Tea with Essential Oils

We are big on tea in this family.

Growing up, we had black breakfast tea with milk & sugar for almost any occasion:
In the mornings, we had tea.
On cold days in the afternoon, we sipped tea.
When we came home upset because someone hurt our feelings, we talked about it over tea.
If we were sick, we drank tea.
When we were kids, we enjoyed what my grandma called “milk tea”: decaf black tea with lots of milk and spoonfuls of sugar until it tasted sweet.

Tea became synonymous with good feelings, memories, warmth, and coziness. Tea was woven into the culture of our family.

As an adult, I’ve discovered the wide range of different teas. That tea actually came from plants. That some kinds were best without milk and sugar (GASP!). I have some new favorites: Chamomile, Oolong, and Earl Grey. And my kids regularly ask for milk tea. (Even my coffee-loving husband enjoys tea these days!)

When I started using essential oils, I realized I can make “tea” for different ailments or issues using different combos of oils. (Have I mentioned lately that I love having this arsenal of oils that I can mix and match to my heart’s content?)

So here are some of my favorite blends! I hope you enjoy them too.

DIY Earl Grey:
Add 2 drops of Bergamot oil to your tea bag before pouring your water. Add milk, honey, and/or sugar to taste!

Bye Bye Flu:
Add 2 drops of Immunity Blend and 1 drop Lemon oil with a teaspoon of honey. Drink morning and night when sick.

Energizer Bunny:
Add 2 drops peppermint & 1 drop lemon. Drink morning or afternoon when you need a pick-me-up!

Sweet Dreams:
Add 1 drop Lavender, 1 drop Bergamot, & 1 drop Roman Chamomile plus honey to taste. Drink before bed to de-stress, calm, and soothe yourself.
*Juniper Berry can be substituted for Roman Chamomile

Tea with Essential Oils

I only use essential oils from one company, because their purity and standards are far above the rest, and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, contact me for details.
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Benefits of Lemon Water

I love drinking lemon water. I feel more hydrated when I have a drop or two of lemon oil in my water as opposed to just drinking plain water. While I’ve always been a fan of lemon wedges/juice in my water, lemon OIL has more concentrated antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, etc. properties. Plus, it tastes better than lemon juice. It’s a little sweeter, not as sour. I love it because not only is it very affordable, but it’s also really handy for a broad range of uses (in particular, cleaning)!

A friend posted this link and I love all the benefits it explains! Enjoy!

Drinking Lemon Water

 

I’m loyal to one specific essential oil company, because I’ve found their purity stands far above the rest, and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, use my contact form and I’ll reply with details.

Essential Oils “Daily Dose”

I think those who know me would not categorize me as a “tree-hugger” or, as they’re sometimes now referred to, a “crunchy mom”. Usually this is a broad term used for individuals who are all-natural, all-organic, super healthy, likely exercise often, and possibly have casual attitudes about personal hygiene.
Nah, I’m not “crunchy”.

However my mom and I have been fairly frustrated with the medical field for awhile. For my mom it probably began partly because they’ve always been self employed. For me it began when I had kids who inevitably got sick. I would bring them, feverish, with runny noses, persistent coughs, congestion, etc., we’d pay for a doctor visit, all to simply be told it was a virus and the doctor couldn’t do anything except recommend rest and lots of water (and occasionally,  Pedialyte). When I asked what I could do to suppress a cough so my kids could sleep, I was answered with, “well even if you gave a reduced dose of cough medicine, it wouldn’t do anything to actually stop the cough.” I’m sorry, WHAT??

Anyway, these are the circumstances that led to me desiring a natural, at-home way to maintain my family’s health so we wouldn’t be in those uncomfortable and sometimes desperate situations.

That was the original reason I started using essential oils. Little did I know there are so many other things I could do with the oils!! Here is a quick run-down of my ‘daily dose’; “a day in the life”, if you will.

