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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Oily Life {Guest Post}

I know, I know I'm SUPER late to jump on this oil train but if y'all have been keeping up with Zach's medical stuff this past year then you know I've been looking for some ways to help keep him from getting sick as well as help our entire family live a healthier lifestyle. I've had a Young Living kit for awhile and have dabbled in some blends and such when the kids have had the crud, but I want to get better and learn more! Nikki is a super sweet friend of mine who is SO knowledgeable about all things oils AND goes above and beyond in answering my questions and helping me learn. I've never posted about oils on the blog and asked her if she'd like to do a post for me to help both MYSELF as well as others like me have a better understanding of just what all this "oil stuff" is about!

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Hey everyone! When Emily got in touch with me many moons ago about doing a blog post about Young Living Essential Oils, I was super excited! That meant I get to share my passion for educating others what Young Living Essential Oils (YLEOS) are and how they have literally changed our family’s life. Thank you, Emily, for reaching out and most importantly—thank you for your patience as I worked this up for your blog. I hope your readers thoroughly enjoy & learn at least one thing from this.

I am Nikki Ellis-a daughter of Christ, wife to a one of a kind husband, mother of five children (three here with me & two in heaven), sister, and friend. My little family just relocated from our beloved town of Hahira, GA to Thomasville, GA and have spent the past few months settling in and soaking in the lazy (& some not so lazy) summer days. When we decided to start a family many years ago our plate started to begin to fill up. Without a relationship with Christ and YLEOS, there’s really no telling where we would be right now.


Let’s take a trip back to the past; circa early 2014. A past where a struggling new mother of two was trying to hold it all together with a brand new four-year old who and a four-month-old who didn’t believe in sleeping {thank goodness that has changed in the past three years!} I think most of us who are moms know how this season in our lives is. Sleepless nights, never ending loads of laundry, hardly any special time with your significant other/spouse; let alone, any time for yourself was taking a toll on me, physically & emotionally. I had just learned to know it was a season and that it too, “shall pass.” Until one day, I was in the middle of a nursing session, cruising Facebook, and see an acquaintance post about an Essential Oil that would take all your Stress Away. And it was called Stress Away—simple as that.



We all know Facebook has turned into a platform for selling products, educating others and ahem, our political views. And I had recently been seeing a lot about these magical essential oils. And my best friend had been using them for a year or so and was always telling me stories of how they were changing her family’s lives and NATURAL. So, I decided to buy a bottle of Stress Away for myself. At this point, what did I have to lose?

I got the bottle in the mail, read the super EASY instructions and applied generously to my wrists and the back of my neck. Within minutes, my disposition and my body began to relax. I’m going to be honest. I thought the first few times were a coincidence but when I started applying to my children during meltdowns or periods of complete chaos, I would always get the same result. The stress would dissipate and all was right in the world again. And then after a month of this….my thought was, how can I get my baby to sleep? And FOR REAL. There’s an oil for that. But, I’ll save that story for later 😉

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fast forward three and a half years later and I use YLEO’s from literally the moment I step into the shower in the morning from when I’m tucking myself in bed late at night. They have literally transformed our lives and have actually made things simpler for our family. Simple? I’ll take that any day! What are Young Living Essential Oils? I’m so glad you asked!

Essential Oils are the aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plants. The oil can be obtained from the seeds, roots, an entire shrub, flowers, leaves and trees. Each essential oil can contain hundreds of different chemical compounds. I like to refer to essential oils as the blood of the plant. Just like our lifeline is blood streaming through our body to give us life, the same thing applies to essential oils: it is the oil that goes through the plant giving it life. The majority of plant essential oils are obtained by steam distillation to release the plants’ precious oils. And only one company, Young Living Essential Oils, has received my trust and endorsement. Young Living guarantees to provide only 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade oils produced from carefully identified plants with natural chemical profiles that match or exceed recognized world standards. To learn more specifically about this amazing and beautiful process, check out www.seedtoseal.com on how Young Living makes sure we only get the best!

Now that we know what essential oils are, how can we use them in our lives to receive the most benefit from them. I’m going to explain three methods for you: Aromatically, Topically and Internally.

