transforming our health care

We started using essential oils for our dogs (for calming, deodorizing, and other things) a few years ago. Having worked in the pet industry for almost ten years, I’d seen it all on the store shelves – sprays and supplements for calming, sprays for deodorizing, countless different shampoos and conditioners, spot-on treatments and collars for flea and tick prevention, you name it. They all had one thing in common, though: they were FILLED with chemicals and other artificial ingredients. I didn’t like the idea of putting those things on (or into the stomachs of) our dogs, so I started looking for natural alternatives.

Fast forward a few years, and our family has now transformed our health care! Don’t get me wrong; we go to the doctor for our regular check-ups and vaccinations for our son. Our dogs see the vet annually for their vaccinations and dental care. But, gone are the days of reaching for pain killers for a headache, cold medicine for a stuffy nose, and even my daily allergy medicine!

Our “medicine cabinet” now includes homemade, all-natural remedies for aches and pains, cough and congestion, cut and scrape care, and more. I also have a roller bottle to help boost the immune system. The dogs wear homemade, all-natural flea/tick collars that work great. I have a roller bottle to ease my dog’s arthritis pain and stiffness.

It’s empowering knowing what to do when you feel the sniffles come on or some tension in your head. It’s awesome knowing I don’t have to take pills to manage my allergies. Did I also mention these homemade remedies are generally far cheaper than their store-bought, chemical-filled counterparts? And the best part of course – they’re natural. No weird side effects; no unknown, lasting concerns; safe for our whole family.

Interested in learning more? Contact me today for more information, and check out my other blog posts for recipes.

medicine cabinet natural makeover

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I want to start off by saying I fully believe in the necessities of medical attention and doctors when needed. Sometimes, though, when we have colds or an upset stomach or a headache, a trip to the doctor isn’t necessary. Until recently, those ailments sent me to the medicine cabinet in hopes of something to alleviate the symptoms.

Now, instead of quickly reaching for medicine, I head to my homemade, all-natural remedies to help with the symptoms. Because they’re all-natural, they don’t come with side effects or chemicals. A couple notes on the recipes below:

  • Because our son is a toddler still, we use greater dilution than you would need to for adults. At his age, we use 10-15 drops of essential oils in roller bottles. For kids ages 5-11, you can use 15-20 drops, and for adults, you can use 25-50 (depending on the oils).
  • In 1-oz spray bottles, we use 30-36 drops for our son. For kids ages 5-11, you can use 45-52 drops, and for adults, you can use 75-85 drops.
  • Be sure to use only therapeutic-grade essential oils. I use and recommend doTERRA oils.

Ok, let’s take a look at my “medicine” cabinet:

Immune Booster

doTERRA’s proprietary blend, OnGuard, protects against environmental and seasonal threats with essential oils known for their positive effects on the immune system. Likewise, frankincense essential oil is known for its support of healthy cell function. Make this roller in a 10-mL roller bottle. Add 6 drops each of OnGuard and frankincense, and fill with fractionated coconut oil (or another carrier oil). Shake gently before each use. Roll on the feet bottoms and/or along the spine. I like to apply it 2-3 times a day.

Cough & Congestion Chest Rub

Have a cold, cough, stuffy nose or chest congestion? Try this rub! This one is so awesome that it has its own post! Read it here.

Hand Sanitizer Spray

These are great to keep in your purse, backpack, car, and more! This one uses doTERRA’s proprietary blend, OnGuard, as well. Make this in a 1-oz spray bottle. Add 3/4 tsp pure aloe gel and 10 drops OnGuard to the bottle. Fill with filtered water. Shake gently before each use. Simply spray into hands and rub together.

Muscle Soothing Cream

Does arthritis, tendinitis, or a tough workout have your muscles and joints aching? Try this cream to soothe them! This one also has its own post. Check it out here.

Pain Relief Roller

Have a headache? The essential oils peppermint, lavender, lemon, and frankincense combine together to pack a powerful punch! Add 5 drops of each to a 10-mL roller bottle and fill it with fractionated coconut oil (or other carrier oil). Shake gently before each use. Roll directly on temples or forehead, or roll along spine at back of neck or down the back.

