November 28, 2012

Eat Good Things: Tomatoes

I'm starting a new feature on the blog called: Eat Good Things.
I want to highlight healthy foods and post some information and ideas of these foods.

So here is the first Eat Good Thing - Tomatoes
I love tomatoes, ever since the first time I saw a tiny cherry tomato (when I was 2 years old).
These healthy, fresh and juicy vegetable/fruit is wonderful on sandwiches, salads or just on their own!

An interesting idea is of eating tomatoes cooked will be more beneficial

Nutritional biochemist Carolyn Lister says tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene in the human diet, as well as containing other antioxidants essential for health, but the human digestive tract is unable to release the majority of lycopene from raw tomatoes, so only a small amount is made available for the body to use.
Lister says processing tomatoes has been shown to make lycopene more bioavailable, so as well as eating raw tomatoes for their nutritional value, we should eat tomato sauces to get the goodness of the lycopene.
The research is published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

What's New and Beneficial About Tomatoes
Did you know that tomatoes do not have to be a deep red color to be an outstanding source of lycopene? Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that has long been associated with the deep red color of many tomatoes. A small preliminary study on healthy men and women has shown that the lycopene from orange- and tangerine-colored tomatoes may actually be better absorbed than the lycopene from red tomatoes. That's because the lycopene in deep red tomatoes is mostly trans-lycopene, and the lycopene in orange/tangerine tomatoes is mostly tetra-cis-lycopene. In a recent study, this tetra-cis form of lycopene turned out to be more efficiently absorbed by the study participants. While more research is needed in this area, we're encouraged to find that tomatoes may not have to be deep red in order for us to get great lycopene-related
 Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood - a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. (In a recent South American study of 26 vegetables, tomatoes and green beans came out best in their anti-aggregation properties.) But only recently are researchers beginning to identify some of the more unusual phytonutrients in tomatoes that help provide us with these heart-protective benefits. One of these phytonutrients is a glycoside called esculeoside A; another is flavonoid called chalconaringenin; and yet another is a fatty-acid type molecule called 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid. As our knowledge of unique tomato phytonutrients expands, we are likely to learn more about the unique role played by tomatoes in support of heart health. Tomatoes are also likely to rise further and further toward the top of the list as heart healthy foods.
Nutrients in
1.00 cup raw (180.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin C38.1%

vitamin A29.9%

vitamin K17.7%





vitamin B67%



vitamin B35.3%


vitamin E4.8%

vitamin B14.6%






Calories (32)1%  

Cardivascular Support 
Reduced risk of heart disease is an area of health benefits in which tomatoes truly excel. There are two basic lines of research that have repeatedly linked tomatoes to heart health. The first line of research involves antioxidant support, and the second line of research involves regulation of fats in the bloodstream.  

Supports Bone Health
Interestingly, the connection of tomato intake to bone health involves the rich supply of antioxidant in tomatoes. We don't always think about antioxidant protection as being important for bone health, but it is; and tomato lycopene (and other tomato antioxidants) may have a special role to play in this area.  

Anti-Cancer benefits 
The track record for tomatoes as a cancer-protective food should not be surprising, since there is a very large amount of research on tomato antioxidants and a more limited but still important amount of research on tomato anti-inflammatory nutrients. Risk for many cancer types starts out with chronic oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. For this reason, foods that provide us with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support are often foods that show cancer prevention properties. 

The tomato is the fruit of the plant Lycopersicon esculentum. (Botanically speaking, tomato is not only a fruit, but also a berry since it is formed from a single ovary.) Originally, tomato was named after the food family to which it belongs - the Solanaceae (sometimes called "solanoid" or "nightshade") family. 

The French sometimes refer to the tomato as pomme d'amour, meaning "love apple," and in Italy, tomato is sometimes referred to as "pomodoro" or "golden apple," probably referring to tomato varieties that were yellow/orange/tangerine in color. 

Regardless of its name, the tomato is a wonderfully popular and versatile food that comes in over a thousand different varieties that vary in shape, size, and color. There are small cherry tomatoes, bright yellow tomatoes, Italian pear-shaped tomatoes, and the green tomato, famous for its fried preparation in Southern American cuisine. 

Only the fruits of this plant are eaten since the leaves often contain potentially problematic concentrations of certain alkaloids (see Individual Concerns section below). Tomatoes have fleshy internal segments filled with slippery seeds surrounded by a watery matrix. They can be red, pink, yellow, orange/tangerine, green, purple, brown, or black in color.
Read more about tomatoes here :

November 20, 2012

Infused oils ~ make your own!

