Beauty Care: Face Wash, Sleepy Rollers, and Tummy Tuck!

(Tummy tuck? What? Go on, please!)

Dear adorable,

The husband and I came home to Seattle for a brief visit, and I kicked off the #seattleoiltribe happenings with a huge beauty make & take! We made four different items, using the Base lotion in some of them, and we did a lot of Zyto scans. And mostly, we visited, we laughed hysterically until we snorted (true story!) and we loved being with friends we hadn’t seen for months and years!!!

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I flew out to Seattle with the two babies, and Gary followed a few days later. I met many wonderful friends on the flight from Virginia to Washington state, and they made my trip a peaceful and painless experience.

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When I was planning my trip, I ordered essential oils, containers and ingredients for the make & take items from Virginia, and had them shipped straight to my mom’s house in Seattle. This was perfect! The first event in Seattle was on a Saturday.

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We opened the doors early for Zyto scans and assessments. Using galvanic skin response, the same technology as a polygraph test, the hand scan takes about three minutes and measures 74 biomarkers in your body, seeing what is out of range. This tool does not diagnose or treat disease. Neither do I!

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Before class began, we made a huge batch of the Base lotion. I mean, it was a bathtub-size bowl that my mom uses to make chocolate chip cookies at Christmastime. I used over seven pounds of shea butter in one sitting – and we blew through virtually the entire monstrous bowl of lotion over the course of the class. It was INSANE! I loved every minute of it!!

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I live-streamed the event on Periscope (find me there, Andrea Huehnerhoff. You can watch my classes live, too!).

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We made individual Zyto rollers for everyone, based on their Zyto scans – this is one of my favorite things to do. Immediate solutions!!

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We made Sleepy Time Rollers for rolling on your feet just before bed; Silky Foaming Face Wash for refreshing your skin.

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And the insanely popular Tummy Tuck Lotion for those areas of skin that yearn to be tight again. We ran out of THIS before class even ended, and I’m making more already!

And there are so many other things we can make!

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So many oils! I went a little crazy hehehaha

Download all five recipes here
(Sleepy Roller, The Base, Tummy Tuck)

Tummy Tuck Lotion
I use this as a part of my post-partum tummy tightening protocol! 

2 ounces base lotion
5 drops Geranium
5 drops Lavender
5 drops Grapefruit
5 drops Elemi
Where to buy containers, ingredients, and effective essential oils

Place base lotion in a 2-ounce container.
Add essential oils and gently combine using a chopstick or another small implement.
Keep tightly sealed in a cool place out of direct sunlight.

Download all five recipes here

I look forward to seeing you at one of our events … online, or in person – in Seattle, or in Virginia – or anywhere else in the world!!!!!

Blessings,

Andrea

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Camille’s Borning: A True Story

Dear wise,

I almost called the midwives that morning to tell them this was The Weekend. I had talked it over with Gary, and said if we could choose, what would be the best time for baby to come? He was in a Navy school and wouldn’t be able to take paternal leave until the middle of the month, and she was due on the 8th; he said Friday the 5th, or some time that weekend. It was the morning of Thursday, June 4th.

Three years ago Jakob had been born at home, with the same nurturing midwives that were attending this second birth. I had had a full 24 hours of gentle pre-labor before the midwives came to Jakob’s birth, and then I had true and actual labor all through the night until his birthday happened at half-past 6 on a Thursday morning.

Now it was another Thursday morning, and I was planning for a birth. If the baby comes today, I don’t want there to be dirty dishes, I thought, as I scrubbed the kitchen spotless. I’ll need food. I made two loaves of paleo almond spongebread, four batches of paleo carrot muffins, a mountain of bacon-wrapped pecan-stuffed dates. It seemed like now I was feeling something, an awakening in my belly, but it was hard to tell because couldn’t I just be imagining it, from wanting it so hard?

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I was teaching yoga that evening; every Thursday, I taught a power yoga class at 5:00PM. My students infused me with love and inspiration – how long will you teach before baby comes? they asked me, joyful for my joy. Until the very last minute! I promised hopefully. I wanted to squeeze in every class I could.

Jakob was going to stay with Auntie Cass while I taught yoga. I packed him toys … and then clothes, and extra undies, and some money, and when I dropped him off I buckled his car seat into her car and told her, just in case, what if he stays here with you tonight…? I wondered if it could really be True!

I was signing students in for class. The owner of the studio, a gracious and humble yoga practitioner, helped me with the details. If you need me to teach class today, she reminded me, I came by just in case! I chuckled and said Nah, it’s fine. And then I thought, should I ask her to teach, and just go home now? But that seemed such a waste, I was already here; and anyway, I wasn’t really having a baby yet, actually. I kept poking my stomach – is it getting hard? Is that a contraction, or did I just flex a muscle by accident? Vagueness!

