Using Essential Oils to Impact the Mood in Your Home

Using Essential Oils to Impact the Mood in Your Home |

I love the aromatic powers of essential oils. They can bring relaxation, peace, and calm or they can bring energy and focus. They can brighten your mood and purify the air. I almost always have my diffuser running with some type of essential oil mix depending on what we need.

Using essential oils in my home is one of the ways I set the mood for our home. Whether we need some calming, uplifting, or focus I can find the perfect essential oil for every situation. Plus, I love the way essential oils make my home smell and not only am I able to avoid toxic air fresheners but I am able to fill my home with the therapeutic benefits that essential oils provide as well.

But there are other ways to enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils in your home as well.

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

4 Methods of Using Essential Oils Aromatically

1. Diffuser

This is my most used method. I have this diffuser and it’s been going strong for me for almost a year now. The blend I use all throughout the winter months is 3 drops on guard essential oil, 3 drops wild orange, and 3 drops frankincense. Smells amazing and keeps our immunity up.

2. Room/Linen Spray

I mix up several different blends of these room sprays for different purposes. Just take a small glass spray bottle (mine are 2 oz.) and fill it almost to the top with distilled water. Add in 10-15 drops of essential oil, shake and spray. I love a blend of lavender and roman chamomile for bedtime. Or try one of these homemade air fresheners.

3. Steam Inhalation

This is a method I usually use in the shower. Once my water is hot and the shower is beginning to steam up, I drop a few drops of essential oil on the shower floor and breathe in. I have some favorite essential oils for the shower that I keep in there and use on a regular basis.

4. Direct Inhalation

This is a super simple method. You can either just remove the top off of your essential oil bottle, hold it up close to your nose and breathe in, or you can add a few drops to a tissue, cup the tissue in your hand and breathe in.

Impact the mood in your home by diffusing essential oils |

Oils for peace and calm:

  • Lavender: relaxing, calming, reduces tension
  • Roman chamomile: calming, relaxing, helps soothe tension and eliminate irritability
  • Balance (this blend from doTERRA brings feelings of peace, calm, and relaxation)
  • Patchouli: calming and relaxing
  • Sandalwood: calming, balancing
  • Vetiver: stress relieving, promotes restfulness
  • Ylang ylang: calming and relaxing

Oils for stress reduction, to bring  joy:

  • Bergamot: uplifting, reduces sad feelings
  • Geranium: eases stress, promotes peace and joy
  • Grapefruit: relieves tension, balancing and uplifting, reduces sad feelings
  • Lemon: invigorating and purifying
  • Wild Orange: reduces sad feelings, calming and uplifting
  • Citrus Bliss (this blend from doTERRA contains wild orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, tangerine, clementine and vanilla bean extract and smells amazing)

Oils to Stimulate memory, promote concentration:

  • Frankincense: helps with focus, improves concentration
  • Peppermint: stimulating, helps with memory
  • InTune (this blend from doTERRA is formulated to help with focus and concentration)

You can also blend essential oils together to find the perfect mix for your needs.

I use and love doTERRA essential oils.

Do you use essential oils to impact the mood in your home? What are your favorite blends?

Embracing Self-Care: Health & Spirituality

Embracing Self-Care: Health & Spirituality|
**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

Welcome to Week 2 in the Embracing Self-Care Series.

To be honest, this is probably the area of self-care that I struggle the most with. And it’s a big one.

I’m quick to worry about my kids’ health, or my husband’s health, but not so good when it comes to taking care of myself. That goes for my spiritual health as well. For some reason these two things often get the least of my attention when in reality, they should be getting the most.

I’m sure we all can agree on the importance of taking care of our physical and spiritual health, and rather than dwell on the fact that I’m not a superstar in this area of my life, I’m going to take a look at what I’m doing well and target a couple areas for growth.


