Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Laundry Rant


Ugh. It’s just one of those days. I don’t feel very well, and I think it’s a virus, so all I can do is diffuse some Thieve’s oil and pray for the Sudafed train to run me over. In my feverish haze, I decided that I’d better catch up on some laundry. We do at least 3 loads a day at the Den, and missing a day means twice as much work for tomorrow…judging from the pile, I already missed a few days.

I folded for more than an hour, and I’m HALF done. I’m not sure if it’s the virus, the feel of wads of dryer sheets, or just plain Monday that causes me to start to rant. How many clothes do these people WEAR every day? Do they really need clean towels EVERY day? Why do we buy socks…none of them have matches, anyway…

That’s right. I’m talking to myself.

And I’m listening to one cub playing video games for the fifth straight hour…well, I think he came out for lunch…and I just don’t have it in me. I asked him this morning to clean his room, and he shoveled everything into a pile in the middle of the floor….what?! Who’s going to pick the dirty socks off of that…plate? What the heck! What kind of day do you have that your sock solidifies into a sculpture when you take it off? And we DON’T eat in our rooms. The big one. Don’t even get me started on her with her “music” blasting out of her iPhone in the bathroom…don’t they have volume control on those phones? What in heaven’s name is the purpose of making a phone that can play music at mind-numbing-concert levels? And why do I have to buy ear buds every time  I go to the store if no one ever uses them? Do we just throw them directly into the garbage, or is there a process involved? Towels! She has one on the floor, one to dry with, and one wrapped around her head. Towels don’t grow on trees, you know! And they don’t wash and fold themselves, either!!!!

uh-oh. I feel it coming the moment before it flies out of my mouth, and I can’t stop it…

“I hope when you guys grow up your kids behave JUST LIKE YOU.” The Mother’s Curse. Am I turning into my mother, or is this just some rite of passage…like, they aren’t fully grown until you’re ready to lock them out of your house?

Anyway…note to self. When they have children, I will buy them LOTS of socks, and fingerpaints, and Moon Dough. And a Kazoo.

Beauticians Are A Chatty Bunch….


I am a firm believer in the importance of talking to your children, from a young age. Kids these days get too little stimulation when they’re allowed to “plug in” to the TV, and then the iPad, and then the DSi, and then the PS3…you get my drift. Actual conversations, though, strengthen your family bonds, improve their vocabulary and comprehension skills, and are…well, overall amusing.

Sometimes it’s hard to stretch myself thin enough with all the cubs in the Den, so I was quite pleased to have some down-time this afternoon to play with just Bun. Bun is my Diva. She has a very distinctive opinion about pretty much everything. She has a better fashion sense than I, and certainly isn’t shy about being fabulous for any occasion. She decided that I was much overdue for a trip to the salon-probably true. And since visiting a 5yr old is within the budget, I made sure the room was free from scissors and then gave her free reign to ply her trade.

As I sat and chatted with her about her aesthetic prowess, I inquired as to whether she would prefer to work from home, or had ever considered “opening a shop.”  She considered momentarily, while holding bobby pins in her lips and brushing away furiously.

“I like hair, but grown-ups are boring. Kids like me know that rainbows and sparkles are fab-lee-ous. Grownups just want red and yellow and brown, all the time. And then when they’re old the don’t even let you do that.”

Well, she had a pretty valid point. I asked her what she would suggest for my new ‘do.

“Probably some green and swirly purple sparkles, with butterflies and flowers.”


“Colors make people happy, Momma, and maybe moms would be more happy with fab-lee-ous hair. Let me grab the scissors, and I’ll fix it right up!”

Unfortunately, I did have to turn down her suggestion…after all, we live in a small town. She was also quite disappointed that I was not going to allow the scissors.

With a great sigh, she informed me that I was exactly why she would probably just choose another job. She says that her second choice would be ‘putting the pickles on sandwiches at McDonald’s.’ (McDonald’s sounds very intriguing to our littles, since they are seldom allowed to go there.)


Anyway, my trip to the chatty beautician gave me a special appreciation today for my Bun and her outlook on the world. Maybe she’s right. Maybe we all need a little more fab-lee-ous in our days. I certainly hope that she grows up with enough confidence and independence to rock that green-and-purple-sparkly-butterfly-flower ‘do one day.

