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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Treasure Hunt (Whats the big deal with Essential Oils?)

This may sound like an odd title for a blog post about essential oils, but I feel like my journey towards learning about them has been like a treasure hunt. Essential oils was something I had never heard of until a few months ago. Many people I am mentioning the oils to seem to have not heard of them either. I've had a few people wanting to know more about them. It has been hard to answer quickly, so I thought I should write up a response that might help answer questions more thoroughly. First of all I'd like to share just a little bit of my story and why I am interested in essential oils. I've always tried to be healthy and look for healthy options, but four years ago I really started down a path of investigating and learning more about organic natural products and methods. At that time my sister was diagnosed with a very serious illness, and I had my first baby. Maybe it is because these two major life events were happening during the same season or maybe each one had their unique place in pushing me towards this search, but I started reading and learning and I've come a long way. I started with a company called Norwex replacing all of my chemical cleaners with microfiber cloths and citrus based scrubs. The next step took quite a bit longer and truthfully we are still working on it, but I have researched ways to help my family scale down the processed and additive rich food that we once ate so often. When I look back at where I've been heading essential oils just looks like the next step in this journey. I was invited by a friend to a class about essential oils without even knowing what they were. I came home that night and told my husband either I have just been completely scammed or I just found something amazing. One could even say a treasure. So what are essential oils? Here is my definition: they are basically the oil inside a plant that allows the plant to heal itself. Connie and Alan Higley have a bit more of a scientific description, " Essential oils are the volatile liquids that are distilled from plants." They go on to list what benefits PURE THERAPEUTIC-GRADE essential oils can give. Here are just a few: oxygenating, immune-strengthening, quickly penetrate skin, lipid soluble and can penetrate cell walls, stimulate immune system, antioxidants, antibacterial, anti-cancerous, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, antiviral, detoxify, can pass the blood-brain barrier (which the more I learn about this in particular is a big deal)....the list goes on and on. I guess without quoting the entire book or research I've done, they are powerful healing agents. They are natural and so lack the side effects of man made drugs. Imagine something that you can't overdose on, has no side effects, and could treat multiple illnesses with the same product. As a mother, something that is safe for all ages and can be used until symptoms end, instead of just one dose ever six hours whether or not the symptoms cease, is wonderful. I finally have something to give my two year old when she is coughing so much she can't sleep, since regular cough medicine isn't allowed for children under 4. I thought that sounded pretty good a few months ago when I was told all of this, and I decided to give it a try. We have used it for colds, coughs, fevers, stomach bugs, insect bites, headaches, ear infections, burns, and more. So far we have been able to pretty much stay to just using the oils and haven't needed to reach for that medicine cabinet. Whats more they have worked so well I haven't really even been wanting to use medication. After using these oils with my family and hearing personal testimonies of my close friends I am a believer and starting to tell everyone I meet. So why doesn't everyone know about these? Why are there such varying opinions? If they work so well why doesn't my doctor tell me about them? Well, I've been wondering the same things. I've spoken with my doctor and talked to friends who I know are interested in more natural options and have been left with the question, why do I feel like I am revealing a secret they didn't know about? Well, there are a few reasons that I've found why essential oils are not as common place as maybe they could be. First of all not all oils are equal. So someone trying to use lavender oil off the store shelf will have different results than myself using a Young Living essential oil.( Young Living is the company we have chosen to buy our essential oils from) I am speaking of essential oils that are pure, therapeutic-grade oils. Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA meaning that companies do not have to put all the ingredients on their labels. For instance the word Fragrance could mean up to 600 different chemicals. They also don't have to list all the ingredients they use to extract the oils. So, unless you are dealing with a company that produces its oils for medicinal use and has a good reputation, you may just be trying to help a headache with a bottle of perfume and therefore right it off as something that just doesn't work or even might have made things worse. Secondly, unlike man made medicine that is crafted for a specific reason and so fulfills its specific function, essential oils being a natural remedy effect every body chemistry differently. So although Advil is taken as a pain reliever and so marketed as one, each oil has multiple properties and will effect each unique person according to their body chemistry. So one person may need to use lavender when another person needs lemon for the same effect. Now there are specific groups of oils recommended for certain aliments, but most of the time 5-6 are recommended to try not just one. They also are not a one stop or one gulp wonder. You need to use the oils consistently until the symptoms are relieved. This may sound tedious, but I would much rather apply an oil to my neck every ten minutes and relieve a migraine completely and naturally than take the drugs that can be so damaging to my system. Because they are not fully understood or the methods of using them are not fully understood I think they are often written off as not effective. Finally, although research is being done and has been done essential oils tend to have challenges that go along with researching them. For instance aromatic substances have a hard time using placebo groups for research, and since each oil has numerous constituents( for example, lavender has over 300) it can be hard to nail down which one or balance of ones had the healing effect for a specific aliment. This just helps prevent them from taking more of a center stage in the medical world. The more I hear about essential oils, the more I use them, and the more I see them work, the more excited I am to share them. My two older girls play pirate all the time and love the idea of finding a treasure or uncovering a surprise. Maybe its a silly analogy, but I feel like this has been my own little treasure hunt with my own little prize! Hopefully, this has answered a bit more clearly just what essential oils are and why my family and I are so excited to use them. We have chosen to buy our oils from a company called Young Living. If you would like to hear more about why we have chosen that company or have any more questions about the oils please comment or message me. I am always excited to talk about them! Of course I'm not a doctor, or an oil expert, just an informed mom that loves my oils and loves sharing about them. Please understand that my sharing is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure. I'm just simple sharing what has worked for my family and what I am excited about!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Pre-school? Really? You might be thinking I am going crazy. I mean Angela isn't 2 1/2 yet. Well, since we've moved to Texas I've been hearing more and more about the schooling here. So here are a few of the things I've found out.
1) Kindergarten is all day everyday. Ok, so I guess this has been happening for a while, but WHAT? I'm not thrilled about this.
2) The school district I am in is very very good, but lots is required the first year. I guess preschool is now like kindergarten and kindergarten requirements are now closer to 1st grade standards. So instead of preschool being an option it is more like a requirement.
3) The private schools (that I was so excited to look into) are outrageous in price. Having gone to a private Christian school myself for elementary school, I was hoping to have that option for our girls. However, with the prices I have been seeing, even if we decided to make it work financially I feel like we should be saving that money for college. If we decide to send a child to Christian school pre-k to 12 we will have spent over 175,000 per kid before college. Does that sound crazy to anyone else? It kind of does to me.
4) I have met more home schoolers in this area than I have ever met before. Homeschooling is so big that at least half of the friends I have made so far home school their children.


