Happy Birthday Lottie!

People told me the first year would fly by, and at times I didn't believe it. And then all of a sudden, here we are celebrating a very spirited, spunky, funny, sweet little girl's BIRTHDAY! I am soaking up all of the remainders of her babyness because it just does not seem possible AT ALL that the teeny tiny little thing we brought home from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving last year has grown into the big girl we have today!

So first of all, we had our friend Melissa McGhee take some 1 year and family photos last weekend and I literally cannot get enough of them!! Check out how beautifully she captured our baby girl!

We had a fun little family party for Lottie on Saturday, which she totally loved. She loved that there was a big banner hanging in the living room with her pictures on it. She loved that the TV was playing a slideshow of pictures of her. She loved that all her familiar and favorite people were there in her house (although she pitched a fit when my sweet 90 year old Grandpa Ed tried to talk to her...).

I made a little "cake" (sweetened with just bananas & applesauce!) for her to dig into and she had a blast doing that! She was a big fan of us giving her something she could really dig her fists into!

Lottie liked having her cousins over to play with her toys! And even though she did not understand presents whatsoever, after the party she inspected thoroughly and played with all of her new toys. She got some new clothes, bath toys, books, some sidewalk chalk, some soft dolls from Grandma & Grandpa, a fun puzzle - all her favorite things! For my first birthday, I got an American Girl Bitty Baby doll that I named Sugar. My mom kept that doll and all the accessories for all these years and gave it to Lottie for her birthday! At first, Lottie was not too sure about the baby in the basket, but she has warmed up to it. Today she even wanted to get it out and gave it a kiss!

Words can't describe how much we love you, little one! You have taught us so much in your one short year with us. You bring us so much joy, and you make us laugh every single day. We love seeing you smile and laugh and watching you figure out the world. We are so thrilled with you just for being YOU, and we are so grateful to be your parents. It is so fitting that you are our little Thanksgiving baby because I am truly so thankful to be your mama. We made it a year! We didn't break you and you didn't break us (ha!). We had a lot of fun, and a lot of hard, and a lot of new stuff we had to learn, and it has been a delight to do it all. We pray that you grow up knowing how much Jesus loves you and wants to walk with you through your entire life. We love you unconditionally, and so does He! Happy Birthday, Charlotte Jean!

Thrive this Fall: Chemical-Free Skin Care

I don't know about you, but when the weather starts getting colder and more dry, it can start to wreak havoc on my skin! Ever since I can remember, I have had issues with super dry skin pretty much all over my body, and I also struggled to keep my complexion clear. I tried dozens (if not hundreds) of lotions, creams, cleansers, moisturizers, ointments, and salves all promising to cure me of my skin woes - and not a one of them ever worked as well as I hoped! 

Now I realize that I was actually slathering my body in toxic chemicals masked as nourishing creams and I was just contributing to and worsening the problems with my skin. Nothing ever helped so back to the store I would go to to buy another promising product. What I really needed to do was ditch the chemicals and clean up my diet. For me - and probably for you, too - my skin is a window into the rest of my body, and specifically in my gut. If I get sloppy about avoiding sugar and wheat products and processed food, I notice lots of inflammation and dryness all over my skin and I start to break out on my face. Also, now that I have switched to skincare products free from chemicals, my skin will definitely let me know if I use a product that has something synthetic or toxic in it.  

It took me about a year of consistently removing chemicals from my skincare before I really started to see a difference. It can be discouraging to switch out all your products to natural ones, infused with pure, therapeutic grade essential oils and still struggle with breakouts and dry skin. But I stuck with it, and I am glad I did, because eventually my skin evened out and started to look and feel really good! It can also be really hard to find good natural skincare products that are both chemical-free and deliver on their promise to cleanse and nourish the skin. 

Thankfully, Young Living has some absolutely amazing skincare options! As with everything Young Living does, their skincare line was made with the highest quality, purest ingredients and they are so luxurious and effective! Let's talk a bit about each option:
The ART Skincare System is what I personally use the most, and I absolutely love it. It is beautifully packaged and performs like crazy expensive department store brands, except it is completely natural and good-for-you ingredients. It is a 3-part system:
  • The ART Foaming Cleanser is my favorite cleanser ever! It really cleans my face and it has some amazing essential oils in it like Frankincense, Sandalwood, and Melissa!! 
  • The refreshing toner is actually refreshing and doesn't leave my face feeling dried out like other toners I have tried. It has Frankincense, Sandalwood, Melissa, Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, orchid extract and aloe! 
  • The Light Moisturizer is so moisturizing, but really is light on your skin. It helps your skin retain moisture and proper hydration. It is an exquisite combination of nut and seed butters and plant extracts, along with more Frankincense & Sandalwood essential oils. It is lightweight, but provides intense moisture and I absolutely love it!!

 I like to use the ART system at night before bed, and Orange Blossom Facial Wash in the mornings as I start my day. When I went recently to a Young Living Beauty School in Alabama, they taught us that the ART Skincare System is excellent for more mature skin, while the Orange Blossom wash is excellent for younger/teenage skin. Orange Blossom wash is wonderfully refreshing and smells bright and happy!
 Satin Facial Scrub is a fantastic, invigorating, and chemical-free exfoliator. The peppermint flavor makes it nice and refreshing and it does an excellent job at helping to slough off the old, dead skin and allow new, bright skin to shine through. When it comes to exfoliating, less is more because you can start to irritate the new skin with too much scrubbing. Satin Facial Scrub can be used up to 2-3 times per week to keep your complexion bright, smooth, and healthy!

