Thursday, March 3, 2016

Essential Oils I Use Every Day

It's no secret, I loooove my Young Living Essential Oils!  I wanted to start out by talking about a couple of oils that I use almost every single day. 

I could go on and on about the benefits of oils (and I probably will at some point), but as a small side note, since having oils in the house, I no longer buy perfume.  Actually, I didn't buy perfume much anyway because they all made me NAUSEOUS!  It was kind of a bummer, because there are so many perfumes that smell wonderful, but within a minute or two of smelling them, I felt light headed and sick to my stomach.

Luckily, I love my oils, and there are some blends that smell so wonderful, I use them as perfume!  This is a win-win situation for me.  Not only do I smell awesome, but I am getting the benefit of the oils as well! 

Here are some of my favorite-smelling blends:


Joy was the first oil that I was happy to use as perfume.  Just the name Joy attracted me to it originally. This oil is associated with happiness and togetherness.  I put a drop on my heart area (Joy in my heart).  I will also put it on/in a diffuser necklace.  It reminds me a bit of the perfume Happy because of its hint of citrus.  Joy is a delightful blend of Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose essential oils that harmonize for a sweet, joyful aroma.


Valor is associated with courage and confidence, and it smells awesome!  Its woodsy, positive scent comes from a blend of Black Spruce, Blue Tansy, Rosewood, and Frankincense. I wear it on my wrists most mornings...even when I'm wearing other oils.  People will often ask me what I'm wearing, because I smell so darn good. :) 


Ahh, I love the smell of this oil!  It does have the citrus-y smell I love, but is lighter and different than Joy.  I love to put this on my ears and clavicle area. Peace & Calming essential oil is a gentle, sweet blend of Ylang Ylang, Orange, Tangerine, Patchouli, and Blue Tansy. It's a beautiful oil that is associated with, go figure, peaceful and calm feelings!


The name says it all, right? This one smells a bit different, but equally as awesome. It has a more flowery/vanilla smell to it. I love to put this one on the back of my neck, just below my skull.  Per Young Living, "Stress Away essential oil blend is a natural solution created to combat normal stresses that creep into everyday life. Stress Away is the first product to contain the unique stress-relieving combination of lime and vanilla pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Stress Away also includes copaiba and lavender to reduce mental rigidity and restore equilibrium. Featuring powerful plant constituents, such as the cedrol found in cedarwood and the eugenol that occurs naturally in vanilla, Stress Away can help induce relaxation and reduce occasional nervous tension."

I hope you've enjoyed learning a tiny bit about my four go-to "super perfumes."  I love that I am getting benefits, and smelling good at the same time.  There are also many other applications and places on the body for these oils, as well.  If you are interested in learning a little more about my journey with oils, click here.

Life is good.

Thinking about getting started with Essential Oils?

Hi! You’re in the right place!  I know you’ve heard good things about Young Living Essential Oils. Do you want to know more?

My name is Michele.  I am a soccer mom with two young boys.  Over the last few years, I have incorporated Young Living Oils into my daily routine, and also into my rituals for supporting my family’s health.
I was very skeptical at first.  I would hear about a certain oil from a friend, and occasionally order a single oil here and there.  I loved the oils I bought, but honestly, I was a bit too cheap  frugal to dive in and get the whole kit.  I thought it was expensive (I’m still working on this whole frugal thing).  I bought a few cheap bottles from the health food store that didn’t seem to work (maybe because they didn’t work).  Looking back, this turned out to be a big mistake for me, because I missed a couple years of experiencing so many uses for oils in all areas of my life, such as:

-Supporting our emotional health
-Keeping healthy immune systems
-Adding zing to cooking and drinks
-Cleaning the whole house without chemicals
-Supporting different body systems
And more!

So, as I heard more and more about the vast benefits that my friends were getting from oils, I became more intrigued.  I researched, and perused Pinterest for different uses for oils. Wow!  I began to realize that you get what you pay for!  These other, cheaper oils were not therapeutic-grade, and many were just watered down with solvents, even though they were allowed to say 100% pure essential oils (since there was a little bit in the bottle).  No wonder they didn’t work. 
I am a more holistic-minded person by nature, so I want to avoid chemicals as much as possible in my home and in my body. The lightbulb went on.  “This isn’t expensive if I am I replacing other things I use daily!”  I signed up for Young Living and haven’t looked back! I love being able to use something natural and supportive in my life instead of synthesized chemicals.  Plus, by using oils to support our health and immune systems, I figure I have saved tons of extra money on “sick management,” as well!    I’m so glad I finally got the whole kit, so that I have been able to experience a full array of benefits at any given moment…not just one here and one there.
I did a lot of research and once I learned about Young Living, and their stringent Seed to Seal process, I felt confident that this was the gold standard—the best of the best!  I want to feel  100% confident about what I put in, or on my body, or in my home or family!

