a day in the oily life…

Someone recently asked how we use essential oils on a regular basis. I thought I’d share it here in case anyone is curious, whether you’ve already started using oils and don’t know quite how to move forward…or you’re just learning about oils and want to know more. Here’s an average day for us lately…

  • moisturize my face with a little coconut oil and a drop of Elemi (similar to Frankincense)
  • add a drop of Orange to my Thieves toothpaste (just read that Orange is supposed to help whiten teeth!)
  • put on Meadow Mist deodorant
  • put a drop of Stress Away on my wrists/neck as perfume (aka hopefully keep me sane)
  • drink an ounce of the NingXia Red antioxidant drink
  • give Sophie a spoonful of honey with a drop of Lemon and a drop of Lavender for her seasonal sniffles and sneezing
  • diffuse Thieves and Orange in the living room while the kids are playing (makes the house smell amazing, supports our immune systems)
  • rub Elemi, Lemon, and White Fir on the kids’  chests to support their respiratory systems and help them sleep more easily 
  • rub a drop of Purification around the kids’ ears to keep them clear even when their heads are full of snot
  • press a drop of Peppermint on the roof of the mouth to help relieve pressure
  • put Thieves on our feet before we head out (to the public library, mom’s group at church, etc)
  • diffuse Lavender and Cedarwood in the kids’ room during nap time
  • added a drop of Citrus Fresh to some sauteed asparagus last night-delicious!
  • rub Lavender on the kids’ feet before bed
  • diffuse Lavender and Cedarwood in their room again, as well as Raven to encourage with easy breathing
  • drink a cup of “tea” before bed: hot water with a couple drops of Thieves and Lemon, with a spoonful of honey (tastes good, immune-boosting)
  • moisturize my face with coconut oil and a drop of Melaleuca (aka tea tree)
  • put a bit of diluted Oregano on one of my moles (hoping I can lose it)
  • coat my cracking cold-weather hands with beeswax ointment and a couple drops of Melrose
  • roll Tranquil on my wrists and neck for peaceful rest
  • diffuse Lavender and Cedarwood in our room

That’s quite the list when I type it all out! So yeah, we’re into oils…specifically Young Living essential oils. Young Living is a top-notch company with high quality products. I am very proud to be a part of what they’re doing and thankful for the ways their oils have blessed our family. If you want to know more…

Go here to browse through the product pages.

Go here to check out their starter kits. Many of the oils I mentioned are in the Everyday Oils Collection, which comes in the Premium Starter Kit – awesome deal!

Go here to learn more about Young Living and the Essential Families group I am so proud to be a part of.

P.S. Mama’s got the oil you need.
YL ID #1538661

oily bidness

I was going to post about all of this on Facebook, but the list just got too long. No one wants this much from me in their newsfeed, so I’m compiling it all here for those of you who want to read it.

First of all, if you know me well, you know that I’ve gotten a little…um, crunchy over the past few years. Maybe it’s because I had a baby. Maybe it’s because we moved to West Virginia. Maybe I just watched too many health documentaries on Nexflix. Whatever the reason, I’ve embraced it. One of my dear friends told me, “Laura Ingalls called. She wants her life back.” Well, I’m keeping it. So there!

Anyway, part of our journey into crunchland has been Young Living essential oils. I knew I wanted to try essential oils and Young Living has a great reputation, so about a year ago I just sort of jumped in. I had no idea then how much a part of our lives they would be, but I will be forever thankful that I made that first purchase. I can say without a doubt that they have improved our family’s health and wellness. I could talk for hours about the ways essential oils have helped us. There are some exciting things going on with Young Living this month that I want to highlight!

