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If you have a garbage disposal, you may notice an occasional or lingering odor that is around your sink. You may think that food waste going down a clean sink with running water wouldn’t smell like garbage over time, but it does. This is very common and happens to just about all of us.

The issue though is that it’s not easy to clean your garbage disposal. So how do you get rid of the odor? Try this easy homemade garbage disposal deodorizer with essential oils for simple and easy, all-natural cleaning and deodorizing.

As a bonus, I’ll show you how to make a super quick powder to drop into your garbage disposal in addition to instructions for how to make garbage disposal bombs. (Scroll to the bottom for this recipe.)

Homemade Garbage Disposal Deodorizer with Essential Oils

The ingredients for making this DIY garbage disposal deodorizer are inexpensive and there’s a good chance you already have them around the house.

What You’ll Need:

*You can choose other essential oils – the above listed are my favorites. Other ideal essential oils for cleaning your garbage disposal can include:

How to Make Homemade Garbage Disposal Deodorizer

Start by putting 2 cups of baking soda in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Then pour in 1 cup of salt.  I used fine crystal sea salt, but any fine crystal salt is fine.

Measure out 1/2 cup of water, plus 1 1/2 cups castile soap in a glass measuring cup.

Slowly pour the soap and water mixture, a little bit at a time, into the baking soda and salt mixture. Stir.

Do not add ALL the liquid as you don’t want the baking soda mixture to be overly wet. Just add enough liquid, a little at a time, until it reaches a consistency where you can pack it together, but not too wet where it won’t hold its shape.

If you do pour in too much liquid, simply add a little more baking soda until you get the correct consistency.

Now it’s time to stir in your essential oils.

I choose citrus oils because they are wonderful for cleaning and deodorizing, plus I love the scent.

Stir in 10 drops each of lemon, orange, and grapefruit essential oils.  You could also use lime.  You can make any combination you’d like, but I’d have at least 30 drops total to this mixture.

Next, use a tablespoon and scoop spoonfuls of the baking soda mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

It doesn’t have to look pretty (remember these will be going down your garbage disposal soon!) You will want your “drops” to be flatter vs round because it will dry out faster that way.

You can let your garbage disposal deodorizers air dry for a day or two or place them in the oven at 175 degrees for an hour and a half to two hours until they are dry.

Store them in an airtight glass container and keep them under the sink until you are ready to use them!

How to Use Your Homemade Garbage Disposal Deodorizers

When you start to smell a “not so fresh” garbage disposal, run some hot water in the sink and drop in a deodorizing bomb.

Turn off the water, turn on disposal, and let it run for a minute or two.

DIY Garbage Disposal Deodorizing Powder

If you don’t want to take the time to make individual garbage disposal deodorizing bombs, you can create a dry powder mixture and add some to your sink directly when you need it.  For that, you will need:

  • 5 ounces citric acid (find it here)  You do not get any citric acid from the essential oils since the oils are extracted from the fruit rinds.  If you want this extra bonus acidic cleaner, then try this method.
  • 8 ounces baking soda
  • Add 30 drops of essential oils.  Stir this mixture well and store in an airtight glass container (don’t store in plastic as the citric essential oils can corrode plastic.)

Add 2 tablespoons once a month to your garbage disposal and let it run for a bit.

Want some other great ways to use your essential oils around the house for cleaning purposes?  Check these out:

The post Homemade Garbage Disposal Deodorizer with Essential Oils appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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Does your skin tend to look flaky or rough? Does it sometimes feel itchy? You may have fine lines or even cracks that accentuate the appearance of aging, particularly on your face. These are all signs of dry skin. And it can occur on your face, arms, legs, or anywhere on your body.

There are many great essential oils for dry skin that work to hydrate and soothe naturally. Find out more about each of those essential oils, plus how to get the best results in this post.

Which Essential Oils for Dry Skin Work Best? Please read my Common Sense essential oil safety post before using essential oils. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils for good reason. It has many benefits for skin health and can help support healing and overall skin health.

Lavender oil is particularly useful for soothing skin issues including rough, dry, irritated skin and may be helpful for reducing scarring.

Helichrysum essential oil

Helichrysum is one of my all-time favorite essential oils for dry skin. My previously dry skin has been much healthier since I started using helichrysum essential oil.

I waited to buy this oil for some time because it’s one of the more expensive essential oils, but when I finally did, I was amazed at how beneficial it is! (I bought my Helichrysum from Eden’s Garden as it’s much more affordable than many of the other brands and still high quality with third-party testing for quality control.)

Helichrysum is known for its potential anti-aging and scar reducing benefits because it is very hydrating for the skin. There’s also the potential benefit for it to help block UV damage to skin.

While Helichrysum is one of the more expensive essential oils, when compared to the many pricey creams and serums on the market, it can actually be less expensive, especially when considering one bottle of this essential oil can last a long time. Plus it’s all-natural, so that’s even better!

