Saturday, August 30, 2014

Essential Oils: Ah, Ah, Ah....Allergies???


I hear it day and night, allergies are in an uproar this whole season and it seems its worse for everyone!
Either everyone I know who have always had allergies has it worse this year, or people who have never had this problem suddenly develop it well into adulthood. Is it a coincidence that allergies are strongest now more than ever and as a society we are riddled with chemicals now more than ever? Don't get me started

As always I like to find a natural alternative to deal with these kinds of issues and cut them off at the pass if at all possible.

Soooo... Here are some allergy fighting alternatives to over the counter antihistamines:

Purify, definitely one of my favorite oil blends! It's anti-bacterial pathogen killing properties make it perfect for fighting off all sorts of things. I use it in my homemade lysol spray (if sprayed on baseboards in your home can also be used as a natural pesticide, great for picnics!), in my homemade laundry detergent, I even pour a couple of drops on our a/c filters at home for cleaner air.

By applying a few drops of Purify topically, not only will you keep the bugs away but it can also help to protect you from unwanted reaction associated with seasonal allergies!

Wait! There's more...

Another popular line of defense in the oil community is what I like to call the "trifecta". A blend of three powerful go-to oils: Lemon, Lavender & Peppermint. Combining these three oils can help to bring down inflammation from your's body's allergic response, they are great for airborne allergies. There are a few ways you could use this oil blend, I've broken them down into three different methods:

2-4 drops Lavender
2-4 drops Lemon
2-4 drops Peppermint

Method #1: Place all the oils in a glass with water or juice. Gargle, then drink.

Method #2: Place all the oils in a veggie capsule and swallow.

Method #3: Place all the oils in a spoonful of raw honey and swallow. (Excellent way to administer to children, especially since local honey is great for seasonal allergies)

For really young children and toddlers, you can blend all three oils and rub on the bottom of their feet and along their spine.

Breathe is another one of DoTerra's awesome blends that is wonderful to diffuse at night for added respiratory relief.

Side Note: DoTerra's oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which is labeled as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the Food and Drug Administration. The same cannot be said for all oils. There are different grade oils and I only trust DoTerra for this reason.

These three oils together and separate are so powerful they are even offered in an "Intro Kit" by Doterra, you can find out more about this kit and all of their oils at:

The new Tri-Ease Seasonal Blend Softgels are also a wonderful way to fend of seasonal allergies, this can also be found at the above mentioned website. The blending work has pretty much been done for you with equal parts distributed in each softgel if your looking for a shortcut.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at:!

Essentially Yours,


Friday, August 29, 2014

What I'm Reading:" Liberated Parents, Liberated Children" by AdeleFaber & Elaine Mazlish

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish are both Theater Major NYU graduates (be still my heart) with a B.A. in Education, both taught in the New York City school system for a number of years bless their hearts, each have three children of their own.
Their book "Liberated Parents, Liberated Children", spawned from the workshops and meetings with the acclaimed Dr. Haim Ginott author of last week's "What I'm Reading" pick, "Between Parent & Child". It was a natural progression to read this book next, what an easy and informative read it was!

In my opinion perfectly titled because for me this book was liberating! The choice to raise my children differently from how I was raised is most certainly one of the most empowering decisions I've made thus far. It's also rendered me completely vulnerable, in many cases ending with me not totally understanding how to handle most situations and therefore always fearful I'm doing something "wrong". Wondering if at times I'm doing enough, or too much? That perfect dance of holding on and letting go that can be so very delicate, it's one of the treasures of parenting really (unnerving as it may be). I suppose that's why parenting is often compared to riding a roller coaster, it teaches us how to really live. I once heard a quote that said: "You don't know what it is to live, until you've learned to have your heart walk around outside of your body". THIS is parenting...

This book follows their journey through their parenting workshops, where parents with all different age children meet to discuss their triumphs and tribulation in their respective homes. A "safe" space where different examples to teaching communication skills are highlighted and even some role playing. Their "homework" is to implement some of these skills at home, results are discussed at the next meeting and more in depth "town hall" style discussion about feelings and acknowledgement of what was learned. They must have known how clueless some parents felt in these situations because they even included cartoon scenarios in which you are given an example of the "right" and "wrong" way to react. Except it's not really right or wrong, more like a cause and effect for each way you could communicate in a situation. One might fix the behavior, but certainly not the supposed "problem" or teach anything. Choosing to change the frame in which you look at a situation has the possibility to change the situation itself.

