Tangy Potato Salad Recipe with Bacon, Dill, and Chives

Summer is synonymous with a few things: watermelon, barbecue, and potato salad.

But not that pasty, bland stuff that passes for potato salad that you get at the deli.  This is real potato salad that will make your taste buds stand up and say “well, hello!”.

We’ve done a lot of grilling so far this summer, and so I had to find the perfect potato salad recipe to go with all of that delicious grilled food.

This is that recipe.

Zesty Potato Salad Recipe with bacon and chives

In fact my husband said that this is the best potato salad he’s ever had, worthy of being brought to a picnic or family reunion.

Since you probably don’t know my husband, let me say that level of praise does not come often!  He really loved it.

So whether you’re looking for something to eat in your own backyard, or something to share with friends, this potato salad will beat any deli version all hollow.

So, what do you need for this tangy potato salad recipe?

  • 1–5lb bag of red potatoes
  • 1/2  cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • a handful of fresh chives, chopped
  • 4 slices un-cured bacon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (we like this one because it is egg-free)
  • 1 Tbsp reserved bacon drippings
  • 5 drops Dill Essential Oil (I used Young Living brand) or 1tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp pure stevia powder (I use this one, because it is minimally processed)

It is definitely worth getting this potato salad recipe made up ahead of time so it has plenty of time to sit in the fridge and let the flavors marry together.  Believe me, it will be time well spent!  Your taste buds will say, “thank you!”

 So are you ready for your potato salad recipe?

Here you go!

Tangy Potato Salad Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
This tangy, bacony, chive and dill-ey potato salad will impress a crowd. Have less than a crowd? Half this recipe and enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs red potatoes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp reserved bacon drippings
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 drops dill essential oil (Young Living brand recommended) or 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • A handful of fresh chives, chopped
  • ⅛ tsp pure white stevia powder
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes for about 30 minutes, or just long enough to be just barely tender enough to insert a fork.
  2. Drain, and set aside to cool.
  3. While the potatoes are cooling, fry the bacon and set aside the drippings.
  4. Prepare the dressing for the potato salad by whisking together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, bacon drippings, salt and pepper, dill essential oil, stevia, and chives together.
  5. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.
  6. Toss lightly with the dressing and crumbled bacon pieces.
  7. Chill for several hours to allow flavors to blend. Then serve!

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Zesty Potato Salad recipe with bacon and chives ef


When Essential Oils Do Not Work: 5 Reasons

In the three years that I’ve been working with people and coaching them with essential oils, there have been some times where the essential oils don’t work.

Did you read that right?  Yes!

There are times where essential oils do not work.

Essential Oils Do Not WorkI’ve gotten a few frustrated calls and emails over the years asking “what gives?” These are the five most common reasons that essential oils do not work for everyone who tries them.

This video was originally recorded on Periscope.  You can download the app for your smart phone or tablet and see more live broadcasts like this when you follow me @TheEssentialFam.

1.  Low quality essential oils do not work as well as authentic and complete essential oils.

Let’s just keep it real.  Most people agree that quality often affects the experience of using a product.

With food, a higher quality food is more nutritious for your body and helps it to run better than junk food.  Chia seeds are higher quality than packaged snack cakes, and they cost more too.  I don’t think most people would dispute the value that you get in the Chia vs. snack cakes comparison.

Comparing restaurants, you expect a different experience when you roll through a fast food burger joint than when you go to a 5 star steakhouse.  You also expect the price difference.

You get what you pay for in those cases.  Why would it be different with essential oils?

A designer hand bag will always look better, the key is the attention to detail and the quality of the source materials.  Many luxury items are hand sewn, piece by piece.  Go to a discount store and pick up a plastic and rayon clone and you can easily see the difference!

With essential oils it is easy to think that it is a standard process, like buying an apple, or a box of peppermint tea, but the attention to detail, and the exact way the oil is created, tested, or distilled will greatly impact the results you get.  It’s not the same as the difference between name-brand cereal and the generic.  Not at all.

In fact, without going on a huge tangent, distilling an oil at too high a temperature, for too short a time, or in a poorly fabricated “cooker” can create an oil that lacks critical botanical components that make an oil beneficial to the body.  That will yield an oil that may smell pleasant, but won’t give the same level of benefits of an oil distilled with high standards.

