Essential Oils, Healthy Living

Young Living Essential Oil Samples!

Since writing my dilution piece, I’ve received many questions about essential oils.  Most people are intrigued, however, more are overwhelmed.

It IS overwhelming, and it was overwhelming for me as well!

It is confusing to decide which oil to buy, if and how to dilute that specific oil, and its application.

So I’ve decided I would help those of you hesitant to dilute essential oils yourselves by providing you with essential oil samples!  I will send you your oil of choice, and dilute it to the strength you would prefer (see chart below)!

Here is a list of available Young Living Essential Oil Samples available to you for dilution:

Cypress – grounding.

Frankincense – immune support, skin health, spiritual grounding.

Lavender – skin irritations, balancing, relaxation.  Here is more from Young Living about lavender essential oil!

Lemon – energizing, circulatory support, cleansing.  Here is more from Young Living about lemon essential oil!

Lemongrass – purifying, digestive support.

Peppermint – energizing, digestive support, muscle support.  Here is more from Young Living about peppermint essential oil!

Tea Tree – cleansing.  Here is more from Young Living about tea tree essential oil!

*Diluted samples are to be used topically.  I am unable to list specific suggested uses for these samples, as doing so is prohibited by the FDA!  Use of these samples is at your own risk!*


Which oils would you like to try? 

Here is the price list!

Cypress, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, and tea tree diluted samples are $5, plus shipping and handing.

Due to the cost of frankincense essential oil, a diluted sample bottle of this is $10, plus shipping and handling.

Shipping and handing is $5 for as many diluted samples as you pick.

All diluted samples will use your choice of Young Living Essential Oil and jojoba carrier oil only!  Samples will arrive labeled and in a 10 ml, amber glass roll-on bottle.

How can you receive Young Living diluted samples?

  1.  Just contact me at!
  2. Please specify which oil(s) you would like as diluted samples.
  3. Also specify which percentage of dilution you prefer.  See table above.
  4. I will send you a PayPal invoice with instructions for  payment.  Once I receive your payment, I will prepare your samples.  Please allow up to 2 weeks for preparation and delivery.  Local pick-up is also available!  Shipping  availability is to the contiguous United States only!

If you have further questions regarding any of the oils above, please feel free to contact me at!

Find me and more about Young Living, including their products and prices, at!

Thanks for your interest!



In Our Bellies

Crock Pot Beef Bourguignonne with Gluten Free Noodles

After visiting a Kentucky horse park this fall and tasting their famous Burgoo, I realized how long it had been since I had actually made stew!  Kentucky Burgoo is very similar to stew and is definitely a comfort food perfect for fall weather!  After mulling over how I would make something equally comforting and tasty, I came up with the following dish!  Similar to Burgoo, Bourguignonne is also stew-like!

Crock Pot Beef Bourguignonne with Gluten Free Noodles


1-1 1/2 lb. cubed beef

16 oz. raw carrots, sliced

1+ cups sliced mushrooms

1 small yellow onion, diced

8 oz. tomato paste

1 c. beef or chicken broth

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. red wine

1/4 c. red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. thyme

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. black pepper

gluten free noodle of choice


  1. Prepare your vegetables and garlic as listed in the ingredients list.
  2. Add meat, prepared vegetables, spices, and other ingredients to the crock pot.
  3. Cook ingredients in the crock pot for about 5-6 hours on high heat.
  4. Prepare your noodle of choice as directed by its package.
  5. To serve, place noodles on a plate and dish the bourguignonne to top.

Serves 6-8 adults.

*This recipe would also work sans noodles, however they are a favorite with the crowd I have at home right now!*



This recipe is perfect for chilly fall nights, family or friend get-togethers, pot lucks, and busy evenings!

Note:  We strive to eat naturally.  To us, that means we eat locally, organically, and we avoid foods that are genetically-modified whenever possible!  When prepared, recipes are modified as such.  Some of us here also eat gluten, soy, and dairy free!

If you try this recipe, please offer your feedback!

Thanks for stopping by!

