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Young Living Essential Oils

I was introduced to Young Living essential oils last fall.  I will admit it took a lot of convincing from a friend who had started to see the benefits for me to try them.  I finally purchased a starter kit and wanted to share how we use the oils:

Replacing Medicine with Young Living Essential Oils


ImmunityThieves is a unique blend said to help with immunity.  I place this on the bottom of my children’s feet and diffuse in my home diffuser any time any of us are feeling sick, if we’re around anyone who has been sick, or going into germ filled places during cold & flu season.

Allergies – I get terrible spring allergies.  I diffuse lemon, lavender, and peppermint each morning while I’m getting ready to help.  It has been recommended for me to try an allergy bomb which is this trio in a vegetable capsule and taken orally.  Will be sure to try it next Spring instead of Claritin!

Headaches – I suffer from chronic tension headaches and popped multiple Ibuprofen a day for years.  I get so much relief from peppermint oil that I have not used Ibuprofen in months.

Trouble Sleeping – I diffuse lavender or Peace & Calming in our home diffuser in the evenings to help calm everyone down and get us nice and sleepy.

Stress & Anxiety – I use Peace & Calming and Stress Away when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or when my kids are just plain driving me crazy.

Sore MusclesPanaway works wonders when I’ve been working hard at the gym and have sore muscles.

Snoring – My husband snores and placing Valor on his big toe helps us both get some sleep throughout the night.  Before using Valor (and lavender) our Fitbits were stating we were restless between 10-19 times per night.  Now, it’s more like 3-5.

Molluscum Contagiosum – Hudson caught a skin virus called molloscum contagiosum last summer.  It started as small bumps under his arm and spread down his arms and down his side.  After visiting our Pediatrician and him telling us that they don’t do anything for them I started researching how I could use oils.  After just a week of using Purification they were starting to disappear.  Within 3 weeks they were completely gone.

There is an oil for just about every ailment.  I was given the Essential Oils Pocket Reference which has helped so much in figuring out which oils might be best for whatever situation that we’re dealing with and how to apply them.  I am also a part of two different Facebook groups which offer so many great recipes, suggestions, and are so helpful when I have questions.

If you’re considering trying oils but you’re not sure where to begin I highly recommend the premium starter kit.  It’s a $249.50 value but you will get it for $150 which is such a steal .  It includes 10 everyday oils which are:  Frankincense, Joy, Lavender, Lemon, Panaway, Peace & Calming, Peppermint, Purification, Thieves, Valor, and Stress Away PLUS a home diffuser (which is normally $95).

Purchasing the kit also makes you a “member” which gives you 24% off of any reorders/future purchases.  Think of it like a Sam’s Club membership…becoming a member does not mean you have to sell any product.  You may simply just use the oils yourself.  The first 5 kit sales made through July 31, 2014 will receive a helpful magnet that describes how to use the kit oils.

Here’s how you sign up:

Step 1:

Step 2: Make sure “Wholesale Member” is selected instead of “Retail Customer.” This way you get access to the kit and the 24% discount you get afterwards.

Step 3: Fill out all the information. It will ask you for your ss# but this is only for legal purposes so that you have the ability to sign others up for kits too (YL is a referral based business). If you never sign anyone up, your ss # will never be used.

Step 4: Make sure you write down your pin, user name and password when you choose it because you’ll need that in the future to log into your account.

Step 5: Select the “PREMIUM START LIVING KIT”.  This is the one with the everyday oils kit and the diffuser.

Step 6: Click “Agree” and “Next”

Step 7:  Add any additional products if you wish.

Step 8: Check out. You’re done!

If you have any questions at all I am here to help!


Documenting Life Instagram Challenge

A few years ago I hosted a Documenting Life Challenge here on my blog.  I loved thinking outside of the box of what I typically capture my children doing.  And it held me to actually photographing them once a week.  These days, I am more inclined to pick up my iPhone than my digital SLR.  And, so, I thought what if I reformatted the challenge to be shared via Instagram instead of the blog?

