Essential Oil Spotlight: Correct-X

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dōTERRA's Correct-X

dōTERRA's Correct-X

dōTERRA’s Correct-X

As much as I use this product, and as many times as I’ve mentioned it lately, I figured it was time to do a dedicated post on Correct-X, a holy grail item in this house.

We use this as a replacement for traditional triple antibiotic ointments like Neosporin. There are worse products out there than Neosporin, but it’s not great. If you check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database entry on Neosporin, you’ll find that it contains methylparaben, and like all parabens, this mimics estrogens and is classified as a potential endocrine system disruptor. It’s used as a preservative in this case, and it’s a pretty nasty one.

Correct-X, on the other hand, contains some of my favorite essential oils: helichrysum, frankincense, melaleuca, cedarwood, and lavender, as well as lots of other beneficial ingredients. Let’s examine some of the benefits of these oils, and it will become evident why they are a perfect foundation for a wound care ointment.

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)

The main benefits of this essential oil (which is also commonly known as Everlasting or Immortelle) are its pain reducing, analgesic, and cell regenerating effects. 

“Applied externally….everlasting (Helichrysum italicum) can give spectacular results for healing wounds or promoting the generation of new tissue.” (Schnaubelt, Kurt. Advanced Aromatherapy, pg. 27)

“[Helichrysum italicum] is especially effective when used together with rose hip seed oil. The triple unsaturated fatty acids strengthen the cell membranes and, combined with the regenerative qualities of everlasting oil, heal wounds with minimal or no scarring.” (Schnaubelt, Kurt. Advanced Aromatherapy, pg. 102)

The brains behind dōTERRA’s products clearly know what they are doing, as Correct-X also contains rose hip seed oil.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii, frereana, and sacra)

Frankincense essential oil is commonly known as the King of Oils, but I affectionately refer to Frank as the Grandaddy of Oils. Oh, and I call him Frank, too. Research has shown anti-inflammatory effects, as well as promising anti-tumor activity, in frankincense essential oil. Frankincense oil is commonly used in first aid applications, skin care regimens (including reducing the appearance of scars and acne), and mood support applications. Historically, it was used in religious ceremonies, and the fact that it was given as a gift from the wise men to baby Jesus confirms how valuable it was back in the day!

Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia) aka Tea Tree Oil or TTO

Melaleuca has a long history as an antiseptic used for wound care. It is antibacterial & antibiotic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, astringent & disinfectant, making it perfect for treating wounds, as well as bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. It has very broad spectrum activity and has at times succeeded in eradicating problems that pharmaceutical antibiotics failed to address. This one goes everywhere with me (except when I accidentally run out- then it’s pandemonium).

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)

Cedarwood’s purpose in this application is for relief from pain & itching. This oil is analgesic, astringent, & calming, making it perfect to help soothe whatever wound you’re treating!

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is well known for its calming effect, but it also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, disinfectant, and antibiotic properties! It’s a mild and gentle oil, but very effective. Using lavender aromatically while applying Correct-X to a child’s wound can really help them calm down and relax while having their boo-boos tended.

In addition to the oils mentioned, the ointment also contains bisabolol, which is known for its calming effects and ability to promote cell renewal. Jojoba oil most closely resembles our skin’s own sebum, making it a perfect addition! Correct-X is paraben-free, preservative-free, and petroleum-free. It’s a wonderful product and we use it for all kinds of wounds, including burns, cuts, scrapes and hangnails (those suckers can hurt!). I can’t recommend it highly enough, and with a wholesale dōTERRA membership, it only costs $12. While that is more than you would pay for Neosporin, you get what you pay for, and this stuff lasts for a long time. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think! xo. 

 

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Ugh, Doctor Mom Fail

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36-ish hours after the injury

We waited way too long to change Bri’s bandage on her foot this time. And by we, I of course mean I. I have no idea what I was thinking, but after her afternoon bandaging yesterday, I just let it go overnight. There is one big problem with that, a problem that is painfully obvious to me now.

I didn’t apply Correct-X that last time; instead, it was just the solution-soaked gauze. Correct-X is similar to a triple antibiotic ointment, and when used, provides a nice buffer between the gauze and the wound. The problem, as you can probably surmise, is that the gauze dried out overnight. Without any ointment there to buffer the wound, when we did the bandage change at around 10:30 this morning, the gauze was basically welded to the wound. Enter soul-crushing guilt.