One of my favorite things about Young Living oils is how amazing they are for your skin, and what a noticeable difference they can make when you add oils to your skincare routine. Frankincense is my FAVORITE skincare oil of all time, hands down. Myrrh is another favorite (I love to apply it neat because it is thick and moisturizing!), and Geranium is so soothing and nourishing! Another unlikely oil I have found to be amazing for my skin is Vetiver - I love to pair it with Geranium directly onto problem areas and occasional breakouts. Works incredibly well to improve the appearance of my skin! Add any of these oils to some moisturizing carrier oil like Jojoba or Argan oil, or add a few drops into your ART Light Moisturizer or favorite facial cream (just make sure it doesn't have chemicals in it) and notice the difference after just a few weeks!

Our next few posts in this series will be some fun DIY recipes for fall & winter skin care! Perfect for gifting this season or some DIY fun with friends!

Have questions about these products or Young Living? Contact me here and I will get back with you!
Ready to get oils in your home? Check out this post to find out how!
Order your starter kit and receive a welcome gift worth $25 from me: https://bit.ly/hannahshanks

Thrive this Fall: Wellness Roundup!

Welcome back! So far we've talked about incredible NingXia Red and Thieves oil to help us support our bodies through the fall & winter season, helping our bodies defend & protect our immune system with good nutrition and awesome supplements, and a couple of amazing OTC products that are totally natural and effective. Today we are going to do a round-up of all the oils, supplements, and items we keep handy in our fall/winter wellness arsenal to keep us in tip-top shape. Keep this list handy for your wellness wishlist!


  • Thieves Vitality. We covered this one in this post for the most part. Remember - Vitality oils mean you can put them in empty capsules and take by mouth or you can add them to food or beverages! Down the hatch they go & Thieves Vitality does an amazing job at supporting the immune system! Woot!
  • SniffleEase is one of the KidScents Collection of oils - which means it is a blend of gentle oils specifically formulated to support little bodies AND it comes already diluted! I love these KidScents oils because they are named to take the guess work out of their uses. SniffleEase is pretty self explanatory. Other oils in the collection include TummyGize, SleepyIze, Owie, and GeneYus. :-) Anyway, SniffleEase ROCKS and I'll let you in on a little tip:  I got a roller fitment from Young Living and turned my bottle into a roll-on for easy swiping on little feet and forehead whenever we need it. 
  • RC  is an awesome oil blend that offers great respiratory support and comfort! This blend smells SO good (reminds me of Christmas), and it comes in the Premium Starter Kit so it is often the first respiratory oil that people get to try. It's awesome stuff! I love applying it topically onto my chest before going outside for a walk or run! 
  • Raven is probably the strongest respiratory blend, as it includes Ravintsara (camphor) and Wintergreen. Because it includes these stronger oils, it should not be used on children under the age of 6 - but it is GREAT for adults! You can use it to support your body and alternate with RC; they work fabulously together! 
  • Breathe Again Roll-On is an awesome supportive blend of oils that supports healthy respiratory function - and it comes prediluted and super conveniently packaged in a roller bottle! 
  • DiGize Vitality is an powerhouse blend of oils that supports a healthy digestive system! This blend gets in and gets to work quickly and while it might not smell the best, it is certainly worth it when you start seeing its benefits! This oil also comes in the Premium Starter Kit, so yay for you new members!! 
  • We talked about Life 5 & Life 9 Probiotics to support healthy gut balance - which is SO important to our immune health. 
  • We also talked about Inner Defense, which is our favorite thing to take when we are stressed, busy, or traveling. 
  • Not mentioned in the previous post is how important getting enough Vitamin C is throughout the fall & winter! Vitamin C is crucial to our bodies defending & protecting itself! Young Living has 2 amazing Vitamin C supplements - Super C Chewables and Super C Tablets! They both are packed with high quality Vitamin C, citrus essential oils, and key vitamins & minerals. 
  • NingXia Red is an absolute must for us, as I mentioned earlier in this post. Check out the videos on www.ningxiared.com for amazing testimonies and info about this incredible antioxidant drink! 
  • Thieves Cough Drops - pure essential oils and stevia extract - that's IT! Active ingredient is Menthol that is naturally occurring in peppermint essential oil. So soothing and awesome for coughs & sore throats.
  • Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream - all natural pain relief powered by menthol from peppermint oil and methyl salicylate from wintergreen oil. Absolutely incredible relief on contact from aches, sprains, bruises, bumps, strains, sore muscles, arthritis, and more. If ya haven't tried it, you're missing out on an incredible pain relief cream without any chemical ingredients AT ALL!
Arming ourselves with these items in our cabinets and lots of healthy food, plenty of water, and making sure we spend time outdoors getting some fresh air, and washing our hands a ton helps us to feel great and supported all through the season. Nothing complicated or difficult. We keep it pretty simple and make sure we have what we need on hand to help us stay on top of our wellness. We are confident heading into the fall & winter and you can be too! 

Have questions about oils or Young Living? Contact me here and I will get back with you!
Ready to get oils in your home? Check out this post to find out how!
Order your starter kit and receive a welcome gift worth $25 from me: https://bit.ly/hannahshanks

Next up in our series, we are going to be talking about winter skincare! Awesome products and DIY recipes perfect for fall! 

Relieving Coughs & Soothing Pain with Natural Products

The cooler weather and dryer air during this season always seem to leave our throats a little scratchy and dry, not to mention the coughs and sore throats that come with some of the crud that goes around. We've already talked about how awesome NingXia Red and Thieves are in an earlier post, and some supplements and nutrition that are super important for gut health and overall support.

Most people know that Young Living is all about essential oils, and most people know that I really really love Young Living. No surprises there. But did you know that Young Living has TONS of other products, including 2 brand spankin' new Over The Counter items? We're gonna talk about them today!

