Monday, September 14, 2015

Summer In Review

We live just north of the 53rd Parallel in The Pas, Manitoba, Canada. This summer wasn't quite as adventurous as we might normally hope for (having a wee baby to pack along is tough at times) but here is a little photo journal of our favorite times.

On the path to the "Caves" we search out secret places where tiny Fairies, Elves or Gnomes might be hiding from the giant intruders stopping through their tiny world.
Hidden Treasures
The Caves are more like Glacial Crevasses, either way, the children had a blast exploring the lush, moss covered rock openings. Climbing and squeezing into the dark unknown. The boys could have stayed all day!
Young Explorers
We didn't get nearly enough camping in for my liking, but we were blessed to enjoy the last weekend of the season at Pioneer Bay Campground, Clearwater Lake, The Pas, MB. Thanks to a wonderful friend we were blessed to the use of their seasonal site and camper. It was a cool drizzly evening that didn't slow any of us down. Just light up the fire and watch the older children run around "hunting moose" with their handcrafted spears. Staying up late to hide out in the dark, howling to find one another. Papa was worried they might get hurt, however this Mama was too excited to have her children getting along.
Camping
Little Warriors
Can you believe that this is where I call home? Only a short drive from my back door, this campground beach feels like a tropical getaway even on a cool evening. So peaceful.
Clearwater Lake, The Pas, MB
Stopped to take a peek at this lonely dandelion in the light of the beautiful sunset. A lovely end to our summer. Still bracing myself for this fall and the cool it brings.
Taking a Moment

Friday, September 11, 2015

Crayon Making

Our little princess will be turning 5 shortly (I know where did the time go?) and so part of having a birthday is the party planning. Since we are a family who LOVES the re-gift, you can only imagine how we might feel about "goodie bags". We are always open to new ideas to thank our wonderful guests for coming without sending them home with heaps of sugar laden treats or highly fragile dollar store toys. We love our friends and want to honor them without breaking the bank.

Here is one of our ideas. Re-melting crayons into new, cute shaped molds. Unless you know it can be baked, I recommend melting in a pot on the stove (found out the hard way).

Here's a neat idea, re-use your empty glue stick containers and pour in melted crayon wax. Great for toddlers.

We had owl and flower shaped ice cube trays (not oven friendly) and Lego shaped (oven safe) molds. We also have one of those Crayola Crayon Makers (a gift) that is a neat idea, but a slow going process, but it comes with a crayon shaped mold that is easy enough to use on its own.

For added special-ness (a word only used by the sweetest of little girls) we added a few drops of Essential Oils  so the user can enjoy the fragrance while they doodle.

We plan to make copies of some doodle pages, buntings made by my friend over at www.theAngryTurtle.blogspot.ca and some home made cookies to go in our gift bags. What are some of your favorite "goodie bag" ideas?

Photo Credit: TheAngryTurtle.blogspot.ca

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our Oils Kit Thus Far

Over 9 months ago now we began using Young Living Essential Oils. Previously we used other store brand essential oils and a LOT of dried & fresh herbs or other "natural" remedies to heal our ailments or just simply live healthier. We still use some of these remedies (elderberry syrup & stinging nettle tea to name a couple) but our most often turned to fixes are found in these tiny, powerful bottles of essential oils. So without further ado, the oils in our "collection" as of now are...

... in order as they appear in this picture with very brief descriptions and how we use them. What works best for one body might not work as well on another. I'm not a doctor and can not diagnose or prescribe a fix for you. These are OUR most common uses and most common method of application...

