Weekending

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetbirthday partyantique store downtown tomball face painted Batman walkingattitude is everythingbirds of a feather antique storefull of life <3 these two. ice cream. yum!thrift store thriftingI feel like I don’t write enough about my babies here. The truth is our days are so full. My inboxes are usually overflowing and the projects I am trying to finish up just keep multiplying. That’s how I roll, I multitask and crash, make popcorn and then try to write something worth reading. I try to remember the words I wished I’d penned somewhere on the way home (passenger seat). But at the end of every day, I’m the last one to turn in. The night light in Joseph’s room is beaming into the hallway a little and if Evelyn’s monitor was turned up all the way I could probably hear her snoring in the next room. She snores, I just love it :)

She sleeps through the night and has been for some time. It’s kind of awesome. She also pretends to read – I’ll catch her flipping through books and babbling in her sweet voice. Joseph pats her back and helps her out when she coughs and he still calls her his baby. I watch them both with so much wonder and I hold them so close it hurts. I feel privileged to be called to be their mama. Day in, day out. With all my shortcomings, forgetful habits, strings of never-ending to-do lists, and on-the-fly adventures. Lately it’s become more real than ever that we won’t ever be welcoming a new baby into our home again. That beautiful season of new parenthood is behind us. Over. Forever. I cried when it finally hit me. I think when Evelyn was born, I was just so… ready. Ready for her to be here, ready for pregnancy to end, ready to feel good about myself again. Just ready. Pregnancy for me is kind of a roller coaster, if you don’t know our whole story. So when that sadness came over me, I didn’t see it coming, but it kind of struck me weird that I hadn’t been sad. So I was a little relieved to feel “normal” about this. I wasn’t sad because I had “baby fever”, but it was just another goodbye. Another season of life that has passed. I look back, and this whole season of going from a college student/ wife, to a mom… it’s changed me through and through. I don’t like change, and when I see it in myself it downright scares me. But in this season of becoming a mama for the first, second and third time, I’ve learned more about love and trust and patience and LIFE than in all twenty nine years of my life.

These littles – I owe them everything. Our loss changed me, but so did becoming a mom. I’ve learned to let my idea of “perfection” go and just take what life gives you and make the best of it. Being a mama is hands-down the most humbling experience, to know you have one shot to give these amazing little souls every thing you got. And that God trusts you to do it right. That is amazing. It never stops being amazing.

Hand Drawn Freebies!

Hand Drawn Bloggy FreebiesClick the image to download, or click here. Happy Friday!!!

Not sure how to use these? Check out this blog, with tons of useful tutorials:) This tutorial isn’t exact, but it will come close to what you need.

 

Paleo Trail Mix

Paleo Trail Mix

Ya’ll this stuff is addicting. I am so serious. I can never find a trail mix that I really love (I usually just pick out what I like best and leave the rest in the bag), so this is a real treat. Every part of this mix is so yummy!

What ya need:

+ 2 c raw almonds

+ 1 1/2 c raw walnuts

+ 1 1/2 c raw macadamia nuts

+ 3/4 c organic raisins

+ 1/2 c dried blueberries

+ 1/2 c organic sunflower seeds

+ 1/2 c organic coconut, shredded, unsweetened

+ 1/3 c organic maple syrup

+ 2 tsp organic vanilla extract

+ 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix everything in a large bowl and be sure to cover everything in the maple syrup.

3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper to keep the mix from sticking onto the pan.

4. Spread evenly over the pan and bake about 15 minutes.

5. Let cool and enjoy!! Also be sure to store the mix in an air tight container to keep it from going stale.

paleo trail mix

Boho Soul

BOHO SOUL

I’m starting a new series called Boho Soul. I’m not sure where it’s going yet, but I want to put time each week to tap into my Bohemian tendencies in outfits, hair styles, home, and other inspirations. I hope for it to be a place to share some ideas, and try things I’ve been wanting to try and just haven’t plunged for… out of fear or lack of time… whatever. Today is the day.

