Category Archives: Uncategorized

Essential Oils, Positive Affirmations, and Chakras

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My favorite Essential Oil? Balance!

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This Doterra blend is my go-to staple and I don’t think that it is a coincidence that balance is also what I strive for most in my life.  I tend to have a lot of internal battles raging inside me as my Type-A, perfectionist side fights my creative, free-spirit side.  What I strive for most is a balance between the two where they can live in harmony. 🙂

I came across this handy chart for chakra balancing with essential oils on Pinterest and I decided to give it a try.  I liked the idea of targeting each chakra with a different oil to promote whole body balance. I made a roller bottle with each oil to easily apply them every day.  I don’t have DigestZen yet, so I substituted Bergamot instead.  I also used Wild Orange instead of Citrus Bliss because I need a little extra cheer in the morning. 😉

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These seven oils are an awesome oil routine that I have really grown to love!  But I wanted to take it one step further.  Each oil is supposed to be doing some positive work for my body and I wanted to make sure my brain was clued into what I was doing as well.  So, I decided to start including a daily affirmation with each oil.  Every morning, as I am applying the oils, I look at myself in the mirror while I recite an affirmation for each chakra.

  1.  Elevation – Today I choose to be happy.  I am the owner of my own emotions and no one else gets to control how I will feel today.

  2. Serenity – I see the best in others and in myself.

  3. Whisper – I am a woman with a voice and I will not stay silent.  I will use my voice to stand up for myself and what is right.

  4. Breathe – I breathe out fear and breathe in hope.

  5. Bergamot – I am confident in myself and my abilities.

  6. Wild Orange – I value my relationships with others and I strive to be a positive light in their day.

  7. Balance – I am balanced and grounded.

By verbally reciting these daily affirmations I become more mindful of what my body can use these essential oils to do.  It is a great morning routine that gets me ready for the day!  If you want to start your own chakra balancing essential oil routine, feel free to use the oils that make sense to you.  You can also change the affirmations to target your own personal goals.

To make the roller bottles I used 6 drops of each oil and filled the rest with fractionated coconut oil.  Now each oil is very easy to apply and my pure oils will last longer!

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Thanks for visiting!

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

Would you like to get more from The Essentialist Movement?

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Send us an email – theessentialistmovement@gmail.com

 

 

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Saying Goodbye to the Chickens

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In the Spring of 2015 we got our first-ever batch of 7 chicks and I became a #happychickiemama.  My friends and family were surprised, but they were excited to see how our dreams of owning a farm were shaping up.  The most common questions I heard from people were, “Don’t you need a rooster to get eggs?” (NO – read article here) and “Are you going to eat them?”

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This second question is a very valid one, considering up until I married my husband I was a vegetarian.  During high school and college I went through a 5 year phase where I didn’t eat meat.  I ate eggs and dairy, but no meat or fish.  I became a vegetarian because I took issue with factory farms and in protest of the alarming rate that our society was demanding more meat.  It was also a great way for me to control what I was eating. I have very specific things I like eating and if I don’t keep it in that box, I don’t eat it. I am a notoriously picky eater and meat has always been difficult for me to include in my box.

It was very amusing for my family to see Ms. Vegetarian marry Mr. Hunter/Fisher/Outdoor Man.  It was quite an adjustment for me to marry into a family whose regular dinner conversation included what part of the animal that cut of meat came from.  I adjusted however, and actually ate my first bite of chicken breast in 5 years on our honeymoon.  I ended my five year stint of vegetarianism – gradually shifting back to an omnivore after we were married- for many reasons. 1. It was expensive, and time consuming to prepare two meals for two people with very different diets. We got married at the ripe old age of 20 and didn’t have tons of money to be buying that much food. 2. I was not being a very good vegetarian and was not getting all my vitamins and minerals – my parents liked to call me a “pastatarian.”  This was an apt name for me as my favorite meal for most of high school was noodles with butter and parmesan cheese.  Not exactly a vitamin-packed dish.  3. I married Mr. Hunter/Fisher/Outdoor Man.

I have never had a problem with hunting or fishing.  Even when I was a vegetarian I respected the fact that people would spend their time learning about the animals.  In Iowa, it was also great that hunters helped with the population control of the overabundant whitetail deer herd.  I don’t have a desire to hunt myself, but I value and respect those who do it properly.

