Homemade Toothpaste and Deodorant Recipe

I’ve noticed lately there’s been a LOT of attention to making your own body care products, and I’m not surprised. With all of the chemicals added to deodorant, toothpaste, makeup and pretty much anything- people are wanting to get away from them and the health problems they can cause.

I’ve dipped my toes into the world of homemade toothpaste before, but every time the tooth paste or tooth powder wasn’t good enough to use for a really extended period of time, or there was some kind of problem with it.


I tried remineralizing tooth powder with bentonite clay- it worked, but didn’t really taste that good.

I tried tooth powder with myyrh gum and cinnamon in it for the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and that tasted even worse!

I’ve made a simple cleansing powder with baking soda, peppermint extract and salt (too salty), just baking soda (yuck); baking soda and peroxide (WAY too many bubbles!)

Finally, I think I’ve found one that I can use forever.

It’s really easy to make, doesn’t taste terrible and makes my teeth feel really clean. It also whitens and the coconut oil in it helps pull toxins out of your teeth. My teeth feel healthier than they have in a long time.


Wanna know something that’s funny? The recipe I used for it is actually a deodorant recipe, but it works really well for toothpaste too! That’s the beauty of natural products- a lot of times they can be multi-purpose. I use the same blend for my deodorant and it works better than any deodorant I’ve ever used before. Of course, I put the deodorant in an empty deodorant tube and the tooth paste in a small jar, so there’s no chance of cross-contamination. That would be gross.

Do you want the recipe?
It’s Dr. Axe’s recipe for homemade deodorant. (side note: I love Dr. Axe’s stuff! Check out other pages of his site- he has a ton of great information on how food heals your body. And no, I don’t get paid by him to talk about this.)

Coconut oil, baking soda, essential oil. Simple and effective. And you might already have all those things in your cabinets!
I used 20 drops each of peppermint and lavender essential oil for scent, but you could use whatever oils you prefer. I think next time I’ll probably add 30 drops each because while it smells good, it is very subtle. I’d like to try it with a stronger scent. As for healing properties, baking soda is a gentle abrasive cleanser. It also whitens teeth. Coconut oil is one of the best things you can put in your body! It has no saturated fat and healthy omega fats that nourish your body. Using it in tooth powder is kind of like a mini session of oil pulling, and it pulls toxins out of your teeth. Peppermint essential oil is cooling, anti-inflammatory and calming. Lavender essential oil is calming as well, and smells amazing.

As deodorant, this seriously works. You know how sometimes your store-bought deodorant works, but then for whatever reason you’ll have a day where it just doesn’t seem like its working and you have to re-apply it? That has never happened with this. AND I’ve never even had a hint of odor- not even when doing strenuous things where I’m sweating, like hauling wood or carting a 35lb toddler up stairs. It is awesome.

So do yourself a favor and go make some great toothpaste AND deodorant- at the same time!

For more on essential oils:http://draxe.com/essential-oils-guide/
For more on oil pulling: http://draxe.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/
For more on lavender: Lavender profile

How to Boost Your Immune System in 3 Easy Steps

Its that time of year once again-

The days are getting shorter and cooler, I’m enjoying the crisper weather and savoring every last bit of sunshine before the cloudy, dismal fall and winter days arrive.

The Olympic Mountains on a sunny fall day

The Olympic Mountains on a sunny fall day

This picture was taken a few weeks ago. These last few days have been pretty blustery- I think those gray fall days may be here!

The kids are back to school (or homeschool, in our case) and it seems like everywhere you go you hear coughing or sniffling from someone.

So how do you avoid getting sick?

This is not an absolute guarantee that you won’t catch a cold, but here are some ways to boost your immune system to combat or ward off those pesky viruses.

