Saturday, May 26, 2012

All Natural Bug Repellent

Ah, tis the season.  Sprinklers, water tables, wading pool, bugs and mosquitoes.  Yum.  I hate Off spray.  First of all, it feels all chemical-y.  This is because it IS all chemical-y.  Secondly, if you spill it on hardwood floors, it stains for all eternity.  So I started doing a little research on some all-natural bug repellents, me desire being to find one that packs a punch, but is also safe for my little rash monster, Malcolm.  I went to my local Whole Foods Market, loaded up on some essential oils and came up with a fragrant little concoction that kicks bug-butt and seems not to be causing a reaction on Malcolm's uber-sensitive skin.  I will have to see how he is in the morning, but thus far (after 2 test applications on his thigh and one all-over application), he is rash-free.

What you need are essential oils (available at Whole Foods or other natural food markets), a carrier oil such as grape seed oil or olive oil and witch hazel or rubbing alcohol.  I chose witch hazel with aloe vera in it in the hope that it would do more skin protecting for my rash-prone little chunk of mosquito bait.

Some oils that are good for bug repellent are:

Rose Geranium
Cedar (or Cedarwood)

This is a 10% mixture - the oils comprise 10% of the over all compound.  You can play around with the strength, but since my kiddos are so little, I wanted something a little gentler on the skin and some essential oils can be an irritant.  The olive oil is great for your skin, too, though it does feel a little heavy.  I might try a lighter oil next time, but all in all I am pleased with my experiment.

1 fluid ounce of Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera (aloe vera optional)
1 fluid ounce of olive oil
35 drops of citronella essential oil
25 drop of cedarwood (or cedar) essential oil
15 drops of lemongrass essential oil
15 drops of lavender essential oil

10 drops of clove essential oil

Mix them all together and shake well (as well as before each use).  I did a little test.  I went outside without any bug spray from 15 minutes and came in with 7 mosquito bites.  I slathered up with my concoction and went out for 15 minutes and came in with one additional mosquito bite -  on my lower back where I had neglected to spray and apparently my shirt was too short.  I hope I wasn't flashing any plumber's crack while I was at it.

The thing with natural bug sprays is they don't last as long as chemical sprays.  You have to reapply every 90 minutes or so, or whenever you notice the bugs getting friendlier.  I sprayed the grass around where we were sitting, and that kept the bugs down in our general vicinity as well.

A few notes - while essential oils are generally safe for topical application, they should never be ingested (or these shouldn't - I don't know about ALL essential oils).  So keep out of reach of children, never apply to the hands or feet of a baby who is prone to sucking on hands and feet, keep out of the eyes and the mouth and generally use common sense.  Don't apply to children under 6 months of age and apply sparingly to children ages 6 months to 2 years.  Please talk to your child's doctor before applying this or any other natural product to your children.

Also, what works for one person may not work for everyone, so if this isn't your magic bullet, play around with some other oils or a different concentration and see what you can come up with.  If nothing else, you'll smell nice trying!

DISCLAIMER: The statements made here are purely education and have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are by no means intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lucy and Malcolm - My Babies at Birth

I am a terrible record-keeper.  I had intentions to keep a baby book, but simply...didn't...I had to scroll through  2.5 years of posts in my online mom's group to find Lucy's information.  Therefore, before Malcolm's babyhood passes me by, and before Lucy goes to college, I am going to document my babies.  I'll catch up on them together.  Here is post one of Lucy and Malcolm, side by side.
 Lucinda Belle Corbett           Malcolm Oliver Corbett
  8 lbs 4 oz                             8 lbs 14 oz
20.5" long                             21" long

Lucy was born on September 8, 2009, two days before her due date.  She was born at home (read about it here).  Lucy was not a sleeper (we never got more than 2 hours of sleep for a very long time), and had a really tough time nursing at first.  We had all kinds of interesting a painful breastfeeding issues in the first 10 weeks.  But oh the unbearable cuteness of being...She tested

Malcolm was born on September, 23, 2009, 12 days before his due date.  He was also born at home (read about it here and here).  Malcolm tricked us into thinking he was a good sleeper.  We got our little two week "honeymoon" when he slept forever, all day and night...and then he sprung his midnight waking ways on us.  Sneak!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Conversations with Lucy: I Had A Accident!

Lucy has been potty trained for about 6 weeks now, and rarely has accidents.  In fact, I can think of three - including naptime accidents.  So I trust her to go and use the potty if she needs to if I have go to get something or other done.

This particular morning, I HAD TO EAT.  I mean, it was desperate.  I am not sure why the morning had gone on so long without me stuffing my ever-gaping maw.  So I went to the kitchen (up a half- flight of stairs and across the hall) to make some eggs.  Just as the eggs hit the frying pan, I hear, "Mama!  I had a accident!"


Me (nicest voice possible, even though my stomach lining is now eating itself): That's okay sweetie.  It happens.  Did you pee?

Lucy: No.

Double crap.  I now I think I mean this literally.

Me: What happened?  (Are these eggs cooking more slowly than usual...?)



I turn off the stove and go downstairs to assess the damage.  Lucy has an entire TRIPLE ROLL OF TOILET PAPER, unrolled, in her hands.

Ah.  THAT kind of accident.

Me:  Lucy, put it down.  I am going to finish my eggs then I'll come help you clean it up.

I eat my now-cold toast and weirdly cooked eggs and head downstairs.

Me: What happened, Lucy?  I asked you to stop doing this.

Lucy:  What happened?

Me: I don't know, I'm asking you.  What happened?

Lucy: What did happen?

Me: (indicating the drifts of toilet paper) What can we do so this doesn't happen anymore?

Lucy: What?

Me: Do we need to have all the toilet paper torn into little sheets so when you wipe you don't have to unroll it all?

Lucy: I already wiped.

Me:  I know. The next time you use the potty.

Lucy:  I already used the potty.

Me:  I know.  I mean...never mind.  Please don't do this anymore.

Lucy: What happened?


To her credit, when I took the paper back to the bathroom (all torn up into individual sheets), there only were two little square of paper in the toilet.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Day in Pictures

Lucy and I had a particularly satisfying day of fun on Wednesday.  Three big fun projects, a little impromptu gardening, three different outfits and a lot of water!

Dyeing Ice Cubes

Sidewalk Painting

Watering the Garden and Puddle Jumping

Ice Eggs