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It’s been probably an entire YEAR since I found this houndstooth jumper at a thrift shop for a couple of bucks. It was a little baggy, but given the price I knew if I could ever find the time to alter it to my size that it would become a favorite piece for wintery weather. And it seriously has!!! Our weathers are usually mild, so this is just perfect with a jacket, boots and maybe a scarf. And I love that I can swap the top underneath with basically anything! I am forever ruined by thrift shops!!

When the World Feels Small

It’s a bit ironic that having more people in the house can make your world feel smaller but somehow it does. Lately I’ve been watching some family member’s kids three days out of the week (sometimes all day and all night). My house went from semi-full to kind of a zoo. That might sound awful, but the truth is I like zoo’s, so it’s my way of saying it’s the kind of chaos that I can manage, on most days.

But at random I start feeling clautrophobic rather than the glorified nanny, and these visions hit me all hours of the day of running away in something like this.

I’m kidding. Sort of.

But this shift in schedule has forced me outside of my comfort zone. It’s challenged me in some new ways and if it kills me, to still find time to write, and create.

I have soiled little hands from the muddy backyard tugging at my shirt, asking for what has to be their third breakfast (I’ve lost count by now) and rain boots tracking in mud constantly. A meltdown is happening yet again over that six dollar tricycle I bought for Joseph at the thrift store ages ago. And the bigger girl is trying to haul Evelyn Jane around like a cabbage patch doll. It’s one of those “oh yeah, I’m the adult now” kind of moment. I still feel young inside and I can remember aunts and uncles and being the kid. Wild, just wild how time flies and how certain situations bring memories flooding back.

It’s my turn to be the big one. To put out “fires” so to speak, to teach love, to demonstrate patience and be the one they remember as someone who cared.

 

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Free Fonts

Love me some fonts!! Even though I don’t design stuff like I used to, I am always on the lookout for fun and interesting fonts. Hope you enjoy!! Happy Friday:) Though, honestly my Friday has been rather exhausting, it is still the weekend, and THAT is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Free Funky Fonts

Amatic

Wintermelon (one of my faaavorite fonts EVA)

Pointy Demo

Bryana Aningsih Shara

Doris Day

Reed of Love (I love the hippie-ness of this font!!!)

Mystery Quest

Garineldo

Minya Nouvelle

A Space of Happiness

Believe it or not, we actually had pretty perfect weather a couple of days ago. That rarely ever happens in Texas. Usually it is blistering hot, a disgusting level of humid, or randomly EXTREMELY cold (like tonight). Bubs and I took full advantage and spent time immersing ourselves in the dirt. I found it completely therapeutic.

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I’ve been collecting some of the neatest and best resources for starting an organic garden. Find those here!

I also have this older friend lady in our church, she is so helpful. She gives the most practical advice, she has grown pretty much everything you can grow down here. One thing I’ve been reading/ finding out is that the best way to get started is to find someone that knows what they’re doing and ask for help. Ask and ye shall receive:)

I’m so, so excited about this little adventure. I broke down the perimeter of the ground where the garden will hopefully be, but she convinced me to just rent a tiller and let it do all the work. Totally worth $30 in my opinion.

As you can see, Joseph is just as excited about this as I am. Last year we tried planting things (bluebonnets and sunflowers) in our sandy-soil and nothing came up but a few sprouts. This year I’ll be trying to enrich the soil before putting anything down.

In the next few days I’ll be mixing our own seed/ potting mix, and starting these little seeds indoors.

Have I mentioned how excited I am?!! I told Pete I’ve been wanting to do this for YEARS. It’s been one thing after another, babies, high risk pregnancy, and then a newborn. With Evelyn a little older, I find myself a lot more comfortable tackling this. I know it’s ridiculously hard work. But honestly, I think the reward will just be beyond words.

Don’t Lose Your Voice

Don't Lose Your VoiceI have once again been sucked into social media, inspiring blog posts, Pinspiration and a lot of other things that in small doses does wonders for the soul. But it’s like eating too much sugar. A little is wonderful. It stays sweet, and when you get it a little at a time, you usually don’t get sick and you can enjoy the sweet parade going on in your mouth.

