Weekend in the Quad Cities

Friday afternoon Anderson & I visited Andrew at work. While we were there Anderson decided he needed to be productive and take some calls.

While AW & I waited on Anderson to wrap a few things up we talked about the weekend ahead! But then Anderson had some questions so AW had to step in & help him out. They make a great team ;-)

They finally finished and we hit the road! WooHoo! Next stop, Muscle Shoals! We arrived at Amy & Austin's adorable home and got the grand tour.

I'm seriously trying to convince Amy to start a DIY/Decorating blog because she has a great eye for design and she & Austin make a great team. They have redone so many fun & unique pieces of furniture and their home is decorated with a great mix of beauty and comfort. 

Here's a fun padded headboard project they actually just completed! {Excuse my poor iPhotography. This was before I read about how to take fabulous iPhotos!}

After we finished the grand tour we headed out for a quick dinner at Rick's BBQ before leaving Anderson with them and heading to the theater.

When we arrived in Sheffield {a whole 1.5 miles from Muscle Shoals} the theater was shining bright! It was so fun and felt a little glamorous!

We met up with Andrew's parents and took some more pictures outside. It was a lovely evening and everyone was so excited to see the show, which had received rave reviews!

We headed inside, found our seats and proceeded to do what any other iPhone-owning-American does...you know, take selfies and instagram them.

The show was great! It was a wonderful mix of students, teachers and professionals and they did such a great job! Shout-out to my BIL, Peter, for doing a great job acting as a pimp and making me feel completely uncomfortable! 

After the show ended the cast was standing outside in the street to greet the audience. It was so much fun and of course, another photo opp!

A fellow cast mate & Peter!

Peter & Andrew
We arrived back at Amy & Austin's to find our Little Man passed out hard from a night filled with throwing balls, watching Lion King and eating grapes. Talk about a wild Friday night!

We all chatted for a few minutes and then headed straight for bed! All of the previous night's ball-throwing proved to be very tiring as Little Man slept until 8:45! A Saturday Miracle!!!

Andrew went to The Donut Shoppe & Amy whipped up some blueberry muffins and we lounged around talking and eating. It was so nice! 

A while later we said our good-bye's and headed off to meet up with the fam at Legend's, a local steakhouse.

It is a neat restaurant and had a live jazz band playing! Anderson's favorite part was the water fountain out front.

What's more fascinating than water falling on rocks?!

After lunch we headed to the campus of UNA where my mother-in-law graduated from. It is a beautiful campus complete with Live Lions! Yes!

And in addition to the live lions the campus also has a toddler-terrifying Lion Ride!

But don't think that the $.50 went to waste...

By the way, Peter, are those Sesame Street characters wearing black leather?!

We continued our walking tour where my romantic husband came across some artwork that moved him. Literature-based artwork. My husband was moved. To do this...

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Other than our lack of flowing locks I think we look pretty legit! Right?!

We saw the rest of campus...

...drove around Florence where there are some beautiful old homes...

I asked AW to buy me this house. He said no. I thought that was a little rude.   

....drove over the dam and then headed for The 'Ham! 

What did you do this weekend?


1st Haircut

I love how long Anderson's hair was getting. I have not wanted to cut it and in fact all I have done before now was trim it ever so slightly in the front right before Easter.

But it was time. His hair was all in his face and he couldn't see. My heart broke a little. 19 months is a good run! I gave him his 1st haircut last night and he actually did great!

I watched a YouTube tutorial that was very helpful and I warned Andrew not to be mad at me if it didn't look professional {graciously he agreed}. 

Armed with my hair cutting scissors from Sally Hansen, a little comb and my iPhone I got to cutting. Let's pause for a moment to talk about the importance of the iPhone. It has Peek-A-Boo Barn on there & some other games which are great for distracation & getting him to hold still.

He sat in Andrew's lap and played his game. Now, when Peek-A-Boo Barn last updated it took away the children's adorable, sweet voices & replaced them with some robotic sounding lady!!! Who decided that would be ok?!?! That's why everyone loves the Peek-A-Boo games! We were all seriously sad and if you have any information on this case please share.

So, while Anderson played with robot-lady I began...

When he realized the whole family was watching on he no longer wanted to be facing away so Aunt Anna held him for a bit {check out my super-professional, certified at-home-haircut technique}...

