Essential Oils 101

I wanted to give you a little introduction to the oils that come in a Young Living Starter Kit. Some people prefer reading to video watching, so I thought it would be helpful to have all the info in my Essential Oils 101 class here in text form. Shall we get started?

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are basically the essence of the plant. Obtained by steam distillation, they are the most powerful part of the plant.
They aren't hippy, witchy woo-woo, nor are they some new age fad. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years (hello, 3 wise men, bringing Frankincense, gold, and myrhh to baby Jesus).

How do you use them?

3 ways: Inhalation, Topical Application, Ingestion.

For inhalation, you can open a bottle and sniff, or add a few drops to a diffuser.  Did you know that oils can reach your organs with in 3 seconds when inhaled?  How cool is that?!

Topical application just means rubbing the oil on your skin.  You can do this neat or with a carrier oil.  A carrier oil is just another oil that you mix with your essential oil that slows down the process of absorption because essential oils can be absorbed into the body within 26 seconds.  It is recommended that young children and people who are new using essential oils use a carrier oil when applying oils topically.

Internal uses for essential oils would be to use a drop for cooking, putting it in a vegetable capsule, or a drop in water or tea.  This topic can be controversial so please use caution and do your research.  I would not use any essential oil internally that was not part of Young Living's Vitality line.

Why is Young Living supposed to be so much better than the oils I can buy off amazon?

3 words: Seed to Seal

Young Living has a seed to seal promise, no one else has that.  Young Living controls every aspect of their esssential oils from the time the plant is a seed, until it is sealed in the bottle, and they put their oils through rigorous 3rd party testing from accredited, independent labs. Other companies just can't promise that.  They either haven't been around as long as Young Living (25 years!!), or don't have the resources.

Since the FDA doesn't regulate essential oils, the oils that you buy from other places, like the grocery store or amazon - even other "natural wellness companies" could be synthetic, adulterated, manipulated, diluted, etc.  Smaller companies just don't have the resources to produce the same quality oils as Young Living. There's just no way to know for sure, but with Young Living, you can tour any one of their farms at any time. They provide so much transparency because they have nothing to hide.

All this sounds great, but let's get to the real question:

What can oils do for you?

So many things!!  From mood boosting, grounding, cleaning, bacteria fighting, pain relieving, seasonal supporting, respiratory supporting, there are thousands of things these brown bottles will do for you. I'd have never believed it unless I tried it, but they really are like little bottles of magic potion.

The best way to get started in oils is with a Young Living Starter kit because it's uses are so versatile.

Here's what comes in the kit:

A diffuser.  You can choose from a few different options - the one pictured is the desert mist diffuser (so pretty!!).

11 different oils

Let's go through them:

Lemon Vitality:  Fresh smelling, uplifting, helpful in cleaning (a key ingredient in Theives Household Cleaner). It a natural goo remover, so you can use it to remove sticky labels from jars, etc. You can also add a drop or 2 to water to clean fruits and veggies.

Copaiba Vitality:  This oil is ahhhmazing!!  It is one of the most anti-inflammatory substances on earth.  Can be used as an astringent to tighten and strengthen skin, and eliminate scars.  Helpful in relieving congestion when inhaled. Copaiba helps to reduce pain and inflammation with little to no side effects. Use it to ease head tension, and loosen muscles. It's antibacterial, antifungal, and a diuretic.  This magical little oil contains 20% more BCP than cannabis (beta-caryophyllene "BCP" interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the body, releasing beta-endorphins).

Digize Vitality:  Great for digestive support.  We rub it on our tummies when we're not feeling so well.  Smells a bit like licorice.

Thieves Vitality:  Immune Support in a bottle.  Diffuse it, rub it on the bottoms of feet or down spine daily for immune support.  It smells warm and spicy and wonderful - like Christmastime in a bottle.  The main oil in this magical blend is clove oil, which is higher in antioxidents than any other oil. This is also the main ingredient in Thieves Household cleaner.

Peppermint Vitality:  Great for nausea, head tension, seasonal support, respiratory support, and is so energizing!

