10.18.2017

our favorite oil accessories

Happy Wednesday! Our week over here is flying by and we have been having weather that is out of this world!! Yesterday while Olivia was in school, Penelope, Della and I met up with some friends at a local orchard that we hadn't been to before, so much fun. It's always a blast to discover new places that quickly become your favorite.

If you haven't seen yet that I am sharing about our essential oil journey, I started a few weeks ago with a new account on instagram @blessednestessentials. I have been posting about my passion for natural health for quite sometime now and was always getting questions asking if we use essential oils, how we use them, what our favorites are and why...so it felt like the right time to jump on in with an oil-exclusive account.

One of my favorite parts about essential oils is that once you have a starter kit, the DIYs are pretty much endless. Especially as we approach the holiday season, I love using our Young Living oils to create thoughtful gifts for friends and family, as well as around our own home to "ditch and switch" from toxic products to products that are safe for our whole family. Below are the products I most often use for all the my oiling! 

One of the very first ways we started using essential oils back in 2015 was to replace dryer sheets. They are one of the highest sources of toxic chemicals in your home...and probably the last thing you want on your clothing and childrens' clothing. Simply ditch the dryer sheets and switch to wool dryer balls...put a few drops of your favorite essential oil onto each ball and toss them in while drying your clothing. I especially love using lavender when I am washing bedding and the girls' blankets. 

I most often use vintage alphabet rubber stamps for the kraft tags and also love making labels for the glass spray bottles using this label maker. I pick up all my mason jars for soaps, scrubs and other gifts at local craft stores. They are often very inexpensive. I use the 16 oz glass spray bottles for my Thieves cleaner (mix 1 capful of Thieves Household Cleaner with 2-3 cups water) and try to keep one on every level of our home so it's within reach whenever I am cleaning. 


Young Living's V-6 is my go-to carrier oil, and I also use Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) which you can buy from Amazon and many health sites. I also love YL's aroma glide roller fitments, which turn any bottle of essential oil into a roller. We especially love using them on our KidScents oils and lavender. 

If you would like to get started on your own essential oil journey, you can find more information in this post. You can follow along on instagram @blessednestessentials and of course, email or message me with questions anytime!

10.13.2017

friday favorites

Happy Friday! Dustin took today off work so this morning I got some girl time with Olivia and Penelope while Della was napping at home, a great way to start any day! All 3 girls just miraculously went down for their naps so I have a few minutes to blog before Dustin and I have lunch together in the backyard. He went to pick up one of our favorite lunches, the parmesan-crusted milano salad from Biaggi's. If you guys have one near you, seriously it is so good!! Tonight I have a girls spa night with my girlfriends and I cannot wait for that either! Definitely a fun weekend so far!


It's been awhile since a Friday Favorites post has gone up and I have so many things to share!

one | I get asked often what my favorite diaper bag is and hands down I say Fawn Design every time. I was first introduced to the brand when Penelope was born in 2015 and used a black Fawn bag and loved it. It has the perfect amount of space for 2+ kids, still room for my stuff and tons of pockets which = organization, my favorite thing ever. I've tried many different diaper bags over the past 4 years and keep going back to my Fawn bags. This Fall I've been loving their Gray bag because it matches everything. I recommend them to every new mom because if a diaper bag is not only functional but stylish, total win!

two | On the theme of my favorite things for motherhood, we have these glass bottles for Della and I absolutely love them. We used Dr. Brown's bottles for our first two girls but I really wanted to switch to glass when Adaline was born and they are as amazing as I hoped they would be. I picked them up when they had a friends & family sale and after my discount ended up getting the whole set for $40 plus free shipping, so watch for sales to scoop them up! They would make a great gift for a new Mama as well.

three | Our favorite hair clips for the girls are from Ryan & Wren. Poppy and Olivia wear them daily and I always make sure to have a few in my diaper bag when we are out and about. Over the past few years I've had a chance to design some festive clip sets with the owner Mary, who is so wonderful. The clips come in so many fun colors and the glitter ones are the girls' favorites!

four | Fall is the perfect time to pull out a Gathre mat for outdoor activities or indoor art, picnics and playtime as the temperatures drop. We love them and use ours daily (our favorite sizes are the Midi and Maxi). Enter ABLESSEDNEST at checkout for 15% off your purchase at Gathre through the end of the month.

five | We may be getting a little ahead of ourselves as far as the seasons go, but I recently picked up this book for Olivia and we are both loving it. It is illustrated by one of my favorite artists and both the pictures and text are just darling. 

