Tuesday, April 14, 2015

DIY Essential Oil Shelf

I have been storing my essential oils in a little box in a cabinet... all piled in there. It was a horrible system. I had to dig through all my oils every time I was looking for something. Finally after a lot of nagging hint dropping, my husband agreed to help me build a wall shelf. I drew up a sketch of what I wanted, did some measurements and off to Lowes we went. I'm going to tell you how we did our shelf, but the height, width, number of shelves, pipe size, etc... can be changed to fit your space, but this will give you an idea of how to execute it. 

Supplies you will need: 
one 10'x1"x4" board
steel wool
hole saw
Sealer (I like this one)
*We used all ¾" pipe
Optional--sandpaper and metalic charcoal spray paint

The first thing you need to do is put steel wool in vinegar. It needs to sit at least 24 hours. I took a mason jar, added some steel wool and poured vinegar in until it was mostly covered. I shook it and took the lid off periodically. In my head this sped up the process... In reality, who knows. 

Then we cut our board down to four 28" pieces and sanded them. We used oak that had been kiln dried so it was actually about 3.5" wide instead of 4". This may not sound like a big deal but the very top board just barely fits in front of the flange. So be conscious of that when you are drilling your holes. Then JR used his hole saw to get cut the holes. We measured beforehand to determine the location of the holes on the board. The holes were ½" from the front of the board and 1" from the end of the board. He used the 1 ⅛ inch hole saw attachment.

Then we "painted" the vinegar solution onto the boards. as you can see it goes on clear but begins to darken like the picture below. 

Allow this to sit and dry completely. You only need the one coat. In the photo below, the board on the left is completely dry. Next comes the sealer. I found this butcher block sealer we used during our kitchen remodel and I like the finish it gives. I did 2 coats on these boards, waiting 3 hours and sanded with 400 grit sandpaper in between. 

My husband spent times wiping down all the pipes. When you purchase them, they are in bags and have a black grease type coating on all the pieces. 

and then he put a coupling on one end of all the pipes. The coupling is what holds the shelves up. 

We decided to spray paint the flanges because they are much lighter in color than the black pipes. We happened to have a spray paint on hand and used it to darken them up a bit. 

In this photo, you can see the way we arranged everything. He started at the bottom and worked his way up. Using the 8"pipe piece with the coupling already attached to the bottom, sliding the board on, and adding another coupling/pipe piece and repeat. The little nipple pieces act as the connecter/extender between the elbow and the flange. You have to do these for both sides obviously. You can add more shelves if you have a larger space. He tried to tighten the couplings about the same amount to avoid the boards being uneven.   

Once this was done for both sides we took it upstairs to hang it. Because the boards are not fixed to the pipe, be sure to use a level not only horizontally, but vertically--before you go screwing anything into the walls. Then you need to find a stud... Like my husband to hang this joker for you--see what I did there. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it.....  It's pretty heavy. There are a few screws that happen to line to up to a stud but he just anchored the rest of them.                                                                 


Because the cut hole is slightly larger than the pipe--the boards wiggle a bit. We purchase a silicone quick set glue, to secure them but it didn't want to stick to the pipe. I ended up pulling out my crafter skills and hot glueing. Perhaps you may find a better solution but this worked well for us. I put the glue all the way around on the top of the coupling then pressed the board down. This step is not necessary but I didn't like how the shelf wiggled. I was afraid if someone bumped it, my oils would fall off. 

 And Viola!!!!! You have yourself a handy dandy shelf for your oils... or nail polish or whatever else you need. I saw "we" did this project.... but my husband did all the hard work. He's good at bringing my designs to life. My grandmother jokes about how Paw brings ideas to fruition but she polishes them and adds the style aspect... I think that's generally how JR and I complete projects. 

I had so much fun organizing my oils. There is enough room on this shelf to put your multiples behind each other. I just spread them out to fill my shelf. Although it would be cute for trinkets and things as well. The completed dimensions of the shelf are 35" high and 28" wide. 

Originally I wanted to use copper pipe. JR talked me out of it.... and although I still think the copper would look good in the right house. The black iron pipe goes with things we already have. So there is is.... Our Oil Shelf!!! Hope you find these instructions straight-forward. Comment below if you spot a mistake or if you make your own. I'd love to see a pic. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons....

