Do you Remember That Smell?

My grandmother wore a certain perfume – and although she passed away almost 22 years ago, whenever I get a whiff of it – I instantly remember her.  As we grow up, I think many of us could attest to the impact that our sense of smell has on us.

A newborn’s sense of smell helps him/her identify his mother and follow to his/her necessary food source.  In fact, within just a few days of birth, a newborn will show preference for his/her own mother’s breast milk than another’s, and plays a significant role in bonding between mother and infant.

Not only is smell linked to building relationships, it is also tied strongly to our memory. (Hence, the instant visualization of my grandma when I smell her perfume!)

Using Essential Oils in your home – whether you find one scent that you really love, or get creative and mix and match your own scents – can leave a lasting impression on your family members and anyone who visits your home.  While Aromatherapy is more than just burning a vanilla candle and should be left to trained medical professionals, the use of essential oils to add to the pleasant aroma of your home is easy and inexpensive!

NOTE: Some essential oils can be downright dangerous if used during pregnancy!!!  They may be simply irritating – but some can be plain toxic.  Here’s a handy list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy – and ALWAYS consult your health care professional before using essential oils while pregnant!

Although they are derived from nature, the misuse of essential oils can be harmful.  Just because it is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s perfectly safe – I mean, really – Would you eat poison ivy?

On the other hand, using essential oils throughout your home in a variety of purposes, can be helpful and pleasing. For a list of benefits and uses, click here: Essential Oils Profiles

Peppermint for cleaning (at least in my home) tends to keep my brain focused on the task at hand, gives me a lift in my spirit, and really helps me think less about the “ick” factor while I’m cleaning.  The beneficial effects of peppermint are said to be: Refreshment, Stimulation.  I would have to agree.

Now, here’s a recipe for a combination of oils said the offset PMS symptoms.  I have not tried this yet – but I’m going to gather the ingredients together so I can!  Anything that helps!!!  I once bought a nighttime body lotion advertised as a help to sleep, and Clary Sage and Lavendar were two of the included scents.  I can tell you that using the cream, absolutely helped me relax and I tend to lean towards trying this from my previous experience.

That’s the great thing about Essential Oils.  You can see what works for you.  Visit your local health food store and find their selection of Essential Oils.  Take some time sampling and smelling – walk away every few minutes and find some coffee to smell if you can to give your nose a break.  Or sample some creams and lotions or soaps with scents and see what you think or how they make you feel.  I tend to avoid Lavender.  I don’t care for it a whole lot, except when it is combined with other oils…

If you decide to use an Essential Oil on your skin, it is really important to add a drop or two to another “carrier” oil – like olive oil or coconut oil.  Direct contact can be very irritating – Essential Oils are highly concentrated from plants, and if you have any allergies, you’re likely to have a reaction of some kind.  Diluting the Essential oil with another oil, provides the benefits of the essential plant, with the buffer of the carrier oil.

Here are some great online Essential Oil sources:

Auracacia

Mountain Rose Herbs

100% Pure Essential Oils

Don’t just take my word for it – do some research, check some books from your library – and find how if the addition of Essential Oils can benefit you!

Smell ya later!


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I’m Singin’ In the Rain…

Making your home sing Mondays

Have you ever tried to actually Sing in the Rain?  Usually I’m a bit “froggier” during wet weather so I don’t sing with as much gusto, but I’m usually singing in my head at least…

I’ve found that doing my “chores” around the house is SOOOOOOO much better if I am listening to praise & worship music – or tappin’ your foot contemporary Christian music.  I get in a “groove” and if I’m singing while I work, the work seems to go by much faster.  I’m amazed at what I can accomplish in a short amount of time, if I’m thinking about what I’m singing rather than how many times I have to wash dishes every day…

I’ve also learned, that scent has an effect on my cleaning power, too.  Since I’ve been using more naturally derived – homemade cleaners, I enjoy cleaning more.  Much of my cleaning creations include a peppermint scent – which is just happy and bright – and doesn’t give me a headache!  Peppermint gives me a real boost – it’s energizing – and very pleasant.  There are other essential oils – like grapefruit, lavendar, eucalyptus – that will also leave a fresh scent that offers a bit of aromatherapy…

On a day when I’m down in the dumps or feeling depressed – honestly, if I will myself to get up and grab my homemade cleaner – not only do I accomplish something, but I actually feel brighter in spirit…

You can find more information about aromatherapy and essential oils here:

Mountain Rose Herbs

Aura Cacia

(But while we’re talking about peppermint – if you’re a big fan – check out this Holiday Peppermint Cake recipe!!!  Mmmmmmm)

Happy Coffee Day! Making Homemade Cleaners

Hello Coffee Girls!  Thanks for stopping by.  I’ve got a pot of medium-roast Breakfast Blend on (and the kettle on for you tea lovers) – help yourself to a pumpkin scone while you’re here!

