Saturday, December 28, 2013

Essential Oil Options: Puritan's Pride

As a huge believer in essential oils, I'm always on the lookout for the right balance of pricing and potency. So when Puritan's Pride reached out with an offer to try some of their essential oils, I was up for the challenge.

recently tested out several of their single oils, including lavender, peppermint and euchalyptus. They had a slightly different scent from my usual brand, but that doesn't mean much on the outset - after all, plants take on the properties of the land where they are grown (think: wines from various countries.)

These three oils are great to have on hand for the winter months. Euchalyptus rocks for congestion and coughs. In our family we dilute a drop or two in a carrier oil and rub it on our chest or back, or you could add a few drops to your humidifier at night as well. Lavender is surprisingly beneficial for nasal congestion, though we most often use it in baths or in helping restless kids sleep. And peppermint is fabulous for fevers, nausea and vomiting. 

My daughter preferred the lavender and euchalyptus essential oils to the brand we had at home, and was happy to use that instead for her cough. The lavender helped with her itchy scalp as well.

What I loved most, though, were the massage oil and Scentsball diffuser. The Aromappeal® Wonder Oil  includes a blend of olive, sunflower seed, wheat germ, sweet almond, sesame and jojoba oils, along with grapefruit, lemon and orange essential oils. It was fabulous on my dry winter skin!

The Scentball Plug In Electric Diffuser is inexpensive and compact (on sale for $7.99 right now). It does require putting drops of essential oil on a refillable pad . I can't attest to how long the diffuser lasts at this point, but it is 
great to use as a booster for my oils to help keep us cold free this winter.

You can enter below to win essential oils of your own! One winner will be drawn on Jan. 6 and will receive a diffuser, Aromappeal® Wonder Oil, and a trio of lavender, peppermint and euchalyptus essential oils from Puritan's Pride.

You can enter by:
  1. Posting below. What essential oil would you like to try most and why?
  2. Tweet about the giveaway. Tag @goinggreenmama1.
  3. Pin this giveaway.
  4. Follow Going Green Mama on Pinterest.
  5. Follow Puritan's Pride on Pinterest.
  6. Like Puritan's Pride on on Facebook.
  7. Like Going Green Mama on Facebook. 

About Puritan's Pride
Puritan’s Pride® ( began over 40 years ago, with the mission of making the finest quality nutritional supplements available at the best value to their customers. Today, the company remains true to its original commitment and serves millions of loyal customers. Puritan’s Pride manufactures thousands of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutritional supplements in their state-of-the art facilities located throughout the U.S. As part of the company’s commitment to quality, Puritan’s Pride only uses ingredients from suppliers worldwide that meet their Quality Assurance Standards, as well as Good Manufacturing Practices food quality standards.

Disclaimer: I received products for review and giveaway from Puritan's Pride but no other compensation. Opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Giving and receiving: When your loved one is struggling

"To learn to give, you have to learn to receive," a sister told me years ago.

It is the toughest advice I ever had to swallow but one I think I benefit from each day.

My baby boy was just a baby, my husband was out of work, and the great recession was in its beginnings. Everyone was scared. And so was I.

This was the year that Christmas came from loved ones - and many secret Santas I'm still grateful for. They blessed us with diapers, clothes, toys for the children. I spent that Christmas day in half tears, devastated by the fact we ourselves couldn't provide things for our family. The Kroger gift card - giving us a week's worth of groceries - drove the point home. Never intended, but our situation was too raw.

I learned my "lesson" that year and despite our financial situation tucked away a few things over the year (clearance summer clothes, etc.), determined not to be empty under the tree.

But it took even longer for me to learn the real lesson. Whatever we have - no matter how little - is a gift from God, and we always have the chance to grace others and share blessings.

Here are some ways we've learned to bless others - and some tips for friends and family who are on the "other side" wanting to help:

Blessing When You're Broke

  • Time and talent: I always try to remember that in our church they talk about gifts of time, talent and treasure. (Note the treasure is last!) Gifts of time and talent can make such a difference - whether it's donating time to a charitable organization or making an upcycled gift.

