Lemon Essential Oil

I am new to essential oils, but not new to home remedies. I grew up with a mother who was a Mother Earth News type (love you mom!). We had huge gardens. We canned. We made jams. We froze the fruits and vegetables that didn’t get canned. We lived on 35 acres of woods with 12″ thick walls for insulation and a wood stove. We used lanolin as moisturizer and apple cider vinegar for tummy upset. Whole wheat flour and brown rice were staples in the grocery cart. I grew up in a wonderful world and I think I have been trying to recreate it in my own way ever since.

A good friend introduced me to essential oils. I was intrigued and skeptical at the same time. I liked that it was a natural product, that it was presented as something I could explore on my own, and that not every oil works the same for everyone. I waited for a special project to be paid and was able to get my starter kit. Then I started doing what I love to do – link-clicking, experimenting, and jumping all-in (I’m a distributor now). Since I have gotten the kit I have had to reorder lemon, peppermint, lavender, and frankincense. We use a lot of lemon around our house. Girl-child loves it with peppermint in her diffuser. Boy-child and I love it in our bubbly water and bread.

Now that you’ve got my history – I can get to the good stuff. Everything I have discovered so far about Lemon Essential Oil. This post is information I have gleaned from various sources, from fellow oilers, and through observation. I should also tell you that I am not a medical professional and results will vary. Essential Oils are designed to support your journey to health and wellness. I hope you find something helpful below.

fresh-lemon-drop-juice-isolated-white-35838806Lemons. I have loved lemons for a long time. A wedge of lemon in my tea or water – yes please! Lemonade fresh squeezed at the fair – absolutely! Lemon drop candy. Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon cookies. Sigh. All this talk of lemony goodness – I must go bake – you’re on your own for this one.

(Cue elevator music)

Lemons are grown on an evergreen tree, Wikipedia told me so. The lemon (Citrus × limon*) is a species of small evergreen tree native to Asia. They grow to be about 20 feet tall and have pink/white flowers that smell amazing. The trees do have thorns. You can grow lemon trees in Minnesota, however, they must either be in a heated green house, or a planter that is brought in during the winter – they are not frost tolerant or suitable beyond zone 7. They prefer temperatures 55-70 degrees. When I was a kid we grew a lemon tree from seed – it was so cool to watch the rich green leaves sprout from its tiny branches. It did not live long enough to bear fruit, but was lovely. This summer I almost bought a citrus tree from the local greenhouse, but my ability to keep houseplants alive has only reached the level of succulents.

*It is important to pay attention to the species names of plants (Latin words giving official names to plants) of your essential oils. It gives a better idea of what is in the bottle and where it came from – and whether it will support what you want it to.

Lemon essential oil is cold pressed from the rind. It takes about 75 lemons to make one 15ml bottle of oil – that is a lot of lemonade leftover – send some my way please. The smell of lemon oil is intensely wonderful to me, citrusy, refreshing, reminiscent of baked goods (I better go check the oven).  Lemon oil is considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe for internal consumption – please note that not all oils are created equal, not all oils are pure, Young Living has a special label for oils that are considered by the FDA as GRAS). One of lemon’s most powerful tools is limonene.

This is a list I found of lemon oil’s chemical constituents. It contains terpenes specifically a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-terpinene, alcohols specifically linalool, Oxides, b-bisabolene, more terpenes like limonene, trans-a-bergamotene, as well such as nerol and neral. Did that just hurt anyone else’s brain? I easily found the list of chemicals. I also easily found a description of those chemicals. What I didn’t find was a list that combined the two. Most of the time I found statements about 1 chemical and its benefits, but the rest were absent.

*It is important to pay attention to the chemical constituents (little-bitty pieces making up everything-we’ll talk about this later) of your essential oils. It gives a better idea of what is in the bottle – and whether it will do what you want it to.

In other words, lemon is good for immune support, cleaning, digestive support, and supporting mood. Its tasty, smells like summer, and happens to be inexpensive (you can buy a 15ml bottle retail for $15 at young living – or become a member and save 24%).

