making the most of my time with Cinchshare

If you’re in direct sales/network marketing then I’d guess you’re doing some of your parties on Facebook – that seems to be all the rage these days!  It’s super convenient, you can share from the comfort of home, and they can participate in their jammies.  But something that can make online parties even more convenient is to use a post scheduling program.

While I love doing in person classes and events it’s not always practical for me.  I have little ones and I don’t want to be gone all the time teaching, plus a lot of my team is not local to me at all so I can’t easily go teach for them.  As a result I do the vast majority of my business building, supporting, and teaching via social media.  I teach a lot of classes on Facebook  – introduction to oils classes for newbies as well as more specific/detailed classes for my team.

A friend of mine had recommended a program called Cinchshare multiple times but I didn’t want to spend the money since I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d use.  However I got the opportunity to have a month long free trial and I decided to finally give it a go.  I wanted to maximize my free month and see if it was really worth it so I scheduled as many classes I could – I think I ended up doing 14 that month!cinchshare

During that time period I absolutely fell in love with Cinchshare!  It simultaneously increased the amount of classes I could commit to teaching each month while decreasing the amount of time I spent working.  Earning more while working less?  Yes please!

Here are some of the fabulous reasons why I love it:

  • – You can post to Facebook events, groups, pages, and even your personal profile.
  • –  I do all of my classes in events so this is super great for scheduling my class posts.
  • – I also have a couple of private Facebook groups for my downline.  I do most of my work at night after the kids are in bed and while *I* may be up working at midnight I know most sane people are asleep so I don’t want to post in my group in the middle of the night.  I used to have to try to remember to post the next day but now I can just type it up when I’m thinking of it and it’s convenient for me then schedule it to post at a more reasonable time.
  • – Same goes for my My Chocolate Moments Facebook page – I can schedule my posts all at once for the day or even days at a time.
  • – My personal profile is more spontaneous, I hardly ever plan out in advance what I’m going to post there but if that’s your thing you can use Cinchshare for that too.
  • – It saves all of your posts so if you reuse posts and graphics for multiple parties/classes it is so easy to use them over and over.
  • – Having the posts scheduled to post automatically frees you up to answer questions and interact with guests instead of having to constantly worry about keeping up with posting the new posts.  That doesn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal but it really does help!
  • – It connects with Canva so you can create graphics within Cinchshare

(I think I just said “post” like a million times…)

The other day I had an online class for some of my team.  I got stuck in traffic coming home and got in the door right at class time – thankfully I had it all set up and ready to go so the posts began while I took a few minutes to get everyone settled and then I was able to sit down and begin answering questions.  I wasn’t stressed at all about getting back before the class started.

It boils down to this: Cinchshare lets me work on my time and around my life.  And I love that.  I’m all about running my business…not letting my business run me.

Cinchshare has their own YouTube channel with lots of tutorials if you want to see it in action.  Their staff will also do trainings for you and your team to introduce you to the site and show you all the cool features.

I am a Cinchshare ambassador (anyone who has a Cinchshare account can be one – you get to beta test the new updates to the program before they roll out…exciting!) so I have a link for you to get a free trial.  Click here – there will be an option to try free for 7 days, then you can use the code CSFREE and get an additional 30 days.  Trust me, a month is more than enough time to fall in love with the program!  After your free trial a Cinchshare subscription is $10 a month or $100 a year.  The time that Cinchshare saves me and the way it helps me grow my business is more than worth that $10 a month!

Do you use Cinchshare or some other post scheduling program for your business?  Has it made a difference in your productivity?

Hudson’s 2 year, 3 month update

I didn’t keep great notes this month so this might be a shorter post, but here’s what Hudson has been up to for the last month.

growth

I hoped Hudson would still fit in his 24 month/2T stuff from last summer but that is not the case and he’s mostly in 3T things now.  He’s also already outgrown some of the shoes that just started fitting his feet right around when Parker was born (so about 3 months ago).

It’s no surprise though because this child eats like none I’ve ever seen before!  A few nights ago he ate a 16oz steak by himself.  One night we fixed breakfast for dinner and he ate three eggs, three pieces of bacon, two biscuits, and a banana.  It’s unreal.

Here he is drinking a “moosie” (smoothie)
2016-03-26_15.06.49 copy

We got his hair cut not long before Parker was born but he desperately needed another cut already and this time we went a little bit shorter.  It makes him look so big!

new stuff

Hudson has started singing a lot more this month.  Instead of just wanting to be sung too he now sings along.  It’s adorable!

Some funny things he says recently:

  • – He asks “Daddy go?” multiple times a day and so I’ll tell him that Daddy is at work and he’ll say “yeah!  hammer!”.  Michael doesn’t use a hammer at work but somehow Hudson got that in his head. (I’m sure it’s because Michael does lots of work around the house that does involve a hammer)
  • – When he wakes up in the morning or from a nap he says “all done sleeping!” and tries to get out of the bed.  A lot of times we’ll wake up and then spend a few minutes in bed before getting up but once he announces “all done sleeping” then he wants to get down immediately and doesn’t want to stay in the bed at all.
  • – He used to just say “yummy” but now says “yummy tummy!” or “yummy e tummy!” (yummy in my tummy)
  • – He’s constantly talking about things hurting or itching, no matter how big or small, he says “ow!  boo boo!  hurting!” and wants you to give it a “tiss” (kiss).  He usually says “diaper hurting!  clean diaper!” after he has pooped.
  • – Everything is “14 minutes”.  No idea where he got that but if you ask him about how long something is or how big or how much it weighs he says “14 minutes”.

He is so incredibly expressive with his face while he’s talking or telling a story.  He definitely got that from me!  He’s hilarious to listen to, I try to take videos when he isn’t paying attention so I can always remember his sweet little voice telling stories.

pictures

Sweet boys in their coordinating Easter outfits

2016-03-27_12.08.00 copyIMG_1394 Easter egg huntIMG_1399 IMG_1405 IMG_1415Hudson asked to hold Parker and although he looks unhappy in this picture he was very proud of himself.2016-03-28_09.23.50 copyPretending to breastfeed his baby doll.  I know some people think that it’s weird when little boys pretend to breastfeed but I think it’s sweet – that’s how he sees Parker eat and so to him that’s how babies eat.
2016-03-28_10.50.13 copySharing his “fuffle” with Parker
2016-03-29_07.26.50 copyI (perhaps with poor judgement) bought him a cheap little recorder for Easter
2016-03-29_10.31.23 copyWe also got him a Boogie Board for Easter.  It’s kind of like a high tech Magna Doodle.  He loves it, however, we’ve had issues with it working so we haven’t been thrilled with it.
2016-03-29_15.17.53 copySidewalk chalk with Daddy (how many nerdy references can you spot?)
2016-03-29_18.03.22 copyHudson loves to help me clean and I absolutely let him!  I know he won’t always like it but I’m hoping this will teach him some important skills and such.  He likes to use my Norwex dusting mitt and dust the furniture.2016-03-30_10.08.40 copyShowing Daddy some of our yoga moves
2016-04-04_19.29.35 copyMichael his this thing that he uses for his bicycle and after reading “Where the Wild Things Are” one day Hudson started putting it on his head and calling it a crown (like Max’s in the book)2016-04-01_11.16.54 copySnuggling with my sweet boys2016-04-04_09.54.18 copyHe has no idea who Batman is but he was pretty proud of his Batman pajamas anyway2016-04-04_20.23.29 copy  The stuff that goes through his head…he just cracks me up!  He piled all the balls into Parker’s swing and called it a “nest”.  Then he laid his baby doll on top, grabbed the calculator he plays with (he calls it “calcy phone” and pretends it’s a cell phone), and pretended to take pictures of his creation.  Hilarious!
2016-04-05_11.39.44 copyLooking very serious in his safety goggles.2016-04-05_15.49.24 copyHe lined up his cars on my leg and we counted them over and over.  He did a great job – he can count to 10 when he wants to.2016-04-06_09.22.37 copy Hudson wanted to hold Parker after nap one day so I helped him.  2016-04-06_15.13.45 copyBut then he decided he needed a drink of water so he got to practice a very important parenting skill – multitasking.
2016-04-06_15.13.56 copyI love nap time!  Not just because I get a much needed break but also because I just love snuggling with the boys.  I know we won’t be napping together forever so I’m soaking it up while I can.2016-04-07_13.26.52 copyHudson got some sunglasses for Easter and he loves them.  He wants to wear them all the time – even in church or when it’s dark!2016-04-10_17.32.15 copyPlaying at the park.  It’s amazing to me how much he has changed.  Last year he was totally timid when we’d go to playdates.  Now he jumps right in and starts playing, and he loves to slide down the slide (which for a child who was terrified of basically everything is pretty great!)2016-04-13_10.11.22 copyHe set out all of these toys and told us this was a “cupcake party”.  He talks about cupcake parties a lot (we ate cupcakes at his birthday party in January and he talks about that pretty frequently)2016-04-17_12.19.00 copy He looks practically grown in this picture here!  Where did my little baby go?
2016-04-17_17.17.27 copyThe water department laid a sewer line along the back side of our property.  They tore down a bunch of trees and while it was sad to see all those trees go, Hudson enjoyed watching the construction vehicles at work.  He got on his own digger and sat there observing.2016-04-18_11.17.48 copyHudson has gotten a lot better about smiling for pictures instead of giving a stoic stareIMG_1456Checking out Parker’s new Bible
IMG_1472Taking selfies at the deli counter.  Shopping with two is not the easiest thing in the world but thankfully Hudson is pretty well behaved which makes it do-able.
2016-04-22_10.02.15 copyThis was so sweet – Hudson really wanted Parker to play with him so he kept putting the hammer and balls in Parker’s hand.  They are going to have so much fun together as they get bigger!2016-04-23_11.09.17 copy Daddy is definitely his favorite playmate right now
2016-04-23_11.24.11 copyHudson is strong willed and stubborn and…well…two.  I guess it’s just part of toddlerhood.  But he’s also incredibly sweet and caring and loving as well.

