How to Make Your Own Sunscreen

Homemade Sunscreen

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Yesterday was the first day of spring, although it sure didn’t feel like it here in North Carolina.  The sun hasn’t shone in a couple days, but I am now prepared for the day when I get to see it again! I spent a few hours yesterday making sunscreen, bug spray, allergy rub, and a couple of candles, because… why not?!?

So, I thought that I would share with you today how I make my natural sunscreen.  Sunscreen is a necessity, but the chemicals and additives that you can’t even pronounce are not!

My son has sensitive skin, so some of the sunscreens on the market cause skin irritation, because of that I felt the need to learn how to make my own. The sunscreen I make is made with 6 simple ingredients that haven’t caused him any skin issues, and it always does a great job at protecting his pale skin from the sun.

How to Make Sunscreen 

This is what you need, (if you don’t have some of these ingredients, you can easily order them on Amazon, which is much easier than searching around town for them):

½ Cup Olive Oil

½ Cup Fractionated Coconut Oil

½ Cup Beeswax

4 Tbsp Shea Butter

2 Tbsp Zinc Oxide

12 Drops of essential oil (I use lavender)

If you have a double boiler, great, you can use that to melt the ingredients together, however I don’t, so I just put a small amount (like 1 cup) of water in a sauce pan and set a heat safe glass bowl on top. 

Ingredients to make sunscreen

Directions

  • Start by placing all the ingredients EXCEPT the zinc oxide and Essential oil into the glass bowl and melt together.  The mixture will become a transparent yellow color and everything will become incorporated. 
  • Next, take the mixture off the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes
  • Then, add the Zinc Oxide slowly, (careful not to breathe it in) and the essential oil.
  • Finally, pour your sunscreen into a few jars or tins (I used these).  Let it sit for a couple of hours so your sunscreen hardens up and becomes the consistency of a body butter.

Simple, Soft, Safe Sunscreen

The beauty of this sunscreen, is a little goes a long way! It has a smooth, soft consistency that rubs on easily thanks to the shea butter. Try not to leave it in direct sunlight as it melts very easily. I like to apply it before we leave the house, and keep it a cooler in a plastic bag, just in case, plus doing so makes for a cooling sensation when we reapply.

So simple, right? And when you use this, you can feel good about the sunscreen you’re putting on your family. Think of all you’re avoiding, like the many nasty endocrine disruptors and other unpronounceable ingredients.  I don’t know about you, but I cringe when I have had to use traditional sunscreens on my kids.

Once you make this, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. It feels great to be prepared, so make some today, and bring on the sunshine!!!

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Essential Oil Cleaning Recipes

Essential Oils for Cleaning

It goes without saying, there are too many toxins in most American homes these days. Cleaning supplies are a BIG culprit. According to a study published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review journal, 25 of the best selling cleaning and personal-hygiene products emit an average of 17 chemicals each!

They analyzed all-purpose sprays, deodorizers, air fresheners, and disinfectants. All 25 contained VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) that are classified as probable carcinogens, for which there is NO SAFE EXPOSURE LEVEL according to the EPA. What’s most scary, is that about half of the products evaluated made some claim of being “organic,” “natural,” or “non-toxic.”

It’s amazingly easy to make your own. If you have baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils, you can clean your whole house just as effectively as with the chemical filled cleaners. Might I also mention, you will save a ton of money, let alone your home will smell fresh and clean with the help of essential oils! Check out how easy these recipes are to make….

Borax disinfects, kills germs, whitens, cuts grease, and deodorizes. Use rubber gloves when handling. (Although natural, borax is toxic when ingested, and can cause minor skin irritation. Keep away from children, pets, and food prep areas.)
Baking soda scrubs, whitens, deodorizes, is mildly abrasive, and absorbs odors, so it’s perfect for cleaning the toilet.
White Vinegar kills germs, cuts grease, deodorizes, and dissolves mineral deposits.


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Immune Boosting Foods

Boost Your Immune System

I am not a winter person at all, being cold makes me down right miserable. I love to spend my days in flip flops and bare feet, my warm summer days just can’t come fast enough! 

