natural bug repellent

Homemade Natural Bug Repellent

Natural Bug Repellent

Most bugs sprays are pretty toxic and smell terrible. This natural bug repellent will keep you safe from toxins and unwanted critters. Using powerful citronella, this safe and effective bug repellent can be used on everyone in your family. With mild winters, most unwanted pests haven't been killed off. 

Now is the perfect time to get started on putting together this natural bug repellent, since it takes a few weeks to steep the citronella. You can also make your own citronella candle. 

While there are a good bit of recipe cards in this blog, I love a recipe that is so straight forward that you don't need one. People lean so heavily on being told exactly what to do any how to do it, but do we actually learn that way? This recipe for natural bug is vague on purpose. This is "recipe" is very forgiving and is effective if it doesn't "set" perfectly into a balm. 

Let's Make It

To begin, you'll need enough fresh citronella clippings to fill a quart jar. Dry them using a dehydrator, oven, or leave them out in the open air until dried through. Don't use fresh citronella, as the oil can go rancid. 

Top the jar off with fractioned coconut oil. Let it steep for 5-6 weeks. Using a cheesecloth over a glass bowl, strain the citronella out.

Noting the amount of liquid you were left with, mix the coconut oil with equal parts beeswax and shea butter.

Melt and stir mixture over a double boiler until beeswax is melted and everything is incorporated.

Very carefully pour hot liquid into jelly jars or balm tins.  

The Easy Button

You can also purchase Young Living's citronella essential oil or cedarwood essential oil to use as your own bug repellent. Be mindful that when applying essential oils to the skin, you should use a carrier oil. Typically, I'll take a teaspoon of coconut oil in my palm and add a few drops of essential oil then rub it together and apply it around my ankles, arms, and waistband to prevent bugs, especially ticks

beef tallow for skincare

How to Make Beef Tallow for Skincare

How to Make Beef Tallow for Skincare

Use this recipe for the purest render of beef tallow with no odor. This is the best for my nourishing whipped tallow balm recipe. 

Beef tallow is well-known for its incredible skin healing properties. With loads of bio-available nutrients that your skin will drink up. Nourishing beef tallow contains similar oils to our own skin and is a remedy for dry skin, diaper rash, chapped lips, scars, sunburn, and so much more. I've even used it as a make up remover. 

I spent YEARS fighting acne, all through my teen years and through my 20's. I tried anything and everything to get rid of it - from prescriptions to water and everything in between. Nothing ever worked. Then I switched to goat milk soap and tallow balm, that's it. My skin has been better than ever for over a year now.  

Ditch your toxic skin care products that are making your skin worse and swap them for nourishing beef tallow. 

[mv_create key="27" thumbnail="" title="How to Make Beef Tallow for Skincare" type="recipe"] 


growing fodder

Keeping Chickens: Growing Fodder

Growing Fodder for Chicken Feed

Fodder is a nutrient-dense, inexpensive food source for livestock throughout the winter months. Growing fodder is incredibly easy in small spaces and it has a great conversion rate of one pound of seed creates four pounds of fodder. 

Feed fodder to your chickens, rabbits, pigs, cows, and goats throughout the winter months where fresh, nutrient rich, green grasses are hard to come by. Let it grow longer for larger animals, or keep in short for your smaller livestock like chickens and rabbits. 

Growing Fodder is Easy

Growing fodder is an incredibly easy way to grow livestock feed. It is done by soaking and sprouting grains. By letting the sprouts mature for a few days, greens will develop. Letting it get a few inches in length will develop a nice, thick layer of vegetation for your livestock. 

Similarly to how growers produce microgreens, growing fodder needs no soil, no fertilizer, and no light. And it only takes seven days!

What You Need

  1. Grab any container with drain holes. This could be an old tupperware containers, a seedling flat, or anything large and shallow that you can poke some holes into. It doesn't matter what it is! As long as it drains. We use a 20" x 10" seedling flat
  2. Get some whole seeds, like barley, oats, wheat, or rye
  3. A medium bucket or large bowl
  4. An area with access to water
  5. Another tray to catch drainage or an area where trays can drain. 
  6. A grow light or sunny window, optional. Great way to get nice green growth. 

What To Do

To make one tray of fodder...

