Okaw Valley Orchard

After having the worst garage sale failure ever this weekend, we packed it in and invited my parents to go to Okaw Valley Orchard with us. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day.

We went into the store first- obviously in search of apple cider and donuts. They had so many yummy sounding syrups, jams, and salsas. They also had one last pack of cider donuts and CIDER SLUSHES!!

We purchased our bag to get a peck of apples, and the sweetest lady took us out to the orchard. She showed us what apples were ready to be picked, and gave us some history of the farm. They do not use any pesticides on their plants. When the trees are first growing, they put some kind of oil on them to keep the deer from eating them. Definitely my kind of orchard.

I was holding our bag, so I did not get any pictures, but thankfully my mom did. I’m sharing hers. Thanks mom!

The orchard also had a pretty good sized playground, hay bale maze, and tree house for the kids to play in. The adults sat at a picnic table chatting and drinking cider while the kids played. Scott ended up going around the big playground with Harper because that girl is fearless.

img_0541img_0546img_0549img_0552

 

If you live anywhere near Central Illinois, I highly recommend this orchard. It is smaller, so the crowd isn’t out of control. It is family owned and operated. They were all so sweet to us, even with our crazy bunch of wild children. The price per apple is also a really great deal- especially when you think about how expensive pesticide free apples typically are. I cannot wait to go back again! Honestly, I’d go back just to get more cider… and probably some of that delicious looking maple syrup.

Advertisements

How We Use Essential Oils

img_7672

I know that there are so many people who are skeptical about essential oils. I was one of them. But, after health problem after health problem and doctors not being able to figure out what was going on with my body, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I figured that if nothing else, I got some really good smelling oils to diffuse and they would make my house smell good.

I am so thankful that I was wrong. I got my Young Living starter kit back at the beginning of May. I had just got back from the doctor’s office and found out that two of my three kids had strep throat, and that our third would most likely come down with it immediately. Perfect time to put these oils to the test. So, here is how we use each oil. I’m going to put a * by the ones I have replaced so that you can see which ones get the most use.

*Thieves: this is such a great immune booster! You can diffuse it, and even add a drop of thieves vitality to your water or coffee. I put this oil in every diffuser in my house when someone comes down with something. Did I mention that strep never got to my third child in that round? (I stopped being diligent about it, and she came down with it several weeks later.. but stopped it from spreading to anyone else then.) You can also make a roller bottle and roll it on the bottoms of everyone’s feet to keep their immune systems boosted every day!

Peppermint: This has so many uses, but my favorite is to help with headaches. You can make a roller bottle and roll it on your temples to help ease headaches. You can also just sniff it from the bottle to energize you, or put a drop in your water for some yummy flavor!

DiGize: I’m going to be honest. This oil smells SO BAD. But, it works so well!! You know those days where you have eaten something that has your tummy super bloated; or you just eat too much? Rub a couple of drops on your belly and you WILL get relief. DiGize vitality can also be put in your water.

Copiaba: This is great for overall wellness. I diffuse this along with thieves and sometimes put a drop in my water if I need a boost.

Lemon: Lemon is a great uplifting scent! This makes a great addition to your household cleaners. I also really love to put a drop in my water!

*Lavender: This is a soothing oil. I will admit, I did not like the smell when I first started. It was nauseating to me. I have come to enjoy it! A lot of people like to diffuse this oil (paired with cedarwood) to help with sleepy vibes at bedtime. My kids have some crazy opposite reaction to it, but we still use this oil a ton! I put it on booboos as they heal to help soothe the pain. I also was able to rub a couple of drops between my hands and apply it to my in-laws dog’s head to keep her calm during a thunderstorm. I ABSOLUTELY did not believe it would work, but was desperate to help her stay calm. She was still nervous, but not trying to dig a hole in our wood floors anymore!

Frankincense: This oil is great for your skin! You can add a drop to jojoba oil and apply after washing to help fight aging. It’s also super grounding! You can diffuse this during yoga or prayer to help you stay focused.

