Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Danger of Toxic Personal Care Products

By Esther Phillips


This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

This week I gave a talk at an Essential Oil ladies group. My friend Sybil has started a monthly get-together and it has been a great way to pool our resources, share experiences and grow in our understanding of how to be good stewards of God's gifts.

My talk was on the toxic burden our modern, technologically advanced generation have put on ourselves and our children. My plea was to recognize the fallout (sometimes many years hence) that cheap, chemical ingredients have on our environment and our bodies. Below is the handout to my talk. I cannot reproduce all the questions and sharing that this precipitated, but this should give you an idea.

The Toxic Danger of Personal Care Products

Our skin absorbs whatever we put on it, so be careful what you are absorbing. Here are the worst offenders in deodorants:
  • Aluminum has many chemical names but always starts with some form of ‘aluminum’. Most people know that this metal has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.

  • Propylene glycol is petroleum-based and has been shown to compromise the central nervous system, liver and heart.
  • Paraben chemicals include methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl. These are synthetic preservatives and many people are concerned that they disrupt the hormone system. They are especially problematic in adolescents – and there have been links from parabens to birth defects. 
  • Triclosan has been classified by the FDA as a pesticide and by the EPA as a suspected carciagen. It kills healthy as well as harmful bacteria.

Here are some of the worst offenders in personal care products, detergents etc:
Propylene Glycol is a key
ingredient in anti-freeze
  • DEA (Diethanolamine)—Found in more than 600 home and personal care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, lotions, cosmetics, soaps, laundry and dish washing detergents. A hormone-disrupting chemical it is suspected of carcinogenic activity (causing or contributing to cancer) or of being potentially dangerous or hazardous to health.
  • Propylene Glycol —This is the main ingredient found in anti-freeze. Why is it so common in shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, toothpastes, processed foods, baby wipes, and many more personal care items? Because it maintains smooth consistency and moisture content. Implicated in contact dermatitis, Propylene Glycol can inhibit skin cell growth in human tests and can damage cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin, and surface damage. It is petroleum-based and has been shown to compromise the central nervous system, liver, kidneys and heart.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureyh Sulfate (SLS or SLES) — This cell mutagen has many industrial uses because it suds nicely. It's included in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash detergents. Also found in shampoos, liquid soaps, conditioners, cleansers, toothpaste, and children’s personal care products. SLS or one of its derivatives is found in nearly all toothpastes, as well. The processing needed to manufacture SLS results in a carcinogenic by-product. The problem is, it is absorbed through skin contact and retained in the body. Research studies have shown links to organ toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, cellular changes, developmental and reproductive toxicity and cancer. 
  • Coal Tar FD&C colors – Absorption can cause depletion of oxygen in the body.
  • “Natural” deception – if an ingredient is a five generation derivative of coconut meat some claim it is still ‘natural’ and label it as such. (All SLS originates from coconuts – don’t be deceived it is not ‘natural’).Some products labeled ‘organic’ contain only a tiny percentage of organic ingredeiants.
  • TEA (triethanolamine) – a common chemical ingredient in shampoos and detergents. When it combines with the SLS in the product it results in NDELA, a nitrosamine and a know carcinogen.
It's important to realize that our personal care and cleaning items are basically toxic blends and chemical soups. These ingredients find their way into simply hundreds of personal care and skin products which we envelope ourselves in everyday.

Just because these chemicals are ‘small’ don’t think they are insignificant. It is the accumulative effect of these products which are a significant factor in our overall health.
In one of Dr. Mercola’s reports he explains it like this:
Dr. Mercola warns about some
of the chemicals in standard
cleaning and care products
‘Daily use of ordinary, seemingly benign personal care products like shampoo, toothpaste and shower gel can easily result in exposure to thousands of chemicals, and many will make their way into your body and become "stuck" there, since you lack the means to break them down.

