When I first started reading labels and cleaning up our bath, body, and cleaning products, I noticed two things. One, my headaches weren't as frequent, which I think is due to the fact that I removed the fake, overpowering scents from our house. Two, our house didn't smell as good. Such a difficult spot to be in! On the one hand, you don't want a stinky house, but then again, headaches and asthma flare ups are no good, either. So, what's a mom to do?
With the first cool, fall wind blowing through Texas, I know that it's time to start preparing for cold and flu season. We all have bouts with allergies, viruses, coughs, and more during fall and winter, despite all that we do to prevent us from getting sick. Sometimes all of the prevention is not good enough, and we need to have things on hand just to make the littles feel better when they're sick!
A few years ago, we were able to try Maty's Healthy Products. We really enjoyed their natural products for kids, so I was happy to stock our medicine cabinet with Maty's products once again. Wouldn't you know, Baby Brother, who is almost 2, came down with a cold last week and developed a pretty nasty cough that kept waking him up at night. I rubbed some Maty's Baby Chest Rub on his feet and put a pair of socks on him and sent him back to bed. The all natural baby chest rub did the trick and he was able to sleep the rest of the night without his cough waking him up. And you know, if it helps the baby to sleep better and NOT wake me up all night, then it's a huge blessing!
I've become frustrated with coughs since having children. It's just so sad to hear your little ones coughing and not being able to sleep soundly. We have tried numerous things to treat coughs, but there really aren't very many choices for cough syrup for any kids under about 6, because they are not safe. Maty's provides drug-free relief with their cough syrup for children. Just look at the ingredients list:
My last "must have" for the cold and flu season is Maty's petroleum free baby ointment. This stuff is great for diaper rashes, eczema, and the sore and red nose that comes from wiping it a million times a day. (My secret tip that I learned from hubby is to sneak in after they go to sleep and slather them with this stuff so they don't fuss and rub it off!) It works to protect the skin and create a barrier from moisture. And the fact that it's natural and petroleum free is awesome!
Maty's is available in many places, including my favorite grocery store, HEB, along with Amazon, Target, and the Maty's website. Also, look on the site for the store locator, product info, and all about these wonderful products!
How do you prepare for cold and flu season?
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for WaterWipes. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. The opinions in this chemical free baby wipes post are all mine.
There was no time in my life that I was more careful about what I put into my body than when I was pregnant with the boys. I cut down on caffeine, I avoided hot tubs, sought out the safest prenatal vitamin, switched to the purest body products, only took medicine when it was absolutely necessary, and suffered through allergy season without using a decongestant, all to keep my precious unborn babes safe as possible. It was my responsibility to keep their living environment as pure as possible so they could grow and develop. After the Captain was born, I began to see that the baby products that I had seen so often were not the best choices for his delicate skin. This led me to examine other areas and see what changes I could make to his daily routine. Part of my search was trying to combat his bad eczema, but it was also cutting out unnecessary chemicals.
One area that I really struggled with was baby wipes. These amazing, pre-packaged, pre-moistened pieces of soft cloth that wipe bottoms, faces, spills in the car, leaky bottles, and so much more. Baby wipes are SO handy! In my quest to eliminate unnecessary chemicals, however, I was faced with two choices in the baby wipes area: continue to use these handy wipes, despite the mass amount of chemicals in them, or make my own wipes. I tried making my own with baby washcloths and different homemade solutions, but those aren't exactly easy to throw in the diaper bag and keep track of. Then there was the issue of them getting moldy and the fact that you have to prepare them so often. Alas, I gave up my quest for the perfect, chemical free baby wipe.
A few months ago, however, my dream came true. The last step in eliminating the chemicals in my kids' life was complete! WaterWipes is a premier European brand of baby wipes that is chemical free and only contains TWO ingredients, 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. WaterWipes are both durable and effective and provide a safer alternative for Baby. WaterWipes do not contain preservatives and the sterile environment within the package is maintained by not interfolding the wipes like other brands do. It is best if the wipes are not moved to a different container. Also, while the package of wipes will keep for 15 months, it is recommended to use opened packs within one month.
Learn more about these fabulous WaterWipes and take advantage of the 2 for $6 deal at Babies "R" Us!