Embracing Self-Care: Health & Spirituality |

What’s Working:

Sleep: One thing I know about myself is that I need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night on average to function well. This is something I’m pretty good about. I try to be in bed by 10:30 most nights and am usually up by 6 or 6:30 so I’m getting my 7 hours in. If you struggle with sleep, here are 13 things to try if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Areas for Growth:

Diet: I love making healthy food and I know how I should be eating, but I am not very disciplined about making that happen. Last year in April I did the Whole30 and that was great but I quickly slipped back into old habits again. I have tossed around the idea of moving back in that direction by cutting out sugar and eating a mainly Paleo type diet but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

One thing that works well for me is menu planning. I find that when I’m good about planning my meals for the week it helps me avoid eating out too frequently or grabbing something unhealthy. I use Plan to Eat and absolutely love it.

Exercise: I am terrible when it comes to exercising frequently. Basically, I need a personal trainer–someone to drag me out of bed in the morning and tell me what to do. As a mom, it’s already hard finding time to fit it into my schedule and then when I have hardly any motivation, it just so easily becomes the thing that I let slide.

Recently I have started walking weekly with my neighbor. It’s only 2-3 times a week, but it’s better than nothing! I’m hoping to find another walking partner for a couple of the other days too because I just need someone in it with me or I’m completely unmotivated.


I also recently signed up for Stay at Home Yoga, which is great because I can do it from the comfort of my own home and I don’t have to coordinate a time in my schedule when my husband’s home to watch the kids so I can get out. Also, I love it because there are not only full length yoga classes available, but also short options for when you only have a few minutes. So basically I have no excuse not to be doing some form of exercise daily!


Embracing Self-Care: Health & Spirituality |

I think back to the days before I was married and had kids and remember how diligently I had my quiet times each morning, all the bible studies, prayer groups, worship services and discipleship times I was involved in and what I’m “doing” today just pales in comparison.

But I have learned to give myself grace. There are seasons of life and in this season of life I’m in, it’s just not realistic to expect that I can do all that I could do then. And most importantly, it’s not all that “doing” that enables us to have a close relationship with the Lord in the first place.

So while I’m careful not to get caught up in all the “shoulds” of how often and for how long I spend time with Jesus, I do know that I want and enjoy the time I spend with Him. It is the ultimate self-care for me to be in more constant communication with Him, and something I desire to make more space for in my daily life.

What’ s Working:

Prayer is the only thing I do consistently. For me,  it’s an easy practice to fit in amidst the everyday duties of being a working mom. I can pray on my commute to work, I can pray while I clean the house or make dinner, or any number of things.

Last year my husband and I started praying together every night after we put the kids in bed. It started out with being a prayer time specifically for our kids. We actually used a book to get us in the habit for the first month. Now it has evolved to being a time when we pray for our kids, friends, and anything we need to be praying about!

The other time I do a lot of my praying is actually in the shower! I even have a waterproof notepad that I add prayer requests to so I can be reminded of people in my life I want to be praying for.

Areas to Grow:

I’d love to start a daily family devotion time with the kids and I even have several books we could use. I just need to build it into our day and get a habit going. I’d love to hear if you have something like this that you do with your kids that is working for you!

I’d also love to have some more consistent time with the Lord each day and so today I’m starting to get back in the habit of beginning my days with prayers and meditation from the book  Common Prayer.

Let’s give ourselves grace, encourage ourselves for the successes in our life, and challenge ourselves to always be growing and making positive changes.

Don’t forget to check out the wonderful posts from the other hosts this week:

Stacy from A Delightful Home
Beth from Red and Honey
Erin from The Humbled Homemaker
Nicole from Gidget Goes Home
Mindy from This Crazy Wonderful Life
Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace
Emily from Live Renewed

Now it’s your turn! Link up below and share any of your posts on health or spirituality and how they relate to self-care or leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

What are your struggles with health and spirituality? In what areas are you experiencing success?

Join us next week as we talk about Peace in the Home.

And don’t forget to follow our Embracing Self-Care Pinterest board for all kinds of wonderful self-care tips and ideas.


Embracing Self-Care: Know Thyself

Embracing Self-Care: Know Thyself |

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

Last week I introduced a new month long community blogging project on self-care. Self-care is a big topic and encompasses many different aspects. And self-care will look different for each person.

The first step to self-care is knowing yourself. Understanding what fills you up, and what drains you. Knowing how much sleep you need to function at your best, knowing how much clutter you can stand before you start to lose your mind, knowing which foods nourish your body, and knowing what activities leave you feeling replenished and renewed are just a few of the many things you need to know about yourself in order to practice self-care effectively.

