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Homemade Dog Treats

 

Well homemade dog treats is kind of misleading. These dog treats are made out of chicken feet. Wait, let me correct that, they ARE chicken feet. Just dehydrated.

Should I change the title of the post? I mean, they are homemade and they are the perfect treat for dogs.

Ah F it. Homemade dog treats it is.

If y’all didn’t read the last post about our chickens, take a gander. We unfortunately had to get rid of our chickens sooner than expected. These ladies were our first major step towards our homesteading journey and our intention was to love them, allow them to be chickens and then they would provide us with food at the end of their production.

The time had come and even though we tried to chicken out, literally, we stuck to our intention and butchered our first chickens. A more in-depth post on our experience is coming soon I promise. It was nothing like we expected. It was harder than we ever imagined.

But let’s get on with our dog treats shall we. Unfortunately, the only salvageable part of our butchered chickens were their feet. Again, a more in-depth post will come soon.

Their feet, being the only thing we were able to save, were dehydrated and made into perfect dog treats for our pup Angus.

It was super simple to. Ready to hear how to do it?

All you need:

Dehydrator

Chicken feet…….obviously

All you do is:

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  • Soak chicken feet in a bowl of water over night. This helps get all the dirt off their feet.
  • After soaking run under water and scrub feet with a bristle brush. Using soap is not necessary. Be sure to scrub off as much dirt as possible.

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  • Next, you want to clip off their nails.

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  • Bust out that dehydrator of yours and lay the feet on a tray.
  • Now, turn that bad boy on and let it go for about 24-48 hours. Or until they become super crispy. You will know they are ready when you try to bend a toe back and it breaks off without bending. If it bends, even a little, let it keep going. I think ours actually took about 3 days.

***Small tip, plug the dehydrator in the garage if available. Not like the dehydrator is super loud but it can be annoying to listen to after about an hour. In the garage, it’s away doing its bad boy thing.

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That is is y’all. Super easy and your pup gets insanely delicious healthy treats.

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Happy dehydrating!

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DIY Bug and Gnat Spray

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We have a ton of house plants, they just make us happy. So we tend to do a lot of transplanting. And just like anyone else, where do we keep our soil…

Outside of course.

But do you know what happens to soil when it sits outside long enough?

Little tiny gnats like to lay their eggs in the soil.

You know, those damn little fruit fly things that will do anything in their little power to try and fly into your mouth. If you are thinking eww gross, then I guess you have never experienced one of these little bastards.

They multiply faster then you can say, “yoga with goats.” I mean, yoga with goats, I love goats but doing yoga with them….I don’t get it. Oh wait, I was talking about gnats, back to gnats. So, needless to say they can infest a house super fast.

So here is a little story; a while back I redid our bathroom. I was very proud, if I do say so myself. Well, in that little redo, I hung a plant, in an awesome purple pot that just fit the bathroom perfectly but what kind of soil did I use?

You guessed it y’all, soil from outside.

A few weeks later, we were infested. It was so bad that the walls had little tiny gnats everywhere. I was done. I had enough. These little F-ers had to go and they had to go now.

So I did a little research and came up with this gnat spray.

Let’s make some shall we.

Whatcha need is:

Glass spray bottle (plastic works too, whatever floats your boat yo)

White vinegar

Water

Essential oils:

Eucalyptus

Rosemary

Geranium

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Direction:

  • Fill spray bottle with 1 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup water
  • Add 10 drops of each oil.

Boom Son you’re done!

I mean, how simple is that.

I literally sprayed my entire bathroom. I sprayed the walls, the gnats, the bottom of the pot the plant was in, the rim. I was careful not to actually get the plant, I didn’t want kill it.

But what I also did was I took the plant outside and sprayed it down with our neem oil spray that kills gnats, aphids, and all sorts of other nasty little plant critters. I sprayed this little plant probably about 4-5 times over two days.

We are living gnat free right now people, gnat free. All thanks to this little spray.

Got a Gnat problem? Leave a comment below let me know how it works for you. I’d love to hear from y’all.

Happy gnat killing!

 

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Homemade Healthy Ice Cream. It’s Good, I Swear.

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Health homemade ice cream

We love ice cream, I mean, it can get to an unhealthy point. I am not going to lie. So we cut ourselves off of ice cream a little short of two years now. Don’t get me wrong we have indulged a few times here and there but if we don’t check ourselves, shit can get real, real fast!

But who doesn’t want ice cream, right? It is just so nice and creamy and cold.

Damn it, I want some right now!

Anyway, back to my point. One night the thought of ice cream popped into our heads. And then another thought popped into my head…

Frozen bananas

I thought, why not try and use frozen bananas to make some ice cream. So in went some frozen bananas, some fruit and some milk. I blended that goodness up and served up some “ice cream.” I didn’t think to much about it, I figured it would help curb the craving that night and we would forget about it.

Well hot diggity damn, this blended up goodness came out way beyond expectations. My husband kept asking me, “you made this?”

The kids were fooled and all our bellies were smiling!

The next night after dinner everyone was like, can we have ice cream again.

And a delicious recipe was created. The best part about this recipe is that it can be totally changed depending on your mood. Throw in some chocolate chips, vanilla bean, cacao powder, granola…the sky is the limit my friend.

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Wanna know how I curbed our ice cream craving?

Alright, alright. Let’s do this.

Healthy Ice Cream

Don't allow ice cream to control your life and your weight. Whip up some heathy stuff, you belly and your thighs will thank you.

Course Dessert
Keyword dessert, healthy ice cream, homemade, Ice cream
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 5 Frozen bananas
  • 2 cups Frozen fruit of choice
  • 1/4 cup Milk of choice

Instructions

  1. Grab yourself a blender or food processor.

  2. Pour in your milk.

  3. Toss in your frozen bananas. It is best to break them in half or quarters.


  4. Toss in your frozen fruit.

  5. Blend your little heart out.

    The key here is to not blend to the point of liquidation. You want everything blended but just enough to maintain a thick texture. 

  6. I like to add some fresh fruit or even frozen blueberries on top when serving. 

  7. Boom son, you just made yourself some damn delicious ice cream that you can feel good about. It is super easy and your kids can enjoy with out the sugar high after. 

Recipe Notes

Heavy cream is ideal for making super creamy ice cream. But you can choose any milk that you desire. The base of this ice cream is really the banana. The milk just helps allow all your frozen fruit to blend easily. 

Tell me what y’all think. Does it hit the spot? Did you add anything else like vanilla bean or some chocolate chips? Leave a comment below.

Happy ice cream makin!

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Chicken Feeder. Making Life Easier.

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Trying to maintain a homestead, even on a small scale, can be difficult to balance when you throw working full time in the mix. As our journey has progressed and chores are divided, we try to make things as easiest as possible for us. As badly as we would love to tend to our homestead full time, we both wake up every morning and go to work. So, in order for things to work, you know things like…..

keeping the house clean, kids fed and bathed, dinner, lunches, tending to the garden, the chickens, kefir, kombucha, composting…….

We have to get tricky with how we accomplish all these things while still having energy for us. Believe me, it is not always easy and it doesn’t always flow so effortlessly.

But hey we try!

When it comes to things like gardening or feeding the chickens, we try and find ways to keep things as easy flowing and none laborious as possible.

Feeding your chickens may not seem all that bad but when you have a full plate, removing one chore can seem like a life saver. This is why we came up with our new chicken feeder, and by we I mean my husband. This badass feeder holds half a bag of feed.

Oh yea, you heard that right!

It holds half a bag of feed and doesn’t require anything other than removing the lid in the morning so the ladies can eat and closing it at night so the rats CANNOT! No more filling small feed buckets every other day. All you do is fill it once and depending on how many chickens you have, you don’t really need to bother with it for a few weeks.

Have I grabbed your attention?

Let’s do this thang then!

Whatcha wanna get is:

6 inch PVC pipe (main body of feeder)

45 degree 6 inch Y connector

6 inch PVC cap (you’ll need 3 caps)

PVC primer

PVS glue

2 drawer handle knobs

Whatcha wanna do is:

The size of your feeder really depends on how much food you want your feeder to hold. Ours is measured 4 feet high with a 6 inch diameter PVC pipe. You want to cut your main body the proper height that fits your coop. Make sure when purchasing your main body PVC pipe, that you purchase more than your are measuring for your coop. You will need to make additional cuts later.

Once you have your height cut, set that aside. From the left over pipe (remember I told you to buy more than the size you were measuring for your coop) cut three 3 inch pieces. Set these aside.

Drill a hold in two of your caps and screw in your knobs. Set aside.

Now it is time to assemble these piece together. Super easy ready?

Take your Y connector and at the bottom spread some PVC primer and glue on the inside of the connector, now take one of the three 3 inch pieces you cut and place inside be sure to leave about 2 inches exposed. This will allow you to connect the cap. Spread some primer and glue on the outside of the 2 inches of exposed PVC and glue the cap on. Make sure that the cap sit snug. This will hold all the food in the pipe.

Now, move to the opening hole where the feed will be available for your chickens, take another 3 inch piece and do the same thing. Primer and glue it in the hole but be sure to leave about 2 inches exposed. This is where you will place a cap with a knob. Do not glue this cap on. This is the cap that you will take off so your chickens can eat during the day and put on at night so no other critters can munch on.

Now it is time to connect your main body to the Y connector. Place your desired size PVC pipe inside the top part of the Y connector. Be sure to make it fit snug. You can primer and glue if you’d like but it is not necessary.

At the top of your main body you are going to primer and glue the last 3 inch piece. Again be sure to leave 2 inches exposed. This is where you are going to place your second cap with a knob. This is where you are going to pour your feed in. Do not glue the cap on.

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Yea, it is dirty. But you know what, it’s reality.

Boom son, you have yourself a badass chicken feeder that is super easy to make and doesn’t cost a fortune. Plus, it saves you labor and is super efficient.

Happy feeder making!

I’d love to hear how this turned out. Leave a comment below if you have any additional questions or to share how it came out.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our email list, you get a free medicinal herbs eBook! Plus you won’t miss out on all the fun!

 

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Pizza on The Grill? Yes Please!

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Pizza on the grill y’all!

Whhhhaatt!

You mean I don’t have to heat up my kitchen by turing on my oven to make delicious pizza?

Yes please!

If y’all are in search for the perfect pizza dough head on over here and check out the recipe I have found, tweaked and loved.

I am a pizza lover but more times than not…wait what am I saying, I mean….. every single time, when we order pizza, we feel like total crap after. Which, really sucks because it is such an easy dinner and after working all week and I just want something easy. But paying the price afterward for convenience is just not worth it.

So, I tried one more time to take a stab at making pizza from scratch. And by golly what do you know, it came out pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself.

I took a risk with this recipe because I used the BBQ grill to actually make the pizza. You see, it was like 110 degrees outside when I decided pizza sounded really good for dinner. But, I really did not want to heat my kitchen up with a 450 degree oven. So, I decided to grill it up! I am really glad I did, it was super easy and tasted fantastic.

And super bonus, my kitchen stayed cool!

Y’all ready for it? Let’s roll!

Grilled Pizza

Don't heat up your kitchen just to make some delicious pizza, throw that bad boy on the grill.

Course Main Course
Keyword grilled, handmade pizza, homemade pizza, Pizza
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Oh Sure I Can

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz Pizza sauce
  • 1 cup Mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Cornmeal

The list of pizza ingredients is endless. The world is your oyster, or in this case your pizza, my friend.

Instructions

  1. Let's start up that grill and get it real nice and hot. Prepare a small cup or bowl with about 1/4 cup of olive oil and place a paper towel inside. You will use this to grease up your grill. 

  2. If y'all have your own trust worthy pizza dough, by all means homies, bust that goodness out and move on to the next direction. BUT, if you are still in search for the perfect dough, head on over here.
  3. Now, that you have your dough ready to go, roll that sucker out on a floured surface. The best way to make a pizza into the size of an actual pizza is to roll it out a bit with a rolling pin. Then pick it up and use your fist to spread the dough into an even diameter. Once you have a decent size, lay it back down and use your hands to press it out further. 

  4. Allow dough to sit for about 5 minutes. In this time the dough will shrink back a little. It's cool yo, just push it back out with your hands. If holes appear, again it's cool, just pinch the dough back together and pretend it never happened. 

  5. Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly on a flat surface that you can transport your pizza dough on. Like a cookie sheet or a pizza pan. Lay your dough on top of the cornmeal, this will allow the dough to slide right off without getting stuck. 

  6. Open up that grill, grease it up nicely, and slide your pizza right on it and close the door. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Your dough will bubble. Don't freak out. Once it is all bubbly and nicely cooked on the underside, take it off the grill and back onto your sheet. 

  7. You actually want to flip your dough at this point, so the grill marks are going to be where you spread all your toppings. Brush the dough with olive oil, and spread your sauce and toppings on top. Don't get to close to the edge. Leave about an inch of space. 

  8. Throw that sucker back onto the grill for about 3-4 minutes. Timing here people, is really all you. Keep a close eye on how your pizza is cooking and use your best judgement. 

  9. Take it off the grill once it reaches desired doneness and BAM, you have yourself a damn good pizza! Serve with a nice refreshing salad with beautiful romaine, feta cheese, olives, grape tomatoes and a light dressing. 

Hey homie, I’d love to hear how you enjoyed this pizza. Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.

Happy grilling!

 

 

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Homemade Pizza Dough

I finally created the perfect pizza dough recipe! This pizza dough recipe is easy and delicious!

Oh pizza, how I have searched for years to find the perfect homemade pizza dough recipe to make you delicious. I have failed multiple times. But I never gave up and finally, I have found a recipe that will do you justice.

Wanna hear how easy it was? Well, let me tell you then.

If you are anything like me, you want pizza more times in a month than you probably should. But seriously, ordering pizza from out is a great idea for an easy dinner, then once you are done eating, you regret every bite. And the idea of homemade pizza is awesome, but when it comes out like cardboard EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. you are just not into it anymore. Anyone?

No……just me?

Well, I am going to share my dough recipe with you anyway. Because we are homies right? And that is what homies do. They share pizza dough recipes.

This is unfortunately a whole half of days worth of dough making which, when you are in a dinner pinch does not work out. I hear ya, I really do. So, I suggest you take one day that you are off and make yourself some dough and prep for those, “I wanna homemade pizza” kind of nights. This recipe actually makes two 10″-12″ pizzas. What is super great about this recipe is that it is totally freezer friendly. So make ahead, throw those bastards in the freezer and boom son, you’re one step ahead of yourself.

Ready for some homemade pizza dough?! Let’s roll!