Adoption, Down Syndrome, Life!

Inside the Heart of an Adoptive Mother

I see you back then.  You were scared and worried about the unknowns.  The path was unfamiliar and the baby was not yours, per se.  You had biological children of your own, but this territory seemed new.

It was a cloudy day when you received the call.  As much as you thought you were prepared for that day to come, you so were not.  When you hung up the phone with your social worker, you still did not fully comprehend that your baby had already arrived.  It was truly a surreal feeling to be amiss from your child’s birth.  You did not hear his first cries or smell his tiny head.  You did not know what he looked like; his weight or height.  Did he have hair?  As you prepared to trek to the hospital with your husband, fear and doubt began to creep in.  Your journey was about to begin.

The drive to the hospital was distant and its town unfamiliar.  As you both rode silently, fear’s sound cut through the quiet like a sword.  The measure of the risk you were about to take on weighed on your hearts and minds like few other things could.  Wonderings about your children’s futures played out in your head.  Uncertainty was abounding.

Quietly walking into the hospital, your arrival there was unlike the birth of your other children.  Having no family to celebrate with the birth of one of your own was lonely and stressful, and somewhat overlooked.  There, the baby’s birth was not met with celebration, but was an awkward and sad event.  Tears flowed easily from the baby’s biological family members, and understanding of his placement was cloudy at best.  They were most certainly mourning the loss of their very alive child.

As a nurse directed you to the birth family’s room, nervous tension and excitement filled your body.  Your mind went back and forth between wanting them to keep their baby and getting to him as fast as you could.

You remember quite vividly when the birth father took you into the nursery where your child was waiting.  As you approached the little one, you could vaguely see him sleeping; swaddled in the hospital’s blankets at the very back of the room.  A hat covered his hair-filled head.  When you picked him up, his tiny body spilled over your hands and then into your arms.  Holding him did not seem real.  Thinking back to the birth of your others, you remembered smiling at the sight of the familial features you recognized in them after they were born. There were no features to determine with your new little, except those prevalent in Down syndrome.  Although your child now indeed, he seemed more like a stranger in your lap.

Sadness occasionally filled your heart as you held your baby.  You wondered what he must be feeling inside.  Is he confused by the outsider holding him?  Can the tears, pain, and torment from his birth family be felt in his heart?  Does he know the feeling you have when you hold him is empty, that you want to love him like you love your others, but the connection is only small? 

How foolish you were to think this whole adoption thing would be easy!  You thought that once you saw your baby, you would connect with him right away.  You thought that when he saw you, when he smelled you, when he heard in your voice how much you wanted to love him, he would know you were his mother.

You thought it would be easy for a newborn baby to leave his birth mother.

But it wasn’t.  He did not want to leave her.  You did not want him to leave her!

When you brought him in to say good-bye to his first family, he was content.  He was actually more satisfied than he had been in your arms the entire four days after his birth.  The blatant connection he had with his birth mother was humbling.  Cradled and caressed by his first mom, he peacefully dozed for the time being, completely comfortable in his new surroundings.  Things seemed back to normal for him.  He obviously thought you were a temporary inconvenience.  Her smell entranced him and as he awoke, he wanted to be fed.

It was then that things became rushed.  Good-byes became hurried.  Emotions ran high and feelings were tense.

As you packed up your new baby and walked out the hospital room, guilt crept its way in.  Instead of leaving with a sense of purpose and joy, you felt like you were taking someone’s most precious gift.  There was nothing whimsical or satisfying about taking your baby home from the hospital that day.  You were not rescuing this child from the trials of a bad life in exchange for a better one with you!  The love your baby’s birth family had for him was so very evident in their sorrow.

Feeling the extreme hurt of your new family, you wanted to rush back into their room and exclaim, “He’s yours!  He belongs with you!  You can do this; just have faith!”

But you didn’t.  You kept walking, looking down at the little bundle in his carrier.  He was patiently awake and quiet, despite the noise and despair you felt for him in your heart.

Things were more challenging than you had thought they would be at home.  As time went on, guilt turned into grief.  For months you mourned for your child the loss of his natural family; those that knew him like only a family could.  Sitting in his room, you would rock him tightly, tears streaming down your face.  Before they relinquished their parental rights, you would occasionally hope they would reconsider their choice and ask for his return.  You felt most undeserving of this gift.  You knew if they only tried to love him, they could!

The time they had to ask for him back grew shorter, however, and grief turned into anger.  Feelings of frustration and inadequacy as his mother were daunting as your baby began to struggle health-wise.  You felt like you were failing him; completely insufficient to navigate the trials of an unfamiliar human being.  You couldn’t help but feel that they were selfish to give him up to you, a person lacking a natural mother’s love and instinct.  It became increasingly hard for you to fathom why they gave their baby away, and you were deeply disappointed in their decision.

It wasn’t long, though, until your relationship with his birth family started to grow and you began to acknowledge the depth of their situation.  As it turns out, anger can bend to understanding if you try.  Understanding can remit to love.  You see, despite all the challenges you faced as you became a new adoptive parent, the easiest (and hardest) thing for you to do was love.  Going through the early stages of your adoption permitted you to feel for others in a way that you have never felt before.  It required you to love people that you didn’t know, and it forced you to accept a situation that you couldn’t change. You didn’t have to understand to love…

It is hard to look back on those early months of your adoption’s process and decipher the many emotions you felt as a new adoptive parent.  Often you find yourself embarrassed by your own insecurities, specifically that you ever doubted your ability to love or parent your child.  In your adoption, love did not come easy.  Love was wanted, worked for, and grasped as if it could somehow escape your heart once it landed there.  Some days it felt like love would never settle willingly.  Your heart was stubborn and reluctant; confused and unaccepting.

You don’t think much about your child being “adopted” anymore.  It is a relief to be comfortable with his being.  Should anyone be in doubt, you are clearly amazed by your son and luck!  You love your child indescribably, and as time has gone on, your love has only grown and developed inexplicably into a love that is only felt by a mother.  You can’t recall what it was like before your newest arrival came, and you are so thankful that he is here to stay!

You now know the hardest part of your adoption was the feelings that were unexpected.  They left you torn inside, and you couldn’t predict or remedy them yourself.  It’s been nearly three years since your baby came home from the hospital.  You no longer feel despair for your child and you do not misunderstand your birth family’s intentions.  You certainly realize that there is simply no way to determine what can possibly be happening in other people’s hearts.

And as it seems, your heart may have been the one that needed work!


November is National Adoption Awareness Month!  If you or someone you know has a question(s) about a domestic, open, or special needs adoption, please feel free to contact us!

In Our Bellies

Pumpkin Sauce Pasta

Some of you may or may not know that…  I.  HATE.  COOKING.


I only do it since it is part of my job description and we are unable to hire out help right now.  <sarcasm>  I am also extremely conscientious as to what we eat here, so I really have no choice but to do it myself.  Therefore, I do a lot of experimenting in the kitchen…especially when I am out of ideas or need to get groceries.

Today was one of those days…

So with what I had in our cabinet, I pulled this newbie together rather quickly!

Pumpkin Sauce Pasta


18 oz. red lentil pasta (measured dry)

16 oz. canned pumpkin

1 c. chicken broth

3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

5 oz. frozen spinach (about half of a 10 oz. bag)

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. dried onion

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 tsp. salt (we use pink Himalayan or Celtic Sea salt)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Parmesan Cheese, as desired


  1. Boil pasta in its own kettle.
  2. Saute butter and onion in a large saucepan.
  3. Once the onion softens, add to it cream, chicken broth, canned pumpkin, and spices.  On medium heat, stir until fully mixed.
  4. Add spinach to the sauce mixture.  Continue to stir until the spinach is no longer frozen and the sauce is simmering.
  5. Once noodles are soft, mix them together with the sauce mixture.
  6. To serve, top with Parmesan cheese as desired!

This recipe fed 2 adults and 4 children with leftovers for school lunch tomorrow!  :)



Note:  We strive to eat naturally.  To us, that means we eat locally, organically, and we avoid foods that are genetically-modified whenever possible!  When prepared, recipes are modified as such.  Some of us here also eat gluten, soy, and dairy free (this recipe is NOT, however)!

For more information about our stainless steel dishes, please click here.

If you try this recipe, please offer your feedback!

Thanks for stopping by!

Essential Oils, Healthy Living

Essential Oils – What You Need to Know to Begin

What are essential oils? 

Essential oils are super-concentrated oils distilled from plants.  They are also known as volatile oils, which means they dissipate into the air rather easily.  This is different from your standard cooking oils, as oils such as these are much heavier and do not vaporize like essential oils do.  Essential oils have long been used for their possible therapeutic effects.

Prior to taking the plunge into the essential oil abyss myself, I read a ton of articles about the safety of oils, and an equal amount of articles on their lack of safety.  It was terribly confusing for a newbie and a perfectionist, and frankly, it was a bit intimidating and overwhelming too!

Generally, I’ve learned that essential oils can be used safely and effectively in most people, but not without pause or caution! 

Are you ready to take the essential oil leap yourself, but don’t know where to begin?  It is important you grasp how to use essential oils safely!  Start your journey here!  Follow the steps below to determine if you have an essential oil sensitivity, and learn the basics of diluting essential oils for your specific need!

Let’s BEGIN! 

FIRST, test for sensitivity!

Regardless of whether you plan to use your essential oil diluted or undiluted (also known as neat), it is a good idea to test on your skin the essential oil of choice to determine your sensitivity.  This is particularly true if you are sensitive to many things!

  1. To determine a specific oil sensitivity, begin by mixing one drop of your chosen essential oil with one teaspoon of a carrier oil (examples include:  jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.).  Mix well.  I prefer this carrier oil for sensitivity testing and dilution.
  2. Rub a small amount of this mixture onto your wrist or forearm.  DO NOT WASH THIS SPOT FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS!  If there is no sign of itching, swelling, or redness during this time frame, the oil should be safe for you to use correctly.  If you have any discomfort, discontinue use.  Continue to dilute the tested area with your carrier oil, and seek treatment as necessary.

NOTE:  Use 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil to 1 drop of essential oil for children under 6 years old.  The safest way to test the oil mixture on a child is by placing it at the bottoms of the child’s feet.

NEXT, KNOW how to dilute essential oils!

Since essential oils are very potent alone, they are often diluted when used!  Dilution also inhibits the amount of oil you use at a time, thus it is a cost saver!  The most common ways you will find to use essential oils include:

neat (undiluted),

diluted for children, elderly, and the most sensitive,

diluted for adults,

and diluted for specific uses or health issues.

Using essential oils NEAT (undiluted):  If essential oils are used neatly, please do so carefully and under the direction of the bottle’s label and an individual trained in the use of essential oils; the later is particularly true for those who may be compromised in some way.

Also, it is best NOT to use “spicy” or “hot” oils undiluted.  Common examples of essential oils which fall into these categories include cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, oregano, thyme, and others.

Dilution for CHILDREN, ELDERLY, and the SENSITIVE:  Because children and the elderly have sensitive skin, it is best to dilute essential oils for them.

There are SEVERAL oils that are not recommended for use in children or those with respiratory issues.  Please consult a trained professional to determine if the oil you would like to use is appropriate for the recipient.  You may also want to invest in the book, Gentle Babies, by Debra Raybern, for additional information regarding essential oil use in children.

If you decide to use an approved and diluted essential oil on your child, consider using a medium viscosity carrier oil to mix only, as it will slow the rate of absorption.  Examples of these include jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.  Place the mixture on the bottom of their feet; skin here is less delicate.

Noting the information above, use an oil appropriate (and sensitive-tested) for your child (or older or sensitive loved one) and circumstance!  Please see the chart below for correct ratios of essential and carrier oils.

*If you prefer, Young Living offers several essential oils pre-diluted and especially for kids!  Ask me for recommendations!*


Diluted for ADULTS:  Essential oil mixtures diluted for adults and those NOT sensitive to a particular oil tend to be a bit stronger – both in function and aroma.  Because essential oils are very powerful, it is still best to use less essential oil to prevent any irritation.  To dilute for adults, use one of the following carrier oils:  jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.  You may also want to invest in an essential oil guide to broaden your understanding of essential oils.  I have this book.  Please see the chart below for the correct ratio of essential and carrier oils.

Please also advise that some oils are inappropriate for use in pregnancy and nursing!

Diluted for a REMEDY or SPECIFIC USE:  Essential oils diluted for a remedy or specific uses have different ratios depending on the function of the oil in each situation.  The chart below gives general recommendations.  Please note below the ratios of essential and carrier oils.


Easy print-out:  Essential Oil Dilution Guide 

I like to use these roll-on bottles to dilute different oils.  Since some oils are light sensitive, be sure to get a shaded glass bottle!


Aside from the neat and diluted functions of essential oils, essential oils can also be used in aromatic diffusion, massage, compress, the bath, and others!

Please always consult the label carefully before beginning use of any essential oil.  If you have a particular question about essential oils or dilution, it is best to seek advice from a trained essential oil professional before use.  Use without supervision is at your own risk.

For more information on essential oil safety, please check out Young Living’s facts!

If you are ready to begin your essential oil journey, please start here.  While here, take the opportunity to learn more about Young Living (one of the most trusted essential oil companies), and view their essential oils and prices!  Sign up by clicking the Sign Up Here on the left hand side of the screen.  From there, choose whether you would like to become a Young Living member or a retail customer.  As a Young Living member, you will receive a 24% discount!  It is certainly okay to sign-up as a retail customer to try out the oils; if you choose to later on, it is possible to switch to member status.


Thanks for stopping by to learn more about essential oils!  Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions regarding essential oils or Young Living’s sign-up procedure!

Keep checking Our Path Less Traveled for more essential oil tips!

Disclaimer!  The information (and products offered) in this post are not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease, but is only what I, a Young Living distributor, have chosen to do to take charge of my family’s personal health.  My statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  Please seek medical attention before using these products if you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition, or if you are on any medications.

Please use the information provided on this page in conjunction with your own research and health care provider’s advice.  This information is meant for educational purposes only, not to determine your specific health care plan.

*I may receive compensation through purchases made from the Young Living link!

Down Syndrome, Life!

He Calls Me Bob

I knew that language would be slow coming for Baby #4.  After all, some kids with Down syndrome have very limited to no speech; others are able to communicate quite proficiently.  There is no way to tell how far our guys’ speech ability will develop, but when he started to say some words at around ten months old, I began to have high hopes that we would have a speaker!

Fast forward his past 2 and half years, however, and I’m still waiting for one small word to come from my littlest’s mouth.  I know it’s got to be on the tip of his tongue because in that amount of time, I’ve heard his words progress from shouting to imitating, and we can pick out many of the words he says now.  For instance, he can say all done.  These were some of his first words and he’s been able to say this phrase for quite some time, along with Dad, his oldest brother’s name, more, bye-bye, and eat.  Some of his latest words include, Stop! and Oh wow!

Baby #4 can even sign most of these words, and if he’s not signing, he may be acting his desires out.  Watch out for his left hook!

But we are still working on one tiny word that I think is S-L-O-W-L-Y coming.

We repeat this word multiple times a day.  Often our attempts are met with laughter, and with Baby #4 shouting with excitement…mostly because he says this word in the funniest sort of way.

“Say Mom!”  my children will demand.  “Mom-ma,” they say.  “Say Mom-ma.”

Sometimes Baby #4 laughs and says, “Dad.”  (Not funny, Baby #4!)

“No, say Momma!”  they shout.  “Mom-Mah!”

Now he can certainly pronounce the M sound.  He just chooses not to.  He loves an audience, and their focus is completely on him!  Will he say Momma for them today?  The suspense!

“Bob!” he cries.

Giggles fill the room!  “Mom, he just called you Bob!” one will exclaim.  “Did you hear that?  He thinks your name is Bob!”

As usual, Baby #2 will correct him, “No, say Momma!”

Mischievously, Baby #4 will yell, “Bobba!”

Although humorous, that just doesn’t have the same, warm feeling as hearing the word Momma come from your little one’s mouth. In fact, as cute as it is, I rreeaallllyy want him to say Mom,

like today.

Or yesterday.

When he wants something,

or is angry,



or sad.

I’d be lying if I told you I liked being called Bob.

As his adoptive mom, I’m sure the yearning to hear this word is slightly stronger than if he were my biological child.  A part of me wants him to confirm what I already know, that I am his mother and he thinks so too!  I just want him to say Mom; or momma, mommy, mum – any multitude of combinations would work.

You see, sometimes when you have a child with extra needs, milestones take longer to meet.  They can take so long, in fact, that you don’t realize how patient you can be while waiting until you’re rather sick of it.  I should be happy about this new speech development; Bob means Mom!  Instead I’m hoping, waiting, wanting to hear a word he can’t say.

Yet as tough and strange sounding as it is, waiting on the small things is a little easier with Baby #4.  Time goes by a bit slower.  His littleness lasts a tad longer.  Even the tiniest of accomplishments are celebrated with thankfulness and a sense of relief.  When he uses the name Bob instead of Mom, I do know he’s on the right track!

Somehow, even though I am not thrilled with being called Bob, I know that Baby #4 will say Mom correctly someday; it is certainly just a matter of time!  As impatient as I am, I guess I will just have to wait a while longer…

My boy calls me Bob.

I CAN wait until he calls me Mom!


October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

For more of our family experiences with regards to Down syndrome, please click here!

DIY, Family Photos!, Life!, Other

Party Hardy!

Note:  After viewing so many baseball themed party ideas, I realize that the following may not be enough party for some of you, however it is actually a fancier, more thought-out party for us.  You see, we aren’t the money-spending, flashy, or fun party planners usually.  A typical party normally consists of outside play, cake, a few activities, an occasional sleepover, and adult conversation and beverages.

Emphasis on the adult conversation and beverages. ;)

But after Baby #1 had NOT ONE show up to his last year’s birthday party (we had moved half-way across the country just a couple weeks prior to his celebration), I decided that we had to do something to make-up for its BIG flop.

**WARNING!!  Highlight reel starting NOW!**  You were forewarned…our parties are definitely NOT always this well planned!

Both Baby #1 and Baby #3 LOVE baseball, so since we were combining their parties this year, we decided that it would be a perfect (and relatively inexpensive) theme.

Welcome to training camp!


At training camp, you will find things typical to baseball – including uniforms!

DSC_0165DSC_0171DSC_0174An acquaintance of mine made these shirts for the boys!  She has so many cute and quality designs!  I love how she added the baseball numbers on the back!  The jersey’s number is also their age!  You can find more of her work or place a special order here.

There was a lot of PRACTICE!

After scouring Pinterest for the most fun and active baseball party games, we settled on a painted baseball field,


water balloon hitting practice,





and stacking cup pitching practice!


Baseball camp wouldn’t be complete without a concession stand




and hot dogs!


Of course we had a generic cake, too! All of which they ate while watching parts of The Sandlot movie!

The small details!

The invitations…


TIP:  If you place the paper plate up-side down and write on the bottom, there is actually an illusion that the “ball” is round.  Print out your party’s details and paste them in the middle.  Use a red permanent marker for the ball’s string.  The invitations turned out WAY cuter than they appear from my picture!  Even better, 220 individual plates cost me less than $3!  These were really cheap invitations, and the guests were able to use the remainder of the plates for their food!

The bathroom….


Our thanks!

Friends parted with bags filled with a punching balloon, Big League gum, and sunflower seeds!


Despite my former lack of details with regards to birthday parties, I am totally glad that we made a big effort this year!  It turned out perfectly and was super fun!

Just maybe I’ll make a habit of birthday party planning! ;)