Category: Wellness

13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why

Unless you’ve had your chicken head under a rock, you’ve heard about the newest Netflix sensational series: 13 Reasons Why. Should you watch it? Should you let your kids watch it? Do you need to watch it together? Far be it from me to tell another hen what to do concerning her chicks but here are my 13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why.

13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why

13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why

Teens and Tweens everywhere are obsessing over 13 Reasons Why. They aren’t the only ones. Everyone from arm chair psychologists to Christian radio celebrities have been talking about Netflix’s newest show, based on the popular book by the same title by Jay Asher, and its relevance to kids today. Everyone is weighing in on if parents should be using the series as a springboard for starting heavy discussions with their children. It tackles everything from suicide to bullying in today’s American culture.

You’ve seen the ads, you heard the hype and you’re still wondering: Should we be watching 13 Reasons Why? Maybe yes…maybe no. Aside from flagrant adult language, mild violence, and disturbing sexual assault scenes, there were several issues of concern that I noticed running through the series and I’m here to lay them out for you.

Here’s your parent’s guide to 13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why:

1) Flippant about Finality

The main focal character of this show is Hannah who seems very much like your average, everyday, American teenager. So, it should come as no surprise to any parent of a teen/tween person that she has a tendency to be a bit…flippant. As a parent, I am used to my daughters being flippant about many things: their classmates’ behavior, their room cleaning efforts, their dedication to Biology homework. There is really one area that I think they probably shouldn’t be flippant about- Death.

From the very first episode of this series, we get the feeling that Hannah isn’t taking her suicide too seriously. The tapes set a tone of exaggeration and self-deprecation. Making light of our own mortality is nothing new to this genre. Other characters in popular young adult fiction, such as Hazel and Gus from The Fault in Our Stars, also minimized their terminal conditions but it seems irresponsible and immature coming from someone who dies by their own hand.

BOTTOM LINE: Life is considered sacred in our home. It was disturbing to see the main character talk about hers with such little regard.

2) Revenge…From the Grave

While many other young adult authors have tackled the subject of suicide portraying somber characters in somewhat gritty fashion, 13 Reasons Why seems to take the melodramatic to a totally new level.

Producers claim the show focuses on how “insignificant actions of individuals can have a profound cumulative affect on others”. It feels more like a “Pretty Little Liars” episodes with the anti-heroine gaining redemption through revenge after death. This feeling is perpetuated by the fact that ALL of the tapes are given to ALL of the list participants…meaning everyone hears everyone’s tape. The premise of the show is a circa 1990’s way of airing everyone’s dirty laundry.

The way the show is filmed in flashback, gives the illusion that Hannah is ever present to witness the “confrontation” of her offenders. This is obviously not true, but it can be very easy to forget how this filming technique skews reality and gives a romanticized view to young adults that are considering suicide and want others to see the pain they have caused them.

Another shocking aspect of this series is that, by and large, no character catharsis occurs after having listened to their own tapes. Instead of contemplating how their actions have contributed to the hurt of another, many are instead concerned with keeping their actions from becoming known by others.

BOTTOM LINE: This isn’t a story about hurt and repentance. Most of the ripple effects caused by Hannah’s actions are not focused on the pain her choice causes, only the scrambling of others to save their reputations in the aftermath.

3) He Said, She said…

Gossip and slander are definitely tackled in this series. It’s one reason 13 Reasons Why is a great teaching opportunity to show young people how often relationships can be unnecessarily strained through misunderstandings. It shows how we can present “facts” in a way to justify our actions while not fairly representing other parties. It is a shame that so many characters in the show participate in slander and gossip without truly showing any remorse for their actions or how it effected another individual.

Because this show is set from the first person viewpoint of one of the characters, all of the events that take place are colored by that individual’s views. While that makes for good TV, it also means that the story being shown is often one sided, missing information, or conflicting based on whether Hannah knew all of the facts before she chose to tell us her story.

The irony in all of this is Hannah blames the misrepresentations made by other characters for her decision to kill herself even as she turns around and does the exact same thing. She also never atones for her misrepresentations. It muddies the water when the person we are supposed to feel sympathy for is engaging in the very behavior we are supposed to abhor.

BOTTOM LINE: In our house we teach that you say what you mean and mean what you say. Encourage your kids to delve deeper into rumors and find out all the “facts” before passing judgement on others.

