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!

Herbal Remedy: Garlic Poultice For Treating Infections

This is such an all-purpose remedy, and so simple that I can’t believe I didn’t know about it til a few weeks ago; I just have to share it!

I just had our third baby, Olivia Jane about a month ago and as any new mama knows, when your milk comes in, it comes with a vengance. I reduced the supply to a more comfortable level using cabbage leaves, but when Olivia slept through one of her feedings, I began  to develop mastitis. (The plugging of a milk duct, which causes lots of pain, inflammation and redness, can cause a high fever and infection. Not fun at all. Especially when you’re healing up from just having a baby!)  Thankfully I caught it early and didn’t get a high fever but I did have a bit of one, was achy and tired and in pain.

My friend Kayci sent me this video and said to make a garlic poultice and put it on the affected area, so I did. And guess what? I started to feel better within 20 minutes of applying the poultice, my low grade fever disappeared within an hour and the pain was greatly reduced! I did another poultice that night before bed and the next morning I was almost completely healed up. My breast was still a little sore, but not swollen or hot like it was the day before, and I had my energy back. The day after that I was completely fine. Hooray!!


Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and immune system boosting properties in it that makes it one of the best healing foods around. Its been used throughout history for colds, coughs, infections and illnesses to help ease discomfort and literally draw out the infection from your body. And it works! I’ve used garlic countless times, both topically and culinarily (is that a word? In food..) and it always helps heal our bodies. The best part when using garlic as an antibiotic is that it doesn’t kill the good bacteria in your body, like amoxocilin or other commercial antibiotics.

To make the poultice, I just took a couple cloves of raw garlic, peeled and diced them finely, then spread them out on a small rag. I folded the rag up kind of like a square burrito and poured warm water over it, let it sit a moment, then wrung it out and put it on my breast where it was hurting for a minute or two. That was it! If you keep the poultice on too long, the garlic can burn your skin so check it after a minute to make sure you aren’t getting a blister.  (ouch!)

The video explains everything in detail, so make sure to watch it. And you can use the poultice for colds and sicknesses too- it has so many uses! I’m so thankful Kayci told me about it!

If you use this and like it, why not spread the word and tell a few of your friends too?

Herbal Remedy: Cabbage Leaves To Reduce Breastmilk Supply


If you haven’t guessed it already, if you’re a guy you might not want to read (or care about reading) this post. Unless you are a new daddy maybe, then you can tell your wife about this.


I know this may not be true for everyone but for a lot of new mamas, when their milk comes in a few days after baby is born it feels like their breasts are about to explode. I always feel like I have enough milk to feed three babies at that point; its just ridiculous!         If the thought of pumping doesn’t appeal to you, here’s another option: cabbage leaves.



It sounds weird, but it works!

Just buy a head of green cabbage -a big one if you’re well endowed 😉 -I have to get the biggest one I can find- and bring it home and gently peel off the outer leaves and stick them in your bra. This is something you can do before bed, or if you aren’t going anywhere, as it looks kind of funny. Leave them in until you feel your breasts are no longer too full, switching the leaves out every day or so. Keep the rest of the cabbage in the fridge so it will be nice and cool. I usually have to do this for two days at first, but it really depends in how much milk you have to begin with. Just listen to your body-when your breasts stop hurting and you feel like they are nice and soft after your baby nurses you are probably at a good level.

When my oldest child Ethan was a newborn, he wouldn’t nurse after the first two days and we ended up bottle feeding him with formula. It turned out that he had weak muscles in his mouth and couldn’t latch on properly, but we didn’t know that until he was much older and had a severe speech delay. He did speech therapy for a couple of years and now at 6 years old you’d never know it- he speaks super clearly. But back to the point- so he stopped nursing and I had all this milk.

Now that I think about it, the smart thing to do would’ve been pump my milk and then bottle feed it to him so he could still get the goodness of breastmilk, but I was young and a first time mom far away from family and had no clue what I was doing, so we formula fed. And I used cabbage leaves to dry up my milk.



