Progress and Growth

I am not one for resolutions. How many people say that to start?

I’m always breaking them. When I became a teenager I stopped making them.

However, 2014 was hard and it left a pretty sour taste in my mouth. I’m determined to make this year better in many ways.

I’ve decided 2015 is the year of progress and growth. There are quite a few ways that those words can apply.

Before we dive in, I should mention that I have these plans laid out before us, but God determines our steps. Lord willing, these things will happen, but how, when, and with what means are completely out of my control.

Sebastian and I bought a house before he deployed in August. We closed after he left. My dad helped me move, settle, and now we have begun the remodel stage. Sebastian is still deployed.

Why did we buy a home we need to remodel?

Our single-wall Hawaii home was built in 1963. There are a lot of really great things that come with that. We don’t belong to an association, our lot is huge compared to new lots on Oahu, and our house is full of vintage Hawaiian spirit.

Some not so great things? It’s dated and too small for us.

Two weeks before we closed, I was ten days late. “You’re stressed about the house.” I told myself. Maebel was not even old enough. No way. We aren’t ready for three kids. We can’t have three kids. We just bought a house with only three bedrooms.

Two pink lines and a lot of tears later, our home is going to grow with our family in 2015.

Our list of renovations include:
Built in day-bed in the family room
Updated built in book case in the family room
Sanded and Refinished original oak floors in the main living area
Painted walls and ceilings in the main area
New cabinet fronts and countertops in the kitchen
1.5 bath converted to jack and Jill bathroom – complete remodel
Bedroom floors sanded and refinished
Bedroom walls painted
Additional master bed and bath added on to rear of home

Before you think my dad is slave labor, Sebastian is good and ready to be the muscle and sweat. Dad is the supervisor.

Sebastian and I plan to run a grass-fed, hormone and anti-biotic free beef farm when our days with the navy are through. He is not shy about hard work, and he is excited to learn all sorts of new tricks this year.

Did I mention that our family is growing this year? Late March or early April, we will have a new baby to embrace in our ever-changing, and very busy life.

With Sebastian’s honey-do list, there are many ways I can grow as a wife and mother this year. Being a stay-at-home mom, I am the accountant, nurse, cook, maid, and seamstress. I prefer some of those positions over others.

Last year, I grew as a nurse, maid, and seamstress. We switched our health and medicine over to essential oils, and we have yet to go back.

I’ve noticed that pain killers, when we do need them, work faster and better than they had prior to our cleanse. Same goes with fever reducers for our children and I have yet to reach for pepto bismol or any other digestion aid since I have used doTERRA’s digestzen!

I have also switched our family’s cleaning and hygiene products to natural, chemical/synthetic free options. This switch took a little more dedication to pre-making and a little more effort when it comes to finding recipes that work, but we did it! And Lysol, pledge, swifter, and Clorox are collecting dust in my hall closet.

I also improved my sewing skills last year. I made over 1500 diapers in 2014!

With those areas of Stay-at-home-mom life under control, the time has come for me to look at the cook and accountant parts of my job description.

The kitchen is an intimidating place. And unfortunately, my lack of organization in the heart of our home (it’s literally in the center! Ha!) costs us more money than it should! However, Sebastian and I are firm believers in health, and diet should be the final sacrifice for expense.

We are not a restaurant, fast-food family. Our budget cannot be snipped that way, as we don’t partake in that meal style. If your family does, I would highly recommend really examining those foods and their ingredients. Take your first step into health with cutting these out!

I do enjoy dr. Pepper. Which prompted a talking to from a dear friend here in Hawaii. I know all of the health, cost, and disgusting other reasons why soda shouldn’t be in my life. I’m addicted to it. I know all that and I continue to drink it anyway, but in 2015, I’m saying goodbye to dr. P and all other processed food. My best friend is dancing in Illinois as she reads that.

My goal for 2015 is to have all food in my kitchen be five ingredients or fewer, all my meat and dairy to be hormone and antibiotic free, and most of my veggies and fruits to be local and/or organic.

That sounds pretty scary to the accountant side of my job, which is why I also plan to do freezer meals and meal planning along side our food shift.

So, 2015! Lord willing: Our home will grow, our family will grow, and our diets will progress to a healthier and longer life!

What about you? What are your New Years resolutions? Health? Exercise? Diet? Budgeting? Spiritual growth? Travel?

Tell me about your adventures you hope to have this year!

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The Dirt on the Organic Brands in your Refrigerator…

I have been dreading this post. First, because I so so so hate to tell people about the story behind what’s on their dinner table. Second, because I know better, but sometimes I turn away at the brand I’m buying because of convenience or cost, but it’s only fair that I own up to the brands that sometimes end up on my kids’ and my plates for the sake of letting you know what you’re eating, too.

