Sunday, April 19, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

I'm always a few weeks behind posting holiday photos, but at least I'm finally getting these up!

We spent Easter with Sean's parents this year. We started our day off at church, ran home to take a nap, and then headed over to Sean's parents' house for Easter dinner. While I don't have any photos of the actual dinner, I do have lots of photos of the Easter egg hunt that the kids' grandparents put together for them!

I can't remember exactly how many eggs Sean's dad put out, but I think it was nearly 200. 200 eggs for 6 kids. It was awesome! The yard was almost carpeted in them and there were so many to go around that all of the kids had a chance to find eggs for quite awhile.

Previous Easter egg hunts have been fun, but this one was particularly enjoyable for me to watch! Our kids were a lot more independent this year, and this was also the first year that Caleb participated. He actually got right into it without having to be prompted. So while it wasn't his first Easter egg hunt, in many ways, it actually was. So fun to watch him embrace the idea this year!

Cousin Toby and Caleb

Caleb.....he's got this! YAY!!

All of the eggs were plastic, and Sean's mom actually stuffed each one with candy. (That's a LOT of candy!) While most of the eggs were opaque, there were a few that were clear. The kids had been gathering eggs for awhile when Ellie came across a clear one. And....THERE WAS CANDY IN IT?! Oh my word, the expression on her face when she realized that she had been gathering candy filled eggs was priceless!
"MOM!! There is CANDY in this egg! LOOK!"

And of course, she had to yell across the yard to her Daddy as well. :)
"DADDY!!! I FOUND CHOCOLATE IN MY EGG!"

Last year, Abby was still in her phase where she liked small objects but would become fixated on one thing and refuse to let go of it. I think she found maybe...four eggs total last year, and all bets were off when she came across a red one. From that point on, she held onto that egg like it was the last egg on earth.

This year, she was totally into the egg hunt, and ran around collecting eggs regardless of color.
Abby

She filled her bucket right up!
Abby

Elijah....oh, Elijah. This child is currently our biggest handful. He loved the egg hunt, and actually found the most out of all of our kids. The bucket was positively overflowing by the time he was done. He loved every minute of it, and I was extra glad that Ma and Pa (grandparents) had taken the time to put out so many eggs!
Elijah

But then, he too also figured out that the eggs were stuffed with candy. However, he didn't bother to announce that find with us. Instead, he hauled his entire bucket of eggs up the ladder, into the clubhouse, quietly closed the door, and then proceeded to unwrap candy and stuff it in his mouth as fast as he possibly could.

How did we find out? Well, Ellie visited the clubhouse, saw what was going down, and thought that it was a fabulous idea! She called down to her Daddy and said, "Daddy, could you please bring up my eggs so that I can eat all of my candy like Elijah?"

BUSTED!

Let's just say that Elijah was VERY disappointed when Daddy climbed the ladder to clear the eggs out.
Elijah

We really enjoyed watching them hunt Easter eggs this year....the sugar crash after wasn't too pleasant, but they did go right to sleep that night which was really nice for their tired parents!

We hope y'all had a wonderful Easter with friend and family, and most importantly recognizing the gift that Jesus gave to us so many years ago: Redemption!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Little Things Thursdays: #104

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, leave a link in a comment below! If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a moment in a comment anyway. Ready?


1. And...It's April!
It's been about 3 weeks since a Little Things Thursday. Every year from mid-February to the end of March, I fly along by the seat of my pants (not saying I don't the rest of the year, but these few weeks are CRAZY!!). We have Sean's birthday, the kids' birthday, taxes (I'm self-employed so they are a doozy!), a consignment sale, and our anniversary. It doesn't seem like much when you type it all out, but it gets STRESSFUL up in here! Thankfully, Sean helped a ton with consignment sale prep this go around, and that lightened my load considerably.

I am always SO happy to see April arrive!

2. The Dying of the Easter Eggs
This was our first year letting the kids dye eggs, and let's just say that if Sean and his mom hadn't ganged up on me and made it happen, I probably wouldn't have done it. Four 4-year-olds and dye. In my head, there are just so many ways that can go wrong. But I'm also admittedly short on the bravery front when it comes to trying new things as an adult, so I'm sure that's playing into it with my kids. I really need to put on my big girl panties more often and just go for it.

