Taking the Plunge!

                                                                                     Post contains affiliate links. Sponsored.

I FINALLY took the plunge! No, not a cool plunge into some refreshing pool of water on a hot Southern summer day, though that would feel nice and relaxing. I finally took the plunge after a l-o-n-g time of putting it off and I bought one of the big name essential oil kits.  I have been using essential oils already and was convinced that they had HUGE benefits after my own family’s experience and tons of personal research including not only marketing materials and testimonials from various sources, but scientific research articles as well.  I have bought various brands and began using them aromatically.  We got an affordable but good diffuser like this one.

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If you are unable (or unwilling) to spend that much initially to get started you can do what I did.  I was careful to get better quality oils from what I could tell and read (a lot) avoiding the really cheaper ones that were more likely to be inferior and impure.  (Two or three I managed to get hold of were definitely inferior and had an off odor to them, though.)

I am a label reader!  We have to avoid certain additives and ingredients so it is part of life now to pay attention to ingredients. I have learned that it is important to pay attention not only to what goes into our bodies directly through food and drink, supplements and medications, but also through what goes ON our bodies.  AND what gets INHALED (and does not even get filtered by the digestive system)!

So, while we have had great results in our family and home with my budget diffusers and moderately priced essential oils, I still wondered about the big brands and because of the difficulty of REALLY knowing the background of the oils in these little bottles, I wanted to have the assurance that their quality and purity were backed up. Plus it is easier to have a go to that is consistently trustworthy.  But I was REALLY impressed that the little bottles in my big name kit were SO MUCH STRONGER than the oils we had been using.  For instance:  My oldest daughter uses a personal diffuser in her room to help with some of her chronic symptoms. We had generally used a blend similar to a popular one from the big brand and she had noticed that with the new oils from my big brand starter kit she needed only a few drops (4 – 5) instead of the usual amount (15 – 20)!  I had noticed the same thing!  You really need to be careful not to overdo it with these super strong oils 😃.

However, as I said, we did manage with the more moderately priced oils for a while as I learned more and experimented with more ways to incorporate them into daily living.  If you cannot afford the better oils (better quality in my opinion thus far), you do not have to wait or do without!  You CAN benefit from essential oils! I started with a diffuser (which is plenty powerful for a small area or room) like the one above

I used LOTS of this blend which smells great!
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I used it to diffuse and clean the air and have a fresh smell, plus for cleaning in a spray with water or vinegar and on a wet cloth or sponge as well as in the laundry. (Check out my post which mentions my laundry puppy here.). The components of this blend are comparable to (though not exact) the big brand blend that was so popular.  I used it in a vacation lake house we leased sight unseen which had a leaking washing machine on the lower level when I arrived.  Plus, the house, though appearing clean, had a moldy, musty odor.  After I called the owner and helped the cleaning lady with the water leak cnleanup, I went to work rapidly trying to salvage this vacation by cleaning down the kitchen surfaces with my little oiled cleaning cloth while diffusing it in my diffuser that I had (thankfully) brought from home.  By the time the rest of the family arrived (along with my daughter who has serious sensitivities to mold and environmental toxins), the upstairs was smelling clean and pure and the downstairs was significantly improved. We had no adverse health episodes and a lovely vacation after all.

Using oils topically or even ingesting however, it was important to me to have oils I could reliably count on for purity.   Knowing that the oils would be absorbed I wanted to make sure any I used topically on my family were high quality and to be able to count on their purity.  This is a reason to stay away from the cheapest oils.

I am using my cheaper oils outdoors now, where they can be used liberally and not inhaled so much as if using indoors.  I can use them in diy yard and garden spray for pests (not directly on the edible fruits and veggies, though) and in outdoor cleaners, saving my better oils for personal family and indoor use.  Inhaling some essential oils is a very good way to reap the benefits fast, bypassing the digestive system, but also a way that impurities can make a big impact, as we have learned from experience.