A few weeks ago I wrote about making Lotion Bars among other things.  I did in fact make them, BUT because I didn’t have a great measuring system for the beeswax, I’ve had to remelt them down and grate in some additional wax.  The oil left things extra oily and the bars were more malleable in my hand than they should be.  So the re-newed batch is setting up now, and I’ll share the recipe when I’ve mastered it. LOL

I found some other household cleaning recipes that I wanted to share.  I really have been thrilled with using Vinegar and Baking Soda for many household cleaning projects.

Here are a few recipes I found in my Homemade recipe book from Reader’s Digest:

Creamy Scrubbing Cleaner

2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
4 tsp vegetable glycerin
5 drops essential oil

Mix well and store in sealed glass jar.  The shelf life for this cleaner is 2 years!  (I get my baking soda at Sam’s Club – got my Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap at Kroger’s, and my vegetable glycerin at a local health food storeIf you use a scented castile soap, it probably isn’t necessary to add the essential oil for scent…)

All Purpose Cleaner

2 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp. borax powder
1 cup hot distilled water + additional water
1/4 cup liquid castile soap
1 16 oz. spray bottle

Mix vinegar and borax in bottle.  Add 1 cup hot distilled water and shake until all is dissolved.  Add more water until almost full.  Add 1/4 cup liquid castile soap and swirl until mixed.  (I’ll just plug the peppermint castile soap as my favorite cleaning smell.  It is fresh and clean and I love cleaning with it. )

Liquid Fabric Softener

2 cups baking soda
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups distilled water
10 drops essential oil

Stir all together and store in plastic lidded container.   Use 1/4 cup per wash load.  (Plain vinegar alone is a great fabric softener, but if you would like to add a nice scent to your load, this liquid recipe may work well for you!)

Hope you enjoy these recipes.  I really enjoy using more natural products in my home and spending MUCH LESS money on cleaners and cleaning products.

Do you have any homemade cleaner recipes you rely on?

*If you’re on the fence about trying homemade cleaners – you’re not alone.  Try starting with one recipe and see how it works for you.   No need to go gung ho with switching out every cleaner until you see how one works for you. =)


You Are What You Eat!

Yep.  It’s been one of those weeks.

Darling Curly flushed something down the toilet.  Not just the regular, expected flushables.   No.  She called it a “round stirrer” and we have no idea what it was.  Needless to say, the flushing mechanism failed, and we now have a new toilet. I won’t go into details about the difficulty it took to get the new one installed, or the many foibles and accidents along the way, but it was an adventure to say the least.

I was granted an extension for my algebra midterm, and an opportunity to retake a quiz I flunked last week.  THANK YOU LORD.  I retook the quiz – flunked again – BUT I reviewed my answers and realized my errors were not based on a lack of understanding the concepts, but rather a problem with basic addition, subtraction, or multiplication error.  ACK!  I’m looking at the silver lining and seeing it as an opportunity to ace the quiz when I take it again.  I “get” the concepts, just have to slow down and work in silence.  Maybe if I get up at 3 a.m. I’ll do great!

I got a card this week from my friend Dawn.  She makes me smile and the card made me laugh out loud.  Here’s what my card says:

Don’t Forget: You Are What You Eat.

I Need to Eat a Skinny Person.

Think it would work???

Winner Announced: OAMC’s Family Favorites

Congratulations Jolyn (from McCombMoneySavers)- You are the winner of the Once A Month Cooking Family Favorites Cookbook!  I’ve sent an email to you so just email me back and claim your prize!

I  hope you enjoy the cookbook and find it as useful as I have!

