Adventures in Living a Natural Lifestyle

Sharing my adventures in living a more natural lifestyle, information about essential oils and natural home, health, and beauty recipes!


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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: A lesson in a failed no poo recipe

I recently shared a blog post about my no poo journey. I had found a routine that worked for me and had gone 18+ months without using shampoo. So why on earth would I feel the need to change my well established routine? Perhaps I liked the idea of a premixed “shampoo” that didn’t have to be boiled and cooled before using… Perhaps I was bored… Perhaps I just wanted to DIY something new… Whatever the reason, lesson learned: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

So here’s the story. I love Dr. Axe’s videos and blog posts. I recently watched one of his webinars and was really intrigued by a Rosemary thickening “shampoo” recipe he shared. I have a new found love for Rosemary essential oil (be on the lookout for a future blog post on Rosemary oil as a deodorant alternative plus a new deodorant recipe for sensitive skin) and had heard lots of people say that using Aloe Vera as part of their no poo routine made their hair silky and smooth. So I thought, how could I go wrong!?! Ha!

I had high hopes for the recipe. See, I even made a cool graphic in anticipation of writing about how much I loved it!


But alas, I’m writing a different post.

In case you are interested, the recipe is:

  • 6 oz Aloe Vera gel
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 10 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 20 drops Rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops of Peppermint essential oil

Mix all ingredients in an 8 oz glass jar or BPA-free plastic container.  I just recycled one of my daughter’s body wash/shampoo containers.

Sounds lovely, right? So I enthusiastically jumped in my shower Saturday night ready to get clean and smell pretty (because of the yummy essential oils) for my date night with the hubby the next evening to celebrate our 6 year anniversary.  (Note to self: do not experiment with new recipes the night before an event!!!) My first impression was a little did NOT go a long way.  I was used to 1 tbsp of Baking Soda cleaning my whole head when diluted with 1 cup water and I found myself having to use two palm-fulls of this recipe to cover my entire scalp.  What I did like, however, is that while I was washing my hair with the recipe it did seem to make my hair feel silky and smooth and didn’t tangle nearly as much as it tends to do when I use my BS mixture. So I was super hopeful!

Because of the Baking Soda in the recipe I rinsed with my ACV rinse as normal to help re-establish my hair’s pH balance.  Per my usual routine I went to bed with my hair wet and never thought twice about it.

I first started to get concerned when I woke up in the middle of the night to nurse my daughter back to sleep.  My hair didn’t feel like it was drying as fast as usual but I didn’t put a whole lot of stock into my worries because I figured it would finish drying by morning and wouldn’t be a big deal.

But when I woke up the next morning and looked in the mirror I was sorely disappointed in my recipe experiment  My hair looked like an oil slick…   I tried brushing with my BBB with little to no change. And I quickly had a sinking feeling as I tried to figure out how in the world I would have time to re-wash my hair while wrangling an independent 7 month old while daddy was at work.

After her first nap I carried my daughter’s booster seat into the bathroom and locked her into it with a her tactile book and a couple of toys while I took a shower and tried to fix my hair. I first tried my usual Baking Soda and boiled water routine with no luck.  My hair still felt super slick and oily and I knew I didn’t have time to take yet another shower later in the day if this didn’t work so I grabbed the Dr. Bronner’s, even though I never liked it as a shampoo alternative.  I was quickly reminded why I didn’t like Dr. Bronner’s on my hair – it no longer felt like an oil slick but like it was coated in wax! Ugh… started to feel super defeated.  As a last resort, I grabbed my daughter’s Shea Moisture Baby body wash/shampoo and used it to try to get some semblance of normal back to my hair.  I wasn’t very optimistic but it did seem to get rid of most of the waxy feeling.

I am pleased to report that despite being SUPER FRIZZY my hair was back to some sort of normal after re-washing it.  I was able to straighten it with my flat iron and get sexified for my hubby and our date night.  I’m a little scared that I might have set myself back or might have to go through some sort of transition again.  I’m hoping because Shea Moisture is low poo with no sulfates, parabens, or silicone that it won’t hurt too much.  But alas, I’ve learned something new and won’t be making that mistake again!

Maybe the recipe would be better sans the olive oil because I know the Aloe Vera is supposed to be a great no poo hair cleansing ingredient.  Maybe… I don’t know.  I don’t have enough Aloe Vera to remake the recipe and honestly I don’t know that I have the heart to try again.  Want to give it a go? I’d love to hear how it works for you! Comment below.

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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General Musings on Getting Started with Essential Oils and a Lemon Sugar Scrub Recipe to Share the Love!

Sorry I’ve been absent the last week! I was busy planning my first Essential Oil Make ‘N Take party that I hosted yesterday! We had so much fun using essential oils to make home, health and beauty products.  It can be really overwhelming to know where to start with essential oils so I always suggest taking a personal inventory of the areas in your life that you are unsatisfied with and starting your research there.  Maybe you want to rid your home of toxic cleaning chemicals.  Maybe you want to find natural hygiene and beauty routines.  Or maybe you just want to support your family’s health and wellness.  Whatever the need, there’s an oil for that! I love doing research on ways that essential oils can enhance the lives of my friends and readers because I learn so much about what these amazing oils can do! So feel free to message me with your areas of concern and I’d be glad to help!

At my Make ‘N Take party this past weekend I shared several options for my guests to choose from.  My skin has gone bonkers lately! I’m not sure if it’s hormones or my body trying to detox since I started adding Lemon essential oil to help me meet my daily water intake, but whatever the reason it’s not happy.  So I was most excited to try out a new recipe that I shared with my guests, a Lemon Sugar Scrub.  This recipe can be used on both the body and face. It’s ideal for rough spots like feet, knees, elbows and hands.  It’s also great for nail beds and cuticles.  And with a few simple modifications this scrub makes an excellent choice for people who suffer from occasional breakouts because it contains ingredients that are beneficial to acne-prone skin:

  • Lemon essential oil helps tightens pores and evens out the skin tone.
  • Sugar helps remove dead skin cells and cleans pores.
  • Substitute Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the Coconut Oil as it is less comedogenic (less likely to clog pores) and helps heals acne scarring.
  • And adding a bit of Honey helps prevent future breakouts.

I tried the recipe out last night and it was lovely! I love a good scrub and felt like my skin was so much smoother afterwards! Plus, the olive oil helped prevent my skin from feeling overly dry after I rinsed it off.  This one is definitely a keeper!

So without further ado, here it is:

Lemon Sugar Scrub

  • 1 cup of Sugar
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil (can substitute EVOO, especially for acne-prone skin)
  • 5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 tsp Honey (optional)

Mix ingredients and store in 8 oz glass jar.

