Monday, February 24, 2014

Introduction to Essential Oils

Today I am glad to share a guest post about Essential Oils.  Lauren and I have a lot in common, we work for the same company, are fellow University of Florida Gator Alumni and both have 2 little girls that are 17 months apart.  We are also both just two mom's looking for what is best for our families.
Three years ago when I became pregnant with my first daughter, I went through this strange transformation/ awakening and began doing hours of research on everything that would be entering or touching my body or my kiddos bodies...from organic foods to chemical cleaners to shots. The more I read, the more I realized 1) how oblivious I was before about everything and 2) how many natural solutions there are out there. I started eating organic, changed my cleaning supplies, started visiting the chiropractor, and became extremely critical of anything going in my kids bodies.
Fast forward until about 6 months ago when my sister told me about Essential Oils. Essential Oils come from plants and are generally extracted by distillation. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, and soaps, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to household cleaning products. Essential oils have been used medicinally in history and date back to the bible. There are claims that there is an essential oil for every illness and ailment, it's just a matter of finding which one.
The girls before they get the "tickle juice"; applied to feet!
Let me tell you, I was a huge skeptic and thought she had gone a bit crazy. However, my sister convinced me to buy this starter kit that came with a cold air diffuser and 10 bottles of essential oils, along with some other samples. I decided that even if they worked for nothing, the money wasn't going to waste since one of the uses of them is to put drops in the diffuser and it lasts hours and makes the house smell amazing and relieves stress. With the size of the oils, I could diffuse amazing scents for years, and they are non-toxic, as opposed to air fresheners or candles, so I bought the kit.
Wow y'all, my eyes have been opened. Over and over I find things that they actually really do work on. This doesn't mean I don't like or use conventional medicine or drugs...what I do now is try an oil first. If it works, amazing, if it doesn't, then I move on to traditional solutions (Advil, etc). I love to get my oils from Young Living Essential Oils (oils from any pharmacy are diluted and don't work the same) and I started out with the premium starter pack. It's so hard to even summarize all of the things I have found that have worked, but I'll try to give a short overview of my favorites.
1) Lavender- This is one of my favorite oils. Not only do I diffuse it for the amazing smell but I use it in the kids baths for calming (ever notice baby items lavender scented for this purpose?). It has also worked amazing on my two year olds continually clogged tear duct. We actually canceled a surgery to insert a tube because the lavender has been so effective at clearing it up! We have also used it for allergies/coughing and seen great results!
2) Peace & Calming (a mix of tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouli and blue tansy)- This has so many uses, including putting on kids feet to help calm them (this is where you apply most of the oils because it's the fastest way to your blood stream). My favorite use, which I have now tested about 10 times, is snoring! No joke, my husband will fall asleep snoring and I wake him up only enough to put the oil on his feet and he falls back asleep in the same position and BOOM! No snoring! I know, it's hard to believe but it's true.
3) Thieves (a mix of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus radiata and rosemary). This is a common favorite. It is proven to kill 99% of airborne bacteria and viruses when diffused, and when put on feet helps immunity, helps combat sickness, etc. I now go through a ton of this, diffusing and on all of our feet and this winter we have seen a significant reduction in sickness! The cleaning supplies and anti-bacterial gel with thieves are non-toxic and all natural as well. LOVE this stuff!
4) Frankincense- Yes, the same oil that was given to Jesus at birth! I have used this one to improve appearance of stretch marks, boost immune system, and have a friend that used it to clear up a wart.
Think about a time you walked into a spa, walked out by the ocean, or went outside on a beautiful day in the mountains and the smell relaxes you, puts you in a better mood and refreshes your spirit? Aromatherapy is real. You can diffuse and inhale certain oils that can improve your mood, improve your energy, improve your focus and you can change it as often as you want.
This is really cool stuff mommas! And the more I learn, the more I use them.
If you would like information about ordering Essential Oils please e-mail me at I also have a Facebook group where friends discuss what works or ask for suggestions for certain ailments (e-mail me for an invite).
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Updated Wash Routine and Tide with Acti-Lift Review

You have maybe read my post from a few months ago about my washing routine.  Since then I have made a few edits that I want to share, but I also want to share my experience with the new Tide with Acti-Lift. 

