Rest Well with Essential Oils.

Essential oils for peaceful sleep

In our family we use essential oils for just about any challenge that comes up, whether it be a stuffy nose, tummy upset, occasional muscle soreness, or needing to energize during a busy day. One of the health issues that I hear about a lot as I talk to people about wellness is the need for better rest. This is not a surprise to me. We live fast-paced lives, don’t we? Our days are often scheduled from the moment we wake up until the minute our heads hit the pillow. Sometimes it’s hard for us to turn our brains off. We aren’t the only ones who deal with this issue! Our children are dealing with it too. Did you know that people who sleep less are almost three times more likely to get a cold compared to those who get at least eight hours of sleep?

Here are some ways to encourage your body to get the rest that it needs so that you and your family can wake up refreshed and ready for your day:

*Exercise in the morning or afternoon rather than the evening.
*Turn off your T.V., tablet, laptop, or phone at least one hour before bedtime. According to one study, using your device one hour before bedtime reduces your melatonin by at least 20%! Kids can benefit from this rule too.
*Take a calming bath before bedtime. A couple of my favorite calming bath oils are lavender and Serenity Calming blend. Add a couple of drops to some Epsom salts before adding the salts to the bath water OR add a drop or two to a capful of milk, swirl to mix, and add it to your bath water. *Oils will sit on top of the water if they are not combined with an emulsifier and could cause skin irritation.
*Read or journal before bed. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help quiet the chatter in your head and reading can calm you before drifting off to sleep.
*Diffuse a calming oil in an essential oil diffuser, such as the Petal Diffuser. Vetiver is wonderful when combined with Lavender. Serenity is always a winner too.
*Use a noisemaker to cancel out sounds that might keep you from falling asleep. I love the soft trickling sound of the Petal Diffuser next to my bed. I find it very relaxing!

Do you find yourself waking during the night? Try applying a combination of dōTERRA’s Restful blend and the Restful Complex softgels before you lay down and see what happens. I think you’ll find that you will have one of the best sleeps that you’ve had in a long time, completely naturally and without any fogginess in the morning. That sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

If you would like to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices, rather than the retail prices listed in the linked pages, visit this page to get your wholesale account with my favorite company for essential oils, dōTERRA. (Everyone who has a membership with me receives a free membership overview by phone/skype/in person, if local.) [Read more...]

I Am…a Bold Brilliant Beautiful Post.

#boldbrilliantbeautiful at

Are you participating in the Bold Brilliant Beautiful Project (#boldbrilliantbeautiful)? It has been so amazing to watch women join in and share their goals for the year… some of them so brave it will bring tears to your eyes and give you goose bumps.

This month all of us Bold, Brilliant, and Beautiful women are creating “I AM” statements. We’re looking inside of ourselves and digging deep. We’re thinking about how we see ourselves, maybe partly as an affirmation, or even an impetus to change. So here I go.

I am striving.
I am insecure sometimes.
I am a good mother.
No, I am a great mother.
I am stronger than I ever thought I could be.
I am a product of loving parents. I am a daughter, a granddaughter, and a niece.
I am a sister to one lovely woman.
I am a wife to an amazing man.
I am a beloved auntie Jenny.
I am a person who likes to challenge herself.
I am competitive.
I am an entrepreneur.
I am a schemer.
I am able to bring people together.
I am an encourager.
I am a child of God.
I am in love with my savior.
I am a disciple of Christ.
I am a mess a lot of the time.
I am trying to yell less.
I am stubborn.
I am fun.
I am someone who is loyal to her friends.
I am really forgetful.
I am a neat freak at heart.
I am happy with my life.
I am joyful in all circumstances.
I am good at following directions.
I am a peacemaker, I don’t like confrontation.
I am a maker of things.
I am a writer.
I am an educator.
I am sensitive.
I am easily hurt.
I am fiercely in love with my family.
I am in awe of my husband.
I am a person who suffers with health issues.
I am a tennis player.
I am a kisser of boo-boos.
I am a person who prays.
I am hopeful.
I am the kind of person who cannot sit still for very long.
I am learning.
I am a work in progress.
I am smiley. :)
I am in a good place right now.
I am going to be 40 this year, and I am excited about that.
I am way to busy all of the time.
I am trying to simplify.
I am inadequate in my own eyes, but perfect in my Heavenly Father’s.
I am so thankful for so many things.
I am tired of talking about myself, lol.

So what about you? Who are you? Who are you, really? Have you ever done this little exercise? I hadn’t until just now. Will you join me in this month’s #boldbrilliatbeautiful challenge? I encourage you to make your own “I AM” statement list and see how it moves you. Which things are you happy with? Which cause you to want to run? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Have you joined the group on Facebook yet? What an inspiring and supportive place! You’ll love it.

#boldbrilliantbeautiful. Me and YOU!

It’s a new year! We are a full week into 2014… how are you feeling so far? Have you done that thing where you take stock of the past year and think about the year to come? Have you set goals or made resolutions for the year ahead?

I’ll be honest with you. I did not do that whole “year in review” thing for 2013. I was just too tired! I didn’t even do a Top 10 for 2013 for the blog like so many of my fellow blogging friends did. I’m just ready to jump into the new year and start fresh. Part of that fresh start is going to include change, both in my personal life and here on the blog. I mentioned this in the December newsletter very briefly, but I wanted to talk a bit more about it today.