    In the last few years, while we try to recover from our financial upset, we have redoubled our efforts to help, whether it's at school, scouts or church. Not only does it provide needed volunteer support, but my children will remember that mom and dad were there! Maybe you can't donate to the Angel Tree; can you help wrap gifts or deliver them?

    The gift of time is simple too. While I don't do gifts for friends, we do invite them for cookie making - treasured time when everyone is so busy! Or offer to babysit one night for a dear friend.
  • Use ExtraBucks wisely. As we don't have a lot of extra money right now, we are very careful in what we can donate. But I have recently realized that ExtraBuck deals can bless others. Now I buy nearly free diapers for our Gabriel Project at church or free foods or medications for the church food pantry. Every bit helps.
  • Reach out. I believe people naturally want to help others but sometimes we need to give them the opportunity. A woman at church knew a family whose home burnt. She certainly couldn't help them in all the ways they needed, so she reached out. And we reached out. A few phone calls later and I had not only clothes for one daughter from us but also clothes for a son and decorations for a Christmas tree I had heard was being donated to the family.

Helping Loved Ones Who are Financially Struggling

  • Don't be afraid to ask what they need...and gently encourage them to share. Do the kids need new shoes? PJs? Maybe they need diapers (or maybe cloth ones they can reuse?) or gas cards?  Be specific. Saying to let me know if you need anything, or asking what I can do to help may not get you far.
  • Help meet emotional needs. While you're not a therapist, even something as simple as movie tickets and an offer to watch the kids for a night can give parents the emotional break from the constant worry of a situation.
  • Be practical without feeling"practical." Sure you could buy groceries, but you can also buy a basket of locally made spaghetti sauces, breads and salad dressings (for example) from the winter farmers market or buy a gift certificate to a local produce delivery service. It makes the ordinary - cooking and worrying about feeding the family - feel a bit more decadent.
  • Consider experience gifts for the kids. My mother one year bought the kids soccer and dance lessons at the parks department instead of toys. She likely even saved money, but more importantly, the kids felt a little more "normal" and for once weren't turned down when they asked to do an activity.
  • Take the focus, if you can, off money. Invite them for a popcorn and Christmas movie night at your house, take them to a free or low-cost Christmas event, go caroling or looking at the Christmas lights, or invite the kids out for an afternoon of sledding.
  • Remember, while they appreciate it, it's also hard to receive. Being in a position of constant worry is difficult, and it's hard to learn to receive gracefully.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

American Girl Stocking Stuffer: Make Your Own Sleep Mask

Last Christmas Eve, my daughter threw me for a loop. As we were setting out our stockings that night, suddenly a tiny stocking from the tree appeared for Sophie, her "American Girl" doll. 

I looked confused. Santa only brings for kids, I said. 

But, she argued, the doll was good. 

Fortunately I had a small accessory I had picked up that I quietly switched to Sophie's stocking that night. And I thought that was the end of it.

This year, though, she's already informed her brother that Santa will bring toys for his stuffed animals if he finds a stocking for him!

While I'm still shaking my head about that one, I did come up with a quick stocking stuffer idea for her doll this year. For the craftily challenged, it only takes about 5 minutes and can be done with minimal supplies at home. My daughter loves the sleep mask we had purchased for her for road trips, so why not make one for her doll, too?

Here's what you need for your a sleep mask for your doll.

Felt, craft foam or fabric scrap - approximately business card size or slightly larger.
Ribbon or yarn

Fold the felt in half horizonally and round the corners. Unfold.
Cut the ribbon or yarn in half and thread each half into one end of the sleep mask. Knot it so it doesn't loosen. 
To use, place sleep mask over face and tie around the back of the head. Sweet dreams!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

DIY Darth Vader Pinata for Star Wars party

A Star Wars themed party means bright plans for a soon to be six year old. The biggest wish on the list these days is a pinata.

Trouble was I couldn't find one, and even the generic pinatas were at least $20 to $25 in prices. I shuddered to think what I would be asked to pay (and would refuse to do so) for a Star Wars themed one.

I stopped at a party store that was going out of business and found two lowly pinatas left in the store. 
Trouble was they were Transformer-themed. A problem...until you looked at it upside down. Then I saw a striking resemblance to Darth Vader himself.