Cypress: From stiff shoulder muscles* to a child's bleeding nose... this is a great oil for the whole family! Topically
Peppermint: Headaches, muscles* and digestion support. ALL
Rosemary: Most recently used in hair care products at this time. Topically
Basil: Muscle* support and in Thai inspired cooking. Ingested
Oregano: Immune support and some cooking. Ingested
PanAway: Muscle aches & pains. Topically
Wintergreen: Muscle support*. Topically
Shutran: The "male" blend that we use like cologne or in our deodorant. Topically
Lavender: The one hit wonder— when in doubt use lavender. ALL
Clary Sage: Purchased originally for my pregnancy & labor kit, this oil helped to reduce my slightly high blood pressure during the last few weeks (with doctor supervision. Always be above board with your doctor or health care provider when using oils).  The original plan was to use this oil to increase contractions during labor, long story made really short, our stubborn baby was breech and not moving down so I didn't get to try that plan out. Now, its used daily by me to assist my body in maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle and more "manageable" periods. I've never been more regular in my LIFE, seriously. At 40 yrs old it's strange and wished I knew about this in my younger years while we were trying so hard to conceive with my messed up cycle, but we have a full blessed house anyway, just took us longer than others. Topically
Valor II & Valor: Yes, I still have some treasured original formulation of Valor A.K.A the "chiropractor in a bottle". I'm not a huge fan of the new formulation, however, for a more restful sleep and some anxious emotions this new formulation still helps calm the user (adult & child a like).  Thus far it hasn't been able to live up to a chiropractor, but maybe I haven't figured out the best way to apply it just yet. Topically
Thieves: Oh, my children are always saying, "MORE THIEVES STUFF MOM!?!". From our hand soap and cleaning supplies to a home made syrup this is the BEST immune booster I have yet to use. Even when the change of season brings in those germs and if a few make it through our defenses, this oil has helped our bodies fight off MANY attacks and recover faster than without. Being sick still sucks, but it's easier to handle with help from this warrior oil. Start applying it to the bottoms of your feet in fall (before bed is good) and it will vastly amp up your germ protection by the time the big beastly germs come knocking. Topically
Sacred Frankincense: I originally bought this when regular Frankincense was out of stock. My son used this to help be rid of a HUGE plantar wart from his foot. I don't use it often, but if I feel my body really struggling, physically and/or emotionally I turn to this oil. Aromatically
Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree): Lice concerns at school or Bible Camp? Not here; I add it to all the hair care products to ward off those itchy pests. Immune support, fungus fighting and even the odd bout of acne. ALL
Purification: Few drops in cleaning supplies, on furnace filters and in our bug spray concoction, this one goes a long way. Aromatically
Progessence Phyto Plus: More than an essential oil, this serum is one I use daily on my forearms for hormone support as I'm entering the lovely pre-menopause years (the slow & steady race I hope to win with grace). Topically
Geranium: Purchased as part of my pregnancy & labor kit to support skin elasticity. Also used by my son who swims regularity in highly chlorinated pools. I have ready many articles to support this use. Maybe I'll elaborate another time. Topically
Ylang Ylang: This was a free oil that I use mostly for my beauty products. Topically
DiGize: This was a free oil I plan to use as stomach support in capsules. Ingested
R.C.: Lung Support during cold & flu season. Don't let this one run out this fall. Topically
Grapefruit: Flavoring and weight loss support. Ingested
Melrose: Oh, my how I love this oil! From burns to ear aches I never leave home without this one. Topically
Helichrysum: Bought originally to help with pain support after my son's cleft surgeries. It's expensive so unless there's some major pain that needs soothing, this one is rarely used, but most treasured! Topically
Orange: Another oil used mostly for it's lovely smell and yummy flavor. From cleaning to cooking this one leaves a nice freshness in the air. Aromatically
Clove: Used mostly for oral care; tooth aches & teething, but it's a spicy one so BE CAREFUL! Topically
Copaiba: Bought for teething, but this gentle oil is lovely for calming nerves and reducing swelling and also used in my skin care products. It's becoming a very powerful tool. Topically
Cedarwood: Not a fan of the smell when applied neat, but diffused this is fabulous and when focus is hard to come by this is my bottle of choice. Topically
Fennel: Part of my pregnancy & after care plan. Used for heartburn relief and to increase my milk supply. Oh and my milk was plenty this time around. Anyone with tummy issues might appreciate this oil (in capsules if you don't like licorice taste). Ingested
Citrus Fresh: Only opened this one today when I got the new kit. Smells lovely and plan to use it very soon. ?
Lemon: From allergy relief blends to cleaning crayon off the walls this oil is so very useful. ALL
Lime: One of my free promotion oils that I love to use in my Thai cooking. Ingested
Peace & Calming II and Peace & Calming: This is my most favored oil. While I do still like the new formulation, I find myself turning to Cypress & Cedarwood instead. This oil helps calm our upset or overtired children, soothes a hurting heart and relaxes a busy brain. Topically
Gentle Baby: Part of my pregnancy & after care plan, promotes bonding between parent & baby so I used it to make or scent our baby bath products. That way Daddy & baby would bond during their treasured skin to skin time. I also used it while pregnant over my swelling and itchy belly and on baby to help soothe his tummy and gas pains (diluted). Topically
Aroma Ease: A free oil in my last ER order. Used for nausea mostly, but I've yet to try this one out. Wish I had this in my 1st trimester! Going on a road trip tomorrow so we'll see if this helps at all. More on that in the future. Aromatically