Ideal Life Mom’s Mosquito Solution


Do you struggle with littles and mosquitoes?

I knew that I shouldn’t be using DEET-based products on our kids, but had a hard time finding something else that worked and was reasonable. That was until I discovered DEFLECT oil blend from Simply Aroma. It retails for $14 for a 10ML bottle. A few drops (10-15) added to a small spray bottle filled with 2-3oz. of witch hazel (about $3 at any pharmacy dept) makes a natural “bug repellent” and a lot of it!!! One bottle of DEFLECT will get most families comfortably through the whole summer. An added bonus: instead of trying to wipe spray onto your children, mix a few (5-10) drops into a small (1/4c) amount of coconut oil and store in an airtight container. Drip-less and moisturizing application for little faces, ears, necks, and backs of hands.

MYO Taco Seasoning Blends


Did you know that conventional packaged taco seasoning contains all kinds of creepy things?

Old El Paso Taco Seasoning’s first ingredient is maltodextrin, meaning there is more of this in the product than any other ingredient. Maltodextrin along with modified cornstarch, dextrose and corn oil are corn products and should be avoided, as they are all ingredients derived from corn. The percentage of genetically modified corn is just too high — more than 85% of the corn now grown and consumed in the U.S. is genetically engineered. GMO corn grows its own pesticide within the kernels so that insects won’t eat it…and much of the world declines to import or feed it’s people this “super-corn.”

Here is the ingredient list for Old El Paso Original Taco Seasoning versus the ingredients in homemade taco seasoning:

Maltodextrin, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, spice, monosodium glutamate, corn starch, yellow corn flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oilsilicon dioxide (anticaking agent), natural flavor, ethoxquin (preservative) vs. Chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, oregano

The last ingredient in the commercial product, ethoxquin, is used as a pesticide!


Instead, try this simple mix of things you already have in your seasoning cupboard. I mix this up and store it in an airtight container. It’s easily doubled or tripled, and can be used to taste to season your favorite recipes:


Traditional Taco Blend

2 TBSP chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp oregano


Another option is this ChiChi’s CopyCat Blend. I often choose this as an alternative because we find the flavor to be appealing to both the kids and adults in our home. Additionally, I prefer to season large batches with this as it translates so well into breakfast bakes, soups, potato toppings, and pastas IF there are any leftovers.


ChiChi CopyCat Blend

4 tsp dried minced onion
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

The Goldfish Day


Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Particularly if there’s any vomit involved in my day…but I hardly ever get any sympathy from my Mom (PackMam) Now, it’s not that she won’t listen to me moan and complain, because she will. It’s just that it all comes down to one thing: Is it as bad as the Goldfish Day? Invariably, the answer is no.

The Goldfish Day is something of a family legend, although it’s *not* a legend, because it really happened. I was there. I lived through it. It scarred me. No blog about our family would be complete without sharing the Goldfish Day…it’s a way for you to put everything in perspective. It’s a measuring tool…was it a Goldfish Day? If not, relax. It could get worse.

PackMam, bless her heart, had her hands full. She was a recent divorcee. She was bravely mothering a 10yr old (who was stunning and smart and a joy to everyone around her…well, maybe I’m editorializing…) She also had under her wing a very unruly 3yr old, a 2yr old, and an infant. She worked full time hours in and out of the home, and there were never enough hours in the day.

I returned home from school one day to find that PackMam was a bit worn out, and had laid the 3yr old and the 2yr old down for an afternoon nap. All was well, right? No. No, all was NOT well. When I entered my room I knew it was not well, because I think I recall a slightly evil chuckle coming from the 3yr old. The 2yr old peeked from the bars of her crib with a cherubic grin. Something strange clung to one of her bouncing curls…and a fish fin dripped out of her mouth. In horror, I realized that my beloved fish Flippy and Finny no longer inhabited their fishy water paradise. I had BEGGED for those fish! PackMam was a “we-don’t-do-animals-in-the-house” kind of lady. Those fish were a hard-won battle…and they had just been fed to my sister.