The class was incredible. The students were on fire. A mother and daughter were there, visiting from out of town. They decided to take a yoga class on their vacation, and bought clothes for it that morning. Everyone was excited about my belly and the promise of joy! I was moving between the students, assisting their poses, watching them blossom and unfurl. Then, yes, definitely. That was a contraction. I used the lightest touch to guide fingertips in Virabhadrasana II, and as I stepped away from the student’s space, yes, another one. Wow. I kept moving, talking. With a firm grip, I guided a student into her most expansive Trikonasana and she expanded more when I moved away, owning her pose, and I began to sweat because whoa, I can still speak, but breathe. 

They all settled down for savasana. I gave them final adjustments as they slipped into a deep, conscious rest, recovering from the poses. For the first time as a teacher, I rolled up my mat and put it away during savasana; I put my blocks back on the shelf. I sat down to wait, and then slowly recalled them to wakefulness. Smiling and congratulating me, they all said We can’t wait to hear when you have the baby!!! I said, I take a picture of every class in my mind, and I wonder, is this the last class before baby comes? I’m taking a picture of you now!

The next teacher was already in the lobby, getting ready to check her students in. I had heard her come in. I walked from the studio into the lobby and, pulling the door closed immediately behind me I said, “My water just broke.” And the split second I said that, it did. June leaped from the desk. Oh my word! What can I do! I asked for a yoga blanket, and she brought me one. I draped it around myself and sat down, getting my phone out. I could feel Life now, wrapping easily around my abdomen and then gently squeezing, squeezing. I think I’ll call the midwife.

The students were excited, thrilled, everybody anxious to help. June said, What can I do? What shall I do for you? I went downstairs to the entry and sat on a chair, I didn’t think I could stand. I called the midwife and told her I felt fine to drive home, they didn’t seem very strong, I don’t really know, I don’t think there’s a big hurry or anything. I called Gary at work. He immediately headed home. There’s no big rush, I reassured him. There’s a big rush for me! he said. Later, the visiting mother and daughter recalled this moment as the highlight of their trip.

I got in the car to drive home, June offering to take me if I needed. I felt fine, and they weren’t so strong I couldn’t drive. I called Mom, and she was pleased. I hung up and then, Strong. It’s only a fifteen minute drive, but the lights were so long. Then they seemed awfully close, the contractions. I started noting the time each contraction started. By the time I got home – golly, three minutes, maybe four minutes apart, was that even possible?

Gary was getting the house ready, pulling out my birth supplies. The diffuser was sighing softly with essential oils. I took a shower. I kneeled down when I got out, to ride the contraction over, and then I pulled a shirt on. I was sitting on the toilet, gosh it was comfortable there. The midwife came in the house, and I knew she was near me but my eyes were closed so quiet inside, so peaceful in here. I made a sound because that seemed like what she would be expecting. She padded softly away and I heard her murmuring with Gary. “Beautiful … just fine … ”

I came out to the living room to visit. She was setting her things up, unloading her bag. I felt a little guilty. I hoped I wasn’t unnecessarily alerting everyone, maybe over-dramatizing my contractions. I would just feel so badly if she had to pack it all up and go home and come back later! Let’s listen to heart tones, she suggested. Whenever you feel ready. I reclined on the couch and she was listening. The other midwife arrived, and they smiled and approved of the heart tones. Baby was positioned just right!

I was sitting on the floor. My eyes had closed again, better to stay in here. It seemed so bright outside. Can somebody turn out this light? It snapped off. I should have babies more often! I could live like this! I think the midwife apprentice came. I think I was rocking maybe, and groaning through some of the contractions, or making heavy kind of dramatic-sounding sighs.

Can I sit on the toilet? They said yes. Gosh, it just feels so good to sit there. No pressure on the tailbone or anything. I was going through each contraction sort of curiously. I want to move through these, it’s a nice rest in between, just feeling the squeeze and the tautness.

Gary, I said in a tiny voice, and he was there. I had to speak just right, so small so I wouldn’t use any muscles by accident. In between surges of strength in my belly, I said, Could you put … Jakob’s little stool … by the bed … and lay a towel on it? It took so long to speak, but I couldn’t explain myself or open my eyes, because of using Energy. Then I moved out and kneeled on the stool, draping across the bed, and that felt so much better although comfortable didn’t exactly fit, but there I was, and Gary sat in front of me and I could hold his arms so I didn’t slide off.