our newborn cloth diapering stash

newborn cloth diaperingWe didn’t start cloth diapering Hudson until he was almost three months old and was able to go straight into one size diapers.  With Parker though I wanted to use cloth much earlier on so I needed some newborn diapers to get us through until he was big enough for our one size diapers.

I figured we wouldn’t use them for a super long time so I didn’t want to spend a ton on our newborn diaper stash.  My original plan was to use flour sack towels (also called FSTs – large squares of fabric that are similar to flat cloth diapers, you can find them in the kitchen section of stores like Walmart and they usually cost just $1 each) with diaper covers.  I didn’t want to buy a bunch and then realize I was too overwhelmed to use the cloth diapers right at first so I started with 10 FSTs, a handful of newborn size diaper covers, and two newborn all in ones (AIOs).

Once Parker was here I realized that 12 diaper changes was not nearly enough since newborns go through so many diapers a day plus the FSTs were bulkier and not as absorbent as I expected so I bought a couple more AIOs, a few more covers, and quite a few prefolds.

I ended up with 5 AIOs, 6 covers, 15 prefolds, and 10 FSTs – so a total of 30 diaper changes which was the perfect amount to wash every other day.  I’d love to not have to wash every other day but it’s manageable.  If you want to wash less often then I’d recommend planning on 15 per day (30 if you want to wash every two days, 45 for three, and so on).

Here’s a run down of what we have, what I liked, and what I didn’t.

newborn all in onesAll in ones

  • – top left: Thirsties Size One (no longer made, I had this one from when Hudson was little, now Thirsties has a one size diaper instead)
  • – top middle: Thirsties newborn (freebie that I got with an order from Kelly’s Closet)
  • – top right: Blueberry newborn (a friend bought me this one as a baby gift; it has a cool snap that you can snap down so it doesn’t rub on the baby’s umbilical cord.  I didn’t have this until after Parker’s cord healed up so I didn’t use that feature but I thought it was neat!)
  • – Bottom row: Grovia newborns (I got one of these as a freebie from Kelly’s Closet, I loved it so much that I bought another one!  These were my favorite for the very beginning since they are so trim.)

inside of Thirsties and Blueberry newborn all in onesInsides (from Left to Right): Thirsties size one, Thirsties newborn, Blueberry newborn

inside of grovia newborn all in oneInside of one of the Grovia newborns

Grovia newborn all in one diaperHere’s the Grovia on Parker at about three weeks old (roughly 9 pounds).  It’s so trim!  Hardly any bigger than a disposable diaper.  It uses hemp, cotton, and microfleece inside so it’s very absorbent and soft.  These were my favorites and I’d have loved to have a full stash of them but that would have been very costly and they were the first ones he grew out of (at about 2 months/13 pounds)Blueberry newborn all in oneBlueberry newborn at a month old, not sure of how much he weighed.  This one lasted until about two months as well.Blueberry newborn AiO comparisonThe Thirsties size one is no longer available but I had to share this comparison picture anyway.  On the left is Parker’s first time wearing it (actually his first time wearing a cloth diaper at all) – 2 weeks, 9 pounds.  On the right is him wearing it at 2.5 months, 15 pounds.  It’s the only AIO that still fits him (but that’s because it’s not a newborn size).

Sweet Pea and Rumparooz newborn coversCovers

  • – Top row: Sweet Pea newborn (great budget diaper, one of the cheapest covers and also my favorite)
  • – Bottom row: Rumparooz newborn (also a great budget diaper, I was not a fan at first but like them now)

Sweet Pea newborn diaper coverThe Sweet Pea covers were fairly trim, they quit fitting around 2 months/13 pounds

Rumparooz newborn cover with flour sack towelI was not a fan of the Rumparooz covers at all when we first started using them.  You can see how huge they are in picture above.  They were so big and went almost all the way to his knees. (this was at 2 weeks/9 pounds)

IMG_6514However, now that he has grown some more I really like them.  They’re not nearly as bulky.  These are the last of his newborn diapers that still fit him at 2.5 months/15 pounds but I noticed last night that they were starting to get a bit small so I don’t think they’ll last much longer.

Grovia and Osocozy prefoldsInserts

Even though he has outgrown his newborn covers the prefolds are still working pretty well for us in our one size covers (Flip covers).

IMG_1549Grovia prefold in a Sweet Pea newborn coverI just pad fold my prefolds (basically a trifold) and lay them in the cover.  That works well for us, especially since he’s not mobile yet, but there are tons of other folds you can do too.flour sack towels pad foldedHere’s our stack of flour sack towels.  These are the ones that I reach for last, when everything else is dirty.  They’re not as absorbent as prefolds plus you have to fold them (which is not a big deal, it takes a whole 10 seconds longer, maybe).  I just love the convenience of prefolds best.

I’ve shown how I like to fold my FSTs in the pictures below:IMG_1536It starts as a huge square of fabric

IMG_1537I fold it in half and in half again, so it’s a smaller square.

IMG_1538IMG_1539Now that Parker is bigger I do a pad fold – taking that smaller square, folding it in thirds like a prefold, and laying it in the cover.
IMG_1540When he was teeny tiny though I preferred the bikini twist – folding that smaller square just in half instead of thirds, and then twisting it around once.  You can see it in the pictures below.IMG_1542IMG_1544IMG_1546IMG_1547I also made a quick video showing how to pad fold and bikini twist fold a flour sack towel

Several of these diapers were gifts or some that I earned free with promo codes when I ordered other things, but my total newborn stash was less than $150 (I think around $130).  That lasted us two months and some items we are still using.  I’m not totally sure how much disposables would have cost if we’d used them instead of cloth but from the rough estimating I did I think we at least broke even if not saved money plus we’ll be able to use these for future kids down the road and then sell them and recoup some of the money.  So totally worth it in my opinion!

I buy almost all of my cloth diapers and diapering supplies from Kelly’s Closet so that’s who I’ve linked to for most of the diaper descriptions.  They are always running a promo where if you spend X dollars you get a free diaper.  I’ve gotten several free diapers that way (some of the newborn AIOs I listed here as well as some one size diapers I used with Hudson).  You can also earn Diaper Dollars (1 point for each dollar spent usually) that you can redeem for giftcards once you have enough built up.  Plus they have a Facebook group for all your cloth diapering needs, they have great customer service, they offer affiliate links for bloggers (which I have), and I like supporting small businesses.

And there’s the overview!  Hope it was helpful!