*R.C.: I love this oil! It’s so great for respiratory support! You can make a chest rub out of it with some coconut oil. I actually apply this to my husband’s chest and it makes his snoring much more bearable (I love you, Scott!). Last month, I came down with some respiratory illness that my parents had been passing back and forth. Cough medicine wasn’t helping. I finally remembered RC! I diffused some in our bedroom at night and FINALLY was able to sleep without coughing miserably.

*Purification: This oil is AMAZING!! You can diffuse this oil to remove stinky smells. I’m looking at you stinky diapers and dog. I like to use it on my wool dryer balls in the laundry to make everything smell good.

Panaway: this oil is super minty! You can apply this oil to your skin where you have achy or sore muscles. Be sure to test it first, because this is a hot oil and can feel like it’s burning. If it’s too hot, be sure to mix it with a carrier oil (coconut, almond) and apply where it’s needed. I use this on my hurt knee all the time.

*Stress Away: Oh, glorious stress away!! I attached a roller fitment to this bottle and rolled it on my skin daily. Moving and no income is STRESSFUL y’all. This oil smells like paradise!

These oils all come with the premium starter kit, along with a diffuser and lots of great resources to help you learn how to use your oils for your family!

a18cc9b8-ec1a-40a3-84bf-b427a4d1d090
Glass spray bottle // thieves label

Some of my other favorites are:

Thieves household cleaner: you add one capful to your spray bottle and fill the rest with water. It smells so good, cleans really well, and you can know that your kids can help you clean without fear!

Progessence Plus: This oil is why I really wanted to join YL! This is great for hormone support. I actually need hormone replacement therapy, already at 29. I refuse to put my body through all of those risks associated with it. So, I’ve continued to feel grumpy, exhausted from insomnia,Β  and a whole other list of issues. Enter this magnificent oil. I put 4 drops to my forearms and rub them together. My mood has improved, and I can tell when I have forgotten to use it. I can fall asleep at night without taking ambien! No more random etsy purchases showing up at my door.

Valor: This oil is called our “brave oil”. I used this on the girls during our move. It helps keep emotions in check. One of my daughters has really high highs and really low lows. Sometimes her emotions overwhelm me. With this oil, she was able to stay calm when she otherwise would have had a meltdown.

Christmas Spirit: This smells like Christmas. Need I say more?

img_0407

 

If you have any questions or would like to know more, I would love to answer them for you! They have truly been a blessing in our family! As a wholesale member, I get a discount on products and sign up for Essential Rewards, which I will do another post about! You can also go here if you want to check it out for yourself.

 

Happy Fri-YAY!

signature 2

 

 

 

 

September weekends

Going into last weekend, I was determined to have a good time and find rest. We have been spinning our wheels since we moved from Oklahoma, and we are weary. Everyone is cranky. Plus, it’s SEPTEMBER. I know it’s not technically fall, but who cares. It’s fall in my mind.

Friday evening we had our traditional pizza and a movie night. We tried a new pizza place that is near our house and it was pretty good! I missed out on the movie (darn, I missed more Paw Patrol) and went to Sam’s club with my sister. It was like a mini-vacation. We read Mother Bruce and laughed so hard we were crying. Scott worked overtime on Saturday, so we took it pretty easy. I had a meeting to go over some things for the new kids program at church. (I’m really excited about it!) I honestly don’t even remember what we did that evening, which was truly our goal.

img_0427

Sunday morning, we went to visit a church that we have been in contact with since April. We left extra early to give us plenty of time, and so Scott could spoil me rotten with this giant pumpkin pie frozen coffee. Good grief, it was so good. The church was wonderful and our girls got to go swimming after services at one of the member’s houses. They did baptism in the pool before. I’m always fascinated by how churches do baptisms if they are a newer building without a baptistry. (Our church in Oklahoma used to baptize at Osage Hills before they got their baptistry.)