*Sugar scrub on hands – Peppermint and Lemon oil
*Coconut lavender ‘lotion’ on hands
*Frankincense and melaleuca in face lotion
*Melaleuca and On Guard applied topically to throat and glands, which were feeling sore
*Lemon & Peppermint in my water
*Wiped counters with cleaner containing Protective Blend, Lemon, and Oregano
*Digestive Blend on A’s tummy since she said it felt funny
*Protective Blend on A’s feet
*Flu Bomb since I was feeling achy and the sore throat had returned
*Vitamins containing essential oils (3 separate supplements)
*Respiratory blend on my chest since I felt congested
*Protective Blend on my feet for extra immune support
*Lavender on pillow for deep sleep

I’m loyal to one specific essential oil company, because I’ve found their purity stands far above the rest, and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, use my contact form and I’ll reply with details.

Natural Momma – Experimenting with “EO’s”

So! I just have to share with you all that for a month now, I’ve been using essential oils (EO’s) for whatever ails my family. After experimenting and testing 10 different types of oils, I am completely sold on their effectiveness for many maladies.

So far I have:
*Completely removed cradle cap from our 6 year old’s head that she has had since she was a baby.
*Felt energized and awake without drinking coffee
*Improved my skin
*Made my own lotion (I KNOW!!! ME!!!)
*Made a homemade sugar scrub
*Stopped a sore throat in its tracks
*Killed canker sores
*Alleviated soreness on my feet from work and my previously broken ankle
*Alleviated headaches
*Helped all of us sleep more deeply
*Smelled wonderful doing it
*Helped my kids’ colds naturally, without use of OTC medications
*Possibly prevented my hubby from getting a cold
*Made my own cleaning /disinfectant solution

I’m considering blogging about some of these things, just because it has become a part of my life as a momma, and that’s what this blog is about! Plus, the fact that you can use them for a lot of DIY home care needs definitely qualifies as a “deal”! (Trust me, it’s easier than you expect, or I wouldn’t be able to do it!)

My mom and I were both very interested in this concept, so we decided together to try them, and chose to enroll as advocates to receive wholesale pricing.

You can check out the oils for yourself here.

God created all the plants and trees and vegetation on our earth. I love that using these oils is not only all-natural, but probably was part of His master plan, as He always gives everything a reason and purpose.

Proverbs 3:8 says, “This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” I have found this to be true of my use of essential oils so far!

All About Avocado

Avocado is the new “it” food. Well, maybe it competes with kale, but they’re both fast becoming staples in the ‘trying to be healthier’ kind of household.

But if you’ve bought an avocado before, you know that it’s, well, “finicky”. If you don’t use it right when it’s ripe, it gets brown and mushy. But if you try to use it before it’s ripe, it’ll be hard and difficult to eat – not to mention it won’t be as flavorful.
avocado hurry up and eat

I’ve really tried, in these past few months, to make avocado one of my OHI or staple foods: one of those ones that I can use in multiple different ways, so I make a point to always have it ‘on hand’. However I have to admit that as much as I hate wasting, I have thrown one or half of one out just because I didn’t use it up in time.

So today I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to use avocado. These are the ones that you can make ‘on the fly’ – if your avocado suddenly ripens before you’re prepared to use it, for example. Or if you forgot it was there until it was ALMOST too late to eat. Or, if you’re like me, and you’re the only one that really eats avocado enthusiastically and you’d like to ease your family into the delicious & nutritious creation. And just like anything else, you want to eat everything in moderation, so try these recipes a little at a time.

Before we start: if you are unsure why trying avocado is a good idea, here are a few reasons!
– Avocado is one of the only things that is super high in the GOOD fats – monounsaturated. When eaten in moderation, benefits of MUFAs include contributing to low cholesterol and good heart health and reducing your risk of stroke; decreased risk of breast cancer; weight loss and reduced belly fat (when you replace trans and saturated fats with MUFA; see below for ideas to help with this!).
– Avocados are high in essential vitamins and minerals.
– Avocados help the body absorb other nutrients better, when eaten together.
– Avocados are high in protein – without all the bad fats!
avocado facts

I’m going to share some recipes with you, but before I do, consider these ideas and use them in your current favorite recipes:
*Substitute mashed avocado anywhere you would use mayo as a dressing – for example, as a spread on a sandwich, as the binder for chicken salad, to make a salad dressing or a dip.
*Often, avocado is paired classically (and predictably) with lime and cilantro. But by mixing up the citrus and herbs, you can get a whole different taste and revive a tired recipe – for example, lemon or orange instead of lime, and parsley or mint instead of cilantro.
*Cut your avocado in chunks and use it mixed with other chopped veggies in a cold salsa or salad – the most popular of course is guacamole!
*Don’t be afraid to cook/bake/heat avocado. Someone told me this would be gross. They were wrong. 🙂