Then, suprisingly, even DaDa got in on the cutting action! And, he was great! He said, "I'm trying to layer it," while he snipped and fluffed. I laughed! But I don't know why I was surprised because he cuts his own hair and has cut Stephen & Nathan's hair too. I suppose he's the family barber. Need a cheap haircut? Come on over, apparently we've got skillz!

I must say that while it didn't come out perfect it did come out pretty well! He really looks good and now he really looks like a Little Boy and not a Baby *tear*

Here's a shot of the back...

And yes, I saved the lock that I snipped from the back. I'm a Total Mom!

Did you save a lock of hair from your child's 1st hair cut?

{Disclosure for crappy iPhone photos: I've never claimed to be a good photographer. My lack of skillz (<< I know it's not actually spelled that way) + a squirming toddler do not equal frame-worthy photographs, only blog-worthy, no offense to my blog!}


Everyday Living Kit: Part 1

When I became a Young Living member I got the Everyday Living kit. I was so excited to use it but when it arrived I wasn't sure what to do with it. Which oil or oils could I use right then??? I wanted to test them all but {thankfully} I didn't have multiple ailments at that exact moment so I settled for smelling them all.

They smelled wonderful!

But as time has passed I have used every single one multiple times. I have had my kit for almost 3 months now so I will let you know which oils I have used the most and how I have utilized my oils!

{I'll review 3 different oils per post making this a 3-part series}


This blend of oils has been great for battling bug bites this summer. Anderson is a mosquito magnet {I assume it's because he's so sweet!} and his legs were covered up at the beginning of summer. Whenever he's had bites I've applied 1-2 drops of Purification mixed with a little bit of coconut oil and rubbed his legs down. It immediately takes the itch away!

Peace and Calming:

This is a wonderful blend of oils that I have enjoyed using at bedtime. I love when Andrew rubs it on my feet. Also, last night Anderson was a bit wound up when we laid down to go to bed and was pitching a typical toddler fit. I put one drop of P&C on his feet and he immediately calmed down. I am not exaggerating! He didn't immediately fall asleep but he immediately calmed down and his lids started getting heavy. He laid very still & kept sticking his little foot in the air for me to rub it. It made me laugh!


This blend of oils is excellent for muscle aches and headaches. 1-2 drops is enough to help ease the discomfort. Andrew & I take turns rubbing this one on each other; he likes it for sore muscles after a work out and I like for my neck and lower back aches. It smells nice and feels even better!

If you have Purification, Peace and Calming or Panaway what are some ways that you enjoy using them?

If you don't have them what are some ways they could benefit you & your family?


A Lesson In Food

A couple of days ago my friends, Kristy and Chloe, and I packed up two minivans worth of wagons, toddlers and picnic lunches and headed off to do some blueberry picking. We were quite enthusiastic about our field trip.

We drove out to the country, turned down a long, winding, gravel driveway and ended up in the front yard of somebody's house in the middle of some fields. Ummm...where's the farm? You know the ones, complete with petting zoos, tractor rides, a ticket at the gate...Oh, that's not a real farm?!

No, apparently this was a real farm. Complete with blue sky, green grass, fruit bushes and plenty of fresh air.

Chloe immediately said, "You're doing all the talking here!" HA! I guess it was my idea to load us up and bring us all the way out to a REAL FARM!

Not long after we pulled up the front door of the old house swung open and a very nice man came out, said hello and he would get us some buckets. I continued to look around for the picture-perfect, rustic scene to take pictures of the babies. After all, we had dressed them in smock and hairbows! {Not Anderson, no hairbow for him; but plenty of smock!} 

And while I was looking around for the "rustic photo booth" Chloe was being attacked by ants. Yes, real ants! Fire ants! She was quickly becoming displeased with this Real Farm Experience.

So you know it took about FOREVER 15 minutes for us to unload 3 toddlers, wagons, picnic lunches & diaper bags, apply bug spray and sunscreen, hand out various sippy cups & snacks and in general get our act together. Then we were off to do some picking.

Since we are kind and generous friends we had agreed to pick a couple of extra gallons of blueberries for our other friends who couldn't join us. We left the shade and headed right for the center of the sun. Or maybe we just headed a few yards behind the house to some blueberry bushes but seriously how can it be so much hotter a few yards away?!?!