Myrrh essential oil

Myrrh is another wonderful essential oil for dry skin because it both protects and soothes. It has strong antioxidant properties and may help protect against UV damage while reducing fine lines and wrinkles and supporting youthful skin.

Safety: Do not use Myrrh essential oil during pregnancy. Use caution if you have diabetes or blood sugar issues as it may lower blood sugar.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense has wonderful potential for minimizing scars, wrinkles, and fine lines while supporting new skin regeneration. It’s very calming and can help reduce inflammation while evening skin tone.

Safety: Frankincense has blood-thinning properties; if you have any blood-clotting issues, check with your medical provider before use.

Note: My body doesn’t produce enough clotting factor and I am more prone to bleeding excessively; however, I use Frankincense essential oil all the time without any negative side effects.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium is wonderful for balancing skin, whether it’s dry or oily. It’s helpful for moisturizing and promoting youthful skin. It has astringent-like properties which mean it may help minimize wrinkles and fine lines and regenerate skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help minimize red, dry, irritated skin as well.

Safety: Do not use Geranium oil during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Carrot Seed Essential Oil

Carrot seed essential oil is highly moisturizing for dry skin and its antioxidant properties can help protect skin.

Cucumber Seed Essential Oil

Cucumber seed oil is hydrating and may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood essential oil is great for dry skin as it helps tone and reduces inflammation while hydrating and soothing.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang essential oil may help reduce signs of aging. It’s also very hydrating.

Manuka essential oil

Not to be confused with Manuka honey, Manuka essential oil is helpful for healing damaged skin and reducing scarring, including wrinkles and fine lines. It may also help with growth and regeneration of new skin cells.

Safety: do not use Manuka essential oil during pregnancy.

Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine is excellent for calming irritated, dry skin due to its antibacterial and anti-viral properties. It may also help promote youthful, radiant skin.

Safety: do not use Jasmine during pregnancy.

Hyssop Essential Oil

Hyssop is helpful for reducing scars, wrinkles, and fine lines and healing skin.

Safety: do not use Hyssop during pregnancy as it may cause contractions.

How to Use Essential Oils for Dry Skin:

Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before using. This is because essential oils are very potent and a little goes a long way.

Carrier Oils for Dry Skin

The most common carrier oil is fractionated coconut oil.

However, I recommend one or more of the following carrier oils when using essential oils for dry skin. This is because these carrier oils are more hydrating and moisturizing than fractionated coconut oil.

These are my favorite carrier oils for dry skin:

I use a combination of the five above carrier oils for my dry skincare routine, however, my two favorites are Jojoba oil and Argan oil.

Which Essential Oil Brand is Best?

For the best results, you will want to choose a high-quality essential oil brand that is 100% pure and offers third-party testing for quality control.

My favorite essential oil company is Rocky Mountain Oils, followed by Eden’s Garden, and Ancient Apothecary by Dr. Axe.

You can find those oils here:

  • Rocky Mountain Oils – buy here and get free shipping on any order
  • Eden’s Garden – buy here and get free shipping on any order OR order through Amazon
  • Ancient Apothecary by Dr. Axe – you can order directly from his website or through Amazon
Using Essential Oils for Dry Skin

You’ll want to use 2-3 drops of each essential oil diluted with a carrier oil. If you want to use ALL of the essential oils listed in this post, I’d recommend mixing up a small one or two-ounce glass bottle with a combination of carrier oils and adding 5 or so drops of each essential oil for the best results.

I will be sharing my personal favorite “skin oil with essential oils” blend soon, so keep an eye out for it! (When that post is up, I will link it here.)

I hope you’ve found this post on essential oils for dry skin helpful. Let me know how these oils work for you and which ones are your favorites in the comments below.

Here are a few more ways you can use these Essential Oils for Dry Skin: 

The post The 12 Best Essential Oils for Dry Skin appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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This is a guest post from Dave Borden of I’m Simply a Dad.

Food is medicine. This phrase is used quite frequently across the internet, and there is a good reason. It’s because it really is true. We can indeed use food to help us feel better and our bodies heal.

My family has been living this principle for years by following a diet called the Gluten-Free / Casein-Free diet. Thanks to this diet, my family’s health has improved drastically and many chronic ailments have disappeared as a result.

What is the GFCF Diet?

Before I get into our family’s story, I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly is the GFCF diet.

GFCF stands for gluten-free casein-free. You’re probably familiar with gluten, one of the proteins in wheat and other grains. Casein is a protein found in dairy. Often, soy is also removed because of its similar molecular structure. It’s really the GFCFSF diet, but most people still refer to it as GFCF.

What’s So Bad About Wheat, Dairy, and Soy?