In case you don’t know, here’s how to pit an avocado and get at that delicious fruit inside. Because you have to start there 😉

THE RECIPES! (Finally)
– I have yet to try these amazing looking avocado fries!
– And these avocado eggs! Or these ones!
– This Homesick Toast is DELICIOUS. (Don’t let the name throw you off. The author is from Australia, and apparently they eat this kind of thing all the time over there – yeah mate – Considering moving?) Instead of lime (I was out! shocker) I used lemon. I didn’t have mint so I skipped it. I used feta, a drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and freshly ground sea salt. I spread it on toasted Aunt Millie’s Whole Grain bread. Great for breakfast, lunch, or a filling snack.
Spinach Artichoke Chicken. Instead of the mayo, use 1/2 cup mashed avocado instead. It tastes delicious and even Avocado haters will not even know it’s there!
– You can try this avocado cream. I didn’t like this as much as my own Avocado Ranch spread, but you can try them both and decide what your favorite is 😉

– Avocado purees. This deserves a little time. If you have one that’s just about to go bad, puree it in a food processor. If you get the extra large ones, a half will make just about 1/2 cup. What can you do with this puree??? Put it in the fridge in a container or a baggie. I like the baggie idea if you’re going to use it right away (within a day), because you can release more air thus ensuring the avocado puree does not turn brown. I’ve heard that you can freeze these purees, but I have not tried it personally yet, so proceed at your own risk! What can you do with your avocado puree??
— Use it in chocolate cake, cupcakes, or brownies (just Google it. Trust me.)
— Use it for an amazing healthy chocolate fondue. Here’s the thing about the fondue. It is not my recipe or my idea. It is a recipe in Jessica Seinfeld’s (yes Jerry’s wife!) cookbook called Deceptively Delicious. I feel like I would be plagiarizing, or committing copyright fraud, if I copied the recipe here exactly. The recipe is not on her website of the same name, so I can’t link to it either. I can tell you it does contain sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, a teensy bit of margarine, and carrot and avocado purees. I can also tell you that you should just Google it. 😉 There are also lots of chocolate pudding recipes with avocado in them. I have not tried those yet. Fondue is more interesting to me; FROM NOW ON, this will probably be how I use my avocado to make sure it doesn’t go bad. Because who doesn’t want to serve their kids a healthier option for dessert??? (Read this for more on the ‘dessert deal‘ and picky eaters.) And they think they’re getting away with it! HAH! (FYI, even after I told my avocado-hating daughter that there was avocado in this, she still continues to eat it and say how good it is.)

When making a puree, mash the avocado first, then add to food processor. Do it in a glass measuring cup so you can see how much you have before you puree it until smooth.

When making a puree, mash the avocado first, then add to food processor. Do it in a glass measuring cup so you can see how much you have before you puree it until smooth.

If you need more ideas, there are whole BOARDS dedicated to Avocado on Pinterest!
And a whole website with helpful avocado facts!!!

In this post I also describe some tips on how to keep avocado/guacamole from turning brown.

5 Tips to Offset the Price of Buying Organic & Natural

1. Know your budget. I almost forgot to include this; but being aware of and sticking to a predetermined budget is the first step to maximizing your savings. Having even an approximate amount in mind will keep you from overspending unnecessarily.

2. Plan your meals based on sales. Most grocery stores put out a weekly ad – even the more popular produce stores, like Whole Foods or Mariano’s – and if you don’t get it in the mail, you can view it easily online. I usually base dinners around a protein, and buy the family size packs so I can either separate into 2 meals or make a Second Meal from the leftovers. The protein (fish, poultry, pork, beef, etc.) will usually be most expensive, so consider this first before looking at other specials. Then check out the produce sales. We shop at Meijer, and their store brand organic often goes on sale. This is how I decide what to buy that week. Same goes for their Meijer Naturals grocery products. If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, check out the Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen lists. If you’re only buying a few items organic, you might want to choose items on the Dirty Dozen list to reduce the chance of pesticides.
*Note: If you’re just starting out, it might take awhile to understand what a good sale price is. Don’t stress. Just do the best you can for now, and eventually it’ll be second nature to know when an item is overpriced, when it’s an average buy, and when it’s at a DEEP discount price.