Young Living has an entire line of household products made with Thieves oil that are simply amazing. This line of products is actually what drew me to Young Living - I was excited about using oils, but I was really excited to switch out some of my household products and try theirs! We're talking THE most effective, safe, toxin-free versions of household cleaner, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand purifier, and more. Their newest member of the lineup is the Thieves Cough Drops!
These cough drops are so effective because their active ingredient is menthol - a natural menthol that occurs in Peppermint essential oil! The ingredients in these drops are absolutely incredible - LITERALLY just 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils and stevia extract! Say WHAT! I know. They work amazingly well, taste delicious, have no scary chemicals or weird fillers or colorings added to them, and did I mention they soothe coughs and sore throats?? Because they do!! Now there's no need to make an emergency run to the corner drugstore when we start coughing or feel a sore throat coming on. We keep a bag of these on hand and take as directed at the first signs of cold or cough.

The 2nd OTC item from Young Living is the Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream! This cream is powered by naturally occurring Menthol from Peppermint oil and naturally occuring Methyl salicylate from Wintergreen oil - its two active ingredients! It absorbs quickly into the skin and spreads easily over areas of pain to start soothing on contact with strong & cooling relief. A little dab will do the trick and it feels so amazing to rub it into a sore neck, sore muscles, aching joints, a hurting back. It can help with arthritis and sprains, strains, and bruises, and more!

If you are into really sciencey type of stuff, you'll love this video about Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream! All I know is it works and seriously feels so good. I want everyone to experience the benefits of using an amazing pain cream that does use any synthetic chemicals to do the work! TOTALLY natural ingredients that are incredibly effective at relieving pain like we all deal with in our lives.

Have questions about oils or Young Living? Contact me here and I will get back with you!
Ready to get oils in your home? Check out this post to find out how!
Order your starter kit and receive a welcome gift worth $25 from me: https://bit.ly/hannahshanks

Thrive this Fall: Protect & Defend!

Today we are talking about protecting and defending ourselves this fall/winter season. Hopefully it's no surprise to hear that what we put in our bodies matters quite a bit. Actually, that's an under-statement. FRIENDS, it matters so So SO SO SO MUCH what we put in our bodies. Especially what we put in our mouths!

Did you know that up to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? I didn't know that until a couple years ago. In fact, until I started cleaning up my diet/eating paleo/joined Young Living, I don't know if I had ever heard the phrase "gut health" or knew that the gut was an important thing. Oh, but it is. I also don't know where I thought the immune system was located in the body? Maybe I thought it was more of a transcendent thing or that it traveled through the body to wherever needed immunity? Who knows. But I do know NOW that taking care of the balance of your gut is VERY important to overall health and that when our guts get out of whack, our whole body can get out of whack. So today we are going to talk about a couple of things that support gut health and balance that will help us THRIVE this season!

1. Avoid Sugar. We have to start here. #sorrynotsorry This time of year especially, it becomes incredibly easy for everything we put in our mouths to be some sort of sugary, pumpkiny, comforting bread-like treat or candy. We are not doing ourselves ANY favors in trying to stay well and avoid the crud through the fall and winter when we are stuffing our faces with sugar and white flour and processed foods and candy (not to mention all the hot chocolate and PSLs and peppermint mochas, etc.)!

Sugar has been proven to weaken the immune system, create inflammation in the entire body, feed cancer and yeast, wreak havoc on our blood sugar, stress our organs, contributes to obesity and disease, and lots of other evil things. When we eat something sugary, our bodies' defenses come down for a bit to go process all that sugar. So basically we are distracting our systems from doing the more important work just so we can enjoy a pumpkin donut for 2 seconds. Not worth it!! The average American eats over 130 lbs of sugar every year! No wonder we are all sick all the time!

We need to break up with sugar. I know I need to. You know you need to. Yes, it will always taste amazing and yes, it will always make everything it's added to taste better. But, if it's keeping you and your kids sick all winter and it's slowly killing you and making you miserable....isn't it worth it? If you had a friend complain about a boyfriend that was slowly killing her and getting her sick and making her totally miserable, you'd tell her to BREAK UP WITH HIM! So, do the hard thing that's worth it in the end and you'll start to see an incredible transformation in yourself.

2. Avoid white flour & processed foods. When you eat these things, they have no nutrients and your body sees them as sugar, so it does all the same things. Break up with white flour and eat whole, real, nutrient-dense foods that are not processed (lots of lean meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds). See above about breaking up with bad boyfriend.

OKAY. Now onto some things we can ADD to our bodies to support gut health and balance. Last time we talked about NingXia Red and how awesome it is for overall health & wellness support. In addition to that, there are a couple supplements that we make sure we are taking regularly to help protect & defend our bodies:

  • Life 5 or Life 9 Probiotic from Young Living - taking a probiotic helps support a healthy gut (and therefore a healthy immune system!) because it helps to bring gut flora back into balance by giving it beneficial bacteria that it needs! Bacteria can be good and it can also be bad.  Too much bad bacteria in our gut causes digestive upset and researchers are finding that it has almost everything to do with disease and overall health. Sugar feeds bad bacteria, btw (break up with that bad boy). Probiotics are found in naturally fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, fermented vegetables, yogurt, etc. We drink kombucha and eat yogurt occasionally, but we love having the support of Young Living's awesome probiotics, too! Life 5 contains 10 billion active cultures and improves colonization up to 10 times! Life 9 is a newly formulated probiotic that contains 17 billion live cultures from 9 strains!! Having an awesome probiotic like this on hand is especially important if you ever do find yourself on antibiotics, since they wipe out all the bacteria in your system (both good and bad). A probiotic can help to rebuild your gut flora in a balanced way!
  • Inner Defense - this little guy packs quite the powerful punch when you need extra support to stay on top of your wellness. When we are stressed or traveling or know we are going to be around others who are sick, we take a capsule of Inner Defense 1-2x daily. This supplement is awesome because it is made from pure essential oils and fractionated coconut oil. It contains about 245mg of Thieves essential oil and then Oregano, Thyme, and Lemongrass essential oils in capsule you can take by mouth with water. Even more awesome is that Inner Defense has even better results when it is taken in tandem with Life 5 or Life 9 probiotic! 
We make sure we have plenty of each of these supplements on hand during the fall/winter season. Food and nutrition is MOST foundational and important to gut health (and therefore immune health), so break up with sugar! In addition, adding awesome supplements like NingXia Red, Life 5 or Life 9, and having some Inner Defense on hand for this season is a great idea to really boost up your body and help it function the way it should! 

