Today I am excited to post the second installment 
of my new MOTHERHOOD SERIES tailored specifically for Moms!!
If you're new to this series -- you can click on the link above to learn more about my heart with this!!
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Today we are talking about 5 tips for homeschooling, 
written by the wonderful Stephanie Moschel + her blog is STRENGTHEN MY HANDS!!

She is actually the mom of my dear friend Kayla --
and I love her go-getter personality, evident love for children, her joy that radiates
 + how well they are just raising their family and following the Lord!!


Hi! I’m Stephanie, a follower of Jesus, wife of almost 27 years to Blake, mama of seven precious arrows, mother-in-law to one amazing son, and grandmama to one adorable grandson!  I grew up in Brussels, Belgium, but as a help meet to my amazing husband we have spent our years together first in Illinois and now on an organic farm in SW Wisconsin. My homeschooling career began fifteen and a half years ago, when our oldest daughter started the second grade. 
I love adoption, country living, gardening, healthy eating, working out, coffee hot or cold, researching, 
reading and learning….but most of all I love being a wife, mama and grandmama 
to the most precious gifts the Lord could ever give!
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Taking care of you first could have many aspects to it.  I am not discouraging you from what you think this looks like in your life.  I do want to challenge you, though, if you are a believer and do not have a habit of spending time each and every day with the Lord.  This is where taking care of you begins.  Reading God’s word, spending time meditating on it, memorizing it, journaling, and having fellowship with Jesus through prayer.  It is through this time that everything else in your life will flow.  It is during this first and most important part of your day that you will hear the Lord speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  He will burden you with how to handle things in your day that you have prayed about.  He will give you the strength to be ALL that He calls you to be.  I can PROMISE you that this will change your life.

So, what does this look like?  For me, it looks like a big comfy recliner, a cup of hot coffee, an hour in the (somewhat) quiet dark house before the youngest are awake, my Bible, and my journal on my lap.  First I read scripture. Then I write some verses that I just read, meditate on their significance in my life, and work on memorization.  Finally, I write in my journal and pray.  

If you need to make a new habit of this in your life, find a way to be accountable.  Checking it off a calendar on the fridge, having your husband or a friend hold you accountable – whatever it takes.  Then make a new habit. 
Remember, I promised you that it will change your life!
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Other ways to take care of yourself include things that should also be a priority in your life.  Going to bed at the same time each night and waking at the same time each day, but deciding how many hours this needs to be for you to feel rested and healthy.  Eating healthy whole foods, eating often during the day for energy and stable blood sugar levels, drinking enough water, and exercising several times a week are also good habits that will benefit not only you, but your family as well.  When I do not take care of myself, everything else starts to unravel.  This takes purpose and determination to start – but once these habits are formed, they become second nature. Make sure you take care of yourself!
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This title could also be called “a schedule” or “routines.”  Having a predictable rhythm to each day is very important to a peaceful and purposeful home school.   

Years ago I was blessed to learn of the ministry Titus2.  Through this precious family, I learned about writing a schedule for your day.  We have used this concept every year since then, and it has been the key for peaceful and purposeful days in our home.  I pray heavily over our schedule before I make it each year, asking the Lord to burden me with what the most important things are for our days.  Our schedule is written for every 30 minutes during our school hours.  I never have to think on my feet, and everyone, including myself, knows where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing throughout the day.  
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We also have a chore schedule for our cleaning chores.  Each of us, even the littlest, have responsibilities each day that keep our home organized and clean.  We each do a little bit of cleaning each day with our bigger cleaning jobs on Fridays.  We have a large rambling farm house, and this chore schedule has blessed our lives in many ways.
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“…but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15

Oh, this truth.  I think we can all agree about the truth in this verse.  

But before I talk about the accountability children need, I want to mention the accountability that Mom’s should instill in their lives.  

You can go to church.  Love the Lord.  Homeschool your children.  Limit their outside influences.  Tell them how you want them to behave, speak, act, and the like.  And yet you may still produce children that are a blessing to no one, including yourself.  

In the end, it is all about your example.  If you want your children to learn how to have work ethic, but are laying on the couch half of the day, they probably won’t rise to the challenge of learning how to work hard.  If you expect your children to speak sweet words to each other and be each other’s best friends, but you are yelling at them in anger all day, they probably won’t rise to learn those traits either.