As a body scrub: Apply to body, paying extra close attention to elbows, knees, feet and hands (nails and cuticles especially), and rub in circular motions for 3 to 5 minutes.  Rinse.  Enjoy the silky softness of your impossibly smooth skin.

As a face scrub: Clean face as usual with warm to hot water to help open up pores.  Apply scrub to clean face in gentle, circular motions.  Be cautious of using on open wounds, as lemon has a tendency to sting. Leave on for a few minutes and rinse with cool water.

** The above is not my original recipe.  I modified it from one I found in one of my YL business Facebook groups and regretfully cannot find the post again to give proper credit.  So if it’s your original recipe, let me know and I’ll gladly give proper citation.

 

I use only Young Living’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils.  Join Young Living to enjoy a 24% off discount.  Message me for more details or join today here!

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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DIY & Natural Teething Solutions for the Natural Family

My little girl is growing up… I’m not sure I’m quite ready for this yet.  But there’s nothing I can do to slow it down so I am bracing myself for all that is to come.  Currently, we are teething.  Honestly, we’ve been pretty lucky so far compared to some of the mamas in my beloved Sugar Plums support group.  When we went to the pediatrician for her 4 month checkup I mentioned that I thought she was teething.  My pediatrician, who is pretty conservative with recommendations (which is one of the reasons we chose him – but sadly he’s not super hip on homeopathic or naturally minded interventions), assured me that all babies drool and chew on things like she had been and that it could be a couple weeks or months before she started “officially” teething.  Well in this case, Mommy was right.  2 weeks later her first tooth was visible.  1 week after that it had already cut through and her second tooth was visible.  She’s currently 5 1/2 months and both teeth are well on their way and I suspect that the top two teeth won’t be too far behind either.  We’ve been lucky to have very little irritability or sleep disturbances, no fever, and none of the diaper rash that is commonly associated with teething babies so far.  But I can tell she is uncomforable and while it was initially okay to let her gnaw on our fingers or hands those new little teefers are sharp! So we’ve been trying to find natural teething solutions to help her out.  Today I thought I would share some of the things we’ve been doing with you!

 

teething oil

1. Homemade Teething Oil – Given my love of essential oils, one of my first strategies to help alleviate some of the discomfort that my little one was having as a result of cutting new teeth was to turn to my go-to resource for essential oils and babies: Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern.  In the book, she suggests using Orange, Frankincense, or Copaiba oil diluted 1:30 with a carrier oil applied directly to the affected area.  I had Frankincense on hand as one of the Everyday Oils collection I got as part of Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit (message me for more information on how to get your new and improved Premium Starter Kit and wholesale membership!) and I had an empty 5 ml amber glass bottle (which holds an estimated 100 drops) so I put 3 drops of Frankincense in the bottle and almost filled the bottle with olive oil as my carrier oil (I figured this was easier than dropping out 33 drops of my carrier oil but feel free to be more exact if you’d like).  Olive oil is a key ingredient in our regular recipes in our home so figured it would be a good oil to get her used to tasting.  Plus, I figured it might taste better than the Frankincense and mask the flavor better than say coconut oil.  But you could use a carrier oil of your choice.  I just rub a little of the Teething Oil on my finger and let her gnaw on me for a min to get the oil to the affected area.  It does seem to provide some relief.  I wish I had Copaiba (now available as part of the new PSK and on my wish list for sure!) to help boost the power of the frankincense and provide added relief.

 

DIY Beeswax Wood Sealant

2. DIY Beeswax Wood Sealant for Wooden Teething Rings and Toys – You’ve probably seen the wooden teething rings and toys that are available online and through local boutiques.  They are really popular among the crunchy granola parenting crowds.  In fact, one of my best friends bought me this great organic wood owl rattle that had been treated with organic jojoba oil/beeswax polish.  It’s beautiful and we love it! (You can buy the same rattle here) But of course I thought to myself, surely I can DIY some sort of similar all natural wood sealant and create my own wooden teething rings and toys.  So I set out to the amazing Google and found a recipe  from The Modern DIY Life blog that worked beautifully!

DIY Beeswax Wood Sealant:

Ingredients/Supplies:

  • Olive Oil – We use the Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Costco
  • Beeswax – I prefer the Beeswax Pastilles from Mountain Rose Herbs because they melt really easily, but you could shave off bits from a solid block if that’s what you have on hand
  • Double Boiler
  • Glass Storage Container or Jar with Lid
  • Wooden Teething Rings (or toys) – I bought my untreated wooden teething rings here from Amazon

Directions:

The basic recipe is 1 part beeswax to 3 parts olive oil (although you could use jojoba or another oil if you preferred).  You want to combine your beeswax and olive oil in double boiler, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly melted.  Dip your teething rings or wooden toys into oil/wax mixture and set out on wax paper to dry.  Pour the remainder sealant in your glass container for future usage.  I used a paper towel to wipe off excess sealant and rub the rest into the wood really well.  When it is no longer wet to the touch you are done! Now you can use the toy or make a craft with your finished product.  See the next two teething solutions for ideas of what you can do with natural wooden teething rings! 

Teething Necklace 1 Teething Necklace 2

3. DIY Teething Necklace – This is a necklace that you wear while holding baby, nursing, or even babywearing.  Not only does it give them something to fidget with and help entertain them but it is made using wooden teething rings (sealed using the sealant recipe above) so it is perfect for those new little chompers to gnaw on!  Mine was inspired by these on Etsy! So if you don’t want to DIY it, go on over to Life Circles Necklaces and order you one (she also sells Baltic Amber necklaces – see below for more info)!

DIY Teething Necklace:

Supplies:

  • Wooden Teething Rings, sealed using recipe above
  • Donut gemstone bead – I get mine at Fire Mountain Gems.  Since my Pepperlonely wooden teething rings had an inside opening of 38 mm I purchased a donut bead (I used Labradorite because it’s one of my favorites!) that was 30 mm in diameter to make sure it would fit
  • Organic bamboo, cotton, or hemp cord

Directions:

I cut a length of cord a little longer than I wanted it.  I looped it through itself around the donut and tied a knot around the teething ring.  Tie a knot at the end.  Easy Peasy! Honestly, I wish my cord was a bit thicker.  I expect that it will eventually break.  I may actually try braiding pieces to have a thicker cord.  You can also had wooden or silicone beads to the cord to jazz it up a bit!

Teething Necklace 3 

She had no problem figuring out what this necklace was for! Perfect jewelry for babywearing! 

 

 

wooden teether

4. DIY “Rabbit Ear” Wooden Teether – I kept seeing these awesome “rabbit ear” wooden teethers on etsy and on the Aden & Anais swaddle b/s/t Facebook groups online (I’m a total A&A junkie!  We especially love the bamboo swaddles!) and thought surely these can’t be that hard to make!  I made mine up as I went, but here is a great step by step tutorial I found on Pinterest.

