Flash Giveaway: ZAQ Noor Essential Oil Diffuser

Chances are, if you walk into my home (or you know, hug me), you’re going to get a whiff of an essential oil. In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan of these wonderful oils and use them daily to create a happier, healthier home.

Flash giveaway: ZAQ Noor Essential Oil Diffuser

Using essential oils aromatically is an excellent, safe way to incorporate them into your home and you can do it for a number of different reasons:

  • Clean the air
  • Uplift moods
  • Support the immune system
  • Open airways
  • Calm down crazy children (and spouses)

Plus they smell awesome and make your house smell like a citrus grove. Or lavender field. Or cinnamon stick. You get the picture.

My favorite way to use essential oils aromatically is with a diffuser. With a diffuser, I put a little bit of water (how much depends on the machine) in with a few drops of essential oil. I turn it on and bam! Whatever room my diffuser is sitting in fills with the scent (and benefits) of the essential oil(s) I’m diffusing.

I’ve got a diffuser that travels around my house and even one for the car that has a USB adapter that I can technically use inside (it made our yurt smell awesome when we went to the coast recently).

Also, I’m in love with my new diffuser necklaces, but they’re more of a one-person kind of thing. Unless you get reeeeeeeeally close to me.

Anywho, using essential oils aromatically = a really great way to create a happier, healthier home.

Essential Oil Diffuser Giveaway

Flash giveaway: ZAQ Noor Essential Oil Diffuser

Would you like a chance to win a diffuser to use in your home so you use essential oils aromatically? I’m giving away a ZAQ Noor diffuser!

I’ve got one of these sweet little diffusers sitting on my desk right now and I love it! It’s smaller than my other diffuser and I love having it going while I work (3 drops wild orange and 2 drops lavender at the moment).

Here’s what I love about it:

  • Mid-size (saves space)
  • Multi-color LED lights (that can I can turn off if I want)
  • Energy efficient
  • 4-hour run time
  • Uses just a few drops of essential oils

This giveaway is in honor of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle sale! It has tons of resources to help you create a happier, healthier home. And this diffuser will help!

Everything included in the bundle would cost over $1240 to buy separately (including over $300 worth of bonuses). But you can get it all for just under $30.

Awesome, right! Have you gotten your bundle yet? The sale ends in just a few days.

How to enter

You can enter simply by using the handy widget below. There are four options to win the ZAQ Noor diffuser:

  • Visit the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle site and leave a comment here telling me what resource(s) you’re most excited about
  • Visit Shalom Mama on Facebook
  • Get the newsletter
  • Easy peasy entry – just hit enter!

Go ahead and enter!
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DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

One of the simplest ways to create a healthier home is to remove all the toxic cleaners from your space. You can do that easily with this DIY all-purpose cleaning spray.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

If you’re used to using harsh chemicals to get your house clean, you might wonder if it’s really possible to clean your home with water, vinegar and essential oils.

But it works. (Here are some studies on that.)

Vinegar itself is a great natural cleaner. Add essential oils to the mix, however, and you’ve got powerful antimicrobial properties that clean your home without harming your body.

  • Lemon: Antibacterial, degunkifier, degreaser, mood lifter, detoxifier.
  • Lavender: Antimicrobial, skin soothing, calming.
  • Melaleuca: Antimicrobial, skin soothing, ear infection healer.

Awesome, right?

DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

Combine all the ingredients in a glass spray bottle (essential oils will break down plastic). Slap on a pretty label and use to clean the surfaces in your home.

Troubleshooting Tips for Line Drying Laundry

When it was time to move out of the bus, I had certain criteria for our new house. Most importantly, it had to be super close to the EMS station so my husband could sleep at home at night when he’s on duty (I don’t sleep well when he’s gone). Second, I wanted a big, fenced back yard. And third, we needed space to park that big ole bus.