4) Rebuttals are Futile

As mentioned above, Hannah chooses to confront those who wronged her after death. Because of this, the characters involved have no way to reach out, explain or atone for their slights (some quite small and some large). Hannah repeatedly laments that no one cared about her or tried to talk to her about the things that were going on in her life, but by confronting the other characters in this manner, she has removed any ability for anyone to do exactly that. We are left with are a first person account of events that are then shared with many parties (some of which were not even at fault) where the accused has no way to defend themselves against their accuser.

Throughout the series, there were many times and many opportunities for Hannah to reach out to those that cared about her. She chose not to all the while convincing herself she never had the opportunity.

BOTTOM LINE: The main character in this series exhibits a very immature way of dealing with the conflict around her. By refusing to open up to people who hurt us, we keep ourselves from being able to heal or allowing others to make positive change.

5) Raising the Petty to Painful

There are some pretty bad things that happen to Hannah during 13 Reasons Why. There are also some pretty small slights that almost seem pretty petty when you are trying to justify taking your own life. While it is difficult for parents to understand why some things we view as trivial can make such an enormous impact on the fragile teenage psyche, some events in this series are truly heinous.

By “producing tapes” for both the trivial and the awful, 13 Reasons Why elevates the small slights that we should be teaching our kids to overcome to the same height of awful situations such as sexual assault that should never be overlooked or minimized. Instead of making everything seem important, it trivializes the latter by lumping it in with generalized teenage behavior.

BOTTOM LINE:  While gossiping and misunderstandings are a part of every teenagers journey, sexual assault and rape SHOULD NOT BE and shouldn’t be painted with the same wide brush.

6) No One is Innocent…Even the Innocent

The main theme of this series involves 13 audio recordings that are produced by Hannah before she kills herself. Each tape centers around a particular person that contributed to her decision to end her young life. This is made clear from the very beginning of tape #1. The tapes are then distributed as a whole collection, to each person “owning” a tape.  However, the first person that we see “experience” the tapes is Clay, a young man who is left in turmoil for days. He cannot fathom anything he has done to Hannah to contribute to her decision to take her own life.

When all is said and done, Clay is right. He has done nothing to warrant Hannah taking her own life. Certainly nothing that any young, shy, teenage boy should be made to feel such heavy guilt over. Clay’s only crime against Hannah is that he didn’t profess his feelings for her. While this situation may make for sensational fodder in a teenage TV drama, exactly what lesson does this teach young viewers? Are we trying to tell kids that they should be making relationship choices based on how the other half will or will not react, or do we want them making these choices based on what is best for them personally?

BOTTOM LINE: Emotional blackmail and manipulation are heaped upon characters in this series. Make sure your kids understand that they should never feel pressured into commitment with another person based on the manipulative actions of the other individual.

7) Overly Accountable…Except for Hannah

This is a show about teenagers. Teenagers are limited in their decision making by both cognitive and structural constraints. While some of the infractions that Hannah experienced should never happen, regardless of age, some were so slight in nature to be easily explained by young people just not always being the best decision makers.

It seems unfair to lay the burden of a person’s suicide at the feet of someone because they chose to act immaturely and hide someone’s compliments. Should they suffer because they weren’t at an emotional level where they felt comfortable starting a deeper relationship? Is it unforgivable to be unable to comprehend how delaying one decision would lead to an awful car accident…but that’s exactly what Hannah has done.

While spreading rumors and telling lies and passing photos of someone should not be encouraged, I wonder if the implications of this show will be to frighten young people. Will they second guess every interaction they have with classmates for fear that they will in some way cause that person to do something drastic. Ultimately, Hannah chose to kill herself. Hannah.

BOTTOM LINE: Teens/Tweens make mistakes. They should be taught to use their best judgement but to also expect grace when they don’t have all the answers.

8) Adults Can’t be Trusted

During the course of Hannah’s story, she approaches two adults in an attempt to reach out for help before deciding to take her own life. In one case, while well meaning, her teacher minimizes her experiences and adequate help and guidance isn’t provided. In the second attempt, the adult in authority belittles Hannah and refuses to provide any real help at all.