I put her foot and the attached gauze in the sink under warm running water and slowly peeled the gauze away as it absorbed the water. Most of it came away fairly easily, but there were a few sticky spots. Tears ran from the poor girl’s eyes like antelopes from a lion on the African plains, but I got it done. There was absolutely no bleeding during or after this process. There was no pus or scab. It appears that the wound was just trying to heal the gauze right into it.


I ran out of solution and had to make up a new batch, but I am currently out of melaleuca (more is on the way, but the wait seems eternal), so I tweaked and strengthened the recipe slightly.

Thyme Wound Cleansing Solution

  • 15 drops Thyme essential oil
  • 15 drops Helichrysum essential oil
  • 16 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • About 8 ounces distilled water
36-ish hours after the injury

36-ish hours after the injury

I cleansed the wound gently (she had suffered enough, and it wasn’t dirty), then let it air out a bit. This is how it looked after cleansing.

This time, I made sure to apply a generous amount of Correct-X before covering with a solution-soaked gauze and wrapping. She continued to cry, so I gave her some ibuprofen for the pain. I’ll be sure to check the bandage sooner this time, so as not to qualify for Worst Mom Award. Again.

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How Did It Work: DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Spray

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Blueberry Picking + Lake Louisa Hiking

I’m all about full disclosure around here, as some of you may know, so from time to time, I’ll be posting updates on my recipes and how they performed for me and my fam.

After making multiple batches of my first essential oil bug spray, I wanted to report back with details on how it worked after using it on different people, in different locations, and how I might tweak it the next time around if needed.

Lake Louisa State Park + Blueberry Picking (Central Florida – Clermont):

Blueberry Picking + Lake Louisa Hiking

Blueberry Picking + Lake Louisa Hiking

Verdict: Worked well. At the blueberry farm, we started to get bites (we hadn’t applied the bug spray yet), so I stopped everyone briefly and sprayed ’em all down. After that, we were gloriously bug-free.

I don’t think I sprayed anyone again the trip, and that included a fairly brief hike in a hot, humid Florida forest consisting of a sandy trail, saw palmettos, oaks and cypress. We hit the beach at the lake afterward, and still avoided any blood suckers.

Hontoon Island State Park (Central Florida – Deland):

Eli scopin' the wildlife

Eli scopin’ the wildlife

Verdict: Worked well. This park is obviously on an island and is surrounded by the Hontoon Dead River and St. John’s River. The trail we were on consisted largely of cabbage palms, grand old live oaks with Spanish moss, and pines.

It was hot and muggy and the bugs were out, as we expected them to be, but they didn’t bother us.

A woodsy outdoor wedding (Northern Indiana):

Verdict: Worked well. My sister made up a batch of my spray to use at an outdoor wedding and reception up in Indiana, and she reported that it worked perfectly!

Blue Springs State Park (Central Florida – Orange City):

Gorgeous Blue Springs State Park

Gorgeous Blue Springs State Park

Verdict: Worked well….against Mosquitos. This is the first time I considered adding to or altering this recipe, and it was all because of the nasty little dreaded No-See-Ums. No one faced mosquito bites on this trip, but Those Who Shall Not Be Seen were out in force and not at all put off by this spray.

I will probably sub in or just add Melaleuca (Tea Tree) oil next time and see how that works.

Scrub Ridge Trail at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Eastern Central Florida – Titusville):

Playalinda Beach

Playalinda Beach

Verdict: Straight up honesty, I might as well not have wasted the bug spray there. I absolutely hate to say this, but it was next to useless on this trail. I was so disappointed, and itchy, as were the other members of my family. I’m convinced that the Mosquitos there were superhuman, prehistoric freaks of nature. This trail is named for the habitat of this particular area, Florida scrub. It’s all low lying vegetation, mostly made up of palmetto bushes and scrub oak. One side of the trail loop edges up against wetlands, which must contribute to the bugginess. This is an endangered habitat and is favored by the threatened Florida Scrub Jay, which is endemic to Florida. The upside of this itchy trip was that we actually got to see one! In fact, he tried to dive bomb us a couple times. Ha! I was carrying a fussy Sabrina on my shoulders, and swatting man-eating mosquitos during the hike, so I didn’t get any photos. You’ll just have to settle for a shot at Playalinda Beach, where we went after the walk.

