A Quick Testimony about Helping Stubborn Men

Last weekend my 37 year old husband played in our High School’s Alumni Football game. 

How to Help a Stubborn Man

I had some reservations about letting him play, afterall, he just had shoulder surgery before Christmas, and had surgery on the other shoulder about eight years ago. Needless to say, his shoulders don’t really need to get smashed up against men twice his size. I had visions of carting him around in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and honestly, was a nervous wreck throughout most of the game. 

Thankfully, his shoulders made it through. Unfortunately, his right knee did not fare so well.

I saw him limping off the field sometime in the second quarter and watched as he paced back and forth along the sideline trying to walk it off. A few plays later, he motioned for me to come down to the fence, and I knew something was very wrong.

A little back story might give you the proper perspective.

As we drove into our home town a few days before the game I asked my husband a very important question. It went something like this:

“Honey, if you get creamed, and you’re lying on the field in a heap of paralyzed mess, do you want your loving wife to hurdle the fence and run out on the field to get to you?”

I thought this was a very thoughtful and loving question that took into consideration our stable relationship status while also respecting his manhood. His reply?

“NO! And if my mother tries to come on the field I need you to trip her.”

Hmmmf. I guess I know where we stand. 

But back to his injury…

I made my way down to the fence, and was met with a very frustrated husband. He informed me that he his knee was hurt. Apparently, when he went to hurl his body into the man opposite him in an effort to block him, he planted his cleat in the ground. When he tried to turn his leg, his knee turned, but his cleat did not.

Thus a painful, twisted knee. 

I've seen something similar happen in the hearts of my sons as mama communicates to them she believes in them and is delighted by them.

You’d think a painful, twisted knee would be enough to keep him out of the game, but no. The stubborn, stubborn man played two more quarters before gracefully bowing out and realizing he should probably hang up his helmet. 

Later that night, after I got my football playing, stubborn, stubborn man back home and in bed, he got a cramp in his thigh. Sometime just after 2 AM he started rolling around in the bed clutching his leg, trying desperately not to wake up the whole house. 

I immediately ran to get some of my mom’s doTERRA Deep Blue massage lotion. Deep Blue is an oil blend that helps with inflammation and the pain associated with it (it comes both as an oil, and as a lotion). I globbed it all over his poor, twisted leg and began to massage the cramp away. It was gone within just a few minutes. 

Foot cramps came next.

To treat them, I massaged Deep Blue oil (mixed with a little bit of Grapeseed oil to make it go farther) on his feet (and I’m not a feet girl friends…this was totally a labor of love) followed by some Past Tense (another oil blend that can be helpful in relieving tension) and the cramps went away within just minutes. 

Moral of the story?

When you’re 37, and you insist on playing football like you were 18, you’ll have to deal with your body’s protests later. Wives, make sure you have some Essential Oils on hand to help your stubborn, stubborn men recover (wink, wink).

Important Note: In spite of his injuries, I have to say that watching my man play football (and play very well ladies) was one of the most…ahem…inspiring things I’ve done lately. It reminded me of his strength, and determination to overcome despite all odds. I knew that’s who he was when I married him, but after 11 years of marriage, we sometimes forget about the qualities we loved most in our husbands, don’t we?

He would tell you that having me look at him again the way I did when we were dating was worth the physical injury. I’ve seen something similar happen in the hearts of my sons as mama communicates to them she believes in them and is delighted by them. Let’s remember the power we have as wives AND as mothers of boys to influence the way they feel about themselves with something so simple as an approving look. 

*For information on using Essential Oils, click here. The first photo is mine. The second was taken by one of my high school friends. 

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20 ways to use the doTERRA Essential Oils Family Physician Kit to help your family stay well

When my family decided to explore Essential Oils (EO) as a part of our new focus on healthy living, we dove in head first. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, and when I find something I think will work for me, I want to give it my absolute best shot. So in order to be able to do that with our EOs, we ordered the Family Physician Kit (FPK). 

Read this to learn how to use the doERRA Family Physician Kit

The FPK provides you with a sampling of ten of doTERRA’s most popular, and most useful oils and oil blends (and a 15ml bottle of their new Slim and Sassy blend – I’ll admit, I haven’t played with this one much yet). You receive 5ml bottles of:

  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil)
  • Oregano
  • Frankincense
  • Deep Blue
  • Breathe
  • DigestZen
  • On Guard

Here are some super practical and easy ways we put these ten oils to use in our family right away that helped us begin to see immediate results!

