A Big, Little Christmas Gift

oils intro

We have been using oils for about a year, maybe a year and a half. I’m not sure if anyone else checks out books at the library on “the power of oils” but we sure have and we use them to make our own toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, belly butter (uh, that’s an “I” not a “we”), all purpose cleaner and for everyday medicinal purposes (anxiety, stress, headaches, good sleep etc). I’m even venturing into using them in a homemade hairspray. I know . . . you can laugh.

Santa has gifted us with a whole new set of oils and I couldn’t be more thankful/excited. With a baby on the way, a love for all things “ancient medicinal,” and third trimester sleepless nights . . . let’s just say I evil laughed when our package arrived.

We aren’t new to essential oils (neither is the historic world . . . just us Americans, mind you). But we are new to Young Living Oils and I finally feel like I can recommend a legit brand. I’ll be sharing some of our homemade concoctions and everyday uses in the upcoming weeks.

 

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DIY: Fermented Ketchup

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I have LOVED ketchup my entire life but haven’t bought it in such a long time. Mainly because of the sugar, wierdo ingredients and an attempt to remove night shades for healing. Last week I had two big packages of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and was looking for a slow cooker recipe. The one I landed on called for ketchup so I just figured I might as well get around to making it myself. Am I right?

It cost me around $2.50, I knew exactly what was going into it AND it’s FERMENTED!! Just one more way to incorporate friendly bacteria into our diets. Remember, health begins in the gut! Not to mention, it only took me 8ish minutes to throw together. If that.

Here is what you will need

– 3 x 6 oz cans of tomato paste

– 1/3 cup of honey (preferably raw but whatever)

– 3 TB fermented, apple cider vinegar

– 3-4 garlic cloves, minced

– 6 TB sauerkraut juice (what? I know. Check out this post)

– 2 1/4 t salt

– Dash of paprika or cayenne pepper

– Glass jar with a lid (this recipe made around 25 oz, I split it into two jars. If you need more ketchup, I would double the recipe, it never hurts to have it on hand!)

Here’s what to do

1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl. Stir.

2. Fill up the glass jar(s), leaving a inch at the top. Use a napkin to wipe the inside of the lip, making sure there is no ketchup inside the lip.

3. Tightly screw on the lid. Let the jar hang on your counter top (room temp) for 3 days. That’s it!! For real. After its 3 days are up, store it in the fridge.

Now you can dip french fries, enjoy ketchup on a hot dog, or make awesome “honey, basil chicken” in the slow cooker (which will be coming your way quite soon) all while encouraging a healthy gut and a balanced budget. Win, win.

 

 

Happy April!

Happy spring! We celebrated the first week of spring earlier but doesn’t April make it feel more official? If you need some spring cleaning tips or just a good book to read, check it out here and here. Or the best playlist ever, here. PS we love/hate April Ludgate.

ImageI also love/hate fish. I can’t decide. I added it to this week’s menu in attempt to “broaden my horizons.” Check out past weekly menus here

Monday: Halibut Tacos. Ew. I’m trying.

Tuesday: Almond flour pancakes, eggs, and sausage. This is a reward for eating halibut.

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Hash (can’t wait to try this)

Thursday: Stir fry with cauli-rice

Friday: BBQ shredded pork and mashed sweet potatoes

In other news, I cannot wait to dye eggs

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Or garden eggs

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or make Katie’s insanely awesome Copycat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. She’s so cool.

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ALL THINGS SPRING: Spring Cleaning

Is spring cleaning even a thing anymore? I vividly remember watching the Brady’s spring clean on Nick at Night

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But then again, the Bradys (Bradies?) are in a league of their own. So are Marsha’s eyebrows.

Anyways, whether or not you choose to “spring clean,” here are some DIY methods that can and will leave your space fresh. Crisp. Inviting. Serene. Invigorating. Basically all the spring adjectives.