To receive your starter kit and enjoy wholesale pricing (24% off retail), you “join” young living as a member.  There are no requirements or annual fees.  There is no obligation to “sell” Young Living, either…though you can if you want!  You can always just order when you want something.  If you don’t spend $50 personal volume in a year, your account goes dormant, but you can reactivate at any time.
Young living also offers their Essential Rewards program which credits you points on all your purchases that you can use to buy more awesome products!  A.K.A. “FREE STUFF.”  My favorite words. ;)  With Essential Rewards you also receive a reduced shipping rate.  There are also great promotions every month, as well!
I HIGHLY recommend the premium starter kit.  This is what I wish I started with at the beginning of my oils journey.  Not only does it come with an oil diffuser, it comes with 11 Everyday Oils, as well as some other goodies and samples!  In my opinion, this is really the BEST way to jump in and see how these oils can benefit your family in so many different ways.

The Premium Kit comes with everything you’ll need to get started with essential oils and you get to choose which diffuser is best for you!  You’ll get:
     -An Everyday Oils Collection with 10 of Young Living’s most popular oils
     - A bonus oil (Stress Away) to bring your collection up to 11
     -A Diffuser of Your Choice (Dewdrop, Bamboo, Rainstone  or Aria)
     -Oil Sample Packets
     -Oil Sample Bottles
     -Oil Sample Sharing Cards
     -2 Packets of NingXia Red
     -1 Roller Fitment

Easy peasy.  Click on my sign up page.  SIGN UP HERE!
-Choose Your membership Option – I recommend the Wholesale Membership.   If you choose Retail Customer, you are paying full retail price, which is 24% more than the Wholesale Membership.  Remember, there is no obligation to sell anything as a wholesale member.
-My ID number should already be filled in for you (2001036) – select your country and your language preference. 

-Fill out your name, email, billing address, shipping address, and contact info. (The reason you are asked to list your social security number is for tax purposes. If you make over $600/year selling Young Living products, you will receive a 1099 form in the mail, as is required by law. Young Living will never share this info with anyone.  The IRS just needs to be able to connect some number with you for tax purposes). 
-Create your password and pin which you will use to log in to your account and order your oils.

-Choose the kit you want. {I highly recommend one of the Premium Starter Kits.}  You can choose between :
     -The Premium Starter Kit with Dew Drop Diffuser  $160

     -The Premium Starter Kit with Bamboo Diffuser  $170


-The Premium Starter Kit with the Rainstone Diffuser $205
     -The Premium Starter Kit with Aria   $260

Once you've selected your desired kit, proceed to check out. You can skip the Essential Rewards part for now unless you would like to join ER right away.  You can always sign up for ER later if you wish. 

Don’t forget to CONFIRM YOUR ORDER so you get your wonderful oils!


PS - Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or for support at:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stress-Free Meal Planning


This is how making dinner used to go down in my house:

4:30 p.m.:  Oh crap.  It's time to figure out something to make for dinner.  (opens fridge)  Nothing in there.  (Opens freezer.)  Hmmm, I have some frozen chicken. What can I make?  Maybe some sort of casserole?  Nah, no one in my house likes casseroles. I guess I'll just bake some chicken.  What can I make with the chicken?  (Stress starts to ramp up.)  Making dinner sucks. I wish I didn't have to make every meal every day. (Opens freezer again. Finds mixed veggies. Makes dinner.)  Hmm...I guess I still need another side.  I don't have one. I wish I was more organized.  I guess I'll just pop a piece of bread in the toaster for everyone.  (Serves dinner.)  Dinner is boring and no one likes it.  Why bother?

Does this scenario sound familiar? This was almost every day for me.  Dinner felt like a burden I had to take on.  I resented it.  I felt like I wasn't good at it. Ok, well, I still feel that way, but anyway... Then, one day it came to a head.  My husband finally lost his patience with me after, like, the millionth time that a big part of the meal was missing.  Naturally, I yelled and told him he was picking on me, and judging me, and that I couldn't be perfect like his mother. 

But, I guess he was sort of right.  Something was always missing or substituted.  A side.  An ingredient.  Something.  He suggested I meal plan, to which I swiftly rolled my eyes at.  I had pledged to myself many times to make a plan for the week ahead, on the weekend.  Then the weekend happened.  It was too hard.  It never happened.  I never remembered. I'm not one of those born-organized people.  My life is a tornado of chaos.  I fly by the seat of my pants.  There was always something more pressing needing my, watching American Ninja Warrior or something.