Too much Pinterest, blog reading, and all those “number” posts (you know you’ve seen them – “five reasons you shouldn’t each microwave popcorn” or “10 cheap and romatic dates”)… I’ve found it can be the same. I sit here with the best intentions, wanting to make all these things, cut out these things, initiate these things… and then I beat myself up because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, AND I’ve totally accepted that I need to go to bed at a deceit hour in order to function the next day. Cranky Fran, not pretty.

I’ve been wrestling with some decisions tonight and honestly a bit of frustration, and this mantra fell over me. A feeling of acceptance… that one day I might be able to conquer the world, but today just isn’t the day. Today’s the day I get up, be a better wife, mom, aunt, sister-in-law, friend than I was the day before. Today’s the day of raising littles, praying over their hearts and souls (though I don’t think this one ever goes away), cutting into a busy routine to write, and think and read a book or two. Draw. Draw. Draw. But conquering the world can wait.

I’ve decided I don’t want to lose my voice in the noise of this world.

Nor to the loudmouthed, well-meaning ones that always lend an opinion or two.

Or to my children.

Or to the supermom/ superdad making headlines on the Huff.

Or to the amazing NATURAL remedy that I just *HAVE* to pin before bedtime.

Or to some amazing news someone just shared on facebook.

Or to anyone in my world.

It’s not being selfish, it’s being practical. Self-care.

I feel like this year is the year of exploring not so much the adventurous side of life, but the boundaries that help me stay true to myself. And to accept my limits.

Don't lose your voice

I need my voice to function. I need my voice to be the Franchesca that my people need. I need my voice to overcome the crashing waves of ideas that come from every side. To be original in a world of copying, and repinning, and borrowing, and google.

I need my voice to be true. And brutally honest to myself.

I need my voice to be gentle with the world around me.

I sometimes think social media has a way of watering down original thought, true inspiration and all forms of creative expression. Social media serves a lot of positive purposes, but there are times that it is all just too much. Ideas spread too quickly and without much thought or meaning.

I don’t want to lose my voice. I refuse to let it be muffled.

Sometimes it takes a little pulling away to find your voice again. I found that out tonight.

I’m singing again. In my own very rusty, awkward voice. I’m here.

one wild and precious lifeSmall Bird Studios doodles, cards + prints

Mantra

Don't rush and never settle. If it's meant to be it will be.

Feel free to print, share on facebook or your blog – whatever :) This one is big enough to print an 8×10 at your local printer or at home. Just click the image to download it to your computer.

Happy Friday ya’ll!

First Birthday Party

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Turn To Stone by Ingrid Michaelson on Grooveshark

First of all, I can’t even put into words, but I was overwhelmed – still am – by the response of my last blog post. I just want to say thank you for everyone that shared your stories, your encouraging words… you helped me… more than you know.

From the moment she was born my dad has called Evelyn “Sunshine”. And ever since her personality has started to bloom, that names fits her so well. When I started thinking up “themes” for her first birthday I knew I didn’t want a princess theme until she was big enough to enjoy it, and nothing else came to mind except a rainbow/ sunshine theme. It was perfect!!:)

I took rainbow-colored streamers and strung them around my parents’ home, where the party was held. Where the streamers ended, me and my little brother blew up white balloons of all sizes and wrapped white tulle between the balloons to make clouds from them. But the best part, aside from you know, the birthday girl was the cake. This cake was the cake of all cakes. Seriously. It kind of hurt my heart to have to cut it up! It had glitter, ya’ll.

At the last minute my dad ran around the corner and got a pinata for the kids. He said every party needs one of these. After seeing the kids have such a good time, I think I agree.