The message in 13 Reasons Why is very clear: Don’t bank on the help of adults around you. They will not understand and will only cause further harm. Not only is this a false premise, its dangerous to perpetuate an “us” against “them” dichotomy when sometimes only adults are equipped with the knowledge to truly handle certain circumstances. This is NOT the lesson we want our kids to learn in our home. In fact, it is the opposite.

BOTTOM LINE:  If you’re going to let your children watch this show, be aware that the fallacy that adults are undependable needs to be addressed and corrected.

9) Parent’s Can’t be Bothered

This problem centers around the same theme as mentioned above. During the course of Hannah’s story, her parents are completely unaware of the hardships that Hannah is facing. They are extremely distracted with other ongoing issues in both their finances and marriage. Instead of the family unit coming together to help Hannah through this trying time, her parents are kept in the dark.  They are left picking up the pieces after their child inexplicably decides to take her own life.

While I am sure the show is trying to present the disconnect that occurs between many teens/tweens and their parents, you could argue that presenting Hannah’s parents as completely self-absorbed only reinforces a dangerous stereotype that perpetuates the myth that kids today are “facing it alone”.

BOTTOM LINE: This show portrays parents as being unreachable and disconnected to their children’s lives. Make sure your kids realize this is not the case in your home.

10) See Nothing…Say Nothing

You’ve heard the hype. 13 Reason’s Why tackles difficult themes: The worst of which are suicide and sexual assault (rape). A character (Justin) in the series is granted a tape because he leaves his intoxicated girlfriend to be raped by another boy from her high school. We find out that Justin does nothing to stop the assault while it was happening. However, Hannah also witnesses the rape and does nothing to help her friend or stop the attack.

This show takes a horrible crime (rape) and instead of focusing on the true victim (Jessica) concentrates all attention on the two characters that had the ability to stop the attack but chose to do nothing. You would think that if the series was going to go in this direction that eventually the people that sat by and allowed it to happen would experience some type of growth or there would be some type of moral “lesson” learned. Nope. Poor Jessica is just left to find out by listening to a tape that the assault happened and that those closest to her knew and did nothing.

BOTTOM LINE: I want to raise kids that have the moral fortitude to stand up and do the right thing regardless of how they are “feeling” about their lives at the time. Helping others in the time of crisis should transcend your personal baggage.

11) Perpetuating Misunderstandings, Lies, and Foolish Decisions

Everyone in this show makes awful decisions…repeatedly. Almost the entire cast is made up of characters with incredibly tragic flaws that cause them to place themselves in danger and prevents them from being able to communicate in any real way whatsoever.

Is this what we are to believe is happening all across America? Are there really no well-adjusted high school kids out there that don’t drink, talk to their parents, and can hold an intelligible conversation with their friends when their feelings are hurt? Throughout the entire show, it is difficult to find many characters that exhibit normal behavior or have normal relationships with anyone.

By presenting only the bad, this show reinforces the stereotype that all teens/tweens make awful decisions when left to their own devices. I don’t normally look to TV programming to exhibit role models for my kids, but good grief…this is ridiculous. My own daughter was left wondering if SHE is the weirdo.

BOTTOM LINE: Make sure your kid understands that this is not an afterschool special or some public service announcement type broadcast. The characters on this show are stereotypical and NOT representative of the whole.

12) Where’s Hannah’s Tape?

All of the people responsible for Hannah taking her own life are given recordings. But, there is not one specifically made for the person that bears the most responsibility of all: Hannah. It’s very difficult to talk about this without it sounding like I am blaming the victim but the entire show posed a real problem for me as a parent:

How do we raise kids that feel in control of their lives when they are watching a show where the protagonist has decided that everyone’s opinion/actions/decisions are more important than her own?

This is not about belittling a young person that feels at the end of their rope. We need to be there to support them and help them to work through the problems that they encounter with friends, boyfriends, classmates, etc. But, I can’t help but think that while we are listening and trying to empathize, we also need to be teaching them that all of that “stuff” that they think is SO important… is really temporary and fleeting.

BOTTOM LINE: Raise your kids to know that THEY control their own destiny. We can raise kids that are considerate of the feelings of others, but ultimately, they themselves must be responsible for their own actions.

13) Hannah May be the Biggest Bully of Them All

Hear me out. I believe that really, Hannah is the biggest bully in this entire series. If Hannah weren’t dead, if she hadn’t committed suicide, and had made these tapes and distributed them to all of these people, what would be the reaction towards her?