Ingredients:

3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 packet of active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons Olive oil

Directions:

If you have a stand mixer, your life just got a tad bit easier. If you don’t you’re about to build some muscle. Which is kind of a win win, work your arms out, then have some pizza.

In your standing mixer bowl, pour in your warm water and active yeast packet. Allow to dissolve for about 5 minuets, it will get all bubbly and activate itself.

Once it is dissolved, use the mixing paddle attachment to mix the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil. Mix on low until you see everything mixed well. Now, switch to the hook attachment and allow the hook to knead your dough on low for about 10 minutes.

***This is the part where if you do not have a stand mixer, that you are going to build some muscle. You are going to have to knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes.

***You want the dough to be a bit sticky but not too sticky. If it’s too sticky, toss in a little bit of flour. A little goes a long way so go slow.

Now, grab yourself a bowl, grease it up with some olive oil. Remove your dough from the standing mixer and place inside greased bowl. Cover and allow to sit for about an hour and a half. Place bowl in a somewhat warm place. Like on the stove. You can make the stove nice and warm by making oatmeal raisin cookies while you wait of your dough to rise!

Once your dough has risen, lightly dust a cutting board and your hands with flour and knead your dough for 30 seconds. This is just to get all the air out and you can reshape it into a ball.

Are you looking for the best homemade pizza dough recipe? Come check it out!

Cut your dough in half. You can use both at this point or use one and freeze the other.

***If you are freezing one, place dough in the fridge for a bit to cool down. Then place in a ziplock freezer bag and freeze. To thaw, allow to sit in a fridge for 24 hours.

Roll your dough out with a rolling pin. Then use your hands to help flatten it out. Start at the center and work your way out.

Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes. Then stretch it out again until it reaches desired size. If a hole appears, which I am pretty certain it will unless you are absolutely magical, don’t get frustrated like I did. Just squash the dough back together.

At this point if you are moving forward with pizza making, sprinkle some cornmeal on the surface of which the dough will sit on, this will keep the dough from sticking to the pan. You can also spread olive oil over the top of the pizza before you put all your topping on. This will give the crust a nice crunch.

Throw that bad boy in a preheated oven of 450 and cook for about 10-12 minutes. But I suggest you check on it a few times. Every oven is different, so watch your pizza until it reaches the desired doneness.

I got crazy and actually made our pizza on the grill.

Are you looking for the best homemade pizza dough recipe?! Come check it out!

WHAT!

I know right, stay tuned to read all about that recipe. You can do that by subscribing to our email list. That way you never miss when there is a new post available. If you tried this homemade pizza dough recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

Happy dough making y’all!

 

 

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Lip Smackin’ Good Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

 

Finding a damn good delicious AND healthy oatmeal raisin cookie recipe can be really hard. The pictures look great but then you make it and they taste like……crap, I’m just gonna say it y’all.

They taste like crap. 

I don’t know about you but I want an oatmeal raisin cookie that is still healthy, without tasting like cardboard. I want a cookie that is full of flavor not just sugar. And I want a cookie I can give my kids without totally feeling guilty. I mean, this recipe calls for light brown sugar.

Is that healthy?

Well, if it’s going to give me a cookie like it did, without using processed white sugar, it’s healthy in my book.

Y’all ready for the cookie of your dreams?

I’ve already had two since starting this post, so I’m ready!

Cookie Making Time Y'all!
It’s cookie makin’ time y’all!

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

This oatmeal cookie recipe is healthier than most, and freakin' delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup All purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups Oatmeal
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Cranberries
1/2 cup Chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Light brown sugar
1/2 cup Softened butter
1 Large egg
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Healthy ingredients for oatmeal cookies

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda and set aside.

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2. In a bowl or large mixer, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Mix it all up yo, until you have a nice creamy situation happening.

3. Now, slowly add in your dry ingredients that we set aside. Once this mixture is well mixed together. Add in the rest of your ingredients. Raisins, cranberries, walnut and oatmeal. And what ever else tickles your fancy.

4. Mix it up nicely but not to nicely. You don’t want to over mix.

5. Place bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I know, you’re thinking, “what?!?” But trust me here y’all. It gives the dough some time to firm back up. Making it easier to form in a ball that is going to give you a damn delicious cookie.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Now scoop those little bad boys out and on to a prepared cookie sheet. No need to grease the cookie sheet. Scoop a nice 1-2 tablespoons and form into a ball. Slightly press down but still maintain the circle shape.

8. Throw those puppies in the oven for about 12 minutes. Or until slightly brown.
Once done, allow to cool for about 5 minutes. OR go ahead and shove one of those hot cookies in your mouth before anyone in your family sees you. I’m not judging.

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Let me know if these oatmeal cookies were worth the burn on your tongue! Leave a comment or review!

Happy baking y’all!

Hey, don’t forget to subscribe to our email list. If you do, all sorts of fun stuff happens. For one, you join the cool kids club and two, you get a FREE medicinal herbs recipe book with 6 super easy recipes.

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Using Essential Oils Around the House

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Essential oils are an incredible resource for health and well being. They can be used in more ways than your than your pretty little brain probably realizes. I get it, the word essential oil sounds kinda hooky. Every time someone asks me a health question or a suggestion, the word essential oil comes out of my mouth and I see them slightly roll their eyes. But seriously people, I wouldn’t be yapping about it if I did not freaking believe in them.

So……

I wanted to yap about some ways that essential oils can benefit you and your family other than just using topically, aromatically or internally.

Y’all ready?!

Dog shampoo: If you haven’t read about our previous devil pup, by all means mosey on over here to read about her and this awesome dog shampoo I made.

Glass cleaner: In a glass bottle, fill half with distilled water and half white vinegar. Add 20-30 drops of lemon essential oil. Lemon will not only clean your glass it will help neutralize the smell of the vinegar. As well as, provide an invigorating and uplifting smell. And who doesn’t need that while cleaning!

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Floor cleaner: I use this bad boy and let me tell ya, it is fan-freaking-tastic. Once I am done mopping the floors I just throw the mop part in the wash and BAM, no mop mess to deal with afterward. Since it has a water reservoir, I like to fill it with half water and half white vinegar. Then I add 10 drops of Onguard, 10 drops lemongrass and 10 drops tangerine and 10 drops of grapefruit. The combination smells heavenly and Onguard helps protect against seasonal threats.

Mouth wash: After brushing and flossing I like to fill my mouth up with water and I add 1 drop peppermint, 1 drop frankincense and 1 drop of myrrh. Peppermint freshens your breath while frankincense and myrrh provide support with oral health issues such as tooth decay, cavities and oral infections.

Diffuse: Sounds kind of obvious but hey I gotta say it. Diffusing oils can do so much for your mental state, as well as, your overall well being. My favorite mood lifter is tangerine, grapefruit, wild orange and lemongrass. Add 2-4 drops of each oil for an instant mood lift. My favorite for calming is siberian fir, balance, lavender and geranium. Holy moly, does this smell heavenly. Again just add a few drops of each oil.

Face oil: You’ll want to find an oil of preference for your face. For me argon and jojoba oil are two perfect oils that blend beautifully together to give me exactly what my face needs. In a 1 oz dropper bottle fill a 1/4 of the way with argon oil. Then add 4-6 drops frankincense, 2-4 drops lavender and 2-4 drops geranium. Fill the rest with jojoba oil, shake and gently rub in to face.

***I use the oil cleansing method for my face. I just massage oil onto my face after a shower, then I put a hot wash cloth over it for a minute, then I gently wipe off my face. Feel free to change up your oils.

Deodorant: There are so many deodorant recipes out there. I wanted one that I could rub on just like a normal deodorant. This one works fantastic. However, you do have to be mindful of black shirts. It will leave a white residue. In a bowl combine arrowroot powder, baking soda and just enough coconut oil to allow the powders to stick together. I have a full post here if you want to read it in detail. You can add any oil that tickles your fancy but I like to use lavender and tea tree.

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Wood polish: Holy moly, I am in love with this wood polish. It smells absolutely heavenly and it works fantastic. In a glass bottle combine equal parts olive oil and white vinegar. Then add 5-10 drops of arborvitae, wild orange, tangerine and lemon. Shake that bad boy up and spray your toots off.

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Linen spray or air freshener: This is a fantastic way to finish off your day of cleaning. I especially like to spray this when I change the beds. It just feels like it seals the deal. In a glass bottle you are going to mix 1 cup of water, 3 tbs of rubbing alcohol and 30-40 drops of lavender, geranium or any other essential oils that just puts your soul at ease.

***If y’all don’t want to make this but still want it apart of your life, mosey on over here and y’all can purchase it!

Alright y’all, I hope you found some sort of inspiration from this post. Essential oils can be utilized in every part of your life. This post was just how to use them around the house, I haven’t even tapped into how you can use them to reach optimal health. I know, I know, I’ll get a post out on it soon.

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Happy essential oiling y’all!

This post contains affiliate links. That means that when you purchase a product through the link I provide, Oh Sure I Can gets a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

 

 

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Magic Cleaner? I Think So Yo!

Homemade All-Natural Cleaner Recipe

Holy moly am I excited to share this homemade natural cleaner with you. So, one day I came home and my husband was like, “oh, I made a new cleaner.” I thought, cool! But then I actually tried this bad boy and was….

Blown away.

Not only did it clean the toughest grease stains off our stove, it also reminded me what a beautiful color white my kitchen floor tile was suppose to be. Yikes! Even my toilets sparkled after I was finished with them. And the smell……

wonderful.

If you are anything like us, then vinegar is your go to for everything. Which just absolutely feels great because you know you are keeping your family safe from harmful chemicals. But there is always the smell that many cannot handle, so they choose the harmful stuff instead. But please don’t.

I’ve got a solution yo!

Best damn cleaner recipe:

32 oz spray bottle

1/4 cup dish soap of choice

6 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons borax

3 cups hot water

Whatcha y’all wanna do is:

Heat up your water on the stove just to a low simmer.

Fill spray bottle with water, vinegar and borax. Do not add the soap just yet.

Give that bottle a shake. Shake it like you mean it yo.

Now, go ahead and add the soap and give it a little swirl.

Boom son, you just made yourself the best damn all natural cleaner there is.

Ok, now, I am going to be super vulnerable here and share some before and after pictures. Don’t judge, homie, don’t judge.

Before homemade natural cleaner

After Canning food, my stove top usually turns brown from the pressure canner. On top of super tough grease stains, my stove top was a nightmare.

After homemade natural cleaning recipe!

I mean, HEEEELLLLOOOOO!! Yes please! And seriously, not a lot of elbow grease went into getting the stains up either. IMG_7496

I just about died when I spilt a little of the cleaner on my already mopped floor and as I bent down and wipe it up I noticed a color difference.

WHHHHAAAAT?!?

My ADD peaked and before I knew it, I was on my hands and knees cleaning each individual tile. I mean, how could I not at this point. The best part of this cleaner is that, while I love vinegar, it doesn’t smell like vinegar. It smells clean. Like sparkly clean. You can always add some beautiful essential oils to make it smell even more beautiful but it really doesn’t even need it.

Give it a try homie. Let me know what you think. Are you embarrassed by your stove? Bathroom floors? Kitchen sink? Spray this bad boy on it and let me know how it works.

Happy cleaning y’all!

Looking for more natural cleaning recipes? Check out my All-Natural Lemon Vinegar Cleaner Recipe!

Learn more about Using Essential Oils Around The House

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Strawberry Jam Yo!

DesignIt was 93 degrees today with a humidity of 84%, sounds like a perfect day to stand barefoot in the kitchen over a hot stove and make some jam.

Don’t you think?

I mean, when really is a good time to can. No matter what, you are going to be dripping sweat so, I say F it…..

Can it up yo!

I love canning food. It is just so empowering to take a delicious piece of food, homegrown or from the farmers market and preserve it at its finest. But canning to many can be super intimidating. When really, it’s not. Today we will can up some delicious strawberry jam. Now, back in the day rule of thumb was a cup of white sugar to a cup of fruit. That just seems a little intense. When you have a pure piece of fruit that is organically grown with love and picked at its prime, there really shouldn’t be any reason to cover up it’s natural sweetness with processed white sugar. This recipe we will be using honey and the ratio will be more fruit than sweetener.

Jams, jellies and other high acidic fruits require the water bath method. Water bath method is using boiling water to process your jars. Usually you can find a water bath canner at walmart, target or even the grocery store. Or you can just click here and bam get one delivered right to your door.

Usually I skip out on added pectin when making jam in the past, which pectin is just a natural starch found in fruits and vegetables. This helps naturally thicken up jams and jellies. I did use it in this recipe and was pleased with the results.

Ready for the recipe…..

What you’ll need:

8 cups of strawberries

1 cup of honey

6 tablespoons of pectin

Juice of half a lemon

Whatcha wanna do is…..

Start up your water bath canner first thing. It’s a ton of water and takes some time to get boiling. Next, place a small plate in the freezer, trust me.

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Then wash and de-stem your strawberries. Now, you can either throw whole strawberries in a sauce pan and use a masher to mash them up or you can puree your strawberries. Either way bring those bad boys to boil.

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Add in your honey, pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a boil that can not be stirred down.

***Let’s take a second to talk about “scum.” Scum is simply air bubbles that rise up from the fruit during the heating process. It is a white foam that sits on the top of your jam while cooking. If you do not remove the scum, your jam will be discolored and processing may be compromised. You do not want air trapped in your jars. You can easily remove the scum as it rises to the top with a spoon.

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Next, remove the scum. See now aren’t you glad I explained what scum is first, now you’re not scratching your head wondering what the in the hell is scum?

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At this point, the water bath should be boiling. Go ahead and put all your jars, rings and seals in the water. Allow to boil for 10 minutes. This will sanitize and keep everything safe for canning.

Now, take that plate out of the freezer, I told you to trust me, and put a small spoonful of jam on it and place back in freezer for 3 minutes. This is an old trick to see if your jam is ready to can. When you run your finger threw it, it gels up a bit, that is when it’s ready to rock.

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Now take those hot jars out carefully, along with the rings and seals. Place a funnel over the jar and fill those bad boys up with jam, leaving a quarter inch of headspace. Gently wipe the rim of the jar, this prevents any residue from not allowing the jars to seal properly. Place seal and ring on and tighten only finger tight. ***Do not over tighten.

Allow filled jar to wait in canner by lifting your rack.

***Ball blue book suggests you do one jar at a time and allow filled jars to wait in hot water until jars are ready to be processed. By doing this all jars stay hot and at appropriate temperature.

Now gently drop your rack down, put lid on and process your jars for 10 minutes.