  1. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. If you aren’t getting adequate rest, your body just can’t function well and your immune system is lowered. At least 7-8 hours a night is a good target number for adults, 9 hours or more for kids under 10.
  2. Cut back on your sugar intake. Sugar interferes with the body’s immune system and keeps it from fighting off bacteria. It also creates inflammation in the body. It is no coincidence that a lot of kids get sick right after Halloween. Sugar definitely affects our health negatively!
  3. Use herbal supplements and essential oils to boost your immunity. Elderberry syrup is excellent for cold and flu season and can be taken as a preventative, 1 teaspoon a day for adults and children. Astragalus is also a great herb that helps keep you from getting sick and is safe for kids to take daily. Garlic and honey are both anti-bacterial and natural antibiotic without killing that good bacteria in your body. If you’ve been around someone who is sick, make sure you’re ingesting some (or all!) of these things. Diffusing essential oils can help too- clove and sweet orange oil clean the air as well as smell amazing. Frankincense oil reduces inflammation in the body. If you find yourself getting stuffy, eucalyptus oil will clear you right up.   If you want to make your own elderberry syrup, here is a great recipe.
    If you want to buy elderberries or astragalus or any other herb, check Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell top quality herbs, essential oils and tea at good prices. Your local health food store probably carries elderberry syrup as well. For a great way to kick out viruses or infections when you feel them coming on, try a garlic poultice. What are some ways that you’ve naturally boosted your immune system? I can think of a lot more- I just wanted to try and keep it short with 3 easy tricks. Stay tuned for another post about how to shorten the time you have a cold or the flu!

Nine Tips for Nine Months

I’ve been asked to participate in American Recall Center’s project, “9 tips for 9 months”; sharing some things from my experiences with pregnancy discomfort and how to deal with it.
-By the way, this is not a pregnancy announcement. Just lettin’ you know. :)

I’m going to try to address issues that are common in pregnancy, but of course I won’t be able to cover them all. We’ll look at natural ways to help your body do its best work of growing that sweet little baby inside of you! Of course I am not a doctor, this is just my opinion, knowledge and experience.

I believe that women were created to give birth, and that treating a pregnancy as an illness is not the way to go. There are plenty of ways to help with those discomforts without resorting to drugs, and you’ll feel so much better knowing there are no potentially harmful side-effects. Plus, your body will thank you!

So here we go! This is kind of a long post, but keep reading because there’s a wealth of information in here.

Issue #1: Fatigue

This is always my first indicator of being pregnant, especially with my second baby since I was chasing a toddler around. I was SO tired ALL the time and felt like I just needed to lay down and sleep….Then after the second baby came the third and I was chasing two kids around… oh the fatigue!

Just pretend it's sunset...and rest.

Just pretend it’s sunset…and rest.

Tip #1: So lay down and sleep, Mama! The best way to deal with fatigue is to REST. Obviously if you have a toddler or other kids you are chasing around you can’t sleep the day away, but if your toddler naps, you can nap too! Or just lay on the couch and put a movie on for the kids. Or snuggle down in your bed all together and read stories with them- even if you can’t sleep at least you’re laying down, resting.  Also have your hubby help out more with the housework and laundry, or hire someone to come clean the house or ask your mom or a friend to come over and watch baby/kiddos while you rest. Go to bed earlier. Don’t do as much. Your body is going through a lot of changes really quickly so it needs to be pampered and well taken care of to grow that tiny little baby. Also, make sure you have a good, food-based prenatal vitamin that you take every day. Getting enough B vitamins will help with energy levels and it is vital that you are taking at least 400-800 mcg of folic acid daily to help guard against birth defects. Rainbow Light is a good brand to use. I use it as a women’s daily vitamin even when I’m not pregnant.


Issue #2: Nausea

You know. If you’ve been pregnant before, you know.  Women experience differing degrees of nausea during pregnancy, from a constant icky feeling for the first 12 weeks (my experience) to vomiting several times a day for the entire nine months. For those mamas, oh how I feel for you!