I received some dried lavender flowers a few years ago and I was thinking...ah great but
what do I do with them??  Well now fast-forward a few years and I am so grateful for the lavender (now that I actually know what to do with them!)

I also have a whole bunch of dried chamomile flowers that I wanted to do something with.  So here I am contemplating making an oil infusion.  Ohh...sounds complicated and exotic, doesn't it?  Well, it's not really.  You just basically 'soak' some dried flowers, herbs, etc in oil for a few hours, letting the medicinal qualities come through.

I looked up about the infusions and here is what I've found

However you choose to infuse, there are a few very important steps you must take.
  • First and foremost: You must sterilize all jars and utensils used in the process.
  • Fresh herbs must be slightly wilted before infusing.  Any moisture in the oil will cause mold.  I harvest my herbs at high noon if using above ground parts, and early morning if using the roots.  My belief is that the oil content is highest at the top of the plant at midday, and highest in the root early morning.  Roots need to be thoroughly washed and chopped.  Once harvested, I place on clean paper towels to absorb any moisture from the plant.  I also place one on top and gently press.  I let it sit for a couple of hours and then place in my oil.
  • Dry herbs may be used as is in the oil.
  • Always check your herbs for any foreign substances before adding to the oil.
Chamomile, Common & Lavender - The flower heads are infused and the oil is used for it's antiseptic, calming, and soothing properties.

There are many ways to infuse the oils but I've found an interesting way of doing it in the slow-cooker...I think this is the way I will make mine. You put about 2 cups of oil and 1/2 cup dried herbs/flowers into the oil and set the slow-cooker to the warm feature (you must have that setting - if not the cooker will get too warm and burn the oil) and leave it in there for 4-6 hours (up to 8 hrs)
Here is the full recipe I will follow: 

Use 1/2 (dried) or 1 cup (fresh) herbs, in 2 cups of carrier oil. You can heat the mixture very gently (not more than 100 degrees F) for a few hours in a crock pot. Or, you can allow the infusion to take place over several days (allow up to a month) at room temperature. After the infusion is done, strain out the plant matter by pouring the mixture through a funnel with cheesecloth or a piece of muslin lining it. Collect the infused oil in a clean jar, and be sure to store it with the lid tight.
I will add a teaspoon of Vitamin E oil which will act as a preservative, ensuring it will last longer and not go rancid
You need to use a good quality oil such as: Olive
Coconut (use fractionated - this one stays liquid and does not solidify)
almond oil
jojoba oil

I like that you can make herbal/medicinal ones as well as ones for cooking.
I want to make a chamomile/lavender oil that I will use for baths (especially for the kids)

Some others I may try are:
Rosemary & Lavender
Lavender, Mint & Chamomile 

Lavender & Lemon (using essential oil of lemon)
A cooking one using Rosemary & Garlic (this one has to be used fairly quickly as the garlic will make the oil go rancid quickly)  

I like that you can use this as a moisturizing oil or for a bath (or foot bath

So go ahead and make some infused oils!


November 16, 2012

Moisturizing massage oil

I've bought massage oils before for a nice after shower neck massage, while they are nice, they are expensive as well and I don't know about you but I don't get a massage as often as I would like (hint hint hubby dear!) and these oils always go rancid before I have a chance to use them up!! So, wasted expensive exotic oils and worst of massage!!

Well, I've just come up with my own Cheap Cheap massage oil that smells great and has some wonderful skin benefiting elements!  Best part of this oil is that it can be used as a moisturizer as well, just rub it on your skin after a shower and it will make your skin so soft.

So here is my original recipe!!

 Mix together in a small bowl the following...
(oh and you will need a small whisk - it helps to combine things better)
A few simple ingredients = lovely massage oil!

4 Tbsp Olive oil (you can use Almond, Grapeseed, any 'natrual' oil)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Aloe gel (try and use natural 100% type)
1 Tbsp Glycerine
1/2 tsp vitamin e oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
(I also put some coconut essence - yeah the baking kind - I love coconut scent!)

Mix well in a bowl, if it is too runny add in a bit more Aloe gel, or if too solid add in some
more olive oil or whatever oil you are using.