This toxic load can become a significant contributing factor to health problems and serious diseases, especially if your diet and exercise habits are lacking.

Women seem to be predisposed to more autoimmune disorders than men. Diseases such as thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis are far more common in women. Perhaps one of the major contributing factors is that women tend to use far more personal products than men…

It is especially challenging to establish a link between these routine chemical exposures and health problems down the road, because the adverse effects might not show up for years.

As Theo Colburn discusses in Our Stolen Future, in some cases, effects are not seen in the person exposed but DO appear in her offspring. This has been seen in the animal kingdom, as well as in humans. Some adults have been known to suddenly show a disease many decades after prenatal exposure.’

The fact that synthetic chemicals are accumulating in our bodies was shown by the government funded Human Adipose Tissue Survey. Almost everyone tested showed measurable levels of petroleum-based, carcinogenic chemicals in their fatty tissues.

THE SOLUTION is not difficult. READ THE LABEL and CHOOSE TO CHANGE! Ensure you and your children are not being exposed daily to soaps, shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths, toothpastes, cleaning products, detergents, skin care products, cosmetics etc. with hazardous agents.
Young Living has made this easy for us. They have all natural (truly natural) ingredients combined with the wonderful benefits of essential oils in their cleaning, personal care and skin care items. If you simply start by shopping for non-toxic, non-hazardous items and weed out all potentially toxic chemicals from your home environment this will lessen your toxic load and give your body a better chance at health.

Challenge # 1 Start going through your family’s personal care items, cleaning products etc. Read the labels. Get rid of those items with a chemical load. Start switching to non-toxic alternatives.

Challenge #2 Share with a friend. Many people are ignorant of how insidious and dangerous the chemicals they absorb everyday are.

We shop every month for cleaners and liquid soaps and personal care items. Why not transfer your regular shopping to your YL Essential Rewards autoship order each month? That way you not only have peace of mind about the products and ease of a regular order for items you need anyway, but you’ll receive more points towards free items as you protect your family.

For those interested in making their own personal care products visit our earlier blog post 'Make Your Own Care and First-Aid Products' and my last diary entry where I talked about the surface cleaner I made. Also visit Stacy MacDonald's website for lots of ideas.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baking Bread and Cleaning the House

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click

The trouble with freshly baked bread is that one just can't stop eating it. A friend from church knew I liked blackcurrants so she made some blackcurrant jam from her fruit bushes and gave it to me as a Christmas present. My friend's delicious jam did not work well on the horror of USA's shop-bought-bread! So I had no alternative but to bake some. Now I can enjoy the jam on bread that tastes like bread (with thickly spread butter, of course).

I sort of feel justified in my indulgence because I've been cleaning. I suppose that sounds like an admission to the rare occurrence of such an activity. However, I've been tackling the limescale and mildew in the shower and bathroom. I try never to use chlorine bleach and other chemicals to clean - the accumulative damage they do to our body system is something always try to avoid. I recently read how a residue of toxic chemicals from bathroom cleaners is left on the surfaces, baths, showers, etc., and we wash in it! (See our earlier post 'Going Green.')

So out came the vinegar and Purification blend of essential oil. If you tie a small plastic sandwich bag filled with vinegar over the shower head all the limescale build up is dissolved in no time. But everyone hates the vinegar smell and Purification takes care of that.
The Purification blend is made up of Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca (tea tree oil), Lavandin, and Myrtle.

Purification also works wonders in eliminating both mildew and the musty mildew smell and I also used it in the water to mop the flour as well as when cleaning the drains together with vinegar and baking soda. I make up my own surface cleaner. Here's the recipe I use:

Homemade Surface Cleaner
1)    In a spray bottle mix
  • 1 teaspoon of washing soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid Castile soap
2)    Add 2 cups of hot water and shake well
3)    Add 2 Tablespoons of vinegar and shake well
4)    When cool add 10 drops of Thieves and 5-10 drops of lemon.