We've had a month.... I could go into super long detail about everything that happened.... but I won't. I'll just say a lot happened including a death in the family, a trip to the ER, multiple illnesses, injuries, etc.... sometimes life is hard.....When I have a hard day and am grumpy, I always tell Milo "I'm sorry, we've had a rough day..." She now uses that statement all the time. As a mother in our world, some ppl might not think it's a good idea to share my daily struggles with my 4 year old..... I'm pretty sure no other generation had as many parenting opinions pushed on you as we do today.... So I'm gonna push my own opinion on you.

It's Okay. It's okay to struggle. It's okay to have a hard day. And for Pete's sake, it's okay to let your kids know that you are struggling. Since last May, I have been struggling with overwhelming emotions. I don't consider myself to be an nervous or down person, but somehow it happened. I started having this sinking feeling in my chest--like I couldn't breathe and went to the doctor because I was convinced I had an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. I did not. The doctor told me I was completely fine and that this was caused by my out of control emotions. Thankfully I had a huge supportive community when we were in the UK that wrapped their arms around me and my girls. Then we moved back to the states and stayed with family for a couple months. It was nice to be back home... but the hard part came when I got to St. Louis. To a town where I don't really know many people. Just our little family. I've made big moves before. They're always a little difficult, but because I was already having a hard time,  it took it to a whole new level. I once started crying at Pizza Hut! I mean, I felt out of control.

I was concerned--about myself.... worried my children might think they had a mean mom.... afraid I was going to permanently turn into this person. I've had my fair share of crazy women in my life and I was afraid I was turning into one.... and it scared me. Once in the middle of some craziness going on with the girls--I sat down with my head in my hands and took a big breath. My sweet Milo came to me, took my hands in hers and said "It's ok mommy, We can figure this out together"...... and I knew that I had done something right, but in her eyes I saw myself as a child.... worried about my mother. And I knew. I knew something had to change.

I can remember sobbing to JR one night about how Lennon was robbed of those innocent toddler months because I was just mean all the time....quick-tempered, angry, sad, exhausted. I would go into the bathroom and shut the door and cry as the girls knocked on the other side of the door... but I just needed a minute to let it out. I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me. I just want you to know that you aren't alone... I've had people say to me "you are the perfect mom. How do you do it?!".... I am not the perfect mom.... by a LOOOOONG shot. I think social media does that. You only see the highlights of someone's life. The good parts--only part of the story.

If my story sounds familiar.... just know that it doesn't have to be that way forever. I can finally say I am feeling like myself again.... Do I still have rough days? Yes. But in the midst of this past month with everything that has happened,  I've realized just how far from that dark place I have come. I had an acquaintance share a similar experience and I can't tell you how much it meant to know that I was not alone.... that I wasn't a bad mom because of this struggle.

How did I regain balance? I prayed, got more physically active, embraced the support of my husband..... but also have started using essential oils. They have helped to improve my mood, make me feel more grounded, and have brought balance to my emotions. As you can see by my recent posts, I am very excited about Young Living's Essential Oils. This is why.

It's Ok to struggle.... and when we do---for goodness sake, don't hold it in and make your children think it's their fault. Tell them you're sorry and that you are having a hard time. They will learn from you. People make mistakes. People struggle. THEY will struggle. By being open about it, we teach them how to deal with it when it happens to them. Even now, When Milo gets angry or frustrated she will apologize to me and tell me she's sorry..... but she doesn't feel good or whatever the case may be. We hug and move on. My children are happy, healthy, adventurous, wild, and loved. I read somewhere a long time ago a post by another blogger... she talked about how we are enough. That's become my Mantra. When I find myself caught up in trying to keep up with the latest pinterest homeschool ideas, party planning, healthy kids recipes... I stop and remind myself. You are enough.

I'm thankful for this journey I've made and am so happy with where I am. I feel in control and much more optimistic. This was not what I sat down intending to write. I sat down wanting to write about bath salts and tax returns, but this just sort of came out. Evidently I needed to get it out. I haven't shared this with too many people. It's hard admitting weakness... but we all have them.