Seriously, cabbage leaves are a life-saver.  The coolness of the leaves soothes sore breasts and something in them helps your milk dry up. I have no idea why, but it works.  God obviously meant for them to be used in this way, I mean look at the shape of them! They fit perfectly over your breasts! 😉

I’ve used cabbage leaves after the birth of both my girls too, to reduce my milk supply to a comfortable level at the beginning, then as my first daughter got older and began to nurse less, I used the cabbage leaves to keep myself from getting mastitis and to dry up the extra milk she no longer needed. I’m sure I’ll do the same with Olivia as she starts cutting out feedings and begins to eat solid foods in a few months.

So, tell all your new mama friends! Just make sure you don’t dry up all your milk if you don’t want to. I wouldn’t leave the leaves on for more than a day or two. Just use common sense.
Also, tell your older kids that not everyone uses cabbage in this way. Then they won’t comment loudly in the grocery store, “Hey Mommy! There are the breast cabbages!”  as you quickly shush them and tell them that actually they are just called cabbages. Yup, that happened. 🙂

Have you ever used cabbage leaves in this way before? I’d love to hear from you!


Honey and Cinnamon- The Best Cold Medicine Ever!

Hello everyone,

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post- our family has been hit with a bad springtime cold and I have been struggling to just get dinner on the table some days. (Like yesterday. Hubby offered to just go get pizza and that sounded so tempting, but I really wanted chicken curry and rice instead. So I pulled myself together and made it! And ya know what? It wasn’t too hard, once I got started. )

Whenever we get sick we use herbs and natural remedies to help our bodies heal themselves, at least most of the time.
Pretty much unless I have a terrible migraine- then Excedrin and I are best friends. 😉
Although drinking Rosemary tea does help with headaches, I’m out of Rosemary right now so Excedrin it is.

For more herbal remedies for colds and coughs, check out my post here. 

Anyway… (my brain is a bit fuzzy…)

One thing that really helps to banish your cold is to take a few teaspoonfuls of raw honey and cinnamon every day. It tastes like dessert- it’s so good!


Why should you take honey and cinnamon like medicine?

Honey (specifically raw, unprocessed honey from local bees) is anti-bacterial and boosts the immune system. It has beneficial bacteria in it that helps kill the bad germs in your body. It soothes sore throats and even helps with seasonal allergies if you’re using local honey because bits of pollen from local flowers are still in the honey which helps strengthen your defenses against it.  Honey that has been pasteurized (that is, heated up so all the good bacteria in it are killed) does little more than soothe sore throats and taste good.

So try to get raw honey. Even though it’s more expensive, it’s worth it! We usually get ours from the local farmer’s market when it’s in season. In the winter, we get it from the grocery store and ONLY use it for coughs and colds because its like liquid gold!


This is from the farmer’s market and it is SO yummy! It kind of has a vanilla-y taste to it from the flowers the bees feed on.

Cinnamon helps clear the airways, improves digestion, aids in reducing inflammation and eliminating phlegm and it is also anti-bacterial. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb as well as a spice in foods. I just use the cinnamon that we have in the spice cabinet, although of course organic cinnamon is better. But ours is just from Costco.

So how do you take this herbal remedy?

Just get some raw honey and cinnamon and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon onto a spoon.


Scoop out a teaspoon full of honey and mix it with the cinnamon. I usually use a knife tip or the end of a fork or spoon to do this. Be careful that it doesn’t ooze all over and drip everywhere!


Then, savor the delicious taste and relish in the fact that this medicine tastes so good and is so good for you!

Take at least two times a day, or more if you feel like you need it or are having a sweet craving. 😉

I had to laugh recently when my mom asked the kids if they wanted some medicine. She was trying to get them not to want what she was eating.  They jumped up and down and shouted, “yes!” because usually their medicine is this remedy or yummy honey thyme tea or herbal cough medicine that tastes like honey. They don’t know that most man made medicines taste bad!  That makes me happy.

I hope you have a great weekend- I’m going to focus on getting over this cold and hopefully I’ll be back with more regular posting next week.

