DIY mint recipe

DIY mints using essential oilsDid you know it’s super easy to make your own mints?  Yep!  Like, crazy ridiculously quick and easy.

All you need is some gum paste and essential oils (powdered sugar is optional but not necessary) as well as a rolling pin and something to cut with.

DIY mint recipe ingredientsThere are a TON of oil flavors and combinations you could use but these were a few that I had in my stash that I thought would be good (orange, peppermint, Thieves, spearmint, wintergreen, and cinnamon bark).

Young Living essential oils to flavor mintsTake approximately 1/4 cup of the gum paste and knead it in your hands like playdough until it’s nice and pliable.

1:4 cup gum pasteFlatten it out a bit and add your oil drops (I’ll talk a bit about how many in a minute).  Fold the flattened “pancake” in on itself to keep the oil in the middle and then knead some more until you think the oil is evenly distributed.  This step smells amazing!

DIY wintergreen mintsRoll your ball of oily gum paste out on a flat surface using a rolling pin and then cut the mints into whatever shape you desire.

cutting out DIY mintsMy first batch I cut them into squares and then rolled them into balls

rolling mints into a ballMy second and third batch I left them just as squares

DIY mint recipe

My fourth batch I used a straw (the straw with the largest circle opening I could find, which was the plastic bendy one from the cup they gave me at the hospital after I had Hudson) to cut out small circles.

using a straw to cut out DIY mintsTwo of the batches I tossed in powdered sugar as soon as I cut them out and before they had started drying (trying to get that altoid-like feel) and the other two batches I left plain.  Personally I prefer them without powdered sugar.

DIY mintsThen let the mints sit out and harden.  It takes several days before they are really good and hard.  The first few days they have a chewy, gum-like consistency.  After a few days though they harden and become hard enough that you have to suck on them instead of chew them.

DIY mints drying

DIY mints

What you need:

  • – gum paste (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, it’s in the cake decorating section)
  • – essential oils (I use Young Living)
  • – powdered sugar (optional, only if you want to coat your mints with powdered sugar)
  • – rolling pin (I’m loving our new stainless steel one)
  • – something to cut the mints out with (knife, straw, tiny cookie cutter, etc.)

What you do:

Knead 1/4 cup of gum paste in your hands until soft and pliable.  Flatten out and drop oil onto the paste.  Fold the paste in on itself, keeping the oil in the middle so it doesn’t roll out, and then knead some more until you feel like the oil is evenly distributed throughout the paste.  Dust a flat surface with powdered sugar and roll the paste out flat to whatever thickness you prefer.  Use a butter knife or other sharp utensil to cut into squares or use a straw or small cookie cutter to cut into circles.

Once the mints are cut out you can toss them in some powdered sugar or leave them plain.  Then spread them out and let them dry for several days.

Depending on how you cut them, one 1/4 cup recipe yields about 50 mints.

How do I know how much oil to use?

This was my main concern when I started making the mints.  Essential oils are strong so it doesn’t take much but I wasn’t really sure how much to use.  I tinkered around with the recipe and found that 5 drops seems to be perfect for my taste but of course every person (and ever flavor) will be different so play around with it!

These are the combos I tried:

  • – 3 drops peppermint (definitely not strong enough in my opinion, a very light peppermint flavor, not even close to that of an altoid if that’s the strength you’re going for) rolled into balls (I liked rolling the mints into balls.  It increased the drying time since they were thicker in the middle but they didn’t have sharp edges like the squares)
  • – 4 drops cinnamon bark (not my favorite flavor and not strong enough) cut into squares (the edges of the squares are kind of sharp and can be pokey while being sucked on).
  • – 5 drops wintergreen (this is perfect and my favorite of the four flavors that I made!) cut into squares with powdered sugar (not a fan of the powdered sugar, it’s like an initial super-sweetness that you suck off in the first few seconds and then the rest of the mint is not quite as sweet so it’s an obvious difference)
  • – 5 drops orange + 3 drops spearmint (Michael loves orange mints and wanted me to make him some; these are his favorite of the four but my least favorite) cut into little circles with powdered sugar (the circles take a bit more time but look much more like a “real” mint)
  • – I had so many mints made that I decided to take a break and let us use these up first.  However, I think a Thieves mint would be wonderful too and you’d be getting some extra immune support as an added bonus!  One of the girls in my group made an orange Thieves mint and said it was really good.

