• July 22, 2015

    Essential Oil Bug Spray

    My family learned early on in my little life that bug spray does not agree with me.  The story goes that we were at a picnic with friends when I was still too small to be walking yet and someone picked me up.  Within minutes, I was swollen to the size of a watermelon and pink all over and it was all very scary and traumatic for my parents.  Once I was back to a normal baby size, they discovered that someone had sprayed Cutter bug spray and the transfer from them to me was enough to damn near kill me!

    So, most of my life, I have just had to deal with bugs unless I could sit next to a burning citronella candle whenever I was outside.  Lame, right?

    That has all changed now, though, since I discovered essential oils!  DoTerra sells a great blend called TerraShield that is made specifically to repel insects.  To make the bug spray, I combine 10 drops of TerraShield with water in a 4oz (glass!) spray bottle.  One application lasts about 5-6 hours so you don’t have to reapply a ton.

    If you don’t use DoTerra or want to try blending your own bug spray, I recommend using a few drops each of lemon, lemongrass, citronella, and eucalyptus with water in a 4 oz spray bottle.

    Give it a try and spend the rest of summer bug free!

  • May 6, 2015

    Essential Oil Bath Bombs

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    My friend Joanna over at youtube.com gave me this fantastic recipe for bath bombs using essential oils and I am so excited to share it with you!  These bath bombs have made my skin so soft and I really love how easy they are to do!  With Mother’s Day coming up, why not whip up a batch and share some rest and relaxation with your Mama?  *grin*

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup baking soda
    • 1/4 cup citric acid
    • 1/4 cup starch (corn, tapioca, or arrowroot)
    • 1 tablespoon epsom salts
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 3 tsp water
    • 10 drops of essential oils
    • Small candy molds

     

    Instructions:

    1. In a large glass, ceramic, or metal bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients.
    2. With a fork, work in the coconut oil, leaving some chunks of the oil.
    3. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine water and essential oils .  Add the mixture to the dry ingredients a little at a time – stir quickly as the mixture might start to foam a little.
    4. Once all ingredients are combined, press it firmly into each mold and allow to dry overnight.  Store in an air-tight container, preferably made of glass.

     

    Pro-tips:

    Make sure you press it in the mold really good and tight, this will help the bath bombs stay together better and for longer amount of time.

    Use whatever oils you prefer – I liked the calmer fragrances  like lavender  because I tend to take baths to relax, but if you want to toss one in your shower in the morning, go for something uplifting like wild orange.  Or, if you’re struggling with a cold or allergies, try eucalyptus to open up your nose during a hot bath.

    These bath bombs won’t hold their shape forever, so don’t make too many in one go unless you take a lot of baths.  *grin*

     

    Bath-Bomb

  • February 25, 2015

    Essential Oils Carpet Odor Killer

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    My husband and I have two pets, a corgi and a cat.  We love them to pieces, but they both shed like mad and stink up the house if we’re not careful.  So, I vacuum once a week and use this odor killer as often as needed to keep the carpet clean and smelling fresh.  I imagine this same mixture could easily be used on furniture as well, if needed.

     

    Supplies2

    Ingredients:

    • Baking Soda
    • Essential Oil – You can use whatever oils you like depending on what you hope to accomplish with them.  For instance, Lavender is a nice smell in a bedroom to help you relax and sleep.  On Guard and Cinnamon will kill germs and yuckies that thrive in your carpet.  Lemon leaves a lovely, uplifting scent that feels really clean.

    Directions:

    • To make the odor killing mixture, combine a small box of baking soda with 5-10 drops of essential oil.  Mix thoroughly before beginning the cleaning process.
    • Run your vacuum over the carpet you want to neutralize.
    • Sprinkle the baking soda mixture over the whole carpet.
    • If your carpet is really stinky or has long fibers, work it in as much as you can.
    • Let it sit for a while – an hour or more if you can.
    • Vacuum it all back up and enjoy your fresher smelling house.

     

    Carpet-Cleaner

    Pro Tip:

    Ensure the oils you use are safe for your kids and pets before using!  Some animals, like birds, are extra sensitive to some oils and great care needs to be taken to ensure they aren’t hurt by your cleaning product.

    I keep my odor killing mixture readymade in an old glass jar.  Be sure to only use glass or metal containers when using essential oils – never ever plastic!