These 3 proteins are removed because they can cause a host of issues. They are one of the most common sources of hidden food sensitivities. They can also be very hard on the gut and can lead to digestive distress and inflammation.

The Greatest Threat To Our Health

It’s the inflammation that we really need to worry about. According to Dr. Amy Myers, “chronic inflammation is one of the greatest threats to our health” and is linked to many of the medical and cognitive symptoms we see in our kids with autism & ADHD.

By removing these foods, we are taking away major sources of inflammation, and it’s the inflammation that is the driving force behind so many ailments. Reducing inflammatory triggers helps our immune system throttle down, which means it can better do its job fighting infections and healing our bodies.

This is a brief overview of how foods containing these 3 ingredients impact our health. If you would like to learn even more and take a deeper dive into the science, you can check out my GFCF diet guide. Not only does it tell you why you should consider the GFCF diet, but it also helps walk you through how to start. (Don’t worry. It’s free. No email needed or anything)

Healing Through Diet: My Family’s Results on the Gluten-Free / Casein-Free Diet

This diet was made popular by the autism community, which is how I first heard about it. Many parents talked about improvements in their child after starting this diet. I’ve heard about progress in a number of areas including: school, therapy, sleep, temperament, behavior, focus,…etc.

I’ve had a couple of parents even tell me that they heard their once nonverbal child speak his first words shortly after starting the diet. Needless to say, when our son was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, we immediately put him on the GFCF diet.

Gluten-Free / Casein-Free for Autism

While I did not see major improvements in my son’s autism, (language, communication…) I did see him become much healthier. For the first 3 years of his life, he was sick all the time, and would often get random rashes on his body. About 6 months after starting the diet, those rashes were occurring less and less frequently.

After about a year on the diet, he stopped being sick all the time and when he was sick it was for a much shorter period of time. His immune system was finally strong enough to fight off those infections. Today, he gets sick less often than I do.

Another big win with the GFCF diet was in sleep quality. Before the diet, he would be up in the middle of the night and not go back to sleep. There were some weeks that he would only sleep for a total of 15 hours or so. It took some time, but after a few months, he was sleeping much better. Today, he usually gets 8 hours of sleep, which in the autism world is HUGE.

GFCF for Asthma

It took my wife and I a few years before we had the whole family go GFCF. Once we did, we began to see dramatic improvements in everyone’s health.

My wife has had severe asthma since she was a young child. She needed a daily inhaler to keep it under control. Almost immediately after going GFCF, her asthma got better. In fact, she hasn’t used an inhaler since starting the GFCF diet 5 years ago.

She also lost about 50 pounds. Our last pregnancy was the healthiest yet, and she avoided all of the problems that she had with the first 2. (preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and bedrest) She said it was actually an enjoyable pregnancy. As the Dad, I can tell you, I saw a much happier Mama too!

GFCF for Weight Loss and Joint Pain

Personally. I was able to easily shed 85 pounds just by eating right and following the principles behind the GFCF diet. The constant joint pain that I have had since my early 20s began to decrease. It is still there, but it is much better. My energy level was more consistent throughout the day as well.

GFCF for Kids

Our other 2 kids have enjoyed good health ever since starting the GFCF diet. My youngest has actually never had gluten, and her only dairy comes in the form of homemade yogurt and grass-fed butter.

This summer she will turn 4. She has never been on antibiotics, and she’s never even had a sick visit! My 10-year-old son makes healthier choices every day at school, and he too hasn’t needed a sick visit in 4 years!

In Summary

The idea of using food as medicine is not just about eating the right foods. It’s also about avoiding the wrong things that can harm your body. Eliminating gluten, casein, and soy can help ease inflammation which in turn, helps us all feel better.

Start your healing today

Additional GFCF Diet Resources

I have written extensively on how to implement the GFCF diet, and I have a host of resources available for you. I have a GFCF food list, and articles on everything from picky eating to cost saving. You can find links to all of these articles and more on this GFCF Diet Resource Page.

My Gift to You

If you are ready to dive into the GFCF diet and help improve your family’s health, I have a free jump start kit over on my website, ImSimplyaDad.com.

My Free GFCF JumpStart Kit includes:

  • A copy of My Ebook: “A Parent’s Complete Guide to the GFCF Diet”
  • 1-week meal plan
  • Printable Cheat Sheet: List of ingredients containing gluten, casein, and soy
  • Printable Cheat Sheet: List of foods you can eat on the GFCF diet.

This jumpstart kit is my gift to you. Simply head over to ImSimplyaDad.com, and sign up to get yours today!

Standard disclaimer:
Remember, I’m simply a Dad sharing the knowledge and experience I’ve learned over the past 8 years. The content presented is for informational purposes and should not be considered medical advice.

