Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Colony Thoughts On Essential Oils ~ Part 3 : Medicine Cabinet Makeover


If you are coming here with a billion questions before even reading this post 
you may need to go catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before diving into my final post on essential oils.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I have pretty much switched out the over-the-counter meds in our cabinet with essential oil alternatives.

But let it be known, I am NOT against modern medicine!  In fact, I grew up with a daddy in the medical field.  I have fond memories of taking dinner to him at the medical University in the area and eating our baked chicken on tables in the gross anatomy lecture room, staring into the big buckets housing the brains, hearts and various other body parts.  Really, I thought this was the COOLEST THING EVER (right on up there with my fantasy of becoming an undercover spy)!  My kids have had their fair share of vaccines (hello, we've traveled over seas!), I am on anxiety medication (which we are ALL thankful for) and there are just some things that an oil (or any "natural remedy") simply cannot fix.  I've had a handful of minor surgeries and what mom with a Colony of small children hasn't frequented the waiting room in the ER or pediatricians office if they have it readily available to them?

But I am against the overuse and the abuse of over-the-counter medicines.  Too often I think we reach for a (quick fix) pill if we have the slightest discomfort or symptom when many times the discomfort takes care of itself over time.  Also, by doing a little research we might fine something ELSE to help the discomfort that won't mean putting something in our bodies with the potential of a dozen side effects.

For our family, the medicine is becoming more of a last resort.  I want to say that I tried other, more natural, alternatives, before twisting the cap on the medicine bottle.  Like any other decision we make as a family, we try to weigh our options in light of the current situation or circumstance and make the best decision we can, based on what is available.  So, if an oil just isn't kicking the allergies, try the medicines.  If your child is failing miserably and cannot focus, and/or disrupting those around them, then you may need to look into some medical help.  If the oil won't budge the migraine or stomach pain, then by all means, find something that will!

Ok, now that the disclaimer is over (sheesh, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever have any readers by the time I get to the end of a post) I can list out what I have found as alternatives to our most common medical needs.  Again, I am NOT an expert.  I've done my fair share of research on the ol' interwebs and by asking my friends a bazillion questions (it helps to have friends in the "oil" business!).

Here is what we try before using medication:

INSTEAD OF                                    WE TRY
Tylenol (for pain)                          wintergreen or clove
Tylenol (as a fever reducer)           palmarose, peppermint
Pepto Bismol                                 ginger, peppermint or Restoration blend  
Imodium AD                                 ginger, peppermint or Restoration blend
TUMS                                           peppermint
Migraine Meds                              Head Ease or Mgraine blends 
After bite                                       lavender or tea tree
Neosporin                                      lavender, tea tree or lemon
Vick's Vapor Rub                          Breathe Easier and Exhale blends

FOR                                                    WE TRY
insomnia                                        blend vetiver and lavender and rub on bottoms of feet
motion sickness                             ginger
sore throat                                     caraway
muscle cramps and spasms           ginger
cold/flu                                         oregano, clove or Breathe Easier blend
bronchitis                                      oregano, Exhale blend
sore muscles/painful joints            birch
anxiety or stress                            lemongrass, Stress Relief and Align blends, blood orange, clove bud
skin issues                                    cedarwood, lemongrass, geranium, patchouli
wart removal                                oregano and frankinsense

to help prevent illness as an immunity booster, and also to quicken an illness's effects we use Oregano and Four Theives blend

to disinfect we use palmarose

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We eased our way into this by purchasing a few oils at a time.  Then I began going through our medicine cabinet and trying to figure out the best essential oil alternative for the medicines we were taking.  I love hearing Jude walk up to me and say, "Mommy, ah tummy ote. Ah some oil."  They know it works too:)

Here is another helpful chart for things to try before opening up your own medicine cabinet.  The blends listed below are a different version of the ones I get from Edens Garden.

