Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mantel design

After Christmas came down the mantel was bare. All year I have had temporary designs and seasonal decor only because I did not know what to do. Now that I have had some time I put together a new mantel for the new year. ( of course it will change for the holidays but have a back design that stays ).

The clock was a great find, only $14 at Burlington coat factory.

I used spray starch to try to attach the fabric to the wall but to no avail. I did just leave it up with push pins instead ( I like the color and design, breaks up the plain walls).
I love old books, clocks, and owls. I got everything squeezed in for a cohesive design.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lunch on GAPS

Meal planning on a special diet can be a chore. With each season I find ways to make meals easier and enjoyable. Some of the American staples of macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and fries we are not able to eat. Vegatbles and meats are our family staples. Soups are a good choice for lunches and with fall, squashed can make meals easy as well. Speghtti squash is one of my favorites and gives the kids a comfort style food. I like to put a squash in the oven at 350 in the morning for about an hour. Then when I am ready to use it, I sauté with plenty of butter or ghee, then cover it with tomato sauce. We do eat tomatoes sparingly, but they are nice to have once and a while. Cooking vegetables in broth or butter for the side with broth to sip. A great quick lunch for kids at home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween fun has started with door to door treats. With kids on special diets this is one night they get candy. So how I the best way to handle holidays? I decided to give my kids one day of all out candy and then donate what's left. This weekend we will be stuffing piñata and donate them to the local family housing. As fat as the aftermath of sugar in my children's system detox baths and charcoal tablets to help absorb the grains and sugar tonight. It certainly is so much more of a treat when candy is so rare in our diets.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Portland Art Museum

Today with school out I took my family to the Art museum. To my surprise was the Greek exhibit. This meant an education on the body. At first my boys were a bit embarrassed but quickly it wore off. Being able to talk about the form of body and sculpture changed how we looked at the body in the eyes of the Greeks.

Quietly going through the museum we found pieces that we liked and some we didn't. It's amazing how some art affects us differently.

Pictures of:
Dionysos god of wine.
Two boys fighting over knuckle bones

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Homemade soda alternative

With our new family diet I am very limited to what treats my family gets. I have had to be very creative with offering treats. I just can not keep even honey around otherwise my kids eat it in anything from herb teas to yogurt. I finally switched to Maple syrup just because they don't think about it to sweeten.

Today I came up with a good reward treat that works for us. Homemade pop. It's simple and unsweetened. Root beer extract and carbonated mineral water. Other extracts can be used like cherry, anise, or vanilla. I prefer essential oils like grapefruit or wild orange. The root beer really offers the flavor without sweeteners.
For those of you that just can't quit pop or want to offer your kids something other than pop or treats this works well for my family.

Now I just need to find a pure organic extract for my family.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Decorations

I am so excited for Fall and most importantly Halloween.  I love decorating for this season.  I thought I would even change the blog for the month.  I wanted to show off my fall decorating.  I kept it simple and more fall this year.  Less skeletons and more leaves and pumpkins.

 I love the new banner looks.  I had this from a swap party and thought it would work well.  I also used my Silhouette to create bats that are all over our house. 
 Dollar tree is great for the little things like these hanging skeletons.

                                                             Happy Harvest!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How to paint a Door

Painting can be frustrating but once the basics are understood, it can be quite easy and rewarding.

My front door was in need of renewing.  Black doors always look nice and I decided it was the way to go.  There are a few things to consider when painting a door.

Weather exposure can determine what colors should be avoided.  Full sun, whether it is day or evening doesn't matter if it is long hours of sun.  This sun can cause bubbles in paint, glue oozing from joints or window inserts, and warping.  Dark colors will increase these problems.  Especially black!

Sheen is also something to consider when painting a front door.  Flat is a standard for exterior painting and flat or a low sheen for a front door is becoming more popular right  now.  Often times a satin door is better to improve fade resistance and wash-ability.  This door is going to be satin black.