I saved one of my fancy bottles that had the exotic oils in... and so here it is ...nice massage oil
for litterally pennies per use. Oh by the way it made about 100ml (well almost) this should last for a while and not go bad! (I think the glycerine and coconut oils will keep it fresh a bit longer)

Hmm...seems someone wants a massage tonight!! Ahhhh nice foot massage and neck, oh hubby....
(goes off and brings hubby the bottle! HINT HINT )

November 14, 2012

Make your own Yogurt

Have you noticed lately how expensive things have become? From grocery items to clothing, it seems everything is so expensive.  Foods in general have gone up quite a bit these last few years.  I remember getting a tub of yogurt for under two dollars, well not anymore, they are well over three dollars.  I've seen some of my family members attempt at making yogurt and I was immediately turned off by the idea as they used raw milk (I am only turned off of that because of the 'smell' of it, I would love to have 'real unpasteurized milk as it contains all the benefits of milk, unlike our homogenized, ultra-pasteurized crap)
It also called for bacteria cultures, not sure where she got these but it was 'hush-hush', almost seemed like an illegal bacteria trade...good couldn't be this hard could it??

Well along came hubby to the rescue...he told me one day, "why don't we just make yogurt? It is cheaper and better for you." I immediately said, "no way" as I recalled the scary bacteria acquisition involved.
He thought I was silly, and said that all we need is fresh milk and some plain yogurt.  Hmm well now I was questionable bacteria required?  I had to try this out!

This was probably about six years ago, and ever since then we have been making yogurt - well ok, not ALL the time, as I kind of wimp out and get lazy on occasion (slaps self silly)  but lately as the 'big boy' (my soon-to-be three year old son) and baby girl (my almost 11 month old girl) are eating yogurt everyday, I figure I should get on this and make it ALL THE TIME!

So here is the very simple, no creepy bacteria required!
I use a glass pot to boil the milk and cream it is...
3 simple ingredients

1 bag of 2% or 3.25% milk (its about 1.3L) don't worry about it being exact
1 cup cream (I use 10% cream)
1/2 cup yogurt (try and use whole yogurt not 1 % or fat free types)
  - take out the yogurt from the fridge so it warms up a bit

Just before it boils
Bring the milk and cream to a slow boil, turning it off just before it boils, the milk will look a bit bubbly.
You have to let the milk mixture cool down to about 80deg C ...basically if you put your finger in it will be hot but not scalding. Mix in the yogurt, stir well.  Put the top of your pot on and place in a corner of the kitchen or wherever you have space. Here is the special have to wrap up the pot in some thing that will keep the heat for the 12 hours that it will 'incubate'.  I just use a blanket to wrap up the pot and keep it outside for about 12 hours and then voila you have yogurt!
Yummy fresh yogurt!
From one bag of milk (about 1.5L) I get 1000ml of yogurt (well about) so if you think about it in the stores I am paying almost $4 for 750ml of yogurt ...this way it comes to about $2 for more than what you can get in the stores.  Best of all you know what is in the yogurt and if you like you can use organic milk and guess what you will then have organic yogurt!!

Hope you all enjoy your yogurt

Next I'm going to make a fruity-yogurt drink for the big boy...he will never know that I am making it as I am sneaky and put it into one of his old yogurt-drink bottles.
The version coming soon!

November 13, 2012

Coconut Oil ...natures hidden jem!

I love coconuts, shredded, toasted, milk, etc and just recently, I   L O V E  coconut oil.  There was a time when this oil was looked down upon...what a big mistake, as this humble nut has so many great uses.

These two lovely's are in my kitchen right now

Here is some info on the oil ...I'm posting some excerpts from it but you can read more at these links
The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties.
Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries especially India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Phillipines etc, which have a good production of coconut oil. The oil was also once popular in western countries such as United States and Canada; however, there was a strong propoganda in 1970s spread by the corn oil and soy oil industry against coconut oil. Coconut oil was considered harmful for the human body due to its high saturated fat content till the last decade (2000s) when people started questioning this propoganda. Let us get into some details of how coconut oil works for our body. 

Weight Loss

Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.


Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Healing and Infections

When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.
Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.
How to Use Coconut Oil?:
If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or warm water. You can also take some coconut oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (do not use microwave). Then take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you need not switch to coconut oil completely, as you will miss the benefits of other oils and dairy products.