For those who'd rather have a non-chemical but effective cleaner more conveniently, I'd recommend the Thieves Household Cleaner. It is wonderfully versatile and can be used for any cleaning purpose.
One of the best things for cleaning up the black gunge that accumulates on PVC window tracks and around PVC Window frames is the Thieves Wipes. Before using the Thieves Wipes you need to dampen them first as they tend to be drier than regular wipes. When I haven't had the wipes I've used paper towles with warm water and a few drops of Purification or Thieves.
So now my bathroom looks, smells and more importantly is fresh and clean without having to create a toxic risk for my family.
Now where's that bread, butter and blackcurrant jam?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Which Oils Are Best?

The Therapeutic Difference

Young Living Lavender Harvest in St. Maries Idaho
There is a significant difference between essential oils that simply smell good and those that are therapeutic-grade.
Independent laboratory testing proves that Young Living essential oils meet and often exceed industry requirements, and as stewards of nature’s plant remedies, Young Living maintains higher internal standards, built upon the magnitude of our own rigorous quality assurance requirements. The standard is known as “therapeutic-grade.”

In order to achieve therapeutic-grade classification, each essential oil must achieve the designation naturally, with¬out excess manipulation and refinement, and meet specific criteria in four key areas: Plants, Preparation, Purity, and Potency.

PLANTS: Young Living products are produced from the right plants, grown in exceptional soil, and harvested at exactly the right time.

PREPARATION: Honoring a strict commitment to respect and protect the time-honored methods of distillation, Young Living makes every effort to preserve “nature’s living energy” in a manner as close to its natural state as possible. Using pure mountain water free of additives, Young Living has a proprietary, stainless steel distillation process.

PURITY: Achieved through the use of quality plants and meticulous preparation (and not through ultra-refinement) our finished product is 100% pure. Young Living essential oils are unadulterated, uncut, and free of chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals.

POTENCY: To guarantee that our products exceed world standards and meet our own higher internal standards for potency, we analyze the finished oil’s phytochemical profile to ensure it delivers optimal amounts of every key plant compound.

Further Reading

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas at Home

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

I arrived home a week before Christmas. The children had wanted to wait for my return before getting a Christmas tree, so one of the first things we did together was buy a tree and decorate it. We always decorate the house to strains of Christmas choral music.
I only had one week to prepare for Christmas. It was good to see that Robin had continued the Jesse Tree readings and that the Jesse Tree was adorned with the ornaments.

My family expects a traditional English Christmas dinner. So that means a stuffed turkey or goose, roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips with Brussels sprouts, small sausages and gravy (and, if I remember, my grandmother's bread sauce). Gravy made from the fat and caramelized pan juices from the bird need no extra flavorings apart from salt. It cannot be surpassed, truly it is one of the most comforting tastes in cooking!

A traditional English Christmas cake
And Christmas dinner would not be complete without crackers containing paper crowns, gifts and jokes.

For desert we had a proper Christmas pudding rich and fruity and boozy set alight after being swamped in brandy.

Finally, I couldn't forget the Christmas cake and mince pies. So my work was cut out for me. But what a joy it was to see the pleasure which all that food and contentment gave!

As I tied back my hair, tied on my apron, washed my hands and set to work, Robin put on some beautiful music: Hymns for the feast of Christmas, Theophany and the Meeting of the Lord, sung by the St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church Choir. To complete the atmosphere, Robin put in the diffuser (yes, finally a nod to our essential oils!) Christmas Spirit. It perfectly complemented the fruity, spicy, citrus smells coming from the kitchen.

I thank God we had a wonderful Christmas!

Making mince pies

Mince pies fresh out of the oven

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Coming Home

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

A visit to the sea side
I managed to arrive in England as the winter vomiting sickness was sweeping the country. For protection I used Thieves oil on my feet and hands, and put Purification and Lavender around my ears and under my jaw near my glands throughout my stay.

