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.

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.

A Sure Sign We’re Ready for Summer’s End

Barbie is bald. 

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Greetings From the Middle of Summer

This summer is proving to be one of shattered expectations. Now that I think about it, though, when does my life ever turn out as I had planned?

I can’t believe how busy I am. I am shuttling children hither and yon—and we really aren’t even THAT busy! Still, I’m in the van quite a bit: loading, unloading, packing, unpacking, and so on.

And that makes me tired.

I have created a master work of art in Susanna’s room, which I will show you as soon as I get about $100 to buy a new digital camera (our really nice one got rained on in the flood and now won’t work). Our washer of 12 (or so) years finally konked last week. The in-laws graciously offered to buy a new one. We accepted.

I continue with my study of the Enneagram. I’m pretty sure I’m a Type 3, which is the type that has the need to succeed. I’m learning quite a bit but have yet to be able to distill it all into words.

I find that: I think I have some things to say but don’t have the time or presence of mind to put it down intelligibly and sincerely (thus, this rambling post).

And who knew? I have planter pots on my porch. They’ve been planted now for one week, and they aren’t languishing! I’m kind of surprised since I fully embrace the fact that I’m not a gardener, yet I rejoice that I have 7 days of keeping these plants alive behind me. (And I’ll post some pictures when I get that camera.)

I’m headed to a social media/blogging conference in about two weeks. I’m so excited, but it’s kind of sneaking up on me. I guess that’s better than pining for it, huh? And I’m so thrilled to report that the authors behind the fabulous devotional book, My Grandmother Is … Praying for Me, are sponsoring my trip. In return, I’ll be doing some social media work for their book and their brand.

That’s a little bit of a catch-up for now.

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Check Out the Savvy Source

If you’ve visited here with much regularity, you’ve probably noticed that flashy sidebar thingey to the right over there that advertises The Savvy Source. If you’d like to go visit there now, go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back.

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Oh, hi. You’re back.

So, anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m going to be relying on this website A LOT this summer. I’m starting to get that kind of quesy feeling in my stomach that is the beginning of a panic attack when I think of my long summer days ahead with THE KIDS.

Many of my friends have their kids enrolled in 9 million camps, have three vacations planned, and send the kids to each set of grandparents for two weeks at a time.

Not the Bernards. We have $0, so the most we can do in the summer is a couple of days of preschool for the boys and swim lessons.

The rest of the time is directed by yours truly.

It’s funny to me how God turns inside out has all the assumptions I had about myself and motherhood. Turns out I’m not nearly as crafty as I thought and don’t really enjoy spending hours in the boiling sun playing Duck, Duck, Goose.

Who knew, right?

So, thank goodness for The Savvy Source. And guess what? The Nashville Savvy City Guide is Nashville-specific and written by my friend Rebecca! I’m so excited for her new job at The Savvy Source. I know Rebecca will be my go-to girl this summer to find new adventures for the kids and creative ways to spend our time.

If you’re wondering about what’s going on in Nashville or you have other parenting needs, look no further than The Savvy Source and The Nashville Savvy City Guide.

photo: Morgue File

Honey bourbon caramel peach pie from Sassy Radish

Doesn’t this look good? I can’t wait to try it.

honey bourbon caramel peach pie – Sassy Radish

Shared via AddThis

Wedding Adventure

When my twins were born, I lost my mind.

Then, I found it again, thanks to a precious angel named Audrey.

Audrey came to my home and took care of me–uh, I mean–the babies a few days a week. Audrey would do things like wash/dry/fold my laundry (exactly the way I liked it) AND put it away before I even knew it was dirty. One day she arrived at 9 a.m. with a roast and veggies: “Hey, Mary, I’ll put this in the oven for dinner, OK?” She kept our home neat and took good care of the dog. She expertly anticipated MY every need and the babies’ every need with impeccable timing and consistency.

I really don’t exaggerate when I say that she saved my life during that first year of the babies’ lives.

Last night, Audrey got married.

I wouldn’t have missed her wedding for anything. Not even a torrential downpour on a national holiday.

Not even.

Just as we got in the van to drive the 45 minutes to the wedding (with all three kids, mind you), the raindrops started coming. No biggie, we thought. These summer showers have a tendency to pop up and move out. Plus, when’s the last time we middle Tennesseans remember rainfall on the 4th of July?

We actually had trouble seeing the road at times as we headed east on I-40. When we almost missed our exit because of the blinding rain, we decided this was no pop-up shower.

The wedding was special for many reasons:

  • It was at the brides’ home
  • It was outdoors
  • It was a double wedding (Audrey and her sister, Courtney)
  • It was on the Fourth of July
  • It was my precious Audrey’s big day!

Rain did not fit in with this picture.

We got there and had to wait in line for the valet. All the valets were soaked from head to toe. We dropped off the van and carefully made our way (read: jumping over puddles and still managing to sink my sandal heel in mud) to the humongous tent. It was kind of bizarre because people were already sitting at the tables, which had obviously been set for the reception. We tried to figure out where to sit, what to do, and finally took a seat at an empty table near the back of the tent.

We decided that perhaps the original plan was to have the ceremony under a beautifully-decorated arch then the people were to move under the tent for the reception. But Plan B dictated that everybody and everyTHING begin under the tent.

The ceremony had to be postponed about 20 minutes because the cars were so backed up. Finally, at 7:20, the ceremony began.

My kids did surprisingly well, despite it was really their bedtime. Seth was a bit grumpy. He had fallen asleep on the way there. I whispered to him, “Look! There’s Ms. Audrey and her sister. Aren’t they beautiful?” He looked over the crowd and said, “All I see are princesses.”

And they did look like princesses. They were gorgeous. The bridesmaids were gorgeous. The decorations were gorgeous.

The ceremony was rather brief. I couldn’t see a thing, except the faint outline of one of the bridesmaids. Every now and then the rain would let up and you could almost hear the guests let out a sigh and a prayer: Maybe it’s stopped? But in a few minutes, we’d hear another roar of thunder and the heavy pitter-pat on the tent. Then, you could hear the ripple of the whispers, “Here it comes again!”

It really was quite a mess. I just felt for Audrey and Courtney and their parents. I know they had had visions of kissing in the sunset while their guests enjoyed fireworks on the grass in the gentle breeze.

Alas, it was not to be.

One of the highlights for me was the port-a-potty. I actually had rehearsed the whole bathroom thing in my mind: where will we go potty? In the poolhouse? Surely not inside the house? Oh, please, no, not one of those gross, chemical, green boxes! Of course I think about this because I have three kids.

Oh, no. This port-a-potty was AMAZING! It was actually nicer than the half bath at our old house. Seriously. It was a little trailer-looking building with three little rooms. I took Seth in. The potty had air conditioning and music playing over a loud speaker. The potty was a real one with water and flushing mechanism (no gross blue chemicals). There was a pretty floor and pretty walls. The counter was large enough to accommodate a bag and the basin was one of those new bowl-types with a sleek, silver faucet fixture. I’m telling you. It was comfortable and attractive. My kind of port-a-potty.

The food (full dinner spread) smelled incredible, but with cranky kids and all the bad weather, we opted to leave. We ran through some sprinkles and got to say hello to Audrey. As we made our way to the van, we overheard Audrey’s mom talking to the guy in charge of the tent. I heard her ask, “How much water will this tent hold?”

Apparently, there was some discussion of the cars getting stuck in the grass/mud combination and we had to creatively “meet” our van at a location other than the drop-off point, which was down the driveway a bit.

As I was expressing my feelings for Audrey and Courtney and what must be disappointment, my realistic husband reminded me: “You know. This really doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are married. In the end, they are married.”

Yes, they are. Congratulations and best wishes!

Watch Out For An Exploding Mary! and other thoughts

I’m not sure, but I may explode within the next few days.

During the last 24 hours, I have logged some time working 3 of 4 of my part-time jobs. I am writing/editing, doing bookkeeping/admin work for church, doing admin work for PureSafety, and marketing Melaleuca products.

Oh, yeah, and I have a full-time job of wife and mom.

Chris and I decided that we would work really hard to get on our feet and tackle our debt in an effort to reduce some of the financial stress.

I love doing all of of my jobs. But some days there’s just not enough of me to go around, to meet the deadlines, to keep all the knowledge sorted in the brain, to drive here and there.

We are grateful for the extra work. GRATEFUL. And I really enjoy it. I just need a few more hours in my days.

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As if I didn’t have enough going on, I’m also teaching our Ladies’ Bible Study this summer. Yikes! Yikes! and Yikes! This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, so on one level I am thrilled. On another level, I’m scared to death. I’m humbled (and properly so) as I remember the verse that says:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

Sobering.

Also, I’m writing my own study (you didn’t expect me to take the easy route, did you?). It’s all about the centrality of the Word in women’s lives. We are looking at all the distractions and deceptions of our culture and how we Christian women open ourselves to being swept along with the culture primarily because we neglect the Word of God.

Prayers, please!

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Today we met some friends for a little swim time in their neighborhood pool. We had fun, and the kids did great. I really can’t believe that I’m taking all 3 to the pool now by myself. Whoa! What a difference a year makes. Anyway, today, I was pulling Spencer around on a noodle and he asked, “Mom, could Jesus swim?”

How cute is that?

I said, “I don’t know.”

What I should have said was, “He didn’t have to. He could walk on water.” But Chris was like, “Of course he could swim. He made the water.”

But I’m like, “I don’t know. In his humanity, swimming would have been something he would have had to learn. Humans aren’t born knowing how to swim. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t.”

What do you think?

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I totally have some strong opinions about Jon and Kate and the debacle their marriage and impending divorce have become. I think the biggest lesson for us here is to be careful, lest we, too, are led astray by whatever sparkles and catches our eye.

My sense—and this is only my rather uninformed opinion—is that her constant berating pummeled her poor husband to a shell of a man. Instead of responding as he should have, he rebelled and did, indeed, commit indiscretions. The two of them are now so far past preserving the integrity of the marriage that their relationship is irreparable.

Sadly, I don’t think either cares much. I don’t sense either has much to lose by being divorced. They will still go on with their show, their speaking engagements, traveling, and book deals. By now, the fame and money have outfitted them with nannies and bodyguards and housekeepers. Heck yeah—this “new arrangement” is preferable to actually living together, turning off the TV cameras, stopping the cash flow, working on the marriage, actually being at home with 8 kids all day, and dealing with the mundanity of ordinary life.

Of course, the children are the victims. I fear that once all of this blows over—whether it’s within the next few months or few years—the relationships between parents and kids will be forever altered. I think Jon and Kate mostly see the effect on themselves. My concern is they are not really evaluating from a “big picture” view because they really don’t want to say goodbye to the fame and the money.

A Little Bit of This; A Little Bit of That


If you like curry and/or Indian food, give this dish a try! It’s from the Crockpot lady’s website. The author of this website vowed to use her crockpot everyday of the year in 2008. Well, she did, and she blogged about it everyday. I love her blog.

Tonight we had her dish, and Chris loved it. The flavors were very good, and the veggies gave a nice texture and taste … PLUS we ate things we usually don’t eat and I would never dream of throwing together (chick peas, sweet potato, eggplant). Trust me, it’s good. Susanna even loved it (well, OK… she just ate the chicken, but she liked the flavors).

If you’re looking for something new, cook this one.

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I’m so hot. It’s been in the mid-90s today with the heat index near 100. I don’t think our A/C has stopped running all day. The thermostat has consistently read 78 or higher, even with all the ceiling fans going. I hate being hot. I hate being sweaty. I love having the A/C cranked low and being cool. The worse thing, I believe, is sweating all night and waking up with sticky wet hair and p.j.s. Anyway, it’s hot.

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I did like at least 8 loads of laundry today (washed/dried/folded–almost put away). I can’t remember the last time I was able to do back to back laundry. Every tablecloth/sheet/towel/mattress cover was dirty PLUS the normal stuff. I think I have one more load then I’ll be caught up to where the only things dirty are the clothes we’re wearing. I love that. And I enjoy it for about 24 hours before the piles start forming again. I feel like I’m always fighting with the laundry and the laundry always wins. (It taunts me and giggles and cackles at me from the recesses of the laundry room…)

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Pondering today the meaning of the biblical call to being my husband’s helper. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve really meditated on that role and what it looks like in my life. This post got me thinking along those lines.

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Every once in awhile I come up with a really brilliant idea. Well, I have to say that my idea to hire my 12-year-old next door neighbor to be a Mommy’s Helper for the summer has been one of my best to date! Angie has now come over two weeks. We have her schedule mapped out for the summer, which amounts to one day/week for about 4 hours each visit (there’s a few weeks she’s out of town). I pay her $5/hour for playing with the kids, watching them, helping them with whatever they need help with, doing crafts, reading, and so on. I’m at home working, so close by if she needs something, but I’m getting stuff done! She gets some great hands-on babysitting experience. The kids absolutely love her, and she’s so great with them. She’s very mature, very conscientious. I am just so thrilled with our arrangement and look forward to a long babysitting relationship with Angie.

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The Mr. Magorium Meltdown


Yesterday, I took the kids to see Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Each summer, Regal Cinemas offers weekly FREE movies.

This seems like the perfect outing, right? DARK theatre (Mommy can nap). Air conditioning. Seated in comfy chair. Children seated and distracted. Tasty popcorn. $1 soda (because we have managed to hang onto our Regalator giant cups, which they will refill for $1 but don’t offer to sell anymore. Yes, these are among our most prized possessions in our home and would certainly be on the short list for items to grab in case of disaster.)

So, off we go to our “special treat.” A movie! In a theatre! With popcorn!

Everyone pees before we leave the house. Very important.

Now. I know. I was really stupid to think that a “kids’ meal” at the movies would cost any less than $5. But I did. I was kinda thinking, $2 or so. And because I never get to read, evaluate, or discern when I’m with my kids, I succumbed to marketing. That giant KIDS’ MEAL COMBO sign was beautiful. “Three kids’ meals, please, and one refill soda in my Regalator.”

“That will be $18!”

Eighteen dollars???? I could have ordered a pizza for that. Oh my goodness.

(I still am not sure what those kids’ meals actually cost, because, you know, I don’t get to read, evaluate, or discern any kind of posted signs when I’m with my kids. But I guarantee you one bag of popcorn would have been substantially less.)

We traipse on in to the show.

Let me just say at this point that this movie has to be one of the worst I’ve seen. Boring and slow. Trite plot and character development. And Dustin Hoffman was just kind of annoying with a lisp and fake overbite teeth. But, again, I was thrilled because it was dark, air conditioned, and I was seated.

With about a half hour left, the boys start getting antsy and Seth announces he has to go potty. Spencer does, too. BIG SIGH.

Potty trip #1.

Back in the theatre.

Five minutes pass. Dustin Hoffman’s character is about to die (I really don’t think I’m spoiling much for you here).

Seth announces loudly he has to go poo-poo this time. Spencer does, too.

Potty trip #2 with both boys pooping simultaneously in different stalls (twins really do share everything).

Back to the theatre and Dustin is dead. The movie concludes with a predictable ending.

OK. Time to go. But, of course, we must have a meltdown first, right?

Spencer had taken off his sandals in the movie and they had been kicked to the row beneath us. I asked Susanna to take our trash to the trashcan and I would get Spencer’s sandals. But I had to walk out our row, down the aisle, then back up to get to the sandals.

Mid-trip, my 6 year-old possessed daughter starts screaming, “Mom! I’m ready to go home!!!! Mom! You shouldn’t have let him take off his sandals!!!! Mom!”

Calmly, I said, “We are going home. I have to get his sandals. Calm down and get control of yourself.”

I don’t know what was going on with her. Maybe overstimulated with the movie, the emotion, the music? Scared I was going to leave her?

To stares from sympathetic parents, she screamed all the way to the van.

And that was our fun-filled, restful, “free,” summer treat movie day. Can’t wait until next week.