Have questions about these products or Young Living? Contact me here and I will get back with you!
Ready to get oils in your home? Check out this post to find out how!
Order your starter kit and receive a welcome gift worth $25 from me: https://bit.ly/hannahshanks

Thrive this Fall: Supporting Strong Bodies

I'm usually one who saves the best for last, but I just can't this time. When thinking about how to structure this series, I just HAD TO start with my two favorite, must-have items for fall/winter wellness that are absolute necessities at my house. When people ask me what products they need to have to support their immune systems and keep their families well, I always suggest Thieves and NingXia Red! Let's talk about why!

1. THIEVES, man. If you haven't heard about this oil, you might be living under a rock - because it rocks (ha! see what I did there?)! Thieves is incredibly powerful. It supports a healthy immune system and purifies the air and surfaces. Young Living has an amazing all-purpose household cleaner made with Thieves oil that has literally replaced every cleaner in my entire house. We'll sing the praises of that stuff another time, because it deserves a shout-out of its own. But Thieves oil is a game changer.

We love to diffuse Thieves in our kitchen or living room during the fall because it not only does an awesome job purifying the air but it smells EXACTLY like how fall should smell. Spicy and cinnamon-y and a little bit citrus. Sometimes I even add a little bit of Orange oil or Tangerine oil to make it delightfully spicy-sweet.

We also keep Thieves oil in a roller-bottle with fractionated coconut oil to roll onto the bottoms of our feet before bed and before we go out in public (especially airports - gross). I even have a roller bottle with just 2-3 drops Thieves and the rest filled with coconut oil specifically for Lottie - since Thieves can be a little bit strong and feel hot, it needs to be extra extra diluted when using with kiddos.

Thieves also comes from Young Living with a Vitality label, meaning it can be used as a dietary supplement or added to food! Thieves Vitality is a-mazing added to some hot tea (my favorite is Constant Comment - it tastes SO good with Thieves in it!) & honey! One drop is usually more than enough because Young Living's Thieves is quite strong, but it is TASTY and spicy! You can also add Thieves Vitality to an empty capsule and fill with Carrier oil to get the wellness boosting benefits!

2. NingXia Red. We cannot get enough NingXia at this house! This juice supplement is incredible. There really is nothing else like it! Made from whole wolfberry puree that is sourced exclusively from NingXia, China - taking just 1-2 ounces per day gives you an amazing infusion of nutrients to replenish and fortify your entire body. It boosts the immune system because it is chock full of crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Individual testimonies using NingXia will vary, but when you take it consistently, you will notice how much better you feel! It is low in sugar, only lightly sweetened with pure stevia, and it has a very low glycemic load so it will not spike your blood sugar (in fact, quite the opposite!). Drinking NingXia Red will help your body function better overall because it will be helping to replenish and infuse your body with the nutrients it so desperately needs! We drink 1oz each per day in either water (sparkling water is my favorite!!) or orange juice. And at 11 months, I started giving about 1/4 oz to Lottie each day stirred into some applesauce or baby food. She scarfs it down and loves it!!

Using these two items has made all the difference for us in the fall & winter! We notice that we feel better and more nourished using NingXia Red, and we love the way Thieves helps keep our houses clean and our immune systems supported.

Have questions about oils or Young Living? Contact me here and I will get back with you!
Ready to get oils in your home? Check out this post to find out how!
Order your starter kit and receive a welcome gift worth $25 from me: https://bit.ly/hannahshanks

Thrive with Young Living this Fall!

I LOVE FALL! The weather gets colder (supposedly. results not typical in Missouri.), the food gets comfier, the coffee gets pumpkiny, and the holidays are in sight! What I don't love about fall is that it seems to usher in a season of feeling under the weather and catching yucks from other people. I know the desperate feeling when you can't seem to get on top of your wellness for a season and you resolve to do whatever it takes to not repeat the same story next year!

The next couple weeks, I want to share with you some ways that you can THRIVE this Fall instead of feeling like you are constantly battling the "joys" of the season. It IS possible to have a very healthy, happy & well season for you and your whole family! The key is being prepared and being proactive. We cannot just sit around doing nothing to support our bodies and hope that we don't get caught! Now is the time to start really getting serious about everything that is going IN and ON your body to make sure you and your household are in tip-top shape!

Check back here, on the Facebook page, or follow along on Instagram  to find out tons of our favorite oils, products, supplements, tips & tricks for thriving this season. We will share our favorites and why we love 'em, and also share some FUN recipes and festive DIYs that are perfect for this season!

If you haven't gotten started with Young Living yet and would like to, check out this post that explains it all!  

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

A couple of weeks ago, I could no longer resist my urge to make soup, despite the fact that the fall weather was not cooperating at all. I had a hankering for white chicken chili and, since my brother and his wife had just welcomed their 5th baby into the world, I had an occasion to make a ridiculously huge batch of it!