Two oils I wished I'd brought were DiGize (because of the vomiting sickness) and RC (because of the cough). Instead I took 3-5 drops of what I had available: Peppermint, Lemongrass, and Lemon in capsules 3-4 times throughout the day to keep the tummy bug away.

I also used Deep Relief and extra Peppermint on my chest together with warm herb teas for the cough. I continued to take Lemon oil throughout my trip, putting it in my drinking water.

Even though I was surrounded by people keeling over from the stomach bug, I managed to avoid it completely.

I enjoyed my time in England, connecting with family and friends that I hadn't seen since our move to America in Spring 2008. I was amazed how much my nieces (pictured below) had all grown. I also enjoyed visiting familiar haunts, such as the sea side where we used to go on long walks. Above all, I enjoyed being with my mother.

Coming home was hard. I hated leaving Mum and the family. But I'd had a very blessed time with my Mum - a time of bittersweet joy, a time of healing and a time of prayer and fellowship that came as an unexpected gift. I'd missed my dear husband and children terribly, so it was wonderful to return home.

When I got home Timothy had had a similar vomitting sickness to what had been going around in England. The only thing that had touched it had been when Robin had given Timothy the oils internally, using capsules. He also had been out of DiGize so he made up his own using Tarragon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Patchouli and Lemon.

Within three days of being home, I began to feel nauseous, so immediately I began to take the oils internally again and to tub Peppermint and DiGize (which we had re-ordered) on my stomach and abdomen.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Essential Oils in the Hospital

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

When I got to England to visit my dying mother, I spent the first half of my stay mostly at the hospital.

In the hospital we used the oils throughout the day. The doctors and nurses encouraged us to continue using them for as long as possible. They loved the smell when they came into Mum's room!

We've used Lavender on Mum's feet and legs and also Cypress for circulation. Peppermint really helped her digestion with all the extra gas the medication produced. Citrus Fresh helped keep the room smelling sweet and Mum just loved the smell. We've also used Frankinscence and Orange to help Mum emotionally. For bed sores we used Purification and Lavender and for massages we used Valor.

We then moved Mum home, where I spent the second half of my stay. My sisters and I helped care for her and make her as comfortable and pain-free as possible alongside the Hospiscare team, Macmillan Nurses and others in the palliative support group. We continued to use the oils throughout, including Thieves and Purification and Lemongrass for cleaning purposes.

Using essential oils in a hospital context may seem unusual, but it is actually catching on. The news report below looks at the ways conventional hospitals are diffusing oils in order to give the hospitals a fresh and healthy smell.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Trip to England

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click

Since writing last we received the sad news that my mum has advanced cancer. My flight to the UK was filled with tears and prayers.

I wanted to travel as lightly as possible so I didn’t take any hold luggage. That being the case, I had a limited amount of liquids I was able to carry on. Packing with the 3-1-1 rule meant that I had to make sure all my oils could fit into a quart sized bag. Mostly I took old 5ml bottles and put the oils I wanted in them. I also made up some toiletries with the oils and put them in 3 fl oz bottles. I made up a hand wash with liquid Castile soap, glycerin, water and Theives. I transferred my Theievs toothpast into 1 fl oz squeezy bottle. I added Lemongrass oil to the Thieves Hand Purifier to help keep me protected from hospital bugs. I took the Thieves spray along with my most oftern used oils to cover a range of eventualities: Lavender, lemon, Peppermint, Purification, Valor, Francinsense, AromaSize, Deep Relife Roll On and Theives. 

In the airport and on the plane I used the Thieves spray and hand purifier constantly. I took drops of Lemon to keep my immune system boosted, I used Deep Relief for takeoff and landing, Peppermint for travel nausea, valor for distress, Lavender for sleep and I kept hydrated; it was a long flight! But most of all I prayed and asked for mercy from Him who has defeated death and loves mankind.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Special Black Friday Savings on Essential Oils

The Holiday Balance Mini Oil Collection is one of the many Holiday items on sale today

The Wintertime Wassail Collection is also part of the Black Friday sale

Today and tomorrow, Young Living, is doing a special sale of certain items from their holiday catalog. These items, which make great Christmas gifts, are 10% off (that is, 10% off the normal wholesale discount!). You can read more about this offer on the Young Living blog.