Tip #2: I am blessed in this area because while my stomach feels unsettled during the first trimester, I don’t ever really get sick. I figured out pretty quickly that if I ate some food every two hours- just a little bit of something with protein in it like some nuts or crackers and cheese or yogurt- that I’d feel pretty okay.
As far as constant vomiting goes, there are homeopathic remedies that you can take for morning sickness. Here is a good article on different symptoms and the corresponding tablets that may work for you.  You can get “Preggo Pops” from stores like Walgreens to help with that icky feeling. Ginger in small doses can also help. (Tea is a good way to get it in your body.) Make sure you are getting enough fluids, even if you can’t hold down any food so that you don’t get dehydrated.
I strongly advise against taking the medication Zofran- it isn’t actually designed for pregnancy at all; its for cancer patients experiencing nausea from chemo, radiation or surgery. (source)  Zofran can cause birth defects in babies if taken during pregnancy, especially heart defects. (source)  The risk of the baby being born with a cleft palate also more than doubled after taking Zofran. (source)
I know it can be tempting to try anything that seems like it will work, but definitely try the natural route first. Essential oils are great- peppermint or lemon helps with nausea. Just inhale a bit, diffuse it into the air, rub a few drops mixed with coconut oil on your wrists or neck, or if you are comfortable with ingesting oils, one drop in a glass of water will help keep that tumultuous stomach under control. Just make sure you are using 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils.

Crackers help too- munch a few here and there and always have them with you in case you start feeling icky. Rice cakes work well for the gluten-intolerant.


Issue # 3: Back Pain

As your belly starts to grow, you more than likely will experience some kind of back pain because your center of gravity is changing and your muscles are stretching and rearranging to  create room for the baby.

This is me at probably 6 months along with my 3rd baby.

This is me at probably 6 months along with my 3rd baby.

Sciatica, a shooting pain or achy feeling from the lower back down the leg; is common.
With my first pregnancy, I experienced a lot of back pain pretty much through all 9 months. I was working, and on my feet all day and my back was in terrible shape.

Tip # 3: Find a good chiropractor. I know there are some bad ones out there, and it’s hard to know the good from the bad, but a chiropractor can do wonders for those sore joints, not just in your back! Try to find a chiropractor who specializes in whole-body wellness, not just cracking your back. Throw away all the excuses you have and just try it. Chiropractic is THE BEST thing you can do for that back pain. If your spine is out of line, your body can’t function at its best and no matter what you do to alleviate the symptoms, if you don’t find the source it won’t get better.
You can also do stretches to help with pain, but like I said, a chiropractor is your best bet. Search for one in your area here. 

Issue # 4: Moodiness

Ah, the hormones of a pregnant woman! They’re like PMS on crack. Laughing one moment, crying the next, you never know what is next.  I tend to get angry really easily when I’m preggo, which is no fun for everyone around me!

Tip # 4:
Prenatal vitamins will help a lot with this- and if you still feel stressed out or angry, taking extra vitamin B will make you a bit less crazy.

I like drinking herbal teas- peppermint, lavender, red raspberry leaf, vanilla rooibos. The warmth of the tea helps me relax.

Essential oils also come in handy.
Citrus oils- grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon; all of them help with a feeling of well-being.

Lavender oil helps calm the body, as well as peppermint. Ylang-Ylang oil is great too. Diffuse it in your home for immediate mood-boosting and a wonderful scent.

When you overreact to something or someone, take a minute and recognize that this is not who you are- it is your hormones. This helps with not feeling so out of control and crazy. Acknowledge that the moment will pass and even though it FEELS like a HUGE deal at the time, in all likelihood it is not at all. Take a minute to breathe, apologize if needed and pray through it. It helps me a lot to get by myself for a few minutes and think through the issue and ask myself, “Would I react this way if I wasn’t pregnant?” This helps me separate hormone craziness from real issues.
Not that hormones can’t be issues, but you can’t let them rule your life.

Issue # 5: Heartburn

Ouch. I had the most terrible heartburn with my first pregnancy! It seemed like I couldn’t lie down without my chest becoming a reservoir of fiery indigestion. I wasn’t eating well and I sure paid for it!

