Latest Blog Posts

Welcome back, Feedburner readers! Here’s a recap of the latest blog posts that happened since I moved my blog to WordPress–that you unfortunately missed out on until now. ūüė¶ Check them out and enjoy!

What’s More Important Than The Gorilla: in light of the child-gorilla-zoo incident, how it took over social media, and what’s more important than that. And oh, yeah, a recap of the fun things that¬†my children somehow manage to do even though I watch them closely in public.

Easy DIY Felt Breakfast Food Tutorial: You won’t believe how cute and easy it is to whip up a felt breakfast buffet for your kids! Pancakes, butter, syrup, eggs, and bacon. Perfect for your child’s next birthday or just because!

Why I Put “Mother” On My Resume: Why I put the job title of “Mother” on the work history part of my resume, and why you should, too.

Flag Day Activities You Can Do TODAY!: Originally written to give you easy peasy activities you can do without prep, you can use these for July 4th, too!

10 Essential Oil Hacks for Busy Moms: Everything from grumpy kids to faking a clean house. Here’s your guide to making your life easier (and smell better).

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads: a tribute to the dads who have lost a child during pregnancy, at birth, or any time after.

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads

boy leaping to dad

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

The ones who created a child, and then had to say goodbye.

The Dads who heard that they were a Father, and who were excited, nervous, in love…

…and then panicked, bargained, and whose hearts were broken.

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

The ones who helped to clean up the blood, who called 911, or who packed away the maternity clothes after their child was miscarried.

Who held their wife, whose arms were empty.

Who listened to people joke about when he was going to have a child, and who choked his pain back because they didn’t know–he already does have a child.

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

The ones who instead of buying diapers, bought burial clothes for their stillborn babe.

Or maybe the ones who bought a casket for their child instead of a car seat.

Or maybe the ones who never even got to¬†look into their child’s closed eyes.

 

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

The ones who knew their child, and now can’t remember their voice.

Who play memories in their heads because they want something to hold on to.

Who wake up at night to care for their son or daughter, but who are only met by an empty bed.

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

The ones who have done this more than once. Silently, or aloud.

Who society doesn’t recognize how much fathering they’ve already done,

Even though he knows the names of each little one lost.

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

Who celebrate birthdays for children on Earth and in Heaven.

Who always see a gap in family photos.

Who learned that he doesn’t love the children he can touch any more than the ones of his that he can’t.

Here’s to the Forgotten Dads.

Whose tears forever sealed them as fathers.

Whose babies are waiting for them.

And whose hearts are spoken for.


In honor of all the Papas I know who had to say “goodbye” to their little ones too soon, and some who were never able to say “hello.” My own Father has eight living daughters, but also a few babies lost due to miscarriage, and his son–my only brother–was born still. My dad bought my brother a firetruck to put in his casket instead of a blanket to take him home in, and never had the chance to look into his son’s eyes.¬†

As a paramedic, I have stood by women multiple times, being the one to deliver their stillborn babies or to attend them during a miscarriage. It is an experience that impacts you forever, and that you never forget. Today, I want the Forgotten Fathers to not be forgotten, but to be recognized and honored as the amazing men they are. There is nothing harder than not being able to save your own child. I am now a certified Birth and Beravement Doula, and counsel women with my Therapeutic Recreation degree, doing what I can to hold space and support families experiencing a loss.

Finally, we hold fast to the knowledge that eternal life is promised to all who believe and confess Jesus as their savior, who turn from their sin, and who strive to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God. We believe that all children go to Heaven and are held in the arms of our loving Abba Father who says He will wipe every tear from their eye. We know that we still have memories and relationships in Heaven, and so we look forward to when these “lost” children are reunited with their parents and can run into their Daddy’s arms one day.

Happy Father’s Day, dads!

There is always hope.


To download a free list of resources for pregnancy, infant, and child loss, join our Blessed Mama Sisterhood group which focuses on holistic mothering at http://tinyurl.com/holisticmamas.