(P.S. Kelly’s Closet is currently running an Earth Day sale and lots of their brands, including my favorite one size diaper BumGenius, are on sale right now so if you’re thinking about cloth diapering or need to add more to your stash now is a good time to buy!)

my natural makeup search – what I found and what I’m loving

100 Pure and Alima Pure makeup reviewI’m dubbing 2016 The Non-Toxic Beauty Makeover Year.  Apparently being pregnant makes me want to totally overhaul things.  In January of 2014, when I was pregnant with Hudson, I decided to quit thinking about trying essential oils for a household cleaning solution and use my Christmas money to dive in and get a kit (and if you’ve been reading here long you know that decision has made a huge impact on how we care for our health as well as our finances).  In January of 2016, when I was pregnant with Parker, I decided to quit thinking about ditching my old makeup and trying to find something more natural – so again I used my Christmas money, threw out all my old makeup, did a bunch of research, and bought all new stuff.

Yep.  For someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup I sure had quite the stash!  It didn’t help that I never threw any away unless I completely used it up so I had stuff in there from high school.  I gathered it all up and into the trash it went.  I kept a few things that I had been using on a regular basis (and weren’t expired like 99% of what I owned) just in case all the natural things I tried bombed or I needed something for a special occasion (so far I haven’t touched the stuff I put aside so I’ll probably throw it away soon too).

2016-01-29_12.07.21 copy2016-01-29_12.11.44 copyLook at all these lipsticks!  I don’t even hardly wear lipstick.  I sure like to buy it though!

Obviously the most natural thing to do makeup-wise is to not wear any at all.  Back when I first started my journey toward natural things I said that I would change a lot of things but I’d never give up my makeup.  I’ve learned to never say never, so I guess it’s potentially possible that someday I might go makeup free but I really don’t see that happening in the near future.  However I really wanted to find a better alternative to what I was using.

Most makeup is full of hormone disrupting, cancer causing components.  I don’t want that on my face (or anywhere on my body), not to mention I don’t want it touching my kids when I kiss them or snuggle their faces to mine.  I’d switched out all my other personal care products to safer, more natural options but hadn’t done anything about my makeup and decided it was time to get it done.

I did a lot of research.  I made a list of several companies that I’d heard were good non-toxic, free of harsh chemicals, natural options.  I then began looking at each one to see if I liked the products.  Some companies got thrown out, quite a few looked like good contenders.  Then I started comparing similar products from all of the companies (foundation from each company, eyeshadow from each, etc.).

In the end there were several that I was impressed with.  I only bought from two but there are really a lot of good choices out there!  (and I’ve actually heard of a few more even since I did my initial researching that I haven’t checked out yet).  I’ll include a list of all the companies I liked at the end of this post in case you want to try them out.

I really wanted to buy a little bit from each company so I could try them all out but when I realized that the shipping costs to buy an eyeshadow here, an eyeliner there, some blush at a third place, etc. was going to be pretty steep so I decided to just stick to a couple.

The two companies that I chose were 100% Pure and Alima Pure.  Here’s why:

100% Pure

  • – TONS of options.  This was one of the biggest reasons.  There are a lot of great companies out there but many of them only carry a few things but not everything that you need.  100% Pure has every makeup item that I use and pretty much everything I could think of needing so you can do a one stop shop and not have to buy from multiple places.  Instead of just loose mineral powder they offer pressed powder, tinted moisturizer, BB cream, liquid foundation, and cream foundation.  The have primers, multiple types and colors of eyeshadows, tons of colors and types of lipstick and glosses, and so much more.
  • – Free shipping – no minimum order required
  • – Free returns.  This was a biggie too because I was making a huge leap buying makeup that I hadn’t tried before.  I wasn’t convinced that I’d find anything natural that actually worked so I liked that I could return anything if I didn’t like it (and I have since used that feature and it was an incredibly smooth process)
  • – Lots and lots of reviews on their website so I was able to get real feedback on products I was interested in.
  • – Organic, vegan, cruelty free products.  (I don’t care about vegan but I know that’s important to some people so I threw it in here for your info)
  • – Most of their products contain more than just minerals, they’re made with fruit and flower extracts too.
  • – Offered pressed powder foundation and eyeshadow.  I’m not a fan of loose powder and loose eyeshadow, I feel like it’s super messy.  But since most natural makeup companies use mineral makeup then it’s usually loose.  I liked that I could get pressed!
  • – They also have a rewards program where you get points for each purchase you make and once you’ve accumulated enough you can redeem them for free product (they did not have this when I placed my original order so it’s wasn’t a factor in my decision but they’ve since come out with it and it’s something that I really like so I thought it was worth noting!)

Alima Pure

  • – Another one that offers pressed powder foundation.
  • – Offers little sample sizes that you can buy to try the powder before you commit.  They also have sampler pack thing where you can try multiple shades.
  • – Good reviews
  • – A ton of foundation color choices, probably more than any other company I looked at
  • – Free shipping over $35.
  • – I had found a $10 off coupon that I could use on my order (and I have one for you as well at the bottom of this post!)

100% Pure makeup packagingI bought the majority of my new makeup stash from 100% Pure since they had so many choices!  Here’s a picture I snapped of my haul when it came in – the cardboard tube packaging is cute too!

Here’s what all I currently have and what I think about each one:100% Pure and Alima Pure makeup review

100% Pure luminous primerLuminous Primer – I had gotten used to using a primer because prior to my switch I was using Bare Minerals (not as natural as one might think…) – a primer with the powder foundation and mineral veil.  I loved that smooth feeling it gave my face and how easy my makeup went on so I was excited to find that 100% Pure had primer too!  It feels and works great too.100% Pure foundation powderFruit Pigmented Powder Foundation – I was worried about picking the right color (but since they have free returns I figured I could always switch if I needed to).  I chose the color Creme and it was perfect for me.  The coverage is a little lighter than what I was used to so that took a bit of adjusting but honestly it looks more natural on me and after the initial adjustment period now I like it better.  I don’t have major blemishes, my issues are more about splotchy redness and this does a great job of covering without being heavy.

At $39.00 it was expensive but comparable to what I had been paying for Bare Minerals so I was ok with that.  However, it does not last nearly as long!  I’ve been using it since the end of January (so 3 months) and I don’t even wear makeup every day (maybe 3-4 days a week) and you can already see the bottom of the pan!  That’s my biggest complaint.
100% Pure tinted moisturizerFruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer – I did not buy this in my original order, this is something I added just in the last week.  I’ve actually never used a tinted moisturizer before but I thought it might be nice as a very light way to even out my skin tone.  So far I like it!  It has a sheer coverage like the powder but goes on easily with my fingers.  I do have to put a light dusting of powder over it (once I’ve done blush, bronzer, etc.) otherwise it looks a little too dewey/greasy.  Even though I got Creme powder, based on the reviews I read I bought a shade lighter in the tinted moisturizer (Alpine Rose) and it is a great shade so I think that was the right choice.

100% Pure cocoa bronzerCocoa Pigmented Bronzer – This stuff is intense!  I just barely touch my brush to the compact and still have to use a very light hand as I apply!  You can still see the “100% Pure” words in the powder so I’ve barely used any of it.  I got this the same day I got my foundation powder and always use both products so you can definitely see a difference in how much I’ve used of this versus the foundation (actually I’ve used this more often than my powder since I sometimes use another powder or tinted moisturizer but always use the same bronzer – a little goes a long way!).  As long as I’m careful applying though it gives a nice warm bronzing color.

Alima Pure satin matte foundationAlima Pure offers pressed powder foundation as well but they have a crazy ton of color choice, which is nice for finding the perfect match but hard because there are so many options. I picked four colors that I thought were close to what I needed and I figured once I picked my color then I’d buy the pressed powder version.  I haven’t even tried them all yet but so far the coverage is good – light like the 100% Pure powder.  Of course it’s messier than I prefer since it’s a loose powder but really I can’t tell a difference in this versus other loose (not as natural) mineral powders that I’ve used.100 Pure eyeshadowI chose the Pretty Naked Palette that came with Pink Champagne highlighter, a blush (Pretty Naked), and three eyeshadows (Flax Seed, Toffee, and Chestnut) to save on buying a large individual blush, highlighter, and multiple eyeshadows.  I also bought individual shadows in the shade Ginger (with my first order) and Sugared (in a later order).  As you can tell I tend to stick to a pink and brown theme.  As I order more I’ll try to add some variety into my collection.

