Chasing the monsters away

Whether it is your little love’s active mind (which means the talking and questions will not quit long enough for the eyes to shut) or fear of a bad dream, try making a Sleepy Time Spray. You can make your own or work with a qualified aromatherapist to create a blend that is just right for your family.

 

When fear is behind the bedtime delays, relaxing and soothing your little one is key. Fear causes a rush of adrenaline, blood vessels contract, senses sharpen, muscles contract – ‘fight or flight’ is not conducive with ‘lay still and relax’.

 

Spraying your child as well as their pillows and sheets a few times before bed will help for a number of reasons:

-Essential oils have physiological effects on our bodies. Choosing oils that are soothing, relaxing, sedative, calming to the mind will counterbalance the physical response to the fear.

-Believing in something has a significant amount of power – if our brains believe we can do it, then mountains do in fact move.

-Routines provide stability, which can calm and soothe anxiety and fear.

 

Creating a Sleep Spray

Our first spray intended for bedtime was a bit of a fail. Instead, their spray, our boys liked Mommy’s spray much better. It was simply Sweet Grass Hydrosol with a handful of Sandalwood drops. A close runner up was the Attitude Adjuster Spray I created to discourage bad moods (especially while the entire family was confined in small spaces together).

 

My point, is that what ever you create will likely have multiple applications and uses in your household.

 

Start your blending process with your intentions. For us, it is to:

Relax

Soothe

Trigger happy memories of snuggly sleep routines

Provide closure and the end to the questions or story telling

 

There are so many oils that will have the above effect, so you have a lot of room for personal preferences. The last time we blended, all I did was suggest some oils, the amounts of drops and the boys did the rest. Ohh, and I was in charge of set up and clean up of course.

 

Here are some oils to consider*– Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Myrrh, Neroli, Orange, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Spikenard, Vetiver and Ylang Ylang

 

Remember Creating a Smoother Bedtime post has good suggestions about routines and other essential oil blends to help with bedtime.

 

Making your blend

With or with out your child’s supervision (aka their input and help), gather your supplies

For our recent blends, we used:

1oz spray bottle (1 per child can be a good idea)

1oz Sweet Grass hydrosol (water is a great substitute)

½ -1 tsp aloe vera (this is needed if you want to spray on your body – oils should not be applied to the skin without a carrier oil)

2 drops of Lavender

2 drops of Ylang Ylang

1 drop of Neroli/Petigrain

1 drop of Myrrh

Shake it well before every use.

Get the kids to make their own spray. You can teach a little science while fine-tuning fine motor skills.

At bedtime, try 1 spray around the face area (ask your little one to close his/her eyes first), a spray for each pillow and sometimes a spray for the stuff friends sharing the bed.

FYI – this works for adults too! When brains are whirling and refuse to shut down, spray your face and neck as well as your linens. Climb back into bed, take a deep breaths and let the relaxation take over.

Wishing everyone Sweet dreams!

 

*It is important to use high quality oils.

I highly recommend only buying oils from a distributor that provides the GC/MS. This is the scientific analysis/report that categorizes the chemical components in the oil – ensuring that it is natural, not synthetic as well as that your oils was not diluted or the crop wasn’t sprayed with any pesticides or fertilizers.

Creating a smoother bedtime

Bedtime with little ones can be challenging at best. If bad dreams and worries are added to the mix, then it’s almost unbearable. The more tired all in the family become, the shorter the tempers and more frustrated all involved become.

Here are some relatively simple things to try. I say ‘relatively’ because not much feels easy when it comes to being tired and frustrated and the crying and whining keeps escalating. Been there!

Keep a routine. Remember, that while young children cannot tell time, their bodies benefit from routine and repetition. Follow the same pattern every night (even on the weekends) and timing of the activities. If dinner is at 6:00 keep it as close to 6:00 as possible every night especially while you are establishing your routine.

