I have mentioned that I am an art therapist/teacher and that I love all things clay. I teach pottery as often as possible and do my own work when I can get to the studio. Working with your hands can be calming, centering and focusing. We do a lot of tactile play at home too.
Just the other morning my three year old beat me downstairs and had already gotten out the Citrus Fresh scented Aroma Dough we had made! She loves it. I keep the Stress Away scented kind in my purse to hand to her when she needs something to squeeze and be entertained with in different places! (think shopping carts while waiting in checkout lines!) Play dough can also be integrated into learning for preschoolers- make snake letters or shapes out of it, or draw or write in it. Discuss and sculpt body parts and faces too. Working in different modalities solidifies and encourages learning. Tactile play and homemade play dough got kicked up a notch when essential oils found their way into it!
Making homemade playdough is relatively easy and if you do the kind where you cook it on the stove it lasts so long! Here is the recipe that I use and that lots of other sites claim to love too:
Play Dough Recipe:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”. Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes–add food coloring if so desired during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag. I took this write up from another site. You’ll see on her site she suggests adding cinnamon to the dough for a multi-sensory experience.
I couldn’t resist going one step further and I split the dough four ways and added four different colors and four different scents to it. When we had a playdate each of the kids got to each enjoy different scents and trade and share and decide which was their favorite! Some oils that worked well in the Play Dough and can translate to smooth and calm play time:
Citrus Fresh (in the old kit),
R.C. (in the new kit),
You can use different scents at different times depending on the effect you are looking for! Peppermint would be a great one for during homework breaks to boost alertness! And Stress Away is great for mommies and kids during those homework breaks!
For more fun activities like these that are kid friendly follow me on Instagram or Join my Facebook group!
People. Listen. This is really important. Especially in the heat of the summer. This is my PSA for the month: Deodorant is awful. Have you heard? It has aluminum in it. Really. A-LU-MI-NUM. The stuff that we used to put on houses but decided it wasn’t good enough for them anymore. If houses shouldn’t wear it, neither should you. End of story. Well, not really. The whole story goes like this: There are multiple sketchy things in your deodorant. Aluminum is only one and it is linked to cancer growth and Altzheimer’s. Other ingredients include Phthalates which are known endocrine disruptors that cause hormone Imbalance; Formaldehyde, which we like to embalm things with so they don’t grow fungus. Ugh. It’s also known as a carcinogen. Double Ugh. There are Parabens which have been directly linked to breast cancer and which disrupt hormones. One last winner ingredient is propylene glycol which is also called antifreeze. Hold up. I thought the whole point of deodorant was anti-heat. Confusing and disgusting. None of these sounds like something I want to keep smearing on my pits- that skin right above my lymph nodes Lymphnodes are small and important tools for our bodies.
So a few months ago, I just stopped wearing deodorant every day. Do the math- it was the winter and it wasn’t quite so vital. I was fed up with that fact that I was smearing soda cans all over my lymphnodes, and the ick-o stink-o of fake smells… There is nothing appealing to me about being around someone who smells “baby fresh” in their thirties- or teens for that matter. What is that?! Why do grown women who are obviously hormonal enough to have stinky sweat want to smell like baby powdered bums? No thanks. Who knows though, maybe I'm the only one who feels this way.
When I stopped wearing deodorant, I didn’t really replace it with anything. I know, I know- how rude! But you love me and you really don’t want me to wear toxic chemicals, you’d rather me just declare ripeness as needed. Right? Right? (My sister is not allowed to answer that.) To be fair, I wasn’t around many people during the heat of the day other than my kids. They never complained. My hubby may have implied a thing or two once or twice. But he loves me too and knows my thoughts about chemicals. Lucky for him I went searching for solutions before summer struck!
As I was searching other options, I learned more about essential oils and too the plunge and ordered a starter kit from an organization that knew their stuff. I figured these little sweet smelling oils could translate into making me sweet smelling. Or at least I had hope. I first cleaned out an old tube of deodorant and made a beeswax, coconut oil base mix with Stress Away and Tea Tree. I love the way this smells. Stress Away is mostly Lime and Vanilla with a hint of spiciness and it made sense to decrease stress when I am sweating! I didn’t use any recipes with baking soda in them as I had heard a lot of people complain that it was irritating. I hoped that the coconut oils’ antibacterial properties would be sufficient for combating ripeness and the oils would freshen me up. I knew that since I didn’t grind up any soup cans I wasn’t going to fully combat perspiration. But did you know perspiration is your bodies way of detoxing? (More about that later. Don’t skip ahead yet, leave it for suspense). The solid deodorant stick I made was basically a lotion bar. It didn’t really keep me Super Fresh. It was more like Sorta Fresh- and was okay in the spring. I had to re-use it a few times a day and that was way too much habit change for me- nothing to all is hard for me. But it was still a valid, traditional option.