The short story is, many essential oils are not pure (despite the labeling) and are altered with undisclosed ingredients and synthetic components.  They aren’t required to tell that to you.  (Essential oils are not regulated in the US, and quality/botanical composition varies widely between brands).

Seeking out quality oils will require some research, but wouldn’t you rather do a little reading and get results than just jump on something that sounds good and take your chances? I know I like results!  I’ll bet you do too.

In fact my whole journey with essential oils was almost derailed by using a low-quality essential oil brand found at the health food store.  My son was hurt by using those low-cost oils and my husband and I didn’t have any positive benefits from the nearly $200 worth of those oils.  Thankfully I had a very different experience with a different, high-quality brand.

In the many cases I’ve helped to troubleshoot, using low quality oils is the most common problem.

2.  Essential oils do not work if you use the wrong oil for your body type.

Browse your local discount store and you will see a lot of products all meant to address the same concerns.  Have you ever wondered why there are so many options?

The answer is pretty simple, what works for me may not work as well for you.   We come from different backgrounds, lifestyles and histories, and our bodies are as unique as we are!

Does that mean that if it doesn’t work for you as well as me that the product isn’t of value?  No, it just means that it isn’t the best option for your needs.

Inside of each human is a custom genetic code that tells our bodies how to work at peak performance.  It stands to reason, that with such a wide variety of differences, our bodies will respond to the same input differently.

My favorite oil for relaxation and sleep is Roman Chamomile, but you may not find it as soothing as I do.  For you, Lavender or Cedarwood may unlock the Sandman!

Reference books will nearly always suggest 5-10 different essential oils for a given concern, and experimenting and paying attention to how you feel will tell you all you need to know about which oil will be best for you.

Sometimes you will find that you will use different oils for different members of your family.  I use the same immune supporting oils as my son, and my daughter uses the same as my husband.

Moral of the story?  If your first choice of oils isn’t giving you the results you want, try another on the list!  There is a reason there are many options!  Your body will tell you what you need to know.

3.  Essential oils do not work if you are using the wrong method.

Western society has conditioned us to believe that for the best results, we should take things by mouth.  Sometimes the best course of action IS to take an essential oil internally (with proper direction), but not always.

In fact, most of the time, you’ll get the results you are looking for by using the other two methods first. In modern aromatherapy there are three primary ways that you can use genuine essential oils:

  • By applying them to your body (Topical Use)
  • By breathing them in (Aromatic Use)
  • By using them internally (Ingestion, or Suppository/Bolus usage)

The good news is that it is much easier to know which way to use your oils for the results you want if you have a good reference book that explains the preferred method for your circumstance.

I’ll give an example, if I’ve just come in from a hard workout and I want to soothe my stressed muscles, the best method to give me the results I want would probably be to apply some oils topically to my body.  I could certainly TRY to inhale some oils instead, but I wouldn’t necessarily change how my muscles felt.

I could try using some oils internally by mouth, but again, the most direct way to soothe my muscles would be to put some oils ON them.

So if your results are a bit lackluster, try changing up your method and see if maybe you can start to see different benefits.  Your reference book will give you the guidance you need.

Don’t have a reference book yet?  Check out Amazon, Abundant Health, or Life Science Publishers.  They are all good potential places to find quality books.  You’ll be glad to have the expert advice at your fingertips.

4.  Essential oils do not work if you don’t use them often enough.

This is point is pretty straight forward, but you don’t need to worry about following a pre-set schedule when it comes to using essential oils.

I manage my oil use based on the instructions in my reference and how I feel.  If I feel I need the oil again, I use it.

So let’s say that I used an essential oil an hour ago, and I am noticing that it has worn off, I’d probably use the oil again and continue to enjoy those aromatic benefits.

So listen to your body!  I use the oils when I feel I need to.

5.  Essential oils do not work if you follow bad advice.

If you watch me on Periscope you’ve probably heard me say this a lot but I’ll say it again.

Please, I beg of you, do not get your essential oil advice from social media or from a search engine!  PLEASE!

Just because someone posted an article, wrote an article, made a graphic, or posted a protocol doesn’t mean that they should give you that advice or that the advice is accurate.

I’ve seen oil instructions posted with the names of aroma-experts or oil companies attached to them that are NOT correct representations of what that expert or company teaches, and I’ve watched people blindly follow that information without every questioning whether it was accurate.

