Holiday Hustle and Survival

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WHEW!  It’s been a really long time since my last post!  That thing we call “LIFE” has been getting in my way…but I think we’ve pretty well got all the kinks worked out now! 🙂  So, Let’s get back to it!

As my family and I approach the first of many family gatherings and holiday functions, I’m reminded that this time of year, so often more than others, can be most challenging and stressful!  So, what’s a country gal to do?


A New Tradition

A Family TraditionBegin something new with your family…especially the children (big and small)! Holidays can be just as complex and overwhelming for our little ones!  The best way to combat this first & foremost is with SLEEP!  You will be surprised how much easier things are with the awesome foundation of a good night’s rest!  So, just before bedtime, gather the kiddos (husbands too)!  You can “Line em up”, as Camp Wander says, on the sofa, stairs or floor and have them present you with their bare feet.  This household likes a roller bottle with 20 drops Dreamy sleep Blend and 12 drops Lavender topped off with Hemp Seed Oil!  Roll those feet…slather if you want and socks on feeties!  You will have sugarplums dancing in those heads in no time flat!  Need some added “umph” in the arsenal?  Diffuse 1 drop Marjoram, 1 drop Frankincense, and 2 drops Lavender in the room or mist in some warm water over pillows and blankets just before bed!



In The Groove

Peace Love EOsKeep to a routine!  Holidays make it difficult to adhere to this one but let me encourage you…the “routine” I’m talking about is on a personal level, NOT the “schedule” level!  Are you the organized parent? The hostess? The enforcer? The comic relief? Whatever your role..whoever you are, your family needs that consistency during the hustle and bustle!  Sure, mealtime being at the same time every day “helps”!  I mean, let’s be honest, which is more unsettling to the family tone, mealtime 25 minutes late, or you, the cyclone of disaster and stress swirling through the living room 100 times a day frothing and foaming about the turkey, obnoxious guests, aunt Edna’s crappy fruitcake, or how the neighbors always aim the snow-blower shoot at your yard while they clear their driveway and sidewalks?  Be calm, be well…go grab your diffuser and repeat after me:

A Snowflake Banner

T’was the night before a holiday with EO’s in my house
My husband had done laundry and ruined my blouse
I thought about stringing up the children with care
From the ceiling by their toes and just leaving them there
But I knew this would probably be frowned upon
What do I DO…ah yes, EO’s…Let me put some on!
Lavender Shield Blend is for immunity and keeping me well
Wild Orange and Peppermint keep my head clear as a bell
One blend is grounding and helps me relax
So I don’t greet my party guests with an axe
Original Jeddy’s Blend to kiddos for outbursts arisen
Oh lordy these EO’s shall keep me from prison
Lavender for burns and a calming blend for my mom
Thanks, Camp Wander EOs, for keeping her calm
I burned the turkey, smoke’s rising toward the sky
Never fear, I’ll use Camp Wander’s DIY Purify
As the In-laws arrive, I’ll pour some wine
Grab my “Mean People Suck” blend and I’m Feelin fine
For the holidays are challenging here in the South
Thank God for Essential Oils to control PMS mouth
So if you are in fear that you holidays will bomb
Just pick up some EO’s at

Wake Up, Sleepy Head

A Wake UpWhen you want to keep everyone from sleeping in until noon, just grab a lil trigger spray bottle and fill with an ounce or two of warm water.  Add 12 drops of Grapefruit and 15-18 drops of Lavender.  It will help you gently wake your crew and it sure beats shouting at them to roust them from bed!  Add a little peppermint to the mix for a Christmas morning burst of tingly freshness!


Mommy, I Ate Too Much

A BellyAcheGo ahead an accept it, it’s inevitable, someone’s going to over do it!  It’s simply the nature of special events, get togethers and holidays!  Overindulgence is the name of the game… the “who can wiff down the most turkey in a 3 minutes” competition between Uncle Joe and Timmy is certain to turn into bellyache and tears.  But you can combat those tummy woes!

Keeping a digestive blend on hand to rub on bellies is especially helpful.  Not to mention a honey tea trick I learned from a Camp Wander post!

Take a Tablespoon of Raw Honey (The REAL stuff, not the imitation, grocery shelf garbage) and a cup of luke warm tea and add 2-3 drops of the following mixture:
10  drops Wild Orange or Tangerine
2  drops Peppermint
2  drops Ginger
5  drops Lemon
3  drops Coriander
Not a fan of the taste? Roller bottle topped off with a carrier oil and slather those tootsies!