That being said. Don’t go throwing out food in your kitchen because of what you read here, don’t get discouraged because it’s all you can afford, and lastly, don’t feel judged because you didn’t know differently or didn’t care to find out.

I have felt all three feelings, and they don’t get us anywhere. Knowledge is power, let’s fight to change what’s affordable together. Also, I’m posting what’s in MY fridge. Yes, even organic me has to cut corners for cost! I pick my battles, I weigh my options, and most importantly, I try to educate people so we can change our food options together.

If you’re interested in doing research, I encourage you to check out food documentaries on Netflix (i.e. Food, Inc.) as well as cornucopia.org a website dedicated to letting you know “How” Organic the “organic” food you’re buying is.There are so many resources available to you.

Once again, a little more organic in my eyes is better than completely commercial. 

Dairy:

Our Primary Whole Milk: Kirkland Organic Whole

Kirkland brand organic milk recently had a class action law suit against it for claiming to be organic and purchasing their milk from one of the largest commercial dairy farmers out there.

Read about it: Here

Since, the farmer has made it’s changes required by the USDA, but when you’re buying your milk from a store and not a farmer, how much can you really know? Cornucopia.org rates this brand, and most other store organic brands at “0” because they failed to complete the survey, this usually means they have something to hide.

When I have to make ends meet before the next grocery visit, I purchase Organic Valley.

This brand is based in Wisconsin and is one of the first nationwide commercialized brands of organic dairy. They score excellent on cornucopia.org and never use hormones or antibiotics on their cattle.

Read about it: Here

Why don’t I purchase this brand always? Because I live in Hawaii and milk costs $8 a gallon as it is, NOT organic. I get a little happy when Salem gets a little taste of the real stuff when it comes, but we just can’t afford this brand full time.

Organic Brand I never buy: Horizon.

Read about it: Here

Sliced Sandwich Cheese: Organic Creamery (DCI Cheese)

This company is Wisconsin based and never uses hormones or antibiotics on their cattle. Their herd longevity is low, but you win some, you lose some. They get an excellent on cornucopia.org

Read about it: Here

Dairy Products in my fridge that aren’t organic?

Greek Yogurt: Fage — artificial sweetener and coloring. Yuck..

Sour Cream(Meadow Gold) Cottage Cheese (viva) — these two brands are not claiming to be organic. What that means? The dairy used is from a factory farm where the cows are kept in stalls, not allowed to graze, fed corn, soy, and other feed, given hormones to continue their dairy production, and antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. Both hormones and antibiotics pass through the cows milk and continue to be in the product through pasturization.

Kirkland Shredded Mozzarella and Mixed Cheese – This brand also does not claim to be organic, corn and soy fed dairy, hormones, and antibiotics.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese: Actually Kraft, and it makes me nauseous to write about it…I should just go buy Organic Valley and bite the bullet.

Eggs: Kirkland Signature

Non-organic. Meaning these eggs are laid by caged chickens, pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.

Read about it: Here

Bread: I don’t purchase organic bread products. What that means? The wheat is grown in soil that has herbicides, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals to keep it growing, keep bugs off of it (including bees), and kill every sort of fungus and bacteria in between.

These farms are all over the Midwest, they cause severe allergies in so many midwesterners who simply have no idea how it comes about.

Read about it: Here

“Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980.  It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.”

What does that mean for me?

I plan to go back to making my own bread. Sandwich bread is actually not as difficult as it may seem and makes your home smell WONDERFUL. I’ve never made homemade tortillas, but I have heard from a few good friends that it’s worth it and they’re better. Someday, I’ll figure out bagels, but until then…farewell sweet breakfast friends.

Produce:

Organic Produce can add up. So, take a look at the Dirty Dozen

Start with the produce you purchase that is the most contaminated with pesticides. Buying local virtually eliminates any risk of pesticide use and GMO’s. To be sure, always ask your local farmer where he buys his seeds! If he’s an honest farmer, he’s going to answer your question! Heritage seeds and Seed Saver’s Exchange are great places to purchase non-GMO seeds if gardening interests you!. Non-GMO means you can harvest the seed from the fruit/vegetable and replant! GMO’s Do not allow for replanting!

If you’re interested in learning about GMO’s (and Monsanto!)

Read GMO:

Here

Here

Read Monsanto:

Here — When you look up similar links, people get pretty intense about this company. Sometimes, enthusiasts turn me off to a topic, however, I believe doing research about GMO’s will prepare you to make your own judgments about Monsanto.

Here

Meat:

Meat is a farm by farm basis. If you’re buying Tyson chicken, watch Food, Inc.

Here is a link to some organic meat companies, and some that claim to be organic.

We purchase Coastal Range Organics chicken and turkey. This is a foster farms brand, however, Foster Farms is not organic. Look for Coastal Range Organics Specifically.

My preference for meat, dairy, eggs, and produce? Local. Please, buy local. It’s a little less convenient than the Costco/Kroger/Walmart/Target, but nothing can replace a friendship with your local farmer.

