Friday, December 29, 2017

Room for Self Care in 2018

Each year we make new years resolutions that sort of fizzle out within the first few weeks.  I know this happens to others too.  Last year I didn't even decide on any because I knew it was unlikely I'd follow through.  The problem is I always make these far-fetched, extreme resolutions that I know I won't follow through with, can you relate?

This year instead of focusing on one specific thing, I'd like to focus on being more mindful of my self care and take small, simple steps to bettering myself.  I almost feel selfish typing this out, but that's something I've really been working on, mentally.  It's not selfish to take care of ourselves. It's really not.

Here's the thing, when we do not care for ourselves, we cannot give our best selves.  When we are drained physically, financially, emotionally, and beyond, it's hard for us to pour into other people.

Since entering into motherhood, I've not been one to place a lot of value on taking care of myself.  For example, when I take the time to sit down and read, my mind instantly starts to wonder and think about all I need to be doing rather than sitting and reading, so I get up and start on something I feel is productive for our family.

The same is true for exercising.  There once was a time when I loved to exercise.  In college I taught Pilates classes on the side.  I can still remember how uplifting and energized I would feel after each class.  I miss that.

Our quest to live a more natural lifestyle seems to have had a snowball effect on us.  I've heard others say it and it's definitely true.  I think about how much better I feel now both physically and mentally, and how much more energy I have to pour into my kids.  I can't help but think what could happen if I continue to build upon that through even more self care habits.

Taking care of ourselves is not selfish at all.  When we feel our best we can give our best, and I have no clue why it has taken me so long to figure this out.

I'm not talking about living lavishly and spending tons of money at the spa.  I mean if you can do that and it fills your cup, more power to ya, but I'm talking about a more realistic and maintainable approach.

To further explain what I mean, I'm going to share with you my goals and plans for myself this year to improve upon my self care.  It's kind of random, and this may look totally different for you, and that's okay!  We are all unique and at different places in our journey.  My prayer through sharing this is that we can all rally around each other and offer support and encouragement to one another as we tackle 2018 and strive to better ourselves all the way around.

1. Establish my non-negotiables and stick to them.  For me this will include my quiet time every day and attending church regularly.  When I spend time in God's word I feel closer to Him and refreshed for the day.  Even though I know this to be true, there are many days I do not do this as I should.  I pray and talk to the Lord all through out the day every day, but I really need to dig in and be more committed to spending time reading His word.  Another non-negotiable for me will be attending church regularly.  We love our church and church family so much.  Currently we attend on Sunday mornings, but our church has services on Wednesday and Sunday evenings as well.  We don't typically attend those due to my husband's work schedule, but I would like to attend some with my kids even if he can't join us all the time.  In the past if he couldn't go with me, I just didn't go at all.  We will have to see how this one goes as we all adjust to his new work schedule which is crazy town, regardless, Sunday school and Sunday morning services will be non-negotiables.

2. Less time on social media.  I can't give it up entirely because Instagram is how I communicate and share things with many of you and that brings me great joy.  Facebook must stick around as well because of our oily groups.  I learn so much in our team's private group and the ladies I've met there have become some of my dearest friends in the whole world! We have members all over the country and this allows us to keep in touch and share things daily. These groups allow me to grow and learn more about oils and ways I can better my family's health and that is super important to me. The problem I have with social media is learning when to call it quits.  I have this strong urge to "check my phone" way too often and that can result in me not being completely present with my family when I need to be.  I took a few days off from social media recently around Christmas. It felt so good not to feel tempted to grab my phone.  I was at such peace living in the moment and truly being present with my family, it was so good for my mind and soul.  My new rule is to have my phone put away once my kids are home from school, and then I can check it once more after I put them to bed.  I will make sure to have my daily Instagram post and group commitments complete before their school day ends.  I'll be honest, this one will be hard because it has become such a habit, but I know God will honor the way I spend my time. 

3. Continue to simplify. Simplifying our home and our outside commitments has truly changed the way we feel.  When our home is organized and clutter free I feel so calm and relaxed, and my kids love being around a mom who is calm and relaxed rather than a mom who is on edge.  As crazy at it may seem, the state of our home has a huge impact on me and the way I feel.  This also frees up more of my time so I'm able to focus on the other things on my list without feeling like our house needs my attention 24/7.  In our home, simplifying is not something we do one time and we are done, it's a way of life.  We will continue to de-clutter with the seasons and as new things come in, and we will continue to put careful thought into what we choose to devote our time to outside of school.