Skin Soothe

Wow, this one has so many uses! Spray on cuts, scrapes, and insect bites for quick healing and itch relief. Use it before putting a bandage on to help with healing. In a 1-oz spray bottle, add 10-12 drops each of melaleuca, lavender, and frankincense. Fill the bottle halfway with fractionated coconut oil, and fill the rest of the way with pure aloe juice. Shake before each use.

Tummy Ease

Tummy trouble? Roll this one right on your stomach to calm it down a bit. Add 7 drops peppermint and 5 drops lavender to a 10-mL roller bottle. Fill with fractionated coconut oil (or other carrier oil). Shake gently before each use.

Not a DIY’er? You can purchase everything I make through my Facebook store. Not on Facebook? Contact me to make purchases.

*Disclaimer: All articles are my own opinion, and suggestions and ideas are not intended to treat, prevent, or cure any illness or other ailment, nor are they intended to be a replacement for medical treatment.

join ibotta for cash back on daily purchases

Last week, I joined ibotta. Have you heard of it? It’s one of those cash-back apps that gets you some green just for shopping! You can get cash back on your groceries, Target and Walmart trips, Best Buy purchases, and more! It’s FREE, and it’s easy! Sign up for an account, download the app to your phone, select your rebate items, and verify your purchases. Cash goes into your ibotta account, and you can transfer to your PayPal account when you accumulate $20. I signed up less than a week ago, and I already have $16.75 banked in my account just from two trips to the grocery store!

Get started right now! Use my referral code (copy and paste: iqigcuf), and you’ll get $10 just for joining! Click here to get started, and be sure to enter my referral code in the box!

all-natural, homemade fabric freshener

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With four furry pets in the house, we used Febreze a lot. I mean…a lot. Unfortunately, those store-bought fabric fresheners are quite expensive, and they have lots of chemicals and artificial ingredients in them (which are then being sprayed all over your carpet, furniture, and clothes!). Plus, how do you bottle “meadows” and “fresh linen”? This homemade version is all-natural, easy to make, and inexpensive!

I made it in a 4-oz glass spray bottle, but you can certainly make a larger batch and put it into a bigger bottle. Not sure where to buy the bottle? Check here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp vodka (feel free to use the cheap stuff!)
  • 10 drops essential oils of choice (I use 5 lemon and 5 wild orange)
  • filtered water (I use RO)

Make It:

  1. Add vodka and essential oils to bottle.
  2. Fill the rest of the way with filtered water.
  3. Shake.

Be sure to shake gently before each use, as the ingredients will separate. Use this on your carpet, your clothes, your furniture, and any other fabrics in need of refreshing! Oh and in case you’re wondering, the vodka is used to help the water dissipate when spraying.

Cost Comparison:

  • This recipe: 15 cents per ounce
  • Febreze at Walmart: 18 cents per ounce

storage containers for homemade products

Because pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are so potent, it’s recommended that you store your homemade products in glass containers rather than plastic. Many people even prefer to store in cobalt (dark blue) or amber glass containers to keep out the light. Depending how fast you’ll be using the product and where it will be stored when not in use, that’s a great option. My general rule of thumb is if you’ll be using the product within three months and you can store it in a cool, dark place when not in use, clear glass is perfectly ok for storage. Steel cans are also a good option.

Most health markets will carry the storage containers you’ll need for the recipes on this site. Since I make quite a bit, I buy the containers on Amazon. I’ve provided links below to the containers I use for your convenience. Since I’m a Prime member, all of the items are Prime eligible, which means you’ll get free two-day shipping if you’re a Prime member too! Purchasing through the links I’ve provided doesn’t affect your price at all, but it does help me! I have an affiliate partnership with Amazon, so I get a small commission whenever you purchase through the links. That commission helps me fund this site, so thank you for your support!