In many cases, she takes very personal accounts and has made them public to people that aren’t even involved in the situation. She blows many events completely out of proportion as a way of attracting attention regardless of who she is hurting. She blames individuals for slights without first giving the person an opportunity to explain themselves. She causes innocent individuals to beat them selves up emotionally over things they haven’t even done. She takes the time to speak personally to all of these people that “wronged” her, yet doesn’t do the same for her parents who are devastated by their loss.

In my book, that my friends, is a bully.

BOTTOM LINE: While this show might be helpful in showing the inter-connectedness between events and how relationships can be hurt by miscommunication, the main character of this show is NO heroine. As a parent, while you obviously wouldn’t want your child to take their own life, there is not a lot of Hannah’s other behaviors that you would want to see your kids emulate.

Should you let you kid watch 13 Reasons Why? Maybe…maybe not. As with any pesky parenting decisions, the right answer often depends on you personal parenting priorities and style and now you’re armed with the parenting guide to show you my 13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why.  The show is useful in sparking discussion with teens about taboo topics such as suicide, personal responsibility, sexual assault, and bullying. But- you might want to make sure you watch too, or have some talks to remind your kids what they’re seeing on the screen isn’t just sensational- it’s fictional.

13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why

13 Problems with 13 Reasons Why

Daith Piercing for Migraine Relief

If you suffer from debilitating migraines, you’ll do anything to make them stop…even put holes in your head! Find out why I chose to get daith piercing for migraine relief and if I’ve had success so far.

Daith Piercing for Migraine Relief

Daith Piercing for Migraine Relief

I was diagnosed with Basilar Arterial Migraines in the Fall of 2014 after being rushed to the emergency room thinking I was having a stroke at 39. Twice. Up until that point, my experience with headaches had been taking an occasional tylenol for temporary pain of the normal stress, fever, sickness induced variety.

My life radically changed that Fall.

For 18 months straight I suffered from nausea, vertigo, general fogginess, left side body/facial numbness and visual disturbances and was 85% convinced that I was about to die at any moment. It was a REALLY long year and a half.

After 3 MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs, enough blood work to feed a small army of vampires and a heart cath, they were finally able to diagnose me and I am still fighting an ongoing battle to rid myself of the awful accompanying auras with pharmaceuticals.

Needless to say, the idea of putting additional holes in my head to help stop them didn’t seem like that big of a stretch. Besides, daith piercings are cute and funky. I spent hours researching daith piercing online. Like all alternative treatments, the verdict on successful migraine treatment with daith piercing was mostly he said/she said with both sides adamantly agreeing to disagree on its effectiveness. I was left with no alternative but to suffer the needle and see for myself.

Daith Piercing Adventure #1

One month ago I went to my local tattoo parlor and got my right daith pierced.  I chose the right side because while my aura symptoms affect my left side, any pain I have is always on the right. (Yes, you read that right…I have the type of migraines that rarely produce the “headache” part).  I was often asked if it hurt. Yes, it hurt. It DID NOT hurt as much as birthing a child, so if you’re a mother contemplating getting this done- You’ve got this one in the bag! Immediately after getting the piercing, I suffered a pretty severe headache.

Daith Piercing Adventure #2

After allowing my right ear to heal for two weeks, I went and got my left ear done. At the time, I was in the middle of my aura phase and the left side of my face and tongue were very numb. Immediately after getting the piercing, I regained feeling in the left side of my face. WooWho! I also didn’t get a rebound headache after the left piercing.

Daith Piercing and Migraine Relief

Since having both ears done, I feel pretty confident in saying I believe it has helped with my symptoms though I have had one migraine since. This migraine was mild in comparison to past events and I was even able to go and enjoy a high school homecoming football game during it. (Normally it is straight to bed) Everything about that migraine (aura and pain level) was noticeably weaker and I was able to function like a normal human chicken. I am hoping that, given enough time, my migraines will continue to be mild or vanish all together.

Daith Piercing and the Healing Process

The only downside to these little earrings so far has been the healing process. Although I am using the salt water and cleaning as suggested, healing the two piercings has been a slow touch-and-go. I probably fiddle with them too much and that is causing the process to take longer. If you are considering getting this done for migraine relief, I suggest that you follow the instructions to not touch the piercings with your fingers, use the warm salt water twice a day, and additionally dab them with tea tree oil on a qtip in between cleanings.

