Poop happens!

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Not the greatest picture but this is my Tyra.

So today I will be doing my first product review and this is because I have purchased a new product to use in my house and it is so amazing that I wanted to share it with you!

I have always had a cat! For my entire life there has been a cat waiting for me at home and the worst part of being a cat owner was the litter box!

The cat I currently have is 14 and 1/2 years old. She is the tiniest cat you will ever see but she is 6 pounds of sweetness! We also have a 13 and 1/2 boxer. The dog has always thought that chasing the cat is a fun way to play with her but the cat has never agreed. Because of this the two dwell on two completely different planes in my house! The dog lives on the floor and the cat lives on all of the furniture to avoid the dog at all costs!

This has only become a problem in the last year or so. The cat decided that she no longer wanted to be chased around the house by the dog just to make it down stairs to use her litter box so she felt it was easier and less traumatic to just pee on the master bathroom floor!

Less traumatic for her maybe but the humans in the house felt completely opposite! In a last ditch effort to save my cat from my husband’s wrath I brought the kitty litter upstairs. (We live in a split level house so bringing the kitty litter upstairs means putting it where our guests and our family are at all times.) The only place to keep it away from guests was to put it in our master bedroom. (Because of the age of our house the bathroom is not big enough.) This was not an easy sell to my husband but it was a better alternative to the cat peeing on the floor!

For the next several months we were completely annoyed with the cat litter that was ALWAYS all over the floor in our room. I will be honest we were also completely annoyed that the dog viewed this as a new snack area for herself as well and I could not stand that even more that stepping in litter on the way to bed!

Recently, I went to visit a friend that lives out of town and saw a different litter box at her house and I knew at once that this would solve our problems!

The Breeze Litter System from Tidy Cats entered our lives.  It was $32.99 at our local Petsmart. It comes as a starter kit so you will get everything you need to get it up and running. You get the scoop, a bag of litter pellets and a bag of 4 of the pads. Here is a video that shows what this system does.

The crazy thing about this litter box is how easy it is! You place the pad in the tray and you change that once a week. I change mine on Thursday nights because the trash people pick up our trash Friday morning. Then you change the pellets once a month. The only thing you need to do is scoop the poop out everyday. The bag of pellets for the month costs $9.49 for the small 3lb bag and $17.49 for the 7lb bag. We have not changed ours yet so I am not sure which one I need to buy. (After telling him about it while I was still out of town at my friend’s house he went right out to buy it and it was all set up when I got home. So I am not sure what size bag came with it but from the looks of the litter in the box I would guess we got the 3lbs bag.) The bag of pads will also last a month since it comes with 4 and they cost $7.49. You can also buy a bag of 10 for $16.49.

My cat switched over very easily. We left the old box next to it for a few days and she kept using that. So one day, after I noticed her sniffing and showing interest in the new box, I took the old one away. After that she just started using the new one like it was no big deal. She did get in and dig around and get out a few times but after she decided to go she hasn’t turned back!

We have had no more litter tracks. There is no dust. My dog has been snack free! THANK GOODNESS! And I am very pleased! The one thing I would say is a negative is that it is really loud when she digs around in the pellets and it is in our room and she loves to do her duty at 5am! She digs FOREVER! Small price to pay!

I only have one small cat and the one box works for us but if you have multiple cats you may want a few boxes. Also, there is a tutorial on YouTube that shows you how to alter your box sides in case your cat tends to pee on the sides of the box and you need them to be higher to keep it in. You can find that linked here if you need that option! Thankfully I don’t have that problem!

Another thing I was thinking would be great about this system is if your cat isn’t feeling well and the vet asks you for a urine sample you should just be able to take the pad out to catch a sample in the empty tray below. (I would imagine.) I have not tried this yet but the pee goes threw the pellets and the trey underneath has walls so it won’t spill out without the pad so I would think it would work well!

I am thrilled that we made the switch and I will never go back to traditional litter again! If you make the switch let me know what you think!

Let’s spread kindness and love,

Nichole

 

Laundry Today or Naked Tomorrow!

Let me start by apologizing for my hiatus! I know I have been MIA for a few weeks! We just started back to school and I have been crazy busy with the first week of teacher workdays and moving my entire classroom in just 5 days and then again last week for the first week of school. Starting back with a full week is exhausting for both the teachers and the kids! Now that we are in the swing of things I am feeling much better! I am ready for my family to get back into a more regular schedule!

Today’s posts is one of the reasons that I started this blog! I spend a lot of time on Pinterest looking for craft projects, yummy food and ways to use my oils! I often pin several ideas and then go back later to put those ideas in motion. I wanted to blog about things that I try that don’t work and things that I try that do work in an effort to save you some time but also give me a place where I can easily find the things I liked! Like… my chemical free laundry soaps! Which is what we are talking about today!

In one of my first posts I talked about my fears of using regular soaps on my family. The thought of these chemicals leaching into our systems through our skin  from 24 hour exposure with items washed in these chemicals was too much for me. I also felt like it was an easy way to take a big chemical exposure out of my families life! If you want to read that post click here.

While looking for a laundry soap recipe I was being pretty picky! I had read a lot about the concerns with Borax so I did not want that in my laundry and around my kids. So, I had to find a recipe that did not include Borax. I also did not want to have to spend hours grating bars of soap for my laundry recipes. I finally found this liquid recipe!

Liquid Laundry Soap (click this heading for recipe)

I really like this one! It is very simple to make. Here are some suggestions I have for this recipe!

  1. The ingredients in this recipe will start to separate some while they sit. I mix mine in a large container (like a paint bucket) with a lid but then I pour some into smaller jars that I can pour them from into my machine or into a measuring utensil if you feel the need for precise measurements. This jar needs to seal well so that you can shake it and mix the ingredients some before you pour. I would recommend something along the lines of a  glass milk jug. They sell them on Amazon and would look pretty in a laundry room.  Home Goods is also a place I like to look for these types of jars! I have two jars so that I have a back up ready to go at all times. That way if one is empty I start using the other and I don’t have to immediately refill the jar. And… when I do go to refill the jar I can see that I need to make a new batch before I am completely out!
  2. This recipe calls for essential oils to be used. While I love my essential oils I skip this part! I use scented Castile soap for a light smell to my laundry soap. (By the way, I love Castile soap!) My favorite scent it the Cherry Blossom one! I just don’t want to waste my oils like that! I feel like a few drops in 2 gallons of water won’t be as beneficial as some of the other ways I could use them. (I will let you know of a way that you can use essential oils later in this post to more effectively scent your laundry if you so choose.)

This recipe takes no time to make and is so much cheaper than buying laundry soap! But the most important part is that it is healthier for your family!

Now… I know some of you out there would rather have a powder soap and here is the recipe for that. I have tried this one and like it too.

Powder Laundry Soap (click this heading for recipe)

I make mine in a mixing bowl and store in a large mason jar and I leave the measuring spoon right in the jar. It makes it so easy to use! Again, I do not use my oils in this recipe. You may wonder how I use my oils during my laundry process and I will tell you that the best way I have found to use them is in the drying process.

Another thing that I discovered while researching chemicals in our house is how dangerous drier sheets are. Not only because of the chemicals but because they are a fire hazard! I have switched to wool balls. I got mine on Amazon. They are reusable and help separate your clothing while they bounce around in the machine. Since they separate your clothes while they dry they help minimize drying time! I drop a few drops of my favorite oils on my wool drier balls. Using my oils during this step of the process allows me to smell them once my clothes are done. I felt like they went unnoticed when I was using them in any other stage of laundry.  If you want to know what kind of oils I use and why you can check out my blog post here.

Another thing I think is important to mention is that I have HE front loading machines and I have used both of these recipes and the drier balls with no problems.

I hope this helps

Let’s spread kindness and love!

Nichole

Shhh… my song is on!

As summer rolls to a end and school begins I cannot help but think about the pace that the next ten months of our lives will take. Spending 9 hours at school and bringing more work home, homework with the kids, the new and overwhelming hockey schedule and not to mention the rest of everyday life! I know I am not the only mom out there that feels like they are consistently trying to keep up!

This summer while I was listening to klove I heard a song that has really spoken to me! If you are a mom that feels overwhelmed like me you have to listen to Breathe by Jonny Diaz!

Pay attention to the beat throughout the song! This is my favorite part of this song. The beat is so quick tempo that I can feel the stress of a hectic life right from the start, but then he gets to the chorus and the beat slows and the words really hit home!

The chorus says:

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

When the days are hard and you feel you are struggling to keep your head above water… Just Breathe! Rest at the feet of Jesus and take comfort in him. I really needed this message! We moms are strong women that take on a lot and I think we need to give ourselves some grace! Do yourself a favor and read the lyrics to this song and remember… (to quote another song…) You are strong, you are invincible, you are woman!

I plan to just write the word Breathe in random places to remind myself throughout the day! I cannot really change what is put on my plate but I can change how I handle it. In the moment I can breathe but I also need to find some quiet time to rest at the feet of Jesus and renew myself so that I can be the best me for my family.

Let’s spread kindness and love!

Nichole

You mean we have to eat EVERY night?

Last year both of my kids were in school (K and 5th) and I was grade chair at work. We were very busy and I admit we did not do well with meals at home. In the past we have worked hard to make a budget for us to live by (based on Dave Ramsey). In order to do well with our budget we needed to do the majority of our eating at home! Well, we just did not have time for that and due to a lack of time to plan ahead we found it easier to just grab something on the way! I felt like horrible mom/wife! I felt like a failure! I let my family down with regards to our health and our budget! This summer, as I looked ahead to the coming school year, I knew it would not be any easier, but maybe a little planning would help. So, I decided to spend some time making a meal plan to use during the school year.

My whole plan is a very lofty one and so far only part of it is complete. I planned to make 2 months of a Spring/Summer meal plan. This would consist of 40 different Spring/Summer meals. Anything that had a link to a recipe online was hyperlinked. I then wanted to create a shopping list for each week so that it could be easily printed off and taken to the store. (I have not done that part yet!)

I made sure that two of the nights had meals that were either something with very very little prep or something from a crockpot. I only planned week days so that leftovers, pizza night, or eat out nights could happen as well.

I will post the first month of this meal plan for you here on my blog this Friday! I am separating the meal plan from this explanation blog post so that just the meal plans will be easily searched for and found if you want to reference them in the future.  The second month of this meal plan will be posted on August 19th so be sure to come back!

Also to come: I plan to create another 2 months worth of Fall/Winter meal plans as well so keep an eye out for those! If you get inspired and have some great recipes to share, use the same type of format that you will see on Friday and email it to me! younglivingoilz @ gmail.com (You can either share with me alone or if you would like me to share it on my blog and give you mad props I would love to do that as well! Just let me know in your email.) Let’s help each other get through this thing called life!

Let’s spread kindness and love!

Nichole

My Oily Journey

One year and 3 months ago I started on my Oily Journey! I was starting to learn more and more about the chemicals used in our country and I was shocked. To say I was concerned when I found out the things that chemicals can do to us would be an understatement. I watched a few documentaries and it blew my mind what chemical companies get away with and how we just let them! I also learned that there are always chemicals all around us. Chemicals are in everything we own from our curtains, to our furniture, to our skin care and our cleaners. It is everywhere! Think about this! You wash your clothes, sheets and towels in laundry soap and fabric softener. Then you dry them with a fabric sheet. All of those chemicals from those 3 products are now in your clean clothes, sheets, and towels. You wear your clothes all day. You come home and shower and wrap up in your clean towel and then get in your bed where your skin touches your sheets and your pjs that have also been freshly washed. Do you know that your skin is your largest organ in/on your body? Those chemicals from those products are in constant, around the clock contact with your skin and being absorbed the whole time! That worried me! Especially when I thought about my kids!

I then downloaded some apps that allow you to scan your products and see how they rate according to the chemicals that are in them and I became more aware of what we had in our home. I wanted to change! I know I can’t change everything but I figured that any chemical product I was able to get out of my home was better than nothing at all! Baby steps!

I started to research essential oils and found great information on what they are used for and how they can help to not only replace chemical products in my home, but also help support our body systems and keep us healthy.

I quickly realized that not all essential oils are created equal! AT ALL! The quality of your oils makes a big big difference in the results that you see! Be cautious of labels that say 100% Pure or 100% Pure Essential Oil! That could mean that the small amount of oil that is in there is pure oil but the rest of the bottle can be filled with lots of fillers and extra stuff you didn’t realize you were getting. You really need to research a company and their oils before you buy! More about this later!

Also, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, the hobby of oiling is not a cheap one but I feel that my family’s health is very much worth it! Plus, if you really think about it, if you are healthy you don’t go to the doctor as much so this investment may save you money in other areas! You pay more for good quality oils because they actually contain nothing but oil. Think about this! It takes approximately 75 lemons to make a 15ml bottle of lemon essential oil. A 15ml bottle holds about 240 drops of oil. If you think about it that way the price makes sense. I would not feel comfortable buying lemon oil from my local health food store if it was being sold for $5. Clearly that oil can not contain 100% oil from real lemons with no other fillers! What company would take $5 from you to pay for the 75 lemons that are supposedly in your bottle? Then keep in mind if it isn’t 100% lemon oil could that oil do the job you are expecting it to? Think about cleaners that you currently use. Are the more powerful in their pure form or when you dilute them? It’s the same with oils!

Back to researching a company that is right for you! I spent a lot of time researching companies and there are a lot of them out there (good and bad)! I ended up going with Young Living because of their Seed to Seal Guarantee. This was so important to me! The whole reason I wanted to get into oils was to take chemicals out of my family’s life whenever and wherever I could! So it made sense to me to buy oils from a company that controls their farms and crops from start to finish! This means Young Living picks their own seeds, plants them in their own gardens, and maintains them without chemicals or impurities that could contaminate their crops and therefore their oils. They also harvest themselves and produce their own oils as well. So from SEED to SEAL they guarantee their quality and purity! If I am going to pay the price for real oil, I want to know that I have oils that came from crops that are not treated with harmful chemicals or pesticides! I don’t want that in my oils! This video explains this process in more detail if you are interested.

There are lots of sources online that will help you understand the power of oils and all the great things you can make with them. Currently, I make my own pump soap, laundry soap, and household cleaners (just to name a few). I will add some of those recipes in later posts! I also use several diffusers in my house instead of harmful scented candles! BUT… if you are not like me and do not enjoy making your own products Young Living sells all of these products and more so that getting those chemicals out of your house is easy! Oils can be overwhelming at first but it is a great way to get chemicals away from your family and I would love to help you in any way that I can! You are welcome to comment here (just remember kindness) or email me any questions you have. (younglivingoilz @ gmail . com). If you are ready to take the plunge and join me on this exciting journey to a healthier lifestyle click here and sign up for the starter kit! Click here to see what is in the starter kit. Keep in mind that some oils in the kit may change. I can’t wait to help you explore this amazing world of oils!

Let’s spread kindness and love!

Nichole