Smells Like Home

During the Holiday Season, I LOVE to make the house smell of things like White Fir or Cinnamon!  It helps put people in the spirit and makes the house smell AWESOME!  And it’s SUPER easy to do!  Just fill a small Stainless Saucepan or Enamel Pot (DO NOT USE NONSTICK) with water and bring to a boil. Add the ingredients from your favorite recipe, continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so. Here are a few suggestions:

Recipe #1
5 drops Cinnamon EO
Apple peels (from 2-4 Apples…clean the skin)
Orange rinds (from 2 Oranges)
3-4 drops Clove EO

Recipe #2
7-10 drops Lemon EO
5-7 drops Wild Orange EO
2 bay leaves
5-7 drops Cinnamon EO
8-10 drops Clove EO

Recipe #3
A few drops Organic, NonGMO vanilla
10 drops Wild Orange EO

Recipe #4
15 drops Lavender EO OR 1 cup dried lavender
1 tsp anise
1 Tablespoon nutmeg
8-10 drops Clove EO
5-7 drops Cinnamon EO

Recipe #5
5 bay leaves
8-10 drops Clove EO
15-18 drops Cinnamon EO

Recipe #6
1 Cup Cranberries (frozen are fine but fresh is best)
15-18 drops Cinnamon EO
8-10 Clove EO
10-15 Wild Orange EO

Recipe #7
20 drops Lime EO
1 tsp Organic, NonGMO Vanilla
8-10 drops Thyme EO
3-5 drops Peppermint EO

Recipe #8
1 tsp Lemon EO
1 tsp Organic, NonGMO Vanilla
5-8 Drops Rosemary (or 5 fresh sprigs)

Mix and play as you like!!  Your home is sure to smell amazing!

As always, be sure to keep in mind that these Essential Oils are super concentrated and extremely potent!  Always exercise caution and common sense when using them!  We always dilute on the kiddos for skin applications (unless it’s plain Lavender or Roman Chamomile).  Be sure to read up on protocols and components in EO’s…Like I tell you every time: DON’T take my word for it, research it for yourself and do what’s BEST for you and yours!!

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



Kiddos, Early Childhood and EOs

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I am typing this in my stomach flu hell.  I have the barfs (among other things) from one of my classroom kiddos (thank GOD for Essential Oils and Camp Wander).  That’s true love right there…sharing their beloved germs with me and only a MONTH into this school year.  Oh well, guess I avoided Strep, Bronchitis, Hand-Foot-Mouth, RSV, Fifth Disease, Coxsackie Virus, Chicken Pox, Hookworms (GROSS), lice, and Rotavirus.  With that said, forgive the lack of photos this evening and any misspelled words or grammatical infractions!
I feel like death, I’m emotional, & I am rather green.  XOXO!

I am about to throw some of you!  Today’s post isn’t about some remedy or healing.  It isn’t about fixing or mixing.  This post is about your children and FUN (and some essential oils too).  Crazy, I know!  But walk with me…I want to share my heart about my passion: education & the needs of children!

I’m not a mom.  I know, it’s weird…me being this advocate and voice for children yet having none (not for lack of trying though).  I am, at heart, a big kid!  I love to smile, create, talk, be mischievous, get dirty, and have fun!   I’ve been in Early Childhood Development, Middle & High School Ed, Special Needs focus groups, Behavioral Observations, Occupational Therapy recommendation sessions, and on and on for over 16 YEARS (This Mule’s gettin OLD)!  You will find I am a defender of children, most especially those with learning disabilities, processing disorders, or special needs!  Why? Simple, I relate to them!!

For those of you new to my blog, I am an adult with Sensory Processing Disorder.  This means I have no “filter”.  When it’s bright & cold, noisy & too many smells (perfume, cigarette smoke), etc, my brain lacks the ability to filter all this.  The normal brain would receive each of these stimuli and hold them in a “waiting room” filter, if you will, and takes each one individually and processes it and responds accordingly.  This happens in literally an instant (our brains are AMAZING)!  But mine doesn’t function this way…I lack the “waiting room”!  So, I cannot filter out, “ignore” or tolerate each of these stimuli all at once and am unable to individually process them.  They all bombard my brain at the same time.  Imagine 12 symphonies playing all at once while doing calculus, playing a volleyball game, knitting, and trying to read a book while being chased by the defensive line of a football team.  That is a fraction of what this feels like for me.  My mind cannot separate or process the jumbled mess of sensory data coming at me.  This causes what’s called sensory overload.  My mind basically freaks out.  There’s no other way to describe it.  My brain sends responses to everywhere all at the same moment…some may not even be appropriate responses for the stimuli being received…it’s an instantaneous reaction trying to stop the wave of stimuli.  My hands itch, my ears hurt, my arms and legs tingle, my head hurts, my eyes squint, my heart rate increases, and sometimes, I cannot breathe.  I feel this overwhelming urge to shove everyone and everything out of my way and run as fast as I can to get away…it’s similar to a “fight or flight” reaction.  I was told for so long by so many that I was crazy or that I had ADD and I just needed to be medicated or to “suck it up” and get over it.  I know what these children feel and go through…because I’ve experienced it (and continue to deal with it daily).  I want to be the voice that champions their cause and brings awareness for them.  So that they may live full, happy lives and so that their parents become educated and empowered to aid in the positive growth of their exceptional and brilliant (yes, they are ALL brilliant) children!  Every child learns differently, plays differently, absorbs and retains experiences differently!  I want to shout it out for the world to hear and know that these diagnoses don’t mean Broken or stupid or incapable!  They mean DIFFERENT!  It’s the same game but a whole new set of rules.

Something I’ve come to realize: EVERY SINGLE CHILD, no matter the age, stage, brain, attitude, function can benefit from a bucket full of patience and some essential oils!  EOs are something that can become such a wonderful treat for both parent and child (and teachers, you should be using them in the classroom)!  Essential oils are relaxing, calming, aid in focus, help with mental clarity, kill germs…But ya know what?  I think, sometimes, you just need to have FUN with your kids where EOs are concerned.

