10 Myths About the Stay-at-Home-Mom

10 Myths About the Stay-at-Home-Mom
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Photo by Travis Grossen on Unsplash

If you don’t stay at home with your kids, you probably have your own assumptions about the gig. Some look down on stay-at-home moms while some admire SAHMs. Let’s clear a few things up!

According to Forbes, staying home is popular among millenials for a variety of reasons. The gist of it is that mothers are looking to swap working away from home with work at home opportunities or “pinching pennies.”

In the article, “How Much Does Child Care Cost?”, Care.com states that 32% of families spend over 20% of their annual household income on child care. According to this source, the cost of child care deeply impacts families ranging from parents changing careers to parents not being able to afford it.

I’ve been a Stay-at-Home-Mom now for over 6 years. In that time, I’ve worked very hard at preparing our kids for preschool and maintaining the household. All while needing to defend myself. As if moms already need to be judged any more for the way we raise our families! Popular beliefs or myths are pretty much the only thing separating what others think goes on, and what it’s really like!

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Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

10 Myths About Stay-at-Home Moms

10. It’s easy

It’s true that SAHMs don’t have to rush to the babysitter to drop their little ones off for work, spend a majority of the day away from their families, and rush home to get dinner started. However, the challenges of keeping a bunch of kiddos entertained all day, cleaning the house while it gets wrecked, and still getting dinner on the table is no easy feat!

9. SAHMs don’t have degrees or a higher education

Even degree-holding moms have to make an important decision. Follow career or press the pause button. Higher education doesn’t always equal higher pay in the career field. Sometimes the logistics of staying home are for personal reasons, and sometimes it’s a matter of cost-effectiveness.

8. No dreams and aspirations

Very much like #9, moms who stay home have long term plans. We know our families won’t always need us in the same way. We look forward to our futures and checkmarking items off of career goals or bucket lists.

7. SAHMs are wealthy

The occupation is manageable with an average family. As long as the one income can meet the needs of the family, staying home is sustainable. In the long run, there are sacrifices of luxury in order to focus solely on the needs of the household. SAHMs budget, budget, budget!

6. SAHMs are lazy

Assumptions are made that SAHMs aren’t busy and that they sit around all day. But truth be told, trying to keep a bunch of kids out of trouble, fed, bathed, entertained, and off to bed is hard, busy work. Isn’t is true for any mom that once you sit down your kids need something?

5. Mom does all the parenting

Some people believe mom does (or should do all the housework) and child care because she’s not making an income (even when dad’s home). In all fairness, moms are built to nurture their families. But moms are built to be a team with dad including sharing chores, handling bills, and both parents being equally involved are all important.

4. Always home

One of the main things SAHMs do is drive their families around. Doctor appointments, errands, to and from school, someone to show up at school events, to and from extra cirriculars like sports, play dates, visiting grandma, the library, birthday parties, etc… similar to the working mom.

3. Don’t contribute financially

The VeryWellFamily.com says stay-at-home moms would be paid 143,000 per year if paid for all of their services. If the budget is still tight after all those savings, Moms have more opportunities to work out of home. Some legit jobs include writing, photography, coding, transcribing, sales, and more. Currently one trend is to sell essential oils or teeth whiteners, all while staying home with the kids.

2. Not stressful

We may be flexible when it comes to time management. However, one of our biggest stressors is budgeting everything well and coming up with alternatives (for projects, activities, and meals). Sometimes a project or trip will have to wait if it can’t fit in the budget. Staying at home can also be tough on a mom’s social and emotional needs.

1. Always love our job

If you can happily do anything while sleep deprived, then go you! But for most parents, we’re tired, our job never ends, and we’re also really good at judging ourselves. Sometimes that gets in the way of enjoying the job.

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Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Who works harder?

Not all jobs are equal. And not all families are equal.

In the end, we’re all the same. Working moms and Stay-at-Home-Moms face similar challenges. We’re facing issues with our kids listening to us, cleaning up after themselves, and having them finish homework. We’re tired, we’ve repeated ourselves one too many times, and we we all just wish life was a little easier.

