Make 2017 a Great Year

Happy New Year 2017 | encouragement for busy moms

Happy new year 2017!

My Facebook feed this week has been filled with friends bemoaning the last year. Apparently, it’s been hard for a lot of people — filled with stress, sadness, and hardship. The Bernard family has had our share of challenges, too.

So — I’m excited about the new year ahead! 2017 is gonna rock, and we’ll encourage one another to make it the BEST year yet. Where do you need encouragement for a great year? In what area do you most struggle? How can I help you?

Is it spiritual discipline? Is it health? Relationships? Job and money? Stress and anxiety?

Whatever it is, I want to work with you and encourage you to help you THRIVE in 2017.

Join me beginning January 1 on my blog Facebook page for a happy new year 2017. I’m going to take the first 17 days of January to share 17 ways to make your 2017 *SPARKLE*. I’ll post a brief video each day to share some ideas and encouragement.

Make sure you LIKE and FOLLOW my Facebook page so you can join the fun.

Because we all need more *SPARKLE* in our lives, right?

Favorite Summertime Essential Oils

favorite summertime essential oils

There’s not one season that I’d want to face without essential oils. But I especially can’t imagine summer oil-less!

I’ve come up with seven reasons why I especially love my essential oils during the summer months.

Summertime Essential Oils

1. Lime essential oil is a favorite in all my summer recipes. I make margaritas, mojitos, guacamole, fresh salsa (with garden-fresh tomatoes and cilantro), limeade, and lime cake with my beloved lime oil. Yum!

2. Melaleuca essential oil helps your feet stay clear of any yuckies you may pick up at the swimming pool or in the communal showers at camp. I know; it’s gross to think about, but it’s not nearly as bad if you’ve got Melaleuca on hand. It’s also great for any scratches and owies.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

5 Secrets For Standardized Testing Success

5 secrets for standardized testing success

Yes, it’s here once again! Standardized testing time in Tennessee. You can hear the collective groans around the state this week as parents, teachers, and kids feel the pressure of test-taking.

How do you prepare your kids for doing their best when they face any kind of exam, presentation, or project? I have a few tried-and-true tools that I always pull out during standardized testing week and anytime that the kids need an extra “boost” to perform at optimal level.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Thieves Essential Oil Better Than Bleach And Lysol

Thieves Essential Oil Beats Clorox Bleach and Lysol in Cleaning BathroomsI love school. I do. I always have. I’d be in school right now, getting another degree in something if time and money would allow.

But I must say that RE-living school through my children’s projects borders on torture. I straddle that line of trying to be helpful and guide them so they will develop excellent study skills and here-let-me-do-that-so-we-can-just-get-it-done-already.

The latest project in the parade of projects, however, was for the sixth grade science fair. And after the late nights and head scratching and double-sided tape fiascos, it actually proved interesting.

While some kids were sticking wires in potatoes and such, my 11-year-old wanted to focus on germs in dirty bathrooms. Specifically, she wanted to test my beloved essential oils against chemical household cleaners. Yes! I was hooked. I wanted to know, too, just how well Young Living’s Thieves essential oil blend performed when placed side by side against Clorox Bleach and Lysol bathroom cleaner.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Guest Post Today at Blonde Mom Blog

Blonde Mom Blog guest post | 5 Easy Changes to a Better You

I’m thrilled to let you know that I have a guest post today at Blonde Mom Blog! Jamie is a longtime friend of mine and now a colleague as we’ve worked together for a couple of years.

I love her blog, her wit, and her writing. If you’ve not checked out Blonde Mom Blog, you must!

And while you’re there, check out my post, too, in her 15 Minutes to Fabulous summer series (intro below):

5 Easy Changes for a Better You

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” No matter what’s going on, what task you’re facing, or for which goals you are reaching, you must take baby steps to get there.

Little bites of elephant one at a time.

That’s why I love the idea of 15 minutes to becoming fabulous. Those 15 minutes here and there add up. You start nibbling at the elephant and before you know it, you’ve cleaned your plate!

And so, I’m challenging you with these small bites you can take today, this week, or this weekend for all-around life improvement. Generally, they are so easy to incorporate into your routine that you’ll probably find they become healthy habits before you know it.

Read the entire blog post here.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Migraine Headaches? Maybe It’s Your Gall Bladder

migraine headaches | migraine headache relief

For much of my adult life, I’ve suffered with headaches.

I’ve had tension and stress headaches brought on by a variety of things, including changes in the weather, hormonal shifts, second-hand cigarette smoke, and obnoxious perfumes and potpourris.

Within the last few years, however, I have suffered from almost debilitating migraine headaches. My doctor and I have tried to trouble-shoot the headaches every which way. I stopped taking hormonal forms of birth control and watched if common food triggers might be a problem.

Nothing seemed to shed any light on my headache issues. They would come and go at will with no rhyme or reason.

I had just sort of resigned myself to being at the mercy of a migraine headache (when and if it decided to appear) and hoped I could get the Imitrex or Maxalt (prescription pain relievers) into my system as soon as possible after noticing that first pain.

But everything started to change for me earlier this year.