These are the items that are on offer today:
  •     Seasonal Wellness Mini Oils Collection (Item No. 4780)
  •     Nourishing Lip Balm Collection (Item No. 4488)
  •     Dental Care Collection (Item No. 4948)
  •     Roll-On Collection (Item No. 4783)
  •     Exotic Oils Kit featuring Plectranthus Oregano (Item No. 4660)
  •     Wintertime Wassail Collection (Item No. 4937)
  •     Holiday Balance Mini Oils Collection (Item No. 4758)
  •     Home Spa Sampler (Item No. 4668)
  •     Slique Sampler Kit (Item No. 4642)
  •     Wellness Collection (Item No. 4665)
  •     Holiday Sharing Collection (Item No. 4429)
How to Take Advantage of this Offer:

There are four different ways that members of Young Living can take advantage of this fantastic offer (if you are not already a wholesale member of Young Living, you can fix that by clicking here.)
  1. Through a regular order online. Simply go to your virtual office and select Order' on the left-hand column. The prices you see for the above items already include the 10% discount.
  2. Through the Essential Rewards program. If you have not already enrolled on the Essential Rewards program, or if you are on this program but your autoship has not yet gone out this month, you can order these products through the ER and collect points for free oils.
  3. By Phone. Call Young Living at 1-800-371-3515 for live assistance. Even though this sale is being advertized as a 'Black Friday Online-Only Event', I have confirmed that they are taking orders through the telephone at the discounted price.
  4. Through Live Chat. Log onto your virtual office and select 'live chat' and place your order that way. Although you usually have to wait a while for a representative to become available, they are always extremely helpful.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thieves, Grapefruit and Cedarwood

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

During the cold and flu season, we put
Thieves on our children's feet
I woke with a little tickle in my throat. I’m alternating oils every hour or so and putting either a drop of Peppermint or a drop of Lemon on the back of my tongue and holding it there for as long as possible before swallowing. I'm also putting Thieves on the souls of my feet twice a day.

I also got that tiny tingle on my lip which portends a cold sore. I find Melrose works great for cold sores. Other friends have found different oils work best for them such as Geranium, Melissa and Lavender.

Hoping I’ll be well for my trip on Thursday.

Matthew had a sniffle this morning so out came the Thieves. I also used the Thieves on the other children as a preventative. A couple of drops on each foot is all you need. 

In fact, I need to leave the family well prepared with oils while I am away. I’ll be making sure I have made up enough care products such as 

  • Sore Throat Spray
  • Foaming Hand Soap
  • Hand Purifier
  • Stress-relieving bath salts (for Robin after the children are in bed!)

(I explained how to make these and other care products in my earlier post 'Make Your Own Care and First-Aid Products.')

In the car this morning I asked Robin what the lovely smell was – he said he’s started adding Grapefruit essential oil to his drinking water (he already puts lemon essential oil in his water). He said the lemon keeps his immune system boosted while the grapefruit adds a bracing vibrancy to his drink which gives him energy, especially early in the morning. (See the video we posted 'The Power of Citrus Oils.')

One thing I must remember to check is our supply of Cedarwood. While I’m away whoever has the children for school work or any activity that requires focus will need Cedarwood as a standby. Timothy is terribly anxious and distractable and finds sustained mental concentration difficult. I find Cedarwood both reduces the compulsive nature of his anxiety and helps him focus and concentrate. (See our earlier post 'Oils to Help Reduce ADD and ADHD Symptoms.'

