DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray.

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It's that time of year - when the mosquitoes love to FEAST in the sunset glow. I love spending time outside with my boys, but we do seem to have some enemies out there with us, especially right around twilight. My poor little Daxton boy seems to be anointed with my blood type and we get especially bitten up in the summer months if we forget to apply bug spray. I really hate conventional bug spray because most are loaded with toxic ingredients and with our skin being like a sponge, I just can't in good conscience put that garbage on my children. But I have a great, easy bug spray DIY that I've been using since last summer which is completely natural, non-toxic and safe for kiddos - and it works! My boys have gotten used to having this sprayed on as soon as we get outside, and I do re-spray if we've been outside for more than an hour. This DIY is based on DoTERRA's pest-repellent oil blend, TerraShield which is so awesome and smells much, much better than regular bug spray. So it's a win-win! So without further adieu, enjoy this essential oil DIY!

Supplies:
- 2 oz. glass bottle (I got my ombre bottle here)
- Quinn's Witch Hazel
- DoTERRA TerraShield oil blend

Method:
1. Measure out 1/3 cup of water and pour it into the 2 oz. bottle.
2. Add 25 drops of Terrashield essential oil to the glass bottle.
3. Top off the bottle with Quinn's unscented witch hazel (this should be between 1/3 - 1/2 cup).
4. Shake bottle to distribute and voila, you're ready to say, "Shoo mosquitoes!"

Notes:
-  I prefer to use unscented Witch Hazel so that the only scent is from the oil itself.
- When making any kind of blend with essential oils, you want to make sure that you are using a glass contained. Plastic or other material can "pull" on the essential oils and release toxins, etc. into the mixture, whereas glass, aluminum and stainless steel don't have that effect with the EO's.
- I like to make several of these bug spray mixtures and keep on in the car, one in the stroller, one at home, and anywhere else you would find yourself reaching for bug spray! Like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared!

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Interested in learning more about DoTERRA essential oils? I would love to share more about why I love them, how I use them, and how you can get some in your home, too! You can shop for them here, or leave a comment and I can invite you to one of my online classes where you can learn more! xx

Make a Difference with Eye Heart World (+ a Giveaway!)

Today I want to talk to you about a tremendously important subject matter. My dear friend Natalie volunteers at Eye Heart World, an organization that works to overcome domestic human trafficking. I want to share about what they are doing and how you can be empowered to make a tangible difference, too. And I want to offer you a giveaway in partnership with Eye Heart World! See more about the giveaway at the bottom of this post. 

I hope you will read this post until the end and take a moment to check out the amazing initiatives put forth by Eye Heart World. So many of you lent your support during our Christmastime City of Refuge hygiene kit campaign and we saw our goal for that drive exceeded! My hope is that we can all join our efforts once again and lend our resources to this incredible initiative.


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Each and every one of us has probably heard the staggering statistics about sex trafficking. It's referred to as "modern day slavery", yet most of us drive to and from Target and Chick-fil-A everyday without seeing people working in the fields along the highway. It's tough to conjure up the reality of how these modern day slaves live and breathe and exist.

But they do exist.

What is it?

The truth is, this form of slavery takes place closer to home than I thought. It's not just happening in the far-stretching regions of Eastern Europe - it's an illegal activity that's been reported in every state in the U.S. If you're unfamiliar with what exactly it is, human trafficking is transaction of buying and selling people for sexual exploitation. Usually these people being sold are children, recruited into a system of forced prostitution between the ages of 12-14. 70% of these underaged victims have been or are still a part of the foster care system. The average price of a transaction is $90 for a service, and the child performing the service is sold up to a dozen times per night.

It's a horror.

Awareness, Prevention, Aftercare.

Eye Heart World is an organization out of Wisconsin and Alabama that is passionate about making a difference. My dear friend Natalie volunteers with the organization and reached out to me about all the work they are doing to make a change. I am so proud of her heart and efforts and I feel honored to share about the initiatives of Awareness, Prevention and Aftercare that Eye Heart World is doing to champion the epidemic of trafficking.