There is one medicine that is irriplaceable for our family and that is Benadryl.  We have many weird reactions and allergies to things so this is one medicine I probably will never replace:)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Words Worth Remembering


Rainy:"I think I want bangs."
Daddy:"Well you know, having bangs is a commitment."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cai:"Smell my breathe. It smells like ice!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Jude:"Mmm babaaaa"
translation:"I'd like some bacon"

Josh:"Well, to be honest with you, I kinda forgot aboutcha buddy."
translation:"You weren't quick enough and you weren't at the table when it got passed out and now it's all gone."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cai:"Mom, do you know who Annie the Apple is?"
Me:"Who?"
Cai:"Annie the Apple.  She's an apple from Letter Land at school.  The teachose said that we have to find her and that she is weel.  But I think they are faking it. When gwoneups say things like that I think they are faking it."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Josh:"Ya'll HAVE to stop growing!"
Rainy:"Dad, you know that GOD is the one that makes us grow, so you are really telling GOD not to make us grow!"
Josh:"Hey, don't blame everything on God, ha!;)"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cai:"Hey, I've never tasted flosted flakes."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cai:"I wanna get a baby puppy"
Zeke:"a 'puppy' IS a baby"
Cai:"and I wanna get a daddy puppy and a mommy puppy...and doggies too."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zeke:"Guys, I just got the last sip of apple juice."
Cai:"Zeeeeke stooooop.  You're just trying to brag us!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cai:"I tode the librariER if i could bring home the book but she tode me no cuz I might lose it."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zeke:"Is that right mom, that G-daddy was born back in the olden days?"
Me:"Yeah, I guess so."
Zeke:"And you were too, right?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cai:"Mom, do you like cream flies?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Zeke:"Mom, do these mac-n-cheese noodles look smaller to me because I'm getting bigger?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cai:"You know why I like watermelon so much? Cuz it's SO juicy!"
Rainy:"You know what else is juicy?  Your CHEEKS!"

Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Pain and Your Pain, NOT My Pain VS. your Pain

I have been fighting for over a year now with something and it didn't hit me until JUST NOW, while reading THIS BOOK, that I have been going about it all wrong!

As many of you know, last year I said goodbye to two of my dearest friends/sisters as they packed up their families and moved to Uganda and Haiti, saying "yes" to God.

Then the posts started coming in of their lives (and hardships) as they fought to find a new normal for their families.

I remembered our very short stint living in Uganda...
the spotty electricity
the cold water
the climate
no air conditioning
no fast food
no familiar faces or smells
optional use of clocks ;)
the sickness with no medical care

But here I sat, in my air conditioned living room, on my powered laptop, after getting a long warm shower while dinner sat cooking in my crock pot, feeling guilty.

Guilty for being able to live with these pleasures and conveniences
Guilty for having a tough day
Guilty for feeling worn down or tired
(BTW-THEY never made me feel guilty...EVER. It was my own doing. My own thinking. My own comparison of my own life to theirs.)

In my head I told myself, "what right do I have to complain about MY life!"

But then I read this quote by Christa Black today: "Pain, is pain, is pain, is pain."

What right do I have to compare my pain with others?

And I think it is imperative to add, the thinking goes both ways. (It's very easy to fall into the victim mentality, thinking that nobody else's problems could ever be as bad as ours, leaving no room for compassion for others and what they are going through.)

I have no right to compare my child's sickness to the sickness of someone else's child.
I have no right to compare my bad day with someone else's.
I have no right to compare how I feel with the way someone else feels.

Likewise, I have no right to compare my hardships with those of my acquaintances who don't seem all that difficult (to me).

Because they are INCOMPARABLE.

You can't compare apples and oranges.
You can't compare pain with pain.

Yes, there should be a healthy dose of perspective,

but if your child is sick, they are sick and it doesn't matter what they have, you are a mom fighting through the pain with them

and if you are a mama, it doesn't matter if you have 1 kid, 3 kids or 8 kids, being a mama is hard work. Sure, it's a different kind of hard work, but the struggle is real in every case.

Your pain is your pain.
It sucks and, at times, it feels as though you may not see the end of it.

My pain is my pain.
And it sucks.
And many times I feel as though I may not see the end of it.

So, let's encourage each other through this journey called life, no matter how petty and silly we might sound to someone else...

because "pain, is pain, is pain, is pain."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Generation That Instigated Social Anxiety

I believe there are truly people who are born with anxiety issues.
Believe me, I'm one of them!

That being said though, I also believe that this generation, with social media and self-serve options bombarding us at every corner, is feeding into the very thing that seems to be trending among young Americans today.  We are becoming anything BUT social, hiding behind our screens so we don't have to actually make a phone call and talk to a real voice on the other line or heaven forbid, go out in public and make eye contact with other people.

I talk about my anxiety triggers often because I believe that if I can at least target those consistent triggers (sometimes they are less conspicuous and completely unpredictable), then I will be able to stop the anxiety in its tracks or at least minimize its paralyzing effects.  After lots of thought, I realized that one of my main triggers is computer time or screen time.

