See ya next year!

merry-christmas Hi, friends! I just wanted to pop in to wish you a very merry Christmas! I hope you are able to slow down and enjoy the next couple of weeks with your friends and family. I will be taking a little break from the blog, but I’ll be back in the new year with some great stuff for you and your family to enjoy!

In the meantime, we can stay in touch via Instagram! I’m @LacyStroess and I’d love to see you over there!

See ya in 2015! xoxo, L

30+ Ways to Have a Meaningful Christmas

meaningful-christmas Christmastime really is the most wonderful time of the year. From carrying on family traditions to spending time with the ones you love most, it’s a special, sacred season.

I think all of us, whether we believe in the birth of Jesus or not, are aching for a meaningful Christmas season. We want it to be about more than hustle and bustle. We want it to be about more than scoring great Black Friday deals. We want it to be about more than spoiling our children rotten.

I think each us longs for a meaningful holiday season. I think we want to experience something. We want to know love and hope and peace. We want it to mean something in our lives. We want to make a difference.

If you want Christmastime to mean something, you have to slow down and pay attention. You have to reject the pressure to see, make, and do everything on Pinterest. You have to take deep breaths and practice patience when you are in a long line at the store. You have to take notice of the needs around you, so that you can give where it really matters.

Here are just 30+ ways to have a meaningful Christmas this year…

Your Christmas Survival Guide

christmas ‘Tis the season, y’all! (By the way, I have just started noticing that I say “y’all” a lot. I don’t know where it came from. The farm I guess?! HA!) I don’t know about you, but I love Christmastime. It’s even more fun now that we’ve got kiddos who love it, too. I feel like the internet has been bombarding us all with ten billion different Christmas posts. I’m as guilty as they come. So, to ease a little bit of the load, I decided to put together a little Christmas survival guide of sorts. Basically, a bunch of good Christmasy stuff, all in one place. Sound good? From crafts and recipes to gift ideas and more.. I’ve got you covered!

If you’ve got little ones at home, you MUST check out this round-up of Christmas crafts and activities for kids. So many fun projects!

If you are in need of some cute, affordable handmade gift ideas, you’ve got to check out our series, 12 Days of Handmade Christmas. I kicked us off on December 1 and you can see all of the crafts on my original post. So many neat ideas!

If Christmastime leaves you with a little less date night money, don’t fret. I’ve planned 10 different at-home movie nights for you and your love. Treats and drinks included! Check it out here.

If the Christmas season is overwhelming you a bit, grab a hot cup of your favorite drink and take a few minutes to read my tips on simplifying the holiday season.

We can’t forget…

Have a Christmasy link to share? Leave it in the comments below! xoxo, L

On Guard Hand Spray

I’ve got another great essential oils DIY for you today! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out somewhere with the girls when I wished so badly I had some kind of non-toxic way to get the germs off of their hands. Whether we are at the library, park, or grocery store, they seem to touch everything in sight. Yuck!

I’ve been wanting to make some kind of hand spray to have on-the-go, using On Guard essential oil, but I never had the right spray bottle. (Essential oils should always be kept in glass amber bottles, fyi.) I finally asked a friend where she got her fine mist spray bottles and she led me to Amazon. Woo! I got my package of goodies last week and have been making up some different recipes to keep my family healthy this season.

This On Guard hand spray is great for everyone. It’s non-toxic, totally natural, and one of the best oil blends to boost immunity and keep germs at bay. The coconut oil adds a bit of moisture, which is perfect for this dry winter season. Here’s what you need to make your very own On Guard hand spray…

 

Hand Cleanser with On Guard To make your On Guard hand spray, add 5-10 drops of On Guard essential oil to an empty 2 oz. glass amber fine mist spray bottle. I got mine here. Next, fill it halfway up with fractionated coconut oil. Top off the bottle with water, then screw the lid back on. Your On Guard hand spray is ready to go! (Gently shake it before each use.) Keep it in your car or diaper bag, purse or stroller. It’s perfect for on-the-go! I’ve also used this on Margot’s teethers and toys to give them a quick clean.

If you are interested in getting your hands on some doTERRA essential oils, please contact me. I am a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, which means I can help answer your questions and point you in the right direction for 100% pure and natural health and wellness. You can email me at philandlacy @ gmail.com.