 

1o Essential Oil Hacks for Busy Moms

10 essential oil hacks.jpg

It occurred to me today that using essential oils is like the¬†easiest mom “skill” to learn that can have a huge impact on your emotions, health, and lifestyle. I’ve been using them a few years–before they were “cool”–so I’ve got some experience here. They are what makes me a ninja with my kids. Feel free to steal my ideas, because yes, they are good.

  1. For the Threenager: These miniature teenagers are complex, so what you’re going to do is find the emotion that you’re dealing with on this chart, and put a drop of the corresponding oil in your diffuser. If you’re dealing with three emotions at once, put a drop of all three corresponding oils in! Then, put a baby gate up and keep your child in the room so they can’t escape the air. If you can’t read the oil names on this chart, don’t worry, because this chart is printed on the inside lid of the Emotional Aromatherapy kit from doTERRA which contains all of these oil blends.
    emotional aromatherapy wheel
  2. Homework Hack:¬†Apply some InTune and let it do its thing. I could give you a fancy diffuser blend since lots of essential oils can help with focus and mental clarity, but let’s make it easy on ourselves since we’re moms, okay?
    doterra in tune
  3. When the Grumpies hit: hint–this will work on your grown man-child if you have one, and yourself, as well. In fact, I find that the time between the end of school and the start of dinner is insane (like my children turn into angry dinosaurs that just want to attack everything in sight. It’s not awesome.), and that my kids might start the grumpy mood, but we all finish it together. So my hack for this is to start my diffuser about 15 minutes before the kids get home. My favorite part is that no one can get away from¬†the oil in the air, since there’s no way I can apply¬†oil to¬†an angry dinosaur-child’s foot. This works out well.Diffuser Blend:
    1 drop Cheer
    1 drop ForgiveInhaler Hack: (for you, or anyone who has the ability to reason when they’re feeling grumpy)
    Just apply one drop of your choice of emotional aromatherapy oil (Hack #1) or doTERRA Serenity Blend to the inhaler wick, label the inhaler, and breathe it in when you need it. My kids like to carry these around with them to use when they need it.
  4. Sweet Dreams: to help make the Boogey Man go away, pop these in the diffuser in your child’s room. No diffuser? Put on a cloth and place near your child’s head. (Don’t put the oils directly on the pillow, so that you can remove the oils from the room if you¬†need to)
    recipe sweet sleep diffuser
  5. Dreams, period. Meaning, go-to-sleep-now-before-I-lose-my-mind (or before I fall asleep in your bed while you’re still awake):Diffuser Blend:
    5 drops Lavender
    3 Drops Vetiver
    2 Drops Ylang Ylang
    1 Drop Frankincense

Or put these in a 10 mL roller bottle, top with olive or fractionated coconut oil, and roll on your child’s feet before bedtime:

Roller Bottle Blend
10 drops Lavender
6 Drops Vetiver
4 Drops Ylang Ylang
2 Drops Franincense

6. Hand Cleanser: Put¬†this in a little glass spray bottle, label it, and BAM, you don’t have to worry about hormone disruptors, alcohol, or other garbage in your hand sanitizer. Plus, what kids don’t like to spray things? Oh, and it’s way cheaper than commercial sanitizers.


Ingredients:
4 ounce spray bottle, glass
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
20 drops doTERRA On Guard Protective Blend
Water
 

Directions:

  1. In spray bottle, combine aloe vera and doTERRA On Guard.
  2. Fill the rest of bottle with water. Shake until combined.
  3. To use, spray on hands and rub together.

7. Bug Bites:¬†Keep this handy to roll on bug bites. Meaning, carry it in your car, your pocket, and throw one in your bathroom cupboard. In a pinch, I have rubbed either of these essential oils neat (undiluted) right on the bight or sting spot. I wouldn’t recommend doing that on a regular basis (you don’t want to risk sensitization), but both of these are safe to use “neat” once in a while.