About Dave:

My name is Dave, and I’m Simply a Dad. My son’s autism diagnosis opened my eyes and taught me how to better care for myself, my family, and truly appreciate the important things in life. Our family has made great strides in our healing journey. It is my mission to share our experience and the lessons we’ve learned as we work towards health, hope, and happiness.

The post How a Gluten-Free / Casein-Free Diet Helped My Son with Autism appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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Facial toner pads can be wonderful for your skin, whether you have oily, acne-prone skin or dry, prone-to-wrinkles skin and everything in between. Today, I’ll show you how to make DIY facial toner pads using essential oils and other all-natural ingredients.

You can make your very own homemade facial toner pads in just 5 minutes or less and you’ll end up with a cleansing and refreshing new skincare option.

I’ll also give you a list of essential oils that are great for skin health and what skin types each oil works the best for.

How to Make DIY Facial Toner Pads What You’ll Need:

Start by filling your glass measuring cup with 1 and 1/2 cups of water.  Then add 1/2 cup of the Thayers Witch Hazel.

The Thayer’s brand of witch hazel smells amazing since it has an added rosewater scent.  I also like this brand because there is zero alcohol.

I personally am not a fan of adding alcohol to my face since I already have oily skin, and if I add alcohol, it dries it out and turns my oil production on high – making my oily skin even more oily! Just something for those of you fellow oily-skin sufferers out there to be aware of.

After you have combined the water and witch hazel, add one tablespoon of vitamin E oil.

Then add 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oils.

My personal favorite combo for my DIY facial toner pads is lavender, rosemary, tea tree, and lemon* essential oils.

Again, you can use mix and match different combinations of essential oils to make a blend that’s most beneficial for YOUR skin.

For oily, acne-prone skin, try one or more of these essential oils:
  • lavender
  • rosemary
  • myrrh
  • bergamot*
  • clove
  • lime
  • coriander
  • cypress
  • manuka
  • cedarwood
  • tea tree
  • lemon
For dry, wrinkle-prone skin, try one or more of these essential oils:
  • lavender
  • helichrysum
  • jasmine
  • ylang ylang
  • frankincense
  • sandalwood
  • carrot seed
For sensitive, easily-irritated skin, try one or more of these essential oils: 

Also may be helpful for skin issues, like rosacea

  • lavender
  • myrrh
  • geranium
  • cedarwood
  • frankincense
  • patchouli
  • lemongrass
  • juniper berry
  • coriander
  • wintergreen

*Safety Note when using citrus oils, such as lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, orange, etc: avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours or be sure to use SPF protection after using citrus oils as they may cause photosensitivity.

Grab an 8oz mason jar and fill it halfway with dry cotton pads. Then pour in your toner solution so it just covers and completely saturates the cotton pads that are in the jar.

You can see in the picture above how this half is completely soaked with toner solution.

Fill the rest of the jar with more dry cotton pads.  Push down until you fill the liquid soaking up in this new layer of dry pads.

Close up the jar and the toner solution will evenly distribute in the pads so that you get the perfect amount of wetness – not too dry and not dripping wet.

There are many essential oil combinations you can try and you can mix and match too as you try them out in your DIY refreshing facial toner wipes!

I leave a jar of these DIY facial toner pads in my bathroom and when I’m extra sweaty or oily from being outside or working out and can’t shower right away, I grab one of these facial pads and give my skin a quick wipe down.

They smell amazing and are wonderful in this warm weather when temperatures and humidity are turned up, and my skin feels icky in the middle of the day.

Here are some more homemade bath and beauty products that you can make for yourself at home:

The post DIY Facial Toner Pads with Essential Oils appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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Now that school is over, the kids and I have had more time for fun craft projects. Last week we made homemade Gak, and this week, my daughter and I made a DIY fairy house for kids.

Emily is six and she loves Tinkerbell. She very firmly believes that fairies are real and will argue till the sun goes down if anyone suggests otherwise. So when I asked if she wanted to make a house for fairies, she was immediately full of ideas.

We rounded up a few things around the house and then went to Walmart to pick up a couple more things.

One of the best parts of making a DIY fairy house for kids is that you can use things you already have around the house, particularly those odd craft materials you can’t figure out what to do with, such as buttons or shiny marble rocks. You can also use recycled materials, like an empty tissue box or mismatched Tupperware container.

Your fairy house is completely up to your or your kids’ imagination(s).

In this blog post, I’ll share what we did and hopefully that will help inspire you with your own fairy house creation.

How to Make a DIY Fairy House

Here are a few supplies you may want to use:

The best part of this craft project is that you and your child can make your Fairy House however you want. Use stuff from around your house or go visit the craft store; it’s up to you and your little fairy-house-maker. He or she may have some very specific ideas!

We bought some colorful buttons and stones. Also some pipe cleaners, which we actually didn’t use. But maybe you will!