To begin with, the monthly promo for November is fantastic. Just look at that! When you place an order with at least 190, 250, or 300 PV (point value, usually equal to the dollar amount), you will receive the following FREE products. Young Living’s product page says that Ginger “has a warm, spicy fragrance that is energizing. Supportive of the digestive system, ginger is commonly used to soothe, comfort, and balance digestive discomfort.” When I began learning about oils outside of the starter kit, this was one of the first ones I purchased. With a child who was prone to motion sickness, it seemed like a good idea! The Christmas Spirit blend is a “sweet, spicy blend of orange, cinnamon, and spruce essential oils that tap into the happiness, joy, and security associated with the holiday season.” It’s been out of stock for a while so I haven’t had a chance to try it until now – I’m pumped! And then, extra Essential Rewards points on top of that! I’ll talk about ER in a few minutes, so hang on for that. The Thyromin Supplement is a blend of “porcine glandular extracts, herbs, amino acids, minerals, and therapeutic-grade essential oils in a perfectly balanced formula that maximizes nutritional support for healthy thyroid function.” I know more and more people who would like to have healthier thyroid function. If that’s you, Thyromin might be a good supplement to add to your daily routine!

nov promo

Second, the Premium Starter Kit (best deal ever) is changing in two weeks! Starting on November 17, Melaleuca (tea tree) and Citrus Fresh will replace Valor and Peace & Calming in the PSKs. All four of those are great oils, but if you’ve been thinking about purchasing a PSK now’s the time to do it! Valor is an extremely popular blend that is often out of stock, but Young Living always saves enough bottles for starter kits.

new PSK

The Premium Starter Kit includes 11 bottles of oil, a diffuser, and several other goodies for $150 (There’s another option for $160 that includes a diffuser with a timer.). When you’re ready, go here to order and make sure you enter #1538661 for the enroller and sponsor. Also, anyone who purchases a Premium Starter Kit through that link with that number will get excellent educational material from ME to help you get started on your oily journey!

Next up, DIFFUSERS ARE ON SALE! For the month of November, you can get 10% off the Home Diffuser (up to two).

10% diffuser

I am definitely getting one. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple months, and this is a perfect opportunity. Plus, they have a 1-year warranty – not too shabby!

Okay, now let’s talk about Essential Rewards. If you have an account with Young Living, you should be on Essential Rewards! It is a monthly auto-ship program, but you can choose the date and products each month! You earn rewards points for your purchases, which you can redeem for free products. It is amazing.

ER

Okay, that should be enough for now! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! I am very passionate about Young Living essential oils because of all they have done for our family. If you are interested but not quite sure, I’d be happy to add an oil to my wholesale order for you to try. Also, if you’d like to host an essential oils class in your home, I would love to come and help some of your friends learn more about essential oils, how they work, and the amazing benefits they have to offer. Just let me know!
Remember, Mama’s got the oil you need!

home remedeets

My kids hadn’t been sick in months, but Tuesday they both suddenly (suddenly!) came down with nasty colds – heads full of snot, coughing, fevers, the whole shebang. So yesterday was a stay-at-home sick day, and we all just muddled through with a lot of extra snuggling and reading in the “big bed.” I had to remember/brush up on my home remedies throughout the day, and I realized it would be helpful to have it all written in one place for the future. Periodically, people ask what I do when my kids are sick, so now I can direct them to this post as well.

First of all, please take your kids to the doctor if they need to go. Please give them medicine if they need it. I’m definitely not saying anyone should ignore those wonderful medical blessings. Just so you know, I gave Crazytown some acetaminophen Tuesday night. Her fever quickly jumped up above 103 in the middle of the night, and she didn’t seem to be speaking coherently. I know fevers have a purpose, but we also all benefit from a good night’s sleep. So yeah, she got medicine, and we all went back to sleep without worrying (too much). She’s totally fine, by the way.