Sean's mom volunteered her house for the Easter Egg dying adventure, so the kids and I all showed up to work on them with the help of their Cousin Marissa. Let's do this thing!
Marissa, Ellie, Ma, Elijah, Caleb, and Abby

The kids were all excited to see what this project was about. "Coloring" eggs was definitely a new concept.
Ellie....I just love the little dimple that jumps out when she is grinning!

Elijah....trying very hard to say "cheese" and smile at the same time

Most of the kids followed the general game plan of dying eggs....except for Caleb. Caleb plopped into a chair, grabbed an egg (look at the first photo above! You can see him grabbing it!), smacked it open on the table, and started shoving pieces into his mouth. Shell and all.

I mean, if you are going to give a boy food, what do you expect, right?

And that was the end of Caleb's participation. I guess he didn't like the way the shell crunched, so he went upstairs to play. Lol!
Caleb

The rest of the kids hung around awhile longer. Elijah dyed one egg before he was done. Ellie finished two, colored on the tablecloth with the provided crayons, and then headed to play, but Abby stuck it out to the end. I think she loved seeing her eggs turn colors!

And then we broke for fruit snacks! Don't worry, Caleb came back for those. *wink*

It ended up being a very successful egg dying experience! Watch out world! My kids know how to use dye!
Abby

The Easter Eggs! Everybody had four to begin with...and Caleb left with three!


3. Because You Asked....
I've had several emails over the past few months asking for info on essential oils classes. I'm teaching an online Introduction to Essential Oils Class on FaceBook on April 14th at 8pm, central time. Everything will be in text format with all posts numbered in order. It's the same info that I teach in person, albeit with much less commentary and side bars about rescuing my kids with oils. Ha! You'll have to just imagine that part. *wink* The class will be in real time, but I'll leave it up for a few days after it ends in case you can't make it right when it is going on. I'd love to see you there!

Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post in a comment below and make sure you come back next week to play again!




This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Young Living Purification Essential Oil Giveaway!

So I was scrolling back through old posts, and realized that it's been six months since the last time I did a giveaway on the blog....how in the world did that happen? I guess I just got busy with life. There is always more to blog about than time to get to it these days. But it's high time we had another giveaway, don't you think?

I'm as in love with essential oils as ever. MORE in love, actually! A year ago, I was writing a series about my skepticism toward essential oils...and subsequent change of heart. We now reach for these for just about everything. It only makes sense that I'd want to share my love with all of you! :)


Purification is a blend of six individual oils with no fillers, dilution agents, or lab created fragrances: Lemongrass, Citronella, Lavandin, Rosemary, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree), and Myrtle. It has a very clean scent....which is exactly what it is excellent for! If something needs purifying, this is my go-to oil!

How do we use it at our house? Here are a few of the ways:

- I might be the only person who doesn't like the lingering smell of cooked bacon, but by day three, I'm really over it. It's the same thing with fish. Both of those food items are delicious, but when I'm done eating them, I don't really want to smell them for days on end. I like to diffuse a few drops of Purification in the evening after dinner to help clean the smell out of the air. On top of that, it can even help clean mildew and cigarette smells out of the air as well. No more stink! Yay!

- Today, Sean and I were talking with his grandpa about washing and drying feather pillows and how sometimes the stink sets in. Purification immediately came to both of our minds as a way to help the smell! Elijah chews on his lovey, so this is a strategy that we sometimes use with that rag to try to get the smell out. It's BAD. A few drops on a wet washcloth and thrown in with clothes in the dryer can help freshen the entire load. If you have dryer balls, try adding Purification to those instead.

- For minor cuts and scrapes, Purification is great for soothing the area. The oils do a beautiful job of cleaning the area right up.

- Summer is a'comin! Purification makes an awesome, all-natural, non-toxic bug spray! I really don't like spraying my kids down with chemical laden bug repellents, so we use this recipe instead. It smells good AND works! (All three oils in this recipe are in the Premium Starter Kit! Click here for info on how to get it with no-strings-attached + an extra resource kit from me for free!)

- Grab a couple of cotton balls or a scoop of baking soda and add a few drops of Purification. Drop it down into the bottom of your diaper pail or trash can (in our case, our trash can IS our diaper pail). The Purification erases the nasty smell that clings to the plastic. Tried and true method!