I've learned this in other areas of my life, no clue as to why it didn't come natural to apply it here! Instead of looking at situations as problems or behavior that needs to be corrected ("Behaviorism" save that debate for another day!), look at them each as a learning opportunity. An opportunity not just to "teach" in the conventional sense of the word, but in a way whereas you arrive at a conclusion together. It not only reinforces problem solving, but also fosters a deeper connection. It's all about the journey in other areas of our lives as adults, why not in parenting?

Another focus from the book that really helped me was the importance of remaining authentic throughout this process. As I mentioned before, not having these communication skills growing up means having to almost completely ignore my primal instinct of drawing from a "familiar toolbox". Instead to be conscious at all times of which tools I use to work through a situation, this can be jarring. In the beginning it can feel rather disingenuous. It's important during this process to still remain authentic because if you are constantly treading on unfamiliar territory and unsure of yourself, the only sure bet is that you are going to stumble and fall. Which is okay, but in the process I've learned that the relationship is a two way street. Your needs are also important and in order for the relationship (yes even between parent and child) to function, each of you needs to also take care of yourselves. I feel as though this is a difficult lesson for some moms, namely me. This impossible goal of being "everything" for your child at all times is just a way to set yourself up to fail. It's also doing your child a disservice in many ways, more on this in the future I promise!

Only through constant submersion i.e., reading, discussions and educating yourself can you really begin to accumulate the new set of "tools" to draw from in times of need. After a while, it becomes second nature to use the communication skills that you've acquired. I'm still very much a work in progress and am adding to my toolbox, I have a feeling I will be adding to it for a very long time!

How liberating indeed.. To be able to work alongside those with whom we have the deepest connection humanly possible (our offspring), and be able to do so with respect and dignity on both ends. This book is a keeper for my library at home and all parents looking for a great go-to guide.

What are you reading these days? I'd love to know!

Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Homemade Playdough Recipe

It's no secret that we love playdough around here, it's an open ended toy which means the possibilities are endless! We love that sort of play here at "Imagination Station". Just recently while the boys were playing with some playdough I overheard their conversation. First it was a worm, then a train, then they were putting sticks inside and found that it looked like letters. For the next hour I sat back ("sat back is mom code for: washed dishes and did two loads of laundry) as I heard all the different scenarios this easy five minute playdough was able to create for them. I thought of all the creativity, imagination and innovation being used and my hippie heart fluttered..

I've had a ton of requests to share my homemade recipe online, but I don't use just one.

I've tried numerous homemade playdough recipes and they all have different pros and cons. Some recipes are a bit more dry using more salt than others, some use vegetable glycerine and have a more moist consistency that works better for molding. This recipe is currently my favorite because I can use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer knead attachment and walk away. 

There are a few kitchen appliances I'm convinced improve the quality of my life, Darla is one of them (yes I named her, stop judging me). There is a minimal amount of kneading I do once I pull it out of the bowl, to perfect it or add any color or scent for added sensory fun. 

Now, with all of the talk in the natural community about there being a direct connection between food dyes and ADD in children I try to limit any use, if any at all. I'm aware that it posts a threat mostly when it is ingested, but I'm also aware that whatever touches your hands enters your bloodstream as well. You can use other natural methods of "dye" such as turmeric, blueberries or beets as natural color additives. I use my doTerra essential oils to add fun scents from time to time, in this case Wild Orange because it smells so yummy!

1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup boiling water

Add this to the mixer, walk away for a few minutes and come back to playdough!

You can check out all doTerra oils mentioned and more at:, and don't forget to follow our Pinterest page at: for all of our fun play recipes.

What are some of your favorite homemade play recipes? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments section below.

Essentially Yours,


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stain, Stain, Go Away!

Stains. They are inevitable! Especially with two boys under the age of four. Around here, they are unfortunately a constant occurrence (insert my mother shrieking here). 

