The many wonders of essential oils continue!

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I made a bug spray a while ago with some citronella and tea tree. If you have ever smelled those two oils, you know how crazy strong that spray smelled! So I started doing some research and found a few more oils to add, and also repel more types of insects.

I started using this on my lil dachshund to repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes out here in the woods around home or for use when we go for a hike. It’s safe enough to use on our skin, baby’s skin, and lil Tucker. When we got our chickens, I sprayed this on them as well. They roll around and make a “dust bath” to clean themselves off and eat the bugs, but because they can’t possibly get all of them, and just to keep them less irritated, I sprayed them. It ruffled their feathers a bit at first, but they were happy afterward.

If you want to try this out for yourself or your little ones (animal or human) :), play around with some of these oils and don’t you dare toss it if you don’t like the scent! Just add some other oils till you get a pleasing-ish scent. I’d start out with just a little at a time so it’s not too strong. And the first time you put it on yourself or anyone else, just dab a tiny bit to make super sure there won’t be any reaction to anything you used.

My bug spray is made with these oils (in a carrier oil-I think I used olive oil…you can also use alcohol, witch hazel, and vinegar), because they repel these insects…

  • citronella- mosquitoes, ants, fleas…
  • tea tree-ย mosquitoes, ants…
  • eucalyptus- mosquitoes, fleas…
  • peppermint- mosquitoes, ants, ticks…
  • lavender- mosquitoes, ticks…
  • lemon- mosquitoes, fleas…

Not only has it effectively repelled fleas and ticks (even on my low-rider puppy who likes to roll in piles of leaves & grass & things in the woods), but also mosquitoes…and more recently, ANTS! This killed the ants on contact, and has continued to repel them for a little over a week so far! It is safe enough to spray on your counters and all over the kitchen. But as always, each body may respond differently, be careful with essential oils if you’re pregnant or nursing (as with everything else!), and I don’t really suggest anyone drinking the bottle…although I’m not sure there would really be any horrible side-effects if you got it in your mouth. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you have other oils, google the names along with “repel insects” or whatever specific insect you’d like to repel. There are so many uses for each oil, and with their powers combined, they are Captain Planet!!! work even better! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cleaning House the All-Natural Way!

**EDITED 6/3/13…The gel air freshener at the bottom of this post, while pretty looking, smells good for only a few days. I couldn’t figure out what the bad smell was till I changed out all my air fresheners. That one smelled terrible and had become liquid instead of gel. I will be sticking with the baking soda + essential oils air freshener from now on! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

***PLEASE READ 1ST*** I am not a Dr, a Naturopathic Dr, an Herbalist, or anything of the sort. I am a mom who is passionate about her family’s and friends’ health andย well-being. Please do your own research whenever you read blogs or articles and then do your own “testing” to find out if these things are true for you as well. There are things that have been used for years and years for a specific purpose with little to no scientific studies to back them up. But for certain things like garlic as an antibiotic when I have a sickness…I could read 5 studies “de-bunking” its ability (I haven’t found those FYI) and I’d still continue to do it because I am convinced that the natural way is the healthy way. Lots of Great Grandmas did many of these things and many of those GG’s lived for a loooong time. Just sayin. Also, please do not feel like I am judging you or your utilization of popular meds/products. It was fairly recently I came to these conclusions for myself and I am still learning a ton! If you’re on the fence, it’s fairly cheap and it can’t HURT your health. ๐Ÿ™‚ OK, continue…

When a woman gets pregnant, she is told to avoid “X” types of foods and eat more of “Z” types. The list of things to avoid is even larger with medications/chemicals of any sort. My hubby has been in construction (many specialties) for years, so he has worked with all kinds of chemicals and chemically laced products. So as soon as we got this list, he would clean himself very well and change his clothes (usually putting them straight in the wash) before hugging me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I started looking a little closer at the cleaning products I was using and reading some articles on how safe they were to touch (absorbs through skin into blood stream) and breathe in (sprays, gels, anything). Keith and I both had childhood asthma as kids so we thought for sure our kid had 2 strikes against her in that area. These are just a few reasons why I started this whole journey.

Here are just a few benefits of a few of my favorite oils…there are sooo many more!)

  1. Lemon-very uplifting (antidepressant), natural bleach,ย anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral. If you don’t have the oil, you can use a lemon rind! (that’s where the oil comes from) ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Tea tree-FAVORITE! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anti bacterial, anti microbial, anti septic, anti viral, anti-fungal, decongestant (meaning, when you clean with it and breathe it in, it could actually HELP you!)
  3. Lavender-(I need to do more research on this, but if you believe you are allergic, perhaps your oil is secretly synthetic?)ย Anti-fungal, antiseptic, calming (Ahhh…cleaning…) ๐Ÿ˜‰
  4. Eucalyptus-Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, insecticidal
  5. Clove-Antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious
  6. Orange-antiseptic, antidepressant
  7. Thieve’s oil blend (or “Crooks”, a cheaper blend of the same oils…from MI, WOO WOO!)

A few of my favorite recipes…

All-Purpose Cleaner: This oil blend smells wonderful and the little vinegar you can smell goes away when it dries. And it’s SO much better than bleach!

-Spray bottle
Vinegarย ย <–so many uses! [Sidenote on Bleach vs. Vinegar…Yes, bleach is powerful killer (we can tell by the way it burns our lungs and nose hairs!), but it can also be very harmful to our health and maybe not work as well as we may think…I have read many articles on bleach “bleaching” or just changing the color and possibly not killing so much. From personal experience, I am convinced that my vinegar blend works far better for killing mold/mildew.]
-Essential Oils…Choose a few, my favorite blend for an All-Purpose spray is lemon, orange, tea tree, and lavender.