- In the same way, Purification on a cotton ball works wonders on stinky shoes. Just tuck a scented cotton ball into the toe of each shoe to purify the stink right out!

Those are just a few of the uses for Purification! Scroll down for a chance to win your own bottle to cleanse and purifying your home!

It's important to note that I use Young Living Essential Oils with my family. Not all oil brands are created equally and many can cause problems to worsen if they are not true, 100% essential oils. Even if the label says "100% pure" they are only required to have 5% essential oils in them per regulations. Please visit this link for more info on why we chose Young Living and how we believe it is the best, most effective, and most affordable essential oil option out there. 

If you've been thinking about diving into the world of essential oils, head here to get the details on the Premium Starter Kit and the extra $40 Welcome Kit that I like to send to new oilers for free! It's a fantastic deal that will get you started on the right foot!


~GIVEAWAY!!!~
Would you like to win Purification oil to use in your home? I'll be sending one winner a 5ml bottle of Young Living Purification Essential Oil to use and enjoy! Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Winning entries will be validated prior to announcing the winner with an alternate drawn if the entries cannot be verified.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest ends at 11:59pm on Friday, April 24th. The winner(s) will be randomly chosen and contacted by email, and will have 48 hours to respond to the email with their information so that the prize can be forwarded to them. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States. This giveaway is not endorsed by Young Living Essential Oils and is solely sponsored and administered by A Beautiful Ruckus. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

The information contained in these posts are for educational and entertainment purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques discussed are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. Please do your own research and make your own informed decisions when you are considering lifestyle and health changes. Particularly if you are pregnant, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a doctor before starting any new protocol. Any links leaving this site are the opinion of the author of those sites and should be treated with the same caution as what you read here. 

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Warm Weather and New Spring Clothes from Carter's!

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.”

There isn't much that is better than chucking heavy coats into the closet and breaking out summer clothes! I've never been much for the bulkiness of winter clothing, so when spring arrives, I gladly embrace shorts and tshirts!

A year ago, I had a chance to try the Carter's 2014 Spring Line with my kids. I remember being SO torn about which outfits to get because they were all so fun, but ended up picking out some seriously cute clothes for them to run around in.

This year, when Carter's approached me again, I jumped on the chance! They have such great, quality clothes, and their spring colors are bright and fresh. Exactly what we need to pull us out of the dredges of winter. I secretly hoped that there might be something similar to the other outfits that I wanted last year. Sure enough! I found similar styled clothing in updated 2015 patterns and colors. Score!!! 

I am in love with these adorable outfits on my 4-year-olds!
Abby, Elijah, Caleb, and Ellie

The girls' outfits pulled me right in when I arrived at the store. What I really love about this particular line, is that all of the shirts match all of the skirts. I can mix and match when necessary, and not worry about how it looks. For a busy mom like me, I'll take a fool-proof outfit any day of the week! Extra plus? Each skirt comes with a separate pair of shorts underneath!
Ellie and Abby

Elijah loves posing for the camera! When I asked him to smile, he struck a pose. Haha! I got a short-sleeve button down shirt and a pair of cargo shorts for each of my boys. I think these outfits will easily go from play date to church without any issues.
Elijah

One thing that I appreciate about Carter's is that I can find coordinating outfits within each gender AND even find coordinating outfits for all of my children! Y'all, that is a feat with four kids!
Caleb

If you need a little spring wardrobe updating for your kids, you definitely need to stop by Carter's by April 5th! EVERYTHING in their store is 50% off through Sunday. Perfect for last minute Easter outfits! Or maybe you are gearing up for a summer out on the water? They have a great swimwear selection too!

Extra Tip: Don't forget to grab this coupon to make your selections even cheaper by stacking the discount and coupon together!

Regardless of what you are looking for, pop over and look at what they have. 50% off at the beginning of a season is incredible! Normally, stores don't offer those kind of discounts until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, we are enjoying our new clothes and the warmer weather! 

And just in case you were curious, this is what it really looked like while I was trying to take pictures. Caleb couldn't understand sitting still and smiling when all he wanted to do was run and enjoy being outside! I'd say he fully embraced the point of wearing spring clothes!
Caleb running, Abby, Elijah, and Ellie

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Letters from Dad: #24



Dear Kids,

This month let’s just pray. I have a lot on my heart right now, and I think that's probably the best place to go with this post.