You can purchase cuts of beef, or 1/4 or 1/2 a cow (woah, that’s a lot of meat) — most often times, this is the most cost efficient way to purchase meat!

Most of my readers live in states where purchasing and selling raw milk is illegal (if you can purchase raw meat and eat it raw, why can’t you purchase raw milk and choose to do the same?) Read about your state: Here

Most often, raw milk cannot cross state lines, so even if you have a nearby state that will let you have the goods, you *can’t* bring it home. Illinois, last I checked, does allow cow shares. You purchase a dairy cow, or share the living expense with another group of people, and you have rights to what the cow produces, meaning it’s milk!

Chickens can be purchased whole! Eggs by the dozen, and some super great farmers toss a few extra in if you purchase a bird!

Frequently, Farmers will have produce to sell right along with their meat and poultry.

Questions to ask your local farmer:

Is your beef grass-fed, hormone, and antibiotic free?

Is your dairy cow grass-fed, hormone, and antibiotic free?

Is your chicken range fed, hormone, and antibiotic free?

Are your seeds GMO or Heritage? Do you use pesticides, herbicides, round up or any other harmful chemicals or additives in your soil or on your plants?

Start somewhere. You don’t have to make the change all at once. Ask questions, read, and get involved. Save the bees, Stop Monsanto, Label GMO’s. Pick something about food. It’s what you live on. Be passionate about the heart of your home.

Fluffy Bottomed Babies

I asked my Facebook family and friends a few months ago to pick my brain about cloth diapers. They asked a lot of good questions and I hope to answer them on here!

1) When and why did we decide to use cloth?

Sebastian and I were married on December 27th, 2011. Twenty-eight to thirty days later, I had a positive pregnancy test. Newly weds and under the age of 20, we had to make a budget, and disposable diapers just couldn’t fit. Cloth diapers were our decision completely out of cost. I bought 100 baby city brand off of eBay for $100 and they served us well for 8 months. I would never recommend that brand for a family who plans to cloth diaper multiple children, but they did what I needed them to do. I researched more about cloth diapering, what materials were used, how to care for them, what the benefits were besides financial, and how I could make my own.

2) What is my washing routine/do I use special detergent/how often do I wash?

There are many types of cloth diapers. Prefold with covers (old fashioned), fitted, all-in-one (AIO), all-in-two (AI2), pocket, and hybrid are pretty common. Pockets are my favorite and what we use in our home, they’re easy to prep and easy for family and friends.

I have 54 pockets for Salem and 42 pockets for Maebel. I know that’s a lot, but I do laundry every 3-5 days! Three if I’m on top of my schedule, five if I’m running behind and cutting it close!

Both kids use 10-12 diapers a day. Sometimes Maebel starts wearing Salem’s size…

I wash my diapers on hot with an extra rinse, and 1/4 amount deterent for load size. I line dry. I use Dreft detergent with a small amount of oxiclean if we had a stinky week.

Do you have to use that detergent? No way. I know women that use tide, some only use homemade, and others swear by rockin green. Use what you know works on your diapers and what makes them feel and smell clean!

I advise avoiding chlorinated bleach on any cloth diaper except prefolds, and even then, cautiously. There are ways to use it, but it’s risky business and can cause a lot of harm.

Do you have to use my washing routine? Nope! Again, do what works. Washing with hot water makes me feel like I’m killing germs, line drying is how I preserve my PUL (outer fabric on pockets). If you want to save power and use less, wash on cold. If you don’t have the space to line dry or the time to hang up and take down, dry on low heat.

I wash my diapers with their inserts and cloth wipes, but I try to avoid washing the kids clothes, blankets, or any other fabrics. More for sanitary reasons than other.

5) What about stinky diapers? When to buy the diaper sprayer.

This is the gross part. Poopy diapers are bad enough, but now I’m asking you to wait a few days to wash one?

I’m unfamiliar with formula fed babies, but breast fed babies usually go without a poop for 1-3 days. On days Maebel poops, laundry is done. Breast fed baby poo is also water soluble, meaning I don’t need to spray her diapers before a wash, nor do I need to line it.

Unfortunately, formula fed baby poop is not water soluble. In this instance, a diaper sprayer is necessary early on. Or! You have the option of disposable liners. Public service announcement: Some say flush able, however, if you don’t mind tossing them in the trash, it’s actually easier on the environment than flushing. Just because they say flush able, doesn’t mean they will disintegrate.. If you plan on cloth diapering for the savings, liners cut into the savings.

When baby starts solids, you’ll have to line or spray.

Toddler poo is usually solid enough to shimmy on out. Sometimes it’s not, but it’s never anything our diaper sprayer can’t handle. (We have never used disposable liners in Salem’s diapers, and I don’t feel the need to start.)

