Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How to Reuse Empty Essential Oil Bottles

If you're using your essential oils every day like we are, you'll begin to amass a collection of empty oil bottles. Don't throw them away! Here are a few ways you can reuse them.

1. Take the drop reducer out and look inside to see how much oil is really in there. Sometimes you can get a couple more uses out of the "empty" bottle just by removing the reducer.

2. Once your bottle is truly empty, take everything (cap, drop reducer, bottle) apart and put it in a jar of Epsom salt. The salt will soak up any oil residue and you can use the salt in the bathtub for a relaxing detox bath. I usually add a little baking soda to the jar once the bottle parts are removed for additional skin soothing properties.

3. If you're like me and you like to have multiple bottles of the same oil (one for the kitchen, one for the diaper bag, one for the bathroom...), you can just use your new bottle of an oil to partially fill an old one. I don't need a whole bottle of lavender for my travel bag, but a few drops sure come in handy! And if the airline loses my luggage, I'm not out a whole bottle of oil!

4. You can take the labels off your bottles by soaking them in hot, soapy water. Any residue that remains can be rubbed off with the help of some lemon oil. Then you can buy cute washi tape to make your own simple label. Or if you aren't feeling fancy, masking tape works just fine.

5. I really like the Aromaglide fitments that Young Living sells. They will pop right on both the 5ml and 15ml bottles and they're metal (no worries about using them with citrus oils). You can use them to turn any of your old bottles into roller bottles. This is especially helpful if you want to dilute oils for kids and have them available for easy application. It's also great for making your own blends of single oils, or diluting hot oils for yourself. Buying the pack of rollers was much more cost effective than the $5 per roller bottle I was paying at Whole Foods (and those had a plastic roller!).

6. Fill an empty bottle with carrier oil. If I need a liquid carrier oil (like olive oil), it's kind of a pain to get it out of the big oil bottle and into a capsule, for instance. Having it in an essential oil bottle with a drop reducer eliminates the mess and inconvenience.

Have you been saving your empty bottles? How are you using them?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

6 Baby Steps for a Less Toxic Home

Every day, we are inundated with hundreds of toxic chemicals in our own homes, from the skin care products and cleansers we use, to the chemicals we use to wash our clothing. Any product that comes in contact with your skin will be absorbed into your body.

If you're concerned by that thought and want to do something about it, but you feel overwhelmed when you think of all the products you would need to find replacements for, you are not alone.

What if you could break it down so that you eliminated six toxic products this year? Let's try it!

WARNING! When you start reading the labels of your household and personal care products, and you see what the ingredients are and the dangers associated with them, you can't "un-see" it.

Step 1 - Fabric Softener
I know, it smells "clean", but did you know that clean doesn't have a smell? We stopped using fabric softener when we started cloth diapers because fabric softeners work to waterproof your fabrics. As you might imagine, that is not a good thing for something that's meant to absorb liquids. Fabric softeners also coat the lint traps on your dryer and make the air flow less efficient.

From a chemical standpoint, would you knowingly put neurotoxins and carcinogens against your skin 24/7? That's exactly what coating your clothing and bedding in this stuff does for you. It's important to remember that any product you put on your skin is absorbed by your body and eventually goes into your bloodstream.

Alternatives to Fabric Softener

*Form a few pieces of aluminum foil into softball sized balls and toss them in the dryer. They will help reduce static, soften clothing, and help it dry faster as they tumble around and separate clothing in the dryer.

*Add some vinegar to your final rinse to soften clothes. Don't worry, the vinegar smell goes away when the clothes are dry!

*Invest in plastic or wool dryer balls. I have used both and I've found that the wool balls have lasted longer and as an added bonus, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the wool balls to give clothes a nice scent without nasty chemicals. I added Peace and Calming oil when I dried our sheets last night and it was such a soothing scent to fall asleep to!

Step 2 - Drain Cleaner
Don't you love when you're using a product that says, "Do not inhale fumes!" Right. Because it's possible to use the product without inhaling ANY of the fumes. Nobody wants to have to use drain cleaner, but when your sink is clogged, what are you supposed to do?

