Friday, July 19, 2013

Sometimes The Little Things Make A Difference

My day started off with just a quick run to the grocery store. Very normal, and definitely not uncommon. Obviously, not knowing me, you don't know that I tend to be very outgoing. So as my cute lil son and I walked in our favorite guys at the sushi counter greeted us before we even got close to see if we were stopping today. We ordered stuff for our lunch with Daddy today and headed out to finish stuff while that was made. My hubby needed some ground beef for jerky and I wasn't near our meat place so I was just going to grab some ground sirloin (yes, I know that doesn't fit in with the "natural" way but I needed it and this is what I did). I walked up and my favorite meat lady (anytime I need something in a pinch she is so willing to help me find the best way to get it) was out and asked what I needed. I told her and she grabbed the best one for jerky and headed back to grind it for me. Again, had to wait so I went on to grab some frozen fruit for making fruit roll ups today. I needed the big bags and they were all out of the big bags of strawberries. So I went to the Dairy/Frozen foods manager and asked if they had more, he checked and found they haven't had any for a couple weeks. He then compensated the price with the smaller more expensive bags for me. I was loving my shopping experience and I wasn't even done!

Since the manager was so nice I decided to test my luck and see if I could get them to carry heavy whipping cream that was carrageenan free. I told him that I had asked Sprouts but the dairy manager wasn't willing to work with me at all. I recognized that Fry's (the store I was at) was a bigger local chain grocery, but I know they have been growing their organics section. I asked if they were willing to see, I would even do the leg work to find what brands they had and suggest the product. He was 100% willing to help me get it in. We went over to the organics manager and she called the dealer. The Organic Valley dealer said that only comes in seasonally. So now I'm going to print off the product info and put in a special request that they attempt to get that, and inform them that Organic Valley also is going to carry raw milk now also. While I don't use that currently, I know somewhere someone will appreciate that its there. 

I understand that shopping at Whole Foods or Sprouts is supposed to be where to get the better, more organic selection of foods. I have to say I love that our local grocery carries a lot of the same things and, unlike Sprouts, is willing to listen to what I need and attempt to get it in. MAN that made my day!!! Yes, I will still get Things from various sources but I was heard.  I was able to get a better product in that offers less processing for others and my family. I didn't even go with that intent. Just one thing sparked off a door that was open to be able to easily get something that I need for us to live a healthier life. I am far more willing to try Fry's first to see if they have what I need. They still have some overpriced items versus elsewhere, but most of those are things I can stock up when I go to the stores that I know carry better prices. 

All this to remind people, some days its the little things that can make a difference in our lives as people in general. Kind words, a friendly smile, being open to other ways of thinking. No one judged me, and actually the dairy manager asked why I didn't want carrageenan. I had the opportunity to teach and share that it can cause inflammation and while the percentage is low in my cream, there are a lot of products that have it. If you constantly have little bits it obviously adds up if you aren't watching. He was interested, intrigued and now informed as to a product that is in a lot of their milk products. He even walked with me as I showed him milk products with it in it, and he was surprised when I grabbed a seemingly healthy whole milk container and it contained it. I didn't force it, in fact I kept it to referring to the fact that we do this in our household and know of many others doing the same. Just making differences, small as they may be, can impact others and bring about an ultimate change that a lot are looking for!!

Just had to share how other people being good neighbors REALLY made my day!! :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

DYI Baby Gift Time!

Nothing is more fun than a friend having their first baby. Watching the couple to through the pregnancy, then that LONG last month that seems to last longer than the previous 8 months... Then comes this beautiful baby, first time, or even veteran parents are so fun to see with the little blessing that they have made. Holding that little baby, smelling their little smell and hearing those sounds brings back a ton of memories. So I love making up a fun baby basket to help bless the new mommy. 

Today I got the chance to add some stuff to my regular basket that I do. I always buy a few things that I know the parents can use, add some stuff I've made and call it good. This time though I decided to branch out a bit. I brought my stuff out and made not only my usual vaseline and baby diaper rash spray but added nipple cream, a "mommy relief spray" and pad spray to help the mom feel a little better during her recovery so she can just enjoy being a new mom. So let's take a look at how easy it is to make this basket. 

