Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Beginning to Smell a Lot like Christmas!

Don't you love that "Christmas" smell that comes this time of year?  The evergreens, the cinnamon, the cranberries, the orange... I love it all!

I've recently discovered several new favorite scents for the holiday season, in the form of new (limited edition) essential oil blends from Rocky Mountain Oils!

First of all, if you don't know how to use a diffuser, it's super easy.  Just fill the diffuser to the water fill line, then add 3 or so drops of your favorite oil or blend.  Turn it on, and enjoy!  This is the diffuser I own (not an affiliate link).  If you don't have a diffuser, read on to find some other unique ways of using holiday essential oil blends!
Here are the new blends:

Christmas Tree (blend of Spruce, Fir Needle, Pine Needle, Orange, and Cinnamon Bark)
This is the "classic" Christmas scent, smelling of freshly cut pine trees, citrus, and cinnamon.  The fragrance is so welcoming, and is perfect for diffusing throughout the holiday season!

Another fun thing to do with this essential oil blend... make scented pine cones!  This is a great option if you don't have a diffuser, yet you want to infuse your home with holiday cheer.  Watch this video to learn how.

Ginger Spice (blend of Orange, Cassia, Balsam of Peru, Ginger Root, and Clove Bud)
I love the spicy/sweet scent of Ginger Spice!  This is another oil that is lovely when diffused.  This oil blend will remind you of gingerbread, orange, and holiday baking.

Speaking of holiday baking, you can bake with this oil blend!  It can be added to various baked goods, such as a spice cake mix, as shown in this video.

Candy Cane (blend of Peppermint, Orange, Lavender, and Vanilla absolute)
I saved the "sweetest" for last!  If you're watching your waistline this Christmas season, but still want to enjoy the sensory experience of candy canes and sweet treats, this blend is for you!  The sweet, minty fragrance is delicious.

You can also put a drop of Candy Cane into your hot cocoa for a special treat!  Watch this video for more details.

If you're ready to snag any of these oil blends, now is the time.  After Christmas Day, they will be gone!

I have a coupon code to share with you (just for Feathers in Our Nest readers)!
Use code "FEATHERSHOLIDAY" to save $2 off each bottle of Christmas Tree, Ginger Spice, and Candy Cane that you order.  (No limits, so if you order 10 bottles, you will save $20!)
Coupon code expires 12/25/14.

Also, if you want to get the best deals on oils from RMO/NAN, you should go ahead and sign up for the email lists (Rocky Mountain Oils here at the bottom of the page, and Native American Nutritionals at the bottom of the page here).  I would expect there will be some exciting Black Friday deals soon, and email subscribers are the first to know!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase essential oils using my links, it will help support my family and this blog.  Thank you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thankful (Early!)

We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday with my family, and we had a wonderful weekend together!
Our menu:  turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, roasted butternut squash, macaroni and cheese, green beans, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

I rubbed the turkey with herb butter, stuffed it with aromatics, cooked the turkey breast side down, flipped it, and cooked it a little while longer!  It was really good (all 20 pounds of it!).
 We were so thankful that the meal came together, since less than 24 hours earlier, I was doing this:
Yep... my oven broke earlier in the week, so I had to replace the bottom element Friday afternoon.  We were cutting it close, but we got it fixed in time!

We enjoyed the food, but we really enjoyed sharing testimonies of what God is doing in our lives and how we are thankful in various ways!
 For dessert we had apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cranberry pear pie!

These girls love their MiMi!

Jude put away some turkey this year!
Tad helped me so much getting ready for our family coming, and he washed a TON of dishes this weekend!

 Handsome boys
 Pretty gals
We are so thankful for the special memories we made this weekend!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Link Love

There's been a lot going on at our house lately (just for starters, my microwave broke, then Tad's car broke, then the oven broke...yet still we have much for which to be thankful!), and my family is coming in this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving with us on Saturday and we're getting ready for their arrival, so I thought I'd share some great blog posts with you that I have read recently!

- "Young women who stay at home with your children, hear me: the scope of your service is not what makes it valuable; bigger is not always better. You don't have to do elaborate things to serve and to encourage. The smallest of gestures can encourage someone more than you can possibly know. You may not be writing books, going away for weekends to speak at conferences, or traveling across the world to minister to someone, but you can be an encouragement right where God has put you." Read more here...