I was initially disappointed because the eyeshadows were not nearly as pigmented as what I had been used to (I was mainly using eyeshadows from the Urban Decay Naked palettes).  However, after using them I’ve come to actually prefer the more subtle shades – I think it looks more natural. Also, I apply with a brush, I think if you used an eye shadow sponge or even added a little water you could get much more pigment.

The highlighter is very pretty and the blush is not the color I would have picked on my own if I’d been buying it separately but I like it just fine.

Alima Pure eyeshadowI also tried out one of Alima Pure’s pearluster eyeshadows in Taupe.  They only have loose eye shadows and it can be a bit messy so I don’t reach for this one as often as I do the ones from 100% Pure.  However, this one is a lot more shiny so I like it when I’m trying to dress up my eye a little bit or want to brighten up the matte look some.

2016-04-19_09.23.40 copyIt came with this plastic piece with holes in it but (and maybe I’m missing something) I can’t figure out how to get it to work other than to shake some into the lid, which is messy.  So I just took the plastic piece off altogether.  I wish I could figure out how to get the eyeshadow through the holes though without making a big mess.100 Pure and Alima Pure eyeshadow swatchesI am by no means a beauty blogger or expert or anything but I did attempt to swatch the colors on my arm so you could see them in action.  However I didn’t do a very good job and they look a lot more similar on my arm than they do on my eyes (at least, I think so).  It’s hard to tell the difference but I promise they are all (subtly) different.100% Pure mascara and Alima Pure eye linerMascara was one of the products I was most nervous about.  I’d heard it is really hard to find a natural mascara that actually works.  But I must say that I have been incredibly pleased with 100% Pure’s Maracuja mascara.  It lasts just as long as my old mascara, is a good color, thickens my eyelashes, and smells nice and fruity.  It also comes off very easily with coconut oil (my eye makeup remover of choice).  It is not waterproof, which I don’t care about, but that might be important to you.

The eyeliner came from Alima Pure.  Initially I was not impressed because I could get a good, dark line on my lower lid but I could hardly get it to make a mark on my upper lid on top of my eyeshadow.  It did fine on bare skin but wouldn’t work on top of eyeshadow unless I wet the pencil and worked really hard to get it on there.  However, after I sharpened it the first time it started working fine.  I’m guessing there was some kind of coating or something on the brand new tip that caused it to not work as well.  It’s great now and I’m pleased.

Alima Pure, 100% Pure, and Young Living lip sticks and lip glossAnd finally, lips!

I got a lip tint from Alima Pure in the color Petal.  It is very sheer and pretty much the exact color of my lip so I guess that makes it the perfect nude shade.  I really don’t wear lip color often so I’m good with a barely-there color.  It also makes a nice base under lip gloss.

I tried 100% Pure’s lip glaze in Watermelon (not pictured) but it was the only product so far I haven’t liked (and so I used their fab return policy and sent it back).  The color was nice but the color collected in a line on my lips and settled in my lip creases so I wasn’t impressed with how it wore.

Then I tried 100% Pure’s creamstick in Perfect Naked Berry.  I used to love Clinique’s chubby sticks (like a big, fat lip pencil) and this looked very similar.  I wanted the Perfect Naked Pink (I tend to always choose pinks or corals) but it was sold out so I tried the berry.  It was darker than I tend to wear (although not dark by most standards) but I got several compliments on it (probably just because it’s unusual to see me in lip color at all!) so I think I’ll keep it and step outside of my makeup comfort zone.  This lip product did not settle in my creases or anything and actually stayed on much longer than most lipsticks (which is one of the reasons I don’t wear much lipstick – I don’t like having to reapply all the time).  Now that I’ve tried one of the creamsticks I want to get them all!  I hope the pink one comes back in stock.

I also already had two lip glosses.  Young Living doesn’t carry any other makeup but they do have three different lip gloss/essential oil blend combos (gloss on one end, oil blend to use as perfume on the other).  I have the red gloss/amoressence scent (that’s the bottom one with the yellow oil blend) and the pink gloss/summer scent (top).  I bought the red/amoressence becuase I loved the smell of the amoressence.  I was hesitant about getting red but it’s not red at all and it’s not dark either – more of a sheer berry color.  The pink gloss is definitely my favorite color though!  I like it best out of all four of my lip color options.  Since it’s gloss it wears off faster than lipstick but thankfully it wears off evenly (instead of settling in creases) and it’s not sticky like some glosses so I really like that.

2016-04-19_09.20.24 copyI did hang on to one of my old products – this Tarte concealer.  I honestly rarely use concealer (my issues are more all over redness rather than blemishes).  Tarte is more natural than many but still not quite what I would want, but since I rarely use it I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on another one so I’m going to keep using this for now.

Again, I am no beauty blogger nor am I much of a selfie taker so try to look past the awkwardness of these next pictures.  I wanted to show you what the makeup looks like on so that you could see that it looks just as good as what you might buy elsewhere.  I feel like that’s better seen in person but I tried anyway so maybe this will help!

no makeupNo makeup at all.

face makeup onlyFace makeup done (primer, pressed powder foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter) but eyes and lips still bare.

makeup done with 100% Pure, Alima Pure, and Young Living makeupFull face of makeup.  I think the lip color is the 100% Pure creamstick in berry.

So in case you haven’t gathered from the post I’ll recap here: I have been incredibly pleased with the makeup I’ve gotten from 100% Pure and Alima Pure, both in the fact that it’s so much better for me than my old makeup and in how well it works.  Of the two companies 100% Pure is my favorite but both are great.

Natural makeup is, as with most natural things, more expensive than their counterparts.  I typically bought brands like Clinique, Mary Kay, Bare Minerals, Urban Decay, etc. so I was used to spending a little more on makeup than if I’d bought it from Walmart, Target, etc.  However that might be a little bit of sticker shock for you so I wanted to give you a heads up!

I wish I had a coupon for you or some sort of referral link for 100% Pure since that’s definitely my favorite but unfortunately I don’t.  However if you sign up for their emails or like them on Facebook and watch their sales they do run lots of good sales, as much as 25% off which is pretty good!

I do have a discount code for Alima Pure though and they have great stuff too so worth a try!  Click here to get a $10 off coupon emailed to you for your first order (I think I might get a credit on my account too so thanks in advance!).

In case you are curious here is a list of the other companies I looked at and some of my thoughts about them.  Most I would like to try at some points, it’s just like I said before that didn’t want to pay shipping for so many different companies so I had to narrow it down.

  • Beauty Counter – This was (is) in my top 3 compaines that I want to try.  I’ve heard great things about their makeup (especially their Tint Skin Foundation) and one thing that they have that the other compaines don’t (that doesn’t matter to me but I know matters to others) is that their makeup is not mineral based.  Still natural, but not minerals like most compaines.  I don’t have an issue with mineral makeup but I know it makes some people break out, so here is another option for you.  I haven’t tried this yet but it’s on my list to try in the near future.  When I originally started my research a family member had mentioned that she was thinking about becoming a Beauty Counter consultant so I wanted to wait until she decided so that I could order from her if she did.  I had also already spent quite a bit on my makeup overhaul so there was that too.  Their selection isn’t huge but it’s a decent size and I would guess they will add more as the company grows.  I linked directly to the website but fyi this is a direct sales company so if you decide to try their stuff find out if one of your friends is a consultant first and order through them to support them!
  • Root Pretty – I was very impressed with these products too.  Lots of options, offers lots of samples (more than just foundation samples) you can purchase to try colors before you buy, more budget friendly than some of the other companies.  This is another that I would like to try out in the future.  I was not impressed with their customer service when I reached out to them which is why I didn’t order from them during my initial order.
  • Juice Beauty – Pretty good selection, including liquid foundation.  Free shipping over $30.  According to their store locator our local Ulta carries Juice Beauty (although I’m not sure how much) so that’s a plus if you like to check things out in person rather than order online.  I don’t go to the mall much but next time I do I’ll go check out our selection.
  • Sweet Savvy Minerals – This is a relatively new company founded by a fellow Young Living distributor.  I defintely like to support a fellow YL colleague but their selection is still pretty small and they only offer the loose powders and eyeshadows so it’s something I’d like to try in the future but it didn’t make my initial order.

