Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bits of Life Lately

It finally feels like summer, we've been enjoying the outdoors, playing at various parks and playgrounds and out in our own backyard almost every day. Been doing a little more spring cleaning and working on various projects around the house as the weather's inspired, coupled with those old familiar 'nesting' feelings stirring inside me. We decided not to put together a baby nursery (at least we won't have one for at least the first 6 mo tha to a year) as we want to keep our guest room for my parents' and friends' visits this summer and fall. Our master bedroom has so much unused space so we have plenty of room to put the co-sleeper next to our bed, the rocker in the corner of the room, and all the baby's things fit nicely right in our closet, so we'll just be sharing our room for a little while. So since I'm not 'nesting' the nursery as in the past, have been channeling all those feelings to other departments of in the abode. Finally put together Blair's big girl bed & room, & working on several room make overs in the living room, dining room, and home office. Will hopefully share some more room tours with you soon :)
Loving our DIY shelves Chris made and put up for me in our dining room as part of my Mother's Day :) 
New custom facial oil cleanser for rosacea plus some new items up in the shop- check it out :)
A healthy 28 week doctor's check up, & getting to see this sweet little face on screen makes third trimester probs all worth it ❤️

Monday, May 23, 2016

DIY Bug Spray with Essential Oils!

I've been freaking out a little about Zika virus this summer and knowing how horrible the chemicals are in bug spray, so I researched and experimented with some essential oils famous for mosquito-repellent properties and have a new homemade bug spray recipe to share with you-- this is very simple to make, smells good, is 100% natural, and WORKS!! You can either make in an amber glass spray bottle or you could also make it in a roller bottle and apply to your wrists and other pressure/"hot" points (behind knees, elbows, neck, etc) which still works just as good. 
A little bit on DEET: The main ingredient in conventional bug sprays, DEET is really bad for you and highly recommended against using it if you are pregnant. Although DEET is approved by the (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. DEET has also been linked to neurological problems -- according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffer adverse neurological effects, and the deaths of two adults has been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats. DEET has also been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is also toxic to birds and aquatic life.
I am so happy I discovered this natural way to make my own bug repellent because I will definitely be using this for my kids (Landon is known for mosquito bites that turn into HUGE irritating flare ups) and also will continue using this for myself even after my pregnancy since it is so easy to make and it works so well. I hope you try making this for yourself, and as always if you don't have time to or don't have all the supplies, this item is listed in my etsy shop for you to purchase :)

What You'll Need:
- Your Essential Oils -- You can choose from a variety of essential oils, depending on your preference or what you have on hand. The best are: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint.
- Natural Witch Hazel
- Distilled or boiled Water
- Vegetable glycerin (optional. This just give it a bit of a thicker consistency).

1. Fill spray bottle (I used a 2 oz amber glass bottle) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin (if using)
4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Citronella (20 drops), Rosemary (4 drops) Tea Tree (4) and Lavender (4 drops). It works great and smells good too!

Some other simple insect-repellent ideas:
- Use a non-toxic, plastic-free insect-repelling band (I've heard good things about this one), which is easier to use on children and very effective.
- Add vanilla extract to your spray mixture or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
- Plant insect repelling herbs in your yard. I grow lavender, mint and currently on the hunt for some citronella to plant near our back deck.
- Rub lavender flowers or lavender essential oil on your skin, especially on hot parts of body (neck, underarms, behind ears, knees etc.) to repel insects.
- Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc or citronella, lemongrass, etc.) Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes and I’ve used fresh basil leaves with success before.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review & Giveaway! Infanteenie Baby Beenies!