- "At our house, we want to invest in our children being unafraid to try things – and this area as a great place for us to make that investment. We want them to have ideas, give it a whirl, and then sit around in a big mess of plastic canvas pieces wondering why they did that. We want them to learn to use their hands, use their minds, and get the two to act together for the occasional wild success. We want them to not be afraid to work – and to learn about the rewards that can only come through making messes."  Read more here...

- "We’re built for friendship, yes. We have community in our bones. And when we’re desperate and blinded by the taunting mirage of the inner circle we will end up drinking the sand- angry, gritty, bitter and confused.We can fight to find a way in or we can love on the women where we’re at."  Read more here...

- "We are called not merely to teach right propositional statements, but to cultivate imaginations capable of insight into and communication of the beauty, goodness, and truth of God in the world around us, in Scripture, and in the other fragile, precious human beings we meet. We are called to perceive the storied nature of life, to discern value and meaning where the secular imagination does not. And we are called to cultivate that imagination in children." Read more here...

- "As we walk through our valleys, we do not have to dwell on our pain. Often it seems wrong and backwards that we would dare to find joy in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that a betrayal of the pain? Shouldn’t we be ashamed that our prayers were not answered? Should we be embarrassed that we believe in a God who, to someone on the outside looking in, seems to have ignored us?
Saying we’re thankful and hopeful in these situations may sound naive and even a bit crazy to those who are watching. But the Gospel never has made sense on paper, has it?"  Read more here...

- "Remember: it’s about the gathering, not about the food. This is the most important thing to keep in mind. I know Thanksgiving might be the most food-driven of all holidays, but the people are always more important than the food. The gathering is what’s significant…that’s what you remind yourself when the turkey’s taking forever or the stuffing’s dry. And it’s TRUE."  Read more here...

And a light-hearted post to finish things off...

- "First, though, I find a stack of Christmas cards and begin to flip through them—pausing to marvel at how big so-and-so’s kids have gotten. And then I spot it: an apostrophe in a last name that isn’t supposed to be possessive.  I shudder, flipping past the unwarranted punctuation.... Gone is my Christmas cheer! All my glad tidings, replaced with fury.  'Did no one teach these people how to make their last names plural!?' I scream as I chuck the cards into the fire heretofore crackling peacefully beneath the mantel."  Read more here...

One final note:  Native American Nutritionals is offering FREE SHIPPING today only (11/21), plus, one of my favorite blends, Tummy Rub, is on sale for 20% off! Happy shopping!  (Affiliate links)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Handmade Holiday Link Up

Get ready... and link it up!  I'm joining Liz from The Quick Journey for this fun link up.

Welcome to the Handmade Holiday Link Up!  

This is the place to go to discover hidden (or not so hidden) jewels in the handmade world
just in time for Christmas!  If you are a shop owner who makes handmade goods, join this link up so we can shop handmade this holiday season!

If you are wanting to buy handmade, do it now!

Since handmade items are, well... handmade, it takes time to create the products and there are usually cutoffs for Christmas shipping.

Please spread the word on your social media channels so other handmade businesses can join in on the fun!

Make sure you check out the other handmade businesses in the link-up, as well!

Happy linking... and happy shopping!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

DIY Orange Counter Top Spray

I don't know about you, but I'm always a little paranoid about spreading germs around my kitchen when I cut red meat or chicken on a cutting board on the counter.  Even after I wipe down the counters thoroughly, I still wonder if there are germs lurking there!

This orange spray helps give me peace of mind knowing that the counter, sink, and cutting boards are disinfected!  As I mentioned in this post, orange essential oil is antimicrobial, it inhibits the growth of bacteria such as E. Coli, and it can reduce foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella.

Orange essential oil is very affordable, so this counter spray is extremely economical!

DIY Orange Counter Top Spray

glass spray bottle
orange essential oil
white vinegar

Fill the bottle halfway with water, then fill almost to the top with vinegar.  Add 5-10 drops of orange essential oil (I used 5 for this size bottle).  Shake well.