My maroon door was faded, otherwise in good shape.  I removed the kick plate to paint and cleaned the door.
It is best to do any brush work first to limit the brush strokes. 
Painting in the panels and then around the door handles. Next use a small cat paw roller.  Always paint with the grain up the vertical grain (otherwise known as rails) and then the horizontal grain (skids).  Rolling over areas that are brushed to get a smoother finish. 

Once paint is dry an hour or so, a second coat can be put on.  A second coat will ensure a good coverage and offer longevity for the finish. 

Primer?  Exterior paints are self priming.  It gives them the ability to cover evenly on all sorts of surfaces.  The paint will look the same on wood as it does brick or cement.  This makes it much easier to paint with dark colors.  A good paint will cover in two coats without the use of primer.  Some colors will do fine with out a second coat.  

On a beautiful fall day the paint dries quickly but if the door needs to be closed the weather stripping may need to be taken off for several days.  The avoid this try putting Vaseline on the rubber weather strip, this will stop the door from sticking.

Vaseline can also be put on the hardware instead of tape.  This will allow paint to be wiped of after the door has dried.  

Now for the kick plate....

Once removed lightly sand to scuff finish and remove rust.

Prime with a spray can metal primer.

Lightly sand and paint using metal finish.

Coat with clear coat and install.

Just the right touch to finish off the front door.  Now it is much more inviting. 

Now I am just going to finish the fall decor. 



Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cheated on GAPS

Tonight has been a tough night.  My son that is on the  GAPS diet (please refer to GAPS website for
  details) and needs to be on stage 3, has cheated.  What does that mean?  My daughter is selling candy bars for her school and while he was upstairs, he took one and ate it.  I wasn't sure which one of my boys found her stash but tonight at 11pm I figured who it was.  My 6 year old.  My 6 year old has done well to stay on the diet, he struggles with wanting treats. He has accepted the diet because it stopped his acid reflux he had suffered from for a year.  He really misses sugar.  

After almost four months working through the Intro diet, I put all my kids on full GAPS.  My 6 year was not ready.  I just had a difficult time putting him fully back to stage 3.  Now that he is back in school it is a bit hard to pack all cooked soups and then a snack.  
It looks like that is what I need to do.

Tonight all of his symptoms have officially come back.  A few weeks ago, with the summer of fruit, a cheats of fruit snacks, and what not the neighbors were giving him, his eczema behind his knee showed up.  I almost had it cleared last week and now his allergies and croup have flared up.

His symptoms for my reasons to put him on the diet:

Acid reflux for more than a year.  It has worn his teeth and medications had done nothing to help.
 Eczema in spots of his body
Behavior was becoming more irritable with his tummy aches.

What I found cleared up:

His allergies that caused a constant runny nose most of the year and croup at night around 11-1am.
His speech has improved.
His Acid reflux gone by day 3 on Intro.
Sleeping through the night.  He woke up often since age 2, with "growing pains".  He would often cry for an hour or so in pain.  (Glad that's gone)
His behavior has gotten milder.

It is amazing how much change I have noticed with him.  It has been worth the extra effort.

With tonight's re-occurrence of waking at night with mild croup and night cries, I am planning a full soup week with many detox foot and full baths.  I hope to get back to healing and overcoming my own lazy approach lately, on keeping my kids where they need to be to heal.

  It is important to read through the book and prepare to start the Diet.  It is a hard diet to get in the hang of and it does take time.  Understanding detoxing and taking it slow is important not to over load the body.  I am a believer on how important it is to heal the gut and all the problems it leads to when the gut is compromised. Some times I need a reason to keep going and tonight was my trigger. 

There are some great blogs that support the diet and offer information on how to work through the diet.  Here are some ideas for cheats offered on Healthy, Home, & Happy.  Making sure when cheating, to add in some extra detox, such as baths and foot soaks, plenty of water, and ginger teas can help off set the symptoms. 