Can I Use Coconut Oil for Cooking?: Yes, in most of the tropical coastal regions, people use coconut oil for cooking. 
Some benefits of the 'meat' of fresh Coconut
A few of the health benefits that can result by consuming fresh meat consistently are:
  • It helps to regulate digestion and elimination.
  • It assists in weight loss.
  • It's a powerful germ fighter.
Almost half the weight of fresh meat comes from water. It also contains less sugar than meat from other fruits like oranges or apples.
The mineral levels of iron, phosphorous and zinc are high.
Mature meat keeps longer than younger meat but is still perishable. It must be stored in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.

I've been trying to eat a few teaspoons daily - it is said to increase your metabolism and as other fats somehow coconut oil does not end up as stored fat, it is all burned off! Amazing really!!
I've been also putting it in big boy's milk smoothie/shake he doesn't even know it's in there (I also sneak in ground flax - sneaky Mommy)
I do find that when I eat coconut oil - I've been putting it on toast with cinnamon and honey - that I do not get as hungry as quickly, I really believe that it helps with your diet.

A note on Coconut oil: 
Make sure you are buying un-refined, virgin, or raw coconut oil - other than that they may be processed and lose all of it's health benefits.  Probably a good idea to buy a higher end one, as the cheaper ones just might be refined and over processed.

So get out there and start to add coconut oil to your cooking, baking, and drinks!

November 11, 2012

Wool Dryer Balls

Well, I've used my last dryer sheet, well except for wiping the dryer sheet on the baseboards, if you do this it prevents the dust from adhering as easily and you will have to clean your baseboards less often...woo hoo!

I saw these on this site (great so many good ideas from here!)

I've been wanting to do this project for the longest time but I could not find 100% Wool, so finally after searching all the major department stores, I checked Michaels and finally found some there!! (oh and they had a 50% coupon...woo hoo!) So these cost me a whopping $3.00 ...great!!

The idea behind the dryer balls is that they are natural, costs less and are a great way to 'fluff' up your laundry.  I love the idea of putting lavender, orange scent on them to freshen your laundry!

So here is what you need...

1 spool of 100% wool
and about 20 minutes of your time
oh and a 'leg' of your panty hose!

You need to wind up the yarn into a ball, start by winding it around your fingers then go the opposite way and make a small ball and keep winding it around and around.  Go until you reach the size of a tennis ball (about) then tuck in the ends under the other strands.  Do this until you run out of yarn, for me I ended up with four balls.
Before 'felting' ...the strands are separate and are visible.

After that you will have to 'felt' the yarn, this means it will get fluffier and the fibers will 'stick' to each other and the ball will get softer.  Put the balls into a leg of your panty hose or tights and tie off each section on the end (use embroidery thread or something like that to tie the sections) so that they end up like a snake.  Toss this into a hot laundry cycle and then after into a hot dryer cycle.  Cut off the hose and that's it can use them in your next dryer cycle.
After 'felting' the fibers are less visible and they have fused together.

You can add a few drops of lavender, orange, lemon, whatever essential oils you like!

One thing is that I did end up with a lot of static (ouch!) Yeah I'm a bit disappointed about that but I've read online about using aluminum foil formed into balls ...this should help with the static...I'll try this out next and update you all about the results.

I've put in a ball of foil with the wool and guess what, no more static!! there you go natural, clean, fresh smelling laundry with no chemicals!!

**UPDATE2** Don't use foil, the reason that there is static is that you have dried your clothes for
too long! Because of the dryer balls, it will take less time to dry!  So reduce the time you usually put the
clothes in for and see if that helps! I really didn't like the foil (because of the aluminum) but it did work, so if you don't mind keep using it. 

Otherwise I'm really happy with the results, the laundry has this great lavender scent to it now ...actually the laundry room smells of it as well!!  Best of all it is natural, you are not putting any added chemicals to your clothing ...oh and it's cheap, as these are supposed to last for years.  The balls will get smaller each time you use them. 

November 5, 2012

DIY Wipes & Cleansing Solution

I really really do want to be more environmental and not use disposable diapers and wipes...etc but I've tried the cloth diapers and let's just say I stink at it...or rather the diapers do!  I could not handle the smell and waiting to wash it.  I know that thousands of women are doing this and are successful at it, but it just hasn't worked for me.

However I recently I found on a blog a simple way to make wipes and cleaning solution, that I think I can do 
 click here:Home-made wipes 

After all, the wipes are small and do not take up any space in the laundry machine, yes there will be poop but I think I'll be able to handle that - maybe - we'll see!!