Working mom or Stay-at-Home Mom, we love our families more than anything. We’re all really just doing what we deem best. Over all, our families depend on us, whichever path we choose.

 

 

 

Military Family Life

Military Family Life

Here’s our family’s personal experience as a military family. People ask us to share about it often, so I thought I’d share with you, especially in light of 4th of July!

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Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

Career Path

My husband, Steven, always knew he wanted to be in the military- a career where he could serve our country and honor his family. He’s been in the Air Force for 12 years and is a (Staff Sargeant) Security Police Officer. In his military career, he’s been on deployments overseas and stateside, training away from home, and drill weekends (which is one weekend a month, despite his normal 40 hour/week job).

In the meantime, we married and had three boys. So, our family life tends to revolve around military orders. It’s a tough gig!

The boys are used to dad being away at work. They don’t question why he has to go. They know their daddy is a “soldier” and that he protects us. The only thing they really question is where he is, and if he has a bed to sleep on, etc… The last time Steven was away for a long time was when our oldest was a newborn. It was harder on me, knowing that we were missing all the firsts together. But some kids are old enough to know when is a long time and that becomes their normalcy.

On the other hand, as a military wife, I have to balance my role and my husband’s role when he goes away. This is why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, after all. I knew that during my husband’s last deployment, that my duty was at home. If something needed maintained, fixed, or figured out, that all fell on me. On top of my regular duties.

 

Deployments

Then there’s the whole deployment thing, which is a beast of it’s own.

Pre-deployment training, briefings, family readiness, wills, extra phone calls and paperwork, packing, mentally preparing….

Then you actually get settled in and dinners are lonely. The bed is too big at night. The days are more quiet.

Trying to find time to chat with your spouse is nearly impossible! The last time he was away, he got one day off weekly. In that time off, he had to get laundry done, pick up mail, and do any other errands. I would get to talk with him live on a webcam about once or twice a week. And some days, you just need your best friend to talk with at the end of a long day, so that was a bummer.

I’ll still never forget the time we were talking online and I could hear the explosions in the background. That was 6 years ago to the date!

Re-enlistment is coming up and he’s decided on staying in for another 8 more years. This means, these deployments and all of the same challenges are sticking around while we raise our kids.

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This was taken within seconds of us being reunited at the airport! No one tells you how overwhelming that’s going to be!
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For new readers of Momma Bird Blog, here’s the whole family!

The Reward

The reward comes in a variety of ways. One of the best rewards is when our family gets a little extra love and support from friends and family. Especially when Steven’s gone, we tend to visit other people more often.

Another rewarding moment is when people thank Steven for serving. It really makes me proud! Recently we were out shopping (with no sign of my husband being military) when another guy who (also had no sign of being military) stopped us. They thanked each other for their service and shook hands. It was an engaging experience!

Ways To Support The Military

There are plenty of ways to show your support to military; the green porch light, banners, t-shirts, and more.

Also, care packages are highly coveted by deployed members. Some good items to send in care packages are; hygiene items like good toilet paper and baby wipes, snacks, books, and other simple forms of entertainment…

If you’re looking to make donations, here are some good causes:

 

Ways To Support Military Families

You can uplift their families (especially during deployments) by making friends with them, offering to watch the kids, fixing things around the house, or fixing dinner. Literally anything. If you don’t know how to help, ask! I’m sure they will appreciate it like we do!

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Photo by Public Domain Photography from Pexels

We take for granted what we have in this country. Don’t forget about the people fighting for it!

What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is a big deal for us moms! Afterall, many agree that becoming a mom brought purpose to our lives.

While Moms appreciate gestures or gifts, what most of us want is even more meaningful. A day to feel special. A day to really feel like our families appreciate us.

Maybe a day to sleep in, not lift a finger, and good behavior. No cooking or cleaning. No changing diapers. No going anywhere. Just sitting out in the sun with a drink in hand. Being surrounded by our families. Sounds nice to me anyways! 😀

Every year since our oldest has been in school, the teachers have helped the kids make Mother’s Day gifts. These are by far my favorite! In preschool, he painted wooden cutout flowers. This year, the kids worked on something even more simple that really touched my heart!