Some tips: keep spray bottles on hand for various homemade cleaners. I grab them at Walmart for less than a buck and keep them in the laundry room/kitchen sink.

Insanely Awesome Shower Cleaner: Unless your shower is as cool as this,

shower

it probably gets weirdo grime + soap scum build up like our’s. Actually, we don’t use a ton of soap anymore so it’s mostly coconut oil build up, which can be even weirder. I keep a bottle of this in the shower to use as needed but it works best after sitting for a good 10-20 minutes before cleaning. You will need . . .  1 C white vinegar. 1/4 C liquid dish soap. 8 drops of tea tree oil (optional but worth it). Pour ingredients into spray bottle and give a mild shake. Spray onto “dirty” surfaces. Allow to sit. Give it a good scrub. Be amazed. This stuff is my favorite. It can also DOUBLE as a toilet bowl cleaner and/or bathroom counter/sink cleaner. Not to mention, it’s super, super cheap.

All Purpose Cleaner: 1 Cup of white vinegar to 8 drops of tea tree oil. Optional: 5 drops of a “cheerful” essential oil (tangerine, orange, lemon etc). Place ingredients in spray bottle and spray away! The vinegar cuts through anything and everything. For tough messes, allow it to sit for 10 minutes before wiping or scrubbing. The tea tree oil acts as both an anticeptic and bacterial. The cheerful oils are my favorite part.

This awesome sage spray!! Beautiful and so fun.

sage

 

Are you familiar with aromatherapy and it’s holistic health benefits? We’re talking physical, mental, and emotional. These three are inseparable. Anyways, we will be tackling aromatherapy as a whole in the quite, near future. Until then here are some easy ways to diffuse essential oils using things you probably already have on hand. Here is a link if you want to create some of your own oil blends. Otherwise, stick to whatever smells good to you in the moment. Your body will tell you what you need.

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– The Cotton Ball: Add a few drops of your choice oil into cotton balls and hide behind picture frames, knick-knacks, etc

– The Pine Cone: Technically pine cones aren’t very “spring” but we still have some around the house! Pine cones are great (of course, God is so wise) at holding scent. Adding a few drops of oil(s) to pine cones and placing them around your home creates both cozy and calm. 

– The Candle Method: Light a non-scented candle and allow a small amount of wax to pool around the wick. Add a few drops of oil into the melted wax and allow the candle to further burn like normal. That’s it!

My mom gifts me the best books. For our first wedding anniversary, she got me this gem,

how the queen

 

don’t judge a book by it’s cover!!! This chick is awesome. I have learned tons from her quirky wisdom. Here are two snippets that hopefully will be of the same help to you.

How to Clean your Microwave 101: Run a rag or bar towel under the sink. Ring it out but you want it to be thoroughly wet. Place rag in the microwave by itself and “cook” for 45 seconds. DO NOT OPEN microwave. This is when the steam from your now, very hot towel is doing it’s magic. After 15 minutes, open the microwave and wipe the gunk away with a second, damp rag. I follow up with the all- purpose cleaner.

The Wonders of Club Soda: Did you know club soda is the great eraser? As long as the spill is new, club soda “lifts” the stain up from it’s victim via it’s bubbly nature. “The Queen” carries club soda with her wherever she goes, apparently. Which is not a bad idea. I have been keeping mine in the laundry room and have indeed been, “wowed.”

Whether you are planning on a spring clean or not, may these DIY tricks and tips be of the utmost service to you! Enjoy! We will be back tomorrow with an entire playlist created just for SPRING. Can’t wait.

Book Review: The ECO-nomical Baby Guide

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One time I came home from the library with a book on cheese. One time I came home with a book on butchery. This time I came home with a book on WW II and a another titled, “The ECO-nomical baby guide.” We are NOT expecting a baby. I simply enjoy the wide selection of literature in Maricopa county. I enjoyed this “Down-to-earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet” book so much that I want to share it with you guys.

