Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall is in the Air!

Although it's still VERY hot here in Orlando, I believe fall might finally be on its way! Every night for the past four months I've slept with a fan blowing on me and nothing but a flat sheet on top of me to stay cool. The A/C bills here in FL can climb quite high as many run them day and night-$400-600 seems to be the norm for a 2000 sq ft home.  We, however, have been leaving the air off as much as possible in the morning and evening while we work from home and  favor fans at night while we sleep. It lets us save about 50% on our utility bill which is great. This morning I woke up a bit chilly and actually had to turn it off.  With just over a week until the official start of Autumn, I'm hoping this trend sticks around so I can get all cozy in my duvet again!

Early this morning I enjoyed a good 45 minute walk in my neighborhood. I love hearing the the many birds that come together to create their melody and seeing the squirrels chase each other around the big oak trees. This time of year is great because the grass has finally recovered from the insane heat and actually has a chance to grow green. Even my pink inpatients have exploded and are now bursting out of their pot! I love being surrounded by nature but I do miss one of my favorite things of fall-the changing and falling of leaves. The bright orange, burnt red and sunny yellows are so picturesque and photo-worthy. I also miss hiking and long walks in jeans and a sweater and the crunching of leaves under my feet.

{A bit daring, wasn't I? }

{Hiking in Ontario, Canada-Early Fall 2005}

Upon arriving home from my walk I decided to do something a little bit fall-ish. After having the windows literally sealed all summer, until it's cool enough to open them all up, I wanted to do something to make our home feel fresh again. Every fall and winter I like to make my own air refresher. I had all the ingredients on hand so it was perfect. On the stove I filled a small saucepan with 3 cups of water and snapped 3 cinnamon sticks in half and put them into the water. Then I ate an orange and cut up the peel with kitchen shears into long strips (you can slice them with a knife also) and tossed that into the water. I added 5 cloves and a dash of nutmeg and left it to simmer on the lowest heat setting. Our house is now filled with orangy-cinnamon goodness!

This is a great way to naturally freshen your home without toxic air freshener sprays, candles, plug-ins and fragrance oils. Cinnamon is pretty powerful and has a wonderful scent that can travel to various rooms of your home. I used to use fragrance oils but I don't want to fill my home with chemicals and toxins. Did you know that by lighting regular paraffin candles that you actually make your home 11x more toxic?! If you are a candle lover, soy candles are a good bet since they don't emit the black smoke that pollutes the indoor air. Look for those that have lead-free wicks and are made with pure essential oils. They are perfect for those that suffer from allergies to these chemicals. One of the most toxic ingredients is the phthalates that are used to preserve the fragrance, the same ingredient that is often used in plastics to make them flexible, it's also in perfumes too.

I recently switched and now use Pacifica natural perfume and it smells amazing!  My favorite scent of the moment is Tahitian Gardenia and their soy candles are awesome! Sometimes you can even find them marked down in stores like Ross or Marshalls.You can Pacifica online or at Whole Foods. It's funny, since all of my cleaners, fragrances and soaps have been replaced with natural versions over the years, I can't even get near a glade plug-in now in someones home.

Another great idea is to place a drop or two of pure essential oil of cinnamon, clove, or even orange on a light bulb in the evening. As soon as the light is turned on, it heats up and the oil becomes activated. Just be careful not to use too much so that it doesn't drip down onto your furniture. You can also use fragrance rings with these pure essential oils. Instead of store bought reed diffusers, you can use a package of wooden skewers (snip the pointy ends off) from the dollar store in a glass jar and place 12-15 drops of essential oil in the jar per ounce of carrier oil like almond oil etc., as well as on the skewers and you have a home made reed diffuser for next to nothing! The best part is they last for months and are far less expensive than buying them. It makes a great gift idea too! My favorite brand of essential oils is Aura Cacia-I've been enjoying a whole lot of lavender, lemon and peppermint lately up until today that is. :)

I am a huge fan of nature. Paul and I really believe in living green and toxin-free. I hope that you give this air freshener recipe a try in your own home and enjoy the arrival of fall!

Have a lovely day!


  1. I'm addicted to scented candles...and YOU scared me with your toxicstory....I WILL try your recipe!!!:)
    Do you have more scents??;))

    Enjoy your day!


  2. Lynda-I didn't mean to scare you, only inform. :) I do have other recipes. Here are some good ideas:

    You can take any essential oil and put a few drops on the inside of the cardboard toilet paper roll or on a cotton ball and then place it in a room or in a drawer. Sometimes I put a couple drops on the cedar wood hangers that I put in our closets (for moths vs. toxic mothballs)-eucalyptus smells fresh!

    With oven at 350 degree, use a small piece of tinfoil, turn up the edges and pour a teaspoon of vanilla on top and place the foil in the oven. Turn off oven and prop the door open a bit.

    I should also mention that a good way to get rid of odors is to place a mug of 50/50 vinegar and water in the room and they will disappear. My grandmother used to do this all the time!

    Also, put a few drops of peppermint or cinnamon on the inside of your vacuum cleaner bag right before vacuuming and it will release into the air while cleaning.

    There are so many great essential oils, the possibilities are endless. Hope these help!

  3. Love, love that simmering delight idea!!! I use to do it during the holidays when entertaining... and had forgotten about it! Thanks for the inspiration to revive such a wonderful way to add warm feelings to a home.HHL

  4. Wow! I had no idea candles were so toxic. I also didn't know about the vinegar/water combination to eliminate smells.
    Great post and fab pictures.

  5. That's so funny, I literally just posted on Vanessa's blog about Pacifica natural fragrances! I just ran out of the Brazilian Mango and grapefruit, time for a new one!

  6. This was a great post. We're working to be chemical free and as healthy in our home as possible. For some reason, I hadn't thought about my room fragrance selection! So now I have to go clean out my pantry of those sprays and switch to more healthy choies - thanks!! Visiting via Falling off a High Heeled Life!

  7. California has also been pretty mild, but I think Fall is on the way here, too. But not quite yet, I hope. :)

  8. I can't wait to try your natural air freshener Karla. I love scented candles, but sometimes the fragrance can be overwhelming. I'm looking forward to the weather cooling down too.


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