Tip # 5:
Watch what you eat. If you eat hot dogs, pizza, chinese food and other junk foods, you will suffer from heartburn because these foods have more acidic properties in them. The reason heartburn occurs is that the esophageal sphincter actually relaxes during pregnancy and this lets stomach acid splash back up the esophagus. Also because your uterus is growing it just pushes everything upward which can contribute to heartburn.

Try not to eat super spicy foods, and don’t lie down directly after eating. If you have heartburn at night while you’re trying to sleep like I did with my first baby, use pillows to prop yourself up a little bit to help the acid stay down where it’s supposed to. Of course, if you’re near the end of your pregnancy this will cause your back to hurt, but at the end there is not really a lot you can do to be comfortable when sleeping anyway. Just do the best you can. Drinking milk helps sometimes as well.

Issue # 6: Swelling or Water Retention

Cankles. I swelled so much with my firstborn, I had cankles; that lovely phenomenon where you can’t really tell your calf from your ankle. It was summertime in the south, and 100+ degrees many days. I was still working 30 hours a week at Starbucks and I retained SO much water!
A sweet nurse told me that it’s good to retain a little water, especially at the end of pregnancy because when you lose all those fluids and the blood during birth, that extra water is sucked up to make more blood, pronto. Without having excess water reserves, you could die. I felt a little better after that, but I am sure I had way more water than my body needed for replenishing my blood supply!

Tip #6: I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but drinking a lot of water actually helps reduce swelling and water retention! Especially drinking lemon water, which is so refreshing to a big pregnant mama. I recommend about a gallon a day- which sounds like a LOT but I just keep a quart mason jar with me all day and make sure I drink about 4 jars full.
Limiting your salt intake also helps- when you eat a lot of salt, your body retains extra water to dissolve the salt, so if you eat less, you retain less water!
Also, not being on your feet all day and making sure you elevate those tired feet helps keep those cankles at bay.

Issue # 7: Cravings

Its 3 am and you wake up and you just have to have some fried chicken. Or chocolate. Or something really weird like peanut butter pickle sandwiches. Or huckleberry crisp.


Tip: 7:

Think about what might be the reason for your cravings. Sometimes it seems like there’s really no rhyme or reason, but in my experience most of the time there was a base need that my body had and that craving was trying to fill it.

If you crave chocolate, you’re probably low on magnesium. Try soaking in an epsom bath and eating lots of leafy green vegetables. Your body will thank you.
For me, I craved cheeseburgers and tacos with my first, grilled meat with my second and third. All of those things are made up of protein and iron, which are super important for creating that baby and having enough blood and strength during pregnancy. So think through your cravings and find out what your body really needs. And it is okay to go get that ice cream sundae- once in awhile. Just not every time. :)


Issue # 8: High Blood Pressure (aka Hypertension)

This can become a really serious condition if you let it get out of hand. Because your body has so much extra blood in it during pregnancy, your blood pressure is naturally going to rise but you don’t want it to get over 140/90 or  dangerous complications can occur.

Tip #8: Thankfully, you can prevent or treat high blood pressure by adjusting your diet and exercise, as well as making sure you are not stressed out constantly.
A good diet to help keep your blood pressure within normal levels is  high in vegetables, low in carbs (especially wheat and bread products) . A good checklist for keeping track of your nutrition is at  Blue Ribbon Baby, as well as a wealth of other information about a healthy pregnancy. Nutrition is key! If you are working with a midwife, they are usually really good about focusing on nutrition to make sure you have the best pregnancy possible.
Also remove any extra stresses from your life. Sit down, have a cup of tea and do some knitting, or reading, or something that you enjoy.


Issue #9: Insomnia

This is a common issue in pregnancy, especially at the end when you’re so big and uncomfortable and can’t seem to find a way to get situated so that nothing hurts or is squished at bedtime. Or your body is dead tired, but your mind is racing with a thousand thoughts. I’ve been there.

