A Use For Lavender and Sign-Up Directions for Young Living!

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As many of you know, I recently signed up to be a distributor for Young Living, an essential oils company.  After using essential oils for some time now, I value their capabilities to naturally enhance overall wellness in both the body and the home.

When I started incorporating essential oils into our lives a while back, I used them primarily in our home for cleaning or freshening.  It was around the same time that a friend of mine posted her recipe for homemade laundry detergent that I also started looking into alternatives for softener or dryer sheets.

Finding an alternative to softener was easy…vinegar is amazing!  It literally takes the smell out of almost anything, and if you do not miss the smell of fresh laundry or are overly sensitive to smells, then it is the perfect alternative for you!

I MISSED the smell of fresh laundry, however!  I liked how the basement smelled like clean clothes when I was doing laundry, and I also missed the hint of smell that a freshly washed shirt had when I grabbed one in the morning.  It smelled clean and clean is important to me!

Using essential oils in the laundry should almost be a no-brainer.  It takes very few drops to make a difference, and the smells are a safe and nontoxic alternative to using store bought dryer sheets.  Dryer sheets (along with many laundry detergents) may contain synthetic chemicals like benzyl acetate, alpha-terpineol, and phosphoric acid, among others. They are also usually chalked full of synthetic, toxic fragrances which companies typically do not have have to disclose as ingredients.  A comprehensive article regarding the dangers of household cleaners and detergents can be found here.

Since beginning the journey into essential oils, I have read many different opinions as to others’ favorite uses in their laundry routine.  Here are the most popular ways I’ve found to use them with regards to the laundry, and also my opinion of each method:

  1. Add a few drops of oil to a relatively unscented detergent and wash as normal. Personally, I didn’t notice much scent on my clothing after drying was complete.  It is possible that using more drops of oil may increase the amount of scent found on the clothing, however being the cheap person that I am, I didn’t feel this would be very economical.
  2. Add a few of drops of oil to the vinegar rinse (if you choose to use it a softener). As with adding the oil to the detergent, I didn’t notice much smell coming off of my laundry after it had dried.  Again, if you choose to add more than three or so drops, maybe you would have a different result.  For me, adding more than three drops of scent does not make much sense budget-wise.
  3. Cut up an old white t-shirt and use the cloth as a softener sheet.  Add a few drops of oil to the cloth.  I found this to be the best way to lightly scent your laundry.  I am also able to control the amount of scent I use better, depending on the size of my load.  I will tell you that the scent on the fabrics after drying is still not overwhelming, like the standard store-bought softener.  It is a very light, but noticeable, scent.

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Here, we use lavender essential oil as it is well-known for its calming effects, but almost any scent could be appropriate to use!

The following is a list of additional scents that may work well for you in the laundry:

citrus

joy

lemon

lemongrass

purification

thieves

As an enthusiastic mom and homemaker, I have found essential oils to be precisely essential in many aspects of our daily routines!  Try one in your laundry today!

If you think you would like to try an essential oil for yourself, please start here.  This will take you directly to my personal site.  From there, you will have the opportunity to learn more about Young Living, view their essential oils and prices, and sign up!  If you choose to sign up, please click Sign Up Here on the left hand side of the screen.  From there, you will 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.

Please contact me if you have questions about Young Living, the sign-up procedure, and/or general questions about essential oils!

To Your Health!

Summer Lentil Salad

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Wow!  I’m back already!

Is your garden bursting with tomatoes and cucumbers right now?  I WISH mine were, but we do not have a garden this year!  :(  I was able to grab some (amongst other things) from our local farmer’s market, however!

Here is another recipe from Yours Truly!  I hope you love it as much as we did!

Summer Lentil Salad

1 1/2-2 cups cooked brown lentils, rinsed

2 large fresh tomatoes, diced

2 large fresh cucumbers, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced (I used dried onion this time as I did not have a fresh one available!)

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions:  Mix ingredients altogether and chill for at least 30 minutes!  This is the perfect side dish to almost ANYTHING that is grilled!DSC_0136

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

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

Enjoy!

Egg Roll in a Pan

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Hey, Y’All!  I can say that now since I have lived in the South for almost a year, right?!  Just kidding…it doesn’t sound right coming from MY mouth yet!  :)

I plan to get back to writing again, but summer hasn’t allowed me much time thus far!  Please keep checking back for more things Our Path Less Traveled soon!

In the meantime, here is a recipe my family and I enjoyed this past week!  It was concocted by me!  In the future, I hope to post and/or link you to more recipes that we make!