Is it just me, or does it seem like winter lasts longer than any other season? I think that we are getting closer, we’ve had a few warmer days recently, but just when you think that spring is on the way, we wake up to another frosty morning! My sister just sent me a funny meme that seems pretty appropriate for the way I’m feeling about winter right now – it made me laugh. Here it is- it gives the 11 seasons of winter:

11 Seasons of Winter

  1. Winter
  2. Fool’s Spring
  3. Second Winter
  4. Spring of Deception
  5. Third Winter
  6. Mud Season
  7. Actual Spring
  8. Summer
  9. False Fall
  10. Second Summer (1 Week)
  11. Actual Fall

With all the up and down winter weather that happens, it’s no wonder it’s a challenge to keep everyone in our families healthy.  I feel like every time I turn around someone or some of our friends are in quarantine.  All this sickness has sent me searching for ways to boost my family’s immune system. In addition to using my essential oils, a great way to boost it – is to feed it!

Immune boosting foods increase the number of white cells in the immune system, train them to fight better, and help them form an overall better defense. The right nutrients also help our bodies get rid of the substances that wear us down.

5 Nutrients that are Vital to a Healthy Immune System

Immune boosting foods

Vitamin C: Increases the amount of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies. Approximately 200 milligrams a day works well and can be obtained by eating at least six servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The fruits containing the highest amounts of Vitamin C are:

  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit

Vitamin E: Enhances the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Foods that provide Vitamin E are:

  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Spinach
  • Avocado

Carotenoids: Beta carotene is the most familiar carotenoid and increases the number of infection-fighting cells.  They are a powerful antioxidant. Foods high in carotenoids are:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Tomatoes

Zinc: This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection. Since too much zinc in the form of supplements (more than 75 milligrams a day) can inhibit immune function, it is safest to stick to getting zinc from your diet. Foods rich in zinc are:

  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Beef
  • Turkey (dark meat)  
  • Beans

Omega-3 fatty acids: Increase the activity of the cells that eat up bacteria. Essential fatty acids also protect the body against damage from over-reactions to infection. Found primarily in flax oil and fatty fish such as

  • Salmon
  • Tuna and
  • Mackerel

Try your best to incorporate as many of these nutrient dense foods into your family’s diet, not just in the winter, but all year long.  Feed your family a variety of healthy, colorful foods and give them germ fighting super powers!

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How to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Days

Fitting Exercise into your Day

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Finding time to exercise is not an easy task. Working full time and having kid’s activities most evenings, makes being active a really big challenge. If you can get up early to squeeze a workout in before work, that’s awesome! But, if you’re like me, you enjoy your sleep and getting up early is pretty much out of the question.

So when time is of the essence, it’s a great idea to try to incorporate exercise throughout the day. Here are some ideas that take very little time, but can help add activity into your busy day!

Add a morning stretch into your routine.

I know, I just mentioned this, but I am not really a morning person, especially on work days! However, a quick, easy yoga session is a great way to start the day. You can stretch however you choose, just spend about 10 minutes moving, stretching, and focusing on some deep breathing. Your body will thank you!

If you are not familiar with sun salutations, here is an example of a sequence: https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/ray-of-light

⦁ Mountain pose (standing tall with palms together at your heart center)
⦁ Forward fold (touch your toes)
⦁ Half lift (flatten your back and bring your hands half way up your legs)
⦁ Downward facing dog (palms and feet flat on the floor, so that you are in an upside down “V”)
⦁ Cat cow (knees to the floor, arch and curl your back)
⦁ Child pose (push back so you are sitting on your feet, but your arms are on the ground in front of you)
⦁ Downward facing dog
⦁ Warrior 1 (high lunge position with arms raised, looking up at finger tips)
⦁ Warrior 2 (lunge position, turn front toe facing forward, bring knee over ankle, and arms at shoulder height, reaching out and through finger tips)
⦁ Triangle (legs 3 feet apart turn the right toes to the right wall and the left toes slightly inwards, reach one hand to the ceiling and one to your ankle)

Try this for a week and see how much better you feel starting out the day. As you get use to the 10 minute stretch, you may decide to stretch longer or add in some abs, lunges, and squats into the routine. You can also try adding other exercise throughout the day, the more you move, the better you will feel.


Here are some examples of things you can do to add a little activity anytime of day…

1. Shower squats

While you wash your face in the shower, do 20 squats. Sounds silly, but hey, when you’re short on time?!

2. Hand washing squats

This works best if you are in an individual bathroom. Instead of counting or singing the alphabet like we teach our kids, try doing 10 squats while you suds up your hands.