I am not a doctor and am not prescribing treatment for you or anyone else- just sharing what works for us and our family. If your cold continually gets worse when you’ve been treating it or you have trouble breathing or a high fever (over 104) that won’t come down, consult a doctor immediately. Be wise, people.  This is for coughs and runny noses and congestion, not a life saving treatment! 🙂


Shared at The HomeAcre Hop

Foraging: Stinging Nettles

A new thing I’ve been trying lately is foraging- using plants that are many times considered weeds as food or for herbal use. It’s amazing what is in your own backyard if you know where to look for it!

Stinging nettles are one of those plants that up until a few months ago, I considered a nuisance.  They grow all over the place; they sting and it hurts!!  I remember falling into a nettle patch as a kid and I’ve never thought of nettles fondly since then. The raised welts they leave sting so bad and then they itch- it’s just not fun to experience.


Nettles actually have a lot of uses medicinally!

They are a diuretic, can help with hay fever and urinary tract infections, they help reduce inflammation so they can be useful for helping with arthritis pain. They are also high in iron and nettle capsules or tea is frequently suggested for pregnant women to help boost iron and to help reduce or prevent bleeding. (I drank nettle tea when I was pregnant with Eliana.)

I even read that if you’re stung by a nettle, rubbing another nettle on the sting can help reduce the pain. I don’t think I want to try that one though! I’ll just stick with rubbing plantain oil on it.

For a nice list of other things nettles can help with, go here.

Also, another great article on nettles is here, including how taking nettles can interfere with prescription medication you may be taking.

Always make sure herbal supplements are safe to take if you’re on medication, because some may severely change how your meds work. Don’t just assume it’s okay to take since it’s herbal!  

Okay, so if you want to go foraging for nettles, here’s where to look: they like disturbed areas- oftentimes near the road or somewhere that has been logged- the nettles on my parent’s property grow down where an old barn used to be, near the rubble pile of wood from when the barn collapsed. That also happens to be in a wild blackberry patch, so my foraging experience was somewhat prickly- in addition to getting stung, I also got caught by the blackberry thorns!

Here are what stinging nettles look like:


They have wide, almost heart shaped leaves with notched edges and reddish stems with prickly hairs on the underside of the leaves as well as the stem. These are what sting you if you touch them.


See those prickles? Those are what have the chemical in them that creates a stinging sensation when it comes in contact with your skin. Ouch!

They grow pretty tall- I’ve seen nettles taller than me and I’m 5’9! But you want to harvest them when they are first coming up out of the ground.

Make sure to wear gloves and long sleeves, and use scissors to cut just the top few leaves off the nettles- that’s the most tender part. They are less bitter. The best time to go nettle foraging is right now- in the spring, when the nettles are just springing out of the ground. Once they’ve been out a while they lose a lot of their potency and are tougher and, as I said, more bitter.


 Even though I was wearing gloves, the sneaky hairs on those nettles got right through the knit part and still stung my hand!
I managed to get about half a paper grocery bag full of nettle tops. Not too shabby for just a few minute’s work!


I brought them inside and put them in the china cabinet to dry, since I don’ t want them to get dusty or small fingers to try and grab them and get stung.


Once they are dry, they don’t sting anymore. I’m going to crumble the nettles up and make my own tea blend with nettles, red clover flowers, chamomile and peppermint.

I might also sprinkle a bit into soups to add some more vitamins into our diet. Since it will just look like basil or oregano; no one will be the wiser. Mwahahaha! 🙂

Have you ever foraged nettles before? I”d love to hear about it!
Also, if you want to read about some of my other foraging adventures, check out my new foraging page.


This post shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I wrote a couple days ago on my Facebook page that I’d made tortillas to go with dinner, and promised to share the recipe later, so here I am! 🙂

I’ve been baking all kinds of things for years, even made my own pasta  for a while, but for some reason making my own tortillas didn’t occur to me. Or when it did,  I was kinda scared to think about doing it. What if I burn them? How do you cook them?