Trouble-shooting trip for line drying laundry | Shalom Mama

The home we found met all the criteria – it was even the exact price I was hoping for. And it had one bonus that I hadn’t even thought to add to my prayer list, but it was something I’ve wanted for quite some time.

A laundry line.

I know that sounds like a small thing, but seeing the laundry line in the back yard made me squeal. Ever since I began my natural living journey I’ve wanted a laundry line. For one reason or another, I couldn’t have one (at least, not the conventional posts and line that we now have) so I made do with line drying laundry with makeshift lines and knowing I was at least making my own laundry detergent.

But now I have one. And I love to use it, even though it’s right next to the road, which is at a busy intersection and I’ve had to figure out clever ways to hang my underwear so all my friends and passersby don’t see them. It doesn’t always work, which has inspired me to buy cute undies ;).

But, even though it’s a pretty simple thing to do, I hit some snags. Weather didn’t always cooperate and I didn’t even have a laundry line outside. I didn’t let that stop me, though, and found some creative ways to troubleshoot my line drying problems.

If you’ve run into similar problems, here are some helpful tips to overcome common line drying obstacles:

Line Drying Problem: No line

We didn’t have a typical laundry line for years. Instead, I hung my clothes inside.

To start, I put all the clothes on extra hangers and hung them on the shower rod in the bathroom. I was able to hang a lot of clothes in there thanks to the space-saving hangers. Diapers were hung from the rod that ran under our laundry room shelf.

In another home, we put this laundry line in a sun room and hung the clothes in there using clothes pins.

Others choose to use drying racks in the garage, or other spare rooms in the house. I know one family that uses a drying rack in the same room that their wood stove is in.

Line Drying Problem: No time

Each load of laundry takes me approximately 10 -15 minutes to hang up, depending on what’s in that particular load. Taking each load down takes just a few minutes (a bit longer if I fold as I take it down, which saves me time later). But that’s just 15 minutes.

If you don’t have time to hang the laundry, it’s best to plan ahead and do the laundry at a time when you’ll be able to take 15 minutes to hang it out to dry.

If you can, get help. Some of my kids love hanging up the laundry and gladly help me do it, cutting the time it takes. Teaching them to do it takes a while, but once they learn, you’ve got helpers who just need a little supervision to make sure they don’t pinch their siblings with clothes pins.

Line Drying Problem: Bad weather

When weather isn’t exactly ideal for hanging clothes to dry, employ the same tricks you’d use when you have no line. Clothes can be creatively hung up or laid out inside to air dry.

If available space inside is at a minimum, you can also hang clothes outside if you can put some sort of cover over your laundry line or move it to a covered porch or other sheltered area (garage?).

Line Drying Problem: Stiff clothes

One complaint people have (including myself) is that some clothes are just too stiff to wear if you line dry them (think towels and jeans). Usually, shaking the clothes out a few times when you take them off the line will soften them up a bit.

But if your clothes are still too stiff for your (or your spouse’s, ahem) liking, throw them in the dryer for just a few minutes with some dryer balls (learn how to make dryer balls here).

Line Drying Problem: Weird marks on the clothing

Sometimes, when you use clothes pins, it can be pretty obvious where you pinned them when you look at your dry clothing, especially shirts. To prevent that, hang clothes upside down, as close to the outside edge as you can.

Shaking clothes out a couple times and making sure they’re pretty straight before you hang them also helps.

Line Drying Problem: Not dry enough

When it’s warm and slightly breezy outside, it’s amazing how quickly clothes can dry on the line – even faster than if they were in the dryer. However, when it’s a bit chillier, you might go out to pull your clothes down and find it’s still not dry all the way.

For this, I have two suggestions:

  • One, make sure that the clothes are upside down. I find that jeans are often what’s not dried all the way and if I hang them by the waistband it takes longer.
  • Two, make sure your line is in the ideal spot for taking advantage of sunlight. If you can, position it on a south-facing side of your property to catch every bit of sun, winter or summer.

