Friday, January 22, 2010


I thought it would be fun to share some of my "can't-live-with-outs" with you, so I'm going to share one, once a week. I hope you learn some fun, new facts!

Today's topic is vinegar! The word "vinegar" comes from the French word "vinaigre" which means "sour wine". There are many different types of vinegar you can buy and they're all made different ways. Some different kinds of vinegar include apple cider, white distilled, coconut, pear, and sugar cane (there are several more and some are only made in other countries). Although a lot of vinegars are made from vegetables, fruits, or corn, some are made from petroleum, so be careful of what you buy and read the labels.

In my home we use a lot of white distilled vinegar (WDV) and apple cider vinegar (ACV). I use ACV mostly as a conditioner for my hair (you can also use WDV for it also), but it also came in handy for a recent sore throat. I gurgled a 1/2 water 1/2 ACV mixture for as long as I could stand it and then mixed a little ACV, honey, and water together and swallowed it before bed. I woke up the next morning feeling so much better than the day before and my throat was no longer sore.

White distilled vinegar gets used a lot more in our home. There are so, so many uses for it! Vinegar is a natural, safe disinfectant, so we use that for all of our cleaning needs. I have a spray bottle of 1/2 WDV 1/2 water with 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil in it and I use it for pretty much everything. Cleaning the bathroom, countertops, toys, the dogs chew toys, windows, you get the idea:)

Here are some other things WDV gets used for:

- Laundry: Vinegar is a natural softener, so use it in place of conventional fabric softners. It also dissolves detergent buildup, if you use regular detergents, and attacks mold and mildew. It also kills yeast.

- To kill germs: I spray undiluted vinegar on doorknobs and handles whenever we have guests over or go out in public.

- Clean up pet accidents: Our dog Jay is good about using doggy pads and going outside, but we have the occasional accident. Simply blot up the urine and then spray with your 1/2 and 1/2 water/WDV mix. Blot again until it's almost dry and then sprinkle over the area with baking soda and let it dry. Vaccum up the baking soda once it's dry.

- Freshen the air: Have a spray bottle with a solution of 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon WDV, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and a drop or two of the essential oil of your choice (I like lavender for this). Note: please know how to use your essential oils correctly and do not use essential oils if you have a cat in the home unless you know how to use them properly without your car being exposed. A cat's liver can not metabolize essential oils properly and it can be fatal.

- Cuts and scrapes: Dab a cotton ball in WDV and use as an antiseptic.

- Kill flees: Add a little WDV to your pets drinking water.

- Baths: I give Lyla a bath with 1 cup of WDV added with a few drops of Tea Tree Oil once a week. She has had a huge improvement on the look of her skin since (she has excema and also was dealing with yeast at the time). We also rub her with Coconut Oil everyday and since we started doing both she looks much, much better.

- Keep your car windows frost-free: Coat them at night in a solution of 3 parts WDV and 1 part water.

- Clean the microwave: I don't know about you, but my microwave seems to get dirty way too fast, regarless of how often I clean it. For tough, baked-on food, put 1/2 cup of DWV and 1/2 cup water into a microwave safe bowl and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Take the bowl out and your messes should be loosened and the microwave will be easy to wipe clean.

In case you skipped over the link at the top, here it is again! It's a great site with 1001 uses for vinegar. Whenever something comes up and I wonder "Can I use vinegar to take care of this?" I refer to that site or google:)

So, how has vinegar made your life easier and healthier? Feel free to leave a comment on how you use it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Soap Nuts

For the last few months we have been dealing with skin problems with Lyla (there will be plenty of posts regarding this). We've been trying out several things to see what helps and what makes it worse. Over the weekend I had to order some more detergent for her diapers since I was almost out. I did a lot of searching on both Hyena Cart and Etsy to find a safe, environmentally friendly, nonirritating, scent-free detergent for Lyla. During my search I came across a lady who makes her detergent out of Soap Nuts.

I had heard of soap nuts on both a cloth diaper group and a baby wearing group that I frequent. Seeing the name again prompted me to do a search on this detergent. I kept picturing in my head detergent that was solid and the size of a nut (kind of like a bath bomb). I was completely surprised though to find out that "Soap Nuts" are actually a FRUIT. Yes, a fruit. Soap nuts, also known as soap berries, are a sun dried fruit that come from a unique species of soap nut berry trees. These berries are harvested after they fall from the tree and the seed is removed from the shell and the shells are laid out in the sun to dry with absolutely no chemical processing. The shells of these berries contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. These are 100% natural and can be used for all kinds of household cleaning. To read more in depth information on this amazing fruit go here or here.

I was so excited to receive the small bag of soap nuts I purchased over the weekend and eagerly went to wash so clothes when they arrived. I decided to wash our two ferrets' blanket and our dogs blanket first. I figured that would be "the ultimate test". I followed the directions and tossed 4 of the berries in a Muslin bag (which was provided) and just tossed them in the washer (yep, that simple!). The blankets came out smelling like nothing (woo hoo!) and after going for a spin in the dryer they were ready to go. No pet smell, no harsh detergent smell, no detergent buildup, nothing but nice, clean blankets! The other great part of using these is the fact that you can use them up to 4-5 times before they're no longer effective. You don't just use and toss them. After your done with your laundry, just put the Muslin bag to the side for your next load. You'll know that it's time for new berries when the ones you've been using turn grey and soft.