You must emulate tenfold the traits that you would like to see your children develop and then do them together in sweet, joyful fellowship.

There is SO much more caught than taught.  Your children are watching you all day long, and they will act like you, whether you like it or not.  As the Lord worked on my heart in this area so many years ago, I saw the blessings unfold.  The bigger children start to teach the younger children!  Suddenly there was less training and discipline as each new child was added to our family because they were learning by catching it instead of being taught it.

Accountability is still needed for your children as well.  Without accountability as you are training your children, there is so much room for failure.  When the middle boys were much younger I was training them to carry their clean laundry upstairs to their room, put it away, and bring me their dirty laundry. So simple, right?!  I did not hold them accountable for this simple chore until they would come to me and tell me they did not have clean socks to wear.  Then it would all come to a head when I would see the state of their clothes in their room.  We would repair the weeks of not being held accountable and start the cycle all over again.  When I realized that I was the one failing them by not holding them accountable for something I was trying to teach them, I moved their clothes dressers downstairs right outside the laundry room, and started having them get changed in our bedroom, which is right by the laundry room as well.  Now they were accountable because my eyes were there, and they quickly learned what I was trying to teach them.

Children of every age need accountability to be able to develop strong character traits that will serve them well all of their life.  photo Blog-2.jpg

Life would be so boring if each day were exactly the same as the last!  Even in all the routines and schedules, you must have a flexible spirit.  There will be days when there is illness, appointments, farm work, or just the need for recess…..you can name your own interruptions here, I am sure.  Homeschooling is a blessing that way.  You can attend to the interruptions and then get back on track.  We do start our school year before the public schools in our area do, because I want to have time on our side to allow this flexibility with our schedule.  You could school year round, which would also allow the needed breaks for things in life that arise and need your time.

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I started my home schooling career long before it was a popular thing.  So many people would ask me, “How long are you planning on doing that?”  My answer was always the same: until it is broken.

Even before the influx of the internet, social media, Pinterest, and the like that can give you more ideas than you ever could use, there were (and still are) home school conventions each year that are filled with all kinds of new and amazing things.  My husband’s challenge to me if I started to get caught up in the thought “Suzie is doing it this way and it seems so much better” was to point me back to my constant answer: until it is broken.  He would ask me “Is what you are doing what the Lord burdened us with?  Is what you are doing working?  Are the children joyful, challenged, and learning?”  

I have been so grateful for this perspective over the years.  I am not Suzie.  I am Stephanie.  And I need to follow through with the way the Lord burdened Blake and I to teach our children.  Yes, there have been things along the way that have been broken (can you say Algebra?!), and we have fixed them.  And yes, I have used ideas I have seen to enhance the core curriculums that we use. Just be sure to not waste your time as a home school mom fixing things that are not broken. photo hblog-7.jpg

Homeschooling has been such a blessing in our lives, and I feel honored to spend my days loving, training, and teaching my children.  Such an incredible calling, and I do not feel worthy!  We have a ton of fun being together every day, and I cannot imagine a better life! photo 009.jpg

Thank you so much Stephanie for sharing these awesome tips!!

Be sure to go check out her blog HERE or go follow her Instagram @STRENGTHENMYHANDS!!
If you were blessed or encouraged by her thoughts, please leave Stephanie some love in the comments below!!
Also, if you enjoyed this post would you please SHARE it with a fellow Mom via e-mail, 
OR just share my FACEBOOK POST about it to your personal timeline to get the word out,
PIN the above image to Pinterest, or tag someone in my Facebook post or on my Instagram feed!!
Or if you are a daughter reading this, please share about this series with your Mom! :)
Thanks so much in advance, guys for helping spread the word about this!!!

Happy Friday!!

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A heads up to any MOMS or families in the Iowa City/Coralville/Cedar Rapids, IA area!! 
I am looking for some little girls (between the ages of 4-8) to model for me on Saturday, May 7, 2016!! I did this last spring + am looking forward to it again!! :) 

+ Must be willing to drive to the Amana Colonies, IA and in exchange you will receive free edited digital images!! 
+ I will be picking the location and doing the outfit styling, and this will be super fun!
TO APPLY for your daughter(s): please e-mail 2-3 photos, daughter's name/age, tell me a little about your family + where you are located to hannah@hannaheliseblog.com, OR message your info/photos on my facebook page!! 