If you’ve done that and you need clothes dry now, stick them in the dryer for a little bit with those dryer balls. They’ll be ready in no time.

Have any line-drying tips to share?

7 Tips for Becoming a DIY Master

Several years ago, I was looking for ways to save money around the house so we could get out of debt even faster. I poured over books and websites and soon found that venturing in the world of DIY projects would help with our money-saving goals.

7 tips for becoming a DIY master

I was nervous – I knew nothing about DIY. But the prospect of cutting expenses propelled me forward.

Now, I’m a DIY junkie. It’s just second nature to whip up an herbal remedy, make my own shampoo or figure out how to make one of my favorite restaurant foods at home. My husband even got on board with the craziness fun (he did our bus project himself).

If you’re venturing into the world of DIY (or want to take on some more advanced projects) and are feeling a little less than qualified, don’t worry. You can do it.

Here are some tips to help you grow from overwhelmed novice to DIY master:

1. Experiment

Start making the basics. Say your doing some herbal DIY projects. Make teas, infusions, poultices. These are all very easy ways to get your feet wet, so to speak. Once you’re comfortable with how to prepare herbs, start experimenting.

Maybe that recipe could use a little comfrey. Or perhaps adding an essential oil would make it even better.  Or maybe you even come up with your own recipes (it’s super fun).

This principle applies to DIY projects of all kinds.

2. Don’t be afraid to fail

You guys. My DIY projects have failed so many times. Could I have given up when I burned my first attempt at an herbal salve (and left the kitchen smelling for days)? Yes. But I didn’t.

I knew that failure is just a great learning opportunity so I kept going. And, eventually, I created my awesome Healing Balm that still amazes me.

3. Start small

Resist the urge to try all the projects in one weekend. I know it’s hard, but you must. By choosing just a few projects to start with/have on your list at once (I recommend no more than three), you reduce the project overwhelm that so many of us have often faced.

4. Make time for your projects

Do you know how easy it is to put off your DIY projects and say that you just don’t have time for them? Too easy. (Just as it is for anything worth doing.)

I recommend sitting down with a calendar and your list of DIY projects and scheduling them in. Yes, you can also squeeze them in during open pockets of time throughout the week, but you give yourself a major advantage by also scheduling them on calendar.

5. Keep track of what works (and what doesn’t)

My friend Marta lists some excellent reasons (and tips) for journaling your health journey. And they don’t just apply to your health-related DIY projects. I recommend keeping a DIY journal so you can keep track of what works (and what doesn’t). It will help you duplicate your successes and steer clear of making the same mistakes twice.

6. Share your specialty

I have a friend who’s a genius with garden DIY and I love it when she shares her wisdom with me. Chances are, you’ll specialize in something, be it gardening, sewing or natural remedies. Don’t be afraid to share your specialty.

Not only will it benefit others, but you’ll get even better at what you do by sharing what you know. Who knows, it could even turn into something that brings in a little (or a lot) of income for you and funds future DIY projects.

7. Get the right resources

It’s always helpful to start with a user manual. If you’re planning on doing some DIY projects around the home, you’ll need at least one helpful book. If it’s herbal remedies you’re making, you’ll need recipes and tutorials for the basics. Same with sewing, cooking, etc.

If you’re looking for more in-depth knowledge, there are lots of books to check out and some great courses available that you can take from home at your own pace.

Do you have any tips to add?


DIY Lavender Vanilla Simple Syrup (with essential oils)

I love the imagery of kitchen witchery. The wise woman in the kitchen making those potions people come seeking out, crafting recipes that heal from the inside out, and dispensing the advice and remedies to help people help themselves – it’s all deliciously rich. Not to mention practical. (Practical Magic is one of my favorite books of all time for this)

DIY Lavender Vanilla Simply Syrup (with essential oils) | Shalom Mama

When people come to my kitchen, I love to leave them with a little something special that just maybe they’ve never had before. Whether it’s a feeling or an unexpected flavor combination, you can give people this wonderful gift, too.