You’ll need a plastic container of some sort. We used an old Rubbermaid container. Have your child fill it with dirt. Not too full – about half way. It doesn’t have to be exact. This project is all about your child using their imagination!

DIY Fairy House Construction Ideas:

Emily made a stone pathway around her Fairy House container.

The next step is to work on the actual house. I took an old tissue box (recycling and reusing too) and cut it up to fit the container.

Next, I used a hot glue gun to attach craft sticks to the sides of the box. Obviously, this is a parent or older, responsible teen-only part.

We covered all the sides and the roof. Remember (as I had to remind myself!): don’t worry about it being perfect. (I had started telling Emily to lay the craft sticks on evenly because that’s how I prefer it, but remembered that this is actually Emily’s project and I am assisting her.)

It was Emily’s idea to add buttons on the house for decoration. She said Tinkerbell and her friends would like it. (I think she’s right!)

While we let the craft stick-tissue box house dry, we made a sign.

For the sign, I simply wrote “Fairies Welcome” on a piece of paper. Then we cut it out, covered it with packing tape (for durability), trimmed the edges, and glued it (hot glue gun) to a stick.

We also made little button chairs. This was my favorite part.

Emily found a couple somewhat-flat stones and I glued a large button on. Then I attached a second button to the back. I wasn’t sure how well this would hold up, but it was quite solid, thanks to the hot glue gun. Lastly, Emily insisted on putting a second smaller button into the big button.

Nathan, of course, commented that the fairy chairs look a lot like a toilet. Um…we’ll just ignore that fact, shall we?

Next, we put the craft stick house into the dirt and began adding the little accessories to our little fairy house craft.

We added moss to the front and inside the house so the fairies would have a soft, comfortable carpet and garden area.

We even transplanted a violet from the yard. With a little water, it’s still alive and doing well! We literally have an indoor fairy garden with this!

Emily took a flower label and taped on a piece of ribbon. She said this is the fairies flag so they can tell how fast the wind is blowing.

Lastly, Emily sprinkled lots of pixie dust (glitter) around the Fairy House so the fairies would feel at home.

And that’s how we made our DIY fairy house for kids!

As you can see, making a fairy house is a great way for kids to let their imaginations run wild and do a fun project with Mom. And you’ll be surprised at how much fun you’ll have helping them craft their homemade fairy house too!

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Fire ant bites can be painful, itchy, and downright unpleasant. Luckily there are natural home remedies for fire ant bites that can alleviate the discomfort quickly.

I live in New Hampshire, far up in the north, and we’re fortunate enough to not have fire ants where we live. However, I experienced my first fire ant bite recently when I was visiting family in Texas. Ouch!

Those darn little ants look innocent (very similar to our harmless “sugar ants” up north), but they are not!

Okay, so the fire ant bite wasn’t THAT horrible and I’m sure to the average person in the south, fire ants are just part of life and not that huge of a deal. Me? I called my husband and told him I got bit by a fire ant and his reaction was, “Oh NO! Are you OKAY?!” (Yes, my sister-in-law was laughing at our “Yankee/northerner overreaction”, but to us, it was completely new!)

But regardless of one’s perspective, fire ant bites DO burn and sting.

At least we have natural remedies for fire ant bites, including essential oils, for helping alleviate the pain, burning, and itching.

Of course, the best “remedy” is to avoid getting bitten by a fire ant in the first place! But for me, at least, they seemed to come out of nowhere even though I was carefully avoiding their nests. When I was bitten, I literally stepped one foot off the back patio area onto the dirt and grass and two minutes later, I jumped at the burning sting on my left foot.

My sister, who also lives in Texas, confirmed it was, in fact, a fire ant on my foot. (I was wearing flip-flops.) There were three other fire ants swarming on my foot too, but I quickly brushed them off and was luckily only bit once.

My sister was bitten three times on her ankle. She was wearing shoes and apparently they don’t care and WILL climb up higher and find flesh to bite. Yikes!

Nasty mean ants! We checked that area later and there was no sign of any ants there later. (Is that normal for ants to attack you for merely stepping on the ground? Apparently so.)

Fire ant nest on the roadside

But anyway, on to our natural remedies and essential oils for fire ant bites.

Natural Home Remedies for Fire Ant Bites

My brother is a paramedic and shared an interesting home remedy for fire ant bites that was pretty effective.

Home Remedy for Fire Ant Bites:

Run the affected area under hot water, being careful not to burn yourself. Hot water will help neutralize the venom and ease the stinging and itching.

If the bite is on your foot or leg (as will usually be the case), you can run hot water into your bathtub as you hold your foot or leg under the running water. Again be careful you don’t burn yourself. You want hottish water without it being TOO hot.

Do not try this for young children as you don’t want to burn them. I only recommend this for older children, teens, or adults who can monitor the water temperature themselves.