I was definitely disappointed that the spray failed against the bugs in that spot, but it’s held up well in other locations. I haven’t given up on it, but I think I’ll be making a supercharged version for handling extra tough, Stone Age Mosquitos. I’ll likely dilute that version less, and probably use Witch Hazel instead of water. Whatever I choose, I’ll definitely keep you posted, so stay tuned, and if you try this recipe, let me know what you think! xo.

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Sidewalks: Nature’s Exfoliators

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All within 24 hours

I swear, we have never seen so many injuries and bug bites as we have in the month and a half or so since we moved to Florida. This is no shock, really, just one of those things you don’t really think about ahead of time. Copious amounts of outdoor play is bound to lead to both things, though, and yesterday was no exception.

Ouch

Ouch – this is the top of her foot right in the bend

Brianna came inside with a face I can only describe as shaken. She often carries a strong whiff of Drama around with her, but this was different. I asked what was wrong, and she simply looked down at her foot and then burst into quiet tears.

“Hey, Bri, you appear to be missing a few layers of skin, there.” I’m nothing if not extremely sensitive and delicate. I also like to lighten the mood with humor, if at all possible. In this case, the tears just got louder. Yes, I think I actually heard them spurting from her face.

I keep a wound cleansing solution in the fridge for just such occasions, so I brought it out, along with some cotton rounds and Correct-X (this stuff is holy grail in our house). The cleansing solution recipe is roughly as follows (though I was a bad girl, and forgot to label the jar when I made it!).

Wound Cleansing Solution

  • 13 drops helichrysum essential oil
  • 13 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 13 drops melaleuca essential oil
  • ~ 8 ounces distilled water (though I think I just used my Berkey filtered water)

I put all ingredients in an 8 oz Ball jar and shake well before each use. I soaked a cotton round in the solution and pat the wound. In this case, there was dirt and other debris from the sidewalk, so I had to rub for a bit to make sure it was truly clean. I know this hurt, and she cried more, but when I was done, I confessed that she was absolutely a badass. This totally stopped the tears, and turned her frown upside down. I then aired it out a bit before applying a lot of Correct-X, covering with clean gauze, and wrapping with a self-adhesive bandage. In the photo above, I had already cleansed it and applied Correct-X, hence the wormy looking squiggles.

Before and After: About 14 hours apart

Before and After: About 14 hours apart

This morning, I removed the wrapping to check it out. The gauze clung slightly to the wound, so I made sure to dampen the gauze with the cleansing solution the next time before placing it over the wound. This is what it looked like this morning, next to the original image from last night.

The results were great, and while it still hurt, the pain was less, the bleeding was obviously stopped, and the exposed bloody areas were starting to heal. I applied Correct-X again after cleansing it, and rewrapped it.

Later in the afternoon, she had sweated her bandaging off, so I cleaned it again and reapplied wrapping. This is what it looked like after the 3rd cleaning, still less than 24 hours after the injury.

All within 24 hours

All within 24 hours

You can see continued healing and further reduction in redness. I’m so pleased with the results, and love to be reminded of how effective essential oils can be. Sometimes I grow complacent, because the oils are just in my life, commonplace at this point. Seeing firsthand how wonderfully they work in nasty wounds like this, and getting a reminder about how convenient they are, just renews my love for them! Look at those results!

I’ll post more in the next couple days with more progress photos and updates. Bri is such a trooper. I’m a big meanie, and instead of letting her lounge and read all day, I keep making her walk around and play, or at least sit outside. I’d hate for her foot to weaken or for other muscles to strain because she’s avoiding using that foot, and the girl’s gotta get her fresh air and sunshine.

Oh, wait. Were you wondering how this happened? Right, about that. Apparently, they had strapped the little red wagon to Eli’s bike. Eli was towing Sabrina around, he on his bike, Sabrina in the wagon, and Bri was bringing up the rear on foot. Eli got going faster than Bri could move, but she held on anyway – perhaps in an effort to keep Sabrina safe? She was dragged for some distance (I’m guessing not far), and this is the result. I’m not sure exactly, and the logistics of how the actual injury happened are beyond my cognition, but those are the facts as they’ve been related to me. The bike/wagon setup have been banned in all future shenanigans, obviously, but I’m sure they’ll come up with other ingenious ways to injure themselves. Something to look forward to!

