Oct 26, 2013

Tips for Tantrums

Whether it is time to leave the park, time to go to bed, or because a favorite toy was taken, inevitably all of our children throw a few good tantrums in their toddler years. As a parent, this can be incredibly frustrating and can easily escalate into a shouting match or display of dominance where everyone leaves with their feelings hurt and nothing real is accomplished.

I would like to give you a few tips on how to tame a tantrum. Please know that I write this as a parent that has been there - today even! I am not perfect, but sometimes we all need a little reminder or a new idea.

1. Slow Down

Understandably, life is busy. Imagine how stressed you feel when you are running late to work, your daughter won't put her shoes on and your other daughter is sitting on the floor crying because you can't pick her up. Our children sense our stress. Make sure that you have enough time to allow little ones to contribute by putting on their shoes, walk down the stairs by themselves and jump into the car seat. Simply slowing down can stop tantrums before they even start.

2. Be Consistent

Make sure there are clear, easy to follow rules that are consistently communicated. When small children (any children really) know what to expect, they are more well equipped to handle the situation.

3. Be Present

Be present with your kiddos. When you get down on the floor with them, play, listen to their stories, sing songs and giggle, there is a stronger bond between you and your child for when those tough times do come. I know that load of laundry needs to be started. Trust me, mama, I understand. But when you come in the house from a day at school, take a moment to play and get them started with an activity. Then it is easier to slip away to start a load of laundry or put something in the oven.

4. Get Down on Their Level and Talk Softly

When the inevitable tantrum does ensue, yelling across the house will not solve anything. Get down on their level, look them in the eyes and speak to them clearly and in a soft voice. You might even try whispering so they have to quiet their cries to hear you.

5. Time Out/Time In

Even as adults, sometimes we just need to separate ourselves from a situation in order to calm down. When my daughter is crying for what seems to me to be no reason, she knows that she has a chair where she can sit, or she can go sit on her bed and "take a breath." It is not necessarily a time out (we do not call it that) because she is not being punished. She knows once she calms down, she is free to get up and play again. It is just a separation from the event that caused the meltdown.

6. Redirect

Did a tantrum begin because of a particular event (ie: a toy being taken)? A good way to approach this issue is to simply redirect to another activity. I have seen tears stop in an instant by just suggesting a different toy or giving the opportunity to color instead.

7. Go Outside

When tempers are short in our house, one of our tricks is to go outside. It is amazing what a little fresh air can do for your perspective.

8. Speak Kindly and Lovingly

Remember that these are children. They process differently, they need guidance for how to act, and their environment does affect them greatly. Your words now dictate their words in the future to their friends at school, to their siblings, etc. As a mom, I have had many, many "check yourself" moments when I have heard Izzy say something like "stop that RIGHT NOW" to her baby sister. Is that what I sound like? Yes, on occasion it is. Sometimes these reflections through our children are good teaching tools for us parents

9. Give Affirmation

Do not focus solely on the negative. Find things that your children are doing right and give them a high five for those awesome things! "I saw that you shared with your sister. That is so awesome!" Or "Wow, you are such a big kid when you take your plate to the sink all by yourself!" Children will beam with pride hearing your words. Give them positive things to live up to.

10. Give Oils a Try

When it seems that my girls are having melt down after melt down and nothing specific seems to be triggering them, I love the option of turning to my shelf of essential oils. A drop of Young Living Peace and Calming on the back of the neck, or a drop of Joy over the heart, or a drop of Frankincense over the liver.... Calm, promote a sense of togetherness and joy. I have seen some pretty rough days turn into peaceful nights by using essential oils.

Always remember, as hard as it is sometimes to believe this, that this too shall pass. The days go by, bedtime comes for a little breather, and soon, this stage will be over.

Oct 22, 2013

Get Those Babies Outside!

How often do you and your children stop the errands, slow down, go outdoors and take a deep breath? This is one of my goals - as often as possible, whenever the weather is good, whenever our patience is thin - stop and go outside. When we were driving home one day down a street with a few trees and Isabel, my 2 year old proudly proclaimed, "Mama! We are in a forest!", I knew it was time to reconnect with nature and get outside!