My sister and I both tried this hot water method for easing our fire ant bites and it was quite helpful; the burning sensation eased quickly.

Essential Oils for Fire Ant Bites:

There are three essential oils that seem to work well as home remedies for fire ant bites.

Lavender Essential Oil:

Lavender essential oil is my preferred method of easing fire ant bites naturally as it’s safe and gentle enough for most, including young children, and works VERY well.

Lavender works well becaues it has soothing and inflammatory-reducing properties and can help ease the pain, inflammation, and irritation from fire ant bites.

I use Lavender essential oil (species: lavender angustifolia) from Eden’s Garden to help my fire ant bite.

I also recommend and use Rocky Mountain Oils, while Dr Axe’s Ancient Apothecary is another excellent essential oil brand.

How to Use It:

Add a teaspoon or so of carrier oil (I use fractionated coconut oil) to the palm of your hand, along with 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil and gently apply to the fire ant bite.

You may need to apply diluted lavender essential oil to the bite several times.

In my experience, the lavender essential oil eased the irritation and pain for about 15 minutes, so I applied more lavender oil every 15-20 minutes for about an hour. After that, I forgot about the bite because the irritation, including pain, burning, stinging, and itching, completely disappeared and did not come back.

Lavender essential oil was very effective at relieving fire ant bites for me.

I wish I had thought to take a photo of the initial bite to show you a before/after, but I was too surprised at what had happened and didn’t think about it. This photo below is less than 24 hours later and you can barely see anything. I did the hot water trick immediately afterward and applied lavender oil several times, the last time about 20 hours before this photo.

My little niece was bitten by a fire ant and over a week later, you could still see the red welt by her little toe. This was with no essential oils applied.

Because lavender essential oil is so gentle, you can safely use diluted amounts on young children and even babies (hopefully you wouldn’t ever need to with a baby, but you never know!) Just be sure to dilute!

More Essential Oils for Fire Ant Bites:

Roman Chamomile essential oil (I use species Chamaemelum nobile) can be helpful for calming and soothing the bite area. (Buy from Eden’s Garden | Rocky Mountain Oils | Amazon)

Basil essential oil (species: Ocimum basilicum) can be helpful for relieving itching. It’s one of my favorite essential oils for relieving mosquito bites too. (Buy from Eden’s Garden | Rocky Mountain Oils | Amazon)

Wintergreen essential oil (I use species: Gaultheria procumbens, although I have no reason to believe other wintergreen species wouldn’t be effective) may help ease pain due to its chemical compound of methyl salicylate, which has been shown to help naturally relieve pain. (Buy from Eden’s Garden | Rocky Mountain Oils | Amazon)

Safety Note: Be sure to dilute and never use wintergreen internally as the methyl salicylate is not safe for internal use. (I wouldn’t recommend internal use of essential oils for fire ant bites anyways, but just in case someone thinks about it, it’s good to know that it is NOT safe to use wintergreen internally.)

While obviously, the best option is to not get bitten by a fire ant in the first place, now you see that there are simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use home remedies for fire ant bites that can naturally bring fast relief.

Do you have any of your home remedy tips for fire ant bites?

The post Natural Home Remedies for Fire Ant Bites appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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Summer is here and if you haven’t already, you’ll want to give your tired feet some attention. I’ll show you how to make a simple homemade cracked heel cream that’s perfect for pampering worn-out feet.

With shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils, the ingredients are all-natural and it’s very easy to make too!

You can have a homemade, super inexpensive pedicure with this homemade heel cream too. Because after all, a pedicure isn’t just about painting the toes, it’s about taking care of the entire foot.

You can use this homemade cracked heel cream both to prevent and treat dry and cracked heels.

How to Make Cracked Heel Cream:

What You’ll Need:

After I made this Easy Homemade Crockpot Peppermint Lotion, I decided that I’d never attempt to melt butter and oils again for lotion-making without using a crockpot and crockpot liner!  It is the easiest way to make them, with virtually zero clean-up!!!!

To start making your heel cream, put your slow cooker liner in place, and go ahead and add 3/4 cup of coconut oil to the slow cooker.

Then add 1/2 cup of raw shea butter.

Now its time to add the essential oils to your cracked heel cream. I recommend adding about 20 drops each of lavender and tea tree (melaleuca) essential oils.

I chose the combination of lavender and tea tree essential oils for this as they are both therapeutic for skin issues.  Lavender is known to heal dry or chapped skin, and will help keep it hydrated to avoid that dry, cracking skin.

Tea Tree oil is anti-inflammatory which will ease any redness and avoid skin infections in any cracked skin.  It can also help remove the already dry and dead skin cells on the surface that cause the dry and scaly look on your heels.

As an alternative, you can use your favorite essential oils. Peppermint would be another good, soothing and cooling option to try.