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Moments of Brilliance

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IMG_3849.JPG

Harry Potter, the menace of a decent night’s sleep

They are few and far between, but when they happen, I inevitably feel like I can conquer the world (at least for a few brief moments). In this instance, we were dealing with Bri the Bookworm (12 years old) staying up way too late. She, much like her mother, gets fully entrenched in the books she reads, and will just keep on reading for hours, regardless of her body’s pesky sleep requirements. These late night forays into the worlds of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and countless others are great for her imagination and vocabulary, but they’re totally detrimental to the possibility of having a reasonable and good-natured almost-teen the next day.

After too many of these interminable nights & attitude-filled days in a row, it came to me like a cartoonish lightbulb illuminating over my head: I needed to limit and carefully narrow her choices of bedtime reading material! I was annoyed that this stroke of (simple) genius hadn’t come to me sooner, but I didn’t dwell on the past. I got to work removing all the usual books from her bed, nightstand, floor surrounding her bed, and under her bed (seriously ha!), and stocked her nightstand with my picks.

Not only would my new plan give her a much less exciting, not at all action-packed pre-sleep experience, it would also get her to read the higher quality literature I’d been begging her to read forever. The girl is physically incapable of NOT reading, so this was a win-win. And it worked.

Since implementing the new rule, she’s read books like The Peterkin Papers, Johnny Tremain, Pollyanna, and Justin Morgan Had A Horse, while still getting to sleep by 9 or 9:30. They’re all great literature, but without the pulse-pounding intensity of some of her favorite books, so she can actually stand to put them down.

It’s just so nice when a plan comes together.

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Bubbles Burst and Ears Healing

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The girls hanging in the urgent care waiting room
Sabrina consoling Fiona

Sabrina was the only one who could console Fiona when Fi’s ear got grazed – the pain was so intense!

I posted recently about Fiona’s bout with swimmer’s ear, and the ways I am treating it at home. Those methods have been effective in her right ear, but I noticed with her left ear that the various liquids/oils weren’t really going into the ear canal very well, and that only got worse over time.  Also, the skin behind both ears was getting red, and that made me very nervous. Worried that infection was spreading, and very concerned about the fact that her pain wasn’t resolving, I broke down and took her to an urgent care office yesterday. This is after many mostly sleepless nights for Fiona, me, and my mom, and it was taking a serious toll.

Now, I’m not sure how other crunchy moms feel about doctors, but I avoid them like the plague. I have my own ways of doing things – I research and I learn and I make informed choices about things that work for my family, while avoiding pharmaceuticals as much as humanly possible. That’s all fine and wonderful (and usually quite effective) while we are in our happy little Malarkey bubble. When I have to bust out of that happy bubble and go deal with medical professionals, there are risks involved. They range from me being treated like a complete idiot for putting garlic oil in my child’s ears, to being berated for not vaccinating my children, to the possibility of having child protective services called on me for any of the choices I’ve made in regard to the care of my children. Stories like this & this make it clear that my fears aren’t unfounded, and there are many more stories related to CPS and free range kids (my kids are pretty free range, though not as free as some).

All this to say, I was really, truly nervous and scared about taking Fiona to the doctor, but I was more scared of having her get worse and continue to suffer in pain. And honestly, I wasn’t sure how many more all-nighters I could take. So, I put on my big girl panties and announced to her that we were going to visit the doctor to have her ears looked at. Her eyes lit up, and she said, “This is gonna be so cool!” and “Will they have a baffroom??” Bless her sweet little heart, she was so excited!

Meanwhile, as all the ear drama was going on with Fiona, Bri was also dealing with some mouth pain from a metal spacer that had begun digging into her gums. Because the day wasn’t already going to be brilliantly exciting and fun enough, I got Bri into the dentist right before the doctor visit.

Bri got the spacer removed, because as it turned out, the tooth that was supposed to be there is actually just about ready to pop through! We were at the dentist’s office for a couple hours, but both girls were troopers.

The girls hanging in the urgent care waiting room

The girls hanging in the urgent care waiting room

Then we headed to the dreaded urgent care. I began filling out the paperwork, and when I got the line asking what medications/herbs/vitamins were being used, I broke into a brief cold sweat and then filled it out. “Peroxide, garlic oil, colloidal silver in ears”. I turned the paperwork in and tried not to be scared – I really hate confrontation, and I was sure the doctor would have some choice words for me.

