Essential Oils

Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Ornaments Herb Style

Cinnamon Ornaments

Here is our second round of cinnamon ‘n’ spice ornaments!  We had so much fun coming up with ways to decorate using botanicals.  Check out my other post Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Ornaments Craft Style for full instruction on how to make this aromatically stimulating craft.  Trust me these are easy, stimulate a lot of imagination in kids and smell amazing!  You won’t be disappointed.

We found that using herbs to decorate worked best in two different ways:

  • First, if you want to press the botanical into the ornament while it is wet, like with cloves or rose buds, it is best to leave the ornament in the cookie cutter while you and placing the botanical.  Otherwise the dough kinda of falls apart and then you have to start all over again.
  • Second, you can simply glue the herb to the ornament once it is dry.  This worked best for star anise, lavender blossoms and hawthorn berries.  A hot glue is the best choice for attaching large pieces while you can use school glue for small things like lavender blossoms.

Carving

My little one tried her hand at carving a shape.  It was a good experiment.

Unfortunately, it did hold together as well as the ornaments we cut out with cookie cutter.

Anise star heart

For this one we pressed cloves around the edge and then let the ornament dry before hot gluing a lovely star anise in the center.

Rose bud star

I love little baby rose buds, don’t you?

These all had little stems that we pressed into the dough.

Lavender Heart

This was super easy.  Once the ornament was dry we covered the top with a thin layer of white glue and pressed lavender blossoms all around the top.  I think this would be lovely done with something like anise seeds too.

Herbie gingerbread person

Decorated by my sweetie with hawthorn berries and cloves.

Kids love to decorate gingerbread people!

Herbie gingerbread person

Another creation.  This one has a bit of star anise for a smile.

The two gingerbread people are “married” according to their little creator.

Christmas Tree

 

Christmas tree complete with a shining star on top!

We love crafting for the holidays!  Do you enjoy making things with your kids?  I would love to hear about it!

Happy Holidays!

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Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Parenting, Playing With Herbs, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cinnamon ‘n’ Spice Ornaments Craft Style

Combine a lot of cinnamon with some applesauce and what do you get?  A delicious smelling dough for crafting!  Add some ginger, cloves and orange essential oil and the dough becomes incredibly fragrant, almost enchanting in its olfactory expression.  Oh my…

cinnamon and sparkles

These lovely ornaments are decorated with crafty stuff like glitter and glue. Next week, after I have a chance to make some of these with my kids, I will have a post about ornaments decorated with herbie stuff for a more natural look!

We made these ornaments at preschool to decorate for our holiday show this Friday night.  When I brought in an example ornament the kids all exclaimed, “Cookie!”  Which prompted a discussion about if  it would be OK to eat our ornaments.  Once I was sure the kids would refrain from taking a nibble, we started making our dough.  As usual we sat in a circle on the floor to work together bringing all us right in to the activity.

mixing it up

Making The Ornaments

Ingredients ~

  • 1 1/2 cups of ground cinnamon (can be expensive right?  I got mine in a huge jar at Costco for $3!)
  • 1/2 cup of other ground spices such as ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.  We used cloves and ginger a 1/4th cup each to make our super yummy smelling ornaments
  • 10 drops of sweet orange essential oil
  • 1 to 2 cups of applesauce
  • 4 Tbsp school glue, like Elmer’s

Instructions ~

Put all your ingredients in a bowl starting with 1 cup of applesauce and mix it up.  (We passed the bowl around our circle so everyone got a chance to stir and smell our creation up close.)  You want the dough to be firm and a bit wet.  It will be sticky but not so sticky that it is hard to work with.  If it is too dry and crumbly, add more applesauce a little at a time.  If it is too wet, add more cinnamon.  Next dust a table with some cinnamon and then dump the dough out on the table.  You can either roll it out or just pat it down until it is about a 1/4″ thick or so, if you make it thinner than  1/4″ your ornaments will be more likely to break.  Trust me, I know!  Let the kiddos help you pat it down if they want, they like this part.  If your dough is cracking when you roll/pat it out then it is too dry so add a bit more applesauce.  No need to put it back in the bowl, you can just mix it on the table.