Refusing to use any laundry products with chemicals, I've somewhat backed myself into a corner where I'm either in denial about these stains or I've accepted them as the newest member to our family. Either way, I was in trouble. 

Until now!!!

I'm amazed at the power of essential oils and all they can do for my life! When I first started this blog I didn't intend on promoting any oils, but the change they've made in my day to day life is worth mentioning. The name I chose for this blog was actually just "catchy" and at the end of the day I'm essentially just me. I digress...

I introduce to you essentially the easiest stain remover recipe EVER! 

This concoction only has two ingredients!

You will need:

1/2 cup of vinegar
20 drops of Therapeutic Grade Lemon Essential Oil 
(For more info on different grades of essential oils you can visit:, this webinar is lengthy but so worth it!)

That's it! 

Add to a glass spray bottle and spray those stains away.

Now, I'm always down on myself for not catching before and after pics for all my oil miracles. I'm still new to this blogger mentality and often race straight into "mommy mode" to fix an issue. But not this time! 

I finally snapped a quick before shot for you fine folks!

It seems my little guy is an artist like his father, I can't keep the crayons, paint brushes or markers out of his hands. It's amazing to watch his natural talent unfold as he tries to color inside the lines and watch his strokes, he's only two! That is until it's on my sofa, then it's no longer miraculous and now it's just inconvenient (ha, ha still cute though). Here is his latest masterpiece..

I've been looking to throw a pop of color in my living area, this wasn't what I had in mind...

A few sprays and a little scrubbing from my newest concoction and here you have it:

Back in action! We live to fight another stain!! 

To purchase doTerra's lemon essential oil, or any of their fabulous oils you can go to:

In my research I found tons of advice on how to remove crayon stains, some were quite "crafty", what's your all natural go-to stain remover?

Essentially Yours,


Friday, August 22, 2014

"What's Going On"

It seems there is plenty to fear at a time like this, or there always has been perhaps we are just more aware of these fears. But in times like this with a nation in turmoil, and the threat of other nations turmoil effecting human lives all over the world, I struggle. I struggle to find the hope that is needed to teach my children that love and compassion still exist, and this world strongly needs more of it. I struggle with moving forward after witnessing some of the horrific images being displayed on public and social media, especially the unkind or irresponsible images being thrust forward disregarding those whom it effects. I suppose I struggle in this world with so much lack of compassion and empathy for human lives.

Buddhists believe that worrying about the future is a waste of time, that you should always keep your mind in the present living completely "in the now". I suppose this is hard when faced with some of the heavy issues we've been dealing with as a human race. I say as a human race because sometimes I feel as though these issues are portrayed as "race" issues, or issues that are none of our business because they do not take place on American soil. These are in fact issues of the human race as a whole, what is done to one human life is done to all. I strongly believe we are all connected.

I get lots of different responses from people, some feel as though its just a cold cruel world and they almost expect these sort of tragedies to take place as some sort of "necessary evil". Or that we should raise our children to be "strong" and "hard" so that they are not eaten alive by this crazy world. These are the the cold responses that scare me the most. Yes I may be sensitive to these issues, perhaps even take them on personally. But, aren't we supposed to? Shouldn't it bother us all to the point where we feel as though we are so uncomfortable we MUST make a change of some sort? Wouldn't "training" our kids for a cold and cruel world only make it a much colder and more cruel world for their children? If hatred begets more hatred, then wouldn't love increase more love?

Perhaps the wisdom lies somewhere in between, where one day I will not succumb to the fear that comes along with these acts of hatred and violence. It's easy to react with fear or through fear, because no one could imagine having to endure some of the terrible things that go on around the world every single day. Maybe only when we can respond to pure hatred with love and compassion, can we bring light into these dark circumstances. It's difficult for sure, to abstain from anger or judgement when you see injustice and hatred running rampant. To keep from responding with more hatred or even violence in some cases. Perhaps, now more than ever we draw from our children instead of trying to have it all figured out for them. We draw from them the untainted pure love and understanding that comes free of charge, undeservingly.