To learn more about how essential oils can help your family, make sure to join our Facebook group! 

To see our other posts about essential oils, click HERE!

Baby Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Baby Do you open stockings at your house on Christmas Day? It’s one of my favorite traditions, probably because my mom always had the best stocking stuffers for us growing up. I know some people are hard to buy stocking stuffers for. Particularly baby. They can’t have treats or stickers or chap stick or any other fun thing that the older kiddos can. After putting Margot’s stocking together this year, I thought I’d share my baby stocking stuffer ideas with you…

Need more gift ideas? Check out our other gift guides here!

What baby stocking stuffer ideas do you have to add to the list?! Enjoy! xoxo, L

DIY Dyed Bottlebrush Trees

Dyed Bottlebrush Trees Truth be told, I wasn’t going to blog about these DIY bottlebrush trees. But, after posting a photo of my festive little project on Instagram, so many of you requested a post! Ask and you shall receive, my friends. This is one of those projects I’ve had in the back of my mind for the past few years. This year, I finally made them happen. I looked several places for trees, but had no luck until I went to Hobby Lobby. The bottlebrush trees are in packs of 3 and 4, located in the dollhouse section. Lucky for me, they were on sale the week that I bought them. In fact, these DIY bottlebrush trees only cost me about $10 total. Take that, Anthropologie! I will say, since I wasn’t planning on blogging about this fun project, I don’t have step-by-step photos for you. Instead, I’ve got very specific directions. You should be able to make your own bottlebrush trees quite easily!

Supplies needed:

Bottlebrush trees
Bleach (& water)
Large bowl
Fork
Rit dye (powdered)
Hot water
Several bowls (one for each color of dye)

First, you need to bleach your bottlebrush trees. I used a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part bleach. Mix solution in a large bowl and soak your trees in batches. My trees took about 3-5 minutes to turn beige.*If you want a couple of green bottlebrush trees, let them bleach for about 30 seconds – 1 minute for a pretty, lighter green shade. Use a fork to retrieve your bottlebrush trees, then rinse under running water. Let dry.

Next, mix together your dye baths. I used powdered Rit dye and followed the instructions on the package. I purchased primary colors only (red, blue, yellow), knowing I could mix the dyes together to get more of the rainbow. In each bowl, pour 2 C hot water over powdered dye. Dye your bottlebrush trees one at a time. They don’t need to be in the dye bath for long – maybe 30 seconds. Use a fork to retrieve them from the dye bath, then move them to a spot to drip. (I used a brown paper grocery sack.)

After you have your red, blue, and yellow trees, you can begin mixing the colors or adding water to get various shades of the rainbow. Red + yellow = orange. Yellow + blue = green. Blue + red = purple, and so on. Add more water for lighter shades. I got a really pretty pink color by adding 2-3 more C of hot water to my red dye bath. It’s like a science experiment! Keep mixing and dyeing until all of your bottlebrush trees are beautiful!

One at a time, rinse your dyed bottlebrush trees under running water to remove any excess dye. Place your trees on a rag towel or another surface to drip dry. Once they are dry, they are ready to go! Arrange them however you like! Place them in a window sill or across your mantle. Tie them onto gifts or turn them into ornaments! There are so many ways to use your beautiful DIY bottlebrush trees! Enjoy! xoxo, L DIY Dyed Bottlebrush Trees *Once you make your bottlebrush trees, take a picture! I’d love to see them! Tag them on Instagram with #livingonloveblog so I can see!

 

 

 

10 Picture Books to Empower Girls

books-empower-girls

Girls can do anything! Don’t you agree? With 3 daughters, I am always looking for books, toys, and games that will help them realize their full potential. While doing a bit of Christmas shopping, I came across so many amazing books to empower girls.

These picture books celebrate women and girls. Their opinions are validated, their voices are heard, their achievements are recognized, and their differences are celebrated. If you are looking for books to empower your daughters (or sons!) here is a great place to start…

See the full post here!

Saranoni Giveaway!

Saranoni Luxury Blankets

Happy Friday, loves! I’m so excited because today is Day 8 of 14 Days of Holiday Love, which means it’s MY day to host a giveaway! If you haven’t heard, 14 Days of Love is a super fun giveaway series to honor and celebrate our dear readers. YOU! Honestly, us bloggers could NOT do it without you guys, so we wanted to say thank you by giving you all the chance to win some great prizes just in time for the holidays! (Some of these prizes would make the perfect Christmas gifts!)

