Saturday, February 28, 2015

THIS & THAT


Preparing | for a little mini-vaca with family over Spring Break.  The kids are stoked about having time off and I have to admit I am working on suppressing my excitement -- not about what we’re doing or going, but the excitement of family time.

Reading | Hebrews with If Gathering, and taking it really slow. The words are reverent, and I am trying to focus on His words and glean a little bit of wisdom from it all.

Hoping | That spring will come early this year and hold on a bit before summer strikes. In the midst of the gray, gloomy winter, we are seeing glimpses of warmer weather here and there, and it makes me long for days spent outside.

Wanting | more time to be still. Time to dwell on how I feel God is moving in my heart, how to be more intentional, and be present for those in need.

Eating | lots of avocados. I am an avocado-ian. I love them. I do. 

Enjoying | more time with my bible. The deeper into the word I get, the more satisfied I become with it all.  I see it work. I feel less like an intruder at church and in our small group(s).

Stalking this blogger.  Corinne photographs her life so well and makes me want to jump in and invade her space (aka play with her precious kids.). 


Anticipating | my next hair appointment. I think I'm chopping it off. I might change my mind in the next six weeks, but at this moment, I have decided to go for it. 

Watching
 | Framework. Yes, seriously. You know that hubs and I have a fire for designing, building and creating, so this is right up our alley. Except for the drama between the contestants – they’re downright cruel and insensitive to one another. But the mere excitement of possibly getting to see the world’s coolest chair keeps me coming back for more.




Friday, February 27, 2015

#INTROFRIDAY


It’s Friday, and that means its #INTROFRIDAY day and I wanted to make sure I jumped in this week!

This past week at UMC, I met some new women at bible study. One lady asked me what my 30-second elevator introduction is, and I hesitated with a bit of stage fright. I didn’t expect anyone to be that forward.

So then I got to thinking, this would be a great series to start with my readers and get to know them better. 

So, hi! I’m Mandi Roach. Married to a my best friend who loves me fiercely and mama to four children…four very different personalities. I’m a blogger, photographer, crafter with a huge thirst for God and a deep need of His grace. I’m sanguine/melancholy. Mostly spunky and energetic, but also a deep, emotional feeler. This blog has always been my outlet for my melancholy, and the deep things in my heart. But I want to be better at letting my free-spirited self live here, too.

Today’s question: How do you rest? I love a good book or even a good movie. Sometimes, depending on the season, I can just be outside. Sitting. Watching. Listening. Just sorta shut my mind off and be entertained by the world outside.

Your turn! Don’t forget to Instagram your photo with hashtag #INTROFRIDAY every Friday!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GRATITUDE


When it comes to happiness, genetics plays 50%. 10% is circumstance. And 40% is attributed to our reactions to those circumstances.

Most times, we have no control over circumstances. What we can control, however, is our reaction. Handling everything with grace and positivity is conscious choice…virtually impossible some days no doubt. A venti white chocolate mocha latte usually helps me get back on track. More seriously, looking upon circumstances with gratitude is ultimately what can change my mood from bad to good.

It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth – hardships make us better people. And God is a much better planner with my life than I am.

If you are my real-life friend, you know I'm tired…physically. Tired. Every day. All the time. And with that, I’ve not been the significant contributor at home. My house is a mess 5 days a week. We probably hit the fast food line 3 or more times a week. I no longer have "craft night" or "game night," and I'm not sure I know everyone's name in our church small group.

While folks roll their eyes and exasperatedly remind me to take it easy on myself because I have four kids at home, the weight of my worthlessness gets heavier and heavier every time I look around my house. It’s tough for us mamas to know when we are limited because our job is just so endless. Sometimes being a mother feels so much bigger than us, it’s a wonder we can ever breathe at all.

As horrible as I feel sometimes about the lack of my efforts lately, what it’s done is help me see the abundance bestowed upon me by my family. I am honored and GRATEFUL for my husband and children and all that they’re doing to pick up the slack. I have recognized all that everyone’s doing around me. I recognize the time consumption. I recognize the hard work. I recognize the tiredness. And they’re all enduring it for me. To help me.

