Holiday Wassail (with essential oils!)


It’s Thanksgiving week! Yes!!! I am fist pumping while I write this. I truly believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that go hand-in-hand. Once we begin the celebrations for Thanksgiving, I can’t stop that cozy magical feeling through New Years. It’s just all such a wonderful time of year, really focusing on gratitude and the amazing miracles that we all have living amongst us. It’s just the best time of year! Minus the insane volume of deal emails.

I lucked out because a few weeks ago Stevie’s side of the family got together and I got to try out a few of my holiday recipes on them. Not only was it fun to feed everyone, but you know how family is, right? They keep it REAL. I got such great feedback on this recipe (and others to come!), and was able to tweak these to make them even better. I am so excited to share these recipes with you, and I hope that you and your family are able to gather around your table this year and enjoy the wonder and simplicity of a holiday feast together.

I wanted to make wassail because, seriously, ever since I watched Little Women when I was a little girl, I wanted to know what it tasted like! I researched so many recipes and found out that it’s basically glorified apple cider, which I can definitely get myself onboard with. And I added in the essential oils because it’s such a great way to get some of the incredible healthy benefits (and flavor!) from these oils. So without further adieu, let’s your Wassail, my lady ;)


- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 drop DoTERRA Cinnamon essential oil
- 1 drop DoTERRA Ginger essential oil
- 1 drop DoTERRA Clove essential oil
- 1 drop DoTERRA Frankincense essential oil


1. Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on low for 4 hours.

I love this recipe so much because I am totally an apple cider girl. This is super easy to throw together, will make your house smell like the absolute North Pole, and it tastes incredible! The essential oils add so much flavor and depth and, let’s be honest, when you throw them in a slow cooker is basically like diffusing them so the house smells SO GOOD. If you don’t have these oils you could dust in some of the spices instead. And after pouring into your own mug, you can add an adult beverage to increase the merriment. My suggestion - bourbon or whiskey. You will be very thankful and merry indeed.


What are your plans for Thanksgiving this week?! Do you already have your menu planned or are you a bit more spontaneous? If you make this recipe please report back here and let me know your thoughts!

Easter Weekend!!!


I have such intensely vivid memories of hunting Easter eggs. I close my eyes and I am instantly present again, traipsing through the Winters' back yard with my 700 million cousins, and we are all taking this egg hunt as seriously as 8 years old can. IT'S WAR.

Climbing under generations-old azalea bushes, fingers combing the cool grass, tennis shoes fanning out the pine straw, the adrenaline orchestrating the beat of my heart.

Must. Get. Eggs.

Must. Eat. Treasure.

Must. Trade. Candy.

My favorites were always the Starburst and Twix, and then as I got older, into high school, the Starburst Jellybeans. My mom always got me the Starburst Jellybeans, she was still making me up a little Easter basket until a few years ago and she decided to let me grow up.

I kind of hate that she stopped.

I bought the Easter candy too early this year (two weeks too early, who was I fooling?), and I was a bad girl sneaking it every night after the kids went to bed. Those Starburst Jellybeans. Never made it into any Easter eggs this year.

This weekend my kids got to celebrate with their cousins, traipsing through the freshly-laid mulch and pine straw in search of their eggs. I admit, I filled many of them with fruit snacks and yogurt raisins, because I really try to limit candy - because I eat it! - and also because I don't want my kids to get hooked on it like I was as a kid. But lets be honest, Everett had his fair share on Easter and I let him. YOLO.

I love this holiday and I love Jesus and I love my family and I love Starburst Jellybeans and I love my yard and I love my strange-colored green house and all it's 80's quirks that I refer to as "charm" even though let's be honest, they're quirks and it's kind to even call them that. I love that our family gathered at our little green house and celebrated this wonderful sweet day together and I don't take any of it for granted because I know that KIDS REMEMBER EASTER. And I am so so glad. Best holiday ever.

I hope your weekend was dreamy and filled with so much love! He is risen! xx


P.S. - Wearing a few clothes that I purchased for a summer wardrobe capsule. My shirt here, my shorts here and my shoes here. The boys are wearing this and this and Stevie is wearing this.

Christmas Book Advent DIY.

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I wanted to do something to make the Advent season special this year. It's obviously a special time every year, but this year I wanted to honor it in a way that my whole family could participate in. As much as I like eating a chocolate a day, that doesn't really resonate with me as far as taking a pause for gratitude. This year I decided to do something really kid-friendly (and honestly, fun for me, too!) to celebrate Advent by reading a Christmas book per day leading up to Christmas Day. That meant that I spent a lot of time rifling through our current book collection, adding a few to my Amazon order, picking up a few titles at TJMaxx, and grabbing a few at the local Goodwill, too. I wrapped all 24 books in a specific paper, and we have been unwrapping one each day since December 1. On December 25 we will pull out the bible and read the story of Jesus being born. If you're interested in compiling a Christmas Book advent, it's not too late for you to give it a try, too!

A few tips:

- Don't feel like you have to buy 24 new books. Ask around to see if people have 1-2 Christmas books that their children have outgrown or no longer use - you might be surprised how many people come out of the woodwork! It's also something you could post on Facebook to inquire about.

- Wrapping all the books in a specific paper will help keep track of the ones that your kids are "allowed" to open before Christmas. After breakfast each day, Everett carefully selects the book he wants to be able to open later on in the day. It's pretty cute how thoughtful he is about it.

- You don't have to wait until bedtime to open the book and read! Make it different every day or use it as a special privilege throughout the day as you parent. Anything to help incentivize our kiddos, right??

- If you have a mini Christmas tree somewhere else in your house, you could make this your "Advent Tree" and keep all the books around that one. I didn't do this, but now that I'm thinking about it, I think I will do this next year!!

