Mic Check… Is This Thing On?

Hello? Check 1, 2… Is anyone there? 

Oh my gosh, you guys. I don’t know what happened. It has been nearly 3 weeks since I last posted. I am still alive and well, in case you were wondering, just busy.

If you haven’t heard, I’m starting a brand new, scary exciting adventure! Go find @madrebeads over on Instagram to take a peek into my new business. Long story short, I’m opening up shop this spring, selling handmade jewelry that’s eco-friendly, non-toxic, and BEAUTIFUL! They are ideal for mamas with babes, but perfect for anyone! I hope you’ll follow along so you can see all of the progress. (P.S. There’s a little giveaway going on, too! Make sure you enter for a chance at winning TWO of my necklaces before the shop is open to the public!)  IMG_5899 I have still been busy blogging elsewhere. (Bills, man. They gots to be paid.) Here’s what I’ve been up to around the interwebs…

10 Homemade Donut Recipes That’ll Have You Drooling

20 Things You Become a Pro At Once You Have Kids

The Mom I Wish I Was

My Resolution to Lose the Baby Weight

Why I Love Having 3 Kids

My Best Tips for Work at Home Moms

Thanks so much for checking in. Hopefully you won’t hear crickets here the next time you stop by! xoxo, L

Winter Crafts for Kids

winter crafts for kids Winter is here, my friends! And I’m afraid it’s here to stay. The windchill is -9 out today where I am, so we are snuggled up indoors, trying to brainstorm some boredom-buster activities. If you’ve got kids at home, you know that the winter months are the hardest. Everyone starts to go crazy from being cooped up inside for so long. To remedy the winter blues, I’ve put together a round-up of some really fun and creative winter crafts for kids. These winter crafts and activities are sure to keep your littles entertained while you wait for spring to arrive!

Click here to see all of the winter crafts & activities!

xoxo, L

Family Goals for the New Year

On New Year’s Day, some kind of magic happened where all 3 girls went down for naps before noon, leaving Phil and I with a sweet bit of alone time. We ate leftover cupcakes, talked about our family goals for 2015, and then took an epic nap. New Year’s Day done right, my friends.

We don’t have any hard and fast rules about new year’s resolutions. Some years we do them, some years, we don’t. Last year, I just set 3 simple goals for myself and did an okay job until Margot was born. (3 kids is an entirely different ballgame, you guys. I’m still trying to figure it all out.) Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset Anyway, we sort of stumbled upon a conversation that led us to setting some family goals for the new year. Saying our goals out loud was one thing, but typing them out and letting the world see them is quite another. I guess I feel there’s a little bit of seriousness and accountability added when they are on paper. (Or, well, the computer screen.) So here they are, our goals for 2015…

  1. Buy a house.
  2. Go on 2 dates a month.
  3. Host a fancy dinner party.
  4. Go on a family trip.
  5. Get a dog.

There are a few other goals, too. I’ve got a new adventure in the works and I’ve got big plans for it. Phil wants to learn how to fly fish, tie flies, and play chess. I want to get in a better rhythm with the girls and get Addie enrolled in preschool. And so on…

Our goals this year are fairly big. Some are even contingent upon the others. But I’m excited to have said them out loud and to have shared them here. I’m eager to get to work.

What about you? Are you a new year’s resolutions person? Do you set goals? 

P.S. – Happy new year! I’m so excited for 2015 and all that it has to offer. I’m glad to be back on the blog, too. I’ll write more this week about what you can expect to see here over the next few months. Glad you’re here! xoxo, L

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!