping is super quick. I'm hosting a Make & Take in the new year for a bunch of my girlfriends and I can't wait to share the labels I designed for that; they add just the right custom touch and elevate your oil goodies to the next level. If you'd like to grab some pretty labels for your gifting this year, you can use either code through the end of this month: BLESSEDNEST for Free Shipping on Orders over $25 or NEST10 for 10% off your purchase (no minimum). 

four | Olivia and Penelope love sticker books and I am always amazed how long they keep them occupied for. Olivia and I found this one last weekend at Home Goods for $5 and I picked up one for Penelope for Christmas and one for a 3rd birthday gift for a friend. It has lots of cute activities, pages to color and draw on and over 1000 stickers and I know Poppy will love that its a "purse." I also grabbed a few of these Paint with Water Activity books for Christmas gifts. My girls love painting and I love that the paints are on each page ready to go!

five | If you missed my holiday gift guide earlier this week, that can be found here. I included 11 of my favorite shops and lots of discount codes! I also wrote a post sharing 5 ways to be a more present parent here. If you have a moment to read that one, I think it will really give you a great perspective!

Hope you have the best weekend!!

12.05.2017

5 ways to be a more present parent

This past weekend I watched as Adaline took her first steps. My tiny baby girl. She has been on the move since she was just a few months old and we knew she was close to walking. I had said to Dustin I bet by Christmas she would take her first steps but she surprised us on Sunday night when she walked toward me while we were playing in Olivia and Penelope's bedroom. 10 months and 3 days old. 


As a Mom, watching your baby as they reach a milestone or learn something new is so rewarding. My heart was just filled to the brim watching her sweet little legs take steps to me out of nowhere. It got me thinking...what if I had missed it? What if I had been on my phone, my computer or busy trying to get things done around the house? What if I hadn't seen her take those first steps because I was lost in some distraction that wasn't my kids. There is a quote I love that says, "Life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact that you'll never live the same moment twice." I keep that at the forefront of my mind and it helps me to grab hold of each moment with my children and cherish it as it is happening.

We live in an ever-changing, technology-saturated world and while technology has brought about many good things, I also believe technology is one way the Enemy steals from us (John 10:10) -- by taking time and attention away from us being present with our children and telling us the lie that something on our phone / computer / tv / to-do list is more important than they are.

What are the moments you might be missing because you aren't fully present with your child(ren)? What are you prioritizing above them that you maybe shouldn't be? I know that nothing happening on my phone is more imporant than my little girls -- and I want them to know that too. So I thought it would be worthwhile to share 5 ways to be a more present parent, especially this time of year when the busyness of the holidays can pull us away from what truly matters, sometimes without us even noticing it.


one / put your phone down and set the screens aside.

Of course I had to start with this one because I feel like our phones, ipads and computers are where much of our distraction begins. We purposely don't own an ipad because I know it would not only be a distraction for Dustin and I but it would be one for our girls as well. I would rather have them asking to read books in my lap or do art at the table than to play a game or watch a show on an ipad. We try to limit TV and if we are going to have it on, we do a family movie night where we are all together, having popcorn and snuggling on the couch, instead of just turning a show on every time we need to get something done. I think there is a season to reach for the screens (the girls definitely watched more movies than usual after Adaline was born) but be conscious of how often you are picking up your phone, turning on the TV or your computer, and instead just push those things aside when your kids are around. I leave my phone unplugged at night so in the morning I need to charge it. I leave it charging in our kitchen during the day so I can hear it if Dustin is calling but keep it out of my reach when my girls are awake so it isn't a distraction. I want them to see me looking at them when they look at me, not me looking down at my phone.

two / linger a little longer.

Isn't there such a sweet gift in being able to watch your children as they play, learn and interact with their siblings and friends? As parents we get a front row seat to their little world and I don't ever want to miss that! When I drop Olivia off at school, I walk down the hall and stand by a second classroom door and just watch her play; I see what activity she starts with, who she talks to first, what her expressions are. When I drop Penelope and Adaline off at the church or MOPS nursery, I linger for a few minutes and watch as they find things to do and people to be near, observe as they laugh and play. When I am snuggling with my girls at the end of the day in bed, or rocking Adaline and singing, I just slow down and enjoy it. Even if it's been a long day, I try not to rush through it and instead just soak up the cuddles and remind myself how precious each moment with them is. As your children are falling asleep, linger in their room and study their sweet faces. Slow down, linger a little and just be present in the moment. 

three / get on their level.