Several years ago when my husband and I were in marriage counseling, our counselor had us take the Myers Briggs personality assessment. It was so eye opening for us to each learn more about our own personalities and each other’s personalities and then discuss and discover how that translates to our marriage. Since then, I have continued to think about personality types and learn more about my own personality type.

Last year, a group of my closest college girlfriends and I met up in our college town for a weekend getaway and what did we talk about a good majority of the time? Our Myers Briggs personality profiles! The official test costs money to take, but there are lots of available (and accurate) ones online that you can take. This one is a good one that’s free and doesn’t take long. It’s fun learning your personality type and it becomes almost addicting discussing with others all about the different types of personalities.

Other than having fun discussions with friends, I haven’t explored my personality profile in super great depth, but one of the most helpful things I’ve pulled from it is that I am an introvert. This doesn’t necessarily mean I’m quiet, or shy, or don’t like to spend time with friends. But it does mean that I need some time in my day on my own. What fills me up is when I have time to myself.

Knowing yourself is the first step to self-care. |

With little kids at home, and because I homeschool my daughter, I am around people (most of the time, little people that talk a lot) all day long. So I have to make sure that I am carving out quiet, alone time each day.

I have both my kids (4 and 7,) take a rest time each afternoon. This means they are in their rooms quietly doing something: napping, reading a book, or playing. It doesn’t always go as planned but most of the time it allows me to get even just a little bit of time to myself each day, which is what I need to refuel.

If you’re a fellow introvert, here are some helpful resources:

Whether or not you take the Myers Briggs or some other type of personality assessment, it’s important to know and understand yourself and know what you need to re-charge.

It might help to stop and jot down the following and spend some time thinking about these things as the first step to figuring out what self-care might look like for you:

  • How much sleep do I need?
  • I feel my best physically when I….
  • I feel energized when I…
  • It brings me joy when…
  • I feel at peace when my home…
  • At what time of day am I usually at my best? My worst?
  • I feel overwhelmed when…
  • I am most relaxed when…
  • I feel better when I have a schedule/plan in place OR I like lots of flexibility in my day.

I recently made a Bits (and Chunks) of Joy List, which is basically just my own personal list of things that I know will bring me joy, recharge me, and fill me up so that when I have a few minutes or more, I will turn to those things rather than doing something that might drain me more.

Don’t forget to check out the wonderful posts from the other hosts this week:
Stacy from A Delightful Home
Beth from Red and Honey
Erin from The Humbled Homemaker
Nicole from Gidget Goes Home
Mindy from This Crazy Wonderful Life
Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace
Emily from Live Renewed

Now it’s your turn! Link up below and share any of your posts on knowing yourself and how that relates to self-care or leave a comment sharing your thoughts.

Join us next week as we discuss Health & Spirituality and how it relates to self-care.

Also, don’t forget to follow the Embracing Self-Care Pinterest board for all kinds of great ideas!

The Just Clean Something Challenge

Just Clean Something Challenge

Cleaning is not my strong suit. I don’t enjoy cleaning, but I would like a clean house. It’s a tough place to be in. My current cleaning philosophy is: keep it clean enough so it’s livable. Of course, everyone has different definitions of livable, which can be tricky. But for the most part, I keep things (kinda sorta) picked up, the counters wiped up, dishes done. Then once every week or sometimes two (!) we do a more thorough cleaning, and do the floors, toilets, dusting, etc. I would love to get better at cleaning regularly though and not just waiting until I can’t stand it anymore and then flipping out.

Yesterday my friend Rebekah mentioned that she would be running her Just Clean Something Challenge and I decided to participate. It’s the perfect challenge for me because all I have to do is just clean something. One thing. Anything. So some days I fully expect that I might throw a load of laundry in the wash and be good with that. But for the most part I’m using this challenge to get myself into a better habit of doing a little bit of cleaning each day. I’m also hoping that I’ll tackle some of the things I rarely clean and use this month to do some spring cleaning for once!


{Image Source}

One of the reasons I don’t clean as often as I would like is because it just feels like sometimes there’s no point. Case in point: the toilet. Today I cleaned the toilet, but I have a 4 yr. old boy, so there’s that. And it just felt so un-motivating because I know as soon as he uses the toilet all that cleaning I just did is done for.