VERY IMPORTANT: I would NOT ingest just any essential oil. It's vitally important to ensure your oils are really PURE because labeling laws do not prohibit companies from saying their oils are "Pure", when in fact they only contain the minimum 5% Pure oil & the remaining 95% can be pretty much anything else. I KNOW that Young Living oils are 100% pure and MANY of their ingestible oils are labeled with supplement facts on their bottles. I can KNOW where they harvest their products and that they are pure from seed to seal because they tell you where they are farmed and that they are independently tested for potency & purity. That's a guarantee I can trust. Make sure you can trust yours as well. Essential oils are powerful and should be treated as such.

*Many of these oils I blend or layer together for combined power. With 5 young children I find my tired body needs a little more help with my various aches & pains. My life has a go and a go faster mode until my mind & body says STOP! I keep hoping this season is short, yet I long for this last baby to slow down ans stay small a weee bit longer.

So there you have it! My list of go to oils. About 6-8 of these are daily family use, while others are more occasional, but each one holds more value than the price tag it carries. Truthfully my most used oils are usually in the $10-$25 range and they last a good long while.

You'll notice a number of times that I mention FREE oils. Yes, these are either monthly promotions run my Young Living or purchased using my Essential Rewards Points. Want to learn more about Essential Rewards or to become a Wholesale Member, click here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bites B-Gone

Summertime is wonderful and where we live it feels like an awfully short season. We love going to the beach. Our favorite spot is Pioneer Bay Campground at Clearwater Lake, The Pas, MB. 

Tough part of summer is soothing the child whose been stung by a bee while eating their ice cream or those pesky black flies (bulldogs) nipping at all our heels, heads and any skin showing. We have turned first to our essential oils cabinet to help rid us of these pest and the discomfort they can cause.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Grain Free Banana Muffins


Recipe:
4 c almond flour
2 c quinoa flour
¼ c ground flax
1 tbsp golden flax seed
½ c unsweetened coconut
3 tsp baking soda (alum. free)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
6 previously frozen, thawed bananas
6 eggs
¼ c xylitol (or other sweetener)
½ c coconut oil, melted
2 tsp cinnamon (1 drop cinnamon essential oil)
slivered almonds for garnish

Directions: Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dry ingredients and mix well with wet ingredients. Fill cupcake liners with 1 scoop or 1/4 c. Bake at 350˚F for 18-20 minutes. Makes 30 muffins.

Store in fridge and use within 7-10 days. These freeze well.

New to cooking with Essential Oils? Please use only 100% Pure oils, approved for ingesting. Know your source; where the plants are grown, what chemicals are used and how are they distilled? I trust the quality of Young Living products. Want to order? Click here!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Simple Thai Salad


Using oils in the kitchen has become one of my greatest pleasures. I love fresh flavors and will grow as much as I can myself, but during our long winter months here in Northern Manitoba, Canada, I often run out of my favorite herbs and veggies. The great thing about oils is that a little goes a very long way; they won't go bad or die if I forget to water them.

Because I often cook by taste I don't have exact measurements, but I'll do my best to make things repeatable.

This is based on about 4 cups cooked rice noodles

Salad
1/2 package rice noodles (roughly)
1 carrot
1 red pepper
1/2 cucumber
1 green onion
15-20 cooked large shrimp
2 cups finely chopped lettuce (romaine hearts)

Dressing (adjust all to your taste preference)
1 tbsp chili garlic paste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp gluten free (non GMO) soy sauce (optional)
1 tsp honey (or other healthy sweetener)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp lemongrass powder (I haven't tried YL oil for this yet and I don't have fresh either)
3 drops Lime Essential Oil
1 drop Basil Essential Oil
6-10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped (garnish)
1/4 c roasted & chopped peanuts (garnish)

Mix all together, let sit for 3-5 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Beginner's Guide to Oily Terms

When I first began my research into the world of essential oils I often felt like I had moved to another country and people were speaking a whole new language. Each oil company had their own dialect to boot! Here were some that, in the beginning, I needed to properly define before I could really understand the basics of this new world I was entering. Hope it helps you as well.