I would love to hear from you on your experiences with the GAPS diet, leave a comment.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homemade toothpaste with Essential Oils

                    I have been fiddling around with essential oils for some time now. 
 I finally went and got some high quality ones that I am much happier with using.  Slowly I am replacing much of our health needs with essential oils.  Essential oils can be used in place of medications to treat anything from pink eye to headaches.  One of my recent discoveries was making toothpaste using essential oils.
homemade toothpaste

I would have never thought to replace my store bought toothpaste with homemade toothpaste and you may not either.  Here is my journey to changing my mind.
sls in toothpaste

One evening my 6 year old lost one of his front teeth.   I pulled back his lip to take a look and was surprised at what I saw.  His lower front teeth {that had just come in}, had a severe receded gum line.  I was greatly concerned and hit the internet for some probable causes.  Receding gum lines brought all sorts of issues I did not want to know about.  Gingivitis and periodontal disease to name a few.  I was a good mom, washing teeth as often as I remembered.  I knew it was often enough he shouldn't have those kind of issues.  In my search I was surprised to read some causes of receding gumlines.  I have had receding gums for years and this was of interest for me.

Two of my favorite sources for homeopathic remedies are and

Both of those sites gave great information that changed my opinion on toothpaste.

One of the common ingredients in toothpaste is SLS, a surfactant that is used in everything from shampoo to conditioner.  It is what suds up.  Some claim it is natural derived from coconut oil but it is a know irritant and one of the worst.  It is also the most commonly used. Here is a site that talks about some of the problems with this surfactant.  SLS.  The problem with it in toothpaste is receding gum lines.  It is an irritant that causes inflammation in the gums causing them to recede.

{You also may be interested in Re-minerializing your teeth to help stop and prevent cavities and rebuild enamel. This will have to be a whole other post}

My son's gums were the cause of an under bite that pulled his gums tight around his lower teeth.  Good news is it is not from poor maintenance, bad news is this means braces.  So in order to save for this expense :) here is a great natural at home toothpaste to try.

The great thing about home made is variety.  It is a simple recipe that can be adjusted to taste.  You can also add in oils that fit your family needs.

I decided to use tea tree oil as it is great for killing germs and healing the gums.  It is not an oil that should be swallowed.  For children it may be best not to use Tea tree oil.  There are several oils that can be used and swallowed safely.

Reducing inflammation use one or several drops of each.
Tea tree oil

By boiling cinnamon and cloves together for 20 minutes to make a mouthwash that is great for killing germs and reducing inflammation.

Pain and sensitivity

Clove oil

Taste and freshness

vanilla extract


Trace mineral 10 drops added
Powdered Calcium Magnesium ( I use Cal-Mag Citrate by Thorne Research)

Bases that can be used

Aloe Vera gel is great for healing and reducing inflammation.  It can help heal receding gum lines.

Sesame oil fights gum disease and heals receding gum lines by strengthening the tissue.

Coconut oil { greatness of Coconut oil here} has anti inflammatory, anti fungal, and anti bacterial properties.
{Can also be swished for oil pulling, more on that later.}

I do not recommend Glycerin as it can stop teeth from re-mineralizing and often comes from sources that are not organic.
Here is my recipe:

4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon of baking soda
5 drops of tea tree oil
5 drops of peppermint
8 drops of On guard ( Doterra brand blended oil)  optional
5 drops Cassia or stevia sweetener, Xylitol (which has shown improvement in enamel)
coconut toothpaste

I am surprised how well it worked. 
 No suds and my teeth felt clean. 

 I also noticed that my mouth did not have the inflammation I was used to after regular toothpaste.   My mouth did feel clean and I like the soft taste.  Toothpaste is very sweet normally and this has a subtle taste. I also feel the sweetness in toothpaste leads to sweet cravings.  This just leaves your teeth clean with out the sweet toot.

For my Kids I made this:

5 tablespoons Coconut oil
1 tablespoon baking soda
5 drops peppermint
1/2 tsp cinnamon or Vanilla extract
sweeten with stevia or Cassia essential oil optional

Mouth rinses can also be made very similar to toothpaste.

*Cinnamon and Clove rinse
Add essential oils to distilled water or boil cinnamon and cloves in water for 20 minutes.

