You’ve heard us mention before how much we love Essential Oils! Well, we quickly discovered that when you have a lot of the oils and accessories, you need a way to organize and store them or it can get out of hand quickly! FYM Emily found a convenient, easy, and affordable way to store hers and it utilizes another one of our favorite companies- Thirty One Gifts!
Meet the Glamour Case- this is a cute, compact case that’s lined in plastic. It’s actually made for carrying makeup- but it’s the perfect height for bottles of essential oils! I liked to organize alphabetically so that it’s easier to find! I have found that one of the things I need at this point is labels for the tops of my bottles!
I started with my blends first because I have less of them! And put them in alphabetical order, but I quickly found I needed dividers! So I cut out the back of the black boxes that Edens Garden oils come in and voila! Instant divider.
Once the blends were in- I put in my single oils, again, alphabetically. And then of course- another divider.
What I found at this point was I didn’t have enough oils! But it allowed me to have extra space for my glass roller bottles and 2 oz spray bottles. I ordered these from Amazon- they’re great for blending and making the things you need. They came with dividers and fit perfectly in the case.
That filled the case! And it left a little room for me to add my oil journal- this is where I keep track of the blends and diffuser recipes that I love. On top of that I put on my Mabel’s Labels. If you thought that Mabel’s Labels was just for kids- you need to think again! They sent us these great home labels called Write Away. I am obsessed! They have two layers- the label and a white plastic. You use a sharpie (that I keep in my case) to write on the label. Then peel both and place on your roller. The white plastic smoothed the label so that there are no air bubbles, then peels off and leaves the perfect stick! I love it! I’ve tried labels that are just sharpie on the bottle, cricut vinyls, and nothing stands up like these! They are now my go to!
Anytime I I need a new blend or a refill, it’s easy to make- I just pull out my handy case and I’m good to go!
Ready for more ways to save money?! This is another rebate app that we love, but can be slower to earn money from. It is called Checkout 51. It is an app for your phone that gives you a certain amount of money for purchasing specific things. Similar to the other apps we have shared, you need to upload a photo of your receipt and then select the items you are claiming, however you do not need to scan the bar codes of the specific items like the other apps.
Once the receipt is processed, it deposits that amount into your account, when you hit $20 you can request a payout via check or PayPal! So while this does take a little longer than some of the others, it is still an easy way to have a forced savings. Particularly if you’re using the funds you have from couponing for something like a college savings, or a vacation, you can watch this accumulate.
Unlike some of the other apps that only pay you for one of a certain item, Checkout 51 allows you to claim multiples (with a limit that varies per item). There are also bonuses for purchasing specific items or multiples that let you get more savings!
Important to note about this app is that the offers change on Wednesdays, which is different than most sales cycles. So if you’re counting on it in your weekly match-ups, just be sure to shop and upload your receipt before the offers change! They are also limited and tend to be claimed fairly quickly, so if it’s a good deal, don’t wait to claim!
We like this as an added bonus for saving money. So far FYM Emily has earned $83.55 and FYM Sherrie has earned $92.25. Do you use Checkout 51? How much have you saved?
Another one of our favorite money saving coupon apps is SavingStar! This is another app that gives you cash back for buying specific items. This app tends to sync up with the Sunday coupons every week, so it’s a good way to get some freebies!
First things first, you need to download the app, we’ve connected our bank accounts to it so we can get paid cash directly. You also need to connect your store cards to the app as that is how it verifies your purchases. This is a little different from apps like Ibotta, but it means that you don’t have to take the extra step of uploading receipts! The app is available for a wide variety of stores and will show you what’s available near you using your zip code.
Then, you choose the rebates you want, sometimes it’s cash for a specific item, and sometimes it’s a larger amount of cash for spending a certain threshold. For those types of rebates, you can also participate in learning more about the product to get a “boost” towards your spending – that’s easy, free money!
When you purchase the items, or reach the threshold of particular items, you are automatically credited with the rebate amount. Once you reach $5, you can cash out in the form of gift cards, Paypal, or even directly into your bank account! It’s an easy was to earn cash back!