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Place jars on a towel and do not touch for 24 hours. This allows the jars to properly seal. Hopefully you get to hear the sweet sound of a delicate BING throughout the day. That sound my friends tells you all that sweating you did in the kitchen was worth it.

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***If your jars have white residue from hard water after processing, spray a paper towel with vinegar and wipe jars down.

Boom son, you just canned yourself some sweet delicious strawberry jam.

Happy canning!

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All Natural Cleaner? Yes Please!

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Alright y’all, it’s time to dump just one of your “favorite” chemical cleaners and give this bad boy a try. This whole living a clean non-toxic life, can get super overwhelming. We have learned that you have to take it slow. Just add one thing here and there to contribute to the clean and all natural life you are after. This little gem here is going to replace that disinfectant spray you use to clean your kitchen counter tops, bathroom sink, toilets, even your mirrors and windows.

Here is what you do.

Get yourself a glass jar with a lid and fill it with lemon rinds. We put lemon in our water everyday so instead of dumping the lemon down the drain, I just throw it in the glass jar I have sitting by the sink. Now add white vinegar to the top. Scratch that, add vinegar as you go. If you add it to the top when you have one little baby rind in the jar, you are not going to be able to put anymore lemons in without it spilling out. Now, allow this to sit on a sunny window for about 1-2 weeks. Allow the sun to warm up those lemons, so that they release their beautiful benefits into the vinegar.

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Once it is done steeping. Strain out the lemons into a bowl. You may get some pulp left over in the liquid. That’s cool, just use a jelly bag strainer or cheese cloth to strain out the pulp.

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Pour this liquid gold back into the jar and BAM you’ve got yourself a powerful disinfectant spray.

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Now, add to a glass spray bottle and spray away my friend. You can use straight or you can cut it with water, 1:1 ratio. Vinegar is a very strong smell and can get a little overwhelming when you first start using it as a cleaner. But the lemon adds a beautiful clean fresh smell.

That is it yo! Take baby steps. Don’t get overwhelmed. You cannot change your whole life over night. Pick one thing at a time and find a way to replace it with a non-toxic solution. Get comfortable with that solution, make it apart of your daily life. Then move on to the next. This is journey is not a quick one, it takes time, patience and a ton of trial and error.

Share your thoughts.

Happy safe cleaning!

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Damn Delicious Spaghetti Sauce

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Alright y’all, I feel as though it is time that I share our spaghetti sauce recipe. I get it, there are thousands of recipes out there, so why should you try this one? Because it is mutha f-ing delicious that’s why. This recipe has been handed down from my mother-in-law, thanks Gail! And now I hand it down to you.

Enough with the bull s*** let’s do this thang already

***Yo, use as many organic ingredients as possible, I feel like at this point I shouldn’t have to say it but I am…….so do it!

Ingredients:

3 cans tomato sauce

3 cans of stewed tomatoes

1 lb ground beef or turkey (we use turkey)

4-5  sweet Italian sausage links

1 Mayan sweet onion sliced or chopped

3-4 garlic cloves

Optional: mushrooms and bell peppers

2-3 teaspoons of each of these seasonings

thyme

marjoram

oregano

basil

italian seasoning

salt to taste

Directions:

*** This sauce is best cooked in a slow cooker ALL. DAY. LONG. But if you are running low on time and have a handy dandy pressure cooker, which side note I believe everyone should have one of these because they are freaking amazing, you can use this as well and it comes out beautifully.

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  • In a crock pot put your three cans of tomato sauce and three cans of stewed tomatoes. Add sliced or chopped onion, all dry seasonings and garlic. Start cooking the sauce while you prepare the rest.
  • In a pan cook your ground turkey or beef until fully cooked. Once cooked add to crock pot.
  • Remove sausage from casing and roll into small meatballs. Cook in a pan. Once fully cooked add those little balls of deliciousness to the crock pot.
  • Now just cook on low for as long as possible. Stir occasionally.

***You want your onions to be soft and supple.

Yes, I just used the word supple.

Cook yourself up some noodles and BAM you got yourself a damn delicious bowl of spaghetti sauce.

If you’re like us, you’ll end up eating the whole pot throughout the week. BUT let’s say you have more self control and want to save this bad ass sauce for future dinners. If you have a food saver you can seal up this sauce and stick it in the freezer. If you don’t have a food savor, get yourself a freaking food savor, stop reading this post click here. This thing along with the pressure cooker have been two things we have not regretted.

***If you plan on using your food saver and intend to freeze it, here are a few tips.

  • Portion out servings. Because let’s say your having a lazy Sunday and no one is really in the mood for anything and everyone fends for themselves. And let’s just say you are craving spaghetti, well you can just mosey on over to the freezer pull out a serving and make yourself a bowl without wasting a bunch of sauce.
  • Put the date on it yo!
  • Freeze your sauce as close to the date you made it as possible. I suck at doing this to be honest but it is so important. Portion out a couple of dinners worth and then freeze the rest.

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To have homemade spaghetti sauce on hand in times of need has been so incredible. So again get yourself a food saver homie and stock that freezer up!

Happy spaghetti sauce making!

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No Sugar Added Please!

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Normally when giving a recipe, I never give a story. I just want to give you quick and to the point, I mean you are here for a recipe and damn it I want to give it to you.

BUT….. I feel like maybe if this back story can shed some light on someone, it’s worth sharing, so hang in there.

I promise you’ll get something delicious at the end.

For a hot minute I did the Keto diet. My whole goal was to cut out sugar. See I am on this ever lasting quest to find a natural solution or at least a relief from ADD. My brain works in an unusual way sometimes. In ways I can’t explain and lately I’ve just been over it. Over this past year I have been more open about my ADD and as I discuss it with others, mostly other woman, I find that we all think and do almost the same things.

So is it ADD? Or is it the way woman think? Or is it the way we all think?

These questions go through my head all the time. I sometimes get so frustrated because I wish I could just be a little sharper, not forget things, be able to respond fast enough, be able to make a decision, not procrastinate, not forget about an appointment or what happened in a conversation two minutes ago. But then, the person right next to me who I tell all this to, feels the same way.

So now my question is, why are most of us feeling this way?

Possible answer, our food.

Our food is so packed with processed ingredients, sugar, GMO’s, antibiotics, pesticides, and chemicals……the list can go on.

How can we think clearly?

Rule of health is you eat 80% whole foods, 20% processed foods. Which seems like a high percentage of processed foods to me but in reality it is small. With sugar being the last thing you should stick in your body, especially processed sugar.

I had a little aha moment in my quest to finding a natural solution to ADD. One day I was just reflecting on conversations I had that day with woman I work along side with. All beautifully made, strong, smart, incredible souled woman. Some who are mamas some who are not. And in every comment made about behaviors, thoughts, feelings… almost all of us were like, oh yea been there felt that. Then for some reason, I realized all of us who were in the conversation, are a bunch of sweet eating junkies.

So, of course I went home and I researched ADD and craving sugar. Sure, muther f-ing, enough they go hand in hand. The way an ADD brain works is, if it is not stimulated then we lose interest. There almost has to be a reward of something at the end for it to hold our attention. Well what sugar does, is it stimulates the dopamine in our brain, which acts as a neurotransmitter sending signals to nerve cells that control reward and pleasures. This is what stimulates the brain. Which people with ADD need to feel in order to be content. So when one is not stimulated, often times something sweet is usually a mission of theirs to find. The body is needing and looking for that “high.”

Well, I am attempting to not feed that need and I am trying to clear the fog that consumes me. So, I attempted a Keto diet, no sugar, no carbs, high fat foods. I found it was not for me. But what I did find was that I wanted to continue to cut out sugar and keep my carbs as low as possible.

 

ADD is not fun. Feeling like you are constantly trying to hold your head above water, gets tiring. Creating chaos without realizing it, gets annoying. Doing stuff half ass because halfway through your head goes, “meh, I am over this!” SUCKS!!!

The more I research, the more I am aware. The more I can fight that part of my brain and be like, “Listen bitch, we are seeing this through. whether you like it or not!”

I will not stop until I find relief. I am a firm believer that our bodies are made to run like machines. And when given the proper fuel, food, it will run like a machine effortlessly. In my gut I feel like most ailments can be reversed through food. Through healing the gut. I will not let this “chemical Imbalance” define who I am. We are not meant to have imbalances. The symptoms we feel are signals that we must listen to and from there we must do the leg work and find the solution.

A natural solution.

BUT……..I am still fighting my sweet cravings.

It’s like crack, man! It really is. Annnndddd……

Since you actually made it to the end, here is your delicious sugar free sweet fix substitute.

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Recipe from keto cookbook Fat Fast

Ingredients:

85%-100% pure dark chocolate powder

8 Tbs of butter (real butter, grass fed organic butter)

3 Tbs coconut oil

4 Tbs natural peanut butter

1 Tbs heavy whipping cream

Sugar substitute equal to 6 teaspoons (I used 4 Stevia, a little less than the recipe called for but tasted great to me)

1/2 macadamia nuts

Directions:

  1. Melt together butter and chocolate.
  2. Add all other ingredients except for macadamia nuts. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Add in your macadamia nuts and pour into mini baking cups.
  4. Freeze until solid.

That’s it yo!

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Fresh out of the freezer, don’t mind the cold spots.

Enjoy frozen or allow to soften.

Now, these bad boys are not going to be your typical peanut butter cups but when you’ve got a sweet tooth and you’re trying to kick sugar. These lil’ F-ers do the trick.

Happy Questing and Chocolate Making!

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The Real Flu Shot

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Mother nature gave us these amazing resources to stay healthy. But some how along the way we got side tracked by shiny things. There is a reason why food has so much power. It is made to heal our bodies. Food is what we are meant to metabolize. We are so quick to pop a pill to help head tension or the feeling of a flu or cold coming on. But really, we need to put food, whole food, in our body to give it what it needs to heal itself. Let’s back away from the pills, cold medicines, cough syrups, and nyquil and trust that mother nature gave us all we need to fight off any harmful bugs that enter our body. Ready to fight this flu naturally?

Let’s do this.

This is our version of the flu shot. It actually has multiple parts to it so keep on a reading. It has some power behind it that will knock out what ever is a brewing inside you within a couple days. If caught early, you can even knock it out before it settles in.

Let’s talk a little it about why these ingredients are so important to help your body fight a cold, flu or infection.

Lemon: Is known for its antibacterial properties. It can help protect against throat infections. It can provide relief from fever by increasing perspiration. It can relieve congestion. Lemon is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate, zinc and iron, to name a few.

Ginger: Is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It can help lower chances of bacterial infection. The spice of ginger will help relieve congestion. It also helps provide a healthy digestion.

Garlic: Is mother natures antibiotic. It provides the body with the strength to fight against infections. It helps increase a healthy immune function. Garlic is a powerful microbial and anti-inflammatory.

Cayenne: Is a high antioxidant that helps provide support for the immune system. It will also help loosen mucus within the nasal cavity and chest.

Honey: Is a well known antibacterial and antimicrobial. It provides the body with soothing relief of sore throats, coughs and congestion.

*** It is best to use all organic ingredients. When choosing a honey, choose one that is raw and unfiltered. This means that it is in it’s purest form, with more health benefits.

Directions:

  • In a glass you are going to add half a juiced lemon, 1 TBS honey, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1-2 TBS grated ginger, a dash or two, depending on how brave you are, of cayenne. Add about 4 oz of water.

Now chug like a gansta.

***Do this about 2-3 times a day when you feel something coming on. If it has already hit, still do it yo! It will decrease the duration of the cold or flu.

Everyone has their variations, it is best to try all and find your groove. You can also add apple cider vinegar to this to kick it up one more notch. Apple cider vinegar has incredible properties to it, that will give your body the strength to fight off anything.

Second part to our flu shot….

We also like to take 2-4 doses of oil of oregano or oregano essential oil, when we feel something coming on. I will put a drop of oregano essential oil in a veggie capsule and take it 2-4 times a day. If I am doing oil of oregano, I will do about 8 drops under the tongue 2-4 times a day.

What is the difference? 

Oil of oregano is dried or fresh herb steeped in a high quality oil such as olive oil that is cold pressed and organic.

Oregano essential oil is oil derived from the plant through distillation.

*** Remember if taking an essential oil internally, please do your homework and find a high quality oil from a company that can provide you with certainty that it is in fact pure essential oil. Please contact me if you would like to hear more about essential oils.

Third part to our flu shot…

Elderberry Syrup! This berry has incredible properties to it that helps keep your body happy and healthy. If you haven’t heard of elderberry check out this post.  and if you want to make it check to this post. On the onset of a cold or flu we take this 4 times a day. If something is going around and we don’t want to get it, we start taking this 2 times a day for an added immune boost.

Lastly…

Black Seed Oil. This is the mother load here. If you haven’t heard of black seed oil check out this post and get yourself some black seed oil. We will take this 2-3 times a day when we feel a cold coming on. We take this daily but increase it by one or two when cold and flu season is around.

That’s it yo!

Our version of the flu shot. It may sound like a crap ton, but I swear by it. My house hold got hit with a nasty flu where the kids had fevers for about 4 days. Then five says later they came down with the stomach flu. I managed to escape both illnesses magically. And I owe it to this regimen above. Screw going to CVS and getting a flu shot filled with who knows what. Use what mother nature gave us, use food to help heal your body.

Happy Healing!

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Organic Homemade Pup Shampoo & Rinse

Easy Organic Homemade Dog Shampoo

Organic Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipe

So this is our pup. She is our devil pup. It’s been about a year since she’s joined our family and since I am doing a post on dog shampoo I figure why not introduce her. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Kaya. No we didn’t name her Kaya for that reason, But after we figured out what it meant we didn’t change it either so….. She is the sweetest pup in the world, she is very well trained she loves us so very much, BUT she’s the devil. I know, you’re thinking wait, how can that be her face is so sweet looking?

Well…….

She has torn up almost every single drip line throughout the back yard. She has eaten probably about five feet worth of our watering hose. She has straight up stolen the kitchen rug within seconds of me opening up the kitchen door. She will take that hat off of the boy’s head and bolt the other way. She will knock down the girl, then nip at her shirt as she’s sitting there screaming. Every morning when I go out to feed the chickens, she runs full speed ahead and slams her body against the chickens coop, which then sends them into a flying flurry, usually resulting in a wing slapping me in the face. She will nip at the foot that is in mid air while walking, you know the one that is suppose to catch your ass as it comes down. When she steals something she doesn’t necessarily run, she walks back and forth and stays just out of reach. She has chased me with a dead rat, pinning me in the corner of the chicken coop. So there was me, yelling at 5:50am on a Tuesday, “DON’T YOU FUC***NG DARE, YOU A$$$HOLE!!!!”

