Jan 29, 2014

Best Young Living Combos to Diffuse

One of the most frequently asked questions on the Essential Oil facebook group I am a part of is "Is it ok to diffuse more than one oil at the same time?"  The answer is ABSOLUTELY!  I love to diffuse more than one oil at a time and it makes me feel like a chemist or a mad scientist measuring out drops and finding awesome combinations!

So, for this post, I got a little help from the gals of Oily Families and the Oily Families facebook group.  Here are some awesome oily combos to add to your diffuser.  I recommend using 4-6 drops in your diffuser (can be combos of different oils, NOT 4-6 drops of each)

  • Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint 
  • Valor and Frankincense (for a peaceful feeling)
  • Peppermint and Orange (time to wake up!)
  • Cinnamon and Orange
  • Thieves and Lime
  • Thieves and Lemon 
  • Clove and Orange
  • Lemon, Lavender and Rosemary (smells so clean!)
  • Peace and Calming and Lavender
  • Frankincense and Myrrh
  • Idaho Balsam Fir and Citrus Fresh
  • Stress Away and Lavender
  • Bergamot, Lemongrass and Grapefruit
  • Peace and Calming and Valor (sweet dreams!)
  • Orange and Patchouli 
  • Lavender and Copaiba

Be sure to see the post from Monday about Tips and Tricks to making your diffuser work the best for you possible :)

I would LOVE to hear your favorite combos of oils to diffuse. Obviously there are the blends such as Peace and Calming, Joy, Valor, Sensation (hubba hubba), but what are your favorite single oils to blend together mad scientist style and diffuse in your home?

Tell me in the comments or on the Mama Marcie Facebook page!

Interested in finding out how to get one of these awesome diffusers of your very own? Or maybe some of these awesome oils to diffuse in your own home? Check out this info here!

Please remember that I am a Mama and not a doctor. These things work for us and I am in love with using homeopathic remedies for health in our home and I am excited to share them with you, but please use your best judgement for your own home.

Jan 27, 2014

Your Young Living Home Diffuser

I hear lots of talk about the wonderful Young Living Home Diffuser. This is the diffuser that comes in the Premium starter kit. It works like a charm, fills a room with oily goodness and is easy to clean and maintain. But occasionally, some folks have troubles, so I thought I would write a post on a few tips and tricks to make your diffuser work the best for you and your family.

  • First thing's first. Take a look at the amount of water you are using in your diffuser. Inside there is a fill line - make sure you are never going over that line. This can cause water to get where it shouldn't, and, like with all ultrasonic diffusers, if it is overfilled, it will not create the "mist" you need to get the oils into the air.
  • What type of water are you using? The old diffusers required distilled water, but the newer diffusers run great (better even) on tap water. This is confirmed by the Young Living Live help!
  • How many drops of oils are you putting in your diffuser? Young Living oils are potent! I usually diffuse 3-5 drops unless someone in the house is sick, then I might bump it up a little. A little goes a long way!
  • Can you mix oils in the diffuser? Absolutely! Here are some of my favorite combos:2 drops each of Lemon, lavender and peppermint to promote normal sinus function
    2 drops each of Valor and Frankincense for a blues buster
    Check Wednesday's Blog post for more awesome Young Living Combos to diffuse!
  • The lid! It's really common for newbies to put the top on upside down, so if you are, no one has to know ;)
  • The image above is a great segway into a few tips on cleaning. It is very natural for your diffuser to have a little oily buildup on the lid and the lip where the lid sits. It is not hurting the diffuser, but if it really bothers you (obviously it doesn't bother me), then you can clean it with a bit of vinegar, some lemon oil or just rise it with water. Do not touch the metal plate, instead use a q-tip or the cleaning tool the diffuser came with to wipe the plate down.
  • After your diffuser has run and automatically shut off, it is perfectly normal to have a tbsp or so of water left at the bottom. No need to dump this, just put more water, more oils and restart!
  • What do you do if you accidentally overfilled the diffuser and now it isn't working? Try letting it dry out for a day or so and see if it works again. Usually that works!

Interested in finding out how to get one of these awesome diffusers of your very own??  Check out this info here!

Please remember that I am a Mama and not a doctor. These things work for us and I am in love with using homeopathic remedies for health in our home and I am excited to share them with you, but please use your best judgement for your own home.

Jan 20, 2014

Homemade Mac and Cheese

When was the last time you looked at the ingredient list on one of those blue boxes of Mac n Cheese? Next time you are at the grocery store, take a few minutes to see if there is anything in the list that you recognize. Check out this photo of the nutrition facts courtesy of Change.org:

"This product may have adverse effect on activity and attention in children"... Hmmm. Not only that, but why is it necessary to add food dyes? Why have we bought into the lie that cheese is yellow?  I won't even start on the ingredients in that list that I can't pronounce or the use of genetically modified wheat.