Aromatically: You can receive benefits from YLEO’s by simply smelling an oil from the bottle from itself. Research shows that it only takes 22 seconds for essential oils to reach your brain. So, yes, your mood can be lifted that quickly! The most common way people use essential oils is by diffusing them. Personally, this is how I fell in love with EO’s. People can experience physical changes, mental alertness, clarity, relaxation, emotional release and much more by just inhaling EO’s. If you are a beginner, I do suggest taking it slow and steady when using an oil for the first time. What I tell my distributors when they first receive their Premium Starter Kit is to place 1-2 drops of whatever desired oil you want to try first—Lavender, Peppermint & Lemon are always a good place to start. Once your body is acclimated to the oils you can increase the number of drops you use. I usually do 4-5 drops of each oil now! If you do feel like you are getting a headache, this probably means your body is need of a detox. If you have any questions about what this means, please let me know!

Topically: Depending on the oil and the directions, you can use the oil neat (without carrier oil) or dilute (with carrier oil) and place on the vitaflex/acupressure points or on the area of concern. You can mix in things like bath salts, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, toothpaste, body scrubs and more. For children 2+ and adults, I recommend using one teaspoon of carrier oil per one drop of essential oil. For children/infants 2 and under I recommend one tablespoon of carrier oil per one drop of essential oil. This is how I have always administered EO’s to my children’s skin and have never experienced a reaction and I am extremely conservative when applying to my little babes. I always suggest doing a ‘test’ area to make sure there is no reaction to an essential oil. If you are a mom, I also suggest using the oil on yourself before applying to children.
VitaFlex are the acupressure points of the Feet/Hands/ears. They correspond with organs or other locations on the body.  For children, a go to place to apply essential oils are the bottoms of their feet.
*Carrier oils that are recommended are Young Living’s V-6 carrier oil, coconut oil, olive, grapeseed, jojoba & avocado oil. Pease do not use coconut oil if you or your children have an allergy to nuts (as a precaution).

Internally: Yes! You can ingest Young Living Oils. And one more reason to love the company is they have created the “Vitality Line” which are oils that are labeled in white which make it easy & clear to know they are safe for ingestion. It really doesn’t get any easier than that. I personally love using oils in my water on a daily basis to help with cravings and for energy. And they always come in handy when I’m missing a lemon or a lime in one of my recipes for supper! Usually 1-2 drops is sufficient when using internally because essential oils are extremely concentrated. In a bottle of Lemon YLEO it takes 75 lemons to fill it! That’s a lot of lemons.

So, why do I choose Young Living out of all the other companies out there? In a nutshell:
·       Young Living is the pioneer in the essential oil industry. They have 20+ years of experience and they are the world leader in essential oil research and the distillation process.
·       Young Livings are beyond Organic. They are 100% PURE. No chemicals, pesticides or herbicides used on their farms. NONE!
·       Each batch of oils is rigorously tested in house for therapeutic viability(and if it doesn’t pass the test, they are thrown out with no looking back)
·       Young Living owns AND farms their own farms across the globe.
·       YOU AND ME can actually visit the farms and participate in the harvest/distillation process—this is a dream & goal of mine.
·       Their oils are currently being used in over 50 U.S. Hospitals by doctors and nurses!
·       With over 125 single oils and blends, Young Living has the largest selection available.
·       Their customer service & product guarantee is AMAZING. I literally called for advice on how to handle a situation I have never encountered and they gave me a $20 credit to go towards my next order. All I asked for was advice. And I got it PLUS a free oil!
·       The support and education through the Young Living Community makes for an amazing Young Living Experience.

And why do I even use essential oils? At first, it was because it supported my emotional well-being. I am so grateful for essential oils to help me embrace my emotions and help balance them in a healthy way. However, the more I dug, scoured the Young Living Website to learn and research {which I still do daily}, the more I realized I am letting far too many chemicals into my home which can be disruptors to my family’s health. Let me state two facts.

1)     The #2 cause of death in the U.S. is cancer. 1,620 people a day die of cancer. 1 in 3 cases are directly linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, weight, or chemical exposure. The American Cancer Society says only 5 to 10% of all cancer cases are gene defects. 5 percent. That means 95% of cancer cases are under our control. It’s what we allow into our homes and into our bodies.

