DIY: Replacement Reed Diffuser Oil

I love a house that smells good. Who doesn’t?! I love burning candles in the fall and winter, and I love using reed diffusers in my bathroom year round. What I do not love, however, are the toxic chemicals that get dispersed into my home and the air we breathe when using conventional candles or reed diffusing oil.  With asthma, allergies and eczema not an issue for us lately (finally!) I continue to be really careful about what toxins we are exposed to.

I have this really awesome reed diffuser I bought from one of those candle party companies a few years ago.  It sits on my bathroom counter empty because I ran out of oil a long time ago and never thought I could make my own.  The other day I was on one of those fanatic cleaning/ organizing sprees – am I the only one who does that?  While I was on my cleaning spree, I thought, “Hey, I have all these great smelling essential oils.  I bet I can make a homemade reed diffusing oil with ingredients I have here!”  15 seconds later, Google supplied me with about 15 trillion websites with different kinds of recipes for reed diffusing oils.  You are now reading post 15 trillion and one.  People use all kinds of ingredients like olive oil or sesame oil in combination with essential oils.  I’m sure this wouldn’t happen, but I imagined the oil sitting on my counter collecting dust and growing mold… I don’t want any part of that, even if it is Halloween!

The recipe I made is a loose combination of the ten websites I checked out, minus any food based oils.  My bathroom smells fresh and lovely.  I read on the Yankee Candle website that you are supposed to change your reeds frequently, like every time you change the oil, to keep the scent dispersing properly.  My reeds are about three years old and I have never changed them, so I have ordered these ones and cannot wait to see if it increases the scent in the room.

All you need is the following:

1/3 cup distilled water

2 teaspoons rubbing alcohol

20 drops of essential oils of your choice

Simply mix the ingredients together in a glass jar with a narrow opening and put in your reeds.  Do not fear, the smell of the rubbing alcohol will not fill your room.  After a few hours it was gone from the mixture completely.  All that I could smell was the essential oil.  (Thank god!  I hate the smell of rubbing alcohol.)

I flip my reeds over a few times a day to keep the scent going strong.  What an easy and inexpensive way to keep a home smelling fresh and chemical free!

If you are interesting in purchasing essential oils, click here to learn more!

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DIY: Simple Diaper Rash Salve

My toddler’s favorite food is fruit.  Any fruit.  He can eat berries by the pint, no problem.  This is all great and fine – until it comes out the other end!  Did you know that blueberries have seeds?  Lots and lots of seeds….

Change subject!  Sort of.

Without getting into any serious detail, I will say he has had his fair share of diaper rash.  It’s been so bad that his booty-butt has blistered.  Every time it happens, I need to take extra precautions like using warm water on cotton squares instead of baby wipes, using a ridiculous amount of moisture barrier ointment, etc.  Not to mention he fights me every step of the way because it HURTS.  It’s literally a pain in the butt for both of us!

A few days ago, he blistered again.  I used a moisture barrier cream until the irritation had gone down, and then I tried some essential oils on that baby butt.  It seems it helped wonderfully at healing up the blisters, once the need for a moisture barrier had passed.

This recipe is simple!  Here is what I used for a toddler sized child:

  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
  • 4 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Coconut oil is something I always have in the house.  Studies like this one conducted by The International Society of Dermatology verify that coconut oil is extremely effective at keeping skin moisturized.  I often use this on my toddler post bath as well, in place of a commercial lotion.

Lavender Essential Oil has been shown in studies such as this to aid in healing wounds.  Lavender is often recommended as *the* go-to oil, as it is so effective at so many things.  In addition to wounds, lavender is effective at treating burns and may minimize scarring.

If your child is an infant, I would proceed with caution using essential oils.  Dilute heavily with coconut oil.  An infant’s skin is thinner than older children and thus extremely sensitive.

This recipe is for children and so it is extra important that you use a pure, therapeutic grade essential oil.  The skin absorbs everything put on it and small children cannot filter toxins as well as adults can.

Join the discussion!  What remedies do you have in place for diaper rash?  Share with me in the comments below!

Fevers are our friends

Read this before using Tylenol or Motrin for your child's fever.  It could be causing more harm than good!

It’s kind of a nightmare when I realize my kids are getting sick.  I mentally let go of any hope of exercising, sleeping or even leaving the house.  My toddler is extremely healthy – he has only been sick two times in 18 months, once with 6th disease (not as bad as it sounds, we didn’t even go to the doctor) and once with a cold.  Until this past week.