As a seasoned barista, one of my favorite everyday gifts to give to people is a phenomenal drink. Having flavored syrups around is one way to jazz up coffee, cocktails, and so much more. However, the syrups available on the market are rather passé. They are boring, loaded with artificial flavors, and are simply not something I’d want to serve someone I care about.

That’s why I started making my own.

Lavender Vanilla Simple Syrup


Bring the water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit in a medium-sized pot, and begin adding sugar one cupful at a time, stirring constantly. Keep water hot, but not boiling. When all sugar is added, slice one vanilla bean in half, and place both halves in the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a quart-size mason jar and seal. (You may water bath can, if you need shelf life.)


  • Do NOT add more lavender before tasting the final product. I promise it is very potent with just four drops.
  • The vodka is a preservative. You can leave it off if you’re refrigerating your syrup or hot water bath canning it.

See? Entertaining and gifting doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it.

Slowing Down the Speed of Life

In the past few months I have heard and read more about the Slow Movement, of living a more thoughtful life.

Slowing Down the Speed of Life | ShalomMama.com

I’ve seen references to:

  • The Slow Food Movement
  • The Slow Home
  • Slow Blogging
  • Slow Lifestyle

In an ever increasingly loud, hi-tech, and chaotic world, finding calm and peace can be a challenge. Slowing down the speed of life to be more deliberate can sound old fashioned, unrealistic and maybe even a bit crazy.

But I would hazard a guess that those that think you are crazy for wanting that kind of life, secretly want the same opportunity, but are not willing to make the changes necessary to make it happen.

To many of us however, it sounds like a breath of fresh air.

It’s not always easy; the peer pressure to be involved in everything and say yes to everything can be intense. Plus we want an answer to our emails or texts right away, we want the website to load immediately. Basically we don’t always want to wait, we want it now so we can move on to the next thing.

To move slower and slow the speed of life does take some adjustment in your lifestyle and mindset. It takes intentional decisions.

Slowing down fits right in with simplifying life and both slowing down and simplifying are part of living an intentional life.

I’ve been active, pretty much since I was born. Sitting still was never (and honestly, still isn’t) easy for me. I move, shift, wiggle, bounce my leg, tap my finger, something that involves movement and probably annoys anyone sitting next to me. So looking at a slower life, while it sounds delicious, I know at times would be hard. I still can’t sit at my desk for very long – I’m up and down a lot.

One of the ways I am working on slowing down is to pursue 2 of my words for the year – Creativity and Simplify – by taking some new photography classes. These classes are centered around still life photography, learning to create images using props from the home, from nature and more.

Through these classes I’m finding it is a great opportunity to slow down deliberately, to focus (pardon the pun …) on what is in front of my and my camera lens.

Learning to really see not, just glance around. To observe, see details and understand composition and lighting. While time may go fast while I work, my brain slows down, the racing thoughts subside and the massively long to do list fades from view. It is wonderful.

The intent of these classes by Kim Klassen is to carve out time to just be. To breathe deep and focus.

She started her adventure with still life photography during a difficult health crisis in her family. This became her escape for a short time during the day. It was a time and space she carved out just for her, a time to breathe deep, enjoy beauty and create art. She now shares her art and teaches still life photography, what an amazing gift!

Right now my slowing down is in my photography. But maybe for you it is cooking more meals at home, taking a hot bath, or scheduling time to sit and read a book. Look around your life and pick out one area where you could slow down.

Before I forget, here is one more way to slow down :). Letter writing.

You know that snail mail treasured item we usually only get on birthday’s and at Christmas now days? Did you know that February is National Correspondence month? There are a couple of challenges out there to write one letter a day during the month of February.

I love this idea – not realistic for me and my life right now, but a wonderful idea. What if you decided to slow down and send out one handwritten letter or postcard a week for a month? What if we took time to craft words that would encourage someone and brighten their day?

How can you slow down the speed of life today?