She’s our devil pup.

She is a beautiful Red Fox Labrador. She is super smart and just wants to love. She has enough energy for 50 elephant. She protects the kids while they play, once she calms the F down. She doesn’t run out the gate when it opens. She listens at the snap of a finger. She doesn’t come running in the house any chance she gets. When you stand up she backs down. She’s an incredible pup.

BUT she’s still a devil pup!

Well let’s get on with the reason why you are here. Since the seasons have changed, so has homegirls fur. We thought something was wrong with her so we took her in and the Vet was like umm, this is her undercoat. $48 bucks later to tell me it was her mutha f-ing undercoat, I am making my own damn shampoo.

And you know what! It worked beautifully.

 

Dog Shampoo Ingredients:

Dr. Bronners Lavender Castile Soap

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil

Filtered water

2) 16 oz Bottles or containers

Apple Cider Vinegar

Using Essential Oils For Dogs

Directions:

  • Fill your bottle half way with Castile soap.
  • Add 6-8 drops of Melaleuca
  • Add 6-8 drops of Lavender
  • Fill the rest up with filtered water.
  • In another container fill a quarter of the way with apple cider vinegar and the rest with filtered water.
Homemade dog shampoo to make your dogs hair soft and smooth
Look how smooth homegirl looks!

Boom son. You just made your pup some organic dog shampoo and rinse that didn’t cost you an arm and a leg. It lathers up very nicely. It smells heavenly and it actually has medicinal properties to it.

After lathering, rinse your pup really well with water. Then use the apple cider vinegar rinse like a conditioner. Let it sit for a minute or two and then rinse well with water.

The Castile soap has a ton of good oils in it like coconut oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil, which all will help moisturize your pups skins and coat.

Lavender soothes occasional skin irritations. And is known for its calming and relaxation properties. (Hmm, now that I think of it, I actually should’ve increase the amount of lavender I put in this!!)

Melaleuca is known for its purifying properties. It cleanses the skin and helps promote a healthy immune system. It is also great for occasional skin irritations.

Apple cider vinegar rinse will restore the ph balance in your pups coat and skin. And not to mention make his or her coat really soft.

So not only will your pup smell incredible, all the oils in this shampoo will help keep healthy beautiful skin and coat.

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I also used the Furminator on her coat as well. The Furminator is an intense brush that is SOOOOOOOO worth the money. It will get the thickest undercoat out with no problem. And it will last forever.

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Can you see her smiling!

Happy shampooing!

**If you are interested in where and how to buy doTERRA oils, contact me through email or leave me a comment. 

This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on a product that we suggest and purchase through that link, we get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support. 

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Our Front Yard Sprucing!

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Well it is time to start sprucing up the front yard. It has been about 5 years now and all our energy has gone to making a food forest in the back yard for our family to enjoy. But now everything is established and pretty much taking care of itself.

So on to the front!

When we first moved in to our home, we made a small little planter in front of the house and to be honest, we were quite proud of ourselves. I mean, it did make a difference in our eyes and that is all that matters, right?! But as we sat and thought about what we wanted for the front yard, we realized we barely made a dent.

We knew what we wanted, but had no idea how to get there. We knew that we were about to embark on a whole new project with fun new challenges but again, didn’t know how to exactly get there.

What we did know was…..

We wanted to create not a food forest like the back yard but a medicinal herb forest for the front.

We went to visit Diane’s herbs in Fallbrook ca, to get all of our herbs and plants and to gain a little inspiration because holy moly is she an incredible lady. I mean, when she talks you just get sucked into her. She is this amazing wealth of knowledge that you just want to absorb like none other. The first time we went we ended up staying two hours just talking with her and picking her brain. She showed us her little “shed” filled with dried herbs hanging from the ceiling, jars and jars of beautiful dried herbs, salves,  and honey sticks. I was in absolute heaven.

For this project she helped us lay out where all theses incredible plants need to live in order to be happy. She just knew exactly where to place every. single. one.

And let me tell ya, these plants are HAPPY!

We now have this beautiful medicinal herb forest filled with varieties of medicinal herbs that will continue to nurture our family, as well as, those around us. These herbs were placed on this earth for a purpose and by golly, we will use them as intended.

A little bit about the process we took to plant these beauties.

As you can see in some of the pictures we had this incredibly big bush as you walked up to our front door. We just got kind of tired of looking at it, so away it went. Not easily, let me tell ya, but it went alright! Then we and by we I mean, solely my husband, dug out the beautiful, thick, healthy grass that was just seeded And we created the new shape of the planter.

Then we, again just husband, laid compost over the whole area. Then we got to planting. The fun part!

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The mixture we used for the planting soil was perlite, sand, and a soil mixture. We mixed that up and placed in the hole where plants were going to go. BUT we also added…IMG_6418This to our mixture as well. Bone meal, garden tone, greensand and ground up egg shells, We used just a small amount of each of the plant foods and a palm size of egg shells in each hole before planting.

 

 

Then we planted all our new friends.

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In Progress!

 

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I mean how can your heart not just fall in love with all these colors. We cannot wait until they all grow in and bloom. Oh did you want to see more, here you go.

 

 

Oh wait and here is more…

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We, (husband), added drip line to all the plants to keep them extra happy and healthy with out us having to go water them by hand.

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When we first bought the house
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Our first planter
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Before our new project, look at that grass!
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After
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Isn’t it just beautiful

I just need to say that none of this would’ve come to life if it weren’t for my better half. He did every single part of this project and I couldn’t be more grateful. First he gave us our food forest in our back yard and now he gave us a medicinal herb forest in our front. Thank you my sweets, it came out absolutely beautiful.

Happy planting!

This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on a product that we suggest and purchase through that link, we get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support. 

 

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Elderberry Gummies

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I am always seriously shocked when I set out to do something and it actually works! I mean, it doesn’t always work let’s be honest. But I set out to make elderberry gummies for my kiddos and BAM, made some mutha f-ing gummies y’all. I have to say I am still on the search for the perfect gummie consistency, so stay tuned for updates to this post and possibly a new recipe. This here recipe is made with grass fed beef gelatin. I’m thinking a tapioca alternative might give me a more dense gummie. But we shall see. Anyway, back to this recipe. First off, super duper easy to make gummies. If y’all already have your elderberry syrup made up and in the fridge, then you are down right AWESOME and should pat yourself on the back for being one step ahead. If you need to make some syrup, you’re still AWESOME because you’re going to mosey on over here to use this recipe!

Things you’ll need:

Grass fed gelatin

Gummy molds

Elderberry syrup

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Directions:

1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

2. Pour 1/2 cup of cooled elderberry syrup in a bowl or measuring glass.

3. Add 1/2 cup of gelatin and mix generously.

4. While mixing slowly add 1 cup of hot water.

5. Then add 1 1/2 cups more of elderberry syrup. Mix until fully combined.

6. Pour mixture into molds.

7. Place in fridge for 20 minutes.

8. BAM, gummies yo!

A few notes here. The first batch I made didn’t really have to much taste to it. The second batch I made, in place of the 1 1/2 cups more of elderberry syrup, I used an all natural no sugar added strawberry watermelon juice and it came out tasty. If you want a sweeter option without using sugar, you can use xylitol. It’s an all natural sugar that doesn’t stick to the teeth, making ideal for kids.

Some say you need coconut oil to grease the gummy mold but the molds I used worked perfect. No oil needed, those little bad boys just popped right out.

Thats it! Play around with flavors and sweetness. I’ll keep you posted if I find a gelatin free recipe that holds the perfect gummy texture. Until then….

Happy Gummy Making!

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Homemade Elderberry Syrup

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If you haven’t already read the medicinal herb series post on Elder, I suggest you stop what you are doing and mosey on over there. Elder is incredible stuff especially during cold and flu season. Every year there is huge talk about how this years cold and flu season are the worst they have seen yet. Every year it’s the worst one? Crap, I am scared to see what next year brings. So I plan on stocking up on this stuff to help prevent any nastiness that may come our way. Right now I am putting all my faith into this stuff, well this and a handful of other herbs, my household is battling a stomach bug and I am wishing and hoping it doesn’t find a happy place in my belly. Fingers crossed that 4 doses of elderberry syrup, 4 doses of oregano oil and 3 doses of black seed oil throughout the day helps this mama stay strong. Anyway, back to what we are here for. Elderberry syrup. Let’s do this!

First things first, get your grubby little paws on some dried elderberries. Mountain Rose Herbs is an incredible source, however, they were out when I went to order them. So next best place, Amazon. I bought these and so far, we are rockin!

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup dried elderberries

1 tsp cinnamon powder or 1 stick of cinnamon

1-2 tbsp fresh or powdered ginger

3 cups of filtered water

1 cup of raw unfiltered honey

Directions:

  1. Bring elderberries, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for 40-45 minutes or until liquid reduces to about half.
  2. Strain liquid into a bowl using a cheese cloth or a metal strainer. Be sure to squeeze excess liquid from berries.
  3. Allow to cool just a bit before adding your honey. You don’t want to kill of the honeys natural properties but warm enough so that the honey melts.
  4. Stir it up!
  5. Pour into a mason jar or a swing top bottle.

Elderberry syrup will last about 2 months in refrigerator.

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Dosage: 

Children: 1 tsp once a day for maintenance. 1 tsp twice a day for maximum health benefit.

Adults: 2 tsp once a day for maintenance. 2 tsp four times a day for maximum health benefit.

Elderberry syrup from the store can cost close to $30 for a bottle. Making this syrup at home will not only save you a ton of money but you’ll feel good knowing you put your love and energy into keeping your family healthy.

Happy Syrup Making!!

The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any illness or disease. Consult with a health care professional before use.
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Kefir: You Got A Question? I Got An Answer!

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I have received a ton of question around Kefir. So I thought I would compile them all together and help take the fear out of fermented milk. When people hear the words fermented milk they immediately shut off. Seriously people, this stuff is the best stuff in the world for your entire well being. When I encourage people to make it at home, they look at me like, there is no way in hell I can make this stuff. Then they look at me and ask, are you sure it’s safe to drink? So lets take the fear out of it and start feeding our bellies with homemade Kefir.

What is Kefir: Kefir is a probiotic. It is a fermented milk that has the consistency of a drinkable yogurt.

What are grains: Grains are essentially little SCOBY’s, Symbiotic Colonies Of Bacteria and Yeast. Grains provide the milk with the necessary bacteria and yeast to create the fermenting process. They are only called grains, they DO NOT contain any wheat.

What kind of milk do I use: Preferably raw organic goats milk.

Next would be organic pasteurized whole milk. You do not want to used Ultra-Pasterized milk. When milk is pasteurized it is heated to a certain temperature inevitably killing off natural bacteria while still leaving some to live in the milk. When milk is Ultra-Pasterized, the milk is heated to such a high temperature that is kills of any and ALL bacteria, leaving no nutritional value in the milk what so ever. If you notice, that is why Ultra-Pasterized milk products have such a high shelf life.

You can use raw whole milk but you would want to acclimate your grains first. Using 25% raw to 75% pasteurized milk and then with each fermenting session increasing the amount of raw milk. Raw milk has tons of good bacteria already present. So sometimes if the grains you purchases or inherited were not acclimated to raw, they tend to compete with the other bacteria.

If you are looking for a non dairy option, coconut milk is the way to go. Coconut milk has natural lactose, which give the grains enough to feed off of to create the fermenting process.

How do I acclimate my grains: If you get fresh grains the first thing you should do is give them some fresh milk. Most likely you will receive 1-2 tablespoons of Kefir grains. To acclimate them place them in a quart size mason jar, pour milk to the top line and place in a cool dark place for 24 hours. After 24 hours, drain grains using a plastic strainer, place grains back in jar and pour more milk and do the process all over again. After the third time, your grains should be good to go. If you receive fresh grains in milk from a friend, those bad boys are ready to rock right when you get home.

When you buy dehydrated grains, some can take up to 2 weeks to acclimate. Usually dehydrated grains will come this a set of instructions to properly hydrate them.

Where do I buy grains: We have grains available for purchase here. When I first purchased my grains I purchased them from amazon. Just be sure you look into the company and feel good about who they are.

I am lactose intolerant, can I still drink Kefir: The grains feed of of the lactose in milk, which is basically the sugar. The fermenting process turns it into lactic acid making it much more easily digestible. 99% of lactose intolerant individuals can drink kefir with little to no problem.

One trick you can do is put a drop of kefir on your skin, let it dry and wait 24 hours and if you do not see any inflammation, you are good to go.

How long do I ferment for: Ideally, 24-36 hours. That doesn’t mean that you can’t strain your grains at 22 hours or if it hits 38 hours it’s ruined. That is just a guideline. The weather has a tremendous impact on any fermentation process. I’ve allowed my kefir to ferment 48 hours and I have also strained it at 18 hours, both perfectly fine to drink.

What size jar do I use: Best size jar to use is a 6 cup mason jar. You can use any size or style of jar you prefer, just make sure you can place a lid or coffee filter over the top during the fermentation process.

What milk to grain ration do I use: The best ratio I have found to make a great batch is 2-4 tablespoons of grains to 6 cups of milk. Now, I have also used about a cup of grains in about 6 cups of milk and my ferment comes out perfectly fine. So again, it’s a guideline. Fermenting is giving, it does not need to be exact. Adding more grains will speed up the fermentation process. Not having enough could make the process a bit longer. You need to play around and find how your grains like to react.

What kind of lid do I use: I used coffee filters with a rubber band at first, which worked great. However, sometimes my rubber band would break off. So I now use plastic mason jar lids. You can find them at any grocery store where they sell canning supplies. Plastic mason jar lids are not air tight, so it is perfect for keeping gnats out while still releasing CO2.

There is a lot of separation during my fermenting process, what is that: Separation is totally normal. When the grains feed off of the lactose it begins to separate the curds and whey within the milk. So you will most often times see a layer of yellowish liquid. Absolutely normal. That separation could occur super quick on a hot day or if you have to many grains for the amount of milk, either way perfectly safe to drink.

Is my Kefir supposed to have a strong smell to it: YES!!! The beautiful thing about grains is that they are a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, (SCOBY) so they will smell yeasty. They will smell sour. When they don’t smell is when I question my batch. If I do not smell a strong yeasty smell I usually allow my kefir to ferment a bit longer. Now with any ferment, your nose is the best thing you have to determine if something is not right. If in your gut you feel it’s not right, dump that batch and start a new one. BUT 99% of the time it’s a perfect ferment.

