The Half-Crunchy Mama

Trying to live a natural life with balance


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A few more successes: My oil solutions (Part 2)

I thought I would throw a few pictures together in here and share some of the successful blends that I have created in the past few months. These are what are currently working for my family and I, but you may or may not get the same results. Mostly because I am not a medical professional, naturopath, certified aromatherapist, or whatever. I’m just someone that has an understanding of what individual oils and blends can accomplish in the support that they can offer our bodies, as well as using a little muscle testing 🙂

(This post is for informational purposes only.)

Each individual oil and blend can support a multitude of systems and address many different needs. Different people will benefit from different oils in different ways, much like traditional medicine where not every prescription works the same and fits every person the same way. I am only touching upon what each oil in my blend recipes are capable of. I suggest you dig around the interwebs for more information. It’s amazing all the different things they can help support!

Snoring support

The hottest thing I have recommended has been using Valor for snoring. This was my first big win with oils as I mentioned in my Snoring? Backache? Hangover? Allergies? Bug bites? My oil solutions (Part 1) post. We had run out of Valor for quite some time and had been using its “backup” of Highest Potential. While this didn’t have the same effect, it was better than nothing!

Then Valor was finally back in stock and when The Russian started using it again, it just didn’t seem to be working as well as it had. I mentioned this on one of the Facebook groups I belong to and someone suggested using Thyme for snoring. I added 6 drops of Thyme to the roller bottle with diluted Valor that he keeps on his nightstand and WOW, I could barely hear him breathing! I guess this is the heavy-duty formula for stubborn snoring 🙂

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Snoring Support FormulaMy suggested formula is:

  • 20 drops of Valor
  • 6 drops of Thyme
  • Fill the rest of a 10ml (1/3 oz) roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil (FCO)
  • Apply to the bottoms of the big toes
Science time

Before I explain about why the specific oils in my next two blends likely tested, I want to share a bit of the chemistry. You will need to excuse me while I nerd out on you for a moment. (I love science.) This is a very base-level description of these constituents, but it’s important for me to explain that there is actual science behind using the oils – how and why the chemical constituents of each oil provide support. Yes, there is real science behind this oil craze. I’m only mentioning the oils that I have included in this post as examples below, but please feel free to research what other oils these constituents appear in. All of this information (and much more) can be found in the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, a.k.a., my bible (which is one of the freebies that you for becoming a member through me).

Sesquiterpenes are found in great abundance in essential oils and are antibacterial, highly anti-inflammatory, slightly antiseptic, and sedative. They are a major constituent in oils such as Cedarwood and Vetiver. They also play a (minor) role in the makeup of Bergamot, Cinnamon bark, Frankincense, and several of the oils that make up the R.C. blend.

Esters are calming, relaxing, and balancing. Bergamot and Lavender are high is esters.

Aldehydes are calming to emotions. Cinnamon bark oil is high in aldehydes.

Ketones stimulate cell regeneration, promote formation of tissue, and liquefy mucous, therefore helpful when there is dry asthma, colds, flu, or dry cough. Ketones are a major constituent in Peppermint oil.

Phenols are made up of the most powerful antibacterial, anti-infectious, and antiseptic constituents in the plant world. They are stimulating to the nervous and immune systems, contain high levels of oxygenating molecules, and have antioxidant properties. Because of their qualities, they can be irritating to the skin and should always be diluted. They are a major constituent in Thyme, Basil, Cinnamon bark, Peppermint, and many of the oils that make up the R.C. blend.

Cold and flu support

My next support formula to share with you has to do with the crud that seems to be everywhere this season. Some people get full-blown flu, others just get a cold with symptoms that linger for weeks. In November, The Russian came home from work and school full of gunk. He had been trying to fight it on his own (Russians can be slightly stubborn) and finally decided to ask me for assistance. In addition to some herbs, I tested him for a bunch of oils that would help support his body to fight whatever this was. It took him a close to a week to get cleared up since he had waited so long, but he didn’t have any of the lingering symptoms like the rest of the folks we know.

The real success with this blend came for Sugar Bee and I. We both woke up the day after Thanksgiving feeling pretty crummy. I felt like I was getting the flu, so I can only assume that she felt the same as she was complaining and boogery. I immediately started rubbing the blend on the back of my neck and on the bottoms of her feet (she’s three and this blend contains some hot oils), reapplying several times throughout the day, right up to bedtime. The next morning, I continued the applications for both of us, and by that afternoon (around 36 hours later), I felt great and she looked and acted a lot better! WHAT?! How could this be?!?! Yes, I had also beefed up some of our herbals and we have pretty good immune systems, but in all my years of natural healing, I have never experienced such a fast turnaround. There really is something to this oil thing.The Half-Crunchy Mama's Cold and Flu Support Formula

My suggested formula for my Cold and Flu Support Blend is:

  • 8 drops of Lemon
  • 10 drops of Thieves
  • 8 Peppermint
  • 10 R.C.
  • 6 drops of Cinnamon bark
  • 6 drops of Basil
  • Combine in 10ml (1/3 oz) roller bottle filled the rest of the way with FCO

Apply as often as you want to back of the neck or bottoms of the feet. With children, only apply to the bottoms of the feet. I applied to the Vita Flex points for lungs and sinuses, at the base of the little toes and off the sides of the balls of the feet. Here is a reference for you.

Why these oils? Just a few highlights as they pertain to this particular use:

  1. Lemon: Antioxidant and antiviral properties; French use for asthma, colds, fever reducer, throat infections, and red and white blood cell formation; stimulates digestive, immune and respiratory systems
  2. Thieves: Antibacterial, antiviral, anti-infectious, and strong antiseptic; stimulates immune system; contains Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon bark, Eucalyptus radiata, and Rosemary cineol
  3. Peppermint: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and antiviral; French use for bronchitis, fever reducer, flu, headache, nausea, respiratory function, and throat infections; stimulates digestive, nervous, respiratory systems, muscles, bones, and skin
  4. R.C.: Antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, relaxing, balancing, and lymphatic decongestant; stimulates the respiratory system; contains Eucalyptus globulus, Myrtle, Pine, Marjoram, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora, Lavender, Cypress, Tsuga, and Peppermint
  5. Cinnamon bark: Antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, immune stimulant, purifier; historically used in nearly every prescription issued in ancient China; stimulates the immune system
  6. Basil: Antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, decongestant, restorative; historically used for respiratory problems, fevers, epidemics; stimulates the cardiovascular system, and muscles and bones

*Note: I mention the French and historical uses because they have been around and in use for way longer than people realize in this country, and the French are at the forefront with using essential oils for healthcare.

Calm Focus blend

Finally, I will share what I have named my Calm Focus Blend. A few weeks back, Sugar bee was testing for some oils that people have found helpful for helping children (and adults) focus better, handle their anxiety, and feel more relaxed (calm). Doc tested what oils for her and then I determined the rest of the ratio when I got home. The result was a calmer and more focused three year old. She’s not hyper or ADHD or anything like that, she’s just three. If you are a parent, you are well aware that most three year olds are complete a-holes a lot of the time. She has so much going on in her noggin that it can be overloading for her to take everything in, process it, and discuss it all. She is a very spirited child and I wouldn’t change a thing about her…except maybe her patience level with her own self….but that is a genetic thing. I own it.

Anyway, I did see quite an improvement in many areas for her, including patience with herself when dealing with a difficult task, less of a stammer (not really stuttering, but I think she has a hard time having her mouth keep up with her mind), less fresh mouth, and better sleeping at night, just to name a few. Calm Focus. Get it?

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Calm Focus Support FormulaSo here is my suggested formula for this Calm Focus Blend:

  • 6 drops of Cedarwood
  • 6 drops of Vetiver
  • 9 Lavender
  • 9 Frankincense (I used 5 drops of Frankincense and 4 drops of Frereana Frankincense)
  • 6 drops of Bergamot
  • Fill the rest of a 10ml (1/3 oz) roller bottle with FCO
  • Apply to the back of the neck at the base of the skull 1-3 times a day, or as needed

Why these oils? Just a few highlights as they pertain to this particular use:

  1. Cedarwood: Sedative; French use for calming anger, nervous tension, and overall calming; stimulates the nervous system
  2. Vetiver: Calming, grounding, sedative; Folklore – “oil of tranquility” in India; stimulates hormonal and nervous systems, and emotional balancing
  3. Lavender: Antidepressant, sedative; French use for insomnia; stimulates the nervous system and emotional balancing
  4. Frankincense: Antidepressant, sedative; French use for depression; stimulates the nervous system and emotional balancing
  5. Bergamot: Sedative and uplifting; French use for agitation, colic, depression, insomnia and stress; stimulates emotional balancing

The Half-Crunchy Mama - Young Living Distributor #1876381

If you are interested in starting your natural health and healing journey with essential oils, please allow me to be your guide. You can sign up here to get started with your starter kit and own discount on products. There is no monthly minimum to purchase anything (but great perks if you do by becoming an Essential Rewards member, earning points for free oils with every order!) and you will get some great freebies from me once you sign up, including the reference guide that I linked to above! I have a Facebook page, The Half-Crunchy Mama, where I share information on oils and a variety of other natural living topics. You can connect with me there and reach out with any questions you may have about your oils. I will be your support!

That’s all for now! Please reach out to me with any questions about these blends. Happy oiling!

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The great toy divide

Note: This post is about my frustrations with the toy industry and the merchandising (pink and blue aisles) in stores, their obsession with boy and girl toys, and the lack of options outside of the split-gender toy culture, and is not solely in response to the Facebook thread that I refer to. This piece reflects thoughts that have been going around in my head for the past several years and it was coming regardless of the virtual conversation that took place. I have concerns about placing strong gender expectations on our children and can’t wrap my head around what has happened to toys just being toys as when past generations were growing up. There have always been Barbies and dolls, but things have gotten carried away.

“that’s it. i’m opening a store for kids that sells things that have nothing to do with gender, being separated by gender, or “tells” them (and their parents) what toys and clothes they should be wanting/getting based on their gender.” ~ December 1, 2014

It’s been a week since I updated my Facebook status expressing my frustration over trying to find a bicycle with training wheels for Sugar Bee that wasn’t pink and glittery or covered in Spider-Man decals. I’m still bothered by the discussion that followed, so I am letting my thoughts have an outlet here and now. Of course it got a few likes, a few comments from friends implying that they would like to see the same thing and would shop there, some other supportive comments, but not all of them were free from judgement. I’m quite certain that I probably inadvertently offended some of my more sensitive Facebook friends by using the phrase, “pukey pinky with tassels and crap,” as I bet they felt that this was a personal attack on them or their daughters. I would never, ever mean it that way and I love that most of the daughters of my friends are into all the usual girl things. I know my daughter will love her time with them no matter what they play with. I was just really frustrated and getting anxious about what kind of bicycle Santa was going to be able to bring on Christmas morning.

What was most ridiculous to me was that I felt like I had to defend why I didn’t want to get my kid a “girly” bike. Do I care what anyone else buys their kid? Do I judge if there is all sorts of girl stuff in someone’s house? No, I just assume 997084_10154722174075702_8975061256647007973_nthat their house is aligned with the interests that their child has. Your particular home with a little girl in it might be all full of pink, princesses, play kitchens, and dolls, while mine is full of construction machines, trains and tracks, and matchbox cars. What I don’t think people ponder very often is what it might be like to have a daughter that is not princess-obsessed, one that everyone sees as less “normal” than others. People talk to me in public and assume that my kid knows the entire score to Frozen. I sometimes comment that she’s more of a Cars kid, other times I just smile. When your child’s birthday came around and you asked them what kind of birthday party they wanted, perhaps they picked a gender-appropriate (whatever the hell that means) theme. My daughter enthusiastically declared that she wanted a Dusty party. It just so happened that the second Planes movie was coming out two weeks before her birthday weekend. Good timing for her and a great time was had by all.

My point is, everyone likes and dislikes different things, even all of us as adults, so I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around some of the 44 comments on my status update. I was struggling with my online shopping to find something that wasn’t clearly labeled “boy” or “girl,” one that wasn’t over-the-top with pink craziness or over-the-top about a character. As I shopped, I knew she would be totally fine with something that was clearly for a boy, but why should it have to be this way? Why are there no other options? That was the entire point of my post which has now led to this lengthy piece.

An argument that girls are by nature more nurturing is as absurd as expecting everyone to want kids of their own. Not all girls need or want dolls and have to participate in or initiate creative play of a domestic nature, for lack of a better term. She is genuinely loving and caring for others, she welcomes people into our home, greets people everywhere she goes whether they are strangers or not, and has always been like this. She loves on any animal she comes in contact with (once causing her to get stepped on by a pony) and has one of the sweetest souls ever. I trust her instincts about people more than my own. But nurturing is not a word that I would choose to describe her. I don’t want my child to feel that there’s something wrong with her because she has no interest in dolls or pink or princesses or whatever way other people think she should be. She might totally change someday and do a 180. That will be just as fine.

In the past, I have felt pressure to clarify that we DO expose her to girl stuff, so here it is. (For the record, it’s making me cringe every time I’m referring to something as a boy or girl thing.) She has a Disney Princess Tea Set that she does play with on occasion. So what if it’s probably only because she likes to sort and organize things. I’ve shown her how to have a 10405692_10154626158845702_490088167195375153_ntea party and she will sometimes (now) pretend with me, but she mostly uses the tea cups to hold some of her cars. She has a doll, a stroller, and even a few outfits for it, but would you like to know how she plays with her doll? On the half a dozen times that she has voluntarily touched the doll, she puts her in the stroller and races around the house, chasing/torturing the dog, letting the doll hang half out of the stroller, sometimes falling out completely. Then she runs away, leaving the doll on the floor. Nurturing? Not so much. I know she has played with the kitchens and stuff at other homes and at school sometimes, but these are just not the things that she gravitates to. She plays with the cars and the trains most of the time, and is obsessed with puzzles. And I’m perfectly fine with that. I sneak peeks at her creatively playing with her cars and trains, making up scenarios and conversations. It’s the same thing girls do with their dolls or stuffed animals, just with a different medium. And that’s perfectly fine. She helps me in the kitchen (she calls it “bakering”), and although it’s usually a brief encounter, at least she shows an interest. She helps me move laundry into the dryer or laundry basket and wants to help Swiffer the floor. But one of the most exciting times for her this past week was when I let her help me change the batteries out of two toys, showing her how to use the screwdriver and teaching her what to do by herself. Her face beamed, her concentration was so focused, and she was over the moon with pride when they toys worked again. I have little doubt that she will be taking things apart in my house before she enters intermediate school. That is my child.

10485310_10154673194125702_7746693007532627052_nMy problem isn’t what anyone else does as far as buying toys for their kids. Frankly, it’s none of my damn business. To think that I would want to do away with princess things or pink things is absurd. My oldest niece was princess obsessed and I loved it! I would buy all sorts of cool Disney things for her and had a great time playing with her and all her things. My question is, what has happened to toys? How have we let toy manufacturers and marketers create such a huge divide in what toys children feel they “should” play with? Why do we have this obsessive need to make things for boys and things for girls, things that are essentially identical aside from color? My child gravitates toward blue, orange and red. Those are just the colors that she likes. So why can’t we just have TOYS like we did when my generation was growing up? This was the entire point of my post (rant) on the good ol’ Facebook. How fun for you (or maybe not from what some friends say) that your little girl is obsessed with Frozen. It took me THREE tries to get through that movie with her and I really wanted to watch it, so I basically forced/bribed her into finishing it with me. She’s not much of a fan of movies with people characters…Cars, Planes, Toy Story…those are her jams. And I have so many movies that I hope I will watch with her. Someday. But that day is not today. It’s not where she is, and maybe she never will be. And that’s just fine, too. I will sit and watch The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for the trillionth times, reciting the words and singing every score by myself. Maybe that will make it more interesting to her. Someday.

After the whole bike discussion on Facebook, I took her to look at bikes at REI and a few other places the next evening to see what she gravitated to when selecting her own bike. It went just as I expected it would. After all, I do know my own kid. (Santa will probably be bringing a nice blue BMX bike with training wheels this Christmas.) After we found “the one,” we went off to Target to check and see if there was something less expensive that she liked, but everything in her size range was character dependent. It’s fine if your child is completely obsessed with something and you as parents choose to get a Hello Kitty bike for your daughter, Lord knows that Sugar Bee’s head nearly exploded when she saw the box that held the Planes: Fire and Rescue bike in it and she told me she “needed” that one, but my husband and I decided before this FB discussion even took place that we did not want something so thematic for her. We want a quality bicycle that will last for more than one year and hold her interest longer than her newest movie or toy obsession.