*Tea tree oil in water  (2)

*Aloe Vera and peppermint rinse
Reduces inflammation, kills bacteria, and restores tissue

*Sesame oil swish for killing bacteria and strengthening tissue.  (2)

Using natural home care can take time for results.  It takes time for the body to heal and rebuild.  Give it time to see the benefits of using naturally safe products.  

It does take some getting used to and my husband is not convinced.  I suggest doing your own research and learn for yourself why this is a good choice for your family. 

I am not a doctor, dentist, or a health professional.  I am only a mom that is looking for natural and safe products to use in place of commercial products.  I encourage doing your own research and making sure these suggestions are safe and appropriate for your family.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Time 4 Learning Review

Last year I decided to pull my son out of middle school.   For years we have been trying to work with the schools with IEP's and special education classes to no avail.  He has been struggling in school since 3rd grade and just has had no interest in performing at school.  I had fought with the teachers and principle at his elementary school and decided to pull him out of public to put him in private school.  Though I really liked the private school, 2 teachers for 15 kids in 6th grade, it just wasn't working.  My son could not concentrate or stay interested enough to work in school.  He had made improvements from 20% activity ( basically writing his name on his paper) to 60%.  That still means an F.  Taking him out of school in March I needed to find a curriculum that would be interesting for him and allow for other activities through out the day.  I had planned on some neurological training and exercising to increase his focus and concentration.  Other programs just did not suit my son.  Other online programs were sitting in front of the computer and being instructed for hours. This was no different than school.  He needed something more interesting. was suggested to us by our Brain development specialist. It is a school cirriculm that is online.  Similar to other online options, it had more flexibility for our schedule and was not as dry as others.   I was happy with the low monthly fee and that we did not need to sign up for any length of time.  I signed up quickly and my son started the lessons. 

Last school year was his 6th grade year.  He enjoyed going on his online learning sessions.  He stayed interested and was able to go through several lessons and come back later in the day to do more.  It was motivating for him to complete lessons for the game time after.  It has not been a challenge to get him to start his lessons each day. 

This year we started 7th grade and updated his lessons.  The lessons are very interesting and interactive.  As he goes through the lessons that offer reading through the colorful lessons, allow him time to read each multiple choice and choose and each character than commentate on the answers.  The voices are fun to listen to and keeps his attention.  I see that hearing and being able to read through each lesson makes a difference for my sons attention and focus.  I do supplement the lessons with work books and other lessons, but do feel that Time4 Learning does offer much of the curriculum that he needs for this year. 

Math and science are areas my son has struggled in.  The schools have kept them dry and uninteresting.  With Time4 learning he does stay more interested in Math and science but the science stops at 6th grade.  My son does wish they were more interactive with animation.  The  math does not seem to be challenging enough as of yet.  It keeps his attention and does help him catch up from all that he has missed in the past years of school.  It seems to be right were he needs it to be.

Overall, I am happy with the curriculum it offers and how it keeps my son interested in doing his lessons.  It also prepares him to complete other assignments I have prepared to supplement the online lessons.  We are planning on using it for this year. 

Time4learning goes through pre K to 7th grade. 


As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

School is almost here.

Summer is closing in to a fall breeze and cooler nights.  School is coming next week and I can not believe that the summer is gone.  Every year I look at our summer and guilt sets in as I realize that I have done nothing I set out to do.  We did not leave town, go hiking, fishing, camping, or swimming.  My poor kids did nothing this summer.  It has been no different every summer as my job is 80% completed in the summer so that does not leave me much time to plan fun events.  I have been trying to get in some fun things this last week before school but I just don't know what to do.  So like usual, I will plan activities after school starts.  I plan on going out of town soon to relax. 
I also can not believe I have not had any time for any projects.  Last week I did stain my front porch and short fence and that is the extent of it.  I look forward to posting again soon with some projects {as they have piled up} but also about some new changes I have in my families life.
First, I have decided to Home school my son and may bring home my other son soon.  I am trying to pull together our schedule and hope to share my findings and what is working for him.  My son has ADHD and other disabilities that I just can not ignore.  I have pretended that school would work for him, but it has not since second grade.  Now in the seventh grade he is struggling and time to bring him home.  It won't be easy but I did choose to be a Mom and some days it is harder than I thought.  I know I will go on a good, long vacation when my last child moves out. For now, it will be hard work ahead.