So here is my version of it using an old pair of fleece pajamas
I was going to toss these pants but somehow I was keeping them thinking I could use them up for wiping
around the house or dusting.  
I got 30 wipes from one pair of pajamas!
After dismantling my pajamas I got 30 wipes that are roughly about 5" x 5", they are not perfect squares and some are smaller than others, but hey that's life - imperfect!
The blog does say to cut with pinking shears or sew the edges so they do not fray. Well, I have no sewing machine or pinking shears so I just cut them and after the first laundering I will let you all know if they have fallen apart or are still in one piece!

The solution is simple too and I had everything I needed to make it.

1 cup water
1 Tbsp Oil (Olive, Almond, etc)
1 Tbsp Castille soap (or any other natural liquid soap you use)
1/2 tsp Vitamin E oil
5 drops Orange essential oil
3 drops Lavender essential oil

Place it all in a spray bottle and mix.  When you need to change your little one you can either spray the cloths or spray directly onto the skin.
Just spray & wipe!

The other good idea is to re-use an old diaper wipes container and just soak the cloths with the solution.  I think this is a good idea but I want to try and see how this spray works, then I may just put them in the container and let them sit there until I need to use them.

I used orange and lavender essential oils, the site says to use chamomile which I do not have or use.

The site says that this will spoil quicker than conventional wipes - as with all natural products they will not last as long as the commercial ones, so just make small batches more frequently.

So that's it...easy easy...will see how baby girl will like these!!

Make your own soap dispenser

I've seen this going around on for a while ...
I think I first saw it on /

I was soaking the labels off of my glass jars...yes I have been keeping any glass jar...all sizes and shapes.  My mission is to try and keep all food products in glass jars instead of plastic ones.  So anyway...I had 2 mason type jars - these are great, I buy pasta sauce and get a mason jar out of it - so I was looking at my ugly dish detergent bottle and thought why not make a nice soap dispenser from one of the jars?  That's exactly what I did and I re-used one of my stainless steel pumps....and voila instant cute, rustic jar!

Added some jute rope and woo hoo...cute soap jar! (Sorry cut off the spout part of the pump! but you get the idea!)

I also coloured my dish soap...I use the all natural type that looks like grey silicone ...BORING! So I got the idea to put a few drops of food colouring ...this time its purple, so whenever I want to change the colour all I have to do is put in a few drops of colouring and change it to suit my mood!!

November 2, 2012


When I started researching more natural skin care products I kept on coming across glycerin, time and time again it was added to skin creams, toners, etc. 

Glycerin, chemically know as glycerol, is a sweet-tasting, non-toxic, syrupy liquid made from combining water and fat derived from vegetable oil. Because it is a humectant, it is a popular ingredient in skincare products Read more: What Are the Benefits of Glycerine to the Skin? |

Skin Allergies

  • Glycerin is a non-toxic, naturally occurring substance, so it is often used as the base of soap for sensitive skin, because it won't cause irritation.


So I must try it out!  Well it is again very frugal, a small 100ml bottle costs less than $4 ...and most concoctions use about a tablespoon it is very economical. Just yesterday I found one with rosewater added ...ohhh nice.  I can't wait to try out some skin care products.  The first one I'm going to try out is a moisturizer made from, glycerin, witch hazel and vitamin E oil. 

I'll update soon!  

Witch Hazel ...the good

No it's not a witch who's named Hazel ....yeah I'm still in a quirky mood but moving along...

I have recently found out about Witch Hazel and went out and bought some right away...once again as with all of these natural products it is cheap ...about $3 or $4 for a bottle.

Here is a bit about Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is an astringent produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch-hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana), which grows naturally from Nova Scotia west to Ontario, Canada, and south to Florida and Texas in the United States.[1] This plant extract was widely used for medicinal purposes by American Indians and is a component of a variety of commercial healthcare products.
Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling. The main constituents of the extract include tannin, gallic acid, catechins, proanthocyanins, flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin), essential oils (carvacrol, eugenol, hexenol), choline, and saponins. Distilled witch hazel sold in drug stores and pharmacies typically contains no tannin. Witch hazel hydrosol is used in skin care. It is a strong anti-oxidant and astringent, which makes it very useful in fighting acne.[1] It is often used as a natural remedy for psoriasis, eczema, aftershave applications, ingrown nails, to prevent sweating of the face, cracked or blistered skin, for treating insect bites, poison ivy, and as a treatment for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.[7] It is found in numerous over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparations.[3] It is recommended to women to reduce swelling and soothe wounds resulting from childbirth.[8]
Some great uses for Witch Hazel 

One of my ideas is to make an aftershave lotion for my husband, using the Witch Hazel with
lemon essential oil (he likes the lemony scent) and see what he thinks of it!