all ready to cut out

After you have your dough flatten out to a 1/4″ or so, then it is time to cut shapes with cookie cutters.  Let the kiddos cut out their shape and the use a straw to make a hole in the ornament for a string to go through.

cutting the dough

Using a spatula place the ornament on a cookie sheet or drying rack and let it dry for a few days.  You can also place them in a 170 degree oven for a few hours to dry being careful to check them and turn them often so they don’t burn.  Once they are dry, they are ready to decorate or to simple hand with a pretty ribbon.

cinnamon dough

Ideas For Decorating ~

Crafty

  • glitter
  • glitter glue which could be like “piping” frosting on a cookie
  • small pom poms
  • sequins
  • small gems
  • paint, don’t cover completely or you may lose the smell
  • beads to decorate a ribbon or chenille stem for hanging

Herbal 

  • cloves ~ can you shove them into the dough before it dries?
  • rose buds
  • lavender blossoms
  • anise stars
  • elder berries or other berries

We didn’t use any of these at the school and I am excited going to experiment at home with my kids!  

We finally had time to play!  Check out our herbie decorated ornaments!

Ornaments

My nightmarish experience with cinnamon ornaments and eight little preschoolers….

In some ways these couldn’t be simpler to make but I must confess that I had a bad time trying to make these a few years ago when I started teaching at the preschool.  Here is what happened…  After making a succesful test batch at home with my little girl, I went into the preschool all ready to have a fun day with the kids.  Unfortunately, when we made our dough it was too sticky so we needed to add more cinnamon.  Problem was, all the cinnamon was gone.  So we added flour.  Not a good idea.  The dough became very sticky and the kids had their hands in it at the time.  So there I was with eight freaked out little kids, hands covered in globby goop.  Luckily the other teachers at the school helped out and we got everyone cleaned up in no time.  Whew!  So it was with a bit of trepidation that I made these this year at the school and I am so glad I did!

More Ways To Play With Cinnamon:

Shared On: The Kid’s Co-op, The Imagination Tree

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Playing With Herbs, Winter Holidays | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Kindly Gift

At the coffee shop one recent Fall morning I struck up a conversation with the spunky sweet woman behind the counter.  We got to talking about the coconut caramel for sale near the register.  I asked her if she thought I could use them to make caramel apples for my kids who are desperate for a gooey creamy apple.  Our conversation drifted to how amazing apples are which is when I noticed the apples earrings she had doing a dangly dance from her ear lobes.  Before I knew it this wonderful woman handed me a brown paper bag full of delicious red-green apples from her neighbor’s tree.  A kindly gift indeed….

And then….

The very next day, I was blessed to receive another gift.  And this was huge for me, in fact the drama queen in me would say it changed my life, or at least my October.  My daughter wanted to be “Trixie the Halloween Fairy” from the Rainbow Magic Books.  I knew a little girl who had worn that very costume a few years before.  I asked her mother if she still had it and could I buy it from her?  Not only did she still have it but just she gave it to me.  A full costume, complete with resplendent fairy wings.  Now, I don’t sew unless it is a simple repair job like re-attaching a button.  And before I was gifted with this costume, I was looking at hours of potentially trying sewing or trying to figure out how to make the costume without sewing.  It was a huge relief to know that I had nothing to do, the costume was done and I was free to focus on having fun with my kids.  Another kindly gift…

How could I thank these lovely ladies and let them know how much their gestures meant to me?  I pondered a bit before I remembered a favorite “thank you” that I love to give, an aromatherapy spritzer!

After writing on our label we decorated it with a quick swipe of a glue stick and then a sprinkle of glitter! Perfect for a fairy thank you gift from my little one to the wonderful woman who gifted her a fairy costume.