Click over to learn how to use these ten oils to help keep your family well!

1. Use Lavender EO to help your family sleep. Place a drop in the palm of your hand, rub it between your hands, and then rub your hands on your loved ones’ pillows before bed. It will not only help them go to sleep, but also stay asleep. Our boys now remind me to oil their pillows if I forget!

2. Lavender and Melaleuca EOs can be used to help treat Pink Eye. 

3. Peppermint and Lavender can be used together to help relieve tension headaches (I use this combo a lot. It’s my favorite scent!)

4. Peppermint and Lavender can also be used to open your sinuses in the morning. 

5. Create fun, simple, cheap room sprays with variations of these EOs!

6. Lavender can be used to calm itching from bug bites, or to treat sunburn.

7. I use a mixture of 10 drops each Peppermint EO and Deep Blue (and fill a roller bottle up the remaining way with Fractionated Coconut Oil) as a headache deterrent. Thanks Becky, from Organizing Made Fun, for the recipe!) This combo has a wonderful, powerful cooling effect on those headaches that are a little worse than your normal tension headache.

8. Oregano can be rubbed on the bottoms of feet (use a carrier oil with children – it’s a hotter oil) to help colds.

9. DigestZen can be used to help digestive function. I personally use it in place of Prilosec to control acid reflux (3 drops in a veggie cap, once a day for me)

10. Use them to create simple, but very effective household cleaners.

11. On Guard EO blend has been found to kill strains of MRSA and H1N1, and it’s perfectly suited to help fight off colds, or even just prevent them from coming at all. It can be taken orally (I use either a veggie cap or doTERRA is now offering them in small beadlets that can be swallowed). You can also use On Guard in household cleaners, and it can be bought from doTERRA in a foaming hand wash that I just love!

12. Melaleuca is very effective to treat an occasional pimple. Just place one drop in your hand and dab it on the infected area.

13. Breathe has been known to help clear the sinuses, stop snoring, and clear congestion.

14. Deep Blue is the only oil I’ve found that gives me relief from the pain of Meniere’s Disease (an inner ear issue that causes me ear pain several times a month). My husband loves how it relieves muscle strain after his workouts.

15. Frankincense can be used in a Neti Pot to help clear sinuses (I’ve tried this once combined with Eucalyptus – an oil NOT in the FPK – and really liked it). Just used one drop each along with my sea salt). 

16. Peppermint is a great breath freshener and a natural stimulant. Try breathing it in the car next time you get drowsy instead of stopping at Starbucks. 

17. Lavender is great for treating cuts and bruises

18. A few drops of Lemon EO on the nose can aid in opening sinuses.

19. Taking two drops each of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint in a veggie cap each day can help with seasonal allergies.

20. Next time you have a headache, take a shower or bath and add 1-2 drops of Peppermint EO to the water/on the bottom of the shower floor. The aroma really helps! Add some Lavender EO to your Peppermint bath water for a refreshing sunburn relief bath.  

If you have any additional uses for the Family Physician Kit Essential Oils I would LOVE to hear about them! Leave your tips in the comments! And if you’re interested in learning more about how Essential Oils can benefit your family, I’ve created a page to help you learn. Blessings!

Note: I’m not a Physician. What I’ve described here are the ways doTERRA Essential Oils are working for my family and nothing else. Please check with your Physician before deciding to go off of any medications you might be on. Also, not all Essential Oils are created equal. Please do not ingest any oils that are not pure, therapeutic grade essential oils. 

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3 Simple Essential Oil Room Sprays to Liven Up {or Quieten Down} Your Home!

One of the things I love about Essential Oils is the way they make me feel. Certain oils have very pleasing smells and can really help me and my boys throughout the day in various ways. 

I’d love to have a diffuser (that’s an affiliate link friends) to help spread the aromas of the oils throughout our home, but since radically changing our diet two months ago we’re still figuring out our new food budget, so a diffuser will just have to wait. These room sprays are my way of trying to achieve the function of a diffuser without paying for one!

Diffusing Scents on the Cheap!

Try these easy-to-make room sprays to liven up (or quieten down) your home!

All of these sprays were made by mixing water with approximately 10-15 drops of doTERRA Essential Oils. 

1. Lemon Spray

Oh so simple, but a powerful, multi-purpose spray. Lemon EO can help lift the spirits (any citrus oils really), clean your kitchen, or even act as a carpet deodorizer/cleaner (nice when you have dogs like we do). 

