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Wednesday, October 22

Motherhood // Thoughts of a New Mom 03

Grace was enough and grace is enough and grace always will be more than enough to change an old man young and an ankle deep stream to a sea. Grace can't be bought and grace can't be sold, not for the wages of a thousand days. Grace is the gift of a King who longs for His children to see they're not slaves.

I would have never considered myself as someone who struggles with anxiety. During high school and even college, school and studying were my focus but were like second nature to me. I dealt with the typical last minute project stress or worried over a big final, but that was the extent of my anxious thoughts. Studying comes somewhat naturally to me, and I honestly enjoy it. Pharmacy school was a bit different since the stakes are higher, but even then I was able to leave my worries at the door after completing and exam or even a difficult or stressful week.

Looking back, I think my anxiety actually began in the final months of my pregnancy. I was so ready for the 'new normal' and was actively preparing myself mentally and emotionally for the process of labor and delivery. What I didn't anticipate was the amount of tender healing that my own body would require. There was the learning curve of nursing, the sleepless nights and the fact that this perfect, tiny being was completely dependent upon me for survival. It can be so overwhelming.

Then I started back to work at only six weeks postpartum, which came with its own set of stressors. Juggling all the hats was, and still is, pretty exhausting sometimes. Work full-time, commute, make dinner, workout, spend time with my husband, oh yeah and take care of that babe. Not to mention sleep, shower and try to find a sliver of downtime to keep the anxiety at bay. The struggle is so real. There is a constant stream of thoughts in my head that I just can't shake. I worry about Elliot, how much he's eating, whether I'm pumping enough. I worry about vaccines and infections and his exposure to germs. I worry about my own health, lack of sleep, headaches and almost nonexistent workout schedule. I worry about my husband, and I miss him. I worry about money and jobs and health and all of the other things.

So apparently, mine is a story about anxiety... but it's also one about grace. And I share this to encourage all of you who may be dealing with the same thing. It's ok to be joyful about your new family and your role, but also be tired and overwhelmed and frustrated. It's ok to not be on the top of the mountain all the time. My son is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in my life, second only to the day when I married his papa. But that doesn't mean that some days with my precious child aren't incredibly hard, or that I don't stay up way later than I should trying to put tomorrow's dinner in the crockpot or that I don't have sleepless nights that have nothing to do with a  babe. Because I have all of those things. But I also have grace.

And sometimes grace takes clearing stones with a weary heart and aching bones to prove to you child that it was worth it all.

This season is most certainly a difficult one, but I have no doubt that it will be one of the most rewarding times of my life. My sole purpose during these days is to be an encouraging and faithful wife and an uplifting and caring mama. This will be a story of struggle but also one of great love.

Grace gets deeper the more you trust that the King is good and the King is just. And that forgiveness is stronger than the grave. Sometimes grace takes clearing stones with a weary heart and aching bones to prove to you child that it was worth it all.

Roll away the stones, roll away the stones.
Roll away the stones and come alive.

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Monday, October 20

Creamy Roasted Winter Squash + Kale Soup

I really love simple, one dish meals. The ease, the simplicity of flavors, and the ability to prepare a large pot of something delicious over the weekend then enjoy it all week. This soup was inspired by one that my mother makes which contains milk and great northern beans. Substitute a little coconut cream and roasted winter squash, and you have a paleo and vegan-friendly fall soup that is equally as good for breakfast as it is for dinner. The healthy fat from the coconut and the good carbohydrates from the squash and sweet potato make this soup incredibly filling. 

The first  time I made it I left out the meat, and we ate it for breakfast  for a change from our usual egg + vegetable scrambles. I made it again yesterday and added some shredded chicken for us to have for dinner, and it was just as delicious and filling.

You will need:
bacon grease (or olive or coconut oil if veg/vegan)
one medium yellow onion
one tsp minced garlic
one small delica squash
one small carnival squash
one or two small organic sweet potatoes
--- note: the roasted vegetables added up to about 3-4 cups total ---
one large bunch of organic kale or about 3/4 a bag of kale, washed & chopped
32 ounces (1 box) of organic vegetable broth
4 cups of water
salt + pepper to taste
one can full fat coconut milk or coconut cream

Preheat oven to 375. Saute your onion and garlic in the bacon grease or olive/coconut oil until fragrant and translucent. While onions are cooking, dice squash and sweet potatoes, toss with olive oil and roast for about 35 minutes on 375. Add in chopped kale and saute until slightly wilted. Add in vegetable broth and simmer on low. When squash and potatoes are finished, add into the pot with enough water to cover, as desired. I added the water one cup at a time until it was a thick soup consistency. You may want more or less. Let the soup simmer on low for about 10 minutes, then add in shredded chicken, if using, and one can of full fat coconut milk or coconut cream. Simmer for 10 minutes until flavors are combined. Serve with a dollop of coconut cream.