It helps to talk about these thoughts and ideas, communication is the only medium to true change. Respectful open conversations reserving all judgement is healthy to creating new policies, procedures and thought patterns. I guess all in all we have to take our talk for a walk, practice what we are preaching and lead by example for our children. Modeling true kindness and compassion in ALL situations, even the hardest teaches the biggest lesson. That no matter how unjustly you are treated, your response to the situation has the capability to change the situation itself.

In other words, it all starts at home. It all starts with you... You can make a change in the world, by making the change in your life, in your relationships and in your community. Understanding that we are but a drop in a vast ocean, we must play our part by doing our part. Growing where we are planted I suppose and understanding that we are a part of something much much bigger.

"A jug fills drop by drop... Each moment of conscious intention is a raindrop that will in time turn into a stream, and then a river flowing to it's destination."


Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DIY: Dish Soap

I've finally found a dish soap recipe that works! I loved the smell of the Seventh Generation dish soap I've been using the past few years, but I found it more cost effective to buy a large bottle of my favorite Dr. Bronner's Castile soap since I can use it in so many of my other homemade recipes.

So here it is!

You will need:

2 cups of unscented castile soap
20 drops of Lime essential oil
8 drops of Lemon essential oil
6 drops of DoTerra's Citrus Bliss essential oil
I threw in a few drops of OnGuard for good measure! The anti-bacterial properties are incredible!

Fill a large, clean glass container with Castile soap; dilute according to instructions if using concentrate.
Tip: When adding any citrus oils you must use glass containers.

Add the oils, and shake before each use.

That's it! How simple is that?

I'm in love! This smells fresh and works really well at cutting through any grease. 

I'm so happy to be adding this recipe to my collection.

What homemade cleaning recipe can't you live without?

Essentially Yours,


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What I'm Reading: "Between Parent & Child" by Dr. Haim Ginott

For me, this book read like a love letter from parent to child. It had confirmed everything I knew to be right and wrong about parenting communication regardless of what I was taught.

To be clear, I was raised in a loving yet strict environment. We were taught that questioning an adult is disrespectful and therefore questioning their authority, as many people from my generation have experienced. My grandparents grew up during The Great Depression, this generation had little time to worry about such things as "feelings" or "communication". They were taught to do as they were told, and not to ask questions.

I can only imagine it was a desperate attempt at maintaining some sort of structure within a family that could very well have been hanging on by a thread. Families were also much larger in these times, the average household could have as many as six to eight children (my mom was one of eight). Personal attention could have been an issue, this is a common story for many families from that era. It was also a time in which there was an influx of well-meaning albeit misleading research and opinions from groups of German psychologists and theories making its way into the United States as respected professional opinion. A lot of these researchers believed a child was a person that needed to be dominated, otherwise they would dominate you. A babies cry was an act of manipulation and must be ignored if the child was already fed and changed, in order to "set the standard" for who was really the boss. Hence, the foundation for practices such as the "crying it out" method that's become so popular. Making parenting a chess match of sorts, setting the framework for an "Us vs. Them" mentality. A dangerous way to think not only as a person but as a culture. You see, by conveying that we are on the same side of the problem in a moment of frustration and vulnerability, allows for a lesson in conflict resolution and problem solving.

Side Note: Coincidentally, a large number of these respected researchers and psychologists were practicing in the years leading up to Hitler's reign and the Holocaust that took place in Germany in the late 1930's - early 1940's.

Dr. Haim Ginott is thought to be the "Godfather" of empathic parenting. His influence far reaching and still very relevant in works today with author and co-founder of The Gottman Institute, Dr. John Gottman. Also with students who have their own literary contributions to conscious parenting such as Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (more on these authors in upcoming book recommendations). Ginott's approach showed respect for children's feelings while placing boundaries on their behavior, some believe he was ahead of his time.

At the heart of his method, he realized that by ignoring a person's feelings you only enhance them or create confusion. However, by acknowledging these feelings, we are able to move forward and become better problem solvers.
This is an in depth read based on conflict resolution and treating children with the dignity and respect they deserve. A form of discipline in and of itself. The theory is that true discipline is not taught, but modeled. The word itself "discipline" derives from the word "disciple". Being the example to children at the most vulnerable stage in their life is the best model we can give them. It sets the stage for true empathy and compassion, perhaps if we all had more of these communication skills in schools and at home already set in place our country would not be dealing with such a terrible bullying epidemic. Empathy is the foundation of effective parenting.
We cannot expect a child to feel empathy because we have always told them to, it's an intrinsic emotion that can only be evoked if the child has the freedom in a safe space to address ALL of their feelings. Not just the self-gratifying feelings we need them to have so that we can feel like we've done a good job parenting. "Go tell Johnny your sorry!", I hear this all too often at the playground. This child isn't learning empathy or compassion by force, they are learning to say something to appease adults within earshot (more on this sort of "punishment" in future book recommendations).