Then there’s my other issue (which I guess could be a good issue to have): when I start cleaning I start to notice all the things that need to be cleaned, and again…it gets really overwhelming because I know I can’t do it all in the time I have. So today, my plan was to clean my one thing (the toilet). And then I decided I needed to clean the sink too…and the kitchen sink and counters, and then I noticed how bad the floors need sweeping. So it’s a double edged sword. On the one hand, it’s good because I started with cleaning the toilet and then ended up getting even more done. But on the other hand I feel a little discouraged because I don’t have time to do it all.

So I’m using this challenge a bit like an experiment to see if:

1. I can become more disciplined in cleaning.

2. I will see the benefit to doing a little bit each day even though I won’t be able to have a perfectly clean house all at once, I’m hoping I will enjoy having some of it clean more often and maybe see that something is better than nothing.

3. Cleaning a little bit each day will help me avoid getting to the breaking point every other week or so.

I do best when I’m part of a challenge and have some accountability so I’m joining with my friend Rebekah and I’ll be checking in on her Facebook page each day for accountability. I’ll also post regular updates on my Facebook page as well. So join us! It’ll be fun! Or maybe not exactly fun…but we’ll all feel good about cleaning and it will be more fun doing it together!


Free Customizable Cleaning Checklist | Simply Rebekah

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner | Red & Honey

Free Printable Spring Cleaning Checklist | The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

My Green Clean Pinterest Board

Cleaning: love it or hate it? Do you have a regular cleaning routine? Or do you have a hard time getting motivated, like I do?

Embracing Self-Care

Embracing Self-Care: A Community Blogging Project |

We wear our busyness almost like a badge…with a sense of pride when someone asks how we’re doing and we answer with a sigh and say “Good, I’m just sooooo busy,” and then proceed to list off all the things we’re so busy with. And we are busy. There’s no doubt about that. So on those rare Saturday mornings when I stay in bed, caught up in reading a good novel, I almost feel a sense of embarrassment. And if someone were to ask me what I did over the weekend, I would hesitate to admit that I lounged around all morning reading!

But is it really so wrong to carve some time out to care for ourselves?

I think that sometimes self-care invokes a certain hesitation in some when they hear the word…what? Care? For myself? Almost as if that is somehow wrong. And while I definitely feel that we are called to serve one another I also see the benefit in caring for ourselves SO that we can care for others. If I have no energy, no patience, no reserves…how am I going to be as a parent? A wife? A friend? Snapping at my kids, impatient, frustrated, and too burnt out to have anything to offer others.

I’m so excited to be taking some time this spring to be intentional about self-care. To set aside some time, develop some practices, and make some space. To learn how I can take good care of myself so that I in turn can give more to those around me.

And to make it even better…I’m joining up with several other bloggers and hopefully YOU as well!

Announcing Embracing Self Care: A Community Blogging Project

For the next 4 weeks, each Wednesday, I’ll be posting about a different form of self-care and sharing my thoughts, challenges, and how I’m planning on being intentional about embracing that particular form of self-care.  I will be joined by some of my dearest blogging friends:

Stacy from A Delightful Home
Beth from Red and Honey
Erin from The Humbled Homemaker
Nicole from Gidget Goes Home
Mindy from This Crazy Wonderful Life
Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace
Emily from Live Renewed

These are the topics we’ll be focusing on:

  • Know Thyself (April 2): This is the perfect place to start. Once we understand more about ourselves, (how much quiet time we need, if we operate better with a schedule or with flexibility, what charges us up and fills our reserves) then we have a starting place for knowing how to care for ourselves and avoid burn out.
  • Health & Spirituality (April 9): This one is pretty self explanatory, but super important. Knowing how to take care of our health and spirituality is essential to self-care.
  • Peace in the Home (April 16): This is doing whatever needs to be done to restore peace to our home–decluttering, making a routine/rhythm or daily schedule, etc.
  • Taking Time for R&R (April 23): This includes healthy ways of treating ourselves, and taking time to fully rest and relax. And we can share lots of fun ways to do this!