Unlike some of the other apps we’ve shared with you, SavingStar can also work from a desktop, so if you don’t like to download apps to your phone- never fear! You can still use this one! It all adds up, since she started using it about two years ago FYM Emily has saved $311.45 and FYM Sherrie has saved over $100!
What are you waiting for? Get started here!
I have really enjoyed using more essential oils in our cleaning products! One place that I hate using chemicals in particular is in our bathroom. Every time I clean it, I feel like I’m just inhaling fume after fume. I specifically do it while Madeline is asleep so I can shut her door! and even after all that, it never seems to be that much cleaner!
That’s when I discovered a soft scrub recipe using essential oils on Pinterest. I never have bought soft scrub before, I always used a cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles. I was excited to give it a try! And I was able to make it with ingredients I had in my house!
Here’s what you’ll need:
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup castille soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s and LOVE it!)
1 Tablespoon Water
8 drops Lemon Essential Oil
5 drops Lime Essential Oil
5 drops Cleaning Blend Essential Oil
First you mix the baking soda and castille soap together with a wire whisk or a fork, make sure there are no clumps! Then add in the water and mix. After that, add your oils (you can change the combination, but don’t lose the citrus!) Mix thoroughly and you’re ready to go! If you don’t use it all in one sitting, you can keep it in an airtight container out of the sunlight.
I just added globs to the places I needed to clean; tile, bathtub, toilet boil, bathroom sink. Using a scrubber sponge and water it took no time to scrub down everything! I even used it with my regular toilet brush in the toilet instead of toilet bowl cleaner! I was amazed and how stains that I felt like had been there since we moved in came off with ease! Warning- the state of my bathroom was gross before cleaning, I’m almost embarrassed to post them!
This is a staple in our cleaning routine now, I make it weekly, so much faster, more efficient, and safe to use!
If you’re an online shopper (which if you’re a mom, let’s face it, online shopping is life) and you’re not using Ebates then we’re about to change your life!
We do a lot of online shopping! Being a mom is exhausting and you may not have a lot of free time to be out shopping. So online shopping whether during a late night feeding or waiting for your kid at the bus stop is a life saver. Ebates is a great way to make those online deals just a little bit sweeter by paying you cash back, literally cold hard cash, for shopping through their links!
Here’s how it works:
Log on and create an Ebates account. Once you do that you can can activate cash back two ways. The first option is you can go to directly to the site, search for the store you’re shopping at and click through from Ebates. The second option is you can install the Ebates cash back button for your internet browser. We both like the second option because what can happen is that you forget to click the links through Ebates first. So anytime you visit a site eligible for Ebates cash back it will create a pop up that asks if you want to activate your cash back – super easy!
We also recommend checking out their mobile app. They do promos like Mobile Mondays! On Mondays (and other holidays) by shopping through the app instead of the computer links, some stores will offer higher percentages of cash back. This is awesome! Particularly during the holidays when it happens all the time.
You can also earn bonuses for referring friends- they get money and so do you! It’s a win win all around.
This has totally changed the way we online shop. To be honest, we get more than a little sad when we see 0% cash back on a store. 😭! To date, after almost two years Emily has made $426.24 and Sherrie has made $258.55! Are you an Ebates user? If not, you will be now! Ready to get started? Join us here or here!
One thing both of us here at Forever Young Moms love to do is read! But it’s increasingly hard to find or make the time to read for fun. We love the idea of book clubs for moms because it forces you to make the time and you are exposed to new books you may not have tried before!
FYM Emily introduced Sherrie to a Mommies Only Book Club on Facebook. This is the best of both worlds, not only are you getting to read a new book, but you can discuss the book over a weekend, on your own time, and you don’t have to clean your house to host others!
While I get frustrated with book clubs because I find myself reading books I didn’t want to read, it’s also good because it’s an eye opener. I recently discovered the author Jodi Piccolut. I had heard great things but never really tried her books until I read two of them for a book club. Turns out, I really like her style of writing and the stories she creates- and now I have so many more choices to read!