Make scented playdough, sensory buckets, add eo’s to the water and sand tables, create glitter jars with scented tops { H E R E }

Beyond SPD, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Executive Functioning, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Social or Emotional disorders, PDD, Speech or Language impairment, etc…beyond ALL that, kids (all of them) just NEED to be kids!  { Don’t misunderstand, I’m NOT saying they don’t need discipline or boundaries.  On the contrary, they need those patterns and expectations to build foundations for respect & integrity!  It’s 100% okay to tell them “NO”…as long as you are telling them WHY and also telling them what choices they CAN make!  Your children are teaching others how to treat them so they need to know what boundaries are and how to use their words and listen to the words of others (EVERYONE NEEDS BOUNDARIES).}  They need to be silly…they need to maintain their innocence as long as possible to be care-free and just have FUN!  There needs to be no other goal sometimes than a smile or a giggle… because in play and enjoyment comes growth, joy and (believe it or not) LEARNING!  Children learn through PLAY and everyday tasks!  They retain MORE when their is enjoyment and they are able to call on those memories and experiences later…Play is the foundation for all learning!  It helps foster an enjoyment and hunger for learning!  Early childhood classrooms know this well!  Here are some examples of the learning that comes through play:

  • Sorting and mathematics: Blocks and toy cars.
  • Social skills: group play
  • Science: playing in sand & water, catching lizards
  • Handwriting: fine motor activities like using tweezers to pick up cotton balls and sort them into colored egg cartons
  • History: recalling events from the day or week
  • Reading and note taking: CRAWLING BEFORE WALKING (this is such a hard one for some parents to grasp)…don’t RUSH your child through the crawling phase…the brain development taking place here is essential for reading comprehension, recall and note taking.  And babies like crawling!  It’s enjoyable and a neat time of discovery for them!
  • Encourage listening to music, singing, and dancing!  The activities associated with music literally stimulate growth in multiple portions of the brain simultaneously and can help focus, emotion/mood, cognition & memory, etc, etc!

I say all this to remind everyone: kids NEED to be allowed to BE KIDS so they can grow up to be happy, healthy, joyful, fully functioning adults!  Somewhere along the line, someone decided that there was a square box and every child had to conform and fit into it.  That just isn’t so.  Now, I’m NOT talking about behavior in public.  There is still a time and a place for running and screaming and being immensely silly…the grocery store or the restaurant…NOT that place!  I’m speaking more about how children’s minds work.  There’s always more than one “right way” to be creative or solve a problem.  We need to foster this unique perspective and individuality by allowing children time to do the things they love and enjoy.  When they want playdough, let them use it…who cares if they make a mess as long as they help clean it up!  Fill the water tables and sand tables (it’s okay if they make a mess of the room AND their clothes)…let them build with blocks and use the cars and animals in that area at the same time.  Do neat projects with them!  JUST HAVE FUN!

WARNING: The following may rub you the wrong way if you’re “That Parent”…but fret not, I still love you! 😀

Now, Parents, look at my face…HEAR ME: For Petesake, PARENTS…DO NOT NOT NOT NOT get upset with early childhood teachers or caregivers when your children come home with dirt or paint or food on them (and STOP dressing them in $100 outfits…SERIOUSLY)!  Is your child safe: YES! Is your child happy: YES!  Did they have a victorious and fantastic day: YES!  Did their diaper get changed: YES!  Relax! Clothes are washable and so is their skin! Children should get dirty…ALOT (It’s okay, go grab your paper bag and breathe into it slowly…in…out…in…out)!  Great Early Childhood Programs make huge messes, look-sound-smell like organized chaos and they LOVE your children!  Most of us spend more time with your children than you do (it’s a fact of working households…and it’s okay…sometimes, it has to be that way).  We vow each day to protect them, hug them, wipe their noses and bottoms, teach them manners, be counselor-referee-comforter, find teachable moments and expound on them, and keep them happy, healthy, and safe!  We truly grow to love each child as if they were our own!  But parents, let me tell you: if you get a day off or leave work early, come get your kiddos!  They NEED YOU!  They may love us…but they love YOU far more…and need you far more!  NO ONE can replace you in their lives!  Your children are a legacy…they are your love letter to a future you may not see.  You should endeavor to exemplify what it means to be awesome in their lives…not to the world or society…but to your CHILDREN! Stop placing things before them.  Family should ONLY be second after the Lord Almighty (if you are a believing home…if not, no worries…I’m not judging…I STILL LOVE YOU!)!  Have I made my point?  If not, let me close with the following:

We have no children.  We cannot afford fertility treatments or adoption and State Adoption is a joke here…the system is broken & impossible to navigate without money or “clout”.  That said, my husband and I would move Heaven and Earth just have 1 child in our home.  When we see parents choose to place things BEFORE their children and their family, it’s upsetting &, frankly, heartbreaking.  You literally have NO IDEA what you’re taking for granted!  Do you know how lucky, how fortunate, how impossibly BLESSED you are to have children? To have the opportunity to hug them, tie their shoe, clean up their mess, discipline them, chase them around, hear them laugh, listen to them throw a tantrum, hear them ask the same question a hundred times? Do you understand what a GIFT you’ve been given…to be a parent?!  I would give up all that I have, all that I’ve seen, all that I’ve learned, all that I’ve ever done in this life if only to be a parent.  Cherish your children…love them unconditionally and with your whole heart…and be grateful/happy/excited over the blessing they are in your life!