In this case, my fears were quickly put to rest. The nurse that brought us back was kind and funny, and Fiona liked him. The medical professional we saw in this instance was a Physician Assistant and she was absolutely fantastic. She conversationally brought up the colloidal silver, and was in no way judgmental or condescending about it. She was awesome with Fiona, and described her findings thoroughly. As it turned out, the left ear canal, the one that seemed clogged, was so swollen the PA couldn’t even see Fiona’s ear drum! No wonder the silver wasn’t helping! She prescribed antibiotic drops and that was that. I was very grateful that Fi got away without having to take oral antibiotics.

Knowing what was going on in Fo’s ears was invaluable. I now knew what I was working with, and that I would need to really work with her ear to get that medicine to get past the swelling. I pulled up and back on her upper ear, pushed gently up on the lower back side of her ear, and pulled the skin in front of and behind her ear in opposite directions to help open up the canal. The first few times I would be thrilled to see little air bubble come up out of the liquid because I knew that meant that it was moving down, at least a little. I continued to use the colloidal silver in addition to the antibiotic drops, because of the study showing that silver increases the efficacy of antibiotics in a big way. The first 2 times of this were rough; her ear was so very sore, and that much manipulation of the ear was very tough for her. Playing Wild Kratts while doing this procedure helped a lot. I have also continued applying the essential oil blend around her ears. Gradually the swelling and pain have gone down, and now we are just continuing to use the drops through Friday, as instructed.

I feel like never letting Fiona swim again, but that’s not very likely. I suppose I’ll just do alcohol in the ears after water exposure and I’ll pray for healthy ears! xo!

 

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DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Spray

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Spray bottle of DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray

As a crunchy mama, I tend to use (or at least try) DIY recipes for lots of things instead of paying a zillion dollars to find a “natural” version of whatever product I need in the store. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes great packaged products with legit ingredients can be found at reasonable prices. More often than not, though, to get the items with quality ingredients, you’re going to pay a higher price.

For something like bug spray that is notoriously laden with toxic chemicals, I felt it was especially important to seek out a natural, homemade option. Living in Florida, this particular item will be a frequent necessity, so I needed to figure out a recipe STAT. I browsed the web for tried and true DIY bug sprays, but none of them were exactly what I wanted, so I came up with my own. I needed this specifically for an impromptu adventure we were going on, and I was nervous about it’s efficacy since I hadn’t tried it yet. We required a field trip in the great outdoors, away from school books and school attitudes, and Hontoon Island State Park seemed like just the thing. It was gorgeous, and most importantly, we got to take a ferry boat to the island! Check out the pictures and tell me that place doesn’t look BUGGY (it was).

We had a grand, sweaty adventure and I walked away without a single bug bite. If the kids got any, they didn’t mention them. Mom spotted a mosquito on her shoulder, and I swatted it, then sprayed that spot (I think we might have just missed it the first go round) and she was good to go the rest of the time. We sprayed everyone once before hiking, and it lasted the entire trip. As an added bonus, this spray smells amazing! I highly recommend it and will continue to enthusiastically use it and recommend it to everyone who asks (and probably those who don’t, because hey, you need this in your life!). Here’s the recipe, and I should note, all essential oils in this blend are dōTERRA.

DIY Essential Oil Bug Repellent Spray

  • 10 drops TerraShield essential oil blend
  • 8 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 8 drops Thyme essential oil
  • 10 drops Lemongrass essential oil
  • 12 drops Lavender essential oil
  • ~ 1 Tbsp fractionated coconut oil (I used Plant Therapy’s)
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with filtered or distilled water (I used my Berkey water)
  1. Put all ingredients in a 4 oz glass spray bottle (this one is from Amazon), shake gently, and spray away!

Enjoy, and let me know if you try this (and how it works for you)! xo~

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Fun in Florida: Swimmer’s Ear & The Nights that Would Not End

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The goods

I love living in Florida so far, I must admit. As we awaited the big moving day, I had such apprehensions, and they involved every negative thing I’d ever heard about Florida, but magnified to insane proportions. I pictured a land covered in gigantic, man eating Palmetto bugs that was so miserably humid I would die. Fire ants covered the earth and attacked my children to the point that I was sure I wouldn’t even be able to let the kids run around barefoot. Ever. Would I even be able to let them play outside?? My mind: it’s a terrible and wonderful thing.