So there you have it! An ultra frugal way to get started with essential oils by just dipping your toes in the water and avoiding the pitfalls of the oils that may do you and your family more harm than good, or at the least turn you off of essential oils so you are cut off from experiencing their benefits due to a negative experience.

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Luxury Soaps & Shampoos Hack with Essential Oils (contains affiliate links)

Life has certainly been proving to be, well, UNCERTAIN and as the mom of this crazy crew, I am torn between my lack of funds and the draw to better items for me and my family.  These are everyday products that you may or may not deem luxury items. But when I know I can get shampoo/conditioner or liquid soap or dish soap at the local dollar store, it seems like a big splurge to buy those for $8, $9, $10, $11 and up, especially when we go through them so fast.
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A bubble bath for my youngest son recently ate up 2/3 of a bottle of wintergreen essential oil scented soap I had received as a gift.  Being deaf, his other senses are a big focus.  He has always sought out and reacted strongly, positively or negatively, to scents.  Good thing he really liked the scent of wintergreen!
In order to get the added benefits of essential oils (a luxury ingredient that is likely missing from my dollar items) I realized can add a few drops of a favorite essential oil or blend or one which seems to compliment the current scent of my soap or shampoo/conditioner as soon as I bring home the bottle. After l add around 5 to 10 drops, replace the lid and shake it up, it is ready to use. Furthermore, I get a quality essential oil that is not necessarily food grade as I don’t think it is necessary to buy the most expensive essential oils on the market for this purpose.  Adjust the amount of drops to your liking.
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For kids who like the spray you might keep the empty bottle and refill with water plus one or two drops of a favorite essential oil (depending on how strong the scent of the particular oil) and shake it up.

For laundry I have begun using white vinegar with a few drops of essential oils in the washer in the fabric softener compartment. My front loading machine can easily develop a bad odor. (I found out this is common due to their design.) The vinegar/essential oil rinse helps take care of it, and no — the clothes do not come out smelling like vinegar. I just add several drops to my vinegar jug and then it’s good to go with a little shake before each use. I also like to add some essential oil drops to my clothes dryer which helps the clothing to come out with a fresh, but not strong, scent.  I did have a little stuffed dog who had some wear to whom I added several drops (about 12 – 15) of an essential oil blend every few loads.  I would just sniff it and if there was no more of the essential oil scent I would add some more. Since my laundry pup went missing I have just been using a wash cloth, but I miss my little pink laundry puppy.
14 Essential Oil Set (7 Synergies and 7 Singles) Includes 100% Pure, Therapeutic Grade of: Sensual , Energy, Germ Fighter, Relax, Immune-Aid, Tranquil, Invigor-Aid, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Orange, Lemon & Cinnamon. 10 ml each.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy adding essential oils to upgrade your budget products and keep the wallet happy as well.

God Already Knew!

Sometimes I am struck with the realization that God has been working out certain things in our lives.  Does this ever happen to you?  It is really an awesome, faith-building moment.  Yet, I sometimes have a twinge of guilt in a related realization – – that I hadn’t really trusted him enough.  But God knows. He knows already that I am weak and a worrier.  And, he points out the little bit of faith I did have to keep going and the little bit of trust I did have to look to him and follow, even if it took a BIG push.  Then I look back and see that God already knew and my striving and worrying did nothing to help his work, only (and this is where I feel that guilty twinge again) hinder his work, or at least hinder the joy that could have been greater if it weren’t for my bad attitude, etc.

I was struck recently by the fact that while I didn’t know my F.A.S. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) affected children would have an auditory processing problem that could be aided by using sign language, GOD KNEW!  God knew their needs and what they would need long before I did and he gave us a deaf son who would need us to all learn sign language to facilitate communication with him.

Years ago when I first began homeschooling my children, one beginning fourth grade and one beginning first with a toddler in tow, I thought I was doing it for my kids and their needs; I didn’t know how much I needed to learn and how God would use homeschooling to teach me, But GOD ALREADY KNEW!  He knew that the best Bible-based curriculum and resources, even my search for them, would teach me as well as my children, amazing truths  about God, his Word and living a Christian life.