Alternatives to Drain Cleaner
*If you know the clog is a hair clog, use one of these zipit gadgets. And don't click the link if you're eating because they really do get some nasty stuff out of the drain. Ask me how I know (#longhairproblems).
*At the first sign of a slow drain, dump some baking soda down the drain. Then, quickly pour some vinegar down the drain and close the stopper. That grade school science fair reaction is good for more than just model volcanoes.

Step 3 - Antiperspirants
I know, I'm weirded out by the idea of not using an antiperspirant too. Maybe start this one in a cold month? :) There are tons of recipes on pinterest for making your own deodorants with essential oils and non toxic ingredients. Or you can buy them pre-made. I plan on trying out the Young Living ones and reporting back.

Step 4 - Household Cleaners
Anyone else get a migraine from walking down the aisle of toxins cleaning product aisle in the grocery store? The cleaning products many of us are using have some pretty terrible ingredients in them, some of which are banned in other countries. Eliminating them in my home is a work in progress, but we have found substitutes that we love.

Alternatives to Harsh Household Cleansers
*Good old fashioned vinegar and water.
*Thieves cleaner. I love this because it smells great and it's a bonus if I get some on my skin because it's made with essential oils.
*Norwex products. I don't sell Norwex, but I love that all I have to do is get their cloths wet and the silver inside of them sanitizes things.

Step 5 - Triclosan
Triclosan is a pesticide that is a known hormone disruptor in animals. It's also a carcinogen when combined with water. You may find Triclosan listed as an ingredient in your antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, and even toothpaste! It has been banned in other countries and most recently in Minnesota (go Minnesota!). I suspect it will be phased out in the near future, but until then, read your labels and avoid products that contain this chemical.

If you find it in a product and want a suggestion for an alternative, let me know.

Step 6 - Pesticide

Nobody would put their food on their plate with a side of poison, but we might as well if we are eating conventionally grown foods. Organic foods can be pricy, so if going all organic is not in your budget, focus on starting to buy The Dirty Dozen from the organic section of your grocery store.

Washing your produce is NOT enough to remove pesticides from your food.

"The USDA washes and peels the produce items that it tests and they still find pesticide residues on 65 percent of the samples," Alex Formuzis, vice president of EWG, told CBS News.

If you have a backyard garden and are having a pest problem, try these natural recipes to keep insects at bay without sacrificing your health.


Are you eliminating any other toxins from your life this year? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

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The Not Just Homemaking Party

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting Started with Essential Oils

I've had several people lately ask about getting started with essential oils. I'm so excited for those of you who have just ordered your first oils! You are going to love them!

If you're interested in oils, but you feel overwhelmed when you look at all the choices...or if you would like to try out some oils, but you don't feel ready to get a whole premium starter kit, I understand! I was the same way! It probably took me a year from the first time I started to be seriously curious about oils until I took the plunge and ordered my starter kit. I hesitated because I didn't know how to use them and the thought of trying to figure out which oil to use for what was just overwhelming. I also hesitated because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that I wasn't sure would work. Some of you are probably in that same boat.

So from that perspective, let me just tell you my observations now that I've been using them for awhile.

1. I wish I would have gotten them sooner. I can look back and see a million things that the oils would have helped us with, especially when The Fish was smaller.

2. There's no one "right" way to use them. I may find that diffusing a certain oil really helps me, you may find that ingesting a different oil works better for you for the same issue. The beauty of the oils is that they're all very versatile. One oil covers a multitude of things and some of it is going to be trial and error to find which oils work best with your body. I spoke to someone this week who only has Stress Away. She used it for razor bumps because it was the only oil she had on hand and she was raving about how amazed she was with the results. I never would have thought to use that oil for something like razor bumps!

3. I am gifting folks who order a premium starter kit through me with a fantastic reference book. It gives an alphabetical listing of oils and what they're used for and it also lists common ailments and which oils are recommended. This is the book that I use and it has been extremely valuable to me, so if you're on the fence about ordering a kit because you don't think you'll know how to use the oils, I want to let you know that I've got you covered!


Now that that's out of the way, let me give you some suggestions for getting started.