Simply being outside has many benefits for mind body and spirit.

Running, climbing and playing is good for the body - it develops muscle, helps to strengthen the bones, develops coordination and even can help your child's eyesight!

Being outdoors exposes us to vitamin D, a crucial nutrient that so many of us are lacking that can be preventative for heart disease, diabetes and so may other health concerns.

With my children, even from a very early age, if they were cranky, overtired, or even unhappy, going outside was the easiest, quickest fix.

There is something about being outdoors that uplifts our moods and calms our spirits. One of the biggest reasons behind our lack of outdoor play is a busy, hurried lifestyle. This go, go, go pace can contribute to anxiety and depression in adults and in children. Giving our children time to play, specifically outdoors, reduces these feelings of anxiety and promotes creativity.

And this is not a mommy opinion! A recent study shows that being in green space outdoors "reduced symptoms significantly" of ADHD. "Notably, 1 study revealed direct evidence of superior performance on objective tests of impulse control in a sample of urban public housing children" exposed to nature. (A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Evidence From a National Study, Frances E. Kuo, PhD and Andrea Faber Taylor, PhD)

Going outside promotes a sense of curiosity in our children. Even something as seemingly mundane as a squirrel with a nut is immensely fascinating for a child - and those ants climbing over that rock! And birds! And counting the petals on this purple flower!

I also believe that spending time outdoors gives us the opportunity to connect with something that is greater than ourselves. How better to get a sense of the Creator than to be in His creation?

My children are collectors - we have to schedule an hour to walk around the block because we will stop a thousand times to pick up rocks, sticks, and look at flowers, tree stumps and cacti. They have an empty pot by our front door to empty their hands and pockets before going in the house. Doing this routine has lead Isabel and I to some wonderful conversations. When they see new things, they become inquisitive - and isn't that a trait we should encourage?

So, mama (or daddy, aunt, grandma, big brother, etc), your mission is to slow down, get yourself and those you care about outside and spend a little time seeing things you don't normally have time to notice. Literally stop and smell the roses.

Go outside. Smile. Relax.

Oct 18, 2013

The Supportive, Oily Husband

Meet Drew.

Isn't he cute?  Yeah, well, he's taken, ladies, so back off ;)

Drew is an incredibly supportive husband.  Even from the beginning of my oily journey, he was down with letting me experiment on him, diffuse oils in our room at night, and invest in oils.

One of the questions I hear discussed a LOT is how to get your husband to be supportive of Oily Homeopathy.  So, I went straight to the source and talked to Drew about it.  He told me that he was supportive of it because it made me happy (aww), but let me read between the lines and offer you a few suggestions if your husband/significant other isn't quite so quick to jump on the oily bandwagon.

1.  Offer Research and Testimonials

Men are logical creatures.  Do you have the Essential Oils Desk Reference?  The Pocket Reference?  Gentle Babies?  The Animal Desk Reference?  All of these books are specifically for Young Living oils and offer a host of information regarding the oils.  There are also amazing sites available with scientific studies showing the effectiveness of Essential oils.  I also love searching on Pubmed.gov with the keyword Essential Oils.

2.  Talk to Him

Frustrated that your significant other isn't on board?  Talk to him!  Tell him about all your successes.   As with any major decision, communication is key.

3.  Discuss the Finances

Even though it is tempting to jump in with both feet and buy $32049809458098 worth of oils, choose to build your collection more slowly.  Discuss how much you spend on medical expenses, cleaning supplies, air fresheners and candles, etc in a given month, then show him how effective these products are and price compare.  One bottle of Thieves cleaner can make nearly 20 bottles of store bought equivalent cleaner.  That is just over a dollar per bottle for an all natural, non-toxic, effective cleaning solution.  That is a huge savings compared to store bought!  The Premium Starter Kit is a huge savings over buying all the oils and diffuser separately, and a Wholesale Account can save you 24% on future orders.  Financially, it just makes sense.

