Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What? I can't eat that!

Processed foods. Doesn't sound THAT scary, right? Well you'd think not really, after all it's just a can of green beans, or a few crackers. Well ever wonder how these items are able to stay on the shelf for such a long time? They're processed!

It is a little time consuming to go through and look at every single label. Okay, I take that back, it's VERY time consuming. Especially with a toddler who wants to buy the whole store (Mommy I want Oreo cookies, no not this time... yeah you get the picture), and a baby who likes to be held almost 100% of the time we're in the store. But I still like to look at the labels. If I can't read it, I don't buy it, or the more ingredients, the worse it is for you. So what's the best way to go around getting all the right foods? Well we start off by shopping the perimeter (you know, the meats veggies, fruits).

We stock up on as many fresh fruits and vegetables as we possibly can. When we get home, we prep all the veggies, blanch them (which is only putting them in a boiling pot of water for 3-5 minutes), letting them cool a minute, then bag and freeze. It's super easy! And when it's time to eat, we just pull a bag out of the freezer, and heat it up! We do this with fruits as well to make smoothies:) Only, blanching isn't necessary.

Next we buy the freshest possible ground beef and turkey (though not as much turkey until the salmonella outbreak is gone) and separate them into roughly 1 lb sized bags and freeze. Same with chicken breasts, pork, and steaks. I personally don't like to get the pre-packaged meats (think the log of beef), because I recently found out that those companies add chemicals to them to preserve them. Not cool. Not only that, the FDA has made it to where they don't have to print the chemical on the package. Double not cool. I like it when the butcher can grind up the meats. Though, my husband doesn't always get the fresh meat, but that's okay. It's always a work in progress.

Now what about breads, rice, and pastas....or anything else for that matter? Well I recently have purchased ingredients to make my own bread. I know it will take a lot of practice, and I may or may not be able to keep up with it, but it's worth a shot. I mean, the worst that can happen is I'm no good at it. But on a good note, my husband is an excellent baker! Strange, but so true! Pastas...since we don't have a pasta machine, we buy that. But actually as of this past week, we have completely switched to whole wheat pasta (I did it for the fiber:) ). Rice, I prefer to have it brown.

Cereals is something that's hard for me still to skimp on. I love me some cereal! However. We don't buy the sugary stuff (think Lucky Charms and Fruit Loops). My favorite is Grape Nuts! I love that stuff!! Not the flakey kind, but the crunchy, yummy goodness kind:) I like to make a bowl of it, pour milk to just cover the top of the cereal, then microwave it to make it soggy and warm. That's the absolute BEST way to eat it! I won't eat it any other way! Well then there's the hot cereal. I like to get the 7, 10, or 12 grain cereals. I cook that over the stove and add some brown sugar or honey to it.

Since I have started this new dietary change, I have noticed that I have more energy and I just feel better physically and mentally. I obviously don't drink sodas and I don't eat sugary foods either. It feels great to have accomplished this much so far!

80 Uses for Coconut Oil

80 Uses for Coconut Oil

So what's the deal with coconut oil?

Offering a myriad of health benefits, coconut oil is affordable, readily available and completely natural. I have completely fallen in love with coconut oil and use it for EVERYTHING. Literally. I buy it in 5 gallon increments and keep it all over my house. I even have some in the car. So here is a little information to inspire you to check out this amazing oil including 80 uses for it!

General information about Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil:
Improves nutrient absorption

Daily Dosage:

Here is a chart outlining the recommended daily dosage of virgin coconut oil for persons over the age of 12. Coconut oil may be consumed by children under 12 but it is advisable to check with a healthcare practitioner on the proper dosage. Any good naturopath will have the information at the ready.

Weight in pounds/kilograms to Number of tablespoons of coconut oil daily:
175+/79+ : 4
150+ /68+ : 3 1/2
125+ / 57+ : 3
100+/ 45+ : 2 1/2
75+ / 34+ : 2
50+ / 23+ : 1 1/2
25+ / 11+ : 1

Type to use:

-Expeller pressed coconut oil can be used for anything. It does not have a coconutty smell of taste.
-Virgin coconut oil tastes coconutty and is great for cooking and baking where you want that flavor.
-Food grade should always be used.