Dr. Haim Ginott's legacy and one of his greatest accomplishments may have been the classes he held with parent's in a town hall type setting, teaching these communication skills with compassion and empathy for where each of these parent's were in their own specific parenting journey.

Overall, this was one of the books that helped lay the groundwork for making a change in the "framework" of my parenting. These communication skills have reached beyond my parent / child relationship and seeped into every relationship in my life. A great beginning to better understand "feelings" in general. A great read even if you don't have any children!

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Haim Ginott and his work, go to:

I look forward to sharing more books with you!

We'd love for you to link up what you're reading with us!

Please follow your Bookworm Wednesday hosts:

You Are The Roots

Essentially Yours,


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tot School / Playroom Tour

I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn the day we signed a one year lease for a one bedroom apartment. I took a test that night because I was so exhausted and couldn't figure out why. Coming off the heels of a really tough miscarriage, being pregnant was the farthest thing from my mind. But, lo and behold we had made a baby!

We ended up sticking it out until we found a place we were really comfortable with, we found it when I was about 6 months pregnant. Too close for my comfort, but at last we found it. I fell in love with this quaint townhouse in a desirable neighborhood. Quite possibly for the playroom opportunities, there was an awesome sized room right off of the kitchen, pretty centrally located in the home. I decided this was going to be a really "fun" room. Playroom planning began at about 4 months old (overachiever alert). I started to realize that everyone was willing to contribute to my madness and soon the toys just flowed in from friends and family members.

The problem with this is I didn't have much say-so on what toys made the cut or not, and before long my beloved playroom was looking like a toy graveyard! I always knew I wanted to keep things simple "toy-wise", and that less would be more. It just seemed to get out of control so quickly. Everything had batteries and lit up, was flashing and colorful and PLASTIC!!!! I get claustrophobic just thinking about it!

Reading up on plenty of research over the years about the importance of "true play" and how commercialized childhood has become, I was determined to make a drastic change. The theory is that there are different types of play, each inspired and driven by the toys that are offered to the child. "Imitation Play" is inspired by single-use toys such as Spiderman or any action figures, pistols from cowboy sets, swords from pirate play sets, etc.. These toys can only be used for a single purpose, so the opportunity for imaginative play is limited. A gun can only be a gun, a car that lights up only has one function and the fun can run out pretty quickly, therefore fostering a need for endless single-use toys to occupy a child's time (See how this can be attractive to the toy industry?). "Imitation Play" takes place when a child is acting out a scene from a cartoon or movie, they are only repeating what was seen or heard. This isn't pure creative play and doesn't require much imagination, therefore isn't exactly ideal for a developing brain. (Another reason screen time isn't really beneficial at this time, even the American Association of Pediatrics has recognized this and advised against any screen time whatsoever before the age of two years old.)
"True Play" is encouraged with open-ended toys, such as blocks, erector sets, play dough etc...
Open ended toys can be ANYTHING, therefore inspiring endless imagination and creativity. A stick could be used as a sword in an epic battle one moment, or as a Maestro's baton while composing a symphony another. Play Dough can be formed into a worm one moment and then change into a train or a ball. The possibilities are endless and completely up to the child. You see a battery operated toy that lights up and makes sounds already does the thinking for the child, not much imagination necessary. There are many parts of the brain not even being used because they don't have to be, all the work was done for them. I can't help but think of all the complaints I hear about kids these days. How lazy they seem, they never want to play outside (an entirely bigger can of worms there), lack of imagination, creativity or innovation.