When God saved my oldest daughter’s life at birth, again after her two month old vaccines caused a bad reaction, and then protected both of us when my car caught fire, I didn’t know that it was preparation for a life-threatening, chronic illness and her facing fear of death many times over, but GOD ALREADY KNEW!  He knew we would both need to reach back to those earlier times and see how his saving hand had been on her from day one.

When we found out about a crazy sounding genetic issue (MTHFR) this same daughter had that was a culprit in her ongoing health problems, we didn’t realize that learning about and addressing this issue would not only help her and possibly our biological family members, but our adopted family members as well.  But GOD ALREADY KNEW!

There are other instances where I can look back or have a sudden realization at God’s hand and his plan being worked out and coming together, knowing He knew all along how certain things would fit together down the road of our lives.  This gives me great comfort, even in the situations that seem difficult, and reminds me to trust God even more.  If you don’t see God’s hand in your life, or in the lives of those close to you, try asking him to show you or remind you of a time that he knew how things would work out down the road before you.  Ask him to show you that he really does know what you need and can work out even huge problems for your good. Then wait (expectantly) for God’s revelation!

By the way, God already knew that you and I would break his laws and sin even before we were born and he made a plan to work things out for our good, a plan for Jesus to come into the world and be the perfect sacrifice for you and me, and all of mankind, so that we could be saved and have an everlasting relationship with him.  He loves us so much.  May you be reminded of that love this Sunday!

FRIENDLY PHRASES

One of my children (not naming names) has gotten into a habit of sorts.  This was likely not intentional but it is not beneficial to her and is counterproductive to keeping peace in the family.  This habit grew for a long while, as it was difficult to actually identify and express accurately.  Have you ever thought something was just not right, but it was hard to put your finger on exactly what it was in any given situation, or rather as with us, recurring similar situations that were problematic?  This child has a habit of being less than friendly and perceived as rude, especially by our youngest son who you may know is deaf and is a real handful (if you get my drift).  Facial expressions are very important in communicating to him so although she might not say anything rude, it is there in her face and in the absence of friendly words or tone.  (Remember the saying, “if looks could kill . . . “?)  She recently admitted that she has decided not to show her teeth when she smiles.  (This is another issue; she had problem baby teeth but now her permanent teeth are beautiful – – a delayed reaction to earlier days I guess.) Therefore, it seemed for a while like all the conflicts stemmed from my son’s behavior since she hadn’t said/done anything.  But I began to notice that he would often start off in a playful, friendly manner with this particular sibling and that it would quickly escalate.  My daughter wouldn’t respond to him so he retaliated.  Or her response would always be in the negative, not at all receptive of the younger son’s initiation of play.

Over the course of time I have often intervened by telling her to respond nicely/friendly/playful – – all with little if any progress.  Tonight, I suggested that she think of some words she could use that would be friendly, make a list and practice since it seemed to be so difficult for her to think of anything friendly to say.  She also has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) which may explain in part the difficulty of connecting her behavior to what others think.  Later, I was thinking that it might be good advice for me as well, as I tend to get so exasperated with these constant episodes and my patience — and friendliness — wears a bit thin.  Since we homeschool, my assignment for the week for all my students as well as myself is  going to be to write out and practice friendly phrases we can be armed with when faced with the temptation is to be less than friendly or rude to our family members. I will start and we can brainstorm some good ones for our particular family. Then we can practice them, perhaps with flash cards or a poster of friendly phrases. We may need to add ASL and copy them a few times over to get the new habit going. Homeschooling, with or without special needs, is a great vehicle to address needs that are particular to one person or family member. Perhaps you would like to think of some friendly phrases of your own, especially if there is someone whom you have a hard time being pleasant to.  Let’s face it — some folks are harder to connect with and some just tend to push our buttons.  Planning ahead may be just the thing to keep conflicts from erupting into arguments.