It is written by two awesome ladies, Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley. They are balanced, insightful, DIY-geniuses and above all, refreshing. Whether your main concern is saving money or saving the planet, this book can be of huge help. Do you want to know how to save more than the average $6,000 spent in a baby’s first year? Do you want to know how to compost left over food found in the high chair? Maybe you couldn’t care less about compost and you find it thoroughly disgusting. Maybe you already have a compost pile hidden in your garage. Wherever you land on the scale, I still think this book is for you.

I think this book can be helpful to all families, in all walks of life, on all scales of income, on all scales of “green” living (or maybe even “brown” living) because these woman offer a radical paradigm shift. This book is a call to reevaluate. To re-prioritize. To stick it to the man.

My sweet Grandpa Jim was an unexpected baby succeeding three, much older daughters. He was born on a farm and slept in a dresser drawer. And you wanna know what? He turned out more than alright. Between pack-n-plays, jumpers, saucers, bouncy chairs, light up toys, teethers and booties, we are constantly being bombarded by gadgets and gizmos we think (or are TOLD) are neccesarry. Hatch and Kelley offer a more simplified approach and break down a baby’s necessities into,

A place to sleep

A way to eat

A way to diaper

A way to keep warm

A way to care for health and safety

They give practical tips for showers, registries and “thrifting.” Want to shop for a second-hand car seat? They offer you the “need to knows” and expiration dates to make sure it’s safe for your peanut. Want to know about cloth diapering and pinching pennies on wipes? They have a plethora of resources and diagrams (my favorite is a diagram that breaks down the constitution of disposable diapers). What about food? Sippy cups? Cribs? Craigslist? Bottles? Pumps? Breast pads? Pacifiers? It’s all here. In this handy guide. They offer great ideas in regards to sharing with other moms, holding swaps, how to do less laundry . . . maybe it’s so cool to me because I have yet to walk this road but I hope it’s “cool” to you as well. If you are already a seasoned mama with simple, quiet, ingenuitive wisdom such as these ladies, you don’t need to read this but I do urge you to share the wealth. Share the tricks, the coupon, and joy found in simplicity. Pinterest isn’t helping.

Kelley and Hatch offer gracious wisdom. They are in no means aggressive. They are practical, thoughtful, and down to earth. I also believe they are revolutionary . . . for once, women telling other women to chill out. Be creative. Spend less. Breathe. Whether you need to pinch pennies or simply want to pinch pennies . . . whether you love mother nature or are sure recycling is a scam . . . I still think this is worth a read or flip through.

S is for Saturday

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It’s also for sunshine. As we approach the warmer months I thought we could tackle the topic of sun, sun exposure, and sunscreen.

Let’s start off by discussing the sun’s relationship to the human body. Your body needs the sun for multiple reasons but we are going to tackle the two biggies . . .

#1 HARMONY.  Ever heard of “circadian rythyms?” No? That’s okay, it’s not super popular. However if you’re going to take responsiblity for your own health, get comfy with this term! Why? Because circadian rytyhms have played a huge role in your existence as a human being! You just were never told . . . because The Man can make more money keeping you ignorant and dependent than he can educating you and training you to be an independent thinker. It’s as simple as suits, ties and drug commercials.

Circadian rhythm refers to the regulation of hormones. Now, stop here for a moment. As soon as we read “hormones,” we think “sex and mood.” That’s true. But hormones control EVERYTHING, including but NOT limited to sex and mood. Hormones control digestion. Sleep. Joints. Movement. Body temperature. Adrenal fatigue. The list goes on because our body goes on. I cannot take credit for this analogy but think of hormones like this . . .

The human body is a symphony of hormones and circadian rhythm is the conductor. . . of everything. The only hormones we hear about are estrogen and testosterone, right? But there are so many more conducting crazy, beautiful jobs inside of you! For instance, keeping you awake and putting you to sleep. Hormones regulate. Balance. Harmony. Symphony. We need to stop seeing our bodies as jigsaw puzzles and start seeing our bodies as tapestries . . . intricate. Woven. Indivisible.