Suggestion – Try working backward from bedtime. If bedtime is 7:30, here is a sample nighttime routine:

Snuggles & bed

7:10 – Story time

7:05 – Brush teeth

6:45 – Bath time

Dinner clean up

6:00 – Dinner

Play & fun time

5:30 – Home from school & work

Obviously, no ones life is ever exactly on schedule, this is a guide that leaves room for more time to deal with crying and arguing because ‘Yes, you have to have your hair washed’ and the naked child that is running around refusing pjs.

Adding essential oils to your regular routine. When you need extra help to soothe and settle down try adding in essential oils. You can add a few drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) to the bath and/or to the lotion.

Make it yourself

Add a drop of Lavender to a palm full of body wash

Add a drop of Ylang Ylang to a palm full of unscented lotion and rub down after bath time.

Using “sleepy spray’ or a linen spray. Right before bed, spray your little love’s face (eyes closed) and/or pillows. After a while the smell itself will trigger thoughts and memories of being sleepy and snuggled into bed. Soon, your kids will be reminding you that it is time for their Sleepy Spray. The ingredients themselves will have a physiological effect helping the body relax.


This is great to use in the middle of the night if bad dreams send them running your way. Spray more on your child and on the pillows. Good smell for us, yucky smell for monsters and bad dreams.

Make it yourself

Choose oils that are sedative – i.e. Lavender, Ylang Ylang or Sadalwood

RECIPE suggestion

1oz spray bottle

1 oz water (or Lavender hydrosol)

5-6 drops of Lavender

Buying oils or products from the store

Quality products with essential oils can be found commercially. Just be careful and be wary. Just because the packaging says ‘essential oils’ does not always mean that they truly have natural essential oils. Look at the list of ingredients. When there is a long list and it is primarily comprised of chemical names, put it down and look for something else. Another thing to be wary of is when it says ‘fragrance oils’ those are typically synthetically created and while they smell good, they will not have a physiological effect on the body.

Follow bath time with a little lotion to help relax and unwind

**Unless you are working with a trusted medical professional or aromatherapist, it’s best to use essential oils on toddlers and older children, not infants and babies. With infants and babies, you can still spray the linens and into the air. Another good idea is putting the lotion with essential oils (i.e. lavender) on mom or dad and then snuggle with your baby. Everyone involved settles down and relaxes.


Wishing you a calmer bedtime full of snuggles and sleepy children!

Healing your skin after a sunburn

Since the summer solstice is tomorrow, it’s time to celebrate the sun – on the longest day of the year it seems only fitting. Many of us need to be careful not to get too crispy from lots of fun in the sun.

Some basic facts:

-Most of us know from experience that a sunburn is red skin that is hot and usually painful to the touch.

-Sunburns are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation –aka sunlight.

-Sunburns can vary in severity. The top layers of the skin can be slightly pink or can suffer the damage of second & third degree burns.

-Tanning happens because exposure to some UV light triggers the skin cells to produce more melanin. Melanin is the dark color pigment in your epidermis that gives your skin its normal color. Production of more melanin darkens the skin and acts as a shield to the lower layers of skin. Genetics determines how much extra melanin can be produced which is why some of us are dark brown, others turn golden brown and others will only ever turn a crispy shade of red after time in the sun.

 

After a sunburn the most important thing is usually minimizing the uncomfortable symptoms. Here are a few natural remedies and suggestions:

-Take a cool bath – will help to cool the skin and lower the body’s temperature to give you a little relief. Avoid using wash cloths, bubble baths and perfumed body washes that will either irate or dry out your already sensitive skin.

-Moisturize – use unscented, all natural products as much as possible. Consider raw or unrefined products such as jojoba oil and coconut oil. Apply these gently to slightly damp skin and let them absorb.

-Stay hydrated – drink lots of water. Stay away from flavored waters or sports drinks. Stick with room temperature water.

Great guide for the amount of water to drink every day is take your body weight and divide it in half, that is how many ounces of water you should drink a day. Example, a 200lb person should drink 100 oz of water a day.

-Wear loose fitting cotton cloths – these should not rub or chafe and will allow for airflow.

