Happy 4th of July everyone! We are celebrating the day with family, friends, food, and fireworks! I wanted to share a quick reminder that while fireworks are a wonderful treat for us humans, it’s a potentially terrifying time of year for our pets. This is the #1 day of the year when pets go missing because of the noise and commotion of fireworks on the 4th of July. Even inside the house, fireworks can still be pretty scary!

Here is a nice blend you can also make at home if you have these oils on hand:

Calming Pet Blend

  • 10ml glass roll-on bottle
  • Fractionated coconut oil
  • 3 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 5 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Clary Sage
  • 3 drops Marjoram

Don’t have all of these oils on hand? No worries! You can rub a couple of drops of Lavender (dilute with fractionated coconut oil for smaller pets) behind your pets ears, between toes, or under “armpits”. Leaving a diffuser on while you are out is also a great option, which is what we will do for our Baileydog tonight!

Paw n’ Spa…A Volunteer Event at Second Chance Animal Refuge Society!

I will be at this event this weekend sharing information on how you can use essential oils on your favorite non-human family members – come visit, learn, and wash a dog or two! You can use oils to create natural flea and tick repellents, sooth anxiety, relieve sore muscles, soothe arthritis, and much more!


SCARS welcomes both current and new volunteers at this special event. The goal of this is to give as many of the dogs a bath as possible after this extra muddy season. Dogs love two things–getting dirty and getting clean. It will be a day of shaking and splashing dogs so dress accordingly. The fun will begin at 10:00 am and continue until approximately noon. Heavy rain will cancel the event; but if the rain is light, the baths will still occur.

  • Questions: Please write Maureen at tncummins@aol.com
  • Rain: If a heavy rain is received, the event is cancelled; if only light rain occurs, we will go on with the event.
  • Age Limit: Volunteers under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Location: SCARS (Second Chance Animal Refuge Society) west of the town of Auburn. Please email Maureen for exact location.
  • RSVP: Please email Maureen at tncummins@aol.com.

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of watching a hot air balloon get set up and float away into the late afternoon heat. Prior to this experience, the closest I have been to a hot air balloon was in elementary school gym class when we got to play with that same fabric that hot air balloons are made of. Do you remember doing that? We’d stand in a circle on the basketball court, lift the fabric and then quickly and excitedly get under it and sit down. That experience was pure joy. And maybe now that I am thinking about it… that was a parachute. Same stuff though… and watching a hot air balloon get inflated was pretty fun too.

Laying out the balloon looked like a bit of a workout. They pulled it out of a giant bag and laid it out on the grass. Then they used a fan to start blowing it up!




The child in me wanted to run inside the balloon and sit down.


Once the balloon was about halfway inflated with the fan they turned on the burners to inflate it the rest of the way. It put off some impressive heat!



The company that has this balloon is called Sail Away Adventures, and they have been in business since 1974 here in Topeka. This is definitely something I want to do when Beck gets older and can really enjoy it, the balloon pilot said that it’s very peaceful up there (500 to 1000 feet off the ground). Anyways, since I got to see this yesterday and asked a million questions before they floated away, I thought I would share some fun facts I learned!

