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Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Journey to a Natural Lifestyle, Part 1

I believe my journey to a more natural lifestyle truly began when I found out I was pregnant with my now 2 year old. I knew I didn't want anything to harm her and so I started her life with a natural birth. No pain meds, no IVs, nothing. It was hard (and painful!) but it was the best thing I'd ever done, too! It led me to rethink everything I'd ever been told about life, food, medicines, and the "normal" way of doing things.

One of the first things I changed in my household was to use coconut oil for EVERYTHING! And I mean, EVERYTHING!! From cooking and cleaning, to health and hygiene, you name it, coconut oil can do it! (You can read my post  "Favorite Uses for Coconut Oil"). We never used diaper rash cream (and thankfully never really needed it), I always reached for the coconut oil. I even used it as the baby's lotion for a time. It's a great hair mask and removes makeup! I use it in my cooking, to season my cast iron pans, to relieve a bug bite itch, and so much more.

Another one of the first things I did was to make my own laundry detergent. It is actually fairly easy and very inexpensive. One batch of soap (dry/powder) lasted my family 6 or 7 months!! And I think I paid around $10 for my ingredients.

Growing up, mom always used vinegar and baking soda to clean the drains, but I took the vinegar to another level. I use vinegar in every wash, to clean the dishwasher, the microwave, and yes, the washer! I rarely use bleach, I always reach for the vinegar (Note: Bleach has its place!) I also use vinegar as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. I mix vinegar with essential oils in a spray bottle for an every day cleaner for counters, spills, and such. And vinegar goes in my mop bucket to clean the floors.

When it comes to food, I love everything sweet! But when my mom had to start her gluten-free journey, we all started learning more about what certain foods were really made out of. I started reading labels and learning about ingredients and what is REALLY in the food I was consuming!! Food Babe is one of my favorite resources for this! I was shocked to learn what was really in my food and what companies would try to disguise as "good for you" food!! Right now, I avoid anything that has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), ANY food coloring, carageenan (cancer causing agent), and more recently have begun to avoid soy lecithin. Essentially, if I can't pronounce it there's a good chance I shouldn't eat it. I try to buy products with short ingredient lists and no added sugars. When possible, I buy the organic brand or I make it at home.

My daughter and I drink raw goat's milk instead of store-bought cows milk. It is better for you essentially but has less casein in it than cows milk and therefore is easier to digest. When I switched K from formula to milk, she couldn't tolerate regular store-bought milk. When my parents brought home goats milk from a friends farm, we were converted immediately!! (Note: I do still buy organic cows milk when necessary, but still highly prefer and suggest raw goats milk!)

I can't afford organic everything but I try to make the best possible decision for our food based on the knowledge and resources I have.

I believe that part of a natural lifestyle is supporting your local shops and farms. I love when the farmers market is in town during the spring, summer, and early fall!! Fresh fruits and veggies and local raw honey are just a few of the wonderful products you will find at a farmers market. Find a farmers market near you this spring and go experience it for yourself!!

Keep watch for Part 2, coming soon!!

"When we know better, we do better."

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs offers essential oils, herbs, teas, bath & body products and so much more! If you are looking for affordable, natural/organic products, look no further than MRH!!

Visit their website here: and explore all the options open to you!

**This post contains affiliate links.**

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bluum - A Monthly Treat for Mom & Baby

Have you tried Bluum yet!?!? It's a great way to get a monthly treat for you and your little one! From pregnancy to age 5, Bluum gives you amazing, high-quality products to discover each month!

One of the best things about Bluum is that you can customize your box to fit your needs and wants! And you get FREE shipping! Plus, when your refer friends, you get FREE months!
Choose the plan that best suits your needs and your wallets: 1 month = $29; 3 months = $25/month; or 6 months = $23/month. The 3 month and the 6 month plans are paid in full up front and they will auto ship to you each month!

Bluum boxes can include items such as skin or health care, food items, toys, books, and/or apparel! While no two boxes are alike, each box will contain 4-6 full size products to try! Each box has a value of at least $40! This unique subscription service will grow with your baby up to age 5! 

Another great thing about Bluum boxes is that most products are organic, but all products are free of harsh chemicals. With over 350 brands and over 1000 products, there is sure to be lots that you and baby love!

There is so much goodness in a box of Bluum, you've got to experience it firsthand!!! Bluum is a "made in the USA" company and each box is hand-packed in Connecticut!

Sign up today! Then come back and leave a comment on what products you received and which was your favorite!

Discover a monthly box of new goodies for you & baby. From pregnancy to preschool! 

Click here to starting bluuming today!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Favorite Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has recently become a Natural Mom’s favorite natural product! It has countless uses in the home, for your health, and will replace many expensive products! Coconut oil is very affordable and available at your local grocery store! The best type to use is Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. You do not want to use hydrogenated coconut oil.