They made giant construction paper cards with one side devoted to painted hand-print flowers. The other side is “All about Mom.”

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The close-up reads:

“Let me tell you about my mom.

My mom is 32 years old.

She likes to sit on the couch.

The best thing she cooks is eggs.

Her favorite food is Chinese food.

Her favorite thing to do to relax is to sleep.

We like to spin together.

She is really good at cleaning the house.

As you can see, my mom is special because she plays with me.

Love, Christopher”

 

His answers are pretty close anyways. Definitely had me smiling because it’s so cute!

As a Mom, this is special for so many reasons. I love his little hand-prints. And I love that he took time to think about why I am so special to him. This masterpiece made my week!

Like many moms, I struggle to feel like I’m doing a good enough job.

No matter how much moms do for their families, often, we feel like we aren’t good enough. It’s so hard to keep up with it all. It’s no wonder!

We balance school, work, chores, extra circulars, church, marriage, family time, health, emotion, routines, fun, and hey, even the checkbook. We have all the in between jobs from driving the kids to the doctor, and making sure everyone has clean underwear. We multitask so much that we can’t even remember what we accomplished all day. Meeting our family’s basic needs consist of so many extra steps that are forgotten about like putting a meal on the table. I mean, I can’t be the only mom who plans out a grocery list all week, and plan dinner starting in the morning hours.

Thinking back to my childhood, all I remember was playing and having fun. I remember my mom showing up to every baseball game. Every school event. Every appointment. She made time to play toothfairy. She read us so many books. And with that excited narration too! She admired our works of art. Made our beds. Cleaned the house in any bit of free time she had. She balanced everything, with what appeared to look like a breeze. And somewhow she was amazingly patient with us. All. The. Time.

And when I became a Mom, I thought, “well if she raised 4 of us, I’ll certainly do fine with less kids.” With three little boys, I look at my mom now, with a much deeper appreciation. Now I experience the restless nights, worrying about a fever when the kids are sick. I worry about balancing second chances with discipline. I worry when I’ve forgotten show-and-tell or a special dress-up day at school. And I worry if I’m giving all of the kids equal attention and meeting all of their emotional needs. And how on Earth do you squeeze in that extra time with your spouse to let them know you still care?

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This is one of the first points from “Mom Set Free.” This book is for Moms wanting to make a spiritual journey. I highly recommend it!

Moms have such a hard job! We face so many challenges, even our own thoughts and feelings. So stop putting yourself down. You might not be the perfect mom you always thought you’d be. But look at what you do in one day. Look at what you’ve accomplished.

You are the kisser of boo-boos, the tickle monster, the dance partner, the snack attendant, the potty train praiser, infant interpreter, the pusher of swings, dignified driver, the walking “why” responder, the artist appreciator, the mountain of laundry climber, and so much more!

If only you could see yourself in the eyes and hearts of your family!

 

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Gift your mom something really nice for Mother’s Day to show her how much you care! Then let her know how special she is and how much you appreciate her often!

Here’s a quick video on the topic of how mom’s view themselves VS how kids view their moms. It made me cry, so be sure to have a box of tissues nearby!

&

HAPPY (early) MOTHER’S DAY!

 

 

 

Featured photo by Sue Zeng on Unsplash

80+ Fun Summer Activities for the Family

80+ Fun Summer Activities for the Family

 

 

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Cover Photo of Bag by Brooke Lark on Unsplash  Greenhouse Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash Beach Photo by Syd Sujuaan on Unsplash Popcicle Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

 

Happy May 1st! It’s almost time for summer! Who’s ready?

Have you started planning your big summer vacation? Or will you be spending your warm-weathered days at home?

Over the years two of our favorite things to do to prepare for summer are; plot out our vegetable garden and make a summer bucket list. The bucket list has gone from a variety of museums, zoos, and entertainment to a more simplistic version. We realize that out of the 12 weeks or so, more realistically we probably have 1 or 2 days each month to go out of town (for an all day event).

Plus not to mention, it’s hard to take smaller kids to more formal locations. Especially if you’re dealing with potty training and nap time or anything like that. So I split up my ideas into categories from ideal to more realistic.