Do you suffer from migraines? Why type do you have and what have you done to treat them and get pain/aura relief? Has anything been successful? Please share.

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“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

-Amit Ray

Things at the coop with three chicks still at home can get stressful…really stressful. You add to the fact that two of us suffer from mild to moderate anxiety and things can get downright crazy up in our house.

Thankfully, I was taught a relaxation breathing technique several years ago that I use often and is REALLY effective at relieving tension and anxiety in both adults and children.

relaxationbreathing

Square Breathing: Relaxation Breathing Technique

Honestly, it’s as simple as it sounds. You breathe in a “square” pattern. Think about each breath consisting of 4 stages (like a box): The intake of breath, the holding of that breath, the release of the breath, and the pause before taking another breath.  I like to start with 3 second time segments for 3 sets.

Close you eyes and concentrate on how your breathing moves your chest.

Inhale for 3 seconds. Hold the breath for 3 seconds. Exhale for 3 seconds. Hold for another 3 seconds. Repeat for 2 more sets.

After this initial set, I usually progress onto 4 and 5 seconds, doing 3 sets of each with no breaks in between each set. It’s amazing how quickly this calms my nervous system and helps me to refocus and concentrate. I love this technique because you can do it anywhere and its almost impossible for anyone around you to even notice that you are self-soothing. My son has quite the temper and we have taught him to use this technique before he lashes out at others in anger (so far, we have a 50/50 success rate but I’ll take what I can get!) and my daughter uses it quite a bit for Generalized Anxiety disorder.

Give it a try the next time you want to pull your hair out and see what you think!

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“Are those huge hickies?” Nope. It’s fire cupping!

We all saw them. American athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are plastered with what looks like the affectionate telltale signs of a romantic encounter with a Hoover. What were these huge purple, perfectly-circular bruises sported by the likes of Michael Phelps?

I-JUST-HAD-TO-KNOW!

And then it happened. Like it always happens- I can’t help myself. I started researching and I fell into the rabbit hole known as the ancient Chinese practice of FIRE CUPPING.

firecupping

Fire Cupping Origins

What, pray tell, is Cupping, you ask? Our friends at Webmd have this to say:

“Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which cups are placed on the skin to create suction. The cups can be made of a variety of materials, including:

  • Glassphelpscupping
  • Bamboo
  • Earthenware

Supporters of cupping therapy believe the suction of the cups mobilizes blood flow to promote the healing of a broad range of medical ailments.”

So, then you add FIRE

Fire cupping involves soaking a cotton ball in 99% alcohol. The cotton is then clamped by a pair of forceps and lit via match or lighter. The flaming cotton ball is then, in one fluid motion, placed into the cup, quickly removed, and the cup is placed on the skin. Fire heats the inside of the cup and a small amount of suction is created by the air cooling down again and contracting.”- Wiki (of course)

As it turns out, this isn’t just a 3000 year old holistic Chinese medicinal practice. In fact, almost every early civilization practiced some form of “cupping” like technique and incorporated it into their medicinal arsenal. I kept reading and began to wonder,

“If culture after culture kept coming back to the same conclusion and the top sports doctors of today were using it on some of our most esteemed athletes…could there be something to it?”

My Crazy Cupping Experiment

So, I spent around 6 hours researching, went to the dollar store and purchased glass jars and alcohol, drove back to my house, and promptly set myself on fire.

Well, kind of.

firecupping1I didn’t go up in flames, but with the help of Mr. Rooster, we were able to successfully place two fire cups on my left shoulder that has been giving me trouble for several years now. I felt the immediate “sucking” effect but it was never painful. If anything, it felt like I was holding the end of my Dyson hose against my back.

My back did get “tingly” after several minutes but never uncomfortable. I found that it has a calming effect and I laid in bed and focused on my breathing while my chaotic coop continued to swirl around me.

 

The Outcome of TEST #1:

I didn’t turn purpley (darn it!) but I am assuming it is because I use my sauna a lot and firecupping2probably have pretty sufficient blood flow anyway. I can’t feel a noticeable difference in my shoulder or the amount of pain in it when I rotate it, but I did feel a little energized after taking the jars off for several hours afterward and slept really well. I am going to try it a few more times before I completely rule it out as being “hog wash” and will keep you posted.