I’m not sure that I ever would have thought of this on my own but one of the girls in my oils group asked one day if anyone had made mints with their essential oils.  She found this recipe, did some experimenting of her own, shared with the group, some others of us tried it out, and then I wrapped it up into a (hopefully) easy to follow recipe.  So it was definitely a group effort and I certainly don’t want to take all the credit.  I’m just the one with the blogging platform to share :).

What do you think?  Worth a try?  What flavor or flavor combinations sound good to you?

Hudson’s 20 month update

20 months!  It’s hard to believe that he’s out of the teens and into the twenties (month-wise of course…I don’t even want to think about the teenage years!!)


Hudson now weighs 27 pounds and is 33 or 34 inches tall (It’s not easy to measure a moving target!).

He has outgrown most of his 18 month clothes but his 24 month clothes are way too big so we’re kind of at an awkward stage as far as clothes go.


No new teeth this month.  Those bottom two canines (the only ones we’re still waiting on besides his 2/3 year molars and whatever comes a few years after that) have not yet made an appearance.

He loves to brush his teeth!  As soon as we finish putting his pajamas on he starts to sign that he wants to brush.  We set him on the counter while we brush his teeth and he’s also decided that he likes washing his hands.  Up until now if I tried to wash his hands he would cry but now when he’s brushing his teeth he says “bubbles! bubbles!” and he wants me to put some soap on his hands so he can wash them.  Progress!

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It’s hard to keep up with this now that he’s communicating so much more.  I know he learned the signs for bean, baby, butterfly, and alligator this month and that he started saying flower, boo boo, star, hot, hop, Parker, and Bubble Guppies.  He also has made up his own sign (we’re not sure where he got it) to tell us that he wants to watch his “fish” (Finding Nemo) in the car.  He has lots of animal sounds and imitations too.

He will not say “Hudson”.  He’ll say mommy and daddy and Parker but when you ask him to say Hudson he just says “Hi!”.  It’s pretty funny.  He’ll try to repeat a lot of things but “Hudson” isn’t one of them and neither is the word love.  We’ll say “Hudson, can you say love?” and every time he says “Ha!” and laughs.  Silly boy.


As always Hudson loves to eat.  He will try most everything and likes a lot of things but he’ll also definitely let you know if he doesn’t like something or doesn’t want any more.

2015-08-27_08.44.30 copyHe’s getting really good at using his spoon and fork.  This month we started letting him use his spoon to feet himself runnier things like soup and he did surprisingly well.  I was very impressed with his ability to scoop the food and get it to his mouth with minimal mess.

2015-09-08_18.59.51 copySometimes if the soup is very liquid-y he prefers to drink it out of the bowl instead of using his spoon.  We’ve found that using condiment bowls (or ramekins, not sure exactly what they are) is perfect for him and much more manageable than a big bowl.

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A big new thing this month is that he is finally liking and drinking milk.  We’ve given it to him a few times in the past and he wasn’t interested and it wasn’t something that we pushed, but one day I was drinking a glass with breakfast and he wanted to try some so I gave it to him.  He loved it and has started asking for it quite frequently.  I’m not going to lie, milk sippy cups are a lot grosser to clean than water ones!  But I’m glad he likes milk now.

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Anything we have or eat or do he wants to do as well.  If I have some sort of dipping sauce then he wants it too!  That can be a bit messy, I’m sure you can imagine.  I try to just give him a tiny dab (like a little bit of queso on a lid at Moe’s) to keep the mess to a minimum.

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Well, nothing new here.  Naps are still pretty ok – sometimes long, sometimes short.  I lay down with him and take a nap myself or sit next to him and work on the computer.  Night time is still frustrating.  Often it takes us a while to get him to sleep and then he’ll wake up several times.  He’s a total bed hog and a very active sleeper so he kicks us and pushes us out of the bed.

This picture is from one Sunday morning when he took up so much of the bed that both Michael and I ended up getting pushed out.

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We are getting close to moving him to his own bed.  We got a twin mattress that we’re going to set up on the floor for him to sleep on, we just haven’t taken the time to get it set up and all that.

new skills

Lots of new skills this month!

He’s gotten pretty good at throwing a ball or a rock.  He can throw far!  One day we were at my mom’s house and he was standing on the porch throwing rocks and they nearly made it to her sidewalk.

