April 22, 2020

5 WAYS CAN STILL SUPPORT SMALL (WITHOUT SPENDING MONEY) DURING COVID-19






I had planned to write this blog post with all the ways you can enjoy shopping at Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market this weekend. It grieves me to even look at these photos from last fall (full with baby Penny), knowing that so many are feeling the loss of not being able to visit or set up shop this season. I've had the privilege to be a vendor at this market for the past 4 years and it has been one of my favorite events to be a part of each year.

Oh how I wish I could be sitting in my booth this weekend, watching the bustle of smiling faces walk around enjoying the atmosphere, listening to live music, sipping yummy coffee and pushing along all their unique finds the market always offers. I miss this. I miss the crowds, the new faces I get to interact with, the hugs of old friends coming to see me. I miss it so much.

With our world shifting and facing unknown in our midst I have seen so much creativity come from it too. Creative ways businesses have come together to support one another. Sharing their favorite places they love, buying from local small shops, connecting with other business owners in the same boat, shifting their products or services to online communities to help cater to every day needs for others. It's been amazing to watch the way people can come together in the midst of crisis and I've been so thankful for that. 








So it got me thinking, even though I would much rather be in person for this market I still want to offer some slice of it to those of you who planned to come or have been there in the past (maybe that's how we first met!?!). I would hate to miss out on the opportunity for you to enjoy some of the offers I had for the weekend.

This weekend I have deals across my Etsy shop that I ONLY give to those that show up at the markets. The great thing about this is you can pick and choose a few items that you've had your eye on or stock up on some thing for Mother's day around the corner or the holidays down the road and do it all from the comfort of your home. The deals will be up longer than the event usually goes for too--staring Friday morning April 24th until midnight on Sunday, April 27th. 


Here's how you can still shop my products this weekend and save!

Save these codes to use for the weekend:


Get 3 art prints for $45 (value of $54) with code 3PRINTS
Get 3 greeting cards for $12 (value of $15) with code 3CARDS
and automatic FREE SHIPPING on purchases $35+




I know these times are making us all feel a bit weary, so in case you're wanting to support small but don't have the means to in this moment I also wanted to leave you with a few ideas you can support in little, but BIG ways for the businesses you love so much!

Thankfully there are many ways the government is helping out businesses in this time of crisis and I'm so grateful for that as well, but what the government CAN'T replace is the people...the community walking through the doors experiencing the atmosphere, enjoying the fruits of the labor that has been poured into these businesses. People are the reason these places have been born and the reason these places thrive, without the community of people gathering around them nothing would move forward, get better, or make it through. 

Below I listed  5 ways (although I'm sure there are more) you can show up and support without  spending a dime, but instead just a little bit of your time. I hope it inspires you and gives you a little more insight on how you can and are making a difference for small businesses right now and for the future. 


5 ways you can support small:

1. FOLLOW! FOLLOW! FOLLOW!

On instagram, on facebook, if there's an email list to join then SUBSCRIBE! Following along goes a long way for these small businesses, it not only keeps you in the loop on everything we're creating and bringing to you but also builds trust with others as they see you following along and supporting our business too.


2. ENGAGE, LIKE, & COMMENT ON POSTS...WE'RE REAL HUMANS TOO!

Go take a few minutes to tell 5 small businesses why you love following and supporting their business. It might seem like a little simple thing (and it is) but hearing these things from the people that are on board for what we're producing means MORE than you'll ever know. It gives us that boost of encouragement and reminds us again and again why we're doing what we love doing. 

Along with that, when these social media platforms see that our followers are engaging with us it tells them that more people are interested in our business. So the more you're engaging the better the chances are that more eyes will see our posts! 

Here's a few things you can comment if you're feeling stuck:
-"Thank you for sharing your posts, i love follpwing your journey" 
-"I love (insert your favrotie product), I'm so thanful I found it through you"
- "I'm so glad to be following here, always inspired by you"
-"Thank you for (insert how their business has changed your life in some way)"


3. BE A SHARER

So you've followed and engaged with these businesses and for a reason you're sticking around. How about tell the group of people that are closest to you why you love these businesses too! You have the power to influence others and your influence into our businesses has a huge ripple effect for us. Share on your stories, your tweets, share pics of our products in your home and tell your friends where they can find us too--tag us! The next time one of your friends or family members has a need for something we offer, direct them to us before they start to scour Amazon! Chances are too, your shares will get reposted and more eyes will be able to engage and see our offerings! WIN WIN!

