Birthday Weekend Giveaway: Essential Oil Introductory Kit

Essential Oil Intro Kit Giveaway | www.morethanmundane.com

It’s my birthday this weekend so I thought it would be fun to have a little giveaway!

I’m giving away a doTERRA Essential Oil Intro Kit! The kit includes 5ml bottles of lemon, peppermint, and lavender and is valued at $26.67. The doTERRA Intro Kit is great for getting started with essential oils and contains 3 of my favorite essential oils.

Here are some of the ways I use lemon, peppermint, and lavender:

 

Lemon:

  • Add a few drops to the dishwasher for spot-free sparkling clean dishes.
  • Use as a “goo-be-gone” alternative.
  • Add to your homemade cleaners for a fresh, clean scent with extra cleaning power.
  • Use to make lemon-lime sugar scrub.
  • For green cleaning.

Peppermint:

  • Dilute several drops with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil or olive oil) and rub on your stomach to help with gas, tummy aches, indigestion, etc.
  • Diffuse to improve alertness and concentration.
  • Make a refreshing peppermint foot scrub.
  • Repel insects and rodents.
  • Add a drop or two to water and swish in your mouth to freshen breath.

Lavender:

  • Make a linen/room spray by adding 10-15 drops of lavender to a small bottle of water.
  • Use to help you sleep.
  • Make lavender vanilla sugar scrub.
  • Apply a drop to burns and cuts to heal.
  • Diffuse to help calm and relax.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents, 18 years of age and older, only. Giveaway will end on Sunday, Jan. 20 at midnight (PST). I hope you win! 

 

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13 Things to Try When You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

13 things to try when you're having trouble sleeping | www.morethanmundane.com

I love my sleep. And I do not do well when I don’t get enough of it. Of course there are times in life when there’s no way around the fact that you won’t be getting enough sleep–like when you have a newborn. But for me, nothing is more frustrating than lying in bed watching the minutes tick by and not being able to sleep. Here are some things to try if you’re having trouble sleeping.

From the Kitchen:

1. Avoid caffeine for 4-6 hours before bedtime. Try an herbal tea instead. Chamomile is a great pre-bedtime option. Or try this recipe for Sleep EZ Tea.

2. You can also add a spoonful of Sleepy Time Honey to your tea before bed.

3. Or, if tea is not your thing, add a spoonful of honey, a splash of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg to some warm milk and drink shortly before bedtime.

Treat Yourself:

sleepy time bath salts

4. These Sleepy Time Bath Salts use epsom salt and lavender and not only help you get a better night’s sleep but are also immune boosting as well. These would also be great to throw in the kid’s bath before bed as well to help them calm down and get a better night’s rest.

5. Try an herbal steam right before bed to relax. Here’s how: Fill a steaming bowl of water or the sink with herbs that promote relaxation, such as chamomile and lavender. Lean your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Breathe in the herbs and steam, making sure not to get your face too close to the hot water.

6. If you don’t have time for a bath or herbal steam, make your own linen spray and spritz your pillows and sheets before bed. Try this relaxing lavender and chamomile linen spray.

7. Diffuse lavender for 20-30 minutes before heading to bed.

8. If you can talk someone into it, a massage using this herb infused bed time massage oil would also be amazing right before bedtime!

Smart Practices:

9. Shut off the screens well before bedtime (I’m guilty of not doing this!) Try reading a book instead of watching TV, looking through Instagram, or surfing the Internet. Need a book suggestion?

10. Brain Dump: If you have a lot on your mind it can be hard to sleep with all the to-dos and ideas spinning around in your head. Try doing a brain dump right before bed (or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep) by writing down all the things you’re thinking of. It will clear your head and help you get to sleep.

11. Stretch before bed. Try these bedtime stretches.

For the Kids:

gummies

12. If it’s the kids that are having trouble getting to sleep at night, try these Healthy Gummies for Cold, Flu, & Sleep. They contain tart cherry juice and gelatin, which have both been shown to help with sleep. I’ve been known to help myself to some of these as well!