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat my chickens.  My answer to that question was always, “We picked chicken breeds that would be good for both eggs and meat.  That way if any of them are mean or stop laying eggs, we can butcher them.”  I have tried to keep them as farm animals in my mind, but it was hard not to get attached to them.  Chickens are fun to watch and raise.  They have quite the personalities and we enjoyed watching their antics.

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We bought our chickens in April of 2015 and raised them up from chicks.  In August they finally started laying eggs and we were in business!  I NEVER got tired of collecting their beautiful eggs!  We had 3 Americaunas – which laid blue eggs, 2 Rhode Island Reds, and 2 Black Australorps – which all laid brown eggs.  I am not “egg-aggerating” when I say – they were the most delicious eggs I have ever had! (Ha! I couldn’t resist one little pun)  We did some additional research and decided to let our chickens take a break from egg-laying for the winter (article about this here) and this spring they picked right back up where they laid off. (Ok last one I promise!)

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I love raising chickens and it was great to have farm fresh eggs to eat and give to friends and family.  However, this summer  we decided to put our house for sale and work to find an acreage (more on this adventure very soon!).  We decided to butcher the chickens so we wouldn’t have to deal with moving them and their coop once we found a place.  When we first moved into this house we had moved out of a rental so it was easy to take our time moving out of the old and into the new.  When you buy and sell a house the same day you have to be completely out of the old house and into the new in one day!  Our homemade chicken coop was quite the labor of love and was hodge-podged together.  It will take more than a few hours to take a part and re-assemble.  So we decided to make things simple and butcher the chickens so we would have a freezer full of meat for winter.

This is where Mr. Hunter/Fisher/Mountain Man came in handy.  Although he obliged me and helped me take care of the chickens and their chores when asked, he was not as fond of raising them as I was.  He is, however, very good at processing animals.  His Dad has been a butcher his whole life and taught all three sons how to process deer and other animals.  Hub-Hub and his Dad took a few hours one afternoon and butchered the chickens while I was at work.  This was not something I wanted to witness.

It was hard to say goodbye to the chickens that I had raised and I still miss their antics and getting fresh eggs.  Hub-Hub is an excellent chef, however, and he made me some delicious bbq chicken!

When we do move to our acreage, I will get a new flock of chickens.  For now we are focusing on packing and cleaning without worrying about extra chicken chores.

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Thanks for visiting!

 

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

Would you like to get more from The Essentialist Movement?

“Like” me on Facebook – The Essentialist Movement

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Send us an email – theessentialistmovement@gmail.com

Meal Plan Monday: May 2-8

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May

2 – Crock Pot Butternut Squash & Chicken Quinoa Soup

This recipe makes a huge batch, but it is delicious!  Hub-Hub thought it would even make a good filling for enchiladas!

3 – Morel Mushroom and Swiss Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

We didn’t have the ingredients to make the dipping sauce, but the fries turned out great!  We have been mushroom hunting quite a few times this spring and have found over 300 Morels!  This year we also started finding and trying Pheasants Back mushrooms.

Our next project will be drying the morels to extend our crop after the season is over.  I bought a dehydrator.  Stay tuned for reviews!

4 – Leftovers/Scrounge

I work in the evening so my husband, who is a fantastic cook, will have to fend for himself. It makes more sense for us to prepare big dinners when we are both home to share in the cooking and eating. 🙂

5 – Broccoli and Beef Stir-fry

Great flavor and quick stir fry!

6 – Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce over pasta

NOPE!  I’m sure I did something wrong, but this recipe was an epic fail!  It looked like mashed potatoes on top of spaghetti!  Fun fact: Hub-Hub hates cauliflower, but I am bound and determined to find a recipe that he will like. I keep trying to sneak cauliflower into recipes but Karma got me this time!

7 – TBD

8 – TBD

We may be doing a little traveling this weekend, so I don’t want to plan something if we aren’t going to be around.  Plus, if we are going to be home, my husband likes going into a the grocery store with no plan and letting the food inspire him. I’ll let you know what we come up with!

 

Thanks for visiting!

 

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

Would you like to get more from The Essentialist Movement?