  • February 11, 2015

    Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

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    While I don’t have much use for the typical Valentine’s Day, I do rather like having an excuse to eat decadent chocolate!  I assume you feel the same way about chocolate as I do, regardless of whether or not you love Valentine’s Day, so enjoy my new favorite recipe!

    Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

    By Erin Published: February 11, 2015

      While I don't have much use for the typical Valentine's Day, I do rather like having an excuse to eat decadent chocolate!  I assume …

      Ingredients

      Instructions

      1. IngredientsGather ingredients and preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
      2. Sugar-Water-MixtureIn a small saucepan, combine water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir continually until fully dissolved then set aside.
      3. Melt-ChocolateUsing a double broiler, melt all the chocolate. Once it is melted, transfer chocolate to a mixing bowl made of metal, glass, or ceramic.
      4. Combine-ButterCut butter into pieces and slowly combine into chocolate.
      5. Combine-Sugar-Water-MixtureBeat in sugar-water mixture and eggs.
      6. Wild-OrangeAdd 3 (or more, if you want a stronger orange flavor) drops of Wild Orange doTERRA Essential Oil.
      7. Prep-the-PansYour cakes will be baked in a bath of boiling water, so prepare a large pan that will hold your smaller cake pan or ramekins. Boil water, then pour the batter into small cake pan or ramekins. Fill the larger cake pan with water around the smaller pans.
      8. HawtBake cakes for 45 minutes. When done, the center will still look wet - this is expected. Remove small dishes from the large pan and let cool in the refrigerator overnight.
      9. Sauce-IngredientsFor the Raspberry Sauce, gather together the following ingredients: 2 1/2 Tsp. Cornstarch 3 Tbsp Sugar 1/3 Cup Water 12 oz. Raspberries
      10. SauceIn a small saucepan, combine ingredients and cook over medium heat. Mash up the berries and stir constantly until boiling. Once boiling, continue to stir for 1 minute.
      11. Strain-the-SauceStrain the sauce over fine mesh to separate seeds.
      12. Enjoy!Pour sauce over cake and enjoy!

       

      Pro Tip:

      The Raspberry Sauce is also amazing over ice cream and yogurt!  This recipe makes a large batch, so if you don’t choose to cut it go ahead and treat yourself to even more yummyness!

      The cake is very dense and rich – it would be lovely with some whipped cream to go with the sauce.  Also try some mint!  Mmmmm!

       

    • January 28, 2015

      Essential Oils: What They Are And Why They Work

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      I have talked a little in the past about using essential oils, but it has occurred to me that many people may not be familiar with them or why I would trust them.  I am certainly no expert, but I am learning and finding that each new oil or recipe I try is working.  With every story shared and every success I experience, I am becoming more and more a believer in these oils.

      And why shouldn’t I believe in their usefulness?  Essential oils have been used throughout history for healing, beauty, cooking, and religious ceremony.  Remember in the Bible when Jesus was born and the wise men brought him gold, frankincense, and myrrh?  Two of the three gifts given to the King of Kings were plant derivatives that were prized in that time (and even today) for their healing properties and religious significance.  People all over the world still use frankincense and myrrh today to treat ailments and worship God.  Frankincense and myrrh weren’t the only essential oils to be used in history, though.  In fact there is evidence of Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and Persians using various oils for their healing properties long before the advent of modern Western medicine.  If there is such widespread use throughout history, there must be something to these oils, right?

      Let’s look a little closer at how essential oils are made and why they work: Essential oils are extracted from their parent plant via steam distillation or cold pressing and marketed as concentrated oils by companies like doTERRA and Young Living.  The essential oils that we use to heal our bodies are present in plants to do that exact same thing for the plant!  Peppermint oil protests and heals the peppermint plant, see?  Not all plants have these properties, but the ones who do usually translate well for human use.

      But how do essential oils really measure up against modern medicine?  I am certainly not going to suggest that oils can or should replace medicine or surgeries for people who are needing those things, but essential oils may play a role in healing significant illness or injury – that decision is between you and your doctor!  For less serious things – a minor burn or stomach ache, for instance – essential oils can be administered instead of or alongside other, more typical Western medicines.  When using essential oils for healing, you can place the oil on your skin, breathe it in, or ingest it (depending on the type of oil).  The oils will be absorbed through whatever human tissue they come into contact with and enter the blood stream.  The oils will enter cells, including bacteria and viruses, and share their properties to support health and kill toxins.  Most man-made medicines are not as effective in crossing the cell membrane, so often times, the essential oil actually works faster and better!  Additionally, the oils are gentler on your system than medicines are, so if your stomach is easily upset by aspirin, you might want to try some peppermint oil instead to ease your headache.