Did I hear you push? said the midwife. She must be crazy, because I have no idea, really. It seems like I only just got home, and we must have hours and hours to go, maybe another day, so probably not yet. She’s coming in the room. Yes, the head is right there, she said, and like what? I’m not thinking lots of thoughts, just feeling, and just breathing as far down as I can like Pranayama, yoga here, in the bedroom, in the dark, with my eyes closed, making whatever sounds feel the best, and pulling on Gary’s arms, and I open my eyes just one second to see his face and then it’s better to close them again but he’s smiling at me, and she says behind me, Breathe down, breathe down, then push, we want to slow this down, and she had essential oils in a spray bottle because I had asked her to, and in between my teeth grinding together I say to her, Just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it, so I can follow her words exactly with my eyes closed and not have to think up if I want to breathe or not, then, push, and head, and shoulders and the whole baby is here and I flop back onto towels because our floor is hardwood, and I pick baby up. Baby is in my arms.

I close my eyes, and lean my head back. The best and purest kind of exhaustion flows through me as I fold naked, slippery Baby in my arms. Two rivers of emotion rush side by side as I feel utter contentment and joy and Finished. The other river is sorrow and grief because some of my dearest friends had this moment stolen from them by Fate and the memories of the little souls are imprinted on me forever.

Then I look at Gary, who has such a face of love and joy. I don’t remember seeing the midwives but they were there. Somebody had a flashlight. I wanted to see if our baby was a boy or a girl, and when I pulled the towel back they shined the light and she was Camille.

I stood up with help and held my baby. She was still tied to me with the umbilical cord. She was born and not born at the same time, she was in two worlds. The blanket of the bed was pulled back and some absorbent pads laid there, and I crawled in so relieved to rest, so happy. So happy. The midwife helped me pull off my t-shirt and then Camille nursed, she knew her job. More contractions, the placenta, and then more contractions but softer now, because the uterus has to get small again and wait for the next baby.

The midwives went about their tasks – the mysterious and magical things that happen when a new soul emerges from the waters and welcomes us to care for it. They went over their notes in the living room while Gary and I rested on the bed. It was 9:30 – it had only been two hours. And I ate, I ate so much! The muffins, the bacon, nectarines, I drank water, I feasted! It wasn’t yet midnight when they tucked us in. Gary had sent a message to Cassandra, and Jakob was spending the night there and he was already asleep and Cassandra said he had so much fun playing and watching a movie. Baby curled up on my chest, unwashed, the vernix drying on her skin, and the three of us slept until morning.

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August Whole30 giveaway + a really fabulous smoothie recipe!

Do Whole30 with me this August!!!
Giveaways included … read on!!!!!!!!!

Dear healthy pack,

I LOVED doing a Whole30 challenge during my pregnancy, so much so that I want to do another one now that baby #2 is here! (Did I mention? I had a baby last month. Second home birth, and it ROCKED. More to come on that.)

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We just passed our 6-week post-partum mark, and we’ve been eating [mostly] Paleo since the birth, but now that I am ably cooking, shopping and *sigh* housecleaning again, it’s time to get down and dirty and really serious about post-partum recovery [aka losing the baby weight]. As you all know, I worked hard on developing my body after the first baby was born, and I am ready to do it again!

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What is Whole30, you ask suspiciously? You know me, we just eat Real Food all the time, so I am not a fan of diets. Whole30 isn’t a diet, it’s more of a month-long cleanse. Read more about it on their website. A cleanse of habitual behavior, snack urges, food dependencies and inflammation. You can take it longer – to a Whole60 or Whole90 and beyond – if you want to continue seeing your physical successes. Then, you transition gently off into a Real Food lifestyle. This is not hard. In fact, it’s mad fun. And the results are mad good. The food is delicious, too. Sorry, no starvation, if you’re the self-flagellating ascetic type. [And yes, there are vegan and vegetarian options for Whole30!]

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Do Whole30 with me this August2015!  A few friends and I were planning to start Whole30 on August 1, and I thought – why not have you guys join in, too?! I could really use the support, and it’s fun to do something crazy like this TOGETHER! I wanted to make it even more interesting, so I threw a few giveaways into the mix. Everybody who does Whole30 this August with me will be entered into a drawing for a bottle of SliqueEssence, a dietary blend of herbal extracts and essential oils. Everybody who shares the challenge with three people (tag them on Facebook or Instagram or share this blog post) is entered into a drawing for NingXia Red samples, a blend of fruit purees and essential oils that is high in antioxidants and very detoxifying! And I have a few other giveaways, hitherto unmentioned, that I’ll be sharing!

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Ways to join the pack

My Facebook page  |  Find me on Facebook and we can throw ideas around, I’ll post giveaways, and of course – FOOD.

The Facebook event  |  Join the Facebook event for recipes, before and after pictures, tips from old pros at Whole30 and commiseration in case it DOES seem hard and, who knows, maybe more giveaways. I have a few cookbooks that you might be interested in!!