4.  Look for Opportunities to Bless Your Husband Using EOs

Look for ways to HELP your husband using these oils.  There is nothing like actually experiencing the effectiveness to convince someone :)

5.  Pray

Still not convinced?  Pray about it!  I am of the thought that these oils are a blessing - if it is right for your family, pray about it.  See if God softens your husband's heart.

The wonderful men in our life can be pretty quick to reach for the bottle of Tums, but they are not unreasonable (mostly, haha).  Here's hoping that your husband is as supportive as mine, but if not, try out a few of my ideas and see what happens!

I can tell you that it still excites me to hear Drew ask "is there an oil for that?"  The answer:  "YES!" as I run to my shelf :)

Want to know how to purchase your own oils? Check out my informational page here!

Oct 13, 2013

Setting Goals on Sunday

Ok friends, starting a new thing tonight and I hope you will join me.

Each Sunday night, I plan to set goals for myself in four categories:


I am hoping this will be a way to keep me motivated, better myself, and truly get things done. Next Sunday, I hope to update you with what I accomplished over the week. We can keep each other accountable for our goals! Please feel free to list your goals in the comments :)


Keep kitchen clean all week
Wash all rugs and hang outside to dry
Sell, donate or trash at least 5 things in order to simplify
Get house spic and span for a party on Tuesday night


Tv free time with the girls everyday
Plan a date night with Drew for this weekend
Take the girls on a walk or to the playground at least 3 times this week


Update grades at school
Plan Homecoming Pep Rally for Friday
Host Intro to Essential Oils class on Tuesday night
Complete graphic design project for client


Paint my toenails
Eat breakfast each morning with my girls
Pray alone each morning and with both girls each evening
Keep my temper - especially when I am tired or busy

Oct 11, 2013

Save Money on Natural Living

This week on the Mama Marcie facebook page, I asked the question "What is your biggest obstacle in living a more natural lifestyle?"  The majority of the responses had to do with finances.  I can completely relate to this feeling - we barely squeak by at the end of the month, but we do make natural living a priority, and I would like to give you a few tips on how we do this.

-Store Reward Cards-

In the neighborhood where we live, there is one grocery shopping option.  With two kids in tow, I rarely want to drive the 15 miles to get to an organic grocery store, nor do I have the money to shop at such places.  We shop at Tom Thumb, and recently I discovered the benefit of using their store reward card and the online coupon service that goes along with it.  Kroger offers this benefit as well, but I have less experience with it since there is not a Kroger close to us.  I spend a few minutes before I go into the store to scan the app and choose the coupons I will use.  Last week, the organic strawberries were actually cheaper than the "traditional" strawberries.  I have gotten organic cereal bars for 50 cents a piece, buy one get the 4th free.  The produce coupons are the best, and on top of that, there are often gas reward coupons too... I can earn 50 cents off per gallon of gas simply by doing my normal grocery shopping.  Last week, not including our produce co-op pick up, I only spent $80 on groceries for a family of 4 - breakfasts, lunches and dinners for 6 days.  I can't always spend that little, but with planning, we make it work.

-Buy Local and Buy In Season-

 The cost of produce is greatly inflated due to the cost of shipping the merchandise to your local store.  When you buy local, you are cutting the middle man, saving on shipping costs and getting a better product.  Like I mentioned before, we are a part of a local produce co-op.  Every other week, we pick up a bin with  15-30 lbs of local, organic produce for $30.  For great quality produce, this is a great price.  If you live in Dallas, there are LOTS of options for local produce co-ops, milk, cheese, and meats.  When you buy local, it is a benefit for you, and you are also supporting your local economy - win, win!

-Buy in Bulk-

Let's talk Grass-Fed beef for a moment.  When you go to Whole Foods and purchase a pound of grass fed beef, you are easily looking at spending $10 or maybe more depending on the cut.  Find a local farmer that you trust (Know your farmer!!) and ask about bulk discounts.  Most ranchers will cut the price on large amounts of beef.  A friend of mine recently got grass fed beef for $3.50 a pound this way.  Near me, it is closer to $5 a pound, but it is still a discount.  It is a bigger cost up front, but then you have a stocked freezer and have saved money in the long run.