As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!



What is a carrier oil…and what the HECK is it for?

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 When I first began using essential oils, I would hear people refer to this elusive and mystical thing called a “carrier oil”.  I wondered and pondered about what it could be…feeling too silly or stupid to actually ASK someone “What is a Carrier Oil…and what the HECK is it for?”.  Well, fear not, I felt stupid for us all, asked the questions, did the research, and I’m here to help!



First, essential oils and carrier oils are VERY different!!  Essential Oils are distillations from stems, flowers, bark, seeds, etc that have strong aromas, are HIGHLY concentrated and never go rancid!  They evaporate quickly and can be used in aromatherapy applications, on skin and even (some) in internal applications!



CO oils

Carrier oils, by contrast, are typically cold-pressed and do not evaporate like essential oils.  You will also find they have little to no aroma (which makes them a perfect companion for fragrant EOs)!  Carrier oils can also be referred to as “base oils”.  They are emollient rich, natural, liquid fat sources used for the purpose of diluting essential oils before skin application.  They “carry” the essential oil and can also have their own therapeutic and beneficial properties!  Carrier oils keep those “HOT” oils (like Oregano and Peppermint, etc) from burning or being too much for your skin thereby preventing potential irritations!


While essential oils don’t go rancid, carrier oils CAN (they typically start to stink, turn cloudy & white in color when this happens…but, be aware that if you add oils to witch hazel and shake, the mixture turns white … that does NOT mean it instantly went rancid…lol)!  If you mix the carrier oils with water, the mixture MUST be used in 7-10 days as Water + Oil breeds bacteria (eeewwww)!  Store your Carrier oils in sealed, colored glass or PET plastic bottles (Dark Amber, Green or Blue work best) and keep away from heat & sunlight!

Colored Oil bottles

There are more carrier oil varieties than I have fingers to count!  Sweet Almond, Hemp Seed, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Argan, Avocado, Jojoba, Seabuckthorn, Acai, Baobab, Vitamin E, Hazelnut, Evening Primrose, Apricot Kernel, Olive, Emu (yes, I use that too) and on and on!   I think I remember reading there are over 90 varieties of cold-pressed carrier oils (you can read about many of them right { H E R E }.  WOW!  But WHY are there so many?

Evening Primrose Oil


Each carrier oil, just like each essential oil, has it’s own unique properties…it’s own unique make up!  So the benefits of an oil like Baobab are going to be completely different from an oil like Sweet Almond.  Some have fast absorption rates, some are more emollient than others, and each carries it’s own unique combination of vitamins, acids, and components (like being an Antioxidant or antibacterial)!  So you can do a tiny bit of research and find the oil that is best for YOU (customization…LOVE IT)!  But here’s where I give a word of caution!

BEWARE: Not all carrier oils are natural and free from impurities.  Some can carry harmful toxins and even Arsenic!  Some are outright JUNK oils like peanut, cottonseed, canola, soybean, safflower, or low quality vegetable oils (you should also NEVER consume those oils I just mentioned as they are HIGHLY processed and almost ALWAYS GMO)!!  Know where they are sourced and only buy from verified pure, trusted names.  When searching for your first carrier oil, look for labels like nonGMO and Certified Organic.  We like Spark Naturals Hemp Seed or Fractionated Coconut Oil!  And, BTW, their Fractionated Coconut Oil stays liquid because it’s had all the heavy solids spun out of it!  Neat, right?!  It’s important to not that because NOT ALL Fractionated Coconut oils are physically separated like that!  Some are CHEMICALLY separated!  Again, READ your labels and KNOW your sources!!

**Mineral oil is NOT a natural product and should not be used with essential oils.  It may even prevent the essential oils from being absorbed into the skin.**

Our household is a teaspoon to 10 home…meaning we use a teaspoon of carrier to 10 drops of EO (unless it’s Oregano…then we only use 5 drops in that teaspoon…cause it’s HOT).  Now, if you have babies, you may want to increase your carrier oil amount or cut your EO drop number in half.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hemp Seed Oil

  • low in saturated fatty acids, possesses a significant content of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (PERFECT Omega 3 to 6 balance)
  • Highly nutritive and heals dry, damaged, aging skin
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Moisturizing making it a wonderful combo for Lavender and Myrrh
  • Contains Vitamins D and E
  • Great carrier oil for PMS and feminine issue focused essential oil blends

Sweet Almond Oil

  • Rich in proteins and Vitamin D
  • Soothes dry and irritated skin
  • Rich in essential fatty acids
  • Helps relieve itching & soreness
  • Light and inexpensive/great for massage oils

Fractionated Coconut Oil 

  • Used on oily skin as it won’t clog pores
  • Light texture and long shelf life
  • Washes out of sheets easily
  • Leaves a non-greasy feeling
  • Will spray through a pump sprayer