Strawberries are a wonderful addition to the garden because they provide you with delicious fruit and add a little color to one of the hardest areas of the garden to fill in. No matter if you decide to grow them in a container, bed or hanging baskets, strawberries can start bearing fruit in just a single season when you get everything right. With all the different varieties of strawberries out there, and three main fruit bearing times, you can enjoy fresh fruit for the entire summer. Here are some easy to follow tips to grow strawberries in just one season.
Start With New Plants
There are several options for getting started with strawberries, but new plants, already growing from a nursery are the best option. Beginning with new plants versus transplants or roots ensures that you have a health strawberry plant and is a headstart on the growing season.
Plant for Your Zone
One of the biggest mistakes people make when purchasing plants is to buy things that are meant to be grown in other hardiness zones. When you force a plant to survive in less than ideal temperatures and conditions it puts all its energy into survival rather than producing fruit. Choose those plants that are meant to be grown where you live only.
Plant a Bed
While you can grow strawberries in a single container or basket, the ideal way to grow them is in a bed of their own. (Check out this 3 tier strawberry bed.) Strawberries like to spread out, be near other plants and really get into the soil, so an entire bed for them to do this is heaven for them.
Plant Different Types
There are three main types of strawberries, but June bearing and everbearing are the easiest to grow and find in nurseries. Plant a combination of different types of strawberries in order to have something to pick throughout the summer. Doing this also helps you determine what varieties are the best instead of sticking to just one type year after year.
Provide Full Sun and Compost
Strawberries need a lot of organic matter worked into their soil, so make sure you feed the soil bed before planting and give it time to break down. The plants also need full sun in order to bulk up their energy sources and produce fruit, so make sure that the bed is in an ideal position. Finally, keep the moisture and nutrients in the soil where the plants need them by providing a layer of mulch or straw on the beds.
Have you had success with growing strawberries? Leave your tips in the comments section! I'd love to hear them.
**contains affiliate links**
This post was created in partnership with Nature's Bakery fig bars. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The holiday season can be stressful and chaotic, and our good eating habits tend to go out the window for a few weeks (months?) This year, I decided to have healthier snack foods on hand for our family and I have been proven time and time again how smart this was!
Running errands with the kids? Don't stop for fast food, grab a Nature's Bakery fig bar. Wrapping gifts and don't want to stop? Fig bars. Watching a Christmas program and need to dig a delicious but healthy snack out of your bag? Fig bars! Every time one of us gets hungry, instead of grabbing something unhealthy, I get a Nature's Bakery fig bar. All three of the boys (ages 6, 4, and 1) LOVE fig bars. Their favorite flavors are blueberry and strawberry, but all six of the delicious flavors are satisfying, healthy, non-GMO, and trans fat free. Other flavors include: apple cinnamon, raspberry, peach apricot, lemon, mango, and fig. Yum! Each package contains two mini fig bars, which are the perfect size for little hands. The sticky center can be a little messy, but when something tastes so good, it's hard to make much of a mess.
Non-GMO ingredients include: stone ground whole wheat flour, dried cane syrup, brown rice syrup, fig paste, canola oil, rolled oats, oat fiber, ammonia-free caramel color, sea salt, citric acid, natural flavors, baking soda, and more, depending on the flavor. (The blueberry fig bar is colored with red cabbage extract!)
Join Nature's Bakery Fig Bar Fanatics Program and enter to win a box of fig bars for yourself in the Rafflecopter form below!
This Nit Nanny natural lice treatment post has been sponsored. All opinions are mine.
I have worked with children for many years and somehow, *knock on wood* I've never had to deal with lice. I have worried that the boys would bring it home, especially D with his full head of soft hair, but thankfully, it hasn't happened…..yet.
But I HAVE given it some thought….what do you do when you see your child scratching their head and wonder if it's more than just an innocent itch? What happens when that itch turns out to be head lice?
Per the CDC, between 6-12 million children and adults get head lice each year in the US alone, as well asup to twice that many unreported cases. Anyone who comes in head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at the greatest risk. With close contact at schools, camps, sleepovers, the crowding over electronic devices kids are always doing to get a look at the latest internet sensation and the constant selfies kids take, you can see why lice spreads so easily. Girls between the ages of 3-15 have the greatest chance of getting lice, then they can easily spread throughout their family.
What do you do if someone in your family gets lice?
Dump chemical and pesticide laden over-the-counter products on their heads and wish for the best? Ignore it and hope it goes away? One adult female can lay 10 eggs (nits) a day and she lives for 30 days…do the math. They feed on your scalp blood; the bites are what cause the itching. Many people are allergic to the bites, thus the itching.