Toys as a whole are believed to be an introduction to children as parts of the world and parts of themselves. The materials we surround them with at the earliest stages in life set the stage for the type of environment they accept, and build around them as adults. The types of material we offer to them at such an impressionable age sends a message and communicates values that we wish to instill as parents. If we surround a child with an endless supply of plastic, bright, shiny light up toys that require not much interaction from them and is completely disposable, can we really be upset with unmotivated, entitled children with no real sense of appreciation or responsibility? Hey, I didn't do the research (don't kill the messenger), but I have to say it all adds up for me and my family at least. I've definitely noticed a difference in the children of my generation and the technology driven - disconnected adolescence I see in schools and on television today. You couldn't get me to come back inside as a child, and it seems, kids can't seem to get outside enough. To the point where its a growing concern in the medical field, and there are articles written on doctors giving an old fashioned Rx of nature and the outdoors.

I personally feel as though our culture as a whole is lacking in originality, creativity and innovation. Every time I turn around there is a remix of some old song, or a remake to an old movie. There literally is nothing but sequels in the movie theater at times ("Robo-Cop", really???). Some souped up version of an old classic from when I was a child ("Transformers IV, really???). Where are all the creative geniuses of OUR generation? What happened to the George Lucas' or Steven Spielberg's of our time??? If it isn't the fifteenth installment of some demonic possession, or some classic being hacked to pieces that it barely resembles the original plot to begin with, the theaters would be out of business. Is that next? Like the music industry? Like CD's?? Can the movie industry go so bankrupt from lack of creativity?? I can just see it now... "Death By Imitation..". I've given up on the radio and taken to working on my vinyl collection, it keeps me musically sane for now.

Anyhow, I decided it was time for a change and I slowly but surely removed everything battery operated or mostly plastic. I started by watching what they no longer played with and removed it from the room to see if they would notice it even went missing. Then, I started removing toys that served only a single purpose (most not all at once) and kept it outside of the playroom. I kept the important things I knew they would miss like their train table (they would have lost it if that went), their work bench and kitchen. I slowly added back in the toys that they just couldn't let go of and picked up a few Montessori materials that could grow with them. My next job was to give the room some functionality and "flow". By observing the set up at a couple of my favorite play spaces at Sunflower Creative Arts or The Bees Knees in Boynton Beach, along with following a few of my favorite blogs for inspiration such as, or These are all women whom I admire and respect, they are incredible moms with wonderful blogs.

I get a lot of questions about our Tot School / Play Room area, so I'm going to give a tour / breakdown of this high traffic area of our home!

Tot School is all about learning through play and immersion, it's framework lies somewhere between Montessori and arts and crafts. It's popular with our boys and really just gives us new fun and interesting ways for us to spend time being creative. I've acquired some additional shelving over time to accommodate the different activity trays / invitations to play. Here is an outside view of the room right off of the living/dining area and just past the kitchen.

The alphabet mural was a wonderful project that took quite a bit of time because I handpicked each letter separately and then had to paint them all. Pinterest has lots of different variations of this mural that I love. Pinterest can single-handedly end save my marriage depending on the week.

The work bench is a great place they practice motor skills and its all just made up of different pieces they can create /build with, definitely a keeper! The bin on the side is filled with balls and their fave throwback dinosaurs they can pretend to ride to their hearts content.

The chalkboard wall is always a hit, every couple of months I slap on a new coat for their blank canvas and see how it develops over time. I figured if I gave them a place they were allowed to draw on the walls, I would limit the accidents of them actually drawing all over my walls. This has worked, to some degree.. There were a few minor incidents, but hey it's part of the process! I also have their puzzle basket and the infamous Montessori Pink Tower. They absolutely love this tower and can play with it for hours.

I knew I had wanted a "Cozy Corner" where they could nestle up and "read" books. They have one at Sunflower that the kids love and I wanted to re-create that quiet space here at home. I found some on Pinterest called a "Book Nook", I keep it close to the books and some fun little touch and feel books in a basket as well.

Next up are the shelves...

Here I have some of the Montessori materials such as the Cylinder Sequence Blocks, Zipper Practice Board, Alphabet Box and Number set. These grow with the boys and they delve into new ways of approaching them each time. I added a globe for some of the matching trays I plan on tackling this year and of course STUFF, which is mostly finger paint. I keep the "class plant" here as well, it aides in teaching responsibility and the difference between "living" and "non-living" objects.