Avocado Oil (unrefined)

  • Rich in vitamins A, D and E & essential proteins
  • Best for dry, dehydrated or aging skin
  • Effective used for eczema
  • Recommended for use with a lighter oil (sweet almond)

Rice Bran Oil

  • Packed with Vitamin E
  • A natural stimulant of collagen production
  • Maintains skin-tone balance
  • Excellent for relief from eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis
  • Non-greasy, smooth & creamy

Argan Oil

  • Absorbs Quickly
  • Highly Moisturizing
  • Golden in Color with Moderate Viscosity
  • Rich in Alpha Tocopherols (Vitamin E)
  • Rich in Phenols and Phenolic Acid
  • Rich in Carotenes
  • Natural Antioxidant
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • High in Fatty and Essential Fatty Acids
  • Rich in Squalene and May Help Protect Skin from Free Radicals

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!




My Swamp Life Favorites

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Everyone knows I love essential oils.  Everyone knows I love Spark Naturals and of course Jesus, Fireman, Camp Wander, One Good Thing by Jillee, all things Pioneer Woman, Top Gear (it’s Jeremy Clarkson and his humor), Rainy days, Music, Gone With the Wind, my Belgian Malinois, Travel, and really great Pizza.  But what I use in daily life, no one but those nearest me know.  You know, those every day items and things we love and cannot live without (well, I could do without a bag…but it would be a horrible existence)!   So WHAT, other than Camp Wander EOs, do I trust for my family?  Let’s find out!

First off, I’m not Super Woman!  I like a clean house but I’m NOT in love with cleaning.  But, let’s face it, it’s got to be done!  So, we make it an aromatic experience with DIY cleaning products.  Of course, we LOVE our Laundry Grind from Essential Amanda But what about OTHER cleaning products?  Our favorite sprays and scrubs come from Mrs. Jones Soapbox!  Jamie Jones is a Florida girl with a knack for whipping up some of the most amazing cleaning products…EVER!  Her Soft Cleaning Scrub is easily one of the best products I have EVER used!  And, it kinda smells like cake frosting!  Use it on windows, the glass stove top, granite, enamel sinks, tubs, Crockpot inserts, and MORE!  I’ve even used it to clean white Sneakers AND armpit stains (yes, it’s true)!  We’ve also come to love CleanMama and her AMAZING recipes!!  We use her Weekly cleaning schedule (as it makes life SO much more organized and simple) and I LOVE her book and all her cleaning store accessories!  Her jars, spray bottles, and microfiber cloths are a MUST!

With your Products, you’ll want some nice scrubbies!  Check these out: Jazzy’s Crochet!  Her Nylon Net Crochet scrubbers are “Da Bomb”!!  I’ve used many in my life, but these are the ones I LOVE!

I LIVE for custom things…and I LOVE bags!  Finding out that someone you’ve known has been a closet sewing genius…GAAAAH!  Threads on My Legs is a business born out of love, passion, and a TRUE talent for sewing and bag making!  Ang is a Jesus lovin’ momma and wife who embodies what it is to be a “Titus 2” woman!  Gosh, just reading her status updates and SEEING her creations makes me joyful and inspired enough to get off my butt and go make something!  🙂  Her BEACH BAGS…OMG!  And the ridiculous lil zippered awesomeness she makes for makeup, change, etc, etc!  Go check her out and follower her on Instagram too
( Threadsonmylegs )!

There is nothing but Death Wish Coffee

So, you all know I’m married to Fireman!  Well, frequently, there are necessities for Fireman and his gear or just everyday life…soooo, Five Alarm Fronts!  Leather working GENIUS and repurposer of old Bunker Gear!  Suspenders, radio straps, shields, leather plaques, wallets, Koozies, Bible covers, etc.

2 words, CAMP WANDER!  This lady is easily one of the most knowledgeable and amazing Essential Oil guru’s out there!  Not to mention she’s on the same sort of “back to natural” journey that we are here!  She’s trying her hand at Bee Keeping now and even making her own Kombucha!

So, if you come out here to our neck of the woods (literally, there are woods…right here), where should you go?  What should you do?  Well, central Florida is FILLED with things to do!  Deltona/Orange City/Debary/Lake Helen/DeLand specifically!  We are an hour from the beach and, depending on traffic, the same from the theme parks.  It’s all about what you want out of your trip!  We are outdoorsy and love local things.  Some are even FREE (gasp)!

Located at 195 Florida 415, Osteen Diner is a lil mom-n-pop style diner the locals LOVE!  From Breakfast to Burgers, from Gyros to Chicken Quesadillas…There’s something simple and yummy for everyone to enjoy!

Looking for nature?  look no further than Green Springs Park!  36 acres with Pavilion, Paved trails, Green Springs overlook, a Playground… it’s a nice, relaxing day in natural Florida!

How about adventure with ZOOM AIR!  Located at 3755 NW Hwy 17-92, Sanford, FL 32771, this gem is a tree-top adventure your family won’t soon forget!

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in DeLeon Springs where you can discover rare and endangered species, This 21,000 acre migratory bird sanctuary offers great outdoor opportunities to see everything from Bald Eagles to alligators!

