August 20, 2013

Favorite Cold Remedies

Growing up my mom would make us take an Echinacea tincture for our colds. She would give it to us strait from the dropper undiluted. It was SO gross, but I think it really helped!
Now that I am a mother I still use Echinacea for colds and immune boosting benefits, but it's not the most frugal option out there. It's not easy to get the kids to take it unless it's a children's formula, but one small bottle will run you about $15.

Echinacea is also more of an aid to boosting your immune system rather than a kicker for colds. What we have experimented with in our household are different frugal cold remedies that really kick the cold before it gets bad.

So here are our favorites:

Raw Garlic. As soon as I start to feel a cold coming on I chop up a few cloves of raw garlic and swallow it. This works best if you do it several times until you feel the cold going away. Garlic has very strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It also boost your immune system among many other things. Not to mention this remedy cost cents and really works. It's a little spicy going down, but worth it!

Raw Ginger - this is another really potent food remedy for colds. Even spicier than garlic so it may be hard to swallow. A great way to ingest it is through making your own ginger tea. Finely chop a few tablespoon of ginger and add to your hot water to make ginger tea. After steeping for a bit, strain the tea and add raw honey to balance out the spicy ginger. It will feel great on your throat and help fight that cold. You can also buy quality ginger tea if you don't want to mess with it raw.

Raw Honey - honey is very soothing to the sore throat and has natural antibiotic properties. It also contains vitamins and minerals to help you heal faster. This mom uses  honey mixed with cinnamon for her children's colds.  If there is one remedy my children will readily take its raw honey, they love it!

Bone Broth - being sick depletes your system of much needed vitamins and minerals for healing. Homemade bone broth made into soups or sipped in a mug help the healing process move faster. This is a little more time consuming if you don't have some on hand, but I try to make a big batch and freeze the extra. There's nothing tastier than a chicken soup made with homemade bone broth, food for the soul! Here's a great tutorial on how to make it. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw Honey

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar - last but certainly not least, this is my favorite remedy! Apple Cider Vinegar is considered the cure all remedy. It's the best I tell you!  You can read all about the uses here.  For our coughs and colds this remedy has been the best. I can mix it with raw honey and water and my children will drink it happily. I cannot praise it enough. In the winter we are going to take it daily to keep the colds away before they even come around.

Do you have a favorite cold remedy that's not listed here? Let me know in the comments!

I am linking up with Hallie's Five Favorites, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise platter. Make sure to check out all the other links for some great posts!

"I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible"
-St. Ignatius of Antioch

August 16, 2013

The Environment by Pope Benedict XVI

If there is anything I've learned from blogging it's that, 1) I'm not a writer, and 2) I'm so inconsistent! There are so many good writers out there who know how to articulate their thoughts, make people laugh, cry and ultimately bring people back to their blog for more. That's not me and I am OK with it. If I write a post, great! If I don't, I don't. I'm pretty sure I won't be missed. :)

That being said,  I have had this book to review for MONTHS, and maybe even a year?? It's been sitting on my bedside begging to be read and reviewed. SO here you finally go!

The Environment - Pope Benedict XVI

At first glance I thought, "Pope Benedict wrote a book about the Environment?? I gotta read this...." Well, he didn't, and I was a little silly to think so. This book is a compilation of Pope Benedict's speeches, homilies and addresses that have something to do with the environment.

The different speeches range from topics about the environment, ecology, the economy and even some things ecumenical. The Holy Father stated that he has "an inner obligation to struggle for the preservation of the environment and to oppose the destruction of creation." (Light of the World, p. 45).  He makes another point stating, "Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human existence, and visa versa." (Message, World Day of Peace 2007).

I wish I could say I was enthralled with the book the entire time, but I truthfully struggled through reading it. I think if I re-read it as a meditation book, slowly pondering each homily or speech, I would get a lot more out of it. That being said, there are plenty of gems inside and I want to share them with you.

Especially this quote on the family and the environment: "The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper relationships. For the human family, this home is the earth, the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care the the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the food of all as a constant guiding criterion."
Thank you Pope Benedict. We are stewards of the earth God has made for us and therefore we have to care for it. Of course, like most things we can make an idol out of caring for the earth, elevating it above God, but at the same time we cannot ignore it either.

Pope Benedict makes a strong connection between peace in the world and caring for the environment. "I readily encourage efforts to promote a greater sense of ecological responsibility which...would safeguard an authentic "human ecology" and thus forcefully reaffirm the inviolability of human life. at every stage and condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one is trained in love of neighbor and respect for nature." He goes on to urge us, "If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation." (p. 133).

Overall, it was a great read and I highly recommend it. It opened up my understanding of environmental issues with the light of our faith.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Environment. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Linking up with What We're Reading Wednesday at Housewifespice
"I willingly join in spirit all who are grateful to the Lord for the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands, renewing the pressing invitation to respect the natural environment, a precious resource entrusted to our stewardship." - Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, November 15, 2009)

August 12, 2013

Crockpot Jamaican Beans and Rice

This recipe has been adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions cookbook. It has become one of our family staples because its nourishing, frugal, and so good! If I am making this recipe for a family who just had a baby I will double the portions so I can make dinner for both of us. OR, I just double it anyways and freeze the extras. It takes a bit of time to prepare but once you do the work in the morning, you're just about good to go.

If you don't care for the taste of coconut milk I would still give this a try as the coconut taste is very mild, and you get all the benefits of having coconut in your diet!