13. Magnesium is needed for restful sleep and many of us do not get the amount we need. My favorite way to get more magnesium is by using a little Magnesium Lotion each night before bed. I’ve used this on my kids as well when they’re having trouble sleeping at night.

What do you do when you’re having trouble sleeping?

 

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Sweet & Simple Winter Detox Juice

Sweet & Simple Winter Detox Juice | morethanmundane.com

Anyone feeling like you overdid it over the holidays? Ready to get back on track and detox from all those sweets?

Last year I was gifted this juicer and have been having fun ever since trying lots of different juice recipes. This Sweet & Simple Winter Detox Juice is a very basic, super-yummy juice that anyone is sure to love! It’s easy to throw together and I like to make it for the whole family. I made this juice for several days leading up to Christmas this year as  a “pre-tox”  before indulging over the holidays and am back to it now as a detox juice.

Not only does it taste delicious, but each of the ingredients has many health benefits as well.

Citrus

Citrus is in season during the Winter and is known for being packed with Vitamin C, making it perfect for during the Winter months when we are usually hit with more colds and illnesses. Citrus contains the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Potassium

Read more about the health benefits of oranges here and grapefruit here.

Carrots

Carrots are in season year-round and are well known for being rich in beta-carotene which helps to improve vision as well as slow down aging! Carrots also are high in Vitamin A, which is amazing for your skin and helps the liver clear out toxins from the body. Carrots contain the following nutrients:

  • Vitamins A, C, K
  • Potassium
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber

Read more about the health benefits of carrots here.

Ginger

Ginger boasts many benefits and is perfect for detoxifying. It is also warming to the body, making it great for Winter. Here are some of ginger’s many benefits:

  • aids in digestion
  • contains anti-inflammatory properties
  • clears congestion
  • reduces nausea

Read more about the health benefits of ginger here.

Spinach

Spinach is one of the most nutrient packed vegetables and is known for its cleansing and nourishing properties. Here are a few of the many nutrients spinach contains:

  • Vitamins A, C, K
  • Folate
  • Antioxidants

Read more about the health benefits of spinach here.

And now for the recipe…

citrus + carrots + ginger + spinach

Sweet & Simple Winter Detox Juice

Ingredients:

  • Citrus (oranges or grapefruit, or a combination of both): 2-3 per person
  • Carrots: 2-3 per person
  • Ginger: 1/2 inch to an inch per person (or more/less to taste)
  • Spinach: a handful per person (optional)

Directions:

  1. Peel citrus and break into segments.
  2. Scrub carrots and cut into 1 inch segments.
  3. Peel ginger.
  4. Wash spinach.
  5. Add all ingredients to juicer, alternating as you go.

Enjoy your juice as soon as possible after juicing it!

If you’re looking for more delicious and nutritious juicing recipes, I have a whole board dedicated to Juicing on Pinterest.

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From Pinterest to Real Life {Holiday 2013}

Pinterest to Real Life Holiday 2013 Edition | morethanmundane.com

I’m so excited my friend Nicole is resurrecting her monthly Pinterest to Real Life link-up because I love the added motivation to actually make/try some of the many pins I daily add to my Pinterest boards. Of course I didn’t remember to take pictures of everything but next month I’m hoping to do better with that now that it’s on my radar.

No huge shock here, but most of the pins I tried in the last month or so were food related! Here are some of my favorites:

Gingerbread Latte

My favorite holiday drink every year is the Gingerbread Latte and I usually keep trying to order it until they tell me they’re all out, but now I can make my own at home thanks to this recipe. Plus it’s better for me!

Slow Cooker Christmas Chicken

I always love a good slow cooker recipe and this one for Slow Cooker Christmas Chicken did not disappoint. Also, don’t let the title prevent you from making it any day of the year…it will definitely be showing up on our meal plan again!

Naturally Sweetened Chewy Molasses Cookies

I made these naturally sweetened chewy molasses cookies several times during the holidays and they are amazing! Even my husband, who doesn’t always go for my “naturally-sweetened” creations, thought they were great!

