Canine Aromatherapy: Are Essential Oils safe for Fido?

We love our dogs, don’t we!  They are family.  I frequently hear questions about pets.  Are essential oils safe for my pets?  Where do I apply the oils on their body?  How do I know if my pet doesn’t like the oils?  Today, I want to specifically write about dogs, but before I do that I want to address some misconceptions.

What are essential oils?  First of all, essential oils are not actually oils at all.  Essential oils are a concentrated plant substance derived from different plant parts (leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, fruits, stems) through a variety of extraction methods.  A hydrosol is the byproduct of on those extraction methods, steam distillation.  Although much less concentrated, hydrosols are also valuable and will be discussed later.  Dogs have a highly sensitive sense of smell.  Their olfactory senses are exponentially more sensitive than that of humans.  For that reason, essential oils may be more valuable for dogs than even humans.   

What are some ailments that can be addressed in dogs through Aromatherapy?

Fear, Mange, Allergies, Anxiety, Teeth cleaning, Dirty ears, Flatulence, Motion sickness, Bad breath, Joint pain and more.

Although rare today, a few vets are using EOs for their patients.  A Chamomile hydrosol is used in exam rooms in one practice to calm a stressed pet (and owner). That same practice in Tinley Park, Illinois uses a combination of Citronella and Orange for pets that come in with fleas.  Lavender, Chamomile and Valerian can be diffused in a waiting area to calm entering pets. Another practice in San Diego directs owners to massage a drop of Lemongrass + a teaspoon of Almond oil a few times a day into dog joint injuries.  Lavender can be used to calm skin irritation.  Does your dog dread his kennel?  Consider a few drops of Lavender, Valerian and Vetiver on a towel in the bottom of the kennel.

How do I administer essential oils on my pet?

Topical application is the most common way to administer aromatherapy on animals.  EOs can be applied via sprays, shampoo or massage.  Most pets respond to their owner’s touch in a positive manner so massage may be the most enjoyable.  There are times when oils can be ingested by dogs, but it is more rarely used that topical application.  If a dog does lick off the oils, it is not cause for concern.  Do not use oils in or near the eyes, on or near the nose or near the anal or genital areas.    On mucosal tissue of any kind, essential oils can deliver a serious burn!

Remember how strong Essential Oils are.  It takes 50 lbs. of Eucalyptus to produce one pound of essential oil.  It takes 2,000 lbs. of rose petals to produce 1 lb. of Rose Essential Oil.  I mean strong!  The hydrosol byproduct is a water-based shadow of the powerful essential oil.  It is safe for all young and compromised dogs.

As Essential Oils become more popular so will the temptation to offer cheap adulterated alternatives.  Be cautious to only use high quality oils from a reputable supplier without synthetic fragrance oils. We recommend and sell Plant Therapy Essential Oils for their quality, purity and price.

How do I know if my pet dislikes certain essential oils?

Behavior such as whining, panting, pacing, drooling, sneezing, trying to rub the oil off on the ground all logically suggest that an animal does not appreciate a particular essential oil.  If your dog leave the room each time you put “X’ oil in your diffuser, “X” is not your dog’s favorite.  The following oils are stimulating and can be a source of agitation to your dog:  Peppermint, Rosemary, Niaouli, Tea Tree (Melaleuca), Spearmint, Ravensarae and Eucalyptus.

Which Essential Oils should I avoid with dogs?

Anise, Birch, Bitter Almond, Boldo, Calamus, Camphor, Cassia, Chenopodium, Clove, Crested Lavender, Garlic, Goosefeet, Horseradish, Hyssop, Juniper, Mugwort, Mustard, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Pine, Thyme, Rue, Santalina, Sassafras, Savory, Tansy, Terebinth, Thuja, Red or White Thyme, Wintergreen, Wormwood and Yarrow.

How much should I use?