Why is my kefir sometimes really thin and watery: It could be the weather. If it is colder outside than usual, it may take your ferment a bit longer to reach desired consistency. Also, if you have to much milk for the amount of grains you have in your batch, you will end up with a thinner batch. Sometimes just letting it ferment another 24 hours will help thicken it up.

My kefir is super chunky, how do I make it smooth: Ok so you finished your ferment, you added your pureed fruit and it’s still really chunky, throw it all back into the blender and blend that puppy for 30 seconds or so. It will come out super smooth and delicious. It may seem a bit thin at first, I tend to find that after having out in the fridge for a bit, it will start to thicken up.

After each batch I strain out, I will puree 3 bananas for my 6 cup kefir batch and it helps thicken it up perfectly. I also add any seasonal fruit to add natural flavoring.

How do I store my grains when I do not want to make a batch: You can store your grains in the fridge if you’re not up to making a batch. Place them in any size glass jar, I use a quart size mason jar. Fill that bad boy up with milk and allow to sit in fridge for a week or two. When you start to see major separation, add more milk or make a batch. By placing them in the fridge your grains will hibernate.

My grains look different then from when I started, why: Grains are alive. They feed off of every batch you make, so they will grow and multiply. You may start with 1-2 tablespoons of grains and in a few months have 1-2 cups worth. They will look more plump than usual, thats ok, that just means you are loving your grains the right way.

I store my grains in the same jar I always have when I am not fermenting, but lately there is a lot of separation, quicker than usual, why: Your grains are multiplying and growing and they need more space and more milk to make them happy. Transition your grains to a bigger jar.

Can I rinse my grains: There really is no need to rinse your grains. After every batch just move your grains around as much as you can to get the kefir off of them. But if you must rinse them for any reason, you can do so by pouring milk or filtered water over them. Do not rinse your grains with tap water. The fluoride, bad bacteria and other chemicals found in tap water will kill your grains.

My Kefir is super sour, how can I sweeten it: I have found great results with 100% organic pure maple syrup. You can use fruit, agave or honey. However, there is some back and forth about honey. Because honey is an antibacterial and antimicrobial, some say it will kill off any bacteria found in the kefir. Some have great results using it. I’ll let you decide.

What are the nutritional benefits to Kefir:

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What is the difference between Kefir and yogurt: Kefir is considered a drinkable yogurt but is not considered actual yogurt. Kefir contains mesophilic strains, which are microorganisms that thrive in natural temperature. That is why we place our kefir in our pantry to ferment. Kefir contains about 10-40 strains of probiotics.

Yogurt contains thermophilic strains, which are single-celled organisms that are activated through heat. Which is why yogurt is made by heating up milk to a precise temperature. Yogurt also contains only about 4-10 strains of probiotics.

I hope I took some of the fear out of making homemade kefir. It sounds intimidating but once you find your groove it is super fun and the best thing you can give yourself and your family. I am always happy to answer any other questions. Please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Happy questions answered!

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Making Tea Like a Gangster

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Tea…………how do you feel about tea? Is tea part of your daily routine? Or can you even remember the last time you thought of tea? I was the one who could remember the last time she thought of tea, if I can be honest here. However, these days I’m finding myself salivating over it like a monkey over a banana. Is that a stereotype? Do monkeys even like bananas like we think they do? Anyway, back to tea, it’s freaking delicious when done right. I’m here to share how we enjoy tea time like gangsters. That’s right…….GANGSTERS. On with it shall we.

Lets do a quick break down of tea and why we should drink it. Doing some research we found that white and green tea are the least processed, so we’ve kinda stuck around the green tea variety.

1.Packed with antioxidants which do all sorts of good for your body. Antioxidants help remove free radicals, which tend to be the source of lots of diseases and ailments.

2. Less caffeine than coffee. Great option if you are winging yourself off the black liquid.

3. Helps prevent heart disease.

4. Helps reduce cancerous cells.

5. It literally makes you slow down and enjoy the very moment in which you should be present in. I challenge you to rush through a cup of scorching hot tea. You can’t my friends, you simply can’t.

Now tea by itself is good, but tea like a gangster is even better. Let me share. As we ventured into the world of tea drinking the amount of things that went into the pot have multipled and I honestly can’t say that the list of ingredients I’m about to provide you are it. The sky is literally the limit. Get crazy and have fun with your tea.

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List of ingredients and their benefits:

Ginger: Anti-inflammatory, aid in digestion, soothes nausea, supports respiratory function, fights agains bacterial infection, boosts immunity and helps fight cancer.

Lemon (and rind): detoxifier, aids in digestion, balances alkaline, vitamin C booster, helps fight infections and mood and energy booster.

Fresh Rosemary: Antioxidant, memory and mood booster, detoxifier, soothes nausea, aids in digestion, anti-inflammatory and calms the mind.

Fresh Mint: Decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion and soothes stomach aches, supports respiratory function.

Lemon Balm: Protects heart and liver function, calms anxiety, reduces stress, aids in digestion, powerful antibacterial and soothes pms symptoms for women.

Cayanne Pepper: Helps fight cold and flu, aids in digestion, relieves migraines, prevents blood clots and high in vitamins A and C.

Tea: Your choice we have really enjoyed our experience with Green Tea Kombucha by Yogi.

Heres what you do.

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There are no measurements here people, it’s an experiment with your tastebuds. Start little and work your way up.

First, grate your ginger.

Fill a pot with 2-3 cups of filtered water. Add squeezed lemon juice AND rind, mint, rosemary, grated ginger and a dash of cayenne. Bring that sucker to a boil.

Once boiling add your tea bags, we use about 3-4 bags, turn off heat cover and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Strain all that goodness out into a mug, that makes your soul smile, add some honey and enjoy that tea like a gangster.

Its going to burn, the cayenne the ginger, well they are hot so your baby mouth and throat are going to burn but you’re a gangster right! Drink it, it’s good for you!

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How To Juice a Pomegranate Like A MoFo

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So come to find out these “seeded apples” are absolutely amazing for you. I mean, we all kinda figured. Pomegranate is an incredible little fruit that contains tiny little seeds. Around the seeds are ruby colored juicy pieces of fruit. If you have ever tried to enjoy a pomegranate, I’m sure you’ve discovered they can be extremely messy. If you have never had a pomegranate, they can be extremely messy. We are going to be juicing a pomegranate today people. And even though it was incredibly tedious, I really enjoyed the whole process. It was actually relaxing.

Ok, so why are we juicing a pomegranate?

Well, like mentioned before if you have ever tried to enjoy a pomegranate it can be messy and frustrating. Plus, eating the seeds, although super good for you can get a little bla.  So why not learn how to juice the mutha f-er and get all the incredible benefits that way.

What’s so great about a pomegranate?

This post is about juicing the damn things, so I’m just going to touch lightly on the benefits.

* High in antioxidants: The amount of antioxidants that are present in a pomegranate can actually reduce the risk of cancer. There is what is called natural aromatase inhibitors, which actually decrease estrogen in the body. This can actually protect against breast cancer.

* Promotes memory and mental function.

* Helps protect against heart disease.

I encourage you to dive deeper into how amazing this fruit is.

On to juicing!

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1. First things first slap on an apron y’all. These little suckers can spray a beautiful deep red juice that will stain like a……… (insert your choice of profanity)

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2. Fill a bowl with water.

3. Score the outside of the pomegranate with a sharp knife into fours. Do not cut all the way through. You just want to cut enough to where you can break it apart.

4. Dip the whole pomegranate into the bowl of water and break it apart. Once you have a quarter of the fruit apart, gently rub off the seeds. The white skin will float and the seeds will sink.

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5. Drain out the water using a strainer. And pour seeds into a blender.

6. Blend gently for about 30 seconds. The point here is to break the juice off of the seed. You do not want to grind the seed.

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7. Use a mesh strainer, place over a bowl and pour your pulp and seeds through.

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You should be left with a beautiful deep red juice that is absolutely delicious.

The fresh juice should last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

You can pressure can the juice to add a much longer shelf life without using refrigeration.

Or you can fill mason jars leave about an inch of head space and freeze it. I choose  this method.

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There it is my friends. Fresh pomegranate juice that is insanely good for you.

Happy Juicing!

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Garden Pest Control With Neem Oil

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You plant this awesome garden. This awesome garden starts to produce awesome things like, tomatoes, basil, strawberries, peaches. You see the beautiful flower blossom. Then you see the flower turn into the fruit you have always wanted. You get excited that you finally, after years of picking off the fruit so it can stabilize, finally get to taste the fruit of your labor. Then BAM, that beautiful round tomato got taken out by some damn pests. Or that beautiful basil of yours has little holes on every single leaf. I think that when you have a garden these inevitable challenges occur. Just like weeds, but we now know that we let the weeds live, right? If you are not nodding your head yes like you should be, please head on over to here. Back to the pests. If you are attempting to grow an organic garden, which I highly encourage you to, sometimes you are left scratching your head not knowing what to do. Let’s talk about a way that can possibly help. Two words, NEEM OIL.

Neem is an evergreen tree. Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruit and seeds. Neem oil contains Azadirachtin, which is a very effective chemical that is non-toxic. The oil coats the leaves and also acts as a fungicide. It prevents fungus from starting and also smothers soft bodied insects. This dandy little oil takes care of up to 200 insects in the garden. Now I need to stress one point here about neem oil. It has to be 100% pure. Many store bought brands contain other unnecessary chemicals that are going to do more harm than good. I suggest buying this brand, it has worked beautifully for us and my husband, (who is the garden guru of our family) gives it two thumbs up.

So that little bastard that keeps eating your perfectly sized tomatoes, GONE. Those tiny little bugs that you can’t even see eating your gorgeous basil leaves, GONE. That army that took down your beautiful looking zucchini that you were so excited about, GONE.

Are you pumped up now? Are you thinking, lets do this! Okay, Okay I hear ya. Lets talk about how to make this magical potion.

Whatcha need yo:

1 tsp. of 100% cold press neem oil

32oz. spray bottle

32oz. of water

1/4 tsp. standard dawn dish soap with no additives

Whatcha do is:

Mix all ingredients listed above in your spray bottle. It is that simple. Well let me explain a little.

You want to put your oil in first. Then add your water then add your dish soap. If you add your oil and dish soap together, when you add your water you’ll end up with a bubbly mess. Then slowly turn your bottle side to side to gently mix the solution.

You want to spray your plants early in the morning. You want to spray the top side of the leaves and the underside of the leaves as well. You also want to spray the soil around your plant. This is usually where those little bugs like to lay their eggs. So make sure you wipe them out before they even have a chance. Now you don’t want to drench the leaves or the soil, just enough to coat everything.

Spray plants as needed or once every two weeks for prevention.

This mixture is only good for about 24 hours then as time goes on it becomes weaker and weaker so make sure you go on a mission after making this stuff.

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Happy pest killing!

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Blaukraut Recipe

 

 

Blaukraut Recipe

Let’s ferment some deliciousness, shall we. We are talking blaukraut recipes here people. This batch of fermented veggies came out much more mild than my last batch that had more onion flavor. This recipe calls for caraway seeds, which I had never experienced before. They are very interesting little seeds. They give the kraut a minty, spicy weird taste. There were times that I was like, “wooo okay, I can dig it.” Then there were times where I was like, “damn it, why are there so many?” If you have not figured it out by now, we are honest here, people. Take it or leave it. We still gobbled down two jars of this stuff, well because it was delicious and good for our bellies. So give it a try and let me know what you think, caraway seeds just might be your new favorite flavor. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

You can serve this with any dish as a side. You can put it in your sandwich for a nice crunch or you can top it with blue cheese crumbles and walnuts and have it as a salad. I didn’t have blue cheese but I had feta and Mmm it was tasty. Onward.

 

Blaukraut Recipe

Ingredients: 

1 head red cabbage

3 honey crisp apples

1 onion

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Directions:

1. Rinse cabbage and peel the outer layers of leaves that look run down. Save one or two leaves and set aside. Thinly shred cabbage and put in a big bowl.

2. Rinse, core and peel apples. Quarter apples and again thinly slice apples into little sticks. Add to bowl of cabbage.

3. Thinly slice onion and place in bowl with apples and cabbage

Blaukraut Recipe

 

4. Weigh your bowl to make sure you have about 2 lbs of mass.

5. Now add your salt and caraway seeds and begin to massage your veggies.

Now I must stress that massaging with your hands is truly the best way to work your brine out of your veggies. My first few batches I used my plunger from  my VitaMix blender and all it did was make way more work for me. The liquid took FOREVER to draw out and it just frustrated me. Then I started massaging it and BAM, liquid all over the place. The salt needs to be worked agains the walls of the veggies to draw out the liquid.

 

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6. Massage for about 5 minute and then cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit for about 30-40 minutes. When you come back to it you should see a little liquid in your bowl. Massage for another 15-20 minutes. When you squeeze the veggies in your hand and liquid pours out, you are about done.

7. Pack veggies in vessel of choice. You can use a crock, Fido jars, or a mason jar with airlocks. I went with mason jars with airlocks on them. I have been very pleased with this system. You can fit about 2lbs of mass in two quart size jars. Make sure you are pressing the veggies all the way down so that the brine (liquid) is covering over the veggies. This is what creates the anaerobic environment you are looking for. 

Fermenting Cabbage for Blaukraut

Fermenting Cabbage for BlaukrautFermenting Cabbage for Blaukraut

8. Remember that cabbage leaf I had you save, take one and place on top of your veggies. This is your primary weight. Now take a small jar and place it on top of the leaf, this is your secondary weight. Make sure to push down all the veggies so that the liquid rises. Your secondary weight can be a boiled rock, small jar, a plastic baggie filled with brine, whatever gets your veggies to stay under the liquid. 

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9. Place your lid with the airlock on it, the lid to your crock or your Fido jar lid and place in your pantry for a week to whatever tickles your fancy. This batch, since I had two jars, I took one out at a week and put it in the fridge. Then I let the other one sit for about three. We dug how tart the three week old batch tasted. This is all experimentation. Try different lengths of time, try different veggies, just try.

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That’s it my friends. Delicious fermented veggies that do amazing stuff for your bellies.

If you are interested in more information on fermentation read my post “What is fermentation?” And I have another fermented veggie recipe for you!

 

I am still on my experimenting journey. So share any secrets you have, I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Happy Red Cabbage Fermenting!

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Building A Chicken Roost

 

Lets do a little DIY project shall we. Let’s take some old tree branches and make ourselves a roost. Heck yes! This is pretty simple and to the point. Chickens need to be lifted off the ground to help them feel safe. So giving them this option builds happy secure chickens from the beginning.  But they are still being kept in a box because it is to cold for them to go out so, we felt like they needed a little something. That little something was a bad ass little roost for them that they absolutely love. Let’s get down to the niddy griddy.