I thought I would be a real mess, but like everything Evelyn Jane, her turning one has all been kind of surreal. I held back bitter tears on the way to my mom’s that morning to decorate. I wanted this day to be about her. Not about what I didn’t get. Over time I’ve had to train my mind to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks. Grief is grief is grief. And things will always have a way of circling back to Jenna, especially with the milestones we get to celebrate with Evelyn but I don’t want my love for Jenna to steal my joy today… I want my love for Jenna to be something that makes me a better person, a better mom, a better wife today. I want her life to be honored. For so long, I allowed grief to steal happiness, smiles, joy and gifts around me, and I think that is the nature of the beast. Grief steals, and if you let it, it will only continue to swallow up more parts of your life. On Saturday, I let myself be happy beyond tears and words. I let myself be all there. Seeing her sit in front of her massive rainbow cake brought me to tears. Happy tears, honestly sad tears, but mostly thankful tears.

I still can’t believe she’s ours some days.

ps- I took these photos on manual mode!! I’m getting brave ya’ll! I’m also signing up for Beryl’s Momtographie course, which I know will help me make that transition from “auto” to “manual” so. much. easier. :)

Having a Girl After Losing A Girl

Having a Girl After Losing a Girl // Pregnancy after loss

I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz on Grooveshark

This is hands down one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. It’s been one that has been stirring in my heart for over a year now. One that often sends me crashing and burning, wondering how I’ll ever explain some of the things I might be writing here, to Evelyn one day as she gets older, but somewhere deep down inside I know it needs to be said. It’s our story. And it’s messy. But above everything else, love is in the center of this mess. And I hope that in my clumsy attempt to put this part of my heart into something slightly more tangible – that LOVE is what reigns when all these words fall from my heart and through my fingertips, and glows through someone else’s screen.

Since I decided to let a lot of my work in the baby loss community go, and embrace this change in my path… (a focus on art and writing), a few well-meaning friends have wondered and asked me if I would be where I am today (healing-wise, I think), if it weren’t for Evelyn Jane.

The truth is, I wouldn’t. And I was honest each time those piercing questions came. I am not bothered by the question – I think being in the baby loss community, being highly involved and then one day nearly walking away completely from that line of work raises a few eyebrows, maybe a few critics, but definitely questions. Letting Still Standing Magazine slip out of my hands was one of the hardest choices I have made since starting my online work. I struggle with even calling it “work” because none of this ever really feels like work. Sometimes I write, and that helps my heart and soul and mind process life… sometimes I create and I love to share what happens with my creations whether they are messy, ridiculous or something that I am actually happy with. And sometimes I connect with some of the most inspiring, amazing souls. It’s hard to call what you love to do… work. I am very blessed.

But a few months ago, I felt an urgency to leave the baby loss community behind… not so much the people – in fact not the people at all, but the environment. The constant reminders that we are casting on ourselves. The label of being a baby loss mom. I don’t want to be remembered that way. For a while, I was afraid of not being known as a baby loss mom, but I never wanted the death of my first daughter to define me. I just didn’t want to lose her anymore than I already had, if that makes any sense at all. I’ve done a lot of different things since losing her to keep her memory alive. Most of those things I’ve shared at one time or another on this blog, and on facebook. I think it became an obsession. But it was the kind of obsession that was born from fear. I became so afraid of losing her memory, that I felt like I needed to keep doing something. But it has never been enough. Not once. At the end of the day, she’s still dead. She is still the one I had to say goodbye to, and no matter how many journals I donated, or how many memory boxes were sent out, or how many candles I burned, God never changed his mind and let this all become one really cruel nightmare. It’s always our reality that we lost our first child. It never stops being real, or true, or infinitely devastating.

One of the biggest ways I honored her life was by founding Still Standing Magazine. It started on the day she would have been three. It’s going strong, and it is a tragedy really that something like it is even needed, but when I felt that urgency to distance myself from the baby loss world, I knew that this resource needed to live on.

Surrounding myself with articles talking about fresh, raw grief daily left me feeling like a hypocrite, honestly. Because there were many, many days when I could remember relating to any given article in the past, but my typical day now does not involve tears or anger over our daughter’s death. My typical day feels quite normal, whatever normal is these days. But the bottom line is, I’m happy again. And I’ve been shying away from that fact, even shamed myself into thinking, what will people think when they see how happy I really am? when it came to writing for this online space – my blog and Still Standing.