Over-the-counter products available today like Rid, Nix and head lice shampoos for purchase in pharmacies have become ineffective. Lice have adapted and have become resistant to the treatment. The plastic combs provided in the OTC kits are not effective at combing out all nits and bugs.
Many products are dangerous. They are loaded with neurotoxins and chemicals. Compare the ingredients of the top over-the-counter products to a can of Raid…A CAN OF RAID! It’s truly frightening. Some of the killing agents in lawn chemicals contain identical ingredients as well. THAT is some scary stuff.
Most home remedies are ineffective. Smothering lice with mayonnaise and olive oil for example will not work. Those melt, breakdown and liquefy due to your core body temperature, which then allows the lice to breathe and not die.
As parents, we do our best to protect our kids, so reliable and good information is key.
Lice Lifters, headquartered in Lafayette Hill Pennsylvania has come up with an all-natural and extremely effective in-store lice treatment process as well as the Nit Nanny Line of all-natural products to take lice out of your life.
The Nit Nanny Products will end your lice problems with no harmful chemicals. From the first application, all adult lice will be killed, after that you follow the treatment plan. Nit Nanny Products are all natural and do not liquefy therefore smothering and killing all live activity in 10 minutes.
The Nit Nanny Lice Solution Treatment is a soothing blend of oils that quickly eliminates all stages of head lice. The 10-minute treatment is conditioning to your hair and scalp. It is safe and effective and leaves you non-contagious to others you are in contact with.
The Nit Nanny Lice and Nit Removal Comb is made of tempered steel. It has unique spiral micro-grooving that helps get underneath every egg. The long teeth can be boiled for sterilization. This comb is the best way to get rid of lice and nits as well as prevent future infestation.
The Nit Nanny Mint Spray deters lice. It is a one-step product that detangles hair and deters lice. This product can be used on wet or dry hair and as often as you would like to help repel lice. This product is made with all natural ingredients that are offensive to lice but not to humans. The Mint Detangler Spray is non-toxic, smells great and is safe for the whole family. A few spritzes of the fresh smelling spray are all you need. If you know an outbreak is in your area or school, be diligent with the spray and putting your daughter’s hair up in a bun or in a tight braid or two.
Each of these products are available on Amazon, you can purchase them individually or as a kit. This is your best solution if getting into a Lice Lifters Salon is not an option. And is the best all natural, safe and effective treatment available for home use.
Visit the The Nit Nanny Site for all the information you need to get lice out of your head, out of your life, and out of your home. Check out “The Great Clean Up Page” for what else you need to do around your home when lice strikes.
This post contains affiliate links. However, this post was not sponsored by any company.
I’m the kind of girl who keeps a Costco sized bag of semisweet chocolate chips in the freezer. What….you don’t do that? For one, it saves a lot of money, not only because I buy in bulk, but because it’s the only chocolate I really eat. I can use it for chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip pumpkin bread, or I can grab a handful and share some with the boys midday. There’s nothing wrong with that…right? I mean, it could be worse! Right?
For awhile I was making my coconut chocolate candy often. D and I would eat it, but no one else really cared for it. And then I realized that if I’m the only one really eating it, then perhaps I should not be making it anymore. Huge sigh. But then, I discovered something new and different from my regular coconut butter ……. CAKE BATTER coconut butter!!! This is totally NOT sponsored, but this company, Nikki’s, makes amazing flavors of coconut butter and Vanilla Cake Batter is one of them. Vanilla Cake Batter, people! Coconut butter that tastes like cake batter. Here are the ingredients: organic unsweetened coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic honey, organic vanilla extract, and sea salt. It’s so delicious right out of the jar, but I made my chocolate candy with it! And it’s so, so delicious!
- 1/2 cup of Vanilla Cake Batter coconut butter
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/8 cup of coconut sugar or whole sugar
- Place all ingredients in a double boiler or in a glass measuring cup in a pot of boiling water on the stove.
- Melt ingredients, continually whisking or stirring until smooth.
- Remove from heat and pour into a silicon candy mold.
- Place molds in fridge and let harden.
- Keep any uneaten candy in the fridge or cool place.
This eco-friendly picnic post was brought to you by Paperless Kitchen. All opinions are mine.
