I'm a firm believer in essential oils and their powerful benefits. I discovered them a couple years ago but started educating myself and using them in the last year or so. They've become part of our daily routine whether it's for household cleaning products, using them topically, treating various ailments like colds, aches, restlessness, and even teething pain. We also diffuse them daily in different rooms in our home to create a sense of calm, revitalization, or to enhance a particular mood. Because of my beliefs in the vast benefits and healing properties of essential oils, I sought out to find the best of the best in aromatherapy.
What is Aromatherapy?
"Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine practice utilizing fragrant/aromatic essential oils that are derived from a wide variety of healing plants. When inhaled or applied to the skin, therapeutic-grade essential oils (also sometimes called volatile oils) have been shown to help people overcome various health problems without the need for medications." - Dr. Axe
In my search, I came across Organic Aromas. They have created the most beautiful nebulizing diffusers which do not use heat or water; thus, perfectly maintaining the organic, therapeutic properties of their essential oils. The best part is, these eco-friendly and elegant diffusers are made from glass and handcrafted hardwood to create a product unlike any other of its kind. The Raindrop Nebulizing Diffuser looks gorgeous in any room and is the easiest and most hassle free diffuser I've ever used and owned. NO WATER = NO MESS. I don't have to worry about water damage on our wood tables or having any spills. It also does not make any noise, unlike most diffusers I have come across.
The Difference Between a Diffuser and a Nebulizing Diffuser
The real difference is there is no heat or water used, as mentioned earlier, and glass is used instead of plastic. (This is a WIN-WIN in our household as we continue to become more consciously aware of using eco-minded products).
This is important because the essential oil is not diluted or impaired, maintains it's integrity without the use of heat, will not off-gas, and is completely non-toxic, unlike it's competitors who are made of BPA containing plastics.
"They use water to carry the essential oils into the air. Not only can the oils eventually damage the plastic diffuser, but the water means that your home is filled with added humidity! Also, the scent emitted is weaker because it is diluted by water."
"They are messy and dangerous, working almost like a kerosene lamp that burns flammable chemicals and completely changes their molecular makeup. Sure, it smells nice, but that’s about it. And it’s far more dangerous."
"They work similarly, and are the more common option used today. But they still use heat, which means that your essential oils are diminished in quality thanks to the burning that causes changes in the oil on a molecular level."
"They use heating elements to gradually evaporate a mixture of oil and/or water. It works, but is far less effective, works for a shorter period and creates a weaker aroma."
DID YOU KNOW...
Essential Oils For The Whole Family
Some of my favorite essential oil blends are the ones I use for our kiddos. Because this is something we practice, if you will, as a family, our kindergartener Kai notices the effects of his oils, as do I- especially when it's time to settle down and go to sleep. As a mama, I am VERY GRATEFUL for our Organic Aromas Raindrop Nebulizing Diffuser because it really does help at bedtime.
Below are just a couple blends we diffuse often:
For a great resource regarding safe practices with essential oils, among other natural and effective remedies, I refer to Mommypotamus.
***It's important to remember not to go overboard with the use of essential oils, especially with children. They must be used appropriately and only when needed. I do not use them everyday for the kids and choose safe oils when I do use them. Not ALL essential oils are safe for kids. When in doubt, speak to a professional or a qualified aromatherapist.
CLICK HERE FOR ORGANIC AROMAS ESSENTIAL OIL BLENDS
HOW ESSENTIAL OILS WORK:
How To Choose The Best Essential Oils
There are many benefits to essential oils, but used improperly, can actually pose a threat to your body. Oftentimes, certain essential oil brands and non organic essential oils are full of synthetics and can contain harmful GMOs, pesticides, and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. When buying essential oils, be sure to look for these three things:
I hope you've found this article helpful! Comment below with some of your favorite blends and share the wealth and knowledge of essential oils and aromatherapy.
Thank you to Organic Aromas for making the highest quality diffusers so families like ours can be secure in knowing our home is the healthiest it can be with your five-star innovative designs and expert safety in creating pure oils using the best in therapeutic values.