Washing Routine Changes
I have made 3 important changes to my wash routine: 1. I set all of my wash settings to no spin, this keeps my diaper saturated with water and ensures more water at the next cycle.  2. Instead of including the rinse in my hot wash cycle, I set it to no rinse, no spin, and then do a separate cold rinse cycle with an extra rinse 3. I use more detergent.  Using more detergent has made a big difference.  I feel like a lot of detergent instructions are vague and I could never figure out what was a small, medium or large load.  I was so glad when I read the article by Diaper Junction about how much detergent to use, I now use Tide up to the 3 line and my diaper smell great!  Remember that different people will get different results, continue to tweak your wash routine until you find something that works for you.  I do hope though by sharing what works for me and my circumstances, that I can help someone. 

Tide with Acti-Life Review
I also wanted to post about my experience with the new Tide with Acti-Lift. When the version with Acti-Lift came out I know there were a lot of questions within the cloth diapering community about if the new formula would cause problems.  With much apprehension I bought a box of the new Tide (I saved a few scoops of my old Tide just in case) and gave it a try.  I have now been through almost 2 boxes of the new Tide and I have yet to notice any difference.  My diapers are still very clean, my sensitive girls have not had a reaction and over all I am very happy with it. 
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day - A Day to Show Your Love for Pink and Red Diapers

I'm not a big Valentine's day person in the sense of flowers and chocolate, but I do love to do Valentines Day Crafts and wearing pink!  This is my first year cloth diapering during Valentine's Day so what better way to celebrate than have my girls wear all of their pink and red diapers for the day.  I pulled out all of my solids and predominantly pink or red prints and I have just enough to cover both girls for the day.

Left column (top to bottom): pink dot bottom bumpers, light pink Charlie Banana, Giverny Peachy Green, Red Charlie Banana, Butterfly Charlie Banana, Berry Berry Smart Bottoms
Right column (top to bottom): chevron Little Chickadee Designs, Hot Pink Charlie Banana, Hula Hula Peachy Green, Bubblegum SoftBums, Triple Berry Peachy Green, Light pink FuzziBunz (I have 2 but only one is pictured), Zinnia BumGenius Elemental
Lots of bum love today!!!  I am also blogging over at Tampa Bay Moms Blog today with 5 Ways to Connect with your Spouse Today.
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Monday, February 3, 2014

30 Minute Lined Wet Bag Tutorial and Give Away

I have a lot of smaller pieces of material sitting around that I am always looking for something to do with them, and a lined wet bag is the perfect solution.  The finished wet bag is a cotton print on the outside and has white PUL on the inside to make it waterproof.  This tutorial is so quick and easy and its also really easy to modify the size to be whatever you want.  I love a smaller wet bag that can easily fit two diapers and also easily fits into my diaper bag.

1. Two pieces of your cotton fabric of choice (I made this one 12x9 but you can make them whatever size you want.
2. Two pieces of PUL that are the same size as your cotton
3. A zipper that is at least as long as the side you want it to go along
4. Polyester thread (this is necessary when you sew on PUL)

Lay the zipper on your work table with the right side up.  Start by lining up the top of the cotton print with the edge of the zipper (face down) and pin it into place.

View from the front
View from the back
Flip it over and repeat with the PUL material. Line up the PUL so that the right sides of the fabrics are touching each other and the top of the PUL is lined up with the top of the zipper.  I like for the cotton side PUL to be on the inside of the bag so I have the pattern of the cotton touching the fabric side of the PUL.  I know a lot of people don't like to use pins when working with PUL (too many extra holes in the fabric) but I like to use pins and just pin inside where the stitching will be.

I like to use the zipper foot on my sewing machine so that I can get nice and close to the zipper. 

Once you have finished sewing along the fabric, flip the fabric so that the right sides are out and top stitch back along the zipper.
Repeat all steps with the other size of the zipper/material.  When you are finished it should look like this:

Now to sew up the outside, you want to match up the right sides of the materials, the two cotton pieces touching and the two PUL pieces touching.  Before matching them up, make sure to unzip the zipper half way, you want to make sure that the zipper pull is in the center of the fabric.  Match up the sides and pin all the way around.  

Starting on the center of the PUL side, start sewing all the way around the wet bag leaving enough space open on the PUL side that you can turn it right side out.  Once you have it sewn, clip the edges to make it so that they can be turned right side out easier.  You also want to cut off any excess zipper that exceeded the width of the wet bag.
Turn your wet bag right side out and use the opening in the PUL side to push out the corners (at this point you can open the zipper completely).  Pull the PUL lining out and top stitch the opening close.

Tuck the PUL lining back into the bag and you are all done.  Including having to take pictures this wet bag only took me 30 minutes!!!
Make sure to throw your completed wet bag into the dryer on high for about 20 minutes to seal the stitching holes.

I had so much fun making this wet bag that I am going to give one away!!!  Give away is for US addresses only. Enter below in the Rafflcopter form.