      If you aren’t so sure about using essential oils in place of some medicines, consider using them for cleaning , beauty, and aroma!   Remember how plants that produce essential oils use those oils to protect themselves?  Well, this means that a lot of essential oils have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and protective properties.  This means that you can safely use many oils to clean your counters, laundry, and other spaces.  You can also create bath-bombs, body butter, lip-gloss, and other body care products.  There are tons of recipes out there and you can bet I’ll be posting more in the future here too!  And sometimes, you just want your home to smell nice without the fake smell many candles leave.  Using an oil with uplifting properties will not only make your home smell clean and fresh, but it can help elevate your mood and actually make you feel better too!

      Essential-Oils

      If you are interested in learning more or using essential oils in your daily life, I want to point you to my friend, Joanna’s, youtube channel.  She goes into more detail about these topics and can probably answer any questions you have!  She also has some nummy recipes!  Check it out, do your own research, and ask lots of questions!

    • June 18, 2014

      DIY: All Purpose Cleaner

      Last week I wrote about clean eating, so today I want to start a little discussion about clean cleaning.

      If you use store bought cleaners in your home, you are familiar with how sparkly and shiny they can make your home.  You are also familiar with the strong smells, headaches, expense, and danger associated with those chemicals.  I have never been able to clean my bathroom without both the fan running and the window open.  My kitchen is more open, so I have less trouble there, but then I wonder about the safety of eating food that touches my counters since I just wiped them down with chemical cleaners that tell me right on the label you shouldn’t ingest them.

      I’m thinking this might be a problem.

      So… I started doing some research.  It seems like there are a million and one ways to naturally clean your home.  Everyone has a different opinion and preference, but there are definitely some common ingredients that we can all agree on.  After taking it all in and talking with some good friends, I’ve come up with an all purpose cleaner that I feel good about using on my countertops.

      For this “recipe” you will need a glass spray bottle.  I include Essential Oils in my cleaner and these oils may have the ability to break down plastics and become toxic.

      Ingredients:

      • Water
      • Vinegar
      • Lemon Oil
      • Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil
      • On Guard Oil Blend

      Instructions:

      Fill your glass spray bottle half way with vinegar and the rest of the way with water.  Add 2-3 drops of each oil.  Shake well and get cleaning!

       

      I use vinegar as part of the base for my cleaner because vinegar is acetic (in fact, there is a more acetic cleaning grade vinegar on the market if you care to get that instead of the regular vinegar).  The acid in vinegar polishes metals, dissolves soap scum, kills mildew and mold, and removes some stains.  These properties make it very attractive for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens.

      Water is used to help cut the other ingredients.  It doesn’t necessarily help the cleaning process, but it does help the overall smell and usability of the cleaner.

      I love lemon to clean with for a few reasons:  1. It smells great!  Lemon is a natural mood lifter.  2. It is antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antiviral oil.  Lemon will kill tons of common household germs and gunk.  3. It works wonders on removing sticky stuff!

      Melaleuca oil is an even stronger antiseptic.  It will also kill bacteria, fungus, viruses, and other infectious germs.  Melaleuca has been used throughout history as a medical tool to help heal wounds and cuts… I use it whenever I get a blemish.

      On Guard is a special blend of oils that doTERRA makes and markets as a germ killing, health giving miracle mix.  And it is.  With orange, clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary, this blend of oils is magical.  This is shown to kill bacteria, mold, and viruses.  It also stimulates your immune system, protecting you from the very things you’re cleaning up!

      The first time I used this combination to clean my home, I noticed that I felt better when the cleaning was done.  My mood was good and my home smelled really nice.  I love the feeling of clean without the smell of fake pine and citrus.  Totally makes sense why chemical cleaners are lemon scented, though, right?

      As with anything you do, please be cautious when trying new oils and mixtures.  Essential oils are highly concentrated and may cause negative reactions if left on your skin or ingested.  For the most part, you’ll probably be fine, but do a little tester first to be sure.  And if you know you are sensitive to, say, cinnamon, maybe find something with similar properties to replace it.  The same caution goes for your pets.  This mixture should be diluted enough for most pets, but again, be mindful of how it may effect them.  I recommend checking out this website if you have questions about pet safety.

      And there you have it!  A simple, green, healthy way to save money and keep your home clean and germ free!

      *grin*