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Preparing to Visit my Mother in England

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

Robin has now returned from visiting his brother
Robin has now returned from visiting his brother in California, having cut short his trip so he can support me during this difficult time of anxiety about my mother.

I will be leaving on Thursday for England. My dear mother’s condition is very grim and I pray I will be able to be with her before she dies. Without the assurance of a sovereign, loving and compassionate Lord who has trampled down death by death, how does one cope at times like this?

My sister just phoned – she was with my mum at the hospital overnight and all day – and she is exhausted. She told me that in order to wind down and help her sleep she will be using her Young Living essential oils.

We have had many opportunities to be grateful to God for the oils during my Mum’s illness. She has been using combinations of Lavender, Geranium and Peppermint. She loved her diffuser. Her two favorite oils to diffuse were Citrus Fresh and Frankincense. Her personal favorite was Valor which she used all the time. Please pray for my Mum and for my family.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Lavender, Valor and Advent

By Esther Phillips

This is the next installment in my ongoing essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

The last few days have been rather stressful. My mother's condition has deteriorated rapidly and she is now in the hospital. I will be going to England this coming week to be with her and the rest of my family.

I've been very thankful for Lavender and Valor during this difficult time. These oils are both part of the everyday oil collection.

Valor has really relieved my tight chest and lifted and strengthened my mind and body. Lavender calms and soothes and helps me to sleep.

Jesse Tree
Today we started the Nativity Fast/Advent. The children (and I) love the readings, the expectation, the hymns and the dark evenings around the fire opening the next ornament for our Jesse Tree. (See my husband's post about the importance of the church calendar 'here' and 'here' and 'here.')

We started doing the Jesse Tree last Advent after a wonderful family gave us a gift of the readings/ornaments/ tree. What a special and blessed journy all the way through Christmas to Epiphany/Theophany. Today we begin the journey with our Lord again!

Further Reading

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How I used Purification to Tidy Robin's Office

By Esther Phillips

This is the fifth installment in my essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

Today I decided that Robin's office needed a good clean and tidy before he came home.

I found some spore-like mildew behind a piece of furniture. Purification oil blend is perfect for cleaning such sites. It is one of the everyday oils that comes with the Premium Starter Kit for those wishing to enrol to become Young Living wholesale customers.

Purification both cleans the air, neutralizes odors and disinfects. I use it to disinfect cuts because of its antiseptic properties but it is equally as effective as an air or surface disinfectant. It has anti-fungal oils in it such as Lemongrass, Rosemary and Melaleuca, which made it a perfect choice for the job today.

I simply put a few drops of Purification in the water I used to wipe down the mildew area. Also, to rid a room of odors I will either put Purification into the diffuser or put several drops on cotton balls and leave them near vents or around the room.

Further Reading

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How I helped my daughter-in-law and moved my ER order forward

This is the fourth installment in my essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.
November 11

Joseph and Whitney
After coming home from church on Sunday (our church always serves lunch so we get home sometime in the afternoon depending on the intensity of conversations!), my son, Joseph, phoned. He's our eldest and has been married for two years.

Joseph's wife, Whitney, had her wisdom teeth pulled a couple days ago. Joe was wondering if I had anything for nausea and pain. 

As I mentioned in my diary last week, I have been getting very low on Peppermint. So the very little of the Peppermint I had left I gave to Whitney. I also gave her some Patchouli which is also meant to be helpful in combating vomiting and nausea. For the pain I had her roll Deep Relief on her jaws. By the time she left the throbbing pain in her gums had subsided.

November 12

I got a call from Joe. Whitney is doing a lot better.

My eldest daughter came over for lunch today. It was lovely to see her and just sit and chat over meat loaf and mashed potatoes.
Here's a tip if you are on the Essential Rewards: you can change your order anytime up to midnight of your order date. If you want to change the date of your order and bring it forward, as I did, remember that open dates change daily, sometimes hourly. For instance, there were no available autoship days left sooner than the date I already had. However, I kept checking back and today the following day had become available so I moved my autoship. It is always worth checking back as different autoship days sometimes become available.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mr. Toad, Mice and Vespers

Esther's Essential Oils Diary: November 10th

This is the third installment in my essential oils diary. To read all my entries so far, click here.