Dear God,

I want so badly for my kids to live in an area where I don’t have to worry about them getting hurt or killed. The news reports from surrounding neighbors are sobering as I hear about another child who has been killed. It’s a week until Easter. The day that we remember how Your Son Jesus was tortured and killed, yet here I sit in my comfortable house and selfishly want my kids to have a good education and a safe environment.

I know I'm not the only parent who wants this for his kids. God, what can I do for this city? What can I do so that kids throughout the world can have a safe education? This problem is much bigger than just our family. A lot of people have switched to homeschooling. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be there. Right now, I don’t think I can provide the structure and therapy that the children need to develop.

God, You have provided for my family. You have taken care of our physical needs. I know that You will dispel my mental worries. These concerns will go away as I turn the details over to You.

Thank you for Your Son and Your Love. 

Love,

Daddy

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Little Things Thursdays: #103

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, leave a link in a comment below! If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a moment in a comment anyway. Ready?


1. Happy Birthday, Sean and Uncle Nathan!
Daddy and Uncle Nathan

Last week, we celebrated Daddy and Uncle Nathan's birthdays! No, they aren't twins. They were just born on the same day exactly two years apart. But since they have always shared a birthday...maybe Sean should have seen it as foreshadowing....lol!

2. Spring has Sprung!
Ellie, Daddy, and Abby

With the GORGEOUS weather, we've been outside enjoying it! The kids always love being outside, but especially when they've been cooped up because of the cold for so long.

Look at these photos! We didn't even need jackets!
Elijah

These were taken on the same day as when we celebrated Daddy and Uncle Nathan's birthdays at Pa and Ma's house. They have a big backyard and built a club house for the grandkids a couple of years ago. The kids always beg to go outside when we visit. 
Caleb


3. Birthday Tricycles
Ellie and Abby

We held back the kids' birthday presents until the weather warmed up. We knew that as soon as we pulled them out, they would want to go for a ride. Sure enough! They were thrilled with their new tricycles AND the fact that they could ride them in the street with our supervision. We are on a quiet street, so there isn't much traffic, and our driveway is at an angle. The street is the only choice...and apparently, it's a definitely perk to this activity!

Elijah

Can I just say...consignment sales are the bomb! I bought all of these tricycles for between $10-$15 each. WOW! They made for very inexpensive birthday gifts and the kids had no idea that they were pre-owned! And even if they did know, they wouldn't care. :D  

Caleb


4. Dear God...
Oh my word, I can hardly stand the cuteness! I REALLY need to record this, but in the meantime, I'll have to just tell you the story.

A few weeks ago, all four of our kids started saying their own bedtime prayers. Now, instead of just Mommy or Daddy praying, all six of us pray before they go to sleep. It is so precious...even if they sometimes get lost in their thoughts. Lol!

But Elijah...oh this boy kills me! Elijah has two standard prayers that he goes with. The first goes like this:

GOD!


I GO TO SLEEP!

JESUS!

AMEN!

It's in all caps because he practically yells it. No worries about God missing that prayer!

The second prayer starts very similarly, but about halfway through he breaks out into song and sings Yankee Doodle Dandy for God.

The "why" is the best part! A few months ago, Sean told Elijah that Yankee Doodle Dandy was his song since Elijah's nickname is Doodle. Sean taught our Doodle to march in place and wave a baton while he sang the song. Adorable! So now, Elijah sings his song for God because he wants to share it with Him. At the end of the last stanza, he always finishes with, "I love that song!!! Amen!"

Typing this out just does not do it justice, so imagine a 4-year-old little boy, very exuberantly talking to someone that he KNOWS is listening to every word he says. We never know if we are going to get his yelled prayer or his song prayer, but either way, we love seeing our son pray! :)


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post in a comment below and make sure you come back next week to play again!




This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Little Things Thursdays: #102

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our family and blog!

Welcome to The Little Things Thursday!!

If you are new, we like to take a minute to look back on the little things that brightened our week. So often we get busy and forget all of the things that we enjoy as we go through our daily lives. This is an opportunity to stop, remember, and enjoy those things! Nothing is too small...in fact, the smaller the better! That's the whole point! If you have a blog, leave a link in a comment below! If you don't blog, I'd love for you to participate by leaving a moment in a comment anyway. Ready?