Awareness is provided through targeted training to health care providers, social service providers, and public servants, teaching them what to look for and how to respond when they encounter a victim, while also providing the community with awareness resources.

Prevention is done through The Heart Tour, a one-day event engaging young girls who are at risk for trafficking. Each event provides targeted education, tips for staying safe and focuses on affirming an individual’s worth and value. Through partnerships with youth mentorship programs, each attendee is sponsored to attend the event and receives the guidance necessary to become strong women in their communities.

Aftercare is provided at The Rose Home in Green Bay, Wisconsin and The Rose Center in Mobile, Alabama. These centers provide drop-in and residential aftercare by offering on-going individual and group therapy, life skills courses and workforce preparation. These centers serve as a bridge between the life of trafficking and the long-term care needed to live an empowered life.


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How to Make a Difference?

When people like you and me hear the statistics, it's easy to feel small and unable to do something to actually help the situation. I'm just a mom that works from home everyday - how can I possible help? Eye Heart World has a way for people like you and me to give and shop to make a difference. They offer a small product line that funds a part of the overall operating budget to make the Awareness, Prevention and Aftercare initiatives happen. And each of the products is stamped with the Eye Heart World logo and the "Carry The Cause" slogan leather patch, as well as the signature orange rose medallion.

If you feel so inclined, even a small donation makes an impact. And stocking up on gifts from the shop is a great way to support the cause and continue to spread the word about how others can make an impact, too.

or


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Carrying the Harriet Tote

Eye Heart World sent me this Harriet Tote to photograph and share about. Named after Harriet Tubman, this cream tote bag is made of durable-quality canvas here in the U.S. Perfect for practically any activity, I've used this tote for everything from grocery shopping to hitting the gym to picnicking in the park. It's super versatile and durable enough to withstand a weighty amount of wear and tear. Inside the tote, four lines of printed text serve as a reminder of the impact of the purchase made every time you pick it up. You can learn more about the story of this bag here. The impact of this purchase sponsors aftercare resources for a victim of trafficking on her journey to healing and independent living. I'm giving away one of these incredible Harriet totes over here on my Instagram, hop over for your chance to win one for yourself!
 

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Thanks for reading this post and checking out the work of Eye Heart World!


5 Must-Haves In My Summer Bag (+ 5 kiddo add-ons!)

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It's the first day of summer over here, and we are celebrating! We've already had a handful of days over at the pool, but since both of my boys are out of their preschool program for the summer, today makes it feel truly official.

I wanted to share a few essentials that I keep stocked in my summer bag - the contents don't change much whether we head to the pool, the park or the zoo. I even keep a stocked kit of most of these in our golf cart, since we hit the town via the cart paths almost daily in the summertime.


1. Sunscreen.
This summer I'm trying out Coola for myself and Bare Republic for my kids. I am always on the hunt for non-toxic sunscreen that doesn't turn my skin completely white, so I will make sure to report back if I love these versions.

2. Lip Balm.
Lately I am loving this 3-pack of lip balms from DoTERRA. Obviously I'm a big fan of my stellar essential oil brand, and they have a slew of lifestyle products that I have really gotten on board with. This pack is one of them - one for me, one for Stevie and one for Everett (because he begged for his own and I'm a softie.)

3. Water!
I've been a bad girl lately about drinking water - I need to make a goal for myself and just chug it each day! I go in spurts with doing this well and thennnnn not really. But I do love drinking out of stainless steel - my friend Becca got me this amazing water bottle and I love it so much that I got them for everyone in my family. I am also a water hybrid weirdo - I am obsessed with sparkling water, coconut water, adding essential oils to my water, and Spindrift (sparkling water with real fruit added in - no "natural flavors" garbage!) So even though I have trouble hitting my plain-water quota, I'm still getting there. Technically.