Tools you will need:

Nails

Marker or pencil

Drill

Drill bits

Saw

Hand saw

Chisel

A hammer

A mallet

Dimensions:

Whatever in the world you want it to be.

We did a 2′ long roost that was 4″ off the ground. The concept is the same no matter what dimensions you plan on using, so have fun with it and don’t take it to seriously. It’s a chicken roost for goodness sake.

Directions:

First measure out how long you want the roost to be. Using a saw cut to that length. Next measure how high you want the roost off the ground. Again, using a saw cut two the same size. You are also going to want to measure out the leg supports. We did 4″ leg supports, as well as, 4″ high.

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Using a marker, mark where you would like your legs to be on the underside of the roost. Take your hand saw and score the bottom of the roost. If you are unfamiliar with what scoring is. That means you are going to run the saw through just enough to break through the surface. You might have to go over it a couple of times. You do not want to go all the way through. You are going to do the same with the leg supports. Then you’re going to take your fancy chisel and chisel out those areas you marked off. On both the bottom of the roost and leg supports.

Then you are going to want to apply some wood glue and attach the legs to the roost where you chiseled out, and glue the supports to the legs, where you chiseled out.

Once everything is dry, or not whatever, take a drill bit and make a small hole where you are going to drive a nail in on top where the legs are. Don’t drill all the way down, just enough to hold your nail in place. Drilling a hole just makes it easier for the nail to go in. Make sure the nail is flush with the top of the roost.  Now, do the same on the underside of the leg supports.

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BAM, I do believe you just made yourself a handsome looking roost. All while repurposing some branches you pruned off your trees. Double BAM.

Happy Roost Building!

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Medicinal Herb Series: Sage

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We are exploring the very interesting world of SAGE. Who would have thought this little plant packed so much punch. For centuries sage has been used in the kitchen, making dinners just a tad bit more delicious. But for centuries it has also been used as a medicinal herb as well. Let’s explore why you should have a ton of sage on hand at all times.

Growing Sage

Best grown in zones 4-8. If you are unsure of what zone you are, literally google it, it will pop right up. Sage loves full sun, warm conditions and well drained soil. I live in zone 9 and it has done great. As the plant matures, it can get leggy and wordy, so be sure to trim it back before spring brings new growth. The parts of the plant used are the leaves.

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Medicinal uses

Sage or Salvias officinalis is related to the rosemary plant and closely related to the mint family. It has been said that the rosemarinic acid within the plant contains many of its invaluable properties. Rosemarinic acid is an antibacterial, antimicrobial and an antioxidant. And has the biggest hand in preventing damage that has been caused by free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that have an odd number of electrons. Once these radicals form in the body, the cells in the body start to break down. Please take some time to look into free radicals. There is way to much science involved for me to fully explain. Free radicals are caused by, well everything,  our food, our beauty products, the sun, viruses…. I mean everything. So to help counter act the inevitable, pack yourself with antioxidants. Antioxidants counteract free radicals and do not allow them to fester in the body. So looping back around to sage, which contains a high amount of rosemarinic acid, which is super high in antioxidants, which will help reduce and prevent free radicals, which cause all the nasty stuff we feel. Whoo. Did you get that? Let’s dive into a little deeper what kinds of goodness sage has.

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First on my list is cognitive support. This is has been shown through studies on individuals who showed results with hours of taking sage. Their memory became more clear and their ability to concentrate enhanced. The neural pathways are stimulated creating the ability to stay focused. It has also been known to help treat AAlzheimer’s disease.

High in Antioxidants. This helps reduce and eliminate free radicals in the body caused by everyday living. Free radicals seem impossible to avoid, so to help the inevitable we must load up on things like antioxidants to help reverse some of that damage.

Digestive support. There is a bitter component to sage that helps increase digestive secretions that help allow the digestive track to flow. This can also be taken as a carminative, which helps relieve flatulence.

Skin Care. Just like any herb, sage can be used in salves, tinctures and teas. For help with acne, blemishes or uneven skin tones, rub a sage salve on your face to help balance out skin issues.

Helps relieve muscle tension. By using as a salve, you can rub on sore or tense muscles to help relieve the pain. There is an anti sporadic compound that helps relieve that tension.

Mucus reducer. Placing some essential oil in a diffuser or humidifier can help relieve mucus that is tight in the chest or sinuses.

Antibacterial, antiseptic, anti inflammatory. Sage can be made into a tea and used to help relieve head colds, sore throats, ulcers, inflamed gums, and indigestion. Just to name a few. The Phenolic Acid in sage has even been known to kill Escherichia Coli, Candida and Salmonella.

Helps reduce sympotoms of menopause. Made into a tea, sage has been known to reduce hot flashes and many other sympotoms of menopause.

Purifying the air. White sage is used to help purify the air and ones spirit. This sage is usually picked by stem and wrapped with twine. It is hung and left to dry. Once dry, you light the end with the leaves and blow out the fire. What is left is smoke. Then you go through your house and say a little prayer, mantra or just have good thoughts and allow the good energy to flow. This is called smudging. We try and do this once a year. We have also smudged our dog when he was not feeling so well. Maybe mind over power but hot damn our 12 year old dog was bouncing around like a puppy the next day.

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Sage has so many fantastic medicinal properties to it and should really be apart of your medicine cabinet. Sage, like all herbs should be used with caution. Sage should NOT be used while PREGNANT or BREASTFEEDING . It has been used to help reduce mothers milk production.

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Sage can be used as a tincture, salve, tea or just eaten directly. There are all sorts of sage varieties that give off different tastes. Let’s dive into a few types of sage.

Most popular in the culinary world is Pineapple Sage. It looks skinnier then the normal sage you see. But smells like pineapple.

Purple sage, which has a spicy aroma.

Green sage, large almost furry like grey green leaves. Used for teas.

Tricolor Sage which has a subtle flavor.

There are many different varieties of sage. These are just to name a few. Sage leaves can be used fresh or ground. Use light until you reach the flavor desired.

Suggested use

Mouth Spray: Great for sore throats or swollen gums. 

2-3 tbls dried herbs

1/4 cup vodka or brandy

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil

Spray bottle

Directions

Boil one cup of water and pour over dried sage. Allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and combine with vodka or brandy and peppermint oil. Pour in spray bottle and store for 1-3 months. To use, spray directly in mouth as often as needed.

It has been said that using sage over a long period of time can be somewhat toxic. When dealing with herbs there is always that controversy. I do not claim to be a doctor, or claim that anything listed above will prevent or cure any or all diseases. Nor do I claim it should replace modern medicine. Please use wisely and put forth much more research then just this blog.

Happy Saging!

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Homemade Kefir

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We are talking homemade kefir here people. I am so excited to share my little adventure with you. I am sure everyone around me is like, enough already. But I just can’t help it. I am a huge fan of this stuff and let’s be honest, it’s a blast to make. If you are new to the world of good bacteria, be sure to check out my post here. Check out this post if you want to learn what kefir is all about. And check this post out to get all your questions answered.  This post is about making this MoFo. So let’s get on with it.

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Making kefir is super easy and takes about 5 minutes to start the ferment and 10 minutes to finish it. Now, if you have had store bought kefir you are going to want your first ferment to come out exactly like that. At least I did, and I was super bummed when it didn’t. So realize that store bought is filled with sugars, preservatives and even pectin to help thicken it up and make it yogurt like. I am not saying that you’ll never reach that level of consistency because my good friend, you most definitely will. You just need patience and practice. From your first ferment to you 100th you are forever learning and finding new ways of deliciousness. As I go through the steps to making kefir, you may have questions and need more details. Please visit the Q & A post it will answer all that you are questioning. So on to making.

Directions:

  1. Place your 1-2 tablespoons of grains in a 6 cup mason jar and fill to the 6 cup line with milk.
  2. Place a coffee filter with rubber band or plastic mason jars lid on your jar. Do not over tighten.
  3. Place your jar in a cool dark place like a cabinet or pantry.

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img_2507img_25084. Allow to ferment for 24-36 hours. you will see separation of the curds and whey. Notice the yellowish liquid in the photo above. That is totally normal. Notice the photo below where it looks clumpy and kinda weird. Totally normal. There may also be a yeasty smell, guess what I am going to say……….you guessed it, TOTALLY NORMAL.

img_2509img_25105. Take a wooden or plastic spoon and stir that bad boy up. Then strain into a glass bowl using a plastic strainer.

6. Pour kefir back into mason jar. And you are done!

Now if you are straight up gangsta, you can drink it straight like that, sourness and all. But most of us need a little help and would appreciate some sweetness and flavor so here is what you do.

7. Blend up 3 bananas, 1-2 cups of fruit of choice. My preferred choice is to use blueberries and strawberries. Fresh or frozen your choice. I use frozen so I heat them up slightly so that I am not making a smoothie consistency. Blend all your goodness up and pour into your kefir. I also add a touch of 100% pure organic maple syrup to round out the flavor, just about a teaspoon. And you are done! Or are you?

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Now you can get extra crazy and put your kefir back in the pantry for another 10-12 hours. This is called a second ferment. By doing this you develop an effervescent taste to your kefir. Not necessary to do but could be a fun experiment. Once your second ferment is done, put in fridge and enjoy. I did this step for a while but found it was just much easier and still very tasty to just toss it in the fridge after I was done adding the fruit.

Let’s say you done making kefir for the week and you don’t want to make any more. All you are going to do is take a quart size jar, or whatever size you need, put your grains in it and pour enough milk to cover your grains plus an inch or so. Place the jar in the refrigerator. And BAM, good to go. Putting your grains in the fridge slows down the grains and the fermenting process. They will last for about a week or so. Just make sure after a week you give them fresh milk to fed off of. The milk that you use to store them in is still delicious and can be consumed.

 

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Get crazy here people. Once you got the basis down start trying new things. You want this to be delicious, that way you actually drink it everyday. I make about a two gallons a week and that seems to last us, barely. We drink this everyday, kids and all.

I’m so excited to share this with y’all.  Kefir can be made into cheese to! Which is super exciting to make, post sure to come. Let me know how your kefir comes out.

Happy Kefiring!

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Kefir? What’s That?

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Holy moly have I been dying to write this post. It’s homemade kefir time people. For those who have never been introduced to the lovely world of good bacteria, kefir is a great place to start. Now, either you are raising your fists in the air with your head tilted back whispering, yeeeesss. Or you are scratching your head wondering what in the world is kefir. Kefir, my friends, is fermented milk. Now now, before you start judging and thinking why would anyone drink fermented milk? Kefir is one of the best ways to put the good bacteria back into your gut. Why is that important? Well let’s dive in shall we.

We tend to lose the good bacteria in our guts through our diets and through medications we take. Have you ever had stomach issues? Diarrhea for no good reason? IBS? Allergies? Fatigue? The list really could go on and on but we will stop there. All these things are actually linked to our guts. What research has shown is that most illness and diseases can be a direct link to the health of our gut. Our guts are the main source of health if you think about it. Our digestion controls how we feel. If we put a big fat greasy burger in our bellys, are you going to feel like you are on top of the world with energy and motivation? Probably not. Most of us would be thinking of plopping down on the couch after because holy moly we feel like we just ate a brick. That’s because the amount of energy it takes for our body to digest that big slab of meat with a bunch of grease on it, is A LOT. Our diets tend to kill off the good bacteria we should have in our guts that allow us to absorb the nutrients we ingest. These good bacteria are so much stronger then the bad bacteria that they actually kill of the bad bacteria and do not let illnesses flourish. They allow your digestion to take a rest and start flowing the way it is suppose to. I am not saying go out and eat a big fat burger then drink some kefir and all will be right with the world. Energy in changing your diet needs to be present as well.

Along with our diets, medication can really disrupt the good bacteria in our bodies to. When we take antibiotics we are essentially killing ALL bacteria in our bodies that are causing infections to grow. That’s great for the bad bacteria but we just so happened to kill off our good bacteria to. Probiotics, like kefir, help replenish that good bacteria.

What is kefir?

Kefir is a probiotic. It is fermented milk made from kefir “grains.” Now I put grains in parentheses because they are not actual grains. They are little cauliflower, gelatin looking grains that are a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). If you are thinking, Kombucha? You are right my friend. What the grains or SCOBY’s do is, they feed off of the lactose in the milk and fill the milk with 30-50 strains of good bacteria. Store bought kefir contains about 6 strains.

Benefits to Drinking Kefir

Boost Immune System: Biotin and folate are highly present in Kefir and are directly linked to the immune system.

Fights off Cancerous Cells: By healing the gut with the presence of good bacteria, toxins that are linked to creating cancerous cells in the body are fought off.

Supports Digestion: Again, by healing your gut and intestinal track through the use of good bacteria, your body begins to digest foods properly, when given the right diet.

Reduces Allergies: The live microorganisms which are present in Kefir help reduce inflammatory in the body, helping reduce allergic reactions.

Incorporating Kefir into your diet daily, multiple times a day, can help heal your body by filling it with good bacteria. Kefir is a fermented product, when you ferment something you are preserving that food item through the use of bacteria, good bacteria. Our bodies need bacteria to to stay balanced. However, it is when we have to much of the bad bacteria in our systems that our body’s begin to become off balance. We start to feel more tired than usual. We suffer from allergies. Stomach issues. Depression. Anxiety. Have thyroid issues. When we do not create a balance with bacterias in our systems, we run the risk of developing leak gut syndrome.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Our entire health starts in our gut. When we trash our gut with processed foods, medications, alcohol, caffeine…. we run the risk of developing what is called leaky gut syndrome. Our intestinal track has what is called tight junctions. These are the gateway to our blood system. When they become malfunctioned due to all the daily wear and tear, they began to open up. When they open, they let all the toxins that are in your intestinal track leak out into your blood stream. When these toxins enter your blood stream, they inevitably go straight to your brain. This can cause so much damage to our bodies. This has been linked to diseases such as Autism, Alzheimers, depression and ADHD just to name a few. I encourage you to research Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who is famously known for her research on gut health.

How do I make Kefir?

Making kefir is really odd because you leave milk out on you counter for 24-36 hours with the grains inside. I am not going to lie it’s pretty nerve racking the first time you make it because the thought, “did I do this right” will be screaming through your head. I promise you, you made it right. It is really hard to mess up. The kefir grains put so much good bacteria through the milk that it is impossible for the bad bacteria to grow.

Some bacteria and yeasts found in kefir are:

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Bifidobacterium bifidum

Streptococcus thermophilus

Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus

Lactobacillus helveticus

Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens

Lactococcus lactis

Leuconostoc

And this is seriously a modest list. However, all grains contain more or less. It is kind of impossible to get all grains tested for which strains they carry. Just know it’s a ton and all that goodness is going into your belly.