DIY “Rabbit Ear” Wooden Teether (with optional Crinkle)

Supplies:

  • Pattern
  • Material for “Rabbit Ears” – I chose a patterned cotton for the front and Minky for the back, both of which were scraps from other projects.  You could use pretty much anything you had on hand. I’d consider using terry or fleece for the back and have seen super cute teethers made out of muslin swaddle scraps! Or if you had wrap scrap materials on hand you could make a teether to match your favorite babywearing wrap!
  • Crinkle material (optional) – I upcycled the packaging from baby wipes.
  • Teething ring, sealed using sealant recipe above
  • Sewing Machine – although I suppose you could sew it by hand… I wouldn’t want to
  • Thread, Pins, Scissors, etc.

Directions:

  1. I started by drawing out a pattern on a paper bag (I always use paper bags to create my patterns on – it’s a great way to upcycle plus it’s tough enough you can draw, erase, and pin to your fabric while cutting without it tearing apart).  My pattern is about 12″ long, about 2.25-2.5″ wide in the middle with the “ears” being about 3″ wide and about 3″ from tip to where it narrows in the middle.  Honestly, in hindsight, I’ll probably lengthen the pattern a bit and make it a bit skinnier in the middle next time I make one.  Feel free to play around with the dimensions.
  2. Cut your fabric and crinkle material using the pattern.  Place your fabric together “right side” to “right side.” Pin it together with the crinkle material behind the “wrong side” of one of your pieces of fabric.  Do NOT put the crinkle material in between your fabric as you want it on the inside when you turn your rabbit ears rightside out.
  3. Use your sewing machine (or sew by hand) to sew around the edges of your material using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Leave a section open on one of the ears.  Flip your fabric rightside out through the opening.  You may need a pencil or something to help you get the points of the ears situated right.  Close opening – I chose to sew it up by hand.
  4. Use your sewing machine (or sew by hand) to stitch around the outside of the fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance, to give it a finished look.
  5. Loop the fabric around the teething ring and pull the ears taught

** If you have a serger you could actually serge the edges of the material together instead of all the sewing and flipping rightside out that I did.  But I don’t have a serger and honestly don’t sew enough to justify the cost.  However, I’ve seen really cute teethers made this way.

 

teething biscuits

5. Homemade Teething Biscuits – They aren’t super pretty but they are super healthy and avoid all the junk in store-bought teething biscuits – like enriched flour (which means they have to add back in nutrients like calcium, iron, and zinc), sugar, or preservatives like tocopherols.  I found lots of teething biscuit recipes on Pinterest (my go-to resource for all things DIY) but really liked the recipes I found on Mama Natural’s blog.  To see the original recipes, check out her blog post How To Make Healthy Teething Biscuits.

Basic Teething Biscuit Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. steel cut oats (grind oats in blender till they’re a flour consistency)
  • 1 c. organic apple sauce – I made my own (see my DIY Baby Food Recipes blog post for directions and other recipe ideas!)
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut (optional – I left this out)

Substitutions:

Use 1 cup mashed bananas or pumpkin puree instead of apple sauce

Directions: 

Mix dry ingredients. Add in applesauce (or banana or pumpkin puree), vanilla extract, syrup, and melted oil. Mix well with spoon. I formed shapes I liked – the original author suggests “date-like” shapes but I preferred to make little rectangles, onto a greased baking sheet.  I greased with coconut oil but you could also use parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Make sure to flip them halfway through so that you have a nice golden crisp on both sides of the biscuits. The original author suggests that you store in uncovered dish for at least 24 hours which will harden them further. You can also put in freezer and serve cold for extra teething relief!

**The little one LOVES the teething biscuits! And honestly, they taste good enough for me to eat like a cookie! Feel free to modify the recipe to make healthy cookies for the whole family! 🙂

 

amber necklace

6. Baltic Amber Necklaces (or Bracelets) – I’ve left the Baltic Amber necklaces for last because there will inevitably be some skeptic who yells at me about them stating that not only do they not work but they are dangerous.  So I’ll share what I know, including the pros and cons that I’ve researched and trust that you will do your own research and make the decision that best fits with your family’s beliefs and needs.  So here goes!

First off, lets address a common misconception: Baltic Amber teething necklaces are NOT for the baby to chew on.  If they can chew on the necklace, it’s too long!

Proponents of Baltic Amber teething necklaces will tell you that Baltic Amber has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, is electromagnetic and produces natural organic energy, is anti-microbial, contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals, has a slight sedative effect, and activates the solar plexus and root chakras.  Now you may immediately write it off as hippy propaganda and while the science is debatable there is some truth to these statements. First off, the Baltic Amber teething necklaces are thought to work on one of two mechanisms:

1) Baltic Amber contains succinic acid (true) which is suggested to have the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects (some evidence – mostly anecdotal but there are a few, and far between, empirical studies researching this claim).  Succinic acid is a natural ingredient in many fruits and vegetables (true) and an additive in many vitamin supplements and food products (true).  Also known as Succinate, succinic acid can often be found as an ingredient in OTC supplements used to treat arthritis and joint pain (true).

  • Proponents of the Baltic Amber teething necklaces suggest that when the amber is worn against the skin the body heat activates the succinic acid which is then absorbed by the skin and has an analgesic effect.  There is no doubt that amber does indeed contain succinic acid but the question arises as to whether body heat is sufficient to release the succinic acid and/or whether or not the succinic acid can be absorbed through the skin to have the same affect as taken internally as a dietary supplement.

2) Baltic Amber has an electromagnetic charge (true) which reduces pain and inflammation (debatable). There are a great deal of products on the market that claim to use electromagnetic energy to reduce pain (true).  But some studies claim that there is no significant reduction in pain using electromagnetic pulses and may, in fact, contribute to electro-sensitivity (true).

  • When amber is rubbed it does tend to produce an electromagnetic charge which will attract light bodies and magnetic iron ore.  Ancient Greeks suggested that when rubbed long enough amber would even produce an electric spark.  The question becomes, however, whether or not the rubbing of amber against the skin produces enough electromagnetic energy to be comparable to electromagnetic pulse therapy.

But the anecdotal evidence is strong. Baltic Amber specifically is a resin from pine trees that grew in Northern Europe around the Baltic sea as many as 300 million years ago.  It is harvested from the Baltic Sea floor by scraping the floor with nets and collecting the resin from tangles in seaweed and sand at ebb-tide. Baltic Amber has been used throughout history for pain management.  It is highly prized among the Nordic people, Celts, Mediterranean peoples, Arabs, Egyptians, Chinese  and Greeks for it’s beauty as well as healing properties. Those who subscribe to the idea of Chakras claim that it helps balance the Chakras by filling the body with vitality, alleviating stress, and drawing disease out of the body.  Because it is non-toxic, mother’s have been using Baltic Amber to treat teething pain for many years.