Hot Air Balloon Trivia

  • Hot air balloons rise because the air inside the balloon is warmer than the surrounding air, and the resulting pressure differentials produce an upward lift.
  • The only way to steer a balloon is by finding different wind directions at different altitudes.
  • Hot air balloons have a chase crew. This is a very interesting fact most people are not aware of. What is a hot air balloon chase crew? This is a ground crew that follows the hot air balloon throughout the flight in a chase vehicle. And the chase vehicle must be big enough to take on the balloon, its wicker basket, as well as the passengers at the end of the balloon flight.
  • Hot air balloon flights are not possible in the rain. This is because the heat inside of the balloon can bring rain to boiling temperatures on top of the balloon, thereby destroying hot air balloon fabric.
  • Record height for a hot air balloon is 68,986 feet. This was accomplished by avid hot air balloon pilot Vijaypat Singhania, who, along with his copilot, had to wear an oxygen mask to stay alive at such heights.
  • The longest hot air balloon flight ever recorded was piloted by Richard Branson. The flight originated in Japan and touched ground in northern Canada. This flight was also the fastest recorded, flying across the skies at 245 miles per hour.
  • Hot air balloons were invented in France in the 1700s.
  • Sheep, a duck and a chicken were the first passengers aboard a hot air balloon. They survived the very first hot air balloon flight, which lasted about eight minutes.
  • As hot air balloons became a fad, French aristocracy soon learned that local farmers didn’t much like rich people setting balloons down on their land. The aristocracy said the peasants were afraid because they thought the balloons looked like dragons, but while the smoke that powered early balloons may have appeared dragon-like, it seems more likely that the farmers didn’t want hot air balloons crushing their crops. In any case, champagne smoothed things over, and a tradition was born.
  • In 1794, during the Battle of Fleurus in the French Revolution, a balloon called Entreprenant was flown for aerial observation to suss out enemy positions during combat. The balloon, which was tethered, flew for 9 hours. During this time, the aeronaut wrote down the movement of Austrian troops and dropped the dispatches to the ground. It’s unclear whether the dispatches helped all that much—the generals were tactfully quiet on the matter—but the French did win the battle.


Here’s a new issue I have recently had to tackle: diaper rash. My daughter is a little over 9 months old, recently started daycare, and has been eating more solids. Nels and I have been pretty liberal with our diaper usage since day 1, so maybe that’s one of the reasons Beck hasn’t gotten a diaper rash until now, but I think it has more to do with all the new foods her body is trying to process.  Her diaper rash wasn’t too bad because we caught it early and supported her skin with essential oils, but any diaper rash has to be painful! Since the protocol I made worked to effectively for Beck, I thought I would share it with you, along with some general guidelines for how to apply essential oils to little ones. If you have any questions, or would like to order the oils mentioned below, let me know!


Steps to treat diaper rash:

  • Keep the diaper area as clean as possible.
  • Change diapers often(every 2 hours or less).
  • If you use cloth diapers, switch to disposable temporarily
  • Clean the diaper area with plain clean water (not wipes and no soap!)
  • Don’t wipe or rub the area clean, instead dab, blot, rinse, etc.
  • Let the area dry before you apply anything to it (blow on it, fan it, just make sure it’s dry!)
  • Massage diaper rash oil/cream onto the area gently until it is mostly absorbed

What goes into my diaper rash oil

  • 1 Tbsp Carrier oil* (I use fractionated coconut oil)
  • 1 drop Melaleuca
  • 1 drop Lavender

*Note, if you have a younger baby you may want to use 2 tbsp of a carrier oil instead of 1(my baby is currently 9 months old). The essential oils will still be effective! Here is a little more on the benefits of the oils that I chose for my diaper rash oil:   Applying Oils Safely: Avoid applying oils to babies in areas where they can reach with their hands because they may rub their eyes after touching the oils. Good locations are: diaper area (for diaper rash), lower back, bottoms of feet (depending on the child), scalp (depending on child). Always do a patch test first. Rub one drop of oil (already mixed with carrier oil) on the baby’s forearm. If no reaction occurs within several minutes, use the oil as intended. “More” is not necessarily better. When you apply oils, the carrier oil acts as both a barrier for skin penetration by the EO, and also helps to keep the EO on the skin longer. Besides few exceptions on older children, do not use essential oils on broken skin. (example: one drop of Helichrysum can be put undiluted into a wound to stop bleeding). Keep essential oils out of children’s reach. Essential oils are very safe, but they are meant to be used in small amounts. EO bottles should always have dropper tops to prevent a child from being able to swallow or drink the essential oil.


**DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am merely sharing what has worked for me and my family.**


Why I started using Essential Oils

I love being in control, and guess what, most people do! More specifically, I like being in control of my health. Nels and I try to exercise regularly, avoid processed foods, and do what we can to stay away from the doctors. You know, preventative maintenance stuff. I started using essential oils shortly after giving birth to my daughter. A friend who had also had her first child last year brought us a Calming blend. It has Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, and some other oils that provide calming effects, promotes relaxation, and restful sleep. Sounds like the perfect gift for new parents, doesn’t it? It was great! Since then I have gotten more into the oils, I use them to reset my mood, help with muscle fatigue,  relieve diaper rash, get rid of ants, you name it! Nels and I are getting ready to get back into working out at a gym and I anticipate using the oils to help my muscles recover while they are getting used to be used again.

It’s hard to deny the power of plants, and humans have been using plants as medicine for thousands and thousands of years. Clove oil & rosemary oil were the most popular essential oil produced during the Middle Ages. I was recently talking with my dentist about clove oil for my teething baby, and she mentioned that clove is still used in local anesthetics for dentistry!

Essential oils are powerful and have such a wide array of uses. They have many natural properties that can benefit the body in many different ways, from physical to emotional. They are unique in that they can cross the cellular membrane because their molecules are lipophilic (which means they tend to combine with or dissolve in lipids or fats).

The Essential Oils I Use and Recommend

I wouldn’t recommend a product that I don’t personally use and love. That is why I choose certified pure essential oils. I have been using essential oils since our daughter was born, and I am excited to share its benefits with you! With so many different essential oil brands out there, it’s hard to know which brand is the best. Before I really knew much about them, I would have happily purchased essential oils from the local organic grocery store. But now I know that a lot of essential oil brands cut their oils with other ingredients, I wouldn’t by anything other than certified pure oils.

Contact me for more information on how to get high quality essential oils for your family!

chicken-marbellaMy Mom introduced this recipe to me recently, and it’s one of those dishes that you make a mental note to get while you are eating because it’s just that good. It came out of one of my Mom’s many cookbooks – most likely a Southern Living Cookbook because that’s how she rolls. It’s now one of my favorites that I use whenever we have people over and I want to serve something really tasty and not time intensive with the prep.

This recipe originally called for brown sugar, but you really don’t need it. The prunes give you plenty of sweetness. I converted it into a Paleo recipe by leaving the brown sugar out. It is amazingly delicious, and the capers/olive combination is a great offset to the prunes. Sweet and savory, yum. Nels isn’t a big fan of chicken usually but he really enjoys this one.


  • Get a good mix of chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks (two of each at least)
  • Cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°
  2. In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight, or as long as you can the day of cooking.
  3. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly.  Pour your white wine around them.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting at least once half-way through (I am lazy about this and usually forget. It still turns out well.). Your chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest point, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).
  5. With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.


I have been trying out some new things around the house recently when it comes to cleaning. One of the things I have started using is Wool Dryer Balls in the dryer, mainly to cut down drying time. (Nels, you can thank me later when you see a difference in the electric bill!) There are some other perks to using wool dryer balls too:

Why Wool Dryer Balls?

  • Cuts your drying time in half
  • Helps reduce static cling
  • Saves you money on your energy bill
  • Chemical-free, unlike dryer sheets
  • Reusable!
  • Increases the fluffiness of your clothes
  • Safe to use with cloth diapers (although I don’t personally use them… yet)
  • You can add a couple of drops of essential oils to each dryer ball for a fresh, chemical free scent

Adding in Essential Oils

We haven’t used fabric softeners or dryer sheets for years. It’s been nice to skip that expense! I do love the smell of fresh laundry though, and have recently discovered that with the dryer balls I can give my clothes a light fragrance by adding 3-4 drops of my favorite essential oils to each dryer ball. This generally lasts me 2-4 loads before I have to add more. Here’s a few essential oil recommendations (feel free to comment and share what oils you use as well):

  • Lavender + Lemon
  • Invigorating Blend)
  • Peppermint + Wild Orange
  • Cleansing Blend
  • Protective Blend