3. Make a list and stick to it. Write down everything you plan to buy based on the ad. Double check your meal plan for the week, cross check your pantry, and add any missing ingredients to your list if necessary. If you’re on a really tight budget, estimate the cost of each item and get an approximate total, adjusting your list if necessary.
Then, when you get to the store, STICK TO YOUR LIST. I know the lure of the produce section… you suddenly get the urge to try a blood orange for the first time… or to buy an exotic root vegetable you’ve never used before. THIS. IS. BAD. Not only will it put you over your carefully constructed budget, but if you don’t have a recipe or specific use in mind for that item, chances are you will end up tossing it anyway, or wasting another item you bought. Reducing your waste (Read: the stuff you throw away because it’s gone bad) is a huge way to save money. If you were really deliberate about your list, you should have just enough produce to make it through each meal of each day for the week. Resist the urge to impulse buy; if you see something new you want to try, make a note of it, search recipes when you get home, and put it on the list for next week.

4. Check for coupons before you go. Part of the reason I love Meijer is because of their mPerks. Not only are there coupons for name brand products, but also for their store brand – which as I said, has great organic and natural products. So when I find a coupon that matches with a weekly sale, it’s a home run! or a 3 pointer! or a touchdown! (insert your favorite sport term here.) So check your favorite grocery store’s website for store coupons on generic items, including produce. Some stores have rewards programs; others have digital coupons you can load to a loyalty card. A little research goes a long way.
And if you are buying a specific brand name, check your local newspaper inserts. In our area, the best website for this is www.coupontom.com. It references an extensive catalog of all the current paper and printable coupons. When you search an item (by brand name or item name) it will pull up any coupons available and where to find them.

5. Enroll in rewards programs. As I said earlier, research if your favorite store(s) has a rewards program. A lot of stores have a point system connected to a loyalty card – and the points can then be converted to savings later. Some stores have a quantity requirement program (Buy 10, get the 11th free). Other stores give stickers based on your total spent within a qualifying time period, which can be returned at the end for products. Meijer has a great one they’ve recently instituted – you choose one reward in each of three categories. (For example, Spend $60 in produce, Get $5 off.) This is cumulative for the entire month. Once you reach the goal amount, you can ‘clip’ your reward to your mPerks account, and it is applied toward your total basket on your next trip. You can work towards 3 different rewards at a time, and if you finish a goal before the end of the month, you can choose another one. Again, check your favorite store’s website, or ask an associate next time you’re in store.

By investing a little time and research, buying healthier, natural, and organic food can be realistic for even the smallest budgets!

Quick Tip – Introducing Vegetables to Kids (Or, how to get them to eat healthier!)

I unconsciously developed this, shall we say, method for introducing new foods to my kids, particularly vegetables. If you know me you know that I try my best to make healthy meals for my family, but I am not an extreme health nut. I like to try to strike a balance. “Everything in moderation” as my mom always says.

So whenever I’m introducing something new to my young kids, I give myself a little leeway in the health department. I’ll choose a preparation that I think they will like, even if it’s not the healthiest. For example, a recipe that uses butter or cheese. Or maybe BBQ sauce. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A DIPPING SAUCE to get kids to eat, well, just about anything!

Then once I establish it as a friendly food that they enjoy, I will put it in a soup, or a sauce, or mix it into a pasta, and then try healthier cooking preparations. My 5 year old regularly asks, “What’s in this Mom?” I stopped trying to hide things from her a long time ago. She was too smart for that. So at this point I’ll say, “Zucchini! Remember how much you liked zucchini last week?” Usually the response is, “Oh yeah! Yum!”

One other tip: let the kids be around you while you’re prepping a meal. Even better yet, let them help in whatever way is safe and doesn’t make an enormous mess. This is how I learned which raw veggies my kids will eat (Aubrey loves broccoli, Brendan loves bell peppers and tomatoes, Camille loves tomatoes). Once they’re old enough, you can also include them in the actual planning part. Give them some pre-approved dinner or side options and let them choose. The more they feel they’ve contributed, the more they’ll take ownership and be willing to try things.

You can follow my blog to see some different ways I’ve done this and adapt them to your family. Good luck! Have fun experimenting!!