OVIEDO…Okay, so, whil you are here and experiencing the TRUE “Swamp Life”, you have to travel to Black Hammock!  Airboat rides, eco tours, and an AMAZING restaurant!  You gotta go on an airboat ride and eat some Gator tail!!!

Finally, my favorite family breakfast experience: The Old Spanish Sugar Mill located inside the DeLeon Springs State Park.  Be WARNED…this is a HOT attraction and if you don’t get there early, you’ll be waiting HOURS to get in the door!!  We recommend getting to the park about 20-30 minutes before the park opens.  The Mill opens 9am Mon-Fri and 8am Sat & Sun!  They only take 3 reservations a DAY so, that’s usually not the best option…but you can give it a try! 🙂

Paying Florida a visit?  Let us know!  There are some pretty great places to stay around here!!  

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!




Hospital stays and the germs that lurk

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Blue GermMy husband and I, me as a former ff/medic and him as a current one, always try to discourage parents from taking their children to the ER or hospital unless it is an absolute emergent necessity!   If it’s just a cold or they are feeling sick, try your best to wait it out until the morning to see the physician or find an urgent care center for pediatrics that’s open late!   Doctor’s offices and smaller urgent care facilities are ALWAYS a better option than the hospital if your wee ones are not in need of emergency care!  Why?  Hospitals, though they try to keep things clean, are TEAMING with germs…bacterium, viruses…it’s honestly a frightening place for a small, weak, or compromised immune system!  You don’t want your child to be exposed to things like hospital strains of MRSA or flesh-eating bacteria!  But, knowing that there are times a visit to a hospital is absolutely necessary, we use essential oils to combat even the scariest microbes!!

Bl Small GermsOn a recent visit to the hospital (necessary and incredibly unplanned…ugh…it’s just not a place we like), I was horrified when I looked at a chair and then the floor.  Dirt, sticky stuff, gunk…the clean guru and germaphobe in me was FREAKING OUT!  I know people are in and out of there all day and all night…in every manner of cleanliness to filthiness…and that people are always making rounds to clean…BUT, you just cannot get every germ, every time!  There’s too much traffic in a hospital to catch it all before some unsuspecting humanoid reaches out and touches a germ infested surface (never touch your face, always wash your hands…stop looking at me like that)!  So what’s a girl to do?  Well, fear not…bubble wrap and Class-A suits are NOT the only course of action!


My favorite Essential Oil “germ hack” blend  (the one I used on this particular hospital visit…and was SO glad I did) consists of oils that are rich in antioxidant properties, antiviral properties, antifungal and antibacterial properties, and are just good all around immune boosters (do your own reading and research too… and MANY other websites have trials, studies, and statistics in DROVES)!  We use it in roller bottles, diffusers, and even mix this into spritz bottles with vinegar for cleaning or witch hazel for soft surface and skin applications.  I love this because it’s a bit warm and uplifting in aroma and ALWAYS makes me feel SO much better (and isn’t that always the goal?!).

I mix My own but feel free, if you don’t like single oil blending, to snag a bottle of Spark Naturals Shield and just add Thyme and White Fir to it…but keep in mind that there is Rosemary in Shield blend which is an oil that people with a history of seizures should avoid as well as pregnant women!  For those reasons, I blend my own variation WITHOUT Rosemary!

What’s In It?

cinnamonCinnamon: Intense, multipurpose oil lifts emotions, (depression, fear, loneliness, stress, etc). Rich, warming properties are invaluable!  Use for cold weather ailments, infections, and helping melt away aches and pains. A powerful broad spectrum anti-infectious oil, also anti-fungal!

Lemon: With Antiseptic, Antiviral, and Antibacterial properties, this oil is sometimes referred to as “nature’s disinfectant”!  Lemon is also a great immune booster and can even soothe broken capillaries, reduce redness and swelling, and uplift moods!

Clove: The Antioxidant to beat all others!  Clove is a masterful germ eliminator!  The properties of Clove are staggering…Analgesic, antiaging, antibacterial, anticlotting, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, carminative, expectorant, insecticide…and MORE!  Plus, when combined with Cinnamon, it just smells heavenly!

Wild Orange SNWild Orange: Extremely high in limonene, this oil is a butt-kicking cleaner!  Known for being an anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, and fungicidal, this oil is a MUST in many cleaning solutions (even commercially available chemical cleaners try to duplicate the cleaning power and uplifting aroma of this Essential Oil)!

White Fir: This powerful Antiseptic and Antioxidant oil is more than just a comfy aromatic!  With traditional uses for respiratory issues, infections, and as a topical massage oil for joint pain, this essential oil offers astringent, disinfectant and antibiotic properties sure to aid in wiping out surface and airborne germs alike!

thymeHeroThyme: This final oil is one of my FAVORITE antiviral oils (Basil and Black Pepper are the others)!  Thyme has eliminated Flu in our home MANY TIMES along with stomach viruses (all brought home by my husband and his patient interactions…or dirty shopping cart handles…GROSS).  With a huge list of properties like analgesic, anthelminthic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, bactericidal, carminative, cell proliferant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, insecticide, parasiticide, rubefacient, stimulant, tonic, vermifuge (to name a FEW), this oil is one our family oil box (yes, we have on of those) is NEVER without!