img_0429img_0430

We decided to go to a local frozen yogurt place in town. I was so grateful that they let me bring in dairy free ice cream for Harper. I put it in a bowl and she got to be a part of everything while still being safe. We had a lot of fun until one of our children threw a massive fit because she “didn’t get enough” ice cream. Seriously.. how do you keep your kids from having an entitled attitude. I’m so tired of it.

img_0459img_0451

Monday we beat the heat and went for an early hike. We took Rocci this time, and he was happy as could be exploring the trail. We even saw a baby snake. I didn’t even cry. HA! I do NOT like snakes, but put on a brave face so that my kids don’t inherit my fears. We packed snacks and had a little snack picnic before heading home. It was so hot.

img_0461

I tried my hand at making salsa. I think it turned out pretty good. I’m anxious to see how it tastes after the flavors have gelled more. (I used Joanna Gaines recipe.)Β  I also made some bone broth, but it was still cooking when I was snapping pictures of my food like a weirdo.

We had a big storm last night. It was LOUD, but I’m really thankful for it. We now have gorgeous fall weather. My windows are open, the breeze is blowing through, and I can hear my wind chimes outside. It almost makes up for Harper dumping several packets of oatmeal on my kitchen floor.

Not cool, kid.

I’ve got garage sale organizing to do. I also need to find our cool weather clothes because tomorrow’s high is 67 and I hve NO IDEA where anything is.

Happpy Tuesday, friends!!

Our Weekend in Pictures

I am probably insane for trying to write. I have an extra dog in my house who has climbed ON my PRINTER and tore open a box already this morning, and its still early. She’s currently asleep at my feet, so I think I’m ok. πŸ˜‰

We are still trying to get settled. Some things have happened that have prevented us from taking care of many projects that we needed to do, so I’m freaking out a little bit about our homeschool start date. :/

Anyway, this is a weekend post. So, here we go!

Friday evening, my mom, sister, and I all went to a craft fair in town. We wanted to go out for some frozen yogurt after. Hello, gorgeous! I couldn’t pick one flavor, so I have cake batter with white chocolate chips, and dulce de leche with salted caramel cups. I definitely want to go back ASAP.

img_9999

Scott and I were talking about how badly we wanted to do something as a family since it had been quite some time. We woke up Saturday and packed up to go for a hike at Rock Springs. I use the term hike loosely because, kids. We hiked for about an hour before heading to run errands and get some lunch.

img_0004img_0006img_0011img_0015

While we were on our way to Rock Springs, my family was making plans to get together and do something since it is such a rare occasion. We ended up at Wildlife Prairie Park. After we visited, my mom said that it has really gone downhill. Most of the animals weren’t out to seeΒ  and the butterfly house was completely empty. It was more of a flower house. BUT, it was very pretty. We got to see lots of bison and baby deer. Plus, (almost) the whole family was together.

img_0051img_0024

Seeing the buffalo made me think of Oklahoma. Then, as we were walking out I saw these bricks. πŸ™‚ Michigan made an appearance also.img_0052.jpg

 

We got to watch the most beautiful sunset on our way home. That’s the one perk of living in Illinois.. there’s nothing to obstruct your view other than corn.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope that your week is going wonderfully. Please don’t forget to pray for Texas. Not only pray, but DO. There are many organizations that you can donate time, money, and items to.

Convoy of Hope

Texas Diaper Bank – Β  Here is the Amazon Wishlist

 

Here’s another great article with ways to help!

Welcome Home

We are home. Sort of home. I don’t know how long this will be home, but for now it’s our home. {Can you tell I’m trying to not get attached to anything about being here because the rug gets pulled out from under us pretty often?}

I feel really overwhelmed with gratitude for all that our families have done for us through this time in our lives. It has not been an easy year(s), but having a support system of family and friends makes it so much more bearable.