Perhaps these moments of clarity—these times of loss and struggle and awakening—are just more gift, in disguise. Perhaps our whole world, or at least the character and quality of our days, hinge on one little word…gratitude.

I’ve learned this in recent years: Gratitude is the secret key that unlocks the door to joy.

I would dare say that if you think of the person in your life who seems the happiest and most content, they have learned to live from a place of gratitude.




Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DAILY READS

I met a start-up blogger this past weekend at a gala, and once again I was asked which blogs I follow on a regular basis. So, readers, you asked and therefore I give you...

a few of my daily reads. In no specific order.






















Monday, February 23, 2015

10 BABY SHOWER BOOK SUGGESTIONS




1.The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – This book makes me ugly cry before I even get to the third page. I think all parents need to own this book.

2. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – Let me just say that I am not in love with this book the way everyone else is. Yes, it does make my cry a little bit, but….the scene where the mom drives to her grown son’s house with a ladder on top of her car and breaks into the second-floor bedroom of his house so she can hold him while he’s sleeping? Just…no. It weirds me out. The rest of the book, and the message behind it? Fabulous.

3. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney – Sweet rabbit mom and child talking about how much they love each other? Yes please.

4. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman – I love this book. It’s fun to read, meaningful, and has amazing pictures.

5. If I Could: A Mother’s Promise by Susan Milord – This book is about a sweet raccoon mother telling her little raccoon baby all the things she would do for him if she could, and what she can do for him (love him more than anything, of course).

6. Someday by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds – This book is all about a mom watching her baby grow up, and it reminds me that even though my kids are young, they won’t always be – and someday I’ll be watching my kids raising their own babies.

7. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd – This book is a classic, and for good reason. It’s fun to read, has pictures that seem to captivate children (even babies) and comes in a board book edition (which babies like to eat, so extra bonus for that).

8. Alice in Wonderland: A BabyLit Colors Primer – It’s cute, fun to look at, and full of great pictures that will hold a baby’s attention.

9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – No baby shower is complete without The Very Hunrgy Caterpillar. I like the board book version better than the regular version, though…the kids love to poke their fingers through the holes and they always end up ripping the pages in the regular book!

10. My New Baby by Rachel Fuller – If there is an older child in the family, this book will come in handy. It explains, in terms a toddler can understand, that a new baby is coming (and all that that entails!).

You can purchase all of these books at Amazon via the links above.


CLEANING NATURALLY



:: HERE'S HOW TO ORDER ::

Head over to the Young Living page here and fill in your information.

*Be sure the “RETAIL CUSTOMER” option is checked.

*Be sure the “sponsor ID” and “enroller id” reads 2482197 !

*Create a username and password so you may check the status of your order and/or log in faster the next time. Click NEXT and it's pretty self explanatory threafter. If you have ANY questions, just call me at 832.592.3045 or email me HERE.





Saturday, February 21, 2015

CHILDREN LEAD THE WAY


He’s child #4. It shouldn't be this hard, right?!

Weaning this baby from a bottle has been painful. For us all.

Husband finally said what I needed to hear, “he’s just not ready.”

What happened to my free-spirited approach to letting our children lead the way? Maybe because I took this approach with child #3, whose 3 years old, and he still takes a baby bottle late at night to relax. Perhaps that’s ‘embarrassing’ for me? But should it be? I mean, there are moms I know who still breastfeed their 5 year olds.

Back to child #4. He’s still only 12 months and he drinks fine from a regular cup and/or straw, but he’s adamant about his bottle during the night.

I’m discovering that it’s not an issue of sustenance, but rather comfort. Letting go of this comfort is tough – offering the same beverage in the wrong vessel just leads to meltdown.



Friday, February 20, 2015

LOOK AT ME, GOD


“Look at me, mommy!” he squealed as he rode off on his blue scooter.

“You are so fast,” and I praise him and tell him how awesome he is at riding his scooter.

I walk down the street after him, and turn my eyes up toward the sky and realized I do the same to God….”Look at me. Look at me, God.”

I know that this is all we want of God. This is all we really want of Him. For Him to see us. For Him to watch us. We want Him to walk down the street next to us and simply be.