Flour tortillas are so easy to make! I wish I’d gotten up the courage to try before now. I don’ t think we’ll ever buy tortillas again- they are so much more flavorful and less gummy than the flour tortillas you get at the store, and don’t have any of the weird preservatives in them. All you need are a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your house.

You also get to get your fingers into the dough and get messy, which is so much fun! If you have little helpers at home, they will love this. I love it too! Flour is so soft, and it just feels nice between my fingers.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Makes 8-10 tortillas per batch

3 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup Coconut oil or olive oil or lard from pastured pork

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup very warm water

Put the flour in a mixing bowl, add the coconut oil and smash around with your fingers until you have a bunch of tiny lumps throughout the flour.

Add the salt and warm water and mix until it turns into a nice dough.

Form into balls, let sit for at least 30 minutes.  It won’t really rise, but the dough needs to sit.


Get out your rolling pin and on a floured surface, roll out your tortillas til they are just thick enough to stay together when you try to peel them off the counter. Supermodel thin. They will rise when you are cooking them, so make them thinner than you want to start with.


I made them too thick the first time and they kinda turned out like pita bread instead of tortillas. Which wasn’t bad, per say; but they were more bready than we were shooting for. All of my tortillas also end up being  fun cool shapes, more like a rectangle or a stretched animal skin than round.  It gives them character. Makes eating more interesting. 🙂


Cook your tortillas in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat til bubbles form on the first side, then flip the tortilla and let it go another few seconds. If I roll out one at a time, I can usually get another tortilla rolled while one is cooking. And if you happen to burn it a little- it’s okay. I did the same thing. They still tasted amazing.



If you have any leftover from your meal or are making them for wraps, etc, then stick the tortillas immediately into a 2 gallon ziplock bag. A one gallon bag will work if your tortillas aren’t too big, but I tend to make larger ones so I need a bigger bag. Remember that these tortillas don’t have any preservatives in them so they won’t keep for a month like store bought tortillas will. Freeze them, or eat them right up. We haven’t had a problem with any sticking around for more than a week so far, since they are so good. I’m not sure beyond that how well they will stay.

This is what I used my tortillas for. Chicken Enchiladas. Delicious. 🙂


Have fun making tortillas!

This post is shared at WildCrafting Wednesday.

Re-Mineralizing Tooth Powder

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about tooth re-mineralization, how it can reverse cavities and even heal them without having to go to the dentist.

Say, what?!

That’s right. Read this mom’s testimony about how she healed her son’s cavity.

The original idea of healing cavities as opposed to drilling them out comes from Dr. Weston A. Price, DDS. He was a dentist back in the 20’s and 30’s and discovered that cavities come from nutritional deficiencies and once those are corrected, the cavity heals itself.
He has a book on it called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration that I’m planning on reading- I haven’t read it yet but the subject is fascinating.

Not having health insurance; this is of some interest to our family since we don’t really have the funds for paying for the dentist.  My son has cavities in his molars, and I’d really love to heal them without having to go to the dentist.

I studied up on the subject and decided to purchase some Fermented Cod Liver Oil/ Butter Oil Blend and also make some Re-Mineralizing  Tooth Powder.

Dr. Price found that the combination of butter oil and fermented cod liver oil worked best to replenish nutrition needed for healthy teeth. Let me tell you, it doesn’t taste good. But it works, and it’s less expensive than going to the dentist!

The idea behind the tooth powder is to replace minerals back into the teeth that are lost over time. Bentonite clay is a great mineral resource, and it binds toxins together to remove them from your body. You can also take it internally, but be warned: it’s a laxative as well!

Using Bentonite clay in your tooth powder leaves your teeth feeling super squeaky clean, way cleaner than using just baking soda and salt, which is what I was using before. My teeth also look whiter than they did, and they stay clean-feeling all day long as opposed to just a few minutes. It’s a cosmetic grade clay that I also use in my face wash, it gently exfoliates and leaves your face feeling really soft.

I found this recipe for the tooth powder at Frugally Sustainable– an awesome website chock full of frugal, sustainable goodness. I seriously visit Andrea’s site all the time, she has such great articles! There’s more information over there about tooth re-mineralization as well- just click on the link.