DILUTE!  DILUTE!  DILUTE!  Please remember that essential oils are very powerful.  For dogs, dilute oils to 25% of a human dose, 1-2%.   If you can adding EOs to your dog’s shampoo repel fleas, use no more than 30 drops in an 8 oz. bottle of shampoo.  Be even more cautious with small breeds, pregnant, nursing, ill or old dogs.  While there are no studies that suggest that it affects seizure-prone dogs, Rosemary Essential Oil can encourage seizure symptoms in humans.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Which oils will support my dog?

Anxiety:                                        Lavender & Roman Chamomile
Tummy Issues:                          Cardamom & Spearmint
Fleas and Ticks:                         Eucalyptus, Cedar & Lemongrass
Wounds and Skin Irritation:   Thyme, Lavender & Frankincense Carteri

What about puppies?

Do not use oils before puppies younger than 10 weeks of age.  Use a very small dose or use hydrosols on young dogs.

Our dogs are family and we want the best for them. The next time a thunderstorm upsets your dog or Fluffy gets itchy, I hope you ‘ll consider trying these natural alternatives rather than synthetic options. 

In another blog, I will discuss the ever-elusive cat.  Cats are sensitive creatures that need special care.

Go Away, Flu!

Y’all, so many folks in my neck of the woods have the flu. It’s awful! I especially hate to see kids with it. If you have the flu or if you are trying to prevent the flu, may I suggest making your own bone broth. Making it at home is actually super easy and you can make up to 14 quarts in a week. And, it freezes great. Below is a link to an informational video on how to make bone broth.

We offer three pound bags of frozen beef bones so you can make you own at home.

SIDE NOTE: I make my broth with a few differences from the video. I roast my bones for 1 hour at 400 degrees (30 mins each side) for a richer broth before adding the bones to the crock pot. After the first 24 hours, I draw off a half gallon of broth, add back a half gallon of water and an ounce of apple cider vinegar to the crockpot. Every 24 hours for the next 7 days, I repeat the process. Check the broth throughout the day to make sure you don’t need to add more water to your slow cooker. Be well!

Super Simple Bone Broth Recipe

Roadkill Chili

Yesterday started off with no power. What a blessing! First of all, we are all healthy and we did not have to have any discussions about technology or screen time with the kids. The animals were all safe. The roads were clear and we have a fireplace. Even better, we have plenty of firewood to keep us cozy during the outage. Kudos to Fannin County Electric Coop for keeping our power sabbatical to a minimum. Living is the country has very few downsides. It is a small price to pay to live in a place we love so dearly.

In the morning, before the power came back on we played games, read books and took a nice nap. In the afternoon, we made a big pot of chili. Today, I’m sharing our family’s favorite chili recipe.

Growing up in Texas, we always served chili with saltines or corn chips along with cheese and maybe some chopped onion. My husband is from Indiana so we also serve our chili Midwestern style. In our home, you can choose the Texas toppings and/or over macaroni noodles. In the beginning that seemed a bit odd, but after 27+ years it has grown on me.

This morning I went to church thinking about what a blessing God can make even out a power outage. Life is good and God is better!

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. “

2 Corinthians 9:8

Yield: 12

Roadkill Chili

prep time: 10 minscook time: 2 hour and 15 minstotal time: 2 hours and 25 mins

This is a family favorite that is mildly spicy for young kids but it can spiced up for those that need a little extra kick.


  • 2# ground lean beef
  • 1# cubed stew meat
  • 2 medium onions, blended to liquid 
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce 
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1 qt. beef bone broth
Mix these dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and save for later.
  • 4 T. chili powder
  • 2 T. ground cumin
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t. dried cilantro
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t. white pepper
10 minutes before serving you will need:
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. cumin powder
  • Salt to taste.


Getting it started:
  1. Cook meat and onions in a cast iron pot until browned.  Add garlic powder, salt, cumin, tomato sauce and chili powder.  Cover meat with the bone broth until meat is fully covered.  After everything is in the pot, cook for 90 minutes until tender. Stir occasionally.
After 90 minutes:
  1. Add your bowl of dry spices and cook an additional 45 minutes.  You may need to add more broth or water to get it to a consistency you like.  We usually make it pretty thick.  Cover your pot during this second step to maintain the consistency.  Stir occasionally.
  2. Ten minutes before serving add an additional 1 T. chili powder, 1/2 t. cumin and salt to taste.   Enjoy!