We each have this deep-set need for our spouses, our children, our friends or even our parents to really see us. We want them to notice us. But what we forget half the time is the Creator of the universe is already out there on scooters watching us succeed and fail – and He’s enjoying US the whole time.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

MONETIZE YOUR BLOG


I don’t blog for money. Rather, I blog because it’s therapeutic and provides me the creative outlet I need for my mental well-being. With that being said, I have stumbled upon ways to monetize my blog. However, rest assured that I am very selective on what advertisers send my way, and I write as little or as much as I want. In my case, I have averaged about one post a month for about a year now.

The proliferation of paid sponsorship online has not been without controversy. Some in the online world deride the actions as kickbacks. Others also question the legitimacy of bloggers’ opinions, even when the commercial relationships are clearly outlined to readers.

For some bloggers, product sponsorship has become a lucrative side business.

SocialSpark

This is a platform that connects bloggers with brands. They make it very easy to write sponsored blog posts that comply with online standards. It also has the tools available to measure your traffic on social media sites.

Advertisers send you their campaigns, and if you’re interested, you accept to write the post and get paid.

SponsoredTweets

My personal favorite. Just as the names suggested, SponsoredTweets is similar to SocialSpark, but it pays you for sending out tweets versus writing blog posts. It also has an automatic system in place to ensure your tweet abides by all the necessary rules.

  • Once you sign up for the service and are approved, you’ll occasionally receive emails saying an opportunity is available to you. 
  • Log into your account and you’ll see a sample tweet with required keywords or hashtags that need to be used in your tweet. 
  • The sample tweet is a guide – you can write your own tweet as long as you include the required keywords and hashtags. 
  • Once you've written a tweet, you submit it for approval by the sponsor. If you’re approved your tweet will be sent automatically. 
  • If your tweet needs changes, Sponsored Tweets will let you know and you’ll have the opportunity to correct your tweet. 
  • Then you get paid! 

The process is simple and easy, which makes Sponsored Tweets one of my favorite ways to make money online.

What do I love about SponsoredTweets?

You name your price! You can decide how much you want to charge per tweet, although Sponsored Tweets does offer you some guidelines. The more Twitter followers you have, the more you can charge.

You have total control over what you Tweet. You decide which offers to take, and you write your own tweets. If there’s an offer that doesn't fit your audience or preferences, you can turn it down.

Sponsored Tweets is great about reminding you that you have an offer awaiting a response. You have three days to accept an offer, and many times those reminder emails have kept me from earning money.

When you’re ready to cash out, the payment shows up in your Paypal account almost instantly.

You can also make money by referring other Tweeters and sponsors.

What do I NOT love about SponsoredTweets?

It can be feast or famine. Sometimes I am getting multiple offers a day. Then I’ll go weeks without an offer.

If your want to withdraw money from your account, you must withdraw at least $50, otherwise you’ll pay a $2 penalty.

Do you use Sponsored Tweets? Are there others ways you make money online? Let me know in the comments.





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

DIY CAKE STANDS

Hello, fellow Pinteresters!

I love cake plates. How about you? I see them at Home Goods and other great stores and must force myself to leave them on the shelves just where I found them. Sometimes, I will carry one throughout the entire store…you know, let it marinate in the brain a little before I finally convince myself that I don’t need it.


Well, a party had to be planned recently. You may remember the photos I posted of my baby’s 1st birthday party…an up, up and away themed party and the table dressings had to be just so. But I didn’t want to pay upwards of $20-30 for a couple of cake stands, so off to the Dollar Store I went.


A little E-6000 glue, white spray paint, and a few $1 candle holders and platters later, I had 2 cake stands and a 2-tier cupcake stand.





Monday, February 16, 2015

USES FOR ESSENTIAL OILS


Are you new to essential oils? If so, here are a few great recipes/uses that you might find helpful. Note, however, that not all essential oils are the same. Young Living essential oils are therapeutic/medicinal grade, verses many oils on the market, which are cosmetic/fragrant grade. A good rule of thumb is…can your lavender, lemon, frankincense or peppermint essential oil brand be taken internally? If not, then how can it be what the label claims! If you want to use this list, then please only use Young Living oils! Blessings and happy oiling!