1. The premium starter kit. I suggest this because it comes with a home diffuser and 11 oils. You do not have to have a diffuser to benefit from essential oils, but they're really nice to have! I'm not going to list out all the things that come with this kit because it's a lot of stuff, but this is really the way to go. With the starter kit purchase, you also get a wholesale membership which means you get 24% off any of your future orders, forever. You also get access to an optional program that allows you to earn credits that spend like cash on the oils you buy. AND you get lots of support and training if you want it. The premium starter kit is $150-$160 depending on which diffuser you choose. Did I mention that the diffusers alone are around $100?! The premium starter kit offers the BEST value and gives you an excellent arsenal of oils.

2. If you're not quite ready to jump in with both feet, you could buy one oil and try it out for awhile. I'm going to list out a few of my favorites because chances are you have no idea where to start right now. I'm only listing a few uses for each one. Rest assured that there are tons more! I'm listing them out with the (W)holesale vs. (R)etail prices so you can see the savings if you have a wholesale membership. All are 15ml bottles and all are safe for ingestion, topical use, and diffusing!

*Peppermint* W21.50 R28.29
Great for occasional stomach upset and nausea. Helps to lower body temperature. Opens up the nasal passages. Helps with menstrual cramping. Natural ant and rodent repellant. Energy booster.

*Lavender* W23.50 R30.92
When in doubt, use lavender! This is called the "Swiss Army Knife" of oils. Promotes relaxation and restful sleep, soothes itchy or irritated skin, cleanses minor cuts and scrapes, amazing for sinuses and any kind of seasonal discomfort you might run into.

*Thieves* W33.75 R44.41
This is a great immune system booster. If someone in our house starts to look sick, everyone gets Thieves! Makes a great soothing and immune boosting tea. Can be used with baking soda as toothpaste, in homemade hand soap, or homemade cleaners (or just buy the Thieves line of products if you don't feel like making your own!)

OR if you have a specific issue that you want to try to tackle with oils, get in touch with me and I'll give you some suggestions (with the understanding that I'm not a doctor and my suggestions are based on anecdotal evidence).

If you're ready to get a starter kit, please contact me and I'll guide you through the process of becoming a wholesale member.

If you want to try a single oil, you can go to this link and register as a retail customer with my member id (2023201) as your sponsor and enroller id. I'll be sure to follow up with you to make sure you've got the info you need to use the oils effectively!

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Using Peace & Calming Essential Oil

When I first got my starter kit of oils, I went through each one and smelled them. I do not naturally gravitate to "herbal" smells, so most of the oils weren't something that I would use solely for the smell. In fact, I actually disliked the smell of some of the oils (most of them have since grown on me).

Peace & Calming was one that I did not mind the smell of from the start. It is a blend of Tangerine (Citrus nobilis), orange (Citrus aurantium), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) and blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum). Don't read "patchouli" and immediately think of it as a strong herbal smell. It smells mostly citrusy/slightly floral/slightly herbal. I think it's really pleasant.

When The Fish was a tiny baby, he was the baby who Would.Not.Nap. As a newborn if I got a 30 minute nap out of him, it was a good day. What I wouldn't give to have had this oil! I can't promise you how your kids will react to this blend. For some, it promotes relaxation and restful sleep and helps ward off nightmares, for others it helps with focus, and for some it amps them up or seems to cause vivid dreams that wake the kids up. For my kid, though, this stuff is magic.

The first time I tried this oil to promote sleep I diffused it before his nap. Within seconds, he was yawning and rubbing his eyes. I still diffuse it some, but I've also made a sleepy-time lotion using Peace & Calming, shea butter, almond oil, and coconut oil. He calls it his lotion potion and if I forget to put it on him, he will often remind me. It smells great and relaxes him and helps him wind down within a few minutes. For naps, I just rub a little on his feet and across his shoulders before I put him to bed. This oil has been a game-changer in our house. I went from pulling my hair out in frustration over an over-tired child who refused to nap to having a compliant nap taker (almost every day!).

If you have a dog who is scared of storms or needs help calming down, you can also put a drop of Peace & Calming on your hand and rub the dog's ears to help promote relaxation.

If you have a stressful day and need a little help relaxing and/or stopping your mind from going 90 miles an hour, you might find that Peace & Calming would be beneficial for you. Try filling a glass jar with epsom salt and a few drops of peace and calming. Add some of the salt mixture to your bath water to relax before bed.