I looked at a few recipes on Pinterest, but didn't love any of them enough to go all in. I also am never as prepared as I want to be in the meal-planning department. So I kind of made up my own recipe and decided to use my Instant Pot to save time and the result was delicious. Even my husband, who admittedly doesn't really like soup and has asked me to dial it back in the soup-making, said it was delicious! #winning

The Instant Pot, you guys. I cannot sing it's praises enough. I basically use it every day. It saves my bacon several times a week because I can make dinner in less than an hour, which is about how much advance warning I give myself to get dinner on the table. The BEST part about the recipe below is that it takes ingredients literally straight out of your freezer and your pantry and delivers a scrumptious bowl of chili to your table in an hour!! When I made this recipe, I made one batch and cooked it while making brownies and some cornbread to take to my brother's family. When their batch was done, I put the second batch ingredients in the Instant Pot and let it cook while I ran food to their house, so dinner was fresh & done as soon as we walked in the door! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

print recipe

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
A super quick and absolutely delicious white chicken chili cooked in the Instant Pot!
  • 4-6 Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I used frozen)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 15oz cans Great Northern Beans (undrained)
  • 1 15oz can   Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles (undrained)
  • 1 15oz can Corn (undrained)
  • 1 quart Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • to taste salt & pepper
  • 1 12oz container sour cream
  • to garnish shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Add frozen chicken breasts to bottom of Instant Pot. Add all other ingredients on top and then pour chicken broth over everything. Close lid on Instant Pot and set top vent to "Sealing". Select "Manual" and then increase time to 60 minutes and keep on High Pressure (default). When finished, do a quick pressure release and then remove lid of Instant Pot carefully after all pressure is released. Shred chicken breasts with 2 forks. Stir in container of sour cream. Top with pepper jack cheese and enjoy! We loved this with corn chips for crunch or corn bread!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings

$20 Off Premium Starter Kits through October 31, 2016

I sat on the fence for a long time, skeptical that essential oils would even work for me at all. I was super hesitant to make that initial investment to get my starter kit. It seems like quite a bit of money for something you've never even tried. I totally get it!
  • But now I know that getting that kit started me down a very important path of getting toxic chemicals OUT of my home and off of my body. It was a change that desperately needed to happen, and we are so much healthier because of it! If you didn't know - synthetic chemicals in our food & household products are destroying our health. The ingredients that are commonly found in our skincare products are leading to reproductive system, hormone imbalance, and nervous system issues. We often don't connect the dots because the marketing for these products does such a good job of making us feel like they are safe and beneficial for us to use. The ingredients in household cleaners are known to be poisonous and sometimes fatal if swallowed, come with warnings all over the labels about not allowing them to come in direct contact with skin and using in well-ventilated areas!
  • Getting my starter kit from Young Living really did change our way of life! It gave me solutions for hundreds of issues and opened my eyes to the incredible way God designed nature to benefit our bodies! It took some time and effort on my part to do the research, read testimonies, attend classes, ask questions from other people, do some trial and error - but I was committed that I was going to learn how to use them and use them well! Now I am an empowered mama with confidence in my ability to support my family's wellness. There have been many times since having Lottie that I have been SO grateful that there are oils in my home, and that I have other mama friends and mentors to help me along the way.

  • Being a member of Young Living has added so much value to my life! Our community of like-minded, supportive, encouraging, empowering oily friends have been one of our absolute favorite parts and biggest blessings of Young Living. Not to mention, they make it so easy to prioritize our wellness with hundreds of solution-oriented, essential oil-infused products.
    • Their amazing NingXia Red drink has helped us nutritionally & with immune support like crazy.
    • Their Thieves Household line of products (all-purpose cleaner, toothpaste, mouthwash, hand soap, hand sanitizer, cough drops, etc) has allowed us to switch over TONS of our household products to safe, more effective versions powered by Thieves oil.
    • Their vitamins & supplements are top notch and infused with essential oils for increased absorption!
    • Their skin-care and personal beauty products are better than department store quality
    • and there LITERALLY is an oil for everything.
    • We get any of Young Living's products we want delivered to our doorstep (can I get an AMEN for that?) once a month in a super-easy customizable rewards program -- and they pay us to do it! On top of our membership discount (24% off retail), we earn an extra 25% back on our monthly order in points that spend like dollars. Young Living gives us TONS of free stuff every year just for shopping with them instead of somewhere else.
I want to help you start your journey. I promise you will NOT go it alone. If you are feeling like something's gotta change and you are interested in seeing what life could be like when you remove the huge toxic load from your body, I would be honored to help you find solutions with Young Living just like I did! For a limited time, through October 31st 2016, I am offering an additional $20 off the cost of the Premium Starter Kit (including Thieves or NingXia Red kits), plus my usual resources goodie bag and access to both me and our Facebook community for ongoing support. I cannot wait to watch your life & wellness begin to thrive!! Use this link to get started: http://bit.ly/hannahshanks

Lottie is 11 Months (And First Pumpkin Patch)!

 Our little Lottie Jean is 11 months old! I feel like this may have been the fastest month of my life so far. Time most definitely speeds up when you have a little one - and especially when your little one is a very busy girl! 

Lottie is all kinds of talkative these days, and her babbling is starting to sound a lot more like words. We know for sure in her vocabulary are Dada, Mama, Yes or Yeah, and Hi (always accompanied by a wave)! She can shake her head no and is working on nodding. She mimics all kinds of sounds and inflection that she hears us making, and we have even heard her mimicking tunes that we are singing! We know she understands what "No" means now, because she has started pitching a fit whenever she hears it! 

  Lottie now has her top two middle teeth and her bottom two middle teeth, and she is working on some more! Her hair has started getting a little bit more substantial in the past few weeks, too. She is still wearing 18-24 month clothes and in the last week or two is tall enough to reach into the refrigerator when it is open. 

Earlier this month I spent 2 weekends in a row at business events for Young Living, so Lottie got to hang out with Daddy and her grandparents for those days! I missed my little munchkin, but I know it was so good for her to be a little bit independent from me and be taken care of by others who love her. Since I stay home with her and we spend our days together, she is very attached and very much a Mama's girl. While I love that, it totally warms my heart to see her wanting and asking to go to Daddy these days, because they totally bonded while I was away. 