Adulterate:
This is when companies mix pure essential oils with a base oil - thereby watering down the essential oil - but then still sell the 'watered down' oil as 100% pure essential oil. NOTE: to legally label an oil as 100% PURE, it's only required to contain 5% of a 100% pure oil.

Aromatic Application:
1. Inhale the oil directly from the bottle, rub a drop or two on your hands and cup your nose.
2. Diffuse the oils with a diffuser which disperses the oils in a micro-fine vapor throughout the air. A diffuser does not heat the oils which can damage their therapeutic properties.
3. Breathe in steamy vapors deeply by carefully pouring hot water into a glass bowl, adding in a couple drops of essential oils, and covering the bowl in a tent like fashion with a cloth or towel.

Capsule:
A vegetable based, pill-like capsule that you can pull apart, add essential oils to use for internal consumption.

Carrier Oil:
An oil which is used to dilute essential oils for the purpose of massage, such as Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil or Almond Oil.
Dew Drop Diffuser

Diffuser:
A special air pump designed to distribute essential oils into the air via a micro-fine vapor to reduce airborne infectious pathogens, fungus, mold and freshen the air with natural fragrances. Essential oils are more easily absorbed into the body through this process.

Essential Oil (EO):
The essence extracted from flowers, plants, herbs, leaves, fruits, woods and gums by steam distillation or other methods of extraction.

Essential Rewards (ER): 
An “optional” monthly autoship program for wholesale members. When enrolled in Essential Rewards you get awesome perks like REDUCED SHIPPING plus you EARN POINTS to use on future purchases.

Fractionated Oils:
Refers to oils that have been re-distilled, either to have terpenes removed or to remove other substances.

GRAS:
Generally Recognized as Safe for ingestion.

"Hot" Oils:
Oils such as oregano, cinnamon, thyme, eucalyptus, mountain savory, lemon, and orange… or blends like Thieves, PanAway, Releive It, and Exodus II should be stored away from children. These are also the types of oils that should be diluted for both children and adults.

Internal Use (or ingestion):

Because Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade, many of them can be used internally or taken orally as a dietary supplement.  ALWAYS read the bottle to see if a specific oil is safe for internal use.  NEVER use a lesser-quality brand of oil internally (the bottle of another brand usually says “Not for internal use!”).

Lymphatic System:
Consists of lymph nodes linked by lymph vessels that carry the lymph fluid around the body. This system collects waste from the tissues, returning it to the blood after it has been purified.

Neat:
A method of applying oils without dilution.

Photosensitive:
Oils that should not be used on your skin before exposure to direct sunlight or UV rays.  Using a photosensitive oil prior to sunlight or UV exposure could lead to pigmentation changes or rashes or cause your skin to burn.  Check the directions on each oil before using.


Raindrop Technique
Personal Volume (PV):
Points you earn while enrolled in Essential Rewards (ER). Points can be redeemed for free product.

Raindrop Technique:
A method of dropping oils directly onto the spine from about six inches above the body. The oils are then worked into the spine using light strokes with the fingers, which stimulate energy impulses and disperse the oils along the nervous system throughout the entire body. 


Terpene:
Any of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees. They are based on a cyclic molecule having the formula C10H16.

*There's a lot of science stuff that I am only now beginning to sink my teeth into about oils. Right now it's about as clear as mud!

Topical Application:
The method of applying oils directly to our skin. Essential Oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. It takes only seconds to get them into our blood stream.

Vitaflex:
Points on hands, feet, spine and ears that relate to organ systems and activate their reflex.  It’s the same electrical pathways in the body that accupressure and accupuncture work with.

If you're interested in learning more about Essential Oils and how to purchase high quality therapeutic grade oils, leave a comment and I will be glad to help you out. You can also click here to get started.