Risks with using Baltic Amber teething necklaces: I would be remiss if I did not address the risks involved with using Baltic Amber teething necklaces.  These are definite concerns and the biggest argument against using teething necklaces on babies and children.  As a result of the risks below Canada and Australia now require warnings on amber teething necklaces and France and Switzerland have even outlawed their sales in pharmacies.

  • Strangulation – the most common cited example of strangulation hazards and teething necklaces comes out of Australia where a young mom let her daughter sleep in her amber necklace and went to wake her from a nap to find that the toddler had gotten her arm twisted up in her necklace and cut her airway off.  Thankfully the mother found her daughter in time and she did not suffer any lasting consequences of the very scary event.
    • Some proponents of Baltic Amber teething necklaces will tell you their child sleeps in their necklace nightly and not to worry.  You can find blogs and forums all over the internet with similar stories of no harm done.  They argue that teething pain is still painful while their child is sleeping and that they want their child to benefit from the jewelry 24/7. But realistically, it only takes once and those who are proponents but advocate for safe use of Baltic Amber jewelry will suggest removing necklaces at night and during nap time, as well as any time your child is not directly supervised.  They suggest if you want your child to wear the necklace 24/7 to remove it from the neck and place it wrapped around your child’s ankle under a sock or in footed pajamas during nap and night time.
    • However, a correctly fitted Baltic Amber teething necklace would not allow enough room for a child to get their arm up under the necklace.  Find out how to get the proper fit here.
    • Some retailers also offer bracelets and anklets as suitable alternatives.
  • Choking hazard – amber teething necklaces do contain lots of small beads, this is true.  Therefor it is a logical conclusion that small parts = choking hazard.  If a child were to swallow several small amber beads all at once there is a definite risk of choking.
    • However, a well designed genuine Baltic Amber teething necklace from a reputable retailer is knotted in between each bead.  The idea being that the string would break if pulled hard enough, thus reducing the risk of strangulation, and if so only a single bead would fall from the necklace leaving the remainder knotted on the string, thus reducing the risk of choking hazard.

For what it’s worth: In my investigating the pros and cons, risks and benefits of Baltic Amber teething necklaces, I could not find a single documented death from either strangulation or choking related to wearing an amber necklace. That doesn’t mean the risks are worth considering when making the best, informed choice for your family but it is food for thought.

My little one has worn her Baltic Amber teething necklace every day since she was 12 weeks old.  She is now 24 weeks old, has cut both of the lower two front teeth and is working on cutting one, or both, of her two front upper teeth as we speak.  Compared to some of the other mothers I’ve met, my daughter seems to suffer much less from teething symptoms than other children her age.  She does drool some but not as much as others, is sometimes a little fussy (who wouldn’t be?) but is easily consoled with one of the above mentioned methods, never turns away the boob or solid foods, doesn’t tug on her ear as is common with teething pain, has had very little sleep disruption, and doesn’t have the often associated symptoms of diarrhea or diaper rash.  Overall, we love our Baltic Amber necklace (I actually have an adult sized amber necklace that I love as well) and I recommend any parent of a teething infant or toddler to do the research on them as a viable, natural alternative to medications like Tylenol for teething pain management.

For more information on Amber Teething Necklaces visit Amber Artisan’s website.  I did not buy our teething necklace from them, it was a gift, but they do have a beautiful selection of different genuine Baltic Amber necklaces, bracelets, anklets and other jewelry.  There are also tons of websites that give anecdotal evidence of the pain relief provided by Baltic Amber.

For a skeptic’s perspective visit Science Based Medicine.

 

7. Other Not-So-Natural Teething products we love:

  • Terry Cloth Teethers – Ask any grandmother or mother over the age of about 50 what they used when their children were teething and almost unanimously they will tell you they put a damp washcloth in the freezer and pulled it out for their children to chew on.  But we were gifted a Sassy Terry Teether that is shaped like a bunch of grapes.  It is designed to be wet and put in the freezer just like grandma’s remedy.  It is also available in a watermelon shape but we prefer the grapes because the little grape knobs are easy to chew on.

sassy grapes

  • Baby Banana Teethers, available as a banana or a corn cob (we have the corn cob) – this was one of those things that one of my Sugar Plum mamas, from my internet support group, said “go buy” and nearly all 120 members rushed out to buy right away, it’s that awesome! Seriously, they should give us compensation! This is a BPA-free, silicone teether toothbrush that is not only great to chew on but helps remove plaque and tarter from those little chompers to help promote good oral hygiene even before they can say “toothbrush!”  You can buy them as a set or separately.  Here they are together on Amazon: Baby-Banana-Brush-Bundle-Cornelius

banana corn cob teethers

So that’s that! What are some of your favorite teething home remedies, natural or not-so? Share below to keep the conversation going!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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How To Keep The Dust Away (without Toxic Chemicals): A DIY All Natural Dust Repellent

Part 4 of my Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) series – How To Keep The Dust Away (without Toxic Chemicals): A DIY All Natural Dust Repellent

I don’t know if it’s because we own an older home or because we have 5 mostly inside dogs (yes, you read that right!) or because we are lazy housekeepers – most likely a combination of all of the above – but we have a serious dust problem in our home. Often it feels like we can dust and 2 days later there is already a fine layer of dust building up… it’s a never ending battle. So naturally when the spring cleaning bug hit me one of my missions was to find an all natural dust repellent.

In the past I, like most consumers, used Pledge to dust my home and clean my wood. But upon closer inspection of the ingredients I learned that Pledge contains butane, propane, isobutane, (all three of which are GRAS by the FDA but who really wants to clean your home with gases?), dimethicone and silicone (both of which are persistent in the environment because they not anaerobically biodegradable and they can be toxic to aquatic life). Not to mention there is no telling what sort of nasty artificial fragrance they used to create their “lemon” or “pine” smells and we all know that artificial fragrances are known allergens and skin irritants. So needless to say, I ditched the Pledge years ago (but the hubby still uses it, much to my dismay – the conversion to green cleaning is taking a bit longer than the conversion to recycling, composting, gardening, farmer’s markets, and clean eating… if he cleaned with his stomach we might have more success! Lol).