Wait! Freeze! Before you run and get those ingredients, or ask Amazon or Vitacost to do it for you, you may want a little more information about detoxing your pits. I recently came across a blog post about how when you switch to a natural deodorant you can get some sore spots, more stink, more sweat or more sting. I didn’t experience much of this problem since I had gone rouge and just quit deodorant. But you may have more success with the whole process if you start here: Detox the Pits.
Regardless of which way you start. Just start. Please – for the love of the lymph nodes! (And life without stink!)
So, ya’ll know I love me some essential oils, right? (They aren’t right up there with my family, clay, dark chocolate or curling up and devouring a good book, but they are close.) The thing I love about them is that they are inspiring. They’re these little bottles of delicious smelling goodness that can also work magic in different ways! I love being able to find wellness in oils, but I also love being able to create wellness. This week I finally got motivated and got to work making some oily wellness. In the form of bars: lotion bars for everything!. But crazy enough, the bars mutated into lotion sticks and then into lip lotion sticks. It wasn’t even a lot of work or . I have been looking up recipes for making lotion bars on various websites (such as this and this) as I need to replace chemically filled hand lotions and find something fabulous to help with dry ceramic hands and coming winter scratchy hands- not to mention supporting all my body systems proactively.!
So, way back when I decided I needed to make lotion bars and I looked up recipes and gathered my ingredients, my first thought was, If I am getting all these materials and going to all this trouble, I am going to want this to be purposeful. I want these lotion bars to not all be for the SAME purpose. 'What, lotion has a purpose beyond making my skin all soft and lovely?' You Say. Well, when it contains essential oils it does. It can provide all forms of goodness. Good Skin. Good Muscles. Good Feelings. Good Immune Support. Hi, my name is Megan and I am a multi-tasking addict. But I am unashamed to say Lotion Bar Making Multi-tasking was the name of the game this week.
So after pursuing the recipes, I went with:
This made about 3.5 cups of liquid once I melted it down in a double burner- well, not a double boiler, really. It was a large Pyrex Measuring Cup sitting in a sauce pan of water sitting on a burner on medium setting. I don’t own a double boiler.
This worked out perfectly though. The spout on the measuring cup poured the melted lotion out easier and with less mess.
I used a silicon 6-cup cupcake pan, poured about ¼ cup of lotion into each cup, added somewhere between 10 and 15 drops of EOs to each cup and stirred them up with a plastic knife. I was able to make each one a different “Flavor” and give them each a different purpose.
Here are the combos I went with. They all target a different body system and their aroma benefits differ too (noted in parenthesis). If you don't already have some helpful reference materials, but want to know more about each oils' properties, get one. These oils are dynamic!
WORKOUT BAR that WORKS IN:
Wintergreen- supports skeletal system (Stimulates/increases sensory awareness):4 drops
PanAway- targets muscular system: 4 drops
Copaiba- support whole body: 3 drops
SUPER HAPPY SKIN and MIND:
Lavender (Calming, Relaxing and Balancing): 7 drops
Elemi (Grounding): 4 drops
MANLY and SENSIBLE:
Valor (Balance and Self-esteem): 6 drops
Cyress (Soothing, Helps life Flow Better): 4 drops
Idaho Blue Spruce (Balancing): 4 drops
Thieves- supports healthy immune system: 10 drops
Grapefruit (refreshing and uplifting): 7 drops
Ocotea (Increase feelings of fullness): 3 drops
DON’T MESS WITH ME OUTSIDE:
Purification- Citronella is predominant oil in this blend: 10 drops
I have since kept these in the fridge as coconut oil and summer don’t result in solid bars- and the coolness of the Super Happy (Lavender) Skin and Mind Bar felt great after a long day in the sun! I was thinking that in the future I might add more beeswax or skip the liquid oil in the warm months but on the other hand, I like the moisture of the coconut oil… sooooo. The point is- these are great no matter what. They are adaptable to different ratios and you can feel free to play around and not worry about it being exact(my kind of making)! And you could even pour them right into little 4oz jars so it doesn’t matter if they get softer. I was out of these cute little jars- ‘cause other oily concoctions have filled them!