About immune support: I enjoy cups of tea with lemon and honey when I am sick, and I give it to my kids too. When you are first starting out with oils you really don’t want to ingest any more than 1 drop per day of a pure oil – young living has their vitality line specifically labeled for ingestion. I am a lightweight when it comes to oils so I am very careful to only have 1 drop at first, and even now most days I stick with only 1 drop with the occasional mixture of 2-3 drops if I feel I really need it. Diffusing lemon oil adds such a summer smell to my house that I forget the gray sky, and start to feel better. It is amazing how much scent memory can improve a bad day.

I’m looking forward to perfecting a homemade honey lemon candy to use as cough drops.

About cleaning: Have you ever stopped to look at home many cleaning products include lemon? While they may have synthesized it down to a synthetic chemical compound, the idea is still there that lemon is what we think of when we are cleaning. In our house we use what we call volcano cleaner. Vinegar and baking/washing soda! While I know the chemical reaction between the two can cancel out its individual cleaning power we still love to use it, it is these two products plus lemon that comprises most of the information out there for home cleaning. Do you use baking soda when scrubbing grungy surfaces – add a drop of lemon to help cut the grease and sticky stuff. Add it to a spray bottle with vinegar and water to clean counters, tables, and other smooth surfaces. Make wood polish with a few drops in olive oil. Give your homemade laundry a summer fresh scent with a few drops.
I read a warning not to use Lemon oil on granite or stone, as it may etch the surface.

About digestion: My favorite home remedy for tummy troubles is apple cider vinegar. Now it may seem counter intuitive to take an acid when your stomach feels acidy – but I have found (learned from mom) that for me it evens me out. I usually have a teaspoon to a tablespoon in warm water with a titch of honey. I have also found that a drop of lemon in my bubbly water helps immensely. A great relief after Friday pizza night! This is not for everyone. Some people find they crave the milk/yogurt solution to stomach upset – it’s all about knowing yourself.

About lifting your mood: Summer, bright first thing in the morning. In the diffuser to get everyone going. In the afternoon when your flagging because it has been a long day and there is still homework to do. A drop in my water helps me wake up, and keep going – especially during a workout.

I find essential oils to be about experimentation – but that is who I am. I am a creative experimenter with an obsessive pursuit of information and ideas to try.

I’d love to have you join me on my oily adventure by clicking here and becoming a member.

Here are a few more tips I read online about the uses of lemon:

  • Mix lemon essential oil, baking soda and coconut oil and rub on your teeth for 2 minutes
  • Add it to your soap as you wash your hands to help with grease or sticky residue
  • Great for removing sticker residue and pine sap
  • Add it to your homemade bug spray
  • Add a drop to your evening moisturizer to reduce the appearance of blemishes
  • Add it to your conditioner for an aromatic treat that smoothes and shines your hair
  • A drop or 2 of lemon oil on a cloth during your rinse cycle to get rid of the stink that happens when you forget about laundry in the washer (never happens in my house wink wink) or put that same cloth in your dryer for a wonderful smell of warm summer when you take it out
  • Lemon will help soften callouses
  • Use your home cleaning spray to clean stinky dinner dishes (like onion and garlic residue)
  • Use lemon oil to polish up leather furniture
  • Helps remove tarnish
    Because some citrus oils like Lemon can cause photosensitivity, avoid applying to exposed skin before spending time outside.

Diffuse or take internally with Peppermint and Lavender to assist with seasonal respiratory discomfort.

 

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Making It From Scratch: Wool Dryer Balls II

I really, really, really want to make wool dryer balls – have you noticed that yet? I have heard from people that they would “totally buy them from me” if I could only figure them out. Motivation! There is a demand; I MUST fill the need.

Problem #1: I do not have roving.
Roving is wool in a pre-yarn state of existence. It occurs after raw wool has been gently cleaned and brushed. From what I can tell, the fibers all go in one direction and are magically joined into a beautiful rope-like structure which can then be spun into yarn. Discovery #1: there are also many other pre-yarn states like rolag which is usually what is made when hand carding. However, all the dryer ball instructions start with roving or worse – an old wool sweater.