There were a couple of other companies I checked out that were not as natural as they claim or who have since (as in, since I did this research in January of this year) closed their doors and/or rebranded due to some internal scandals.  I’m not going to name names as my goal here is not to call out other companies.  These listed here are ones I suggest either from personal experience or my research as of a few months ago.  I’m sure there are other great ones out there, I just suggest you do some digging on your own to see if the makeup you are looking at is really natural.

And there you go!  If you read this far give yourself a pat on the back!  I know that was a lot of info.  I hope it’s helpful and that you’ll see that it’s a lot easier to switch to natural makeup products than you might have thought.

Disclaimer: I bought all of this makeup with my own money.  None of these brands know who I am and I didn’t receive any products for free.  This is my honest review based on what I purchased and my own experiences.  

Have you tried any of these brands?  What were your thoughts?  Do you have any questions about what I tried?

a peek inside my Erin Condren Life Planner

a peek inside my Erin Condren Life PlannerI love, love, LOVE Erin Condren Life Planners!  I’ve never found anything that I like better.  Last year I decided I didn’t want to pay for one (they’re $50 if you don’t get one on sale) and so I tried another planner – I thought it was going to be awesome but I ended up not loving it and instead bought a Life Planner several months in to finish out 2015.  After my brief break I now know this is THE planner and I might as well just budget to purchase one every year!  Using my planner increases my productivity big time and you can’t put a price on that.

I’ve blogged about how I use my planner in the past (when I was workingas a way to track baby milestones) but I wanted to show you how I’m using it now that I’m at stay at home mom and have a business.

IMG_1480The monthly calendar spread I use as my monthly overview.  I jot down appointments, birthdays, and activities.  I pick one color pen and use that to mark all of the oils classes that I teach each month so that I can see that at a glance and it stands out.

IMG_1481The weekly spread is where the magic happens.  This is basically my brain on paper in a to-do list form.  On the left hand side I keep a to-do list of things I want to get done at some point during the week.

Each day is broken into three boxes.  I don’t label my boxes on my calendar but I do have specific uses for each of them.  The top box is where I put appointments, classes, and sometimes random memories.  The middle box is my to-do list for the day unrelated to my business (cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.) as well as where I put blog post for that day.  The bottom box is my Young Living to-do list for the day.

The very bottom section changes occasionally.  In this picture I used it to write my daily Bible reading, what I had planned for dinner, if I exercised (which I obviously didn’t much that week…), check boxes for each glass of water I drank and for the various vitamins I needed to take.

IMG_1482It’s a pretty big planner so not super convenient to carry around all the time unless you carry a big bag.  I don’t mind the size because mine usually stays at home sitting on the counter (which is like my desk) open to my to-do list so I can glance at it many times a day.  Plus I like to have plenty of room to write.

(I use an app on my phone, aCal, also for when I’m out and about. I only track the bare bones appointments on it)IMG_1483I’m in some planner groups (seriously, what DOESN’T have a Facebook group these days?) and many of those ladies beautifully decorate their planners big time.  Almost like scrapbooking pages!  They use lots of stickers and washi tape.  That’s totally fine if that’s what you like but that’s not my thing so I just stick to (pun intended) occasionally using the stickers that come with the planner.
IMG_1484There are lots of notes pages that I use to jot stuff down.

IMG_1485Also some pockets in the back to hold all my random junk.

If you have never ordered from Erin Condren before you can use this link and get $10 off your first purchase.  (they will send you an email with a code that you can then use when you purchase)

Also, at the time of this post, 2016 Life Planners are 50% off and you can use the $10 off from the link above on top of that, making them roughly $15 plus shipping!  WHAT!?  That’s a crazy good deal.  There’s still lots of time left in 2016 so try one out and see if you like it!

Any Erin Condren fans out there?  How long have you been using the LP?

Parker’s 2 month update

Wow these two months have FLOWN!  Crazy!  Here’s an update on the newest member of our household :).

growth

At his two month check up Parker weighed 13 pounds, 7 ounces and was 23 inches long.  That’s almost a five pound weight gain since his birth!

2 month dr visitHis newborn diapers are already on the largest rise setting and he even wore his first one size diaper.2016-04-03_16.57.33 copy

eating

Parker eats about every two hours or so during the day.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  At night it’s more like every 3 or 4 hours.  He’s a very quick eater and only eats from one side at a time.

He and Hudson are night and day different in most ways but apparently Parker got the same spit-up gene that Hudson has.  He spits up all the time!  We’re used to it since that’s how Hudson was but it’s still messy!  In fact, I think he might be more messy.  Hudson would only burp if you sat him up and kind of held his chin so I was able to hold a burp cloth under his face to catch the inevitable spit up that came with each feeding.  Parker burps better being held up to your shoulder so even though I have the burp cloth draped over my shoulder I can’t control it as easily so he usually rubs his face or hands in it before I’m able to get it cleaned up.  Quite the mess!

sleeping

He is a really good sleeper (and I am SO thankful!).  He usually falls asleep around 9 or 10 and we put him in the swing in the living room.  He sleeps there until we get ready to go to bed (usually around midnight).  I change his diaper and feed him again and we go to bed.  Then he typically wakes up once during the night around 2 or 3 to eat and then when we wake up for the day around 6 or 7.  Sometimes he wakes more than that but most of the time it’s just that one time between when we go to sleep and when we get up.

He has had a lot of gas issues this month that have caused some sleep issues.  Just like Hudson, Parker has gas problems in the mornings.  A lot of mornings starting around 5 or 6 he starts to fuss and cry out and have gas.  Hopefully we’ll get this resolved soon!

Parker is not on a schedule as far as napping goes.  He almost always takes a nap when we all lay down for Hudson’s nap time but for the rest of the day he takes little naps randomly.  It’s hard for him to get a good, long one in because Hudson is constantly waking him up either with loud noises or wanting to give him kisses or just messing with him.
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new accomplishments

Parker started smiling this month in reaction to us (not just in his sleep).  So sweet!

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adventures

Starting his patriotism off right we took Parker with us to the Kentucky caucus right after he turned a month old.  He snoozed the whole time.

Our church’s ladies retreat was this month as well so Parker and I went for the day on Saturday while Hudson stayed with Michael.  He did great – slept, ate, and was totally chill.  When Hudson was a month old we went to ladies retreat and I remember that it was a huge ordeal for me to get us there.  With Parker it seemed so very easy…relaxing actually to only have one rather than both kiddos!

We’ve done a couple of playdates, he got adjusted at the chiropractor, and he went with me to teach an oils class.  We also went home (about an hour away) to visit our families for Easter.IMG_13942016-03-27_12.08.00 copyHis first egg hunt.  Hudson and Daddy helped him get one egg.
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some pictures from the month

Smiling in his sleep

2016-03-06_07.32.32 copy2016-03-15_13.03.55 copyHudson wanted Parker to play puzzles with him!  I have a feeling these two are going to be good buddies.2016-03-16_09.45.14 copyLove this cute diaper a friend of mine gave us!2016-03-17_19.10.45 copy Precious boys ready for church.  Parker was not interested in taking pictures.  It’s hard to tell because it’s tucked up under his chin(s) but he has a tiny bow tie on.2016-03-20_09.04.30 copy 2016-03-20_11.53.12 copy 2016-03-20_17.42.38 copyHudson was sharing his Fuffle (his lovie blanket) with Parker.2016-03-29_07.26.50 copy After a bath.  Look at those chins!  I love my chunky monkey!
2016-03-29_19.37.31 copy 2016-03-29_19.37.32 copy2016-03-29_19.40.16 copyAdorable!2016-04-03_09.51.46 copy Oh how I love being their Mommy.
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Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with his monthly pictures the way I did with Hudson.  It’s hard with the second child – everything goes faster and you forget a lot more stuff!

2 month comparison

how to fold pop up cloth wipes

how to fold interlocking cloth wipes so they pop up from a dispenser

We’ve been using cloth wipes with our cloth diapers for two years off and on and yet somehow I had no idea how easy it was to fold my wipes so that they will pop up from a dispenser just like disposable wipes!  Now that I know how to do this I LOVE it!  It seems crazy but having the wipes pop up makes them much easier to use.

Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how (scroll to the bottom to see a video tutorial)

IMG_1428You’ll need your cloth wipes and a wipes dispenser.  For my dispenser I use a Huggies one that you can get with disposable wipes (we use both cloth and disposable so we have several of these boxes) but I’ve heard a lot of people like this one that you can buy.

Many people make their own wipes – squares cut from receiving blankets or flannel, edges finished with a serger or just left raw.  I wasn’t feeling crafty so I bought some from Tender Bottoms on Etsy – they were $10 for 30 wipes, which I thought was a really good price, and I think I even bought them during a sale so they were a little bit cheaper.  Some cloth diaper brands also sell wipes – Kelly’s Closet is my go-to retailer for cloth diapers if you prefer to do that route.

I pre-moisten my wipes with water so that they’re ready to go when I’m changing a diaper and I don’t have to stop to wet them each time.  I wet them and wring them out so that they’re damp but not dripping then I’m ready to get started folding.IMG_1432Step 1: Lay two wipes on a flat surface, one on top of the other so that they overlap only halfway

IMG_1433I’ve shown the top wipe folded back a little bit so you can see about how far the bottom wipe is under the top – I do NOT measure or anything, just eyeball it

IMG_1434 Step 2: Fold the bottom wipe over the top so it sandwiches it

IMG_1435Here’s another angle showing how the bottom wipe sandwiches the top one

IMG_1436 Step 3: Lay a third wipe on top, lining it up with the wipe that you just folded over.

IMG_1437Another angle for step 3

IMG_1438Step 4: fold up the bottom wipe

IMG_1439 Step 5: Lay a new wipe on top of the folded wipe, lining them up.

IMG_1440 IMG_1441Continue following those steps until you’ve folded all the wipes

IMG_1442Once you’re done you should have a big stack of interlocking wipes. 

IMG_1443Set them down inside your dispenser.  I have 60 wipes and they all fit perfectly inside the Huggies box.

IMG_1444Pull the top wipe through the hole
IMG_1445 And then as you pul out the first wipe, the next one should automatically come through to be used next time!  Nifty!IMG_1447This also works perfectly in the Huggies Clutch & Clean pouches, which it how I carry our wipes in the diaper bag.how to fold pop up cloth wipesHere’s a video showing it as well:
Do you use cloth wipes?  These are useful for so much more than diaper changing so even if you don’t use them for that they would be great for wiping hands and faces, wiping up messes, or cleaning off tables at a restaurant!

Hudson’s 2 year + 2 month update

Back to back updates but at least now I’m caught up ;).

growth

It feels like Hudson grew huge in the last two months since Parker has been born but in reality he’s only gained one pound since his two year check up.  He weighs 30 pounds now and is 35 and 1/4 inches tall (to the best of our measuring ability with an ever-moving toddler).

I knew some of his shoes were getting a little small right before Parker was born, and then in the weeks following when Michael and my mom were getting him dressed they said that the rest of his shoes were too small.  And just like that he was completely out of shoes!  We found a pair of Crocs and a pair of nicer Sunday shoes in his closet that had been hand me downs from others and for a week or two he had to wear one of those two pairs everywhere.

I finally was able to get out and do some shopping.  At one of the stores they offered to measure his foot for me and at first I said no because I thought I knew what size he needed but then I changed my mind and said why not…I’m so glad I did because he needed a size 8 shoe and I thought he only needed a 7.  We’d been cramming his poor feet into 6s and 6.5s.  I felt horrible!

He now has several pairs of properly fitting shoes and we’re good for the next few months (hopefully).  He was so proud of these tennis shoes he got and I think they make him look so big!2016-03-18_15.03.17 copy

Our weather here can’t make up its mind but some days it has been warmer so we got out his tub of 24 month and 2T spring/summer clothes.  He has completely outgrown his 24 month clothes and some of his 2T clothes so I need to get out the 3T stuff, see what we have to work with, and then do some summer clothes shopping.

communication

Hudson talks from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed and often even while he’s sleeping.  He comes by it honestly though!  His vocabulary and ability to talk in sentences, tell stories, and communicate what he means grows by leaps and bounds.  It’s so fun to watch!

This actually started last month and I forgot to mention it in his last update, but he is really into praying right now.  It’s absolutely adorable.  Often while he’s playing with his little kitchen he’ll sit down at his Elmo table, bow his head, fold his hands, and pray.  For a while we were having to pray multiple times at each meal.  And if we don’t list all of our family members then he prompts us until we’ve prayed for them all.  So precious.

He has started saying “Hold sho” (Hold you) when he wants to be picked up, which is so sweet.  I love the way he mispronounces things, like the way he calls brussels sprouts “pussel brouts”.  2016-03-11_10.49.17 copyI’ve been making green smoothies a lot in the afternoons for us to have as a snack.  He loves them and calls them “moosies”.

2016-03-09_16.02.55 copyI’ve started exercising a little, doing exercise videos in our living room.  The first one I did was a yoga dvd and now Hudson calls all exercise videos “yogas”.  He likes to workout with me and jump around as I do jumping jacks or mimic the yoga poses.  One day he even got two of his sensory bottles and pretended they were weights.

Here he is doing up dog/cobra.

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He has certain phrases that he says a lot.  He has a made up sound for milk (he doesn’t sign milk and he doesn’t say it, it’s just a funny sound he makes with his mouth and we have no idea where he got that) so when he sees Parker nursing each time he’ll make his milk sound and then say “So yummy!”.  He says “tiss!” (kiss) and runs up and gives Parker kisses.  He’s also started saying “sweet” after he gives him a kiss…I guess because we would always say “oh that’s so sweet!” when he loves on Parker.

If he loses his paci he walks around saying “paci go?” on repeat constantly until I help him find it.  He talks about thing being “messy” a lot.

new stuff

Hudson is very much into colors and counting right now.  He knows a lot of color words but doesn’t usually identify them correctly.  He’ll point to an object and declare a color but it’s not always right.  Green seems to be the one he choses the most.

I knew he could identify when there are two of something and he will repeat his numbers after us as we count, but I didn’t realize he could count on his own until the other day when he was walking up our steps and he said (with no prompting from me) “four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven….fourteen!”.  I was so impressed!  He doesn’t always get them in the correct order though.

When he is using the bathroom (in his diaper) he’ll tell his “bye” because he wants us to leave the room and give him some privacy I suppose.  He’ll also tell us bye if he wants to get in to something he knows he shouldn’t and he wants us not to see.  It’s pretty funny.

Michael taught him how to make a triangle with his fingers and he really likes that.  He also gives us thumbs up a lot and it’s cute.

Anytime he is pretending to read, type on his calculator, or type on his laptop he says “P-2-P”.  We don’t have a clue where that came from or what it means but apparently that’s his pretend way of reading/writing. (We joke that P2P is probably the answer to some previously unsolvable equation and he’s actually a genius and we don’t know it yet – ha!)

Hudson loves to sing and is very specific in his requests of what he wants us to sing, but for the first time this month he started singing along with us.  Not just one or two words here or there like he had been doing but singing the majority of the song.  So far the only one he sings consistently is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  It’s so precious – definitely the sweetest version of Twinkle, Twinkle that I’ve ever heard!

We have two baby dolls that Hudson plays with occasionally but what he does most often is he just cradles his arms (without actually holding anything) and pretends he is holding a baby.  He tells us that he’s nursing his baby (he makes his “milk” sound) and then he’ll lean over and give his “baby” a kiss.  The most hilarious thing though is that he does this mostly at meals and then he’ll keep one arm clutched to his chest/stomach and eat with the other hand…as if he’s holding a baby in one arm and eating with the other.  He’s definitely seen us do that a lot since Parker has been born!

adventures

Even before Parker was born supper time was a struggle – Hudson wanted to be held the whole time we were fixing supper so one of us would have to wrangle him while the other cooked.  Once Parker was born it got even worse because now we had to take care of Parker on top of that.  I’d seen a friend post a picture of her kids in a learning tower and thought it was brilliant.  We looked at buying one but then found some plans to make our own so Michael built us one for much cheaper than you can buy them.  It’s adjustable so it can grow with Hudson.

It has made a HUGE difference!  Supper prep time is no longer a struggle at all.  Hudson hops up in his tower and plays along side us as we work.  He usually gets some of the play food from his little kitchen and pretends to cook.  Or he’ll have a snack or just stand there and watch.  It’s also helpful for him to wash his hands because now he can reach the sink without us having to try to hold him and get his hands washed all at once.