Directions:
Fill a roller bottle (any size) with
1/4 full with Lavender essential oil,
1/4 full with Melelauca (Tea Tree) essential oil,
1/4 full with Witch Hazel
1/4 full with a carrier oil (Olive Oil, fractionated Coconut Oil, etc.)

seasonal allergies
8.  Seasonal Threats:
Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender. Put two drops of each in your diffuser, and place the diffuser near your bed at night. Additionally, you could¬†add one drop each to a personal inhaler and take that with you to sniff throughout the day. I struggled a LOT with seasonal issues previously, and this is honestly the most impactful solution I’ve found! (work on healing your gut, too, but you probably already knew that if you’re reading about essential oils)

9. Fake Clean House: Purity. I just throw that baby in my diffuser, spray it around the house with some water, or I even add a few drops in the washing machine and re-rinse the clothes when they sit for too long. It happens to me, and don’t lie, I know it happens to you, too. Purity is the difference between my sanity and the refrigerator when I clean it out, between me and the dog that has that Beagle Smell, and between me and putting the house up for free in a yard sale because I’m sick of cleaning. Purity saves me. Often. The olfactory system has a big impact on our psychology and how we perceive things. So smell, and see a clean house when you visit me, alright?!

doTerra_On_Guard.jpg

10. Sickies: On Guard. Any time anyone needs an immune system boost, just rub a drop of this with some olive oil on their feet. Adults or older kids–I rub it behind their ears, too. Every four hours until I don’t think we need it anymore, and then one more time for good measure. It hasn’t failed me yet, plus it smells delicious.

SO WHERE DO I BUY IT?! I’ve made a hack for that, too. http://tinyurl.com/buyessentialoils¬†.¬†That was easy, right? Follow the directions on the first page to purchase at wholesale (up to 50% off), and get a free reference book from me when you buy an enrollment kit! Then you’ll know even more. ūüôā I don’t have any special discount for you to get your roller bottles and spray bottles, but I buy mine from¬†http://tinyurl.com/buyherbsupplies. (Did you see that? Another hack to make your life easier when trying to remember where to go.)

Flag Day Activities you can do TODAY!

Flag Day.jpg

Great news – there’s a bunch of EASY PEASY Flag Day activities you can do at home before the kids go to bed! Patriotism is an important part of our family culture, and we don’t miss an opportunity to teach our kids about being an American! Happy Flag Day!

Flag history/etiquette: from Education World

Flag Day and Flag Ettiquette Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_G-Wwqfzd4

U.S. Flag History: from Liberty Kids

Flag Day Hand Print Craft: from B-Inspired Mama

Wind Sock Flag Craft: from MPM School Supplies

…and of course, music! Sing along to The Grand Old Flag

Image taken from: Wikipedia, which of course has lots more information on Flag Day.

Why I Put “Mother” On My Resume

power mom influence

I did something I’ve never done before today. I listed “Mother” as a job title on my resume. I don’t think that’s on any of the HR How-To lists, nor was it mentioned in any professional business college courses I’ve ever taken. Yet, while I was typing up my relevant work experience, I realized that I’d be doing myself a disservice if I failed to list the most demanding, challenging, and most important job I’ve ever had. Most women probably leave this off of their resumes, but me? I’m owning it.

When you read “Mother” as a job title on my resume, you know that I’m committed. You know I’m dedicated. You know I’m not easily deterred by challenges. It means I get up in the middle of the night, that I persevere through sleeplessness, that if I don’t know an answer or my method isn’t working, that I research, learn, and keep trying. Giving up simply isn’t an option, no matter how overwhelmed or “up against a wall” I feel.

When you read “Mother,” you know that I’m resourceful. That I improvise, I make do, I easily shift with the situation, and can come up with ideas that most employers can’t even imagine. I’m a problem solver, and a solution oriented-goal driven, but flexible person.

When you read “Mother,” you know that I am a leader. I can delegate, can advocate, can find and use other’s talents and resources to further the goals of my organization. I can listen well, I can speak well, and the choices I make have purpose behind them.

“Mother” fills every gap in any resume, because it indicates that during “that time” on my resume, I was working harder, longer, and with less reward than any of my other jobs ever gave me. It means that my character grew by leaps and bounds, that I learned valuable workplace skills, and that I accomplished an awful lot that is literally making a huge difference in the immediate and far future of this World.