I'm not saying YOU can't handle all the different social networking and options for messaging, but I know my limits and I am learning when I need to step away.

For example, if I'm reading a recipe off of the computer I am way more likely to snap at my kids in the kitchen than if I am reading it off one of those cute little recipe cards with the picture of the chubby chef in his fat white cooking hat taking a steaming hot loaf of fresh baked bread out of the oven *sigh*.  See, just talking about it gives me a smile and a slight skip in my step:)

Or if I'm writing a hand-written letter (have you ever gotten one of those?  Ah-MAZ-ing, right?!) I am way more prone to giggle along with my kids antics than if I'm trying to reply to an email or a Facebook message.

And then there are the constant texts that come streaming in on my phone throughout my day, demanding to be looked at, glanced at, read, replied to, and that's not even mentioning trying to find the perfectly appropriate Emoji that goes along with the banter back and forth.

And the "push notifications" that tell me every time a person "LIKES" something I post or comments about how cute my kids are or how awesome of a person I am, because I like to post the better parts of my day over the ugly-cry parts or the not-so-good mama moments.  Those aren't so picture perfect (although I do try to keep it real).

So this past week I let it be known to most of those around me that if they truly needed me they could call me, I wasn't going to be keeping up with texts.  Yes, pick up the phone and CALL me.  And I would, in turn, actually answer my phone (instead of panicking when it rings and quickly turning it upside down to deal with it later).  Long before last week Josh and I had made a decision to take the notification sounds off of all texts so we don't hear the constant sound when texts come through.  BEST decision of my life!  But I was still noticing myself checking my phone way too frequently to see if I had any texts (it's hard with your family is out of state and half-way across the world!).  And seeing as my kids were starting school and I was about to start a whole new life with just one child and changes scare me and give me anxiety (another trigger!) I decided that I didn't need to add the texts to my anxiety as well.  I decided to use my phone as a, well, PHONE.

I wasn't tied down.
It was so freeing.
I didn't feel as though I missed out on anything.
I felt like I had the control, not being controlled.

For me, I am seeing a downward spiral toward a society of people so addicted to avoiding real-life people that they are actually anxious around them (me included).  From the drive-through worker who we only have to say "thank you" to or request "more ketchup please", to the ATM machines so we don't have to interact with a real banker, to the self check-out at the grocery store.

Fight the machine, don't let it dictate your personality!

Pick up the phone and make those phone calls (I prefer to do it first thing in the morning when I am ready to conquer the day).
Be spontaneous and meet a friend for coffee and leave your phone in the car or in your pocket book.
Keep posting those pictures of your sweet babes, but make sure that you drop them by to play with mine (I'm still working on getting out of my house more often, ha!).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When I'm Touchy But She's Not

Josh and I have pretty much pin pointed Alethia's love language.

Oh sure, she loves receiving gifts just as much as any other kid in the world, and she loves to hear that she looks beautiful or that she is doing a great job, but this girl CRAVES physical touch.

I, on the other hand, am not a physical touch kind of girl.
I have a rather large personal bubble, er, um, I tend to be a rather touchy individual...there I said it!

I need my space.

So, often times our two worlds collide.
My first instinct is to give her a quick rub on her arm, kiss her forehead while I whisper "I love you", and send her on her way.

She never puts up a fight...on the outside anyway.
But I can't imagine what that has been doing to the inside.

We've noticed her moving in even more closer lately.
Sitting almost on top of us on the couch
or scooting her chair right up next to ours at the table
or laying up right next to us to cuddle, so close that I can feel her breathe on my face
or hanging on us, where she has almost knocked me off of my feet at times.

Maybe because she has started school and is getting even less of the touch she longs for.
Maybe it is because she is in such "touch deficit" that she is trying to even her levels back out.
Who knows.

But I've realized that the days where I intentionally fight the urge to quickly move her along
or make myself hold still and call her over to read a book in my lap
or allow her to hang on my back while I make Cai's LEGO Batman car again

she is much more content.

She carries herself with confidence.
She plays better with others.
She doesn't have such an attitude when I ask her to do something for me.

And most likely, you'll have to work at it too.
And then you'll have another kid, and have to figure out how to love them!

Don't allow your own safeguards to be an excuse not to open up to the kind of love your child needs.
It will be SO worth it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Defining Moments

Monday I posted an Instragram photo of how crafty I was being in the kitchen while the majority of my kids were at school.