Here is my version of the recipe:
(I didn’t have any essential oils, so I just skipped using them.)

4 Tbsp. Bentonite Clay

1 Tbsp Baking Soda

1 Tbsp. Myrrh Gum Powder

1/8 tsp Ground Cloves

1/8 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 packets of Stevia in the Raw (optional)


Mix everything together in a small jar, and sprinkle a little bit onto your tooth brush. We used WAY too much the first time and our mouths were SUPER clay-y.  Not cool. So just a tiny bit goes a long way.


This recipe makes about 4 oz, which will last a very long time. All four of us in our family use it and I imagine it will last us several months, since you use such a small amount each time you brush your teeth.  The kids like it, it tastes nice and clove-y and leaves your mouth feeling nice and clean. We’re still getting used to the lack of minty- freshness, but if you wanted to, I imagine you could add peppermint oil to remedy that.

You can get the clay and myrrh gum powder at Mt. Rose Herbs– it’s pretty affordable and they have great customer service and such a variety of wonderful products! (I don’t get any money for saying that- it’s just true!)


Since we’ve begun using the tooth powder and the cod liver oil, I have noticed that all of our teeth look whiter and I think my son’s cavities may be getting smaller- it hasn’t been that long, so I can’t be sure. If they are, you will hear about it!! 🙂  What do you use for toothpaste? Have you ever thought of using tooth powder, or do you use a different recipe? I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. None of the links in the post are affiliate links- I haven’t gotten to that point yet in blogging. They’re just links to where you can buy the ingredients for the powder, if you want to. 🙂

Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday and The Homeacre Hop

Make Your Own Yogurt

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas; we had a lovely, relaxing day full of food, movies, board games and lots of wrapping paper bits littered all over the carpet.  The tree has been taken down and the ornaments put away, and I’m thinking about the upcoming year.

I’m excited to share a recipe with you today that has been a long time in the making. If your new year’s resolution includes making more healthy foods from scratch like mine did last year, here is a good place to start!

I’ve been making yogurt for around a year and while the first few tries were hit and miss, I think I finally have the process figured out enough to share with you. So, if your yogurt doesn’t turn out at first, don’t give up! You’ll get it eventually. Just keep trying. 🙂

Store-bought yogurt is so expensive, and when you eat it as often as our family does, it goes way too quickly to justify paying 3-5 dollars or more on something that will be gone in a day or so.

Making homemade yogurt is decidedly more economical; you start with a gallon of milk and you end up with a gallon of yogurt. Which is awesome. So essentially you’re getting twice as much yogurt for the same price!

It’s also healthier, without any mystery chemicals to “add flavor and preserve freshness” and really, wouldn’t you rather put raw, local honey and fresh or frozen berries in your yogurt instead of scraping mushy, sugar laden fruit off the bottom of your yogurt cup? I know I would.

Yogurt is great for regulating your digestive tract and providing good bacteria to your body to help fight off infections and strengthen the immune system. If you’ve got a cold or are fighting off some bug, get some good bacteria in your body to help ward off those icky germs!
So, to make yogurt you need a few supplies. You might have all of them in your kitchen and not even know it!

You need:

A large, heavy-bottomed pot (I use my enameled cast iron dutch oven)

A whisk

Measuring cup or funnel or both for pouring the milk into the glass jars

Glass jar (s) to put the yogurt in

A thermometer. A candy Thermometer is best, but a meat thermometer works too. Or you could get a fancy digital one.

A cooler big enough to hold your jars.
Then, of course you need:

Milk  (remember, how ever much milk you start with will be your ending quantity, so make as much/little as you think you’d eat)

A starter  culture of yogurt. I just use a little container of plain Greek yogurt from the grocery store. I use the Greek yogurt because it’s thicker to start with, and I think it makes better yogurt. I may just be making that up, but it does seem to produce thicker yogurt in the end.