Over the years, I have developed an After Sun Spray to combat the ouch and the heat of a sunburn. The chemistry of the ingredients has also shown to aid the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Ready for the beach with hat & towel packed. The spray is ready just in case.

-Applying it using a spray avoids touching or rubbing your already sensitive skin

-Aloe vera & Peppermint are cooling

-Lavender & Peppermint are analgesics (help reduce the pain)

-German Chamomile reduces inflammation

-Helichrysum helps the skin heal

All of these work together to soothe the skin allowing you to rest and heal.

*Be very cautious if you have blistering due to the burn.

The above should not replace the advice or treatment suggestions of your trusted medical professional. Seek help if you feel faint, have a racing heart rate or rapid breathing, if you are severely dehydrated (really thirsty, drinking, but not urine), nausea, fever, severe blisters/burns covering a significant portion of the body and and/or you feel that it is important that your burn be seen by a medical professional.

Other places to find recipes

www.aromaticsinternational.com

www.mountainroseherbs.com

RESOURCES

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sunburn/DS00964

http://douglasmckee.com/pdf/Vitamin%20D%20from%20Sunlight.pdf

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pill/S0190062281701038

Sunrise

 

When ‘Just 1 More’ leads to ‘1 Too Many’

When ‘Just 1 More’ leads to ‘1 Too Many’


Talk of the upcoming release of The Hangover 3 as well as various friends’ plans for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend has led to questions about which oils will help combat the not so fun affects of too much to drink.

 

When tons of fun partying until all hours moves into the yuck of the morning after…

 

You know the feeling – Fuzzy headed if you are lucky and a full on jackhammer working on your scull if you are not so lucky, body aches, dry mouth, queasy stomach, nausea, etc.

 

What is the best way to battle a hangover???

To not get drunk! Too late for that? Yup, I have been there too. Here are some suggestions.

 

Water – Alcohol dehydrates the cells in the body, so add some water back. Drink small amounts often. No need to overwhelm your already sensitive stomach with a gallon of water in five minutes. A good idea to naturally flavor your water. Instead of using a powder or sports drink, try adding some lemon or lime – good flavor, stimulates the liver and is refreshing.

 

Simple Food – Stick to toast, crackers, soups and pasta. Start with snack size portions to make sure that your stomach is ready for it. Avoid those grease soaked fries and fast food burger. Drowning a hangover is grease will actually impair your liver function for longer and extend your hangover symptoms.

 

Essential Oil Blends – A little relief using therapeutic grade essential oils. Blends combining any of the oils below will help reduce the affects of your symptoms and aid your body’s natural ability to heal itself. These should be added to a lotion, cream or oil before applying to your body. Reapply often as you are recovering from your night. After applying to your skin, hold your hands in front of your nose and simply inhale. This will get you some quick relief while your body is absorbing the oils through your skin and spreading them through the blood steam.

 

Peppermint – Helps with pain from headaches and settle your stomach

Lavender – Soothing and relaxing for those body aches, but it’s also an analgesic for that pounding head ache

Ginger – Great for nausea and stimulates localized circulation (Cardamom is an alternative)

Black Pepper – Increases circulation to help flush toxins and eases aches & pains

Frankincense – Clears the head and cooling to help battle those sweats

Juniper – Powerful detoxifying affects

Roman Chamomile – Calming an upset stomach and aiding in sleep

 

Rest – Don’t forget this simple tool to help your body heal.

 

As I researched various hang over cures, milk thistle (herb) kept coming up… It is used to fortify and protect the liver from the affects of alcohol. I need to do more digging on that one. If it gets added to our herb supply, I promise it will get it’s own post down the road.

 

A little science about why your body feels so bad

As you drink alcohol, it hits the blood stream and causes the Pituitary Gland in the brain to stop producing vasopressin (also known as the antidiuretic hormone). Without this chemical, our kidneys do not absorb water (needed to hydrate our cells and flush out toxins), instead it sends it directly to the bladder. That is why you have to pee every two seconds when you start drinking.