4. Physical fitness.  I used to count lifting and chasing my babies all day as my physical activity, but sadly those days are behind me.  I do get quite a workout on the farm some days, but it's usually not consistent enough to benefit me.  I mentioned before how I love Pilates, and even though it's been years since I've done it, I'm ready to get back to it. In the past I've made resolutions to join a gym and get in great shape, and I'm not afraid to tell you that's probably never going to happen.  I hate to run, I'm an introvert, and being surrounded by gym equipment and loud music is not at all my thing.  Pilates at home on the other hand could be my jam, and I already know it's something I enjoy. I may not get fitness model results, but I'm not trying to.  This is simply a step forward in bettering myself and keeping my sanity at the same time.  Should be fun!

5. Skin care.  This one may seem weird because I realize most people already have a skin care routine in place, but I'm not one of them. My skin gives me trouble from time to time so I'm always switching around my products without ever establishing a good routine. I will probably continue to change up the products I use from time to time - I'm that way with shampoo and soap too, I don't like to use the same exact thing over and over again.  Since I'm now in my 30's, I realize that some kind of consistent routine is necessary.  I have several products in my stash that I love, and I can't wait to put together a couple of go-to routines.  No more lazy evenings where I fall asleep with my makeup still on.  I know that's so terrible and I can't even believe I'm telling you I do that sometimes. :/

6. Time with my husband.  Sometimes at this stage, we get so caught up in life and work and taking care of our homes and our kids that we slack on quality time with our spouse.  We are so very guilty of this in our home, but we are setting out to change that. I love when I hear people talk about dating their spouse, it's so important.  With my husband's busy job and our farm, sometimes the only time we spend together is when we are working together, which is nice, but not always romantic.  Have you ever seen the t-shirts that say "I'm sorry for what I said while we were working cattle"? ;) Yep, it's true.  Marriage is such a beautiful gift, but it must be nurtured and handled with care.  Speaking of marriage, we have an online Lucy group study coming up in our group that I'm super excited about. Have you guys ever read the book Lucy Libido?  This free, group book study is open to anyone who wants to join in, it's not exclusive for our team, so if you want to be added to the group feel free to send me an email and I will get you added right away.  This class is all about ways we can incorporate oils to enhance our marriage, and yes it's all about marriage and the gift God gave to married couples, it's very classy, I promise.

So that's where my focus will be this coming year.  I know my list is kind of random, but these are the areas that speak the most to me at this stage.  Lord willing, I'm looking forward to getting to work to create a better, healthier me, so I can give my best self to those I love.  Now that I've made this public, I'll have plenty of friends to help hold me accountable, so I'm counting on you! What are some of your goals for this coming year?

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

DIY Glass & Mirror Cleaner

Glass cleaning happens pretty regularly around here. With dogs and kids and lots of running in and out, our glass doors get a lot of use and see a lot of dirt.

In our quest to live a little more natural, we gave up traditional cleaners.

Cleaning without toxic chemicals doesn't mean your home isn't getting clean.  We've actually found the exact opposite to be true.

We have grown up with this mindset that if you can't smell the bleach or Lysol in the air, then it's not clean, but do you know what clean actually smells like? Nothing.  It smells like nothing.

With that said, I love for my home to smell nice, so that's one of the reasons I like to add essential oils to all my DIY cleaners.  They smell nice, naturally, and I can reap the health benefits of breathing them in while I clean. 

Another bonus to using natural cleaners is that my kids can help me clean without me having to worry about them inhaling toxic fumes. 

This cleaner will leave your glass sparkling clean and streak free.  You will see that I added Lavender to mine because I love the scent of true Lavender, it makes me happy to clean rather than dreading the task at hand.  You can add any oil you'd like.

I like to use glass amber spray bottles for my cleaners.  I buy them from Amazon. I leave my cleaners sitting out a lot of the time so I have quick access to them, and I love the way these bottles look.  They add such a charming timeless feel and they make me smile.

I like to tie on tags to label them and I jot down the recipe on the back so when it's time to refill, it's right there.

Jake is even amazed. ;)

Have a blessed day & happy cleaning!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Farmhouse Christmas

 Simplify.  My word of the year, actually more like two years. I've been on a quest to simplify so we can create more time together as a family, and so I can make myself more available for the things and people that matter most. This simple approach has carried through to our Christmas decor as well, and it feels so good!

Everything you will see here is pretty basic.  A tree, stockings, a little fresh greenery, and that's about it.

Sometimes we get ourselves worked up over the craziest things.  Or maybe that's just me, but I knew this year needed to be different.  Having both kids in school this year has been an adjustment for sure and it's also been an eye opener for me.  This year hasn't been the easiest for us, but I find peace in knowing God always has a plan even when we don't understand, and we will be stronger for it.

Even though we've been simplifying for a while, we were hit with some tough stuff this year that set us back a bit.  We know we can only look ahead, God always knows what he's doing, and I know he works all things together for our good.

 It's so important to us that our children know and understand the true meaning of Christmas.  It's one thing to talk about it and read about it, but it's something else to actually live it.  We want to live it and set an example that will stay in our children's hearts forever.  This takes work and it means being super intentional with our time.