$5 for a bottle of foaming hand soap?  $5 for a bottle of 409? $8 for fabric softener?  Do it yourself and save money.  You can find my recipe for Thieves Foaming Hand Soap here.  You can see where I have discussed the benefits of Theives Cleaner here.  We no longer use fabric softener for laundry at all.  I simply put a small amount of vinegar in a Downy ball and throw it in the wash - removes odors and softens fabrics, naturally and cheaply!  There are TONS of household items that you can change or make yourself to save money.  And surprisingly, they do not take as long to make as you would think.  The hand soap I make - roughly 1 minute to make!

-Subsribe and Save-

Have you ever scanned through Amazon's Subscribe and Save department?  A LOT of the products they have available for you to save money on are organic, natural products.   We save money using this program on Diapers, Wipes, Laundry detergent, and other household items.  Diapers are significantly cheaper this way if you are also a part of Amazon Mom. 

-Discount Grocery Stores-

If you are in Dallas, have you been to the Grocery Clearance Center?  I was amazed at the wonderful finds.  Well known brands nearing their expiration date at a fraction of the cost at a normal retail store.  There is another well known clearance center in Fort Worth that I have heard great things about as well.  Check google for something similar to this where you live!

-Meal Planning and Cooking at Home-

When we eat out, we blow through our budget in no time.  To find good, quality food at a restaurant, you have to spend more money.  So, choose instead to cook and eat at home.  We have vowed to ourselves to eat at least 5 dinners at home each week, but we usually eat 6+ times at home.  I pack lunches every night, and the girls and I eat breakfast at home before going to school every morning (mm, smoothies!).  Before I head to the grocery store and buy everything that looks tasty, I sit down and plan my meals.  I plan around the veggies that are available in our bin, I plan around the meat that is available in our freezer, and I am able to look at my list and "shop from my pantry" before spending more money at the store.  This has been one of my biggest money savers.  I can easily go to the store and blow through money, but when I go with a plan, I spend less and get more quality items.

 -Start Your Own Garden-

Ok, I admit, this is not a step I have taken.  To me, gardening is frustrating work.  Whatever the opposite of a green thumb is, that is what I have.  But, if you love to be outside, if you love to dig in the dirt, and if you are passionate about knowing where your food comes from, why not start a garden!?  Can you imagine going outside and picking veggies for your dinner that night?  Sounds amazing to me!  Don't have space?  Think about container gardening.  Even if you only grow your own herbs, it's still a financial savings - that is my goal for next spring - starting small with herbs.

My main goal with this post is to encourage you that you CAN live a more natural lifestyle - it is not out of reach.  Like I said in my entry about Simple Things You Can Do To Green Your Home, start small.  Choose one thing at a time to "green" and stick to it.  You can do this!

Oct 7, 2013

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Is it starting to get chilly where you live?  Here in Texas, we had a wonderfully cool weekend that has everyone wearing sweaters and dreaming of fireplaces, even though it is supposed to get up to 83 degrees today.

I have been dreaming of my favorite things about fall, and one of my favorite things is warm beverages.  My husband loves the hot chocolate that I make, and I thought I could share my recipe with you!

What you will need:

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Real vanilla
1 cup raw milk
1 drop Young Living Peppermint Oil
Whipped Cream to Top

How to make it:

Heat the milk in a small saucepan on the stove.  Do not bring to a boil.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and sugar and stir into the hot milk.  Add vanilla and Young Living Peppermint Oil.  Top with Whipped Cream and Enjoy!

Want to make your own whipped cream?

You will need:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar (or more to taste)

How to make it:

In a cold glass or metal bowl, add whipping cream and begin to whip using a hand mixer - start slow and as it begins to form a creamy texture, increase the speed.  Slowly beat in the sugar until your whipped cream feels smooth between your fingers and forms soft peaks.  Store extra in the refrigerator.