Tip#9: There are several natural and herbal options out there to help with insomnia. First, limit your caffeine intake. If you’re pumped full of coffee or caffeinated drinks, of course you aren’t going to be sleeping! Same with sugar- it is a stimulant and can keep sleep from coming.
Once you have those things under control, you can try drinking a cup of chamomile tea at night to help your body and mind relax and get sleepy. A nice warm epsom salt bath can help- the magnesium in the salts helps with aches and pains too and is so relaxing.

If chamomile doesn’t help, an herbal tea with skullcap or valerian will. Just be careful because these herbs are stronger so use them with caution and in small doses to begin with or you might sleep the next day away! Earth Mama Angel Baby has a nice tea for relaxation, as well as Yogi teas that are safe and effective.

There are your nine tips for nine months!I had a lot of fun doing this. Writing about these things has made me want to write up a post on herbs for pregnancy and maybe a tips for post-partum series to help with issues that arise after baby comes.  Stay tuned for that!

Ideal vs. Real: Food Edition


I’m looking at another “Ideal vs Real” situation that happens a lot in our house, every day in fact. Probably in yours, too. At least, I hope so. :)



Delicious chicken and black bean chili over rice

You know how it is trendy and hip these days to only buy organic, locally- sourced foods that are free-range and GMO free and soy free and probably gluten free?


My blog IS called “Live Simple Natural” for a reason, so I’m not going to bash on any of those choices. I agree that food should be as chemical and preservative free and locally sourced as it can be, if at all possible. Food can be healing, or harmful, depending on the choices you make. But at the same time I have to confess; in reality I don’t always follow my ideal rules for choosing and buying food.

My Ideal:
~Organic (or grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals even though it may not be “certified organic”)

~Fresh and/or local

~Free-range (for eggs and meat)

~Grass-fed or pasture raised (for meat)

~Soy and High Fructose Corn Syrup- free

*Side note- I heard the FDA is now re-labeling HFCS as “fructose” to try and sneak it into foods still- just a head’s up. Not sure if it’s true, but I wouldn’t be surprised. They had relabeled it as “corn sugar” before that.*

~Low sugar. NOT fake substituted sugars like Splenda or Sweet n Low, but stuff that doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it to begin with.

~Also, no food colorings. (red 40 and yellow lake, I’m looking at you!)
Now, these are not bad guidelines. Obviously I want our food to be as natural and healthy as possible, because the less processed a food is, the more nutrients it has and the more healing it is for our bodies. But there are those ‘every once in a while’ times where I throw caution to the wind, for various reasons. So I’m gonna get real and confess my food crimes, ya’ll.

~We ate lunch at Arby’s over the weekend and had (gasp!) POP. (aka soda, aka coke, aka root beer)
HFCS  and caramel food coloring all up in here! And I have to admit, it was delicious. Terrible for you, but delicious. I sucked my Mug root beer down and savored every last foamy drop. I may have even let Olivia have a sip of foam. And she loved it too. She’s probably messed up forever now.

~I don’t buy organic everything. It’s too darn expensive! We try to stick to organic meat and dairy. We buy local eggs. I only buy organic fruits like peaches, berries, apples, tomatoes and veggies like lettuce and zucchini. But avocadoes, bananas and oranges, asparagus and potatoes? Conventional, unless the organic ones are on sale. Like, really on sale.

~Sometimes, if something has soy leithecin (or however you spell that) in it, and I really want to eat it (like chips or crackers or something like that) I still eat it, even though soy is one of the most genetically modified crops in the US. And also even though it messes with your estrogen levels.

~I bought vitamin C that has food coloring in it. I couldn’t find one that didn’t have any in it! Oh, the humanity!

~We eat ice cream with corn syrup solids in it. And it is super yummy.

~Sometimes we buy frozen pizza for dinner.

I figure if we eat really healthily for about 80% of the time, its okay to go all out and eat those bad foods every once in a while. Because really, if you have a diet that doesn’t have a little bit of indulgence, you’re not going to stick to it for a long time. It’s gotta be a lifestyle that you can stick with, right? I also don’t want my kids to be so deprived of a food that they over-compensate and eat way too much of it later in life. Balance is key.

So in a nutshell; I have ideals that I don’t live by. I bet you do too. But I think its better to have ideals and at least sometimes live by them than not have any at all and throw caution to the wind. There are so many levels I could go on with that thought right now…but we’ll stick with food-wise here.
So, mama (or dad or whoever) :
if you have food ideals and don’t always live up to them, it’s okay. You are human, you can’t be perfect.
(This is coming from an ex-perfectionist- I know how it is!)

Just do the best you can at that time and have grace for yourself and others.

Because food is about nourishment and family, and community and sharing life together, not calories or sugar content or GMO vs non GMO.

Focus on the whole picture, not the details. :)

Herbal Remedy:Plantain Oil For Irritated Skin

Today we’re talking one of my favorite herbal remedies for any kind of skin irritation: Plantain. Or Plantago Major, scientifically. It’s not the banana-ish kind of tropical fruit at the grocery store; (which was what I thought at first.) Plantain an herb that has been used for centuries to soothe and heal skin irritations, burns, cuts, rashes, anything that hurts on your skin. I heard about it a few years ago from a dear friend who is into herbal remedies and am so glad she told me about it! Plantain is not hard to find. You should be able to get it for free because most likely; you have it growing in your back yard. If not, it’s probably growing on the side of the road, or in your friend’s back yard. It’s known as a weed in most circles, yet it has such strong healing properties it should be a well known herbal super star! There are actually several  different kinds of plantain plants: one with broad leaves that kind of look like spinach and one with longer pointy skinny leaves, as well as a rough edged one. We’ll focus on the broad-leaved and skinny-leaved variety here.  The leaves are tough, with smooth edges and have kind of stringy veins running down through them. The flower of the skinny leaved variety is on a long stem with a fuzzy oval-shaped middle that gets tiny white flowers ringed around the middle. The broad-leaved variety  has long- stemmed seedpods that grow out of the center of the leaves. The broad-leaved kind seems to grow more in shady areas and the skinny leaved kind seems to grow more in the sun, from what I’ve observed.

click for source

Above is the broad-leaved variety, below; the narrow- leafed.

click for source

Look familiar? I make plantain oil out of the leaves, but if you had beeswax you could also make a salve or if you know how, even a lotion. Maybe I’ll try that sometime, but for now, the oil works great. Here’s how you make Plantain Oil: Find some plantain and pick the leaves. You can usually find them from spring to late fall. By wintertime they are mostly dead, but they come back again next spring. A handful of leaves will make a whole jar of oil. This would make a great gift for your crunchy mama friends- a little goes a long way too! :) Wash and dry the leaves- you want them completely dry. It is a good idea to set them out in the sun for a day or two, or stick them in the dehydrator or on your kitchen windowsill to get some of the moisture out  because if there is a lot of moisture on the leaves, they will mold. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Once your leaves are dry, put them in a pint size jar or a recycled salsa jar you have hiding in your cupboard and fill the jar with olive oil, pushing the leaves down so that they are completely covered in the oil. Make sure they’re completely covered- you don’t want to go to get out your plantain oil and find that it’s moldy. That happened to me the first time I made it and I was SO disappointed! Put the lid on, label it so you know what it is a month from now and stick it in a cupboard to steep for at least 3 weeks. I usually just leave a batch in the cupboard and forget about it- the last batch I made steeped for over a year and is fine. The olive oil preserves the leaves. You can take a bit out and put it in a smaller bottle and remove the leaves when it’s done steeping. When you need the oil for an owie, just take a small amount (like a few drops) and rub it on the affected area a few times a day. It is safe to use on babies, kids, grown ups, even animals. We once had a kitten that had gotten attacked by something and had a huge bite mark on her neck. Between using peroxide to disinfect it and putting plantain oil on it, the wound healed up very nicely. Plantain oil is my go-to remedy for when anyone in my family (or anyone that I know that isn’t weirded out by natural remedies) gets hurt. It stops the swelling and itching of bug bites and nettle stings, soothes burns (including sunburn!)  and helps heal scrapes and cuts, acne, rashes, hemorrhoids, chapping of lips or hands. If pretty much anything is wrong with your skin, most likely plantain oil can help it. It works great for diaper rash too! Olivia had these open sores on her bottom (ouch!) and I tried Burt’s Bees diaper cream and powder and they helped them not get worse, but didn’t make them better. Then I used plantain oil and within a few days the sores were all healed up. I haven’t ever had an instance where anyone reacted to it negatively, but of course I  am not a doctor and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA so don’t sue me if plantain oil doesn’t work for you. ;) So, if you want to try it out, go plantain hunting! Its really fun to show your kids what it looks like, then have them hunt around the yard for it. Chances are, if you live anywhere that has grass and weeds, you’ll find some. Have you ever used plantain oil? I’d love to hear about it! :)