Do you practice fire cupping? Inquiring chicken minds want to know!

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Why I Start Off My Mornings with Zombie Teeth and You Should Too!

zombieteeth

“What is wrong with your mouth?!”

That’s what my smallest chick clucked when he saw me brushing my Zombie Teeth about a month ago.

“It’s charcoal toothpaste.” I grumbled while drooling a little on my vanity.

“Wicked.”

That exchange pretty much sums up how I am feeling about my all natural spearmint flavored tooth & gum power! This stuff rocks. It’s a little messy to use, but I have already noticed an improvement in my gums and I think my teeth are less sensitive to cold. I will also admit that I think my teeth are looking a bit whiter but it is hard to know without having anything to compare them against from BTP (Before Tooth Powder).

Why do I purposefully look like an extra on The Walking Dead every morning? I started looking at alternatives to traditional toothpaste when I read THIS ARTICLE from Naturalnews.com. After going through tube after tube of Tom’s and other natural, fluoride-free brands, I decided to try something a little different as I wanted to incorporate Bentonite Clay and Charcoal because of their awesome health benefits!

teeth2Then I found this little gem on Amazon.

Like I said, I’ve been using it for about a month now and while it takes some getting used to & its definitely messier than traditional toothpaste…I don’t think I’m going back to the tube.

Recapping the Virtues of Zombie Teeth:

This stuff lasts forever.
Makes my mouth feel clean.
My teeth feel less sensitive and may even be whiter!
It makes me look like a super cool zombie! (opinions of anyone OVER the age of 9 may vary)

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Truth is I am often a lazy chicken. I also love essential oils.rollerballcarrier

Sure, I want to get some fabric and 15 other items, find a pattern, pull out the sewing machine and knock out a super cute essential oil rollerball bag…but somedays I just don’t have it in me.

The carrying of the essential oil rollerballs is NOT a negotiable thing so it’s either buy an expensive pre-made version off the internet (preferably one like this from Etsy.com where you are supporting a small business owner, or get REALLY creative. haha)

Now- I like Vera Bradley. Vera and I are old friends. So, one day while looking at my Vera zipper bag, I noticed that it was about the same shape and size as my rollerballs.

And as they say…this is when the magic happened.

rollerballcarrierDIY ESSENTIAL OIL ROLLERBALL BAG

1 small zipper bag ( I used a Vera Bradley)
1/2 elastic (about 1.5 feet if you want to do both sides of the bag)
Coordinating thread for outside of bag
1 Needle

That’s it. Nothing more.

Start by turning your bag inside out. Hold you rollerball against the inside out bag to see how far up the bag you should run your stabilizing elastic.  Hand stitch your elastic into essentialoilcarrier2one side of the bag and hold a rollerball in place to guestimate spacing. You want the elastic to securely hold the rollerball but not be too tight. Repeat this process as many times as possible until you reach the other end of the bag. You can also make large spaces to hold larger, full size essential oil bottles if desired.

If you like and your bag allows, you can repeat this process on the opposite side of the essentialoilcarrier3bag so that you can hold more rollerballs. I left mine one sided as I wanted room to carry other things in mine. After 10 minutes of HARD labor… (seriously, it took like 10 minutes) I have a cute little rollerball case that slips down in my purse with no problems.

It doesn’t get easier than this folks!

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holyhotflashbatmanIt’s bad enough that women have to get older and our feathers start looking more and more lumpy…but hot flashes too?! Seriously??? It just seems so unfair. And sweaty. And unfair. Good thing we have essential oils!

I’ve been using essential oils for a few years now and I am really interested in the effects that they can have on our hormonal systems. After years of reading and personal testimony I do believe that they can positively effect our hormonal health.

If you’re plagued with the bad guy known as “Hot Flash”, I suggest you pull up your Batgirl britches, put on your cape and make a batch of Brainy Chicken’s HOLY HOT FLASH BATMAN cooling mist. It’s easy to make and you only need the following three oils:

CLARY SAGE~Clary Sage is really great for all kinds of female issues. This is what Dr. Christoph Streicher and Stephanie Chambers have to say about it @ www.amrita.net:

“Clary Sage essential oil is traditionally known for its ability to balance the female endocrine system. It is one of the few essential oils that has this harmonizing effect on women’s hormones. However, it is not recommended to be used by pregnant women.