Don’t be frightened, but I’m hoping you’ll join me… yes you!


In the last 4-1/2 years that I have been writing this blog, I seem to have gotten lost somehow. I’m going to be completely and painfully honest here and tell you that it took over my life for a while. It started innocently enough. I wanted to start a blog to document my sewing projects that I was doing as I was learning to sew. I started gaining followers and people started commenting and it was fun! Who knew that there were people who even cared about what I had to say or what I was doing? I started putting more time into it and worked on growing my following… and it grew. As the number of Southern Institute readers grew so did the amount of time that I was putting into it. To make a long story short, within a couple of years I had a full blogging schedule, I was doing guest posts and sponsored posts, I had advertisers, and I was posting 5-6 times a week. Many of those posts were tutorials, which take a lot of time. If you are a sewing/cooking/craft blogger you know how much time it takes to pump out 5-6 posts a week. If you love reading blogs, but you’re not a blogger yourself, you would be really surprised at how much time it takes to put together a post like that. I needed help keeping up so I took on contributors and they were AWESOME! For all intents and purposes I had a successful blog, right? Sure! But here’s the thing… I was exhausted and I was stressed out (and I was not making much money either). And guess what? I’m not able to pump out original creative content at that pace, it’s just not possible for me. I was grumpy and I was spending most of my time on my computer, blogging. While my children were wanting me to read to them or play with them I was on the computer, putting them off, always needing just a “few minutes” to finish up a post or answer an email. When they went to bed there I was on my computer again until I fell into bed at night, where my husband had already fallen asleep. I didn’t like myself much at all. I felt like I was grumpy all of the time and noticed I was smiling less. Besides stealing time from my family there was little to no time for other things that I wanted to pursue: pattern design, learning to knit, tennis, reading a book every once in a while. I felt like I had lost myself in it all.

For myself and my family I am making changes and I’m starting now. In fact, I’ve already started, but today I’m making my declaration here in this space. I’m going to be Bold, Brilliant, and Beautiful in 2014!


I’m not going to let this blog take over my life anymore. I’ll only post when I have something to share with you. That might be a sewing project or tutorial or something that Abby and I have been doing in our homeschooling. I want to share more of myself and my journey as a mother. Maybe I’ll write about our newest venture into essential oils and my attempts at more gluten-free baking… who knows! If you follow me on Instagram you have a great feel for what I’m talking about. You might hear from me once a week, once a month, or once every two months, but whenever you do hear from me it will be me sharing with you from my heart. You’ll get the real me, not a bunch of impersonal posts and tutorials. Being real is scary, but I’d love to get to know you better and I can’t ask you to share with me if I’m not being real with you, can I?

This year I want to shine like never before. You know how I felt like I had lost myself? I’m on my way to finding myself again. I want to smile more. I want to say “yes” to my children more and yell at them less. Our home will be a happier place. I’m going to pursue new friendships and nurture the old friendships that I hold near and dear to my heart. I want to be a blessing to others, to encourage them, to help people.

This year I will be turning 40 years old! I can hardly believe it! I’m not scared of 40. In fact, I feel like this could be my year. This year I will invest in the things that I know will help me usher 40 in with beauty and grace. What is that, you might ask? For one, more date nights with my husband! Yes, you heard that right. Time with Tom away from the kids reminds us that we are still a couple in love, and being in love makes a person radiant. We have a phrase that we like to say to each other when the kids are driving us crazy and we’re stressed out… “It’s not us.” It’s not us that makes us tired and stressed out, it’s life! When we can get away, even for a few hours, we remember who we are as a couple. Making sure I get together with my best friends more often is a big goal for this year too, which is a challenge now that I’m homeschooling Abby, but I’ll find a way. Time with a good friend who gets you and loves you no matter what is a beautiful thing; and being that friend for someone else makes you even more radiant. What else will I do this year to keep myself beautiful? I’ll be playing more tennis because I love to play and darn it, I’m not too bad at it!

I’m not going to lie, the last few months have been a struggle for me mentally and emotionally. I have been exhausted and have been trying so desperately to do it all, but I cannot do it all. None of us can. It has left me unhappy and unfulfilled, which is a place I don’t want to stay in. That is why changes need to be made. Are you feeling any of this too, or is it just me?

Let’s take off our masks and be real with one another about life and what we’re going through. Let’s encourage one another to be bold and be brilliant, because every one of us is beautiful! Throughout the year, I’m joining forces with some of my blogging friends to motivate and encourage ourselves and others to be bold and step out from behind the lens, projects, and mama status to show ourselves.

That’s right, we’re doing something just for us, and we’re inviting you to join us!


Each of us has something bold, brilliant and beautiful inside— whether it’s a dream to ask for a promotion, quit your day job and stay home with your kids, or learn how to knit a sweater. The #boldbrilliantbeautiful project is a support group for all of us seeking to be real and vulnerable. No judging, no questions, just support and words of encouragement.

Be a part of the project by using #boldbrilliantbeautiful on Instagram and twitter to find other women like you, who are looking to make 2014 their best, most authentic year yet! You can start by taking a selfie like the one I posted above and sharing it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the #boldbrilliantbeautiful hashtag. We’d love to see you there! Here is a list of the other bloggers who are banding together to start this project:

Casa Crafty
Made with Moxie
this heart of mine
small + Friendly
Kids Stuff World
Classic Play
Even If Nobody Reads This
Maker Mama