At the end of a long day (or maybe at the beginning of the day after a long night) it's easy to lay down on the couch and watch your kids play on the floor instead of playing with them. Olivia and Penelope, and even Adaline, will play quietly by themselves and with each other without me intervening at all. Sure, I could get some things done while they entertain themselves, but before I know it, they will be grown and I will be longing to play pretend, have a tea party or throw & catch a ball with my little girls. Those are the moments I just know I will miss. So I do my best to treasure them while they are happening. I get on their level. I sit with them on the floor and play with them, instead of just watching them play. They light up when I join in and the smiles on their faces are 1000x better than vacuuming, folding laundry and meal planning. Yes, all of those things need to be done at some point, but when your children are in front of you, get on their level and make them your #1 focus. Most everything else can wait.


four / let them be little + live in the moment.

Living in the moment with your children is the purest form of intentional parenting. And letting them be little and not stopping their childhood moments because they are messy or silly or not something you would do is so rewarding. As adults, it often goes against our nature because we typically like things proper + clean + neat. But have you ever noticed how kids just don't care? If I go 24 hours without a shower I can barely stand it, but if the girls go a few days between baths they don't even notice. If I were doing a project and got paint on my hands or clothing, I would wash it off right away, but when my girls are drawing or painting they are having so much fun they don't give a second thought to the mess. What if as adults we could be more like that? Just carefree and living in the moment; how much more would we enjoy life if we took that approach like they do.

Last week I was getting ready for a night out with some girlfriends and as I was making dinner before I left, I had music playing and one of my favorite songs came on so I turned it up and Olivia and I spent the next 10 minutes dancing like crazy in the kitchen. We were laughing so loudly and it was so much fun to just be goofy and giggle with her. I didn't plan that moment ahead of time, it just happened. And the key? I let it happen. I didn't stop it, I just went with it. Let your children be children and set aside your plans or expectations and just live in the silly, messy, goofy, unexpected moments as they come. Those are the very best kind. 

five  / include them. 

As much as we may want to have fun all the time, in reality there are lots of things we have to do as Moms that don't always scream FUN. Adult things. You know...errands, laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, appointments...day to day tasks that we are most often responsible for while also caring for our little ones. I've found that with so many things that I have to do, I can include my girls so easily. 

Cooking dinner in the kitchen? I make sure there is music on and it leads to the best dance party. Running errands and spending more time than usual in the car? We play games like "I Spy" or car bingo (we love these bingo cards) and sing songs or I ask Olivia and Penelope random questions they can answer so I can listen and learn more about their perspective instead of just having the radio on and not interacting. Cleaning the house? Assign tasks to each child that they are capable of. Olivia loves using our cordless vacuum in the basement or on the steps. Poppy loves putting away stacks of pajamas after I've folded them and they both do a great job of picking up and organizing toys and books. I can clean alongside them and still remain present. Christmas shopping? Bring your (older) child with and get their input on gifts. They can even make their own list of "gifts" they want to buy for their stuffed animals or friends -- it's so sweet to hear them think about what would be special for their teddy bear or favorite bunny. I spent most of the afternoon last weekend gift shopping and I was so glad Olivia had come with me. She had a blast helping me select special gifts for each person on my list and even found some small things to give her sisters. Fit in lunch or a hot cocoa date between stores and give your child one on one time (this is especially important when you have multiple kids) and something out of the ordinary to look forward to. In anything I am doing, I try to find a way to include my girls and make it fun for them and in turn, it becomes fun for me. You can be present even on busier days by talking with them, listening, asking their opinion and finding special ways to include them.

In what ways do you stay present with your children? I always think of the song "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins. Seriously though, it probably plays through my head at least once a week. The chorus goes like this: "you're gonna miss this / you're gonna want this back / you're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast / these are some good times / so take a good look around / you may not know it now / but you're gonna miss this"

I know I will surely miss these days with my baby girls. Little feet running down the halls and a baby always at my feet or in my arms. Small soft hands in mine and sweet, innocent voices being heard in every room; knowing in this season my nights will be filled with brushing tiny teeth and washing little faces, with book reading and cuddling, rocking and singing but too soon that will change and I'm sure I'll want it back. These really are the good times, and while there is so much to look forward to as they grow, we won't ever get these precious days with our children as little as they are back. Let's be present -- for them and for us. 

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