So, I teamed up with a couple of my favorite mamas, Ashley from I Love You More Than Carrots and Erin from Hello Erin, to bring you the Documenting Life Instagram challenge.  Participating is simple.  Share that month’s prompt list (available on my Instagram, Ashley’s Instagram, and Erin’s Instagram).  And then take a photo using the prompt for that week and link up using the hashtag #documentinglifechallenge.

Below, are our August prompts.  You can view the rest of the year’s below:



Week of August 4:  Summer Treats

Week of August 11:  Swimsuit Fun

Week of August 18:  Barefoot

Week of August 25:  Favorite Summer Activity


Week of September 1:  At the park

Week of September 8:  Ready for School

Week of September 15:  Favorite Book

Week of September 22:  The Whole Family

Week of September 29:  Fresh out of Bed


Week of October 6:  Helping in the kitchen

Week of October 13:  Favorite Fall Activity

Week of October 20:  Pumpkin Fun

Week of October 27:  Your child in their Halloween costume


Week of November 3:  Favorite article of clothing

Week of November 10:  Playing

Week of November 17:  Fall Weather

Week of November 24:  A Thanksgiving Tradition


Week of December 1:  Decking the Halls

Week of December 8:  A typical breakfast

Week of December 15:  Snow

Week of December 22:  A Christmas Tradition

Week of December 29:  Close Up


Week of January 5:  Their favorite toy

Week of January 12:  A quirk that you want to remember about your child

Week of January 19:  Tackling a challenge

Week of January 26:  Mom & Me


Week of February 2:  Creating art

Week of February 9:  Laughing

Week of February 16:  All bunded up

Week of February 23:  Some place you always go but never think to document


Week of March 2:  Dress up

Week of March 9:  Holding hands

Week of March 16:  Your child’s bedroom

Week of March 23:  With friends

Week of March 30:  Upset


Week of April 6:  Easter Fun

Week of April 13:  Spring Weather

Week of April 20:  Playing with Dad

Week of April 27:  Funny Face


Week of May 4:  Family Fun

Week of May 11:  Getting Messy

Week of May 18:  At the dinner table

Week of May 25:  Sidewalk Chalk Art


Week of June 1:  Water Fun

Week of June 8:  Family Pet

Week of June 15:  Mom in the shot – bedtime story

Week of June 22:  Favorite Snack

Week of June 29:  Celebrating America


Week of July 6:  A part of your morning routine

Week of July 13:  Your choice – what do you want to remember about your child at this stage?

Week of July 20:  Summer Nights

Week of July 27:  Smile


Erin - I’m so excited not only to help you host the challenge– but to participate! This is a challenge I think I can take head on ;)

Interview with Wendy VonSosen

I have followed photographer Wendy VonSosen for some time.  I came across her blog after her sister, Tatertots & Jello, had linked to her.  I love the way that she documents her children’s lives.  I often tell our Mamarazzi class about her because we speak from the perspective of having young children and documenting all of the new things that they are doing.  I feel like Wendy does a great job of telling the story of who her children are even though they are older.  Today, I wanted to do a little interview with her so that she could speak on how she does that.

Wendy VonSosen

Wendy VonSosen


Name:  Wendy VonSosen
Location:  Danville, California
Kids & Ages: Maddy 19, Jack 15, Erik 13, Will 9
Favorite Camera Gear: Nikon D800, lenses: Nikon 85 1.4, 35 1.4, 50 1.4
Tell us how you began your photography journey: I started my blog soon after transplanting our family to a tiny Idaho town surrounded by fields and tractors and dirt roads.  I had one friend to my name, all of my kids were in school, and I found myself with time on my hands and nothing creative to fill it with.  While I amused myself by writing about the oddities of living in the country, I soon recognized that the photos I shot for each post paled in comparison to those of my fellow bloggers.  I knew I needed to learn to take a good picture!  (Those high school film classes were long gone.) After unearthing my camera manual, I spent the subsequent year living and breathing photography.  One thing lead to another and I started a humble business.  For the past 5 years I’ve been Creative Director and Head Decision-Maker at my own Bay Area-based portrait photography business Wendy VonSosen Photography where I document newborns, high school seniors, families, and take a whole slew of head shots in my  studio in downtown Danville, California.