Books clubs are a great way to have something for yourself. As moms, we are always go, go, go, putting everyone’s needs before our own, but self care is extremely important. That’s why we love book clubs, it helps to keep some time just for you, where you can relax and escape your reality for a little while. Even if you don’t love the book, it’s nice to just get away. 🙂
When we first started using Essential Oils one of my goals was to have more natural products for Madeline. One thing we use almost daily is diaper rash spray. Madeline has sensitive skin, and her tush is easily irritated. I hate lathering her up in messy butt paste (even though FYM Sherrie swears by the bum brush!)! So when I came across a diaper rash spray, I was excited to try it out!
Here’s what you need:
2 oz spray bottle.
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender
Fractionated Coconut Oil
It is important that you always use a glass container for holding your essential oils! The oils can break down plastic- so you’re better off safe than sorry! I add 20 drops of each oil and then just fill it to the top with fractionated coconut oil. Once the top is securely on, just be sure to shake it delicately back and forth a few times to be sure it’s all mixed.
I have made a habit of keeping two of these, one on the changing table and one in the diaper bag. Any time she has a little redness I spritz her and it clears up with the next change. Since we started using it, she has yet to get a big, sore rash like she used to! And as a plus- her diaper smells a little better! We love having a natural solution for her that works! Do you use a natural diaper rash spray? How does it work for you?
All we can we say is WOW! We are so unbelievably honored to receive the Sunshine Blogger Award! Thank you to Kayla of Adventures of a Young Mother for nominating us! The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award for bloggers who are creative, positive, and always aim to be inspiring.
As part of the award we need to share the love! We have to nominate 11 other bloggers who will be required to:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated them and link it back to their blog
2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them
3. Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer
4. Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post
Kayla gave us some really awesome questions to answer!
1. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
Our favorite thing about blogging is being able to share our stories of our journey and the community that we are building around that! Whether it’s readers, other bloggers, companies, and people in the community, we feel like we’re creating an extended family, and that’s a wonderful feeling!
2. What do you want reader’s to take away from your blog?
The single more important thing we want our readers to take away is you’re not alone. There’s always someone going through a similar situation and you’re surrounded with support. We hope that we’re helping other moms just get that break of sanity that they may so desperately crave!
3. What’s the best blogging advice you’ve been given?
The best blogging advice we have been given is to have fun! It would be very easy to let blogging become a job and feel like you have to fit within certain rules. We started this for fun, we always want it to stay that way! And we’ve been able to have great experiences, try great products and make great activities and crafts and memories with our kiddos!
4. many children do you have?
Between the two of us we have 3 children. Sherrie has two boys, Logan and Finn, and Emily has one girl name Madeline.
5. How old are your LO’s?
Logan is two years old, Madeline is 1 years old and Finn is 6 months old.
6. What makes you happiest to be a mother?
Sherrie: The thing that makes me happiest to be a mom is seeing my kids smile, laugh and enjoy life. Their is no greater joy than experiencing life through the eyes of your child.
Emily: The happiest part about being a mom to me, is just that I’m able to be! I struggled with infertility so the fact that Madeline is here and perfect and healthy is just such a miracle and a blessing. I love seeing the world through her eyes, now that I am a mom, I can’t imagine it any other way! It’s the best job I’ve ever had!
7. What is the biggest struggle you’ve encountered as a mother?
Sherrie: The biggest struggle for me has been balancing everything. Between two kids who are 18 months apart, it can be difficult to find time to squeeze it all in. It makes it even harder that the days fly by!
Emily: Wanting to do it all, and mom guilt. I totally struggle with mom guilt, I always want to make sure we are doing the best we can, making the best decisions, and exposing Madeline to fun and new things! So days that I get impatient or that we don’t do too much, I struggle with guilt.
8. What do you do for me time, when you get the chance?
Sherrie: My down time is shopping, getting a mani/pedi or getting my hair done!
Emily: Umm– down time? Seriously? Well, I crochet and that helps, but to me, my downtime isn’t really downtime, it’s working on my masters, working on this blog, running my Usborne Books business and reading as an escape. (Or Pinteresting and DIYing).
9. What’s your favorite movie?
Sherrie: Wow, that is a tough question and not sure I can name just one, I love too many! I enjoy suspense thrillers, comedies and every now and then a romance movie!
Emily: Conspiracy Theory! Seriously, it’s great. But I love a wide variety of movies, I think I’ve seen The Proposal 15 times and still it never gets old. And forget a Harry Potter or Disney Marathon on Freeform- I’m there, all day.