Spray on counters, sink, cutting boards, and anywhere you want to disinfect!

If you're interested in purchasing orange essential oil from Rocky Mountain Oils, make sure you use coupon code "feathers10" to save 10% off your whole order (valid through 11/20/14)! Expired!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to the essential oil company I use and love. By making a purchase through these links, you are supporting this blog and my family. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful Tree {Guest Post}

Today I'm excited to share this guest post from my mom!  I know you're going to love this idea for celebrating Thanksgiving in a tangible way!

Hi!  I am Valerie, the blessed mother of my dear daughter Aliesha...and "MiMi" to those adorable kiddos, Vera, CC and Jude.  Along with their hubby/daddy, Tad, they are some of my most precious blessings!

For the past three months, I have been part of a great Bible Study on gratitude, using the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  It has been a wonderful challenge to obey God's exhortation to "be thankful in all things."

One young woman, Aimee, in our group has been endeavoring to teach her little ones about gratitude.  She has three little guys very near in age to Aliesha's children (so we trade toddler stories!)  Aimee cut out lots of fall leaves and she made a "branch tree" to hang them on.  Each day she asks her boys what they are thankful for and after they give her their answer, she writes it on a leaf and hangs in on the tree.  I think she said she had to get a bigger branch since they had put so many "THANKFUL leaves" on the first one.

Aimee plans to use snowflakes after Thanksgiving and flowers in the spring.  Think what a family memory treasure this will be if she saves all of these thankful shapes in a box or book!

This is such a good way to create the contagious attitude of our hearts and the hearts of our children and grandchildren.  Maybe it might be something you could incorporate into the life of your family!

Thanks for letting me share this little idea!

Aimee added this: "Its a great way for my husband and I to keep our thankfulness at the forefront of our minds and train our boys to have attitudes of gratitude to GOD."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jude Updates

This little man is growing so much, and even though I don't post monthly updates any more, I thought I'd share a few of his latest accomplishments!
Jude has been changing in so many new ways!  He is starting to talk more, and he's very insistent on telling us what he wants.  He'll point to things and say "dat!"  He loves to play tickling games, and he's learned how to point out where a few body parts are (nose, hair, belly button).

He claps sometimes, and he waves his hands and dances when we sing or play music.  Call me crazy, but we even think he tried to sing a line from "Jesus Loves Me" the other day!

Jude knows a few signs, such as milk, more, and thank-you.  He loves using "more" at the dinner table to get more food!  He signs (and often tries to say) thank-you as well.  It's so sweet!

He likes when I read books to him and swing him on the porch.  He is a super fast crawler, and he's getting so close to standing on his own and walking!  We're pretty sure he'll be walking within a month (at least we hope so!).

We're so thankful for our happy little guy!

P.S. I know it looks like he has a sucker in that photo, but it's really a toy spoon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Motherhood // Encouragement {Guest Post}

Today I'm so excited to welcome my friend Liz from The Quick Journey to guest post on my blog!  Liz is a sweet friend and she is a great source of encouragement in mothering, homeschooling, and blogging.  I asked her to share something encouraging regarding motherhood, so she has written this lovely post for you today!  

Thank you, Aliesha, for letting me invade your part of the blog-world for a bit. 
 I am always encouraged by your words and wisdom.


There are some mommas who know in their bones they were made for motherhood.
They spent a great deal of their childhood playing "house" 
and dressing up their pets so they could treat them as their baby.
I was one of those mommas.
From very early on, I dreamt about what motherhood would be like.
To be honest, I thought about being a momma more than I did about my wedding.

Now, as a momma to my four little crew-members,
I can taste and feel motherhood in my bones.
I am on the battle lines of motherhood and it is so much more
fulfilling and overwhelming than I could have imagined it to be 
as my young self so many years ago.

With all the wonderful blessings that come with motherhood, 
there comes a fear- almost from instinct.
Being on the front lines can be suffocating and often times can make you feel
like you weren't cut out to be with all the other mommas in the trenches.

Other moms are doing life better than you.
Other moms have it together while you struggle to simply tread water.
Other moms were made for this journey, 
while you somehow snuck your way in through the back door of motherhood.