4. WRITE REVIEWS & AFFIRM EACH OTHER

Most likely if the small business you love so much is online they have an easy way for you to write a review on their product or service. Look them up on Yelp or Google and send in a positive opinion about them--(so many people are searching these sites and will read these things so it helps a TON!). If you purchased from an online store (like my Etsy shop for instance) go back to the product you purchased and give it a good rating and a little more detail and insight into why you liked it. These reviews keep the momentum going when others are introduced to the business and see that their customers are excited about the products they've bought. It creates more immediate trust between the new customer and the business when they see others are saying great things--plus it does a great deal to our hearts to hear how much you're loving the things we offer.

5. BOOKMARK & SAVE TO REFER BACK TO

Saving posts on Instagram is another way the algorithm calculates that people are engaging with it. You can save a post you love from products you've viewed on feeds to refer back to when you're in the right season to buy. Or if you're on a desktop computer, bookmark the things you love from these businesses so you can purchase them when the occasion arises. That way you're already set way ahead of the game for when that birthday or holiday present you needed to buy sneaks up on you ;)

AND A BONUS WAY TO SUPPORT IS PROBABLY THE OBVIOUS...

6. MAKE A PURCHASE!

Even if it's just a simple little thing. Every dollar amount is one more dollar that wasn't there before. An art print or greeting card from my shop are my lower price points and are great simple gifts to buy for others or a perfect way to add a little art and encouragement in to your home. I would bet that if you've been invested and following a business for a while you'll most likely find something small and simple you can purchase from them right now.

I hope these were helpful for you and inspired you to think outside the box a little on how to support people in these weird times. I know I am so so grateful for the support you've shown me over the years...ALL of it! Every little bit counts and helps. Hope to see you over the weekend browsing the shop and I'll be looking forward to the day we can be talking in person at the next big market in town. Hope you're staying safe and healthy friends!


All photos take by The Hardins

March 31, 2020

OUR GO TO PRODUCTS FOR STAYING HEALTHY






As we all have health on the forefront of our minds right now I thought it would be helpful to share some of the things we've been using for years to keep our immune systems up. These items are all things I've used over and over again since we've been adding more and more kids into our world :)

Essential oils is something I've been using since I was in high school...well before the mainstream EO trend was happening in our world. I remember at an early age my grandma introducing me to and using tea tree and lavender oils for almost anything she could think of!  Since then, oils have been a part of my regular routine in some way or another. 

Most days I'm either diffusing something new in our home or rolling on oils all over each of my kids.  I'm constantly using Thieves for our whole family and have been for a couple years now. From roll ons, to cleaners, to diffusing it daily in our home. I love the smell of it so much that it seems the benefits of it are just an added bonus at this point! This blog post from my friend Karen (who also sells Young Living) is a great resource on how to use Thieves and is much like how I use them too. If you haven't used it before I can guarantee you'll fall in love and never go back. 

My daily routine with Thieves is:
-This cleaner to wipe down counters, tables, toys, any surfaces or areas that are constantly touched. I've had the bottle for a year and am only halfway through it, it lasts a long time!

-Thieves oil in a 1 oz. roller with 5 drops theieves, 5 drops oregano, 5 drops lemon, and filled with avacado or grapeseed oil (I also diffuse this in the living room and kids room at night)

I also buy some oils from my friend Aubrey. Her instagram has so many great tips and tricks on how to use oils for all the things! I love diffusing oils in our home to calm the mood, or just make it smell good--cuz 6 kids ya know! I also like buying these oils on Amazon too!

A couple years ago I was introduced to the brand Wellements and ever since then I've been a huge fan! Wellements creates products that promote health for our little ones that are all certified organic, which is why I was instantly on board for using their products for my kids. From gripe water to cough syrup to elderberry pops, I've used almost everything they have to offer. One of my go to's for Penny has been their gripe water for when she has an upset tummy. It might just be in my head, but I'm 99.9% sure that the instant she gulped it down she stopped fussing and was able to sleep better. My girls have also loved the elderberry pops, which help support their immune system when germs come flying their way. I've also used homemade elderberry syrup for our family for years for when cold season comes around. When the girls started having coughs a few months back it felt so nice to pull out the cough syrup to give them knowing that all the ingredients in it were safe and natural for my kids. Here's a list of all their items I've been using and have loved:

- Probiotic gripe water
- Daytime & Nighttime cough syrup
- Multivitamin drops
- Iron drops
- Vitamin D drops
- Baby chest and foot rub (for congestion)
- All purpose balm (for dry skin)
- Soothing throat pops
- Elderberry pops

Here's a code for 15% off your order:
COLEY15

I hope this all is helpful for you as you're sorting through how to keep your family safe and healthy through these weeks. But most of all I hope you're hanging in there and finding moments of laughter and beauty and peace as we all continue through this together.