Please do not be that person.

Just keep in mind: Internet access is cheap, and just because someone presents themselves as an expert on the internet, or has beautiful and professional looking graphics, or runs a website does not mean that they have any business diagnosing or prescribing what you do next.

This goes for any source of information.  There are tons of references that can help you to verify whether the information you are reading is correct.

The loudest voices on the web are not always the most accurate.  Become a voracious consumer of second-opinions!  Trust, but verify.

Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to understand the context behind the differences in essential oil advice in the United States.  Knowing that background will help put much of what you find on the internet into perspective.

Bonus:  Essential oils do not work if you don’t get them out of the bottle and use them.

Ultimately you will learn more about essential oils and how they interact with your body if you try them and see how you respond.

You wouldn’t be able to believe the number of times that a person hadn’t even TRIED the oils that they had bought before they called me with a million thoughts whirling around their heads.

So here’s my super scientific advice: if you’ve got it, try it!

What do you have to lose?  What if it DOES work?

And even if it doesn’t, go through the checklist of the five other reasons and see what you need to troubleshoot first.   After all, there are millions of happy essential oil users, so it is working for them!  You can join them!

When Essential Oils Do Not Work


Berry Fresh Fruit Salad Recipe with an Orange and Mint Kick!

What can I say?  I love picnic food and I love summertime!  There is something absolutely lovely about making a bunch of delicious cold salads ahead of time and then just serving them alongside some grilled food that just makes my heart swell!  Plus it helps me to not have to spend so much time in the kitchen, but who’s counting, right?

So today is Independence Day here in the United States and in honor of this special day, I decided to whip up a fresh and citrus-y berry fruit salad recipe!  It’s all the best things about summer all in one delicious bowl of fruity goodness.  Try it, you’ll see for yourself!

Berry Fresh Fruit Salad with an Orange and Mint Kick HorizontalI made it for the kids and they devoured it!  It was an instant hit, and I can promise you, your family will love it too!

Bring it to a barbecue, take it to the beach, eat it for breakfast, wake up in the middle of the night and sneak some…it’s just that good!

Just go get the ingredients and make it already!  You won’t be disappointed!

Berry Fresh Fruit Salad Recipe with an Orange and Mint Kick

Your shopping list:

  • 6 oz. fresh blackberries
  • 6 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 2 lbs. fresh strawberries
  • 6 oz. vanilla yogurt (we used So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut)
  • Fresh mint leaves (we used peppermint)
  • Orange essential oil (we used Young Living) or orange extract
  • Pure white stevia powder

So are you ready for the recipe?

Here you go!

Berry Fresh Fruit Salad with an Orange and Mint Kick!
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 8 servings
Prep time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. fresh blackberries
  • 6 oz. fresh raspberries
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 2 lbs. fresh strawberries
  • 6 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp thinly sliced (chiffonade) fresh mint leaves
  • 6 drops orange essential oil or ½ tsp orange extract
  • ⅛ tsp pure white stevia powder
Instructions
  1. Wash and drain berries, removing the hulls from strawberries, and cut strawberries into smaller pieces.
  2. Combine the yogurt, sliced mint leaves, orange essential oil, and stevia powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Gently fold the yogurt and berries together, cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

 

 

Berry Fresh Fruit Salad with an Orange and Mint Kick Vertical

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Video: My Top 5 Favorite Essential Oil Books (non-company specific)

I love essential oils and I love essential oil books even more!  I have close to 25 different books from a variety of authors and perspectives on aromatherapy.  Many of the books I have are specific to the brand of oils that I use, but the majority are not!  Today I’m sharing my 5 favorite non-company specific essential oil books with you!

Top 5 Essential Oil Books

I’m showing my non-company specific favorites because I really believe that there is good information out there that comes from a variety of sources.  I am a firm believer in both trusting and verifying my sources, so I try to pick high quality and qualified reference authors and compare their perspectives to find where I feel comfortable.

So here are my five favorite non-company specific essential oil books:

So those are my favorite go-to guides!

Do you have any favorite essential oil or aromatherapy books?  Leave your non-company specific titles in the comments!

See videos like this LIVE using the Periscope app on your smartphone.  Follow me @TheEssentialFam to be invited to my live natural living chats on Periscope!