I want to encourage you.
I want to tell you that you are exactly where you need to be,
relying on God's grace and provision in spite of your weaknesses.
I want you to know that your babies were knit inside your womb
because God knew that you were the momma your kiddos needed.
Those mommas who are part of the blessing of adoption,
God created your child for you.
He knew, from the very beginning,
 that you were the perfect one to love, train, and kiss that baby,
even though you didn't carry him in your belly.

So, when you are out there treading water with one last breath to take,
remember that you are right where you need to be-
being stretched and molded by your Father in heaven.

Liz is a stay-at-home momma and wife to her four "crew-members" and her high school sweetheart hubby.  She enjoys decorating their home on a budget, drinking a piping hot cup of coffee, and being in the kitchen.  Liz  is the author of the lifestyle blog The Quick Journey, where you will find her chatting about her journey through motherhood.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Adventures in Soap-making {Review of Homegrown Collective's October Box}

Last Friday, I made some bars of soap!  I can't take much credit for this project, since I had a lot of help from a wonderful subscription box.  This was a fun way to relax on a Friday afternoon, and I enjoyed knowing I could fully complete a project from start to finish!

Homegrown Collective is kind of like "Pinterest in a box."  Each month they send a special curated box filled with everything you need to make eco-friendly projects.  Key words:  everything you need.  No more rounding up supplies only to find you're missing an "ingredient" when you go to start the project!
This month's box contained a melt & pour soap kit.
I was really excited about everything in the box!   Melt and pour soap is very easy to make, since you just have to... yep... melt the bar (grated first) and pour it into the mold along with any add-ins.
Here's what was included:
-directions and recipes for three kinds of soap
-goats milk melt and pour soap base
-clear melt and pour soap base
-white melt and pour soap base
-metal grater
-mason jar
-stirring sticks
-pipette (for transferring oils)
-essential oils: lavender/chamomile, cedarwood, and tuberose
-rolled oats
-chamomile flowers
-dead sea salts
-activated charcoal
-three plastic soap molds
The first kind of soap was charcoal and cedarwood.  This is a nice, manly soap that Tad will definitely enjoy using!  The charcoal is detoxifying to the skin, and the cedarwood has a woosdy scent.
The next soap was dead sea salt and chamomile soap.  This bar also included a loofa to cut up and put in the mold if you wanted.  I got a little crazy with this one and left out the dead sea salts and loofah and swapped out lavender petals (from another box).  So what I really made was lavender chamomile soap!  The clear base allowed the flower petals to be visible and suspended in the soap, which was neat!
The last kind of soap was oatmeal, luffa, and tuberose soap.  The tuberose essential oil smells amazing, and this was definitely my favorite soap.  The oats add moisture to the skin, and the loofa exfoliates.  I liked the goats milk base as well!
Here are all three soaps I made!
There were plenty of leftover add-on items to make many more bars of soap, so I ordered more soap base from an etsy seller so I can make more soap for gifts!
Homegrown Collective sends out a completely different box every month, so I can't wait to see what next month's box contains!  As a busy mom, having everything all together in one kit really helps me out, plus I get to try new things that I maybe wouldn't without this little "push"!

Learn more about the Homegrown Collective here!

Have you ever made soap?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall Hospitality (& How Vera Helps!)

Something about fall just makes me want to show hospitality!

I love having people around my table, serving them warm food and talking while the candles burn down.

So many "fall dishes" are warm and comforting, and perfect for easy hospitality.  Beef stew, ham & potato chowder, lasagna, enchiladas... all of these are warm and delicious, yet simple.
Our new wall art is so special to us.  We sang this hymn at our wedding and at Tad's ordination.  It's a Lindsay Letters print we bought at Hobby Lobby.

 Our calligraphy name art can be found at MiMi's Soda Shoppe.

Vera has been so excited about showing hospitality when we've done it lately.
Here are some ways she helps:
-straightening up her room
-picking up books and toys in the living room
-setting the table (with a little help)
-greeting guests at the door
-serving dessert (she loves to carry plates in for people!)
-thanking our guests for coming

My best tip for showing hospitality... just INVITE them, and then figure everything else out!  I bet you'll get that table cleaned off if you know they are coming.  ;-)
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