Anyway, when my kids get sick I try to pump their bodies full of as many helpful nutrients as possible. I want to help their little immune systems any way I can. I think healthy food is one of the absolute most important things, but this gets kind of tricky when they get the sick-pickies. My kids normally eat very healthy, hearty diets…not so, when they’re sick. I was so thankful for our juicer yesterday! (Juicers can be pricey investments, but Dave found a refurbished Breville for us last year. It was quite a bit cheaper than a new one and works great!) I do think it’s important to eat “whole foods” and get all the fiber that goes along with them, but a fresh vegetable/fruit juice is a wonderful way to get a super dose of nutrition that is almost immediately absorbed into the body. At dinner Crazytown slurped down the nutrients from:
1/2 a beet – vitamin C, iron, folate
4 carrots – vitamin A
2 celery stalks – vitamin K
1 orange – vitamin C
1/2 an apple – potassium, vitamin C
a chunk of ginger – just totally awesome
Sweetboy loved it too! I mix some powdered vitamin C and probiotics into their juice when they’re sick.

I also make more smoothies when they’re sick. I use different combinations of yogurt, almond milk, bananas, frozen/fresh berries, spinach, avocado, frozen peaches, flax seed/chia seed, and pureed pumpkin. If we have any leftover I use it to make homemade popsicles for the next day.

Crazytown loves drinking tea, so I’ve created a little sick tea concoction for her:
decaffeinated Sleepy Time Green Tea bag
1/2 t grated ginger
1 t local raw honey
good sprinkle cinnamon
1/2 t coconut oil
little squeeze of lemon juice (she doesn’t like it too lemony)
After it steeps for a while, I strain it and add an ice cube. She drinks it right down!

Essential oils – I use Young Living:
Thieves blend on the bottoms of feet – supports the immune system, helps regulate body temperature
Lavender and Purification blend around ears – supports healthy, clear ears
Breathe Again blend on chest and across the sinuses (only if you can trust your children not to rub it into their eyes!)
RC or Raven blend on back
RC/Raven, Thieves, and Purification in the diffuser
Thieves in an immune boosting bath before bed. This is one of my all-time favorite uses for essential oils. Combine Thieves, epsom salts, and coconut oil in a very warm bath, and watch the symptoms subside! This usually has an immediate effect with my kids, helps them sleep better, and lasts into the morning. Last night Crazytown had a major sweat after the bath, and then she was cooler than she’d been all day. I watched the snot draining out of their noses as they sat in the water.

Meanwhile, I can’t stop hugging and kissing these sweet little sickies, and I didn’t think to give myself some preventative Thieves. So now I’m laying on the couch and drinking sick tea. Hoping I can hit the hay early tonight and sleep it off. Oh, I also had a spoonful of honey with a drop of Thieves – spicy!

Bonus recipe! I can’t help believing that Ina Garten’s gazpacho must have healing powers. It is so unbelievably delicious and chock full of fresh raw veggies. Plus, it’s even better the next day.

oilz 2

Well, apparently I wrote this blog post three months ago but forgot to publish it. Whoops! I was all ready to write a new one tonight, but I guess it can wait until tomorrow!

April, 2014:
In December I shared some ways that essential oils have helped our family, and it’s time for an update! We are still going strong with the oils! I may or may not have a small addiction. But the more oils I try out, the more I fall in love. My latest favorite EO miracles: Lavender for lady troubles, Peppermint for digestive issues, Thieves blend for supporting normal body temperature, and Orange for a wired baby. Amazing.

When Crazytown was born and I began thinking about what and how we would feed her, I also took a look at my own diet and lifestyle. I’ve always eaten pretty well and felt healthy, but I realized that I was putting a lot of unnatural and even toxic substances into my body through food and personal care products. And I wanted to change that. The past 2 1/2 years have been a gradual transition to more natural living and eating. I know I still have some things to change, but I feel good! Part of that transition involved a desire to rely less on prescription and OTC medicine. There is DEFINITELY a time and place for those things, but why not prevent them when possible? Young Living Essential Oils have been a crucial way for our family to do just that, and now there’s no going back.