Top 5 Essential Oil Books Pinterest


Spotlight on Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense Essential Oil: The Oil of Kings

Long known as the “oil of kings”, Frankincense essential oil (or “Frank” as I affectionately call it) has been a coveted essential oil for thousands of years.

Frankincense is a holy oil in many religions and is often used in ceremonies and special rites, and is even used today to help focus during times of prayer and meditation.
Spotlight on Frankincense Horizontal

Types of Frankincense

Young Living sells three different species of Frankincense essential oil:  Boswellia carterii, Boswellia sacra, and Boswellia frereana.

The one I’m talking about with you here today is Boswellia carterii.  Generally when I talk about Frankincense on this site, this is the species that I am talking about.  This is my all around go-to Frankincense, even though I own both other species as well.

Aroma

Frankincense has a woodsy and spicy scent, fairly exotic and warm.  I enjoy diffusing it with citrus oils like orange or tangerine to create a warm and inviting environment for having guests.  It also pairs very well with Lavender or Clary Sage for relaxation and rest.  I also diffuse it by itself for times of focus and spiritual thought.

Body Systems Frankincense Supports*:

Skin and Hair:  Frankincense is an exotic and helpful addition to natural skin care.  I  apply it to my face for a glowing and even complexion.  I use an essential oil infused skin moisturizer already, but will often add a little extra Frankincense to help soothe my skin and support an even skin-tone*.

Immune System:  Whenever I want to support my immune system*, I will apply Frankincense topically or diffuse it in the room where I am spending the most time.  I will often apply it to the VitaFlex points on my feet.

Respiratory System:  Frankincense also can help support a healthy respiratory system.*  I enjoy applying it to my chest and neck for a soothing moment of relaxation.

Spiritual Health: Because of its long, rich religious history, Frankincense can promote spiritual focus during times of prayer or meditation.  I  like to use few drops on my palms and then cup my hands over my nose and mouth to breathe deeply before times of prayer.  It is also very focusing for times when I need to calm myself and soothe nervous energy*.

Where to get Frankincense Essential Oil?

The brand I recommend is Young Living Essential Oils.  Frankincense essential oil is available as part of the Premium Starter Kit with Everyday Essential Oils, a super deal that saves you a lot of money on all the oils you will want to get a great start (and it earns you a 24% on all your future purchases!).

*The FDA has not reviewed this information.  This product is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.
Spotlight on Frankincense Vertical


15 Quick Chores that Take Under 5 Minutes

I am still a work in progress, my houses is getting cleaner and more organized as I go, but I am certainly not a perfect housekeeper yet!  I keep trying to incorporate more of the 1 minute chores into my daily routine, and as I do I’m finding that things are staying much nicer overall.  As I get more of these down I started to think beyond the shortest chores and see whether there were other things that I could do, but wouldn’t chain me to a mop all afternoon.

Enter 15 quick chores that will take you less than 5 minutes.

15 Quick Chores that take under 5 minutes

I think you’re going to love them, and that they don’t take you as long as you might think is really freeing.  Anyone’s got five minutes, right?

I actually find that one of the best times to knock out a few 5 minute chores is when I am on the phone with a friend.  After all, I can go grab the dishes that may have escaped my kitchen or wipe down my table without interrupting a good chat, right?

Good, I’m glad you see it my way!

So check out these 15 Quick Chores that you can do in under 5 minutes each:

  • Put away folded laundry.
  • Empty and put away clean dishes from the dishwasher.
  • Hand wash the dishes from one breakfast or lunch.
  • Clear table of dishes and wipe the table clean.
  • Sweep kitchen and clean up crumbs.
  • Scrub down toilet bowl and wipe toilet surfaces.
  • Take out the trash and replace with a new trash bag.
  • Vacuum a room with an uncluttered floor.
  • Scrub a bathtub.
  • Clean a shelf in the fridge.
  • Quickly mop a bathroom floor.
  • Find dishes around the house and return them to the kitchen.
  • Remove appliances currently in use from counters and put away.
  • Clear off one surface, throwing away all trash and filing any papers that must be kept.
  • Do a quick put away in any room: return out of place items to their appropriate place.