I love doing different replacements for other products – it makes my oils pay for themselves and it ensures that I know all the ingredients and where they came from- in this case- all 5 ingredients! Doesn’t get much simpler than that!
And I got to add a BONUS step! Since I hadn't added oils directly to the whole concoction AND I had extra melted oil (if it hardens, just put the cup back in the pot of water and melt it back down), I got to make lotion sticks and lip balm!! YEA FOR MORE MULTITASKING! I added Stress Away (10 drops) and Lime (5 drops) to the left over mix and filled some empty mini deodorant style stick containers. THEN I added 3 drops Peppermint to the rest of the mix and filled these adorable clear lip balm containers. The containers had been hanging around in my oily supply cabinet for a while so I am sure they were glad to now have a designated purpose! With my left over mixture, I just poured it into little cupcake cups- it didn't melt through so I may have to do that again in the future. SO MANY CHOICES! I hope you feel empowered to try a little DIY and make your own lotion bars. What are your favorite simple oily DIY projects?
We are dog people. We will always be dog people. Though, for a while there, I was worried we would loose our standing after not owning a dog for over a year! How did we survive? Mainly by being in the middle of showing our house, selling it, packing it up and moving and unpacking it all with two small human destruct-o-bots running around. So, there was a nice little fur-free respite in there. BUT there was also a four-legged hole in our family portrait. This winter we took the plunge, worked with an AMAZING rescue organization and found our new furry family member: Ketch (as in Catch the ball but pronounced like you're from the 'burgh and are obsessed with all things Ketch-up!) He is the dog we didn't know we needed and he is, putting it mildly, amazing. We count our blessings as he is the snuggliest, kindest, calmest black lab pup we have ever met.
But in spite of his awesomeness, he has definitely reintroduced (dog) stink to the house. And we had just got new carpets after moving in last summer, so that's not too thrilling! In an effort to retain a clean but not complicated house, I figured out the easiest, cheapest way to make carpet freshener. Baking Soda is easy to find and really affordable. But by itself it is odorless and kinda boring and not super effective! I am no fan of all the chemicals and fake scents in carpet fresheners you buy at the store. I also never felt like they worked all that well. But this recipe, works and makes the carpet smell fresh for a while! AND you save money not buying junk from the grocery store! WIN-WIN-WIN! And I am not talking save a buck. I am talking for 32 ounces of a popular name brand carpet freshener you pay between 2 - 4 dollars to sprinkle icky stuff on your floor and into your air. To make the same amount out of the listed ingredients, you pay approximately 1$ for 32 oz of generic baking soda and approximately .35 to 70 cents for oils, depending on which scent combo and how many drops you like! Lemongrass is my personal favorite and it's also the most frugal. You can make 32 oz of NATURAL carpet fresh for around 1.60. Seriously. (and please forgive my estimations, math is not my skill set. I tried, I really did. It just wasn't happening down to the penny. It's all about creativity around here, remember! Plus, it's even less if you're getting the amazing prices on the oils through the starter kit (more about that here).)
Once I am done sprinkling the mix on the carpet, I put the jar with a piece of cheesecloth over the top into the coat/shoe closet to hang out with stinky people shoes and the carpet freshener becomes air freshener. THEN, after you have let the freshener sit on the carpet for an hour or a day (whatevs), vacuum it up. (I procrastinate on vacuuming) You're also freshening up your vacuum by sucking up all that good smelling baking soda and dispersing the clean smell through the vacuum! See: Creative Cleaning!
Its nice to have a healthy option to make the carpet smell better, 'cause we are trying really hard to keep Ketch off the couch! I don't always stay strong as he does think he's a lap dog and I sometimes think I need a lap dog! Do you have any good "clean up after Fido" tricks or Creative Cleaning?
I am an eat, play, work at home Mom- a part time new-mom's support facilitator- full time dreamer of clay- an all the time thinker- a trained art therapist- and a home biz empower-er who never has enough minutes in the day, clay in my hands or ideas in my brain to create all the things! Also: I am mildly invested in our families health using nature's tools! Just kidding. That's my passion and message for others: Your life is essential. Take back your health!
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