Crockpot Jamaican Beans and Rice

Serves 8 - 10


2 cups of dried red kidney or black beans
2 cups of dried brown rice
1 package of sausage (optional but we love it!)
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 cans of coconut milk. (We like this brand)
2 bunches of green onions
6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, mashed
4 teaspoons of dried thyme
4 teaspoons of sea salt
Pepper to taste


Place your beans and rice into separate containers, add water and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to each and soak overnight. In the morning drain and rinse the brown rice. Cook rice separately on the stove (How to cook brown rice).

Next, drain and rinse the beans. Add beans to crockpot with enough water to cover the beans. Next, add coconut milk, green onions, jalapeno peppers, mashed garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook on high for 6-7 hours. Cook sausage separately on the stove. When the beans are finished, add the rice and sausage to the crockpot. Serve and enjoy!

Linking up with Pennywise Platter and Real Food Wednesday.

"Our Lord and Savior lifted up His voice and said with incomparable majesty:

"Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that
without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the heights of
grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles
increase. Let them take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only
true stairway to Paradise, and without the cross they find no road to climb to
-St. Rose of Lima

August 6, 2013

Simple and Natural Body Care Routine

Linking up with Hallie and her 5 Favorites today, make sure to pop on over and check out the other favorites. I will be discussing my favorite body products. 

Simple and Frugal Body Care Products

This little shelf in my 70's bathroom carries just about everything I need for day-to-day body care. I think I have finally found a routine with body care products that really work, are frugal and simple to make and/or use!

I used to buy the latest and greatest products, wasting so much money as they would end up collecting dust after awhile. I was also addicted to lotion for YEARS, I seriously couldn't live without it. After I made the switch to natural products, my skin and hair improved dramatically, it's also saved me a lot of money.

As I share these, I would also love to know what works for you? Have you tried a few a these items?

1. Hair Care

Now I wouldn't say I have luscious hair, or even cooperative hair, but lately I have been starting to actually like my hair. I've always had a problem with frizz, especially as my hair grew longer. My solution was to cut it short and keep it simple, and that worked, except now I am growing it out and I love how it's looking. These are the only two products that I use and I will tell you why I love them:

Shampoo Bar: I have used J.R Liggett's Shampoo bar and have also made a batch of my own. I also occasionally use apple cider vinegar to rinse my hair with and make it soft, but we don't need conditioner anymore. The whole family uses the bar and it will last more than a month. The cheapest place to get it is Vitacost, it typically runs $4 a bar.

Homemade Dry Shampoo: My sister introduced this to me a few months ago and I love it. On the days I don't wash my hair I use this to absorb the excess oil. My hair is not frizzy and WAY more cooperative when it's dirty, and with dry shampoo it doesn't have to look dirty! This is why I am excited to grow my hair out - dry shampoo has changed everything for me. It's also handy when you have to get out the door and don't have time for a shower. Wellness Mama has a great recipe that we use.

2. Face Wash

I have a problem with dry skin and occasionally acne. It seems like I have tried everything. I never liked how my face felt until I started the Oil Cleansing Method of washing my face. All you need is oil and water! It seems crazy but I dare you to try it, you will love it. It takes a little more time that simply washing your face, but I find it helps me relax before bed. And who doesn't have oil in their house? No need for expensive cleansers anymore. Here is the video tutorial:

3. Washing my Skin

Anna's Shop: Roots Soap Co
Besides the shampoo bar and apple cider vinegar, Anna's soap is the only other thing I have in the shower. I LOVE to keep things simple and this soap does the job. My husband loves it, it's gentle enough for the kids and it's great for shaving. It's also the most natural you can get. It lathers really well and doesn't dry out my skin. Not to mention, she's an awesome mama and I am very proud to support her business.

This is the only soap we use for washing hands as well, the bar last forever and always smells so good.

4. Oils/Lotions

As I mentioned, I was addicted to lotion. It took me forever to switch to using oil for my skin instead of lotion - and now? You won't find a single bottle of lotion in my house. You might ask, why would you not use lotion? Or why is it so addicting? Here's a good answer.

My skin feels SO much better and I don't use nearly the amount of oil as I did lotion. After the NOW's sweet almond oil. One bottle will last me a few months, at least. My skin does not itch from being dry anymore.
shower I apply almond oil or jojoba oil all over my body. I let it absorb for a few minutes so I don't get any oil on my skin and I usually only reapply the oil every 3-5 days. The cheapest option I have found is

Tallow Balm

For my face and hands I either use The Good Green Stuff or my homemade tallow lotion. This is the tutorial I used and I made it from the tallow that came with our quarter beef last year. THIS STUFF ROCKS!
Beef fat seems like a really gross thing to put on your skin - but it is the closest thing to the oil on our own skin, which causes it to absorb so well. I only have to use a  little bit and my hands/feet and face feel awesome. If there is anything you take away from this post, let it be to try tallow on your skin!! You can purchase some if you don't have tallow, but if you can get your hands on grassfed tallow - I say go for it. This lotion cost pennies for me compared to the lotion you buy in the store.

5. Deodorant

Passionate Homemaking
For a few years now I have been solely using homemade deodorant. I used to buy the extra strength
antiperspirant, and it still didn't do the trick! I now love my deodorant and it makes me pretty happy that I can make this on my own. It only requires a few ingredient and you aren't putting all those chemicals in your armpit. Of all homemade products this one is easy to make and you can test it right away, I highly recommend it!

Thanks for letting me share my natural body care routine with you, Currently, Im on the lookout for a good, tasty toothpaste recipe that my kids will use. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way!

Linking up with Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid and  Pennywise Platter

"Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it."
-Blessed Mother Teresa 
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