We began to sweat. No, not glisten or shimmer or anything lovely like that. We were full on nasty sweating. The children were sweating. I think the blueberries might have been sweating too.

Quickly we ditched the extra gallon buckets and "told" our absent friends they could drag their toddlers out to the Real Farm and pick their own stinkin' berries because GOOD GRIEF IT WAS HOT!

At one point all 3 toddlers were in the same wagon {because it's awesome & has an umbrella!} literally melting down, crying, hitting each other and fighting over Chloe's camelback. All the while we were being brave mothers battling spiders and various flying, stinging bugs to pick them fresh, chemical-free blueberries and they better perk up and enjoy this rustic experience because WE ARE GOOD MOTHERS WHO LOVE YOU AND DRUG YOU OUT TO A REAL FARM IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY...our bad.

In all it took us about an hour to pick our gallons and we retreated to the wonderful shade of some trees on the side of the house to enjoy our picnic lunches. The owner came back outside and talked with us for a while and shared some history of the farm and his family and about the different plans he had for the farm.

He had some blackberries but they were pretty much gone from all the rain we've had recently but in a few months he is going to have Christmas trees complete with hot chocolate and coffee!

He told us we were welcome to stay as long as we liked and showed us where the hose was so we could spray down our sticky, sweaty children and Kristy's wagon. Which is where toddler snacks go to die...

We packed up all of our belongings and headed for the minivans which were parked a whole 10 feet away. But let me tell you, in the southern heat & humidity of July it felt like a mile, especially since we were leaving the nice shade of the trees.

Somehow we survived.

Although Chloe got ant bites and Kristy got stung by a wasp we were not deterred. {And of course Chloe brought her essential oils so we were able to treat the sting!} We picked 3 gallons of fresh, chemical-free blueberries all while having 3 toddlers in tow and lived to tell about it.

We laughed on the way back about how we were so grateful for air-conditioned grocery stores and could we imagine having to pick all of our food all the time?! I know I'm not living up to my name, Laura Wilder. I mean she was the ultimate Pioneer Woman. But I'm grateful for washing machines and ready-to-wear clothing and air-conditioned everything!

But it did make me think. We are really distant from our food. When people had to pick their own food they probably didn't pick more than they needed and they certainly didn't gobble it all up as soon as they returned home. They had worked for that food, they probably made it last as long as possible.

So because I had a gallon of wonderful blueberries I decided the next day was Baking day. I made 48 mini blueberry muffins and a blueberry pie. That used about 4 whole cups of the approximate 16 cups of berries. Yeah, a gallon is a lot. My next step is to either freeze some or make some preserves. Chloe made preserves and is really enjoying them so I may ask her to tell me how. Any other ideas that you may have for lots of blueberries???

Also, when we pulled in the driveway from berry picking someone had left 3 full bags of these tiny apples for us. So kind! We don't know for sure who did it but THANK YOU!

So that got me thinking about what I could make with apples {I know, there's a million ideas. Thanks, Pinterest!}. I decided on apple sauce. And I still might try some apple jelly too!

I spent a solid 3 1/2 hours in the kitchen baking with all of this wonderful fresh fruit. It was approaching lunch time and I fixed a plate of {frozen, microwave-cooked} mac-n-cheese, fresh blueberries, a blueberry muffin and homemade cinnamon applesauce for Anderson and a similar plate for myself. 

The applesauce turned out great and was so easy to make except for the part where you have to peel the apples. Peeling bites The Big One! {I'm not sure what The Big One is but I know it really bites}. Anyway, I couldn't eat enough! My child however, only wanted the microwave-cooked mac-n-cheese....Thanks. That makes mommy feel really good about lovingly preparing all of this healthy food for you! And also thanks for gagging  when I force-fed you a spoonful of the applesauce. It did wonders for my cooking ego.

Anyway, at the end of the day I am really grateful for our food that God has made. And I'm really glad we experienced picking it ourselves. A little work makes you really grateful for Publix. 

 Can I get an Amen?

If you would like to enjoy some wonderful, chemical-free blueberries but don't have time to pick them yourself please be sure to visit the Pepper Place Farmer's Market to purchase some of MMF's berries!