Turn your crockpot on low and let all of the ingredients warm up and melt – probably no more than 2 hours is needed.

Once it is all melted, then pour the contents of the crock pot plastic liner into a glass container for storage.  I chose a short, wide glass jar.  Whatever container you use to store your heel cream in, be sure it has a wide enough mouth for your hand to reach the bottom.  A regular, tall mason jar, for example, would be difficult to reach into the bottom.

Allow your cracked heel cream to sit at room temperature for a few hours until it’s solid. Or, to speed up the cooling process, you can put it in the freezer.

Suggestions for Using Your Homemade Cracked Heel Cream:

To use this cream, I recommend putting this on your feet each night before bed.  I would even cover with socks to be sure it soaks in overnight in your feet.

If you want the full pampering, then I would suggest using a foot spa followed by a pedicure foot file tool on your heels and lastly applying your homemade cracked heel cream.

For the best results, use your cracked heel cream on your feet daily to keep your heels nice and smooth and soft. This will also help prevent drying and cracking.

This homemade cracked heel cream would make a great homemade gift idea for the special people in your life. Your child’s teacher may appreciate it as a ‘thank you’ gift too!

Pamper Yourself with these Homemade Ideas:

The post Homemade Cracked Heel Cream appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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This easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas recipe is family-approved and great as a gluten-free dinner. It’s pretty quick and simple to make and perfect for a tasty supper the whole family will love.

If you’re not gluten-free, you can make this as regular enchiladas by simply using your favorite tortilla wraps. If you are gluten-free, you’ll want to find a gluten-free tortilla wrap. We love Joseph’s tortilla wraps as they taste the closest to regular wraps and don’t break apart as easily as most GF wraps do.

My teen son and I came up with this recipe together a couple months ago when he requested enchiladas for this 15th birthday dinner. He can’t get enough of Mexican food and the spicer the better in his opinion.

I have to temper that a bit because my three younger children do NOT love spicy, though they have gained a little more tolerance thanks to their older brother choosing “hot salsa” and taco seasoning when he makes our favorite One-Pot Turkey Enchilada Casserole (as he often does.) 

One of the best parts of this gluten-free enchiladas recipe is that you can tailor it to your family’s preferences. If you all love spicy, go spicy. If mild is your thing, it’s very easy to do that with this dinner.

I also love that it’s easy to make dairy-free as well! My eight-year-old does better without dairy, so I’ll make a small pan of these beef enchiladas with Daiya cheese (dairy-free ‘cheese’) for him and another pan with regular cheese for the rest of us.

Although I must share that we recently discovered a tasty mozzarella-type goat cheese and Joshua seems to do just fine with it. So we use shredded goat cheese for our beef and bean enchiladas. Yum!

See how you can tweak this recipe so easily?! Love it!

Easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas

(scroll down for the printable recipe)


*I always use ground turkey for these beef enchiladas (I tried saying “Turkey Enchiladas” but we always end up saying “Beef” so “beef enchiladas” it is.) I prefer ground turkey because it’s a bit leaner and less expensive than the grass-fed, organic beef I would otherwise buy if we use beef. Use whatever your family prefers.

**I use an organic, already-cooked Spanish rice that simply needs to be heated up; this speeds up the prep time quite a bit.

***We use Daiya dairy-free “cheese” and/or shredded goat cheese to make it dairy free

To save money, use less meat while increasing the quantity of beans and rice. (It works quite well and your family probably won’t even notice!)

Instructions for Making Beef Enchiladas:

Cook the rice according to package directions.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

While your rice is cooking, brown the ground beef or turkey in a saucepan. Drain when cooked. Add the taco seasoning and water; cook and stir.

Drain the black beans and add to the beef mixture.

Next, stir in the 10-ounce can of enchilada sauce and the cooked rice.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture into each of the tortilla wraps and sprinkle with approximately a tablespoon or so of shredded cheese.

Roll up and place into a 9×13″ greased baking dish. You will probably need two 9×13″ dishes OR one 9×13″ and a square 9×9″ baking dishes to fit all your beef and bean enchiladas.

Once the enchiladas are rolled up and placed in the baking dishes, pour the remaining 19-ounce can of enchilada sauce evenly over all.

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until heated through.

I hope your family enjoys this easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas recipe as much as mine does. (My kids request it every week!)

Easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas
  • Author: Erika
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35-45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican

This easy beef and bean enchiladas recipe is family-approved and great as a gluten-free dinner. 


1 ½ lb ground beef or turkey
2 taco seasoning packets
1/2 cup water
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained
1 (10 oz) + 1 (19 oz) cans enchilada sauce
6-8 oz Spanish rice or 17oz cooked
12 gluten-free tortilla wraps or 18 corn tortillas
Shredded cheese


Cook the rice according to package instructions.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the rice is cooking, cook the ground beef or turkey in a saucepan until browned. Add the taco seasoning packets and water; cook and stir. Drain the black beans and add to the cooked beef. Stir in the 10 oz can of enchilada sauce, followed by the cooked rice.