Yesterday was a busy day but we were still missing Robin. Matthew was also gone for the weekend at the Church Winter Retreat so the house seemed strangely empty.

Our children all love Mr Toad
Whilst Robin is away we have had to put our family book on hold. We are reading Wind in the Willows. It is the first time round for Timothy and Susanna. They already love Toad! Also that memorable rodent, Ratty is unforgettable.

We have instead finished our school read aloud: Huckleberry Finn. Well, we finished listening to it. We have a great unabridged audio book. The narrator is fantastic - much better than I could have been.  My English accent would have ruined all those southern dialects.

Speaking of rodents, we have mice in the basement - ugh! So yesterday was spent cleaning and attempting to discover the port of entry. Thankfully not much damage was done. Apparently, Peppermint oil is meant to repulse mice. I've had the diffuser going with Peppermint oil in the basement so we'll see.

Matthew, with his friend AJ, dressed up as Dr. Who
in two of his different incarnations (#4 + #11).
I love the peace and stillness of Vespers after a full and hectic day. Last night was especially helpful: beginning the Lord's Day in prayer. I prayed for my family, my dear children, especially Matthew at the retreat, my dear husband in California and my poor mother in England overwhelmed by an ailment they can't discover the cause of.

Of course, it was when I was putting the Peppermint in the diffuser that I discovered I only had a small amount left. Robin took the full bottle with him on his trip! I hardly go a day without using Peppermint for something: tension headaches, car sickness, pick-me ups, nausea, indigestion, gas. Either I'll change the date of my Essential Rewards order or I'll endure my loss for a week until Robin returns!

CONTACT us with your questions by sending an email to esther [at sign]

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Essential Oils Diary (November 8 & 9)

By Esther Phillips 


This is the second installment in my regular essential oils diary. To read my first entry, visit my post 'My Essential Oil Diary: First Week.'

November 8th

Yesterday Robin went to California to visit his brother. He took Peppermint for travel sickness. One drop in the mouth can be sufficient to calm a troubled stomach during take-off and landing. It's good that I had Robin take the Peppermint because he told me that it saved him from being sick during an acute bout of motion sickness.

Friday, November 8, 2013

My Essential Oil Diary (first week)

By Esther Phillips

Here I am with my husband Robin
Hello! I’m a homeschooling, home-making, home-loving mother of five wonderful children. 

Our two oldest children have flown the nest, our middle boy is in high school at a classical Christian school and I’m home-educating the youngest two.

Robin, my husband, keeps this website going because I have no time, no energy and no hope of ever maintaining it. Essential oils play a huge part in our lives in so many ways. As and when I get a spare moment I’ll jot down a diary of the impact essential oils have in our busy family life!

Robin’s Lavender and Orange Oil Custard

People usually associate essential oils with smell, and rightly so. But essential oils can also be powerful ingredients in cooking, adding excitement and innovation to basic recipes. Moreover, making delicious dishes with essential oils and then offering them to friends, or bringing them to public functions like church potlucks, is probably the easiest way to start up conversations about the oils. People still talk about the time I took my Spearmint Chocolate Truffles to our church reading group.

Last Saturday the children helped me to make my specialty, the 'Robin’s Lavender and Orange Oil Custard.' I originally developed this dish for people who are inexperienced cooking with essential oils because it is so easy to make. Moreover, this dish is not an acquired taste but has instant appeal, even to those unaccustomed to the culinary uses of essential oils.

When served chilled, this dish has the smooth creamy taste of traditional custard, while the orange and lavender add cool refreshing overtones. The gentle masculinity of the orange makes the perfect complement to the floral dimensions of the lavender.