10. What’s your favorite date night?
Sherrie: Matt and I are so low key that dinner and a movie would do. The last date night we had we went to lunch and then ended up birthday present for shopping for Logan. Even when not with the kids, it is hard not to include them somehow and we are perfectly okay with that!
Emily: It is crazy but Mike and I have only been on one “date night” since Madeline was born! It was a wedding of a close friend. Not that we don’t know it’s important or don’t have the time, we’re just so thankful for her that we like to spend dates with her- we can’t get enough of soaking her up! It would be nice to get out alone, but we just end up talking about her! We have always loved going to breweries and getting out- that would be fun to do still (you can bring a baby right?)
11. What did you get for Mother’s Day?
Sherrie: The boys got me the sweetest card! Matt got me one of my favorites for breakfast, munchkins! And prepared my favorite meal for dinner while he cleaned the entire house top to bottom, washed and folded all the laundry – he basically gave me the day off! 🙂
Emily: Madeline made me the sweetest card! Mike was a champ, he totally stepped in and made an amazing breakfast (even fixed my coffee!), changed all the poopy diapers, and then made dinner not only for me but also for my mom. He did a great job!
We are so happy to be able to share our journey of motherhood with you all! We started our blog just over a year ago not knowing what would come of it. We thought, we’re moms, we’re married to twins, we like to DIY, we could totally write a blog! With very few expectations we’ve been blown away by the community we are creating and the opportunities that have continued to present themselves. What started as a little dream has become a very large part of our daily lives!
Emily wanted to offer a piece of advice to others who may be thinking of or starting a blog. Plan Ahead! The one thing that has surprised her the most is how much time it takes not only to blog and promote, but to grow a blog! Whether you plan ahead your post you’re going to write, the social media you’ll be sharing, or the back end work of keeping up a website- it all takes a LOT of time and focus. Planning for it helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed. We know that when we are planned well, we run like a much smoother machine (though not flawless!) than when we don’t! And it helps keep blogging enjoyable and not a job!
And the award goes to…
The Coffee Mom
You are all so deserving of this award! We feel that you exceed the requirements for the award and we love following your journey to and through motherhood as well! Keep on shining, Moms! Here are your 11 questions we want you to answer. 🙂
1. Where are you from?
2. How did you come up with the name for your blog?
3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
4. If you could have dinner with any one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?
5. If you could only listen to 5 songs for the rest of your life what would they be?
6. What’s the one thing you say often (to your kids) you never thought you’d say?
7. What’s the funniest thing your child has said or done in the last month?
8. How did you announce that you were pregnant? Show us those photos!
9. How did you choose your baby’s names?
10. Using 3 words, describe your motherhood experience.
11. Now that you have kid(s), what advice would you give to yourself when you were pregnant?
Can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Congratulations!
What can we say but WOW! We are blown away, we never expected our blog could touch so many people, let along be recognized, so THANK YOU!
Thank you so much to all of you for the Blogger Recognition Award! We are so honored you picked us as one of your nominees! We both love all your blogs!
Here are the Rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated me and provide a link to their blog ✔
Write a post to show the award ✔
Write a brief story of how my blog started ✔
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers ✔
Nominate 15 Bloggers for the Award ✔
Comment on their blog to know they have nominated ✔
How Our Blog Started:
Our blog idea started up when we were sitting at the dog park one morning while our husbands were playing soccer. Sherrie said to Emily we should write a mom blog! Logan was a few months old and Emily was still due with Madeline. We didn’t let that idea die at the dog park! Here we are today, a little over a year in, enjoying sharing our journey with everyone!
Two Pieces of Advice:
1. Never give up. Even on the days or weeks you think, “is this even worth it?” Trust us – it is. Keep on, keeping on and you will find your way. We are still navigating the blog world ourselves, but a small win, is still a win.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers for help. Blogging is SO hard. There is so much to learn. There are plenty bloggers out there who are flooded with information and knowledge and have no problem sharing – don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no such thing as a stupid question!
We’re thrilled to be able to pass this on to some of our other favorite bloggers! Check out these blogs too and be sure to give them some love!