Most people love spritzers and delight in receiving them.  Spritzers are so easy to make user friendly  and bring a bit of plant magic into life.  When I make a spritzer for someone who’s preferences I don’t know, I almost always use lavender essential oil.  Most people love lavender and it is one of the safest essential oils.  In fact only lavender and tea tree essential oils are okay to put straight on the skin with out dilution (this is called a neat application ~ neat right?).

Here are basic instructions for making your own spritzer

Supplies ~
  • Bottle
  • Atomizer (Spray Top)
  • Water
  • Essential Oils
Instructions ~

Fill the bottle almost to the top with water but leave enough room for the sprayer tube to insert into the bottle.  You may have to trim the tube a little bit to make it the right length.  Then just add you essential oils.  You will want to put a safe amount of oils into the bottle.  Here is a good guideline for recommended dilutions:

  • 1% dilution: 5 to 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of water (this is the safest dilution for the very young and elderly)
  • 2% dilution: 10 to 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of water

So basically if you have a 4 ounce bottle for your spritzer you would use 20 to 24 drops of essential oil to make a 1% dilution or 40 to 48 drops for a 2% dilution.  Information on proper dilutions taken from the oh so excellent Mindy Green & Kathy Keville’s Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art.

Then just give it a good shake.  Add a ribbon and a label to make it pretty.  That is it!  So simple.  What a great way to give thanks and tell someone you appreciate having them in your life.

How do you say thank you to the people who have touched your life?

Categories: Adventures And Stories, Aromatherapy For Kids, Essential Oils, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Ingredients And Herbs | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Happy First Day of Preschool With Calming Aromatherapy

The new school year is quickly approaching for us at our very sweet little preschool.  Some of the kids will be coming to school for the very first time.  In fact they may have never been away from their mama.   Because needless to say, for some kids (and their parents too), the first day of school can be intimidating, scary and even a bit traumatic.  I know I sat in my car and cried for a good twenty minutes after I dropped my oldest daughter off on her first day of preschool.

Every year on this very special day we help the kids adjust to their new environment by offering a time-honored and much loved activity, playdough, made a bit friendlier with the addition of calming essential oils and herbs.

Playing with playdough on its own provides stress relief through tactile squeezing and massaging of the smooth squishy dough.  With essential oils added the child instantly gets all the benefits of aromatherapy.  Breathing deepens as the oils are inhaled calming the mind and body,  bringing about a sense of peace.  Read Herbal Playdough for more info on the benefits of playdough and to get some great ideas for making your own colorful fragrant completely chemical free playdough. It is fun to let each child custom make their own playdough to take home.  They have something fun they made to share with their family at the end of the big day.

Materials you will need:

Prepared Playdough or you can make the playdough with the kids. Here is my favorite recipe:

  •  1 cup of flour 
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp oil

Combine dry ingredients in a sauce pan.  Add the water and oil.  Stir together and heat slowly over low heat.  Stir almost constantly until the playdough sets up.  Let it cool to warm before playing, playdough right off the stove is hot.

Food Coloring (Please note that I am searching for affordable coloring made from natural materials that are healthy.  I do use powdered herbs for coloring when making a large quantity of one colored playdough for the school, yet I need something wonderful for coloring playdough when we are making personal playdough for taking home.  If any one has a source, please share!)

Essential Oils  I like to offer lavender, sweet orange, cardamon, spearmint, rosemary and rose geranium.

Dried Herbs like lavender blossoms, ground cinnamon and rose petals

Glitter 

Here is how I do this fun activity:

  1. Give each child a nice blob of playdough and some playdough toys.
  2. Have them pick out one color from your food colors to add to their playdough.  Put a couple of drops of food coloring in their playdough and start mixing it in for them so they don’t get a big blob of food coloring on their hands.  You will have rainbow hands at the end.
  3. Let everyone smell the essential oils.  I usually talk with the kids a bit about smelling the oil by inhaling, not exhaling.  And then we practice.  I tell them to be sure not to touch their nose to the bottle.  This keeps the oils clean and safe for everyone to use.  Then let them choose which oils they want in their playdough.  I have found that most kids will want every oil!
  4. Have the child make a hole in the playdough.  Then you place a drop or two of oil in the hole and take a moment to personally squish up the oil into the playdough so that the oil doesn’t come into direct contact with the child’s skin. It is safe once it diluted into the playdough.
  5. Offer herbs and glitter for the kids to mix into their playdough.  Just dust a bit over the top of their playdough or make a little pile on the side for them to add in.  Some kids find the glitter and herbs to be “sharp” but usually they love adding in more and more as they go.
  6. When the child is done playing, bag up their playdough so they can take it home at the end of the day.