Natural Hand Lotion

The extent of my homemade gifts this year consisted of my new favorite scrub and this hand lotion, which I loved making because you can make it directly in the jars you are going to gift it in, which helps cut down on the mess.

Heart Shaped Snowflakes

Crafts/Artistic pursuits in general are not my strong suit and in previous years I’ve had trouble even figuring out how to cut out paper snowflakes with the kids, but these heart shaped snowflakes turned out great and were simple enough that even I was able to figure them out! I think they would be a fun Valentine’s activity/decoration as well.

New Year’s Jar of Memories

I saw this idea for a jar to add happy moments, blessings, etc. to  throughout the year and then on New Year’s Eve go through and pull out all the papers and read them so I made one for us to use in 2014. I’m super excited about it and think it will be wonderful to read through at the end of this year.

Did you have any Pinterest successes (or failures) this past month?

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Favorite Books of 2013

my-favorite-books-header

Today I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy (my favorite source for book recommendations and more!) and sharing my favorite books of 2013. I try to track what I’m reading on Goodreads and although I may forget a book here or there, I love being able to look back and see what I’ve read and it’s also a great place to keep track of books I want to read.

In 2013 I set a goal of reading 24 books, and according to Goodreads I read 26. For 2014, I’ll be raising my goal a bit to 30 books and trying to get in some more non-fiction. One of my goals for this year is to read for at least 15-30 minutes before bed each night and break my habit of scrolling through Instagram and Facebook right before I try to go to sleep.

**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!

Here are my top 5 books I read in 2013:

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes
by Shauna Niequist

bread&wine_cover_art

This is my favorite book from Shauna so far. As always, I loved reading her relatable stories, but in this book, she also shares a ton of her amazing recipes. Many of which have become staples in our kitchen. You can read my full review here.

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor & park

A young adult book set in 1986– this is the book I’ve recommend to any friend this year who asks (or doesn’t ask) for a recommendation. It’s easy to connect to the characters in this book if you’ve ever lived through high school and young love. Plus, all the 80′s pop culture references are fun.

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

the fault in our stars

Another young adult book, this one is a tear jerker, so be sure to have your box of kleenex nearby. The story pulled me in and I finished it in a day, so it’s definitely a captivating read.

*Last time I checked, the hardcover was 50% off and the Kindle version was only $3.99.

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

nightcircus

This book was magical and enchanting. I loved the descriptions and I wish I could attend Le Cirque des Rêves. I would love to see this book made into a movie. Here’s a fun trailer for the book:

The Prodigal God
by Timothy Keller

the prodigal god

I technically finished this book on the first day of 2014, but I’m counting it towards 2o13. This book looks at the well known parable of the prodigal son in a new light and uses it to share the story of the Gospel in a way that brings hope and encouragement to both those who are unfamiliar with the Gospel message as well as life-long believers.

What were your favorite reads of 2013?

 

 

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2013 in Instagrams and Happy New Year!

It’s been a great year for our family, and I feel so blessed. Here are a few (okay, more than a few) highlights from our year.

I turned 33!

My birthday

We got a juicer and Isaac loves helping put the carrots in!

Isaac helping with the juicer

Rick turned 34.

Rick's 34th birthday

Had a Mommy-Daughter date at our favorite gelato shop.

Charlotte at Escogelato

Celebrated Easter.

Kids on Easter

Did lots of Kite Flying.

Butterfly Kite

Took lots of trips to the Children’s Museum.

playing the drums

Got a piano.

piano

Charlotte performed in her first ballet recital.

ballet recital

Went blueberry picking.

blueberry picking

Took lots of trips to the beach.

at the beach

Celebrated Charlotte’s 7th Birthday at Corvette Diner with some friends.

Charlotte's bday

Grew a small garden and enjoyed some home-grown tomatoes.

tomatoes

Visited Papa & GJ in Oklahoma.

in the pool

Moved to a new home with an awesome play set in the backyard.

swinging

Started 2nd Grade.

1st day of 2nd grade

Celebrated my good friend Nicole’s Wedding.