Natural Laundry Detergent:
Use 1 TBSP Thieves Household Cleaner in place of all laundry detergents. It will not make suds and cleans laundry really well. 

For general bug bites and boo-boo’s: 
Lavender essential oil and Purification bring relief. 

Bee stings: 
Try 1 drop of either Thieves or Purification essential oils on the location of the sting for relief.

Trouble sleeping? 
Place hanky sprinkled with a couple drops of Chamomile and Lavender oil under our pillow. 

To ease a headache: 
Massage 1 drop of Peppermint, Lavender or Pan Away on temples (avoiding eye area) and back of the neck for relief. 

Dipping Oil (for bread):
In a small dipping bowl put 1 oz. of olive oil and one drop of either Mountain Savory, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, or Basil. Set dipping bowl on table so everyone can dip as desired.

Calm a sore throat:
Rub a drop of Purification oil on the outside of a sore throat when it is first beginning. Or, gargle with Thieves essential oil a few times a day, then swallow! 

Aching muscle or joints:
Apply a few drops of Pan Away blend to the affected area and layer with Peppermint for a natural analgesic effect. 

Eliminate food odors in the fridge:
Add 1-2 drops Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Thieves, or Purification essential oil to 1 cup of water. Using a sponge wipe surface of icebox, freezer, oven, trash cans. 

Air Freshener spray
Add 20-30 drops of Peppermint, Lemon, Thieves, or Purification to a 32 oz. spray bottle of water – spritz into the air for a nontoxic freshener that kills odors rather than mask them. 

Doggy odor? 
Try YL Lavender Shampoo and several drops of Palo Santo essential oil when you give your dog a bath. Massage in mixture for 20 minutes, rinse… your dog will smell amazingly GREAT! 

Deodorant powder
Mix in a small jar – mix 2 oz. Cornstarch, 1 oz. Baking soda, and a few drops of either Geranium, Melrose, Thieves, Joy, or Lavender essential oil. 

Stay awake and alert:
Put a couple drops each of Peppermint and Rosemary on cotton ball near the car heating/cooling vents for a refreshing scent.


Click HERE to order you’re very own essential oils. Use ID 2482197.

Or do what I did and become a wholesale member to save 24% off your order. Buy what you want, when you want. NO obligation to buy or sell, ever! Click HERE to get your favorite oils and enter: MANDI ROACH, 2482197



Thursday, February 12, 2015

TEACHER GIFTS

My numero uno tip for Teacher appreciation gift giving…cash, folks. If that’s not creative enough, how about a gift card? It’s always the right size, right color, and they never to return it.

I have 4 kids in 3 different schools this year. I hardly have time for amazing crafts, but sure am inspired from time to time.







Wednesday, February 11, 2015

BROTHERS





Monday, February 9, 2015

YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS



After some extensive research, thought, and prayer, I decided to buy the Young Living essential oils premium starter kit. I am so excited to be expanding my journey in natural living.

Over the years, I’ve made various steps in healthier living. I’ve learned that everyone has a different name for it…”green,” “natural,” “organic.” For me, any stride towards improvement and quality of life is frankly, “healthier.”

It’s difficult to know whether widespread disease, like cancer, has grown due to medicine and/or chemicals, or whether disease went undetected due to lack of advanced technology. But in my personal opinion, the man-made chemicals, pesticides and preservatives are clearly contributors to things like asthma, allergies, cancer, etc. So, why not attempt to avoid these possibilities? At least for your children?

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Most of us have an idea of what essential oils are, but may find it hard to put that knowledge into words. The best explanation that I found for this question was in the Young Living Essential Oils “An Introduction to Essential Oils Everyday Essentials” pamphlet on page 1.

Most of us have experienced the incredible power of essential oils without even realizing it. From the energizing aroma of a freshly squeezed lemon to the calming influence of a lavender bouquet, essential oils are all around us.
These concentrated, natural, aromatic liquids are extracted from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. Plants depend on essential oils to grow, evolve, and adapt to their surroundings. They also play an important role in defending against insects, disease, and harsh environmental conditions. Pure, unadulterated essential oils have many potential benefits and are used daily to enhance the lives of millions.