I do most of the dusting in our home anyway and most recently I have been using the Clorox Green Works “naturally derived compostable cleaning wipes” to dust my furniture because as I’ve mentioned numerous times before I was a sucker for “natural” advertising and these are “compostable” so they must be good, right!?! Needless to say, I never actually put them in my compost so on some level I knew that it was a bit too good to be true. While certainly better than Pledge in terms of toxicity, Clorox Green Works wipes still contain some questionable ingredients, including formaldehyde (a known carcinogen that can cause skin irritation and is toxic to aquatic life), lauryl pyrrolidone (also a skin irritant and toxic to aquatic life – I was starting to feel like I’ve been killing all the fishes…), and artificial fragrance (which can be an allergen and skin irritant). And on top of that, they never did clean as well as Pledge…

I knew I could use a simple microfiber cloth to dust with. Hell, I grew up using those old school blue dish rags just dampened with water to dust as a child (one of my least favorite chores – perhaps this is why I’m terrible at dusting now… I blame Mom! Lol). But I wanted something with a bit more power to repel the dust that will inevitably settle back in as soon as I finish dusting. So I set out to find a natural dust repellent that would rival the old tried and true Lemon Pledge. I found what sounded like the perfect all natural alternative from another all natural blogger and set out to give it a try. (The first time I made this I had run out of Dollar Tree spray bottles so I simply mixed up half the following recipe in a measuring cup, stirred well to mix the oil up, dipped my microfiber towel in and wiped my surfaces with it. It worked just as well as in the spray bottle but I prefer the sprayer for ease of application.) It worked beautifully and smelled delicious!!! Couldn’t even smell the vinegar (which is a big deal since the hubby has a nose like a bloodhound where vinegar is concerned!). Check out my before and after pics to see a close up of how well my All Natural Dust Repellent worked and the shine it gave my wooden coffee table (ignore the scratches – while this DIY All Natural Dust Repellent is great at removing dust even it can’t repair the damage that years of wear and tear has put on my coffee table)!

dust - before and after

All Natural Dust Repellent

Ingredients:
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup vinegar
• 2 tsp olive oil (this helps shine and protect your wood)
• 10-15 drops of Lemon essential oil* (makes your home smell naturally fresh and clean!)
*Other citrus oils like grapefruit, wild orange, tangerine, or bergamot would work well too!

Instructions:
Combine ingredients in spray bottle. Shake well. Spray on surface and wipe with microfiber towel for natural shine!

Source: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/…/all-natural-diy-dusti…

 

Do you have another all natural method of removing dust and preventing buildup in your home? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below to keep the conversation going!

 

Did you miss Parts 1-3 of my Clean Your Home Naturally Series? Find them below:

Intro: Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) this Summer!

Part 1: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally

Part 2: How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally

Part 3: How To Clean Your Toilet Naturally


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How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals)!

Part 2 of my Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) series: How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances Naturally.

Our microwave of 20 years finally bit the bullet late last year and we had to find a replacement. I bought my house from my mom who historically has always sworn against stainless steel appliances because they get so dirty and show fingerprints more than any other color. But I hate my (20 year old) almond color appliances and thought now is the time to start replacing them with appliances I like. So, naturally, I wanted stainless steel – pretty sure I’m a glutton for punishment sometimes. And of course, mom was right (shh! Don’t tell her I said that!) and my microwave shows fingerprints and collects grease from the stovetop below way worse than my old almond colored one… Ah well. 😦

So, since I was all about spring cleaning this week I set out to the interwebz to find out how I could clean my stainless steel appliances naturally (a good test before I run out and drop a ton of money replacing our old appliances with stainless steel since we have a child now who will soon be running around getting little grubby fingerprints on everything!). Imagine my surprise when I found out that one of the best ways to clean your stainless is… Olive Oil!?! I thought “Surely, they must be kidding… but hey, might as well give it a try!” So, I grabbed a microfiber towel from our stash (we get ours at Costco and use them for everything!) and pulled the Olive Oil down from the cabinet and set to cleaning my microwave. I just took the olive oil container and turned it up with the microfiber under the top so I had a little circle of oil on my towel. I only had to do this twice to clean the whole microwave so it uses very little oil. Sure enough, the oil broke up all the sticky from the grease splatters with minimal effort and left the microwave with the most amazing shine!!! Don’t believe me? Here is my before and after:

microwave outside - before and after

Try it for yourself and post your results in the comments below!!!

Did you miss Part 1 of my Clean Your Home Naturally Series? Find them below:

Intro: Clean Your Home Naturally (without Toxic Chemicals) this Summer!

Part 1: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally


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5 “Must-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

When you first get started on your own adventure in living a more natural lifestyle you will very quickly realize that there are tons of uses for household items, many of which you already have in your kitchen cabinets! I’ll be sharing many tricks, DIY recipes, and life hacks in this blog and if you want to follow along you’ll need a few items.  Below are my 5 “must have” items I can’t live without on my adventure!

5 Must Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

#1 – Coconut Oil!!! A quick google search and hundreds of uses for coconut oil (CO) will pop up! There are two types of CO you need to know about for DIY home and beauty recipes:

1) Pure, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil – Cold-pressed CO is made by expeller pressing dehydrated coconut flakes to extract the oil. Extra-Virgin refers to the first pressing before it is clarified/refined using a centrifuge. It will solidify in cooler temperatures but has a low melting point and melts easily at skin temperature. We use this all the time to cook with! CO is an easy to digest oil that helps provide digestive support by promoting probiotics and destroying bad bacteria and parasites in your digestive tract. In addition, CO’s healthy fats support thyroid and adrenal gland function, help balance blood sugar, and contain medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which can even promote weight loss! Besides being a wonderful addition to your kitchen cupboard CO has a number of other uses, including:
• anti-fungal properties which can be used to treat athlete’s foot, ring worm, and cradle cap
• added to lotions and moisturizers to treat dry flaky skin from eczema or psoriasis
• used as a wound salve or to treat diaper rash
• natural UV protection (approximately an SPF of 3-4) and can be added to DIY sunscreen
• added to homemade toothpaste or used for oil pulling to promote good oral health
• natural hair conditioner that treats and prevents dandruff and can be used as a hair detangler for children
** Unrefined CO does smell like coconut. If you find the smell of coconut offensive you can use refined CO in your skin and beauty recipes. But unrefined CO is richer in phytonutrients than refined coconut oil so I wouldn’t use refined to cook with (at low temperatures) if you wanted to retain all the health benefits. When cooking at higher temperatures refined CO is better due to its higher smoking temperature. While unrefined CO does have a slight coconut taste, it is subtle and I don’t notice it altering the flavor of what I’m cooking much. We buy Carrington Farms brand at Costco.