six | Now that summer is over, I am in full-on purging mode, getting rid of most of the girls' outgrown clothes, selecting a few of my favorite pieces to hold on to for next season for their sisters and then adding some new pieces in to their wardrobes. I also pulled out all our fall boots, cozy socks & winter knits and have been organizing it in their rooms and in our front entry. My favorite storage are the pom bins by Pehr designs. If you've been following for awhile you know I used a set of three pink pom ones for the girls' Easter baskets this year (here) and I also love them for toys, books, dolls, swaddle blankets and diapers & wipes. We have a few different sizes but the ones we have the most of are the pints and bins. I keep this one in Della's nursery with rolled up swaddles in it and the same one in Poppy's room with her dolls. This size is perfect for the girls' hats, scarves and gloves in our entry way as well as their shoes and boots. 

seven | Another question I get a lot via DM are my favorite water bottles and dishware for the girls. Each of our girls have an ELLO Luna water bottle in different colors and we love them! I shared about them a few months ago when we first got them and recently added this purple one for Della. They are a great size, dishwasher safe and the straw makes it easy for kids of all ages to use, even our littlest lady.

eight | I picked up flannel sheets this week in the gray stripe print for Olivia's bed and can't wait to get them on this weekend so its extra cozy! I also love these (on sale!) and these for a toddler bed.

nine | My favorite swaddle blankets from Max + Moose release in 3 new colors on Sunday -- birch (my fav!), maple & blue spruce. I have used just about every swaddle out there since Olivia was born and Max + Moose remain my favorite. Think of them as your favorite tee in blanket form -- they are cozy, soft, have just the right amount of stretch and are great for tiny babies through childhood. All our girls love them and our collection is ever-growing!! 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and if you have any favorite things we need to try, be sure to share them below or send me an email or DM! XO

10.10.2017

our weekend

We have been spending every moment possible outdoors this month, as the weather has been incredible and we know all too soon the snow will be flying!! We have a tradition of going to our local landscape arboretum each October with our girls and we took advantage of the beautiful weather and visited this past weekend. 


They have miles and miles of walking (and driving) trails through the woods, dozens of gardens, flowers & plants, water fountains and water falls (anyone else have kids who are obsessed with water fountains??) and then this time of year, pumpkin houses, scarecrows throughout and lots of fun festive decor. The girls love counting pumpkins, running through the woods crunching leaves, treasuring hunting for acorns and of course, enjoying snacks and a picnic lunch amongst the gorgeous scenery! If there is ever a time to get outside and admire all the breathtaking views and changing leaves, October is it. 






Hope you had the best weekend as well!!

10.08.2017

goat milk recipe

Last week in my instastories I shared that I am supplementing with Adaline and using a homemade goat milk recipe. I had so many of you message me asking for it so I thought I would post it here! 

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, the most important thing is a fed baby :) I have loved breastfeeding my girls but always had a lower milk supply, so I supplement with a homemade goat milk formula. 

It was really important for me to find an alternative to traditional formulas because they are often very high in sugar, soy and of course, cow's milk (dairy). This recipe was recommended to me by our chiropractor Suzy, who is also my boss ;) You can read more about my (very part time) job here

Suzy used this recipe with her own kids and we have loved using it with ours. Because I started supplementing with it around 6 months, I modified it slightly from the original recipe. I talked with Suzy specifically on what I could nix from it because of what I am giving Adaline regularly in her diet. Obviously, for a newborn it would be a bit different since their sole source of nutrition is milk. 

I would recommend talking with your pediatrician, chiropractor, or holistic healthcare provider if you are thinking of doing this. For us personally, it has been amazing. None of the girls ever dealt with spitting up, digestive issues, etc. and I love that it allows me to control exactly what I am putting into my baby's body because I make it all at home myself. Finally, the recipe calls for raw goats milk, which is ideal, but we use store bought because getting it raw is much more challenging unless you've got connections with farmers nearby!

Below is the recipe and the ingredients that I put in mine have asterisks. We introduced it to Della around 6 months.

Goat Milk Formula 
This recipe is adapted from Sally Fallon's recipe from Nourishing Traditions
{makes 35-40 oz}
*2 cups raw goat milkRaw goat milk is the best option for your child because it provides the most enzymes, proteins and nutrients. Raw is going to be the optimal choice if you can find it. Try to find a farmer or friend with goats to purchase it from. The other option is purchasing goats milk in the grocery store; it is found almost everywhere

*2 cups filtered water / Start at 2 cups filtered water and as your child grows, increase the amount of goats milk (around 8-10 months)

*1/4 cup liquid whey / Suzy recommends using Suero Gold (This is a product from cows but contains Beta A2 protein which is very similar in goats milk; if there is a severe milk intolerance, you can use goat yogurt for the whey) -- I get this at our chiro clinic but I believe it is sold in Whole Foods as well for about $6 a bottle which lasts several weeks