We really haven't made many decisions yet. We still have lots of time, but I do know this.
1) I miss teaching.
2) I want to spend as much time as I can with my girls before a stranger has more time with them in a day than I do.
3) I want to have a big part in teaching my girls so that when we come to high school they can still see me as a partner in learning with them.
4) Learning and growing consist of more than just reading and writting. I want spiritual growth and God centered lessons to be a big part of thier learning.


As I said we haven't made any real decisions yet, but we have made one. I will homeschool pre-school. Many of the mothers I know who do have kiddos in school started when they were little. The schools here or day cares start early lessons around 2 or 3 years of age. With so many of my new friends as home schoolers I have heard of lots of resources for lessons and have started to think back to my experience teaching in a kindergarten classroom as well. So all of this thinking paired with my excitement to get back into doing something other than moving or cleaning has equalled a week of getting lots done.

So first of all. to all of you who are still saying preschool already??? I agree it is too early. So I am not pushing anything. ( As a teacher I don't think that pushing a child to learn works...but we can discuss my theories about educational strategies someother time) So far I have created a few 'games' that she is welcomed to play with or not. I am just trying to provide educational experiences during play a bit more intensionally than before. So far we have done movement classes (which really has been something I've done with 2-3 year olds for a long time and have been doing with Angela for a while.), colors, numbers, and starting shapes. There is a website I've found ( that has a link for what she calls Tot School. It is all about giving opportunities for your toddler to learn, develop motor skills, and be creative. I guess the key is to let it be child led learning and more about experiencing learning than being drilled about skills. These are learning stragies I've always been excited about. It is fun to actually have a chance to do them with my little girl.