Six dollars later I presented the birthday boy with a task: We were going to make a Darth Vader pinata for the party.

We used a lot of leftover acrylic paint (both navy and black, I confess) to layer over the old design.

DIY pinata for Star Wars Party
 Both sides were painted solid black.
How to make a Darth Vader pinata | Star Wars party for kids
Then we added silver paint to copy off an image of Darth Vader off the Internet. It got the 5 year old stamp of approval.
DIY Darth Vader Pinata | Star Wars Party | Kids Star Wars Party Ideas

When it dries, we'll add a new cord or wire for the new top and fill it up.

The next challenge? Convincing my son we shouldn't hang a pinata from a Christmas tree!

This posted linked to the More the Merrier Mondays and Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recycled Reindeer Ornaments

Some old bottle caps and branches from my dormant lilies should put a smile on faces this winter.

Our Brownie troop made Recycled Reindeer Ornaments to decorate a wreath for a local fundraiser recently.

Here's how we did the project - perfect for small gifts by little hands or a snowy day craft. It's quick but the girls enjoyed it.

Plastic bottle lids, cleaned (even if you avoid plastic, certainly a neighbor or coworker doesn't)
wiggle eyes
pom poms
small twigs, branches or sticks
ribbon to adhere to back
marker if you'd like to add other accents, like a mouth

Glue the items together as below. Add ribbon loop on the back.

 Here is the finished wreath! Adorable.

This is linked back to Motivation Mondays and the More the Merrier Mondays.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

5 baby products you can make from home

I was well into child #2 when I realized that many of the products I'd been scrambling to find discounts on - not to mention keep up with the ingredients on the labels - could easily be made at home. We easily made the move from cloth diapers to cloth wipes, using a homemade solution when needed. But it wasn't until I got more and more into the use of essential oils that I realized all the opportunities I'd missed to potentially save money and use greener options for our babies.

5 baby care products you can make in almost 5 minutes

Here are five baby products you can easily make at home:

Infant Massage Blend 

2 drops Lavender essential oil
1 drop Melaleuca essential oil
1 drop Roman Chamomile essential oil
2 Tablespoons doTerra Fractionated Coconut Oil 4 Ounces

Diaper Cream 

¼ cup coconut oil
15 drops dōTERRA Lavender essential oil
Glass measuring cup
Glass storage container

Pour coconut oil into glass jar. Put 1 inch of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, put the glass jar with coconut oil into the saucepan until completely melted. Remove from saucepan and let rest for 5 minutes. Add essential oils and stir until combined.

Pour into glass storage container and allow to cool. Just apply a small amount when needed.

Talc-Free Baby Powder 

½ c corn starch
½ c Arrowroot powder
1 drop Roman chamomile essential oil
1 drop Lavender essential oil
¼ c finely ground oats

Mix well and place in a shaker-style bottle.

Baby Wipes 

1 roll premium paper towels (use cloth for reusable wipes Our family used flannel.)
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons doTerra Fractionated Coconut Oil 4 Ounces
3 drops Lavender essential oil
3 drops Melaleuca essential oil
An airtight storage container/empty wipe container/wet bag

Cut paper towel roll in half. Use half the roll now, and half later.
Combine water, fractionated coconut oil, and essential oils in a small bowl.
Pour the mixture over the paper towels and then cover with the airtight lid letting the mixture absorb for 10 minutes. Turn the container over and let sit for another 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the cardboard middle. Just pull the wipes from the center when you are ready to use. Store in container of your choice.

Air Freshener 

1 small Mason jar with a lid and band
1/4 cup baking soda
5-6 drops of your favorite essential oil
Small screwdriver or nail

Put 1/4 cup baking soda into your small Mason jar. Add 5-6 drops of your favorite essential oil or blend.
Recommended Essential Oils: Balance, Cassia, Geranium, EucalyptusLavenderLemon, On Guard, Purify, or Wild Orange.

If you do need a resource for essential oils, please consider using my referral link for doTERRA products. My family uses them and loves them. (You can also save 25% off of retail prices by becoming a wholesale member or independent consultant - even if you just "consult" to yourself. Please email me if you have any questions about that option.) 

Note: This post contains affiliate links to