Panaway:  Holy moly, this oil is so good for sore joints and muscles.  It works sort of like those muscle rubs - you know, the ones that tingle and soothe, but are full of yucky chemicals? Well, it's like that, minus the yucky chemicals.

Raven:  This is the oil that really gave me my first magical oil experience.  I'd been sick with a chest cold all week, rubbed this stuff on my chest, and immediately felt it seeping into my chest and giving me relief.  Magic stuff, I tell ya.  Diffusing Raven is great for respiratory support, and it also provides a cool, soothing sensation when applied topically to chest and throat.

Citrus Fresh:  This oil is uplifting and great for emotional support.  Just be careful when applying citrus oils topically, because they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Frankincense:  This is like the OG of oils.  It can do so many things.  I use it in a roller with lavender and a carrier oil on my face every night because it helps smooth the appearance of skin.  It is commonly diffused for prayer and meditation because it is very grounding.  Frank reduces stress and anxiety, boosts immunity, and reduces pain and inflammations.

Lavender:  Lavender is the big mamma jamma of the oil family.  She can be used pretty much always.  Calming, soothing, it's the oil of relaxation.  One of the top oils to help the skin, they sometimes call Lavender the "swiss army knife" of oils because you will always find a reason to bust out this lovely.


Stress Away:  Pretty self explanatory.  The main ingredient is copaiba, but also contains lime and vanilla.  I sometimes just wear it as perfume when my kids are acting a fool.

The premium starter kit comes with all of those oils, plus a sample (enough to make an entire bottle) of Theives Household Cleaner, a couple of samples of Ningxia Red, a roller top, and some little bottles so you can share the awesomeness of oils with your friends. The best part - the PSK give you a lifetime wholesale membership so that you can save 24% off of anything you ever buy from Young Living ever again! There is no obligation to buy anything else, ever, but if you decide you want to start adding to your oil collection (and you probably will), you will be able to save that 24%.

If you're ready do change your life, and begin a journey to wellness along with me, follow the link below:

When you come across something wonderful, it's natural to want to share it, so when your Premium Starter Kit arrives, and you find out how much you love it, if you share the wonderful things Young Living Products do for you with a friend, and they end up purchasing a PSK, Young Living will send you $50!!!  What the whatttt?!  Yep.  Get $50 for every friend you refer!! 


The Power of Intention

I am magical.
Don't worry, you are too.
Let me tell you why.

Since I've been introduced to the amazing powers of essential oils, I've decided to incorporate them into our daily life.  I knew that by doing that, I'd need a better system than leaving them scattered all over the top of our dresser.

I'd seen some really pretty oil storage shelves for upwards of $50, and knew that I'd like something like that, but definitely not for $50 or more. Plus, I'm not exactly sure where I'd want to keep the shelf (kitchen, master bedroom, office), so I wasn't ready to commit to hanging them on the wall anywhere just yet.

Last night, Bent and I checked out Goodwill, but they had no shelves, and he felt bad that I came up empty. "It's ok, I'll find the right one," I said as we left.

Today, after school, Cole and I went to run errands on the other side of town, so we stopped at a thrift store that we don't usually frequent and guess what they had?  A lovely little free standing shelf that can also be hung on the wall and was painted by its previous owner the exact color of the mirror and picture frame hanging in our master bedroom! $5 and a wipe-down later, that cute little shelf is now holding our essential oils.

Yes, this could certainly be chalked up to coincidence, but these things happen all the time.

Just last month, I was wondering to myself if I should get a crockpot to make dinner time easier since we've been so busy with back to school.  I went into Target for groceries, and guess what? Marked down crockpots were on an endcap display!  I didn't buy one, but I smiled because I know that those were put in my path because I'd called to them using the power of intention.

These situations have happened so often that when I tell people, "Don't worry, things are going to work out fine," I'm not just saying it. I truly believe that they are, because I know that things are always working out for me.  In fact, they're always working out for you too, or they will be once you believe that they are. 

