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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

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! 🙂

Wildcrafting

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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. 🙂

A Painted Piano

I mentioned on Facebook a few weeks ago that we were given a piano.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well….we painted it!

It was a pretty piano to begin with, however both my hubby and I have always thought that painted pianos just look super cool and we wanted a nice bright color pop in our living room.

Enter the paint.

We chose Pratt &Lambert’s No VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint from our local Sebo’s Do It Center. VOC’s are the elements in the paint that stink and give you a headache if you don’t have proper ventilation when painting. You know, the poisonous stuff. Don’t want none of that in my house, especially with a new baby. It was a little more expensive, but definitely worth it.

I LOVE this color!! It’s so bright and fun and cheery. It’s called “Delightful Aqua” and it is in fact, delightful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

First, the kids and hubby sanded the piano a little. It didn’t have very much of a finish on it, so we just did a light sanding with fine grained paper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then, the painting began!

Ethan got bored painting pretty quickly, but Ellie just loved it. She has a super artistic personality and really enjoys painting of any kind.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We taped off the keys and the pedals and the kids weren’t allowed to do around them at all- they had to stick to painting the sides and front of the piano.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It took two coats of paint to get it mostly covered- we did leave a few spots where the wood is peeking through just a tiny bit, for character. I would like to give it a sealing coat of wax or finish of some kind to make sure the paint doesn’t get scraped off easily and we still need to get it tuned, but it makes a very nice addition to our living room.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I love it!!!

We also still need to paint the piano bench- by the time we were done with the piano it was too late at night to start on the bench, we needed our sleep! There’s still a lot of paint left too, so  you just may see it appear on some other things in the future..who knows?

Have you ever painted a piano? Would you if you had one? Or are you a piano purist? I’d love to hear from you!

Ideal vs. Real: Home Edition

Hey all,

I thought I’d start writing about the ideal vs. reality a bit- kind of going along with my dreaming or discontent post.
Today’s subject is more light-hearted though-

Home.

Home should be a refuge, a place to unwind, a relaxing atmosphere. It also is a place to be yourself- the good, the bad and the ugly. A place of acceptance, a place of (hopefully) unconditional love.

A place that gets messier than ever imaginable. A place that I wish was clean for longer than 12 seconds. 🙂

Ideal:

This is what my house sometimes looks like:

For 12 seconds. If the kids are watching a movie, maybe it stays like this for an hour. Or if we are not home, it stays like this longer. You know, till we get home.  😉

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Real:

This. This is what it usually looks like.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You get a sneak peek of the piano here…we were painting it. But other than the painting mess that is not normally there, the rest is quite common.

Three kids ages 6 and under, lots of cooking stuff from scratch/artistic endeavors/crafty inspiration/imagination based play/homeschooling will do this to your house. Every single day.

Sometimes there are an excess of library books strewn everywhere across the floor as well.

Or a fort built in the living room with about 1,000 stuffed animal dollies “camping” in and around it.

Or fossils and fossil tools spread out everywhere for paleontology study.

This is what our kitchen looks like every evening.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The moments where it is clean are few and far between but you know what?

It is home.

And it is wonderfully, beautifully messy and lived in and happy and loved.

The mess is completely worth it because it means I can spend time with these guys:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To be here to see their growth and failures and firsts and kiss their hurts and feed them and make sure they learn about God’s love and our sinfulness and life’s responsibilities is worth a messy house. And for those moments where the house is clean, I just savor them and look forward to the next time. 🙂

 

 

 

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!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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?

A Story About Substantial Salad (and a recipe)

First: baby pictures!!

Because I can. 😉

It’s been a month since Olivia’s been born- I can’t believe it!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Time has gone so  quickly!

Here is what she looks like now:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So Cute!! She just started smiling last week, I love it!

Okay, here is a story about salad. And how I eat it and actually don’t feel deprived.

Around a month before Olivia was born, I went to my normal midwife appointment, and I had gained 6 pounds. In two weeks. Oops.