The middle shelves are where we keep books and some toys that are great for play like wooden blocks, lacing beads, art supplies like crayons, colored pencils, glue and paint brushes. All accessible to them as they need. As well as a few goodies like their fave truck and a basket with all of their dinosaurs and animals. Mostly Toobs from Safari Ltd. that are a hit with us! It's also home to our "class pets" Henry, & Maury (R.I.P. Percy), our hermit crabs.

The rest of the shelves hold Instruments and their Super Sorting Pie, along with another favorite truck and their erector set. These all get switched out as I put out trays for a new week of adventures. Up top is the Montessori inspired crayon sorter, these are actually Del Monte fruit cup cans that I was able to clean out and paint then screw onto a piece of 2x4. (Yes I did buy the fruit cups and dump out the sugary processed fruit, all in the name of a crafty project!)

They also have their own music corner (just like Mommy) next to their instrument basket, piano and record player. Many a jam sesh is enjoyed here!

Alas, the infamous train table! Where all the action goes down.. I love that their obsession at least requires them to use their imagination building new tracks every day and working together to create new scenarios.

Did I mention the wonderful storage options this provides? #ThriftyMomScore for $35!

Over on the Art wall, is the Kitchen Set. This beloved natural all wood kitchen is home to hours of creative play and plenty of "birthday pies" for Mommy. Don't even ask how long this took to build on Christmas Eve.

On this art wall we display any art or pictures that mean something to the boys, they do get to choose which makes this space even more special.

Here they've chosen their geometric tape art projects and Evan's Seedlings class picture. They also have an original painting by Daddy and a sweet picture of Evan on his beloved trike in his pajamas. (my favorite)
Throughout the space I've tried to help incorporate bits and pieces of themselves, personal touches that make it feel like its truly their space. The "Play" sign that they helped to paint, or the picture gallery of some of their play time together. The hanging art display where they dry their art or just proudly display which piece they wish that day. This space is constantly evolving, because they are constantly growing and changing.
I wanted a safe space at home where they could do so freely, creatively and expressively. In my research I've found plenty of articles supporting the theory that the window for the most creative and expressive time in a child's life is in the first six years, coincedentally the same time frame in which compassion and empathy are taking form in a childs development. I don't want to spend that time cramming facts, shapes, colors or even reading and writing techniques down their throat. I hope to instead provide a space where they can learn about themselves, strengthen their creative muscles, fall in love with life and hone their craft whatever that may be.
You only get one childhood, I intend on letting them have it. It's a sacred space that shouldn't be tainted with ulterior motives, adult agenda or coercion. The way I see it, they have the rest of their lives to feel the pressures of fitting in and doing what is expected of them. Even then, I hope they follow their dreams because they took the time to learn what those dreams were early on. Because they were allowed the time to truly be themselves and learn what it is that makes them shine.

If you would like some more information on the effects the toys you introduce may have on your child you can check out this article at:

You can also check out the following books:

"The Case for Make Believe" or "Consuming Kids" both written by Susan Linn
"Taking Back Childhood" by Nancy Carlsson-Paige
"The Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv

What would you like to change about your playroom? Tell me about it!

Essentially Yours,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Essential Oils - Insect Bites

Summertime here in South Florida comes with all kinds of perks, including insect bites!
Mosquitoes aren't the only culprit in the sunshine state ants, spiders, you name it! I noticed that the recovery time and painful itching took a better part of the week, 4-5 days at best! I decided there had to be a better (natural) way of dealing with this.

I did my research and here it is! Purify those bites!

It never ceases to amaze me, what nature's pure essential oils can do for you. I diluted the DoTerra Purify blend with Fractionated Coconut Oil in a 1:1 ratio and added it to a glass roller bottle so I can use as needed.

Just a few swipes of this helped to relieve itching and also cut the healing time in half. These were three ant bites from a recent nature walk, by the next day they were flat and barely noticeable. Anyone who has had a Florida ant bite knows the bite comes to a head after the first day and forms this terribly itchy pimple for the next week!

Just another concoction I have to keep all stocked up, especially in the summertime!

Essentially Yours,