If you have a blog, we invite you to join us and link up each week. If not, then I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments. Each week’s post will end with a link-up and we would LOVE for you to share your own posts on these topics. Let’s learn from each other and be an encouragement to one another as we take time to develop healthier self-care practices so we can serve our families and others well.

We’ve also started a Pinterest board dedicated to Embracing Self-Care.

My Latest Obsession: Jamberry Nail Wraps

happy go lucky

On my nails above: Jamberry Kiss nail lacquer and Happy-Go-Lucky nail wraps.

**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share about my latest obsession: Jamberry Nail Wraps. I’m not one to get my nails done often because they chip off within a couple days and I hate the look of chipped nails. I’ve also recently started to get concerned about all the toxic ingredients in nail polish. So when I saw a friend having a Facebook party for Jamberry nail wraps, I decided to check it out.

The first thing that caught my attention is that they are non-toxic and don’t chip. They last up to two weeks on your fingernails and 6 weeks on your toenails. There are tons of designs and they looked super fun! My main concern was that I would have trouble applying the wraps because I’m really not good at doing my nails! I watched the application video and decided I could probably manage it!


They have this great deal for Buy 3 Wraps, Get 1 Free and I thought I would probably do that…but then I decided I wanted to get the application kit and mini-heater to make it easier on myself with application. I’m usually not one to jump into direct sales companies, but I noticed that they had a starter kit for $99 and it had everything I wanted in it, plus it would give me the option to be a consultant if I wanted to, so I decided to just go for it! And I’ve been having so much fun! My original thought was that if I just made back the money I spent on the starter kit that would be awesome, and that was easy!

So far I’ve just been doing Facebook parties, which is great because I can do it all from the comfort of my own home. And I also love spoiling my hostesses with the awesome hostess rewards! It’s so fun! Plus, I can do a party for anyone, even if they don’t live nearby.

mommy & me orchidmommy & me polka

My daughter and I have been having a blast doing our nails–Jamberry has an adorable Jamberry Juniors line for kids through age 8. I feel better about using these on my daughter’s nails than toxic nail polish. And as an added bonus–it’s helping her stop biting her nails! So far we’ve done two sets of wraps on her:


swiss dot

Sprinkles & Frosting                                                      Swiss Dot & Siesta

Here’s a quick run-down on all the things I love about Jamberry nail wraps:

  • No Dry Time
  • No Chipping
  • Last 2 Weeks on Fingers
  • Last up to 6 Weeks on Toes
  • Over 300 Designs–you can browse them all here
  • Non-Toxic
  • No Harmful Chemicals
  • Formaldehyde Free

And of course, I love having fun nails and not having to pay the price of a manicure to get them! Each sheet of nail wraps gives you 3-4 applications and if you take advantage of the Buy 3, Get 1 Free deal it breaks down to costing only about $3-$4 every time you do your nails.

FindingaHostIf you’re interested in hosting a Facebook party, you can request a party here. I do all the work, and you just invite your Facebook friends and earn free wraps! Or if you’re interested in attending a Facebook party and learning more about Jamberry nail wraps first, just leave me a comment or contact me and I’ll invite you to my next one. They usually last about an hour and I share information about Jamberry nail wraps, have a few fun games, giveaway a “door” prize, and answer questions. The nice thing is it’s on Facebook and you can pop in and out during the party or even just check it all out whenever it’s convenient for you.

You can also just browse all the designs and shop here. And feel free to join me on my Facebook page to stay up to date on all the latest!

Thanks for letting me share about my latest fun obsession!

Do you like having your nails done? Have you heard of Jamberry nail wraps?


10 Fun & Useful Easter Basket Gift Ideas for Kids

10 Fun & Useful Easter Basket Gift Ideas |

I enjoy putting together little Easter baskets for my kids each year, and I’m always looking for fun items that they will enjoy but also that we can get some use out of. It’s perfect because Easter is in the spring and we’re usually in need of some practical spring and summer items.

Here are some of my favorite items to put in their Easter baskets:
**This post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting More Than Mundane!