2) Fractionated coconut oil – This is a fraction of the whole oil that has been extracted to retain the liquid form and therefore does not retain all of the same ingested health benefits as pure, unrefined, extra-virgin coconut oil. I would not use this for cooking. However, its natural liquid state makes it a great ingredient for DIY skin and beauty products, including:
• natural facial moisturizer
• helps promote eyelash growth
• used in spray sunscreens due to natural UV protection
• added as a moisturizing ingredient to DIY baby wipes
I buy Dr. Adorable brand fractionated CO off Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Fractionated-Coconut-Pure-Organic-Dr-Adorable/dp/B00H8XVWS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431029587&sr=8-1&keywords=dr+adorable+coconut+oil

#2 – Baking Soda – Baking soda (BS) is sodium bicarbonate created by combining carbon dioxide to sodium carbonate (also called Washing Soda or Soda Ash). It is a common mineral added in baking recipes as a leavening agent. It is alkaline in nature and can be used to balance acidity in cooking as well as in DIY recipes and helps remove offensive odors naturally. In addition, it is a natural, but gentle, abrasive which makes it a wonderful addition to cleaning and beauty recipes! Baking Soda can be used for so many things it is a must-have in every DIY home. We buy ours in bulk from Costco! Check out some of the amazing uses for Baking Soda, including:
• Extinguish grease fires
• Removes tarnish from silver
• Natural oven cleaner when combined with vinegar (yay! Science!)
• Add to washing machine as natural fabric softener and to remove odors
• Is a natural fungistatic – which means it can prevent fungus from growing and spreading
• Removes plaque when brushed on teeth or added to homemade toothpaste
• Helps dry wetness and control odor therefore is a great addition to homemade deodorant
• Is a natural facial scrub and exfoliant
• Can soothe irritated skin and relieve body aches when added to a bath
• The Alkalinity helps open up the hair follicle and clean the hair when used as a shampoo (note: you must use some sort of acid base rinse to help restore the pH balance of your hair – more on this in a future post)
• Seriously, this list could go on… Check out google or Pinterest for more amazing ways you never knew you could use Baking Soda!

#3 – Vinegar – Aside from making delicious salad dressings, BBQ sauce, and “pickled” veggies from the garden, vinegar is one of my all-time favorite cleaning products! The uses for vinegar are practically endless! Below are some awesome ways you may have never thought to use both Distilled White Vinegar as well as Apple Cider Vinegar.

1) Distilled White Vinegar (DWV) – we buy the giant bottle from Costco for all our uses around the house!
• Clean the sticky off your scissors
• Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal or dishwasher
• Steam a cup of vinegar to help clean the crusties out of your microwave as well as reduce odor
• Spray on tile grout then scrub with toothbrush to make it whiter and prevent mildew
• Add to washing machine to help remove stains and brighten colors (by removing the soap residue that dulls dark colors)
• Kill weeds and crabgrass in your drive/walkway and use as a slug repellent in gardens
• Spray on furniture to keep your cat from using it as a scratching post
• Get rid of skunk odor

2) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – You will often see people, especially crunchy granola types, refer to ACV “with the mother” when talking about DIY home remedies or health benefits of ACV. What this refers to is a bacterial culture that is added to the liquid to promote fast fermentation. Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered ACV is probably the most popular brand for this reason (also, you can upcycle the glass bottles by adding a sprayer and using for your DIY recipes that require a spray bottle). There’s limited scientific proof backing up the claim that ACV with the mother has superior health benefits to regular ol’ ACV, however. Plus, I’m cheap and Bragg’s is way more expensive, so I typically just use regular old Heinz ACV. We buy the biggest bottle we can at Kroger (Can’t figure out why in the world our Costco doesn’t carry ACV…).
• Put a little ACV in the bottom of a cup and cover with cling-wrap with holes poked in it for a DIY fruit fly trap
• Add a little ACV to your dog’s water to help prevent fleas, alleviate itching and improve the condition of their skin, aid in digestion and urinary tract function, and help relieve and prevent arthritis. Can also be used to wipe out itchy ears to keep them from scratching.
• Used as a hair rinse to balance the pH after an alkaline shampoo (or BS wash)
• Help get rid of warts
• Relieve the burning sensation after a sunburn
• Treat a sore throat or upset stomach

#4 – Some essential oils. I prefer Young Living brand oils because they provide high-quality therapeutic grade oils and I trust in their “seed to seal” guarantee. See my previous post about why I chose Young Living. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more information on the company or their oils. Below are a few of my “must-haves” essential oils and the best place to start if you only want to buy a few.

1) Lavender – If you only bought one essential oil, make it lavender! It is probably the most versatile of all essential oils and is even gentle enough to use around babies and children! Lavender is probably best known for promoting rest and relaxation but can also help reduce muscle tension; reduce allergy symptoms; soothe irritated skin; alleviate symptoms from eczema or dermatitis; alleviate dandruff; alleviate redness, itching, or swelling from bee stings; reduce redness and soothe pain from burns; is a natural antiseptic (when used topically) that may help stop bleeding, clean wounds, and kill bacteria in cuts and scrapes; alleviate symptoms of motion sickness; even help stop a nosebleed!

2) Peppermint – Probably my second favorite essential oil because of the myriad of uses it is good for, including freshening breath; clears the respiratory tract and can alleviate allergy symptoms; promotes alertness and concentration; naturally thickens and nourishes damaged hair; reduces heartburn and relieves indigestion, gas and diarrhea; alleviates nausea; relieves fever; reduces or alleviates headaches or migraines; relieves joint pain and arthritis; soothes aching muscles; even acts as a natural insect repellent!

3) Tea Tree – I fell in love with Tea Tree oil when I was looking for natural solutions to help my hormonal acne while trying to conceive. No store bought cleansers or spot treatments were helping so I turned to nature as a last resort. Tea Tree oil is a natural astringent that helps open up pores which loosens up dirt and oil and helps kill the bacteria that can cause acne! It was the only thing that worked and I still use it when I have the occasional breakout. In addition, tea tree oil helps kill and prevent lice as well as fleas; eases discomfort from rashes, bug bites, or sunburns; cleans cuts and scrapes; cleans and freshens breath; reduces inflammation in mucous membranes and can relieve a sore throat; relieves pain from earaches; helps fight nail fungus; even kills mold!

4) Thieves – Thieves is an essential oil blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This is the newest addition to my favorite oils but now I know I won’t be able to live without it in my home! I love Thieves for its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungus growth and I was most excited about it because it naturally cleans counter-tops, floors, and pet cages without toxic chemicals. In addition, Thieves oil may prevent infections and promotes healing in cuts and scrapes; relieves cold and flu symptoms; provides relief from headaches; relives pain and hastens healing from broken bones or aching joints; kills mold and airborne germs; is a natural hand sanitizer; reduces phlegm and congestion; treats warts; some even say it can be used to help you quit smoking!

**All four of the above “must have” essential oils are available in the Everyday Oils collection by Young Living! You can get it, plus an 11th bonus oil, a home diffuser, and samples of other best-selling oils as part of the Premium Starter Kit with no commitment to buy or sell the oils! Ask me how!