My midwife was not happy, and she told me that I needed to stop eating carbs, period. I could have as many vegetables as I liked, and lots of protein, but to stop eating carbs. I already had told her that I stay away from sugar most of the time. (except for those times I make cookies and eat like six the day I make them…but it’s organic sugar and they are oatmeal raisin cookies…they’re “healthy” right?)

She gave me the example, if we were having spaghetti for dinner I could eat some veggies with pasta sauce, but no noodles. Dang. That’s hard core.

Our family has basically switched out complex carbs in place of meat….like beans and rice, lots of beans of different kinds- lentils, chickpeas, whole wheat pasta without meat….or sometimes with meat,  but meat is so expensive because we want to buy good quality, pastured meat that we’ve cut back on the amount we eat. So…if I stopped eating carbs, what would I eat?
I was offended at first, and upset and not sure where to begin. So I started with just not eating bread.

I make my own bread, and it is GOOD. It was hard to give up, but I had been eating around 5 pieces a day- toast two or three times a day, a sandwich for lunch, toast after dinner with cinnamon sugar for dessert. I hadn’t realized how much bread I’d been eating!
Once I cut it out of my diet, I started to feel more energetic and less…puffy. Not sure how else to explain it.

I also started eating lots of yogurt and cottage cheese, and putting oats, flaxseed and chia seeds in the yogurt to bulk it up. I know some of those are carbs, but they also have fiber in them. I also still ate our normal breakfast- steel cut oats with maple syrup and milk, and I started finding veggies that I could eat instead of carbs for dinner. One of my favorites has been sweet potatoes. They make a really good substitute for rice or beans, since they are still kinda starchy but have lots of good vitamins in them and are delicious.

Then I began having salad for lunch.

I must confess, I have never been a salad girl. You know, those girls who eat salad all the time and go to restaurants and order salad. If I’m going to a restaurant, I’m ordering real food, ya’ll. I can make salad at home and don’t have to pay $7 for it when I can get a super good burger for the same price.

But after eating this for a while…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think I’m becoming a salad girl.

Although I don’t think I’ll ever order a salad from a restaurant, because we don’t really go to them all that often so when we do, I kind of splurge and get something I wouldn’t make at home.

And this salad…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This salad is more than just lettuce.

I’ve been eating it almost every day for lunch for a couple months now, and I feel like it’s my special indulgence of the day- which I get to prepare just for me; no one else. It’s so yummy and it actually keeps me full for several hours!

Here’s what is in it:

Organic lettuce or spinach or a spring mix, depending on what is cheapest at the store

Organic cherry tomatoes (non-organic tomatoes taste gross like chemicals and may be genetically  modified)

Broccoli

Cucumber

Red Cabbage

Organic raisins

Chia Seeds (protein!)

Hardboiled egg from our hens (organic, free range protein!)

Blue cheese dressing

It’s so yummy and filling! Avocado is delicious in there too, I’m just out right now. And sometimes I have a small dish of cottage cheese on the side if I’m extra hungry.

So back to the story…

I went back to the midwife two weeks later and…I’d lost 3 pounds. Lost!
Then I lost another pound the next two weeks, then didn’t gain any more weight the remaining week or so of my pregnancy.

Cutting out carbs works, man!

So that’s my weight loss plan for losing the baby weight:

Salad for lunch, very few carbs, lots of protein and healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil. And I’m trying not to make cookies very often, but it’s hard when Ellie (my 4 year old who LOVES to bake) asks I just have trouble saying no. 🙂 I have been eating a few more carbs than I did when I was pregnant because I figure that the calories I burn when nursing will make up for my eating them.

So far it’s working; I’m about halfway there to my pre-preggo weight. Hopefully it will keep working! Even if it doesn’t for some reason, I’m hooked on the salad for lunch thing, and miss it when I have something else.

Are you a salad person? If so, try this salad, it’s so good!