Eating Seasonally: Summer’s Bounty and a CSA Update

Summertime is winding down here in the Pacific Northwest; the days are starting to get shorter and the mornings and evenings have a bit of crisp chilliness to them. 
Its raining today, which is welcomed! It seems like we’ve had a pretty dry summer and its nice to see rain. I know the plants appreciate it too.
Interestingly enough, my 4 year old daughter Ellie is out playing in the kiddie pool even though its raining. She sure loves the water!

We didn’t do a garden this year,but decided instead to participate in a CSA with a local organic farm. With baby Olivia joining our family in March I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get any seeds in the ground or take good care of them. I’m so glad we made it a priority to still have fresh vegetables every week!
Its been so much fun trying new veggies and learning to eat things that I NEVER would have tried otherwise.

Here are a few new veggies that we’ve eaten:

Hakurei salad turnips. I had never even had turnips before, let alone put them in a salad! I absolutely love these turnips! They are crisp and fresh and sweet and seriously I can just bite into them and eat them like an apple. They’re that good. If we plant veggies next year, these will be one of the must-haves.

Beets. I’ve had pickled beets before and they weren’t my fave, so I was kind of scared to try fresh beets and had no idea how to cook them. It turns out, they are good peeled and sliced in salad, they add a really nice flavor to stir-fry (although they turn everything pink!) and are also yummy roasted with other root veggies.

Asian Greens.  This includes bok choy, pak choy (they’re two completely different things- pak choy is smaller), and this other really good one that I can’t remember the name of. They add such a nice flavor to stir-fries and soups! And of course they are good in salad too. 

Rainbow Chard. I was nervous about being able to find ways to eat this one as well, because I’d tried steamed chard before and hated it. But its super yummy in stir fry (see a theme? we have stir fry at least once a week now and love it!) and also good in salad. The lovely bright colored leaves and stalks are so pretty! 

Of course we have gotten all of the “normal” veggies that are usually front and center at the grocery store- carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, green beans, peas, spinach, kale, lettuce, basil, parsley, dill and many more. 
I’ve even been able to put up a few baggies of extra green beans and peas that we couldn’t eat, as well as some chard and kale for fall and winter soups. If you’re thinking of participating in Consumer Supported Agriculture, I definitely recommend it! Our CSA ends at the end of September and I’m already kind of sad that its almost over. If we can afford it I’d love to do it again next year, I really enjoy getting a nice big bag of delicious surprises every week. 

Honestly, there hasn’t been a vegetable that we’ve gotten and not liked. There are definitely favorites that we each have, but overall every single vegetable has been super fresh, flavorful and delicious.  

My grandpa has been giving us zucchini and cucumbers and potatoes and squash and corn from his garden as well, so my mom and I have been putting those up, blanching and freezing and making pickles and zucchini bread. 