My other son has had GERT.  I am not sure exactly what that pertains to and do not care for the diagnosis, only that the medication was not improving it, so I decided to try the GAPS diet.  In three days his symptoms had gone and he was eating the food with no complaints.  That was March and now we are having to plan for meals at school.  I will be adding more on my adventures on the GAPS diet soon.

Finally, crafting... It's fun and I love it but it will be taking the back burner.  I still have some projects but they will be infused with our family changes.  Schooling and strict diets suck much of my time now.  I hope you check in with our new adventures and I love to hear about your experiences with homeschooling or if you are considering the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet.  I have seen some changes I am excited about.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Homemade Body Wash #3

I have been experimenting on different ways not only to save money but also to reduce chemicals my family uses.  What I have learned is liquid soap products have lots of bad stuff I do not want to use.  Bar soap is generally safe, especially if you buy handmade.  Handmade soaps can cost upwards of $4 and more. Lets face it, Bar soap is not fun to use.  It gets slimy and tends to leave a film on my skin.  Making liquid body wash from bar soap does work but again, still tends to be a bit drying and leaves that film.  I wanted to make my own wash from scratch but if lye isn't used than all sorts of surfactants and fillers are needed to create the right slip and foam.  In studying these fillers, they usually are derived and that is what makes them not natural and are toxins or irritants that I do not want to use. 

Some of these products to keep an eye out for are:

SLSA Both are surfactants that make washes sudsy.  They are very irritating to the skin and can damage the cells.  It is a good idea to do some research on sulfates to know for your self.

This site has great info about safer products to use  This site gives a list of ingredients to avoid and companies that they approve.  However, I do believe making it at home can be cheaper and easier.

Here is what I have decided to use for our family body care product:

Castile soap is made with vegetable oils or olive oil.  It can have several beneficial oils and then made with lye for a true soap product.  It does not foam much and is very thin.  But it can be customized and using a foam bottle it does take care of the lather.  Because it is thin it makes it perfect for a foam pump.  Foam pumps are important as Castile soap is not tear free.  The foam is easier to control.  A little goes a long way. 

Dr. Brommer's is easy to purchase in most stores.  The most common Castile soap brand. 
I use one part soap to 3 parts water.  Add fragrance in essential oils that you like and that are good for your family skin.  Make sure to check on safety of use on youngsters.

Some good essential oil combo's

Lavender and vanilla for relaxing. Lavender is anti fungal and anti bacterial.  It is a good all around choice for skin care.


Lemon or Orange for uplifting

Sandalwood is anti bacterial and anti fungal.  It can be used for acne prone and oily skin.

Geranium has some "anti aging" qualities as it treats wrinkles.  It is good for restoring skin and is good for sensitive skin.

Oils can also be added to the custom soap.  Adding oils can help in moisturizing.  Only small amounts are needed. Olive or grape seed can be added.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Table Terrarium

 Succulents are so easy to take care of and so nice to have around the house.  Easy to cultivate and make a small terrarium.   A simple glass bowl from the dollar store, dirt, and white sand {Dollar Store again}.
 Layered the dirt and sand for interest, mainly for drainage as succulents like dry.
 These succulents have over grown and are easy to pull out by the base to replant.

 I chose several that I like and planted in the bowl.  Arranged a few rocks and have a cute table top Terrarium.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wedding Flowers

Recently I was able to help creating flowers for a wedding.  I spent many hours looking for the right  flowers that the bride liked.  I wanted to share them so it might save someone some time searching.  Hydrangeas and mixed flower bouquets are very popular. With using a glue gun and silk flowers to make the boutonnieres they are nice and pretty.
 Hydrangea Boutonnieres made from Silk flowers.  Hydrangeas do not last long and silk do look real enough. The rest of the flowers are real.  The stem is ls wrapped with the leaves of the flowers.
 Beautiful Bouquet made by my sister Christy.  Hydrangea, Rose, Peony, and purple flowers.  The stem is wrapped and pearl pins added for detail.
 Here are the table centerpieces with out the water.  They were prepared before hand and filled with water on site. 
Several bouquets were made for display on site. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Submerged Floral centerpieces and more