Follow my Instagram feed  |  There’s just so much delicious food in this world, it should be shared. Recipes and giveaways and the occasional cute picture of a kitten or a baby. @farmandhearth

See me on Periscope  |  Find me on Periscope (Andrea Huehnerhoff) for fast recipe ideas and encouragement!  Fun and short videos are available for 24 hours only, so download the app to your phone today!

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Get a few books, if you want – there are loads of recipes on the Internet (Pinterest is your friend here!), but I do wish I had the Whole30 book the first time I did it – some of the non-recipe practical advice and encouragement would have been GREAT.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom|  Great, fabulous, well-written and of course loaded with full-color pictures. So much good practical advice; so much.

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle|  Not EVERY recipe in here is Whole30, but a lot of them are; and ALL of them are part of the Real Food lifestyle. Plus, there is a whole first half loaded down with solid information on the body, inflammation, and meal-planning.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways|  More Whole30 goodness so you don’t, you know, starve for the 30 days.

Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals|  I love, love this book for inspiralation [lol] and ideas, and recipes. Pasta? Sure. Take a zucchini and spiralize that bad boy.

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Are you in?

It’s time.

I can’t wait to see you join me on Whole30! Now, here’s that smoothie recipe!!

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Coco-Almond Dream
An absolutely splendid smoothie. The best I’ve had all year. They just keep getting BETTER!!

Printable PDF

2 frozen bananas, chopped
2 cups whole raw milk or nut milk
1/3 cup almond butter
2 large spoonfuls of creamy plain yoghurt
1/4 cup or less of aloe juice
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons chia seeds
A sprinkle of Himalayan salt
Dash of cinnamon
Splash of almond extract

Place all ingredients in blender, in order listed. Slowly increase to high and blend for about one minute, or until fully homogenized. Serve, sprinkled with more coconut or cinnamon if you like!

Toodles,

Mrs H

I’ll be drinking an ounce of NingXia Red with 2 – 4 drops of SliqueEssence every day during my Whole30 – they are not necessary to the program, I am choosing to add them in! If you want to start out your Whole30 with these, you can order them here as a retail customer. Or, if you prefer, purchase the Premium Starter Kit for $160 (it’s on sale for $150 until August 13th, 2015), and add NingXia Red and SliqueEssence on to your order as a wholesale customer! Use 4321 as your PIN and I’ll be able to personally handle your customer service. Your kit counts as your membership card, so once you have it, you can buy anything at wholesale. The kit is valued at around $300, so it’s a sweet deal! It includes 11 of the top essential oils and blends at therapeutic [superstrong] quality, a few samples of NingXia Red, a diffuser, a bunch of mini sample packets of oils and blends, a pack of dram bottles and a few other odds and ends!  

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Summer Make & Take Recipes – including sunscreen and bath diffusers!

Dear tribe,

Periodically, we host a “make & take” for our tribe [our community of family members connected by a love of healing and encouraging each other in everything from drinking bone broth to loading the dishwasher], where oilers, new and experienced alike, gather together and combine knowledge, skills and ingredients to make a menu of essential oil-infused items. There is usually a theme, such as Pregnancy and Childbirth or Home Cleaning Closet, and it is always an educational and lively experience with lots of food and good company!

Sometimes we get a little TOO lively, but we always make it home safely at the end of the day.

This recipe folder is from my summer-themed event and includes an allergy roller, bath diffusers, sunscreen and a new variation of that beloved summer body lotion – as well as The Base!

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Download the Summer Make & Take recipe file here
Find resource links for all the ingredients and tools used in the recipes

Detoxifying Bath Diffusers
from the Summer Make & Take

Customize your bath diffuser based on your need! A few variations are suggested below. These also make great foot-soak bombs! 

Makes 12 bath diffusers

3 cups baking soda
1 to 1-½ cups filtered water
6 drops each of preferred essential oils (see below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with foil liners.

  1. Measure the baking soda into a bowl, and slowly whisk in water to make a thick paste. Divide evenly into cupcake liners.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes; alternatively, let them air-dry overnight. Once they are finished baking, remove paper-lined discs from the pan and set on a cooling rack.
  3. Once they are cooled, distribute essential oils drops across the top. Remove from paper liners and store in an airtight glass container.
  4. To use: set a disc on the floor of the shower out of the shower’s spray, or drop one in the tub.

Allergy Soother: 6 drops each of lavender, peppermint and lemon
Morning Refresher: 6 drops each of Citrus Fresh and grapefruit
Weight Loss Trio: 6 drops each of peppermint, lemon and grapefruit
Sleep Aid: 6 drops each Peace & Calming, lavender and cedarwood
The following are recommended for shower diffusing only
Respiratory Relief: 6 drops each of R.C. and lavender
Virus Purge: 6 drops each of Thieves and lemon
Sore Muscles and Congestion Relief: 6 drops Panaway and copaiba

Download the Summer Make & Take recipe file here
Find resource links for all the ingredients and tools used in the recipes

Watch the video! That’s right, even at nine months pregnant I’m something of a movie star. Watch me prepare everything from the recipe file in 25 minutes.