- Babies to Bookworms: Of course we are going to love a blog about books! You may have figured out we like to read. Vicki over at Babies to Bookworms has an amazing knowledge of children’s (and adult) books- but what we love most, she takes the time to make an experience for each of the books she recommends! Whether that’s a DIY craft or a fun activity- her blog is the stuff Pinterest dreams are made of 🙂
2. Mom Monster Blog: Morgan over at Mom Monster Blog is one of our favorites because she keeps it real! Literally every post she writes, we can relate to, and she’s brave enough to share it, good, bad, or ugly!
3. The Accidental Mrs.: Amanda at The Accidental Mrs. is our go to resource on all things Disney! You can imagine, Emily can get lost in her blog for quite a while! But seriously, she’s a funny, sassy southern momma and we can’t get enough!
4. This Connecticut Mom: This blog makes us want to live in Connecticut!! Seriously though, she’s always sharing the cute things she does with her son and is out and about- so many neat things to do! We’re jealous!
5. 700 Smiles: We are lucky enough to know Chelsea over at 700 Smiles personally. FYM Emily (a lifetime ago) used to be a wedding planner and actually was the assistant on Chelsea and her hubby’s wedding! Since then we’ve gotten to watch her journey to becoming a mom and I can tell you this girl is all heart and perseverance. She is blessed with an adorable little man, Luca, and we are so thrilled to see this take off for her! She blogs for a cause as well, raising money for Cleft Pallet awareness, be sure to stop over and give her some love!
6. Mommy is Exhausted: Cat over at Mommy is Exhausted helped contribute to our Favorite Mom Products post! We love her blog especially her post on breastfeeding. It is always nice when you can relate other moms when it comes to struggles!
7. Simple Kinda Mom: We stumbled upon one of Kyler’s post in a mom group and we were instantly connected. She is open and honest about herself as a mom and we LOVE that!
8. My Joy in Chaos: Katie is another blogger who contributed our Mom Faves post! Her blog name fits her blog perfectly, joyful! Also, she has some amazing free printables you can download!
9. Holden Down the Fort: Emily is another blogger who keeps it real. It is so refreshing to see other moms who don’t hold back and tell like it is. She is one of them!
10. My So Called Mommy Life: You want to read an entertaining post? Then you have to check out My Kids are Assholes by Renee over at My So Called Mommy Life. This mom is even more amazing as she is currently battling breast cancer. Truly inspirational woman and mom!
11. I, Mommy: Maria is a very supportive mom blogger! She also contributed to our Mom Favorites post. She wrote about her experience with PPD for Mental Health Awareness Month which is such an important topic that needs to be discussed. Also, we love how she ends her posts with, “MM, out!” 🙂
12. Adventures of a Young Mother: Kayla is a young mom and she is so proud of it and rightfully so! She wrote an amazing post on how moms may miss who they were before having kids – you need to check it out! It is so true!
13. Love, Life & the Little One: Meghna wrote a beautiful post for Mother’s Day about promises to her little one and it hit home for us. Very touching post! She also shared a mom product for our Mom Faves post too! Check her out!
14. Fab Working Mom Life: Julie is just like us in that she is a working mom and she is a military spouse just like Emily. She really gets it and offers some amazing advice and tips for all types of moms!
15. Young Love Mommy: Ellen at Young Love Mommy has a lovely blog! We love that she not only talks about motherhood, but even shares some delicious recipes to try! Her latest recipe is definitely one we want to try!
Thank you so much again for the moms who nominated us! Please check out and support these other awesome Mom Bloggers we love!
One of the things I was adamant about doing when Madeline was born was teaching her American Sign Language. I wanted to make sure that she was able to communicate with me, even before she could speak, so that I could better understand her needs.
The easiest way to teach this is through repetition. From the time that she was about three months old, I would say the word I was trying to sign and also make the sign in front of her face, that way she’d know what it meant. She got a few down and was using them from 9 months to a year, but in the last few months, as she’s also learning to speak, has started to use them even more. I am lucky that her daycare also teaches sign language in the infant and one year old rooms, so it’s reinforced learning.