He loves to “tickle” us.  He thinks it’s absolutely hilarious!  It’s so cute.

Hudson also loves to help us do things.  He’ll help unload the groceries and hand them to me or put them on the counter, unload the dishwasher, hand me clothes while I’m folding, or get clothes out of the dryer.  Even though that makes my tasks take much longer I try as much as possible to let him help me because I know it’s important for him to learn those skills.

He has started holding up his fingers as you count.  He’s got one and five down pretty good – two, three, and four all basically look the same but he’s getting there.

He talked on the phone for the first time this month, first to my brother and then to my mom.  He’s been on many Facetime conversations but this was his first time to talk on the phone.  Recently he’s started pretending everything is a phone (anything remotely rectangular, food, everything) – putting them to his ear and saying “hi”.  So when I was talking on the phone for real I put it up to his ear.  At first he just sat there but I started saying “say ____” and he’d say it.  We went through several words with me prompting him like that.

He learned how to go down the stairs this month.  He’s been great at going up but not so much going down until recently.  That came in handy when I rolled my ankle and couldn’t carry him up or down the stairs for a day!


Michael had to travel to Huntsville, AL for a few days for work so Hudson and I went with him.  I wasn’t sure about a hotel room with a toddler but it went really well.  He enjoyed getting to watch tv shows that we don’t have at home (we pretty much only watch shows on Amazon Prime – Daniel Tiger, Curious George, and Bubble Guppies).  The hotel we stayed in had a little walking trail, a duck pond, and a pool so we had lots to do to keep us busy.

The portable high chair we have is the bomb – doubles as a seat and a place to eat!

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Like last summer he did not like swimming.  We went two days and at first he would cling tightly to me but after a while he would loosen up a bit.  He never would let me let go of him though.  I’d start out wearing him in the water wrap and then once we’d been in a while I’d take him out and put him in his floaty.  He didn’t like it though.
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We also tried out a fountain that shoots water out of the ground.  He hated it and much preferred to play on the grass.  This picture shows about how close he was willing to get without me carrying him over there.

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We had several fun park days enjoying the end of summer (actually, I’m looking forward to fall so we can go to the park more…it’s just too hot in the summer lots of days!).  Hudson loves playing in the dirt!

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I was really impressed with him going down the slide.  In the past he didn’t like slides but this time when we went he had a blast sliding!2015-09-22_10.50.30 copy

other stuff

Hudson is pretty fascinated with flushing the toilet right now.  He wants to flush it over and over!  I guess it’s good that he’s not afraid of the flush so we’ve been trying to let him help us flush so that he gets familiar with it.  He’s started telling me occasionally when he needs a diaper change (not for pee, only when he poops, and not even every time that he does that) so I think we’re making steps toward potty training.  That’s not something I’m really pushing though.

The car is still kind of a nightmare.  Not every time, but a lot of the time.  Lots and lots of crying.

2015-09-02_17.35.52 copyHe loves baths except for when you have to rinse his hair.  That part he dislikes but he doesn’t scream like he used to, so that’s progress I guess!  His hair is getting SO long.  I know it’s time to cut it…I just can’t bring myself to do it yet!

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We bought some letter and number magnets at a consignment sale.  He likes to play with them but mostly he just wants to dump them out, put them back, dump them again, and so on.  Which is totally fine, I wasn’t expecting him to start spelling words or anything!

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Just some other cute pictures

Showing his TN pride and reading with daddy.
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He likes to try to get water out of the fridge.  Thankfully he’s not *quite* tall enough to reach it yet but it won’t be long!

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We don’t wear nearly as often these days but sometimes you just gotta have some mommy snuggles when she’s trying to cook supper and you want to be held, right?

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Hudson has such a fun and expressive personality!  He makes us laugh constantly.  He is so dramatic (sometimes in a funny way and sometimes in a frustrating way) and just all around a big ham.  I love this age!  Yes, he can be whiny, clingy, and tearful, but he is also so cuddly, loving, funny, cute, and gives tons of kisses.  It’s precious.

2015-09-10_18.05.24 copy2015-09-12_11.30.43 copyThis picture.  I seriously could not stop laughing.  We were trying on some clothes from a friend at church and there were some little underwear in the lot.  My mom put them on Hudson’s head and it was hilarious.  He was not mad, in fact he was laughing, but the waistband of the underwear squished his face down into this hysterical position.  I had tears rolling down my face we were laughing so hard!