Nicole's wedding

Charlotte lost her two front teeth.

lost front tooth

Went to Disneyland for Isaac’s 4th Birthday.

Isaac at Disneyland

Spent a weekend in Coronado.

Kids in Coronado

Dressed as Buzz Lightyear and a 50′s Girl for Halloween.

Halloween

Celebrated St. Lucia Day.

st.lucia day

Spent Christmas at the Beach.

christmas day

I hope your 2013 was filled with many blessings as well. From my family to yours, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

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Top 10 Posts of 2013

I’ve had a fun year here on the blog and am so excited for what 2014 will bring. Here are the top posts from 2013:

10. Honey Lavender Syrup (perfect for making a Honey Lavender Latte)

honey lavender latte

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442489924/

9. 16 Uses for Lavender

16 Uses for Lavender

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442490009/

8. Holiday Spice Brown Sugar Scrub

holiday spice brown sugar scrub--perfect for gifting!

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442352660/

7. 15 Uses for Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil

15 Uses for Melaleuca

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904441835600/

6. Garden Fresh Salsa

garden fresh salsa

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442490060/

5. My 10 Essentials for a Homemade Home

10 essentials for a homemade home

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442306038/

4. 101 DIY Scrub Recipes

101 Scrub Recipes for Hands, Body, Face, Lips, and Feet | morethanmundane.com

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442385787/

3. Ginger Lime Coconut Body Scrub

ginger-lime coconut body scrub

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442309103/

2. Stocking Your Natural First Aid Kit for Summer

stocking your natural first aid kit for summer

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904441149295/

1. Sparkling Apple Cider Vinegar Water

sparkling apple cider vinegar water

Pin it–>>http://www.pinterest.com/pin/21532904442306414/

I’m so thankful for those of you who visit my blog and I always love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or just say hello!

Happy New Year’s!!!

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Celebrating St. Lucia Day

st. lucia 2012

St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13th, and is also known as Saint Lucy’s Day. It is most commonly celebrated in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, as well as in Italy. St. Lucia Day is traditionally celebrated with the eldest daughter in the family dressing in a white gown with a red sash and a wreath of candles on her head. She wakes early on St. Lucia Day and serves St. Lucia buns and coffee to the rest of the family.

In Sweden, St. Lucia Day is celebrated in most cities with the choosing of a girl from the town to be that year’s St. Lucia and lead a procession of the other girls as well as Star Boys. Many schools and universities also choose a St. Lucia.

History of St. Lucia

Lucia of Syracuse (d.304) is believed to have been a Sicilian saint who was martyred for her beliefs. There are several different stories about St. Lucia or St. Lucy. In one, she brings food and drink to her Christian friends, who are hiding in the catacombs from the Romans. In order to light her way and still be able to carry the food and drinks, she places candles on her head.

st. lucia 2010

St. Lucia Day 2011How we Celebrate

We have celebrated St. Lucia Day for the past several years, but Charlotte has been too young to wake up early and prepare a tray of St. Lucia buns (lussekatts) and coffee to serve to all of us on her own!

My mom (who is half Swedish,) began the tradition with Charlotte and has a white gown with red sash for her and a crown of (battery operated) candles for her to wear on her head. My mom makes St. Lucia buns and we get Charlotte all set up and then she serves us the buns and usually some pepparkakor (clove-cinnamon-ginger cookies) too.

We play the St. Lucia song as well as other Swedish songs. My mom has been trying to teach Charlotte the words to the song for the past couple years, but we still have some more memorizing to do. In the video below, you can hear the song that is traditionally sung during St. Lucia processions throughout Sweden.

Video of St. Lucia Procession:

Resources:

Recipe for St. Lucia Buns and Pepparkakor: http://sweden.se/culture/saffransbullar-and-pepparkakor/

St. Lucia Song: http://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=1302&c=86

Do you celebrate St. Lucia Day or have any special Christmas traditions from around the world that you celebrate?

 

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101 DIY Scrub Recipes

101 Scrub Recipes

I absolutely love making scrubs–they’re super easy to make, don’t require a ton of ingredients or supplies, and it’s so much cheaper to make your own.