1-2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses / Start small; she prefers using 1 teaspoon and working up in quantity as child gets older

*1-2 teaspoons high quality real maple syrup / This adds carbohydrates that are necessary for brain growth and a slight sweetness (Do not use honey or agave syrup)

*1/2 dose liquid B Vitamin: The B Vitamins are a must when it comes to this recipe because goat milk doesn't have high levels of B Vitamins; Suzy recommends MoRs by the brand Systemic Formulas which is what we use -- This is another item I get from the chiro and I believe you have to be a healthcare provider to order Systemic Formulas products directly. Any high quality liquid B vitamin should work, you can even go to Whole Foods and ask someone in the supplement section what they would recommend

*1/4 teaspoon powdered probiotic: A multi-strain probiotic that is of the highest quality is preferred {we use this one}

*1/2 teaspoon fermented cod liver oil (FCLO): Green Pastures is the best brand of FCLO {here}; you can also sub Innate Choice Omega Sufficiency {which is what we use here}

*2 teaspoons coconut oil / Extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined. This is critical for MCT fats (medium chain triglycerides) for brain development and fat for satiety and fullness; it is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, which mimics the same properties found in breast milk {I warm it on the stove in a small butter melting pot and use the immersion blender on high as I am pouring it in and it seems to blend much better than if I were mixing it in as a more solid form}

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil / For monounsaturated fats

1/4 teaspoon high vitamin butter oil or 1 teaspoon sunflower oil Suzy recommends the Vitamin Butter from Green Pastures

2 teaspoons nutritional yeast / This also contains important B vitamins; you can buy this in bulk at co-ops and Whole Foods for a great price; make sure it is gluten free

*1/4 teaspoon acerola powder / We use Perque Vitamin C powder {here

Directions: 
Put the goats milk, filtered water and whey in a glass mixing bowl or large glass jar; add the rest of the ingredients and blend with an immersion blender until completely mixed together. If you don't have an immersion blender you can also use a regular blender. Store in the refrigerator in glass or stainless steel. To heat, fill a bottle (we use a small funnel) and place the bottle without a top on in hot water. I have a 2-cup glass pyrex measuring cup that I fill 2/3 the way full with water, warm it in the microwave for 90 seconds, and then set the bottle in it to warm. I don't cap the bottle until I am ready to give it to Della because the heat can sometimes push the milk out the top. 


A few other tips:
This formula can have a darker color than breastmilk and other formulas. 

When the formula is cold, the oils will separate but they will become uniform when you heat the bottle in warm water. 

When I make it for Adaline, I only put the ingredients above that have asterisks. So I don't put in molasses, olive oil, vitamin butter or nutritional yeast. I also do a 2:2 ratio of goats milk to filtered water. She is 8 months so I may modify this in a few weeks but for now I do 2:2. 

The list can seem long at first and if you haven't ever made homemade formula, I understand how intimidating it can be. If you need to supplement, it seems much easier to just buy it from the store and mix powder with water. But, for us, it's incredibly important to minimize the amount of soy and sugar, as well as cow's milk products, in our girls' diets. This has been a big key in that. 

The length of time one batch will last you varies depending on how much milk your baby is consuming. I make a double batch about twice a week and make it in large glass mason jars. I get everything out at once, only have to wash my immersion blender once and then have two large containers ready for the week ahead.

I get our goats milk at Whole Foods, filtered water and maple syrup at Trader Joe's, probiotics and coconut oil from Amazon or Whole Foods and everything else from our chiro. Remember, quality is key; even if you can't find these exact brands, that's okay. Just make sure each ingredient is high quality from a trusted brand/source. 

There is a learning curve to making it, but once you make it a few times you will realize how easy it is. I can make a double batch in less than 10 minutes. I had the recipe memorized after just making it a few times and love knowing I am able to offer a healthy alternative to store-bought formula. 

I hope this helps each of you who have asked about it. You can always send any questions you have my way. Hope you had a wonderful weekend! We spent most of ours outside and we are loving everything about Fall! XO

10.02.2017

happy october!

Happy October! We had beautiful weather this weekend so we enjoyed a trip to a local nature center, where we found a handful of all different sized turtles sitting on a log in the sunshine, definitely the highlight of our time there! We also hunted for acorns and crunched a lot of leaves!