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And that’s a wrap for month 20!

how to attach or remove a roller ball to a Young Living essential oil bottle

how to attach and remove a Young Living roller ball to an essential oil bottle

One of the most common questions after people get their Young Living starter kit is “How do I get the roller ball to attach to the bottle?”  And then later a lot of people don’t know how to get the roller off so they can refill the bottle, switch it to another bottle, etc.  And sadly many people spill large quantities of their precious oils while trying to get the rollers on or off – that is super sad and we don’t want it to happen!

So I made a little video showing you how to do both of those things!

Hope this helps!

(P.S. Fun fact, the roller balls are called roller fitments.  You can order more of them from Young Living if you are a Young Living member.)

Not sure what in the world these oils are?  Check it out here and join our fabulous Oily Moments team!

P is for…

P is for

Baby has a name!

Parker Henry

Can’t wait to meet Parker Henry in just a few short months!

peanut butter banana smoothie

peanut butter banana smoothie recipeI am a super boring breakfast person.  I’ll eat the same thing for breakfast for weeks and weeks on end.  I just don’t need much variety in the mornings and the last thing I want to do when I get up (I’m not really a morning person) is to try to figure out what I’m going to fix.

Sometimes I’ll want oatmeal for a while, sometimes it’ll be lots of eggs, but right now I’ve been on a smoothie kick.

Smoothies are so easy and can be made tons of different ways.  My favorite is a peanut butter banana smoothie so that’s what I make 99.9% of the time.  Here’s my recipe:

peanut butter banana smoothie ingredients Ingredients:

  • – 1 banana
  • – 2 TBSP peanut butter (use natural peanut butter, folks…SO much better for you!)
  • – 1/4 cup Green yogurt (I’m not a yogurt fan at all but you can’t taste it in the smoothie and Greek is protein packed so I use that; you can use whatever plain yogurt you prefer)
  • – 1/2 cup milk
  • – 1 cup spinach (Or other greens, whatever you have on hand…you can’t taste them and it’s a great way to sneak some veggies into your diet!  They do turn your smoothie a lovely shade of green so don’t be alarmed.)
  • – 1/2 TBSP honey (love getting to use ours…yum!)
  • – 8 cubes of ice

To be totally honest, I never measure any of these ingredients.  I only measured as I was making this one so I could give you an idea of how much I use but typically I just eyeball it and dump stuff in there.  I also like my smoothies super runny, nearly the consistency of milk.  If you prefer a thicker smoothie then reduce the amount of milk and maybe increase the amount of ice too.

peanut butter banana smoothie

What you do:

Well….not really much to say here.  Just toss all the ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s the consistency you like.  Then slurp it down!

This is a pretty calorie-heavy smoothie, just fyi.  It’s full of lots of healthy things – fruit, veggies, protein (the peanut butter and yogurt), dairy, good fats (peanut butter), etc. but just know that’s it’s also high in calories.  I calculated it at 450 calories so definitely a meal by itself!  It keeps me full until lunch though so that works great for me.


DIY essential oil storage solutions

DIY essential oils cases

I am so happy to have found a storage solution for my essential oils that is perfect for my needs AND not super-de-duper expensive!

I don’t know if you’ve priced essential oil bags and cases recently but they can be rather spendy – usually around $25+ for a small bag and 30+ for a small case.  Personally I’d rather spend that money on more oils!

I didn’t want to commit to something until I new for sure what I needed so for a long time my oils stayed in an tupperware container that I sat down inside of a train case.  They weren’t in any order and moved around a lot so it made it hard to locate a particular bottle, even with the labels on.  And it was fine for when they were sitting at home but not particularly good for transporting.  Here’s a picture of them all jumbled up in the container; you can see my original set up with the case too here.

essential oilsI have a lot of oils and needed a storage solution that would be practical, keep my oils organized and protected, and not cost an arm and a leg.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet I found some info on how to make your own.  Turns out there is a very easy and pretty inexpensive solution!