“Like” me on Facebook – The Essentialist Movement

Follow me on Instagram – @theessetialistmovement

Send us an email – theessentialistmovement@gmail.com

#swapitoutsunday – Eye Makeup Remover

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I’ve decided to start a new series called #swapitoutsunday (not my hashtag) where I will feature simple ways to replace less-than-great habits with positive new habits!  I, for one, typically embrace change and like to keep things interesting.  However, if I try to adopt too many things at one time, I end up getting frustrated that I am not able to keep up with all of the good habits I intended.  Others struggle with change and may need to take baby steps toward new ideas and habits.  Cue – #swapitoutsunday

I love coconut oil.  I have been using it for cooking and in my beauty regimen for some time now.  I am constantly finding out new things about coconut oil and ways it can apply to my life.  My most recent coconut oil discovery was that I can use it to replace my eye makeup remover!  *mind blown*  So, this week’s #swapitoutsunday is all about using coconut oil in place of eye makeup remover!

I have a jar of coconut oil in each bathroom so that I do not confuse it with the coconut oil used for cooking in my kitchen.  This also makes it readily available and easy to remember.  I have no excuse to use conventional eye makeup removers because the coconut oil is right there and just as easy to use!

To use: with clean hands get a small amount – about the size of a pea – of coconut oil on your fingers.  Rub the coconut oil on your eyelids and under your eyes.  Let it melt on your skin – shouldn’t take more than a few seconds, as your body heat should do the work.  Wipe away with a cotton ball. It is as simple as that!

But I would like to take this deeper.  I would like to explain why I believe coconut oil is a better choice than conventional eye makeup removers.  While my research is by no means exhaustive, I am working hard to back up my opinions with facts so we can all be well-informed.

Skin: Our Body’s First Line of Defense

Our skin acts as a barrier between us and the outside world – protecting us from harmful bacteria, chemicals, and irritations.  However, skin is not impermeable.  It does have the ability to absorb some of the things it comes in contact with. This does not mean that everything we come in contact with has a direct path to our blood stream. Whether or not our skin absorbs something it is exposed to depends on a number of different factors:

1. The length of exposure

The reason we wash our hands after using the bathroom and maintain a regular shower routine is to limit our exposure to harmful agents.  The longer you let bacteria, germs, or chemicals sit on your skin, the more likely they are to penetrate your skin’s protective layer.  The risk that you will touch your mouth, nose, or eyes also increases.  These organs may be more susceptible to permeation due to their thinner layers of skin, as in your eyelids, or their mucus membranes, as in your nose and mouth.  Germs and bacteria have an easier time getting to the blood stream through these ports.

2. The molecular size of the exposed element

Your skin is a waterproof covering  comprised of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissues/fat.  The offending agent may penetrate the first layer, but it has to break the skin barrier in order to be absorbed by your bloodstream for it to have the potential for internal damage.  The size of the molecules has a lot to do with whether or not it can get past the barrier.

3. The solubility of the the exposed element

The other determining factor in the harmfulness of an exposure would be the solubility of the exposed element.  “The epidermal cells that form the skin’s outermost layers are tightly knit together, but allow a certain amount of pliability. The cells are almost entirely full of the tough protein keratin, which resists attack by many kinds of chemicals.  The natural secretion of sebum from the millions of sebaceous glads, each associated with a hair follicel, is slightly oily at body temperature and spreads easily.  It furnishes the skin with partially water-repellent and antibiotic qualities, inhibiting the growth of certain microorganisms, and prevents hairs from becoming too brittle.” (Source: The Human Body Book by Steve Parker)  This oil also protects things from entering our system that are not lupid or fat soluble.

What if something does get through?

Skin is only our first line of defense; it is hardly our last.  Our immune system, circulatory system, and digestive system are all constantly working together to keep our whole body clean and healthy.  Our body is designed to filter out toxins, bacteria, and germs and remove them from our body.

So, if our body is so great at getting rid of bad things, why are so you concerned with switching to healthier options?

Our modern life is filled with a hailstorm of germs, bacteria, and chemicals.  While our bodies are adept at filtering all of these out and keeping us healthy, things like stress and worry can diminish our bodies abilities to fight back.  My goal is to limit the amount of chemicals I put on my body.  Even though my skin will keep a majority of harmful things out of my body, I still find more value in providing it with supplemental products that help it do its job instead of making it work harder.  Furthermore, if I know that it is safe to ingest, I know that it will be safe to put on my skin. Coconut oil is one such supplemental product that has a multitude of health benefits for our bodies.