If you’re using your starter kit (see the P.S. at the end of the blog) and you aren’t familiar with how to use the wonderful oils that come in the kit, here’s another graphic made by a friend of mine to help you get started. Use this to customize your bath diffusers or lotions based on your individual needs.

To better living without chemicals!

Mrs H

P.S. As always, if you haven’t gotten started on your own journey of healing with essential oils, I would love to welcome you to the oil tribe and get you connected to your own starter kit. Follow the link here and use PIN 4321 so I can provide customer care for you, and we’ll begin something great together! Connecting you to a sponsor is Young Living’s way of ensuring everybody gets their kit with information and individualized oil love, so if you want, we’ll connect to talk about what you really need to get out of your oils. 

It brings me to tears to see the revolutionary changes these oils are bringing about in people’s lives around me, especially in my own family. I enjoy every moment of learning with them. Come to the tribe! We’re ready for you. 

Ordering Details: I began by ordering the Premium Starter Kit – it includes a wholesale membership to all of Young Living’s products, so you can purchase anything else at a discount immediately by clicking “view more products”. 

Summer Body Lotion: detoxing and flushing hibernation fat!

I’m not a doctor or medical professional. This product and any statements made herein are not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any medical illness or symptom. The information is for educational purposes and as a guideline for personal use; it should not replace medical counseling with a health professional.

Dear emerging, blinking hibernators,

Miraculously, spring has arrived. It’s still snowing here in parts of Virginia, but we’ve had a few tantalizingly balmy days to assure us that summer is soon to follow!

I’ve become fascinated by essential oils, after using them to heal a cavity, obtain a week of full nights’ deep sleep for the first time in 7-1/2 months of pregnancy, soothe the husband’s aching muscles after a 50k, detoxify our little boy from free-radicals (as much as one can) after an emergency CT scan, and just using the darn things to make my house smell good! To tell you the truth, I was kind of sick of hearing about essential oils from everybody on my Facebook feed – but when these issues cropped up for me, and a wise aromatherapist friend stepped in with essential oils, I sighed begrudgingly and took the plunge.

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Now there is no going back for me! I’m wholeheartedly sold, in love. That’s the power of experiencing my own healing at the hands of plants, in my own life. It’s how I got hooked on eating organic and local, for instance! And on that note, let’s not ignore the other aspects of a healthy lifestyle – spending time away from the screens, outside, in the fresh air, eating well, living as purely as possible … and essential oils help bridge necessary gaps in our nutrition, healing and detoxifying regimens!!

So, about those bonus layers of fat we want to release. A friend of mine, after working hard to gain a trim body after three children, was frustrated by a layer of belly fat that persisted. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a sign of loving, hard work dedicating her body to bearing beautiful babies – but she just wanted to get rid of it. She started massaging coconut oil and grapefruit essential oil into her belly, and do I need to say the rest? She finally achieved her goal.

Knowing that in a few months I’ll be flushing out loads of extra baby fat from this pregnancy, I created what I call the Summer Body lotion! You can make your own Summer Body lotion with essential oils and coconut oil, or make it into a massage oil with another carrier oil if you’re allergic to palm oils. Following, I’ve provided the recipe for you to download.

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20150324_151827It looks a lot like frosting, but be ye not deceived!

Download recipe and fact sheet for Summer Body Lotion

Summer Body Lotion

Solid Organic Coconut Oil, expeller-pressed or virgin*
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Tangerine Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil
Gentle Baby Young Living Essential Oil Blend
Peppermint Essential Oil**

Scoop the solid coconut oil into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Do not melt the coconut oil. Add essential oils, approximately one drop per ounce of carrier oil; it’s up to you if you want to go stronger! Beat with an electric mixer or the whisk attachment of the stand mixer until oil is fluffy and whipped, and essential oils are thoroughly homogenized into the oil. If using a liquid oil to replace coconut oil, or using fractionated coconut oil, whisk or blend thoroughly before transferring to container. Scoop into jars and cap; store in a cool, dark place. Slather on belly, or any other troublesome areas, daily or twice daily. Avoid applying to areas that will be exposed to sun or UV light in the next 24 hours.

*Expeller-pressed coconut oil will have no coconut scent. Use virgin if you want that extra coconutty aroma! If you are allergic to palm oils, use a liquid oil instead, in the same ratio. Olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, tamanu oil or a combination would be excellent.