Please consider talking with an expert in aromatherapy especially before using on children.
Cate and Ila is a personal blog written by Cate Burchell and Ila Raybould. Our purpose is to share our personal experiences and information as we seek to improve the health of our families through holisitic living.
Information found on the Cate and Ila site is meant to motivate you to make healthy choices based on your own research in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site! Reliance on any information provided by Cate and Ila, others appearing on the Site at the invitation of Cate and Ila, or other visitors to the Site is solely at your own risk.
Happy First Birthday, Vancey!
Today, I wanted to recap Vance's Birthday Party. First off, I cannot believe this little guy is one. Looking back, we started this blog when I found out that I was pregnant with him. Fast forward to his first birthday, and it has been nine months and one year since the conception of this blog - and the conception of Vance! Kind of a funny way of thinking about it, but also very special.
Anyways, V's big day was something that we couldn't believe came so quickly. I have a theory that life goes faster with the more kids you have, and this was certainly true with baby boy number two. As a second child, sorry bud, the birthday game is slightly different than it was with our first. For Lincoln's first birthday, I began planning months in advance. I chose a super creative theme, spent hours making custom signs, conceptualized a cake concept with a specialty baker, spent way too much money on the cake, compiled over-the-top party favors. You get the point.
When it came to V's first birthday, I had similar anticipation, but wasn't as organized or creative this time around. I wanted it to be special, but also had two kids to care for with much less time to plan. While his birthday was a little more low key than Lincoln's, I still managed to hit it out of the park without investing as much time and energy. To do this, I focused on a few big ticket items rather than micromanaging every little detail. The three items I focused on were:
Theme + Decor
I'll start with the theme. In the Raybould household, every child's birthday must have a theme because I'm OCD like that. Themes, as fun and necessary as they are, help to create organization and cohesiveness to party planning! Our tradition in selecting themes for the two boys' birthday parties started naturally with Lincoln's first birthday. We simply thought about the one thing that embodied him around the time of his birthday, and for Lincoln, that happed to be airplanes. At the time, we lived in Georgetown, DC, where the planes constantly flew over head. Lincoln soon became obsessed with planes and would perch up at our windowed door to see them every time they flew by. So, what better theme than an airplane theme? I put a little twist on it and decided to go with "vintage fighter planes" because it sounded and looked cooler. Carrying on, for Lincoln's second birthday, he was obsessed with sports, so we did a sports theme.
When it came to choosing Vance's first birthday theme, it was clear as day what we were going to choose. Vance loves music and dancing, and has since he could pick up a beat - probably around six months. Therefore, it was easy to choose the theme being music. We also reside in Nashville, which is the country music capital and also the city he was born in. Needless to say, it was the perfect birthday theme.
So perfect, in fact, that it had to be tainted (or enhanced) by the fact that we chose to throw his birthday on Saint Patrick's Day. March 17th. I pondered keeping the music theme and nixing anything that involved green and Saint Patrick's Day, but what kind of birthday witch would do that? Ultimately, we combined the two themes and Vance's big day ended up being St. Patty's Day green mixed in with music and guitars. You can imagine what that does to an OCD party planner like myself... simply not cohesive AT ALL, but whatever, I let it slide. :)
With the theme being self-explanatory, we went simple with decor focusing on the colors: green, gold and black. We ordered some music note balloons and also a "1" balloon in the coordinating colors and purchased matching napkins, plates, etc. At the last minute, I did go all out on his "ONE" birthday sign, which you can see in the background of the photos. Yes, I made it. I was at Walmart and found all of the supplies as I was pursuing (kid-free) through the aisles. It was cheap and easy, which is really the only reason why I did it.