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He likes helping me clean so when we use the tower I’m able to spray the counters and then he wipes them.2016-03-14_10.50.26 copyWe really hadn’t been out all that much since Parker has been born but the last two weeks or so we’ve started getting back out more.  We’ve been to the park a couple of times and one of the parks we went to had these horses you can ride on a little merry go round thing.  In the past when we’ve visited Hudson didn’t want to have anything to do with them but this time he got on and rode for a long time.  He wanted to ride each color horse so we switched several times and he just rode and rode.  I was so proud of him!
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Some other random pictures from this month:

For a couple of days he kept bringing his Elmo chairs from the playroom and setting them up in various places.  I’m not really sure what he was doing or who he intended to sit in the second chair but it was pretty funny…looked like he was getting us all set up for a family meeting!2016-03-06_16.45.32 copy2016-03-07_09.45.50 copyBig boy ready for church
2016-02-28_08.27.39 copyAnother Sunday morning picture – church outfit complete with ball cap!  Ha!2016-03-06_08.43.06 copyWearing a hat just like Daddy2016-03-15_17.44.06 copy

Checking out strider bikes (little bitty bikes with no pedals to help kids learn balance).  Hudson is obsessed with “bicicycles” right now so he had a blast at the bike shop.IMG_7692Oh this precious face!  Is there anything sweeter than a peaceful, sleeping child? 2016-03-15_13.59.58 copyPlaying puzzles and he wanted Parker to play too so he set several of the puzzle pieces on top of Parker.  Hudson is such a good big brother!  2016-03-16_09.45.14 copySweet brothers ready for church2016-03-20_09.04.33 copy This picture cracks me up – Parker looks like a little old man here2016-03-20_11.53.12 copySuper crazy bed head!2016-03-22_14.19.34 copy

Love this sweet boy to pieces!

essential oils for labor, birth, and recovery

Young Living essential oils and products for childbirth

I’ve had several requests asking about what oils I used during my pregnancy, labor, delivery, and recovery so I wrote it all up and hope it’s helpful!

When I began using oils two years ago I was at the very end of my first pregnancy – I got my starter kit just a week before I gave birth and was still learning so I didn’t use them much at all during my labor and recovery since I didn’t know what to do with them.  This time around oils are now a huge part of my life and I was excited to get to experience an oily pregnancy and birth!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.  I am not telling you what you should or shouldn’t do.  This is not intended to diagnose or prescribe anything.  I am just sharing what I personally chose to do during my childbirth based on the research that I’d done and what I felt comfortable with.  Please research for yourself and discuss with your doctor, midwife, etc. if needed.

I am not going to go through what all I used during my whole pregnancy because mostly I just continued oiling as I had pre-pregnancy but I will share a few things I did toward the very end to help prepare.

While pregnant:

  • – About a month before my due date I bumped my Ningxia Red intake up from 2 ounces a day (what I drank during the majority of my pregnancy) to 4 ounces a day.  If you are unfamiliar with Ningxia Red, it is a juice from Young Living that is packed with antioxidants and nutrients.  We all drink it every day since it’s great for your immune system and overall wellness but while pregnant I increased my normal amount since I was nourishing an extra person.
  • – This is not oily but I also began drinking one cup of red raspberry leaf tea each day (I like the Earth Mama Angel Baby Third Trimester tea).  Red raspberry leaf tea is supposed to help your uterus prepare for delivery.
  • – I made sure to use Thieves each morning and my “Wellness Blend” (15 drops Melrose, 15 drops Thieves, 15 drops lemon, 7 drops oregano, 7 drops frankincense, then fill the rest with carrier oil in a 15 ml bottle) on my feet and spine each night to support my immune system.  With a baby on the way I wanted to be as healthy as possible!
  • – I mixed up a circulation blend (Young Living’s lavender lotion with several oils I have that are good for circulation like cypress, marjoram, Aroma Life, tangerine, etc.) rubbed it on my feet and hands each night during the majority of my pregnancy.
  • – I began using quite a few of the emotional support oils.  I’d had a hard first labor and delivery and was left with some lingering fear and other negative emotions after that experience.  To try help myself let go of that I used several oils as I worked through those emotions but Valor, Release, and Forgiveness were the ones I used most frequently.Valor, Release, and Forgiveness
  • – A week and a half before I delivered I started having contractions just about every night.  I used lavender or Gentle Baby on my stomach to help calm the contractions.
  • – Each night as I had contractions I’d get a little anxious, wondering if this was “it” and have a hard time calming down to go to sleep, so in addition to using my usual Tranquil before bed I also started using Stress Away to help myself unwind.

While in labor:

My two main goals in using my oils in labor were to support my body as it did its job to bring a baby into the world and to help me stay calm and grounded as I labored.

If you read my birth story you know that my labor was very short.  I really didn’t have much time at all to use anything because it went so fast!  But I did use some.

  • – In the early morning hours once I realized I was in real labor I used some emotional oils on myself (Stress Away, Valor, White Angelica, and Gentle Baby mostly) to try to help me stay relaxed and calm.
  • – I diffused two of my favorite calming oils, Valor and lavender, as I was laboring at home.
  • – I own a Zyto scanner (a machine that scans your body and helps you know what oils your body needs at that time) so I scanned myself and 4 oils came up: marjoram, jasmine, tea tree, and melissa. I don’t have melissa or jasmine but I do have Forgiveness and Hope (Forgiveness has both, Hope has melissa) so I mixed marjoram, tea tree, Forgiveness, and Hope together with a carrier and rubbed it on.
  • – I’d read that spearmint is good for supporting the body during labor plus I like the smell so I rubbed that on my wrists.
  • – As my contractions picked up I rubbed the “Labor Blend” I’d mixed up (6 drops copaiba, 4 drops fennel, 2 drops peppermint, 6 drops ylang ylang, 3 drops clary sage mixed in carrier oil in a 10 ml roller bottle) on my inner ankles (the vitaflex points for your uterus are located on your inner ankles), low back, and low abdomen.  This blend was intended to help support my body and help it do what it needed to do to progress toward delivery.Labor blend
  • – I had an empty bottle of Valor that still definitely had the Valor smell so I carried that with me as we drove to the hospital so I could continue to breathe it in on the way.

A cool story about Ningxia Red: I have heard several midwives say that they can see a difference in the placentas of their moms who drink Ningxia Red versus those who don’t; they say that the NR drinking moms have healthier placentas.  Well right after I delivered my placenta I heard one of the nurses (who I’m sure had no idea I’d been drinking Ningxia) comment “Wow that’s a really pretty placenta!”  I thought that was an interesting coincidence given what I’d heard from the midwives.  (P.S. I’m not sure I’d ever call a placenta “pretty” but whatevs…)

While recovering

  • – Young Living’s Claraderm Spray is wonderfully soothing for the skin so I used that on my perineal area each time I used the bathroom for two weeks or so after delivery.claraderm
  • – I continued rolling my Labor Blend on my ankles, abdomen, and back as I still had plenty left since I didn’t use it much during labor and I figured surely the hormonal support would be beneficial during recovery
  • – I continued drinking the third trimester tea because I had quite a bit left and assumed that if it helped my uterus get ready for birth it could help my uterus recover from birth.
  • – I diffused the majority of the two days we were in the hospital (in my recovery room…I intended to diffuse in my L&D room but just didn’t have time before he was born) – things like Thieves or Purification to clean the room, or Joy, Gentle Baby, or Valor for the emotional support. Our nurses were very oil friendly! Most of them already use oils themselves or had experienced them and everyone commented on how great our room smelled.
  • – I used several products on my nipples in the first two or three weeks, including Rose Ointment, Animal Scents Ointment, and Claraderm Spray (all three of those are Young Living products) as well as Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter .  The EMAB nipple butter ended up being my favorite.
  • – Joy, Valor, and Stress Away are my go-to trio to help with the extra emotions that sometimes come after having a baby.  I typically put Joy over my heart, Stress Away on my neck, and Valor on my forearms.Valor, Stress Away, and Joy
  • – I drank a packet of Ningxia Red every couple of hours for the first few days.  Birth results in quite a bit of blood loss so I figured my body could use the extra nutrients!
  • – Ningxia Nitro hasn’t been something I’ve needed daily but I have drank it more often than usual on those days when I’m extra tired and need a little boost of energy.Ningxia Red and Ningxia Nitro

Some things that I had prepared to use that I didn’t end up needing included:

  • – Ningxia Nitro for an energy boost if I was in labor a long time
  • – Peppermint to sniff during labor if I had occasional nausea
  • – Deep Relief, OrthoSport, OrthoEase, or PanAway to massage into my lower back while laboring

I hope this helps as you prepare for your oily birth!  Blessings to you and your new baby!