**I leave peppermint out of mine, since these days I am always either pregnant (peppermint, as a digestive aid, can induce labor), or breastfeeding (peppermint, as an agent to dry mucus membranes, can potentially dry up milk supply). It’s optional to add!

Download recipe and fact sheet for Summer Body Lotion

Most importantly, remember to take before and after pictures – I know, taking before pictures is not very fun, but it’s really awesome to compare them with the after pictures!! Some people start seeing changes as quickly as three days of dedicated use in, so be prepared for exciting results!! Be sure to let me know how this lotion worked for YOU!!!!

Blessings,

Mrs H
Instagram that stuff! #farmandhearth

“I don’t have these essential oils yet!” 

Don’t worry!! If you don’t have your own stash of essential oils yet, or you’re building that collection up gradually like I was, I can help you buy a [heavily discounted] kit loaded with 11 of the most commonly used (and some of the most expensive!!!!) essential oils, along with other goodies like a [normally quite expensive] diffuser and some cool samples. Save some bucks and get some pure, organic oils! Leave a comment, contact me at andrea (.) globetrotter (@) gmail (.) com or click through this link!

Best Gifts for New and Expecting Mamas: Stocking Stuffers and Beyond

Note: Since this is a post with recommendations for pregnancy care,
there will be the occasional usage of anatomical terms referring to areas involved in pregnancy.

Dear Wondering What to Buy When She’s Expecting,

We’re joyfully expecting our second child, and while having two children by birth does not by any means make me an expert on childbirth, I am also privileged to be a doula and prenatal yoga teacher with a thick network of birth professionals and mamas that I communicate with constantly. Sometimes, the same issues come up over and over again in conversation, and the same favorite products win the prize every time … There are a few things that every mom deserves to have when she’s pregnant or newly delivered, and they aren’t the usual gadgets you might be thinking of (note that the hallowed boppy, treasured as those funnily-shaped pillows are, didn’t even make this list – we’re talking crucial crucial things here, the stuff that never makes the registry list!).

I know we're all expected to bend over backwards for pregnant mamas ... Photo by Matt Palalay

I know we’re all expected to bend over backwards for pregnant mamas but really … Photo by Matt Palalay

These are some hardcore “thank-you-thank-you-forever-how-did-you-know” gifts that will really make the transition into I Just Had a Baby-hood so much easier, gracefuler (??) and more pleasant. I’ve sorted them by price, so if you’re stuffing a stocking for the little one or mama, putting together a basket of sweet treasures, or going all out and blowing the big Gs on somebody special, you can find something that fits your budget!

Sometimes you feel like glowing, sometimes you don't!

Sometimes you feel like glowing, sometimes you don’t!

Under $10 – little things can make a big difference, dontcha know!

Witch Hazel Oil Towelettes $3.99

After birth, everything downstairs needs to heal and stay clean and fresh. For the first few weeks, a mister bottle with witch hazel and purified water (see below), spritzed on the areas in question after every restroom use, will do the trick of keeping the area so fresh and so clean clean. For on-the-go convenience, after maybe the first week (because really, who is going anywhere that first week, anyway?), the towelettes are very handy.

Unscented Witch Hazel $7.25

(See above) Witch hazel is an astringent, a toner (it tightens and shrinks pores!), and great for wound care (or stretched and sore tissue care!). It may or may not sting with stitches (I didn’t experience any stinging), and is recommended by birth professionals for after-birth lower-area care.

Candlelight Yoga $7.62   Favorite-Favorite

This yoga DVD isn’t prenatal or post-natal, it’s just a soothing and restorative class that can easily be done by mama, whether it be in the first trimester to combat morning sickness, or in the month after baby is born when she’s moving back into physical fitness. There’s a 15-minute class that is more energizing and active and might need to wait until a while after birth, and the main class is 45-minutes long (she can do that during the baby’s nap!), that is relaxing and rejuvenating. Sarah Ivanhoe, the featured talent and instructor, is a renowned yoga master now (this is one of her early works!). Her style is calming and easeful, with no “yoga weirdness”.

Multi-Use Spray Bottle $9.19

(See above) I really like this mister bottle for the witch-hazel and water, because instead of a finger pump it has a trigger pump, so I can hook it on the toilet paper dispenser in my bathroom. It makes it pretty hard to forget to use it during those first, fragile restroom visits! I continued to use the witch hazel and mister for several weeks, in tandem with the bottom balm (keep reading!).

Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm $8.71   Ultra-Favorite

I wouldn’t dare go past the 37th week without having this stashed in my top drawer, and even that’s pushing it (that pun was totally unplanned!). After having a baby vaginally, some things can sort of, well, be a little itchy for a while. It’s really nice, and really refreshing, and a real hair-pulling teeth-gnashing life-saver, to have something that can immediately, I say immediately soothe and appease the inflamed or angry areas of your body that so recently went through the greatest transformation of their life! I swear by this balm, and I buy it for every pregnant woman I know – it’s a gift that is always gratefully received. Yes, it is also safe for baby’s bottom, even with cloth diapers. Note that mama cannot use it until a few days or a week after birth, so if you have it on order, you have time to go drop it off after the baby is born!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter $8.99  Ultra-Favorite

Let’s get real for a minute here. All that new-baby suckling, or pump-machine-pumping, can leave our poor breasts a little chafed. This butter is another one of those gotta-have-it life savers that she’ll silently thank you for at three A.M., when she’s burning, sore and chapped, and this butter is the only thing that heals and soothes! Paired with some chilly ice packs and the coolness of fresh air (yes, leave those knockers out in the air for maximum healing effect!), the experience of nursing a newborn can be so much more pleasant and enjoyable.

Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience  $9.99    Ultra-Favorite

So much better than the What to Expect-type books that leave many moms fearful and heading to the pharmacy with every sneeze! Rather than victimizing and terrifying the new mom, this book empowers, uplifts, makes her chuckle and inspires. It addresses – in non-judgmental or snotty terms – c-section, vaginal birth, epidurals, drugs, hospital protocol and home birth. No matter what kind of birth mama may be planning – or not planning, since sometimes nature takes things on a new course! – this book will gently and reassuringly provide factual information. So many chunks of the book made me laugh out loud, and I had to read passages to my husband and sisters or anybody who happened to be nearby – you have questions, this book has answers! A fun, enjoyable read that leaves mama feeling refreshed, informed and happy.

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It’s wheely nice to practice yoga during pregnancy! Photo by Brian Pittman

$10 – 25 – for all you big spenders out there

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Tea $10.47

or  Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk $19.60

Especially useful for the mama who wants to produce more milk, these relaxing and milk-encouraging teas are a delight. Note that in the links I’ve provided, the Traditional Medicinals has twice as many tea bags. I consider both to be equally good, and leave it up to your preference!

Morton Epsom Salt, Plain  $11.99

After baby is born (as far as concerns vaginal births – I am not sure with c-sections), a sitz bath is a strong recommendation or even requirement for the new mama. Fill the tub with warm water about up to the hips (when sitting!), and dissolve a few cups of Epsom salts into the water. When mama is more stable (blood levels returning to normal!), she can take a deeper Epsom salt bath and this will help detox out any chemicals left from birth, if drugs were used, retained water, reduce her stress, and it will certainly help with muscle soreness. If the bath is any deeper than just the hips within the first month or two, or if mama is having any trouble whatsoever after birth, I would recommend a friend or partner sitting in the bathroom to keep her company. You can find Epsom salts in most grocery or drug stores, and I would suggest unscented (plain) for the beginning.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes $12.30

Those same milk-maid jugs can get hot and sore as new milk ducts are forced full of milk for the first time, and the situation can be a little painful at moments! Cool ice packs help soothe, but sometimes their poky plastic edges are just torture. These booby tubes (ain’t that name the cutest?), are soft, cloth-covered and shaped like little Cs, so they can rest oh-so-comfortably right there.

American Health Original Papaya Enzyme $12.58     Favorite-Favorite

When you’re pregnant, organs get a little smooshed and pushed out of the way like the arbitrary blobs of cells that they are – but wait, hey, that stomach? I was using that! I was planning on using those digestive tube thingies, too – urggh – now I can’t breathe, or digest my food, and it seems like I’m hiccuping, burping and, well, belching … Spare mama the pain of all that internal pressure with these relief-bearing, yummy chewables. Hey, I eat them for a snack, when nobody is looking, if you really want to know the truth.

Bella B Body Buzz Post-Pregnancy Cream $12.99

This delightful, nasty-ingredient-free lotion has a gentle fresh scent and is so soothing to the belly, butt and everywhere else that feels a little squooshy during and after pregnancy. I use it during pregnancy as well as after, because sometimes you just need to hear the word “firming” in your life at that time!

Right now mama is mostly folding diapers, not cooking ... but funny, people still want to eat!

Right now mama is mostly folding diapers, not cooking … but funny, people still want to eat!