Not 30 minutes after posting that photo the kids got in from school and 3 out of six of them would have nothing to do with my yummy after school treat.

And then, just minutes later, I smelled something burning...it was dinner.

I froze.
I literally couldn't think of what to do next.
My planned out, home cooked meal, with all it's healthy benefits and monetary savings, went right in the trash can.

I picked up the phone and called Josh in tears.

I know, it's a silly thing to cry about.

But my body was emotionally tired, and that's all I could do.

I've been working so hard on feeding this family within a budget, and with certain healthy limitations.

I had failed!
What kind of mom was I?
What kind of home keeper am I?
And I only had 2 kids with me all day.
What is wrong with me?
Now Josh is going to pick something up on his way home (we NEVER do that)!
That means using money we hadn't planned on using.
And most definitely not in my realm of healthy eating I'd been striving for.
I had failed.
I am a failure.

These are the thoughts that swirled around in my mind as Josh talked me off the ledge.
(what a sweet, level-headed husband the Lord has blessed me with)

We are in a country that has fast food
(thank you Jesus!)

And what's a few kids with tore up tummies for just one more night of their lives, right?
(nothing a little oil can't fix, ha!)

I'm sure NONE of you can relate to my petty little breakdown, but don't be too quick to judge.
Everybody has a breaking point and some days they come quicker than others.

You were planning on hanging out with some friends (or another family), but life got the best of you and something came up.  You have to choose what your priority is going to be, so you have to cancel at the last minute.

You can't seem to get everything organized for a family and you miss an important game or recital.  Or maybe it was the end-of-year report your daughter was giving on the digestive system that you promised to be at.

Or maybe you decided that you were FINALLY going to...
start getting up on time
exercising
eating healthy...
and you mess up one day.

You can't seem to get your home as clean as ________, or bathe your kids as often as __________, or get your body to look as good as ___________.
Failure. FAILURE. FAILURE!

These are all defining moments.
Don't let thoughts of failure define who you are!

I am NOT a failure just because I burned dinner one night.
That has nothing to do with the kind of mother I am.  I was striving to make a good dinner for my family and my plans just needed to change.  (maybe I needed a little lesson in flexibility)
This also doesn't need to define me as a junk eating, junk feeding, frivolous spender.

You see how silly that all sounds when I speak truth to myself?

You are NOT a failure as a friend just because you can't do everything your friends do or expect you to do.  We are all in seasons that require us to be different places and different things and it is ok to say no sometimes.

So you missed one of your kids' million activities.  It happens and you can be sure to love on them, apologize to them for missing it, and then graciously ask for grace because mommies are not perfect and just forget things sometimes.  This does not mean that you are a failure as a mother or prove that you do not love your child.

You are not destined to be lazy if you can't get out of bed one morning, or to be a fat slob if you can't find time to get that workout in, or a junk food addict because you pick up McDonald's to eat every once in a while.  Nope, life happens, and one day CANNOT define who you ARE!

And don't even get me started on the comparison of other women and the way THEY keep their home, how often THEY bathe their children, or what THEY look like!  You are who Christ made you, with your own unique form, characteristics and gifts.

Let's not let these defining moments scream failure!
Speak truth to yourself and give yourself the grace you need to pick yourself up and try again:)

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Salsa and Guacamole

I have two recipes that I make at LEAST once a week and I'm always having to look it up, so instead of having to click all around cyberspace for these two favorite recipes I decided to put them on here for my own convenience, and to hopefully make some new converts to the joys of dipping:)
one day I'll figure out how to take enticing photos of my food, but until then this will just have to do

~I got this recipe over a decade ago in seminary and have been loving it ever since!~

1 small onion
1 jalapeno pepper 
(I'll add a little more if I'm really feeling like spicing it up)
1 cup of loosely packed cilantro
(I'm not a big fan of cilantro so I ALWAYS substitute parsley in recipes)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of grape tomatoes
(I usually just use 2-3 medium tomatoes)

Put it all in a blender and pulse it until well blended but not too juicy.



~I used to hate avacados, but NO MORE!  
Lately I can't get enough and this recipe ensures that it gets completely consumed within at least 48 hours!  Until I get my hands on my friend Heidi's recipe, this is my favorite!~

3 avocados - peeled, pitted and mashed
1 lime, juiced
(I always substitute lemon juice if I don't have a lime on hand)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup diced onion
3 Tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
(again, I substitute parsley for the cilantro)
2 roma tomatoes, diced
(often times I omit this ingredient because I don't have any on hand, even though the tomatoes help your body absorb the good fats from the avocados)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
(I usually double or triple my "pinch")

Monday, July 14, 2014

Colony Thoughts On Essential Oils ~ Part 2 (Peaceful Child Blend recipe for ADHD included!)

