Nine Tips for Nine Months

Hello!
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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: Cabbage Leaves To Reduce Breastmilk Supply

Hi!

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.

Anyway..

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.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Disclaimer: 
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

Natural Flea, Tick and Worm Control For Your Pets

You know what I hate?

The fact that to get a flea medicine that actually works for my dog/ cat and actually kills the fleas, I have to spend $40 per animal.

It’s highway robbery, I tell you!

Guess what though?

You  don’t have to spend that much. 

In fact, you can spend a whole lot less!

Have you ever heard of Diatomaceous Earth?

I hadn’t either, until we got our chickens and I saw red lice on them (ew!!) and googled how to get rid of them.

Diatomaceous Earth.

Guess what kills fleas, ticks and worms, and whatever other buggy creature that might be crawling around on/inside of your animals?

Yep. DE.

And its WAY less expensive than flea medicine.

It’s awesome.

DE is actually the exoskeletons of phytoplankton, so even though to us it looks like a gray or white or red powder (depends on what kind of rock it’s from) , to bugs its razor sharp and cuts through their soft little skins and dehydrates them and kills them.

We used it in Memphis to help keep roaches from coming into our house- we sprinkled DE around the doorways and along the baseboards and anywhere else we saw any suspicious bug activity.

If you mix a bit of it into your animal’s food (up to 2% of the total volume of the food) then it will de-worm your critters and help keep them flea and tick free.

Important: 

Make sure you get food grade or feed grade Diatomaceous earth; not pool grade. Pool grade is for swimming pools and will KILL your animals if you feed it to them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can find DE at your local feed store, or maybe even a hardware store. This bag cost around $30 and it lasts several months since you just put a little bit in your pet’s food at a time. We’ve had our current bag for 4 months and its only half gone.

Beware that it can irritate your lungs and your animal’s lungs, so don’t sprinkle it in windy conditions and try not to breathe the dust that it creates when you put it in the food. A simple dust mask will work to keep it out of your airways if you’re sensitive to it.

Also, this stuff kills good bugs as well as bad bugs, so if you’re using it in your house or outside, make sure that you aren’t throwing it around everywhere because you’ll kill your ladybugs and bees as well as roaches and spiders.
It also washes away when it rains or if you get the powder wet, so take care to keep it in a dry place and use it frequently in your animals’ food.

We just put a few spoonfuls into the dog food every time we refill it and stir it up nicely. The dogs actually lick the last bits out of the bowl!

So. If you want to try a natural alternative to conventional flea medicine, give Diatomaceous earth a try. It works!

This post is not sponsored in any way- I just like using DE to kill bugs! 🙂

If you haven’t entered my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway yet, there’s still time! Go on over and enter- you have til January 27th at midnight.

This post is shared at WildCrafting Wednesday and The HomeAcre Hop

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)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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.

Natural Body Care Series:A Discovery Of Face Wash From An Unlikely Source

A couple of nights ago I was taking a shower and reached for my face wash, then remembered that I’d used the last of it the day before and forgot to buy more.
(drat!)

Face cleanser is one of those things that I’ve wanted to make on my own but am kind of scared to/don’t have the money to buy expensive essential oils and beeswax or shea butter or anything like that, so I haven’t made it on my own yet.

I was kind of in a pinch, because I needed to wash my makeup off before bed so I just grabbed our Homemade Tooth Powder and used that.

Now, before you think I”m crazy, let me tell you what’s in it.
It has baking soda, coconut oil, a tiny bit of salt and some peppermint extract.

Guess what gals? It worked great!

The peppermint made my skin all tingly and clean and refreshed, the baking soda and salt exfoliated my skin and the coconut oil moisturized it and took off my makeup, leaving my face fresh and clean and feeling soft.
I am SO happy I discovered this!!

I used it again last night and man, I loved it even more the second time since I knew what to expect.
If you’ve ever used Burt’s Bees Deep Cleansing Cream with Soap Bark and Chamomile, that’s what it reminded me of.  Except without the soap bark or chamomile. But you get that same feeling on your face as you do with the Burt’s Bees cleanser.

Anyway, if you want some frugal face cleanser, try this out! Just follow the recipe I have on my
Homemade Tooth Powder post and add in about a teaspoon of coconut oil and you’re in business.
I love that natural ingredients have so many different uses!!

Natural Body Care Series: Homemade Deodorant

Hi!

 It’s been a while since I did a Natural Body Care post, mostly because we needed to use up the rest of our store-bought deodorant before I delved into the world of making my own AND because I kept forgetting to buy coconut oil.

I know you can get this way cheaper on Amazon, but I just wanted to try it
 with a little bit to begin with, so I didn’t have a huge jug of coconut oil sitting around.