#5 – Carrier Oils – carrier oils are often used in conjunction with essential oils to dilute for sensitive skin, aid in the absorption of essential oils into the skin, to help extend the use of essential oils since they do not evaporate as quickly, or as an ingredient in massage oil, lotions, creams, bath oils, lip balms, etc. In addition, carrier oils can be used for the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) of skin care – more on this in a future blog post. There are a wide variety of carrier oils out there. I’ve only listed a few of my favorites below. Make sure when purchasing a carrier oil that it is both organic and cold-pressed. They may be easier to find in the cooking aisle rather than the cosmetics aisle or order online. Find more information about carrier oils and their uses here at DIY Natural:http://www.diynatural.com/carrier-oils/

1) Coconut Oil – coconut oil is probably my favorite carrier oil because it has so many beneficial properties. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral making it a perfect addition to homemade salves, ointments, and skincare products. I use it daily as a carrier oil with Melrose blend and Frankincense and Lavender essential oils as my facial moisturizer – I’ll share that recipe later this week!

2) Castor Oil – Castor oil is similar to Coconut oil in that it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is often used as a topical ointment to treat pain and soothe irritated skin.

3) Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil closely mimics our skin’s oil and is therefore used as a common ingredient in DIY skincare recipes. It is absorbed easily without leaving the skin feeling greasy. It makes wonderful massage oil and is a desirable ingredient in OCM and other skin care recipes for oily or acne-prone type skin.

4) Sweet Almond Oil – is good for all skin types but very moisturizing, making it an ideal ingredient for DIY skincare recipes that call for a carrier oil.

5) Olive Oil – besides being a wonderful oil to cook with, Olive oil is a great carrier oil for infusing herbs or to combine with other easily absorbed carrier oils to make medicinal salves.

Keep the conversation going! What are some of your “Must Have” ingredients in your natural home? Comment below!

And make sure to check out my next post: 5 Good-to-Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.


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5 “Must-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

5 Must Have Ingredients

When you first get started on your own adventure in living a more natural lifestyle you will very quickly realize that there are tons of uses for household items, many of which you already have in your kitchen cabinets! I’ll be sharing many tricks, DIY recipes, and life hacks in this blog and if you want to follow along you’ll need a few items.  Below are my 5 “must have” items I can’t live without on my adventure!

5 Must Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

#1 – Coconut Oil!!!

A quick google search and hundreds of uses for coconut oil (CO) will pop up! There are two types of CO you need to know about for DIY home and beauty recipes:

1) Pure, unrefined, cold-pressed, extra-virgin coconut oil – Cold-pressed CO is made by expeller pressing dehydrated coconut flakes to extract the oil. Extra-Virgin refers to the first pressing before it is clarified/refined using a centrifuge. It will solidify in cooler temperatures but has a low melting point and melts easily at skin temperature. We use this all the time to cook with! CO is an easy to digest oil that helps provide digestive support by promoting probiotics and destroying bad bacteria and parasites in your digestive tract. In addition, CO’s healthy fats support thyroid and adrenal gland function, help balance blood sugar, and contain medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which can even promote weight loss! Besides being a wonderful addition to your kitchen cupboard CO has a number of other uses, including:
• anti-fungal properties which can be used to treat athlete’s foot, ring worm, and cradle cap
• added to lotions and moisturizers to treat dry flaky skin from eczema or psoriasis
• used as a wound salve or to treat diaper rash
• natural UV protection (approximately an SPF of 3-4) and can be added to DIY sunscreen
• added to homemade toothpaste or used for oil pulling to promote good oral health
• natural hair conditioner that treats and prevents dandruff and can be used as a hair detangler for children
** Unrefined CO does smell like coconut. If you find the smell of coconut offensive you can use refined CO in your skin and beauty recipes. But unrefined CO is richer in phytonutrients than refined coconut oil so I wouldn’t use refined to cook with (at low temperatures) if you wanted to retain all the health benefits. When cooking at higher temperatures refined CO is better due to its higher smoking temperature. While unrefined CO does have a slight coconut taste, it is subtle and I don’t notice it altering the flavor of what I’m cooking much. We buy Carrington Farms brand at Costco.

2) Fractionated coconut oil – This is a fraction of the whole oil that has been extracted to retain the liquid form and therefore does not retain all of the same ingested health benefits as pure, unrefined, extra-virgin coconut oil. I would not use this for cooking. However, its natural liquid state makes it a great ingredient for DIY skin and beauty products, including:
• natural facial moisturizer
• helps promote eyelash growth
• used in spray sunscreens due to natural UV protection
• added as a moisturizing ingredient to DIY baby wipes
I buy Dr. Adorable brand fractionated CO off Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Fractionated-Coconut-Pure-Organic-Dr-Adorable/dp/B00H8XVWS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431029587&sr=8-1&keywords=dr+adorable+coconut+oil

#2 – Baking Soda

Baking soda (BS) is sodium bicarbonate created by combining carbon dioxide to sodium carbonate (also called Washing Soda or Soda Ash). It is a common mineral added in baking recipes as a leavening agent. It is alkaline in nature and can be used to balance acidity in cooking as well as in DIY recipes and helps remove offensive odors naturally. In addition, it is a natural, but gentle, abrasive which makes it a wonderful addition to cleaning and beauty recipes! Baking Soda can be used for so many things it is a must-have in every DIY home. We buy ours in bulk from Costco! Check out some of the amazing uses for Baking Soda, including:
• Extinguish grease fires
• Removes tarnish from silver
• Natural oven cleaner when combined with vinegar (yay! Science!)
• Add to washing machine as natural fabric softener and to remove odors
• Is a natural fungistatic – which means it can prevent fungus from growing and spreading
• Removes plaque when brushed on teeth or added to homemade toothpaste
• Helps dry wetness and control odor therefore is a great addition to homemade deodorant
• Is a natural facial scrub and exfoliant
• Can soothe irritated skin and relieve body aches when added to a bath
• The Alkalinity helps open up the hair follicle and clean the hair when used as a shampoo (note: you must use some sort of acid base rinse to help restore the pH balance of your hair – more on this in a future post)
• Seriously, this list could go on… Check out google or Pinterest for more amazing ways you never knew you could use Baking Soda!

#3 – Vinegar

Aside from making delicious salad dressings, BBQ sauce, and “pickled” veggies from the garden, vinegar is one of my all-time favorite cleaning products! The uses for vinegar are practically endless! Below are some awesome ways you may have never thought to use both Distilled White Vinegar as well as Apple Cider Vinegar.