The biggest cash item was V's birthday cake. To say the least, I am a bit of a cake enthusiast. For Lincoln's birthday party we, no joke, spent over $200 on his cake. For me, it isn't about spending the most amount of money possible, but instead, it's about coming up with a cake that fully represents my kids! Not only that, but selfishly, it is beyond satisfactory to partake in conceptualizing the cake concept and to watch it perfectly come to life. Seriously, I think I have an obsession (or problem).
Ryan, my husband, never let me live down the fact that we spent so much on our first son's birthday cake. So much that I vowed I would never overspend on a birthday cake again... that is, until our second son turned one. It was too tempting! I love specialty cakes that perfectly embody the theme, and thus my little boys.
After deciding to (most likely) move forward with a cake, I started reaching out to a few cake companies for bids. The numbers they threw out were over $200, which wasn't in the cards for us. At the last minute, I reached out to my neighbor and asked if she had a recommendation, which she did. It was a bakery called My Sweet Dessert in Franklin, TN.
My Sweet Dessert was within a reasonable price range, which I felt comfortable spending for the kind of cake I knew I was going to get. I had seen her beautiful cakes at my neighbor's kid's birthday parties, which assured me they were totally worth the price.
In addition to the cake, I always recommend asking for or purchasing a smash cake that compliments the larger cake. If you go with a specialty cake decorator, they will almost always have this option. Sometimes they even throw in the smash cake for free. We always go with a vanilla flavor smash cake, which is easier to clean that a darker flavored cake.
If I were to recommend anything to a parent throwing a kid's birthday party, it would be to get something fun for the kids to do! Getting a bounce house is our go-to. It's easy, cost efficient and always hits home with the kids. Our (other) sweet friends and neighbors had lent us their bounce house for Lincoln's second birthday and also offered it for V's first birthday. Of course, we said yes! We love this bounce house so much that we purchased our own days after the party. You can find it here.
In sum, the day was incredibly special. V devoured two pieces of cake and played nonstop with his neighborhood friends. He felt celebrated and we brought together community to do so... which is the most important part.
Anyways, hope y'all enjoyed seeing his birthday come to life! We still cannot believe how fast this year went by and that our sweet baby is ONE.
Today, we wanted to share a shoe brand that we've recently come to know and love. If you're anything like us, you know how hard it is to find a "mom" shoe that is both trendy and functional. Surprisingly, we've found one in the brand that is YOU By SKECHERS. Do ya'll remember SKECHERS? I used to wear SKECHERS when I was a little girl. Funny how things come full circle since they are now one of my favorite brands of shoes as a mom. And here is why...
My ride or die everyday outfit is a good pair of workout pants paired with a comfy top. I am always dressed to workout (for the most part), even if I'm not going to. While I have my outfit down pat, I've had a difficult time finding a good pair of active shoes to compliment my outfit and also my lifestyle as a mama. What I have been looking for is a shoe that is somewhere in between a running shoe and a trendy shoe. Why? I feel geeky wearing running shoes all day long and generally trendy shoes aren't comfortable enough to wear the entire day. As a mom, I needed a shoe that allowed me to keep up with my kids all day long without feeling inhibited by discomfort.
Finally, Cate and I were introduced to YOU By SKECHERS. These shoes were exactly what we had been looking for! They are somewhere in between a workout shoe, but cute enough not to be one. Not only that, but they enhance our lives in a way that allows and permits us to be as lively and as active with our kids as we should be! Not sure about you, but I feel like when I'm not dressed appropriately, I have less fun with my kids. Alternatively, when I am dressed appropriately, - meaning active, flexible, and fitting - I have a way better time with my kids. YOU By SKECHERS allows me to do this.
Fun Facts About My YOU By SKECHERS
The three pairs of YOU By SKECHERS shoes that I own are:
Why do I love YOU By SKECHERS?
My favorite places to wear YOU By SKECHERS (besides all day everyday):
That's all for now, ladies! Get out and enjoy your kiddos.. hopefully with your YOU By SKECHERS!! Stay tuned for more of our fave products.
This content has been created in partnership with YOU By SKECHERS.
Diaper duty. Diaper changing and techniques are a must learn as a parent of babies. It is the inevitable duty that just comes with the territory of being a mom or dad- whether you mind it or not! It’s truly surprising how much can actually go into changing a wet or poopy diaper! With my firstborn I quickly learned I needed to have a station set up and all the goodies prepped and ready to go. Many a times I was unprepared and without necessary items (aka a diaper) and it made for changing baby’s diaper a heck of a lot harder and longer than it needed to be. Also, I didn't really know the importance of having a clean station and how using a diaper pale could be so beneficial!
Now with my second baby, I use the Playtex® Diaper Genie® Complete. It has an Odor Lock System, yes I'm serious, and double Air-Tight, odor controlling and antimicrobial clamps, which has been a game changer when it comes to keeping the room smelling fresh and getting rid of dirty diapers FAST! Most diaper pails I've come across make it hard to open and put the diaper in, with baby in hand; however, the Diaper Genie® has an easy-to-use foot pedal! The pail also comes fully assembled and has refills so I don't have to go up and down the stairs to put the dirty diaper in the trash. Even when I've done this, it's caused the entire garage to smell hideous very quickly. NOTE TO SELF- do not put dirty diapers in regular trash bins!
The How To's Of Diaper Changing
1.Wash Your Hands
Help reduce the spread of germs and run your hands under warm water so your hands aren’t freezing when you touch baby. He will appreciate it. : )
2. Use A Diaper Caddy
Put one by your changing station and LEAVE IT THERE. My husband used to laugh at me when Banx was first born. I’d change his diaper in pretty much any room of the house but would forget all the necessities. He’d hear me call out, “Babe…” and by the guilty tone of my voice he would laugh and bring me a diaper, wipes, cloth, or butt balm. Needless to say, I FINALLY learned my lesson and now use a basket to store all the diaper changing goods. It’s perfect and cute, too! In the nursery, everything is organized in the drawer of our changing table.
3. Stash Plenty of Diapers and Wipes
Always have back up! You definitely don’t want to be diaper-less or wipe-less mid diaper change! I recommend a company like Honest Diapers that come monthly or something that makes it easy. We sometimes order our diapers off Amazon Prime, but we have to remember to order before our supply is low!
4. Grab a Burp Cloth
Sometimes baby spits up when lying down in this position. Be prepared and have a burp cloth closeby!
5. Use a Distraction
Have a jar of tethers/pacifiers and some toys handy to give baby if he needs a distraction- This can help immensely especially if baby is squirmy. He may be more focused on the toy than the poop in his diaper!
6. Use a Waterproof Changing Pad or Cover
For the nursery I use the Nook Pebble Change Pad. The materials include- Eucalyptus, Organic Cotton, Zinc, Easy-Close Nylon Zipper. The fabric is water proof and it’s easy to clean. If you are changing baby on the couch or the bed, I recommend the Lil Helper Large Bamboo Change Mat. The top layer is quilted with 70% organic bamboo and 30% organic cotton on both sides and the top layer is made from pesticide and bleach-free bamboo/cotton. The waterproof barrier is phthalate; BPA, lead and heavy metal free. BOOM! It’s also easily folded and stored like a blanket, or you can take it with you on the go! It can also be used as a crib pad or a play mat. Pretty nifty, eh!?
7. Remove Baby's Clothing
This is self explanatory, but what I really mean is you might think about removing socks and pants altogether. For strictly wet diapers it’s not necessary. In fact, I usually leave shorts or pants on and pull them down to baby’s ankles. It can make the whole process a little easier; however, when their is poop involved I’ve changed way too many diapers where baby starts kicking and I lose grip of his feet and it gets all over his socks and pants. Talk about a mess!
8. Use a Bottom Wash or Wipe Warmer
I found this to be especially important when baby has started eating solids and the poops are stickier and messier. Warm wipes help to remove everything and the bottom wash helps to conserve the amount of wipes used and gives baby a fresh little bum rather than putting him in the bath. It may sound ridiculous because it kind of is, but it is totally worth the purchase! You can also make your own bottom wash using a dark glass spray bottle. It's hard to find a bottom wash without preservatives and chemicals in it. I like this little mixture HERE.
When Banx was an infant, I used organic cotton or bamboo small baby washcloths (SEE BELOW), wet them in warm water, rung out the cloth and used it to wipe his bottom. The wipes or cloths, if you will, that the hospital gave us when we came home with Banx were so rough. I also didn't feel comfortable using them because of the potential harsh chemicals that were used to make them (yes, this is why I love to choose organic as much as I can especially when baby is brand new with very sensitive, susceptible skin). Exposure to harsh chemicals early on can have side effects so I make an extra effort to use organic wipes/cloths and put him in organic jammies (where he spends most of his time sleeping in). Ya feel me?!
9. Wipe Well
Obviously! For girls, wipe front to back to prevent infections. For boys, this isn’t necessary. You may want to cover his penis with a cloth in case he decides to pee everywhere (I’m sure it’s happened to the best of us)
10. Use a Dry Cloth To Pat Baby's Bottom Dry
Since babies seem to get red bums and diaper rash often, be sure to have a handy dandy little cloth to be sure his bottom stays dry. I keep a couple in my drawer and wash them frequently. You can find organic bamboo washcloths HERE on Amazon. There a quite a few brands that make these soft organic washcloths. I stock up and have some for baby's face, some for his bottom, and others I use in the bath. They are great and can save you money on wipes. I also used them when the boys were first born since I didn't want to use any harsh wipes on their sensitive newborn skin. I didn't mind washing them after use because I felt good that they never had diaper rash.
11. Use a Bottom Balm
I don't always do this after each diaper change, but if baby's bum is a little red I like to use my zinc oxide paste. I swear by it! It works like a charm and clears his redness within a day! I also be sure to use petroleum free and chemical free products. Ya'll I can't stress this enough. READ YOUR LABELS! Sometimes I even come across a product that is all organic. Mama like! I highly recommend keeping organic coconut oil in the house in your kitchen, your bathroom, and baby's room or wherever is convenient. It is a MUST to have for various reasons and uses. It has anti- inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties which makes it great for cradle cap, eczema, diaper rash smooth hair, dry and chapped lips, baby acne, and more!
Here are a couple diaper rash salves to try:
Bee All Natural Organic Diaper Rash Salve- IN A GLASS JAR : )
Green Goo Organic Miracle- IN A GLASS JAR : )
Ora's Amazing Herbal Baby Salve- IN A GLASS JAR : )
Hills Remedy Diaper Rash Relief
Badger Baby Oil- IN A GLASS JAR : )
12. Use a Diaper Pail That Works!
The Playtex® Diaper Genie® Complete works wonders and prevents the room from smelling like the sewer. Diaper pails can actually help reduce the spread of germs. I love that I can open it with my foot because during diaper changes my hands are never free, especially when baby becomes really mobile. Sometimes it takes extra effort to hold him down on the table while rolling up the poopy diaper. The last thing I want to do is reach over and open the pail with my hand. Also, the refills are easy to replace. It's a no brainer and a win in my book!
13. Clean The Changing Area and Changing Pad Often
I keep my non-toxic cleaner and a paper towel role or rag in the boy’s bathroom that is nearby so I don’t have to run downstairs to get anything. This is really important to ensure baby doesn't catch any germs and just for cleanliness purposes. I do my best not to skimp on this area and have a couple organic changing pads covers on hand . I love the ones from Modern Burlap!
14. Clean Your Hands!
Ok, so some of you, like me, don't actually wash your hands with soap and water right after each diaper change. Let's be real! And for those of you that do, bravo! I use a Nature's Paradise Coconut Hand Cleanser hand spray when I'm not washing my hands. It does the trick and then I know I have to wash my hands later. A quick fix is better than no fix!
Ok so now on to what you probably DIDN'T KNOW...!
Diaper Changing and How To Reduce Colic