I can’t wait to share some pictures of our home once we get things more settled. This is such a beautiful house. I’m at the phase in unpacking where I just want to set everything in boxes on fire and never deal with it again. I am sick of packing and unpacking. I would really be doing us all a favor. HA! Here is a little peek at our bedroom.

img_9980

I think we could use a bigger fan. πŸ˜‰

I’m finding that all of our furniture is getting banged up pretty badly with all of the moves. We purchased a brand new washing machine earlier this year and it is now dented and scratched. It is silly how disappointed it makes me. Get over it, Ashley.

A few days ago, I saw Rocci pouncing at something in the yard. I went out to see what he was doing. There was a pile of grass, and I thought maybe a frog or something was down there. Nope. It was a nest with baby bunnies inside.

img_9962

My kids were thrilled to see the babies; especially my bunny obsessed Chloe.

img_9924

The girls have been playing outside almost all day right now. The weather has cooled off some for now, and the breeze blowing is really nice. We have a big covered deck in our back yard, and I love to stand up there and watch them play. I can’t wait to sit out there in the fall with a cup of coffee in hand.

We also have a big playhouse that we can’t wait to have a picnic in. I’m already contemplating decorating the inside to make it more exciting for the girls; as if a giant playhouse isn’t exciting enough. haha! Can’t you just picture a playhouse decorated for the holidays?!

Ok, I need to get back to unpacking.. or go buy some lighter fluid.

Thanks for bearing with me through this transition!

 

signature 2

The Final Countdown

Hello, friends!! I did mention that I wouldn’t be blogging often until life settles down some, right? Yikes. We move in TEN days, so I’m not sure if it will ever settle down! ha!

20617236_10211393627130711_8063635232875810160_o

My sister, Amy, runs this huge relay race to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is the first year that I got to go cheer her on as she embarked on her journey. (She ran something like 12 miles of a RELAY.) She raised $1,000 so far. You can still donate here. The whole team raised over FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for St. Jude! Anyway, I had tears filling my eyes watching this group start their LONG journey.. just as I did when I saw a video of my little sister crossing the finish line after running a marathon for a really amazing cause. #proudsister

Like I said, we move in just ten days. I have been trying to gather our things together that have been scattered all over my parents house. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for unpacking. I love organizing.. that fills my heart with joy. But, I hate boxes. I loathe them. I’m also trying to mentally prepare for our homeschool year. I initially planned on starting next week (before everything came crashing down). Since we will be moving, I’m going to start the day after Labor Day. I am a fast un-packer.. lots of practice. I found this super cute sign to hang on the door during our homeschool day that says we aren’t available. I’m hoping it works so that I don’t have to get confrontational. I hate confrontation..

Chloe turns SEVEN next Tuesday. I cannot believe it. She wants a Barbie themed birthday, which works out great because she had one a few years ago. I just have to find the box of decorations.. wish me luck.

I just finished Talking as Fast as I Can yesterday. Lauren Graham is so intelligent and witty. If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, you need to read it!! I was so excited when I saw that the local library had a copy in stock.

I’ve been spending my free time filling out house party and mom’s meet applications- My blog ambassador application was just accepted for Mom’s Meet. I get to try out every flavor of Beanfield’s chips and share how much I love them. Spoiler: I already love them and my package hasn’t even arrived. The day after I got that e-mail, I got one from House Party that I am being sent TWO Scotch laminators!! One for me to review, and one for me to give to a teacher. I love that they are sending one to bless someone else with! I don’t do anything special when I apply for these promotions. If you never try, you will certainly never get picked.

The weather here has gotten cooler. I know it won’t last, but man it’s so nice to have the windows open in the morning. I cannot wait to decorate for Fall!!!!

Harper woke up in the middle of the night with an aweful croup sounding cough. Usually the cough is mostly gone by morning, but she still has it. She is hardly sleeping as it is; though she did snuggle up to me and take a 2 hour nap yesterday. Mama didn’t budge and soaked it all in. Please pray that it goes away quickly.