Submissions received through Sunday April 17 @ midnight CST, 
and I will be contacting everyone by April 20 on whether or not they are accepted. 

A HEADS UP that I am only accepting a SUPER LIMITED 
number of families to be involved with this for 2016!!
Also -- sisters are totally welcome if you have multiple daughters within this age range!!

And if you're reading this and live in the area here and don't personally have girls these ages
 but know families who do, could you take a second and e-mail them the link to this blog post 
or just tag them on my Facebook page or Instagram feed?
Or if you don't live around here but know families in the Cedar Rapids or Iowa City area 
and could pass the word onto them about it -- I would be so appreciative!!
Thanks so much in advance for your help with this!!!

Happy Thursday, guys!! 
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Happy April, guys!!

I actually feel like I'm getting on top of my life..I mean, what an idea, right?!! :)
The last few months have felt like I've just been going from one project to the next
and now I finally feel like I'm coming out of it all + have a better schedule and breathing room.
Praise the Lord.

a few recent things to woot about...

LEMONHEADS -- one of my current favorite candy crushes. Oh man. I used to get these for saying verses at my Wednesday night Bible Club when I was a kid and they're just SO. GOOD. Also really good -- those lemon drop old fashioned candy things..obviously I enjoy lemon candy, haha. Anyone with me?!

+ The floral/stripes fashion combo that is popular right now..I'm kind of obsessed with this and have had my brain thinking about outfits I can do it with. Planning to blog more about this soon in a post -- stay tuned!!

+ Spring -- I love spring..my heart. My favorite season with all the rebirth and beauty + where I live here it is just gorgeous.

+ I really enjoy Snapchat these days and watching people's stories on there. Do you have any favorite accounts you follow? My username is @HannahEliseBlog if you would like to add me + follow along!!

+  Like I said earlier..just feeling like I'm getting a grip on my life + that I actually have margin now. Glory road after the last few months.

TAZO VANILLA CARAMEL CHAI TEA -- oh my word..obsessed with this stuff. It's super cheap too + I typically don't like chai unless its made with milk, but this is really good. I get mine at Target + you can probably find it at other places too or order it online.

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some April goals here...


+ Read "the Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence. Oh my word -- I have been so profoundly impacted just by Nancy Ray's PERISCOPES about this book that I thought I just need to get it for myself + read it. The biggest concept that has hit me + has been INCREDIBLE in my life is the act of just seeking out + inviting God's presence into everyday life situations. So often I get spiritual blinders and get so focused on my PROBLEM or issue, that I forget to stop and INVITE GOD INTO THE PROBLEM. I mean, what an idea, right?! But seriously guys this has just been GROUNDBREAKING in my spiritual life lately. If I'm stressing out about something or starting to feel it climax or an inward freak out -- stopping and inviting His presence into the situation. Stopping right then and asking Him to show me His presence in this, asking for help as I'm doing this + inviting Him into the situation. And it has just been amazing to the problem really start to dissolve in a way when I start to do these + see Him carry me through it.  Like I can't even. Why in the world do I not do this more often?!! I loved how in one video Nancy Ray talked about how just doing your devotions in the morning isn't enough. You have to be actively seeking out God's presence in every situation as you go about your day + the act of inviting Him into every struggle or problem and walking with Him step by step through it. Wow…it's just incredible and in such a beautiful way. So in whatever struggle or issue you're having, something you're starting to stress out about it, or a simple task you're doing -- stop and seek out His presence and have Him coach you through the process. Ask Him to meet with you and help guide you through it. So many of my problems just seem to shift or like I said -- dissolve in a way when I do this..and how the whole issue changes when I seek out or ask for His presence in something. Really amazing. Don't get paranoid and so focused on your issues like I think so many of us do -- you've got to stop and ask Him to come into the situation. He will walk us through each step and I think this is one of the ways we really abide in Him. This is an active relationship of seeking Christ + walking with Him throughout the daily life situations. You all need to go watch these videos by Nancy Ray talking about the book -- check them out HERE, HEREHERE, HERE + HERE.
Your life will be impacted watching these -- mine has, anyways. So good.

**Also, speaking of awesome Periscopes if you want more awesome ones to listen to -- go watch any of Lara Casey's on her videos replay channel HERE.

+ Start a spiritual journal..which I just began today and want to be doing this everyday with my devotions. Even if its only a short bit or a verse or something...or some days it is longer -- I believe this will be important + good for me.

