Rest Well with Essential Oils.

Essential oils for peaceful sleep

In our family we use essential oils for just about any challenge that comes up, whether it be a stuffy nose, tummy upset, occasional muscle soreness, or needing to energize during a busy day. One of the health issues that I hear about a lot as I talk to people about wellness is the need for better rest. This is not a surprise to me. We live fast-paced lives, don’t we? Our days are often scheduled from the moment we wake up until the minute our heads hit the pillow. Sometimes it’s hard for us to turn our brains off. We aren’t the only ones who deal with this issue! Our children are dealing with it too. Did you know that people who sleep less are almost three times more likely to get a cold compared to those who get at least eight hours of sleep?

Here are some ways to encourage your body to get the rest that it needs so that you and your family can wake up refreshed and ready for your day:

*Exercise in the morning or afternoon rather than the evening.
*Turn off your T.V., tablet, laptop, or phone at least one hour before bedtime. According to one study, using your device one hour before bedtime reduces your melatonin by at least 20%! Kids can benefit from this rule too.
*Take a calming bath before bedtime. A couple of my favorite calming bath oils are lavender and Serenity Calming blend. Add a couple of drops to some Epsom salts before adding the salts to the bath water OR add a drop or two to a capful of milk, swirl to mix, and add it to your bath water. *Oils will sit on top of the water if they are not combined with an emulsifier and could cause skin irritation.
*Read or journal before bed. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help quiet the chatter in your head and reading can calm you before drifting off to sleep.
*Diffuse a calming oil in an essential oil diffuser, such as the Petal Diffuser. Vetiver is wonderful when combined with Lavender. Serenity is always a winner too.
*Use a noisemaker to cancel out sounds that might keep you from falling asleep. I love the soft trickling sound of the Petal Diffuser next to my bed. I find it very relaxing!

Do you find yourself waking during the night? Try applying a combination of diluted Wild Orange oil and Vetiver oil to the bottoms of your feel before you lay down and see what happens. I think you’ll find that you will have one of the best sleeps that you’ve had in a long time, without any fogginess in the morning.

If you would like to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices, rather than the retail prices listed in the linked pages, visit this page to get your wholesale account with my favorite company for essential oils, dōTERRA. (Everyone who has a membership with me receives a free membership overview by phone/skype/in person, if local.) [Read more...]

DIY Dryer Sheets with Essential Oils

DIY Dryer Sheets with Essential Oils

When you begin to switch from commercial products to natural products you start to look at everything in your home and wondering what you can do to make better choices. I’m always looking for a good DIY because they are typically cheaper. If you’re anything like me, especially if you have kids, then you’re doing laundry multiple times a week… often multiple times a day. Can I get an AMEN?! You may have made the switch to a natural laundry detergent, but are you still using those store bought dryer sheets? You are? Did you know that even the unscented variety contain chemicals?

Luckily there is a simple, DIY way to make your own natural dryer sheets, and I mean SIMPLE! You can use a sewing machine if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. Here’s what you need:

- Fabric Scraps
- about 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar (not ACV)
- Lavender Essential Oil…dōTERRA is my brand of choice for so many reasons!
- a mason jar (because they’re cute)

To start, all you need to do is cut your fabric scraps into squares, 4″x4″ is a good size. If you have a sewing machine you can finish the edges with a zig zag stitch. If you have a serger you can serge the ends for an even cleaner finish.

Fill your mason jar with about a 1/2 cup of vinegar and add 10 drops of lavender essential oil. If you prefer the scent of another essential oil, by all means use that one!

Fold your new dryer sheets into quarters and add them to the jar, close the lid, and allow them to soak up the liquid. They are now ready to use! When you are ready to add them to the dryer, squeeze out the excess liquid and add two or three to the dryer. They will soften your clothes and leave them with a fresh scent. NO CHEMICALS to irritate sensitive skin!

Scrumptious Sweet Potato Pancakes.

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

Today I’m sharing my second recipe for the ALDI Summer Road Trip. Have you been following along? You really must check out the recipes that have been shared on the previous Summer Road Trip stops… they look amazing! Hop on over to the ALDI blog and take a look.

Summer is one of my favorite seasons for so many reasons. It’s not just the relaxed pace, it’s road trips to visit family, the sunshine, being outdoors, playing, and the fact that some of my favorite foods are in season during the summertime. Sweet potatoes are one of those foods, and one of my favorite meals is breakfast…I know I’m not alone! Why not combine the two by cooking up some Sweet Potato Pancakes?

Breakfast is one of those meals that all of the members of our family can agree on. I have some picky eaters, but one thing that they can all agree on is that they LOVE these Sweet Potato Pancakes. It may sound strange, but I assure you that this is a legitimate pancake flavor! I first tasted sweet potato pancakes many years ago at the famous Pancake Pantry here in Nashville, Tennessee, and I believe they are still a staple on the menu there. My recipe was inspired by those pancakes, made with real sweet potatoes. They are delicious and a fun way to get some fresh root veggies into your diet.

Here’s what you’ll need…

ALDI Summer Road Trip:Nashville

For the pancakes:
1 cup Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baker’s Corner Baking Powder*
1/2 tsp Stonemill Essentials Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Stonemill Essentials Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Stonemill Essentials Iodized Table Salt
1 Goldhen Large Egg
1 to 1-1/4 cup SimplyNature Reduced Fat 2% Organic Milk
1 tbsp SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil
1/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes

For the mashed sweet potatoes:
1 sweet potato
1 tbsp softened Countryside Creamery Sweet Cream butter
1 tbsp Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup

*Ingredients are available while quantities last. All products may not be available in all ALDI stores.

Prep Time Mashed Sweet Potatoes: 15 minutes (can be made ahead of time)
Prep Time Pancake Mix: 10 minutes
Cooktime: 15 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Start by making the mashed sweet potatoes.
Peel and cube the sweet potato. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash with a fork. Add softened butter and maple syrup, combining well. Set aside.

To make the pancakes, start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients. Gradually add the wet ingredient to the dry ingredients and combine.

Heat skillet over low to medium heat and coat with oil or butter. I like to use coconut oil whenever I cook in a skillet. Actually I use it as a replacement for cooking oil anytime it is called for in a recipe. Coconut oil has so many health benefits, and ALDI has organic coconut oil for $4.99**, which is the best price that I’ve seen anywhere!

Pour batter onto hot griddle and cook on one side until bubbles form. Flip those pancakes over and cook on the second side until golden brown (just a minute or two).

Serve the sweet potato pancakes hot with butter and pure maple syrup. Nothing else is needed. The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg makes these pancakes feel like a treat… they are absolutely scrumptious! My kids gobbled them up and then asked for them for breakfast the next morning. (And I didn’t even have to hide the fact that they were made with sweet potatoes!)

ALDI Summer Road Trip: Nashville

I experience a strange phenomenon every single time I make pancakes. My first pancakes off the griddle are ALWAYS flat! I have no idea why. I might as well just plan on it because it’s a given. The second batch that I pour turns out perfectly fluffy and golden brown, but that first batch never quite meets my standard of pancake perfection. Does that happen to you too? I’m so curious!!! Yours are most likely perfect every time. Let me know in the comments.

You can freeze and store your leftover pancakes for busy school mornings by creating stacks of three pancakes (a perfect serving for one person) and placing them in between freezer paper. Put them into a freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and close tightly. Place in the freezer to keep until you are ready to warm them up. To reheat, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Separate the stack of three pancakes and lay on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and they will be hot and ready to eat!

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**Prices may vary by location
This post was sponsored by ALDI