So, to appease the hubs, I reluctantly tried again so I could show him what a stupid idea it was.  Since he didn't seem to want to help (???),  I did it myself.  And I did it differently than before.  And it actually turned out pretty great.  And it's still working, months later. 

Here are the steps...


For my family, this is hard.  Really hard. One kid likes hot dogs, one hates them.  One likes chicken, one hates it.  One likes steak, one hates it.  Both kids hate anything healthy, really.  Hubs hates soups, stews, chili, casseroles, and most pasta.  You get the picture.  So, we obviously can't please everyone with every meal, but we can list the ones that might be acceptable to the majority.  Try to find at least 30 meals for the list...or even more if you don't have picky eaters like I do.


I put my "appointment" between 4:30-5:30 pm every day, since that's when I'm usually making dinner.  Put this appointment in for every day of the month (you can always tweak it at the beginning of the week if you know you have a party or event outside of the home). It doesn't matter what order things are in, just put certain meals on days that make sense for your family.  Pizza Friday?  Taco Tuesday?  Grill out Sunday?  If you have pizza every Friday...BAM! You have all your Fridays covered!  Make it work for your lifestyle.  You can even designate days for Leftovers, Eat Out, or YOYO (you're on your own).  Yoyo really only works if everyone in your house can make food for themselves.  I'm looking forward to that one.


This step is important, and it makes grocery shopping a breeze.  This is what you reference at the beginning of the week when you are making a shopping list for the grocery store.  You already know what you're making that week.  No guessing.  You know what ingredients you need to make all the meals.  Complete meals.  You know what to thaw out a couple days before.  Forgot to make your list?  No problem. You can just pull up your calendar on your phone at the store.  Sometimes I end up running into a store unexpectedly, and I don't have to worry about not having my list.  It's in my calendar.  Booyah.


This is the magic part.  With a small amount of work up front, you can essentially have your meals always planned out!  Most meals can be made once a month, and it won't be overkill.  Make those recurring monthly.  Some meals you may not want to make EVERY month, so you can make them recurring every other month, or every third month.  Once everything is entered for the first month, look forward a month or two and see if there are any holes to fill in.  There will most likely be, since not all months have the same amount of Mondays, Tuesdays, etc.  Fill those in with every other month items, or every third month items, until everything is full. 

It does take a little work up front to make the lists, look up the ingredients, and get everything entered, but it's so worth it!  I don't always follow the meal plan exactly. Sometimes I switch what the sides will be.  I also have to adjust for events that come up.  Very often, I will switch two days around, or skip over a meal if something doesn't make sense due to an activity with the kids.  Or sometimes we end up going out to eat unexpectedly.  However, that happens a lot less since I now have a plan, and I know that I have the ingredients I need for the meal.  Sometimes I will try a new recipe I found instead of what is scheduled.  I look at the plan as more of a guideline, than something that I have to follow to a T.  Also, printing out a weekly or monthly view of your plan and displaying it in the house keeps everyone's expectations in check.

Follow these steps, and you now have an endless meal plan to make your life easier! I hope this method makes you feel more prepared and organized, and helps take the stress out of dinner time!  This has really helped my family, and has also caused us to eat out a little less. So, hubs may have been right about the meal planning concept, but I like to take credit for the idea. ;-)

Life is good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just One of Those Weeks

I am not SuperMom this week...and it's okay.  I want to keep it real here.   
I am tired.  I have slept for 10-11 hours a night, and am still yawning all day long.   I took a nap when C was at preschool, instead of doing something “productive.” 
I don't feel strong.  I ate Halloween candy and potato chips.  
I am kind of cranky and irritable.  I can’t seem to handle much of anything.  I feel spacey and out of it. 
I feel like I need a break.  A day to just lie in bed all day and cry. Or read.  Or listen to the sound of silence.  
I feel uninspired.
I had been feeling really good for the last month or so.   I was motivated, happy, and upbeat.   But I am human, after all, and I have bad days.  Sometimes, my brain just needs a “reset.”   Or maybe my body or mind needs to process something big.   I am honoring that.  Though others may not understand, I am choosing to give myself grace.  This too shall pass.  It always does, doesn't it?
I am committed to my goal of “accepting imperfection,” so I am rejecting guilt.  

We humans all have our days (or weeks or months).  We are not perfect and it's okay.  Let's rid our minds of the idea that we should be perfect.  Are you with me?
Life is good.