Problem #2: I do not have carding brushes.
Carding brushes are the instruments used to straighten out the wool and make it soft, fluffy, and I assume, formable into roving or rolag. From what I have seen of them, they are 8″x4″ and come in a set of 2. I have seen them for sale, but have not yet had the funds to purchase them. Discovery #2: Roving is not made from hand carding brushes, it is made with a carding drum. Sigh.

And yet, I am determined to overcome these hurdles and make my own dryer balls by forming my wool into something closely resembling roving. It may be an imperfect union. But where there is a demand; I MUST fill the need. Here is what I did.

I pulled out a tuft of wool. By tuft I mean a clump loosely the size of a salt shaker. I carefully pulled out tiny yarn sized bits, then split those in half, letting the ends cling together so that I had a double length of wool that was soft and filmy. I added these bits to a flat line which I built up to be about 24 inches long by 2 inches wide and maybe 1/4″ thick with all wool generally pointed horizontally. I staggered the wooly bits so that they would overlap. Then I carefully rolled it like pigs in a blanket (or should I say lambs in a blanket) and ended with something slightly resembling roving – yippee. I carefully wrapped these roving-like pieces around a wad of wool. I built up my wool balls this way until they were almost the size of softballs. I was uncertain if this would work so I did not make them actually as big as softballs and as I progressed they were closer in size to baseballs. These were then stuffed into old nylons, and separated from each other by rubber bands.

With two rows of lumpy caterpillar looking things complete; I added them to the dirty laundry bags. I was desperate to give this a try, but our washing machine was on the fritz, which meant a trip to the laundry mat. Running to the laundry mat is always a complicated endeavor. First it must be timed just right in the day because of school and work scheduling as well as other errands to be paired with this trip into town. It also requires ransacking the entire house top to bottom for all possible dirty laundry. Then all the laundry is sorted by color (we do 3 batches, Black/Red colors, Blue/Green colors, and whites) and stuffed into feed bags. Farmers life note: feed bags make great laundry bags, trash bags, and sometimes snow sleds.

Once ready to wash, I put them in hot loads with the colors (no bleach please). Then dried them. Pulling them from the dryer and peeling back the stockings was so exciting. They now appear to be dryer balls, but the light color ones did not felt (the way wool compacts and hold tight as it is washed and agitated in hot water) as much as they should have. The dark brown ones firmed up nicely, but they are not even baseball sized, so clearly I must do more, and I wonder if I were to wash the light color ones again if they would firm up more. Maybe if I wash them enough, they would firm up completely and I could just keep adding layers until they reach the proper size like a big ol gobstopper of wooly goodness?

Whatever they are, I think they are so pretty. I brought one to work to keep on my desk and have been dropping cedar wood essential oil on it. It is a lovely thing to pick up randomly and toss in the air and that smell, so peaceful.

I feel I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream of being the go to gal for dryer balls. For where there is a demand; I MUST fill the need.

Check back to see the thrilling conclusion in part III – or is it?

 

Pantry challenge – week 6

Ooops. An entire week went by and I didn’t record anything. I’ve also slipped up in the spending realm.

Not that I’ve over spent.

Oddly enough, both the kids summer community ed classes were canceled at the last minute so I requested the money be refunded to my card, which left us with a surplus. Then, I looked up how to fix the headlight in my car and discovered that it was super simple and saved me $50.

What do I do with this savings?

This is why we never have money, all the extra is twiddled away. I’ve purchased more in groceries than I budgeted for. We found a great deal on craigslist for a dishwasher and microwave so we went and picked them up. The husband needed a new tractor part, so we made a payment on that.

I need to work on finding a good balance between spontaneous spending and budgeting. A way to have extra but not overspend.

Anyone else have this trouble?

Pantry Challenge – Week 3

Monday dinner: BBQ pork on rye bread.

I acknowledge that our meals are not always the most balanced, but this is only dinner, and often other meals fill in our dietary requirements, plus I do not always list everything we are eating.

We had a family meeting this past weekend to discuss how paychecks work and how we were going to handle the lower paychecks I am receiving. We talked about hourly versus salaried positions. We talked about the daily life of a mortgage and bills.

The kids voted for staying hourly, and they said they wanted to make $10 per hour, or if it is salaried they wanted $100 per month. I had to tell them this amount was not something I could honor. Husband said if we switched them to $10 per hour we would need to charge them room and board. I have read of people doing this, slowly giving their kids more power over money, and showing them how to manage it more completely.