 

If you have stuck around through the entirety of this random blog post, thank you. I hope to get back into a rhythm next month. I’ll have fun products to share and review. πŸ˜‰

signature 2

 

 

 

 

Michigan

A few months ago, our former pastor in MI had invited Scott up to fill the pulpit while he was on vacation. We were really excited to get to see friends of ours again, and visit the church that loved on our family for nearly 5 years. (Five years is a LONG time for a youth pastor to be in a church.) It was so nice to hug everyone again and catch up on life.

It was our vacation for the year. We decided that we were going to make it fun, because this year had been anything but fun. haha! It’s been a rough year on all of us. It was so wonderful to refresh and remember what God has called us to.

We visited some of our favorite places and ate our favorite foods while in Michigan.

Port Huron is one of my favorite cities that I have been to. It’s full of old beautiful homes, and has a long stretch where you can walk along the water with Canada just across the river. Also, there is a beach… really, more than “a” beach. The Great Lakes are so beautiful. The girls always call it the ocean… and you can see why.

img_8739

img_8751

img_8719

img_8760

We had so much fun playing in the water. I should also mention that it was in the seventies, so swimming was NOT happening. The weather was beautiful.

img_8706

We even squeezed our traditional pizza and a movie night in. πŸ˜‰ Note the huge case of bottled water. #Flint

We headed home on a Monday. We drove to the other side of the state to visit Pastor and his wife where they were camping. It was SO good to see them again. They took us over to see Lake Michigan and another town that we had never been to. Goodness, Michigan truly is BEAUTIFUL. We always lived in some of the.. not-so-pretty (or safe)… areas.

img_8819

img_8820img_8827img_8833img_8838

We were invited to come vacation with them next year, and if we are still in IL we may take them up on it. Michigan will always have a piece of my heart. I hate winter there, which feels like it lasts 9 months of the year. But, we have spent most of our married life there, and all three of our babies were born there.

This trip was so needed for all of us. I can’t wait to go visit again!!

signature 2

 

Hello, it’s me.

These flowers are from a sweet gentleman at church who makes beautiful arrangements to decorate the lobby, then gifts them to someone each week.

Hello from Illinois!!

It has been a wild few weeks. Scott is AT WORK and the girls are glued to Paw Patrol, so I figured I’d give a little update.

The day we left Oklahoma, I felt like it was a real struggle. I was frustrated at our situation, and overwhelmed by it all.Β  I went in to have stitches removed and found out my wound was infected; probably from cleaning and packing a house with an open wound… My appointment took FOREVER. We didn’t pull out of the driveway until well after 1 PM. We were so frustrated and exhausted. Once we finally got out of Bville we had smooth sailing. The girls behaved so well, Rocci slept, and I only cried a few times.

Scott had an interview pretty quickly, and it went really well. We left for Michigan a week after arriving here in Illinois. Scott was given the opportunity to preach at the church we were a part of for nearly 5 years. It was so great to see everyone again. We left feeling so loved and refreshed. We were able to stay with one of the sweet ladies from the church for free. We went to visit some of our favorite spots in the area, which were all free. It was like a really great vacation with fighting kids in the minivan. haha! I have loads of pictures from that trip and will do a post soon.

We had one more week with Scott home before he started his new job!!!!!

God has really shown us that this is exactly what He wanted for us in this time. There is a house lined up for us to move into next month. Scott has a job already. We joined the church that we “grew up” in, and the people are just as wonderful and encouraging as they always have been. We are in THE BEST place for this season- it just took a lot of convincing to get here. I have peace that this is right. It still is painful that it is not at all what we hoped things would look like, don’t get me wrong. But, there is overwhelming peace.

I do not know how long God will have us here for. Scott and I both have said we feel like this is not going to be a super short stint. God has surprised us before, so we will see what happens. For now, I am enjoying being close to our families and spending time with them.

Tomorrow, Harper turns THREE, and I am SO glad that she gets to be surrounded by family on her birthday.