Pain, Pain, Go Away!

After feeling that I had been putting myself in last place for too, too long, I decided in January to invest in my health and well-being.

Our family began using essential oils and enjoyed immediate success in many areas of health and well-being.

I decided also to see a chiropractor and nutritionist. The headaches were still a pain (pun intended) and I was having issues with my under-functioning thyroid, lethargy, achy joints, and my weight.

At the first consultation, I told him about my headaches. My headaches are usually always above my right eye with pain going across the top of my head and down into my ear.

He immediately said, “Gall bladder. Headaches on the right side of the head are usually gall bladder-related.”

What? I thought.

Soon thereafter, he did muscle testing that recommended I avoid gluten.

So, for a couple of weeks now, I’ve been avoiding gluten and processed foods, taking supplements, and using oils. I’ve been feeling better and best of all—no headaches!

But this last week, I wheeled into the chiropractor’s office with a raging headache. I explained to him—once again—how the pain had settled behind my right eye and down into my ear. He immediately started addressing my gall bladder with adjustments and massage. At the end of my session, I felt much better.

Confession: I had been way off my gluten-free, non-processed diet for the week or so leading up to the headache. My chiropractor confirmed that the Chinese food and cheeseburger I had eaten last week were probably to blame for the gall bladder congestion. In addition to gluten, he added I need to avoid fatty fried and spicy foods, too.

I am not a medical doctor nor a licensed anything. But I am a woman who has suffered from migraine headaches. I can now look at my diet and notice a correlation between eating junk and having painful headaches. I’m in a learning process, for sure. That’s why I’m sharing this post today. If you’re looking for answers for your headaches, maybe this will help.

5 Tips For Migraine Headache Relief

If you, too, suffer from headaches—especially on the right side of your head—consider that it may be that your diet is aggravating and congesting your gall bladder. Try these natural interventions to see if your headaches become less frequent, less painful, or—hopefully—disappear altogether:

1. Avoid foods made with gluten. (You may also want to avoid other known foods that cause sensitivities, though I have not. These may include dairy, eggs, soy, alcohol, caffeine, etc.)

2. Drink 3-4 drops of lemon, orange, grapefruit, and/or peppermint essential oils in water or herbal tea daily. (I only use and recommend Young Living essential oils for ingestion. And only drink beverages with essential oils from a glass container. You can find my favorite glass water bottle here.)

3. Rub 2-3 drops Citrus Fresh and peppermint essential oils (layer the oils, using peppermint last) onto your gall bladder after a heavy meal and/or when you feel a headache coming on. Repeat on the bottoms of your feet.

4. Take a detox bath made with Epsom salts and your favorite essential oil. If you’re battling a headache, I’d probably recommend peppermint. If you need relaxation and sleep, use lavender or Peace & Calming. Here’s a great recipe for detox bath salts.

5. Try other supplements. Young Living offers many products that can help offer support for your gall bladder. I haven’t used all of these myself, simply because I’m trying to address my problems more on the prevention and nutrition angle. But I know they have helped many people with similar issues:

  • M-Grain™ – a blend of basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint, Roman chamomile, and helichrysum essential oils
  • Aroma Siez™ – a relaxing blend of basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint, and cypress essential oils
  • Deep Relief – specially formulated with peppermint, wintergreen, copal, and palo santo essential oils
  • PanAway – a blend of wintergreen, helichrysum, clove, and peppermint essential oils
  • GLF™ – a blend of powerful oils including helichrysum, spearmint, and celery

For more answers to your questions about using essential oils for headache relief and/or gall bladder issues, check out Oil-Testimonials.com. And many of the oils mentioned above are included in the Premium Starter Kit from Young Living. Find out more here.

If you, too, are a headache sufferer, I do pray you find relief. Leave me a comment and let me know how you deal with migraine headaches.

Photo Credit: mislav-m via Compfight cc

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Making Perfect Iced Tea: Things My Mama Taught Me (and a few I learned from HGTV)

Making Perfect Iced Tea| How To Make a Perfect Glass of Iced TeaToday I’m resurrecting a series of posts called, “Things My Mama Taught Me.”

I wouldn’t really call myself a domestic diva, but I am a good Southern cook, who routinely OD’s on information. I love all things about hearth and home, I am always on a quest for finding the most efficient way of doing the most mundane thing.

Thus, this series. I’ve got a lot of odds and ends of info rattling about my head, and I figured some of you might find them helpful and/or interesting.

In this series, you will find tips, tricks, recipes, favorite resources, and the like.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to make delicious and perfectly brewed iced tea.

When I was in college and living with three roommates in a two-bedroom apartment, I was the tea maker. My roommates—Southern girls though they were—had no clue how to make iced tea. They thought tea came in a brown powder form in a can.

Sacrilege, I tell you. Absolute sacrilege.

Since then, I’ve been perfecting my iced tea skills, and we always have a gallon in the fridge. I can’t go more than a few hours without a cold glass of tea. Alone, I probably drink 1 gallon every 2 days or so.

Making perfect iced tea is simple. Follow my tips below.

Iced Tea

makes one gallon

In a small saucepan, boil about 3 cups of water. I never measure; just fill up the saucepan.

When the water boils, add 3 family size tea bags. I actually use decaf tea now and have never been able to make any distinction in flavor.

Remove the pot from the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to steep. I think it should steep at least 10-15 minutes, but 30-45 minutes will give you a deeper flavor.

Next comes the controversial part: sugar. I am not a big fan of super-sweet tea. When it is super-sweet, the flavor of the tea is obliterated by the syrupy flavor. If I want syrup, I’ll drink Coke. So, I typically only add about 1/2 cup sugar to the warm liquid and stir to dissolve. (Obviously, add more sugar to adjust to your taste.)

Pour the tea mixture into a one gallon jug. Fill the jug with cold water to make one gallon.

In my ideal world, my iced tea is served over a glass FULL of ice, with fresh-squeezed lemon, and sprigs of mint.

Absolutely, positively perfect refreshment. Ahhhh.

For sweetness/more flavor without the sugar:

  • Try using Stevia instead of sugar.
  • I also use 1-2 drops Lemon, Orange, and/or Bergamot essential oils per glass. The oils give a delicious flavor. You may find you don’t miss the sugar when flavoring with essential oils. *Note: Never add the oils to iced tea unless it is in a glass container. I only consume and recommend consuming 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils by Young Living.
  • I periodically experiment with brewing a herbal or flavored tea along with the original teabags. Just replace one tea bag with about 3 smaller bags. I like to use orange spice, green citrus, and raspberry leaf.
  • I also use an Iced Tea Maker frequently now to make iced tea. I do love it, and I think it does a fine job. I bought some bulk cut herbs (raspberry leaf ), and brew them in my iced tea maker with my tea bags.
    Directions: Follow machine’s directions for making tea. Place 3 large bags into the maker. Put 3 heaping T of raspberry leaf herb (or herb of your choice) into a plain coffee filter. Fold the corners of the coffee filter like wrapping a gift. Staple together to close. Place herb pouch on top of tea bags and brew as normal.

Some good fast iced tea options when you’re out:

  • Sonic Route 66 iced tea, half sweet and half unsweet with extra lemon
  • McDonald’s large tea, half sweet and half unsweet with extra lemon

What about you? What’s your favorite iced beverage? What’s your favorite hot beverage? Do you have any tips for making the perfect glass or cup of whatever?

photo: dreamstime.com

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Mother’s Day Specials for Unique Gifts

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

What in the world will you do this year for Mother’s Day?

Every year, I am plagued with this quandary. My mother-in-law is fairly easy to buy for (my mother passed away two years ago), but sometimes for Mother’s Day I want to give a present that’s more sentimental or meaningful. Something that’s unique or unexpected. Something that’s practical and useful but also beautiful.

Maybe, just maybe this year, I’ll actually do that.

I wanted to let y’all know about a few gift ideas that would be perfect for a mom of any age. These are three of my favorite products—at terrific discounts—so I think the mom on your list would appreciate them, too.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Breastfeeding Twins? Yes! It Can Be Done

I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding—especially breastfeeding twins. It’s been nine years since I nursed an infant (or two), but I still remember all the emotion involved with it.

First—a disclaimer:

Breastfeeding can be hard, and it can be a difficult transition for moms. Please, please, please don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to breastfeed your baby(ies) and/or if you choose not to. While it is a great and wonderful way to feed your baby (ies), it does not make one a superior mother or more holy than another.

This post is not to condemn or elevate anyone’s choice of how to feed her child(ren). It is simply meant to offer encouragement and some practical tips for expectant moms of multiples who may be wondering, “Is it even possible to breastfeed twins successfully?”

And now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, I continue.

4 Tips for Breastfeeding TWINS

With my first baby, learning to breastfeed was a bumpy start. Once we got the hang of it, we were fine. She nursed until she self-weaned around 8 months.

When I found out I was expecting twins, I researched all I could about breastfeeding them. I was determined to give it a good faith effort, but I had extremely low expectations. Let me repeat that: extremely. low. expectations. With a two-year-old still in diapers, I knew that breastfeeding two babies at the same time would certainly have its challenges.

Unbelievably, we made it until they, too, self-weaned around ten months.

Are you expecting twins? Do you wonder if you could successfully breastfeed them? From my experience, I offer four tips.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Why I Could Only Eat Half Of My Lunch Today – Losing Weight With Grapefruit Essential Oil

Today, I had an amazing experience with using Grapefruit Essential Oil. I actually created a video to tell you about my experience. I hope you’ll watch it and let me know what you think.

After the video, you’ll find a quick summary of what I reveal on the video (in case you’d rather read it than watch), a picture of my lunch that I couldn’t finish, and a recipe for that awesome gluten-free salad.

I hope you’ll join me for the Oil of the Month Club in April. I can’t wait to see what we discover about Clarity next month! Find the link to join at the end of the post.

Video Summary

I had read somewhere that about 20 drops of grapefruit essential oil should be taken daily in order to see weight loss. I have about 60 lbs. to lose, so today at lunch I decided to drink a glass of water with 10 drops of grapefruit oil in it.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.