+ Keep working out -- and do it a couple times per week. I've been doing this sporadically, but want to keep being more consistent with it.

Okay so story time with Hannah in relation to this.. Last week I was on a walk and at one point this one canadian goose was like following me for a second, which was freaking me out -- and then there were these two MASSIVE swans (like seriously, do you guys know how big those are when you're right by them?!) that had moved a couple steps but were still standing there on the gravel path and owning their own ground..so I ended up having to walk RIGHT BY THEM. #FREAKY I mean, like seriously -- what would I do if they both went after me?!! I.e. NEWSPAPER HEADLINE -- "Local girl DIES after being attacked by swans" Bahaha -- I know I'm being kind of dramatic, but seriously like what are you supposed to do in a situation like that?! You just feel kind of insecure and helpless in this type of thing. So this week I actually faced my fears -- after being slightly scarred last time (GULP) and did my typical route -- this time having some mental plans of action -- of running during the stretch I was concerned about, and also carrying a metal pointer I use for piano teaching in my pocket (I know, DRASTIC MEASURES, GUYS...but forreal -- like what else am I gonna do if a bird goes after me?!!) So I had these mental plans, along with a couple other ideas in my head -- and I passed geese a couple times on my route and thankfully THEY DIDN'T. ATTACK ME. So I survived..and can probably just keep on doing my typical route from here, but seriously -- it's kind of unnerving with stuff like that. I think I'm going to start a new workout program called "SCARED OF GEESE" where we face our fears and it helps us workout better. Haha -- but honestly, I ran more on that walk than I have in a long time (I usually just power walk) so there's the silver lining, people. Geese are helping me get more in shape -- #cryinglaughingemoji / #-_-thisemoji Oh man. So if anyone has any epic hacks / tips for scaring birds away or looking fierce as a human to ward off animals -- I'd be grateful and please comment. :)

p.s. if you want killer workout music check out the Hillsong Young & Free Youth Revival album or THIS Hillsong album -- gimme all those vibes + those lyrics..so good.

+ Finish reading Crash the Chatterbox + then re-read and write down all the good stuff in it. 
Oh man, this book…really good, guys. I've wanted to read it before + a friend just recently gave it to me. I thought it was just about discerning God's will…but it's all about the mental chatter we have in our head, how we talk to ourselves and dealing with thoughts about fears, insecurity, condemnation + discouragement. Just awesome and SO relevant + practical. I plan on sharing a bit more from this down the road, but one great gem I have learned from this is in relation to dealing with fears, and he walks through these 3 steps of :

What if…

That would…

God will…

Like what if ______ happened -- well that would be _______ (terrible, sad, really hard, etc.) but God will _____ (get me through it, help me out of that mess, will provide, make it all work together for my good, etc). Seriously, if you apply this method of dealing with your fears it really takes most all of the fear out of things + helps you logically/practically think about things + move forward. Start doing it!!

p.s. paperback version of the book HERE, which to my understanding is the same as the hardback just more affordable.

+ Finish UNSTUCK -- haven't completed reading this yet.

+ Get my room organized. Seriously, mental clutter is physical clutter and it makes such a difference in your life when physical objects are cleaned up + organized.

+ Start just doing all the things I want to do..and letting go of it all being perfect. I have ideas of good things I want to do for people -- like mailing stuff out to them, and these things just aren't happening as I'm thinking I'll do it at another time or when it's a better day for it, and I'm realizing I just need to start DOING them + forget about it all being perfect, or the perfect day to put it together. Like it's way more important to be actually DOING these things and making them happen to impact + encourage people than waiting with it for my mental "perfect" timing.

+ Finish memorizing Psalm 37. I know I said I was going to do 1 Corinthians 15, but I have felt led to switch to doing Psalm 37. Guys, this has just been really good and so practical for what I'm struggling with right now and I love it. I already have had memorized some content from this, or know some of the sections -- so it is more like fitting the whole thing together + then learning the new verses I haven't already. Oh man, I just love it. Let's talk about the Word of God and how good it is. Guys, seriously --start memorizing and have it as the soundtrack in your head to mentally be going over. You will never regret doing stuff like this. I'm planning to write a blog post sometime in the near future about how much God has been impressing on me to just keep going back to His Word.