$25 – 50 – A gift basket of edible goodies

Make mama a big basket for post-partum! Sometimes, preparing food can just be too much of an effort. A few ideas of things you can include are: pre-sliced cheeses (Trader Joe’s has a great cheese tray for only $5), and a variety of healthful crackers. Canned tuna (our favorite is the Tuna Guys, hands down, nets up!), fresh fruit and vegetables or even organic bagged salads, canned healthy soups, sparkling drink snacks such as Izze that don’t have corn syrup or sugar, and bottled kombucha (home-made, if you make it yourself!). Fermented foods such as jars of raw, refrigerated kimchi or kraut, kefir or yogurt will help her recovering gut bacteria (especially if she had a hospital birth and experienced any use of antibiotics or medication, or exposure to hospital equipment!), as well as help her milk to boost baby’s system. Some rich, organic chocolate will never be remiss, I am sure. Gift cards to grocery stores near to her such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s that have healthy deli options will probably be joyfully received.

 

Seedling Products $11 – 25 or more, if you buy them all

Young Living has an entire line of non-toxic care products for sweet little babies called Seedlings (with THE cutest logo of ALL TIME), and you can buy one or all for the new mama. My babies love an evening massage with essential oil-infused baby oil, and the wipes are my favorite – finally a non-toxic wipe with a yummy aroma!!

Love happens

Love happens

$150 + for the mama you just love SO much and who deserves the BEST 

Young Living Essential Oils Starter Kit + Lifetime Membership Discounts $160.00 Ultra-Favorite 

It’s hard to resist something that literally changed my own life during my pregnancy, and changed the trajectory of my life ever since! The gift of a starter kit comes with a lifetime of wholesale discounts and access to free oil gifts from the company, as well as a membership number she can share with other moms to get referral bonuses from Young Living. I’ve become so passionate about sharing these oils that they are now my favorite hobby, full-time income and educational platform! All the new mamas that get a starter kit through my referral link are gifted with welcome packets, educational information and access to secret educational groups.

kit oils

$400 and up – the big dollars for all that extra money burning a hole in your pocket

Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer $429.99    Ultra-Favorite

What’s the most important thing for a succesful, balanced pregnancy and the whole, natural recovery of mom after the birth? What is going to play a huge role in her risk of post-partum depression? What will be the number one factor in losing the baby weight and nursing with super-powered milk? Nutrition, of course. And juicing is an easy, one-handed way to accomplish that during pregnancy or during the hectic time after birth. You can drop whole pieces of fruit in this juicer, and it slow-masticates them – the way to get the most nutrition out of each piece of produce! Leaves, stems, kale and herbs can all go in. Add some ginger if her tummy is upset … throw in some cilantro and celery for detoxing after the epidural, and boost the oranges and lamb’s quarters to fend off illness, gain some Vitamin K for wound healing, and bolster the immune system.

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smoothie

Vitamix 5200 Series Blender $459.95    Ultra-Favorite

And what would this list be without a Vitamix on it? Honestly, you can make an entire dinner with one hand using the Vitamix – trust me, I’ve done it. I compiled a list of 70 awesome things you can do with your Vitamix because I am so in love with mine. I love making smoothies in it, grinding coffee, blending soup for dinner, and churning up cold, healthy ice cream (especially when I’m saying bye-bye to baby fat!). Any mama would be lucky to receive this as a gift. I recommend the 5200 Series Blender (see link above) because I find it the easiest to use; I’ve used most of the models of Vitamix (even the old, 1980s ones!), and this one is a snap. The only thing the modern blender cups are missing are the old spigots the blenders used to have – do you think they’ll ever bring those back?

 Cute Ideas for the Baby Book (and other recording-type books)

I’ve kept journals and diaries for just about my entire life, since I learned how to write. I have a box of them in the shed at Mom’s house – they’re a chuckle to go through! At first, I tried to keep my diaries secret and wrote them in a code I developed for just that purpose, but they were eventually discovered and decoded by my merciless siblings. I switched to a new tactic, where I wrote detailed accounts of everyday life and left the journals out for anyone to read, and everybody enjoyed seeing themselves in the stories I captured. These fun and unique books are some of the ways I like to continue that journal-keeping tradition – even though my time is significantly more limited now!

These three adorable books are by a Seattle artist, Nikki McClure.

The First 1000 Days: A Baby Journal  $12.08

The Next 1000 Days: A Journal of Ages Two to Six  $12.93

Embrace: A Pregnancy Journal  $13.43

Even more fun reading and writing …

The Belly Book: A Nine-Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly (Potter Style) $10.13

And for all you Moleskine addicts, yes, there’s even one for you!

Moleskine Passion Journal – Baby, Large, Hard Cover (5 x 8.25) (Passion Book Series) $16.55

Whatever you choose for the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life, your gestures of kindness and love will be deeply appreciated by the whole family – even if you don’t get a thank you card for a long time, or ever!  I hope this list has proved useful to you – and if you have additional ideas, let me know in the comments section!

Blessings,

Mrs H
Bountifully posting on Facebook
Reproducing images on Instagram

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In the kitchen looking for food, just a few hours after the [planned] home birth of our first baby.