 Download the PDF Printable of the 15 Quick Chores under 5 Minutes

I hope that this list will help you to be able to add a few more chores back into your routine without feeling overwhelmed.  We will just keep taking 1 and 5 minute chunks out of the whole and our homes will get easier to manage bit by bit!

What other chores would you add to this list?  Any other chores that take you less than 5 minutes to do?

15 Quick Chores that take under 5 minutes


A Guilt Free Tip to Tame the Dirty Dishes Monster

I recently asked the Essential Family Facebook community what chore you would give up if you could pick one to never do again.  My pick AND the overwhelming answer I got was DISHES!

Over the years with our family on food allergy friendly, whole foods, mostly homemade diet I have grown to hate washing dishes.  Since almost everything our family eats is completely made at home, the dishes pile up in the sink, and on the counters, and any other flat kitchen surface FAST!

Dirty Dish Monster for FB

The dishes have been a struggle for me my entire adult life.  It got so bad after the birth of my youngest child that I felt ashamed to have house guests because the kitchen was always so perpetually behind.  I wondered if my mother or sister-in-law was silently judging me for being a poor housekeeper or thought that I should be less lazy or try a bit harder. The truth was, I was exhausted by the amount of dishes that I had to manage and almost always left at least an entire sink full to deal with the next day.

I am in a season of massive de-cluttering right now, and have really been re-assessing my priorities and what I really want out of my home.  As I have moved more and more things out of the house I have started to experience an increasing sense of peace as I let go of things that I had thought I needed.  When I really made myself answer “When was the last time I used this?” I realized that I had a LOT of things that I hadn’t used in a very long time, or that was a uni-tasker that I rarely needed.

Then I came across the idea to drastically reduce my dish load.  My biggest problem it seemed was that I kept piling dishes into my sink and my counter because I always had more to use without washing everything else.  So my dirty dishes sat there longer and longer, crusting up and becoming hard to clean.  Not good.

My experiment started by reducing the amount of dishes in my cabinet to only one plate or bowl of each size per person in my family.  Since we have four people, that meant only four plates, four bowls, and four mugs.  I decided to pick the dishes I liked the most so that any time I was using them it was my absolute favorites and so I’d get the most enjoyment out of them.  I want to wash my pretty dishes so that I can use them again!

It has made a DRAMATIC difference in how I do dishes.  I have only four plates, so they have to get washed right away.  Thankfully washing four plates, four forks, four spoons and four cups is really very fast.  That means that my sink is much easier clean between meals, and even if I slack off and don’t wash them after the meal, it is only a few dishes to wash before the next meal.  No more massive piles, no more dread and guilt when I walk into my kitchen.  Having only just enough handy helps to cultivate habits that make life more peaceful and easy to keep up with.

Honestly, I think a lot of messiness comes from having too many things to arrange, organize or keep up with so paring down the “options” has made it easier to keep the dishes done.

I’m even considering downsizing the amount of pots and pans I have as well.  That way I won’t have as hard of a time digging through cabinets for cookware and I’ll have less to let pile up along with the dishes.

I can hear you thinking though, “What about having people over?” I am so glad you asked!  We didn’t toss the extra dishes, we just put them in an out of the way cabinet.  They are just enough out of the way to be inconvenient to get when I need a clean dish, but still handy enough to have available for when we entertain.

It has really provided a lot of peace of mind.  Even though I know that I am still technically doing the same amount of dishes overall, being forced to break up the washing into smaller, more bite-sized chunks makes it not as overwhelming and makes it easy enough to knock out in five minutes.  Being able to see quick results is so much better than having to slog through 45 minutes of dishes to be able to see the counter!

And all by putting away some dishes.

How about you?  Have you found a way to make managing your dishes easier?  Please share with me in the comments!

Dirty Dish Monster for Pinterest


20 Quick Chores that Only Take ONE Minute!

I am a recovering messy housekeeper!  And by recovering I mean I have to work at it every day to make sure that I don’t fall behind.   I used to tell myself I’d do better when I was a stay at home mom, then I told myself I’d do better when my kids were a bit older, but I never actually got better at keeping my house pulled together.  I never could find a way to break out of the cycle of guilt and binge cleaning.