If you are not a Young Living member and want to learn how to purchase these oils and products, check out my page here that tells all about how to order.  I’d love to help you get started!

Parker’s one month update

Welllllll I’m already behind!  Ha!  Parker is nearly two months old now and I’m just now getting around to doing his one month update.  I wanted to do a detailed post about his first week since everything is so new and exciting and busy…I haven’t gotten that done yet so I’m going to go ahead with his one month post and then maybe at some point I’ll be able to go back and do the first week one.  We’ll see.  It is SO hard to find time to sit down with my computer and get anything done right now as we adjust to life with two kiddos.

Anyway, here’s a big photo dump from Parker’s first month.

Parker’s very first picture 2016-02-04_16.35.21 copy

2016-02-04_17.18.58 copy 2016-02-04_17.19.53 copyHudson meeting Parker for the first time.  2016-02-04_17.51.33 copy First picture as a family of four!  2016-02-04_18.13.21 copySnuggles with Daddy2016-02-05_10.26.41 copyCute personalized outfit for hospital pictures
2016-02-05_11.11.05 copydsc_9214 One day old, hanging out in the hospital room with Mommy2016-02-05_11.22.43 copy Look at that sweet face!!2016-02-05_11.36.31 copy 2016-02-05_17.59.32 copyHeading home!2016-02-06_12.55.13 copy 2016-02-06_13.15.40 copy 2016-02-06_19.54.47 copy Both of our boys snoozing.  We turned Parker’s crib into a cosleeper that is attached to our bed…however, he doesn’t sleep in it much, mostly he sleeps in the bed next to me. Speaking of sleep (because this is one of the most commonly asked questions) Parker is a pretty decent sleeper for a newborn.  He wakes up every 2-3 hours in the night to eat but then goes right back to sleep.  Thankfully he’s not wide awake during the night.2016-02-06_23.10.26 copy All three of my boys2016-02-07_12.15.23 copy 2016-02-07_14.37.21 copyWaiting at his 4 day old well baby check up.  Everything looked good – he was a tiny bit jaundiced but not anything that our pediatrician was concerned about.2016-02-08_08.23.20 copy 2016-02-08_23.22.12 copy My arms are pretty full but I love holding both of my boys!
2016-02-09_17.10.09 copy Ready for Valentine’s Day with this cute heart-themed sleeper.2016-02-09_17.18.53 copy This expression cracks me up!2016-02-09_17.36.46 copyUsing my ring sling to wear Parker for the first time.  That made rocking Hudson for nap time so much easier!
2016-02-10_12.55.00 copy Michael wearing Parker so that I could shower.  For several days (maybe even a couple of weeks?) Parker would cry the whole time when I went to shower at night unless Michael wore him.
2016-02-11_22.22.44 copySweet brothers!2016-02-12_11.03.25 copy 2016-02-12_12.32.29 copy 2016-02-14_13.04.56 copy First time wearing his cloth diapers.  They’re so big compared to the disposables he’d been wearing!  I didn’t start Hudson in cloth until he was two and a half months old so cloth diapering a newborn is a new experience!2016-02-16_11.26.53 copy2016-02-16_17.34.26 copy Hanging out in the Rock ‘n Play in the bathroom while Hudson got a bath.2016-02-16_19.07.01 copyAfternoon nap time all piled up in the bed.  I love moments like these!
2016-02-17_08.12.09 copy First paci at 2 weeks old.  He’s not really very good about holding it in but it helps for a few minutes.2016-02-17_08.56.18 copy Hudson loves to help put Parker’s paci in.2016-02-17_09.17.11 copyOur first outing with both boys.   It’s so strange to look back and see two carseats in the van now!  2016-02-17_16.25.35 copy Parker’s 2 week check up.  He’d had gotten back up to his birth weight plus some!  (9 lb 1 oz at his check up, 8 lb 11 oz at birth)2016-02-18_08.15.15 copyWe had some warmish weather and I was feeling good so we went out for a walk a few times.  I love our double stroller!  It’s so easy to push, even with both boys in it!

2016-02-19_10.32.38 copyWhen Parker was two weeks old Michael went back to work (I am SO thankful that he was able to take two weeks off to be home with us!).  While he was home I had been rocking Hudson to sleep for nap while holding both boys, then when Hudson was asleep Michael would come get him and lay him down.  With Michael gone I couldn’t do that anymore so we’ve switched to where we all go lay down together in the bed at nap.  Hudson rolls around for a bit then falls asleep.  Parker usually nurses or sleeps and I nap with them once they’re both asleep.  I almost never napped when Hudson was a newborn but this time around I’m trying to get as much sleep as I can so I take advantage of nap time!2016-02-19_14.17.02 copy Tried out my Lillebaby carrier…that thing is amazing!  Once I started using it I haven’t used a single other one of my carriers.  I’ll do a whole post another day about it but for now I’ll just say that we use it multiple times a day every day and it rocks.2016-02-20_17.09.05 copy2016-02-21_14.12.10 copyParker’s umbilical cord took a long time to heal so he was three weeks old before he finally got his first bath (aside from the bath he got in the hospital).  He didn’t cry much at all!  

IMG_7645Hudson helping Parker talk on the “phone” (a calculator)2016-02-21_16.20.45 copy I love this picture of them both in their fleece sleepers.  Hudson almost never wears footie jammies but for some reason wanted them on this particular day.2016-02-24_14.31.05 copyHe found his thumb for all of about a minute and that’s the one and only time he’s sucked on it.2016-02-28_10.09.36 copy I don’t have a picture but the day he turned one month old he rolled over!  What!?  I know!  Twice he rolled from his front to his back.  He hasn’t done it since then so maybe it was a fluke.

We took him to church for the first time when he was three weeks old but I don’t have a picture of that.  I also don’t have a picture of him taking his first bottle.  Right at a month old we gave him a bottle – I was giving him a probiotic to try to help with some gas issues and it’s way easier to mix it with milk and give it that way so I pumped a little to use for that.  It was only a tiny bit, maybe 1/2 an ounce, but he did well with the bottle for the little time he used it.2016-02-29_18.55.58 copySo how are we doing?  This seems to be a very common question!  We’re all doing really well!  I have had SUCH an easier recovery this time than I did less time.  I felt much better physically – less soreness, quicker to heal.  I also am not quite as emotional as last time.  Those first few days/weeks I definitely had some of the big emotional sad and happy moments that come as your hormones regulate but it’s not as intense as after Hudson.  The hardest part for me has been accepting the fact that Hudson is so big and grown up compared to Parker and dealing with not being able to give either child 100% (and the guilt that comes along with it).   It’s amazing how much love your heart has room for though!

So much has been different this time around!  We’ve actually cooked quite a few meals ourselves and Michael even did some projects he’d been wanting to get done.  Parker is a pretty chill baby so that helps.

My mom came to stay with Hudson while we were in the hospital then stayed a few days after.  We were having such an easy time managing things that she went on home for the days that Michael was here with us and then came back after he went back to work to give me a hand.

Breastfeeding is going TONS better this time!  That has been wonderful and is a big part of the reason why we’re not nearly as frazzled.  The first three weeks were painful as he we both learned – cracked, bleeding nipples, vasospasms, and pain when he latched.  But thankfully by the third week the pain was gone.  He’s a great eater, much faster than Hudson was, and I seem to have plenty of milk.  I was worried since we’d had so many issues last time but that doesn’t seem to be the case this time.

Hudson is good with Parker.  The first several days home he basically ignored him (he had his Daddy and Mamie there with him so he was pretty happy just to play with them and soak up their attention).  Once they were both gone during the day then he started to notice Parker more.  He does not seem to be jealous so far.  I try to make sure to give Hudson lots of attention and read or sing with him while I’m nursing and I think that helps.

This first month flew by!  Time, slow down!