Before you think that this is some witchy woo-woo, even Jesus says, "Ask and ye shall receive."  Technically He says,

"Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Matthew 7

"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 16:24

Medical studies have shown that the placebo affect is a real thing.  In fact, it accounts for 1/3 of healing in patients.  One third!! Your mind is far more powerful than you think.

The next time you start to beat yourself up over something, replace your words with positive affirmations because when you tell yourself you are a failure, you become one.  Tell yourself that you are awesome, and that good things come easily for you. Even if you don't believe it.  Lie to yourself if you must, but over time, that lie will become the truth. 

You know why? Because you're magic.


Do Essential Oils Really Work?

It's a question I'd wondered for nearly 3 years.  Do essential oils really work?  Across social media I'd seen people singing the praises of essential oils for things ranging from headaches to thyroid issues. I'd been curious to try them out, but didn't have the time because I was drowning in orders at the time from my handmade business.

Once I turned my business into a hobby, and had more time, I started tinkering with oils, buying a couple of diffusers and oils from Amazon and Etsy.  I'd been hoping to diffuse some in Bent's room to help with his seasonal nighttime asthma, and try out a few other things. I used them for nearly a year and what I found was that they didn't really seem to make any sort of real impact on the issues I was hoping to address.  They did smell nice though, so I continued to use them on lava bead bracelets and necklaces, and diffuse them just for scent's sake.

****This is a post sharing my family's personal experiences.  I am not a medical doctor, nor can I claim that anyone else would have the same results.  

Recently, Young Living, the supposed "ultimate" oil brand was having a sale on their premium starter kits, and something in me said, "what the heck, let's try 'em," So I ordered one.

With the kids back in school, I have a couple of hours to myself now every morning, so I was pretty excited to experiment with the oils just for the sheer entertainment of it. I was mostly expecting the same results, but to my great surprise, the oils I've tried out so far from Young Living actually do something.  Yes, they smell good too, but these have given us actual, real results from the things we've tried.

Here are a few that we've tried and had results from so far:

Lavendar + Copaiba:  This combo in my youngest's diffuser at night has changed bedtime to an hour long "get back in your bed" fiasco to a 15 minute, "good night, love you" snooze fest.  I would never have believed it unless it happened to me.

Panaway:  Rubbing this on sore joints has provided my husband nearly instant relief (sort of "ben gay" style, but without any nasty chemicals)

Digize: Rubbing this on our tummies when they're feeling yucky has helped us to feel better.

Raven:  Mixing this in a roller with a carrier oil and rubbing it on Bent's chest when he feels like he's breathing heavily has given him relief without needing his inhaler.

The kit came with 11 oils, the diffuser, a sample of Thieves household cleaner (which made 2 bottles of cleaner!!), and some Ningxia Red (which I have not yet tried), sample bottles, and the most gorgeous diffuser!

We're still working on trying other oils in the kit, but from our experiences so far, I can say, that yes! Essential Oils really work IF you are using quality oils.  Apparently, there are no FDA regulations on essential oils, which means that anyone can sell what they call essential oils, regardless of their quality, so oftentimes, the oils you buy from the grocery store or amazon are synthetic, diluted, or just straight up fragrances that have no actual plant oil in them.
Young Living has a Seed to Seal promise, which means that they control everything from the time the plant is seed to when it's sealed up in the bottle and sent to your home.  No other company has that, and apparently it makes a huge difference if you're looking for anything other than scent from your essential oils.

If you'd like to try out Young Living Essential Oils and see what a difference they can make for your family, you can click the link here.

Please know that these are my personal experiences, and I never would have believed that the past few weeks would bring me the results that we've received. I am not a medical doctor, and I cannot guarantee results for anyone else, but I wanted to share the experiences that our family has had from Young Living oils.

Have you tried Young Living or other brands? Did you notice a difference?  I'd love to hear your experiences!


How to Make Leather Baby Moccasins

It's no secret that I've been in the moccasin game for a few years now.  With the decision to put shoe making on the back burner, I thought it would be nice to create a tutorial for making moccasins, in case you're feeling particularly crafty.  