October is one of our favorite months of the year. Dustin's birthday is this week and the leaves are all really starting to turn. We love the cooler weather, pulling out our fall pajamas and cozy blankets. I also love having a diffuser going in our kitchen and doing lots of baking and cooking. Chicken chili, mulled cider & pumpkin bars are a few things on my list this week! And maybe chocolate souffl├ęs for Dustin's birthday...we'll see if I am up for that ;)

On days we aren't out & about, we have been taking it slow at home. I usually try to make sure one day during the week we have nowhere to go and nothing to do, either Wednesdays or Fridays since Olivia is off school those days, and then do the same one day each weekend. Saturday is usually our family day, spent outside with the girls doing different Fall activities like visiting the orchard, going on a nature hike, having a picnic with friends or going to the park. I'm pretty sure our weekends don't ever go by with at least one trip to the park. Seriously, Poppy can spot a slide or swings a mile away!! On Sundays after church we usually grocery shop and then lay low, especially if Saturday was busy. Bonus points if everyone naps on Sunday afternoon!!


I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things we've been loving so far this Fall! Our favorite ribbon dresses and peplums for the girls just dropped last week from Childhoods. They are so cozy and the clothing I put them in most often on cool Fall days. Now if they just came in my size!!

I also love this similar peplum top; the girls have it in Heather Gray and it is the softest piece of clothing they own. It comes in a few colors, I love the Winter Wine and the Raspberry Tart is so bright and fun!

For pajamas, my favorite for quality are from Mini Boden. We love the "Twin Pack Cosy Long Johns" and they most often sell them in sets of two for $60, but with a 20% off coupon you can get them for $48 and free shipping. I usually wait until I have a $15 gift voucher (I get them in the mail every few months or by email) and then buy a set for $33. They come in sizes 3Y up to 14Y. You can use the code 5M4R at checkout for 20% off and free shipping on your first order!!

I also just stumbled upon this gnome pajama set and well, lets just say its a long story, but our girls absolutely love gnomes. So I scooped these up for them right away!

We have also been enjoying Fall Diffuser blends using our YL Essential Oils. I most often have a diffuser going in the kitchen, the living room or the playroom because that is where we spend most of our time during the day. A favorite of mine right now is Fall Leaves: 6 drops orange + 1 drop patchouli + 1 drop ginger. We diffuse essential oils instead of burning candles, as they are much safer and completely non-toxic, which is so important especially when my girls, including Adaline, are breathing it in. It makes the house so cozy when a diffuser is going that smells just like the season outside!

We spend a lot of time reading books inside as the temperatures drop and are always adding new ones to our collection. A few of our favorites right now are The Little Yellow Leaf, Room on the Broom (Poppy asks for this one every single day at nap time and we pretty much watch the 20 minute animated version every night before bed), Fall Ball, It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse! and Curious George's Day at the Farm, which is fun to read this time of year and has flaps to lift that Poppy loves.

My mom stopped over last night with homemade chicken wild rice soup and cornbread, right before I was about to start preparing dinner, so that was a total treat!! How good does it feel to not have to cook once in awhile?! Soup in a big mug and windows open with a cool breeze have me so thankful Fall is here and we're looking forward to all that is to come!! Hope you are enjoying the season as much as we are!!

10.01.2017

why young living?

A question I get often about essential oils is “Why did you choose Young Living?” 

There are so many different essential oil companies but for me, the choice was obvious. As the leader in essential oils since they first came on to the market in 1994, Young Living’s vision is to bring the life-changing benefits of essential oils to every home, every family and every lifestyle. You can find EOs just about everywhere these days — including health food stores, co-ops, fitness centers and more. But did you know that very few are actually pure, therapeutic oils that contain the benefits that Young Living’s do? If you’ve tried oils you picked up from the grocery store and feel like they aren’t working, its probably because they aren’t. Often, synthetic chemicals are added to the oils you find in stores, even when their labeling says “pure.” Once you switch to, or start with, Young Living, you will notice a difference as great as in the quality to as simple as how they smell. 

Another thing I love about Young Living is their transparancy for their Seed to Seal guarantee. Young Living owns their own farms, both in the United States and around the world, and anyone can visit the farms to participate in both the harvest and distillation process. In the front of this year’s catalog, you can read about each of the farms and learn which oils come from where as well as see photos from each location. I love knowing exactly where each oil is beginning, especially if it will eventually end up in my home and used on my family & children. 

Each batch of Young Living’s essential oils is rigorously tested both in-house and via 3rd party testing. At Young Living’s farm, weed control is done by hand and all the pest control is done with essential oils!! With over 20 years of experience and research, and the largest selection of both singles and blends available on the market, Young Living is a natural fit for our family.

If you have specific questions about Young Living’s products, oils or Young Living as a company or want to get started with Young Living, send an email to me at blessednestessentials@gmail.com and I’d love to help!

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