3. 20 push ups before bed

Make it a routine just like brushing your teeth before bed. Push ups are great for upper body strength and not to mention keeping your arms nice and toned!

4. Calf Raises

This one is simple. When you are standing in one place, maybe while cooking dinner or making copies at work, simply raise to your toes and lower back down 10-20 times and as often as you can.

5. Toy soldiers

You’ll need some room for this one. While walking, bring your leg straight out in front of you like a toy soldier and try and touch your toe, alternating legs as you walk. This is great for your abs. You can do this as you walk around your house from task to task.

6. High knees

Another good ab exercise, bringing your bent knee up to the side, alternating legs. This can easily be done while folding laundry, brushing your teeth, or making dinner.

7. Take the stairs

Always the best option. Try to challenge yourself, set a daily expectation for yourself and stick to it.

8. Park far away

This is an oldie but a goodie, and an easy way to add those extra steps to your day. Pick the furthest away parking spot, the kids may complain, but it’s good for them too!

I know that some of these sound pretty funny, but trust me, with consistency and determination, all of these little exercises will add up to a strong, healthy body.

Most importantly when it comes to fitness, do what works for you. We are all unique and different. Some people love the long runs, some love the gym and that works for them. Meanwhile, a good stretch and a few muscle strengthening moves are just right for others.

Just be active, whatever it takes, it’s really hard to have excuses with so many simple ways to fit it into your day. Thanks for reading and let me know what you do to add activity to your day! – Be well.

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Essential Oils to Help with Detoxification

Essential Oils for Detoxification Support

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Detoxification is a process that the body must go through to eliminate unwanted toxins and chemicals.  Adding essential oils into your daily routine can help in aiding your body in this process.  Your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins is essential for your overall wellness. 

Sadly, it’s nearly impossible to avoid all of the toxins in today’s environment.  They are everywhere, from the air you breathe, to the food you eat, to many of the products you use every day, they contain chemicals that your body must process and somehow eliminate. 

Sometimes your body becomes overloaded with these chemicals and you start to feel tired, have lack of energy, you may tend to get sick easier, it might show in your moods, or you might even have chronic pain because of them.

Thankfully, many companies are waking up and realizing that they are harming people with their chemical additives.  They have found natural alternatives and are learning that consumers are not going to buy their toxic products any longer.  Remember, that what you buy dictates what they will make, if everyone takes a stand and stops buying the chemical laden products, they will have to find healthier alternatives to stay in business. 

Check out https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners for a list of safe cleaners.  (This is also a great site packed full of information about toxic impacts on our environment.)

Which Essential Oils Help Assist the Body in Eliminating these Toxins?

Grapefruit Essential Oil is one of the first oils that I ever purchased.  At the time, I just knew that I liked the smell and taste of grapefruit, and thought it would be fun to add to my water.  I had no idea how much I was going to love it!

I drink a lot of water throughout the day.  I always carry my water bottle with me and highly recommend it. It’s just a great way to stay hydrated.  Water itself is very detoxifying, adding a little essential oil such grapefruit, lemon, or lime, can give your body a detoxification boost.

Photo by Elliot Fais

Lemongrass Essential Oil is a powerhouse decongestant for any system of the body.   Check out my post on Lemongrass to find out how we use it in our family. 

Clove Essential Oil is a powerful antioxidant and can assist on a blood and cellular level.  It also offers great liver and brain support.  This is a good oil to take internally.  Add a drop or 2 to a veggie capsule to support multiple internal functions.

Cilantro Essential Oil can help relieve the body of heavy metals.  Cilantro oil offers support to the kidneys and liver in the detoxification process.  I like this oil combined with a carrier oil and rubbed on the bottom of my feet, it is also a good one to take internally by adding to a veggie capsule. 

DoTerra Essential Oil Blends to Support Detoxification

DoTerra Essential Oils puts together some amazing blends as well, that will aid your body in the process of eliminating chemicals.  Here are the 2 that I’ve tried, and I personally know they work wonders!  My body feels so much better than it did just a few months ago, before incorporating a regular detox plan. 

Zendocrine – Detoxification Blend features tangerine, rosemary, geranium, juniper berry and cilantro.  It is known for purifying the body’s system and supports healthy cleansing and filtering functions of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, and skin.

I use Zendocrine in my water, usually post workout, for a week at a time and do this about every other week or so.  My body actually craves it now!