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Saturday, October 18

Weekends + Wishlists

Lately I've been compiling a small list of items that I would love to own. Husband and I didn't do anything for each other for our birthdays this year or for our anniversary, so I am thinking a few select gifts may be in order for the Christmas season. Also, considering the fact that last year every single gift I received (not exaggerating!) was for Elliot, a couple indulgences would be nice. Here is a carefully curated list of lovely things that would make excellent gifts, in my opinion:

This Pendelton blanket is at the top of my list. I have been wanting one for years now, and since we are finally at a somewhat finished place with our master bedroom renovations, it may be time to invest. The one I originally wanted is no longer available in the size we need, but I really like the pattern of this one as well. 

These grey and white striped napkins would be nice. We don't use paper towels too much in our house, but I'd like to limit our use even more by having some lovely but practical cloth napkins on hand.

A few new linen kitchen towels would be nice as well (perhaps this one, this one and this one). Because I typically buy white ones, but they become discolored too quickly, and honestly it's time to do some replacing. (But don't worry. Those old, discolored towels will be disinfected and transformed into dust rags and baby wipes.)

And maybe one of these lovely trays... to corral the random items on our coffee table and because I have a soft spot for trays

This stain remover bar. I am a recovering Tide pen-aholic, but since removing chemicals, etc from our home, I haven't looked back. Nonetheless, this is a great thing to have on hand, especially when the tiny being in your house has a penchant for spilling your coffee on the beige sofa.

A pair of short, colorful rain boots. Because they are practical.. and cute.

A pretty pair of kitchen scissors and a magnetic knife block

And if we are dreaming big.... this beautiful essential oil organizer

Happy weekend.

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Friday, October 17

Birthdays + Marraige

Today is my husband's birthday.

I just have to tell you that I simply couldn't live without this guy. He is so strong and supportive of me and our little family, even when I have the worst attitude and feel completely overwhelmed with life. Motherhood is a difficult transition, but this man of mine has stood next to me, supported me and encouraged me even on my darkest days. He takes care of me in ways that are expected of a leader, but also in ways that are quiet and small and often unseen. It is these that I am most grateful for.

I would not want to share this life or this amazing journey of marriage and parenting with anyone else.

Happy birthday K.

Tuesday, October 14

A Weekend in Pictures 03

I just never want our weekends to end. The moments we spend as a family, the lower stress level my husband and I feel, not constantly rushing here and there and worrying about messing up Elliot's sleep patterns in the process. Weekends provide so much more room to breathe. So I have officially decided that weekends should last five days and the workweek should only last two. I'd even compromise to a four day weekend and three day workweek. Any suggestions on how to go about getting that changed? ;)

This weekend was especially fun since we took E camping for the first time. I have to say though, that things definitely did not go as planned. Between the rain, wet ground, unseasonably warm daytime weather and a babe who wouldn't nap, it was a little rough. We will probably wait until the spring for our next trip when E will hopefully be walking. Nonetheless, it was a good weekend and one that I am sad to leave behind.

Here's to never ending weekends, or at least dreaming of them!

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Monday, October 13

Homemade Baby Wipes & Wipe Solution

Whether you cloth diaper or use traditional disposables, this homemade wipe solution is so great. It it cost-effective, safe and gentle on little bums, and smells so sweetly of herbs. We prefer to make the solution and use it as a spray, but you can also make homemade wipes using this same recipe. We use these flannel wipes instead of disposables and most often just wash our little man's bum with plain old warm water. Sometimes, though you need reinforcements, and the essential oils I use are great for this!

Simple Wipe Solution:
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon liquid castille soap (I like Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild)
1 tablespoon organic oil (olive, coconut or a mixture like this one)
2 drops melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil
*two 4 ounce glass spray bottles
*This makes 8 ounces, so I divide it between two 4 ounces bottles and keep one on the changing table and one in our diaper bag. Alternatively, you can store in an 8 ounce glass spray bottle.