2. Lavender Spray

Another really simple one that packs a punch. I like to use this one to spray down our house before bed, specifically targeting my boys’ pillows, curtains, and rug and the room we’re staying in before we head up for the night. I find it helps take the edge off and after doing this for a few months now I’m beginning to find that my boys associate the smell of Lavender with sleep. A good thing for sure!

3. Lavender and Peppermint Spray

I like this spray to keep in the car. I’m hesitant to just use Lavender in the car because even though it does help us all to calm down a little I don’t want the driver to calm down so much that he/she falls asleep! My solution was to mix equal parts Lavender and Peppermint Oil because peppermint is a stimulant. This oil combination also happens to be one of my favorites mixed together. I often use the oils themselves to help me wake up in the morning and clear my sinuses. I mixed about 7-8 drops of each oil with water for this spray.

A couple other fun successes we’re having with our new oils:

1. A friend of mine shared her recipe for what she calls Doggie Xanax and I was immediately curious. I have a one year old large yellow Lab who has been struggling with separation anxiety (and just general anxiety too) since my husband went back to work after a three month break from a shoulder surgery at Christmas. I mixed two drops each of Lavender, Balance, and Serenity oil in the palm of my hands and then rubbed them on his paws and the tips of his ears. This is a picture of him about 10 minutes later! Success! Sorry for the photo quality, it was nighttime and I only had my phone.

Doggie Xanax Essential Oil Blend

2. I woke up earlier this week with a serious case of cramps—something that is highly unusual for me. Immediately I began searching for an oil I could use to help and landed on Clary Sage. I don’t like the aroma of Clary Sage at all, but I rubbed two drops all over my hurting tummy anyways and within just a few minutes the cramps were gone. Just to be sure, I rubbed two more drops on my tummy when I got home from taking the boys to VBS and covered it with a heating pad. No more cramps. AMAZING!

We’re loving our little journey into the world of doTERRA Essential Oils. If you’d like to learn more about getting Essential Oils for your family, I’ve written a post explaining it here. And as always, please feel free to ask questions in the comments! 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and these ideas are not to be taken as medical advice– they are simply what works for us. 

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how to be healthy without being a nut

I won’t lie, mamas, there’ve been a few times since we started the journey toward healthy living that I wanted to throw my hands up…or throw in the towel…or throw the whole darn thing out the window…or something like that.

Ninety-nine percent of the time I feel like I’m doing something wonderful for my two boys and husband. Intentionally choosing a healthier lifestyle—from food choices, to cleaning choices, to natural healing methods, to, I’m sure, many other choices I haven’t even figured out yet—makes me feel strong, and empowered…like I’m taking the knowledge God’s given me and using it for His glory in my family.

But there’s that pesky little one percent of the time, when we’re among friends and family who haven’t jumped on the healthy bandwagon yet, when I feel crazy, weird, whacky, and downright alone. 

I’m pretty solid in my decision to keep this healthy lifestyle going, but I’m also passionate about not letting my children be labeled as nut cases (or their parents, anyway). Most of all, I never want to make others feel we think we’re superior to them because of our choices. We’re sinners saved by grace just like everyone else (in truth we probably need grace more than most), and it took me over 35 stubborn years to realize we needed to make a change. Our playing field is as level as it gets. 

So with those goals in mind, I’ve come up with the following plan to be healthy without being a nut. Maybe it can help you too?

99% of the time I feel good about our healthy lifestyle, but there's that pesky little one percent of the time, when we're among friends and family who haven't jumped on the healthy bandwagon yet, when I feel crazy, weird, whacky, and downright alone.

1. Remember why you chose this lifestyle, and let go of your need to people-please once and for all.

My family’s choice is based on our desire to raise strong, healthy boys who are able to be free from the negative effects of mood-altering sugars, dyes, and artificial flavorings, but yours might be different. Whatever it is, just know in advance that your choice will be displeasing to some, if not many, people in your life. Any time you make a decision that is drastically different from someone else’s you run the risk of making them feel inferior, or judged, just because you’re doing something different. Most people don’t like feeling judged, and it can cause riffs in relationships if not handled with grace and care.

In my case, I’ve had to pray my way through the feelings of rejection and negative comments, reminding myself that I will never be able to please everyone in my life. People-pleasing divides my loyalty between my God and everyone else, and really, there’s no room on the throne of my heart for anyone but God Himself. He’s the one I’m accountable to at the end of the day—the only one who’s opinion of me truly matters. 

