Living well is....well, a lot of fun!

This photo represents some of my favorite things: a table, coffee, good company, and sharing tips and information.

Although this happens fairly frequently in my home, yesterday was the first time I have had an "official" gathering to discuss wellness. And it happened courtesty of wellness cheerleader, Katie Wells, of the popular blogsite, Wellness Mama.

Like Katie, I have been on my own journey to wellness for my family for many years, and have been following her blogsite for the last several.

We have been making gradual changes to limit our usage of chemicals in our cleaning and personal products, our use of plastics and make changes to more natural eating habits.

Moving out of the city to a few acres has allowed us to eat fresh eggs from our own chickens, consume goat milk from our own goats and harvest our own fruit from our orchard.

However, we are not where I would like to be in terms of our eating practices so when I saw that Katie was publishing a cookbook promoting wellness in family-friendly, easy to put together recipes, I was instantly sold. When I read that they would be choosing several "wellness mama cookbook ambassadors" to help spread the word of the cookbook, I immediately applied.

A month later, a box showed up on my porch that contained a smorgasbord of Nutiva brand goodies. To be honest, there were things I had never heard of before but the two hazelnut spreads were an instant attraction to my four children.

Shortly after, I received an email letting me know that I had been chosen to be one of the ambassadors and to be on the lookout for my Wellness Mama cookbooks -- one for me to keep and one to give away at the gathering I would be hosting.

After making an event date adjustment due to illnesses and other scheduling conflicts that could not be avoided, the majority of the invitees chose a Friday afternoon for the gathering date. Since we are a homeschooling family, it made the most sense to have it on a day that works for other homeschooling families, so that while we moms hung out, our kids could galavant around our farmhouse and acreage.

In preparation, I chose a couple of the recipes in the cookbook to make and sample at the gathering, as well as suggesting that the intendees bring any wellness products to put together DIY personal beauty product.

Before my fellow moms arrived, I got the Ham & Egg Breakfast Cups (courtesy of a our hens' farm fresh eggs) prepped and into the oven (pg. 65).

(By the way, the feta and green onions on these takes them to the next level!)

Sarah was the first to arrive and as always, she was game to jump in and chop. She took over making the salsa and when Maribel arrived, they went to work on making the Bacon-Guacamole Bites on Sweet Potato Chips on page 223.

Erin arrived soon after and was game to jump in and start the Chocolate-Cherry Bark (pg. 264). However, we did need to make a substitution on this one. Since I could not get my hands on dried cherries, we ended up using dried apricots. We all proclaimed them delicious, nonetheless.

Once we got everything finished, we put it on the table and I introduced them to the cookbook and Nutiva products. And, I got to tell them that they all would receive a three-month trial membership and 15% off their first order from Thrive Market -- which I am especially excited about living a solid 40 minutes away from the nearest health food store.

After we looked at and sampled the Nutiva products (that dark hazelnut spread....mmmmm), we took our plates into the dining area so that we could eat and talk about other ways we are trying to implement wellness into our family life.

But first, we did a quick drawing to see who would take home the Wellness Mama cookbook, and it was......Maribel! She was so excited.

As we ate (and Maribel looked through her new cookbook), I showed the gals some of the products that I have started making, including: hand soap, body wash, foaming face wash, eye makeup remover, walnut shell face scrub, sugar body scrub, whipped body butter, foaming bath salts, bath bombs, and goat milk face soap.

And some of the products that I have switched over to using for making them (castile soap, raw honey, various oils, clays and powders):

We decided since I had all of the items handy, that we would make a sugar cookie lip scrub found from Wellness Mama's blogsite, a coffee sugar lip scrub, and lip balm. (Also the fact that I had woken up that morning with dry chapped lips might have had something to do with it as well.)

We used the coconut oil from the Nutiva goodie box

And then the fabulous Mary shared about how a few weeks prior, she had come over and we had blended up some essential oil blends for her and her family, as well as some foaming face wash for her and a Bentonite Clay Mask off the Wellness Mama blogsite that we both tried and loved.

We had been discussing skincare and make-up solutions for rosacea (since we both are dealing with that skin issue) for awhile. I tend to gravitate towards liquid foundation, whereas Mary is more of a minimalist in terms of makeup. She was looking to replace her mineral powder with someone more natural. I showed her a blog post from Katie's site that I had seen showing how to create your own DIY mineral powder.

She went home and promptly ordered all of the ingredients and very kindly brought it all to our event. She helped us to mix up our own personalized powders for our skin tones and needs.

Mary kindly measured ingredients for my mineral powder while I refilled coffee cup and took photos

Of course we had to put it on immediately and all agreed that the natural glow and diffusion it gave us was amazing and felt great on our skin.

All too soon, we realized that almost five hours had gone by and that dinners needed to be made and husbands would soon be coming home. Sure enough, my husband arrived shortly after everyone left and polished off the Bacon-Guacamole Bites, declaring it the best thing ever.

One thing I heard echoed from my fellow mama friends was how tasty and simple the food we prepared was and how changing your entire lifestyle can be so intimidating that you can end up being paralyzed into changing nothing. But when you take a step here and another step over there, it is altogether a different story to bring change and wellness to your family life.

As we hugged each other and loaded up our bounty from our gathering we decided that we should keep this wellness thing going and get together soon to make more food together and personal products.

Who else wants to join us?

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