Another idea is to use this as a toner for the face, you can add some fragrance to it but I think just alone is good too!
I have just come across some glycerin with rosewater in it my idea is to combine a bit of glycerin and vitamin E oil with the Witch Hazel and use that as a moisturizer - not sure yet what it will be like!

Will update when I have tried it...stay tuned...and go out and buy some now!

DIY counter and produce sanitizer

The best product to sanitize and clean

With all the pesticides, E-Coli and various other things affecting our daily life, it's good to know that we can protect ourselves easily by using one simple (well ok maybe two) product.

~ W H I T E  V I N E G A R ~

Yes, that's all you need to wash and disinfect your counters, kitchen surfaces and wash your produce! How simple is that and oh yeah C H E A P !! (come on we all love a deal!)
So here is my recipe for a counter sanitizer... feel free to modify it to suit your needs!

Use a medium sized spray bottle (just so you don't have to keep making more and more!)
Use an equal amount of vinegar and water 1:1 ratio is good

Counter Sanitizer
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
10-15 drops of  Tea Tree oil
10 drops of Lemon Essential oil

and that's it...spray on your counters, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe dry. See simple!!
You can use any essential oil you like but Tea Tree oil and lemon have anti-septic properties but you
can add lavender, or orange oils both are good as well for sanitizing!

Produce Sanitizer
Once again use a medium sized spray bottle
and fill it with the 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water ...that's it.

Spray your fruit and veggies with this, let it sit for a few minutes then rinse with water.

I also read that if you spray your strawberries with this and wash and dry them well, they will last
much longer, as it will kill any bacteria on it that will make it moldy.

Items you need to get started for DIY natural products

Forget the expensive products, most things you can
make at home for pennies per use!

You only need a few basics to start making your own products ...really there are numerous options but here are a few of my ideas to get you started.  With these products you can make anything from laundry detergent, floor cleaner, fruit & veggie cleaner, counter sanitizer, window cleaner, toothpaste, facial toner & cleanser, etc. (really endless!)

White Vinegar (used for sanitizing and cleaning)
Baking Soda (used for cleaning, scrubbing, laundry, etc)
Borax (used to laundry and cleaning)
Tea Tree Oil (antiseptic - used for cleaning, skin formulations, scent)
Hydrogen Peroxide (used in cleaning, laundry)
Rubbing Alcohol (used in cleaning) 
Coconut oil (antiseptic - used in cooking, beauty/skin products)

Some others that I recommend getting are:

Lemon & Lavender essential oils 
  - these are both anti-septic and help with cleaning
Washing Soda 
  - One of the primary ingredients in making your own Laundry detergent
  - Added to skin care products and DIY handsoaps
Vitamin E oil 
  - Added to skin care products for their skin benefits
Witch Hazel 
  - Anti-septic, facial toner, good for bug bites, etc
Castille Soap or another all natural liquid soap
  -used in making your own hand soaps and other beauty products

These are the actual products that I would suggest but there are also containers and other supplies that are good to have.

Various plastic (tupperware type) of containers.
Plastic jugs, jars, etc. 
Various size spray bottles.
Small travel size containers ie. bottles, hand pump bottles.

It's a good idea to start saving all your containers, like the laundry jug (perfect to store your DIY laundry detergent.  I like to save the container Parmesan cheese container, it works perfectly to 'sprinkle' baking soda onto surfaces, etc.   

Hope this helps you out in starting to make your own products! Don't wait just start out slowly...make small changes and you will see that it will become a habit and when it does you can add more and more healthy products that will keep you and your family healthy. 

Essential Infomation about Essential Oils

There are many essential oils but to get started you only need a few!

Ok yeah ...essential information on essential oils...haha, what can I say I'm in that kind of mood!!

I found a great article on the subject at Crunchy (love that site!)
21 Things You Should Know About Essential Oils

Long article but so packed with information you really do need to know!

This is the list of Essential oils she recommends!
So far I have Tea tree, Lavender, Lemon and Sweet Orange. I really like all of them and am thinking to get the rosemary (great for memory) and grapefruit (I love the smell!)