Salem’s diapers rarely have residue, and Maebel’s are usually washed same day. So, no, you don’t have to have poopy diapers stewing around your home. There will be days, but it’s no different than a dirty disposable in the trash bin.

6) Materials used:

Prefold and fitted diapers are usually a cotton blend. You’ll use a fastening tool, snaps, Velcro, or snappis, and they have the option of a wool, fleece,
or PUL cover to allow a water proof effect.

AIO, AI2, and hybrid have a PUL or fleece outer (water locking/water proof) and an insert, usually a bamboo, cotton, hemp, or microflece, or a blend of a few. There fabrics vary from very absorbent to stay-dry, or wick the moisture away. Snaps or Velcro are usually the fastening tool.

Pockets have an inner layer, an insert that you manually insert and remove, and outer. The diapers I make usually have a stay-dry or wicking inner layer (minky, jersey, suede cloth), my inserts are a bamboo blend from Alva diapers, and my outer layer is PUL (polyurethane laminate). Snaps or Velcro are usually the fastening tool.

7) Additional benefits besides savings:
* Cloth diapered babies tend to be more aware of their eliminating needs, allowing for earlier potty training. Disposables pull moisture away quickly, so children tend to forget their early instincts. Cloth only has so much capability to wick away moisture, meaning children feel the wetness. This also means more frequent diaper changes (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)

* Cloth is less wasteful. There have been arguments that the utilities that are used to wash and dry diapers are equally as wasteful as throwing away disposables. But there is no way the energy used to create and dispose of disposables comes close to energy usage, especially if you have efficient machines and/or line dry.

* Disposable diapers have chemicals. That’s the hard fact. Sure, they’re deemed safe. No, I don’t think less of you for using them and I don’t think you’re endangering your child. However, that is an argument for cloth. Exposing your child, especially a young infant, to fewer chemical and synthetic compounds is good. It’s not better. No mother is better than another. This is especially good for mamas with sensitive skin babies. Cloth will help.

* No more midnight store runs. Using cloth makes you very aware of the amount of diapers you have left. If you realize you’re on the last diaper, starting a load and using the dryer means you’ll have fresh fluff 1-2 hours later, usually when the next diaper change occurs!

This isn’t even close to all of the information on cloth. It’s an intimidating world, but a rewarding one! There are so many brands and styles to choose from, cloth can really be apart of your life! even part time! Don’t let the number of choices, the variety of wash routines, and the cluster of confusing information overwhelm you. Find someone to ask for help along the way and dive in! And feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!

Candacedoterra1@gmail.com

Some D.O. for our B.O.

Growing up, I never knew there was a difference between antiperspirant and deodorant. I knew I always owned antiperspirant, but I pretty much thought that they were interchangeable. I never took the time to learn about it. Crazy, I know.

It wasn’t until the last year, living in Hawaii, that I learned the difference. My husband kept buying deodorant and crying out in frustration upon realization when he got home.

“Why does it matter?” I asked
“Cuz, I hate sweating at work.”

So, I got curious. One allows you to sweat, one stops the sweating?

First of all: why do humans sweat?

The number one reason? Temperature regulation. Sweating is our body’s way of keeping all the important stuff cool. Just like car engines overheat, humans can, too.

Added benefit of sweating: body shedding toxins. Our skin is our largest organ, and, in turn, one of the easiest ways to rid of toxins inside the body.

Million dollar question: why does some sweat smell? Your body has two types of sweat glands, one that’s all over your body (eccrine), and these keep you cool, the other is only found in your underarms and crotch region (apocrine). The apocrine sweat glands have added proteins which are bonded to odorant molecules. When they’re bonded, they don’t stink. However, we have bacteria living on our skin, and they like to eat the protein in the sweat from those regions. In order to do so, they must separate the protein and the odorant molecule. End result: stink.

If you know me personally, you know how I feel about the kinds of birth control that halt women’s cycles altogether. I can’t believe that they’re at all good for our bodies. Well, I thought about halting sweating in our underarms and then it occurred to me that that’s probably not such a good idea either.

Commercial brands of antiperspirants often include parabens and aluminum.

Parabens are preservatives and are not included in all major brands of antiperspirant and deodorant, but they are in some. Parabens have been shown to mimic estrogen-like activity in cells. Estrogen promotes the growth of cells in our breast tissue.

Aluminum is a metal used in almost all major brands of antiperspirant and deodorant and causes the sweat glands to temporarily plug. The toxins have nowhere to go, and move on into our lymph nodes near the breast/armpit. This metal also mimics estrogen. As said above, estrogen promotes cell growth of breast tissue.

While there have been some studies done to decide whether or not these ingredients are causing breast cancer, there hasn’t been quite the right amount of proof yet, hence, the FDA still allows such ingredients in our products.

A potential for cancer of any sort is enough to make me do the reading and determine the risk for my loved ones and me. I decided that it’s not worth the risk. So! I made our deodorant!