4. Hat. Hat. Hat.
I am in a baseball cap 4 days a week, minimum. Mom life my friends. I found this darling hat over on my friend Sarah's instagram and gosh, aren't they the cutest? Might need to add this one into my summer mix.

5. Sunglasses.
Some day I will graduate to big girl sunglasses. But these days my sunglasses are just a pawn in my children's games and they really can't be trusted with Karen Walker sunnies. So I am always rocking a $12 pair from Target! I absolutely love this pair and this pair, although I admit, over at RAW Bronzing studio they have some incredible looking Quay glasses that I'm feeling temped toward ;)

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Things that I add to my bag for my kids (because let's face it, my bag is really dictated by their needs #momwhipped):

1. Diapers and Wipes.
If you're in this phase of life - yeah. You need them everywhere and all the time. And especially when its super inconvenient - that's always when we need diapers! I like to throw diapers and wipes in a large zip-top bag to keep the wipes from "sweating" all over things in the rest of my bag.

2. Non-perishable snacks.
When you're on the go, you've got to be able to pull out some yummy snacks! We love Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, raisin packets & dried cranberry packets, Kale chips, and apple sauce pouches. When I have a mini cooler to take for a day's outing, I will also throw in some string cheese, Cutie clementines peeled and pulled apart,

3. Band-aids.
Because for some reason, we tend to need them more in the summer? Must be all that running to fetch popsicles. These Oh Joy bandaids are beyond cute, but not really for my boys, so Everett loves these Dory ones! In fact he's been known to ask for a band aid even when he doesn't need one...

5. Bug Spray.
In Georgia, the mosquitoes have the power and might of small birds. And we have to protect ourselves accordingly. I have been using this Terrashield oil to make my own bug spray bottle and it's worked beautifully so far! It's a blend of essential oils that repels insects and it's basically become my best friend, because I have the blood type that allllll the bug like a taste of. Gross. PS it also comes in a Bug Spray form, I just haven't tried it yet.


 Bathing Suit c/o  Yandy  - top  here , bottoms  here

Bathing Suit c/o Yandy - top here, bottoms here

I'd love to hear what you keep stocked in your bag for summer adventures! Is there anything I should be adding into my mix? Would love to hear from you! Happy "official" summer break to you, friends!

P.S. - I shared more about keeping my skin glowing yet super protected this summer HERE.

DIY Cousin Relay Races!

This post is sponsored by Taste Nirvana. All opinions are my own.

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The weather has finally turned warm for good here in Georgia! We decided to celebrate this happy occasion in a big way by throwing together a little relay race for my boys and all their cousins. Or at least, the ones that live nearby! It was so much fun getting these kids together and introducing Everett to the concept of relays! Daxton, too, except he mostly toddled around and stared in awe at all his big cousins. It was hilarious and chaotic and exhilarating and all the kids went home exhausted (#momwin). And as a result, now I fear I've introduced the notion of competitive play that cannot be undone. Everett keeps asking how fast he is, over and over again...

I found a few relays online and I thought it would be fun to share! A series of relay races could make such a stupendous playtime activity, birthday party, or even summer holiday celebration! And the best part is that you probably have most of the supplies you need in your garage. A big shout out goes out to my sis-in-law Lauren - she came up with the idea to host a relay race and I just took the baton and ran with it ( ohhh see what I did there? I might be a mom but I can rock some Dad jokes.)

You probably know how to put on a relay race (anyone else having middle school flashbacks or is that just me...?), but in case you need a refresher, the premise is that you have at least two teams with an even number of players working together to complete a series of circuits. The team to finish first wins! I picked up some practice jerseys for the kids to wear and used cones to mark the starting and finish line for each team, but you could get away without using them! The fun of these relays is you can really use your imagination - the sillier the better in my book!