So even though it’s only one word, “Mother — 2008 to present”¬†should be¬†the most impactful job you read on my resume. I will proudly list it as my work experience, because what I’ve done and been through with that job is more of an accomplishment than my college degrees, the lives I’ve saved, the programs I’ve developed, the employees I’ve managed, or the sales I’ve ever made combined. It’s the boot camp of all boot camps for developing work and life-related assets, and you bet I’m going to put that in ink on my expensive paper. When you read my resume and it ends with “Mother,” know all that it means, and carry it close, because that particular work experience will¬†be a golden asset for your company.

 

Illustration credit: http://kalidraws.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-power-of-mom.html

Easy DIY Breakfast Felt Food Tutorial

 

Once in a blue moon, I am home alone without my children. You’d think I’d take a nap, but I’m adversely affected with surges of energy when I’m alone, and I have an internal argument over exactly what I should accomplish during felt play foodthis time. Following that, marathons of creativity occur where I actually¬†do what I decided to accomplish (which the materials for have probably been sitting, all alone, in my craft area for a year).

Our entire collection of hand made felt food was the result of one of these blue moons, and honestly, creating the bounty you see in these photos was so much easier than it looked in the felt food tutorials I had found! After viewing those tutorials, I decided to strike out on my own and free-hand everything. And it worked.

Here’s how (also in free-hand fashion, because trust me, you’ll do better with that than a complicated tutorial), starting with the Breakfast Food of pancakes, syrup, butter, eggs, and bacon:

 

 

  1. Felt food Eggs. Irregularly cut out shapes for the “whites” of the egg. Cut out circles, larger than you want, for the “yolks.” Roll a small amount of cotton or wool batting (stuffing) and put under the yolk, then carefully (so your fingers don’t burn off), hot glue the yolk edges onto the white. Alternatively, you could use Tacky Glue (non toxic) or sew those yolks on.
  2. Pancakes. Cut out circles, and sew around the edges, leaving about a 1″ opening. Then, using that opening, turn the pancakes so they’re the right side out. Stuff with minimal stuffing, fold the unclosed edges in, and sew it up (or glue).
  3. Syrup. You’re going to love this. Just cut irregular patterns out of dark brown felt so that they’ll be just a little bigger (or smaller, whichever you prefer) than the pancakes. Bam. Done.
  4. Butter. Cut small rectangles from yellow felt, put a smidgen of stuffing in the center, and glue or sew the edges shut.
  5. Bacon. Using a dark brown piece of felt, cut a wavy line. Make a 1.5″ (or so) straight cut at a 90 degree angle off of that (for the straight edge of the bacon), and then follow your same wavy line pattern to cut the other wavy side of the bacon, and finish off with another straight cut bringing all of the sides together. Lay this piece on a pink piece of felt, and cut out a skinny wavy line, following the waves from the bottom bacon piece. That might all sound confusing, but if you look at the photo, it will hopefully make sense. The whole point is to make sure your wavy lines all mirror each other for each individual piece of bacon. Once you have your pink skinny piece and your wider dark brown piece, just sew right down the middle (following the wave, of course) of the pink piece to attach the two pieces.

felt play food tutorial

What’s more important than the Gorilla

I woke up this morning to news that a Gorilla was put down after a child fell into the Gorilla exhibit at a zoo. I was irritated because I’ve been to a lot of zoos, and all I could think was that it would take a lot of effort on a 4-year-old’s part to get into a Gorilla enclosure. It’s certainly not that I felt that a Gorilla’s life was more important than a human’s, or that I assumed I knew all the details about the situation. It was simply that I figured there was a really good shot that the caretaker of said child could have prevented the situation altogether. Before you throw stones at me for this conclusion, remember that I spent almost 10 years working in EMS and I can say with certainty that *almost* every single crazy sort of accident I’ve responded to could have been prevented by following safety or common sense rules.

Then, a few hours later, my family was touring a historic fort site during a Memorial Day ceremony event. While we were browsing the second floor of the actual fort, my two-year-old dumped a bottle of water that I had earlier packed because I was a good, responsible mother. And then the water leaked through the floor and it began “raining” in the downstairs, according to a manager who came up to ask who had spilled water on the floor.