So for our kids ages (almost 3) to 6, this is what we came up with so far:

  • T-ball (registered our oldest)
  • Swim lessons (for the older two)
  • Fishing
  • Drive-in movie
  • Camping
  • Visit the local ice-cream shop
  • Visit the local farmers market
  • Visit the beach (at our Lake)
  • Have a cookout with family
  • Go to the Fair
  • Visit the Deer Park
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Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash

 

Here are more ideas that your family can consider adding to your own list:

Attractions/Events:

  • Major/Minor League Baseball game
  • Zoo/Petting Zoo
  • Safari Tour
  • Aquarium
  • Legoland
  • Science center/museum
  • Old Car museum
  • Train museum
  • Take a scenic train ride
  • Visit a historical village
  • Watch glass blowing
  • Children’s museum (art/literature…)
  • Sky Zone/ Indoor Playground
  • Water Park
  • Amusement Park
  • Put-put
  • Go Karts
  • Batting Cages
  • Get an arcade pass
  • Bowling/ Glowbowling
  • Take cooking classes
  • See a movie
  • See a play/Disney on Ice
  • See an air show
  • Art Festival/ Craft Show
  • Air Balloon Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Rent a boat/book a boat tour

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Photo by Jayakumar Ananthan on Unsplash

 

Create your own Fun:

  • Rent a cabin
  • Ride on a bike Trail
  • Hike in the woods
  • Explore natural formations near you
  • Explore waterfalls near you
  • See a butterfly house
  • Have a picnic at the park
  • Strawberry Picking
  • Visit your local nature center
  • See a botanical garden/arboretum
  • Free kid’s classes at your local county parks
  • Story hour at your library
  • Kid’s art classes at your craft store
  • Geocaching/scavenger hunt
  • Go for a scenic drive/road trip
  • Make/Try international food
  • Check out all of the top rated parks near you
  • Visit a splash pad

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Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Fun in your own backyard:

  • Bury treasure in your sandbox
  • Make a fairy garden
  • Grow some pretty flowers
  • Build a fort
  • Make your own natural playground
  • Collect bugs
  • Make mud pies
  • Have a squirt gun fight
  • Get a pool (we like the 10′ Intex Easy Set Above Ground Pool)
  • Get a Slip ‘n Slide or sprinkler
  • Build a bird house/bird feeder
  • Rock painting
  • Make natural wind chimes
  • Have a tea party
  • Have a lemonade stand
  • Make your own popsicles
  • Make your own ice cream
  • Fly kites
  • Play a sport together (baseball/soccer/volleyball)
  • Have a race/make an obstacle course
  • See who can blow the biggest bubbles
  • Draw your family portrait with sidewalk chalk
  • Decorate a name (room) plaque with acrylic paint
  • Make window clings/stained glass pictures
  • Backyard camping
  • Have a bonfire & make smores
  • Have movie night outside with a projector
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Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

I really wanted to create sub-lists for those of you who are able to and willing to enjoy a booked day, casual day, and a day where you don’t even have to leave home or get into the summer vacation budget.

Be sure to ask around on Facebook for friends’ recommendations. You can even stop in at your AAA or visitors bureau for more trip ideas.

Now that I probably encouraged you to make your list too big, which ones stick out to you the most? Which of your family favorites would you add to the list?

10 Tips to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy

10 Tips to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy

Are you looking for tips on getting your kids to eat healthier?

This question has been going around lately.

The truth is, we started our healthy routine right away. We incorporated habits we learned growing up and applied them to our family. And that’s what’s made it fairly easy for us. However, sometimes your kids learn to be picky from other kids. And sometimes they are just downright stubborn! That can be so frustrating!

A lot of factors go in to living a healthy lifestyle including good influence and routine. I’m not a health and nutrition professional, I just know that these factors have helped our family to make good choices!

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10 Healthy Eating Tips For Kids:

1) Avoid filing your house with junk food! This has been a huge lifesaver for us! We hardly ever buy cookies, ice cream, chips, candy, or pop. Part of it is so I don’t have the temptation and part of it is because it doesn’t usually fit in a frugal budget.