Most of this discussion stemmed from the kids wanting a more regular paycheck.

Yes, we give the kids paychecks, not an allowance. They have chores they have to do just because they are part of the family. But then we have what we call working days. On these days the kids are paid for how many hours they work. It is generally weekend cleaning or farm and garden work. We keep track of hours worked and try to pay them once per month, however lately we have misplaced time sheets and put of paying for months, and some months they get more than one paycheck.

It was an interesting discussion, and I like the idea of slowly giving over more money for them to manage. Occasionally with his paycheck boy child will buy us all dinner and girl child will buy an item of clothing she needs. He is naturally better with his money, but I think she is learning. I need to remember to get the money to them in smaller bills so that they are more able to easily assign savings, giving, and spending.

So in this time of transition, while we rework our budget and fix our debts, we will keep their paychecks small and hopefully, slowly, we will all be better at managing our money.

Tuesday dinner: Quinoa and asparagus (from the wild patch in the neighbor’s field)

Went to the grocery so the kids could pick up some snacks with their paychecks, and I bought the essentials: peanut butter, coffee, and popping corn.

Wednesday: potatoes and taco seasoned meat

Thursday: Rice and bbq pork

Friday: Foccacia and maranara

Saturday: Salad and egg sandwiches

Sunday: Popcorn and frozen strawberries

Pantry challenge – week 1

Well we survived the first week of no spending. We did need to buy shoes for the hubby and the boy child. I also picked up some split peas to make soup from the leftover ham in the fridge. So not completely spend-free, but much better than other months.

Almost immediately after making the decision to not shop I felt an urge to go shopping. The thoughts in my head were about what I wished I could buy, even if it wasn’t a need. I wanted to go buy more pasta. I wanted to pick up fruit bushes. I wanted to buy bleach. Then there is the problem of 9 & 11 year old kids. We had gotten into the habit of grabbing snacks at the Dollar General or buying fresh fruit or vegetables at the grocery or string cheese for lunches. We have plenty of food in the house, but not the “right” food for our silly desires.

Monday dinner: pasta and asparagus
Tuesday dinner: split pea soup
Wednesday dinner: fiesta pasta
Thursday dinner: sloppy Joes on garlic bread
Friday dinner: pizza
Saturday dinner: roast chicken
Sunday dinner: chili made by boy child, Jelly roll made by girl child

I’m really uncertain if this is the actual dinner list, funny how fast it leaves my brain.

Here’s on to another week.

Goal: I need to plan better so that I know what I plan to cook each night and can pull items out of the freezer or pantry.

 

Budget Cuts

Exciting development for us – we have finally reached the threshold of not qualifying for assistance. The wonderful dreaded point where suddenly we are on our own financially. No medical assistance for the kids. No help through the hospitals to pay for medical bills. A boost in income that leads to a downfall in income.

After much frustration through the new  health systems, we discovered that the kids were officially no longer covered by MA beginning March 1st. I was able to get them enrolled in my works insurance as of March 15th. As is lovely in health care they were able to bill us for the full month even though they wouldn’t extend coverage for the full month, and they billed me 2 months in advance. To catch up I am spreading out those 2 months bills through my next 4 paychecks. This is in addition to the amount withdrawn for actual monthly bills.

Enter the ultimate in budget rearrangement.

For the next 3 months we are hoping to avoid all grocery and farm purchases. If you see this and panic for us, you need not worry. We have 2 full chest freezers, and rows of canned goods. Beyond that, we have access to free food distributions (Matthew 25) and I also know about Ruby’s Pantry. But ultimately we shouldn’t need either of these.

Food and farm budget line items are not the only ones being slashed. We are cutting everything we can cut. No more gym membership. No more emergency coffee or candy purchases. No clothes. I will pay everything that must be paid, but it might be smaller amounts when I can manage it.

I am hoping that by receiving these ultra tight checks we will be able to fix our budget problems in the long term. I have watched our food and farm budgets blow up in recent years and I want them under control.

So who wants to join me in a pantry challenge!