Peace & Calming is currently available in the Premium starter kit, but in order to help with supply constraints (this is a very popular oil!), starting November 18th, it will no longer be in the starter kit. The good news is, this change will help keep it from going out of stock so often.

Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Dilution not required; suitable for all but the most sensitive skin. Generally safe for children over 2 years of age.

Search for Peace & Calming oil testimonials at:

Do you have a Peace & Calming testimonial? Share it in the comments! I'd love to read it.

Previous Posts in this Series:
Why Essential Oils?
What are Essential Oils?
Why Young Living Essential Oils?
How to Use Essential Oils
Using Thieves Essential Oil Blend
Using Lemon Essential Oil
Using Purification Essential Oil

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The Homemaking Party

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

7 Tips for Beginning Couponing

I have people ask me from time to time how I coupon. I'm not going to go in depth on the how-to of couponing, because it's been done to death and there's nothing really new to add. Instead, I will share a few tips that I think might be often overlooked.

1. Do a little research about which stores in your area are coupon friendly. You'll want to start with a store that isn't a jerk about coupons.

In my area, I really like CVS for non-food related items. I would never buy anything at CVS when it's full price (or even on sale if I didn't have a coupon to pair with it) because their regular prices are ridiculous, but when it comes to sales and coupons it's a great place to shop! If you choose to coupon at CVS, set up a account, sign up for the beauty club, sign up for RX rewards, sign up to get coupons in the mail, sign up for minute clinic emails, and get a CVS card. They have a million ways for you to earn "Extra Care Bucks" which spend just like cash in the store and can be combined with both store and manufacturer coupons. Sometimes I almost feel bad when they pay me for taking merchandise out of their store. Almost.

For grocery items, I like Kroger. The coupon policy isn't as great as CVS, but it's still pretty good. If you shop at Kroger, sign up for a account and make sure your kroger plus card is handy. You also earn a .10/gallon gas discount for every $100 you spend. My one issue with Kroger is that they don't stock sale items as heavily as they should. Often they have "Mega Sales" where you can get extra savings if you buy X number of participating items. These sales are a couponer's happy place...or a couponer's sad place if they're out of stock on something that you need to count toward a "participating item". If you ever see me weeping in the aisles of Kroger, this is what has happened.

2. Once you find the store you want to start with, find a good website that breaks down the weekly ad and matches available coupons to sale items. I like and Both of those also have Facebook groups which are incredibly helpful. Do not waste your time going through the sale ads and trying to find coupons to match. Not all sale items are advertised and there are so many internet resources that have already done that work for you.

3. You don't have to be extreme to get a good deal. If you don't have the space or inclination to stockpile 2000 packages of toilet paper, don't. Personally, I buy two Sunday newspapers per week. That gives me two copies of every coupon and that's enough for my family of 3. The key is to get enough stuff so that you never have to buy something at full price, but not so much stuff that items expire before you can use them. If you see an item that says, "Sale 10/$10!", you do not have to buy 10 of that item. It's $1 each (at least at most stores).

4. Dust off your printer. I use more coupons that I've printed from the internet than newspaper coupons. The store specific couponing websites that I mentioned above will tell you whether a coupon needs to be printed from the internet or if it's available in a newspaper. You can print most coupons twice per computer.

5. Load your store loyalty card with coupons. Just be aware that if you have a coupon loaded to your card, it takes precedence over a paper coupon. You cannot use both, so know which value is higher and remove the coupon from your card before your shopping trip if it's not the better coupon.

6. Follow couponers on instagram. Search #couponcommunity #extremecouponing #kroger #cvs, etc. If you want to know some of the folks I follow, ask me. Instagram is a great way to keep up with crazy good clearance sales.

7. Use grocery rebate apps. There are tons of apps out there and they can generally be used in addition to coupons (check your app for details). These are some great apps that I use regularly. (When you sign up by clicking my referral links, I may or may not get extra rebates.) I think everyone should be using these, even if you don't plan to do any hardcore couponing. It's just an easy way to save on stuff you're buying anyway.

Ibotta- Referral code b6kbyq
SavingStar - You're not supposed to use coupons in conjunction with this one and it takes awhile for your rebate to show up.