How Do I find Grains?

When buying grains look for a company that has treated their grains with love. May sound silly but its not. When treated with love the grains tend to be happier and healthier. You want plump grains. Grains that have been active within the last week or two.

There are two options, fresh or dehydrated. When you have the option of fresh, I feel that is always better. Dehydrated are still good but they may take longer due to the fact that you have to rehydrated them and acclimate them all over again. Amazon is a great place to find grains. We do offer grains here and I assure you, I love my grains as if they are apart of my family. Because, well, they are.

What if I am lactose intolerant?

There are some people who are lactose intolerant, I’ve got good news for y’all. Since the grains feed off the lactose, which is the sugar in milk, it’s turns to lactic acid. That sounds kinda creepy, but it’s actually a really amazing thing. Don’t freak out people. Making kefir is like fermenting vegetables. You are essentially controlling the environment with good bacteria to inhibit the bad. So for those of you lactose intolerant, there is a 99% chance you can drink it with little to no problem.

Are you dying to know how to make it? Oh my goodness, I thought you would never ask. Let’s roll.

Happy learning!

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Reference: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Deodorant

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Say what! You heard me mang, homemade deodorant. It really is a satisfying thing to slowly start weeding out commercial products and replacing them with natural resources. To tell you the truth I’ve gone back and forth with weeding commercial products out. I go for a long time with using homemade products and then I second guess myself or think, is this product really working? I go back to using chemically filled tubes of lord knows what. I don’t feel totally great about it but it’s what I’m used to and it feels and smells nice. Then it hits me again, wait why am I using this? So here we are again. My plan this year is to completely weed out skin and hair care products and replace them with natural resources. Let’s see if I can make it an entire year. So far I’ve stopped using commercial shampoo and conditioner. Ive replaced it with Dr. Bronners soap and citrus hair rinse. Now let’s replace this nastiness we call deodorant.

Why love your armpits? Well they are your bodies way of expelling toxins. When we sweat we expel toxins and if allowed, much of that sweating is done by those lovely little armpits of yours. When we use commercial deodorants that contain nasty chemicals like, aluminum, formaldehyde, carcinogens, and antifreeze agents we are contaminating our bodies even more then we realize. These chemicals block your pours from releasing sweat or toxins. They fill your body with unnecessary hormones. It’s not good people. So let’s love our armpits again and make them some deodorant that’s going to allow them to sing again……and sweat.

I’ve made a ton of different deodorants over time. There are a lot of good recipes out there. I’m not saying this is the ONLY one I’ll use. But it’s by far the best most familiar feeling recipe I have found. I may experiment with another recipe later but I’ll keep you posted. For now let’s make this armpit goodness up.

You’re going to need:

Arrowroot powder

Baking Soda

Coconut Oil

Esential oils of your choice. I suggest tea tree oil and lavender. Tea tree will help protect against unwanted bacteria or pathogens. Lavender smells delicious and is an antibacterial and naturally cleanses.

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Now for those of you who need exact measurements, this is where your anxiety is going to peak, there are none. You just need to throw a little of this maybe a lot of that to get the right consistency. If you need a measurement to start with, I would start with a cup of each arrowroot and baking soda and go from there. What you are looking for is, when you crush some in your hand, it will stay intact. If it doesn’t, then add a little more coconut oil. You do not want a paste but you do not want it to be powder. Once you have your consistency down, add in your oils.

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I had an empty Dove deodorant stick that I cleaned and then just packed in my homemade stuff. It packs in pretty nicely and you are still able to use the dial to turn the deodorant up when needed. Boom son, you’re done. Now go on and let those armpits of yours breath and detox.

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I am serious, they need to detox. This takes about a week or two depending. The first few days you’ll be like, oh yea this is cool, I’m not sweating I smell great…! Then BAM a week or so later you start sweating like a hog and a nice little musty smell starts taking a toll on your self confidence. This is where you start reaching for the damn commercially made crap. I encourage you to keep going, my friend. I promise this stage is only temporary. Your little armpits need time to detox and your ph needs to balance back out. Once this happens you won’t sweat as much and the smell may lessen. I say may because you just might be a naturally smelly mofo.

So let’s do this thing together. High five for happy pits!

Happy deodorant making yo!

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Purple Sweet Potato Baby Food

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Let’s indulge our little sweet human in the deliciousness of purple sweet potatoes shall we. Making baby food is really not that difficult. I think many mamas get a little intimidated and don’t even try but seriously, try. It’s so easy and what better thing to feed your brand new little baby then homemade pure food. Am I right or am I right!

Purple sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C and in magnesium. They are a super food. Purple sweet potatoes are high in vitamins B6, iron and potassium. Purple sweet potatoes are perfect for your baby! I mean come on, you should be eating this delicious potato as well. And seriously, how beautiful is the color. Alright, well let’s get to it and make our little human some food.

Purple Sweet Potato Baby Food Recipe

Step by Step Purple Sweet Potato Baby Food Recipe… It’s So Simple!

First things first wash your potatoes with a brush and get as much dirt off of it as possible.

Get a pot with a few inches of water and put a steaming basket in. Bring water to a boil.

Purple Sweet Potato For Baby

Next, peel and cut ends off of potato and cut into big chunks. Don’t forget to throw your peels and ends in the compost.

Making some yummy japanese sweet potato baby food!

Drop potatoes in pot and cover.

Allow to steam for about 20-30 minutes or until you can pierce them with a fork very easily. Just like regular russet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato baby food is so easy to make!

Once done allow to cool for a bit and put them in a blender or food processor. Add some filtered water, breastmilk or formula and blend those puppies up. This purple sweet potato baby food is so nutritious for your little one!

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Pour potaoes in ice cube trays. Cover with press and seal wrap. Label and place in freezer.

Once frozen take trays out for about five minutes. This makes popping out the cubes a lot easier. Then pop out the cubes and place in freezer bag. Date, label and high five yourself!

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How easy peasy was that. Now, get yourself a crap ton of potatoes, make a big batch freeze them like I told you and you have baby food for a month. I’ll do big batches of a few things like apple sauce,  pears, even butternut squash. That way I can mix cubes up and give my little poodle noodle a variety.

To cook just heat them up in microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute.

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If y’all enjoyed this post head on over to here and or here for more baby food recipes.

Happy making!

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Chamomile and Lavender Tea for the Bath

 

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So my little poodles, and by poodles I mean my children not actual poodles, are not feeling well. They got a little nasty chest cold happening and it’s really not fun for any of us. When your kids are sick, do you ever not want to inhaling the same air as them? Or when they go to touch your, well anything, you pause for a second and hold your breath and think, “oh man, I’m probably going to get sick!” Or better yet when they look right at you with that sweet poor little sick face and in that moment your guard drops and you just want to cuddle them and then they cough practically in your mouth and then in your head you yell, “damn it, now I’m really going to get sick!”……..anyone?…….. just me?……come on, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway moving on, so my poodles are sick right now and yes while we do give them medication like Tylenol, we still like to help them feel better using natural remedies as well. My go to when they are not feeling well is to make a tea for their bath using lavender and chamomile. These two together smell just heavenly. The strong aroma of the lavender soothes them while the chamomile relaxes their ailments. Let’s dive into both of these herbs.

Chamomile is such an essential herb to have on hand when you have kids. It is one of the safest herbs for children to ingest. When our son was born he was very colicky. When nothing else worked I would make him a very diluted chamomile tea and give it to him in a dropper. It would relax him enough for us to grab a breath before he started up again. I would also make a double strength batch of chamomile tea and pour it in his bath. Man oh man, I discovered the powers of this method. He would go into a little bath sedation. His whole body would relax and you can see him soak in every bit of what was happening. So once I found this, it’s usually my go to when they need help relaxing.

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So chamomile is super helpful for stomach digestion. It helps with colicky babies. It helps relieve diarrhea. It helps relieve stress and anxiety. Chamomile can help relax sore muscles and joint aches. It is super helpful to calm the nervous system. It’s been known to help with menstrual cramping. It can be taken internally, topically, and aromatically. There are a few ways that you can introduce chamomile into your life. By making a tincture, salve, tea or essential oil. Tinctures are amazing. They are usually made by infusing vodka with dried herbs and then taken internally. However, you can also use vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar. Salves allows you to apply it topically like a lotion. Teas allow you to ingest it internally and essential can be used topically as well as aromatically.

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Lavender, as we have discussed before, is just amazing. It is an antifungal, antibacterial, it helps calm the nervous system and helps relieve headaches and minor aches and pains. Lavender just smells absolutely divine so by adding this to a bath or honestly any way possible, will only make your soul smile. Lavender can be used the same way as chamomile as a tincture, salve, tea or essential oil or however your little heart desires. Lavender can be ingested. For me when an herb can be ingested I feel pretty confident with it being safe enough for my children.

So let’s make a little ol’ tea for the bath shall we.

if I don’t have any lavender harvested from the garden my favorite place to buy herbs so far is from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are certified organic and I don’t know why but I just dig them. Same with chamomile, we haven’t had any luck, just yet, growing chamomile so I usually buy it from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Now naturally I remembered to take pictures after I had already steeped my tea so bare with me. So, to make a tea for the bath there really are no measurements, let’s eyeball it here people it’s going to be okay. Fill a small pot up with water and bring to a boil. Throw in about ¼ cup of each herbs. Turn off the flame and cover your pot and allow to steep for about 20-30 minutes.

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Once it’s done steeping grab a jar or bowl place a strainer over the top and pour your tea through. You can take a spoon and press all the liquid out. Toss your steeped flowers in your compost.

You’re ready to rock. Toss that tea in a bath and let it do its magic.

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Happy tea making!

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Comfrey

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What Are The Benefits and Uses of Comfrey?

Wooo let’s talk about an interesting little plant called Comfrey, or if you want to get fancy, Symphytum Officinale. This plant is one of those medicinal plants that you just want to have on hand. Because when sh!t hits the fan, this little bad boys going to come in handy and you’re going to think to yourself, “I am so glad I subscribed to Oh Sure I Can blog and learned about this!” Alright maybe that’s a little over board but seriously, if you’re building your holistic medicine cabinet, this is the herb for you. Okay enough with the babble let’s get down and dirty with this bad boy.

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Comfrey, it grows about 3-4 feet high. It has bristle like hairs on the leaves. It grows these beautiful little delicate purple, white, or pink flowers. The roots grow deep and strong making it a very hard plant to get rid of. The roots are covered in a bark revealing a white center when cut. It is a strong beautiful plant when watered daily and loved. Ahhh yes I went there!

Comfrey Tea

Comfrey is a wonderful plant to have to add extra nitrogen back into soil. It can be used as a chop and drop, you chop the leaves back and drop as a mulch and it composts back into the soil. A Comfrey tea is always a win for your lovely garden. You chop some leaves put them in a bucket. Cover leaves with water and allow to steep for about 3-6 weeks. Bing bang boom, you got a delicious comfrey tea your plants will delightfully drink up. Just mix about 15 parts water to one part comfrey tea. This method makes more of a concentrate so it can go a long way. Water away and your plants will say, ahhh thank you.

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Comfrey Benefits

The medicinal properties of Comfrey are really what we are after when building our holistic medicine cabinet. Comfrey contains allantoin, rosmarinic acid and tannis all which help the skin rapidly grow cells back. Making this a great herb to have on hand when you have a minor scrape, burn or wound. Comfrey has also been known to help heal broken bones and sprains. WHAT! It’s true. It has anti inflammatory properties to it as well. I mean what other plant out there do you know can help heal a broken bone?! Let’s just say that Comfrey benefits are extraordinary!

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Comfrey Uses

Now how do you use comfrey, this interesting plant. You can use it in a salve by creating an oil with the plant and mixing it with beeswax. (Psst..Here’s the recipe for a lavender comfrey salve!) You can make a poultice, by blending up fresh leaves and spreading it out on a cheese cloth. Learn how to make comfrey poultice here. Or you can just use it fresh leaves, rub it a little in your hand to break the walls and lay it over the sprain or wound.

We had a really hard time finding this little miracle plant. But keep looking for it at farmers markets or reputable seed companies and get it growing in your garden already. You won’t be sorry and maybe one day you’ll be like holy moly, I have this amazing comfrey plant that I could use to help my back pain go away. I’m tellin’ ya, comfrey is an amazing plant with so many uses.

Happy comfreying!

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How To Make A Comfrey Poultice

How do I make a Comfrey Poultice?

So, How Do I Make A Comfrey Poultice?!

We are making a poultice here people. If you don’t know about Comfrey yet I suggest you mozy on over here and read about it. It’s an amazing plant to have on hand. When growing medicinal herbs finding ways to actually use them can be tricky. You have tinctures, salves, poultices, ointments, oils, teas…. I mean seriously, the list is long. Which is a really an incredible thing because no matter what ailment you are after there is a natural way to help cure it. So today we are venturing into the poultice world. If you have been wondering how to make a comfrey poultice, you have come to the right place!

What is a Poultice?

A poultice is a soft mass of material, such as herbs, that can be applied topically to skin. What a poultice does is comes in direct contact with the area that is needing attention and allows the medicinal properties of the plant to enter the blood stream. Poultices are incredibly easy to make and great to have stocked up in the freezer to always have on hand. While poultice can be made with almost any herb, we are making a Comfrey Poultice. Comfrey is an anti inflammatory, helps heal burns, scrapes and wounds, helps heal sprains and more. Comfrey poultice can even be used for broken bones! So needless to say we want this bad boy ready to rock when we need. Alright, let’s do this.

Step 1: How to make comfrey poultice.

Making A Comfrey Poultice Step by Step…It’s Simple!

First off, gather up some leaves. We are going to be chopping and blending so make sure you gather quite a bit. Now you want to give these leaves a little rinse. Don’t go crazy, just rinse them enough.

Step 2: How to make comfrey poultice

Next, roughly chop up leaves. Just enough to where they fit in your blender.

Step 3: How to make comfrey poulticeBlending up comfrey poultice!

Comfrey Poultice has so many benefits, it can be used for arthritis, broken bones, bruises, and more!

Jam some in your blender or food processor add a little warm water, not too much just enough and blend up until a thick paste appears.

Making comfrey poultice at home.

Lay out some cheese cloth and slap a little in the middle. Fold it up and really that’s it.

Comfrey Poultice on wax paper ready for the freezer.

We laid some out on some wax paper and popped them in our freezer. That way if needed we can use it as a cold compress or thaw it out and use it accordingly. How easy was that. For a video of how we make this bad boy, check out Harvesting A Green Life on YouTube.