I really love that these are 100% natural, chemical-free, fragrance-free, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic. There's nothing better than knowing your using something that's not only safe your you and your little ones, but something that is good for Mother Earth, too. I highly recommend AT LEAST trying them!
Here's a photo of my soap nuts:)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

MIA and Baby-led Weaning

I've been MIA for a while so one of my New Year's goals is to keep up with this blog. I will be trying to at least post once or twice a week. I'm going to change things up just a little bit too. Instead of just doing reviews on products, I'm going to talk about everything I try and change in my life.

Today I thought I'd talk about baby-led weaning. Baby-led weaning is the "hands off" approach to introducing solids to your child. Instead of starting with thin, runny purees, you skip the spoon feeding and start by giving your child age appropriate foods that are soft cooked and cut/mashed into pieces that are big enough for baby to manage on their own.

Lyla LOVES being able to feed herself! It is so much fun to watch her explore new foods and textures instead of it being about her eating "x" amount of jarred baby food. Lyla gets to go at her own pace and tell us when she's done. So far she's tried avocado, green beans, rice, banana, steak, sweet potatoes, egg yolks, and pickled okra. We also still breastfeed on demand and I always nurse before offering her other food.

My mom picked me up the book Healthy meals for Babies and Toddlers by Valerie Barrett and it has a lot of good information and yummy meal ideas. I thought I'd share one with you that I will be making Lyla tomorrow.

Pastina with Butternut Squash
Prepare: 5 minutes
Cook: 15-20 minutes
Servings 4-6

6oz butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup dried baby pasta shapes or pastina
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
small piece of unsalted butter

Steam the butternut squash for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender, then mash with a fork.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions, then drain and return to the pan. Add the butter, oil, and Parmesan cheese and stip until the pasta is coated, then combine with the butternut squash. Enjoy!

I can't wait to make this up for Lyla tomorrow night. I think I'll have to make a little bit more so I can enjoy it, too!

Here's Lyla enjoying egg yolks for the first time:)

And rice:)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mineral Makeup

I will be updating this post once I can try out my makeup a few more times, but I wanted to make a quick post for the wonderful momma that sent me some.

Lucy is behind Mum Mum's Crafts on Etsy. I've been able to try out my samples only once so far, due to being sick the last couple weeks, but I really liked it. I'm a very pale women with freckles, so I've always had a hard time find foundation that was just right for my skin tone, even light foundations were always too dark and covered up my freckles (which I don't want! I loove my freckles:). Her Fair was perfect. I didn't have those unsightly lines around my jaw like I used to with other foundations and my freckles weren't muted. It was so easy to put on and very light weight. Even after I added blush and eyeshadow, I didn't feel "weighed down" like when I used to wear makeup (I haven't wore makeup since Lyla was born). Next I applied her 3-in-1 Peach Glow as a blush. It's such a beautiful color and I felt it complimented me very well. All the blushes in stores seem way to pink or red, but this was just perfect for me. Last I applied her Pink Pearl Eye Color. It tied in everything so nicely! Since I've not been feeling well, after putting everything on I looked refreshed and flawless, yet my face didn't scream "I HAVE MAKEUP ON!" When Jeremy got home from work that day, he noticed right away that something was different, but he couldn't pinpoint what it was (which I feel should be the case with makeup). He said to me "Wow honey, you look really good. Did you do something today?"

I can't wait to try out other mineral makeup. I have some samples sitting here from Crystal behind The All Natural Face on Etsy, so once I'm feeling up to it, I'll be trying out her makeup as well and will post a review. Once I have some more followers, I would love to start doing giveaways and mineral makeup is definitely on my list of things I'd love for you all to try!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Momma Cloth

I finally went out and bought a new memory card! So now I can talk a little about my momma cloth. I can't really say I've switched yet, but that's only because I haven't had a period yet! I bought 6 pads from Blossom on hyenacart. These things are too cute! They almost make me wish I would start already so I can try them out. I did wear one for a whole day though, just to get a feel for them, and man are they comfy. You can't even compare them to a disposable pad, or a tampon for that matter. I honestly forgot I was even wearing it. During my search for an alternative menstrual product, I spoke with many women who have already made the switch to cloth and was surprised to hear the same thing over and over again, "My periods are lighter, shorter, and less crampy." Now who the heck doesn't want that!? I don't know about you, but I've always had bad periods. When I was in Middle School they were so bad I was actually sent to the E.R a couple times because we thought something was seriously wrong, but nope, just menstrual cramps. So after I start menstruating regularly again I plan on testing this tale out. I will chart my first 6 periods and let you all know what I come up with! Though, with me planning on extended breastfeeding, who knows when I will start again. So the results will obviously be awhile:) Feel free to test it out for your self though! If you do, I'd love to hear if you have noticeable changes in your cycle:)