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2) Let your kids pick whatever they want from the produce aisle! You might be surprised at what they pick. When my kids feel like this is a special treat, they tend to choose lots of colorful fruits and veggies. Our middle told me that he loves broccoli. I find it so funny when he chomps a big piece of raw broccoli.

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YUM! BROCCOLI!

3) Keep plenty of healthy options easily accessible. Keep carrot sticks, celery sticks, and cucumbers available in Tupperware, along with a dip. Have smaller apples or washed grapes and berries available in a fruit bowl on the table. I even pass out little containers of peanuts or almonds to the kids.

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I just learned another momma does a lunch like this with her kiddos too! Such a fun, easy time-saver!

4) Don’t eat out too often. Dining at your favorite restaurant is a luxury, and with that, should be enjoyed like a treat. The menu will usually contain a lot of additives like fat, oil, butter, salt, and sugar. When you cook at home, you are able to cook with less additives. You can even steam cook your food to reduce the extras!

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Photo by Neha Deshmukh on Unsplash

5) Be a good example! Feed them things that you will eat also. Have spinach salad and show them all of the yummy toppings and dressings they can try from. Show your kids that you enjoy nutrition!

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Have you tried frozen grapes? You should!

6) Grow your own produce! Every mid-May our family goes to the local farmers market and pick out potatoes, green bean seeds, tomato plants, and a few other random things to grow. Once these start producing, the kids pick them off the plants and eat them right out of the garden. I mean, what’s better than a warm, juicy sun-ripened tomato right off the plant?

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Photo by Elaine Casap on Unsplash

 

7) Teach your kids how to cook. It’s hard to let little kids do too much in the kitchen, but little helpers are great for standing up on a chair and stirring. As they get older, they are great at measuring. And when they get a little older, they are great a cutting soft foods with a butter knife. And as they get a little older yet, they start to learn how to use a microwave. Then the stove.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

8) Eat at routine meal times. This promotes our bodies to work properly and helps our bodies to stay energized. Not eating at the same time can affect your blood pressure and BMI. Here’s an article about it!

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Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash

9) Have meals together at the dinner table. Eating meals together as a family is first a great way to bond and also encourages us to be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. For example, I tend to eat more unhealthy snacks/ convenient food late at night when watching T.V.  Do you do that too? (And your table doesn’t have to look this pretty to eat together!)

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

10) Explore new foods and flavors! Maybe your family will find a new favorite! Is there a new fruit, veggie, or herb in the produce section? Did you try those raw and cooked (of the ones you can try both ways)? Would a certain sauce make it taste better?

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Photo by Linh Pham on Unsplash

So there are my 10 tips to help you get your kids to eat healthier! I hope through this, you maybe found something that works for you!

For moms who are looking for ways to realistically lose weight before bikini season, here are some tips that worked for me!

Do you have any healthy eating tips to share?

 

 

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Can you believe Easter Sunday is only 2 days away!?

I can’t believe where the time has gone! Each year, it seems as if time goes faster and faster. This is one of my favorite quotes:

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

-Gretchen Rubin

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The school kids are on Spring break so it’s time to plan some family activities. One of my favorite traditional activities to do with my kids is baking cookies. It’s always fun to whip up some memories!

Here is my favorite sugar cookie recipe! I found it on AllRecipes.com years ago and have used it many times!

It claims to make 5 dozen, but this batch only made about 3 dozen. We all snitched a spoonful or two or three of dough. HAHA. And not to mention we made our cookies into 1″ balls instead of rolling them for efficiency.

 

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

Ingredients List/Measurements:

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Directions for mixing and baking:

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I made a few changes to the original recipe due to preference. And on top of that my oven must heat very quickly so I adjusted the baking from 400 degrees to 350.  Original directions were 6-8 minutes so I used the longer time to adjust for the temperature.

One minor trick I used was to take the hot cookie sheets and lightly press down the cookies to flatten them for frosting. You may consider this if rolling cookie balls instead of rolling dough for cookie cutters.