It is fun and makes me a little sad that Lottie is rapidly turning into a toddler and becoming less and less of a baby each day. Her will is STRONG and we are realizing that it is very much time to start implementing discipline and training to mold her into a person who respects and understands authority. She is very spirited and independent, curious, and smart as a whip! Daddy has been teaching her how to take a few steps with help from him or her little walker toy. It has been amazing to watch how quickly she figured out how! She used her walker toy to cruise all the way across our living room this past week - much to her delight! We think her favorite part about doing that is the celebration and praise we give her! 

Loren's birthday was this past week, so today we went with my whole family to a pumpkin patch to celebrate. Lottie was quite fascinated by all the animals at the petting zoo! Jersey cows, llamas, sheep, goats, a bull, and a burro. No surprise because this girl loves animals and is starting to learn their sounds. We took a hayride and then "tailgated" for lunch out of Grammy's trunk, where we were all pestered by bees that were interested in our food, and all the kids were terrified of being stung. Miraculously, no one was stung and minimal emotional scarring took place. 
I know I'm her mama and all, but I think she is beautiful.

Next month our little pumpkin turns ONE!

NingXia Red and Crazy Awesome Stackable Promos!

Check out this video explaining the crazy awesome promotions going on that are STACKABLE to totally maximize your savings with Young Living!! Promotion on the Premium Starter Kits and the NingXia Red 4-Packs ends at midnight on 10/19/2016!

How the Mama App is Making the World a Better Place

I have always had a very soft spot in my heart for cheap, cute accessories. Since I was a little girl myself, I have loved all things sparkly, frilly, feminine - bracelets, necklaces, earrings, hair bows, etc. And the cheaper they are, the better! When I was in college, I discovered an entire store that sold $1 Jewelry and it was my favorite place ever and I shared it with every person who was important to me. 

We decided to be surprised by the gender when we had Lottie, so once I knew she was a girl I was over the moon excited about all things hair bows and headbands and frilly baby things! One of my cousins told me over Christmas about the Mama App and how they had really cute & cheap hair bows - my personal history means obviously I was all over that, and now the Mama App is one of my favorite things ever! Read on for why it is seriously making the world a better place with all of its cheap and adorable things!

So baby stuff is super cute and tiny and precious. It also is super expensive to buy it in stores or boutiques, especially considering that it will probably only fit them for a couple months and the chances are high it will get dirty and possibly ruined. Babies are gremlins. SO, the Mama App is awesome, because all their items are super inexpensive. I'm talking baby shoes for $3 and hair bows for $2 including shipping.

How is it possible for all this stuff to be so cheap? Well, you have to be okay with it coming from halfway across the world. You also have to be okay with it sometimes taking several weeks to arrive at your house from across the world. No Prime 2-day shipping here. BUT - everything is SO inexpensive. My favorite thing about the Mama App is the absolutely adorable $1 hair bows for babies. I was super skeptical at first, thinking that this was going to be too good to be true and everything I bought was going to be terrible quality and fall apart and smell weird, etc.
But GUYS - it's not! The cheap hair bows and head bands are actually really, really good.  Below are some case-in-point examples of the super cheap, super adorable baby items I've gotten from Mama:

1. Super soft & stretchy, black & cream animal print turban headband for $1. I love how soft this headband is. I'm excited for her to be able to use it this winter to keep her ears warm, too!

2. These little lace & chiffon headbands with super blingy rhinestone centers for $1 each. These came in a variety of colors, including white, yellow, hot pink, etc. But I opted to get more of the unique colors like royal blue and a light mint and I LOVE them! The chiffon part has a nice, soft felt backing so it doesn't irritate baby's head. 
Yes, I was bribing her with food so I could get pictures of her wearing these bows. 

3. Okay, now I was SUPER excited about these next 2 pictures. They came in a pack of 6 different colors for $10. I have seen these exact same bows glued onto headbands in children's boutiques selling for $10 EACH. These bows have alligator clips on the back so you can attach them to whatever headband you choose. The clips on the backside are somewhat large, which is kind of a downside, but they haven't been an issue for us. 


4. I absolutely love this multi-color glittery bow headband, again for $1! It goes with EVERYTHING and I am super relieved that the glitter stays on the bow and does not shed everywhere like some glittery items do. It is attached to a white, super-stretchy headband and has a felt backing on the back of the bow. This one came in a gold and silver version, and I got the silver. I LOVE it so much! 

5. I saved the very best for last! This one, guys. This one takes the cake! For $1, we got this gorgeous rhinestone & beaded applique headband attached to a black stretchy ribbon. It also came in a variety of color options for the ribbon. It is SO PRETTY in person. Seriously, I saw headbands like this a few months ago and loved them, but they were selling for $20 each. I got this one that looks exactly the same for $1. ONE DOLLAR!

Other awesome cheap stuff I've gotten from the Mama App includes:
  • silicone baby bibs for $2 (as opposed to $8 or more on Amazon)
  • baby moccasin shoes for $2-6 - not real leather and not as high quality as the real leather ones you can find on places like Etsy. However, I refuse to pay $20 for baby shoes so I was thrilled to find cheap versions that are still cute and do the job. My kid never leaves shoes on for longer than 10 minutes anyway. 
  • a portable baby chair harness for $10 that allows me to securely strap Lottie to any chair. I LOVE this thing because if there isn't a highchair available or I need a place to securely set her, I can always have this stashed in my diaper bag. It folds up into itself in a little bag, too! 
  • Various plastic bath toys and kids toys for less than $3 each. Including one slightly obnoxious and strange light-up toy that makes VERY LOUD animal noises and says a few phrases in Chinese. However, Lottie likes it and it keeps her occupied for awhile so therefore, I like it. 
So there you have it. The Mama App - a somewhat strange marketplace of very cheap accessories and kids items that might take several weeks to arrive at your doorstep. I have to say, I have overall been very impressed at the quality of items I have gotten! If you're like me and love cute, cheap stuff for babies, check it out! I am not being compensated by Mama in any way and all of the opinions in this post are my own. I just wanted to share something I love with you all because I know there are some mamas out there who need to know about cheap and adorable hair bows for their babies! 