In other new today, I’m keeping things brief today!  I just finished my final exam for my counseling course (yay!) and have a Math midterm (ohhh, please pray!) to focus on.  We had plans to pick apples today, but it’s been wet and the forecast predicts SNOW, so we are taking things one moment at a time.  Roy & I have a DATE NIGHT planned tonight – and I’m looking forward to some time with him!  Our church is hosting a Date Night for couples and I’m really excited about it!

Otherwise – hope you all have a terrific weekend.  Oh – if you’re looking for some GREAT recipes, not only will you find them at The Better Baker – you should also visit Stop and Smell the Chocolates!  Lisa has hosted a Fall Fruits Festival at her site and I’ve seen some YUMMO recipes!  Today the festival culminates in recipes involving, what else?  CHOCOLATE – and she’s offering a giveaway for all 5 days so if you have some great Fall Fruit recipes – post and link up before the deadline!

A Little of This, A Dash of That

We’ve been experiencing random glitches in our computer world this week.  Really, they’re still a bit inexplicable, but I’m here now, so I’m running with it!

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget – my cookbook giveaway ends tonight.  Be sure to leave your comment for the Once A Month Cooking Family Favorites cookbook for your chance to win!

BLOG RELOCATION

It’s coming!!!  I’m working on the new site to get it up and ready.  Really!  I’m kinda excited about it and will definitely make the announcement when everything’s ready.

UPDATE ON CADEN

My now 4 year old nephew, Caden, diagnosed with leukemia in August 2008 – has entered the maintenance phase of his treatment!  He has had some bumps along the way – his counts have been all over the place and he’s had much isolation, but he’s making progress!  With flu season around the corner, it’s especially important for his family to stay healthy and avoid the flus of the season!  The maintenance phase is going to allow for LESS TRAVEL for he and his family and more routine in their schedule! YES!  Thank you, Lord!  The doctor even suggested the idea of preschool for the spring – so it’s a really big deal!

MOMMIES COFFEE BREAK

Yep, I’m blogging at both places.  But other than having a final exam in my counseling class this week and despite computer glitches – things are going okay so far!  Just excited about getting the new blot site revealed!  Hang on tight – it won’t be long…

What’s Your Plan?

I will be the first person to admit that I am very possessive of MY schedule.  When I make a plan and write down a schedule, I really don’t like unexpected changes.   It’s not that I plan my day out hour by hour or minute by minute.  That’s a bit too rigid for me.

I just have an idea of what needs to get done, how and when (approximately) I’d like to get it done.  Any upset and I am easily irritated and annoyed.

The truth is as much as I pray for God to guide my day and show me the steps to take, I want Him to work within MY schedule.

Yes, that’s right.  I said it.

It’s terribly embarrassing to realize my attempts to box the God of the Universe to fit into my tiny little world.  It’s actually horrifying.

Am I trying to BE God?

Cuz that puts me right in the ranks of a certain angel who lost his place in the heavenlies and became the mortal enemy of God and humanity.

So in praying today, after coming to the realization that I was trying to control my world and asking God to fit within my guidelines, I had to be really honest about giving God my day and asking Him to guide me.  I also had to confess and ask Him to allow me to recognize my pride and need for control.

It goes back to that nasty lie I have believed for so long: “God is not enough.”  If He was, I would not question the interruptions of my day but receive them as part of His plan for me…

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
~ Jeremiah 29:11 (Amplified)

Knowing that God has thoughts for me – plans for me – plans for welfare and peace – and NOT for evil – I can rest and trust that HE is taking care of me and all the details of my life.  I can replace my false belief with the truth and relax with every unexpected blessing He brings my way.

I can make plans and schedule order in my day.  But ultimately, it comes down to Proverbs 16:9:

A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. (Amplified)

The key to success in my day and schedule, in anyone’s day and schedule, is making plans and giving them to God.  He knows our greatest needs – He knows what we need to accomplish and how we can accomplish them.  He also knows the “fluff” that we fill our days with and will help us line our priorities up with His.

If you have a tough time – like I do – with making and keeping to a schedule or accomplishing your necessary responsibilities – maybe it’s time to go to God and ask Him for His help minute by minute, hour by hour – and to teach you how to put your plan within HIS plan for you.

P.S. – If you need a practical tool to help you stay on top of your family’s schedule and activities – check out my post at Mommies Coffee Break today!  You can’t control every minute of every day, but having order provides some measure of peace. =)