This is our family's favorite chili!  I grew up in Texas so I always grew up having chili served with saltines or corn chips, cheese and onion.  My husband grew up in Indiana so we serve it Midwestern style now, too.  He likes his chili served over macaroni noodles.  It seemed odd at first, but over the past 27 years it's grown on me.

This recipe calls for beef bone broth.  You can buy in by the carton at the store, but once you know how to make your own, you'll never buy it again!  It's super easy and a fraction of the cost!  Watch for that recipe.

I also specifically mentioned using a cast iron pot.  I still have some stainless steel pots and pans around, but I specifically eliminated all non-stick cookware years ago.  The only exception I make is the inner pot in my electric pressure cooker.  Teflon, especially when used at high heats, has been associated with cancers and a variety of other health issues.  I'll mention more about cast iron later but know there is a method to my madness.
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Roadkill Chili

The Best!

Cozy Burger Soup

Have you seen the forecast?! The Weather Channel shows that the low on Saturday night is 17 here in Ivanhoe! Our weather station usually shows 2 degrees colder than what the Weather Channel shows. 15 degrees is officially soup weather. There may be some cocoa and hot apple cider in the forecast, too.

This time of year, I’m always serving lots of fresh veggies and clean protein like this soup. And, until further notice, the inside of our house looks like a San Francisco fog bank rolling in off the Pacific with all the essential oils being diffused. I’m doing my best to keep the germs and cooties away.

So, put some logs on the fire, turn on some nice music, plug in the diffuser and enjoy the soup.

P.S. Any veggies would work great in this soup, green cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, whatever.

Next time, I will share the whys and hows of beef bone broth. It’s so easy! You’ll never buy it at the store again. We have beef bones for sale if you want to make your own.

Yield: A lot + leftovers

Cozy Burger Soup

prep time: 15 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 35 mins

Electric pressure cooker fast easy hamburger soup recipe.


  • 1 lb lean ground beef or venison
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes w/ juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 envelope brown gravy mix
  • 1 bag frozen veggies (I prefer peas, carrots, corn and green beans)
  • 1 qt homemade beef bone broth or 1 carton of beef broth


  1. Brown meat and onions on the saute setting on your pressure cooker.  After browning, turn off the saute setting and add all other ingredients minus the bag of frozen veggies.  When adding the gravy mix, premix some of the broth into the mix before adding to the pot.  
  2. Set pressure cooker to stew/soup setting for 20 minutes.  After cooking allow enough time for pressure to release the pressure.  Upon opening the lid, add the frozen veggies and close lid back for 10 minutes.  The hot soup will cook the veggies.  
  3. NOTE:  Any veggies work in this recipe.  What's in your frig?  Green cabbage?  Bok choy?  Broccoli?  Any veggies would be great!
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Cozy Burger Soup

Pressure Cooker Style

Weeknight Beef Taco Casserole Recipe

It’s Tuesday night. What did you make for dinner tonight? If you’re in a supper rut, allow me to help. I don’t cook every night. I actually refuse to cook on Friday night. With that said, I have lots of really good recipes and I love to cook. This evening, I’m going to share a great Beef Taco Casserole Recipe from Lil Luna. I make a few tweeks, but my version is pretty close. One of us has gluten issues, so we usually make a gluten-free version. Where this recipe calls for Bisquick, we use Bob’s Gluten-Free Biscuit & Baking Mix. I use the same amount as the Bisquick. When our house first went gluten-free, we were all scared that food was going to taste like sawdust. Surprisingly, not true! There are so many gluten-free hacks out there. Bob’s Baking Mix is just one of them. Hint: Let the mixture of eggs, milk and baking mix sit for about 30 minutes before adding it to the baking dish. This absorption time takes away any dryness.