After we announced that we were having a girl, when I was pregnant with Evelyn, I started getting mixed signals from a few people in the baby loss community. Most were overjoyed for us, but some felt inclined to let me know that I needed to be more sensitive about how I shared our pregnancy/our joy over having another girl. I have to say, that it kind of broke my heart reading those latter responses, because before ever sharing *any* bit of happiness or joy over Evelyn (even to this day) I always, always think about the ones who will never get their “rainbow”. It’s almost like this silent guilt I keep carrying around for getting a girl. At the same time I know that the person(s) at the other end were not speaking out of malice, but from a wounded, broken heart – who might not have the privilege to carry life again, and get that “rainbow”, or perhaps they have been trying for some time now. It’s always bittersweet, and I’ve been holding back on the sweet… a lot here.

Sharing the joy over Evelyn isn’t the same as it was with Joseph. With Joseph, he was a miracle. He was the baby that filled my arms and warmed our hearts. He made me smile again. And I never knew I could fall so deeply in love so quickly after losing Jenna.

Evelyn came with a whole different set of circumstances and heart-expectations. The truth is, I never ever dreamed or dared to imagine that I’d have another girl one day. It was a dream I was scared to fantasize about. I had my boy. I could hug him. I could love on him. Give me another boy, something about boys feels safe. I thought, maybe God just doesn’t think I’d be a good “girl mom”. He’ll probably let me keep another boy, but watch me get pregnant with a girl, he will probably take her from me.

I didn’t want another girl, because I was afraid of so many things. What if I compared her to Jenna? What if I couldn’t love her? What if she died too? Would her death mean as much? Would I be capable of mourning or would I die of a broken heart this time? What if I called her Jenna?

And then… BOOM.

She was a girl. I didn’t cry. I don’t know if I can even articulate how it felt to hear Pete say when he opened that gender-revealing envelope that we were going to have another girl.

I thought I would burst into dramatic, happy tears, but I didn’t. All I remember doing is… freezing. This was real though. She was a girl! And then when it started to sink in, all these things came flooding over of me again…

The bows! The ribbons! The pink! The ballet slippers, and sweet Sunday morning dresses… all the things I had shunned away from because they were too painful… these little dreams could be ours again. That day I made our second daughter her first set of headbands.

And another seed of joy started blooming in my heart. More impossible joy after impossible loss.

For a long while I balanced this unforgiving beam of grief and joy. I founded Still Standing right after Evelyn was born. It was what my heart needed. I needed Jenna in my world in a very big way, because strangely – having Evelyn here with us made Jenna feel that much further away.

There is something about having a rainbow baby, and then there is something about having the same gender rainbow baby. Maybe not to all, but to some, yes. To me… most definitely.

When Evelyn was born I hardly ever talked about it, and if I did I glazed over it because it was too painful to admit but I fell into depression. I fought for four months with what a lot of doctors might write off as postpartum depression but to me, I knew it went much, much deeper (not to undermine postpartum, because I realize that that can be a very real, and serious matter). Mine went three years back, into that room where I held my first daughter as she took her last breathe… and none of it was peaceful. It was all horrific. Death was as real as the buttons my fingertips are pounding on that day. And he stole her from me.

Every time I held Evelyn, my heart was this impossible mix, like oil and water, of the purest joy and rawest grief. I had been here before, but never with a living girl. Something was different with Evelyn. And I hate myself that I could not separate grief and joy those months of her life. Without meaning to, I distanced my heart from her. I had a hard time bonding. I never saw this coming. I pleaded with heaven, I begged God for help. I talked to a few trusted friends about this. Everyone said it’s to be expected, but it didn’t make any of this easier.

I kept wondering when it would be enough. When would I stop letting death steal more of my life?

One night I can still remember the tears flowing… the breakthrough. I can’t even put it into words, but I knew that we’d be okay – her and I. That love that I was so afraid of giving her poured over her one night as I breastfed her, in months and months of heldback tears. I watched her falling asleep, both of us soaked with tears, and love. All this bundle of joy. So much richness. So much sadness. So much possibility. But the change in my heart that took place that night, it’s led me here.