How do you welcome little ones to your school for that first big day?  I would love to hear all about it! 

Well, the first day has come and went.  We had a blast making our playdough.  Some of the kids made some really neat pieces of art with their playdough and all the additions we used.  Fresh lavender stalks became trees and dried roses became lava.

Enjoy the pictures!

 

 

 

 

Please Note about essential oils: Essential oils are concentrated plant substances.  They are dangerous and should not be used unsupervised around children.  Always keep the oils up and out of reach when you aren’t using them and be sure that an adult is the one who holds and uses the bottles.  I tell the kids that the essential oils are for teachers to use.  Some oils smell like really yummy food, so please do be careful.  Use mild oils like the ones listed above.

Shared on: The Weekly Kid’s Co-op, DJDaniel4’s Mom, Charlotte Mom Favorites

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Back to School, Cinnamon and Spices, Essential Oils, Lavender, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Play Dough, Playing With Herbs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Some Sweet Foot Lovin’ For Mother’s Day

This time of year we are always busy preparing something for those loveliest of people…  Mommies.

This May we are making foot soaks for pampering hard-working feet and to go with it?  The cutest footprint butterflies!

Footprint Butterflies

We started on our butterflies yesterday.  They are really easy to make and the kids love it!  I think mostly because they get to have their feet painted and who wouldn’t get a kick out of that?  It tickles and it is silly!

For time purposes I drew the butterfly’s body for each child with their chosen color, though you could certainly have the child do this part.   Then they drew in the face.  We got some cute facial expressions!

With the butterfly body all set up, I had the child choose the colors for their butterfly’s wings and I asked them how they wanted their feet painted ~ all the colors on each foot?

Or one foot painted one color and the other foot another? With the kid sitting in a child-size chair, the fun began… we painted their feet and pressed them down on paper.

Lots of giggles ensued and with many other little ones watching on, we had a fun morning together.  Doing just one foot at a time made it easy to keep the mess under control.  I helped them place their foot in the right spot to make butterfly wings.

Then we finished with a quick rinse in a tub of water and I wiped their feet off with a towel I had on hand.

Foot Soaks

This coming week we are going to make foot soaks to go along with our butterflies.

Here is the recipe we are going to use:

  • 1 cup of Epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1 Tbs of ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs of lavender blossoms
  • A 4 to 8  drops of essential oil ~ I will let the children choose their favorite for their mommy from lavender, cedarwood, cardamom, ylang ylang, rose geranium, spearmint and rosemary.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  Tie off your bag with a pretty ribbon or twisty tie.  Add a label with information about the ingredients and how to use it.  This recipe will make enough for one to two mommies.  Increase the proportions as needed.  Easy Peasy!

Note:  Using a foot bath is easy and relaxing.  Just use a bowl or basin with enough room for your feet.  Fill it with warm water.  Put your feet and then your foot soak in and relax.  I like to keep a towel nearby to dry off with and a nice foot oil or shea butter to put on afterwards.  Then top off with some snuggly socks!  Heaven.  Heaven for Mommies….

The Gift

Often I will use simple brown paper bags at the preschool.  For gifts there is nothing better.  I let the kids decorate the bags and then we wrap up our gifts.  For Mother’s Day, I plan to package them all up something like this:

Shared On: It’s Playtime!Tender MomentsEco-Kids TuesdayThe Kid’s Co-opKid’s Get Crafty, Friday’s Nature Table

Categories: Aromatherapy For Kids, Bathing, Essential Oils, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Mother's Day, Playing With Herbs | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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