Now for the recipe!

FL-20-PPV-IIIn a 15ml bottle, blend the following:

15 drops Cinnamon
25 drops Lemon
25 drops Clove
10 drops Wild Orange
15 Drops White Fir
15 drops Thyme 

Cap this, rock back and forth in the bottle to mix (do that before each use) and then take out 3-7 drops for whatever you are mixing it into.  I like to use White Vinegar, Warm water, and 7 drops in an 8 ounce spray bottle to mist counters, linens, floors, and anything else I can get my hands on!  For skin misting and “purse carry”, add 3-5 drops to a 2 ounce spritzer and fill rest of the way with Thayers Alcohol Free Rose Witch Hazel.  Shake well and lightly mist arms, legs, feet (I like to mist my long hair if it’s going to be touching the bed).  For children, DILUTE DILUTE DILUTE (I would only use 2-3 drops in a 2 ounce spritzer)…mist back and feet…places that they won’t easily touch or that are covered).  KEEP OUT OF EYES!  Here’s a lil caution…this stuff is HOT in sensitive places, so BEWARE: if you don’t want “Fire Crotch” after you use this, WAIT 10 minutes before touching sensitive areas or WASH YOUR HANDS with SOAP for at least 35 seconds (sing twinkle twinkle little star while you wash for accurate timing)!!!  😀  If you do get this somewhere and it begins to burn, apply a carrier OIL (not water) and rub in a circular motion from center out!

Now, if you DO NOT love the way this smells, NO WORRIES!  You can adjust the orange and white fir to your smell preference!  You can even omit the Wild Orange and replace it with Peppermint (for an almost Christmasy aroma)!  As long as the other EO’s stay the same, your mix will lose NO germ fighting capability!

Whatever oils you use, make sure it’s a trusted name that is PURE!  Many brands CLAIM purity but there are only a handful that actually ARE pure!  #WeTrustSparkNaturals And, if you’d like to trust them too…

Visit Spark Naturals HERE and remember:
SAVE MONEY (10%) on your order
with coupon code: essentialamanda !!

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!




DIY Body Wash

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Okay, so normally I go ON and ON in my posts.  I will try to bang this one out quickly so you can get to playing with this recipe (it’s SUPER fun)!

Anywho, recently I watched a friend make body wash!  My wheels started turning and OH MY!  MacGyver Mixology!  Woooooo!!!!   Okay, calming down.

So, hopefully, you know the amazing wonders of liquid castile soap!  If not, GO GET SOME, you silly goose!!  Dr. Bronner’s is what we LOVE!  Until you know how your skin will react to all the different “flavors”, I recommend beginning with the Unscented Baby-Mild!  It’s Fair Trade, Organic, and NonGMO Project verified (SWEET)!  This also means you can use whatever EO’s you feel like to make your shower experience as relaxing, energizing, calming, or centering as you want!!


Mix in a 12 ounce bottle (old Thayers Rose Witch Hazel squeeze bottles work PERFECTLY)

1 Cup Liquid Castile Soap

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (just melted…be careful not to overheat the oil)

2 Tablespoons each Avocado and Fractionated Coconut Oils

3 Tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil (you can substitute Vitamin E oil)

12-35 drops of Camp Wander Essential Oil (I used 4 Ylang Ylang, 7 Bergamot, 7 Grapefruit, and 12 Lavender)

I just funnel the Castile soap and oils into my bottle, remove the funnel and add the Essential Oils, cap, and slowly turn the bottle to mix the ingredients.  UPDATE:  I now premix ALL my oils and butters (if I add shea) in the mixer and then add my soap and EOs.  I have also decreased the Coconut oil in this recipe to 1/4 Cup melted.  I use an old shampoo pump bottle for use and storage.

DO NOT SHAKE…or you will have a bottle of suds…lol!  Now, this body wash may separate. Don’t freak out, it’s NORMAL!  Just slowly turn it and mix the ingredients before each use.  Squeeze this onto a shower poof and HOLY SUDS, Batman!!

** You CAN add a Tablespoon of Raw Honey BUT, be aware that every time I’ve used that as an ingredient, the body wash MUST be consumed (used up, not Eaten…sheesh) within a weeks time or I get mold growth (because of the sugars in the honey…it’s a FOOD product)!  You could always cut this recipe in half and make a smaller batch if you want to add the Honey!

WARNING: If you suffer from seizures, DO NOT USE ROSEMARY!  EVER!  It causes mental stimulation and may increase the intensity and frequency of seizures!


Other EO Body Wash Combos:

Spearmint & Tangerine (8 of each)

Grapefruit & Lavender (10 of each)

Frankincense & Myrrh (10 of each)

Melaleuca & Wild Orange (10 Melaleuca, 6 Wild Orange)

Grapefruit & Peppermint (12 Grapefruit, 8 Peppermint)

Rosemary & Grapefruit (4 Rosemary, 10 Grapefruit)

Lavender & Lemon (10 of each

Lemon & Black Pepper (8 of each)

Orange, Lavender, Clove, Rosemary (3 each of Orange and Lavender, 2 each of Clove and Rosemary)

Geranium, Lavender, Black Pepper, Myrrh, Frankincense (4 Geranium, 6 Lavender, 5 Black Pepper, 7 Myrrh, 5 Frankincense)

Cedarwood, Patchouli, Lime, White Fir (Equal parts of each…Patchouli is STRONG…so be careful)

Cypress, Lavender, Frankincense (8 of each)

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!