Here’s an example that happened just about a month ago. Crazytown came down with a nasty cold – smearing snot everywhere, coughing, and soon enough complaining about her ears. We went to the doctor, she was diagnosed with an ear infection, we did a round of antibiotics…and then dealt with her yeast infection. Poor girl gets one every time she has antibiotics. It’s no surprise really, since antibiotics damage the body’s natural healthy flora. Naturally, Sweetboy caught the cold too and was showing the same symptoms. I had read about using essential oils for ear infections, but I was hesitant – I didn’t want to watch my children suffer while I used them as guinea pigs for my natural remedies. Sure enough, Sweetboy started pulling on his ears too. He was still happy and didn’t appear to be in real pain, so I gave the oils a shot: Purification blend and Lavender rubbed around the outside of his ears. I continued a few times a day, he stopped messing with his ears, and his cold went away without any need for a trip to the doctor.

Now, I’m not a doctor…or a medical professional of any sort. I didn’t look in Sweetboy’s ears with a fancy doctor flashlight. But I did see some common symptoms decrease and quickly vanish altogether. I will certainly try that method again!

Please share any questions or comments below! I love to hear new ideas and suggestions for using essential oils!

playing catch-up

I keep putting off this post because I don’t know where to start, but my mental to-blog list is getting too long. We are the memory keepers, you know, and I happen to have a pretty bad memory. I feel discouraged sometimes when I realize that I can’t remember it all. I want to so badly! I want to store away every little moment of my life, especially now when I’m seeing these two little humans grow and learn and experience life in huge ways every day. So I’ll try to get back to more regular posting to preserve the moments that too often slip from my memory.

A lot has happened in the past several months! We celebrated Christmas in Chicago. We moved back to St. Louis and settled into a new rhythm of life. Sweetboy turned 1 and started walking. Crazytown is just as adventurous and entertaining as ever. We’ve mostly unpacked and made this house our home, and we even started our garden. We are exploring new places and enjoying this finicky spring weather.

A smattering of pictures…

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I sure do love my people!

meet me in saint louis, louis (an announcement)

So how’s everybody? I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays as much as I am. Whoever (whomever?) invented holidays was a genius. But more on that later…

The reason I’m here tonight is to make an announcement, not small talk. Big news, people! We’re moving back to St. Louis! Really soon! We’ll be there in less than a month! Dave recently accepted a position at Washington University; and although we are very excited to get back to our old stompin’ ground, we will definitely miss a lot about West Virginia. It has been the perfect place to begin raising two little ones, with few distractions and lots of quality family time. But we’ve hardly seen Dave’s family during the past two years (before last week, seven months since we saw Dave’s dad!), and we’ve realized just how much we enjoy living in a city. So yeah, change is a comin’. When we get home after the holidays we’ll have about three weeks to pack up. I get kind of twitchy when I think about that too much. But I love throwing/giving things away, so hooray for a house purge!

So I have a few questions for all you St. Louisans:
Where can we live? Do you know of a 3-bedroom house for rent with a back yard and easy access to the metro?
Do you want to help us unpack when we arrive? We’ll probably feed you dinner or something.
If I agree to be your tootsy-wootsy, can we dance the hootchy-kootchy?

oilz

I mentioned essential oils in a post about natural cleaning a while back, and I feel that it is only right that I share more about it. I’ve been hesitant to publicly acknowledge my use of essential oils here on the internets. It feels like a confession of some sort, plunging me further into the category of “hippie,” cementing my position in the world of natural living. What will they think of me? But I don’t care anymore. I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it! Let’s be honest though…are you all that surprised? My husband recently asked if I was going to use a hoof to make jello. I didn’t, but he thought it was a possibility. Somehow, using essential oils seems less extreme than finding a hoof just to make dessert. Seriously though, I had a few uses in mind when I bought the oils, but I have been amazed by how many ways I’ve been able to use them already. To name a few…

  • help my children sleep better – for real, y’all
  • neutralize the incredible aromas of dead mouse and toddler vomit in a van
  • boost our immune systems
  • support healthy baby skin
  • ease some discomfort I’ve had in my hands for months
  • help with my husband’s seasonal sniffles
  • help me calm down when I’m having the mother-crazies
  • soothe my mom’s back

I’m no medical professional, and I can only tell you how these have helped our family in the span of just two months. But I’m a believer. My main (early) Christmas present from Dave was a starter kit from a company called Young Living. It’s a reputable company with quality products. I didn’t know this before, but some companies add fillers to their oils so you’re not getting pure oils. Boo! Who needs fillers?