Finally, don't show up in the grocery store expecting to walk out with carts full of stuff for free like you've probably seen on TV. A few items per trip for free is doable, but in the real world, your cart is going to contain perishables that we just don't see many high value coupons for. That's ok! Any amount you save is better than paying full price. Just build your small stockpile of non-perishables and go from there.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Using Purification Essential Oil Blend

Purification is a blend of Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia-Tea Tree Oil) lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida), and myrtle (Myrtus communis).

This combination of oils makes it a great choice for cleansing skin, repelling insects, and cleaning.

Here are a few examples of how we use this oil in our family:

Dab a drop behind your ears to keep mosquitoes away. You can also add a few drops to a spray bottle of water to use it as insect repellant. Ditch the DEET!

Put a drop on a cotton ball and put it at the bottom of your trash can or diaper pail.

Purification is generally considered safe for topical application on children 2 and up. I apply it neat (without a carrier oil) to skin. Below is an example of my 2 year old's skin before and after a few applications of Purification. One of the best parts is that it doesn't sting tender skin, it's not goopy or messy, and it soaks in almost immediately.

Diffuse Purification or put a drop on a cotton ball and stick it in an air vent to help neutralize odors.

If you forget a load of clothes in the washer and they get that musty smell, add a few drops of Purification to the wash to freshen them up.

Apply a drop of Purification to blemishes to cleanse the skin and help dry them up.


Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. Dilution not required; suitable for all but the most sensitive skin. Generally safe for children over 2 years of age. This oil has not been approved by the FDA for internal use.

Search for Purification oil testimonials at:

Do you have a Purification testimonial? Share it in the comments! I'd love to read it.

Previous Posts in this Series:
Why Essential Oils?
What are Essential Oils?
Why Young Living Essential Oils?
How to Use Essential Oils
Using Thieves Essential Oil Blend
Using Lemon Essential Oil

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The Homemaking Party

Friday, October 24, 2014

Using Lemon Essential Oil

What do you associate with the smell of lemon?

To me, it smells like sunshine and happiness.

Aromatically, lemon is invigorating and is thought to support mental clarity, focus, and is used as a mood lifter.

Topically, it is commonly used to cleanse the skin, reduce the signs of aging, and combat blemishes. We use it in our homemade facewash! It's also great for helping dissolve dry skin and calluses.

For internal use, many people use lemon oil in conjunction with peppermint oil in a capsule to help maintain a healthy weight. It is also thought to help maintain healthy kidney and liver function. If you like the taste of lemon in your water but are grossed out at the thought of the lemon wedge in your water at a restaurant, carry a bottle of lemon oil with you and flavor your water yourself!

The main constituent in Lemon oil is Limonene (59-73%). There are many, many medical studies out there on limonene. Go to and type in "limonene" in the search and look at everything that comes up. I have to be careful about specific diseases and conditions I mention in reference to oils (the FDA gets cranky), but there's some amazing stuff out there!

For household use, lemon oil can be used as a produce wash. Fill a glass or metal bowl with water, add a drop of lemon, and add your fruit. Let it sit for awhile and your produce will be squeaky clean. You can also use it to replace "Goo Gone". Since it eats petrochemicals, it's great at removing sticky residue. It's also great as a natural degreaser and cleaner.

Fun Facts about Young Living Lemon Oil:

*The scientific name of the lemon this oil comes from is citrus limon.
*It is cold pressed from the rind. It takes 3,000 lemons to produce 1 kilo of oil.
*Since it comes from the rind, it is alkaline, not acidic like lemon juice.


*Don't put lemon in anything plastic. It will eat away the petrochemicals in plastic pretty quickly. Always use glass or metal containers when using lemon oil.

*Avoid applying to skin that will be exposed to UV light within 24 hours. This oil causes photosensitivity.

Search for lemon oil testimonials at:

Do you have a lemon oil testimonial? Share it in the comments! I'd love to read it.

LIKE and Share my Facebook page for your chance to win a bottle of Lemon Essential Oil!

Previous Posts in this Series:
Why Essential Oils?
What are Essential Oils?
Why Young Living Essential Oils?
How to Use Essential Oils
Using Thieves Essential Oil Blend

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