Where I choose love. And choose joy. And sometimes I need to hang out with sorrow and pain too because they hold hands with the thief that took our first daughter from us. I’m comfortable with them though. They are like familiar foes, and we choose to get along. It amazes me how peace can exist even in the most impossible circumstances.

I don’t know how you go from writing a pretty narrow “baby loss” blog to writing a story all of it’s own. I’m willing to lose “followers” or “fans”, whatever facebook is calling that these days. I won’t think less of you if cannot read this part of our story right now. But there comes a time where you have to be you. You have to know what that means, and follow through. You have to know your limitations, and trust your instinct. And if anything, don’t let fear call the shots. Let love reign. Let hope persevere, and compassion rule in your heart.

I guess the great part is, I don’t have to choose between them. I choose them all. Jenna, Joseph and Evelyn. They each hold my WHOLE heart. And each of them have filled our story what it is today – chapters of love, tear stains, fear, impossible loss, followed by impossible joy and more impossibleness (yes, I just made up that word!) sprinkled everywhere in between. It’s just one big mess, but I guess (hoping?) you’re used that that around here…

Mantra

I kind of fell in love with these words the second I found them on Pinterest. Yesterday I finally had the chance to plan a little more for our soon-to-be organic garden. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get started. I managed to keep a few herbs alive through our version of winter… so maybe I’ve got it in me. We shall see. I found so many interesting and helpful (and money-saving!) ways to start an organic garden. You can see all those ideas I’m gathering on my garden Pinterest board.

Happy Friday ya’ll!

Feel free to print, share on facebook or your blog – whatever :) This one is big enough to print an 8×10 at your local printer or at home. Just click the image to download it to your computer.

ps- I’m always up for suggestions on mantras and words! I’d like to start making and sharing these more regularly again.

to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow - audrey hepburn

 

Staying Inspired When Life Happens

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I don’t know why but as an artsy person I feel a constant invisible pressure to be pumping out something awesome. Something colorful. Something that inspires. The truth is though, it just isn’t always possible.

In a little over a week I plan (now THAT is a funny word) to open my shop. I actually am very excited about this. I have a lot that I want to do with it. I pulled out some wood and canvases yesterday and I am thinking up new things and designs just about everyday.

We’ve had more than our normal “load” at our place, and it looks like life will just be a bit busier… and maybe even more homebound. I’m learning to adjust… :)

Amazon.com is going to be one of my newest best friends and so is a brand spanking new outlook on being home during the daytime. It’s sort of ironic because I wrote almost fifty ways to stay inspired before all this happened… and I realize I’m being very illusive but that’s only to protect the people in my world. I have a feeling a lot more people IRL read this blog than I know about, so I don’t want to step on any toes here, but the truth is, this whole debacle has seeped into our lives and things have once again changed. Anyhoo… my list. And then this happened.

And then it started looking more and more like going out and about on daytime adventures would be less likely to happen on a whim, and more of a planning-ahead-sort of thing. It’s all kind of complicated. But that’s life.

So.

Staying inspired. I’m going to be whipping out that list. And I hope to share it here too soon.

Some ways I’ve been able to keep my creative juices flowing as of late…

1. Deep breaths. For real.

2. Books and creative magazines. And less internets.

3. Do something productive, even if you totally hate it. Like laundry. Or mopping the floor. Something about shiny countertops and floors helps me think clearer. And I feel better about myself. It’s weird how that works.

4. Twinkle lights and candles. Setting the mood with soft light helps me connect more with my creative side, and somehow puts that “stressed out” me to rest a bit. Actually it’s hard to be stressed out when candles are burning, and twinkle lights are bouncing their pretty little bulbs off all around you.

5. Write down your goals (big and small, and everything in between) and make yourself accountable. Check your list often, but give yourself space too. Balance is key.

What keeps you inspired when you feel drained or stressed?

He is a Mirror

He’s been a bit wiry lately. Whiney. Complaining. A little (or a lot) out of sorts. My patience meter is looking a little worn and tattered right now. I find myself talking more sternly than I ought to. There has been some unexpected drama visit our world as of late, and it only batters down that patience meter even more. I keep remembering the person I want to be this year. The mother. The wife. The friend. And real life has a way of putting you to the test, like now.