You will need:
3 tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp Shea butter
2 tbsp Arrowroot powder
1tsp Jojoba/avocado (optional)
12 drops Lemongrass essential oil (find it here)
12 drops Peppermint essential oil (find it here)
Empty deodorant container (my recipe fills one of these here!)

I purchase all organic ingredients via amazon!

I heat the coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba/avocado together in a glass jar in boiling water (because I don’t own a double boiler). Please be sure to not put cold glass in boiling water! Heat the glass gradually.

Once the mixture is melted, I pull the container out and add the arrowroot and essential oils. Don’t add your essential oils while you’re heating. It reduces their potency and effectiveness.

Then I pour into my empty deodorant stick and plop them in the freezer.

Once they have cooled to solid, I refrigerate mine. I live in Hawaii with no air conditioning, so it’s probably not necessary that you refrigerate yours unless you do, too. (:

Coconut oil, Shea butter, and jojoba or avocado are all oils that carry nutrients that are very good for your skin. Shea butter also allows a more solid stick.

I use arrowroot powder in place of corn starch or baking soda. It’s similar in use and texture, but kinder on your skin. Also, baking soda and corn starch have been known to cause discoloration of skin.

Why lemongrass? It helps with excessive sweating. It will not stop you from sweating.

Why peppermint? It’s cooling. It’ll help your body cool and reduce sweating.

I’ve been using this recipe for almost two weeks and I’m in love. I smell good! And if I can make the switch with no AC in a tropical climate, you can do it!

If you insist on an antiperspirant style, replace one tablespoon of Shea with beeswax. It creates a coat, much like commercial brands. However, it won’t last as long, so be realistic.

Give yourself a few weeks to get used to your new deodorant. Chances are, your underarms might be a little moody. When applying, you only need 1-3 swipes. No need to use a ton, it works!

Some of my ingredients above are doTERRA essential oils. These oils are certified therapeutic grade, meaning they’re okay to use topically and they’re not mixed with any synthetics. If you’re purchasing your oils elsewhere be sure to research and know all about what you’re using.

If you’re interested in learning more about doTERRA or enrolling, please feel free to contact me.

Candace
Candacedoterra1@gmail.com

Read more about the cancer argument:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk

Where I added to my sweat knowledge:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/07/08/156375998/weekend-special-guess-what-sweat-is-not-smelly-so-why-do-i-smell

How to “afford” organic living

“Oh, you do organic? We just can’t afford it.”

Now hold on. My husband is enlisted navy. Not a politician. We are most certainly not made of money.

It’s all about being driven toward health and you’ll learn to be thrifty because of your passion! At least that’s how it worked for us.

This blog entry is going to be all about how we “afford” to live organically, at least, the process to get where we are! We aren’t 100% there! It is most certainly a day at a time, but we prioritized.

We started off where we knew the biggest cost was going to come our way.
Salem.

My sweet 1.5 year old was the scariest thing in the world to us when we found out he was on his way. We were newly weds. He was a surprise, honeymoon baby. We just moved. I was in school. And we spent our savings on our wedding.

Now, we were blessed enough to have my in laws remove car payments from our plate, and my parents took a big piece of the wedding, but everyone always says babies cost a fortune. That’s why so many couples wait and save. What are we to do?

How we saved with Salem and continue to save with Maebel

Step 1: Cloth Diapering
This has become really trendy and a lot of families take their “stash” beyond the saving level, but we were looking at disposable diaper cost, and woah. Diapers were gonna be a damper on our bank account.

There are two ways to cloth diaper: you’re only planning on one and you’re going to have a horde of children.

If you plan on having one baby and stopping there, no reason to make the plunge into really high quality diapers. Especially if you’re tight with money and you need to make ends meet. Sunbaby, kawaii, grovia, alva, and the like. These brands are great! They’re cost efficient, they will last you at least one baby if not a few, if you care for them properly!

If you plan on a horde, slowly build your stash with softbums or make your own (tutorial to come!). Making my own diapers was by far the best decision I made, but we started out with baby city diapers our first year!

Now, there’s a big debate on whether cloth diapers actually save as far as utilities go. If you live in Hawaii, like me, it’s possible to cut it close if you’re washing less full loads and drying every time. You live in a sunny place. Unless you need diapers ASAP, hang them in the sun! Besides, it’s a natural bleach (: otherwise, you folks on the mainland, utilities are cheap. Full loads, line dry when you can, and your fluffy bottomed babies are gonna cost you virtually nothing but the start up cost.

P.S. If you already have a baby, it’s not too late. Don’t tell yourself that. Trainers cost way more than diapers! And swim diapers, too! You can still save yourself a lot of money.