To make the solution:
Place ingredients in a small glass bowl in the order listed and mix well. Pour into your glass bottle and keep at room temperature. I like to divide it between two small bottles and keep one in Elliot's room and one in the diaper bag.

To make wipes:
 Simply place cloth wipes or washcloths in a container of your choice and pour the solution over them. Alternatively, you can cut a roll of paper towels in half and place in a container and cover with the solution, if that suits your preference. 

Happy diapering.

To learn more about Young Living Essential Oils and/or to get a starter kit of your own (and a 24% discount on all oils!) click here.

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Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. Keep out of reach from children. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Friday, October 10

Hello Weekend 02

{Side note: this is my new favorite outfit, one that I bought for myself for my birthday (from Target if you're interested). It's been so long since I actually bought clothes for myself! Maternity wear, then a babe will do that ;) I'm so in love with these pants though!}

We are signing off for the long weekend to celebrate birthdays and focus on spending some much needed time disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature and each other. Picture day hikes, mountain tops, evergreens, mountain side sunrises, campfires, warm snuggly blankets, roadside produce stands and spiced apple cider. 

And finally finding some room to breathe.

Other things...
obsessed with oregano oil for the winter
excited about this class

Be back early next week with more fun things.

Thursday, October 9

Cleaning with Lavender

Oh, lavender. It's probably my all time favorite scent. If an item comes lavender-scented, I would purchase it. Dish soap, laundry detergent, candles, you name it. However, for about the last year or so I have been on a mission to get rid of all the harsh synthetic chemicals in our daily lives and replace them with natural counterparts. Goodbye bleach, hello lemon! One of my favorite ways to control our exposure to chemicals is to make things myself. Also, I save a lot of money! Baking soda and white vinegar are much less expensive than some of my old go-to cleaners. Add in some lavender or lemon essential oil, and voila! Homemade cleaners. Here are some of my favorite uses for lavender for cleaning your home:


-- All purpose cleaner --
3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice OR 3-4 drops lemon essential oil
3 T natural liquid soap  -- I use Dr. Bronner's Baby
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
10 drops lavender essential oil
Mix together in a ceramic bowl to make a paste and scrub surfaces, rinsing with a damp cloth or water. Use to clean counter tops, stove tops, bathroom counters and floors, tubs & sinks and kitchens! Store in a large glass spray bottle.

Simply add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a damp cloth and wipe across any surface.

-- Glass & mirror cleaner --
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup distilled water
 10 drops lavender essential oil
Combine in a glass spray bottle  and use as you would any glass cleaner! You can also use the all purpose cleaner for windows and mirrors
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-- Floor cleaner --
1/4 cup white vinegar
a bucket of water
a few drops of liquid soap (optional)
10 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix together in your mop bucket and clean away! If your floors are really grimy, add a couple drops of liquid soap. Safe for hardwood or linoleum. Other great oils for cleaning floors include lemon, spruce (think Pine-Sol), purification and melaleuca (tea tree). 

-- Carpet freshener --
1 cup baking soda 
18 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix well and place in a covered container (I like mason jars) and let sit overnight to make sure the baking soda absorbs all the wonderful lavender oil. Sprinkle on carpets just before vacuuming. This is also great with lemon or peace & calming!
Simply add a few drops to a cotton ball or tissue and place in the bag of your vacuum cleaner. I alternate doing lemon and lavender!

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-- Simple linen spray --
Fill a  4oz glass spray bottle about halfway with distilled water and add about 10 drops of lavender essential oil. I spray this on our sheets, blankets, upholstered chairs, couch, Elliot's bedding, our pillows, the dog bed (purification is a good oil for this!), camping linens, etc. Use pretty much everywhere!

-- Add to basic laundry detergent --
Add 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil directly to the detergent in the detergent compartment of your washer. I like to use free & clear detergent, and I have an HE washer, so it's safe! 

-- Homemade fabric softener --
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
10 drops lavender essential oil
Use the same way you would store-bought fabric softener to soften your laundry and make it smell wonderful at the same time! Store in a small glass jar.

-- Wool dryer balls --
I switched over to using wool dryer balls  when I was pregnant with E and researching homemade cloth diaper detergent. Absolutely love them! Natural, inexpensive and the lavender makes our clothes smell divine. Place 3-4 drops of lavender onto each wool dryer ball and place into the dryer with your clothes.