My best attempts at being a well prepared, responsible mother had backfired on me.¬†Forget the knitting kits I had just bought the kids, or the lecturing I’d done about historical living, wars, and the importance of honoring our fallen soldiers. I was the mom who flooded the historical site–not by a child named Calvin who had a stuffed tiger named Hobbes–but by my own “good mothering” that apparently didn’t follow through to my toddler’s hands on the Nalgene bottle.

And then I realized that no matter how strongly I feel about parental responsibility and protected animals, that my own kids have ran into a parking lot before I could grab them before, have turned an aisle in a store and hidden under clothes where I couldn’t see them for 3 minutes, have eaten things they shouldn’t have, have fallen out of shopping carts, and have done a million other things that I have put IV’s into other kids in the back of my ambulance for. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t being a responsible parent, it’s because my youngest is a Wild Thing and raising two kids plus a Wild Thing is like facing a threesome of dinosaurs who double as clowns that communicate with a secret language and who have ninja skills that are superior to mine. As a mom or a dad, you train yourself for the role of “parent” from the time you find out you’re pregnant, but some days, it’s still not enough! And I don’t know why, because it should be, dangit!

Just now, I got on Facebook…and I saw more posts about the Gorilla vs. Child incident than I did about fallen soldiers and the tragedy of WAR. It’s Memorial Day. And now I realize that just a little while ago (after the historical rain incident), I was telling my children about how thankful we must be for our fallen soldiers because in some countries, girls still can’t wear the clothes they want to, can’t go to school, and young boys are forced to be soldiers and to kill others. Today. Happening right now.

What does this say about what makes our heart ache? It’s not wrong to be upset about the Gorilla incident. But is it wrong to not be more enraged about human lives lost? About the atrocities that 4-year-old children are literally being faced with moment by moment around the world? Have our hearts become so immune to horrific news that wars, battles, fallen soldiers, and freedom doesn’t impact us as much as a gorilla being put down after a child falls into its enclosure does? How is it that our emotions are more easily sparked by the gorilla incident than of the 41,892,128 U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in battle since 1775? Is a gorilla an easier reality to grasp than a soldier dying?

Or are we just more comfortable being enraged by things that are more…comfortable? Or do we like to be enraged by things that make us feel better about our own parenting, skills, or situation?

I could go on about this topic, but I’ve been a mom long enough to know that really, I just need to sit down. I’m not going to teach anyone anything new about zoo safety. I’m not going to discover any details about the incident to determine who or what is to blame. And frankly, I don’t care, because crap happens in motherhood. Literally and figuratively. Your kid jumped a fence. My kid dumped water.¬†Not the same thing, but you know what matters more than me posting about a gorilla and my ideas on excellent parenting on social media? That my kids know that protecting our rights, having freedom, and giving honor where honor is due is of extreme importance.

No one’s going to care or remember in three days if I didn’t comment about the gorilla incident. No one’s going to care or remember in three days if I didn’t comment about Memorial Day, either. But what I teach my children will matter. If I teach them that loving others is more important than being “right” about a parenting incident. That war and our freedom and those who have literally died for it (and the families visiting their loved ones IN a graveyard today) is pretty big freaking deal and that none of us had better take it for granted or waste this opportunity. These are the seeds I’m planting whose harvest will later be shared in the world.

So watch your children, their water bottles, and the fences…but watch what you say and do, the stones you cast, and the lessons you teach, even more.

And thank you, to the 41,892,128 soldiers and their families who gave everything. We honor you today.

memorial day 2016

 

New Beginnings

As you can see, we’re now located with WordPress instead of Blogger. What a¬†difference! Please bear with me as I continue shifting things, customizing this site, and prepare¬†to start regularly bringing you amazing content again that will rock your world and be accessible to your real life. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions as we continue this transition, and that you are connected with us in our Facebook community at http://tinyurl.com/HolisticMamas!