Years ago, we stopped purchasing the store bought Mac n cheese. Occasionally, we will keep Annie's in the pantry for a convenient meal, but honestly, the recipe for home made Mac n cheese I am about to share with you takes about 15-20 minutes to make from start to finish. That is pretty convenient for a meal that every one in my family devours and loves and that is real food!

Homemade Mac n Cheese

What you need:
8 oz bacon (we use Applegate Farms or a local bacon from Urban Acres)
1 bunch green onions
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups milk (raw milk if available)
8 oz cheese (we use mozzarella - an easy cheese to find locally)
12-16 oz pasta of your choice

Here's how you do it:

1.  Cook pasta according to instructions.

2. Meanwhile, cook bacon until slightly crispy in a large skillet.

3. Set bacon aside to drain and dispose of bacon grease (or set aside to use later).

4. Melt butter in the same skillet that you used to cook the bacon. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring consistently so that the garlic does not burn. This only takes about 1 minute.

5. Add the milk, stir and heat until warm.  Do not boil.

6. Add the cheese to the milk and stir constantly until the cheese is melted.  This is the hardest part because it requires a little patience and some attention.  Add more milk if you think the mixture is too thick.

7. Add the bacon and green onions and stir.

8. Add the pasta and stir until well combined.

The possibilities of this dish are endless. Try various mix ins instead of bacon and green onion, experiment with various cheese combinations, add your favorite veggies and some left over chicken.... So many delicious possibilities! 


Jan 19, 2014

Book Review - My Name is Not Isabella

My daughter goes by many names - Isabel, Izzy, Hizzy (what her baby sister calls her), sister, baby, or any number of other pet names we come up with that day.  Unsurprisingly, she is called Isabella often by people we don't know well.  It is a very popular name! (and beautiful, too!  Just not HER name)

So, when I was shopping for our Christmas presents this year for the girls (they get 4 each - one thing you want, one thing you need, one thing you wear and one thing you read - but that is a post for another day), I ran across this book on Amazon and instantly fell in love.

My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream?

I love this book for so many reasons.  

First of all, it is down right beautiful.  The drawings are superb, the colors are fantastic, the text is interesting and easy to read.  The illustrator, Mike Litwin, did a fantastic job drawing you into this story and making your eyes pop around the page to catch the beautiful details.   

Secondly, umm.... can we say "girl power!"?  I love that this book is absolutely full of strong female role models for my daughters to learn more about.  The book includes such strong women as Rosa Parks, Annie Oakley, Sally Ride, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell and... Are you ready for this??... Mommy! *heart melts*

In the back of the book, there is a short bio on all of the women mentioned in the book. Educational and beautiful.  Win, win.

Added bonus, this is the first book in a series!

Izzy, Olivia and I highly recommend this book. We are headed to the book store this weekend to check out more!

Jan 17, 2014

Truths to Cling to on Hard Days

We all have rough days.  By 9 yesterday morning, I had changed a horrible poopy diaper, yelled at my girls who were fussing about everything and refusing to get along, had to set the house alarm 3 times because we couldn't get it together, accidentally kicked a sippy cup which exploded on the front door, left my purse in the house, found baby snot on my black pants for work, and on top o fit all, we were running late.  All of this left me feeling guilty and with a huge sense of Mommy Inadequacy that was looming over my day.

This morning, I read an email from yet another friend who has received a diagnosis of breast cancer.

*Deep Breath*

Sometimes days are just hard.

BUT - that does not mean we do not have hope, peace, joy, love... all those wonderful promises of God.  So, I want to take a moment and give you 10 Biblical Truths to cling to when you are having a rough parenting day, or just a rough day in general.  As I write this, I pray that you find strength and comfort from these words.

Ten Biblical Truths

Create in me a pure heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.  Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be anxious for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.  Philippians 4:6-8

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

God is our refuge and strength.  An ever present help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46:1

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.  He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.  You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.  Psalm 18:32-36

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

If you are like me, you need visual reminders of truths throughout the day to remind yourself to meditate on these words.  Here are a few ideas to try:

1.  Put a sticky note on your dashboard in your car with a verse on it.  When you are stopped at a light or waiting in the carpool lane, read the verse to yourself.

2.  Use a dry erase marker and write verses on your bathroom mirror.

3.  Print out the images above and frame them in your home as a reminder when you come in the house, when you are making dinner, when you go to bed, etc.

4.  Memorize a verse to call upon when you need it.  "Thy words have I hidden in my heart..."

Blessings to you, Friend.  Let's pray that God will help us to enjoy these moments and make the difficult days few.

Jan 15, 2014

Ten Best iPad Apps for Toddlers

The world of technology for children is vast these days.  I have seen lots of posts on avoiding technology, or limiting and, though I think being in front of a screen in excess is not the best option, I think we should be embracing technology for our kiddos.  By all means, get those babies outside and play play play, but also allow them opportunities to engage in technology and learn those skills, too!

