Me Time: Just for Women

Home and Hearth

Find your zen

Peace and relaxation is tough for busy moms to find. Try feng shui, an ancient Chinese art that focuses on the energy flow in a space, to transform your home into a relaxing retreat that makes you feel happy and welcome.

Michele Sayres, owner of M. Sayres Design in Millbrook, is an expert on helping busy moms feng shui their homes to create harmony and peace. She says, "Feng shui starts at your front door. Look at the entry to your home and clear away things like dead plants or cobwebs. The front door is the primary source of energy for your home, so try to keep it clear and welcoming."

Sayres also suggests focusing on the master bedroom. "Your bedroom should be a sanctuary," she says. "Get the bad energy out by avoiding electronics or kids toys. They throw off the adult energy that the master bedroom should have."

Feng shui is all about positive energy. It is an art with many parts, but getting started is simple. Sayres says, "Clearing out the clutter is a great place to start. Throw open the windows and let clear, clean air and light in."

Find even more feng shui tips at HVParent.com/Feng-Shui-Quick-Fixes.

Ticks suck
Protect your fur babies from ticks this summer. Homemade tick repellents are cheap and simple to make and completely effective at keeping your pets tick free.

Commercial tick repellents are full of chemicals that can be harmful to your pet and your family. Natural tick repellents are much safer for your pet, and work just as well as their
expensive alternatives.

Untreated dogs and cats can be tick carriers, and bring disease carrying bugs into the home that could infect the family.
Make your own natural tick repellent with a recipe from TickSpray.HVParent.com.

READ MORE: Protect your family from ticks and Lyme disease.

Quality water, quality life
When you think about the comfort and safety of your home, water quality should be one of the first things on your mind. Get a water test done to make sure the water your family is drinking is safe and clean.

Lindsay Stevens, broker at Stevens Realty Group, suggests getting water tests done about once a year. She says, "Water tests can show any contaminations, nitrates or bacteria in the water. They can show things like sulfur and even can tell you if you need a water softener."

Tests can simply be done by getting a test kit from a professional service. Stevens says her company uses Environmental Lab Works, Inc. in Marlboro. "Any home inspector would be able to do these tests for you," she says. "You would just explain your concerns and get test kits. The
professionals would run the tests and give you suggestions on what to do next."

Low quality water can lead to intestinal sicknesses. Get it checked regularly to keep your family feeling their best.

Outdoor oasis
Take the time to create an outdoor oasis where you can enjoy the last days of summer and the crisp evenings of early fall. No matter the size of your yard or your budget, creating a beautiful outdoor living space is possible.

Don't have the budget to recreate a whole new patio? A fire pit can be an inexpensive addition to any outdoor space.

Use a fire pit to create a focal point. This will also add warmth on chilly evenings and a relaxing ambience.

Local home improvement stores carry fire pits in different sizes and materials. Concrete, steel or even stone finished fire pit can bring together the aesthetic of your space.

Relax alone with a glass of your favorite wine, spend time chatting with friends or roast marshmallows with your family. With just a few additions, you can make your old backyard feel brand new.

READ MORE: Love these tips? Check out more!

Use essential oils
If you are looking for a natural and effective way to look and feel better, try essential oils in your daily routine and around your home.

Avalon, reiki teacher and tarot reader at Awareness Shop in New Paltz, says, "It is important to use the best quality oils you can find if you are using them for more than just their fragrance.

Therapeutic grade oils can be used for many types of healing benefits."
Therapeutic grade oils will be pure and distilled from good crops "A trick I use to tell if something is a true oil is to drop it on a piece of paper," she says. "True essential oil will dry on the paper."

Essential oils can be used to heal many kinds of ailments. "Rub lavender oil on the bottom of your toes to help with seasonal allergies and peppermint oil on the tummy for an upset stomach. I never leave home without lavender oil," says Avalon. "I use it for headaches and its soothing aroma brings peace and calmness to me and those around me."

Avalon also reminds users that oil and water don't mix. She says, "If you get peppermint oil or cinnamon oil in your eye, remember you can't wash it out with water. You have to use a carrier oil like grapeseed oil or jojoba oil to dilute the other oils."

Bathing with essential oils is a wonderful way to use them, but the same rules apply. She says, "To get the oils to soak into the bath water instead of just sitting on top, mix them with some honey or milk."