Now, I am quite sure that I  had every right to throw the teary booger meltdown that I did. PackMam did her best to console me. When the wails had quieted to a sniffle, she left to scold her sushi-master and wipe up the happy diner. Unfortunately, she discovered that the diner in question had decided to wrap up her gourmet experience and move on to the makeover portion of the afternoon, which included a deep conditioning treatment for her hair. She has smeared a tub of A&D ointment into her fine, silky curls.

PackMam was good, but I’m pretty sure the edges were starting to fray. There was nothing to do but plop the diva into the tub and begin a long lineup of whatever home remedies she could think of that might remove a pound of thick grease from a baby’s head.  She scrubbed, and rubbed, and soaped, and scraped…and phoned her mother. While they brainstormed, the baby decided to top off her tank with whatever was left in a small cup of laundry detergent forgotten on the edge of the tub.

Enter again the unfortunate gem of a child who was just subjected to a fish-massacre. I beefed up the drama. You know how kids are. They seem to have a sixth sense for weakness. I knew if I hit fast and hard I had a chance…a small one, but a chance…at getting those fish replaced. I know PackMam was crumbling fast at that point, because she combed the soapy, peanut-buttery greasy fish chunks out of the baby’s hair and loaded everyone into the car.

When we arrived at the store, PackMam gave a last valiant effort to regain control of the situation. she strapped one child to her chest, one child to her back, and plopped fish-muncher into the cart. I happily trotted along as we made our way to the back of the store, and began the tedious process of selecting my new fishy-family. No one noticed that the baby was starting to look a little green around the gills. The pet-aisle employee finally arrived with his scooper-net, like a knight in shining armor. He was about to begin sloshing about for my scaly trophies when….the laundry detergent kicked in. With a whimper the baby exploded, launching  puddles of foamy goldfish parts out of her pant legs. The shame of my Flippy and Finny’s untimely fate became an undeniable reality. I’m not sure who was most distressed…the baby, me, PackMam, or the unfortunate pet-aisle employee.

We left without fish, and thus The Goldfish Day was born.

And no, Tom, I still haven’t forgiven you.

DIY Theives’ Oil Hacks


It’s my absolute belief that every household should keep Four Thieves Oil stocked in their medicine cabinet. I can attest to how many viruses have been shortened and held at bay in our own home, simply by diffusing Four Thieves Oil and occasionally by diluting it into a carrier (usually coconut oil) and using as a massage supplement. The uses for Four Thieves are almost too many to count, including but not limited to this list:

1. Dilute with a natural carrier oil and apply to cuts or open wounds to prevent infection and promote healing.

2. Mix with a tablespoon of water, gargle and swallow for a sore throat.

3. Apply undiluted directly to the skin of your upper chest and throat for bronchitis.

4. Place a drop on your thumb and apply to the roof of your mouth for a headache.

5. Put 10-12 drops in a vegetable capsule undiluted and swallow daily for longevity.

6. For acne, apply to the skin diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil.

7. Put directly on the soles of your feet to protect you from colds and flu.

8. Breathe in the vapors when you have lung congestion.

9. Use diluted in water to clean pet cages, creating a healthier environment for them.

10. Add to your dishwasher for more sanitary dishes.

11. Add to your laundry cycle for cleaner, freshened clothes.

12. Add to your mop water for sanitizing floors.

13. Mix with water to make a spray to repel insects on your flowers and plants.

14. Use to dissolve the gummy adhesive on price labels.

15. Apply to bee and wasp stings to neutralize the toxin and relieve the pain.

16. Apply to gums to prevent and treat gum disease.

17. Apply orally to maintain healthy teeth and reduce cavities.

18. Apply to gums and teeth for pain relief from toothaches.

19. Diffuse in homes or business to solve mold problems.

20. Add to orange juice and drink to reduce phlegm and congestion.

21. Apply to broken bones or joints for pain relief and to hasten healing.

22. Put a drop in your cup of tea for flavor and to maintain health.

23. Put a drop on the tip of your tongue when you’re craving to help you stop smoking.

24. Put on cold sores and canker sores to make them disappear.

25. For warts, apply topically and/or inhale to make them disappear.

26. Rub on sore joints to relieve arthritis pain.

27. Drink a few drops in water or juice every three hours to stop a cold.

28. Place a drop on the tongue and a drop in a glass of water every day for herpes.

29. Rub on the bottoms of children’s feet for protection before school every day.

30. Diffuse in the house as your children come home from school every day to kill airborne bacteria.

31. Mix 50:50 with a natural carrier and rub on several times daily for relief of shingles.

32. Apply a diluted drop on wound of a cat or dog to enhance healing.

33. Diffuse in the home or office to stimulate a cheerful mood.

34. Diffuse in the office to increase concentration and work efficiency.

35. Diffuse in your place of business to ward off germs.

36. Diffuse in the classroom to reduce student sickness and absenteeism.

37. Put a few drops in your carpet steamer/cleaner to disinfect carpet.

38. Mix a few drops with honey or agave in a teaspoon for cough relief.

39. Breathe and apply for sinus headaches.

40. Put a drop on a pimple to make it shrink and disappear.

41. For laryngitis put a drop under your tongue to restore your voice.

42. Inhale for relief of allergy symptoms.

43. Take a capsule full every day for relief of Lyme disease symptoms.

44. Use on a cotton pad in your pocket for every flight to protect you from airborne germs on the plane.

45. Drop in the heat/AC vents of a hotel to rid it of airborne germs.

46. Mix with baking soda to clean bathtubs.

47. Apply undiluted to the toes and feet to combat fungus.

48. Apply to poison ivy rashes (may need to be diluted with a natural carrier oil) to relieve the itch.

49. Drops of  Four Thieves Oil on a cloth may remove permanent marker stains.

50. Sanitize pierced earrings by cleaning with diluted Four Thieves Oil.

51. Rub on the big toe before retiring to help with proper vision.

52. Applying Four Thieves Oil, diluted 6:1 in a natural carrier oil, around the eye may be helpful in soothing pinkeye or other bacterial infections (Aimee says: I would not advise this, especially for your cubs)

53. Apply 1 drop of Four Thieves Oil and rub vigorously with your thumb onto toothbrush to sanitize.

54. Use for bathrooms and toilets to sanitize and freshen.

55. Use to cut grease on kitchen counters and stovetops.

56. Use to mop floors to clean and disinfect.

57. Apply to hands to remove stubborn, sticky substances like tree sap.

58. Use to wash fruits and vegetables from the supermarket.

59. Add to the water in your vacuum cleaner/steamer to cleanse the air and disinfect the carpet.

60. Spray along ant trails in the house to keep them out.

61. Use to wipe chairs and furniture in school classrooms to cut down on student sickness.

62. Scrub old floors to remove old varnish and prepare for refinishing.

63. Clean upholstery.

64. Clean the upholstery and dashboard of your car.

65. Soak off burnt food in pots and skillets.

66. Wipe or soak garbage cans to get them clean, sanitary and smelling fresh.

67. For tough stains, pour it on as a pre-wash stain remover.

68. Use undiluted to clean and kill mold on walls and floors or degrease oven.

69. Take with the first sniffle and signs of a cold or sore throat to ward it off.

70. Take prior to singing performances to keep the voice strong and to hit the high notes.

71. Use to hasten the healing when a cold or flu has been contracted.

72. Suck on one as you enter an airplane to protect you from germs onboard.

73. Rinse mouth with diluted Four Thieves Oil daily for clean breath and to keep teeth and gums healthy.

74. Gargle (and swallow) before a singing engagement to clear mucus.

75. Use as a healthy alternative to soap and water to sanitize hands.

76. Rub undiluted oil on hands to make them soft, fresh and smooth.

77. Apply with a cotton ball to face morning and night to clear acne.

78. Rub on stains as a pre-wash stain remover, and then rub the area with regular white chalkboard chalk, which will get the stain out and prevent oil marks