80 Uses for Coconut Oil

Personal Hygiene/Body

1. Moisturizer - simply scoop some out of the jar and apply all over your body, including neck and face.
2. Eye cream - apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags, and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
3. Preshave - coconut oil will prep skin for the pending damage caused by shaving.
4. Aftershave - coconut oil will help heal your skin after shaving without clogging pores.
5. Deodorant - coconut oil alone can be used as a deodorant, but even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda!
6. Hair Conditioner/Deep Treatment - use as a leave in hair conditioner by applying a teaspoon of coconut oil to your ends and then running your fingers through your hair to distribute the rest! For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto your dry scalp and gently work through to the ends. Put a shower cap on to prevent transfer onto bed linens and leave on overnight.
7. Hair Gel/Defrizzer - rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).
8. Toothpaste - there are numerous recipes out there but I just mix coconut oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on my toothbrush.
9. Make up remover - use a cotton swab and a dab of coconut oil and you would be amazed at how well it works!
10. Chapstick - just rub a little into lips and it not only acts as a softening agent but it also has an SPF of about 4 so you get a little protection!
11. Massage Oil - pretty simple; grab some and rub!
12. Lubricant - it is an all natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant. Not compatible with latex!
13. Sunscreen - see my post on natural sunscreen for more detailed information.
14. Stretch Mark Cream - coconut oil is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help.
15. Nipple Cream - works great to nourish cracked, sore, or dry nipples. Apply to a cotton ball and leave on your nipples between feedings.
16. Diaper salve - very comforting on a rashy bum with no harsh chemicals. Also safe for cloth diapers.
17. Cradle cap - having issues with dry skin on your baby's scalp? Coconut oil will not only nourish your baby's skin, it also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
18. Body scrub - mix coconut oil and sugar together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft! You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
19. Healing - when applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells a heck-of-a-lot better than anything from the pharmacy.
20. Bug Bites - when applied directly to a bug bite, coconut oil can stop the itching and burning sensation as well as hasten the healing process.
21. Skin problems - coconut oil relieves skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
22. Swimmers Ear - mix garlic oil and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.

General Health and Wellness

23. Stress Relief - relieve mental fatigue by applying coconut oil to the head in a circular, massaging motion. The natural aroma of coconuts is extremely soothing thus helping to lower your stress level.
24. Digestion - the saturated fats in coconut oil have anti-bacterial properties that help control, parasites, and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making you healthier all around.
25. Fitness - coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, while increasing muscle.
26. Nose bleeds - coconut oil can prevent nose bleeding that is caused by sensitivity to weather such as extreme hotness and extreme coldness. This condition happens when the nasal passages become dry because of cold or dry air resulting to burns and cracks in the mucus membranes so bleeding happens. To prevent this just put coconut oil in you nostrils. Coat your finger with coconut oil and then lie down and coat your finger inside your nose. Doing this will strengthen and protect the capillaries in the nasal passages. A Vitamin C supplement will also help prevent nose bleeding.
27. For breastfeeding moms, consuming 3 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil daily will enrich your milk supply.
28. Helps with weight loss & controlling cravings.
29. Helps keep blood sugar levels stable and/or helps with cravings in those with diabetes.

Health Problems (that coconut oil is known for aiding, relieving, or even curing when taken internally)

30. Eczema - in addition to taking it internally, many have success applying it externally, some don't
31. Skin problems
32. Toenail fungus
33. Hot flashes
34. Bleeding hemorrhoids (can also be applied externally twice a day)
35. HIV
36. Head lice
37. Improvements in menstruation regarding pain/cramps and heavy blood flow
38. Migraines (with regular use)
39. Mononucleosis
40. Parasites
41. Thrush
42. Relieve gallbladder pain
43. Has helped some people improve symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland, results have shown subsequent thyroid blood tests becoming normal
44. Energy boost
45. Flaky, dry skin
46. May relieve acid reflux and indigestion when taken with each meal
47. Adrenal fatigue
48. Alzheimers
49. H. pylori
50. Candida albicans
51. Asthma, even in children
52. Autism
53. Cholesterol - improves HDL ('good' cholesterol) to HDL ('bad' cholesterol) ratio in people with high cholesterol
54. Chronic fatigue
55. Circulation/feeling cold all the time
56. Stronger immune system
57. Mental Clarity
58. Depression
59. Helps with inflammation in Crohns

Health Problems (that coconut oil is known for aiding, relieving, or even curing when applied topically)

60. Athletes foot
61. Back pain/sore muscles
62. Canker sores
63. Acne
64. Cellulite
65. Herpes (applied topically and taken internally)
66. Genital warts (through topical application over 6 weeks, and coconut oil enemas twice a day depending on the location of the warts)
67. Circumcision healing - although I am personally against circumcision, I have read that coconut oil is a really great healer for this.


68. Use 1 cup to 1 cup ratio when replacing other oils/butter in recipes with coconut oil.
69. Replacement for butter/lard/Crisco/PAM in it's solid form - greasing pans, pie crusts, etc.
70. Replacement for various oils in liquid form - baking, cooking, sautéing, etc.
71. Nutritional supplement - melt and add to smoothies.