 I have had the opportunity to do some decorating in a wedding and wanted to share some of the ideas we used. 
 This is a submerged dogwood.  It really looked fantastic and lasted several days. 
The final was a submerged purple orchid.  Rocks covered the base we anchored the flower stem in.  A floating candle lite the piece beautifully.  The wind kept blowing it out, none the less it was beautiful.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Easy Bridal Shower Gift

Theme gifts are easy for showers and wedding gifts.  It makes it easy to have a bright and colorful gift with out the bag.  Here is one I put together for a recent Bridal Shower.

Bright colored wash towels
Measuring cup set
Measuring spoons
any small kitchen items
Wrap with a simple ribbon and small handmade card.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ghee Homemade

I have never heard of Ghee or have never seen it at the store.  I have heard some stores carry it for a hefty price but why would I want to use it.  I have always had a reaction to real butter, so I did not use it.  I have used fake, over processed, "You think its butter" products.  Then I stumbled upon Ghee.
It is just clarified butter but has some great qualities.  If you have sensitivities to dairy and butter, ghee is the way to go.

Start with Butter,  Organic is best if you can.
Set in a metal dish or pan and place in the oven at its lowest temp.
Set until it is fully melted, 1 and a half hours -3 hours to make sure the moisture is evaporated.
Then put in the fridge to harden.  Once it is hardened pull out and wipe off the white curds.  They do not re harden, it will be drippy and easy to wipe.  Some brands float to the top and can be scraped off when it is pulled out of the oven.  The brand I used the whey sinks to the bottom.  I have found it much easier to let it set then wipe off the whey.

 The Whey is at the bottom.  It is a white color, easy to see what needs to be separated.

The great thing about Ghee is it adds great flavor to cooking without burning like butter does.  It also has great restorative abilities.

*My Norwegian ancestors used Ghee with Fermented cod liver oil on the bedsides of deathly ill patients to bring them back to health. 

*It is an easily digested fat that can decrease the risk of cardio vascular disease.( if eaten in moderation)

* It has shown to improve weight loss.

* Helps improve digestion  and aids absorption of vitamins and minerals.

* Has anti viral properties

* Immunity boosting

* a great fat for brain development in children.
* It can last outside the fridge for long periods with out going rancid.  Make sure it is kept away from water for long lasting Ghee.
* Doesn't loose its flavor like butter does over time.

Source   source

Saturday, June 9, 2012

DIY Vapor rub

Vick's vapor rub is one of my favorite products, I just do not think I can live with out it.  But I just do not like the petroleum jelly it is made from.  I have read about petroleum jelly and see that it has some great benefits.  { I believe only come from its sealing ability on the skin} I think those benefits are the same for other oils like coconut oil and Shea butter.
Here is the list form Vick's of ingredients:
Inactive Ingredients
"Regular: Cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, special petrolatum, thymol, turpentine oil
Lemon: Cedarleaf oil, lemon fragrance, nutmeg oil, special petrolatum, thymol, turpentine oil"

Do you want turpentine oil on your skin?

You may not think that a topical use product needs to be organic or used from non petroleum products, I would suggest doing a test.  Cut a clove of garlic and rub it on your heel.  It takes a minute for the taste of garlic in your mouth.  You can also do this with Vick's and feel the coolness go through your blood as it moves up your legs.  Your skin is taking it inside your body.  This means your organs have to clean it out of your blood.  Another reason I did not want to use Vick's is that petroleum jelly should not be placed in the nose.  Guess where everyone puts Vick's?   If it is inhaled it collects in the lungs and can cause a rare disease called lipoid pneumonia.

It is easy to make some at home and you can customize it for your family.

I started with an empty vitamin container and some coconut oil.  Any oil will do to get the essential oils on the skin.  Even a lotion base will work.