Here is an awesome excerpt on the benefits of coconut oil!

“Coconut oil is an excellent skin conditioner containing medium-chain triglycerides, naturally occurring fats which deeply penetrate, moisturize and acts as a protective barrier against environmental and free radical damage. The oil also provides sun protection by screening 20 percent of ultraviolet exposure.

Coconut oil is rich in anti-oxidants and bursting with the natural microbial and antibacterial agents caphrylic and capric acids. . Its ability to smooth the skin while infusing with anti-oxidants makes it a perfect anti-aging moisturizer. Moreover, it contains vitamin E, another antioxidant popular for hastening the recovery of skin abrasions, burns and other trauma. (http://www.naturalnews.com)”

Sounds pretty great to me! Which is why I’m making the change to using coconut oil in place of eye makeup remover in today’s #swapitoutsunday

Thanks for visiting!

 

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

Would you like to get more from The Essentialist Movement?

“Like” me on Facebook – The Essentialist Movement

Follow me on Instagram – @theessetialistmovement

Send us an email – theessentialistmovement@gmail.com

 

Sources: (And great reads in themselves!)

The Busy Women’s Guide to Saving the World

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I’m very busy.  You are very busy.  We are all VERY busy.

Saving the world sounds like a pretty daunting task. The good news is it doesn’t have to be.  There are small, everyday changes that you can make to reduce waste and help the environment.  We all know how important it is to reduce, reuse, and recycle – but how consistent are we with making these things into positive habits?  The key, I’ve found, is making it easier for yourself.  When we remove the barriers that form our excuses, these small little changes can add up to big things and they become regular habits.

Recycling

Here is an awesome video that demonstrates the importance of recycling. 🙂

Now, let’s make it easier to do, shall we?

Our community just recently added curbside recycling to our regular garbage pick-up.  Whahoo! Though they always had a drop-off site in the middle of town, it can be pretty easy to talk yourself out of driving aaaaaaalllllll the wwwwwwwwaaaayyy over there.  Even so, we dropped off our recycling on a pretty regular basis, but it so much more convenient that they have a curb-side pick-up service!  To make it EVEN easier, I keep my big blue bins right out in the open.  I don’t care if they are not pretty – they sit in a hidden corner of my kitchen and I have easy access to them at all times.  They are not tucked away in a closet or stored in a garage.  Then on the first and third Wednesday of the month, I haul them out to the curb – easy-peasy. 🙂  The city even dropped off the three containers when I signed up – for free.  Having three separate buckets means that I can sort as I go. Seriously, can this BE ANY EASIER?!?

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Composting

Composting is another great way to reduce your waste and recycle the nutrients for future use in your garden.  We got an Earth Machine composting bin from my in-laws.  It is so easy to use!  Just screw into the ground, dump in food scraps, and let the sun do its thing – so easy! Still why is it so hard to walk aaaalllllll the wwwwwwwwwwaaayyyyyy out the eeeeeeennnnnddddddd of the yard to compost? Too lazy, erm, busy! 😉

So I put two bins in my fridge – one for food scraps for the chickens and one for regular compost.  Keeping it in the fridge means it stays “fresh” so I don’t have to run outside EVERY time I cut up some fruit or make a salad.  I can let a bit of food pile up and then take it out at my leisure.  Bonus points – I even recycled old containers to make the buckets!  Maybe some day I will buy nice stainless steel buckets, but for now it is about establishing good habits. 11798442_10207194929849739_875270763_n

These are just two examples of ways to make it easier on yourself to reduce waste and recycle.  Now stop making excuses! What ways can you find to make it easier on yourself to do positive things to impact the environment? A little time, thought, and effort NOW, could equal BIG results over the LONG-TERM in the FUTURE.  I believe in you!

Thanks for visiting!

 

The Essentialist Movement is my personal journey towards health and happiness that I hope will inspire you too!

Would you like to get more from The Essentialist Movement?

“Like” me on Facebook – The Essentialist Movement

Follow me on Instagram – @theessetialistmovement

Send us an email – theessentialistmovement@gmail.com