{I am in no way affiliated with Mountain Meadows Farm and they did not ask me to write this. All opinions are my own.}


What We're Reading

This summer I've gotten a lot of reading done! It's been such a wonderful treat. Since Anderson is down to just one long nap each day it really opens up my afternoon for some reading! I still try to read at night when I get in bed but I'm usually just too tired twitter is way more interesting {confession}.

I LOVE hearing about great books that other people love and I also LOVE sharing about books I love too! 

What I've Been Reading:

1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp

This book is seriously a perspective changer. I'm actually about to re-read it so I can digest it further {complete with a highlighter & pen} ;-) Seriously, I can't recommend this book enough!

These next two books were so much FUN to read! These two women are hilarious and happen to have fun blogs! Plus Sophie Hudson is a Birmingham lady! 

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

And of course you know I'm going to be reading up on essential oils! This isn't a cover-to-cover read but it is an invaluable resource for how to properly use essential oils. I use it almost daily!

Essential Oils Pocket Reference, 5th Edition by Gary Young

What Anderson's Been Reading:

I hostessed an Usborne Books party & it was so much fun! The babies got to play with all sorts of fun, new books & the mamas got to play too! We've got quite a few Usborne books on our shelf but these two have been recent favorites that Anderson wants to read all the time! {I'm not kidding!}

At Home: Very First Words

Bedtime: Very First Words

What Andrew's Been Reading:

My hubby's not much of a reader. It's a good day if he's read my blog post. He'd rather go for a run, and I just can't imagine doing anything worse. BUT we are doing this study on Ezekiel together & it has been so good. I don't know why, but it always amazes me at how RELEVANT The Bible is. If you're wanting to read a really relevant book of The Bible, I'd highly recommend Ezekiel!

So, that's what we've been reading; tell me what you've been reading!

{Yes, I do get a percentage of your purchase if you click on an Amazon link. Thanks for helping feed my child my book addiction!}


Cloth Life

Last week my mom cleaned out her linen closet and had this pile of old sheets:

The benefit of old sheets is they are really soft from lots of washing & drying which means they make wonderful wipes & liners to use with cloth diapers! Since my friend, Bekah, and I made these little dolls for our LO's I've really been wanting to use my machine more and wipes/liners is a great beginner project!

Just cut out squares {for wipes} & rectangles {for liners} and sew, sew, sew! I got 3 liners & 6 wipes out of just 1 pillowcase!

The benefit of cloth liners is that when you're expecting your LO to go #2 you can put in a liner & "save" your diaper. Less staining means prettier diapers and greater resale value!

Speaking of pretty diapers check out this adorable new Charlie Banana I just got from Target!

 I used my Red Card & that made this diaper around $15 which is about a $5 savings from ordering from CB's site plus no shipping & no waiting anxiously for a new dipe to arrive! Yes, CD mamas wait anxiously for new dipes! Ha!

Another new diaper I'm LOVING right now is our Imagine fitted! It is a wonderful overnight diaper & the only cloth diaper we've ever used overnight that didn't leak! The cover is large enough to actually cover the whole fitted! I attempted to get a picture of Anderson in it but he had The Sillies & this is the best I could do:

Some great news about Imagine diapers is that you'll be able to find them IN A STORE soon! This is huge since most CD's are only available online {hence the anxious waiting}. 

My friend, Kristy, is opening a fabulous children's consignment store that will have all sorts of wonderful clothes, toys and baby gear PLUS Imagine CD's PLUS essential oils PLUS amber teething necklaces & anklets! It's pretty much going to be FAB!

And speaking of The Store...she wanted some pictures of our playgroup in their cloth diapers for the store. Most of y'all have probably seen the pictures on Facebook or Instagram but here they are again!

This series of pictures makes me literally Laugh Out Loud:

"Ready, Set the babies"...

"And RUN!!!"...

"And laugh at how they sat there for .72945 seconds"...

But despite 8 splashing, crying, walking, wiggly toddlers Kristy managed to get this:
{L-R: Anderson, Annalise, Emma Kate, Isla, Thomas, Selah, Ava, Anna Beth}

Which was worth all the {literal} sweat & tears!

If you want more info on Cloth Diapering check out my friend Ilia's 3-part blog series! She's awesome!