Relays:

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1. Egg Walk

Place a hard boiled egg on a spoon and walk (or run!) as quickly as possible to the finish line cone, walk around it and head back to your team as quickly as you came! *We actually used some wooden eggs that were leftover from an Easter project and they required no clean up!
Supplies Used: These wooden eggs and spoons

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2. Golf Ball Waiter

Place a golf ball on a frisbee (flipped over, so the golf ball stays within the lip but moves freely). Using only one hand, balance the frisbee like a waiter and run to the end of the relay and back again. Then tag the next person on your team - the race is finished when each person on your team has gone!
Supplies: Golf balls, frisbees

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3. Bat Spin

Position a bat at the end of the relay (I mark this spot with a cone). Run to the bat, put your forehead on the top, and spin around three times. Leaving the bat, run back to your team and tag the next person in!
Supplies Used: Bat (any kind will work, but shorter ones will work best for children - we also used a child-sized golf club which worked just fine.)

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Other Relays:

4. Kangaroo Hop
Place a bouncy ball in between your legs and hop to the finish line cone, and then hop back to your team mates!
Supplies: Bouncy Ball x2
 

5. Zig Zag Race
Place 10 cones in a zig zag formation. Run in between the cones until the end, then run back through the cones on the way back to the team.
Supplies: 20 cones, like these
 

6. 3-Legged Race
The classic relay! Tie the leg of one team member to the leg of another and work together to get to the end of the relay and back again.
Supplies: 2 bandanas (or other tying apparatus!)
 

7. Wheelbarrow Race
This two-person race requires one person to "walk" with their hands on the ground while the other person directs the human wheelbarrow by steering their legs (example here)
Supplies: none! (Other than brute strength)

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After the relay race, the kids refreshed and re-hydrated with coconut water, care of Taste Nirvana. Since I've partnered up with them this month, Taste Nirvana sent us some petite 10 oz. cans of the premium Coco Real coconut water beverage for the kids to enjoy as a post-relay treat. I'm a big fan of coconut water because it is loaded with potassium and electrolytes, making it the ideal post-workout recovery drink. This goes for everyone - adults and children! (Don't worry - there was enough coconut water for all the moms and dads to stay hydrated, too.) While I've been a coconut water drinker for years, I can truly say that Taste Nirvana tastes fresher than anything I've tried off of the grocery store shelf (I shared more about the yummy taste here.) All the cousins loved having such a special "grown-up" treat when they were finished with all that hard work, and after they devoured their coconut water they took to blowing bubbles and playing on the play ground.

Is it just me, or is this summer already shaping up to be the best ever?!

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My sweet god-daughter with two handfuls! One for now, one for later - gIrl after my own heart. ;)

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I can't get over Everett's genuinely precious smile. And of course, there is his brother, trailing just behind him and watching every move! Watching these two as siblings makes my mama heart soar.

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Lauren!!! She is full of all the good ideas, you guys.

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He's like, "I know how to blow bubbles mom."

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Aren't they the cutest in their little jerseys?

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My niece blowing her bubbles with that darling bow! I sent everyone home with bubbles because it just felt like the right way to welcome the season. Summer, you can come on over and stay a lonnnnng while!

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Sweet Daxton. His hands fumbled to hold his own can by himself, and although most of his coconut water ended up hydrating the grass, he was still super proud of being one of the big kids. I just love him to pieces.


Taste for Yourself!

Taste Nirvana is offering $6 off an Amazon order of the Original Real Coco coconut water, the Coco Pulp coconut water and the Coco Aloe coconut water using the coupon found here (the promo is automatically applied at check out). This code is good through 6/30 so make sure to snag some at this discount while you can! Even though I love the Aloe version and the Pulp version, my favorite is still the Original Real Coco because I honestly can't get past the fresh, honey taste. This is a stellar beverage to have on-hand to keep hydrated for all the outdoor activities that are looming on our summer calendar! Many thanks to Taste Nirvana for sponsoring this post; you can shop their yummy beverages here.

Happy Friday to you, friends! xx