Saturday, August 6, 2011

Menu Plan Aug.6-12

*sigh* I just can't seem to find my motivation to keep up with blogging. Which in the summer is a good thing as it means we're busy enjoying life! I'm hoping that this Autumn, life will settle back into the comforts of routine and I'll find my blogging mojo yet again. In the meantime... I'm posting this week's meal plan!

Saturday: deep dish pizza with salad from the garden
Sunday: simple soup
Monday: moroccan chicken on Quinoa (Quinoa 365)
Tuesday: market day... Dave and kids fend for themselves. :)
Wednesday: rice and bean burritios
Thursday: breakfast for dinner (french toast)
Friday: buddha bowl (

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homemade Tooth Powder

A few months ago my family switched to tooth powder instead of store bought toothpaste. We wanted to save money, be more self sufficient and I wanted to know exactly what we were using to brush our teeth with. Since we've been using it, my gums feel healthier and there's no weird after taste.

This tooth powder is SLS and flouride free. It's made with baking soda to gently clean and freshen breath, xylitol to sweeten the tooth powder and promote gum healing, sea salt to act as a mild abbrasive to gently clean and peppermint essential oil to reduce inflammation of the gums and freshen breath.

Making and using this tooth powder is very cost efficient. I'm guessing each batch I make costs about $1-2 where as a tube of Green Beaver tooth paste (which is what I used to buy) was $6.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Homemade Tooth Powder
Combine 2 heaping tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of xylitol, 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and about 10 drops of your favourite essential oils (I mostly use traditional peppermint but I would love to recreate Green Beaver's Cilantro Mint or do a lime flavoured one).

Store in a resealable jar. To use, place a small spoon (I use a baby spoon) of tooth powder in your palm and dip a wet toothbrush in it. Brush as usual.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Birthday Tea!

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently celebrated Parker's third birthday! Except for a balloon pump, all his gifts from us were handmade. I'm trying to keep gifts simple and not the focal point in our family's celebrations.

Along with a few other handmade gifts, I made Parker some "birthday tea". I had wanted to make fairy tea but couldn't find any hibiscus which gives the tea a lovely purple colour so I decided to mix up some kid friendly ingredients and call it "birthday tea". Parker loves to drink tea so this was something I thought he'd enjoy. As it turns out, it's not only something he likes but we like it as well.

Keep in mind that I'm not an expert in tea making! I looked up child friendly tea ingredients and just mixed them up to my liking. I purchased my ingredients from our local health food store as I didn't have any leftover dried herbs from last growing season. Always choose organic when making teas.

Birthday Tea
In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon or so of the following dried herbs:
~peppermint, clover, nettles, chamomile, lavender and lemon balm.

You can also add dried stevia but I find the peppermint and lemon balm to be sweet enough. The lavender hides the bitter taste of the nettles (which are super good for you).

I put this all into a 4 ounce metal tin and attached a fun label to it.

When ready to use, put a teaspoons worth in a resuable tea bag or a tea ball and cover with barely boiling water. Allow to steep for about ~10 minutes.

Birthday Season 2011

The weeks between April 24th and May 15th are filled with birthdays, Mother's Day and an anniversary. Busy celebratory times!

It's starts off with Ally's birthday on April 24th, this year she turned 15(!) which fell on Easter Sunday. On Saturday, Dave and I took Ally out for dinner and then we went to check out a roller derby game. It was fun and nice to do something with just her for a change. Being so much older than the little ones, she doesn't often enjoy all our family activities. But this she liked.

For her birthday gift, we finally gave in and allowed her to have her septum pierced. I don't like it but meh... I don't hate it either. I'm trying to have an open mind... she's a great kid, we talked at length about her reasons for wanting it and the care that goes into having a piercing.

On her actual birthday, she chose to have a pancake dinner which was a nice alternative to your typical Easter dinner. :)

On May 1st, Dave and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. What a wild five years it's been!

Then it was Parky's birthday on May 5th, he turned three (again, !). We decided to do a low key bonfire complete with hotdogs and homemade marshmallows. It was lovely, everyone respected my wishes to not allow gifts to become the big part of his birthday (we had issues at Sophie's first birthday that I'm still upset about) and we ate, drank birthday tea (tutorial to follow) and had fun!

I made Parky a nature/treasure bag so he can use it on our walks to collect leaves, rocks, etc. I made it from wool felt and stitched on pieces and lined it in a rainbow fabric. I still need to attach a braided yarn strap so he can wear it though.