February 19, 2020

SAGE'S 4TH BIRTHDAY + 4 TIPS FOR PARTY PLANNING













Sage turned 4 a few weeks ago and we celebrated with a strawberry themed party. Now that the girls are getting older and imaginative it's been fun coming up with party themes together with them. This theme was all Sage's idea and it was so fun being creative with all the details and sticking with the idea of sweet strawberry decorations. I love that the theme also is a reflection of who Sage is right now-- sweet with a bit of spunk, but delightful and full of goodness!

I created a lot of the decor on my own and just grabbed the basic things like table cloth and plates from Target and pretty flowers from the grocery store. I drew up some strawberry illustrations and hung them on twine for a simple background piece. Sage and I had fun decorating her cake together, placing strawberries on top with flowers and sprinkles scattered around. She was pretty proud of it and the strawberry cake flavor was delicious! We also decorated sugar cookies in the shape of strawberries together and I loved how cute they turned out.

We always love having an activity or game at their parties so we came up with a relay race for everyone (adults included) using only your mouth to grab a strawberry and run it across the yard into another bowl. It was pretty comical and entertaining--and surprisingly competitive. :) We loved celebrating our Sagey-girl this way. I love that her siblings jump right in to celebrating everything with her too and seeing how much they love their sister!

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With so many parties we've created over the years I thought I'd give a couple of my go to tips for keeping it simple, but meaningful at the same time:

1. Choose something you and your little can do together to make the party special for them: I let them pick out a theme, then we always bake and decorate a homemade cake together. It's become one of my favorite traditions to do with them

2. Choose a color theme: I find it best to use no more than 3 colors that blend well together for the overall appeal to be pleasing to the eye

3. The dollar store can become your best friend: I've found so many party goodies here that are simple and cheap. I usually grab the basics and then add cuter details around it to jazz it up a bit--like flowers, the strawberry illustrations, balloons, etc.

4. Come up with a simple activity for kids to do together (and maybe adults too if you have them stay for the party). I find that having an activity creates a fun atmosphere for the kids and give them a bit of structure instead of having a handful of kids running wild haha! A simple craft or game to play is perfect--plus it makes a sweet memory for everyone. 

Find more inspiration on my Instagram story highlights under "party"

Do you have any other ideas you add to your parties? I'd love to hear your thoughts too, leave a comment below. 



February 11, 2020

TWO SIMPLE DIY VALENTINE'S CRAFTS FOR KIDS



The girls and I got creative this year on Valentine's gifts to give their friends. All three of my oldest are in the same Kindergarten class so I wanted to come up with something that was a little different and something they could all create together to gift the kids in their class. So I looked through our craft boxes and came up with a couple simple DIY projects that were both entertaining for them and super simple for mama (win win)! 

It was fun to see them create something as they thought about each friend in their class and it made for a fun activity and memory we all go to do together. The best part is, this project is super cheap and very simple! I hope you enjoy and are inspired to create something like this with your kiddos too!
____________________

-DIY MINI CANVAS PAINTINGS-

**If you're on Pinterest be sure to Pin this Image below so you can save it and come back to it later!**


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

-watercolor or acrylic paper (the heavier weight the better)
- wooden craft popsicle sticks
-paint colors of choice
- paint brushes
- hot glue gun + glue sticks
- scissors + twine

(All of these supplies can be found at Walmart craft section, Hobby Lobby, or Michaels craft store)


STEP 1:

Cut out squares of paper, roughly 4.5 x 4.5 inches 
(enough to fit within the size of the framed sticks)

STEP 2: 

Hot glue the sticks around the edges of the paper creating a frame
(I did this myself to prep the canvas' for the kids ahead of time, I didn't let my kids do the hot glue and I don't recommend kiddos doing that)

STEP 3: 

Let the kids have fun painting and creating however their hearts desire!