It makes sense that the liquids extracted from the living things around us have beneficial uses in all areas of life.

WHY ESSENTIAL OILS?

My family and I have been harmed by the practices of traditional Western medicine (over-use of anti-biotics, inhalants stunting my eldest son’s growth, family member’s addiction to pain meds, etc). While in some cases, we've been healed by mainstream doctors, too, so nothing against medical professionals. But do note, it's called "practicing medicine" for a reason.

And let’s not forget the cost of these doctor visits and prescription fills.

Over the years, I’ve learned to rely more on my motherly instincts and have seen great results in my rather holistic approach to minor treatments. That doesn’t mean I use Chinese medicine or see an acupuncturist. It just means that I choose to use treatments that are rather natural to the earth…

i.e. Breathing, exercise, stretching, foods, massage, and/or oils.

WHY YOUNG LIVING?


There are some pretty not-so-savory things on the internet about some of the leading oils distributors like Living Young and doTERRA. In fact, this information is a lot of what gave me pause when I initially was looking into signing up with YL.  I can be a skeptic when people claim such lofty things about anything sold in an multi-level marketing structure, so I took my time researching the various oils and asking many people about their experiences with them.  I want to walk you through my process...not just spout out facts to ya!

Regardless of what you think about either of these companies, each of them has put out quite helpful books on essential oils and their usage. And there exist an insurmountable number of positive results from the use of oils.

As always, I can’t endorse everything for either company and if you read the reviews of each of them you will see that there are some who think that a good bit of the contents are not helpful.  And of course, each is geared towards those who purchase their oils so there are numerous references to their exclusive blends.


I personally chose Young Living Essential oils due to their level of transparency and seed to seal guarantee. I believe that YL is providing the highest quality oil possible. They don’t promote a bunch of stuff you don’t need. lastly, resources, resources, resources! Seriously, if I have a question, there are FB groups, reference books, websites and phone numbers.

USES

A few months ago, one of my friend's children had a cold that wasn’t responding well to normal remedies. Within hours of applying Thieves, diluted with coconut oil to her son’s feet and chest, he improved considerably.


Years ago, when my 15- and 13-year old were toddlers, my mother in law suggested frankincense and coconut oil on the bottom of their feet to boost immunity and help them sleep through the night. It sure seemed to help, as well as, uplift their mood and help with allergies. 

Do you suffer from allergies? Here’s a suggestion:


A tiny pinch of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt (Sprouts, Whole Foods, HEB)
Distilled Water

Put a pinch of sea salt in the bottom of an empty glass bottle (I buy mine HERE), add essential oils, wait a few seconds for the salt to absorb the oils, fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water and use throughout the day!  I do a couple pumps in the morning and a couple pumps in the evening.


I’m thrilled to be on this path where I've chosen to start educating people on Young Living Essential Oils and can help those who are ready to start using them too! If you have any questions, please email me through the mail link at the top of my blog. And, please feel free to share your Young Living essential oil testimonies in the comment section below…

Over time, I will be sharing many reasons to use essential oils, so check back regularly.



If you're interested in purchasing any Young Living essential oils to try out, email me at mandi.hulse2@gmail.com and I'd love to offer you my discount!  I'm happy to talk about all the options available to you.  No pressure, I promise!  I just want people to find relief like I have!

Come back in the future for more ways that essential oils have helped me AND for fun DIY beauty/household product recipes!

* I am not a medical professional...I'm just speaking from experience and these are my opinions.  I am a Young Living representative, but just love sharing how the oils have helped me!




BABY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY

I've always loved planning parties -- especially ones for my kids, but I'm loving more the challenge of combining meaningful details with simplicity to create an intimate celebration. 

I’m beginning to realize my kids' birthday parties is the middle circle of the Venn Diagram of my affections; the place where everything intersects -- color, celebration, pretty things, motherhood, music, friends, family, introspection and a deep love for my children.

This weekend, we celebrated with friends and color and balloons, all lassoed up into that middle place by our love for Ripley.


A peek at our up up & away slash oh the places he’ll go party for our precious one-year old…


 



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