Step 2: Breastfeeding and homemade baby food
Not all women can breastfeed and this fact makes my heart heavy. It’s also more easily said than done, but if you can do it, then by all means! Your breast milk is exactly what your baby needs! You will have to stick to it. The first 6-8 weeks are not for the meek of heart. Doctors tend to not say the most encouraging things when it comes to reflux (Salem), jaundice (Maebel), or small babies, but find a La Leche League or lactation consultant. Get somebody to be your advocate when you’re too tired to fight. And please! Educate yourself on breastfeeding: common issues and how to correct them, what to expect, myths, etc.

If you were unable to breastfeed your first and are medically unable to breastfeed any future children, but formula hurts your wallet, look into human milk 4 human babies. Women who have oversupply (including myself), donate here to local moms in need. You read that right, free breast milk! If you’re passionate about breast milk there are ways to get some. If other mommy milk freaks you out, which is completely appropriate, see if you qualify for women, infants, and children (WIC). No need to take money you could be using for your children elsewhere, WIC is absolutely an appropriate option for families who struggle and want to provide the best lives for their children. We, too, used WIC while preparing for Salem’s arrival.

Homemade baby food. Sounds like a hassle, it’s totally not. Pick a day of the week, your day off for working moms, the best opportunity to present itself for SAHM/WAHM. Look up a few recipes on Pinterest, or copy gerber! Steam some carrots, bake potatoes and sweet potatoes, cook a whole chicken (definitely most cost efficient use of chicken), sauté mushroom, peppers, onions, etc. then, throw some mixtures together in a blender and freeze for the week! This will save you almost as much as cloth diapering! Baby food is expensive!

Step 3: Essential Oils and natural medicine and cleaning alternatives
There are all sorts of back and forth on Tylenol use for pregnant moms and new babies. And then, how does our heart feel when we see toddler has figured out the child lock on the cleaning cabinet?

How much money do you not realize you spend on (overpriced) infant Tylenol and midol/Advil for yourself? How about diaper creams, especially if you have the baby with sensitive skin and low tolerance for synthetics? Then, there’s the one time you can’t wait out the tummy ache so you bought pepto bismol or anti-diarrhea stuff, and then you forget about it in the back of your medicine cabinet…

Here is one of the really great things about essential oils: you can use them as medicine and to clean, chemical free! They have so many uses! From chronic pain and health concerns to a mild headache, these oils can help you. And a little bit goes a long way! 3-4 drops of lemon in my 250 drop bottle is plenty in an 8 oz glass spray bottle to last me multiple kitchen and bathroom cleanings.

You’re going to find that a few other cleaners pair well with essential oils: organic baking soda, organic vinegar, organic apple cider vinegar, and organic Castile soap. These are your must haves for cleaning.

As far as medicines go, invest in a big tub of organic coconut oil and you’re set!

Essential oils can save your multiple trips to stores and doctors appointments. Really, consider them! They are truly a wonderful make over for your home and family,

If you’re interested in purchasing essential oils at retail, visit my website: click here!

If you’re wanting to maximize your benefits, talk to me about becoming a doTERRA member, today! Candacedoterra1@gmail.com

Step 4: Garden
We spent $300 on our raised bed, and it is estimated to give us more than enough crop for our family. When you’re already switching a lot in your life over to organic, you start to worry as you glimpse at organic grocery prices. Vegetables and fruit and best grown in your own back yard. And that $300 mark for gardening? We saved up for it, but the soil is 100% organic and our seeds are heritage seeds! Meaning the seeds we keep will grow more crop!

This step is really great for those in warm climates when you can grow year round! But, places with seasons, there’s no reason to let winter scare you. Grow in the spring, summer, and fall, and learn about canning your own veggies and dehydrating fruit!

No yard or small yard? Look into a potted garden. Save space by growing herbs under windows!

This is only as far as we’ve really traveled on our organic adventure. We purchase organic milk and aim for hormone and anti biotic free meats, but it’s a slow process. However, it’s a good one, and saving us money all the while, even with living in one of the most expensive states in the union!

Not sure where to start with the change in your life? Comment below or email me at candacedoterra1@gmail.com

Candace

Sugar Scrub

I get asked for my recipe for my sugar scrub on Facebook at least 3 times a day! So, I thought you’d like to read it here with a couple of different suggestions on how to cater to your own skin!

First, there are soooo many different carrier oils you can use in this scrub.

Almond
Apricot
Avacado
Castor
Grapeseed
Hemp
Jojoba
Olive

Off the top of my head, these are just a few that have become really popular in the alternative health world. It’s important to do your research about each oil to really know what skin types they’re best for, but I can tell you that almost all of these oils are very rich in vitamin e, a vitamin incredibly good for skin, hair, and nails.

My personal favorite is jojoba. I love how it makes my skin feel, and my hair is growing faster than ever. Avacado is known to be really helpful with eczema and dermatitis skin types. Grapeseed is known for being helpful with aging skin. And almond and apricot are for those with very sensitive and delicate skin types.