STEP 4: 

Once the paint is dry, turn it over and hot glue the twine on the back to hang up the canvas when it is finished! 
And Voila! You're done!




Now you have a sweet piece of art from your kids to cherish for years to come! These would also be cute as unique gift toppers or mini canvas' you can paint on yourself in case you don't have kids to paint them for you :)



______________________

Our next project we did was a yarn keychain for each of the kids in their class. I thought it would be meaningful for the girls to give a friend a keychain with the first initial of their name so they could wear it on their backpack or use it somewhere around their home. This one required a little more help from me, but I think if your kids are a little older it is totally doable for them.

DIY YARN INITIAL KEYCHAIN

**Be sure to pin this image so you can come back to this tutorial later on!**


WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

-Yarn any color of choice
-pencil
- cardboard scraps 
(I used a box we were recycling, I recommend  cardboard from a shipping box or something at least this thick to hold up the yarn)
-scissors
-ball and chain for the ring 
( I purchased mine from Amazon, there are a lot of options there for these)
-hot glue gun + glue (optional)



This one requires more gluing, so make sure the glue is dry before passing it off for them to start so they don't get burned by the glue

STEP 1:
Pencil sketch your initial in block letters onto the cardboard, be sure to make the letter wide enough so it won't be too thin and fall apart when cutting it out

STEP 2:
Cut out your initial letter

STEP 3: 
Take your yarn and grab one end to start wrapping onto your cardboard. Place a dot of hot glue onto the corner you are going to start on your letter then place the yarn on top of that to stick.

STEP 4:
Once the glue is dried start wrapping your yarn around the cardboard letter. There is no right way to wrap the yarn, just wrap in any direction you'd like, enough to start covering up all the cardboard underneath.

STEP 5: 
Once your letters in fully wrapped in yarn, take the hot glue again and glue the end of the yarn onto the back to secure the yarn in place. 

STEP 6: 
Once the glue is dry, take your ball and chain and squeeze it through a few pieces of yarn towards the top of your letter. I made sure the chain was underneath the yarn enough so it felt secure in there. 

And that's it! Now your kids can attach it to their backpacks and show it off! 




Hope you enjoyed these. I'd love to see what you create so be sure to share with me and tag me on Instagram so I can see! You can also follow along on my Pinterest to see other fun things I've been pinning an DIYs I'm saving too.





February 7, 2020

LIFE AS A FAMILY OF 8

















So life as a family of 8 might be the one that has felt the most tiring (except for that time when we had 3 babies under the age of one)! It's probably the adjusting to a lot of things all at once this year that has made our days feel mostly like a blur, I mean we're officially school parents now and waking up before the sun comes up is no joke! While the overall feeling of life right now feels tiring and so full, I think this season more than ever I've wanted to be purposeful and intentional with our time and remembering to still see beauty.

We had the privilege of my sweet friend Karen (Elan Photographie/Fortitude + Finn) come into our home to snap some moments in time of what life is like for us right now. It made me teary looking through them seeing how she was able to grab snippets that say so much about our story. It made me look at the mundane details that usually are our days in a new light. I wanted to write down the little things that mostly get forgotten among the chaos so I always remember these little things that add up to the bigger picture as we're raising these precious hearts. 

A few things that are giving me life:

-a crowded couch of little ones snuggled up next to each other
-the sound of little feet running, jumping, and playing around on our dirty tile floor
-special treats and Shane making coffee for us in the morning 
-a back porch/patio with tiny tricycles racing around the table
-the girls playing coffee shop and restaurant in their playhouse and decorating it like it was their own home
-blocks spread across the floor from hours of sibling play and imagination happening 
-giggles on top of giggle on top of loud giggles!
-Dash always playing with or throwing around balls
-late night conversations with Shane connecting with each other
-snuggles from Penny in my arms
-constant coloring at the art table
-the pure love and delight Penny's siblings feel for her

I believe taking time like this to look a little closer allows gratitude to sink in deeper. And in turn, it changes my perspective when life feels hard and exhausting. I want to come back to these moments when the exhaustion hits and remind myself why I really love being a mama and why it's all worth it in the end.

I hope this inspires you to do the same. Maybe grab a journal or pull out the notes on your phone and jot down a few things in your day that you're loving right now. I guarantee it will be a heart changer for you when you need to pull it out again on the days that feel draining. And when it does feel hard and tiring for you, know that I'm right there with you. You're not alone mama.

All photos taken by √Član Photographie Studio