I forget that he is mirroring what he sees.

Read the full post on The Mob Society here.

Boy mom

My Hippie Happy List

Coming here today, I feel like I’m slipping on a shiny new pair of boots or fun pair of leggings!!! My new design makes me want to squeal! :) If you’re reading from an email or feed, you can click over to see what I’m talking about. Anyhoo, I decided I wanted to collect some of my favorite Hippie Recipes. I’m not experienced enough to think these things up (one day, maybe!) but for now I’d love to share some of the recipes who have rocked my world in so many ways this past year or so.

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BEAUTY

Lotion Bars These made the cutest gifts at Christmas time for my sisters-in-law and just about all the women in my family!!

Peppermint Body Scrub These were an addition to the pampering gifts I gave my family this year. I whipped this up for myself first to make sure it actually worked, and it does. It makes your skin super soft and can be used on your face too! I made her Pumpkin Spice version as well, which smells like Fall in a jar.

Dry Shampoo I used this recipe to get a few more days out of my blow out after New Year’s Eve. It took away the grease at the roots and added volume. Seriously, after brushing this through it looked like I had just finished my hair AND I smelled like chocolate… for a couple of minutes anyway :)

Coconut Oil Make-up Remover This is hands down the EASIEST part of my day (when I actually bother to wear makeup) but anyhoo – it works, like really works. Have you ever used the overpriced magic that Mary Kay sells (that works)? Well this works JUST LIKE THAT… but it is so much cheaper.

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Deodorant I’ve hesitated sharing this, because people might be approaching me with a stink mask, but I promise I don’t smell! I make my own deodorant, and it’s metal-free. So cool.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask I’ve only done this once, right around the time I started my no-poo adventure, but I remember liking how it made my hair feel.

No Poo Method If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you probably know that I don’t use shampoo/ conditioner. I plan to do a little update next month when I reach that one year milestone (!), but for now, I’ll just say I don’t miss them a bit! My hair has honestly never felt or looked better… and that’s coming from someone who has hated her hair her entire life. If you want to read my “no-poo” adventures so far, click here.

CLEANING

Lemon Vinegar This stuff is my go-to general purpose cleaner, and what I love even more is that it is kid-friendly. I add a few drops of tea tree oil, which has antibiotic qualities and I clean pretty much all my kitchen surfaces, doors and cabinets with this. You can also use orange peels. I freeze the peels and pull them out when it’s time to make another batch :)

Laundry Detergent Right now I am fortunate in that every few weeks my MIL whips up batches of a homemade recipe for all her daughters-in-law, similar to the one on this link. It works great too. I just found out about Soap Nuts though, and I am intrigued…

HEALTH

Treating a fever naturally I used the garlic foot paste and also the apple cider vinegar method on the littles in the past few weeks/ months and they each worked wonders. I wanted to jump up and down that I didn’t have to pull out any meds!!

Herbal Cough Medicine Bubby had a bad cough (especially at night) and cold that would not go away. I whipped this stuff up (minus the marshmallow root, only because I could not find it locally) and within a day and half it was gone – runny nose and all.

Sunscreen I got the chance to try this last summer, and not only does it go a looong way, but it is safe for everyone… and actually does what sunscreen is supposed to do.

Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer I’ll admit I don’t use this as often as I do the other things, but I love that it’s alcohol-free and it has a unique (good) smell to it. It takes a few seconds longer to “disappear” than the store-bought stuff, but still worth it to me and it lasts a long time, especially if you use hand sanitizer sparingly.

What should I add to my Hippie List? I just learned about making your own vanilla and other extracts… seriously these things blow my mind! When I get chance, most nights, I try to spend a few minutes in this book. The information is a little dated, so before doing anything it recommends I like to check up on it, but there is just so much around us that can be used to restore, heal and beautify. I probably sound like a nut, but if I do, I’m a happy one! :) Once you start this road, it’s hard to find a stopping point…

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