 

Thank you all for your love and prayers through all of this change in our lives. I have felt them all.

signature 2

 

(Almost) Goodbye Oklahoma

There is a huge moving truck sitting in front of our house, boxes and furniture everywhere, and my kids are eating lunch (at 2PM) at a teeny picnic table in our living room. Scott made me rest my arm because it’s stupid and I’m ridiculous. So, here you go.. We leave Oklahoma tomorrow. I am sad, because I really love this state and these people. However, we have SUCH a peace about this.. it still stinks. But, there is peace. If that even makes sense?

img_8527

 

This picture is symbolic. Put it in your heads for tomorrow when we are actually driving. And, remove Scott from the picture and add a puppy because that will be my reality. Lord Jesus, help me. HA!

So, Chloe clearly was covering Addi’s face for whatever reason.. and I have a double chin. You’re welcome.

img_8529

Here is try #2. I give up. Also, We were sitting in the parking lot of the U-haul place waiting for it to open. So, mommy shamers, simmer down. Can we also celebrate that for the first time in the history of ever, U-haul had our truck ON TIME, in the right place, and the correct size!!! What?! PLUS, it’s new!

Please pray that we have safe travels tomorrow. I get travel anxiety and have a really hard time relaxing when we travel anywhere out of town. It is supposed to be pretty windy. Wind + big moving truck= terrified emoji. Also, pray for my parents. They have to put up with all five of us under their roof temporarily. One week of us is fun (I guess?) but this will be longer than a week and I’m hoping they don’t disown me.

I’m kidding. I cut my hair and my dad still loves me, so we’ll be fine. πŸ˜‰

I think I’ve sufficiently rested my arm and wasted your time, so I’m gonna go back to doing something that is productive.

Get ready, Illinois, we’re coming for your corn.

signature 2

 

3 Moves in 17 Months

It’s been quiet around here lately. We have been packing loads of boxes, so I have been pretty busy. Yesterday, I had a procedure done on my arm and am not allowed to lift boxes, etc. for 8-10 days. So, while I’m feeling useless, I figured I’d get on here and update.

After a lot of praying and discussion, we have made the decision to move back to Illinois for the time being. God has closed all doors here in the area. The only door open is the one leading to Illinois where my family lives. Let me tell you, we have fought it. We have fought it HARD.We love Oklahoma. We love the people. We wrestled with it for much longer than most people know.

We are loading up the moving truck on Tuesday. Because I have stitches in my arm that are hopefully being removed on Wednesday, we have to wait until after that appointment to head out.

I am so ready to have this all behind us at this point, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad.. heartbroken even. We really felt like we would be here for.. longer than 17 months.. God made it very clear to us that staying was not part of His plan, and sometimes obedience is hard. Sometimes it’s messy and confusing and looks nothing like what you ever thought it would. But, as long as you are following HIS leading- not pressure or expectations from ANYONE else- that is what matters.

I am really excited to live near my sisters again and get to know my niece and nephews better. I’ve never lived near them. I haven’t lived near my parents since moving away to college. I am really excited to live near La Gondola again and eat some really good food. (Though I found out I have high cholesterol and have to watch my diet..if you know me, you know I try to watch what I eat already. dumb.)

Most of all, I am excited to see what God is going to do in all of this.

Right now, it looks like a hurricane and certainly feels like one. I won’t lie and say that I see rainbows and sunshine everywhere. I don’t. I get angry and overwhelmed and frustrated. At the end of the day when the chaos settles down, I can see and know so clearly that we are doing what is right.

It may stay quiet on the blog for a while; it will depend on a lot of things. I’m really hoping I can keep posting regularly once we get moved.

Know that I am so thankful for each and every one of you. Your support and love means the world to my family.

P.S. This Danny Gokey song seems like a good theme song, right? πŸ˜‰ THIS is what I’m praying for.. a comeback.

signature 2