First off, obviously adding a few things like burp rags, bibs and a fun little toy or two are fun to shop for and give the parents more things that we all know can be used. Adding the bought stuff also helps to stabilize the stuff you make and keep it from tipping. It's hot here so some of the homemade products tend to get soft if left in heat too long, last thing I need is for them to tip. I got the basket from my local grocery store on clearance (Actually I got a few because I love using baskets for gifts). Here is the rest...

Vaseline - As most people are now aware, store bought Vaseline is made with petroleum products. Most of us that are trying to stay away from products that aren't natural need a one without that. Plus, who really wants to put industrial products on our baby's bottoms or anywhere else for that matter? I had it melting while I mixed up the cream. 

You take 1/4 cup beeswax and 1 cup olive oil and place either in a double boiler, or I just use one of the small crock pots, and warm until beeswax is all melted. Make sure not to heat too much or you will burn the olive oil, while you can let it set a bit in between stirring I do encourage you to watch it. Once all the wax is melted you can add essential oils or take vanilla beans, scrap the seeds and mix it into the oil mix while it's still warm. Being this is for a little one that isn't mine I didn't add any fragrances. I poured one for my friend then added eucalyptus (40 drops in a cup of the oil) and lavender (15 drops) to make some more Vicks in another jar, I used all mine on my baby during his latest cold. It worked out well. 

Nipple cream - While my vaseline wax was melting I quick put together some nipple cream. This has 3 simple ingredients;  1 part coconut oil, 1 part shea butter and 1 part cocoa butter (I used deoderized so there is less chocolate smell). There is no beeswax in this cream, beeswax can still carry honey with botulism so avoiding it all together when a baby may ingest it is best. Shea butter has anti inflammatory properties and can be used in cooking. Coconut oil is obviously edible and a great skin moisturizer but is also anti fungal in nature. Cocoa butter is edible as well (it's used to make chocolate) and helps keep the skin elastic and moisturized. So as you can see nothing in this cream is harmful to the newborn making it perfect to use prior to feeding and then again afterward. It helps to put a protective barrier while feeding. All you do is take equal parts of all three, soften, mix and put in a jar. Yup, that's it. 

Calming pad spray- Anyone that has delivered a baby vaginally knows that the first month can be... Well, uncomfortable to say the least. I dreaded having to head to the restroom (I wish I had this after I had given birth). So I definitely needed to add this to my gift. Again, it takes all of 5 minutes to make. I just used a measuring cup and mixed it all in there. 1/4 cup witch hazel, 1 Tablespoon pure aloe vera, 10-15 drops lavender. Then poured the whole mix into a small spray bottle. Again, could it get easier? The aloe Vera soothes, witch hazel decreases inflammation and the lavender has anti bacterial/antiseptic properties. Together all of them help calm, soothe and reduce some of the pain and swelling in the perineal area along with any lingering hemorrhoids. All the new mom needs to do is spray a nighttime or heavy duty pad with this spray, don't soak the pad, cover with aluminum foil and place a few in the freezer, grab and take for placing after using the restroom. 

Refreshing Mommy Spray - What better to go with a nice soothing pad than a spritz first with some spray that has just witch hazel and lavender? Together both help to give just a nice way to freshen and feel a bit more able to cope with the pain and burning. To make this just fill a small spray bottle with witch hazel and add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil. 

Baby Diaper Rash Spray - My last baby had diaper rash BAD. We did A&D cream, zinc oxide, cortisone cream, anything just to give his poor little butt a break. Then I decided to try putting a few drops of tea tree into some water and use it as a spray. Too easy right?? NOPE worked awesome every time for us. So now it's a staple gift to new moms. Tea Tree has so many qualities such as anti bacterial, anti fungal, antiseptic and its drying quality was a bonus for skin that tended to be wet a lot. The fact it was an oil really helped keep the urine away from his diaper rash and we saw healing in 12-24 hrs after applied. Can't beat that. I have had friends that have used it and loved it too, so there you go... Just fill the spray bottle with water and 10 drops tea tree and you have instant diaper rash spray!! :) 

So there you go, it takes all of about 20 minutes to make a bunch of fun products for mom and baby that makes a great addition to any gift!! 