We’ve lived here for just over a month, and my well-tanned children are barefoot far more often than not. They play outside for hours every day. We have yet to see a Palmetto bug (though I’m sure that day will eventually come), and Eli has only been bitten by 2 fire ants while crouching in the grass near our pond. He didn’t seem to mind much, and maybe even bragged a little. It does get humid, but it’s manageable, especially with A/C.

So far the only really bad thing is something that wasn’t even on my radar until it actually happened. Due to a significant increase in time spent in various bodies of water, including a kiddie pool in our backyard, the ocean, and lakes, Fiona got swimmer’s ear and it’s been quite the delight.

Yes.

It started with tenderness around the tragus (the little flappy bit on the ear that you can push down to cover the ear canal – I hope that makes sense…) and became an all over pain and sometimes itchiness. It’s bad enough that it has kept her up some nights, and required a trip to Walgreens to get children’s ibuprofen, which we don’t regularly keep on hand. We now have a small arsenal of at home treatment options, because this is just one of those things that we don’t see a doctor for. If blood starts coming out of her ear, then I’ll reconsider, but until then, no. (Dear Lord, please don’t let blood come out of my child’s ear. Amen.)

During Round 1 of Swimmer’s Ear With Fiona, we successfully treated it, but didn’t continue to treat after the pain stopped. This, apparently, was a mistake, because a few days later, it reared its ugly head again. Here’s what we use, and what we will continue to use after the pain stops this time (probably for 5-7 days).

The goods

The goods

  • a few drops of a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide in each ear after swimming. This helps to dry out any water that might be in the ear and the peroxide helps kill any germies. At this point, we are using silicone ear plugs with her when she’s in the water, but it’s not a fully ingrained habit yet, and we have slipped up.
  • 2 drops of non-nano colloidal silver in each ear, twice a day (we use Sovereign Silver – I got mine at Vitamin Shoppe, but you can get it through Amazon, too). I have Fiona lay on my lap and let the drops do their job for a couple minutes before putting a cotton ball over her ear canal and doing the other side. Silver is a wonderful natural antibiotic and has been found to massively boost the effectiveness of pharmaceutical antibiotics to even resistant strains of bacteria. I’ll take the silver and leave the pharmaceuticals, thanks!
  • 2-3 drops of garlic oil in each ear, twice a day (I use White Egret Ear Oil from Vitamin Shoppe – it also contains lobelia and mullein, which all have antibiotic properties). It’s smelly but effective and I alternate this with the silver
  • an essential oil blend that I apply to her outer ear, tragus, and the bone behind her ear. I massage it down to below her jaw (gently, as everything hurts right now). I made a blend of doTERRA oils in a 10 mL roller bottle with 4 drops basil, 3 drops melaleuca, and 3 drops lavender topped off with fractionated coconut oil. I apply this pretty much every time I do anything else to her ears.
  • Dye-free children’s ibuprofen for the pain

My biggest weakness where treatment is concerned is consistency. I’m trying to do better in order to save Fiona from unneeded pain, and to save myself from the very long nights that I’ve become all too chummy with lately. Maybe putting this out in the universe will help a bit. xo!

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When On Earth Did She Turn Into This Not-So-Little Lady?

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Beautiful Bri
Beautiful Bri

Beautiful Bri

I briefly mentioned Brianna’s shoe size in another post, but in the last week or so, I’ve just been sort of blown away by the changes in her. Seriously, she’s almost as tall as I am. I’m 5’3″ and she’s got to be hovering right around 5′. With her size nines on, she’s just a hair shorter than me. She also has these moments where she slips into woman mode and absolutely takes my breath away. She doesn’t know she’s done it; she looks at me like I’m insane and tries to hide from the camera when I whip it out (me, desperately needing to capture that moment). I have to beg her to let me take it, explaining that I’m not trying to embarrass her, but that she is just. so. beautiful. She tends to relent a bit at that point, but has a hard time letting down her guard so I can take a natural picture. That’s why I take about 50 in a row – so I can catch the real moments hidden between the nervous smiles.

I remember those desperate and uncomfortable moments. They extended well into my 20s until I managed to find some peace with myself, some confidence in my own brand of loveliness, and an increasing acceptance in my very different, post-babies body. I never really managed to love my pre-babies body, and I just find that so unfortunate and sad. It’s such a waste of precious time, and I pray that she appreciates her own beauty, and embraces her curves and her shape well before I could appreciate mine.

We had a girl’s afternoon on Sunday, with legitimate excuses to get out…am I the only one that sometimes needs a legitimate excuse to force myself out with just one child? I should make a point of doing it for absolutely no reason. Anyway, she needed a new bathing suit (she won’t stop growing!!), and a couple other things. We always have such a good time while we are out, like 2 demented peas in a pod. We have similar goofy senses of humor, and without all the distractions and drama of the other 3 kids, we inevitably reconnect in a way, and remember that we truly like each other. I hope you understand what I mean by that; I love Brianna and all my children with a deep ferocity that cannot be explained in words. It’s in my guts and my soul and my heart and that will never change. The love is never the problem. The like can be more difficult to remember amid the constant bickering and shrieks and attitude-filled protestations on everything from chores to school work. It is so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day shenanigans of life and forget the things we love about each other, and so I absolutely treasure the times like this past Sunday afternoon, when we are reminded of those things over cold Starbucks drinks and lots of girlish giggling. We did have a time! Look at this girl!

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Juniper Berry

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dōTERRA Juniper Berry Essential Oil
dōTERRA Juniper Berry Essential Oil

dōTERRA Juniper Berry Essential Oil

I’m writing this today, because last night Miss Fiona had a night terror and it was like an unpleasant flashback to the days when these were a frequent occurence. She was getting them at the end of 2014, and at that time, I stumbled onto the wonder that is juniper berry essential oil. Thanks to this oil, we haven’t seen much in the way of night terrors since we started using it. It turns out, for whatever reason, Fiona didn’t get her juniper berry oil last night! Lesson learned.

Anyway, back to December. After some research, I found that multiple people had experienced results when using juniper berry essential oil for nighttime issues. I figured that it was worth a shot, because night terrors are seriously for the birds. It’s awful having a miserable, freaked out, and completely incoherent child screaming and thrashing in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Children can’t be reasoned with or calmed down when they’re like this. It’s a waiting game for her to snap out of it, and then she’s fine (her mother, however, tends to be a little worse for the wear after one of these episodes).

Side note: I went through this with Eli, too. That was pre-essential oils, and his episodes lasted for what seemed like an eternity. His were hardcore and frequent, and I wish with all my heart that I had known then what I know now!

Also, something that I’ve noticed is that these episodes seem to come about much more frequently when the kids have played extra hard outside during the day. They both seem to experience (Eli experienced – past tense) leg discomfort during these times, like growing pains or restless leg syndrome. So, I try to address any leg pain when the episodes happen.

Our new routine is to apply diluted juniper berry and lavender to the bottoms of her feet and down her spine every night before bed. I have 2 separate roller bottles that I have on hand always, one with juniper berry, and one with lavender. Each 10 mL bottle has 10 drops of the oil and then the rest of the bottle is just fractionated coconut oil. In the first 2 weeks that we tried this, Fiona woke once during the night, and instead of having a night terror, she was calm and reasonable. I count this as maybe my best essential oil success story, because our nights were so disrupted and terrible when these episodes were happening frequently. And now? The improvement is astounding.

Last night, because we were in the midst of a full on night terror, instead of doing our normal proactive protocol, I went with something slightly different. I just put about 2 tsp of fractionated coconut oil in my palm, along with 2 drops of juniper berry, 2 drops of marjoram (to help with leg pain), and 2 drops of Serenity (dōTERRA’s calming blend), and massaged the mixture into her lower legs, feet and knees. I would normally have only used a drop of each oil, but things were chaotic, as you can imagine. It worked like a charm, and she slept peacefully the rest of the night.

I can’t recommend these oils highly enough. I have used them for years, and finally became a Wellness Advocate last year. I have no idea what took me so long! If you are interested in trying this oil or any other, let me know. Or if you already know you want oils and you need help getting started, I can help with that, too. I’m happy to share my time, oil samples, and information, anytime! You can contact me through the site or just email me – valeries.doterra.essentials at gmail.com. xo!

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