Recommended Essential Oils to Get You Started
  • Peppermint (good for lip balms, oily/acneic skin, and cleaning products)
  • Rosemary (good for hair preparations, oily/acneic skin, and cleaning products)
  • Sweet orange (good for all skin types and very soothing in room sprays for children)
  • Rose geranium (good for all skin types, creating perfumes, and for use in homemade moisturizers)
  • Tea tree (great for healing, getting rid of dandruff, oily/acneic skin, and cleaning products)
  • Lavender (great for all skin types, for relaxation, hair preparations, and cleaning products)
  • Lemon (great for lifting moods, cleaning preparations, and sparingly in toners and products for oily skin)

In Shirley Price's book, Aromatherapy for Babies and Children, she mentions 19 oils that are safe for children. These oils are:
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)*
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)**
  • Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)*
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)*
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
  • Melaleuca-Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Orange (Citrus aurantium)*
  • Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)**
  • Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album)
  • Thyme (Thumus vulgaris CT linalol)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
*These oils are photosensative; always dilute. To prevent a rash or pigmentation of the skin, do not use citrus oils when exposed to direct sunlight.
**These oils should never be used undiluted on babies and children.
 Essential Oil Uses for Babies and Children See the Common and Botanical Name Index for the botanical name of each oil listed below.
Colic: Bergamot, ginger, mandarin, marjoram, Roman chamomile, rosemary, or ylang ylang.
Combine 2 Tbsp. Almond oil with 1 drop Roman chamomile, 1 drop lavender, and 1 drop geranium. Mix and apply to stomach and back. Note: Burping the baby, and keeping the abdomen warm with a warm (not hot) water bottle will often bring relief.

Common Cold: Cedarwood, lemon, Melaleuca ericifolia, rosemary, rose, sandalwood, or thyme.
Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil with 2 drops melaleuca (Tea Tree), 1 drop lemon, and 1 drop rose otto. Massage a little of the blend on neck and chest.

Constipation: Ginger, mandarin, orange, or rosemary. Dilute one of the oils and massage on stomach and feet.
Cradle Cap: Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. almond oil with 1 drop lemon and 1 drop geranium or with 1 drop cedarwood and 1 sandalwood. Mix and apply a small amount on head.
Croup: Marjoram, ravensara, rosewood, sandalwood, or thyme. Dilute for massage or diffuse. Bundle baby or child up and take outside to breathe cold air.
Crying: Cypress, frankincense, geranium, lavender, Roman chamomile, rose otto, or ylang ylang. Dilute for massage or diffuse.
Diaper Rash: Lavender (dilute and apply).
Combine 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop lavender with vegetable oil and apply.

Digestion (sluggish): Lemon or orange. Dilute and massage feet and stomach.
Dry Skin: Rosewood or sandalwood. Dilute and apply.
Earache: Lavender, melaleuca (Tea Tree), Melaleuca ericifolia, Roman chamomile, or thyme (sweet). Put a diluted drop of oil on a cotton ball and place on the surface of the ear; rub a little bit of diluted oil behind the ear. Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil with 2 drops lavender, 1 drop Roman chamomile, and 1 drop melaleuca (Tea Tree). Put a drop on a cotton ball and put on surface of the ear, rub behind the ear and on the ear Vita Flex feet points.

Fever: Lavender. Dilute in vegetable oil and massage baby or child (back of neck, feet, behind ear, etc.). Peppermint (diffuse only).

Flu: Cypress, lemon, Melaleuca ericifolia. Dilute 1 drop of each in 1 Tbsp. bath gel base for a bath or diffuse.

Hiccoughs: Mandarin. Diffuse

Jaundice: Geranium, lemon, lime, mandarin, or rosemary. Dilute and apply on the liver area and on the liver Vita Flex feet points.

Rashes: Lavender, Roman chamomile, rose otto, or sandalwood. Dilute and apply.

Teeth Grinding: Lavender (rub on feet).

Tonsillitis: Ginger, lavender, lemon, or melaleuca (Tea Tree), Roman chamomile. Dilute and apply.

Thrush: Geranium, lavender, lemon, melaleuca (Tea Tree), Melaleuca ericifolia, rosewood, or thyme. Dilute and apply.
Blend: 2 Tbsp. garlic oil, 8 drops lavender, 8 drops Melaleuca ericifolia, 1 ml. Vitamin E oil. Apply to nipples just before nursing, or with a clean finger into baby's mouth.

For more information on the use of essential oils and aromatherapy for babies and children, see also the books Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby by Allison England, and Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood.