Essential Oils from Young Living

Essential Oils are the key to health and wellness in my home. In fact, my small pocket of the mystical elixirs is nothing short of an apothecary for all the qualities they provide in our household. From cleaning supplies to beauty regimens, they boost nearly every aspect of our lives with delightful scents. I’m going to share how I switched from a perpetual commercial shopper to a self-sufficient medicine woman in a few short months with the help of essential oils.

But first, I want to let you know that you can purchase your own essential oils from Young Living right now by clicking this link.

Three short years ago, I left the workforce with the intent to return after a year raising my newborn at home. One new baby quickly turned into two, and I happily accepted the more permanent role of stay-at-home Mother with the new caveat of curbing costs and cutting expenses at every corner. Somehow, we had to make a single income work for our small, but growing family, and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice our health any longer.

My biggest problem with shopping at the big-box retailers, aside from the overwhelming sticker shock that hit me each week, was the fact that everything I purchased from food to clothing to cleaning goods was riddled with ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce, let alone identify. All of a sudden as I looked at the sweet face of my newborn and her shriveled nose as it sneezed in recoil to the toxins, I knew something about our habits had to change. I began by addressing our kitchen first.

 

Join me in the quest to a healthier home by incorporating Essential Oils into your daily life. Email jeannettebezinque@ecoincognito.com for a FREE CONSULTATION on using Essential Oils.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Images source: Young Living

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Opportunity Cost

Simple math shows that organic food costs more than conventional food. But, when it comes to all good things in life, we tend to get what we pay for. After a lifetime of nickle and diming my nutrition, I finally put my money where my mouth is in an effort to find out what all the organic hype is about. My ongoing food journey is now rich in flavor and full from a wealth of community spirit. I truly believe that quality ingredients are worth every penny and the resources that provide them are worth their weight in gold.

Finance experts caution that, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Factor in the value of time at the meeting or the cost of transportation and price adds up before the pitch even comes about for a return favor. I began to apply this concept to food and, at first, I discovered that cheap and easy food rarely had a noticeable payoff. At first, the value is high because the hunger pangs subside almost immediately, plus my kids play around so it’s generally a rainy-day savior. But, generally within an hour I feel bloated and de-energized. Four hours later I’m cranky and the next day I feel weighty and run down. The physical tax in the long run comes in the form of elements within my body that are difficult to flush out and portions of my portions that I just can’t control. By simply noticing the physical responses, I can motivate myself to curb my cravings and work different habits into my life to avoid fast food.

Now, the opportunity cost of fast food doesn’t necessarily stop at the last french fry. After all, the cost of that bag, the trash service to remove the bag, the process involved in recycling plastic elements, and the operational costs of managing the building skyrocket the costs associated with the business of food. But, if it still packages into a $6 value meal; where is the value? The truth is, there is no value in fast food. None. Whatsoever. Other than a fast fix for curbing cravings, there is less nutritional value in a fast food meal than in a rotten organic banana peel.

My beefs with fast food are many. But they are still not enough to keep me out of the chic-fil-a on a desperate and rainy day, so I need your help to popularize REAL FOOD. Together, we can support local farms, businesses, and purveyors of real food to make those options the forefront for our children. First of all, gaining an understanding of REAL FOOD will help quickly demonstrate that fast food is not food.

We are alive. When we eat foods that are alive, we bring life into our body. Anything that has been processed, cooked, pesticized, treated, deep fried, or homogenized is dead. Over time, those cells cause blockages in our bodies that lead to disease, illness, or even death. The biggest problem is that these false foods take a deep emotional toll on our wellness that is nearly impossible to discover until a lengthy separation allows healing from within. I’m making a sweeping statement against a lot of my favorite foods (forgive me Cheddar Bunnies) because we have to know the radical options on each side of the food spectrum in order to gain a full understanding of wholesome nutrition. Ever hear the phrase, “Only know the sun when it starts to rain”? Think about that when the refrigerator opens. How can we possibly know the benefits of an apple a day if we dip it in caramel and serve it alongside a heaping stack of pancakes?

The act of feeding children has opened my eyes in so many ways to the state of food in the union. I am constantly weighing options and debating how to meet their needs for nutrition and satisfaction. In the epic battle between sugar and salads, sugar always wins. Personally, today, I’m ok with that. It’s important to me that my children enjoy the act of eating. That they learn to calmly savor something for more than 3 minutes. I need them to know that it’s just as reasonable to get dirty in the middle of a meal or during the prep work as it is for them to make a mess on the playground even when this means I have to slice out caked-in food bits from crevices on the table with a butter knife. The opportunity cost of an emotional display of weakness in front of my kids no longer outweighs the value of saving dessert for last. Our progress on meal manners is slow, but they are consistently observant of me eating fresh leafy greens and creative, nutritious options so I know the future is bright.

A turning point for me in understanding the real opportunities in the value of food happened when I started to grow my own. The backbreaking effort of creating a garden coupled with the daily effort of tending the plants was tantamount compared to the yield in my backyard. I tried to incorporate a meager bite or two each day into my green intentions and I felt an immense richness from even the smallest cherry tomato fresh off the vine. I set my mind on a bounty and that has finally come full circle for me.

In the past year, I threw out my food receipts and washed away the concept of a budget. Focusing only on the needs of myself and my family, I found ways to look beyond the dollar signs on my meals and to truly appreciate the spirit behind the food. Time slowed down. Recipes no longer take 30 minutes or less. I now regularly spend hours in the kitchen, savoring the stolen bites my toddlers grab from the cutting board. I am literally watching my food grow. Second by second, day by day. I have seen a blossom erupt and a green pea shoot spring up from the ground overnight. In my opinion, nothing tastes better than an apple picked directly from the tree, but I never would have found that out if I hadn’t sprung for every apple along the way.

Earlier this year, I put all my eggs into one basket and focused heavily on the opportunity to host a CSA pickup location. I felt compelled to bring farm fresh food into my neighborhood, so I worked with Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-Op to establish a site in my backyard. This was a hard year to join in. Without the support of my husband, I tried to reach out to friends and neighbors, but came up short on my efforts to get enough participants for the group. Still, I prayed that I wanted to be a helper to others and I visualized the harvest market each day in my backyard with the hope that somehow it would all work out. I dedicated many thoughts in my mind to food and I dedicated many of my thoughts about food to gratitude. When I got the message that another site would combine with mine so that I could be a new host this year, my heart leaped with joy.

To describe the excitement I felt when the pallet of greens arrived in my backyard on Tuesday would be hard to express, except that I can say, “you kind of have to do it yourself to understand.” The CSA cost me nothing but time. However, from that time planting seeds of love, I am receiving more benefits than I can count. We are making new friends who come to our backyard rain or shine. I am inspired to provide fresh food for my family each day. Passing along the gift of over-abundant greens to friends is something that feels like it could easily become my second nature. The difference between joining a CSA and taking a trip to the grocery store is that this is an investment. I am investing in my nutrition by making a direct contact with the farms that provide healthful food near my home. I am investing in wide-open spaces and non-polluting business entities. Most importantly, I am investing today in an idea that says, “Good food is worth it” and passing that knowledge along to the next generation.

I am grateful for every meal that has nourished my heart and soul. To the people that have shared recipes, grown food, and taught generations of farmers the secrets of the land, I will always be eternally appreciative. It is very humbling to know how closely food relates us all when we allow ourselves to connect. Some day, I will be dirt again, but I am leaving behind a trail of creativity, inspired by the very food from which I thrive. To me, that is priceless.

Just Between Friends Consignment Sale

Just Between Friends is the area’s biggest and fastest growing Consignment Sale. I sent my friend Jodi on assignment to party with Joey Fortman of Real Mom Media at the VIP presale for bloggers. She received $25 to find the #bestdeal. Now she shares her experience and several valuable tips for future shoppers.

I have been a yard sale junkie since I was a kid. What’s not to love? The seller unloads what has become unwanted in their home, reducing their clutter and preventing unnecessary waste and the buyer has paid a small fraction of the retail price for an item they (hopefully) have a use for. Also it’s fun because you really never know what you are going to find and you never know what someone may buy from you. Now at 33, I still get excited to go “sailing” but I have found a new retail love as a mom. Consignment Sales. Same benefits as yard sales but a really good consignment sale is much more efficient. Just last week I sold, consigned and worked at the Just Between Friends (JBF) sale in Oaks, PA to triple my benefits. “JBF” is definitely the biggest children’s consignment sale in the area and probably our entire state.
No matter how you spend your days, us moms need to be efficient with our time, resources and our money, and consigning is one way we can do just that. At one big biannual sale like JBF, you can get everything your child(ren) needs for that season, or if you are a planner, you can buy future sizes and be set for the next three summers. You will spend more at a consignment sale but a sale like JBF has multiples of the same item and many items are new or gently used which is typically not the case at your typical yard sale.
As a stay at home mom, I consider the small amount of time I spend cutting coupons, and selling and buying at consignment and yard sales to be one of my biggest financial contributions to our household. You should join me if you dislike paying full price at the mall and big box stores. If you aren’t sure about selling and tagging, consider that JBF offers sellers 60% of the sale price (50% is typical at many stores) and 70% when you work the sale for 4 hours. Also consignors and workers get to shop a whole day before the sale is public giving you the pick of the lot. This year I tagged everything the day before drop off (do NOT do this) and promised my husband I would not sell again. What I really meant was I will never again wait until the day before the sale. The tagging process for JBF is done on their website. You type up each item, print out the tags and affix them to 127 items. Because everything is online, I already know 92 items sold and my cut is $239.73!! I will receive a check in the mail along with a tax deduction form for the remaining 35 items which I chose to donate rather than spend time and gas picking them up. Whether you are new to these sales or refining your skills, follow these tips to be a more efficient thrifty mama at your local consignment sales:
Two new Pete the Cat Books for $4

Two new Pete the Cat Books for $4

Converse Sneaks for 50 cents! #bestdeal

Converse Sneaks for 50 cents! #bestdeal

Rudy Bouncy Toys $20

Rudy Bouncy Toys $20

The loot: Total $26

The loot: Total $26

4 Aiden and Anais blankets: $11

4 Aiden and Anais blankets: $11

 

 

 

Jodi Sheehan is a Stay at Home Mama to toddler Ben. A self-proclaimed “Thrifty Mama”, she prides herself on finding any and all ways to stretch a dollar for bargains. Her Etsy Shop ‘Gems from Before’ features natural, handmade toys.

Consignment Sale Shopping Tips

As soon as Baby outgrows the newborn phase and you discover that baby clothes last for about as long as it takes to say “oooo” and “ahhh”, you will quickly find that consignment sales offer peace of mind for budget-conscious parents. Today, Jodi shares her top tips for finding the best consignment items.

consignmentshopping

Consignment Shopping Tips:

  1. Check what you have and bring a list of what you need
  2. If you need shoes, bring one shoe that currently fits your child since ‘sizing be crazy’
  3. Bring Cash (but if you are going to a serious sale like JBF, credit is good too)
  4. Make friends with your fellow shopper – it makes the browsing much more fun and you never know when the nice generous mama next to you may find that cloth swim diaper you mentioned you were scouring for and hand it over to you
  5. Get in, stay focused and get out. Get in line before it gets out of hand. I am pleased to say the lines are JBF were surprising short throughout both pre-sales
  6. Shop with a buddy who can help check things off your wish list, spot an item you missed, piece through clothes and even hold a spot in line to check out. If you have an infant or young toddler, wear them in a carrier during the sale. If you have an older toddler, consider leaving them at home or bringing a helper. Both big and small sales are cramped spaces so try to leave your stroller at home.
  7. Be informed and get to know your local sales. I like to go to a few small church sales close to home where the prices are lower and lines are shorter. Then I go to one big sale each season where the quality and quantity make it worth the extra time and money because I can fill any gaps in my son’s wardrobe. I recommend getting to a sale a few minutes before it starts to be the first in or get there a few minutes late so you can walk right in and get to work. Find out if the sale has a 50% off hour or day and whether it’s worth waiting for that.

Jodi Sheehan is a Stay at Home Mama to toddler Ben. A self-proclaimed “Thrifty Mama”, she prides herself on finding any and all ways to stretch a dollar for bargains. Her Etsy Shop ‘Gems from Before’ features natural, handmade toys.

7 Consignment Selling Tips

Have you considered what to do with all the clothes and toys overtaking your home as your baby outgrows them? Experienced Mamas know that one of the best ways to clean house is to consign or resell items. Today, Jodi shares her top tips for consigning and tagging items.

consignmentsale

Consignment Selling/Tagging Tips:

  1. Periodically assess your child’s wardrobe to add pieces in their new size and trim what they have out grown or just don’t need.
  2. Invest in storage bins. We have a collection of Sterilite 18 gallon totes from Target in Neutral at $4.99 each. Label them by size for clothes you want to keep (for our maybe baby #2). Any clothes you didn’t love, put in bins labeled by season so it’s ready come sale time. I probably save and store 1/4, donate 1/4 and sell the other half.
  3. Give any toys a quick cleaning if you want them to sell at the maximum amount
  4. Organize your items throughout the year and don’t wait until last minute to tag. Procrastination tagging is no fun for anyone – ask my husband.
  5. Hold onto and ask friends and family for hangers as most sales require you to hang your clothes
  6. Some items will need to be bagged up so when you buy something at a sale in a ziplock bag, save the bag along with any pins or hangers and add to your supplies (hangers, ziplock bags, safety pins, clear packing tape and card stock paper for JBF).
  7. Tagging is an art. Make sure the tag is secure using tape or pins (some serious sellers actually buy tagging guns – not me). If your tag falls off, your item will not sell but you also don’t want to ruin your item. Consider using rubber bands, ziplock bags or twine to bundle books. Pin clothing at the seam or where it won’t put a permanent hole in the item.

Jodi Sheehan is a Stay at Home Mama to toddler Ben. A self-proclaimed “Thrifty Mama”, she prides herself on finding any and all ways to stretch a dollar for bargains. Her Etsy Shop ‘Gems from Before’ features natural, handmade toys.

Ending the Mom War

This morning a post popped into my news feed called 10 Types of Moms that Suck. A few more friends shared it, and it kept begging me to click, so I took a peak. Not surprisingly, I immediately identified myself as #2 – the “I buy and make everything organic Mom.” Personally, I respond more frequently to, “Crazy Hippie Mom,” but that is a topic for another day. You see, the truth is, I am all 10 of those Moms. The more I read, the more I realized that my critical inner voice has accused me of all those stereotypes. All of a sudden, it didn’t seem like I was reading another woman’s finger pointing. Instead, I was hearing my own monologue.

What I want to talk about is dialogue. I have been talking with myself for 29 years, and I have finally realized the startling impact and strength those words have on my life. Not only do the words that wake me in the morning create a map of my day, but they are filling my children with an inner voice. It is my biggest challenge to foster an inner voice of courage, spirit, willfulness, and kindness in spite of anything that may have shaped my own inner voice to the contrary. Trust me, I get jokes. I understand that posts like these are funny and they make me laugh, too. The problem for me was that I never stopped laughing in childhood. I didn’t spend time deeply understanding my emotions and the complexities around me enough to find a space where I fit in.

I know I am not the only Mom struggling right now. Up until six months ago, my own words fit into a chorus of those around me. “It’s so hard to make friends now that I’m a Mom.” “My kids are making me crazy.” “Have you tried (XYZ) to solve (every childhood problem ever.)” All the negativity crushed me. I fell into a deep solitude and began grasping at every straw in search of any lifeline to pull me out of the slump. At first, the solutions were so abundant that I almost gave up before even attempting to make the climb. How could I chose just one shining star for my aspiration? So much was missing in my life and I wanted to have it all.

When I shut my computer, dove into the written word of healers, and reached out to join a thoughtful community I found that life is truly filled with joy. There are so many amazing Mothers in this world that I am privileged to know. By taking the time and space to observe families in their element, I have given my own family an opportunity to shine. We are courageous, adventurous, and we march to a beat of our own, but I truly believe that we have many more similarities with others than differences. It is that very belief that propels me into new friendships and understandings each day.

Time has slowed and life is really beautiful right now. It is not perfect. It is abundantly messy, wet, cold, sluggish, ragged, and clumsy. I have grown to love all those aspects. Today I am offering myself forgiveness, love and compassion for a job well done. I know that the end of the Mom War starts with me. It starts with my personal acceptance of this role. With a little luck and gratitude, I’ll be able to start it all over tomorrow with the same smile that fueled me through this day. No matter what, I know that deep within I am feeling the love. Tonight as I laid in a sandwich between two easily breathing, sheepily dreaming toddlers, I heard myself say, “Good job, Mama.” And for the first time, I believed it.

Farm Fresh Food in the Neighborhood

I am excited to announce that I am hosting a CSA pickup location for Lancaster Farm Fresh at my home this summer. This means that you can pick up a box of locally grown, certified organic produce each week right Downingtown. It begins in May and all the members will receive a weekly delivery (25 weeks) of farm fresh, local produce. A full share is $750 and is intended to provide the veggies for a family of 4 as side dishes.

lancaster farm fresh

In addition to vegetables, you can order fruit, milk, eggs, chicken, bread and more. I’ll be arranging activities for kids and potluck community picnics, too. This year, I’m sharing my newfound love of real food with my neighbors and friends. Find out more and sign up for the West Bradford location at http://www.lancasterfarmfresh.com/csa/default

Kimberton Waldorf School Open House – 4-13-2014

One of my biggest inspirations as a parent is the Waldorf Community. If you are not familiar with Waldorf education, it is a lifelong journey that focuses on natural living, mindfulness, and experiential education. One of the differences between public schools and Waldorf schools is that young students are not exposed to technology. This allows children to develop and explore the world through the use of physical skills like fine and gross motor activities.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to explore Kimberton Waldorf School at their open house. I learned about the program from faculty, toured the early-childhood education facility, saw a performance by the high school drama students, and sampled the organic food from their school kitchen. The vast displays of creativity from the community are astonishing. I highly recommend touring the school at their next open house to experience this firsthand!

waldorf open house

 

 

Sunday, April 13
1:00 ­- 4:00 pm

Tour the campus, meet faculty, students, parents and alumni, view samples of student work, participate in a panel discussion, and gain an understanding of Waldorf Education through inspiring faculty and student presentations. Childcare is available upon request. Events are held in the Gymnasium.
For more information:
You can RSVP right here:

https://kimbertonws.ejoinme.org/openhouse

Take a Big Whiff

I am so excited to share the HUGE NEWS that I have been keeping under wraps for months. My personal journey into a greener lifestyle has blossomed into a triumphant memoir that I cannot wait to release. In it, you’ll learn everything from my journey away from deodorant and into a world of peace, joy, and happiness.
take a big whiff
It’s hard to pinpoint just one aspect of my life as the critical element for which to give thanks on this journey because there have been so many. I am grateful for all the friends who steered me to follow my heart and for the inspiration of Mothers near and far who give it their all each day. But, I truly owe all my happiness to the absence of one thing- deodorant. I would not be the woman or mother I am today if I was still shrouded behind the cloud of that manufactured scent. If I still balked each time I put on a black shirt, I wouldn’t walk with such great pride. If I hadn’t discovered the essence of my own smelf, I would not truly understand the nature of the scents that bring me joy.
For all these reasons and more, I pay great tribute to my new found courage in Take a Big Whiff. My memoir is my gift to you and I am delighted to announce that it will be hot off the presses in two short months.

Inspired Family

What is an Inspired Family? According to the presenters, founders, and attendees of the Inspired Family conference in Philadelphia, it is a family that shoots for the stars. Quite simply, an Inspired Family is one that strives to reach goals, draws inspiration from happy people, and rounds each day with a message of love. The timing of the Inspired Family conference could not have been any better for me. The days of anticipation were filled with uplifting messages to break free of the winter doldrums into an inspired spring. For me, the most rewarding part of the conference was taking on a role as a presenter to share my love and inspiration for our gardening hobby.

inspiredfamily

It’s not every day that hundreds of parents come together to learn from experts about parenting, but maybe it should be. The thing I noticed is that people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and dynamics blended together into an astounding audience of eager participants. Toddlers roamed freely through the halls, babies yearned for milk and met calming reactions with mother’s milk. Mindfulness was the key message, so there were a lot of understanding conversations and spirited connections.

When Carla Naumburg spoke about Mindful Parenting, I tuned into a message that has carried me through the darkest and coldest days of the winter. Being a great parent isn’t about anyone but me. It doesn’t reflect perfection from my children, the mistakes I made yesterday, or the support of my partner. It starts from within and grows from consciously living in the present. Naumburg cautions that our role as parents is dependent on our own self care. We must nurture our mind, body, and spirit through activities like meditation, exercise, healthy eating, and (above all) SLEEP! How can we expect our children to thrive if we do not demonstrate a balance of our own?

I truly believe that inspired parenting is not about perfection, but it is about stepping back and looking at the whole picture as it relates to each family. This is why gardening has been instrumental in my connection with my children and the world. By understanding our place in the cycle of life, I have eased fears and lifted the burdens of my past by uncovering the nurturing role our seasons play in the balance of life. Most of all, I know the importance of planting seeds of love.

Knowing that our comments today become the inner voice in our children has given me great pause in my role as a Mother. I began to listen to the echoes of my own parents and fought internally for a long time to understand the origin and nature of those messages. When it became clear that some of those thoughts did not have a place in the next generation, I had to fill those gaps. That blank space opened quite beautifully as a space filled with love. I’ve connected spiritually to nature and I feel comfortable sharing that love with my children and those around us. More and more, I am discovering that when I put good seeds into the world, good things pop up all around us.So it was no surprise that an entire conference filled with positive parenting messages popped up in our own “backyard!”

Not only did we learn from health experts, social workers, child development leaders, and babywearers, but there was also an entire marketplace dedicated to natural parenting products. We all love our cloth diapers, so who could pass up an opportunity to feel that soft fluffiness in person? I saw some of my favorite toys from Mama May I and discovered dozens of resources for health like chiropractors, doulas, and nutrition coaches. Whenever I reflect back on my birth experiences, I wonder why (OH WHY???) did I not hire a doula? Discovering all the many people who offer care and nurturing services to families is a huge joy and inspiration for me.

I am eager to watch Inspired Family as it takes the next steps. The connection between our generation and our children is in a critical state because of factors like food, media, and bullying. Without seeking deeply within to uncover our own seeds of anger, we cannot help but pass those on. However, I know that for each positive message that we place into the world, the message of love and light spreads quickly to those who will receive it.

It is with sincere gratitude that I think Lizzy Russinko and Nicole Snyder for the opportunity to attend and present at their amazing inaugural conference. I cannot wait to watch this grow!