To make this process easier, using one of my favorite ways to shop, I have added things I have used here to my shop to help you on your way. Do know that in addition to finding everything you need in one space, you are also helping me (as an Amazon Associate) continue to buy supplies to do all the ideas shown on this blog. Just go to my store and look under the tab that is marked 'DIY Baby Gift'. A lot of these products can also be found in your local pharmacy and natural food stores. 

Now off to go bless my friend with a fun basket for her and baby!! Oh and the bonus is I get to hold the baby so she can look through all the goodies! 

Disclaimer: Please understand that this information is for educational purposes only. The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and they are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. Don’t take my word for it…you should always engage conventional wisdom and consult with your medical professional to determine potential drug interactions and safety of use.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Getting Back on Track

Summer break is over for us here and with school comes busy after school times and hungry children by the time supper rolls around. While I wish I could say that I'm really organized, unfortunately I can't. Not that I don't try. So now that a new school year has begun I am attempting to get back on track with getting organized and ready for a new start too. 

First thing I did was make sure that I had meals made and school snacks on hand for the start. Every year I mean to do this and time slips away putting me behind the curve. This year I made the time, and for those that read Getting Ready For School Start, Beyond the Supplies, you will know I was on it this year and have that checked off my list! I love that, my list grows so much, it's nice to have time to check things off. 

Second thing I've done is made sure to start budgeting my food again. If I go off I tend to spend a PHENOMINAL amount on food and a lot goes to spoilage. Such a waste, so I try hard to keep a plan and stick to it. Even if it means that I change the menu items around, as long as I stick to it we do SO much better!! This week I kept things simple and integrated some premade frozen meals in because I know those days will be busy. After I made the menu it was easy to go to the grocery and stick to my budget (ok, kind of because hubby needed very lean ground beef for jerky he made with the kiddos. So that put me over, even if it was for a good cause). The nice part is when I do this not only do I find I spend far less on impulse buys or things "I could use" to make a certain meal, I know exactly what I need. The amount of overage of food is TREMENDOUSLY less than my "throw together" way of shopping. Plus, I can also organize and prep a lot of food at the beginning of the week. My actual meal cooking time is reduce and meals are far less stressful when I know exactly what is being made each night and have the flexibility to swap meals if needed. My menu this week cost me $200. For a family of 7, and I pack lunches, that comes out to $4.07 per day per person. Now, keep in mind I had meat already in my freezer for this week and some premade meals. But that is what I try to stick to as my weekly budget. If we have extra people I try not to tack on more than $5/ person if possible, of course we all know that doesn't always happen but that's my attempt. 

It took 15 minutes to make a meal planner with lines so I could write what prep was needed for the week. After I was done with that, I printed out a meal menu to help my kids who HAVE to know what we are having for dinner. I laminated it and put it in a frame without glass. I can change it weekly and then make a fall menu, Halloween, Christmas... It is fun for the kids and one less question I have to answer 10 times as I'm trying to make supper. 

Third thing this year is my cleaning routine, I have none. So I have a list of things I need to do, to ease the overwhelming nature of really cleaning my whole house I've divided the upstairs and downstairs into sections. I am assigning one section per day so I can get that done and straighten the rest of the house and not get really behind. Nothing is worse than realizing you have a big project done and now the rest of the house has suffered... That way I don't get overwhelmed as the usual every day craziness, caused by various distractions, happens. If I get to 2 sections in a day, great otherwise if I need a break or LUNCH or just time to run somewhere I can do that without, again, falling so far behind it's just not worth it to keep on schedule because it gets frustrating when I can't keep to it. 

Another part of keeping the house clean is really pushing my kiddos to help take pride and keep their areas clean. All of us as parents know this is a never ending battle, but I seem to be losing a lot. So, I will be pushing making sure chores are done and helping me out so I'm not turning around to more messes. I love my kiddos but holy cow they are messy little creatures and unlike the chicken coop I can't just rake the stuff out and give it a good hosing down. Don't think that hasn't crossed my mind, I've been close many a time!! It still may happen, and don't think I won't post pics!! :) 

So that's it... I will update on how this all goes but at least I'm getting back where I need to be. We all slip or have a chance to just take a break and relax on things a bit, but eventually life needs to come back and this is my time to do so... I can't imagine I'm the only one that takes the start of school as a good time to revamp and get back on track, right?