Make sure your starter has live and active cultures, or else your yogurt won’t set. You need 1/2 cup per gallon, but I usually use the whole container no matter what size yogurt I make. That way the yogurt can just have extra cultures in it. 🙂

The Nitty Gritty:

Start by putting your milk into the pan on a medium- low heat. You want the milk to heat slowly to 175-179F degrees, just under the boiling point; without scalding.

DON”T let it get to boiling! The milk will explode and over flow and separate into what looks like ricotta cheese.

Just keep checking the temperature with the thermometer and stirring the milk  every few minutes and when it starts getting tiny bubbles on top, you know you’re getting close.


Once you get to 175-179F, turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat.


Let your milk cool until it gets down to 120F. This will take several minutes. I usually load the dishwasher while I’m waiting. 🙂

Once the temperature reads 120 degrees, carefully whisk in your starter culture of yogurt.  If you add the yogurt cultures before you get down to 120, the heat will kill the bacteria and your yogurt won’t set, so make sure you wait until it’s the right temp.

Whisk until the clumps are broken up. The milk will already be starting to get little tiny bits of solids in it. Pour your milk into quart or half-gallon or even gallon-size wide mouth glass jars.

I use this old, gallon-sized peanut butter jar.

I use this old, gallon-sized peanut butter jar.

Wipe off the excess milk you spilled and then place your jar(s) into a cooler.
Pour 120 degree water (if your hot water heater is on the lowest temperature, just turn your sink to hot and that will be the right temp) into the cooler until water is about 1 inch below the lid of the jar and close the cooler.


Let your yogurt set for 12-24 hours in the cooler at room temperature.

I usually let it go the whole 24 hours to ensure that it gets nice and thick. The yogurt will get more sour the longer you let it set, but it won’t spoil unless you leave it out way longer than 24 hours.

Check to see if the yogurt is thickened, then place in the fridge to chill.

There will be a yellowish liquid in with your yogurt; which is called whey. This is normal.
It’s actually full of proteins and you can save it to put into bread, or feed it to your animals, or just mix it into the yogurt. Or if you think it’s gross; pour the whey out.

Once you’ve made a successful batch of yogurt, save out 1/2 cup to a cup of your yogurt for the next batch. No need to buy a starter every time!  How cool is that?

This is the consistency that your yogurt should be- kind of thick but it won't be super thick.

This is the consistency that your yogurt should be- kind of thick but it won’t be super thick.

The yogurt will taste different than store-bought plain yogurt- it will be more sour but by no means bad. Just add some honey or jam and top with granola or fresh fruit and enjoy your healthy, delicious, homemade  yogurt!





Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday  and

The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Foraging: Wild Rose Hips

A couple of weeks ago our family took a walk down the road to get some fresh air, and ran across a whole bunch of wild rose hips.

I immediately wanted to pick them all, but had nothing to put them in, so I resolved that we’d come back and get them in a few days, and went home to research how to preserve rosehips and what to use them for.
If you want to read a more in-depth description of what rosehips do for your health, go here.
Rose hips are really high in vitamin C and can be made into tea, jelly or oil to help bolster the immune system. I thought that since it’s fall and the beginning of the blustery, rainy season that we’re bound to get a cold here or there, so why not make some tea to help us stay healthy??
One cool gray afternoon, I gathered up the kids and Grandma (my mom) and we went rose hip picking.
We had fun! 
Some of the rose hips were low enough for the kids to pick, and we snacked on the blackberries remaining on the nearby blackberry bushes. Some of the bushes were still flowering!
Once we got about 4 or 5 cups of rose hips and there weren’t really many more that we could reach, we came home and I spread them out on a cookie sheet to dry. The process takes a few weeks, so they’re not dry quite yet. They look so pretty though, and I can’t wait to try them in some tea!
The mornings here have been foggy and cool, and it’s so beautiful!!
I love seeing these girls out the kitchen window when I’m stirring the sugar into my coffee:

I know- more cow pictures! I just can’t get enough of them!!
Have you ever done any foraging?? What did you get, and what did you do with it? I’d love to hear! 
This post is shared at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.