Mommy Brain #1

I’ve never seen a truer info graphic.  Mom brains are especially “insane.”  Juggling tasks, meals, a home, and activities for several people is a lot of work.  Then, when you add in information overload, and top it all off with some good old fashioned ridiculous expectations and mommy guilt, the ol’ CPU is running at full capacity.  I believe this is what they call “mommy brain.”   I’d like to give you a snapshot of how a mom’s brain looks. Please  enjoy this segment of “Mommy Brain.”

I feel like such a slug. I had 2 1/2 hours to myself today with no obligations, and I'm still wearing my clothes from yesterday. That I slept in. These fleece lined leggings are sooo comfy, though. I didn’t clean much, and was not productive today at all. Well actually, I did make those Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Balls I found on Pinterest. Although, I didn't use cinnamon or raisins.  Plus, the oats weren’t gluten-free oats, so they are likely contaminated.  If the kids get a tummy ache, it’s my fault because I served them sub par oats.  What kind of mom does that?  The chocolate chips were a good idea, but then they melted.  Yeah, these balls suck.  Anyway, I guess I wasn’t totally unproductive because I did manage to fit in two episodes of House Hunters Renovation.  AND, I fast forwarded through the commercials, so I totally saved time.  That was smart. But now I really have the urge to fix up my house.   I totally need a cute printed roman shade above my sink for a pop of color!  But window treatments are sooo expensive.  I bet I can make one myself! 

(peruses Pinterest for 38 minutes) 

Crap.  It’s time to pick up 5yo from school.  I wonder if they will notice I’m wearing the same clothes as this morning.  And yesterday.  Maybe I'll change my shirt so it looks like I'm wearing something different.   I can’t wear the same shoes as yesterday because then it will be totally obvious. But I read somewhere you can't wear gym shoes with skinny jeans.  It’s a fashion faux pas. Do leggings count as skinny jeans? What about Converse low tops? Are those considered gym shoes?  Screw it. I don't care what anyone thinks.  Maybe I'll just wear a hat.
Life is good.

Chocolaty oatmeal ball anyone?

Can you relate to this post?  Leave me a comment!

Healthy Finds for Less at Aldi

I'll admit, I never really gave Aldi much of a chance until more recently. I just assumed everything there was cheap, and full of junk. And a lot of it is. But some of it isn’t. Aldi has recently added an organic line, as well as a new gluten-free line of foods. Who knew? I’m super excited to see more stores adding items with less chemicals and unnecessary ingredients. Our dollars are votes!

I try to buy organic when I can. Our bodies are so overloaded with toxins nowadays, I just feel I need to do what I can (within reason) to not add to that burden. However, the new gluten-free line, Live G-Free, is what got me in there. The kids’ recent allergy tests showed that we should probably stay away from wheat and dairy for a while, as well as a few other things. Panic started setting in. What am I going to feed them? They are typical picky-eater kids. So, I set out to find some gluten-free replacements to their favorite foods and snacks. I couldn’t believe how expensive they were!

One day I ended up at Aldi and was pleasantly surprised. Hidden amongst the typical junky foods, were decent substitutes for A LOT of the items we buy all the time…for A LOT less! Below are a few of the items I started buying at Aldi.

Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef - $5.99

I usually buy this from a farm cooperative, but if I run out, this is a great alternative. With the beef prices skyrocketing, this is a good price for a pound of this quality of meat.

Fruit Spread - $1.69

I typically buy something like All Fruit with no extra sugar added. This little guy fit the bill perfectly.

Organic, Unrefined, Cold-pressed Coconut Oil - $4.99

Super healthy oil.  Good price. 

El Milagro Tortilla Chips - $2.39

I normally only buy organic when it comes to anything corn because of GMOs, but if you are in a pinch and don’t have time to go to another store, these are GMO-free, and restaurant quality.

Organic Crushed or Diced Tomatoes $1.49

I prefer to buy any kind of tomato product in glass jars because the acid causes the BPA to leech from the can liner, but these will work if they are not available. Great for chili!

Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes $1.29

I also use these in my chili. That Fire Roasted part gives it a really nice flavor!

Fruit Cups - $1.69

Eating the whole fruit is WAY better, but I will get these for the occasional lunch box treat or snack. They are not organic, but neither are the ones you buy at a regular grocery store, typically. Aldi has a few varieties that are in 100% juice: peaches, tropical fruit, mandarin oranges, and pineapples. Avoid the stuff in the syrups- yuck.