Roller Bottles

Spray Bottles

Pump Bottles

Storage Jars

Other Products

homemade, all-natural mold & mildew cleaner

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I came to a horrible realization the other day (one I’m quite embarrassed to even tell you about). For the sake of helping others, though, I’ll tell my story. After a winter of running a humidifier in my son’s room and not paying too much attention the window, we’d created a black mold monster. All around the trim, black mold was growing right there under our noses.

Our son had developed a morning cough. It reminded me of seasonal allergies–a few minutes of coughing first thing in the morning and then little to no coughing the rest of the day. At first we thought it was a cold, but he didn’t have any other cold symptoms, and it only happened in the morning. Then we thought it was allergies. Allergy medicine did seem to help, but then I wondered: wouldn’t allergies bother him all day? Then my husband saw the mold. We were horrified. I hated the idea of using a chemical cleaner on it, so I got out my doTERRA Essential Oil Usage Guide, and I did some research.

This is a simple recipe, and it works well! You’ll need a 4-ounce glass spray bottle. Not sure where to get one? Check here.

Ingredients:

To make it, simply put the water and essential oil into your bottle, and shake. Spray the affected area, and wipe clean with a warm, wet rag. Spray again, and wipe clean again.

in-ground doggie waste disposal system

When we installed our in-ground waste disposal system, we had three dogs. One is large (about 65 pounds), one is small (about 15 pounds), and one was medium (she has since passed away) and had some digestive issues that resulted in what seemed like non-stop pooping! As you can imagine, backyard cleanup was a daily task. We filled a bucket to go in the garbage can pretty quickly. That’s when we decided to look into an in-ground system. *I should probably note that dog and cat waste cannot be added to your regular compost and cannot be used in your garden. Installing an in-ground system is actually pretty easy. The worst part is digging the hole!

Step #1: Choose your location and dig your hole.

We put ours in the back of our yard behind our shed. While the smell is somewhat contained, you’ll definitely be able to smell it if you’re close to it, so choose wisely. Most of the systems recommend digging three feet deep. That’s probably a great plan if you have just one little dog. If you have big dogs or multiple dogs, though, I would recommend going at least six feet deep. The good news is the hole doesn’t have to be wide, so don’t let a six foot dig scare you away! A post hole digger actually works really well.

Step #2: Add pea rock to the bottom of the hole.

The key to the system working is drainage (or lack thereof). The addition of the water and enzymes is what breaks down the waste. If you have sandy, looser soil, the water may drain too quickly to adequately break down the waste, so you’ll want to add water more frequently. If you have clay or harder soil, you may have a bit better luck since the water won’t drain as quickly. In any case, a layer of rock at the bottom of your hole will help to maintain the hole and regulate drainage. Pea rock is great, but any type of smaller rock will do.

Step #3: Place your lid.

There are plenty brands out there that make this “system.” All you’re really buying, though, is a lid. The hole does all the work; you just need something to cover it. If you’re handy, you could certainly make your own. The one we bought at the time isn’t actually made anymore, but this Four Paws one is pretty similar. When you place the lid over your hole, I recommend digging it into the ground a bit to keep it in place. Then pack your dirt back around it for security.

Now You’re Ready to Use It:

  1. Add waste to system as it’s picked up. (Resist the urge to fill it with everything that’s been sitting around for the last month! It will never catch up and break down.)
  2. Add water to the system daily. This often isn’t part of the actual instructions, but the moisture will help break down the waste more quickly. I add enough water to fill to the top once a day. This is an especially important step if you have looser soil that drains quickly.
  3. Add enzymes to the system weekly. I like the Four Paws Waste Manager tablets available here. You just add one tablet per dog per week with water.

Unfortunately, in-ground systems will only work in warm weather. If you live in a northern state like we do, you won’t be able to use the system over the winter. We typically stop using ours in late fall and begin using the system again in the spring.

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my favorite diffuser blends

When you get going with essential oils, you’ll quickly learn just how many different things you can do with them! My favorite is diffusing. Because of their aromatic qualities, essential oils are perfect for diffusing. Not only do they provide a pleasant fragrance, but they also can provide many other benefits!