Today, I’m so happy to introduce you to Saranoni, a luxury blanket company. We have 3 Saranoni blankets and they are the coziest blankets we own. You seriously wouldn’t believe how soft they are! One lucky winner is going to win a luxury home throw AND a toddler-to-teen blanket from Saranoni! All you have to do is enter through the Rafflecopter below… US residents only. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 Days of Love Giveaway Series Here are the remaining giveaways! Make sure to “like” the 14 Days of Love Facebook page so you don’t miss a single one!

Dec. 3 A Girl Named PJ is giving away a Nandi Necklace from Tulsi Project
Dec. 4 Frock Files is giving away a $100 gift card to Schoolhouse Electric
Dec. 5 Living on Love is giving away a luxury home throw & a toddler to teen blanket from Saranoni
Dec. 6 Everyday Reading is giving away a Lily Jade bag
Dec. 7 Lia Griffith is giving away a $100 Michaels gift card
Dec. 9 Dream Green DIY is giving away a $250 Minted gift card
Dec. 10 The Caterpillar Years is giving away an Ogosport Prize Package
Dec. 11 Oleander and Palm is giving away a Cricut Explore Machine
Merry Christmas!!!

Baked Eggs with Smoked Gouda

Today’s post is sponsored by Arla Dofino. Arla Dofino is offering each of you a $1.00 off coupon and a chance to win a Happy Havarti Holidays Breakfast prize pack! Look for the giveaway details at the bottom of this post!  Baked Eggs with Smoked Gouda Cheese The holiday season is the busiest time of year, and for good reason. Each day we are crafting away, attending holiday events, shopping, and soaking up the magic of the season. With 3 little ones to take care of, there’s no way I can skip breakfast like I used to. These days I need a hearty breakfast, full of protein to fuel me throughout the day. Baked eggs have become my go-to breakfast these days. In fact, there are few things I love more. With just a few ingredients that I always have on hand, I can create a hearty breakfast to fuel me until my next meal.

Baked Eggs Using Arla Dofino all-natural smoked gouda cheese, farm fresh eggs, and a pinch of my favorite herb seasoning mix, these baked eggs are perfection. After awhile, you’ll have the recipe down pat.

Ingredients:

Butter
2 eggs
Salt & pepper
Herbs de provence (Any herb would be delicious here – oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
Arla Dofino smoked gouda cheese

Homemade Baked Eggs Directions: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Butter a small baking dish or ramekin. Carefully, crack 2 eggs into your dish. Be careful to not break the yolks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of herbs. Top with grated Arla Dofino smoked gouda cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until your eggs are cooked to how you like them. (I prefer mine with slightly oozing yolks!) Serve with a side of toast or a piece of fruit for the most flavorful and comforting eggs you ever did eat. Baked Eggs with Smoked Gouda Cheese Serves 1. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a larger crowd. 

A bit about Arla Dofino cheese…

The Arla Dofino brand of cheese includes a delicious range of family-friendly cheese types such as Havarti, Gouda, Edam, Muenster and Fontina. Arla cheeses are naturally good from farm to fridge. The cheese is free of added hormones and preservatives, and crafted with quality, natural ingredients in an environmentally friendly way. Arla cheeses have been traditionally crafted in Wisconsin for more than 100 years.

Click here to get your $1.00 coupon for Arla Dofino cheese!

 

Arla Dofino Giveaway Arla Dofino is graciously giving one lucky reader of mine a Happy Havarti Holidays Breakfast prize pack!

The prize pack is a $60 value and will include:
– Crate & Barrel mixing bowl
– Anthropologie whisk
– Crate & Barrel cheese grater
– A coupon for one free Arla Dofino product
– Set of Arla Dofino recipe cards

ArlaDofino_PrizePack_BlogImage To enter, simply click over to the Happy Havarti Holidays Breakfast Prize Pack Giveaway on Pinterest and follow them, then select your favorite recipe and copy and paste the recipe link in the comments section and tell me why you want to try it! The giveaway ends on December 16. US residents only.

Thanks so much to Arla Dofino for sponsoring today’s post and giveaway!!