I am not sure why, but picnics are so appealing to kids. I remember how much fun it was to eat outside as a kid. The boys are always asking to go on picnics. I try to make it fun for them and help them to have a great time, but I admit I get grumpy about packing up the picnic and the waste…..oh wow, the waste. Most picnics involve lots of paper plates, plastic forks, and napkins. Last week, I made it a point to use our new bamboo towels and Leafware to make a super special, eco-friendly picnic with no waste.
The boys love salad and fruit, so that’s what was in our picnic basket this time. I packed cantaloupe and watermelon in some glass jars that I had, salad dressing, water in reusable glass sippy cups, Leafware dishes, and Bambooee reusable bamboo towels. I grabbed a blanket and we headed in the backyard for our eco-friendly picnic.
We all had a great time enjoying each other’s company, the cooler day,and our yummy food!
Which brings me to the Bambooee bamboo towels! We used quite a few with the juicy fruits. Baby Brother had his fair share of spills.
What I love about the Bambooee towels is that they work well like paper towels, but you can also wet them and use them as a sturdy wet rag that wipes up sticky wet spills and dried on foods, too. AND when we were done, I piled everything back in the basket and brought it all outside. The jars and bamboo towels are washable and reusable, and the Leafware is compostable, so…no waste.
Leafware dinnerware is truly sustainable. They’re all non-toxic and can be used for hot or cold foods, even liquids like soup! All Leafware products are earth friendly, renewable, and sustainable. How are they made? Well, the palm leaves are collected, pressure washed, scrubbed, sun dried, compressed, and then sterilized. After you use them, they are compostable! Leafware is truly eco-friendly and much better than paper or plastic plates that are just thrown away.
Likewise, Bambooee towels are made from sustainable organic bamboo. They are strong, durable, and reusable. Towels can be washed up to 20 times!
Through September 30, 2014, take advantage of the end of summer sale! Save 5% Off All Orders discount code: “PaperlessNow5”. Free Shipping is offered on all orders!
Disclosure: My friend Tori created this recipe by using a variation of the this Creamy Mexican Dip recipe. They are both brilliant and have made my world a little brighter today because of this recipe.
Queso, cheese dip, whatever you may call it, it's a delicious thing. I have had it multiple times throughout my life and it certainly is a wonderful thing. However, most recipes call for a shelf stable processed cheese called Velveeta. Now, Velveeta is wonderful and rich and creamy, but you gotta wonder exactly what they put in that stuff….it can't really be good for us, you know? (sidenote: You can make healthy homemade "Velveeta," but I haven't tried it yet.) So when my friend Tori posted that she had found this recipe and thus made her own Queso con Carne….I had to try it. And wow. Just wow. It's like a fiesta in your mouth! Hubby said it tasted like it was from a five star Mexican restaurant and he was right! It is simply delicious. You can make it with or without beef, make some with beef and some without, add different variations of spices and salsa, save some queso in the fridge to serve over broccoli the next day, make mac & cheese…whatever your Mexican food loving heart desires! So…here's the recipe! It really is a lot easier than it seems. I know it seems overwhelming, but you got this! And you'll be so pleased after it's made, I promise!
Ingredients for beef:
- 1/2 lb ground beef (more if your heart desires)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup (more or less) of your favorite homemade or jarred salsa
- Put meat in a pan over medium high heat.
- Season meat with salt, chili powder, cumin seeds, and garlic powder.
- Brown beef.
- After the meat is browned, pour salsa into the meat and cook until the liquid is cooked away for the most part.
- Set meat aside.
(sidenote: This right here is a delicious way to make homemade taco meat. The boys tried it and really loved it. I omitted the chili powder and didn't add too much salsa and it was the perfect flavor without spiciness for them.)
Ingredients for Queso:
- 2 egg yolks (I separate the yolks from the whites, rinse them of white and dry the yolk. Then, I tear the membrane and drain the yolk into a glass. This keeps the membrane out of the queso so there is no weird egg textures in there.)
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder OR organic cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp cream or milk
- 2 cups of milk
- 8 oz shredded cheese (4 oz sharp cheddar and 4 oz cheddar jack is recommended)
- 1/2 cup (or more) salsa (as mild or as spicy as you like!)
- 8 oz cream cheese (here's a recipe for homemade cream cheese!)
Directions for Queso:
- Mix egg yolks, arrowroot powder OR cornstarch, and cream OR milk together until the powder is fully incorporated into the yolks and thinned a bit by the milk/cream. Mix until lumps are gone.