Women also use it to prevent premenstrual syndrome (PMS / PMT), relieve menstrual cramps and to reduce pain during childbirth. It balances estrogen production, and thus increases breast milk production.

It also helps regulate hormone levels during menopause. To use it for this, diffuse or dilute 2% with a carrier oil if using for a whole body massage (so 10 drops per tablespoon) or 5% for local application (25 drops per tablespoon) or dilute and use in an aromatic bath. A study in Korea2 showed that Clary Sage oil produced a significant antidepressant-like effect in menopausal women as shown by changes in their neurotransmitter levels.”

THYME~ This oil is also really useful for treating women’s issues. You can read more about Thyme oil in this article by Dr. Mercola where he discusses 20 Health Benefits of Thyme Oil

PEPPERMINT OIL~ This oil has been used as a flavoring for candies and confections forever but it also has medicinal qualities. A good quality peppermint oil contains high levels of menthol that trick our bodies receptors into thinking that the body is cooler than it really is. I can think of no better reason than this to include it in a mist form to combat uncomfortable hot flashes.

 

BRAINY CHICKEN’S 

HOLY HOT FLASH BATMAN

MIST RECIPE

    • 1-4 oz spray bottle (or really any spray bottle)
    • 2.5-2.75 oz witch hazel (also has a cooling effect! BONUS!!)
    • 1 oz aloe vera juice or gel mixed with a little water
    • 25 drops Peppermint essential oil
    • 20 drops Clary Sage
    • 15 drops Thyme essential oil

Put all the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake, shake, shake. If you are a really adventurous chicken add more peppermint to increase the cooling sensation (Ah… peppermint) but don’t get too crazy.

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stinkyshoepowder

If you’ve read anything on this site, you know I have 4 kids.

4 stinky feet kids.

That’s a lot of stinky feet AND worse…stinky shoes.

You add the fact that two are actively involved in sports and I’ve got a real problem.literal death

Why do shoes start to stink and why do some people have this problem more than others? The same reason that essential oilers like to apply oils to the soles of the foot is the same reason that people produce stinky shoes…there are a lot of sweat glands on the feet (like 200,000 plus PER foot) and the pores are really large there. In most shoes, air isn’t circulating so you’ve got massive amounts of sweat that just stays put and breeds a lot of bacteria. Nice.

There are ways to combat this problem: always wear clean socks, let your shoes “rest” by not wearing them for more than one day in a row, buying shoes only made out of natural fibers, etc. etc. etc.

Those ideas and practices are all great…but what do I do if that’s STILL not enough? I use a shoe powder that helps to reduce the moisture AND bacteria in the shoe using simple household items and essential oils.

DEAR LORD, YOUR SHOES STINK
SHOE POWDER RECIPE

1/3 CUP BAKING SODA
1/3 CUP ARROWROOT POWDER
1/3 CUP CORN STARCH
5 DROPS EACH OF EUCALYPTUS, TEA TREE
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL

PLACE ALL INGREDIENTS IN AN OLD SHAKER CONTAINER AND SHAKE TO BLEND
(I use an old industrial size seasoning shaker from that I originally bought at Sams)

LIBERALLY shake into shoes when they LITERALLY smell like death!

stinkyshoepowder

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tameyourwildchild

Wilful. Stubborn. Enthusiastic. Lively. Most likely to blow up the house within the next 10 minutes.

These are all ways that you might affectionately refer to my last born…the baby. From the moment he’s been able to move of his own accord, it’s been a race to beat him to the electrical outlets, grab the toast from his hand before he shoves it into the DVD player, reassemble his camping lantern after he’s removed ALL of the screws, and coax him out of a public men’s restroom where he’s stripped off all of his clothes. True stories.

Let’s just say that there is a distinct possibility that my adorable son has some excess energy. You add his speed and love of mischief to the fact that he’s wicked smart and it’s easy to imagine that I would almost be willing to do anything to tame him a little. Not too much, mind you- just enough to keep him out of prison before 20.

 At first, everyone told us that he had attention deficit, but Mr. Rooster and I knew better. He was perfectly capable of paying attention to lots of things for an extended period of time…those things just didn’t include any of the words that were coming out of our mouth. He had good grades, wasn’t getting into too much trouble at school, and seemed pretty well adjusted (considering our family at least) so we started looking for alternatives to help him self-quiet…especially around bed time.