#oilofthedayvideo Melrose Essential Oil

Sharing about one of my favorite essential oil blends for cleansing & supporting the skin! Melrose essential oil blend!

If you would like to get Young Living Essential Oils for yourself, check out this post! And feel free to send me an email if you have any questions!

#oilofthedayvideo Myrrh Essential Oil!

Today Lottie makes an appearance as we talk about Myrrh Essential Oil in our #oilofthedayvideo series! MYRRH IS AMAZING!!

If you would like to know how to get Young Living Essential Oils for yourself, go read this post! If you have any questions you can always send me an email.

Qeepsake - A New Kind of Baby Book and Why I Love It!

Among the most popular phrases said to new parents, "You'll miss this someday," "It goes by so fast," and "You need to write all this stuff down!" are among the most popular. ALL ARE TRUE!

I can't really do anything about the fact that babies don't stay babies forever and seem to grow up at warp speed. I also can't really do anything about the fact that my mind used to be a steel trap of details and memories, and now, thanks to the small human who resided in my body for 10 months and stole part of my brain, I can't remember anything anymore, (She also stole my whole heart, so it's okay, I tell myself.)

I know every mom wants to find a way to bottle up all the precious things and sweet moments and memories that happen, but let's face it. About the last thing a new mom has time to do these days is sit down and write stuff down. Plus, by the time a mom gets a hot second to herself, she literally can't remember anything that happened to her that day. Her brain is mush. Writing is therapeutic to me, and I still don't seem to make the time to journal and store memories like I want to.

Shortly after Lottie was born, my mom (who is brilliant) gave me the idea to do a baby-book calendar and hang it in our kitchen so I could quickly jot down milestones and events throughout Lottie's first year. I have LOVED doing that and I got this one on Amazon. It has cute stickers for monthly birthdays and milestones for baby. And because of it's convenient spot in the kitchen, I see it often and have actually been pretty faithful at filling it out!

A couple weeks ago, I saw a Facebook ad for Qeepsake. I had heard about it before, but never really looked into it. This time it caught my eye and I saw it came with a 2-week free trial, so I signed up! Every night shortly after Lottie goes to bed, Qeepsake texts me a question about her, and I text back an answer. Qeepsake stores my answers as dated journal entries and compiles them into an online baby book! I can text in pictures and also random things that happen that I want to remember and Qeepsake stores it all.  Even cooler - whenever you're ready, you can order a Qeepsake book that prints out all your journal entries to date!

I absolutely have fallen in love with storing memories this way!! In my business, I use my phone a LOT, so I love the convenience of texting in journal entries. I have found that I really look forward to the nightly text from Qeepsake to reflect on the day.  When my free trial was over, I opted for the Qeepsake Plus plan ($35/year) which allows me to text Qeepsake whenever Lottie does something adorable (so, always) or something special happens, and I can text in pictures that I want to keep, too!! I LOVE this feature!

One thing I really appreciate is that the Qeepsake questions are often things that I wouldn't normally think to write down about her. Questions like - What are 2 things about Lottie's personality that you love? What was your favorite moment with Lottie today? What does Lottie do when she recognizes someone? What is a piece of wisdom you want Lottie to know? The questions get me thinking and reflecting and I love that I am building a journal of more than just milestones, but things about her unique self that I know I would forget eventually.

You can add more children to your Qeepsake account, so you can make journals for each of them! The Qeepsake Books are expandable so you can always get more pages to keep on storing unique memories for your children. I love that we have our sweet baby calendar to remember Lottie's first year, but I am so thrilled that I have found Qeepsake to keep storing memories throughout her childhood. I know I will look back and treasure these so much one day.

If you'd like to use Qeepsake for yourself, I'd love it if you would use my unique referral link! I am not being compensated by Qeepsake in any way and all of the opinions in these post are mine. I just wanted to share something awesome with you, my awesome readers, that is super convenient and I have fallen in love with!!!

Lottie is 10 Months!

I'm not sure how or when it happened, but my little baby girl has turned into a curious little pre-toddler monkey! She is 10 months old today! She weighed in yesterday at 22.1 lbs and 30 3/4 inches long! She is wearing anywhere from 12mo to 24m clothing, and pretty much refuses to wear shoes.

This girl is so fun and so ornery. Her favorite thing these days is to make a huge mess with her food, or her toys, or even better - by emptying drawers, baskets, tables, and shelves of all of their contents. She is squirmy and wriggly and always on the go searching for new and exciting things to explore. She pulls herself up to standing on anything and everything and has taken a few steps along furniture. She learned to climb the stairs a few weeks ago, so now her favorite thing to do is climb our entire staircase several times per day. We are pretty sure she can stand on her own, but she hasn't realized it yet!

Lottie is an observer, and so inquisitive. I can constantly see her little wheels turning as she explores her world. She gets bored easily and moves on quickly. She knows all the things in the house she's not supposed to touch, and prefers to go after those things instead of her toys. She loves going new places because there's tons of new stuff and people to look at! She loves watching Super Why and Baby Signing Time, and the Royals. She is starting to like looking at books and being read to. She babbles and sings and chatters constantly and likes to mimic blowing raspberries and bubbles and says "Da," "Ba," and "Ma." I have a feeling she waits until she really knows how to do something before she tries it.

She gets frustrated if she isn't able to figure something out quickly, but before we know it she has totally mastered it. She has quite a strong will already, which I'm sure will be a means of sanctification for both her and her parents!