Fevers in kids are scary.  Once the temperature approaches 103 I feel like I should be sitting there watching them with my finger on speed dial to 9-1-1.  Then I remember the saying “Fevers are our Friend” and talk myself off the crazy lady ledge.  From Dr. Sear’s website:

Are fevers dangerous? No. Many parents have a misconception that fevers are a bad thing and a sign that there is some serious underlying illness. This simply is not true. Fever is a normal and healthy response of the body to an illness. The body’s immune system releases chemicals that raise the body temperature. This is part of the normal infection-fighting process.

Even Hippocrates, the ‘Father of Modern Medicine’, wrote, “Give me a fever and I can cure any ailment.”  A fever is the body’s extremely effective way of ridding infection to return to a well state.  I am a firm believer in the intelligence of the human body.  I believe we are perfect by design and the less interference the body has, the more capable it is of running the way it has been designed to do.  While the “Fevers are our Friend” concept has been hard to swallow, it is a necessary one.  Many doctors recommend giving a child Tylenol or Motrin like it is no big deal.  Not only does this interfere with the body healing itself by quelling the fever, studies have confirmed an increase in asthma among children given acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the first year of their life.  (Source) This is because of the gut or liver damage which is caused by this type of over-the-counter medications.  (Source)  If asthma runs in your family, you should definitely take this into consideration when caring for your sick child.

Thankfully, I was able to avoid fever and pain reducers thus far by employing essential oils and homeopathic remedies.  Until last week!  My youngest is eighteen months.  He was acting cranky on a hot day last week.  I knew he was feeling warm, but we had been out in the sun for an hour so I thought that might be the cause.  I put him down for a nap around 4 p.m.  and he woke an hour later.  He was extremely hot and shaking in his arms.  The shaking is what scared me!  I don’t think it was a febrile seizure, but scary nonetheless.  I took his temperature while he ate a homemade juice popsicle.  (I love these things!)  His temperature was 103.5 degrees, which is in the safe range, but he was shaking so much I felt I had to get his fever down a little.  I ended up giving him a little ibuprofen (Motrin) for the first time ever, along with a lukewarm bath.  This reduced his fever to the 101 range, which I was fine with.   His fever spiked again through the night to over 104 degrees with more shaking, and so I gave him Motrin a second time.  My thoughts were if it got over 105 I would be calling an ambulance (my husband was of course at work that night) and I definitely did not want it to get to the point of dragging my older son along in the middle of the night.

While I have avoided using pain or fever reducers in the past, it was the shaking that prompted me to give him Motrin.  Did I over-react?  Possibly!  According to the National Institute of Health:

Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6 °F (42 °C). Untreated fevers caused by infection will seldom go over 105 °F unless the child is overdressed or trapped in a hot place.

Febrile seizures do occur in some children. However, most febrile seizures are over quickly, do not mean your child has epilepsy, and do not cause any permanent harm.

I was raised with Tylenol or Motrin when we really needed it and I have always thought a 103 temperature was really high.  Further, I have never seen my kids shake from a fever, so I admit I acted out of worry.  I really don’t know what would have happened if I did not bring his fever down a little bit, and it is scary to take chances with a small child.  There have been cases of children with extremely high temperatures suffering permanent hearing loss.  While I always try to avoid using fever and pain reducers, I will always keep a bottle on hand for emergencies.

If I wasn’t so worried about my son shaking from his fever, I would have followed a natural fever protocol:

  • Peppermint oil on the feet.  Peppermint has a cooling feeling when applied topically.   **Update – A friend brought it to my attention that peppermint oil can cause respiratory distress in young children, so please exercise extreme caution to never apply on their face or chest.  Many sources recommend to never use peppermint oil on children under six, and NEVER, EVER apply undiluted.  Essential oils are very potent and effective and great care and caution must be exercised, especially with children.  
  •  Fluids.  Make sure your child is getting plenty to drink.  A high temperature will deplete water from the cells.  Water, tea or coconut water are great choices to sip on and will prevent dehydration.  Bone broth is another great choice to keep your child hydrated.  A popsicle will also work, and probably raise your child’s spirits which can go a long way in healing.
  • Help your child feel comfortable.  Follow your child’s lead if they are old enough to communicate with you.  Make sure they are covered if they are shivering, or uncovered if they are too hot.  Extra snuggles are great medicine too!
  • Cool rag on the head.  This helps cool the child off externally and feel more comfortable.
  • Ferrum Phos #4 Cell Salt.  This carries oxygen to the cells.  It is useful in the early onset of a fever.  Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle.

fever2

What is your fever protocol?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Sources:

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/childhood-illnesses/fever

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/tylenol-just-once-a-month-raises-a-childs-asthma-risk-540/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19696122

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003090.htm