Here are some signs to get you started if you want to teach your baby American Sign Language:
Milk: This was by far the easiest sign for her, probably because she asked for it all the time! She started signing just after we weaned from nursing. I think it helped because instead of rooting or grabbing my shirt, she had a signal to show me she needed (or rather wanted) milk. Then I would get up and get it for her. You make this by making a closed fist and squeezing. She still makes that sign to this day, though she can now also say “milk”.
Finished/All Done: This was another sign that she picked up very quickly. We followed a modified version of baby led weaning, so she is frequently in her high chair with a few choices in front of her. We had noticed that when she was finished she would wave her hands across and knock all the food on the floor. Not acceptable behavior by any stretch of the imagination. So, we started teaching her all done, and she picked up very quickly. For this, instead of turning her palms over, she waves her hands all about, but we know what it means, and again, in teaching repetition, and eventually speech, when she does it, we say “All done?” What’s really neat, is that she’s taken it from just eating where we started to other places. When she’s done her bath now and wants to get out, she signs all done. When she doesn’t want to play with something anymore, she signs all done. It’s so helpful in figuring out her wants and needs.
Sleep: Sleep was a pretty easy one for her to learn, it’s a pretty natural movement. Madeline figured this one out on her own, we didn’t really teach it to her. That being said, she doesn’t quite do it correctly, which causes some confusion. The sign is both hands clasped together like a pillow. But, Madeline uses one hand and places it over her ear. This has been a little bit of a problem, particularly at daycare because they frequently tell me that she’s “pulling on her ear and cranky.” They think it’s a sign of an ear infection, I know that’s her sign for tired. Every baby is going to have some differences and pick up on signing a little in their own unique way, it’s important to just know your child and trust your instincts. And of course, if you’re concerned about ear infections, or other illness, call your pediatrician.
More: Madeline didn’t master this one until just after a year, while this is one we’ve been working on for a while, it’s taken her gaining some independence to be able to do it. After her last leap (see our post on The Wonder Weeks) she was able to figure out cause and effect. Because of that, she now knows that when she asks for more, she’s likely to get something, or be told no. So, she does it frequently, particularly with whatever we’re eating. But, she also does it for toys, games, and reading books. It’s a very clear and direct indication of what she wants and helps to eliminate some of those toddler tantrums by being able to communicate instead of getting frustrated.
Change: This is one that we worked on for a while, but it’s so much harder to teach. For a long time, Madeline had no concept of when she needed changing. It’s taken until she’s been just over a year old for her to realize that she’s uncomfortable and that is because she needs her diaper changed. Typically, I can smell that she needs it before she signs it to me! But, nonetheless I have been trying to teach her and she’s picking it up sometimes. She is able to sign change when she’s wet, and that helps! This is another one that she doesn’t quite get 100%, she grabs her wrist and thinks that means change, when it’s not quite the right sign. Again, every baby will be different and it just takes working with them and knowing them.
Please: Please, and consequently, thank you have been really hard for Madeline to learn. She’s just shy of 16 months at this point and starting to pick up on them, though not consistently. About a week ago she was staring at me, and I know she wanted the item I was holding. I kept saying “say please Madeline” and showing her what the sign is. I’d rub my chest in a circle and say “please.” I even picked up her hand and rubbed it in a circle on her chest and said please. Inevitably, instead of doing it herself, she walked up to me, took her tiny hand and rubbed it on my chest in a circle. I’ll take that- it’s all part of learning! Since that day, she’s started to do it more herself, they are working on it with her at day care and that helps, but she’s also picking up on if she says please (or signs please) we are much more likely to give her what she wants quickly. Again, it’s part of that cause and effect learning skill developed in her last leap. Once she can demonstrate please consistently, we will try thank you.
We’ve really loved watching her be able to communicate non verbally through American Sign Language – it makes our lives as parents easier. But what I will say as a piece of advice for those wanting to try it- make sure your child is developmentally at a place where it’s appropriate. Read The Wonder Weeks, look for cues of recognition and then try to teach the appropriate words and phrases. And above all, be patient. It’s a very big world that they are learning about, and while you’re trying to help them, you have to make it fun and easy for them. If you’re looking for additional resources on teaching baby sign language to your child, check out this great website, it has tons of tips you may find useful, I know I did!