Lemon Cucumber Refrigerator Pickles

Now the apples and prunes are getting ripe and the blackberries are just finishing up- which means jam and pie and applesauce and maybe cider. Eating with the seasons has such a lovely rhythm to it. I love it!

What do you think about eating seasonally? Have you tried it? Did you like it, or would you rather just go to the grocery store and get what you want year round? I’d love to hear your thoughts!




Summer Favorites

I was thinking this morning about all the things I love about summer and thought I’d share with you. Not that any of these are groundbreaking or anything, but I enjoy them immensely and there are just certain things about summer that you don’t have the rest of the year. 

So, here we go!



Duh. Here in the Pacific Northwest, this isn’t always a given even in the summertime, so I’m super thankful when the sun peeks its face out! The weather has been great lately and we’ve been really enjoying it. Which leads me to the second thing…


I mean, who doesn’t love the beach? Since we live on an Island, the beach is well, surrounding us and we can walk down to it from our house. Spending an afternoon with my toes in the sand and listening to the waves softly lap on the shore while gazing across the water to the mountains is pretty close to paradise. 


Fresh Fruit 


I love fruit. I also love that so much of it is locally available around here. Peaches (not super local but from the same state anyway), cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums…and non-local but so good I buy it more than I should- WATERMELON!!! I love watermelon. SO much.


Picnics in the Backyard


It’s just so sweet to sit in the soft grass in the shade and leisurely munch on fruit and veggies and salads and other yummy things while having unforgettable conversations with my kiddos. 




I guess this isn’t exclusively a summer thing, but I love all the flowers that show their colorful faces all throughout the summer. We have zinnias growing outside our back door and they always are so cheery and bright, even on a cloudy day they bring beautiful color to the world.


Being Barefoot


I really hate wearing shoes. And socks too…barefoot is just so much better! Except on cold fall and winter days of course, which is why I’m glad it’s summer. So what if your feet get dirty? They also wash well. ;)


I know there are several more things that are good about summer, but those are my top favorites. What are yours? 

Yogurt Parfait in a Mason Jar- An Easy, On-The-Go Breakfast

Our family took a camping trip over the weekend and we left pretty early in the morning, before breakfast.


Sunrise over the water- gorgeous!

In order to avoid the unhealthy regrettable decision to just grab a quick breakfast at McDonald’s,(which is, sadly our usual fall-back on road trips- even thought I loathe the place, it’s usually the easiest thing to grab and go.) I decided to be proactive this time and make something for us to eat on the way that was easy to transport, would sustain us for a while and was healthy. Plus it didn’t cost us any extra money. And we weren’t eating icky chemicals and supporting a business I loathe. Anyway, before I rant…

Yogurt Parfaits!

In a Mason jar!!

It was perfect for holding the yogurt without spilling. And it looks pretty!


We ate breakfast on the ferry ride across the water, as the sun was shining its beautiful way through the window.


The kids didn’t finish all of theirs at once, so I just put the lid right back on and we saved it for later. I’m definitely doing yogurt parfaits again next time we go on a road trip or just have to be out of the house before we eat breakfast, it worked so well!!

So, if you wanted to make your own yogurt parfait, what would you put in it?
Yogurt, of course! I used my homemade yogurt, which is super yummy and doesn’t have anything extra in it. Just plain goodness.

Maple syrup or organic cane sugar- because the homemade yogurt is unsweetened. If you have sweetened yogurt, skip this step if you want

Organic Strawberries, cut up nicely

A mixture of rolled oats, flaxseeds and chia seeds

If you are bringing this with you on the go, be sure to wait to add the oats and seeds until you are ready to eat it, or you’ll get a gooey, weird consistency of yogurt/oatmeal as the oats absorb the moisture from the yogurt.


You could also add nuts, jam, other fresh fruit or whatever you think would be yummy-this is just what I had in the house.

Stir it all up and enjoy!!

Yum. :)