Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Morning goods

I've always made sure my kids get lots of fruits and vegetables every day, but is it really enough?  Are they getting all the nutrition they need?  Our morning routine keeps me more at ease about their diets.  Although this is not a "cure all" or a substitution for fruits and vegetables, it is a really nice way to ensure they are getting their daily vitamins and minerals.

We've been using these 3 products since Tink was little.

  • Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood (Berry)
  • Garden of Life RAW Kids Probiotics
  • Nordic Naturals Berry Flavored Cod Liver Oil

We mix all 3 of the above into a super yummy (Tink's words) morning juice.  The probiotics are the best I've found for kids.  It really aids in digestion and keeping their immune systems strong.  The cod liver oil is wonderful, it helps their brain development, skin, hair, oh so many wonderful things.  The kids love it, I love that they're getting what they need, and their immune systems are working wonderfully.  

I recently got these amazing Mason Jar cups with stainless steel straws for their morning juice, and I couldn't love them more!  The kids love them!  I am so happy they aren't drinking out of plastic and the straws are amazing.  Not only are they reusable but they aren't full of chemicals like plastic straws are.  They are at a great price, and the quality cannot be beat!  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Extra snuggles

I never pass up an opportunity to snuggle with the kids.  Bean woke up a little upset last night and wanted to sleep next to us.  As tired as I am - knowing I am going to have a squirmy toddler an inch from my face all night, I happily carried him into our bed.  Not because I want to coddle him, but because I want to cuddle him.  He's not going to want to crawl in bed with us for too much longer.  I am taking the opportunities when they come so I can have no regrets.  Hearing him talk in his sleep just like Daddy, feeling his warm little body next to mine, and seeing his cute little lips pucker while he sleeps - I would hate to miss this.  I am soaking up every ounce of their little-ness.  Some people don't understand, but that doesn't matter, right?  All that matters is Bean knows he is loved, he knows he is cherished, and he knows without a doubt - Daddy and Mommy will always be there for him... even when he's "too old".

Friday, January 24, 2014

Healthy Birthday Cake

It was Tink's 5th birthday on Wednesday!  I cannot believe how wonderful she is turning out.  She is a passionate, outgoing, caring, and hilarious person.  We love to celebrate birthdays, but we hate how everything is so geared towards sugar.  I've made this cake multiple times before and it is a family favorite.  Everything but the whipping cream is Paleo, and I am sure you could substitute it with coconut cream if you wanted.  This is not only delicious, but I don't feel guilty about letting my kids enjoy their birthday.  I originally got the recipe here.  Do you have a healthy cake recipe?  Please share!!!


Chocolate torte

6 eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pasture butter, melted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
Chocolate ganache

1 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
2 heaping tablespoons palm shortening.
1 cup chopped pecans
Whipped heavy cream and flaked coconut frosting

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


Chocolate Torte

Preheat oven to bake at 350.
In a large mixing bow, combine eggs, maple syrup, pasture butter, and vanilla. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth.
Add coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda to the bowl, and continue to blend until batter is smooth.
Lightly grease a spring-form cake pan with butter, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
Pour batter into the pan, and smooth the top with a spatula (this is a thick batter, so you will have to work with it slightly.)
Bake chocolate cake for 30-35 minutes, and remove from oven to cool.
Chocolate Ganache

Melt chocolate chips on low heat, stirring often.
When chocolate is completely melted, add in the palm shortening, and stir until all is combined.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Whipped Cream Frosting

Whip heavy cream in a kitchen mixer until stiff and fluffy.
Fold in the coconut flakes.
Final Cake Assembly

Once the cake has cooled, remove from pan and place on a platter.
Slowly pour the cooled ganache over the cake.
Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Place the cake in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to harden the ganache, while you make the whipped frosting.
Remove cake from fridge, and top with the whipped frosting.
Garnish with a drizzle of left over ganache if desired.
Keep refrigerated until served.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Foaming Soap

I have a super easy homemade foaming soap recipe.  It smells great, benefits our bodies, and actually works!

You'll need:

  • Empty/clean foaming pump container
  • Water
  • Thieves Oil
  • Castle Soap (We like Dr. Bronners)
I fill the container with water about 2.5" from the top.  I added about 2-3 tablespoons of castle soap then 5 drops of Thieves oil.  You're done!  Now you have not only an inexpensive natural soap, but adding Thieves oil makes it antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pomegranate Benefits

We purchased a small and very hard pomegranate over 2 weeks ago, it is finally ripe enough to eat so I decided to show you a simple way to enjoy a nutritious little snack. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants, they are also a source of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. One pomegranate supplies one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate and one-third of your daily vitamin C.  This little superfood is full of nutrition!