Documenting your older children

Often times I come across Moms with older children who are at a loss for how to document their lives.  Any tips or tricks you can give them?  It’s relatively easy to photograph cute little kids doing cute little things when they’re young and happy to be in front of the camera.  It’s a whole different beast when they hit the pre-teen years and the last thing they want is to pose for the camera and end up on Mom’s IG feed being shared with the whole world. How uncool would that be?  But documenting your older kids is just as important as documenting them when they’re young. So, once my kids hit a certain age, I had to learn to be stealth with the camera and choose my moments wisely.  Sometimes my kids don’t even know that I’m taking a picture of them (my favorite kind of shot). Although I admit to using bribery on the rare occasion that I need a posed shot, I rarely take posed photos of my kids anymore.  I look for moments when they’re in beautiful light and I snap them doing whatever they happen to be doing in the moment (which admittedly often involves staring blankly into their phones). I’m usually without my big camera so my iphone is my go-to camera these days for documenting my own family.   And I’m OK with that because an iphone photo is better than no photo at all and anytime my big camera comes out, my kids seem to magically disappear.   So my advice would be to carefully choose your moment and document it with whatever device is handy.  These teen years go by in the blink of an eye and whether or not you realize it in the moment, you’ll cherish these years one day and the photos you’ve taken of these moody, amazing, wonderful teenagers.



What are some of your favorite things to photograph your children doing?  Since I’m not very good at journaling, I’m relying on my photos to tell the story of our family.  I love photographing the details that make each person unique.  I’m not talking about documenting one kid sitting on the couch smiling at the camera,  I’m talking about photographing that kid perched on a log at the beach because that’s the way he sits at the breakfast table every morning or on his bed when he reads.  I try and include little details that tell who each person is. For instance, I took the picture of my daughter laying on her bed texting not because it’s a  “perfect portrait” but because it shows how she wore her hair all senior year piled on top of her head and the initials above her bed that she decoupaged with pictures from Vogue magazine because she loves fashion and the lights that she strung on her headboard because she’s still a little afraid of the dark. The picture of my son sipping milk in the dining room was taken to remember that this was his daily after school routine, to be alone for a few minutes and decompress with a snack and without the chaos of the other kids and Mom in the kitchen. And the photo of my little boys reading on the bed was to document how the older one (who read very early) has been so patient with the younger one who struggles with Dyslexia by reading to him every night and helping him with words he can’t figure out.  Over his bed is his “About Me” poster he made in first grade along with Star Wars stickers on his under-the-bed drawers from his Star Wars phase.  Most of these images wouldn’t mean anything to other people but they represent our family dynamics and our history.





How have you learned to balance life as a working Mom?  This was tough in the beginning and I failed miserably.  Now that I’ve had some experience I’ve learned to set “work hours” while the kids are at school and only answer emails during those hours.  I try and get all of my work done before they come home from school because I know my time and attention and chauffeuring skills will be needed once those school bells ring.  I also try not to schedule more than 2 Saturdays a week with sessions.  My husband works long hours and sometimes the only time we have to catch up is on the weekends.   I’ve definitely learned to say “no” to the things that are unnecessary and not to take on more than I can reasonably accomplish.  I’ve also learned to take time for myself which includes regular time at the gym and a pedicure every now and then.  But I’m still a work in progress.



Thank you Wendy.  I enjoyed having you!  Everyone, be sure to follow both her blog and her Instagram.

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