DIY essential oils cases 3DIY essential oils cases 5

What you need to make a storage box that holds 36 oils:

  • – This 2.7 quart Sterilite box (dimensions are 11.5″x 7.38″x 3.25″).  I found mine at Walmart for $2.63 each but I’ve also linked to the box on Amazon (I could not find just one box on Amazon, I could only find them in sets of six) so you can see exactly which one it is.
  • – This large foam insert from My Oil Business.  This particular size is $6 each plus shipping.  I bought two and my shipping was $5.75.  I’ve nearly filled my two cases already and I need another foam but I hate that I have to pay the shipping again!  I wish I’d gone ahead and bought at least three while I was originally ordering.

That’s it!  The foam fits perfectly inside the Sterilite box.  You just pop it in there, load up your oils, and you’re good to go!

Total cost for my two cases that hold 72 oils (two boxes, two foams, and shipping) was a little over $20.

I usually look for my oils by the color of their bottle/label but Michael finds it easier to locate them if they are alphabetical so we decided to put them in alphabetical order.  It’s not a 100% perfect system but it works well enough.

These foams hold 30 15ml bottles and 6 5ml bottles (those 6 smaller holes at the bottom of each box).  I have a mix of 15ml and 5ml bottles so as I alphabetized I just put a 5ml in a 15ml spot if that’s where it need to fit alphabetically.  It’s not as snug of a fit and the 5mls slide around a bit but it’s not terrible.

I don’t include the 5ml slots at the bottom in my alphabetizing since inevitably there will be a 15ml that needs to be in one of those spots, so I use those to store random 5ml bottles that I don’t use as much (or think Michael won’t be searching for much) out of alphabetical order.DIY essential oils cases1The oils with regular lids fit perfectly in the box with the lid on.  15 ml bottles with the childproof caps (like PanAway and Raven) only fit in the spots where the lid is slightly taller.  I took PanAway and Raven out of alphabetical order and just stuck them in spots where they would fit with the lid closed.

DIY essential oils cases PanAway and RavenDIY essential oils cases 2Progessence Plus, Shutran, the roll ons, and 15 ml bottles that have the black roller attachments and lids are too tall to be stored in these boxes with the lid on so I keep those separate or lay them down on their sides when I’m packing up to go somewhere.

If you prefer a larger case you can also make one that hold about 77 oils.  To make that one you will need:

  • – A Sterilite 6.2 quart storage box.  I found this size at Walmart for $3.88.
  • – The Xl foam insert from My Oil Business.  It costs $10 plus shipping.  I did not make this size case and the post where I originally found this info has been taken down so I can’t check but I’m pretty sure the original poster said that they had to cut their foam down a bit to fit in the box so it may not hold exactly 77 oils.

I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted so I bought both plastic containers so I could play around with them.  I ultimately decided to go with multiple of the smaller containers.  I found that one large flat container was harder to store and transport than smaller ones.

sterilite containers to store essential oilsThe smaller sized containers fit nicely stacked into my 31 tote bag and when I need to add a 3rd box it will fit in there as well.  With the larger box I had to turn it on it’s side or use a really big bag to keep it laying flat.  I prefer to keep my oils upright when possible and the smaller size made that more possible.  DIY essential oils cases bagThese particular containers are made to stack on each other.  They don’t connect to each other but the way the grooves are made they don’t slide around or anything when they are stacked.DIY essential oils cases 4I keep the cases on the counter next to my little station where I have my computer and planner and other things.  I leave the lids off so we can grab the oils quickly whenever we need them, then when I travel or take my oils to a class I pop the oils on and they’re ready to go.

essential oils storageI found the original tutorial on this website.  I can’t find the actual tutorial anymore to link to it, I think maybe it’s been taken down, but if anyone finds it let me know so I can give full credit!

We have oils all over the house based on where we use them the most and I won’t share all of that today (most of those don’t have creative storage or anything…they’re just sitting out) but I do want to show what works best for me in my diaper bag.

I started out with this cute little pink case I found at Hobby Lobby (no longer made, sorry!) that held 5 oils and a roll on.  But then I kept finding other oils I wanted to carry so I put a few in a coin purse and then I got the KidScents oils that I wanted in the diaper bag so I started carrying a pouch of those too.  Three separate oil pouches was too much!

essential oils in my diaper bagThere are tons and tons of cute oil bags that you can use in your purse or diaper bag but I wanted something that would take up as little space as possible and not cost too terribly much.