1. A new bathing suit for summer.

2. Summer sandals or Crocs.

3. Summer pajamas.

4. Devotional or Prayer Journal:

5. Art Supplies:

finger puppets

6. Finger Puppets: I love this cute animal finger puppets set.

7. Garden Tool Set: Kids Garden Tool Set: This is usually the time of year when we start planting our small garden and I like to get the kids involved as much as possible. Having their very own gardening tools helps!

8. Play silks: I put one of these in each of my kid’s Easter baskets last year and they love them. They’re great for imaginative play and come in tons of fun colors.

9. A new book:

10. Music: We love the Seeds Family Worship CD’s.

Do you put together Easter Baskets for your kids? What do you like to fill them with?

The Bits (and Chunks) of Joy List


Inspired by one of my favorite bloggers and her bits and chunks of joy list, I’ve started one of my own, which I plan/hope to continually add to. The idea is to have a list of things that you love and that fill you up for those moments of time when you may usually turn to checking Facebook, email, or Instagram yet again.

Just a few minutes:

Write a short card to send to a friend.

Make and enjoy a cup of tea.

Add some things to my gratitude list.

Pick some flowers to brighten up my home.

Mix up a quick scrub to gift or enjoy myself.

Call or text a friend.

30 minutes or a bit more:

Read a book. Sitting outside and reading a book is even better!

Bake or make something.

Play the piano.

Plant some flowers or garden.

Out and about:

Go for a walk.

Pick up some flowers and bring to a friend.

Browse a bookstore.

So now the trick is, to actually do these things and break the habits I already have in place in order to create some new ones. What’s on your list?

My Favorite Educational Apps for Kids

My favorite educational apps for kids |

We’re new iPad owners and I have been so impressed by all that we’ve found in the way of fun and educational iPad apps for kids. I decided when we got the iPad to only put educational apps and games on it because I knew if there were other just for fun apps on there my kids would gravitate towards those. I’m guessing there has to be a way to lock certain apps so the kids can’t use them without a password, but I haven’t figured that out yet.

We’ve also been trying to be good about setting time limits for how long the kids are on the iPad. Usually if my daughter uses it at all, it’s during her quiet rest time in the afternoon. I have her read for at least 30 min-1 hr first, and then I give her a little iPad time.

My son is the one we really have to watch, because I’ve already noticed he has a tendency to get sucked in and it becomes really hard to pull him away. We try to remember to set a timer for 15 min. so that he can actually hear it go off and that’s his signal that it’s time to stop. I’ll admit though, that we’re not always on top of this as much as we could be.

Here are the apps we’ve found so far that we love.

Apps for Preschoolers:

Endless Alphabet: This has got to be one of my favorites. Cute little monsters come along and mess up words, scattering the letters all over the screen. Then, as you drag each letter back to its place in the word, the letter/monster makes the sound that corresponds with its letter. It’s adorable, plus teaches letter sounds and new vocabulary!

Monkey Preschool LunchBox: This app uses a cute little monkey to teach kids basic counting, shape identification, matching, size identification (smallest, largest), colors, and some basic letter identification.

Funbrain Jr.: This app is a little more advanced than the other two. It has several different games. * Free

  • Balloon Blowup: The player has to identify which balloon has the most items in it and pop that balloon.
  • Flashy Cards: The player has to match picture cards with the letter the picture starts with.
  • Heat Wave: The player has to connect letters in alphabetical order.
  • Mushrooom Bounce: The player has to jump from mushroom to mushroom in number order.
  • Shape Shack: Player is given a pattern and has to choose which shape comes next in the pattern.

Grandma’s Garden: I love this one because it teaches kids colors, counting, letter identification, shapes, sizes, and matching and also includes educational videos all about gardening, planting, and vegetables. Plus Grandma sometimes dances when you get the right answers! And kids are learning all about vegetables too.

Grandpa’s Workshop: This app has the player help Grandpa in his workshop with different projects like painting (color identification), measuring, “cutting” boards into fractional pieces, number identification, and contains educational videos all about tools. As the player progresses they get to “build” a clubhouse.

Grandma Loves Bugs: Grandma is back and in this fun app uses cute little bugs to teach counting, letters, colors, matching lower and upper case letters, identifying the one that is different, matching, and has a fun magnifying glass to look up close at different bugs. Plus they learn about different bugs and how to identify them and Grandma does her crazy dancing again!