So here are some of the little projects I've done this week. The first ones are what I call folder games. I came up with these based on some of the activites I would do with my kindergardners. The last two are par at of a tot pack that I downloaded from the sight
( The last picture is just me being a proud mommy and bragging. I showed her how to trace the lines, but didn't think she really would. I just thought she'd color...go Angela!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

So lots has happened since I last posted. I guess lots usually happens in ten months, but I'd say these have been the craziest ten months I've ever had. So I'll just give a quick recap.
I think the last thing anyone really wants when they are seven months pregnant is for their husband to come home one day and say, " The company has decided to move us." WHAT? thats what was going on in my head at least. We had heard in April that we should expect 2-3 more years in Canada and just like that they changed their mind. Besides the fact that we were about to become a family of four, we had come to love our Calgary home. Moving wasn't going to be easy in any sense.
In the three years and three months that we lived in Calgary, Canada, we grew so much as a couple and quite literally as a family. It takes a lifetime for some to be given or to find what we had in three short years. The friendships that were built in that short time span will last a lifetime. For Andy and myself it was the first place that we called home as a married couple. For Angela and Charlotte it is a country they will always be able to claim citizenship to. The winters were freezing, but (and if you told me I would say this the first December I was there I wouldn't believe you) we were so looking forward to staying there as long as we possibly could. Ah I could go on and on about how we were blessed.
Well, July brought us our little Charlie Beth and we had a great rest of the summer celebrating her and hosting family who came to see her. Angela has loved her little sister since day one...and the big challenge has been to not let her hug or kiss her to death. We are so glad though that jealousy hasn't really been much of an issue. I know we are still in the middle of it, but at eight months Charlie can respond a bit and her and Angela are starting to play together. It is at moments like that that I am so glad we had them close together. The first few months were not easy ( not like its cake now...but we're better) but they have both been such a blessing.
So, with Charlotte being born it felt like the move just came quicker than expected and time hasn't slowed down since :) For some reason even though we knew we were moving the official paperwork didn't go through until October. This gave us a two day house hunting trip in mid October, move to USA date of November 1st, and a closing date on our house of November 29th. Yeah so Andy and I also turned 30 in the fall; we have yet to celebrate...but we will.
For the weeks before closing we were in a company apartment, which was beautiful, but for a 20 month old an 3 month old who suddenly didn't recognize anything or anybody it was hard. We did go back north to visit family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although that was hard to add travel to the mix it did allow our girls to see family and feel comfortable with familiar people.
We had some crazy night, some very stressful weeks, but through it all God was faithful. We feel so blessed with our new house and neighborhood. We have found a church here that we feel welcomed at and are excited to call home. Charlotte is sleeping through the night, Angela has made friends, and Andy and i are adjusting to calling 85 degrees winter weather...but we know we are where we are suppose to be and that feels good.
Well, that is the quick version. I hope to start posting more soon and give some updated pictures.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Taking the time

So it is already June 30th and I haven't posted in almost two months. Alas, I've had the best of intentions. Angela and I have been working hard at our goal to have a full summer before baby comes. We have been out almost everyday to a park, the zoo, in the sprinkler, or even a baseball game. I have lots of pictures and will try to post some soon. As for today, I babysat this morning for my neighbors two lovely daughters whom Angela just loves to play with, gave Angela a bath, fed her breakfast and lunch, and will now attempt to get her ready for an afternoon at the zoo and me for my doctors appt. All this with being nine months pregnant. So, why is it that I still feel as if I have so much to do and nothing gets done? I don't know why house chores overwhelm me so much. Most would say that I am a bit of a clean freak and that my house isn't as bad as I make it out ( I know because they've told me so) but I just can't help it. I have been trying to nap while Angela naps and today it was almost impossible. The list of what needs to be done just keeps growing, espcecially with baby on the way. So I was just wondering am I alone in this ? Do other mothers deal with this struggle as well? I have intentionally put my daughter first this summer, and want to create memories with her. It just seems that these days my energy won't allow that along with getting my house in order. Why cant' I rest and let the dishes go? Or let the vaccuuming not overwhelm me? Why does a clean kitchen floor help calm my nerves so much? I mean it is just a floor. Anyway, I'm not really looking for answers just wishing my energy and time would allow everything to get done, and yet in the back of my mind I wonder if we have seasons like this to help us choose what we will prioritize. So even if my house is not spotless for the next few years, the time I will have with my girls will be cherished and thats all that matters. As I look at the pile of laundry, the messy bathroom, and the garden that needs to be weeded so badly, I will try to remember that I only have each day once and if things get done great, but if life is lived well even better!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