I found these Travelon packing cubes at TJ Maxx ($9.99 for a set of three).  The smallest cube in the set is perfect for holding my on-the-go oils!  I currently have 11 oils (a mixture of 5 ml bottles and 15 ml bottles, but mostly 5 mls) in the bag but could easily fit one more and could fit a few more if I crammed/laid some on top.

essential oil case on the goThis bag doesn’t have any padding or the little elastic loops to hold the oils in individually like many of the essential oil cases but I haven’t had any problems with my oils sliding around or getting banged up or anything.  I guess I have enough in there that they fit nice and tightly.  This pouch also fits perfectly in the pocket of my diaper bag and is quite slim so it doesn’t take up a bunch of space.  I love it!Travelon packing cube as an essential oil carrying caseI hope those are some helpful oil storage solutions!

How do you store your oils?

pregnancy #2 update – week 20

Soooooo hard to believe that I’m already about halfway through!  This pregnancy is flying by!

How far along – 20 weeks

Doctor updates – We had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and the baby looked great!  We found out our little one is a boy…and wow did he make that difficult!  We had our anatomy scan which is a very long ultrasound to check all kinds of things on the baby.  The ultrasound tech did the whole scan and by the end still couldn’t tell if the baby was a boy or girl.  She tried a few different things and it just wasn’t working.  We were about to have to just give it up and leave without knowing (that would have been a bummer!) and finally right before we called it quits she was able to get a good look.

it's a boyThe results of the anatomy scan were good and our doctor is very pleased with how things are progressing.  Baby’s heart rate was 160, my blood pressure was good, and the baby is measuring at about 13 oz, which is the 60th percentile.

Symptoms – Honestly most of the time I fell totally like my non-pregnant self.  I’ve had some pains/pulling/twinges in my belly that are more intense than I remember from my pregnancy with Hudson but they don’t happen often and other than that I feel great!

Weight/belly – Still no weight gain!  Well, kind of.  I lost about 5 pounds at the beginning of my pregnancy and have since then gained that back so I’m still at the same weight I started.  At this point with Hudson I had gained 12 pounds so I’m very happy with my lack of weight gain thus far.

My belly is definitely showing now!  I finally took my first belly shot of the pregnancy after our appointment yesterday.

20 weeks

Movement – This is an active little dude!  I started feeling definite movement around 18 or 19 weeks and now I feel it multiple times a day.

Food cravings – Hot chocolate.  Never mind that it’s been in the 90’s most days, I’ve been enjoying a nice warm cup of homemade hot chocolate as a daily treat!

Food aversions – None.

Sleep – Great.  Sleeping like normal.

Thoughts – I know I said this already but it’s crazy to me how fast this pregnancy is going!  This pregnancy has been so easy and for that I am incredibly thankful.  Finding out yesterday that we’re having another little boy was so fun!  I didn’t have a preference either way, but it’s just nice to know.  As of right now we do not have a boy name picked out but hopefully we’ll settle on one soon.

It’s a …

Baby #2 is a…

it's a boy


Oh boy, oh BOY!!  So exciting!

What’s in my diaper bag? Ju-Ju-Be BFF review

What's in my Ju-Ju-Be BFF diaper bag

I’ve been meaning to make this post For.Ev.Er. (like a million other posts floating around in my head) but I needed to get some videos done first and, well, that just hasn’t been as easy as I’d hoped.  I *finally* got that done so here we go!

For about the first nine months of Hudson’s life I carried a Vera Bradley diaper bag.  It is a fairly large bag (I had it overflowing with stuff but I’m also a chronic overpacker, so there’s that…) and I loved it but once Hudson got a little more mobile it was constantly sliding off my shoulder and dumping things all over the place as I tried to wrangle him.

I started looking for an alternative.  I really liked the idea of a backpack diaper bag so that I would have my hands free and not have to worry about it sliding off but I also knew that if I was wearing Hudson on my back I couldn’t exactly wear a backpack at the same time so I hoped to find something that could be used as a messenger-type bag as well.

JuJuBe BFF in Royal Envy worn as a backpackThere really aren’t too many options for diaper bags that are both a backpack and a messenger bag but I found a few and after lots of “research” (aka watching videos on YouTube) I settled on a Ju-Ju-Be BFF.  It can be a backpack or a messenger bag and has tons of pockets.  It is pricy (although I know that’s a very subjective thing) at about $170 brand new but there are certain things that I don’t mind paying more for to get good quality or exactly what I’m wanting and a diaper bag is one of those things.  I was also fortunate to find a (barely) used one at a great price so that helped too ;).