2. Recognize that there will be circumstances out of your control.

The first weekend after we started the changes to our diet we visited family at the lake. It took all of about 30 minutes for me to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to control what my boys put in their mouths the whole time we were there. I was disappointed, but it was a lesson I’m glad I learned very early in the game. I could’ve forced the issue, and made everyone around me, including my husband and children, miserable. I decided I would rather fly our choices under the radar so they cause as little trouble for the people we love as possible. Because we homeschool, I’m able to control what our boys put in their mouths ninety-nine percent of the time. The other one percent will just have to fall under grace.

3. When there’s a choice, love people instead of your lifestyle.

In truth, God cares more for what’s going on in our hearts than how passionate we are about a healthy lifestyle, because He knows that what’s in the heart comes out. If you’re as healthy as a horse, but have no friends, you might be going about it all wrong.

Several years ago I nearly lost a friendship over my opinion on a matter of biblical debate. I still believe I was right, but I learned through that process that people are always more important. It’s not worth it to win the battle and lose the war. There has to be a balance between standing up for what you believe in and treasuring the people in your life. Handle relationships with care.

Be healthy, but don’t be a nut.

What have your experiences with the downsides of the healthy lifestyle been? Would you add anything to this list?

 

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5 Tips for Healthy Snacking

 

Five Healthy Snacking Tips For Kids (And Adults)

 

1. Snack Seasonally 

5 tips for healthy snacking

God designed fruits and vegetables to be available for us during certain seasons to give us our best health.  Spring greens, peas, early berries and roots are available in the early springtime to aid as a tonic and digestive from the heavier meals of winter. Soft and sweet fruits and vegetables, like peaches, plums, melons and zucchini are full of natural sugars and water to replenish our electrolytes and give us easily digestible energy in the heat of summer,  while winter squash, potatoes, apples, carrots and cabbage give us more starchy carbs for warmth in the cold months, provide the vitamins that we need and store well for the winter.  Enjoy grapes in September, apples in October and strawberries in June.  While at the the store or farmer’s market, help your children choose fruits and vegetables to eat this week.  Give them ownership about their healthy choices.  Talk about seasonality with your kids and explain to them that if they wait till food is in season, it will taste better and will be more nutritious for their growing body, making them, in the words of my four year old son, “Super Strong!”

 

2. Snack for Energy

A balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is a perfect combination for growing children and their energy needs.  Think apples with almond butter, cheese and whole grain crackers, carrots and snap peas with hummus, a slice of homemade bread with egg salad, plain yogurt with granola, or even simply a handful of trail mix.

 

3. Limit Sugar

Natural sugars, such as those found in a whole piece of fruit, are fine as the fruit is full of fiber to help digest the sugar, but simple sugars like those found in juice, sweetened yogurt, or baked into muffins aren’t absorbed as well in young, growing bodies. If you must add sugar to a food, choose a natural, unprocessed sweetener like raw, local honey, rather than a super processed one like white sugar.  A little bit of something sweet is fine once in a while, but enjoying sweet things daily, even several times a day, isn’t good for proper growth and development.

 

4. Avoid Processed Foods 

Kids don’t need frozen chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, macaroni and cheese and lunchables to be happy, these are marketing ploys designed by companies to make a profit.  They are made in an undisclosed factory by unknown people with questionable ingredients and are designed to sit in a truck, then on a shelf, then in your pantry or freezer until you are ready to eat them, sometimes months or years later.  They are as far away from God-made foods as you can get.  Yes, our kids think they like them, but I give you permission to just say no.  Highly processed foods are loaded with unhealthy chemicals, artificial dyes, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives and synthetic fats, all of which can have serious harmful effects on your child’s growth mentally, neurologically and physically.

 

5. Time your Snacking Wisely 

Say it with me: a snack is not a meal. Too much snacking becomes a habit, not a hunger.  I enjoy planning and cooking healthy, balanced meals, but if I allow my kids to snack too much, they don’t end up eating much at supper.  Children who snack two to three times a day do not eat as much at meals.  Try to limit snacking to once a day, in the afternoon, at least three hours after lunch ends and two hours before supper begins.  Make sure it’s enough to tide them over and give them energy to play throughout the afternoon, but leaves them with an appetite for supper.

 

I know, sometimes it still seems like too much work to plan and eat real food.  When I’m tired, when I’m going as fast as I can and avoiding all eyes as I push a grocery cart with a screaming, teething toddler in the seat, when I trip over toys and step on a Lego on the way to the kitchen to prepare prepare dinner for my family, I give it up and pray,

 

Lord, bless my work and guide me with grace.

 

Don’t forget His healing words

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

 

***

Sarah WootenSarah Warren is a mother of three, two boys and one girl, writes at heartland Renaissance (link tohttp://heartlandrenaissance.com ) and is a Christian holistic health & wellness coach and speaker (link tohttp://sarahwarren.net ). She encourages Women of Faith to Love and embrace their bodies, to care for them as Temples of the Holy Spirit, and to worship God in mind, heart and body. Sarah helps women learn to love themselves where they are today and help them be encouraged to seek faith, health and love.  She coaches individuals, and speaks and teaches classes on topics including preparing for natural fertility, family nutrition, stress management, and healthy body image, all from a Christian perspective.

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5 DIY Household Cleaners

{First things first…the winner of last weeks doTERRA Essential Oil Trio kit (of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint) is Jill Rudzek! Congrats Jill! Check your email friend! We had over 2000 entries! Wow!}

Our quest for a healthier lifestyle is quickly expanding beyond just food and into the things we clean our home with. It doesn’t take a whole lot of research to realize that the cleaners available to us on our local shelves of convenience have chemicals in them that could harm our families. It’s all part of choosing to use and ingest things that make my boys (big and small) stronger. For me though, making some of my own cleaners at home is just as much about trying to save a buck or two as it is choosing to get rid of chemicals. 

Eating healthy is expensive. Can I get an amen? 

I figure over time using some of these homemade cleaners will help balance out our ever-growing grocery bill. So here’s a round-up of five of my favorites so far.

5 DIY Household Cleaners

5 super simple DIY household cleaner recipes from around the web!

1. Liquid Dish Detergent

I’m so excited about this one friends. I just made it this week and based it on this recipe from A Blossoming Life. The only thing I changed about her recipe was the type of Essential Oil she used to make it smell good and have anti-bacterial properties. I chose to add 10 drops of doTERRA* Lemon Oil because I love how it smells, and another 10 drops of OnGuard Oil…because dude…it’s killed strains of MRSA and H1N1 in tests. Who doesn’t want THAT kind of clean in their home? The result was really nice AND sudsy! My dishes looked sparkley clean too!

Note: The day after I wrote this I opened my container of liquid dish detergent only to find that it resembled a huge pile of snot. Apparently, you can’t use Castile soap and any kind of citrus oil or you get…well…snot. It also seems to cancel out the good qualities of both the Castile soap and the oils I used. So I went back to using the Melaleuca (tea tree) oil and just added some Peppermint oil to offset the smell of the tea tree oil (because while I love what Melaleuca does, it’s not a smell I particularly enjoy). 

2. Sweet Lavender Room Spray

I am raising boys. And there’s, well, you know…a certain parfume that goes along with a house full of boys (and two dogs and a beta fish). So while this recipe isn’t necessarily for a household cleaner, I do consider it a necessity for my sanity. I got this recipe from my new friend Jill Winger, of The Prairie Homestead. It’s one of five yummy DIY room sprays (she even gives you a free printable so you can label your bottles!). 

**Tip** Add some vinegar to this recipe to make it a room deodorizer. I don’t love how it smells, so you might need to add more drops of EO to compensate.

3. Makeup Remover

I’ve really gotten in to cooking with Coconut Oil, but I use Fractionated Coconut oil to remove my eye makeup at night. It’s soft, conditioning, and very gentle. I have trouble with eye makeup remover causing my sensitive skin to break out right between my eyes (fun, no?) but FCO has never irritated my skin. 

4. Homemade Disinfecting Wipes

I’m a counter wipe-aholic. I love the convenience of pulling out an already wet wipe and using it to clean up our messes (and lo, there are many). These wipes have been great, but I did find that I could get away with halving the ingredients. Using it as written makes the wipes really soggy…and that just bugs me. Try it!

5. Tile Safe Floor Cleaner

We have what used to be white tile in our kitchen, and we recently tiled both of our upstairs bathrooms. I’ve been looking for a homemade floor cleaner that was safe to use on tiles, and this one fits the bill. 

What are your favorite DIY cleaners?

*I recommend and use doTERRA Essential Oils (EOs) because I love the results I’m getting with them. 

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How Essential Oils Are Changing Our Family

 

If I wasn’t experiencing the benefits of Essential Oils for myself, I wouldn’t believe it.

I would never have believed that a bunch of oils could change our lives if I hadn't experienced it myself. Come enter to win an introductory pack so you can try them out for yourself!