Here are several of my favorite uses for coconut oil:

  • Use coconut oil as sunscreen for the whole family.
    • Some sunscreens can actually cause skin cancer cells to grow.
    • Sunscreens are full of chemicals and can actually block much needed Vitamin D rays!
    • Coconut oil cleanses the blood when used topically!
    • Coconut oil is a natural anti-oxidant (prevents wrinkles).
  • Use as a skin moisturizer.
  • Use as makeup remover.
o   Simply use a tiny bit on your fingertips, massage into your skin (or gently wipe your eyes), and rinse off. Also works great as a cleanser.
  • Deep conditioner for hair.
o   Coat your hair, wrap in shower cap or plastic wrap, let it sit overnight, and wash out in the morning!
  • Use as a natural remedy for Eczema.
  • Mix with eucalyptus oil for homemade vapor-rub.
    • Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to coconut oil and rub into chest.
    • Also good to rub into the bottoms of feet and put socks on. Will help control/get rid of coughing.
  • Use it to help soothe chicken pox, shingles, or other rashes or skin irritations.
  • Soothe & heal sunburned skin, bee stings, & bug bites.
  • Use as a natural remedy for dandruff.
o   Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is naturally moisturizing.
  • Use to clear up cold sores on your lips!
    • Begin applying as soon as the sore is noticed!
  • Improve digestive disorders by taking a spoonful before each meal!
  • Use for your baby's diaper rash cream.
o   Coconut oil provides a natural relief for baby's bum.
o   Coconut oil is cloth diaper safe!
  • Use for your baby’s lotion instead of traditional baby creams.
  • Use to relieve cradle cap on your little one.
o   Gently rub into your baby's scalp, use a baby brush or comb to gently clean off the dead skin, and finish by taking a warm washcloth over baby's head.
  • Use as a stretch mark cream.
o   Help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
  • If nursing, use coconut oil on your nipples to prevent cracking and irritation.
  • Consuming coconut oil while nursing will help increase your milk flow.
  • Use to season cast iron pans.
o   Wash cast iron in hot water; dry over warm burner; apply small amount of coconut oil to pan; place in warm oven (or over warm burner) allowing oil to melt into pan.
  • Use as furniture polish.
o   Mix with a dash of lemon juice for an inexpensive furniture polish that smells delightful!

 (This article originally seen here.)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goals

The end of one year and the beginning of another!! Time to reflect and time to plan ahead. Time to note mistakes and lessons learned and move forward to do better in another year!

I try hard not to make "new years resolutions" but rather, goals that I can accomplish and a long to do list to check off! Goals are things like, work on paying off debt; move & unpack every box. A long to do list would include organize & name my iTunes music and update my iPods (yes, those things are on my lists!!).

Well, without further adieu , here are my 2014 Goals (2014 To Do List coming soon):
**Note: These are in no particular order-just the way they came to mind.**

  • T-25 Workout (Intense, 25 minute workouts 5-6 days a week)
  • Continued changes to our eating habits (what we eat, when/how we eat it)
  • 52 Week Money Challenge (See HERE for more information)
  • Pay off as much debt as possible (Debt Snowball information HERE)
  • Continue to work a budget every month (More information HERE)
  • Continue to work a Meal Plan every month
  • Practice grocery shopping 1-2 times a month (except for fruits/veggies)
  • Read to my daughter as least once a day
  • Plant a small garden & flowers
  • Buy a bird feeder and enjoy watching the birds
  • Continue to fall in love with the Lord and my D-Group girls/Catalyst family
  • Move into our own place and UNPACK.EVERY.BOX!
  • PURGE! Less is more!
  • Walk daily and spend more time outdoors, when weather permits
  • Take my little girl to the beach 
  • Love life and fall deeper in love with my husband
  • Bring back weekly (or at least monthly) date nights!! 
I'm sure there are many more but those are the ones I can think of right now!! 

What did you accomplish in 2013 and what do you want to accomplish in 2014? 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Year in Review

2013 has been a very long, very hard year for us! We moved back home in March in with my sister because we just couldn't afford living in Charlotte anymore and couldn't secure a good job up there. We intended to get a job here and get back out on our own within a few months but that didn't happen and we felt pretty depressed. My sister got married in June to the love of her life and they moved away to Oklahoma in July (he is in the military). We thought we were going to move to Greenville with hubby's job, but that did not pan out. He ended up leaving that job and finding another one, which he actually enjoys.

So now at the end of the year we are searching for a rental and due to some credit issues we are having the hardest time finding someone to rent from. Very sad that you are so heavily judged by your past (credit). With the way this economy has been the last few years I wouldn't want to rely on someone's credit but rather references and referrals. But that is just me...I don't believe in credit. I want us to be able to get to a point where we can show the world you don't need credit to survive, just cash/savings.

But this year has not all been bad! We've had the joy of watching our little one grow up (too fast) and learn new things! Our marriage has had its ups and downs but we have grown stronger together. We've made plans and dreams for our future, both near and far. I joined a Bible study group and completely LOVE it!! Catalyst has been amazing and is such a joy to be a part of that little group!

Hubby and I recently committed to and purchased a new workout made by the creator of Insanity. We both need to get back into shape but are not willing to purchase a gym membership nor do we have the time to go to one. We've committed to each other to do this for 10 weeks at a time (on a 10 week cycle) and continue to learn ways to eat better, too. I am really looking forward to the results of this workout, though I know the work to get those results will be hard and I'm gonna want to give up more often than not. But since I look in the mirror and am disgusted most days, I have to do something. I need to do something. I am looking forward to wearing my 'too small' clothes again and maybe having a fairly constant size again! I'm looking forward to hubby feeling better and being able to wear some of his/my favorite shirts/pants (of his).

2014 is going to be a productive year. Health wise, weight loss wise, finance wise....we are going to work on our debt snowball and our savings. We want to continue to work on a budget and menu plan each month. We want to declutter and continue to purge things we don't need..selling or giving it away! I want to organize all my photos and get photobooks started online!