You guys, this company makes the most adorable baby beenies for your little one and I'm so excited to share with you about them and host a GIVEAWAY for a lucky one of you to win for your precious little bundle or for a friend! Not only is the owner about the sweetest person I've ever worked with, but she has an amazing talent and passion to make these infant hats all by hand, ensuring the highest quality, comfort and style. Her shop name is Infanteenie Beenie and she also sells over on etsy.
When Blair was born, I packed my hospital bag of little headbands so that I could take cute announcement pictures, as well as have them for when the hospital photographer came around. Which sounded really good in my head beforehand, but when the time came the headbands were too big on her, and the ornate flower piece was leaving marks on her sensitive little forehead, and realistically, no matter how adorable they might have been, those fancy headbands aren't really fitting for a fresh out of the womb delicate baby head. Which is why I love this company so much - because these beenies are legit the softest fabric you will ever feel, made of cotton but with a lot of stretch to them, and there is nothing protruding or hard or sticking out that will cause any discomfort or leave any marks anywhere. You can choose from a variety of boy and girl beenies, and even get it personalized with your baby's name or initials. And did I mention they're the cutest little things ever?
I'm so excited to pack our baby's hospital bag with these hats, we have one for if its a boy (yes, the name will be Kingston;)) and the other blue and pink bow beenie if its a girl (no girl names picked out yet! Or should I say decided on. Chris likes Havana. I like Ellie and Sienna. Thoughts?)
To Enter:
Okay so to enter, ALL you have to do is leave a comment below on this blog post telling me which beenie you would choose if you won!!
**Please be sure to leave your email on your post so I know how to contact you if you're the lucky winner! Good luck! :)

Giveaway will run for 2 weeks from today and will officially close on 6/7/2016 at 12pm.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

DIY Homemade Eczema Salve

Poor Landon has struggled with eczema his whole life, and I finally, after 5 years of the battle, decided to try making my own, natural homemade salve with essential oils. I've been seeing how much my essential oils have been helping my skin and I know that some contain incredible healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties so I finally set aside the time to make this and we're SO thrilled with the result.
This recipe is more of a salve - which by definition is a fatty semi-solid oil-based mixture and what most homemade recipes on the Internet actually are (not creams, which are water-based and contain emulsifiers and preservatives). So this is a bit harder/thicker and when massaged onto your hands or body it dissolves into your skin. It can liquefy if stored in a warm place, so if you live in a warm climate and that is too messy for you, you can store it in your refrigerator to keep the hardener salve texture. Typically any room that is 72 degrees or below will keep it at a really nice consistency.

Please note that this is not a cure for eczema, but that it has helped us keep it at bay. Eczema can be caused by a variety of other triggers including:
  • food allergies, commonly, dairy, nuts, eggs, soy and wheat (we cut milk out of Landon's diet when his flare-ups were REALLY bad like bleeding open sores bad and it made a huge difference).
  • stress, which is not a cause but can make symptoms worse
  • hormonal changes
  • poor digestion
  • low stomach acid
  • a weak immune system
  • a family history of allergies and eczema
Eczema likely surfaces because something internally is off balance, and your skin is affected because your system is trying to detoxify itself. So addressing your or your child's overall health should be your primary concern to really end the flare ups.

Many store-bought eczema creams are petroleum-based, which means they’re not environmentally friendly and definitely not as good for skin as their marketing claims. (You guys probably already knew that, but if you’d like to read more, check out this article). The problem with steroid creams, which are almost always prescribed to eczema patients, is that they don’t get to the root of the problem. They are topically applied and trigger specific hormones in the body to inhibit the allergic response. Becoming dependent on these creams comes with side-affects, and we really don't want to be putting a lot of steroids on our kids' little bodies and delicate skin.

So we've been using this salve for about a month now and it's been really amazing. There are only 2 ingredients in it -- (organic, unrefined) coconut oil and shea butter, along with lavender eo, tea tree eo, and frankincense eo, all known for their amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and healing properties. 

What You Need:
- a double boiler
- 1/2 cup raw, unrefined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup raw, unrefined shea butter (I used and would recommend this one from Better Shea Butter on Amazon).
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 15 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops frankincense essential oil

1. Using a double boiler or similar setup (can use a small pot within a larger pot), melt down the shea butter and coconut oil until they’re combined.