Mold/Mildew Killa: See above. ๐Ÿ™‚ My experience is from our poorly ventilated bathroom. When we moved in, the ceiling was covered in black polka dots. (GROSS! Mold/mildew) Hubby would spray the ceiling with bleach (“Hide my towels!!!”), leave it to sit for a few minutes, and come back with a cloth/scrubby to clean it off. It seemed to work, till about a week later when they started to, not just come back, but come back all at once, all over the whole ceiling again. (Hmm.) When we started using this blend, the mold/mildew didn’t come back for at least 4 weeks. And when dots started to appear, they came a few at a time, not all at once. ๐Ÿ˜€ (Yeah, I know, we need to fix the root of the problem.)

-Spray bottle
-Vinegar โค See above.
-Essential oil blend of tea tree, lavender, & lemon. (Some people suggest Thieves blend.) I’m planning on adding my new clove oil next time!

Air Freshener: Every few days, I shake up the baking soda mix a little and the scents are released a little more! I change these about every week-2 weeks or sooner if needed.

-Small, shallow dish
-A small amount (I use about 1/4 c) of Baking soda (absorbs odors)
-Your favorite aromatic essential oils

Gel Air Freshener: I can’t claim this one, but I did try it out. I still love mine (above) because it actually absorbs odors in addition to giving off a yummy scent, but this one is pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚

Would you like a recipe for something I didn’t mention? It may be something I use or could at least find for you. Let me know!

Are you trying to find essential oils you can afford? If you use my link for your first Vitacost order, you will get $10 off your order, and so will I! I buy most of my oils and supplements through Vitacost. They are very affordable and have sales often! They also carry things like shelf-stable almond milk, chia seeds, other food & snacks, sunscreen and other beauty products, baby care products, sports/fitness products, pet stuff…just all kinds of things! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love Vitacost!

Springtime fun!

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Yesterday, all 4 hens laid eggs!

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We almost have a full dozen saved, and we’ve been eating them! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love spring with chickens! Whiney laid a beautiful brown egg with dark spots…we think this was her very first egg because we haven’t seen those before. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think these girls enjoy their free-ranging time around the yard. They come back so full! It helps us too because they forage for food in the afternoon instead of eating pellets twice a day. Plus, they’re getting lots of nutrients that are possibly not in their food.

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Anybody local (Triangle, NC) want some mint plants? I’m thinking about selling veggies/plants in the next few summers and this is one plant I would include. Mint grows very well in a pot, but unless you want it to take over a large area, don’t plant it there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mint is a pretty garnish, or you can use it in drinks, salads, rice, etc. For ideas on what to do with mint, click here.ย 

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I planted cilantro and echinacea in an old bird bath and they’re starting to sprout! I have lettuce growing in the little white dish. If you get veggies from the store/farmers’ market that have the base part of the plant still on them (celery, lettuce, etc where the stalks come together…the part you chop off, or green onions with the white part on the bottom), cut off what you will use, and drop the ends in water. I’ve had green onions for months and I just keep cutting them and changing/adding water! I’ve done it with garlic cloves as well. We got a huge bag of garlic (2 lbs!) from Sam’s for about $3-$4 and by the end of it, some of the cloves were sprouting, so I dropped them in water and up they went! We just planted that clove-plant in the garden and it looks great. ๐Ÿ™‚

I just came back from the garden and everything was looking GREAT. The tomatoes are growing very strong, the sprouts I left are doing great, the sprouts I transplanted in Solo cups (to give them more room before they’re committed to being left in the earth) are getting bigger and stronger, and the rest of the plants I grew from seed and planted in the ground are looking AWESOME! I’m just keeping an eye on the weather and I’ll cover the cold-haters (like tomatoes and small plants) with mini-greenhouses (jugs & bottles with the bottoms cut out) if it gets too cold. We placed the rest of the ollas and they are still working great as evidenced by the water line in a circle around them. Now that we know they work well, I think we’ll need to make a few more this weekend!

Do-it-Yourself Ollas

 Some days are yogurt & fruit popsicle days…

 And others are homemade Maple View ice cream days! Mmmm…

It has been quite hot here! And speaking of hot, I have a fun gardening find for you to try out! We recently found some plans for do-it-yourself ollas…An olla is a slow-watering pot and can be pricey and difficult to find. Since we…ok, fine, I’ll own it I have trouble remembering to water the plants daily, this is an excellent option to at least try out. 
We found these terra cotta pots (we are trying 2 different sizes) at Home Depot and they were very cheap. We also visited the discount area in the tile section and found a large and very inexpensive tile to break up & cover the bottom with. We had Gorilla glue already, and it is waterproof, so we used that. Here is a picture of one of them in use…

I found some flat rocks to cover the tops with. This picture shows how well it is working! The ground around the olla is wet…just enough to keep the roots of the tomatoes around it moistened. And as you can see, the area outside that is dry! I think this means it is working great! We have yet to fill them up again. I believe we put these in on Sunday afternoon, so I will report back and let you know how long it takes till they’re empty again. We also started some cuttings from these plants using rooting hormone, so I will let you know how that works after a few more days.

On a separate note, I got a Vitacost order today! (Click the link for $10 off your first order and I’ll get $10 off as well! Thanks!) Some of this is from a “Be” box…$13 for $70 worth of items from a certain category with free shipping, some are free samples, and some are to replenish my essential oil/supplement collection. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have already used some of my supplements and added some oils to my homemade eczema balm. I am so excited to see the results! I love Vitacost! I strongly suggest you check it out if you haven’t yet. So many great products at such great prices.