1) Distilled White Vinegar (DWV) – we buy the giant bottle from Costco for all our uses around the house!
• Clean the sticky off your scissors
• Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal or dishwasher
• Steam a cup of vinegar to help clean the crusties out of your microwave as well as reduce odor
• Spray on tile grout then scrub with toothbrush to make it whiter and prevent mildew
• Add to washing machine to help remove stains and brighten colors (by removing the soap residue that dulls dark colors)
• Kill weeds and crabgrass in your drive/walkway and use as a slug repellent in gardens
• Spray on furniture to keep your cat from using it as a scratching post
• Get rid of skunk odor

2) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – You will often see people, especially crunchy granola types, refer to ACV “with the mother” when talking about DIY home remedies or health benefits of ACV. What this refers to is a bacterial culture that is added to the liquid to promote fast fermentation. Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered ACV is probably the most popular brand for this reason (also, you can upcycle the glass bottles by adding a sprayer and using for your DIY recipes that require a spray bottle). There’s limited scientific proof backing up the claim that ACV with the mother has superior health benefits to regular ol’ ACV, however. Plus, I’m cheap and Bragg’s is way more expensive, so I typically just use regular old Heinz ACV. We buy the biggest bottle we can at Kroger (Can’t figure out why in the world our Costco doesn’t carry ACV…).
• Put a little ACV in the bottom of a cup and cover with cling-wrap with holes poked in it for a DIY fruit fly trap
• Add a little ACV to your dog’s water to help prevent fleas, alleviate itching and improve the condition of their skin, aid in digestion and urinary tract function, and help relieve and prevent arthritis. Can also be used to wipe out itchy ears to keep them from scratching.
• Used as a hair rinse to balance the pH after an alkaline shampoo (or BS wash)
• Help get rid of warts
• Relieve the burning sensation after a sunburn
• Treat a sore throat or upset stomach

#4 – Some essential oils

I prefer Young Living brand oils because they provide high-quality therapeutic grade oils and I trust in their “seed to seal” guarantee. See my previous post about why I chose Young Living. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more information on the company or their oils. Below are a few of my “must-haves” essential oils and the best place to start if you only want to buy a few.

1) Lavender – If you only bought one essential oil, make it lavender! It is probably the most versatile of all essential oils and is even gentle enough to use around babies and children! Lavender is probably best known for promoting rest and relaxation but can also help reduce muscle tension; reduce allergy symptoms; soothe irritated skin; alleviate symptoms from eczema or dermatitis; alleviate dandruff; alleviate redness, itching, or swelling from bee stings; reduce redness and soothe pain from burns; is a natural antiseptic (when used topically) that may help stop bleeding, clean wounds, and kill bacteria in cuts and scrapes; alleviate symptoms of motion sickness; even help stop a nosebleed!

2) Peppermint – Probably my second favorite essential oil because of the myriad of uses it is good for, including freshening breath; clears the respiratory tract and can alleviate allergy symptoms; promotes alertness and concentration; naturally thickens and nourishes damaged hair; reduces heartburn and relieves indigestion, gas and diarrhea; alleviates nausea; relieves fever; reduces or alleviates headaches or migraines; relieves joint pain and arthritis; soothes aching muscles; even acts as a natural insect repellent!

3) Tea Tree – I fell in love with Tea Tree oil when I was looking for natural solutions to help my hormonal acne while trying to conceive. No store bought cleansers or spot treatments were helping so I turned to nature as a last resort. Tea Tree oil is a natural astringent that helps open up pores which loosens up dirt and oil and helps kill the bacteria that can cause acne! It was the only thing that worked and I still use it when I have the occasional breakout. In addition, tea tree oil helps kill and prevent lice as well as fleas; eases discomfort from rashes, bug bites, or sunburns; cleans cuts and scrapes; cleans and freshens breath; reduces inflammation in mucous membranes and can relieve a sore throat; relieves pain from earaches; helps fight nail fungus; even kills mold!

4) Thieves – Thieves is an essential oil blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. This is the newest addition to my favorite oils but now I know I won’t be able to live without it in my home! I love Thieves for its ability to prohibit bacteria and fungus growth and I was most excited about it because it naturally cleans counter-tops, floors, and pet cages without toxic chemicals. In addition, Thieves oil may prevent infections and promotes healing in cuts and scrapes; relieves cold and flu symptoms; provides relief from headaches; relives pain and hastens healing from broken bones or aching joints; kills mold and airborne germs; is a natural hand sanitizer; reduces phlegm and congestion; treats warts; some even say it can be used to help you quit smoking!

**All four of the above “must have” essential oils are available in the Everyday Oils collection by Young Living, an exclusive members only collection of 10 of their best selling essential oils! You can get at wholesale cost if you join Young Living.  By joining you get 4 of the 5 above mentioned oils, 6 additional best selling oils, plus an 11th bonus oil, a diffuser of your choice, and samples of other best-selling oils as part of the Premium Starter Kit with no commitment to buy or sell the oils! Contact me for more information or sign up today here!

#5 – Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are often used in conjunction with essential oils to dilute for sensitive skin, aid in the absorption of essential oils into the skin, to help extend the use of essential oils since they do not evaporate as quickly, or as an ingredient in massage oil, lotions, creams, bath oils, lip balms, etc. In addition, carrier oils can be used for the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) of skin care – more on this in a future blog post. There are a wide variety of carrier oils out there. I’ve only listed a few of my favorites below. Make sure when purchasing a carrier oil that it is both organic and cold-pressed. They may be easier to find in the cooking aisle rather than the cosmetics aisle or order online. Find more information about carrier oils and their uses here at DIY Natural:http://www.diynatural.com/carrier-oils/

1) Coconut Oil – coconut oil is probably my favorite carrier oil because it has so many beneficial properties. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral making it a perfect addition to homemade salves, ointments, and skincare products. I use it daily as a carrier oil with Melrose blend and Frankincense and Lavender essential oils as my facial moisturizer – I’ll share that recipe later this week!

2) Castor Oil – Castor oil is similar to Coconut oil in that it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is often used as a topical ointment to treat pain and soothe irritated skin.

3) Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil closely mimics our skin’s oil and is therefore used as a common ingredient in DIY skincare recipes. It is absorbed easily without leaving the skin feeling greasy. It makes wonderful massage oil and is a desirable ingredient in OCM and other skin care recipes for oily or acne-prone type skin.

4) Sweet Almond Oil – is good for all skin types but very moisturizing, making it an ideal ingredient for DIY skincare recipes that call for a carrier oil.

5) Olive Oil – besides being a wonderful oil to cook with, Olive oil is a great carrier oil for infusing herbs or to combine with other easily absorbed carrier oils to make medicinal salves.

Keep the conversation going! What are some of your “Must Have” ingredients in your natural home? Comment below!

And make sure to check out my next post: 5 Good-to-Have Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects!

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and techniques mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information here is in no way intended to replace proper medical help. Consult with the health authorities of your choice for treatment.

5 “Must-Have” Ingredients for DIY Natural Home and Beauty Projects! was originally published on Naturally Oily Adventures