2. When the coconut oil and shea butter are in a liquid state, take off from the heat and let cool for a minute before adding the lavender, frankincense and tea tree oils. Stir to combine.
3. Continue to allow your mixture to cool and it will begin to solidify. If, like me, you are impatient, you can put the solution in the refrigerator. When your solution has thickened up, but is still liquid, give it the first round of mixing. As the solution solidifies, mix every ten minutes or so, until it is at your desired solid state (similar to a softer lotion consistency). Once its at your desired consistency, transfer to a mason jar or other container or jar.
4. You can store this at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on how solid you would like it to remain.
5. Apply sparingly at first, as with any new skincare cream, and then apply as liberally as needed if your skin reacts well to it.
Some Other Helpful Tips on Combatting Eczema:
– Keep the skin moisturized. Use raw shea butter and/or coconut oil in addition to the homemade eczema cream, if needed.
– Limit baths (especially in the winter).
– If using commercial dairy products cut them out. If we use raw milk products or other non-dairy products like almond milk, it tends to keep Landon's eczema at bay.
– Refrain from using commercial detergents. I haven't gotten around to making my own (yet!) but for now we use detergents that are free of any dyes or scents. You can find them in any cleaning aisle! This has helped immensely with my husband's eczema as well as Landon's.

I hope this helps you guys! And of course......this item is now up in my etsy shop :) So if you don't feel like making yourself head on over there to purchase your own. And as with all my products, I offer 100% guarantee, so if you're not happy with the product for any reason, I'll refund you 100% :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bits of Life Lately

Hammock is back up ☀️
Helping me spruce up our front doorstep. Plus another 12 seedlings for the garden. Can't.wait. 
Taking them to a 'new playground' makes them so, so happy.
From last month actually, headed to a charity event downtown. Can't get enough of this man in suspenders 🔥
Complimentary Mother's Day goodies in all Extract orders this week! Yummy lavender + chamomile bath salts that will leave you feeling drugged 👌🏻
Princess Blair of House Bauman, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. (Game of Thrones anyone?)

Love you all, Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Placenta Banking with LifeBankUSA

I donated Blair's cord blood after her birth to LifeBankUSA and blogged about them here, and am happy to come back today to share with you their Placenta Banking service. This company is doing amazing things for people and I am so thrilled to share with you guys and help spread the word of storing your baby's cord blood and placenta or otherwise donating it for a life-saving cause.
I never thought about storing the placenta, as I had honestly just never heard about the option or service available to do it, but I was so inspired to do this for this pregnancy after reading this story about Quentin, a little boy whose life was saved using his sister’s placenta and cord blood. You can read this amazing story here.
Many of you know the importance and advantages of banking your baby's cord blood, but may not know the importance of placenta banking. Placenta blood is the blood that’s left in the placenta after birth. During your pregnancy, the placenta provides your baby with oxygen, water and essential nutrients and protects your baby against infection. After birth, your baby no longer needs the placenta, but the usefulness of the placenta doesn’t end with delivery -- Like the umbilical cord, the placenta blood is a rich source of stem cells which can be collected and stored in case your child or a close family member needs them someday. Just like the stem cells found in cord blood, the stem cells found in the placenta can be used for life-saving transplants to treat diseases such as leukemia, certain metabolic abnormalities and inherited diseases of the immune system or red blood cells. Stem cell transplants work by replacing other cells in the body that have either been destroyed or stopped working properly.
Adding placenta blood banking can make your cord blood collection even more powerful by potentially doubling the number of stem cells that are collected and preserved. Here's a few reasons I found about why having more stem cells matters:
- Research studies have shown that transplanting more stem cells can improve transplant success and survival.
- Preserving more stem cells means they may be used to treat more than one health condition that may affect your child or other close family member in the future.
- Placenta blood increases other types of stem cells that have shown promise in regenerative medicine, an area of groundbreaking clinical research that involves the use of stem cells to repair or regrow damaged tissues and organs.

LifebankUSA is the only company out there that offers this unique opportunity to save more stem cells. Since 2006, LifebankUSA has been the only private cord blood bank to offer parents the option of adding placenta blood banking to cord blood banking. And these stem cells are being put to work and doing amazing things – as of July 2015, LifebankUSA has released 19 placenta blood units for transplant in patients ranging from 3 months old to 45 years of age. LifebankUSA is also the first and only private cord blood bank to provide a unit of stem cells from placenta blood for a successful transplant. And they are nationwide - so they will collect anywhere, at any hospital you're delivering at.
I know when you are pregnant, you have about 1,000 things on your mind every minute, but going through LifeBankUSA for your baby's cord blood and placental banking will definitely help give you greater peace of mind, and the process is really so easy, you will be so happy you did.

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