+ Do some different work projects/stuff I'm excited about!! You can watch on social media about these!!

+ Organize some paperwork things, do some work on price sheets, etc.

+ Go read back through some of the fabulous content in the Magic of Light course I took last year and work on applying it. Guys, if you ever get the chance -- that course will rock your world and you'll never see light the same again. Just incredible. You can sign up for her newsletter to be notified about the next course she will have HERE + please keep in mind that these sell out literally in minutes so you have to have your game face on (or have a couple people trying for you) if you want to get in.

+ Blog 2015 favorites..oh my word -- biggest hands over eyes emoji. This is embarrassing. Oh well…this will happen at some point. In my defense my life is kind of crazy and I have a lot of responsibility/things to stay on top of/various projects lately/stressing over which images to blog for this -- so yeah there's my lame excuse.

+ Stop working at night. Guys, I am officially DONE with working at night (and granted I'm finished this blog post after supper here.. #monkeyhandsovereyes) But anyways, I've just realized lately how I am just so tired doing this and want to have freedom, structure + just feel like I have a life and that my business isn't running me anymore. So I've been thinking about my objectives with it and wrote out some why I don't want to do this anymore [i.e. have a life, freedom in my evenings, etc..] And I just plain don't to be stuck working at night anymore, or aside from shoots (which I will still have on weekends) I don't want to really be working then either..] So therefore, my plan of action which I wrote out and signed here today (#yikes) -- is that I am committing and going to strive to do all my "work stuff" between 9-5 Monday - Friday and no social media during that time unless its for work purposes or I really need to get on for some reason. Which not gonna lie, that sounds kinda scary as I like getting on Facebook, etc, but I know this will ultimately be good for me. I want to feel a lot more like a normal person and separate my work life and personal life, and have structure. So starting this Monday that's going to be my new method to try and implement! :) Working for yourself is really awesome and has a lot of perks but it can also be really hard to be disciplined with yourself + I've just seen too many 1-2 am nights and am done doing them and ready to kick it to the curb. I'm sure I'll stick work at night sometimes in the future, but my goal is to not be doing that as the norm anymore with things. So I'd encourage you if you have a goal, to list out your objectives for why you want this + therefore what practical action steps you're going to take to reach it or it won't happen.

+ Figure out if I am going to do an internship this year and if so, determine details for that!! If you'd be interested in attending one of these and would like to be the first to hear about it, please shoot me an e-mail (hannah@hannaheliseblog.com) + I will add you to my list of people!!

+ Blog more + more!!! I just want to be making my blog more of a central hub here and get back to blogging more consistently..so stay tuned!! And check back next week for the newest installment of my MOTHERHOOD SERIES!!
What's on for your April?

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hope you all have a great weekend!!

thanks so much for reading along and as always, I love it when you guys comment!!
so please interact if you enjoyed this post or share your monthly goals or what you have coming up --
I'd love to hear from you!
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Thank you guys for entering + sharing the giveaway for the RAINSTAIN WATERCOLOR ART!!

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The winner is : Elizabeth Kupper!!

Please shoot me an e-mail (hannah@hannaheliseblog.com) with your mailing address
to claim your prize and I will pass it onto Heather!!

And for the rest of you in the depths of despair because you didn't win --
go check out HER SHOP again + buy something for yourself!!
Remember to also keep it in mind the next time you need a gift for a friend, a baby shower, etc!!

happy Tuesday, friends!!

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I was super excited (and also like 'wait -- what, is this real?!') 
when Heather of Rain Stain Watercolor e-mailed me about doing a giveaway!!
She sells BEAUTIFUL prints of her watercolor art and her work is just lovely!
Heather graciously sent me a piece of artwork of my choice,
and we are giving one away to you readers this weekend!!