Next, let’s talk essential oils.

If you’re a person struggling with acne, you’re already thinking I’m crazy for wanting you to put the above oils on your skin. Now I’m talking about more!? Fun fact, oil cuts oil better than water and soap do, and, washing your face with different, healthy oils, can actually regulate your skin. See, soap completely strips your skin of all oils. Sounds like a good idea, but it’s a lot like antibacterial soap killing the good bacteria. Your skin needs oil, that’s why it makes it in the first place. And trust me. As someone who has struggled with acne treatment her whole life, this is actually working.

Frankincense and melaleuca (tea tree oil) are both really good to add to your sugar scrub. Frankincense is known to help scarring, melaleuca is helpful with bacteria. Both of these oils are noted for giving skin a really healthy, beautiful glow.
Lavender is really great to add if you have trouble with hormonal cysts on your skin. It’s a calming oil, and it can help soothe the skin.
Peppermint. Burrrr. This oil is really good for helping cool you off in the shower! But it’s great for acne because it brings down inflammation!

Now, some of you don’t have acne. So what about you? Which oils should you invest in?

Well, you’re probably my other half of friends that struggle with stretch marks, wrinkles, or loose skin. Those are signs of a beautiful life, but ones we tend to not be fond of.

Any of your citrus oils help with skin elasticity and restoring firmness. Grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange. Fun fact: they also curb appetite. Feel free to shower before breakfast and your soap can help regulate appetite! However, citrus oils are known to increase skin vulnerability in sun. Use accordingly.
Myrrh is also a really great essential oil for smoothing wrinkles and frankincense is wonderful for fading stretch marks and other scarring.

My last little bit on helping you understand the ingredients is the importance of organic. Use organic ingredients in your soap. It will make an incredible difference for your skin, and your health. Your body knows how to use these ingredients.

Sugar scrub
1/2 pint glass mason jar (never put essential oils in plastic or any other synthetic container)
1/4 organic coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded Castile soap (here! or buy a scent if you plan on using it alone!)
1 cup organic sugar (Sebastian and I prefer finely ground sugar. I also use light or dark brown. Gives my skin healthy color).
2 tbsp organic jojoba oil
15-30 drops essential oil

These measurements can very from 1/3 a cup to 1/4 cup, depending on how oily my coconut oil is, how dry my sugar is, etc. really, you’ll be safe by eyeballing your measurements!

If you’re wanting to buy some essential oils to add to your sugar scrub, doTERRA is a wonderful place to purchase from.

Visit my website: Here!

Or, if you’re interested in becoming a member and maximizing your rewards, email me: candacedoterra1@gmail.com

Enjoy! Use this scrub on your whole body! Even your face!! You’ll feel like you need to scrub with soap, but don’t! There’s soap in your sugar scrub, and the oily feeling will subside. Let your skin soak up the nutrients.

Lastly! Be ever so careful in the shower. Oil can cause it to become slick, and glass mason jars can make a scary mess. Be smart, and be careful.

Candace

Rodents, and spiders, and pests oh my!

In my parents home, there’s this back room in our basement. It’s where the heater for the house is, but my parents also stored the dry cereal and canned foods, among a few keep sakes in there. Growing up, it was the spookiest room in the whole house. You know that fear that grips you in most other kids’ basements? Our basement was nice, so it was allll concentrated in that room. The worst part of it for me was all the mouse traps. For good reason, they surrounded the dry cereal. However, for me there was this horrid anxiety of opening the door to find a dead mouse in the trap mixed with finding an empty trap, because that meant I had to play Operation to get the box out. It was game over if a spider made its web attach to the box.

Spring has sprung, especially for my family and friends in central Illinois, and that means it’s time to start planting our gardens. I’ve learned a lot about pest control here in Hawaii, where the bugs are year round and they don’t die, rather, they grow bigger. Since I had the chance to really specialize my pest control, I thought you would want in on the secret!

Mice is a big concern for Midwesterners. Surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans, sometimes mice get a little lost and find themselves in our pantries. Who can blame them? But there was always that unsettling feeling when you heard the trap let loose on the poor, unsuspecting fellow. Now I have a nice alternative for you that will help ward off mice without the yucky after effect of the traps, let alone the unsafe atmosphere for those with tiny fingers.

Peppermint essential oil has lots of incredible uses. It brings down fevers, acts as an anti-inflammatory, helps with headaches and migraines of epic proportions. It’s also antibacterial and when you clean with it, it gives you some nice energy and motivation to keep going! A little help to get you through spring cleaning! Wait, there’s more wonderful things about peppermint! Mice don’t like it!

Take some cotton balls, put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on them, and place them about your home, particularly in areas of concern, or areas you feel uncomfortable having a mouse trap and a dead mouse! Pantries and kitchen cupboards especially (:

Guess what other pests don’t like peppermint?