We waited for all of the cookies to cool. Then we used one can of frosting and divided it 4 ways to make pretty pastel colors. We made pastel; pink, purple, blue, and green. Then we decorated them with Easter sprinkles!

The kids had a lot of fun frosting, sprinkling, and eating them too!

Have a Happy Easter!

 

 

Week 1 of Essential Oils [What It Did For My Family]

Week 1 of Essential Oils [What It Did For My Family]

Let's have a cup

Here’s what essential oils really did for my family on the first week!

Last week, I was anxiously waiting the arrival of the delivery guy with my Young Living starter kit. When I saw him pull in, I paced around the house, snatched the box, then had that thing opened up before he could even pull away. 😀

Yes, I was that excited!

Included in the Young Living starter kit was:

  • The Desert Mist Diffuser
  • 10 Essential Oils
  • + Stress Away
  • Sample bottles/roll on top
  • Ningxia samples (delicious detox drink)
  • Thieves household cleaner sample
  • Tons of informative packets
  • Thieves household cleaner (concentrate, which I added on to my order)
  • Extra Lemon vitality (as a bonus for ordering Thieves)

 

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Top row left to right (vitality): Lemon, Copaiba, Digize, Thieves, Peppermint                   Bottom row left to right: Panaway, Raven, Citrus Fresh, Frankincense, Lavender
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All of this hidden glory was under the bottom portion of the box! (2) Ningxia samples, Thieves household cleaner sample, Stress Away, (bonus bottle) Lemon Vitality, roll-on top, sample bottles (to share with friends), and cards to send with those sample bottles!
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There were some booklets on other products and the purpose for each oil.

 

Everything was so beautifully packaged, I felt like a friend sent me a care package!

So, first thing I set up my diffuser, which was really easy. Just add water to the reservoir and 8-10 drops of essential oil. Lavender was first on my list of things to try because which Mom of 3 little boys doesn’t need to relax, right?

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And to my surprise, not only did the diffuser run much longer than expected, but something amazing happened that night. I usually struggle to get the kids to bed when my husband is at work. Sometimes I spend over an hour from the time they brush teeth to this Momma Bear finally sitting on the couch. Instead, after about an hour of enjoying the lavender mist, they walked right up to bed and each laid down without a fight.

I was shocked!

The next day, I knew I had to try something new to diffuse or I’d run out of lavender too soon. My oil friends had talked about the use of peppermint. So, I thought, let’s try that! In the early morning I added 8 drops of peppermint to the diffuser and it really started to perk me up. (Not like my morning coffee, but in a more subtle, longer-lasting way).

I’m still learning about all of the different uses and mixtures of the oils, but so far, stress-relief has been the biggest change in our home with the essential oils. Not to mention, I’ve needed less coffee and less naps.

So far I’ve had a lot of fun adding oils to a glass of water, spray bottles, and cocunut oil… etc. to try out. I’m also trying the frankinsense on my face to help with dark under eye circles and blemishes. So, hopefully will be glowing in the next week or so! (Thanks to the girls who shared that tip with me!)

 

For those of you who are learning with me, these are some basic perks of essential oils:

Diffuser (8-10 drops)

  • Naturally mood enhancing
  • Supports immune health
  • Non-toxic (candles actually can be toxic)

Vitality drops added to water (1-2 drops each glass/once daily):

  • Peppermint for refreshing pick-me up
  • Lemon to help restore the body’s PH levels/detox
  • Thieves for immunity

 

Balms/Roll-on mixes:

  • Lavender/coconut oil for relaxing
  • Stress Away (relieves headaches and stress)

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Thieves household cleaner

  • Makes my house smell like a spa
  • It actually cleans, leaves a shine
  • It is versatile/great for frugal families
  • Is said to support immune system
  • Is safe for everyone from kids to pets

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My favorite part of having essential oils in my home is knowing we won’t suffer from side effects because the oils replace harsh chemicals (and are just as effective).

The coolest part is essential oils go all the way back to Jesus’ time. It’s so neat to see old, traditional ways becoming trendy again. In an ever-changing world it is nice to go back to our roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Momma Bird Blog owns the right to all of the photos in this post. Do not copy without permission.