In the spirit of quality technology time, I would like to share with you my ten favorite iPad apps for toddlers.  Enjoy!

1.  Elmo Loves ABC's

     Cost - $4.99 (free version available with just a few letters)

My 3 year old daughter loves this app.  She is able to select a letter, learn to trace that letter in capital and lower case, and then play activities for each letter that introduce her to the sound the letter makes and various words that start with that letter.  This is an app we have had for a while and my daughter has just started to really enjoy it without help tracing the letters.  The educational value of this app is off the charts, plus, she loves Elmo, so it is a Mama win and a Kid win!

2. Little Genius
    Cost - $2.99

This app is great for hours of play - we still have not reached the end of this app. The home screen is reminiscent of Candy Crush where there is a map and you unlock each new puzzle when the previous is completed.  Each treasure chest contains different puzzles, memory games, coloring challenges and matching games.  My daughter's favorite is the color challenges where she can match her colors to the image they provide.  Each section gets slightly more difficult, so it is perfect for little ones and grows with them.  Great for helping with hand eye coordination, matching skills, and color recognition.

3. Toca Hair Salon
    Cost - $2.99

Both of my girls totally get a kick out of this app.  On the home screen, you can choose between 6 different characters, both boys and girls.  You then have the option of cutting their hair, making their hair grow, curling, brushing, washing, drying, adding bows, and hats and accessories.  The characters express different emotions depending on what you do to their hair.  Beyond the fun of this app, it is just well done.  The graphics are excellent, and it is incredibly user friendly.  Toca Boca is one of my favorite app developers for kids.

4. Toca Band
    Cost - $2.99

Again, an incredibly well done app from Toca Boca.  Children can explore different musical styles and rhythms by moving characters around on the board.  I actually love the music that my girls create in this app, but if repetition bothers you, you might want to get your little one some headphones for this app.  This is one that both my one year old and three year old girls adore.

5. Emotions by Avokiddo
    Cost - $2.99

This is such a fun app!  Even mama gets into this one!  The lever on the side makes items drop down from the top - you can use each of the items on the character (three to choose from) and see how they react.  Some things make the character feel silly (see image above), some things make the character mad, etc.  Your child can gain a better understanding of emotions and how each person feels differently about different things.  This app is endless as each time you pull the lever, different combinations of items drop down.  Literally hours of enjoyment for my kids over the past year or so.

6. Stella and Sam Interactive Story Books
    Cost - $3.99

This app is amazing.  It includes 5 interactive stories with incredible illustrations.  The stories are sweet, kind hearted and educational.  Both of my girls love to explore the stories, complete the tasks (put flowers in a line to get ants across a puddle, reveal constellations, mimic bird calls, etc).  All of them include Sam (the little brother) and Stella (the big sister) and various friends.

7. Nighty Night
    Cost - $2.99

Another interactive story that takes your child through a farm house to put all of the animals to bed.  As an artist, this app is highly attractive to me - it has amazing graphics!  I love to look through all the scenes and see the details.  Obviously, my children aren't that observant, yet, but they adore the beauty of this app as well and love searching for the light switches in each scene to put the animals to bed.  It has relaxing music playing in the background and a very soothing narrator.

8. Shape Puzzle HD
    Cost - FREE

I am not sure I  have ever seen a more high quality free app for kids.  This app contains several different scenes with puzzles throughout.  Various skill levels are available, so the puzzles can have lines to guide or you can bump it up and take the lines away for a harder puzzle.  My 3 year old has been using this app for over a year and still loves it!  It is also a great app for identifying various objects, from animals to sea creatures to produce in a grocery store.

9.  Paint Sparkle

     Cost - FREE

Get creative with this drawing app.  I love that there are lots of color choices, different brush options and fill options and coloring pages available.  I believe the color pages are an additional cost, but the app is a great one even without those pages.  Great art app for kids.

10.  The Three Little Pigs

       Cost - FREE

This is a beautiful interactive story with excellent graphics and illustrations.  There are options to read it to yourself, or have the app read the story to you and different surprises on each page.  It takes the traditional story of the Three Little Pigs and adds a creative, interactive experience to go along with it.

And a bonus app -

Apps Gone Free

Cost - FREE

This one is for you, Mom and Dad!  A good majority of the apps I have listed above cost around $3.  By itself, $3 is no big deal, but when money is tight and you need more than one, it can add up quickly.  Here's a little secret - I did not pay for the apps listed above (the only exception is Elmo Loves ABC's)!  I found them listed as free on Apps Gone Free and downloaded them to try that day and fell in love with them.  I see several of these cycle through on the Free lists, so I highly recommend you check Apps Gone Free daily - I think they update the list around 11am CST each day.

Enjoy this list!  Are there any apps your kids love that you can add?  I'd love to hear your suggestions!