A-Z Music Videos from ABC.mouse: There’s a catchy song and music video for each letter of the alphabet. And by catchy, I mean…after I hear one of the songs it’s stuck in my head all day! But my 4 year old really loves these and they help him learn his letters, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make! *Free

Educational Apps for Kids |

Apps for Grade Schoolers:

Stack the States: This is my daughter’s favorite app and it has definitely improved her knowledge of states, capitals, and location of states. The player has to answer questions about which cities are in which states, capitals, state flags, identifying states, etc. and when they get a question right, they get to drop the states into a stack until the stack reaches a certain height. They earn states until they get the whole US Map filled in.

MoMA Art Lab: This app allows kids to create their own art masterpieces including sound compositions, shape poems, collages, and more. There’s also a section that teaches specific drawing techniques step by step. They can save all their masterpieces in their own Art Gallery. *Free

Grandma’s Kitchen: This is similar to Grandma’s Garden and Grandpa’s Kitchen, except with a kitchen theme. Players add ingredients to the bowl to make a cake, practice patterns with kitchen utensils, identify first two letters of words, identify equal parts, practice telling time, make compound words, counting practice, learn poems, put spices in alphabetical order, count and add by 10’s, There are also videos about different baking techniques and healthy eating.

Sushi Monster: This is one of my personal favorites! You get to practice addition and multiplication by feeding sushi to the different sushi monsters. *Free


Bible for Kids: This app is a favorite with my 4 year old. It reads various Bible stories aloud and the kids can interact with the pictures. They also ask questions to check for understanding. *Free

BrainPOP Jr. and BrainPOP: These are a couple of our favorite learning websites filled with videos for kids on all kinds of educational topics. You can check these out online or put the app on your iPad/iPhone.

WWF Together: This app from World Wildlife Fund features interactive information on endangered animals, including amazing videos, animal facts, image galleries, and a 3D globe that shows you how far away you are from different animals around the world. *Free

Nighty Night: This is an adorable interactive bedtime story where you turn off the light throughout the farm and say goodnight to all the animals. The thing I love about this app is that you can choose from all kinds of different languages to listen to the story in.

Like I said, we’re new to the iPad world, and I would love to hear of any educational apps you’ve found that your kids love!

On Guard Hand Sanitizer Spray

Make your own hand sanitizer spray using just 3 ingredients! |

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I have to admit, I’m a bit obsessive about hand washing and sanitizing, especially during cold and flu season. Any time we walk in the door from being out somewhere I have my kids head straight to the sink to wash their hands. If we’re out and about I like to use hand sanitizer. I prefer to make my own because it’s more cost effective and because I know what’s going into it. Many hand sanitizers are not safe, and especially not safe for kids. I find a spray easier to use than a gel.

My recipe includes witch hazel, aloe vera gel, and on guard essential oil, although there are other great essential oils that would work well too.

Witch hazel: Witch hazel has anti-bacterial and astringent properties, which makes it great for use in a hand sanitizer. You can dilute it with water for sensitive skin.  This version even contains aloe vera, so you could skip using the aloe vera in the recipe altogether.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is moisurizing and will keep hands from drying out. Your hands will feel nice and soft after using this this hand sanitizer spray. Just make sure you use 100% aloe vera.

On Guard essential oil:  On Guard is one of my favorite essential oil blends from doTERRA. It contains wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary and is formulated to support a healthy immune system. During cold and flu season I use On Guard on a regular basis in a variety of ways to help boost our immune systems and protect against flu, colds, and viruses.

Here’s how to make On Guard Hand Sanitizer Spray:

Using a small glass spray bottle (I use these ones):

  • Fill 3/4 full with witch hazel.
  • Add aloe vera gel (I used approx. 1 teaspoon in a 2 oz. bottle)
  • Add On Guard essential oil (I used 10-15 drops in a 2 oz. bottle)
  • Shake well to combine.

If you don’t have On Guard essential oil, here are some other essential oils you could use:

I keep this in my car so I can easily spray on our hands after school pick up, grocery shopping, etc. Make sure to spray hands thoroughly, rub together and let dry. If you prefer the gel based hand sanitizers, simply use more aloe vera.

Super easy! And it smells way better than the kind you buy at the store.