You'll need:

  • Pomegranate
  • Knife
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Bowl
Score the pomegranate all the way around the middle with the knife.  Grip each side and use your fingers to rip it apart.  You'll now have the top half in one hand, and the bottom half in the other hand.  Take one side with the seeds pointed down into a bowl and hit the top side of your pomegranate - this is kind of fun for getting frustration out!  Hit, hit, hit until all your seeds are out - it's seriously that easy!  Repeat with side 2, and you now have a bowl full of yummy pomegranate seeds.  The kids loved eating as many seeds as they could right out of the bowl.  I know many people use them on salads, on cereal, or in smoothies.  How do you use a pomegranate?  

Thursday, January 16, 2014


We each brush our teeth at least 730 times a year.  Most kids (mine included) don't spit out the toothpaste... they eat it.  I've read the dangers in fluoride, glycerin, and foaming agents.  I know they aren't good.  Fluoride can cause tooth discoloration, acute poisoning, skin rashes, impaired glucose metabolism,  and toxicity.  Not something I want my children ingesting.  Many natural dentists say glycerin film on teeth can prevent the teeth from being able to remineralize thereby weakening the teeth. Foaming agents such as SLS are said to have a drying effect on the mouth which can increase mouth acidity. These chemicals are also known to cause membrane disruption and trauma in the mouth leading to canker sores. 

We've been so happy to find Earthpaste.  Earthpaste delivers all the benefits you expect from a toothpaste without any chemicals or unnatural additives. Earthpaste is safe to eat. Each ingredient has been used to support healthy systems. Not only do the kids love the taste (Lemon Twist is their personal favorite) but I've noticed a huge difference in the look of their teeth.  Bean had a bit of discoloration on his bottom front teeth.  Since using Earthpaste his teeth are beautifully white.  I cannot say enough about Earthpaste, not only does it work, my kids love it and I have peace of mind.  Have you tried Earthpaste?  What's your favorite flavor?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hidden Toxins

I've done my fair share of laundry. Both Tink and Bean were cloth diapered since they were born, both had reflux issues, and now that they're older they both get really messy. I have also been using a natural laundry detergent since they were born. Now, I am sure you're thinking it can't be that bad, it really is though. Laundry detergent and fabric softener has many more toxic chemicals than you may think.

I found out the average family washes approximately 80 pounds of laundry per week—or 35 billion loads of laundry per year! This means that 17.5 billion cups of laundry detergent are being used every year in the U.S. alone. Not only can you come in contact with toxic chemicals from your clothing, or having been laundered in them, but you can breathe them into your lungs once they become airborne in the process of doing your laundry.

The detergent you're using may contain a mixture of potent cancer-causing chemicals, some of which the manufacturer doesn't even have to list on the label. This loophole reduces the odds that you'll ever discover what's in there.

Four of the worst offenders are:
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  • 1,4-dioxane
  • NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
  • Phosphates
Not only are these chemicals potentially damaging to your health, but they are also contaminating waterways and harming the environment.

Yet another reason I chose to use something more natural.  Lately I've been using Scarlet's Naturals Suds.  It cleans so well and I never have to worry about toxic chemicals in our laundry routine.  I don't use fabric softener, but I have used wool dryer balls scented with essential oils because I am a sucker for a nice fresh scent.  What kind of laundry detergent do you use??

Friday, January 10, 2014


Congratulations to Sam and Katie on winning the giveaway!

Please email me at to claim your prize!  

All others use code: CRUNCHY for 10% off (ends 2/1/2014)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Air Fresheners vs Essential Oils

I love the smell of a fresh smelling house. I used to love those little wall plug in fresheners that made my house smell like cucumber melon. Oh, that smelled heavenly! Once I became pregnant for the first time I decided to do as much research about everything health that I could. I was shocked at what I read about my beloved air fresheners. Needless to say, we got rid of them - and here's why.

The more research I did the more I found that known toxic chemicals that can be found in air fresheners include formaldehyde, camphor, ethanol, phenol, petroleum-based artificial fragrances (which contain their own mix of toxins) and benzyl alcohol. These chemicals can cause symptoms like headaches, rashes, dizziness, migraines, asthma attacks, mental confusion, coughing and more.  I actually remembered having frequent headaches when sitting in a certain room of our house, ironically it was the room with the air freshener.  Some of the substances in air fresheners are also known carcinogens and others are hormone disruptors.