Ants
Aphids
Beetles
Caterpillars
Flies
Moths
And SPIDERS!

Where can you buy this incredible oil? Here!

Ants are a tricky little bunch. I have a special spray for those buggars in Hawaii. I get an 8 oz glass spray bottle (glass is important, essential oils break down the compounds of plastic and release chemicals into the solution). In the solution I mix:
15 drops of peppermint,
10 drops of wild orange, and
5-7 drops of cinnamon, depending on their stubbornness.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of Castile soap (Dr. Bronners unscented)
Fill with water!

This blend is perfectly safe to spray around your doors, windows, and sugar canisters, because each ingredient is completely edible! These oils are warm oils, so using them where babies crawl should be cautioned, but once the solution dries you’re golden! BONUS: flies hate peppermint too, so they’ll keep away from your windows and doors on their way in. Add about 10 drops of lavender for extra effect.

Lastly, I want to address garden pests! Yes, there is a natural solution for pesticides and insecticides, and your oils are safe to ingest in small amounts so spraying your fruits and veggies with it until they’re mature is a-okay! However, it is always recommended you wash your fresh produce before consumption (:

Aphids (peppermint and white fir), beetles (peppermint and thyme), caterpillars (peppermint), flies (lavender and peppermint), gnats (patchouli), slugs/snails (patchouli and white fir), spiders (peppermint), and weevils (patchouli).

Here, I have them all. So I use all of those oils!

12-16 oz glass spray bottle
20 drops of peppermint
15 drops patchouli
10 drops white fir
10 drops lavender
5 drops of thyme
1 tablespoon Castile soap (I love dr. Bronners!!!)
Fill with water

There are lots of other oils you can use for outdoor use and ridding yourself of pests, or even preventing them! Mosquito blends, termites, and even warding off mildew and fungi from your garden! The world of essential oils and their uses is vast and it’s a fun one to learn about!

If you’re interested in using these oils, purchasing blends, or wanting to sign up with doTERRA today and get the best rewards on essential oils, feel free to contact me:

Candacedoterra1@gmail.com

Or purchase oils at retail:
here!

Crunchy Candace

The first time someone asked me if I was crunchy, I was in upstate New York. Saratoga Springs to be exact. Sebastian and I had received news of a big move up ahead and I had 200+ ounces of frozen breast milk staring me in the face.

I’m blessed enough to stay home with my son and I was (and am) equally blessed with the ability to breastfeed (and pump, a lot!). But, because I stay home, I also have few occasions to use the frozen milk. And now I found myself in a frantic state of wondering how in the world you move something that’s frozen and needed to stay frozen! After a few hours online looking at medical grade shipping boxes and wondering where I should even mail it, I started exploring the donating option. I sent out a post on human milk 4 human babies on Facebook and a mom 30 minutes away asked if she could take it off my hands. When she picked it up, and saw my dreadlocks and cloth diapered baby, she asked me if I was crunchy.

I didn’t know what it meant, but since then, I’ve come to understand it well because I accidentally fell into the lifestyle!

Crunchy, as defined by urban dictionary, is an adjective used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc.

While I am not politically left-leaning and I enjoy beef jerky and whole milk too much to be a vegetarian or vegan, I have become very passionate about nature and conserving it.

I branched away from my other blog to bring you this one. Specifically addressing the “crunchy” aspects of my family. I get a lot of questions about natural labor, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, essential oils, and delayed and selective vaccines. While I’m not an expert and my two children are under the age of two, I’m figuring it all out and I like to share what I’ve learned with those who are interested.

So, here’s a little bit about my family and me. My husband’s name is Sebastian. I call him Seb for short. We’ve been together (loosely in our high school years) for 7 years. We’ve been married for over 2 years. In that span of time, we had two children, Salem (18 months) and Maebel (3 months), we have adopted two dogs, Stark and Watson, and we’ve moved 3 times, one move being around the 5000 mile mark. It included an ocean and a 9 hour direct flight.

Why do we move so much? My husband is a member of the United States Navy. The Navy pulled us out of Saratoga Springs and moved us to the tiny island of Oahu.

Aloha and welcome to the most recent and exciting chapter of our lives. We’ve been living in paradise for exactly 1 year today. And Hawaii is the place where crunchy has invaded my soul.

Maybe it’s the beautiful water or the way the clouds always linger on the mountains. Perhaps it’s the annoying way sand is positively terrible and wonderful all at once. (It’s certainly not the gnarly centipedes and giant cockroaches.)

But Hawaii has stolen my heart and made me want to be as natural and in-tune to God’s incredible world as I can be. I love this planet we live on and I want to do the best I can to leave the smallest fingerprint of harm behind me. Most of that boils down to the list I shared above.

So, welcome to my journey of natural, organic, healthy, honorable living. Feel free to join the ride in whatever you feel is best for you and your family.

Candace