 

Seriously. I don’t really know why I’ve been such a natural health skeptic all my life, but I have. When you think about the fact that most of our modern day medicines were developed from plant life, it only makes sense that plant oils might benefit us in some way, but I would never have believed it if I hadn’t ordered a few oils and tried them myself.

I guess you could say I’ve always just wanted to pop a pill and be done with it. But about four years ago I started having some health problems that really changed my mind.

At just 31 years old I was completely knocked off my feet by a case of vertigo (ever been on one of those rides at the amusement park where you spin so fast you’re pressed up against the wall and the floor falls out from under you? That’s what vertigo feels like).

After a case of vertigo, which had started happening 1-2 times a year, I would be dizzy for months. I remember leaning over to put my then infant son in his crib one night and literally falling down because of the spinning. It was terrible.

I lost my voice completely at two blogging conferences within four months of each other. I couldn’t stop coughing, was getting sinus infections every other month, and dealt with headaches on a daily basis. This is what finally forced me to go to an Allergist, who diagnosed me with Acid Reflux and Chronic Sinusitis—two diseases that work against each other and were causing my vocal cords to completely shut down.

The Allergist put me on Prilosec and Mucinex DM, and because they helped me so much, I took them pretty much every day for about two years. But then my husband and mother began reading about the many side effects of long-term usage for both of these drugs. Things like headaches, and vertigo. Hmmmmm.

Recipes for Healthy Living

About a month ago my family made drastic changes to our diet in order to deal with some issues we had unrelated to my health problems listed above, and since that time my eyes and ears have been open to other things we can do as a family to increase our overall wellness—like making our own home cleaners, and using smells to help with our mood.

A friend mentioned Essential Oils (EOs) on Facebook one day, and shared how they were benefitting her boys in the areas of attention and mood. I was intrigued, so I started reading more about them and was surprised to find a lot of testimonies to support hers.

After researching EOs for over 48 hours, I decided the only way I would know if they could work for us was to try them, so I ordered the Family Physician Kit from doTERRA.

I jumped in wholeheartedly, using the oils in my kit anytime I possibly could, and started turning to them before turning to my old methods. You can read about some of my more everyday doTERRA success stories here. We’re having amazing success using the oils with our boys. We’ve used EOs to heal pink eye, treat booboos, calm moods, and heal scratches must faster than ever before.

But the coolest thing that’s happened so far is that I’ve been able to get completely off of Prilosec and Mucinex. Here’s how I did it:

1. I use a netti pot 2xs a day whether I need it or not.

2. I’ve been consuming a lot of local honey. I’ve read that it’s good for controlling seasonal allergies and I ALWAYS have a hard time with allergies making my sinusitis worse.

3. I’ve been eating real food instead of processed food.

4. I’ve been taking 3-4 drops of the DigestZyn blend oil from doTERRA in a small veggie capsule each morning.

5. I’ve been taking 2 drops each of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint oil from doTERRA in another veggie capsule in the morning. People rave about these three oils controlling allergies so I wanted to check them out for myself. So far so good.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty impressive.

For the last three weeks (update: 4 months now!) I’ve been controlling my Acid Reflux with these new changes. I credit a healthier diet and doTERRA Essential Oils for this success.

The only side-effect I’ve experienced from doTERRA EOs so far is a good one—mama feels better. And everyone knows that when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy (or something like that…)

So this mama, who has always been such a natural health skeptic, is experiencing the benefits of it first-hand. If you’re like me, you’ll probably have to try them yourself to believe it, so I thought I’d give away one Introductory Package of Oils to help one person experience them for themselves.

Enter to win a doTERRA Introductory Kit (Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint)!

The giveaway box includes three bottles—Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint—each 5mL. They’re the three most popular oils, and there are literally hundreds of uses for each oil.

To enter, just follow the Rafflecopter directions below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: These have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration friends, so please know that you should discuss any changes to your medicines with your doctor. The results listed here are simply mine—a testimony of how the oils are working for us.

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Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

 

Feeding my children has, routinely, been one of the highest stress points of staying home with them. So, believe me when I tell you I understand how crazy the food chain can make you and how desperately we want to offer healthy alternatives and teach children about balance and nutrition.

 

So, I offer you our favorite ways to make mama and babies happy when it comes to snacking. These are the things that you can find little people eating around our house on a daily basis.

 

1. Frozen Yogurt.Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

We never buy Popsicles. Between the processed ingredients for the bad ones and the price of the good ones, it’s just something I’m not willing to invest in. However, we make our own freezy treats all the time and this is one great example. Whenever I find organic squeezy yogurts on sale I snag several boxes of them and get them suckers to freezing. This is one of the Wild Things very favorite summer snacks.