After Mother's Day it was my birthday and then yesterday it was my SIL's birthday.

Busy busy times. :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Homemade Natural Deodorant

I started a new etsy shop in addition to The Felted Fern called Nature's Cupboard. From it I sell natural alternatives to store bought chemical filled items such as tooth powders, playdough, hair teas (that's tea for hair!) and deodorant. I've sold a few tins of everything but the shipping is KILLING me. So much so that I don't think I'm going to sell online anymore and either just sell it locally or not at all. I can't decide.

But what I do know is that I want to share my recipes with you! Natural deodorant had me skeptical at first when I found the recipe. I have tried every single natural deodorant out there and they have all failed me. But this... this stuff works!

Make up a batch for yourself and let me know if it works (or if you're local or dont' mind paying an arm and a leg in shipping let me know and I'll sell you a tin!).

Natural Deodorant

In a small mixing bowl combine:
6 tablespoons organic unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup kaolin clay
1/8 cup baking soda
1/8 cup arrowroot powder
Optional: you can also add a few drops of essential oil. My favourite combo is 3 drops each of lavender and peppermint e.o. So yummy!

Mix until a thick paste much like convential deodorant is achieved. Put in a tin or even an old deodorant tube. Apply a dime sized amount with fingers from tin (use as regular deodorant if using tube). I buy my kaolin clay from Island Artisan Supply. You can use 1/4 baking soda and 1/4 arrowroot or even cornstarch but baking soda has a very high ph level so many people get rashes from it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nature Dyed Easter Eggs

It's a little late to be posting pics and how-to's for dyeing Easter eggs with natural ingredients, I know. But I'm a little late for everything so really, this is just how it is. You could use this technique for dyeing all sorts of other things like silks, wool, food, etc. :)

This cup has water, a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of turmeric in it that has been boiled for a few minutes. I should have let it boil longer until the turmeric dissolved but we were in a hurry. And it washed off so not a big deal!
 This dye was made using the same method above but instead of powdered turmeric, I used a handful of frozen blackberries. Just strain before using.
 This cup of dye was made with beet root powder. You could use cut up beet pieces but I happened to have some beet root powder so I used that!
 Sophie liked colouring on her egg before putting it in the dye bath!
And here's the finished Easter eggs!

I enjoy using natural materials to dye our eggs with over the chemical filled dyes you can get at the grocery store and I felt better about my kids eating the eggs afterwards. But you don't get the instant satisfaction that you get with the store bought stuff... these sat in the fridge overnight to get this colour. It probably didn't need quite that long (an hour or two would have worked) but I kinda forgot about them. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sick again...

I never really used to get sick. Maybe once a year I'd catch something and that'd be it.

But this year, this year is the complete opposite. I blame sugar, stress and inactivity.

I've gotten so lazy with our diet, especially since we've moved and I've started driving Dave and Ally into town. I'd literally get breakfast from Timmies or Starbuck's every morning and then a coffee or a frap in the afternoon/evening. Sugar sugar sugar! All horrible overprocessed white sugar junk that is a nightmare to our bank account and even worse: to our immune systems. So no more drive through. That alone should give our immune systems a boost.

Stress has been a huge struggle for me this year. Having a third child killed my patience, lol. I get angry quickly (having a crap diet certainly adds to that too) and overwhelmed even quicker. I have a hard time with noises I'm learning. I really struggle with crowds and don't like too much visual stimulation. Having three children in the house (and one who isn't aware of their noise level) has been tough. I really need to learn to tune things out. And I also get stressed when I'm unorganized which we've been unorganized since we've planned on moving last summer. I like simplicity but right now my life feels anything but.

Both stress and poor diet with too much overprocessed sugar has led to inactivity. When I'm stressed or deperessed I have a hard time motivating myself to do anything. When the house is unorganized and a disaster, I don't want to do a single thing. I need to get over that and just go... when it's not pouring out we do get outside daily now which is an improvement but I miss hiking.

So we're no longer getting drive through and I'm hoping the easter chocolates get eaten soon (we didn't buy much but were given too much by family, I need to learn to say no to it). And I want to get outside regardless of weather, even if it's just a walk to the mailbox or to pull some weeds. I'm sure that once we improve on those things, we'll start feeling better and get sick a lot less.

But tonight, I'm drinking my vitman C tabs and vegging on the sofa.