Coconut oil 2-3 tablespoons
Rosemary  oil7 drops  Great for relieving pain and clearing congestion
Eucalyptus oil 10 drops Great for clearing sinuses
lavender 6 drops Clears sinuses and relaxes
peppermint 8 drops Clears sinuses

You can also try Thyme, cedar, and campor { which is in Vick's} Pine, spruce.
There are many oils that improve congestion, coughing, and asthma symptoms.  I added lavender to help calm and help sleeping.  I just used what I had on hand.  You may try sharing your oils with friends to make all the different mixes with out buying it all yourself.

Once you choose your oils and carrier oil like Olive oil, Grape seed oil, Shea butter, Ghee {clarified butter}, or plain lotion.  Add in your essential oils  to your liking.  I rub it on the chest and heels of the feet.  It works for about four hours.  I have been using it for Little mans teething.  It clears up his constant runny nose from his new incoming teeth well.

I did melt my coconut oil and mixed in the essential oils.  I wanted it to dry smooth to look more store bought.  I am still a sucker for pretty things. 

Soon to come is making Homemade Ghee.

Vapor bath balms.

Other uses for essential oils.

Eucalyptus Oil  Uses
Rosemary Uses
Lavender uses
Peppermint uses

Friday, June 8, 2012

Homemade Greek Yogurt

I am back after taking a bit of a break.  It seems that I can be too busy.  I have had time to do some projects just not time enough to post.  This week is my Algebra final, so my brain may again function normally.  My next set of college courses are much more artistic, to my relief. Now that I am home with my children I have time to spend on our family health and improve our eating habits.  One thing I decided to try is making my own Yogurt.  Once you have made yogurt there are several things you can make from it. 

I started with my favorite milk in a glass jar.  I made sure it was not Homogenized, which is a process to make sure it does not separate.  I wanted as little processing as possible for the best nutritional value.  You certainly can use your favorite milk you have always used.
One gallon of milk
1/2 cup of Whey or plain yogurt store bought, or yogurt starter.
Yes it is that simple.

 Put your milk in to a pan and heat to 115 degrees.  I used a candy thermometer but your wrist can give you a good indication of temperature. {You don't want it to boil, heat slowly}  Let it cool to just above body temp at 105.  Then add in your starter of choice.  I have made it from all three and it has always turned out.  I mix the yogurt starter in some milk and add it in. Or just add in your plain yogurt.  Whey can be made when you drip yogurt to make Greek yogurt or cream cheese.{ shown below}  Once you add in your starter and mix it. You will want to cover it and set in a heater place.  Using a towel to cover on a heat pad over night or in a lightly heated oven.  I heated my oven and turned it off then placed the crock in.  By morning I had a gallon of yogurt.
Here is how you make Greek yogurt.  Once your yogurt is made use a coffee filter in a strainer, cover with wrap and place in the fridge all day.  It drips off whey that can be saved in a glass jar for some time.  It can also be frozen for use later.  Whey is a pro biotic food and is great to add over foods your family eats.  I put a spoon full over vegetables and in soups.  It can also be used for Lac to Fermenting foods. It is a way of saving money on buying pro-biotic pills, use whey in drinks or over foods instead.  

Why Probiotic foods?
Pro-biotics are beneficial gut flora that breaks down your food and feeds the cells.  This bacteria is very important in the digestive system to utilize nutrients from your foods.  Adding in fermented (pro-biotic) Foods helps your digestive system work more smoothly. {I am sure you have seen the yogurt commercials}  I wanted to make my own yogurt to ensure it had only healthy ingredients.  It is easy to add fruit and honey to it.  
Here is a resource on Probiotic foods.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Natural Babyfood at home

When my little man was ready to start foods, I thought I would do what I did for the rest of my children; but this time I wasn't sure it was the right thing for my little guy.  Cereal is always what to start with isn't it?  I was so surprised when I read the ingredients in Rice cereal.  I excepted rice to be the only ingredient and it was not.  I decided right then that I was going to make my own baby food.  It was really easier than I thought and so much better for him.  I did some research and decided to start him on the GAPS baby diet with no grains for the first year or so.  The idea is to make sure the digestive system is ready to digest food. The best foods to start with are seeded and peeled vegetables.  Squashes, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower are great starts.  I cook them in broth for the added fats.  Animal fats are great for development and easy to digest. 