79. Use as a deodorant or antibacterial hand soap.

80. Dilute & spray on doorknobs in public restrooms to kill germs.

81. Dilute & spray in the throat to restore a lost voice.

82. Spray or rub onto hands before and after shaking hands with a lot of people.

83. Dilute & spray in restrooms on airplanes to reduce airborne bacteria.

84. Dilute & spray on vegetables and fruits when washing them.

85. Carry cotton pads soaked in Four Thieves’ for protection in countries with cholera, malaria or dysentery.

86. Use as an air freshener for cooking odors or other unwanted smells.

87. Take to the gym and spray all the equipment you use.

88. Take to the supermarket and use to disinfect shopping cart handles.

89. Use in the classroom for desks, tables and other items handled by children.

90. Spray in your mouth and throat at first onset of cold or bronchitis.

91. Spray on shower stalls and bathroom walls to kill and remove mold.

92. Brush with a drop every day to prevent cavities and gum disease.

93. Use when teeth have been damaged or broken to help them heal.

94. Use to prevent or heal gum disease.

95. Apply as an underarm deodorant.

96. Wipe doorknobs and other things touched by the public.

97. Wipe dirty piano keys to clean and disinfect.

98. Use to clean children’s hands when traveling.

99. Use on the steering wheel and gearshift of your vehicle.

100. Use on public telephones to remove germs.

101. Use on public computer keyboards and mice.

According to Wikipedia, The “original” Thieves’ Oil Blend (as marketed by YL’s Gary Young) origin is usually a story that declares that a group of thieves during a European plague outbreak were robbing the dead or the sick. When they were caught, they offered to exchange their secret recipe, which had allowed them to commit the robberies without catching the disease, in exchange for leniency. Another version says that the thieves had already been caught before the outbreak and their sentence had been to bury dead plague victims; to survive this punishment, they created the vinegar. The city in which this happened is usually said to be Marseille or Toulouse, and the time period can be given as anywhere between the 14th and 18th century depending on the storyteller.


MYO Four Thieves’ Oil:

It is important that the essential oils go into this blend in order listed, just as it is important to use the listed amounts: so start at #1.

  1. 40 drops Clove Oil
  2. 35 drops Lemon Oil
  3. 20 drops Cinnamon Bark Oil
  4. 15 drops Eucalyptus Oil
  5. 10 drops Rosemary Oil

In a dark amber glass bottle with either a normal lid, a dropper or a spray top, combine all oils, to make a larger amount at once just double amounts. Store just as you would any other essential oils, avoiding direct sunlight.

You all know that my favorite source of therapeutic grade essential oils is the breakout company  Simply Aroma is a “new kid on the block” so to speak, but I find that they provide me with the quality I love at a price that PackDaddy can handle. They currently may not carry all of the oils that you like to use, but know that they are rapidly expanding and adding new ones to their list. You can order these fantastic oils through my link,




Welcome to the Wolf Den


You know, life is a little interesting.

I have certainly evolved over the years. I grew up in a big family, and decided ’round about the age of 11 that I would NEVER have children. That lasted until I found two pink lines on a stick at the tender age of 19. Fast-forward, and here I am! Joyful, overwhelmed, outnumbered, and disorganized. I could honestly employ a household staff of about six and still have my doubts about how everything would get done in a day. I try to mother the Cubs, and my husband (lovingly referred to herein as the “PackDaddy”) works almost tirelessly to maintain the Den and generally looks bewildered by this all.

How did I come to be the Den-Momma? Now, I guess I don’t really know. I am the oldest of my siblings, and as my parents “aged” (a.k.a.= got smarter) the hosting of overnight guests, events, and gatherings just gravitated here. I think they figured that since this place was already such a zoo, I would’t even notice. They were probably right.  My sister and I had already lovingly started referring to each other as “The Wolf Pack,” and during one teary late night talk-me-off-the-ledge-known-as-law-school phone call she sobbed “I just want to be back in the Den with you!”

This home…this crazy collection of children and friends and pets and random folk who seem to turn up here at dinnertime…this IS my Den. I am so very lucky to have this chance to provide my family with a safe haven. This is my chance to teach them how to survive in a crazy fool and unkind world. And every time they turn up their noses and bemoan what’s for dinner…every time they slam their doors…every tear that soaks into the floor…every ouchie that gets kissed to better…every laugh that echos through the open window and out into the world…that’s what makes this a home.  A Den they can always come home to, and that one day-despite what they say…they will miss.