Stop what you're doing right now + go check out HER SHOP -- and then come back here and finish reading!!
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Hi! I'm Heather! I am the artist behind Rain Stain.
Since I was tiny, I have been doodling and drawing on scrap paper 
and napkins or whatever happened to be handy at the moment.
On one occasion, the only thing handy was a bathroom vanity! 
So my name is written, in cursive mind you, on a vanity in my old house. 
True story.
Thankfully, as I got older I graduated to real calligraphy, drawings and paintings.
Then I found a watercolor tutorial that looked easy and fun, so I decided to give it a try.
I bought a Crayola kids watercolor set for 98 cents, and I was hooked on the first painting!
Soon I was painting every day, and I began documenting my progress on Instagram.
Through tons of practice and the support from so many wonderful people, 
I decided to open a shop on Etsy about a year later!
It has been an adventure to say the least!
I hope my work inspires you to try new things, to be creative, 
and to work hard to make your hobbies a success! :)

We are giving away an 8x10 of the Watercolor Flowers Giclee Print,
and can we talk about how gorgeous this is?!
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You all need to go follow her on Instagram @RAINSTAIN  + be sure to check out her PINTEREST profile as well!
I love seeing her new artwork and things in progress on her feed…i.e. HERE + HERE ..and how pretty is THIS?!
Major props to people like Heather who are so gifted at these crafts!!
Seriously, I have a ton of respect for those who can paint and draw as I feel
like photography is such an 'easy' art form compared to those.
About all I can do is something slightly better than stick people when it comes to drawing!! :)
No joke -- I would literally have meltdowns over myself in homeschooling days
 because I couldn't ever draw how I wanted to, haha!!
I think I'll just stick with taking pictures. :)

Heather also donates a portion of her proceeds to Crossover Ministries International,
which is super awesome + I love her heart with her business!
She will have some new artwork coming out soon as well -- so stay tuned for that!!

Some more photos of her work...
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Wouldn't these be adorable for a baby shower gift?! 

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Loved that she had this one of the blue ridge mountains..reminded me of seeing them last summer in Virginia!! 

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You can use these as home decor, notecards (using the 5x7 sizes) + gifts for friends!!
Seriously consider these if you need a gift for someone coming up --
as any of her work would be a beautiful option + you could even have it drop-shipped straight
to a friend for their birthday!!
Boom -- done.

Or just purchase a print and get a cool frame for it and then your gift is ready to go!!
I mean, everybody loves having new artwork to display --
you guys all know how fun gallery walls are with various framed prints, 
or having something new to put out on your desk or elsewhere in your house!
I have things up on my piano while I am teaching students, 
and it honestly does make a difference for me to have beautiful things to look at while I'm working.
Consider it a personal gift to yourself as something new for your work space or room!! :)

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Somebody needs to do me a favor + just go buy this yellow daisies print for themselves right now..
I was really torn and almost got this one!! :)
So simple and pretty..love it.
I think I'm just going to be buying it soon + either keep it for myself or use as a present for someone.

Definitely keep her shop in mind the next time you are in need of a gift!!
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All you have to do is leave a comment on this post,
BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT -- you can get yourself additional entries by sharing about this giveaway 
on any of the following social media venues!!

+ Post the link to this blog post as your Facebook status, or SHARE the giveaway photo/link from my Facebook Page to your personal timeline!
+ Pin the giveaway image at the top of this post to your Pinterest!
+ Share the link to this giveaway on Google Plus!
+ Tweet the link to this giveaway!
+ Screenshot and share one of Rain Stain's images from their Instagram feed (or my Instagram giveaway image) and tag @rainstain and @hannahelisephotography in your caption and mention there is a giveaway!!
+ Post on your blog about this giveaway and be sure to link to this post!

Then come back here to comment and list all the ways you shared!!
(i.e. I shared on Facebook, tweeted, shared on google plus, posted on IG, etc!)
Just commenting itself counts as an entry -- so don't freak out if you're not on any 
social media venues, you will still be entered to win just by leaving a comment!
But seriously though, TAKE A SECOND AND SHARE
using one of the options above to get your name in the hat even more!!
If you do all of them, then you would get yourself seven total entries for a chance to win. :)

Giveaway ends this Monday, April 4th, 2016 at midnight CST, 
open to US residents only, and a winner will be chosen and announced Tuesday morning on the blog!!
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Thank you so much, Heather for doing this giveaway!
Have FUN sharing and be sure to go check out HER SHOP if you haven't already!!
Thanks in advance guys for spreading the word about this!!

p.s. if you are interested in a collaboration just shoot me an e-mail (hannah@hannaheliseblog.com)
+ I would love to talk more!!
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I have wanted to start this series for awhile now, and am thrilled to launch it today!!
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I've had the idea to do posts specifically tailored to Moms, and feature different women guest blogging for it --
so I'm stoked to begin!!
I love Moms and due to being an older child in a large family I can relate to Mothers in a lot of things,
and have always just really enjoyed talking to them.
It is super fun having Mom friends, and I am always delighted to meet new ones..they are the best.
I desire that this new series will be encouraging, fun, informative + uplifting for women,
and hopefully a blessing to many!!