Much love,

Rachel

What Faith Is

Faith is finding your child after she runs and hides, carrying her to the car as she kicks and screams. Buckling her in as she starts to sob in a panic, begging to not go. Arriving and having to figure out how to unlock her door that she’s keeping locked, then literally carrying her as she fights you. Down a block. Through some doors. Into a new building. Up a long flight of stairs. Into an office so she can visit with a person she doesn’t want to see.

It’s not faith to walk (or force) your child through something difficult because you know the outcome is beneficial for them. Getting a cavity filled. Receiving a medication. Getting them to school. Those things are just being a good parent. Being a good parent doesn’t always feel good, but you know the outcome and it’s worth the discomfort to get to that outcome.

Faith is when you can’t see the outcome and when it feels like you’re betraying your child. When you have to walk them (or physically force them) to do what’s been ordered. When you feel guilty because you don’t stop what is happening, and you don’t know what’s going to happen. Faith is trusting that by going against your instinct and by doing what you have been ordered to do, that that is the right thing.

Faith is making a pact with your own soul that no matter the outcome, you will praise God. That even if He won’t move the mountains, that even if He won’t part the sea, that you will still call His name blessed. It is allowing your child to see that you will follow the authority placed above you with a good attitude, and that you will do everything you can to help them, but that all of your help will be within the boundaries of the rules you are given.

Faith is trusting that all of this is enough. That even though you have no idea of anything, no vision of what the future may be or where the goal line is, or even if there is a goal, that somewhere out there, lies God’s heart to give your child hope and a future. That promises will be fulfilled. That visions will come to fruition. That your prayers are not being stored up for a future time, but that they are being and already have been fulfilled.

Faith isn’t about seeing. It’s not even about believing. It’s about knowing that you can trust the Father through the times when you don’t know why or if or how or when. Faith is the conviction of things not seen.

(image from http://saltformation.spreadshirt.com/faith-the-conviction-of-things-not-seen-A14157849)

Best Cyber Monday Deals for Moms!

The top three BEST Cyber Monday Deals…just for moms!

#1 Cyber Monday Shopping Tip:¬†start your shopping by logging into Ebates. You’ll get an additional percentage off of almost every shopping website, and it comes back to you as cash! There is also a $10 sign up bonus today, and you can earn up to $100 by referring three friends.¬†

Discount examples: Amazon.com – up to 10% back; Groupon – 10% back; Khols – 10% back.


The Post Institute: awesome organization to help you parent children with difficult behaviors. They have free training videos, online, CD, and DVD versions of their courses. They are highly recommended and I discovered them from a professional after she learned about the PTSD and associated behaviors my daughter has. Today, most everything is 50% off. This makes their Holiday course only a few dollars! Programs include:

  • Strategies for Severe Behaviors in Adoptive and Foster Children Including RAD, OD, ADHD, Aspergers, Autism and Others
  • Parenting Difficult Tweensand Teens
  • Parenting the Attachment Challenged Child 3
  • Healing Attachment Challenged Adults (addictive and angry behaviors)
  • Trauma, Brain & Helping Children Heal
  • Great Behavior Breakdown 13 CD Series
  • Stress Love & Your Baby
  • Parenting Home Study Course
  • From Fear to Love Book

View the details and order the program your family needs here: http://www.postinstitute.com/g/store/blessedmamaservices/


It Works!:¬†today ONLY, they are doing a buy-one-get-one-free promo on their new WOW (Wipe Out Wrinkles) product and also when you buy an Exfoliating Peel¬†+ Lip & Eye cream. This works out to be $23 per WOW or $32.50 per Exfoliating Peel¬†+ Lip & Eye…and that’s not even including the wholesale membership fee waved, the free shipping after your third order, or the perks points of the Loyal Customer (wholesale) program which gives you an even better deal! NOTE: IW sold out of their essential oil holiday package quickly, so get this offer before it sells out, too. Order at www.bodymoresimply.myitworks.com


Inspired By Finn: we have used their Baltic amber and hazel wood jewelry for years and love it! It’s the real deal, they have tons of choices (including other therapeutic jewelry and pieces for adults), and your entire order is discounted 33% when you use the code “CyberMon33” during checkout. Order here:¬†http://hyenacart.com/stores/inspiredbyfinn/.¬†
(contains some affiliate links)