Don’t forget to learn all about Comfrey!

Also, check out my Lavender and Comfrey Salve!

Happy poultice making!

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Canning: Chicken Stock

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It’s getting fun up in here with some chicken stock people. We love making chicken stock. Now, it does take some time and effort and sometimes we just don’t feel up to making it. But when we do man, oh man do we love it. Now when I say we, I’m mostly saying my husband. He’s been the real master mind around this chicken stock making adventure. This post is really a big fat thank you to my husband for taking time after working all day to make us this deliciousness. The feeling that comes from popping open your own delicious can of chicken stock, is like no other feeling in the world. You feel accomplished, satisfied. How do we (my husband) make it you ask, oh well let me tell you.

You know that whole chicken you buy from the store that you cut up. You cut out two breast, two legs and two wings,  then you throw the rest away. Well I encourage you to stop throwing the carcass away. You are going to take that bad boy and bust out your crock pot. If you don’t have a crock pot, that’s cool, just take out a big pot and throw it in that bad boy. After you cook it for a full 24 hours you are going to bust out that bad ass canner you bought your self and can up that delicious stock you just made. If making it in a pot, you’ll just cook it for about 12 hours.  I guess that was a little vague uh, ok let’s get into the details.

Ingredients:

Chicken carcass
3 carrots
3 celery
½ sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Filtered water

Directions:

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After you cut up your chicken and your carcass is left, throw it in a crock pot.

Rinse carrots and celery, no need to peel the carrots. You are not eating them, all these veggies are just for flavor. Chop carrots, celery and onion. Throw in crock pot. Along with cloves of garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Now add filtered water just until it covers chicken and veggies. Turn on low and cook for a full 24 hours, you may need to turn it back on low after so many hours. My husband usually starts it after dinner, after cutting it up and then finishes it the following night right before we start dinner.

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After the full 24 hours, get your pressure canner on the stove filled with water and start heating it up. Get everything else you need for canning. (click here for a refresher) Next, you are going to take a big pot and put a strainer on top of it. You want to strain the meat and veggies and reserve the liquid. We usually pick out the bones and as many of the peppercorns as possible and feed it to our dog. Nothing goes to waste.

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Put the pot back on the stove and just bring it to a boil. Once your pressure canner is ready, put your funnel on your jars and fill with stock. Leave ½ inch of head space. Wipe rim of your jars with your paper towel, put your lid and ring on and tighten only finger tight. Place those suckers in the canner. Put your lid on and allow steam to vent for a full 10 minutes. Now, steam will start to trickle out of the vent hole as soon as you put your lid on. What you want to wait for is a full flow of steam to come out of the vent. Once that happens set your timer for 10 minutes. Once your timer goes off you are going to put on your weight at 10 lbs and process for 20 minutes for pints 40 minutes for quarts.

Once your time is up you want to just turn off your stove and allow the pressure canner to cool and release the pressure. DO NOT try and speed up this process by trying to cool it down with a wet towel or ice. Just turn off the stove and go about your business for about 30 minutes or until the gauge reads zero. Then you can take off the weight and I usually wait about another 30 minutes. I believe the instructions say to wait another two minutes but I stay on the safe side. Take your jars out and place on a towel on the counter and leave for 24 hours. By leaving the jars alone you ensure the jars seal properly. If you’re lucky you might hear the sweet sound of the PING, the sweetest sound to a canners ear. That sound tells you, you just canned yourself some chicken stock, homie.

How to use your chicken stock:

1. Sip on it when you are sick, it is amazing at boosting your immune system and makes you feel so much better.
2. In any recipe that calls for stock or broth.
3. I use it in my homemade Spanish rice.
4. Use it in sauces.

The list can really go on, use it like you would store bought stuff. Don’t forget to label and date your jars. They will sit pretty in your pantry for about a year.

Happy chicken stock making!

Oh and help a homie out and hit the like button if you dig this post, pin it if you want to get crazy and follow if you just want to be cool!

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7 Uses for Lavender

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Let’s talk lavender for a second. Who here loves lavender, anyone? I mean come on, how could you not. Am I right. Think about it, it is this gorgeous plant with these beautiful delicate purple flowers. When you run your hand through the soft willowy strands of leaves, this aroma consumes you. It brings you to a state of purity and peacefulness. You inhale the deep, rich scent of calmness. It is no wonder that this plant is used for so many things. Let’s dive into lavender itself shall we.

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Why should lavender be apart of your life:

Umm well because it is down right amazing, that’s why. Not only does is smell so delicious, it has medicinal properties to it, making it a must for your natural medicine cabinet. Lavender promotes calmness to the nervous system making it a great remedy to help ease anxiety and relieve stress. It is a mild antidepressant, antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial. It is used to help treat headaches, heal minor burns and scraps and relieve tension in the body. Lavender is one of those plants that can do more then you ever imagined. You can use it in your bath to whisk away the stress of the day to disinfecting a door knob in a strange place.

How to use this delightful plant in your daily life: Here are 7 suggestions

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1. Make a tea.

Boil a cup of water in a sauce pan on the stove. Turn off your water and add 1-2 tablespoons of lavender flowers, cover and steep for 10-15 minutes. Add a touch of honey and maybe a squeeze of lemon. There really is nothing more relaxing then sitting in your favorite place in your home and sipping on this delightfully fragrant calming tea. As your hands grip the warmth of the cup and you slowly raise it to your lips, you are transported to this place of absolute peace.

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2. Lavender infused vinegar.

Whaaaat!?!? You heard me, lavender infused vinegar. As if vinegar wasn’t already awesome enough. Like mentioned above, lavender is an antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic, making it a perfect addictive to help keep your home clean and safe. No chemically induced products needed here. What you do is, for every cup of white vinegar you use add ¼ cup of lavender flowers. If you don’t have enough in your garden. The best place I have found to buy them is through Mountain Rose Herbs. They are organic and pure. Once you mix the lavender and vinegar cover with a lid and allow to sit on your sunny window for about 2 weeks. Everyday shake it and love it. I say a little prayer as I shake it everyday. For me, that just puts the good juju in and I believe that makes it work even more. After 2 weeks strain out the flowers and don’t forget to compost those bad boys. Now you want to dilute the lavender vinegar with water, making it a 1:1 ratio. Now spray away my friends, clean and disinfect that house of yours.

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3. Make an air freshener.

This one is easy peasy. If you grow your own lavender, just cut some sprigs and some flowers and hang them to dry. In 2-4 weeks they will be nice and dry and all you do is scrap off all the leaves and flowers. Put then in some cheese cloth, tie it up and stick it in a drawer, closet or area needing a little pick me up. The smell is divine.

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4. Make some linen spray.

Here, you can make some lavender tea to add to the solution or you can use lavender essential oil. I would suggest using essential oil because the tea is a deep purple and could, not always but could, stain something. So if your feeling brave enough tea it up yo. Now you’ll want to mix 2 cups of distilled, I repeat distilled water, ¼ cup of vodka or rubbing alcohol and about 30-35 drops of lavender essential oil or half a cup of tea. Mix it up and bam you’ve got some lovely linen spray.

5. Diffuse it up yo.

We LOVE our diffuser. It runs almost every night with all sorts of yummy scents. Most of the time it’s lavender mixed with a handful of other oils. This is the best way to get those tiny scent molecules running though the air and making a positive impact on the whole family.
6. Make a tea for the bath.

You heard me, tea for the bath. When our kids are a little extra crazy, I make a pot full of double strength tea and pour it in their bath and let them just sit and relax in it. They come out just a tad bit more relaxed and it helps them sleep. Not to mention they smell heavenly.

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7. Make a tincture.

Oh my goodness I love tinctures. They are the best way to get direct results. A tincture is medicine made by infusing a plant with alcohol. When making a tincture for children you can also use vegetable glycerine or apple cider vinegar. It just has a shorter shelf lifelong, about a year. Generally, you use vodka 80-100 proof, which gives it a shelf life of about 5 years. What you do here is pretty simple and non formulated, take a mason jar and fill it with lavender, however much your little heart desires. Now pour your vodka, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerine until it covers the lavender. The lavender will rise to the top and float in most cases. That’s ok as long as there is enough liquid. Cover with a lid and let it sit on your sunny window. Make sure to touch it everyday and give it a little shake with a little prayer. A tincture is used to help relieve an ailment so you want your prayer and good juju to be apart of that healing. Allow to sit for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks strain out flowers and put in a dropper bottle. Take a dropperful under the tongue when needed. When placing it under the tongue, it actually enters the blood stream faster, making it more effective.

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This list can go on and on but we really need to stop somewhere right. So dive in and start exploring the world of lavender, it really is amazing.

Oh and help a homie out and hit the like button if you dig this post, pin it if you want to get crazy and follow if you just want to be cool!

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10 Uses for Dr Bronners Soap

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Let’s talk about soap….baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about………oh, sorry it just felt right! If you got that I give you a thumbs up with a head tilt and a smile, if you didn’t, thanks for making me feel old! Anyway, seriously let’s talk about soap people, specifically Dr. Bronners. We discovered Dr. Bronners 5 or 6 years ago and fell in love with everything it was about. Dr. Bronners was this little man named Emanuel Bronner who was a third generation master soap maker, he took that ability and wanted to make a difference in the world as a whole. On the soap you get a nice little history and way of looking at life, it’s pretty grounding. This soap is certified organic and certified fair trade, which means that they ensure the workers and farmers that they source their products from are treated and paid fairly for their hard work. You feel pretty damn good when you lather up with this soap, just saying.

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This soap comes in a liquid castile soap, bar soap and different products such as toothpaste, shaving soap, lotion, etc. We mainly use the liquid castile and the bar. We are going to talk about how you can use this soap because seriously, it is so versatile you can use it from washing the dog to brushing your teeth. When shit hits the fan and all you have is a bottle of Dr. Bronners you’re going to remember this post and think, “ahh everything’s going to be alright, I’ve got my soap.” Let’s get to it.

These suggestions are coming right from the bottle, even though I’d like you think I am that creative with soap, I can’t take the credit. Our favorite ones to use are the peppermint, lavender and the citrus. Peppermint just makes you feel alive and tingly, lavender calms your soul like you wouldn’t believe and citrus wakes your ass up in the most peppy way possible. Here are ten ways to use all the castile soaps.

1. Apply to a wash cloth and wash your face, hands and body.
2. Use a small drop and lather in hair for shampoo. You can also use Dr. Bronners hair rinse after in place of conditioner.
3. Dilute 1:10 with water to wash dishes
4. Use in place of laundry detergent, just pour 1/3 cup in the machine and to soften use ½ cup vinegar.
5. Use it to clean floors, use ½ cup in 3 gallons of hot water.
6. Use it to wash your puppy dog. Hell even the cat.
7. Squirt a little in a bowl with water to wash fruit and veggies.
8. All purpose house cleaner. ½ cup of soap to a quart of water put it in a spray and bam you got yourself some cleaner.
9. Use it as a bug spray for plants. 1 tablespoon to a quart of water, you can also add a dash of cayenne.
10. Last but not least, use it as shaving cream.

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I mean holy moly what can’t this soap do or clean. I have also made laundry soap with the Dr. Bronners bar soap. When making laundry soap you want to use a soap that contains coconut oil. Coconut oil is an antibacterial, which is needed to help clean the clothes. All of Dr. Bronners soaps contain coconut oil. If you haven’t discovered this soap yet, seriously do it now. It’s a thing of beauty!

Happy soaping!

Oh and help a homie out and hit the like button if you dig this post, pin it if you want to get crazy and follow if you just want to be cool!

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Homemade Toothpaste

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Tired of brushing with fluoride? We were too, so we decide to make our own toothpaste. You know what, it has been the best experience ever. There are so many recipes out there using combinations of baking soda and coconut oil but for some reason brushing with coconut oil just didn’t tickle our fancy. This recipes has been a perfect combination of minty goodness and fresh feeling cleanliness. As usual with most of my recipes, it is as easy as one, two, three. Let’s get to it.

Ingredients:

Organic baking soda
Food grade hydrogen peroxide
Stevia
Vegetable glycerin
Peppermint essential oil

Shall we do a quick discussion on each of these ingredients? It will be quick, I promise. Baking soda cleans. Hydrogen peroxide kills bad bacteria and whitens. Stevia sweetens it, well because it’s pretty salty without it. Vegetable glycerin is used as a thickening agent as well as a sweetener. Peppermint essential oil makes your mouth sing with freshness. Done. See I told you it would be quick. On to the making of it.

Grab your self a bowl and start mixing. There really is no exact measurement. What you are looking for is a toothpaste like consistency. Start with the baking soda, add the peroxide and vegetable glycerin and mix until you find that paste. To thick? Add some more peroxide. To runny? Add more baking soda and a dabble of vegetable glycerin. Now with the stevia you are going to add just one heaping spoonful. I added a heaping and a leveled out spoonful and it was perfect for the amount shown in the picture above. Next, add about 20-25 drops of peppermint essential oil. Guess what, you just made some pure, heavenly tasting toothpaste for a fraction of what organic non fluoride toothpaste costs. The best part is, you made it yourself.

When choosing the ingredients, choose wisely. Choose organic, pure, food grade ingredients. Remember, this is going in your mouth you want to feel good about it.

Happy brushing!

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Homemade Laundry Soap

I can get into the harsh chemicals and fragrances that are in laundry soap but considering most of us can’t even pronounce half of them why bother. I’m guessing, if you’re interested in this post you have already discovered that the soap you have been using for all these years is just not the best route to take. So let’s skip the details that we all already know and get to the good stuff.

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This recipe is super duper easy, the three things you need:
• Borax
• Washing soda
• Bar of soap (preferably Dr. Bronners)

You can add essential  oils as well if you would like a scent. Lavendar, lemon, tea tree are great options. Play around and find what tickles your fancy.

You want equal parts of all three, so if you use one bar of soap it’s one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda. If you use two bars of soap you use two cups of borax and….you get the idea.

You want to grate the soap, yes, like cheese. Then dump everything is a food processor, I found using a blender just made everything get stuck at the bottom. The food processor has more space at the bottom that allows everything to mix together more easily. By using the food processor it will grind your grated soap to a corse powder, which helps it break down faster in the washing machine. Leaving it grated works but it will get stuck to your clothes, not so much fun when washing darks.

That’s it people, you have got yourself some homemade pure laundry soap. I use a cup from an old laundry container and scoop just the bottom line of the container. 1:1 ration lasts us usually about 3 months. Doubling or even tripling your ratios can give you quite a bit of soap, leaving you extra time to can up some beans!

Happy soaping!