In any case, I think essential oils are pretty amazing. Give ’em a try – you never know how they might change your life. As St. Augustine said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” Unity! Essential oils bring unity! Right?

P.S. If you’re actually interested in trying something, let me know and I’ll try to help you out. I don’t know much yet, but I have an awesome reference book and an amazing discount!

ode to rhubarb

About a month ago I mentioned rhubarb. I wanted to shout from the rooftops about rhubarb that day, but then I realized rhubarb season was over and crawled into a hole to weep.
I think I’ve had strawberry rhubarb pie a time or two, but I was never too impressed with it. I had certainly never cooked with it. I saw it a few times at the farmer’s market this summer but didn’t want to bother (I’m so ashamed.). As the season drew to a close I thought I might as well try all the things I hadn’t yet, so I bought a couple bunches. It was, hands down, one of the wisest culinary decisions I’ve made. I wanted to make a pie, but I didn’t have any strawberries. What I did have was plums, and boy am I glad. I did a quick search on the internets and made the first recipe that popped up. I don’t know who Nick is, but he knows how to make pie. This thing was KILLER! Seriously. It was the best pie I’ve ever eaten. Dave and I stood in the kitchen, scarfing it down like ravenous animals. The only disappointment was the end of rhubarb season. I searched high and low for some more, but to no avail. I will be thinking about that pie until next summer, and when rhubarb comes back into my life I will make a pie every week. Do yourself a favor and pin/save/print this recipe asap.
*I used my go-to crust recipe from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.
*I took a picture, but it wasn’t any good. You should just click the link and look at Nick’s pictures.

 

Some other delicious recipes of late:
cranberry orange breakfast buns
rosemary peasant bread
mustardy kale salad with roasted sweet potato and apple

a natural woman

Somehow word got out that I use natural body and cleaning products. A few people have asked what I use, so I thought I’d just put together a quick list. None of these are my own recipes, but they all work really well for me.

House:
the Duggars’ laundry detergent
stain remover: 1/4 C peroxide, 2 T baking soda, 1 t Dawn dish soap – mix it up and scrub it on with a toothbrush
dishwasher detergent
Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds for dishwashing soap
all-purpose spray cleaner (bathrooms, kitchen, floors)
goo-gone: cram orange peels into a quart jar, fill it up with vinegar, let it sit for 10 days or so, and strain out the liquid
air-freshener

I stole my face regimen from my beautiful sister. She did the following for the weeks (months?) leading up to her wedding this June, and her skin was absolutely radiant.
Morning: baking soda paste for exfoliating, a smidge of coconut oil with a drop of frankincense essential oil
Night: grapeseed oil followed by a hot washcloth for cleansing and moisturizing, 4:1 ratio water/apple cider vinegar toner on a cotton ball, tea tree essential oil on blemishes

Shea Moisture lotion

Dr. Bronner’s lotion

Jason toothpaste

Jason kids toothpaste

Nature’s Baby Organics shampoo/soap (I don’t love it.)

I tried a number of natural shampoos before settling on J.R. Liggett’s shampoo bars. It has been the only one that made my hair feel clean but not straw-y. A couple weeks ago I added a few quirts of that same apple cider vinegar as “conditioner,” and it was the icing on the cake. It truly feels like conditioner without the greasy film getting left behind.

For my body I use either a pure olive oil soap bar (like this one) or Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bar soap.

We also use Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint castile soap for hand soap, diluted in half.

And for my final trick, homemade deodorant! I’ve only tried one recipe, but I like it. Some people react to the corn starch or baking soda, so you may need to leave out one of those or just add more coconut oil to dilute it a bit. I like a combo of tea tree and lavender essential oils. (I’ve recently jumped into the world of essential oils, which may deserve its own post at some point. Just call me crunchy.)

So there you have it, folks. Clean without chemicals.