So the past few days we have been experiencing just what teething is really like. Angela had four teeth by her first birthday and besides a day of a little bit of crying she was just fine the rest of the time. So when this week started out with a fever, some very ugly diapers, fits of hysteria, lack of appetite, and trouble sleeping I wasn't sure what was wrong. We went to the doctor and kept an eye on each symptom trying to decipher its cause. Sadly, today at mom's group one of the other mothers described Angela's symptoms to a tee in talking about her daughters teething experience when her eye teeth came in. Sure enough Angela's little gums show a small little tooth peeking through. We have finished day three and with the help of some medicine we actually went to bed tonight on time and even had an OK afternoon. It is just so sad to see her go through something like this and feel helpless. We spent all day in front of the TV watching Mr Rogers just because she loves it, we ate two full Popsicles today just to numb her mouth, and I even tried to help Angela fall asleep by having her sleep in my bed. Of course each effort made me feel as if I was doing something and brought back memories of how loved I felt by my mother whenever I got sick. I guess that's just what you do. I'm game for any other suggestions, but hopefully this is done sometime soon.

Friday, April 29, 2011

a day in the life

Everyday I wake up to my little girl shouting: Mama, Mommy, Mom, Mama, Mommy, Mom, Maaaaaaaaaaaama. I use to be able to resist getting out of bed for just a few minutes. Try to let her know that it may take a minute for mom to get there. It is much harder to resist when she actually calls you by name in the cutest little voice. Today we had a play day something I've started to look forward to. We have a day or so a week when we have nothing planned but play time. We started the day with rice krispies and milk. Then we watched a bit of the real princess wedding which for a few minutes Angela was intrigued by. Then we played with our dolls, built towers with blocks, walked around the house just for fun, sat in our chair, skyped, looked out the window for daddy, touched everything in site, took tissues out of the tissue box, waved at our fish, ate lunch, napped...for a bit, read books, talked to ourself, talked to mom, talked on our phone, ate a snack, explored the living room just in case there was something there we've missed, spun in mom's chair, hugged piglet, made animal noised, was thrilled to see dad come home, ate dinner, wrestled with daddy, had a tickle fight, had a kissing fight, read books, drank milk, said goodnight to everything in our room...and went to bed. What a day! What a life! I'm excited that I get to share days like this with my little angel.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Proud Mom Moments

So I know every mom must think their child is the cutest and smartest... but mine really is :) She is 15 months tomorrow and here are some of her accomplishments so far!

Mom/ Mama/ Mommy
Dad/ Daddy/ Dadda
(aunt rachel we're working on it)
she use to say hi all the time but we haven't heard that one in a while
bababa...sometimes we think she is singing Barbara Ann and at other times she is referring to Uncle Zoomie
llll...she tries to say Laurie and the L part is down

Animal sounds:
can call her horse
dog (very cute)
can make a fish face

Body Parts:
Can point to her - ears, nose, head, belly button, eyes, knees, toes

Gestures/ Actions:
waves her hands to say "Go Phillies" when the game comes on
waves goodbye
blows kisses
gives kisses
dabs her nose (instead of blowing it)
talks with the phone up to her ear
tilts her head to be silly
shakes her head if she thinks you are silly
shakes her finger to say no no no
does the song gestures to "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock"
turns on and off light switches
beeps the car beeper and opens the garage door with the button
knows her pet fish clifford and will point him out if asked
throws her hands up to her head if you say "oh brother"
signs: more/ all done/ and please
gets excited to skype and goes to the computer is I say lets talk to Nana or Gigi
gives hugs
tickles our backs
hugs and kisses her dolls
pushes her stroller
brushes her teeth and sometimes her hair
helps put her toys away
ohhh I could go on and on....I just love her

Isn't she brilliant! I can't believe she is 15