DDR Prime is a proprietary blend of CPTG essential oils that help protect the body against oxidative stress on a cellular level.  This blend contains clove, wild orange, frankincense, lemongrass, summer savory, and niaouli.  DDR prime supports a healthy response to cellular stressors, and promotes healthy cellular regeneration.

I like to massage a couple of drops of DDR Prime mixed with jojoba oil into the bottom of my feet morning and night.

Caution

  • Small dosages recommended
  • Dilution with carrier oil recommended. 
  • Not recommended during pregnancy

Always use a pure, superior, therapeutic grade oil such as DoTerra.  If you are not already a wholesale member, and are interested in the benefits, email me and I can help you set up your account. metronomewellness@gmail.com.

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Play Time Before Screen Time

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

There’s no denying that technology and screens are a part of everyone’s life today. I know that in my house, we’ve struggled to find a healthy balance of screen time and activity.

By implementing play time = screen time, I feel like I’m finally breaking through and regaining control. Until recently, I felt like I was constantly saying that it was time to shut down the TV, computer, or the Kindle and do something else, sound familiar?

Kids are meant to spend a lot of time running and playing, and not meant to spend too much time sitting.  Movement and activity is necessary for their growing bodies. The following is a list of some reasons why it is so important that they play every day:

Why Play is Important

  • Builds strong muscles
  • Establishes strong bones
  • Creates a healthy heart
  • Boosts their immune system
  • Keeps them lean
  • Improves coordination
  • Boosts mood
  • Curbs the appetite
  • Prevents constipation
  • Improves sleep

Tips for making Play happen 

  1. First and probably most important, is to set a rule that, play time happens before screen time! For every minute they play, they can have equal time in front of a screen. 
  2. Be a good example.  Active parents have active kids.  Let them know that you enjoy working out and exercising, and limit your own screen time.  I know that time is limited, but try to find time to do what you like to do to be active. It doesn’t have to be going to a gym, it could be going for a walk every day after work, joining a running group, yoga, or my personal favorite – playing tennis in a league (check out https://tennislink.usta.com/leagues to find a local team to join, I promise there are leagues for all levels). 
  3. Play as a Family.  When you play together as a family, you are creating lasting memories for your children.  Choose hobbies that everyone enjoys, like bike rides, family walks (do some treasure hunting), games in the backyard or going to the park.  For other ways to spend time together as a family check out my Family Time post: https://www.metronomewellness.com/motherhood/family-time/

What about when the weather is cold and wet?

I realize that this time of year it can be tough in some parts of the country for kids to play outside due to the weather, so here are some fun ideas that kids can do INSIDE the house:

Indoor Play Ideas

  • Twister – an oldie but a goodie, who doesn’t like twister?
  • Dance – (one of our favorites) turn up the tunes and get down!
  • Balloon toss with or without fly swatters, use the swatters to hit the balloon back and forth.  Try to see how long you can go before the balloon touches the ground.
  • Indoor Basketball, with a mini over-the-door hoop.  If you have a ball player in your family and don’t have one of these, you must get one.  My son will come out of his room a sweaty mess after an intense, imaginary game of mini basketball.
  • Indoor beachball soccer.  You’ll need a little space for this one.  Use a couple of cardboard boxes or laundry baskets as goals.
  • Beachball bowling.  Fill empty liter bottles ¼ full with water, dried beans, or sand and use them as bowling pins.
  • Yoga. Have a little mini yoga session with your kids.  We have this yogaspin game, that is lots of fun, and a good way to avoid screens.
  • Have a fitness contest – see who can do the most push-ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, squats, etc.
  • Try an activity video on YouTube.  The only thing I don’t like about this, is that they are still looking at a screen, but if it gets them moving, then go with it! (my kids like GoNoodle).
  • Indoor obstacle course.  Make a tunnel out of blankets and chairs, hop over a step stool, weave around pillows on the ground, use your imaginations to make a fun and challenging course.
  • Play in the garage if possible, (dribble a basketball, jump rope, kick a soccer ball against the wall, hit a tennis ball against the wall – take caution if anyone else is around!)

Make it a priority to encourage your kids to play, EVERY DAY!  Teach them to feel the difference in their energy levels and moods before and after.  By incorporating some of these fun activities, and setting screen time limits, my hope is that they will create healthy habits that will last a lifetime!