What does this have to do with our body’s relationship to the sun? EVERYTHING. Near and “within” your eyes, you have been given photoreceptors. They do exactly what their name says they do, receive (recept) light (photo). Where does light come from? All around us. What kind of light is best? Blue light, the kind the sun offers us during the daytime! This blue light is received by our photoreceptors. Our PC (for short) communicate to our “circadian clock.” This “clock” is a host of brain cells (like a business owner)  and it controls cortisol and melatonin (which are like business managers). Cortisol and melatonin regulate their fellow hormones and body system function (which would then be like shift workers). These “managers” and “workers” are responsible for proper digestion, mood, AND waking and sleeping. Think about it . . . circadian RYTHYM. It’s a rythmic function because your body is meant to coexist with the rythym of the sun. The sun comes up. The sun goes down. We wake up. We go to sleep. Our bodies are meant to exist in harmonious relationship to the sun. Our bodies need the sun! We need it’s blue light to tell our internal clock to “rise and shine.” We need the dimness of the moon and stars to tell our internal clock to “sleep tight.” Our body’s relationship to the sun is a vital realtionship. We NEED sun exposure for overall wellness found in harmoniously regulated hormones (which in turn creates happy tummies, balanced moods, proper energy, peaceful rest).

#2. THE BIG D. We also need the sun for vitamin D production. Have you seen milk jugs/cartons that say, “vitamin D” or “vitamin A?” That’s because the beneficial nutrients found in raw milk from happy cows are destroyed during the heating process (pasteurization). . . The Man goes ahead and adds synthetic forms of Vitamin A or D (which HAVE to work together mind you, and cannot be separated) back into the milk. That’s not cool. Your body needs natural forms of Vitamin D (along with Vitamin A and K!) for the function of over 200 genes and proteins. The Big D decresaes inflammation (inflammation = disease. Own this.), promotes cell growth (we’re constantly producing) and regulates the release of seratonin, another one of our forgotten hormones. Seratonin is responsible for gut health, joint health and mental health. Again, how does this relate to the sun? Our bodies make vitamin D as a response to ultra violet light . . . from the sun. No need to get vitamin D from “one a day vitamins” or lame-o milk (which contains puss as a result of over-milked utters, FYI). You just need to hang in the sun!

Like most of what I am posting, this whole sun thing goes against everything you have ever heard. I swear I don’t sit in my car at red lights thinking of ways to confuse you. I encourage you to own your health and start researching for yourself. Don’t spend time in the sun because some blog post said you should. Spend time in the sun because you know for yourself, that it is good for you (mind, body, and soul). But I’m not done freaking you out and for that I am sorry.

Let’s talk about sunscreen. I’m going to tell you that melanoma is found more in those who wear sunscreen than those who do not wear sunscreen. Why? Read your sunscreen label . . . would you put it into your body? No. So, why put it onto your body? What’s the difference? Your body is your body, inside and out. Interestingly enough, as sunscreen use has increased (please, ask your great grandparents if they wore sunscreen), skin cancer has increased.

Sunscreen contains synthetic forms of VA, which in turn accelerates cancerous growth. Pause. It also blocks UVB rays which provides our skin with the “ouch!” feeling when we incure a burn. So what? So, when your skin is burning, your skin can’t tell you. You’re “numb.”  Pain isn’t bad, pain warns our bodies to back off, quickly. When we play in the sun without the safety found in UVB rays, nothing is telling us to back off (or in this case) to go inside.

Sunscreen isn’t in the Umble beach bag. Namely, because I believe diet hugely provides our skin with a natural screen. A diet high in red meat, fats and vitamin D, keeps our skin healthy and self-protecting. However, this takes time. Also, certain days call for certain measures. Maybe you are heading off for a day at the lake. In this case, I would recommend making your own sunscreen like the Wellness Mama or if you don’t mind looking a little silly, Badger sunscreen. I would also recommend wearing a hat or investing in a good umbrella. I’m not telling you to bake in the sun everyday! Can you overexpose yourself to the sun? Absolutely. Too much of a good thing can easily become a bad thing. Remember, it’s all about balance. Harmony. We’re striving to eliminate excess (overexposure) and deficiency (underexposure).