I do have a secret about cooking. I never reveal it to my kids until I think they are mature enough to handle this top-secret information. I sneak nuts, seeds, veggies or whatever greenage I can muster in everything I cook. Not every kitchen experiment has been a success. It’s a long story, but protein powder in mac n’ cheese was an epic fail. Just trust me. I now stick to plant material only…for now. With that said, tonight’s casserole had a stealth grated zucchini cooked into the ground beef. Shhhh! No one ever notice. They all ate seconds and some ate thirds.

Enjoy your new weekday ground beef recipe. It’s a staple around here.

Happy Tuesday and God bless!

P.S. Don’t forget to thaw your ground beef!

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The New Year!

It’s January 2nd and it’s planning time for the Spring. I start getting giddy right after the first of the year. He He! It’s been raining and 32 degrees here today. I’ll take the heat any day!

We’ve been quietly waiting on the Lord’s timing on a few things for a while now. Waiting is not easy for me. I’m actually a little proud of myself for exercising patience. This has been an unusually quiet season. Maybe then Lord thought I needed to learn a little extra patience recently. If so…it worked!

Our FANTASTIC grass-fed, grass-finished beef will be available any day. Like…I hope to be able to offer it tomorrow. I’m chomping at the bit! Y’all…it’s SO yummy!

I also spent the last year on another endeavour. I’ve loved essential oils for years, but knew just enough to be dangerous. After much prayer, I decided to dive into the most thorough aromatherapy educational program I could find. After almost a year of work, late nights reading, chemistry refreshers (it’s been a while since chem class), tests, endless writing, research and case studies, I completed the program. I’m now a certified aromatherapy practitioner. This means I can help clients reach their health goals with essential oils. There is a lot more information on our “Aromatherapy” page. The science, chemistry and art of aromatherapy fascinates me to no end! Now, it’s not a magic bullet. Just like when you try a certain medication from the doctor’s office, it doesn’t work for everybody, but it’s darn good! God designed our bodies to heal themselves. Aromatherapy doesn’t mask symptoms. It eliminates roadblocks that help the body repair itself.

My one regret is that I honestly don’t like the way every single essential oil smells. I wish I did. However, whether I like the smell or not has very little to do with how it works on my body. Oh well, I can’t have everything.

In the last few months, our family has celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and one of our sons, Tyce, got engaged to his sweetheart, Abby. Whew! We have partied like it’s 1999. But, we are back on track now with our healthier lifestyle again. The Christmas decorations come down tomorrow and hopefully we will be able to offer you clean beef tomorrow. If you have questions about oils, just ask me. Lord knows I like to talk about them.

After my very studious year, it’s time for me to reconnect with a lot of folks. My resolution this year is just for a healthier me and reconnect. No specifics. If you can’t reach me chances are I’m chasing kids, cows or bees, but I’ll call back as soon as I wipe the sweat off. Life is good and God is better!

Long time comin'

Our family moved from the DFW Metroplex in 2007.  My husband, Brad, grew up in a Mayberry type town and wanted to raise our family in a similar setting.  So, we moved to Bonham, Texas in Fannin County.  For the first part of our journey we lived in a 100 year old house just off the square.  We loved the local parades right in front of our house, the church right around the corner, the walks on the square and we loved Bonham - and still do. Then almost three years ago, we moved out to Ivanhoe.  If you want to get specific, we moved to the community of Duplex  We are officially in the sticks.  Our favorite local contractor, "Karl with a K" (that's what we all call him) had done the vast majority of the work on our country fixer-upper but there was still work to be done.  It's been a work in progress and really still is.  The pace is completely different out here.  The only traffic noise is local cows backed up in cattle chutes. And, we kinda give up some city problems only to pick up a few country challenges. The power went off for about 1/2 hour while I was typing this blog.  I've learned not to get excited.  Instead, I just find something else to do for a bit.  I'm sure the Co-op will get the power back on as soon as they can.  And, they did.