So my post of excitement about my tax refund got hijacked, but I still wanted to share.... I know many people who have been interested in Young Living's Oils, but haven't been able to make that financial investment. Well there is no time like the present..... It's one of my favorite times of the year... TAX RETURN TIME!!!! This is a wonderful investment into your family's health. And I'm running an awesome special until the end of April 2015. When you sign up as a Member with a Premium Starter Kit, I will send you a book to help you get started, a $10 Amazon gift card, and a quick reference sheet. That's $40 worth of freebies. You can sign up here at my Young Living sign-up page or find Sign up instructions on my post about Why I Chose Young Living.

Let me also say. I am not a doctor. I'm not prescribing, treating, or curing anything. Everyone is different and will find a solution that works for them. If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others, please see a Doctor or Counselor.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Super Easy Lotion Recipe

I've made lots of different lotion recipes. Easy. Complicated. Good. Bad. Weird. When someone asks how for a lotion recipe.... It's sort of a loaded question. There are SO many out there. If you're just starting out, you probably don't want to buy 27 ingredients for a lotion you may or may not like. So I've got a super simple recipe for you! Made with two products you can find at your health food store or pharmacy. 

I've seen recipes before of people whipping coconut oil and using it as a lotion. It's awesome, they said. Best lotion ever, they said. Well, not for me. Not at all. I found it very greasy. I wanted to find a solution... And I did. 

This homemade lotion is way less greasy. It only has two basic ingredients and you can make it in minutes. 

I use a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil and aloe Vera gel. For the coconut oil you will need to solid type. Use an aloe Vera gel that is pure aloe Vera and clear.  

You can mix it with your mixer or even mix it with a fork. You'll want to keep this lotion at room temp or cooler. Coconut oil melts at just above room temperature. If you use essential oils in your lotion, be sure to store it in a glass jar. 

For this small batch I used:
¼ cup of coconut oil
¼ of aloe Vera gel
5 drops of lavender
5 drops of peace and calming

This batch is an after bath/ before bed lotion for the girls. I chose lavender and peace and calming to promote a restful night's sleep. I only use Young Living essential oils on my girls. If you'd like to know more about Young Living essential oils, check out my recent post about it. 

This lotion also makes a good after sun lotion. the coconut oil will keep your skin moisturized and the aloe vera will help soothe any sun exposure areas. 

...and because I just can't help myself. Here are a couple pictures of the little monsters.....
Here's Lennon. She's 1.5 now! How does that happen?! 

And of course Milo... who's now 4.... with her orange mouth after eating carrots. 

These girls are giving me a run for my money. Luckily, so far, I've had just a little more will power than they do. See those faces? There's mischief in those eyes, I tell you. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Why I Chose Young Living

If you follow me on Facebook, you've seen me post a couple times about essential oils. I've been using essential oils in homemade lotion, soaps, scrubs, and the like for about four years now.  I could go into a long explanation of how I ended up using essential oils and why I love natural remedies so much, but I'll save that for another post. Once I was getting more and more into essential oils, I started buying higher quality. Well, I recently made the leap and signed up as a distributor with Young Living. Why did I sign up as a distributor? I'll explain in a bit. A few people have asked me to keep them updated on what I think about the oils...and as usual, my opinion is lengthy... so I figured it best to post about it here.

As I got more into using essential oils for purposes beyond their scents, I began researching. There are so many brands out there that claim to be the best.... how in the world do you decide? Once I did the research, the choice was easy for me. Young living really won me over with their Seed to Seal Quality commitment....which includes 5 steps:

Seed: Every year after harvest, farmers from Young Living select seeds from the strongest plants of their crop. The selected seeds are then evaluated by outside researchers to evaluate their potential. Those seeds are then saved for use in future crops. 

Cultivate: They do not use chemical sprays on their crops. Sometimes they use their own essential oils as pesticides. They also use sustainable farming methods by feeding and aerating the soil to keep it rich thereby keeping the plants healthier. 

Distill: They use state of the art steam distilling as well as cold pressing and resin tapping. 

Testing: They test their own oils internally on the distilling location to check quality but also to determine the best harvest/distilling time. They also do third party testing which is huge. 

Seal: The oils only ever come into contact with stainless steel and glass. Their bottling plant is in the United States. 

I love that they are so forthcoming with all these details. You can even go and participate in the planting and harvesting at the farms. I think for me the transparency is huge.... and knowing that they take so many precautions to ensure they have the best product. Young Living Essential Oils are (I believe) the only oils that can be taken internally--if you choose to do so.

We've loved using the oils for a myriad of things. Lemon in my water for to aid Digestion, Purification to help with skin irritation and blemishes, Lavender and Peace & Calming to help the girls relax for bedtime, Clove and copaiba to soothe sore swollen gums when those teeth come in, Frankincense for skin rejuvenation, Peppermint for discomfort or queasiness, Thieves to boost my immune system, Lavendar and peppermint to soothe itchy dry skin..... I could go on and on. You name something and there's probably an oil for that.  We've had a much greater therapeutic experience with Young Living oils than other brands I had used in the past.

So why did I sign up as a distributor? ....because you get great benefits. Distributors get 24% off of retail price as well as other perks with their Essential Rewards Program, like reduced shipping and accumulating points to use towards free oils. Not everyone wants to be a distributor. The requirements of a distributor are that you spend $50 per year.... If you don't-- your account becomes inactive and just starts up again when you make a purchase. I knew I would be spending at least $50 a year-- so it was a no-brainer for me with all the savings.

Another concern many have is the cost of essential oils. It seems crazy to spend so much money on these little bottles of oil. I've been there. When I first started buying the oils I would buy the cheapest thing I could find.... now that I've tried lots of different brands, I can tell you that those cheap brands I bought when I first started out were not even in the same league as the higher quality essential oils. You are only using one or two drops of the oil at a time... and the 5ml bottle has about 85 drops... and a 15ml bottle has about 250 drops. Just like anything else, the 15ml bottles are cheaper per ml than the 5ml. Not all oils are created equal. I use less oil with Young Living oils than I did with the cheaper brands and see way more therapeutic effect. So when you look at it that way, they really aren't expensive.

So where do you start? If you've never used essential oils before, it can be confusing knowing which oils to get or how to begin. Great oils to start with are Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Thieves, Peace & calming, Purification, Joy....just to name a few. Young Living has also put together a Premium Starter Kit that's a great deal. It comes with Frankincense, Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca Alternifolia (tea Tree), Peppermint, Joy, Purification, PanAway, Thieves, Stress Away, Citrus Fresh, as well as a Diffuser. The diffuser is not something I would have originally thought to purchase but I use it ALL the time and it's invaluable for colds. Check out this image to see the price comparisons of the Premium starter kit. 

If you are interested in ordering oils or if you have any questions about the oils or how to use them, feel free to contact me via the contact tab above or on my personal Facebook page. If you already know what you'd like you could place an order through this link. You would need to register as either a Distributor or a Retail Customer. If you register as a distributor under me, you also gain access to an amazing oily Facebook group with over 18,000 members where we discuss testimonials, the oils and their many uses. I really do love essential oils. They've saved us from going to so many doctor's visits and I know you will love them too. I think even JR is coming around.

If you sign up now I will send you your very own 486pg Comprehensive Reference Guide ($25 value). This will help you know how to use the essential oils. You can look up each essential oil and it will give you all the uses or you can look up a problem like insomnia, congestion, etc... and it will tell you which oils have been known to help with that and how to use it. I really feel this is the best reference book out there and think having one is so important when you start using oils. It will also tell you safety information like how much to dilute the oils for children or those with sensitive skin.

Young Living also has more than just essential oils..... cleaners, supplements, hair care, etc... I'll post more about those in the future. I'm testing out the thieves cleaner right now.... so far, I'm loving it.  When you're ready to sign up...

Go to on over the the Young Living sign-up page

  • Be sure to select the member option so you will get 24% off. 
  • Make sure that my ID # 2293330 is filled in under Enroller and Sponsor so you will get your Reference Book
  • Young living needs your SSN for tax purposes, but if you would rather not fill it in, you can get an EIN number here
Select your Starter Kit. 
  • I recommend the Premium starter kit ($150) as it gives you enough oils to get started and qualifies you for the freebie above. 
Essential Rewards? 
  • This step is completely optional. You can sign up at a later time if you wish. This video explains essential rewards and how you can get reduced shipping and free products. 
Confirm Your Order 

If you have any other questions about oils, the sign-up process, or anything else--feel free to contact me via the contact tab above or at heather (at) ayoungwifestale (dot) com.

*Disclaimer:  The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Statements, products, and techniques mentioned have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.