2)     The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health studied 2,983 ingredients in our products at home-and found 884 toxic ingredients. 314 of them caused biological mutations. 218 caused reproductive problems. 778 were toxic to the human body. 146 they knew caused cancer tumors-but were allowed in the U.S., even though they are banned in other countries around the world. Many of these chemicals are allowed in common cleaning supplies-things under your cabinets right now. Things that I used to clean with and my babies would crawl on the floors or we would bathe in every day.

So, my family is my why. I do it to keep us healthy as possible. I am not perfect in any way and I am still finding things daily that I need to change to keep us healthy, but slowly and surely, we are working on it and I’d love the opportunity to help you get started on your YLEO journey. It is the best investment one can make.

When someone comes to me on where to start with Young Living essential oils, I always direct them to the Premium Starter Kit(PSK). It contains 11 of the most used or as I would like to call them, every day oils, that are easy to get a grasp on. It also includes such VALUABLE information and resources that are essential for a new user.


Young Living really does make it so easy for us members. One of the reasons I love the PSK is because it allows you to dive in at your own pace at an amazing price. With the PSK you are literally getting over $300 worth of product, resources, samples, etc for $160 plus a membership that allows you to order whenever you want with NO strings attached (yes, you heard that right). And you get yours truly, to ask as many questions as you like. I promise, there is no such thing as a dumb question. And I promise, I was right where you are four years ago! If you’d like to learn more about the Premium Starter Kit & Young Living, I welcome you to my website:  https://www.myyl.com/shimmerco02. And if you would like to learn more about the 11 essential oils in the Premium Starter Kit and how they can change your family’s life, please contact me! I do have a Facebook group where I announce & hold classes, tips, and information about essential oils. To be a part of that, please find me at The Living Well! (Sidenote from Emily: I'm a member of her group and am learning SO MUCH!)

If you’re ready to dive into the world of the best essential oils on the planet, go HERE and select ‘Become a Member.’ And you remember I would share a story for you on how I got my youngest to sleep through the night? If you’ve stuck around this long, here it goes! My kids have never been the best sleepers and I was ready to get my littlest little to sleep through the night because waking up every 2-3 hours was not the best for a mom of three and he was FOURTEEN months old. It was time. I had tried a few oils and they had succeeded in calming him down {he’s my wild child} but they didn’t work with his system like I had hoped for helping him to make it through the night. And then, I was introduced to Sleepyize-a beautiful blend put together with children in mind. The first night we used it, we were out of town and he slept through the night—which he normally sleeps awful when traveling. He slept through the night the rest of the weekend and it continued on when we got home. Needless to say, this oil is in the diffuser every single day for naptime and bedtime. And I am happy to report, he is still sleeping VERY well! And on that note, it’s bedtime over here! Live well, Y’all!

Blessings!
Nikki Ellis                                                                               


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Party Decor

I love the age of 3 as it's when kids are really able to fully express both their desires for a party theme and their excitement for the theme and party! Tess was very funny when we were deciding a theme. One night at dinner I kept throwing out ideas and asking her questions and she said "UGH. I DO NOT CARE!" Zach said "Alright, that's it then! Just get some cake and ice cream and call it a day" haha! But, with time, Tess decided she wanted a "Mickey and Minnie Party." 

I loved the idea and figured it'd be a breeze to plan. Mickey and Minnie? I mean they are iconic figures! However, it was more difficult than I'd anticipated. First of all you rarely find anything party related with BOTH Mickey and Minnie. And secondly, Minnie is ALWAYS in pink. I'm not hating on the pink dress version of Minnie...but when I think Mickey and Minnie I think the classic characters in their matching red, black, white and yellow. Pink Minnie just doesn't fit to me. 

So I did what I could and the party leaned a tad more towards the Mickey side than Minnie but that's okay ;) I love that BOTH of my girls chose more masculine characters for their third birthday parties and that they BOTH chose CLASSIC characters too! (You can see Britt's Donald Duck party here!)