Our goal in “soaking up rays” isn’t to be Tour Guide Barbie (name that movie, anyone?) Our goal is to provide our body with necesarry properties for overall wellness . . . mentally and physically. The circadian rythym as well as Vitamin D, all play a part in mental and physical health. The sun is our friend!

Photo above is of Sandra Dee as Gidget . . . my favorite found here

DIY Toothpaste

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After having moved to a new state as an “adult,” I have compiled a list of 10 things not to say/share when meeting new people and/or trying to “make  friends.” These are in no particular order and may or may not be based on personal experience.

1. You are looking for a local butcher that sells “organ meat”

2. You also need to find the closest Asian market because you’re fresh out of “boba pearls”

3. You aren’t sold that anyone has actually been to the moon

4. You were anti Sea World wayyyy before it was cool. Did it really take Blackfish to help us see that keeping killer whales in captivity was kinda un-cool?

5. Sorry about that spill. I don’t use paper towels anymore but here’s an old t-shirt instead.

6. You were homeschooled

7. You still forget “high school” is two, separate words. Definitely don’t share this if you shared or plan on sharing # 6

8. You don’t have cable, on purpose?

9. Growing up, you desperately wanted to be on the TV show, “Zoom

10. You make your own toothpaste

I had been waiting till we ran out of  toothpaste to dive into this. I will probably try a different “recipe” a few different times so as to find our favorite but I already love this one! Tip: Make a small batch so if you hate it, you aren’t stuck wasting quality ingredients and/or aren’t stuck with yucky toothpaste.

For some reason, I was expecting this to take some elbow grease. In actuality, it took me 5 minutes, if that. I followed this recipe here but skipped out on the stevia. Partly because I didn’t have it on hand and partly because I wanted to see if I really “needed” it. I really don’t think we need it . . . we don’t mind the taste and are used to using not-so-sweet toothpaste already. That’s one less thing to spend money on. Solid. Here’s what I did. . . (remember, I made a very small batch to make sure I liked it. If you want to make a bigger batch, follow the link)

I mixed 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda (this brand) and 10 drops of peppermint oil using the back of a metal spoon in a small bowl. You could blend them in a mini food processor if you really wanted to. Once the ingredients were thoroughly combined and reached “desired consistency,” I scooped them into a mason jar and stuck a lid on it. That’s it!

I was so excited to brush my teeth . . . another thing I probably shouldn’t tell people. I just dipped my toothbrush into the jar but if that freaks you out or if you have multiple people using the same jar, I would use a Q-tip. If you live in cooler climates, you might find your “toothpaste” too hard given the nature of coconut oil. I would just run warm water over the jar before using or take advantage of steamy showers and keep it near the tub.

Conclusion: My mouth felt so clean and fresh. I love the grit of baking soda and smooth teeth. Like I said, I want to try a few different recipes (especially because some essential oils are known for their gum/teeth properties) but I already love this one.

Money Saved: We were spending around $4.50 on toothpaste, about once a month. That’s somewhere around $50-$60.00 dollars a year. Yikes. Maybe you aren’t spending as much as us. Maybe you have a tighter grasp on reality. Now, however, we aren’t spending a dime on toothpaste since I always have the said ingredients above on hand. I might have to buy them more often or in slightly bigger quantities but I use all three of these guys (coco. oil, baking soda, essential oils) for countless tasks already. I’m not buying anything new or adding anything to my list. In fact, if I took the $5.00 I spent on one tube of toothpaste, I could buy enough baking soda to make somewhere around 4 “servings” (that’s weird . . . ) of homemade toothpaste. Win, win.