Want to know how to purchase your own oils?  Check out my informational page here

Oct 6, 2013

DIY Thieves Foaming Hand Soap

Ah, foaming hand soap.  I love this stuff.  But not as much as my potty-training two and a half year old daughter.  Since she started potty practicing, we have gone through 2 bottles of foaming hand soap in the bathroom.  I have 2 problems with this:  1. It's expensive!  and 2. What you put on your skin goes in your body.  Have you looked at the ingredients in your soap lately?  Wouldn't you rather know exactly what you are slathering all over your hands?  I know I would :)

So, here is an awesome recipe for a Do It Yourself Foaming hand soap using Young Living Essential Oils.

What you will need:

- A foaming hand soap dispenser.  You can reuse one that you already have or you can purchase a new one.
- Liquid Castile Soap (I used Dr. Bronners)
- Vegetable Glycerine or Vitamin E oil
- Young Living Essential Oils

Here's how you do it:

1.  Add 2-3 Tablespoons of Liquid Castile Soap to your soap dispenser.
2.  Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerine or a few drops of vitamin E oil.  This step is not necessary, but I believe you will find the soap drying without this ingredient.
3.  Add 5-6 drops of Thieves oil or any oil combo of your choice.  More on this in a second.
4.  Slowly fill your container with water.  Be sure to leave enough room for the large pump (ie:  don't do what I did the first time and fill it to the top and then have a huge puddle on your kitchen counter)
5.  Gently shake to combine all ingredients.

Why I chose Thieves:

Thieves Essential Oil has been highly tested for it's cleansing abilities.  All this, plus it smells awesome! 

Wonderful Smelling Options:


Lemon and Lavender

Lemon and Peppermint

Peppermint and Lavender


Cinnamon Bark

Happy Hand Washing!

Want to know how to purchase your own oils?  Check out my informational page here!

Oct 5, 2013

My Favorite Things About Fall

The Dodd Squad lives in the great state of Texas. Our state has one true flaw (wink) - it's really stinkin' hot! Yesterday, in the first week of October, it was 90+ degrees. This morning, a cold front came through and it dropped into the 50s. The excitement was palpable. My kids were happy, my neighborhood gathered at a wonderful pumpkin patch with smiles on our faces, Isabel and I did some snuggling... These things get me excited about the coming months full of family and friends, wonderful food, and gift giving. Here are some of my favorite things about fall:

1. That first day in hot Texas when the temperature dips low enough to wear a jacket and every single person you know spends all day outside enjoying it.

2. Cool weather clothes - jeans, hoodies, sweaters, cardigans and boots.
3. Pumpkins, Pumpkin Patches, carving pumpkins, pumpkin decor... There is just something about a pumpkin that makes me feel like a kid again.
4. Warm beverages like homemade hot chocolate, hot tea, and apple cider. My mom and sister love Hot Dr. Pepper, have you tried it?
5. Sitting around a fire pit with friends. There is absolutely no better way to spend a grown up fall evening.

6. Snuggling under lots of awesome blankets.
7. Soup. And the thousands of varieties warm, wholesome ingredients you can combine.

8. The smell of fall - cinnamon, clove, nutmeg - this year I am diffusing Young Living Essential Oils in my home for this amazing smell PLUS benefits for our health.
9. Being outside. Pumpkin patches, trick or treating, football games, walks around the block to collect rocks with my girls...

10. Not sweating - can I get an amen?

Oct 2, 2013

Be Still

Today, I have been feeling a little defeated.


Life is hard.  I mean, yes, I am blessed, and I have amazing things to be thankful for, but life is still pretty rough sometimes.

I find great comfort in this verse:

Thank you to the lovely artist who drew this and to whomever helped it find it's way onto Pinterest and into my computer.

I hope that you are comforted by this verse as well - praying tonight that I can BE STILL and let God work through me.

Ya'll have a wonderful night!