I started with yellow zucchini and a broccoli head and spoonfuls of broth.  I also will add in a fat like coconut oil or Ghee {clarified butter, I'll share how to make this soon.}  Introducing different fats is important. 

The first times I blended it very smooth.  This didn't last long before I left it a bit chunky.   Now at 7 months I have already added in unblended foods like meat and pickles.  He loves ferment carrots as well. This way of eating is traditional, something our diets have lost in the western world.   As you can see he is a happy baby!!

How do you know if your baby is ready?
Between 4-6 months of age a baby may be ready to introduce foods.  Nursing babies usually do fine until 6 months,, when bottle feed may want it sooner.  I have always waited until 6 months to start my children on foods and never used purees for more than a month or so.  Some children may seem less interested in eating or may just play with it and spit it out.  If they are nursing or feeding well, don't worry, it is just practice for them.

 Babies have a high gag to protect them at this stage. If they are interested in eating foods they will grab and try to put them into their mouth.  This may be the first indication a baby is ready to try foods.  Do some research on what you want to do for your little one and don't stress about it.  They will get the hang of eating.  Here are some places I have looked into to make decisions on how to feed my little man.

Baby led weaning is teaching a baby to eat whole foods right from the start.  They are introduced to raw or cooked foods with out purees or special treatment.  No baby foods either.  I have always done a mix of purees and whole foods.  Raw carrots are great to chew on when new teeth are coming in.
I am always there to watch and make sure he is safe while eating.

I am sure you have heard of or seen the article that Time magazine put out on Breastfeeding.  The World Health Organization has intervened with America's views on nursing to 1 year and recommends nursing to two years.  I have enjoyed nursing and plan on nursing my guy to 2 years.  I know it has helped all of my children and am excited for the added support that hopefully will change the views of Americans about this way of feeding and nourishing our children.

Here is some more on GAPS diet

Gaps is a diet that is for recovery of the gut.  I have chosen to do it for my two boys that struggle with ADHD.  I have decided to use this to start of my youngest to make sure his gut is well populated with gut flora, for proper digestion.  I love the start off for babies, but the gaps diet for children can be extreme.  It was a good choice for our family and I have seen good results from it.  Let me know if you have considered it for your children.  I am glad to share our experience with it so far.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chalk Paint chair

Finally I am back to Crafting.  In  the last two weeks my little man has crawled all over, learned the stairs like a champ, and with his new two front teeth is eating more often.  Much of my day is a whirlwind just trying to complete one thing.  Though I do enjoy being a mom and am trying to slow down and just enjoy.  It does mean I just don't have the time to get to my projects.  They stare at me from the corner, stuffed in drawers, and irritating my sleep.  I spent what time I could this week, during naps, sorting and deciding what projects are the priority and would make me the most happy.  The rest are going to wait til the say I have spare time, HA!

I have to say, I LOVE CHALK PAINT!  It is my friend.  I found this tragically sad chair on the side of the road.  {Oddly, I have noticed the side of the road in our new neighborhood has many free items left out.}  I do love chairs and never have enough.  Here is a simple way to repair and update a chair.

 The finish is worn and having been left in the rain it also darken the wood. 
 Mold, {which is Oregon's state flower} Has started to grow.  Don't worry, I did treat it and primed those areas to seal it.
 Wobbly legs that need tightening.  But overall, It is in good shape and will be great for my craft table.
With a coat of off white Chalk paint by Anne Sloan. It covers so well with one coat.
 I did some sanding and added the clear wax.  Then I added a small amount of dark wax.  I used an old sock to apply it and polish the wax.  The dark wax settles in the brush strokes and corners.  {If you add the dark wax before the clear wax, it will discolor the base coat, which might be what your looking for on certain projects.}

 There is my little guys hand, trying to climb up on everything. 

I am so impressed at how good that old chair looks now.   Next time you drive by some old wood furniture on the curb,  it can become trash to treasure.