Ju-Ju-Be BFF in Royal EnvyJu-Ju-Be BFF backpack straps

The BFF does take some creativity in packing.  Even though I had watched a ton of videos on YouTube and knew other people had fit loads of stuff in there I still struggled a bit when I first got it to get all my stuff to fit.  It definitely had a learning curve!  But once I got everything situated then it was a dream to use because of all the pockets and organization.

(These are all stills from the video below – you’ll have to watch for details!)

Ju-Ju-Be BFF mommy pocketinside organization of a Ju-Ju-Be BFFJu-Ju-Be BFF inside mostly emptyNow that Hudson is 19 months I’m still using and loving the BFF.  We carry much less than we used to so there is some extra room where I can throw in snacks or extra toys or whatever.  I’m not sure if there will be enough extra room to then add the stuff for baby #2 though but we’ll see come February!  (I’m guessing I’ll have to size up…as much as I pack I doubt I can get enough for two kids in a bag this size.)

As I was researching diaper bags I found all these videos on YouTube where people show how they pack their diaper bags and what all they carry in them.  I found that fascinating!  I got lots of good ideas about how and what to pack but it was also interesting to see all the different things that people pack.  For example, a lot of people pack a very full first aid kit – thermometer, multiple medicines, all kinds of teething things, etc.  That baffles me because even though I’m usually Ms Prepared, a detailed first aid kit is just not something that I carry around with me!

Anyway, I thought I’d share my own packing video in case anyone wanted to see all the features of the BFF and/or what things I pack in my diaper bag.

I also made a video comparing the size of my Vera Bradley bag to the Ju-Ju-Be BFF.  When I was originally researching I couldn’t find any videos that compared the two and I didn’t know if the BFF would be big enough to hold what I had been carrying in my Vera.  So I made a video in case anyone else is looking for that same information.

What about you?  Are you a big packer or a super light packer?  What do you carry that I don’t?  Any other Ju-Ju-Be fans out there?

creating graphics in PicMonkey + My Chocolate Moments is on YouTube!

Did you know…that I’m on YouTube now?


(check out my channel here)

Don’t get too excited yet because so far my videos have been few and far between.  I have big plans to make more but so far haven’t gotten around to it.  Hopefully soon!

Anyway that leads in to today’s post because I’m about to show you my first video tutorial.  Hooray!

I am by no means a graphics expert but I do like to make graphics for my blog posts and oil things – graphics are so visual and great for Pinterest and Facebook!  My current graphics program of choice is PicMonkey.  PicMonkey is very easy to use and is free.  You can update to the paid version ($35 a year, I believe) and that gives you more fonts and options.  That’s what I use now but I did the free version for a long time and was able to make tons of great graphics with just that.

My two complaints about PicMonkey are that 1) There is no way to store the graphics you made so that you can edit or use them at a later date and 2) It doesn’t work well on Chrome (my main browser) on my computer; I have to use Firefox and sometimes it makes my computer run really slow or jam up (that could just be a problem my computer has, not all of them).  However, because of the ease of use I just overlook those things and use it (and love it) anyway!

I had some of the people in my oils group asking how I make my graphics so I made a quick video.  The graphics I made in the video are oil-related since I was making this for Young Living members, however, the basic ideas of how to use PicMonkey can be applied to making other graphics too.

Here are the two graphics I made as examples in the video
stress away - because toddlers don't slow downYoung Living kidscents oils

Here are some other recent-ish graphics I’ve made in PicMonkey:

(links to the corresponding posts are under each picture if needed)

preggy belly cream recipe(DIY preggy belly post)

how to make DIY diffuser necklaces(DIY diffuser necklaces)

money monday week 3 - my favorite program for budgeting(Money Monday week 3)

#whole30 week one meal plan(Whole 30 Week 1)

how to get rid of soured laundry stink(How to remove soured laundry smell)

12 month collage(Hudson’s 12 month update)

Shutterfly ABC picture book(Personalized ABC book)

I’ve also use PicMonkey to make invitations like the one for Hudson’s first birthday party

Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday invitation

PicMonkey is wonderful for making fliers or handouts, cute quotes, motivation posters, and so much more!  The possibilities are endless!

Do you use PicMonkey?  Or is there another editing program that you like? (I’ve played around with Canva some but I haven’t fallen in love yet)