I love decorations and creating a cozy home for my family, but I can't let it consume me.  I've been there before.  I've been the crazy lady who won't let her kids touch the tree because the ornaments won't be arranged the right way.  Not fun. For any of us. I've also poured so much of myself into decorating and shopping and events in the past that there was nothing left of me to give.  My kids were not getting the best of me, and I was certainly not being intentional with my time.

I mean seriously, how can we be teaching our kids all about baby Jesus and the importance of Christmas while we are showing them something entirely different with our actions?  Kids don't miss a thing, do they? 

So anyways, I'm sharing with you our Christmas home tour, in it's tidied state.  If you ever watch my Instagram stories you know this house of ours is very lived in, but I straightened it up a little for you today.

 This year our tree is a little bit of everything.  Mostly handmade ornaments and keepsake ornaments that we've collected over the years.  The kids helped and we filled it as full as we could get it!

It's definitely a tree that makes us all smile. :)

My mom gave our kids these stockings years ago and they love them.  I tried to do the whole matchy matchy family stocking thing, but these bring us so much more joy.  We do have little mini stockings with our initials in the hallway though, I'll show you those in just a second.

The addition of a wood stove to our living room wasn't something I was thrilled about at first, but now I love it.  I can't imagine not having it actually.  It's so warm and cozy and heats our entire house.

We use it all day every day in the winter so that means this area of our house stays a little dirty at all times.  It isn't the cleanest heat ever, but it makes me feel like Ma Ingalls when I stoke the fire up each day, and then I can't help but smile. Have I ever mentioned how much we love Little House on the Prairie around here?  I think that's another reason I've fallen in love with natural living and making our own cleaning products.  Ma Ingalls never used Scrubbing Bubbles.

If you've never watched the pilot episode, you must! It's the perfect Christmas show to watch as a family.  We watch it every single year and our kids really love it too.  Talk about simplifying, yeah they had that down.

Speaking of natural living, I thought I'd share a couple of our favorite Christmas diffuser recipes.  There's nothing like the scent of Christmas filling your home!

These were shared in our private oily group along with a zillion more, but these are a couple of my favorites.

Baby it's cold outside blend:
3 drops Christmas Spirit
3 drops Northern Lights Black Spruce
1 drop Cinnamon Bark

Three Wise Men Blend
3 drops Frankinscense
2 drops Myrrh
2 drops Ginger
2 drops Pine

Here are the little mini stockings I was telling you about.  I just love them.  They add a little Christmas charm to our hallway.

And here's Jake in his Christmas sweater.  Poor buddy gets chilly this time of year.

Before we head to the kitchen I'll go ahead and apologize for the lighting.  This week has been so cloudy and gloomy so I had trouble getting bright photos.

It's definitely cozy weather though.  The kind where you just want to curl up with a blanket and Netflix. :)

  Not too much going on in here, it's very simple.  The table runner might be my favorite along with the candle sitting in Roby's grandma's china dish.  The candle is just for looks, I won't be lighting it.  I'm looking into making my own candles because I do kind of miss them. Surely there's a way to make healthy ones.  Maybe.

I switched out the lavender for these little faux trees.  There's something about a tree in a crock that's so cozy and serene.  Maybe that's just me, but I love it.

This little Santa goes on our stove every single year.  It's one of those meaningful Christmas doodads, not because its valuable, I bought it at the dollar store, but because it's the first Christmas decoration I ever bought when we bought our first house.

We had moved in around this time of year, and I remember buying this Santa and placing it on our stove before we had even unpacked boxes. It made our new house feel like home.  We have a picture of me bathing Audrey in the kitchen sink and you can see the Santa in the background.  I need to find that so I can share it.

Usually I change the chalkboard, but this year I didn't. This is my favorite Bible verse and one I read and cling to each and every day.  Anytime someone comes over, they notice it and read it, even if they don't say anything.

"...whatsover ye do, do all to the glory of God."

I need this reminder on a daily basis.  Even when my day consists of cleaning house and doing laundry, I know I'm serving the Lord because I am serving my family.  I am doing his work, and so are you, mama!

This is probably our most used room in the house.  We are always gathering in the kitchen.  Even though I like to keep clutter at a minimum, I still like to keep things that I use most often our on my counter.

This little table belonged to my great grandmother.  I remember it well even though I was really young. She kept it by her bed.  I'm grateful to have it in our farmhouse now.

I'll wrap up by sharing a couple more views of our Christmas kitchen, and wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! 

I hope you all enjoy this time with your family and let go of the small stuff.  Our time is so precious, lets make it count and lets cheer each other on!  I love you all and thank you so much for your support and friendship!

Merry Christmas!