We miss dear friends and family, and the shopping and restaurants, in Dallas but we can always go visit.  After the visit, we then escape back to our paradise. Our shangri la includes sounds like laughing children, barking dogs, chattery chickens, coyote howls, guinea hen squawks, mooing cows, buzzing bees and farm equipment on dirt roads.  For now we are offering fresh eggs, but there is much more to come. We will never be a big operation, but if we wanted big we would have stayed in the city.  We will offer good healthy food just like God intended it, without chemicals that offer cancer warnings in the fine print.  If we disagree on the dangers of GMOs, glyphosate or processed food, that's okay.  I love you too much to argue. 

Life is good here in Fannin County, Texas.  This is the place God has called us.  We will grow where we are planted because that's what the Word tells us, "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called." 1 Corinthians 7:20.  Take care and we look forward to putting healthy food on your table!

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Easiest Boiled Eggs ever!

Do you remember the movie "Forrest Gump"?  It's one of my favorite movies.  My oldest was born the year that the movie came out and I remember going out on a rare movie date.  It was a movie that takes my emotions all over the place, but I remember a silly scene where Forrest is telling his friend how many ways that shrimp can be cooked.  Fried shrimp.  Boiled shrimp.  Butterflied shrimp.  Coconut shrimp.........  Remember?

I mention that scene because that's how I feel about eggs.  It's the most versatile food there is. Scrambled eggs.  Souffle.  Deviled eggs.  Omelettes.  Baking.  Fried.  Quiche.  Poached.  The list is endless. So versatile and 6 grams of protein each.  I think it's the perfect food.  So today, I give you the perfect way to boil the perfect the oven.

The eggs are great.  Don't get me wrong.  But, as you're getting ready for Easter, please remember that Easter is about Jesus and really nothing else.  May He be glorified on Easter and every day.  Happy Easter!

"Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;"        John 11:25

Oven Boiled Eggs

prep time: 5 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 35 mins

World's easiest way to boil eggs!


  • Eggs   


  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Place eggs in muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes.  As soon as the eggs come out of the oven, put them in ice water for 10 minutes.  They will easily peel after that.


Hint:  This may be the only time that I write "Freshest is not necessarily best."  Super fresh eggs do not peel easily.  Use the older eggs in your frig.  They will peel SO much easier.  

Did you know eggs have 6 grams of protein each?  It is the cheapest, cleanest, most versatile protein there is. 

Eat more eggs!
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Texas Two-Step Cake

Welcome to our blog!  Eleven years ago, our family left the hustle and bustle of the big city.  Don't get me wrong.  I love to visit the city.  It has so much to offer.  We just find that it is best enjoyed in small servings like a very rich dessert.  But, the day-to-day peace and quiet of country livin' just can't be beat!   You will find a variety of subjects and topics related to The 4 Fs - faith, family (especially kids), food and the farm.  We hope you stop by again sometime.  I expect the next recipe will be a lot healthier.  This post falls into that category of a rare unusually rich dessert.

Recently, we had a lunch fundraiser at our church for some of our college students to attend a Spring Break event called Beach Reach at South Padre Island.  Our congregation was amazingly generous and it allowed a number of students to attend.  Several of the students had obediently gone through the training and were praying about where the funding was going to come from for them to attend.  Our church and family came through in a big way and were an answer to many prayers!

We made a Texas Two-Step Cake for the luncheon dessert and it was a hit.  For those that requested it, here ya go.  Enjoy and thank you, again!

"Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"                                                                                                                                    Matthew 28:19

Yield: 12

Texas Two-Step Cake

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 40 MINStotal time: 50 mins

Super moist and you can make it with your eyes closed.


  • Butter Pecan Cake Box Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz can of fruit cocktail  (save the juice)
  • That's it!
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.  Mix in all ingredients (including fruit juice).  Mix until well incorporated.  Fold in canned fruit.  Add batter to pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until cake is firm in the middle.
  2. While the cake is baking, add all icing ingredients to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Turn heat to low and keep warm until the cake is done baking.  Once the cake is done, pour the warm icing over the cake.  Cool and serve.
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