When I really started thinking there could be something to holistic medicine and wellness, I started taking a few yoga classes…mostly because it seemed like a less dangerous activity for an accident prone individual like myself. It didn’t take too long for me to put 2+2 together (see, there’s that math again!) and realize that if yoga was able to make me more calm- it might just be the perfect solution for my rowdy son. Sure enough, I started researching and a lot of people are utilizing yoga to help self-soothe autistic children and those with special needs.

gaiamyogakids

I started out with easy movements like Sun Salutation, but tiny-man-chick really enjoys doing yoga videos and there are a MOUNTAIN of them especially designed for kids. You can buy the Gaiam Kids: Yoga Kids collection on DVD or search your local library for free yogaforfamiliesrentals. These would be great for tiny kids, but he was definitely bored with them. I like this video which we were also able to find at our library.———————->

Another cheaper option is YouTube. Remember, I LOVE cheaper! I found this article at SoMuchYoga.com that has a lot of the best ones together for you to check out but you can just do a search in Youtube and find a ton of options. The Cosmic Kids videos are entertaining (She has one for everything from Frozen to Harry Potter), but they aren’t very relaxing as there is no focus on breathing and transition between the poses.

I have printed a few infographics off the internet instructing him into different poses and we taped them to the back of his bedroom door and keep one handy in the living room so that on days he changes into Mr. Hyde, I can just tell him to go run through some poses before I check myself into an institution.

A lot of times at bedtime, he and I just run through the following poses together to help him settle as these are all particularly good for calming children:

Palms together at heart center
Mountain
Half Moon
Child’s Pose
Cow and Cat
Balancing Cat
Downward Dog
Butterfly
Corpse Pose

So, if you have a wild child that would rather begin a marathon than turn in at night, make a new channel on Pandora for yoga music and try out a few poses with your monster. It doesn’t take a long time to learn about helping them to concentrate and it just might make you dread bedtime a little less!

And, just in case anyone is worried. No, we do not practice the religious side of Yoga. We still love Jesus.

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hibiscusteaI love tea. Tea is like the “non-soda-drinkers” best buddy ever. Sure, I drink water kefir (don’t get me started on this soap box) and COFFEE cause…DUH, I have kids looking to out-maneuver me on a daily basis, but tea is my go-to fix for a refreshing beverage. I like it hot and cold…but I especially like it when it gives me added health benefits. It feels like I am cheating somehow… like getting away with something just a tiny bit naughty.

It’s not quite, but almost like finding a chocolate chip cookie with no calories.

Right now- I am on a Hibiscus kick! Why? because Hibiscus tea is awesome- that’s why! Here’s a link to some of the benefits they think hibiscus might offer. If you aren’t in a clicky mood, let me just boil it (haha) down for you: Do you have problems with High Blood Pressure? Diabetes? High Cholesterol? Then you need to drink hibiscus tea.

Will it enable you to quit taking medication? Probably not. Is it going to be better for you (even sweet tea made with Stevia) than drinking another diet coke….you betcha!

babushkateaI like to buy mine loose just so I can use crazy cute things like this! Have you ever just gone to Amazon and looked for cute tea infusers? It’s a rabbit hole- I tell ya! Not only do you get to look at a little tiny babushka doll or dolphin on your desk all day, it’s also a lot cheaper to buy it in loose and in bulk…good for those of us that drink it regularly.

If you aren’t into the loose thing or don’t like cute little babushka tea infusers (I don’t even want to contemplate that possibility) then buy it in prepackaged tea bags. I like this brand by Alvita that my local health food store carries but you can find hibiscus tea in a lot of places now.hibiscusteabox

To get to the sweet stuff…what tea experience would be complete without locally grown honey? If you can get this…you need to purchase honey that is harvested within 50-100 miles of where you live because consuming local honey not only makes your tea experience sweeter- it helps people that have seasonal allergies A LOT!

I’d like to note that the tea pictured in my title pic was actually purchased from Back Country Herbal Apothecary in Frisco, Co. If you are into wellness, natural medicine and/or all natural personal hygiene products, you should visit them if you are ever in the area. They are great and right in the middle of historic downtown Frisco!

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