- To this mixture, add 2 cups of milk.
- Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken. (Tori's notes: After 7-10ish minutes, it should be thick, like white gravy. You know. REAL white gravy. Not that milky stuff some folks call gravy.)
- After it thickens, 1/2 cup (or more) of salsa and stir until well mixed.
- Then, add 8oz of your preferred cheese blend, shredded, and stir.
- Add 8 oz of cream cheese and stir all together until everything is melty and delicious. (do not let it come to a full boil or it will curdle and separate.)
- At this point, if it is not thick enough, add another 1/2-1T arrowroot or cornstarch. Dip out a little queso into a cup and mix it into the queso first before mixing it into the pot. This prevents the locked up, starchy balls that don't mix well. Add and cook until thick.
- Add in beef mixture.
- Eat and enjoy best real food queso con carne in. the. WORLD!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #KefirCreations
If there is one thing our family loves, it is yogurt. I remember shopping the yogurt section of the grocery store, looking for something new and delicious, when I saw a bottle of blueberry Lifeway Kefir. I had never heard of kefir before, but I read all of the health benefits on the back of the bottle and decided to give it a try. After I got home and unloaded the groceries, I gave it a try and it was oh so good. That was almost two years ago, and I have been hooked on kefir ever since. It has been especially great for me to get a quick, mess free, protein rich snack in a hurry….no spoon required! You don't know how truly important that is until you have an infant demanding your time and energy. We are expected to feed them and care for them at any moment of the day or night, but good luck finding enough time to feed yourself healthy food and get all of the protein and nutrients your body requires to feed them! Kefir has been a great solution to this problem for me!
If you're not the adventurous food type and you want to know what kefir is before trying it…just think of it as a sweet and tangy yogurt drink, the "Champagne of Dairy." Kefir originated in Eastern Europe over 2,000 years ago. It contains 12 live and active probiotic cultures that help support the digestive and immune systems. It is high in calcium and protein, as you would guess, and such a delicious way to keep your body healthy!
Hubby and I love to indulge in cheesecake, so I created a delicious Chocolate Cheesecake Fruit Dip, made with Lifeway Kefir. So it has the satisfying cheescake flavor with all of the goodness that kefir provides!
- 4 Tbsp Madagascar Vanilla Lifeway Kefir Cultured Milk Smoothie
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 Tbsp coconut sugar (can be substituted with your favorite sugar)
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- Mix kefir and cream cheese together in a mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Add in sugar and cocoa powder and mix well.
- Serve with your favorite fruit, graham crackers, etc.
I have found that any recipe that calls for milk, buttermilk, or yogurt, kefir can be substituted instead. Keep in mind that when you cook kefir, the probiotic benefits are lost, but Lifeway Kefir is still gluten and GMO free, 99% lactose free, and never contains artificial sweeteners, which makes it a healthier option for my family. We have made banana muffins with kefir, and also this delicious Garlic Chicken with Fettuccine & Kefir Sauce:
Ingredients for Garlic Chicken:
- two chicken breasts
- garlic powder
- grapeseed oil
Directions for Garlic Chicken:
- Set oven to 400º.
- Place chicken breasts in a glass dish.
- Drizzle grapeseed oil on chicken breasts.
- Sprinkle salt and garlic powder, as much or as little as you like, over the chicken breasts.
- Cook for about an hour, until the house is filled with the smell of yummy garlic and the center is no longer pink.
Ingredients for Fettuccine and Kefir Sauce:
- one package of fettuccine
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 purple onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1 cup of Plain Lifeway Kefir Cultured Lowfat Milk Smoothie
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 Tbsp corn starch (optional, for thickening)
Directions for Fettuccine and Kefir Sauce:
- Cook fettuccine according to package instructions.
- Sauté purple onions in butter until they are cooked and clear.
- Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add plain kefir, cream, salt, and pepper.
- Stir continually on medium heat until sauce thickens.
- Sprinkle corn starch and stir in if your sauce is not thick enough for your liking.
- Serve sliced chicken and kefir sauce over fettuccine noodles and enjoy!
If you'd like to try kefir or stock up for your favorite recipe, sign up for money saving coupons at the Lifeway Kefir website!
How do you enjoy kefir? If you have not tried it, do you have any delicious recipes in mind to try it in?