 

Five Healthy Summer Snacks For KidsI love it because it’s not only a healthier alternative to classic popsicles, it’s easy peasy. And I love me a scenario where the kids don’t even need me to access their snackin. Just freeze, rip, and go.

 

 

 

 

2. Frozen JuiceFive Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Are you noticing a theme here? Y’all, my kids will freeze anything. I’m not kidding, we find the most random things in our freezer. “Hey, why are there chewable vitamins in the freezer?” “I’m freezing them!” Drinks are at the top of their favorite-things-to-freeze list. My oldest freezes orange juice every night to eat for breakfast the next morning. I also like to pick up the really healthy smoothie-type juices when they’re marked down, for freezy experimentation.

 

 

3. Green Smoothies. Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Green smoothies are probably my favorite snack to give my kids because, come on, it’s a victorious day when you get a five year old to suck spinach through a straw.

 

I keep my smoothies very simple – just frozen fruit and spinach. Maybe a little water to thin it out a bit. You can add juice or yogurt or any number of other things, but I like the simplicity of keeping the sugars at just fruit.

 

Five Healthy Summer Snacks For KidsAnd the best part? They freeze great if your kids don’t finish them. Naturally, my kids prefer them frozen. So even if your little one doesn’t like drinking the smoothie, they’re bound to like it in it’s freezy form. My kids pretty much treat it like it’s green ice cream.

 

 

 

4. Apples with Peanut butter.Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

My kids love apples, but if left to their own devices they’ll leave a lot of half eaten ones lying around. This nips that problem in the bud. I find they’re much more likely to finish the whole thing if it’s sliced up and on the side of some delicious, dippable nut buttah. Let’s face it, most sweet things are better with peanut butter.

 

 

 

5. Bananas with Cinnamon.Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Once again, an old favorite with a slight twist. Like apples, my kids do like bananas, but if I just peel one of those suckers and hand it to them, I’m likely to find it lying around later with a single bite taken out of it.

However, slice them puppies up and sprinkle the lightest bit of cinnamon (or in this case, pumpkin spice) and they gobble them up like it’s candy. Winning.

 

That’s it, the most common healthy snacks around the Bowman house. Sure, there’s still the occasional cookies or the ever-present Lara Bar, but for the most part, these are the snacks my kids come back to again and again. And seriously, don’t underestimate the power of freezing. It really makes kids think they’re getting something extra scandalous. Try freezing grapes (best bite-sized popsicles ever), sliced watermelon, and other things.

 

What are some favorite summer time snacks at your house?

 

-Jessica

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Troubleshooting Your New Healthy Lifestyle

Let me just start by saying that going from a family most characterized by McDonald’s french fries and sweet tea to one now munching happily on homemade granola and taking local honey in their coffee in less than a month isn’t necessarily an easy task.

We’ve made so many changes to our diet at The McGlothlin Home for Boys over the last four weeks that I sometimes feel my head must be spinning. And the changes haven’t come without some grumbling, especially from the biggest guy in my house.

My husband works out 3-5 times a week AND runs 2-3 miles 3-5 times a week, weather permitting. So obviously, his need for food is much greater than mine (because I pretty much exercise never) and even our boys (who are endless bundles of energy). I’ve struggled with finding healthy, real food snacks that fill him up and keep him full.

Case in point:

The other night I made a meal he didn’t love. He was a trooper and ate it anyways, but within about 10 minutes his stomach was in a full on growl. He was working evenings that week, so it was really no surprise that when his tummy started talking to him about a Mountain Dew and a Snickers bar, he listened. In his words…

“And it was GOOD! At one point I was on such a sugar high that I had to pull over. People probably thought I was drunk, but I don’t care. I enjoyed every. single. bite!”

Clearly, I have some work to do with that one. He groaned in ecstasy in the middle of church Sunday when my youngest shared his Cheezits from Sunday School. Good grief.

So I gathered the wisdom of my friends who have been at this healthy living stuff much longer than me, and came up with the following list of things to help us troubleshoot our weak spots on our journey toward healthy living.

change is rarely easy. It can be even harder for adults to get on board with a healthy lifestyle, especially when they're active and hungry all the time. Learn how we're dealing with it in this post!