I was reading a book for business development called The Compound Effect and that is when I had my “a ha” moment.  For all those years I felt completely beat down because no matter how hard I tried to keep up I always ended up burning out after a couple of days.  I would go on these huge cleaning binges, and at the end of them I was so tired out that I just knew that I could never keep up with it long-term.

20 Chores that take 1 minute fb image

Thankfully, what I learned from the book was so much more than a business idea, it was a whole life principle.  The general gist of it is that the way that we make progress towards any goal is more about cumulative effect of repeated, consistent small efforts, and less about sporadic large bursts of activity.

That got me thinking, “What if I could break up household chores into smaller pieces that wouldn’t be so overwhelming.”  Something about thinking “I need to clean up my house” sounds so much more overwhelming than remembering a few small tasks and committing to do them regularly.

That was my missing link.  So I started to map out the tasks that I needed to do around the house and the amount of time it took me to do them.  What I found SHOCKED me!

Most of the household chores that I dreaded the most took less time to do than it took me to worry about them.  I was amazed by how many formerly intimidating tasks took less than a minute.

So here is a list of 20 quick household chores that should take a minute or less.

Will you join the challenge and try incorporating some of these into your routine?  Over time, the small effort could yield a larger cumulative effect!

  1. Load dirty clothes into the clothes washer and switch a load to the dryer.
  2. Wipe down the shower walls after a shower (helps keep water spots, soap scum, and mildew to a minimum).
  3. Wipe down the bathroom sink.
  4. Wipe down the kitchen or bathroom counters.
  5. Sort mail, throw away junk, and file mail to follow up with later.
  6. Clean off one surface that collects clutter.
  7. Straighten a shelf or two on a bookshelf.
  8. Take meat out of the freezer to that for dinner.
  9. Decide what’s for dinner and post it on your fridge so you have a plan for the evening.
  10. Make the bed.
  11. Water houseplants.
  12. Change hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen.
  13. Wipe out and clean the kitchen sink.
  14. Clean the stove top and front.
  15. Lay out clothes for the morning.
  16. Re-fill ice cube trays.
  17. Re-fill soap dispensers.
  18. Re-stock toilet paper in bathrooms.
  19. Clean a mirror.
  20. Clear dishes from the table and quickly wipe down.

Download The PDF of these 20 Quick Chores HERE

Being able to visualize some of the daily tasks as such small time takers was a huge mental shift for me.  Instead of being overwhelmed by all the things that I had to do, I could see that I could easily knock out a few 1 minute tasks and start to see a big difference.  As I got used to performing those tasks I added a few more.  Now it is much easier to keep up.

I still have times when I get behind, but when I do, I know that it will take these small steps to get back on track, and it is not too hard to do.

What 1 minute tasks would you add to this list?  Please share in the comments!

20 Chores that take 1 minute pinterest image


When Mother’s Day is Hard

It’s the day before Mother’s Day and it is snowing. There is just something wrong with that, with the idea that snow should disrupt one of the beautiful days of spring. The cold, damp weight of winter shouldn’t be allowed to interrupt the warm hope and promise of spring, but life doesn’t always consider these things. Sometimes snow comes on Mother’s Day. Sometimes snow comes on Mother’s Day two years in a row.

Sometimes the snow isn’t literal, but a snow of the heart and of the soul.

When Mother's Day is Hard

I remember celebrating Mother’s Day as a child. I brought home decorated Styrofoam cup dolls, colored macaroni picture artwork, and hand drawn cards. They were horribly unartistic, but offered with all the love of a child who adores her mother. I saw my mother’s gentle smile and appreciative glance when my brother and I brought home a white plastic bowl filled with grocery store fruit as a gift from her teenagers who couldn’t quite figure out what to buy for their mother. Mother’s Day was magical.

As a young woman I looked forward to the day when I could celebrate the day as the mother and not only the child. It was my deepest wish to be a mother, and as soon as possible.

My husband and I didn’t start our family until we were married for several years. Like many young couples we thought that the smartest thing to do would to be to spend some time “getting to know each other” before we complicated matters by adding a small, very time-consuming person to the mix. We never considered that there would be anything other than simplicity in bringing a child into the world, and thought that we could add to our family when we were ready. The promise of Mother’s Days to come were just something that would happen for us, and on our schedule.