I make them for myself instead of spending money on overpriced scrubs from the store, and I make them as gifts. If you’re friends with me, you probably know this!

So, if you’re looking for a way to save money and make your own scrubs or you’re looking for a quick, easy, inexpensive homemade gift to give, you’re in the right place! I’ve gathered 101 scrub recipes for hands, body, face, lips, and feet so you can find the perfect one for you or for that lucky someone that you’re making one for!

Hand Scrubs:

Body Scrubs:

lavender vanilla sugar scrub

Relaxing:

lemon lime sugar scrubPhoto credit: Stacy at A Delightful Home

 Refreshing:

citrus-body-scrub-615x498Photo Credit: Brandy at the Marathon Mom

Invigorating:

Moisturizing-Honey-Vanilla-Body-Polish-RichlyRooted.com_Photo Credit: Elsie at Richly Rooted

 No Essential Oils Needed:

holiday spice brown sugar body scrub

Holiday:

Face Scrubs:

soothing lavender foot scrubPhoto Credit: Stacy at A Delightful Home

Foot Scrubs:

Lip Scrubs:

ginger-lime coconut body scrub

Salt Scrubs:

Specialty Scrubs:

Extras:

Simple Scrubs Printable Labels

Resources:

These are some of the things I use when making scrubs:

For even more scrub recipes of all types, check out Simple Scrubs to Make and Give, my friend Stacy’s eBook with over 30 different scrub recipes perfect for making homemade holiday gifts.

**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!

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Holiday Spice Brown Sugar Scrub

holiday spice brown sugar body scrub

I have a treat for you today…this brown sugar scrub is perfect for the holidays and great for gifting. Plus, you only need 3 simple ingredients: sugar, oil, and tea. This scrub smells so good, you’ll want to eat it! My husband calls it cinnamon roll scrub, because he thinks it smells like cinnamon rolls. I just think it smells delicious and it reminds me of all the holiday spices I use to bake with at this time of year.

So first, the ingredients:

Bengal Spice Herbal Tea is my new favorite tea…it reminds me of chai, but it’s caffeine free and it smells absolutely amazing. I was sipping on a cup of this tea and thinking about how wonderful it smelled when I got the great idea of making it into a body scrub. Then I checked out the ingredients and found that many of them are perfect for skin use and offer many benefits:

  • cinnamon (warms skin–however, because of its warming nature, can also irritate sensitive skin)
  • roasted carob (removes dead skin cells)
  • ginger (improves skin tone, fights blemishes, lightens age spots)
  • cardamom (hydrating, antibacterial properties)
  • clove (has antimicrobial properties, making it a perfect skin cleanser)
  • nutmeg (has anti-inflammatory properties)
  • pepper (increases blood flow and circulation)

Instructions:

Mix brown sugar, oil, and the contents of four tea bags together until well blended.

For sensitive skin, consider using 2-3 tea bags, or make a smaller batch first and test on a small area of skin. I did notice that this scrub turned some areas red, but it faded quickly and I’ve used this scrub several times with no major skin irritation. However, if you do have sensitive skin, consider using the recipe below instead, and leave out the cinnamon.

If you don’t want to buy the Bengal Spice Herbal Tea, here’s a recipe using similar spices, that you’re likely to have in your kitchen cabinet:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used sweet almond oil, but you can use grapeseed oil, olive oil, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp. ginger*
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg*
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder*
  • 1/2 tsp. clove*
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom*
  • dash of black pepper*
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Mix brown sugar and oil together until well blended. In a separate bowl combine all spices and mix well. Add to brown sugar/oil mix. Add vanilla and stir.

*You can mix your holiday spice scrub up with any of these spices that you have on hand and that you enjoy. If you’re missing one, no problem, you can just leave that spice out. Play with it to fit your preferences.

Once you’ve got your holiday spice brown sugar scrub mixed up, package it up in a pretty jar or container, add a ribbon, and you’ve got the perfect holiday gift for someone. Or keep it for yourself and enjoy!

**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!

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