While in Target, I was wandering the toys getting ideas for other kids’ birthday and Christmas presents. I 995799_10153490403950702_1767355858_nsaw girl nerf guns and girl lego sets (those were mostly lame, in my opinion). I understand the point behind making things available in pink. We want to be able to offer the pink things to the girls that love pink in the hopes that they might discover something new that they may not have tried otherwise. I think it’s a great idea, but I feel that it’s gone completely overboard. Gender-neutral toys, or toys as they were called when we were growing up, are disappearing. I saw this pink tool set two years ago and had my mom get it for her. She absolutely loves it and plays with it constantly. Yes, I bought it because it was pink. But I would have bought her a tool set at some point, pink or not. Do we need pink tool sets? Pink Nerf guns? Pink Lego sets? What if a little boy sees the stable Lego Friends set and wants it because he loves horses? He has to cross to the pink aisle to the girl Legos, opening him up for possible future ridicule from friends for playing with girl toys. I was perfectly happy with my normal old legos growing up. We are perpetuating and encouraging this cycle of pink = girl and blue/orange/red/whatever = boy, and making a greater toy divide. I bet the toy companies are making a killing by offering the same thing in different colors to each gender. Why are we letting them make the rules?

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Scooter bought when she was 1 1/2 by grandparents. Helmet chosen by her when old enough to ride.

Now back to my anxiety over the bicycle situation. Last Christmas, my nieces gave her two gifts. One was a travel Thomas train and tracks (obvious hit with her). The other was a pink stroller. Upon opening that one, she stared blankly at me and pushed it aside. I felt sad. For all of us. At her birthday this year, some friends from our neighborhood that we really only know from the pool gave her a set of something like My Little Pony, all different sizes, with a hair dryer, fake braids to attach, and all sorts of accessories. As if the face she made wasn’t reason enough for me to want to move on to the next gift quickly, she actually said, “I don’t like that” as she handed me the gift. I still hope that she said it quietly enough that the family didn’t hear. (There’s a reason why Russians never open gifts in front of people.) I was anxious about being able to prevent a wave of disappointment from coming over my child’s face on Christmas morning. I just want more options and less boy versus girl.

Since she could move, Sugar Bee has been fascinated with things that move. She is constantly shocking me with the capabilities of her mind. She is crazy amazing with puzzle skills. She loves learning about outer space. She wants to know everything. I know kids are curious, I taught kids her age for years, but she needs to know EVERYTHING. “What kind of car is that? What is that machine doing? What kind of stuff is that truck carrying? Are we going to the highway? What road are we on?” She misses nothing. In a frightening sort of way. She looks at and observes every detail when we are outside, always asking questions. I never want her curiosity and love for the world around her to dwindle. I want her to always be free to express herself and her interests without being told that something is for boys. It’s inevitable, I know. Kids are mean and can be downright ruthless, and adults (myself included) sometimes make comments without thinking about their potential impact. I only hope that I can arm her with enough self-confidence in who she is and what she can accomplish to defend her spirit from the judgments. Until then, we will continue to put Top Gear on the DVR when she asks for it.

One of my minors was sociology. This is something that really hits home to me, but not only because of that. I was a building kid and I loved to be outside. I had an incredible sandbox that I remember playing with huge, metal Tonka construction vehicles in. I had Barbies. And they had a Tonka truck to ride in. I love sports and watching them, talking about them, playing in fantasy leagues. I played soccer, softball, and basketball from elementary school until I graduated high school. I have incredible spatial skills and a ridiculous sense of direction, if I do say so myself. I love cars. I have my motorcycle license. I know how to shoot guns. I’m a math and science nerd whose favorite subject (and original major) was physics. I have been lucky enough to always have had teachers that recognized and encouraged my math and science skills, instead of telling me they were not things that girls are good at. I’m not your average girl, so why would anyone surprised that my kid is who she is? I don’t care if she’s doing boy things or girl things. I want her to be caring, loving, and generous, to love who she is, both inside and out, and not judge others based on their interests. So, toy industry, stop expecting my sweet girl to only want to shop on the pink side of a toy store. And know that I will never feel like my kid should be all about the pink.

Cars can be pretty, too.10734084_10154824435315702_3999758097360426362_n