Spoon about ⅓ cup of the meat mixture into the tortilla wraps and sprinkle with approximately a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up and place into a 9×13” greased baking dish. You’ll probably need (2) 9×13” pans OR 1 9×13” pan and a square 9×9” baking dish to fit all your enchiladas.

Once the enchiladas are rolled up, open the remaining 19oz can of enchilada sauce and pour evenly over the enchiladas. Sprinkle more shredded cheese over the top.

Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm.


I use an organic, already-cooked Mexican rice that simply needs to be heated up; this speeds up the prep time quite a bit.

We use Daiya dairy-free “cheese” to make it dairy-free or shredded goat cheese for a gentler option. 

To save money, use less meat while increasing the amount of beans and rice. (It works quite well and your family probably won’t even notice!)

The post Easy Beef and Bean Enchiladas [Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Options] appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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We all love when the warmer weather comes back to us each spring – but with that warmer weather often comes more bug bites. I have an easy recipe for you today showing you how to make your own homemade “itch stick”, natural bug bite relief with essential oils!

We have another bug bite relief recipe here at Living Well Mom – a DIY essential oil roller blend for mosquito bites. This one works very well for our families and many others. 

But many folks love an “itch stick” kind of relief. And that’s what I’ll show you how to make in this post.

This easy homemade “itch stick” contains coconut oil and beeswax along with essential oils. The result can be soothing, calming and itch-relieving!

You’ll only need 6 ingredients for this homemade “itch stick” recipe. It also makes several sticks, enough to probably last you the whole summer!

**Please note that these homemade “itch stick” are not for severe allergic reactions or rashes.  This is for topical use only for itch relief for minor bug bites.  Please see your doctor immediately if you or your child are having a severe allergic reaction or rash.** Homemade “Itch Stick”: Natural Bug Bite Relief With Essential Oils What You’ll Need to make your own “itch stick”:

I chose lavender essential oil because it’s excellent for skin ailments. I’ve used it many times to relieve itchy bug bites, poison ivy, even burns.  It’s helped ease my children’s mosquito bite itchiness many evenings. Lavender may also help reduce inflammation from bug bites and speed up the healing process.

Peppermint is cooling, again relieving the itchiness on the skin.  It also acts as an inflammatory and should help soothe itchy irritated skin. 

Basil is another great essential oil that can work very effectively to bring relief from insect bites. (I forgot to include Basil in our photos, oops!)

This is the perfect trio of essential oils to quickly bring relief from those pesky bugs that put a damper on lovely, warmer weather.

The easiest way I’ve found to make these homemade “itch sticks” is by using your slow cooker and a slow cooker liner. This makes clean up a breeze!

To start making your itch relief sticks with essential oils, add one ounce (one bar) of beeswax, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 10 drops of lavender….

…and 10 drops of peppermint oil to your slow cooker. You can also add a few drops of Basil essential oil if you choose. 

Turn your slow cooker on to the warm setting and let it warm up until it all melts (usually 30-60 minutes.)

Next, pull out the melted beeswax and oils mixture and twist the liner so that you will kind of use it like a frosting bag.

You will snip a tiny hole in the corner of the slow cooker liner and use that as a “spout” to fill each plastic lip balm container with your melted oils.  

This process can be a bit messy as you have to quickly aim and get the liquid oils into the small tube.  You will want a piece of newspaper under the tubes while you fill them.  You may want to wear gloves as the plastic bag is pretty hot from the slow cooker.  You will also probably need to wipe the outside of the tubes when they are cool, as some of the oil may have dripped while filling them.

When you are done filling the tubes, simply throw out the slow cooker liner, making clean up as easy as possible!

I love the convenience of these itch relief tubes for bug bite relief.  I let my kids have one by their beds in case an itchy bug bite wakes them up in the middle of the night.  This is way easier than having them come to me asking me to put essential oils on their bites.

These homemade itch sticks are also great to carry in your purse or hiking backpack!  

Caution: do not leave your homemade “itch stick” in a hot car or out in the sun. The coconut oil will melt, leaving you with a liquefied mess. 

I finished my homemade “itch stick” with decorative washi tape for a pretty finish.

You can also use a label maker, stickers, or even a permanent marker to label your itch sticks. 

I hope your homemade “itch stick” will bring you and your family all natural relief from bug bites thanks to the essential oils and other ingredients. 

Have a fun summer with fewer irritating bug bites!

Looking for more ways to use essential oils?  Check out these ideas:

The post Homemade “Itch Stick”: Natural Bug Bite Relief With Essential Oils appeared first on Living Well Mom.

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