Aside from a couple of fun projects with my Granny, and 8th grade home-ec, I basically taught myself to sew by figuring out how to make leather baby moccasins.  Once I found a pattern that worked nicely, I created a variety of sizes.  
These moccasins can be made by anyone with a sewing machine, depending on how thick your leather is.  I recommend a leather that is approximately 3 oz, so that it's thick enough to hold up to wear and tear and to protect your child's foot, but won't be too thick to sew with a standard sewing machine.

The best part about this pattern, it can easily be adjusted for babes with chubby feet!  Simply make the top piece (the one that looks like a hill) wider (like a less-steep hill).  

You can find the patterns for baby and children's sizes 1-10, along with a step by step tutorial over in the ETSY shop. 


AO Year 4 - Term 3

We just finished out year 4 of Ambleside Online's online curriculum (our first year tackling everything listed) and I'm so impressed with what an impact it has had on our family.  School is easy and enjoyable, and I can't imagine ever going back to a worksheet-style curriculum.

Here is the link to our Term 3 daily schedule:

AO Year 4 Term 3 Daily Schedule

Because of my husband's work schedule, we chose to school Tuesday through Saturday, and because our flag football season fell during term 3, the schedule was adjusted to give Saturdays a lighter workload.

As with any school curriculum, there were some books we really loved (Ocean of Truth), and some that we just trudged through (looking at you, Abigail), but all in all, it was a great year.

We also left Plutarch behind after term 1.  That's the beauty of AO, you can easily adjust as needed for your family. 

If you're looking for the Year 4 daily schedule in its entirety, I will link to the other terms below:

AO Year 4 - Term1

AO Year 4 - Term 2

To parents just starting out into Ambleside, this can be done and it's so rewarding.  You've got this!! Have a wonderful school year!


90's Day

Sunday we woke up itching.  Itching to go somewhere. Do something.  Be outside.  

Bent suggested a road trip, and I was feeling nostalgic, so we headed to my old town.

The boys grabbed their road trip entertainment (Bent brought a book, and Cole brought a notebook and a pen, which made me feel even more nostalgic: 90's baby! When those were your items of choice on a road trip rather than "can we: bring our tablets/dvd players/use your phone."), and we set off.  We jammed out to all our favorite songs on the way and when the boys were tired of their books, they just looked out the window and let their minds wander.  

azaleas at rainbow springs

When we arrived we found that the azaleas were in full bloom, and many of the other trees were spotted with new buds or beginning to bloom - yes it's February, but it's Florida, "winter" is only 2 month long here. Everything was beautiful.  

We set up blankets on the hill, kicked off our shoes, and I read my book (but  mostly people watched), while the boys played ball until they were breathless and glistening with sweat.

We took a stroll along the gardens, took in the waterfalls, attempted one of the back trails, and debated jumping in the river, but decided against it since we were running out of light and didn't want to make the drive home soaking wet. 

The boys truly enjoy days like this. Days that cost little to nothing except time, and that bring adventure and memories.  

raising wild folk
raising wild folk
  raising wild folk

My goal for 2017 was to "Be Here Now," and after an entire year of reciting that mantra, I find it much easier to live every moment as it happens, and cast aside worries and regrets.  

2018 is my "year of the 90's."  1990's, that is.  When there was just enough technology to make life a bit more convenient, but not so much as to swallow you whole and make you forget about the beautiful world around you.  

In the 90's you had to make your own fun, use your imagination, play outside. If the weather was bad, you could come in and watch tv, or play a video game, but it wasn't life.  Cole and Bent aren't technology obsessed, but Jon and I feel everyone benefits from adventure, exploration, and outside time, so we are making it our goal this year to provide the right environment for the kids to experience life in this way.

We could all do with a little less technology, a little more nature, and a lot more imagining. 

If you're local, or road tripping through Florida, I cannot recommend Rainbow Springs State Park enough (yes, I might be a little biased since it's where I'm from, but it really is beautiful). It's only $2 per person, and if you pack a picnic, you can easily spend the entire day there swimming, canoeing, trekking, and soaking in what's beautiful about Florida.