Summer Relief

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hot humorThis Summer hasn’t even officially begun here in the Sunshine State, but already, I’m feeling parched, exhausted, and semi-crisp.  Let’s be clear, I HATE the heat!  I’d live in the mountains and snow and bone-chilling COLD forever, if I could!  It’s a strange and cruel trick: I was born in the south and raised in some of the world’s warmest climates and yet, I thrive in cold climates…I LOVE the cold!  Needless to say, when I find relief, it’s a welcomed surprise and I want to share it!  Of course, I was NOT prepared for the relief to be from essential oils!  I thought it would be a frozen treat or mechanical, air-blowing product to rescue me from the summer time blues.  You can imagine how THRILLED I am that it’s EO’s!


Hot Weather Safety_full

Summer will get MUCH hotter before we cool off in the Fall…soooooooo, you need to be prepared!  Hydration is KEY (and NO, soda, alcohol, or anything other than PLAIN WATER is NOT hydration)!  In fact, if you are drinking sugary sports drinks and chemical concoctions, you are actually dehydrating yourself (despite the claims on the labels)!   You can hydrate with water and pure essential oils, like Spark Naturals!  I like Lemon or Lime in my water!

Eat a banana, 5 Saltines, and drink 16 ounces of water when you take a break from your summery activities!  I know that sounds silly and weirdly specific but it’s advice given to me in college by a physician and it has always proven sound!  Your body needs Sodium, Potassium, and water to function!  You heart, for example, operates on the delicate balance of a “sodium & potassium pump”.  If the balance gets out of whack (you lose sodium when you sweat and Potassium through strenuous activity), your heart cannot and will not function properly!!  Similarly, without sodium and water, your brain cannot properly send electrical impulses causing your body to shut down.  DO NOT allow yourself to get dehydrated!!  Remember, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated!!  You should be consuming about 100+ ounces a day if you are outside involved in activity…moderate activity.  MORE for strenuous activity!

hot dog

The first thing I want to say before we start the fun stuff is: DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ANIMALS OR CHILDREN IN THE VEHICLE!  EVER! FOR ANY REASON!  It’s dangerous and ILLEGAL!  PERIOD!  DO NOT DO IT!!!  On an 86 degree day, a vehicle, EVEN WITH THE WINDOWS OPEN will reach temperatures well over 100 degrees!!  Again, DON’T DO IT!  And, if you see it being done, call 911 (even for animals) and SAY SOMETHING to the person if you see them doing it.  It’s NEVER acceptable!  Okay, now that I’ve scolded and grouched about the law, FUN STUFF!


Cooling oils like Peppermint, Spearmint, and Eucalyptus are wonderful…BUT, it is possible to use too much and cause a heating reaction rather than the desired cooling reaction.  So, with that said, be cautious.  I don’t use more than 15 drops in the bottle mixtures.  You can use more at your own desire and discretion.  Do what’s best for you!!  XOXO!

hot popcorn

You can use many ingredients in this spray to keep it from being just a minty spritz.  You can add Lavender or even a Citrus (just be mindful that most citrus causes photosensitivity after application so use AFTER sun exposure and not before or durnig).  If you just want to be minty, just use Peppermint.  The following are the 2 mixtures I like best:


Blend #1: Hot Flash or Hot Day Cooling Body spritz

In a 4 ounce glass spritzer bottle
8 Drops Spark Naturals Lavender Essential Oil
6 Drops Spark Naturals Peppermint Essential Oil
2-5 Drops Spark Naturals Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (It’s quite floral so use the amount you prefer)
2 Drops Spark Naturals Rose Essential Oil (If you do not have this, use 1.5 Tablespoons of Spark Naturals Rose Water)
1 Tablespoon Aloe (We like Enchanted Waters PURE Aloe. Note that Pure aloe is a LIQUID and not a thick gel!)
Top off with Thayers Alcohol Free Rose Witch Hazel

Blend #2: Kiss of Cool Facial Mist

In a 4 ounce glass spritzer bottle
15 Drops Spark Naturals Lavender Essential Oil
7 Drops Spark Naturals Peppermint Essential Oil
Top off with Thayers Alcohol Free Rose Witch Hazel

Miss Rebecca over at Camp Wander has a spectacular recipe called “Liquid AC“!  Do Check it out!  And all the other AMAZING recipes on her EPIC BLOG!

This week, Spark Naturals diffusers are 10% OFF!
Get an ADDITIONAL 10% off with the EA Coupon Code (listed below) at checkout!

Visit Spark Naturals HERE and remember:
SAVE MONEY (10%) on your order
with coupon code: essentialamanda !!

As Always, I Tell you: Go at YOUR pace, comfort level, and EDUCATE yourself!  Don’t take my word for it…do your OWN research and decide what’s best for you and yours!

Love Wholly, Speak Softly, Eat Yummily, Laugh Heartily, Hug STRONGLY, and be comfortable with being YOU!