 

This dehydration is one reason your head hurts the next day – your organs deal with their own water loss by pulling it from the brain, causing it to decrease in size and pull on the membranes connecting the brain to the skull = ouch.

 

All of that peeing that you did stripped your body of salt and potassium which are needed for your nerve and muscle function = headache, fatigue and nausea.

 

Alcohol can cause blood vessels to dilate – again where your headache comes into play.

 

Can’t forget our liver, alcohol affects the body’s store of glycogen turning it into glucose (sugar) and sending it around the entire body. This will impact your digestion and over all functioning of your immune system.

My Car Smells Like Boy!

My car smells like little boy and…

I would love to blame it on the forgotten socks and ‘unseen’ sneakers jammed under the seats, but I know that the culprits are too numerous to assign sole (pun intended) blame to stinky boy feet. Unseen defined here as “Momma, I didn’t see it!” Yeah, right! You had to trip over it to get out of the car.

Over the years, the contents of toy bins and costume buckets have all taken up residence, crayons & markers have been left, mountains of dirt & sand tracked in, snacks crushed to bitty bits and last bites of breakfast smashed into every crook and cranny.

 

Yes, I am ignoring all of the years that I basically lived, ate and worked from my car running from meeting to meeting. It doesn’t smell like ‘over stressed working mom’, it smells like ‘boy.’

 

Even with the mess and obvious imperfections, I realized, I like my car and I do not want to trade it in yet. My husband knows that he cannot think about trade in value or build a list of possible replacements until I am ready—over 250,000 miles sounds like a good time. After committing to holding on to my car and when I was finally well past the sleep deprived mom stage, I am better able to handle the massive amounts of stuff that needed to come in at the end of every day. By no means did this actually clean my car though.

 

A few months ago, here is what I motivated to do…

1-Cleaned out all items that should not be there (this is my every day battle, but the boys are old -enough to help with strong reminders)

 

 

2-Vacuumed (optional and a rare occurrence at our house in recent years)

3-Baking soda lightly sprinkled onto the floor mats (I used a heavier hand under the seats and under the floor mats)

4-Wiped down all surfaces with damp cloth. Just spritz some all-purpose cleaner from spray bottle OR if you are like me… While I was finishing a call, I grabbed that damp napkin needed to clean sticky hands and finally scrubbed off that shiny spot on the dash made from the gooey banana. Call still not done, so I wiped layers of dust from dash, around clock, radio and gear shifter. woo hoo)

 

 

5-Clean windows inside and out. Can use a vinegar water mix (as much as 50/50 mix if really really dirty windows caked w/ sticky kiddo fingers and dog snot) and if you want a fresh scent, then add some essential oils to your spray bottle.

6-To keep it smelling nice will take a bit of a commitment. First, I have to be vigilant against invading forces (those socks, partial costumes and snacks being the worst) and add a few drops of essential oils as needed.

 

Things to remember when creating your own Car Aromatherapy

-Less is More!!!! You will grow accustomed to the smell (good or bad) in your car, so go easy on the application of EOs. Think potpourri in your neighbors house that you can smell on their cloths hours after they left their house, but they are buying three new plug ins because theirs have lost the scent.

-Evaporation and the heat of your car will affect the oils. Reapplication will be necessary. As mentioned above a few drops on some cotton balls or a clean rag under the seat(s) will go a long way.

-Apply oils to clean cotton balls, stray piece of clay (that random terra cotta piece or coaster), clean cotton rag or repurposed piece of cardboard. Place in a spot that is easy enough to get to so you can reapply or switch it out if it gets dusty/dirty. I have been putting mine under the driver’s seat.

 

Suggested oils –

Citrus oils are great deodorizers & uplifting for that grumpy mood on Monday mornings

Lavender is always a favorite & calming for that stressful commute

Pine is a great scent for the fall/winter months, plus it is a wonderful upper respiratory oil.

 

With busy days, I forget for days (ok, weeks) at a time to refresh my under seat air freshener. Not to worry, just grab some stray supplies as you remember.