We have three diffusers in our house: one in our bedroom, one in our son’s bedroom, and one in the living room. Two of them are the InnoGear diffuser that I purchased on Amazon. These can run either continuously or intermittently, and they have a fun LED light available (don’t worry, it can be turned off). When you run them intermittently, I find they can run for 10-12 hours! That’s perfect for overnight diffusing in the bedrooms. The other diffuser we have is the doTERRA petal diffuser. It runs continuously for 1 hour, 2 hours, or 4 hours. Both types hold up to 150 mL of water. Assuming you’re using pure oils, I recommend using 8-10 drops of oil per 150 mL of water.

I’m always trying different combinations of essential oils in my diffusers! As I’ve mentioned before, I use and recommend doTERRA oils. Click here for more information on those. Here are some of my favorites (again, per 150 mL of water). Share your favorites in the comments!

  • Runny nose: 4 drops OnGuard (doTERRA proprietary blend), 3 drops Breathe (doTERRA proprietary blend), 3 drops lemongrass
  • Cough: 4 drops Breathe (doTERRA proprietary blend), 3 drops melaleuca, 3 drops eucalyptus
  • Congestion: 4 drops Breathe (doTERRA proprietary blend), 3 drops peppermint, 3 drops eucalyptus
  • Relaxation: 6 drops lavender, 4 drops wild orange
  • Fever: 3 drops peppermint, 3 drops lavender, 3 drops eucalyptus
  • Increase focus and alertness: 4 drops peppermint, 3 drops lemon, 3 drops frankincense
  • Headache: 5 drops peppermint, 5 drops lavender
  • Upset stomach: 6 drops peppermint, 4 drops ginger
  • Sadness: 3 drops lemon, 3 drops lavender, 4 drops ylang ylang
  • Immune boost: 5 drops frankincense, 5 drops OnGuard

choosing carrier and essential oils for your skin type

Thinking about making your own face wash, body wash, lotion, moisturizer, or anything else for your skin? You’ll find TONS of recipes online, and many of them may call for carrier oils and essential oils. The first question, though, is: Which oils are best for my skin type? This post will help you decide!

First off, let me explain a bit about what carrier oils and essential oils are. Carrier oils do just what their name implies: they carry the essential oil to the skin. Essential oils can be quite potent, so carrier oils dilute them a bit to make them gentler for your skin. Essential oils are naturally occurring compounds found in the seeds, roots, bark, flowers, and other parts of plants. Read more about them here.

So now back to the question at hand: Which carrier oils and essential oils should I choose for my skin type?

Carrier Oils

Normal Skin:

  • Apricot kernel oil: good for all skin types including sensitive and aging, fast-absorbing
  • Jojoba oil: great for all skin types; very similar to skin’s natural oils; reduces wrinkles, stretch marks, and appearance of pores over time; more expensive than other carrier oils
  • Sunflower oil: especially good for dry, damaged, and aged skin; deeply nourishing and conditioning; fast absorbing
  • Sweet almond oil: hypoallergenic (safe even on babies), light texture, reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, penetrates deep into pores to clear and prevent acne and blackheads, reduces fine lines and wrinkles

Oily, Acne-Prone Skin:

  • Grapeseed oil: light texture, fast absorbing, great for oily or acne-prone skin
  • Jojoba oil: great for all skin types; very similar to skin’s natural oils; reduces wrinkles, stretch marks, and appearance of pores over time; more expensive than other carrier oils
  • Sweet almond oil: hypoallergenic (safe even on babies), light texture, reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, penetrates deep into pores to clear and prevent acne and blackheads, reduces fine lines and wrinkles

Dry Skin:

  • Avocado oil: good for sensitive, irritated skin; great for reducing wrinkles; extra-thick texture ideal for over-dry skin
  • Jojoba oil: great for all skin types; very similar to skin’s natural oils; reduces wrinkles, stretch marks, and appearance of pores over time; more expensive than other carrier oils
  • Olive oil: good for dry and mature skin, has anti-inflammatory benefits (extra virgin is most beneficial)
  • Sweet almond oil: hypoallergenic (safe even on babies), light texture, reduces appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, penetrates deep into pores to clear and prevent acne and blackheads, reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sunflower oil: especially good for dry, damaged, and aged skin; deeply nourishing and conditioning; fast absorbing

Combination Skin (yep, it exists!):

  • Grapeseed oil: light texture, fast absorbing, great for oily or acne-prone skin
  • Jojoba oil: great for all skin types; very similar to skin’s natural oils; reduces wrinkles, stretch marks, and appearance of pores over time; more expensive than other carrier oils
  • Apricot kernel oil: good for all skin types including sensitive and aging, fast-absorbing
  • Sunflower oil: especially good for dry, damaged, and aged skin; deeply nourishing and conditioning; fast absorbing

Essential Oils

Oily, Acne-Prone Skin:

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Geranium
  • Melaleuca
  • Geranium
  • Lavender

Dry Skin:

  • Cedarwood
  • Geranium
  • Sandalwood
  • Roman or German chamomile
  • Lemon

Combination Skin:

  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • Orange

Aging Skin and Dark Spots:

  • Ylang-ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense

choosing carrier and essential oils for your hair type

Thinking about making your own shampoo and/or conditioner? You’ll find TONS of recipes online, and many of them may call for carrier oils and essential oils. The first question, though, is: Which oils are best for my hair type? This post will help you decide!

First off, let me explain a bit about what carrier oils and essential oils are. Carrier oils do just what their name implies: they carry the essential oil to the skin (or in this case, hair). Essential oils can be quite potent, so carrier oils dilute them a bit to make them gentler for your skin. Essential oils are naturally occurring compounds found in the seeds, roots, bark, flowers, and other parts of plants. Read more about them here.

So now back to the question at hand: Which carrier oils and essential oils should I choose for my hair type?

Carrier Oils

Normal Hair:

  • Jojoba oil: moisturizes, feeds, protects against the sun, inhibits over-production of oil
  • Olive oil: prevents dry scalp and dandruff, gives hair a shine
  • Virgin coconut oil: softens hair, acts as a great scalp conditioner, prevents moisture loss

Oily Hair:

  • Grapeseed oil: lightweight, fast-absorbing
  • Jojoba oil: moisturizes, feeds, protects against the sun, inhibits over-production of oil
  • Hazelnut oil: softens hair

Dry and/or Damaged Hair:

  • Castor oil: attracts and retains moisture, boosts growth
  • Jojoba oil: moisturizes, feeds, protects against the sun, inhibits over-production of oil
  • Olive oil: prevents dry scalp and dandruff, gives hair a shine
  • Sweet almond oil: fast-absorbing, non-greasy, best for dry hair and sensitive skin
  • Apricot kernel oil: fast-absorbing

Dandruff:

  • Avocado oil: softens hair
  • Castor oil: attracts and retains moisture, boosts growth
  • Olive oil: prevents dry scalp and dandruff, gives hair a shine
  • Sesame oil: moisturizes (tends to be a bit thick and is thus best used in conjunction with another carrier oil)
  • Virgin coconut oil: softens hair, acts as a great scalp conditioner, prevents moisture loss

Thinning Hair:

  • Avocado oil: softens hair
  • Castor oil: attracts and retains moisture, boosts growth
  • Grapeseed oil: lightweight, fast-absorbing
  • Olive oil: prevents dry scalp and dandruff, gives hair a shine
  • Sweet almond oil: fast-absorbing, non-greasy, best for dry hair and sensitive skin

Essential Oils

Normal Hair:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Geranium
  • Cedarwood
  • Thyme

Oily Hair:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Melaleuca

Dry and/or Damaged Hair:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Geranium

Dandruff:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Cedarwood
  • Thyme

Thinning Hair:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Roman chamomile
  • Thyme

 

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