I will be shooting to have a couple of these posts up each month (!!),
and get excited for the next one coming in the first few weeks of April here!!
Personally I am also going to be doing some roundup posts of items for Moms every so often, 
so stay tuned for that!!

I'm really thrilled to have Nicole Neesby kicking things off with sharing about using essential oils in the home,
and also about an online class she is hosting this week!!
If you've been interested in oils, but aren't sure how it all works and would like to learn more -- 
please comment on this post with your e-mail address and she will send you the links to the class!
If you don't want to post your e-mail address publicly, just stop what you're doing here 
and shoot her an e-mail right now (nicole.neesby@gmail.com) and say that you're interested!!

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Hey sweet friends! My name is Nicole, wife to my blonde California husband, mama to little Emmett + Gideon!  We live in Los Angeles where we love spending family afternoons at the beach. In the cracks of time throughout my days, I am building a wellness community with women around the world with the focus on health + natural living through essential oils.
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Right after Gideon was born, a friend shared a bottle of Young Living lavender + thieves essential oils with us + it didn't take long for me to fall in love with these little bottles of plant goodness.  What a gift to use God-given nature to support health + wellness of our family!  We have gone on to learn ways to use oils to clear the toxins from our home in cleaning, body + beauty products + it feels so good knowing that our home isn't a chemical landmine for the bodies of our littlest guys!!  I couldn't be more grateful for how they have simplified our living in so many ways.

I am really excited to share three simple tips on ways we love using oils in our home each day.
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1 // Diffuse Diffuse Diffuse // Diffusing essential oils is one of the simplest + safe ways to use them around your little ones.  Be sure you are only using the highest quality essential oils // we have found Young Living to be the best brand because of this amazing promise of purity // in a cool mist diffuser to be sure the oils aren't damaged by heat.

I love diffusing calming oils in the nursery during naptime to help the babies rest well, immune supporting oils to keep us healthy + strong throughout the year + of course cleansing oils to keep all the stinky baby boys smells at bay, haha.

I also have found many essential oils to be supportive for my postpartum emotions as well as creating an uplifting environment in our home.
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2 // Thieves Household Cleaner // I need simple when it comes to cleaning my house because let's be honest.  
I don't have time for intense scrubbing + degreasing SO I'm really thankful for a one stop shop with the Thieves Household Cleaner. This is a plant based cleaner that is infused with the proprietary blend, Thieves. Not only does this cleaner smell like Christmas but I love how I don't have to worry about using it on high chairs, counter tops + other areas the babies play everyday. I can also use it as a teaching tool for our three year old in learning how to clean messes without worrying about toxic chemical overspray.
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3 // Fresh Laundry // I love my laundry to smell fresh + clean but freshening products from the store have so many chemicals that can affect the respiratory health of our family.  I cannot believe I waited so long to get some unscented wool dryer balls // like these // because once I did, I fell in love! I simply add a few drops of my essential oil choice to two dryer balls + throw them in with the laundry. 

Not only do the clothes dry faster, but they smell amazing + I can rest assured my babies aren't breathing anything harmful afterwards!
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I know essential oils can be overwhelming so like I said, I have created a space where other families
can learn + grow with us on this wellness journey!! 
You can check out our website here // www.thevillagegathering.net to learn a bit more.

I will also be hosting a free online class on Thursday, March 31 at 8PM CDT. TIME
We will be covering some of the basics of essentials oils + ways we love using them in our home 
for cleaning, wellness + on the little ones. 
Simply leave your email in the comments below if you would like to join us!
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Thanks so much for guest-posting, Nicole!!
You may remember her from the family pictures I did for them last summer! :)
If you'd like to connect with her on social media, please be sure to check out her Instagram accounts :

I hope you guys are stoked about this new series!!
 Would you do me a favor + if you know someone who you think would be interested,
would you take a second and e-mail them the link to this post?
Or head over to my FACEBOOK PAGE and share the post on there or tag someone in the comments!
Also feel free to PIN the cover photo to your Pinterest account. :)
Thanks in advance for your help with this -- I really appreciate you guys spreading the word
+ getting people excited!!

happy Wednesday!!
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