I remember being 16 weeks pregnant with my first child, dreaming of the future and the person our child would become. I was entertaining myself with imagined gifts of dandelions and sloppy PB&J kisses. I thought about the moments we would share, the quiet moments we would have, and yes, even the times when I’d cool a fevered brow, or hold back hair for my sick child.

One evening, on a date for our wedding anniversary, my hope of a Mother’s Day to remember were dashed. I lost that little baby at 16 weeks of pregnancy, but I didn’t lose the love, the desire, or the hope for future memories.  Those are never lost, even when the child they rested on is.

A few months later, baby #2 followed baby #1 to heaven and I was left, again, with empty arms.

I remember the morning like it was yesterday.

Mother’s Day morning, 2008.

My babies were dead, my arms and my womb and my heart were empty, and I desperately wanted to know if I was a mother. I wanted to know more than anything if I could celebrate my motherhood even if my children lived somewhere beyond my reach.

I silently dressed, moving through the rituals of getting ready for church, my mind consumed with the thought.

Am I a mother?

I AM a mother!

People won’t think it counts.

How do I manage this?

I went back and forth through my thoughts, alternately justifying and berating myself for something that was 100% out of my control. I felt consumed with what others would think of me if I appeared sad.

Every Mother’s Day our church presented a token gift to mothers. The children of the church picked up flowers from the front of the auditorium, and the pastor asked all mothers to stand. The children walked through the auditorium and gave the flowers to the standing ladies. It was meant to be nice, to be affirming, but I felt ashamed, confused, and deflated by where I fit in.

Should I stand?

What would people think if I stood with no pregnant belly, no baby carrier, or no diaper bag by my side?

Honestly, I don’t even remember if I stood that day 7 years ago. I am fairly sure that I went and used the bathroom and silently cried instead.

What I do know is, it was horrible.

Since then I’ve had the blessing of speaking with many precious women:  women who struggle with infertility, women who have babies in heaven, women with empty arms. Mother’s Day is hard for many of us. For some there are no macaroni masterpieces, no sticky kisses, no precious moments.

For others children have come after time and the pain eases but never fades completely.

Every Mother’s Day I remember ALL my children, the ones who I hold, who climb into my bed in the middle of the night, who give me tremendous joy, and the ones who I never held.

For me, I have six children. Two who I love and cherish every day that they’re here in my arms, and four who I love and cherish in the hope of a time when I’ll meet them in the hereafter.

For you mommies without biological children, Happy Mother’s Day!

Whether your womb has held a child for a day or full term, whether your arms are empty or full, you are a mother! If you are struggling with infertility or miscarriage today, I want to tell you something very intently. I desperately need you to hear me.

You are a mother!

Motherhood is more than the physical act of conception and birth. It’s more than the physical care of a child. Motherhood is a calling in your heart. Even if you aren’t able to mother your own children, you are a mother to someone; to those who you gather to your heart, who you nurture and protect, you are their mother.

For those who may have never experienced infertility or pregnancy loss, please be kind to those who have. Look out for these hurting mommies. Recognize their motherhood this Mother’s Day. Give them a hug, a reassuring squeeze, a “Happy Mother’s Day”.

Let them know you care.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Have you experienced the loss of a child?  Please let us remember and recognize your children, please tell us about your family in the comments!

P.S. Please share this with a hurting mommy this Mother’s Day!

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DIY All Natural Spa Basket for Mom!

Looking for some fun DIY make at home gifts for mom this Mother’s Day?

Or are you a mom like me with kids too small to make these for you?

I give you permission to make them for yourself! You deserve it! (I’ll be making some for myself too! After all, us moms work hard, we deserve a little pampering!)

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There are a bunch of fun projects to make: scented foaming hand soap, linen spray, a skin sloughing sugar scrub, creamy body butter, soothing bath salts, and a cleansing and pampering body wash!

I’d love to hear which ones you try!

Mothers-Day-Spa-Basket-Recipes

Download the PDF to print the recipes!

Where can you find the different supplies you will need?

Most of the glassware can be found at a local health food store, or you can check for an online source. (I pretty much buy most of my harder to find items online, basically because our shopping options are very limited where we live!)

You can also get some of the other items like Epsom salts, vitamin E oil, and the shea butter at a health food store if you have one nearby!

So go ahead and enjoy these all natural bath and body products for mom!  They smell great, and they’ll make mom feel as great is she is!
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