Unsweetened Almond Milk – $2.49

This is the same thing as the name brands, but cheaper. This is great for protein shakes, in coffee, or in cereal. I noticed they just recently added coconut milk, too. If they get an unsweetened version, I’ll be trying that, too.

Organic Salsa $1.99

We like mild. It tastes similar to Tostitos salsa, but it’s organic and cheaper. Win-win.

Gluten-Free Coco Loco Bars - $2.49

These are gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and nut free…but not taste free, surprisingly. The kids say they taste like a brownie. These are perfect for an occasional portable treat. They also carry two other flavors.

Organic Pasta Sauce $1.79

Tastes good!

Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola Cereal - $2.79

While not as cheap as their other junk cereals, it’s organic and has good fat and protein. It’s a small box, but it’s very dense and filling. And it’s delicious.


Organic Apple Juice - $2.49

Apples are higher in pesticides, so I am glad to find it organic. We add a splash of juice to the kids water.

Brown Rice Spaghetti - $1.89

A must have if you are avoiding gluten.

Lunchmeat – Uncured, No Nitrates, No Antibiotics - $2.99

This is a pretty good price for this type of meat. Applegate lunchmeat will run you $4.99-$5.99 per package.

Dark Chocolate Morsels - $1.79

60% cacao. Same ingredients as the “better” brands. Made in a nut-free facility.


Aldi will typically have a small selection of organic produce. If you buy a lot of produce every week, and you want organic, you may have to supplement somewhere else.

Organic Grape Tomatoes $2.49

We use these on salads and in my son’s lunch.

Organic Baby Carrots - $1.29

Organic Gala Apples - $4.69

Apples seem to be getting more expensive, so I was glad to see this cheaper bulk bag

Organic Raspberries - $2.39

This is a good price for organic.

Bananas - $1.54

Aldi does sometimes carry organic bananas, however, I typically buy conventional for bananas. Check out the list of the “Dirty Dozen” most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. This list will help you to determine which produce items are the most important to buy organic. Aldi does carry a decent selection of conventional produce.

Bag of Cuties (Seedless Mandarin Oranges) $4.99

These suckers are getting really expensive, too. This is not a bad price for this whole bag.

These are just a handful of the items that you can find cheaper at Aldi. There are also hundreds more commonly-used items, such as spices, baking staples, personal care products, meat, frozen foods, canned and dried beans, dairy, and even wine/beer. J While I do still need to visit Costco or Whole Foods for certain things, I can make these trips a lot less frequently now. Why not give Aldi a chance and save yourself some green?

Since I wrote this post, Aldi has exploded with quadruple the amount of organic and gluten-free items!  Go check it out!!

Easiest 5 Minute Faux Roman Shade Ever!

Really?!  5 minutes?  Well, okay, it may take a little trial and error to get everything exactly the way you want it, but if you're lucky...5 minutes. And NO sewing required! :)

Here's what you'll need:
  • Fabric of your choice  (I needed a focal point.  The way my kitchen is designed, there is NO wall space at all to hang pictures. I chose something with a pop of color, since I really couldn't add color anywhere else!)
  • 2 tension rods
  • Several pins
  • Measuring tape
First you will need to measure the width of your window space to make sure you buy fabric and tension rods wide enough to fit.  You will want your tension rod at least a little bigger than the opening so that you have enough "tension" for it to stay up.  You will want your fabric AT LEAST 8 inches wider than your window opening, since you will be folding the edges over on each side.  You will also want the fabric much longer than the actually "shade" will be, since we will be folding edges over, as well as draping it over two rods.

Here we go...

Fit your tension rods to the window.

Put your fabric face-down on the floor with one of the tension rods underneath.

Fold each side of your fabric inward until your tension rod ends are showing a tiny bit, adjusting as needed to make the folded parts even on each side.

Once it is where you want it to be, use the pins and fasten the fabric going down each side.  Every 6 inches or so should be fine. Try to be inconspicuous with the part of the pin showing on the front of the shade.

Fold the bottom of the fabric up to create a clean bottom edge.  Pin.  Fold the top part of the fabric over the tension rod. Pin.

Place the top rod, with the shade attached to it, in the top of the window space.

Place the 2nd rod several inches lower, in front of the fabric.

Pull fabric that is between the two rods forward with enough slack to drape over the bottom rod.

Make adjustments to your taste.  Voila!

You will most likely have to play with it a little until you get a look that you like.  Once you get it the perfect width, you can also buy a little bonding tape or Stitch Witchery to secure the edges better, then remove the pins.

Enjoy the new addition to your room! :)

Life is good.