I know. Excuses, excuses.

If you’re interested in any other Natural alternatives to store-bought hygiene products, check out the
Natural Home and Body Care tab at the top of my blog; all the other posts I’ve done on this subject are up there.

So.
Homemade deodorant.
I have to confess that I was kinda scared to try this one, mostly because when I was a kid, my mom and dad made a switch from regular deodorant with aluminum in it (which can cause cancer) to the natural “crystal” deodorant and it did NOT work for them.

At all.

I still remember the B.O. and it wasn’t pleasant. (Sorry mom and dad. Love you! ) 🙂
They switched back to regular eventually and I was left with the distinct impression to NEVER use natural deodorant, unless I wanted to smell like I didn’t use it at all.
Which, for a high school girl would pretty much be the worst thing ever.

Thankfully, I’m not in high school anymore -it’s been 10 years…wow.
I’ve overcome that fear of natural deodorant and tried making my own and- it works!

So would you like to know how to make your own yummy-smelling, natural aluminum-free deodorant??

It’s pretty simple.

I used about 1/2 cup baking soda
4 or 5 Tbsp virgin organic unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp or so of cornstarch

Take these ingredients and mix them around until you get the consistency you want, then put it into the container of your choice. It looked like frosting when I was done mixing it and smelled so good, I may have tasted it.
(It didn’t taste like frosting.Unfortunately.)

I was using an old deodorant container that I’d rinsed, so I wanted the deodorant to be pretty thick so it’d stay in the container and not ooze out.

Take that, lady speed stick! I made my own, better version of you!!

The old deodorant was REALLY hard to wash out!

Keep in mind that coconut oil will liquefy when it gets warm, so keep your deodorant in the fridge if you don’t want it to melt.
To use, just take out of the fridge and apply as usual. The coconut oil will soak into your skin so it doesn’t stain your shirts or anything, and you’ll smell amazing.
Every time I put it on, I want to eat an Almond Joy. Thankfully, I never have any around the house. 😉

This isn’t an antiperspirant (which really you shouldn’t use anyway since sweating is your body’s way of getting rid of toxins and cooling itself- why trap toxins in your body on purpose?)
so you’ll still sweat, but it shouldn’t smell.
The baking soda neutralizes the odor and the coconut oil moisturizes your underarms and provides that amazing aroma of tropical paradise. 🙂

I love it, and its so easy to make!
Don’t think I’ll ever go back to using store-bought deodorant, that’s for sure.

Have you made homemade deodorant before?
Did you use different ingredients? I’d love to get some more recipes and try them!

This post is shared at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Natural Body Care Series: Simple Homemade Tooth Powder

In the past month or so, our family has been switching over from store-bought body care products to natural, homemade alternatives.
If you’d like to see what we’ve tried so far, click here.
We ran out of our Tom’s of Maine toothpaste last week, so it was time to try making Homemade Tooth Powder!

I’ve been finding out lately a lot about how glycerin actually is bad for your teeth- it blocks the minerals and keeps the vitamins you eat from sinking into your teeth.
And you already may know that fluoride is not good for your teeth or the rest of your body either, despite what health officials have said in the past, and even in the present.
If you want to read more, Here is a great article that talks about industrial chemicals added to commercial toothpaste, and it also has some more natural alternatives to toothpaste that I don’t talk about here.
If you want to know more about remineralizing your teeth, here is a good place to start, with a recipe for remineralizing tooth paste that I may someday try.

Anyway, I wanted to use a few simple ingredients that are proven, natural cleaners for my first batch of tooth powder.

They are:

Baking Soda

Sea Salt

Peppermint extract (for flavor.)

Just take about 1/3 cup baking soda,

put 1/2 tsp salt in,

and 1 tsp peppermint extract and mix well.

Store in a jar or container with a lid indefinitely. I used an old yeast jar I had sitting around after mixing the paste up in this glass bowl.

The peppermint extract is absorbed into the powder, so you get a slightly lumpy powder.

The result?

It works great!

The baking soda really makes our teeth feel nice and clean without any kind of film that you’d normally get from brushing with conventional, even natural brands of tooth paste.
It does taste a little different; kind of salty (go figure, right?) and doesn’t have as much of that “minty” aftertaste. I bet if I used a little more peppermint extract it might though.

The kid’s consensus?
Ethan likes it- he loves the way it smells, all minty and fresh. 
Ellie doesn’t like it as much…but she is getting used to it and all of our teeth are looking whiter and brighter.

If you’re looking to replace your toothpaste with something that is chemical free, this is one way to try it out and see if you like it without having to buy a bunch of extra ingredients.
Have you ever used tooth powder?
What do you put in it?
I’d love to hear from you!

This is shared at Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Link Party.