Lottie takes awhile to warm up to new people, but once she decides she likes you, she really likes you. She is a huge mama's girl, but she is finally coming around to loving Daddy and her grandparents. Verdict is still out on everyone else. She thinks Daddy is tons of fun and loves when he teases her. They make each other laugh and she loves to be chased and tossed around and pestered! We cannot believe how fast she is growing up and we are constantly amazed at the little girl she is becoming! She is such a gift to us. We love you so much, Charlotte Jean!

#oilofthedayvideo Oregano Essential Oil

Today's #oilofthedayvideo is for Oregano Essential Oil! Check out the way we use Oregano oil from Young Living to support our immune systems regularly! We love having a 100% pure and highly effective Oregano oil in our essential oil arsenal so we can enjoy it's therapeutic benefits! 

If you are interested in getting started with Young Living Essential Oils, check out this post for all the details! If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email. 

#oilofthedayvideo Cedarwood Essential Oil

Today we are talkin' about Cedarwood essential oil from Young Living!

If you would like to get some Young Living Essential Oils for yourself, go read this post! And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email. 

#oilofthedayvideo Joy Essential Oil Blend

5 Reasons You Need Lavender Oil if You Have a Baby

Sometimes, babies lose their mind. If you have been a parent for longer than 2 days, you know what I'm talking about. The little sweet helpless cries based on simple needs eventually turn into shrill, demanding, "What in the world do you WANT?" shrieks, (just my kid? oh...) and - the worst - loud wails when they bump into (insert sharp furniture corner that you didn't even realize you had) for the 18th time that day. 

Sometimes my kid gets in a bad mood where nothing makes her happy. Her level of satisfaction with life plummets occasionally and the smallest infraction on my part or a piece of furniture's edge can totally set her off. Thankfully, I have a secret that's about to not be a secret because I'm going to share it with you. 

Lavender oil. Yep. Lavender essential oil (we use Young Living and here's why!) is an absolutely amazing gift from God that we can't live without in my house. Here are FIVE reasons why, starting with my favorite:

1. Lavender oil can take hysterical crying baby to calm and quiet in just a matter of seconds!! Since my baby girl is crawling and pulling up on everything these days, I am getting lots of chances to test this theory out, and I've consistently been amazed at how it calms a screaming kid down and makes everyone feel better. 
Here is what I do: 
*cue high pitched screaming fit*
Go get bottle of Lavender oil. Put 1 drop in the palm of my hand. Rub my hands together to absorb oil. Then gently rub baby's head and neck and back until she calms down. Within a minute I have always noticed a huge difference in both of our stress levels. The reason? Lavender is extremely calming and balancing to the body and the brain. Even the simple act of inhaling lavender can have profound effects!!

2. Lavender oil helps everyone get a good night's sleep. Again with the calming effects. Just one drop of lavender in the diffuser in Lottie's room makes it a totally peaceful environment. Now granted, my kid loves sleep (partly because we did Babywise with her, but that's for another post!), but like any baby, sometimes she fights it, and when she does, I'm always thankful we keep a bottle of Lavender and a diffuser in both our bedroom and hers!

3. Lavender is the perfect gentle scent for babies. When a baby is teeny tiny and fresh, you suddenly start second-guessing everything that they come in contact with and whether it's safe and sanitized. Their systems are itty bitty so you don't want to use anything that's too strong. All of a sudden, you realize that all kinds of thing have a strong fragrance that doesn't exactly smell natural. This is one of the main reasons we love essential oils so much at our house - they are totally pure and natural and safe alternatives to synthetic fragrances, so we use our diffusers or homemade room sprays to scent our house instead of candles / air fresheners / #otherrandomthingswithfragrance 
Even some essential oils are a little too strong for itty bitty lungs, so we used Lavender constantly the first 3-4 months because it is a very gentle scent. Perfect for babies! I knew it was safe so I used it in our room sprays, diffused it all the time, added it to coconut oil for lotion, wore it as perfume, and put it on our dryer balls. Now to this day, the smell of Lavender reminds me of a newborn baby! Awww. ;-)

4. Lavender supports happy baby skin. Anytime Lottie gets any kind of bump, scrape, bite, etc. - we put Lavender on it! Lavender is gentle and balancing and baby skin loves it! We use Lavender oil in our homemade baby wipes, and we add a few drops into coconut oil for baby booty cream and/or baby lotion! Lavender is super soothing to sun-exposed skin as well, so we always keep some in our beach bag for outdoor/pool days. 

5. Lavender is the "swiss army knife" of essential oils. I don't know if you've noticed....but my kid cannot tell me what she needs yet. For some reason this caught me by surprise as a new mom. I expected that it would always be obvious whenever something was bothering her so I could come to the rescue. Um, nope. It's always a huge guessing game. I've always taught in oils classes that "When in doubt, put Lavender on it!" Well, my friends, that theory has been put to the test in my home the last 9 months, and I totally stand by it now more than ever! When in doubt, we use Lavender. Calming, relaxing, balancing, skin-loving, gentle, and it supports just about everything in the body. I find myself reaching for it all. the time. I'm so glad we have it because a LOT of the time, it helps a lot! 

So there you have it! Five reasons you NEED Lavender essential oil in your life, especially if you have or are expecting a baby! If you are a member of Young Living - high five! If you aren't yet a member of Young Living - you are missing out on the best essential oils in the world! Send me an email if you'd like access to an online Intro To Essential Oils class, or a video class so you can learn all the basic info you need to get started using essential oils. Here is more information about the ways to get started and what you'll get from us as a gift for joining our community!

*I have to let you know that the information & statements in this post are not intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent any disease. Legally, only drugs can make those kind of claims. This is not medical advice. Please consult your health care provider if you are pregnant, nursing, or being treated for a health condition. You are an empowered parent! Do your research and make the best decision for you.