To learn more about essential oils or to purchase your own, click here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. Keep out of reach from children. If you are currently on medication, please DO NOT STOP.

Tuesday, October 7


Today is my thirty second birthday.

Not gonna lie, just typing that made me feel pretty old. Something about becoming a mom {maybe lack of sleep?} makes this year feel different. This year I can finally feel the distance between my life and that of my twenty-something friends. I actually mentioned to one of them the other day that I feel every bit of my thirty two years this year. And while part of me is nostalgic for those feelings of freedom and possibility, I wouldn't want to go back. Thirty and thirty one were some of my happiest years, and I know that there are so many happy memories in this next year just waiting to be made.

So here's to another year, a life that looks totally different than it did one or two years ago, being a supportive wife and an encouraging mama. Here's to a life so full of love that it overflows all around,  one full of adventure and awe, one that writes a beautiful story of grace and mercy.

Here's to thirty two.


Monday, October 6

Paleo Basics // Coconut Cream

Coconut cream is one of my favorite products. 

You can get coconut cream two ways: take a can of full fat coconut milk and refrigerate it upside down overnight or longer. When you're ready to use it, take it out and turn it right side up. When you open it, the cream will be on the top and the milk will be on the bottom. Scoop out the cream and put the milk in a mason jar to use for later! As the cream sits in the fridge it continues to thicken slightly, so you may need to add a little of the milk to get it the consistency that you want.

You can also buy coconut cream from Trader Joe's! This is what I do (convenience is key when you have an infant!). If you open it at room temperature, it is a liquid and will thicken in the refrigerator even after opening. It becomes a greek yogurt consistency. 

Here are a few of my favorite uses for coconut cream:

-- Spoon into a bowl and top with fresh fruit and almonds/pecans/walnuts and cinnamon (and a drizzle of honey if not Whole30ing). My favorite combination is strawberries and pecans! Cinnamon + bananas is another good combo.

-- Add a spoonful to your morning coffee (amazing with a little grass-fed butter).

-- Use in Thai chicken soup or coconut curry stew or use in this creamy roasted tomato soup (one my favorite fall recipes!).

-- Add to a post-workout shake for good carbs and fat. My favorite combination is 100% whey protein powder + coconut cream + 1/2 a frozen banana + one tablespoonful cocoa powder + almond milk + ice (Not Whole30 compliant!)

How do you use coconut cream? I'm always looking for new recipes!

copyright Hiking in Stilettos

Wednesday, October 1

Thoughtful Gift Giving

I love giving gifts.

I love seeking out that one thing or things that someone in my life really wants or needs or loves and being the person to give it to them. I think part of this is because I love to receive thoughtful, well-planned gifts. When it comes to giving gifts, I think the more personal the gift, the better. Case and point: two of my absolute favorite things that I wear daily are my tortoise and gold watch that K gave me for our anniversary and the aquamarine band that he gave me for my very first Mother's Day (it's Elliot's birthstone). Knowing that he thought about what I would really like and what I would use on a daily basis and that it was meaningful, that's the best. 

I take notes (mental and literal!) all year long about things that I think the people in my life might enjoy. I have a running list in my phone of items or ideas that my mother, sister, husband and friends mention throughout the year -- everything from tickets to see a show or concert to the compliment they gave me on something I'm wearing or something in my house. Then, when the time comes, I know exactly what to get them and know they will love it. Also, whenever I am out and about, if I see something that screams someone's name, I get it regardless of whether or not a gift-giving opportunity is in the near future.

Here's a good example. My girl Kindredly just moved into her dream home (which is gorgeous, btw), so when our little family went over for Brooks' birthday I took her the following house warming gift:

I saw this print at TJ Maxx and knew that she needed it somewhere in her house. It's just so AG. As for the fiddle leaf fig, she mentioned a while ago on Instagram that she really liked the plant in my bedroom. Which, as you have probably already guessed, is a fiddle leaf fig, Viola! A gift she loved and one that I loved giving her! Not to mention that the fig tree looks amaze next to the super chic white washed brick wall in her living room. Win. win win.

{I also threw in a few samples of essential oils because I'm just so in love!}

Happy Gifting.

copyright Hiking in Stilettos