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Let me know if you decide to try this! Merry Advent season to you, friends! xx

P.S. - A fun Christmas announcement will be up on the blog on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Check back here! (Hint hint, it might just be something special for you to unwrap, too. Have I said too much??)

Giving Back This Holiday Season!

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Hi Friends! Happy Thanksgiving week to you! We got our Christmas tree over the weekend and Everett is begging us to set up the train that roars around it ;) We are hosting family in our home for the holiday (and I'm making the turkey, eeek!! First time!!), so we have lottttts to prepare. As I'm sure everyone does! But even with all the busy-ness, it's truly my favorite time of the year! Today I want to share something with you that is on my heart, and... I want to ask for your help.

I've been thinking a lot about how to give back this season. It's been a big year in our country, with so much relief needed due to so many unprecedented natural disasters. I have found myself overwhelmed at times, wondering how to really make a difference. I am thrilled that my church is partnering with City of Refuge this season, an Atlanta organization that comes alongside individuals and families in crisis by meeting their immediate needs while also providing avenues for long-term education and self-sufficiency. You can read more about that here.

City of Refuge has a need right now for toiletry kits for mothers coming out of traumatic circumstances, including sex trafficking and abuse. Here's where you can help me - I want to partner with them by donating 25 kits!

Since becoming a mother myself, I have such a heart for single moms who are doing their best to raise their babies. My own mother was a single mom before she met my dad, and I am constantly baffled by her tales of how she made ends meet during that season of her life. Friends, I know that being a mom can be hard, and my experience of motherhood has been one rife with an uber-supportive network and a loving husband. I can't possibly imagine what these women have endured to make ends meet and support their families. It would be my absolute honor if you partnered with me in donating 25 toiletry kits to these women.

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Here's how we can do it! I've created a Target registry to make it easy to shop for the items needed in the kits. Once the items are delivered, I will compile them and deliver them to City of Refuge myself. Each kit contains 1 of each of the following: 2 in 1 shampoo + conditioner, deodorant, lotion, lip balm, tampons + pads, toothpaste and a toothbrush. The approximate cost of each kit is just under $25.

I know this upcoming week is a dizzying carousel of shopping, deals, and promotions galore. My hope is that in the midst of this busy-ness and holiday hoopla, we can band together and serve the Atlanta community in a way that showcases love first and foremost. Thank you so much for hearing my heart and for your considerate generosity, my friends! I can't wait to share about the outpouring of love that comes from this groups of readers! xx

P.S. - This is the first time I've ever asked my readers (you!!) to donate/contribute to something and it feels really, really exciting. I wanted to do this last year but I was so unbelievably pregnant I couldn't even walk without contracting. I am so excited about being ready and able to make a rippling effect of loving difference this year! Thanks again for joining in!

7 Funny/Odd Things About Thanksgiving This Year.

Happy Thanksgiving week! This year is a funny one for Thanksgiving over at this household, for a myriad of reasons:

1.) I've been painting my dining room chairs for, literally, months, and that project has yet to be completed. So the hope is to have them done in two days. You know, so people can sit. But let's be real yall. I'm nine months pregnant.

2.) Let's talk about that - I'm nine months pregnant. NINE. And hosting Thanksgiving at my house. Let me just go ahead and put this out there - it's not gonna look like last year!

3.) My parents are moving out of their house in less than three weeks. Needless to say, their focus hasn't really been on the whole celebrating thing, either. My youngest sister and her hubby will join us, while my oldest sis and her family will be doing their own thing oceanside this year. So our crowd will be intimate and super relaxed. So relaxed, which brings me to my next thought...

4.) I offered to do tacos for Thanksgiving instead of the whole big-deal-meal, but my mom almost had a conniption fit over that suggestion. So apparently there is still a bird-and-stuffing situation still taking place this year.

5.) I am making one dish for the big meal, and only one (because of the whole being-nine-months-pregnant-situation); my classic Sweet Potato Souffle. Check out these old pictures with the recipe - they're soooo bad. I'll have to update the post this year, especially since I've cut a lot of the sugar and butter over the past few years. Thank goodness my food photography has improved, even if only slightly. Hahah this blog makes me laugh. I'm grateful for this record of memories.

6.) Gilmore Girls is almost overshadowing Thanksgiving in my heart. Is that bad? I mean, I just feel so thankful for the reunion that Netflix has brokered for us all. Bless them. BLESS THEM.

7.) Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping have been replaced by September Amazon-ing. Which I completed in September, because, again, I'm gigantically pregnant and swollen and unable to hobble around the aggressive crowds this year. So I hope everyone in my life likes candles, because there are a LOT of them wrapped in my closet right now :)

The good news about this holiday is that it is all about being thankful. Being in the moment. Reflecting and expressing gratitude. You don't have to have the Pinterest-perfect table settings or a Williams Sonoma-enviable meal to make this holiday special and memorable. Even though I love Williams Sonoma and I adore scouring Pinterest, it's not what it's really about. It's about the goooooooood people in your life, and taking the time to reflect on God's many many blessings. I love this holiday. I love that this year will be unique and faceted in it's own unusual way. And that is just so so wonderful.

You are probably going to have to share out loud with your uncles, cousins and children what you're thankful for this year. But let's take a brief break from the gratitude and honestly tell me - what makes this holiday funny/odd/strange/quirky for you this particular year? Because I think it's just OKAY to have one of those kind of years. I mean, I am having one of those. My guests my not actually have places to sit their behinds. Share your thought in the comments section, friends!

P.S. - Last year's Thanksgiving thoughts. Can we talk about how little my boy was back then?!

P.P.S. - Some in-depth thoughts about the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life revival on the blog tomorrow :) And you thought I wasn't going to mention it again...