Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Favorite Essential Oil

What a happy coincidence that one of the most versatile essential oils is also one of the cheapest! I reach for lemon essential oil almost every day. Here are some of my favorite uses:

- 2-3 drops of lemon in a load of laundry keeps the washing machine fresh and our clothes smelling amazing. (Even those dirty diaper loads!) I love knowing that lemon essential oil is not just eradicating questionable smells, but its antimicrobial properties are also killing germs in our clothes.

Have you ever forgotten a load in the washer and been greeted by that musty stench the next time you opened the lid? A few drops of lemon and an extra rinse cycle will solve your problem.

- Lemon is an incredible degreaser. I use it to clean handprints off the wall and splatters from behind the stove. (I dilute slightly with water to make it go further.) It's a workhorse on the filthy oven door. Lemon also helps remove grease stains from clothing.

- Looking for a pick-me-up? Lemon and wild orange diffused together is one of the most uplifting blends I've found. Lemon and lavender is also an amazing combination--simultaneously calming and elevating. If you don't have a diffuser, just simmer a few drops of essential oil with water on the stove.

- I use Lemon essential oil, white vinegar, vodka, and water in my fast and easy all-purpose cleaner. I will share the recipe soon!

- One drop of lemon on a microfiber cloth is an effective way to clean screens on your electronic devices. I use it on my laptop and camera.

DoTerra Everyday has a list of 101 uses for the three most common oils: lavender, lemon, and peppermint. If you are new to the world of essential oils, their list is an inspiring and doable place to start. I always keep intro kits of lavender, lemon, and peppermint in stock, so if you are interested, let me know. The kits are very affordable and include intro dvds.

Some ideas from the 101 Uses List I want to remember to try:

- Lemon to remove gum from hair. (Well I don't really want to try this, but I will be glad for a solution when the opportunity inevitably presents itself.)

- A lemon-soaked rag as leather maintainer. Just in time for boot season!

- Lemon to clean stainless steel appliances and silver.

- Lemon added to dishwasher detergent for spot-free dishes.

I'd love to hear from you! What's your most-reached-for essential oil? What's your favorite use for lemon? 

As always, if you have questions about essential oils visit my FAQ page or shoot me a message!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Perfect Timing

Timing is everything in photography, unfortunately for us parents. By the time we run for the camera and return to the adorable scene, the kids have gone from holding hands and singing "Kumbaya" to bopping each other's heads with Lego men.

Rain has been working on standing this week, and I keep forgetting to snap a picture of her milestone. So when I walked into the bedroom this morning and saw Gray and Rain standing together at the window, I dashed madly up and down the stairs and over two baby gates to grab my camera.

My chances of catching the shot were slim to none, but a sibling moment this perfect required me to at least try.

And--surprise!--I was rewarded for my efforts. There he was, arm around his sister's back (he doesn't like it when she falls), both of them still looking out the window at the misty morning. 

The photography stars aligned! Not a great picture technically speaking, but a priceless shot to me. (What is it about seeing our children together that tugs so firmly on our heartstrings?)

How about you...have you captured any blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments lately?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sibling Equality (Or a Pair of Toms for Rain)

Kids should be treated more or less equally, no?

Anyway, that's the excuse I made to justify snagging Rain this fun little pair of Toms on Zulily. I bought her brother the cutest gray Toms when he was her age and figured it was a tradition worth upholding.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Zulily, it's an addictive women's and kids' daily deals site that offers up to 70% off designer brands. Zulily is totally free to join, and if a daily email is too much temptation, you can opt to be notified only when your favorite brands roll around. When you purchase something from Zulily, you also get to enjoy free shipping on everything else you order that day, even if it's all in separate orders.

The Toms event is only on through Friday, September 12, but Zulily has lots of other fun deals coming up. (Carters and Horny Toad look promising!) I'm thinking of matching ties for Gray and Daddy and maybe a new construction toy to put aside for when cabin fever sets in. 

Which means I may have to look for another toy for Rain. Have to keep things equal, you know! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gray's First Kayaking Expedition

Gray and I embarked on his maiden kayak journey Labor Day afternoon. Having never taken a two-hour paddle with a two-year-old before, I was a little apprehensive. Would he kick and thrash twenty minutes into the journey, sick of being contained in the small boat? Would he loudly protest the sun in his eyes and life jacket's brace-like restraint around his neck, forcing us to bail and hitchhike home with some old farmer?

Gray's typically hour-long nap had been reduced to a ten-minute catnap on the way, giving me even more reason to be nervous. This wasn't just a kayak trip with a toddler, but a two-hour "bonding experience" with a tired toddler--yikes.

Ten minutes into our journey, we passed Mike along the riverbank. (He had driven downstream to snap our picture.) Gray had already said he was "stuck" (he was somewhat scrunched between my legs), and I was seriously tempted to call it a great first trip and send him home with Daddy. But I summoned my sense of adventure, and we waved and continued on our way.

The afternoon could not have been more perfect for kayaking. We were simultaneously warmed by the sun and cooled by the breeze. Cicadas and grasshoppers sang in the grassy riverbanks, and enormous cloud mountains towered above us, punctuated by the occasional eagle. Three turtles jumped off a log as we passed, their formation mirrored by a cluster of jets in the sky.

Gray narrated the river's every twist and turn and kept exclaiming, "The pyrex is swimming!" (He calls the kayak a pyrex, much to our amusement.) He also sang, "Mare, mare, mare the boat, gently down the stream," in his signature toddler falsetto. (He gets the "merrily, merrily" chorus a little confused with the "row, row" part--ha!)

In Gray's mind, the trip's highlight was pulling our boat to shore and eating our jerky and dried mangoes on a log. (He is all about the food, that boy.)

In Mommy's mind, the trip's highlight was that I kept us afloat and happy for two hours. No tipping! No tantrums!

All too soon, we arrived at the boat landing, and there was Daddy, ready to load our muddy kayak into the freshly vacuumed Caravan.

Gray's first kayak trip was a success, and I'm enjoying it even more in retrospect (as we often do with things that make us a bit nervous!). Can't wait to go again!

Mike kayaked the rest of the river into Red Wing later that afternoon. Here's Gray and Rain,
watching for Daddy to round the Mississippi's big bend and dock at Bay Point Park.