Saying Yes.

When the kids heard that it was snowing a mere 2 hours north (and not the kind of snow that melts before it hits the ground, this was actual snow), we were met with cries of, "Can we please please pleaseeee go see the snow?"

Sure it would have been easy to tell them no, that daddy was working, and it was a weeknight, but something in me thought, "why not?"  I called Jon at work, he rescheduled the rest of his appointments for the day (it was a slow day anyway), and we hit the road.

We originally intended to drive to Savannah, but our gas light came on around 2 hours from home, and when we pulled off for gas, there was actual snow on the ground!  Another family was already there, all bundled up, watching as their children built a snowman, so we pulled on the kids mucking boots (we're from Florida - that's all you need down here), and let them run wild in the field next to the gas station.

Sometimes, you just have to say yes.

Yes to adventure.
Yes to exploration.
Yes to experiences.
Yes to the unknown.
Yes to making memories.

Your whole family will be better for it.
Trust me.

We will always remember that time we hopped in the van, drove across the state line, and played in the snow by a roadside fruit stand.


Making Time

I needed more time.  
Especially since the time change, there just hadn't seemed to be enough hours in the day.  Sure, we'd been getting our school work and house work done, but there was just not enough time for doing nothing, and well, I needed more time for.... nothing

When I think back to just 5 years ago, there was always time.  So much everyday that I'd find myself wondering what I could do to busy myself until Jon came home from work.  We were still homeschooling, so that can't be used as an excuse, because we could get our work done and still take  a walk to the grocery store for dinner ingredients with time to spare.  
If I'm honest with myself, I know what's changed (and it's not the addition of a child).

It's likely the same thing that prevents you from finding more "me time," more time for stillness, contemplation, reading, being.

It's social media, and it's something that I'm ok with admitting I struggle with.  I have a love hate relationship with social media.  Facebook used to be so great for staying connected to far away family, old friends, and people from across the country that you met on your honeymoon and now get to watch their children grow up. 

Instagram has been awesome for peeping into peoples beautiful (albeit sometimes made up) lives and imagining how lovely it must be to bake pies from scratch using organic ingredients from your garden out back of your cliff top house in Switzerland (you know what I'm talking about....).

But let's be real.  They are time sucks, and it's so hard to avoid them.

Even with notifications turned off on my phone, I'll check in to facebook, and before I know it, 20 minutes have gone by and I haven't even interacted with anyone I know.

But I've watched a video of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, seen someone complaining about the president, seen 10 cat pictures, more complaining about the president, complaining about the people complaining about the president, found out what my Fairy Princess name is, taken a quiz to see what type of shoes I would be if I were a pair of shoes, and so on and so on and so on until I've wasted all of that precious time I was looking for earlier.

Sure, it doesn't always happen in a large chunk like that.  Sometimes, I check in a few times a day for little nuggets of nothingness here and there, because, that's what it is, nothingness.  I haven't actually retained anything from that video recipe for making caramel apple streudel that I watched for 8 minutes.

Anddddd there's my precious time.
That's where it went.
That's why I've been reading the same (actually really fascinating) book for a month and am still at page 104.

raising wild folk
banana leaves
I've decided I don't want to live like that anymore.  I'm tired of wasting time on scrolling that I could be using on things I really care about (ie. reading, gardening, crafting, learning), so I decided I was going to make a concentrated effort to find myself more time in 2018 by deleting my personal facebook account.  

I'm on day 2, and while I have noticed a slight compulsion to reach for my phone, only to realize mid-grab that there are no notifications to check, I'm already feeling much happier. 

Yesterday, we found the time to have family movie night, color gorgeous meditative coloring pages of wolves for the Wolf Moon, and the Hubs and I even enjoyed a cup of eggnog and read our books (yes, real books - no phones needed) by the fireside together after the kids went to bed.  It was heaven! 

This combined with the return of the light now that solstice has passed, and my head is spinning with all the possibilities of what I will do with my new found time each day!

Is there anything you've let go of for the new year?

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