Egg Roll in a Pan:

1 lb. of cooked, shredded chicken (or meat of your choice).  I used the leftovers from a whole chicken we ate from earlier in the week.

1 small head of green cabbage (cut into thin slices)

4 carrots shredded in a food processor or similar

1/2 a whole pineapple, cubed

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1 Tbsp. of dried onions (or use about 1/4 of a fresh onion)

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

4 Tbsp. coconut aminos or other (I substituted this instead.)  You can also use soy sauce if you prefer.

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

Directions:  Mix ingredients altogether in a large wok or sauce pan and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes or until the veggies are to your own liking!  Add small amounts of water as necessary!

Simple!  Enjoy!

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

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

I hope your summer has been plentiful, relaxing, and enjoyable!

Come back soon!

<3

Reuse Your Cards!

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If you know me even a little, you know I am about as thrifty (and borderline cheap) as they come.  I also enjoy a good trend (home or otherwise), fashion, and I am possibly overly into perfecting everything.  (At least I can admit my faults!)  Because of these flaws and obsessions, and because we are a typical family with one income, I have had to find unique ways to fulfill my fetishes and non-necessities without breaking the bank.

To do this, I have learned to cut corners and scrimp on certain things.  Greeting cards are an example of this. Personally, I think cards are over-priced and wasteful.  I am not a card saver.  I am hardly a saver of anything.  Eventually, almost every card we get goes straight into the trash.  **Just to clarify, by saying “wasteful” here, I am referring to the fact that most cards will be thrown away, NOT that the thought of sending a card is a waste…**

I’ve found, though, that others like to receive cards and cherish them.  For these people, I certainly choose to buy a nice card on special occasions.

I also like to send small packages and notes during different times of the year to young family members living far away.  For these Littles, I have found that recycled cards are a cute addition to their package of fun.

To reuse received cards, I simply keep certain cards that were sent to us in past years. I like to save cards that have no writing on the front or back of the card’s cover.  These types of cards are typically neutral cards and can be used for almost anyone (depending on the holiday). I tear off the front of the card (where the picture is found), and throw the back side (where the signature is found) away.

Front of the card:  KEEP!
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When preparing the gift, I write a note on the back of the piece of the card that was saved (the front cover).

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And add it to the gift! I am mailing this parcel, but you could also insert the repurposed card into a gift bag or tape it to the top of a present.

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That is it!  Easy!

And FREE!

Because you know those Valentine’s Day cards will probably soon be headed right for the garbage!  (Unless you are reusing them like me!)

Happy thrifting!

<3

Low-Carbohydrate, Clean Eating and Diabetics

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I am so excited to share that my collaborative post with The Gracious Pantry is now on her blog! Click here or on the clip below for the details! 

Stay tuned to Our Path Less Traveled for a post coming soon, Confessions of a Dietitian!

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Behold This Beauty!

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Tonight when I put Baby #4 to bed, he gave me a very long hug.  He doesn’t hug that much anymore.  You see, he has faucets to find, dogs to bother, cabinets to clean out, and laundry to scatter.  He MIGHT play with toys if he feels like it, for sure if somebody plays with him, but he really prefers the everyday sort of fun.  As I held him by his crib, I realized that his babyness was almost gone.  I began to reminisce back to last year when Baby #4 would cuddle more.  I had forgotten how I miss that and his little baby ways.  I miss his bottle.  At least he still has his diaper… ;)

As with my others, I occasionally forget who I am holding and caring for daily.  My job can be somewhat monotonous, especially lately.  With Baby #4’s slower development; he has been baby-like for

sooo

long.

I guess I didn’t realize that he was growing out of this stage.

Sometimes I just look at him, you know lovingly, like mothers do when their children are being peaceful.  With my others, I look for familial characteristics.  I do that with Baby #4 too; he reminds me a lot of his birth mom, but I also like admiring his unique features.  For example, he has cute spaces between his first and second toes, a little nose, and tiny hands.  I love how he looks.  Lately, I’ve been noticing that others are starting to recognize his features of Down syndrome too, but not in an appreciative sort of way.  If he is loudly shouting in a store, I often get looks of pity.  There are the quick glances our way and uncomfortable stares.

I wish those that peer at Baby #4 could see past his appearance.  Afterall, he IS quite cute.  His behavior, too, is similar to that of most other almost-two-year-olds.  If any of these people would actually talk to him, they’d find that he is pretty friendly.  In fact, it is likely that he may have been shouting at them…or at me, because he hates shopping… He’s really just a typical kid; he’s not THAT much different.

I suppose I could nonchalantly follow these gawkers through the store, strike up a conversation, and get Baby #4 to wave or something.  One day, if I am feeling brave, I may ask why he is making them feel uneasy.  I want to know if their obvious opinion of him is based only on his looks, his Down syndrome.

For now, though, I just walk away.  I probably walk a little faster.  I try to distract Baby #4.  I give him something to hold.  I am not really sure how I am supposed to handle situations such as these yet.

Maybe most people will someday see Baby #4’s potential or find him funny, like we do.  They might even enjoy his company.  I hope they become his friends.

If they never are lucky enough to spend time with him, however, I will still know who I was holding tonight.  A little boy.  Mr. Silly-Face.  A fan of mealtime.  He is out-going and sociable, smart and stubborn.  A patient soul.  A laugh replicator.

Even though I, too, see the many features of Down syndrome in my son, I notice more ALL the other things that make him who he is.  I see a future.  I see success.

I don’t see all this ‘difference’.

I see Baby #4.

I love what I see, but YOU don’t have to.  Booyah.

Maybe I’ll say just that!

OPLTBB

*A version of this post has been featured on The Mighty.

Resolutions Update and Some EXCITING News!

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Not that any of you care, but I wanted to follow-up on my post from last January regarding my New Year’s Resolutions.

My main goals from last year were:

  1. Regular devotions with our kids.  Although not quite as consistent as I would have preferred, we did enjoy somewhat regular devotions as a family and individually.  We are also teaching the kids to pray alone, out loud at mealtime.  Voluntarily, Baby #1 has started to read the Bible on his own.  Last I checked, he was on page 118.
  2. Consistent physical activity.  Thanks to some GREAT friends, I was quite successful in this area.  Although our move, and everything that goes along with that, did take a toll on me for a little while; I am now back at it.  I have some specific goals for this year; however, I do not plan to elaborate on them at this time.  Maybe I will fill you in in a future post!
  3. Relaxing on the home front.  Yes!  I was also successful in this area!  Our family had an extrordinary 2014 filled with friends, fun, and change! Amazingly, I stayed pretty sane for most of it! ;)
  4. Menus.  FAIL.  Not sure if this is my thing…or maybe I just did too much of this in past occupations.  Honestly, I never even started this goal.  I do think menus would be helpful, though, so it is possible that I will reconsider putting something together in the future.  I have some exciting related news, however!  Recently, I have agreed to help The Gracious Pantry with a blog post regarding lower-carbohydrate, clean-eating information for diabetics.  I started following The Gracious Pantry on Facebook about four years ago when our family completely overhauled our lifestyle (more on this soon).  If you are interested in this topic, please stay-tuned, or at least check out her web-site for recipe ideas!  I will occasionally share some of her concoctions on here, as well as write some nutrition-related posts!  I am so looking forward to this new partnership, and using my degrees again!

As for my resolutions for this year…I will keep them simple.

  1. Maintain/Improve on the resolution successes from last year.
  2. Make new friends and form new relationships in our new location.
  3. Continue to promote acceptance and information concerning those with Down syndrome via this blog and elsewhere.
  4. Keep up with regular blogging!

Are you ready for more Our Path Less Traveled this year?  I hope so!  Here’s to a great year for All!

Happy New Year!

#IMREADY #15in2015

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It’s possible you’ve noticed a little campaign using the hashtags #IMREADY and #15in2015 spreading over social media this past holiday season, but do you know what the hashtags are about?

After a little girl with Down syndrome was featured in a Target ad this past December, parents all over the world noticed.  Some, including Changing the Face of Beauty, have created the campaign #IMREADY and #15in2015 in order to encourage at least 15 retailers to feature ALL customers in their advertising, including those with differing abilities.

If you would like to support this campaign by sharing a photo of your child, please visit Changing the Face of Beauty‘s facebook page to join the movement. Feel free to post a photo (please get permission if this is not your child or personal photography), and call out a retailer of your choice requesting more inclusive advertisement while embodying the hashtags #IMREADY and #15in2015 in your post.  FIVE companies (Infantino, Livie and Luca, Andy and Evan, Matilda Jane Clothing, and Teryelle Girls) have already noticed and have been influenced by this campaign enough that they have decided to integrate models with differing abilities in 2015!

Our Little, Baby #4, is also ready!

#IMREADY #15in2015

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Are you?

Please feel free to share this post! Together we can inclusively broaden the face of BEAUTY!

Click here to see others READY for change and acceptance!  You might notice a familiar face!  :)

Thank you for your support!

<3

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