I love how Tess's party came together! You will find links to where items are from at the bottom of the post so be sure to scroll all the way through :) 


The favor table! I struggled the MOST with what to do for favors and ended up using baggies where you couldn't see the contents because I caved and bought some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed junky toys to fill 'em with and I didn't want non-theme fitting items being displayed ;) 




Zach displayed them in the shape of a Hidden Mickey ;) 


The kids decided what we bought for favors. Kye actually gave the most input and Tess agreed so bubbles and stamps were the winner along with a little candy too!


I always love to display the party invite and the pics I took of the birthday kid in their birthday outfit as easy party decor! 


Even though we always have Tess's party have a swim element, I like to have indoor activities planned to in case of rain or just something fun to have! 

We had to play some Pin the Nose on Mickey!


Gift area, complete with banner!



I also always like to have a craft (kids of ALL ages enjoy crafts!). All of the kids got to decorate their own Sorcerer Mickey hat!



Color pages are always good to have on hand as well!


The birthday girl got her own special chair :) 


I didn't do much of anything outside since the swimming portion technically didn't start until after the party (and we had a HUGE storm happen that morning) but I did stick some themed placemats out in case anyone wanted to eat outside. 



The party room!





I had the idea to do a fan design on the mirror and I was really shocked how awesome it turned out! Zach put it all together and we ended up hot glueing the fans to the mirror. They came off fine with no problems! 





Funny sidenote but this Minnie is Britt's and she loved it when she was younger and still a finger sucker and you should have seen how gross one of Minnie's gloves were! I guess Britt would chew on the glove! A good washing and it all came clean ;) 


I wanted to keep things simple and classic and went with polka dot cupcake liners and sixlets for the toppings...I also found some adorable Mickey head shaped sprinkles so I did that as well on some of the cupcakes to mix it up a bit! 







The big kids helped me by decorating the cups! We used white pricing stickers and of course had to put the plates on display in Mickey formation ;) 




Our family LOVES to find Hidden Mickeys around Disney World (well actually we look for them everywhere we go!) so the kids suggested including our love of Hidden Mickeys into the party theme. We cut out Mickey heads and all helped to hide them around the party area for people to find. We had roughly 20 total and it was fun hiding them and seeing if people noticed ;) 


I feel like at this point in the game I have a solid system down for my parties and they all run very smoothly when it comes to food and party prep (now the actual party itself can get pretty crunk with all the kids running wild ha!). It didn't take much to come up with the food we've have. I don't bother with guesstimating how many people will come, I just do roughly the same amount of food every party. Sometimes we have TONS left, sometimes we run out of stuff. It all just varies!



This was my favorite :) Two strawberries + one blueberry = a Minnie bow!




I did half peanut butter and half pb&j and these were called "Mickey's Magical Sandwiches" 








I copied myself on this food tag ;) I did a "Donald's Cheese and Quackers" for Britt's Donald party (and I think we did the "Hot Diggity Dogs too") but wanted to reuse it. This time I made a FABULOUS cheesy dip: here's the recipe!



See the Hidden Mickey?


I also copied this same banner that I've done for a few parties (and got the original idea from Robyn who did it for Tess's baby shower). It's SUPER simple to make! You just get three dollar store table cloths and lay them out on top of each other. Cut strips up, hang the banner where you want it, then braid the three layers part of the way down for a nice hang effect. Kye and Britt actually were HUGE helpers in making this happen! 




More Hidden Mickey!


I tried to get some supplies from Ali Express this year and a lot of them turned out awesome but there were also some fails...like this balloon haha! The ear portion wouldn't inflate very well! 


Throwing a party? Looking for items I used for this event? Here ya go!
  • Invitations: Sassy Graphics Design
  • Mickey and Minnie Balloons:Ali Express
  • Banner and Mickey Head Printables (including favors) FREE: Kristen Duke Photography
  • Food Tent Printables (Free!): Homeketeers
  • Pin the Nose on Mickey, Party Favors, Mickey Head Hanging Decor, Cupcake Wrappers, Sixlets: Party City
  • Party Hats, Foam Stickers, Favor Bags, Mickey Head Sprinkles: Walmart
  • Tess's Party Dress: Ali Express (she's wearing a 4t, runs VERY small)
  • Tess's Party Ears: Ali Express

Want to see other parties I've thrown for my kids?



One HAPPY Birthday Girl!

Details of the event coming soon!
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