Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Treating bug bites with essential oils (a success story)

An essential oil success story to share: Sunday evening at our church service, I noticed my daughter had a bite on her arm. It was hot and the area around it had swelled to a pink circle the size of the bottom of a soda can.

My friend standing next to me, who is a nurse, looked at it and thought it was possible that it was a spider bite. Of course, I had nothing in my recently cleaned out purse but felt I needed to try something.

doTERRA On Guard beadlets http://mydoterra.com/247260
I gave her two On Guard beadlets on the spot and rubbed peppermint essential oil on it for the heat. She felt immediately better. At home, we used basil essential oil and doTERRA's Purify blend on the bite area several times, and my daughter continued to use peppermint oil on it during day care the next day.

This morning, I looked at the bite, and the heat is nearly gone, as is the swelling!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garden reboot

A worn-out garden in July doesn't mean you're destined for a garden fail this year. This is the perfect time to yank out and start fresh.

Let me start with my confession: Weeds won out - big time - this summer. They thrived; my plants did not. When I returned from vacation this week, I found tons of weeds, a sad, one-strand tomato plant with two sadder tomatoes on it, wimpy bean plants that had been eaten alive. I could be discouraged; instead I looked to the future.

First, it's just the right time for fall planting. I am ripping out weeds in squares and replanting with beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, radishes and other cool-weather plants.

Second, look for those little surprises. I was shocked to find that while my tomato plants in the garden looked pathetic, there were a half-dozen tomato plants that had self-planted from my compost bin! Two of them were thriving - one of them was as tall as my bin - and I am letting them stay put. The others have been carefully moved and replanted to my garden so my husband can mow.

Third, remember that the warm-weather growing season isn't quite over yet. You may be able to still find some clearanced plants at local farm stands or farmers markets, or plant some short-term seeds (think: lettuces or radishes).

And finally, don't rush to rip out so quickly. My bok choy and lettuces that bolted are now about to seed - meaning less work for me later!

What are your favorite tips for rebooting your garden during the summer?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Banana Coconut Smoothie (Smoothie Saturday)

This banana-coconut smoothie was a happy accident of trying to clean out my fruits and fridges before we left town on vacation. It's simple but a summery way to start your morning.

Banana-coconut smoothie
1 cup yogurt
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup sweeted coconut
1 banana

Blend ingredients. Add ice and blend to desired consistency.

Next time I may try this with a drop of orange essential oil too.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Two-ingredient upholstery cleaner that works

Finding the months-old puke stain in my van was the final straw. My car needed a serious scrub-down. And of course, I was out of Resolve cleaner, which I admit is my usual standby.

On this evening, I decided to bypass the store and see if there wasn't a way to make this easily myself. And what I found impressed me: a two-ingredient option that was worth the attempt even if it didn't work.

Homemade upholstery cleaner
2 cups warm water
squirt dish soap

In a mixer, blend on medium or higher until foamy.

Sounded easy enough, but did it work? I put my dirty, puke-stained floor coverings to the test.



I may never buy Resolve again.

homemade upholstery cleaner for car that works

The only challenge with making your own upholstery cleaner? It's your 8-year-old discovering how easy it is to make, and coming out with extra bowls of the cleaner that she's whipped up herself. Before I knew it the kids were slipping and sliding all over the back of the van. But then again, I have to say, my floor hasn't looked this clean since the day I brought it home!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rock star party cookies

Blinged-out buttery cookies for a rock star party are a must-have! It's also a great way to rid yourself of holiday sprinkles.

Rock star party cookies
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups flour
1 package Hershey Hugs
red decorator sugar (or any other decorator sprinkles)

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs until evenly mixed, then add vanilla and salt.

Stir in flour, about a third at a time, until blended.

Refrigerate dough if desired for easier handling.

Preheat oven to 375. Roll dough into balls, then roll balls into the red decorator sugar. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, then lightly press an unwrapped Hershey's Hug in the middle of the cookie. Cool before eating.