I also found that severity and triggers as well as symptoms vary from person to person. But when used in a confined area like a house, the intense amount of toxins in a small area can be especially problematic. Children are particularly susceptible to harm from chemicals in indoor air.

Now, after hearing all of that.  I was seriously disappointed!  I loved the way my house smelled.  So what do we do?  Not long after I was introduced to essential oils and they have been a big part of our every day life since.  Not only do they smell wonderful, but diffusing them also helps relieve stress, purify the air, calm or energize a person, and many more health benefits.  I use a Zaq diffuser, and although small - 2-3 drops of an essential oil will make our entire room smell amazing.  

My favorite essential oils are Young Living and doTERRA.  Now, I am a Young Living distributor, but I am in love with doTERRA as well.  If you pick a high quality essential oil you can receive all the benefits it has to offer as well as a much stronger fragrance. 

Here are some of my favorite oils to diffuse.  One of my favorites while the kids are doing schoolwork is Lavender.  I feel they are much more calm and focused when diffusing Lavender.  When they are sick or we're trying to avoid a sickness I love diffusing Thieves or OnGuard.  Not only does it smell amazing (like cinnamon and oranges), it helps purify the air and strengthen their immune systems.  Oh I could go on and on... what are your favorite oils to diffuse?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why we ditched plastic sippy cups

I often get asked why my kids normally drink out of glass sippy cups. I, like most parents invested way too much money into "BPA-free" plastic sippy cups. The reason for going BPA-free was because BPA is a hormone disrupting chemical which mimics the female sex hormone, estrogen. Exposure during development of BPA has been linked to wide range of health problems including reproductive harm, altered brain development and even cancer later in life.

A new study shows that a BPA-free label doesn't mean a product is harmless. When scientists conducted lab tests on more than 20 top-brand baby bottles along with more than 450 plastic food and beverage-packages, virtually all leached chemicals that acted like the hormone estrogen, even though many were free of BPA. Heating plastics, even those that are BPA-free, causes the leaching of these hormone-like chemicals even more rapidly.

After further research, we decided to ditch the plastic cups and plates and use glass and ceramic. It's definitely an investment, but completely worth the peace of mind and health benefits!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Frozen Bubbles

I read about blowing bubbles in the freezing cold and how cool it is when they freeze and burst in the air.  Our homeschool project today... blowing frozen bubbles.  We made our own bubble solution, put on a million layers, took off Bean's million layers to go potty, put back on Bean's million layers after using the restroom, and trucked outside in the -2° weather.

We didn't get the hang of it until we were nearly popsicles, but it was really cool!  The bubble solution froze almost instantly on the wand.  We would quickly blow into the wand, and it was already frozen.  We found if we swiftly shook the wand back and forth it would create occasional bubbles.  Out of those occasional bubbles only a few would last floating and then popping because they were actually frozen.  It was neat to watch, but nearly impossible to capture when taking photos.  We'll try again once Daddy comes home, but until then - you'll just have to use your imagination and enjoy some cute photos!

I love Bean's rosy cheeks and wild hat hair!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Homemade beeswax lotion

Being up north for winter has seriously dried out our skin.  Poor Tink has alligator skin on her legs.  We decided to go to Grandma's house and make some homemade beeswax lotion.  It's great because it's all organic and no nasty chemicals that most lotions have.  We've made this before, and I thought to share the recipe and tips!

You'll need:

  • 1 cup organic olive oil
  • 1/2 cup organic cold pressed coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup beeswax pellets (or 2 ounces of solid beeswax)
  • 20+/- drops of your favorite essential oil

Start a double broiler and melt coconut oil and beeswax together.  Turn heat off (but keep it on the stove) and add the olive oil.  If your olive oil is too cold you may need to turn the burner back on.  Make sure everything is clear and free of lumps before removing from the heat.  Once removed let cool for 5 minutes then add essential oils.  Stir until fully combined and pour into containers.  Once it gets to room temperature it will solidify but still be creamy.

This lotion is amazing, it does feel greasy going on, but your skin will absorb the yummy goodness and will leave feeling soft and smell amazing!  Tink immediately asked to try it.  Once I started slathering it on her legs she took it upon her self to get fully undressed and asked for it on her entire body... I'd say she likes the lotion, and her skin looks so much better!

Have you made your own lotion?  Care to share the recipe?

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