1. Good Fats

My wise friend Kristen, from The Schell Cafe, was quick to point out that my dear sweet hubby could probably benefit from more healthy fats in his diet. Things like:

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Walnuts
  • Bananas
  • Plain Greek yogurt sweetened with local honey

2. Something to sit on his stomach after he works out

Adam DeGraff, of the Dueling Fiddlers and The Weight, who happens to also be my boys’ fiddle teacher (and a pretty healthy eater himself) suggested having my husband drink organic chocolate milk after he works out. We just happen to have a Homestead Creamery nearby, so we picked up some of their non-hormone chocolate milk the very next day. He’s loving it.

3. Easy snacks for throughout the day

This one is admittedly the hardest for me, because our budget won’t allow me to purchase ready-to-go healthy treats to keep on hand. I still have to make everything we eat in order to afford it, so I’ve been scanning Pinterest to find some easy snacks to keep on hand for my hungry hubby. Here are a few we like so far or plan to make soon:

Peanut Butter Granola Bars – yea…these are good.

Two Ingredient Cookies – these are just OK, but they’re super quick to make, which makes up for it.

Almond Butter Zuchini Bars – our youngest has a slight allergy to peanut butter, so I’m anxious to try these soon.

The Crazy Train

In order to keep myself going and minimize the stress of trying to learn all of these new things, I’ve been playing a bit more with my new Essential Oils (EO). I’ve been spritzing Lavender spray (very simply made from a bottle of water and about 20 drops of Lavender EO) around the house like a mad woman. It goes on the furniture before the boys wake up in the morning, and gets sprayed pretty much everywhere (even on the dogs…who have a small problem with separation anxiety right now) to just take the edge off of the madness that can happen in our house of testosterone.

In addition to the Lavender, we’ve been playing with a blend of oils called InTune from doTERRA that are supposed to help with concentration. Heaven knows we need more of that around here, so I’m excited to share that I am seeing a small difference (not to mention that it smells really good…and boys need as much smell good as possible, right?) If you’d like to learn more about using EOs in your home, I’ve created a page just for you!

It Ain’t Easy

Nope, it ain’t. But it’s worth it. I look forward to hearing how you’re troubleshooting the healthy life too! Share your ideas and recipes in the comments!

Brooke McGlothlin is the co-founder of Raising Boys Media, co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, and author of Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas They Need it Most (which just happens to be on sale for only $2 right now! PDF version only)

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Hibiscus Tea Popsicles {Dye-Free, Red Popsicles}

A healthy, delicious alterntive to store bought popsicles.

 

Healthy Dye-Free Popsicles

Looking for healthy popsicles for your kids? You’re in luck. I’m going to show you how to make your own healthy alternative to store-bought popsicles without all those terrible dyes, refined sugars, and preservatives. If you’re like me, you cringe every time you pass the bulk bin of those color-laden freezy pops in the store and have your kids pretty please beg for them with puppy dog eyes. I don’t want to deprive my kids of the joys of summertime popsicles in the sun. But I also don’t want to purchase Sugar Dye Ice.

 

Hibiscus Teahibiscus tea leaves

Hibiscus tea is an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers. It has a slight tartness and a beautiful red color (no Red 40 needed!) It’s rich in vitamin C, making it great for defending against colds, and is also supposed to help lower blood pressure. A popular drink in spanish speaking countries, it’s often called Agua de Jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-kah) and the flowers can be found  in any Hispanic Market under the name flor de Jamaica. You can also order dried hibiscus flowers on Amazon.

 

 

Hibiscus Tea
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Ingredients
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
4 quarts water
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
(optional)
cinnamon stick
slices of ginger
Instructions
Bring flowers, sugar, half of the water, and optional cinnamon and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for at least 15 minutes.
Once the concentrate is finished steeping, pour it through a strainer and into your pitcher, adding the remaining water.
Raising Hearty Boys http://www.raisingheartyboys.com/

 

A healthy alternative to store-bought popsicles.

 

Your beautiful red tea is ready! Chill in the fridge and garnish with slices of orange for a super refreshing summer treat.

 

 Hibiscus Tea Popsicles

 

The only thing left to do is pour your tea into your favorite popsicle containers and wait for the freezy magic to happen.

 

dye free popsicles

I used organic agave syrup when making my teasicles and 1/2 a cinnamon stick. I added just enough sweetness to take the edge off of the tartness. I don’t want to add too much sugar or I’d be hard pressed to keep “healthy” in the title, dye-free or not!

 

And, as always, this recipe is boy approved.

 

I’ll be making this regularly now that I know it’s such a big hit. Every kid deserves a  red popsicle, right?

 

Do you experiment with homemade popsicles at your house?

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