1. I Can't Keep Up
Well, I think it's pretty obvious at this point that I can barely keep up with life. How sad is it that I sometimes go a full week between posts? I try REALLY hard not to, but sometimes....I just can't get to it. *sadness* And because of that, there is a BIG backlog of posts that need to be written. Hmm...I just need more hours in my day! Mid-February through the end of March are particularly hard as it's our busiest time of the year between birthdays, our anniversary, taxes, prepping for the semi-annual multiples consignment sale (so. much. work.) and trying to keep up with my job AND the kids and a house. Eh, who am I kidding? The house is definitely not kept up at this point.

Anyhow, because I have the same number of hours as everyone else, we are just going to go with it. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

2. Back in January, We Went to St. Louis
So today's Little Things Thursday is really all about our trip to visit the kids' great grandparents in St. Louis a couple of months ago. I haven't blogged that adventure yet, and it NEEDS to be officially recorded for posterity. So it's a BIG THING that is taking over Little Things Thursday. And I'm okay with that.

Back in January, we did something pretty daring. We decided to load the kids up in the car and make the trek to St. Louis for the weekend.
Ellie, Elijah, Caleb, and Abby

It may not seem very daring, but it was our first trip with the kids, and it made me nervous. Mostly, I was worried that sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags wouldn't fly with them. BUT, we wanted to give it a try, and figured they would learn to cope being out of their beds if we gave them a chance.

The kids did well on their first car trip. The longest they had been in the car before that was about an hour. So even though Abby decided that she was "STUCK!!!" about an hour from our destination, we still considered that four hour (5 hours if you count the McDonalds pit stop) drive a success!

And once we arrived, the kids had a ball! Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma (Sean's grandparents) had picked up some coloring books, crayons, and reading books for the kids to play with. They also let us have the run of their entire basement apartment, which was so nice!

 Ellie and Great-Grandpa

Great-Grandma and Sean

Then it was time to bed down for the night. Oh...that first night was rough. The kids had fun backpacks, but even though we made a big deal out of how great it was to go "camping" with them, it just wasn't met with much enthusiasm after the first 5 minutes. I finally rubbed all of them with sleepy essential oils and put Peace & Calming in the diffuser. It took until about midnight, but we finally got them all to sleep. Thankfully, the next night was much easier! I think we just had a little learning curve there that hopefully we won't have to deal with again in the future. It's always hard to deal with changes, especially for little ones.
Clockwise from left: Ellie, Abby, Caleb, and Elijah

Saturday morning, we woke up and the kids had breakfast. At this point, the adventure was back in full swing and very exciting! They played inside and outside all day long, and Sean's cousins, Christian and Gabriel, came over to keep them occupied as well. I also had the fun opportunity to jump across the state line to Illinois and teach an essential oils class for a few women that afternoon. And Sean held down the fort and made sure everyone stayed out of trouble.

That evening, Sean's Uncle Matt and Aunt Lisa came over to hang out with us for dinner (Christian and Gabriel are their kids). It's always so fun to see their family when they come to town. I'm glad we could come their way this time! I'm also always impressed with what nice young men Christian and Gabriel are! They were very kind to all of our kids who were running around everywhere.

Clockwise from left: Ellie, Abby, Christian, Elijah, Gabriel, and Caleb

The next morning (after a much better bedtime) we headed to church with the great-grandparents to meet some of the people who have been praying for our kids since we were pregnant. The sweet people in that church have only seen pictures, so I think they enjoyed seeing the real life versions of our kids. Lol!

After lunch back at the homestead, we loaded up to drive back home. 
Elijah, Caleb, Great-Grandma, Abby, Great-Grandpa, and Ellie

Us and the brave grandparents who put us up for the weekend!

And then we managed to stretch the adventure just a little further by stopping for blizzards halfway home. There were no arguments from the kids on that account!
Abby, Caleb, Elijah, Ellie, and Daddy

It's somewhat empowering to know that that first road trip is behind us. We survived and had FUN! Yay! We are thinking about potentially trying a road trip to New Mexico to see my side of the family this summer...16 hours in the car...are we crazy? Haha!

And I think we will have to head back to St. Louis at some point this year as well. Abby has been asking repeatedly to go see "Gwampa and Gwamma." :)


Now it's your turn! What Little Things brightened up your week? Link up your post in a comment below and make sure you come back next week to play again!




This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.
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