Other Uses

72. Insect repellent - mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and rub it all over exposed skin. Keeps insects off better than anything with Deet! Tons safer too.
73. Great for dogs and cats for general wellness. Just add a teaspoon to their water bowl daily.
74. Goo Gone - just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the "sticky" area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.
75. Chewing Gum in Hair Remover - just rub some coconut oil over the stuck chewing gum, leave in for about 30 minutes, then roll the gum between your fingertip. Voila! It's out!
76. Polish Furniture - coconut oil with a little bit of lemon juice to polish wood furniture. However, I recommend you test it first on a very small, unobtrusive part of your furniture to make sure it works the way you'd like.
77. Polishing Bronze - all you have to do is rub a little oil into a cotton towel and then wipe down the statue. It cleans and helps deepen the color of your bronze.
78. Seasoning animal hide drums
79. Seasoning cookware
80. Moisturizing and cleaning leather products

*NOTE* I got this article from:

Homemade cleaners

Tomorrow my father in law and brother in law are coming for a visit. YAY! But then I looked around the kitchen, looked at the bathrooms, and then I looked at the floor. My house was a mess! I thought to myself, I *could* use up the cleaners that I have stashed away under the sink in the kitchen, but that would just put harsh fumes in my house, that, in my opinion are definitely NOT safe with a toddler and a baby. What else can I use? I looked through my cabinets, I have baking soda and vinegar! I've used them before for various things, but not cleaning the whole bathroom and kitchen. So I filled up a spray bottle with vinegar and water....aaannd..... Voila!! My homemade cleaner!!

What you need:
An empty spray bottle (Since I had months ago planned to go green, before I had actually started, I saved my empty spray bottles from cleaners. If you do this, make sure to wash them out thoroughly)
2 TBSP of vinegar

I just put in 2TBSP of vinegar into the bottle (most of the time I just eyeball it), and then fill the rest of the bottle up with water. Since we don't have paper towels, I cut up some old t shirts and made rags out of them. That way, when I'm done scrubbing stuff down, I can just throw them into the wash. You can also use a sponge (something like a scotch brite natural sponge, just be sure to throw that in the dishwasher or microwave to sanitize as soon as you're done).

For my tough spots and big things, like the bathtub, I sprinkled some baking soda on top of the vinegar spray. If you do this, you should hear a little fizz (that's the interaction from the vinegar and baking soda). This is completely fine and will not hurt you in any way. Then if you want to scrub that down, you can. But if you just want to let it sit, you can do that too, then just rinse!

What you need:
Baking soda
Vinegar spray

(I also hear that dawn dish detergent and baking soda work great on bathtubs too)

Another thing that baking soda and vinegar work great on are the stove top eyelets! It works great to spray them down with the vinegar spray and sprinkle baking soda on them, let them sit for a long while (especially if you're like me, and they need a GOOD scrubbing down). And then scrub with a sponge! Be sure to put some elbow grease into it! Don't be afraid to get your hands gritty! But if that really bothers you, throw on some gloves:)

For mopping, fill the sink with water and add a cup of vinegar. Works great! If you have one of those mops that have the spray bottle attached to it (hopefully a refillable bottle) make the same vinegar spray as noted above.
*For hard wood floors, instead of using a cup of vinegar, use only a half a cup when filling up the sink*

Another all purpose cleaner other than just plain vinegar and water, you can add in a teaspoon of borax and a few drops of dawn dish detergent.

*NOTE* If you prefer your cleaners to NOT have that vinegar smell, add in 10 drops of essence oils such as lavender or citrus.

*NOTE* If you use bleach for anything, NEVER mix it with vinegar or ammonia, as it will cause a harsh chemical reaction and fumes that are dangerous to the human body!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diaper friendly laundry detergent

I was on a mission not that long ago, searching for cloth diaper friendly laundry detergent. I saw many made with fells naptha or ivory soaps, as well as borax. Now I knew that soaps are bad for cloth diapers as they cause a residue buildup that can affect the absorbancy. Yeah, nobody wants that. So after doing some research and asking a lot of people, I came up with a solution that works for us!


Washing soda
Baking soda
Oxy clean free

I got a big tub from Tupperware and mixed them together in that. Since it's all powder, be careful NOT to breath it in!

Mix 3 parts of washing soda, 1 part of baking soda, and 1 part of oxy clean. I used a cup for the measurements. It really helped. I made it about a month ago and I still have a bunch left.

In the wash I use 1 TBSP of the detergent per diaper load. If you have a large load, you can add 2 TBSP in the washer instead of just one. If things get "funky" you *can* add a tsp of borax to the washer. If you have hard water, you can also look into 1 tsp of powdered Calgon to soften the water with each load.

Of course you can also use this detergent for your regular laundry as well:) I hope you find this helpful!!


Hello everyone! We are new to the military life, and are stationed at our first duty station. We have two kids, ages 3 and 3 months, girl and boy respectively. I am a stay at home mom who sews, dances, photographs, and scrapbooks. I also home school my kids! We are making the slow transition from processed to natural. Foods and products included. I will share with you some recipes for cleaning products, food, and personal hygiene. I will also share tips on home schooling, and our journey from the beginning. Enjoy!