*You might want to go back and read Part 1 to see if it answers any of your preliminary questions.*

I thought my previous post was getting a little lengthy so I decided to save my favorite recipes for a separate post.

NONE of these recipes are my own.  I have searched around the internet and talked to many friends who have given these to me, so I'll try to add links when available.

FACE SCRUB/WASH

most of a 14 oz. jar of unrefined, organic Coconut oil
***She used regular, not fractioned Coconut oil. It mixes right together.***
1/2 of an 8 oz. box of baking soda
10 drops of essential oils
***Rita used Geranium but I didn't have any on hand. 
She said you could also use, tea tree, lavender or citrus oils.  
I chose Lemon because I love the scent, it is great for troubled skin and I had it on hand already.***

BUG SPRAY


Fill 8 oz. spray bottle 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
***She adds 1/2 tsp of vegetable glycerin, but not only did I NOT have that on hand, 
but I don't even know what that is, ha!***
Add 30-50 drops of desired essential oil. The more oil, the stronger the repellent.
***She suggests using Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon or Eucalyptus.
I swear by Edens Garden "Pest Defy" blend, so that is what I used.***

Helps with ADHD, emotional trauma, fear, stress, anxiety and insomnia

***I have been given this recipe from SEVERAL resources and I LOVE it!  I use it on Zeke every morning and night and every once in a while in the afternoons.  We can tell a huge difference in his anxiety levels and attention on tasks if we don't give him his vitamin and oils consistently! 

I bought my first batch from HERE.  Zeke LOVES the soothing scent and how relaxing it is when I put it on.  I place it on the bottom of each foot, over his heart and on the sides of his spine.  The bottle didn't last very long so I ended up getting the recipe and making my own refill.  I will definitely be buying the original again though!

85 drops Vetiver
30 drops Ylang Ylang
20 drops Frankincense
15 drops Clary Sage
10 drops Margoram
30 drops Lavender
10 drops of fractioned Coconut oil as a carrier oil

Mix together in a roller bottle.
Rub on bottoms of feet, over heart, sides of spine and wrists 
first thing in the morning and right before bed.

My friend Stephanie gave me this resource, from DoTERRA oils, that is incredible as well!

ECZEMA
Jude's eczema can really get out of hand if we don't keep a constant eye on his diet.
But oil helps significantly!

I have found that Evening Primrose is a great carrier oil for skin conditions.
I mix it with Lavender, which is also great for eczema.

***simple but VERY effective***

PRODUCE RINSE
I wrote about a rinse I make to get chemicals and dirt off of fresh produce HERE.
Now I add a 5-8 drops of Lemon essential oil to the mix!

*************************

These are my everyday favorites that I wanted to share.

It's easy to find what oils are good for what on Pinterest and Google.
Go ahead and dive in.
I promise it'll be worth it!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another Transformation ~ the birth of a desk

Josh is going back to school in August.
But he has papers and reading...LOTS of reading...due on the first day of class.

After watching him try to get work done with Colony kids climbing all over him (ear buds only block out sounds and Colony chaos, NOT lap crawling, pant pulling or anything of the sort) I decided I was going to do something about it.

I called up a few friends with treasure at their fingertips, thanks Amber, and made my way over to pick up the pallets.

And here is what happened next:

Josh helped me unload the crates


 and then he temporarily UNgrounded me from the kinds of tools that put holes in the walls in the girls bedroom...I promised to stay outside;)


I had a plan in my head but I wasn't quite sure how it would actually look.
I measured my space and began taking a part the different pieces.
This is BY FAR the hardest part of reusing crates and pallets!


then I started putting the different pallet pieces together


trimmed it to size



I recruited a few helpers along the way:)
Josh cut the legs for me because power tools still scare me.
and put the pieces together.
I found the screws we needed and the stain was already in the shed from the previous owners!


FINISHED PRODUCT ~ Cost $0
a quiet space for Josh to work ~ PRICELESS


It may not be the sturdiest piece of "furniture" in our home, but it'll get the job done I think.
This is one of my funnest projects to date,
but my ENTIRE body is feeling it!