  1. Scoop out four cups of your seeds, place them in a bucket or large bowl. Cover with water for 24 hours. 
  2. Strain soaked seeds and pour them into one tray. Spread evenly. 
  3. Gently water twice per day. No needs to shake them around or otherwise disturb them. 
  4. Once grains begin to sprout and get about a half inch long, put them in a sunny window or under grow light if you'd like nice green growth. 
  5. Once the greens are a couple inches tall, pull the fodder from the tray and cut it into smaller squares to toss to your flock. 
  6. Sanitize your tray and reuse! 

growing fodder

Check out more chicken keeping tips

homemade toothpaste

Simple Homemade Toothpaste

Simple Homemade Toothpaste

When making the change to low-tox living, swapping out your toothpaste with this homemade toothpaste is a great first step. While it's very overwhelming once you begin to learn how toxic the products in our home are, taking small steps can lighten the load and make things easier. As you run out of items, swap them out for low-tox options. 

Why Switch to Homemade Toothpaste?

Conventional toothpaste is filled with chemicals that disrupt our body and do more harm than good. Fluoride is a known neurotoxin. It can cause a number of serious adverse health effects, including endocrine dysfunction in addition to neurological dysfunction. It's also been shown to negatively affect cognitive development in children. Parabens can disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen and has been linked to breast cancer. Triclosan has been linked to antibiotic resistance and skin cancer. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) has been shown to cause skin irritation and can aggravate aphthous ulcers. Propylene Glycol is linked to damage of the central nervous system, liver, and heart. Artificial Sweeteners have links to bladder cancer, brain tumors, and lymphoma. Diethanolamine (DEA) is found in antifreeze and brake fluid and has been linked to cancer in test animals. 

Simple Homemade Toothpaste Recipe

6 TBS Coconut Oil
2.5 TBS Baking Soda
35 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

1. Melt coconut oil on low heat
2. Once heated, remove the heat and stir in baking soda
3. Add essential oil
4. Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight glass jar. 
5. To use, place 1/2 TSP of the paste on your brush and brush for two minutes. 

thieves laundry soap

Thieves Laundry Soap Recipe

Laundry detergents love to market themselves as cleaner than they actually are. Many that are marketed as extra clean, safe for sensitive skin, and safe for babies are actually filled with SLS, SLES, dyes, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, phosphates, and synthetic fragrances. All of which are known skin irritants and hormone disruptors. Known. Being marketed to us as clean, safe, and even great for our babies. 

Why I Switched to Thieves Laundry Soap

Just a few days after the birth of my son, I started to develop a very itchy widespread rash on my hips, knees, and elbows. Rashes are so mysterious, aren't they? I couldn't figure out what was doing it, where it came from, or how to get rid of it. Terrible. Especially on top of the usual postpartum healing and care, figuring out nursing, and caring for a brand spankin' new baby.

After days of narrowing it down, I finally figured out that it was the Baby OxyClean. Marketed as the most sensitive. I learned that when you are nursing, your resistance to irritants is routed to your baby, and you are left with diminished defenses. So this awful rash was what my body was defending against all day long, and I washed all of the blankets, swaddles, and baby clothes in it. 

I threw the Oxy Clean in the trash, got some Thieves Laundry soap from a friend while I waited for mine to arrive, and rewashed everything three times with the Thieves. The rash that had me taking oatmeal baths and coating myself in salve went away in less than 48 hours. 

The Dilution Recipe for Thieves Laundry Soap

Young Living sells most of their Thieves cleaning line products as concentrates. That means you get a lot of bang for your buck. Especially with the Thieves Laundry soap

At first, I was skeptical on how well it would work. Between farming, hunting, gardening, exercising, raising babies, these clothes are dirty, y'all. This works wonders on our clothes. If they are really gross, I'll add a couple of bloops of vinegar to the washer in addition to my Thieves Laundry soap mixture to give it a boost. I know some people like to use an oxygen booster to their clothes. I love Molly's Oxygen Boost for a clean option on Amazon; otherwise, Branch Basics Oxygen Boost is a great option. 

Since the Thieves Laundry soap is super concentrated can be diluted. Here's the recipe below. 

[mv_create key="17" thumbnail="" title="Thieves Laundry Soap Recipe" type="recipe"] 

fire cider

Homemade Fire Cider

Homemade Fire Cider

If you've never heard of fire cider before, it is a spicy tonic that is used to fight colds and flus and boost the immune system. It's a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and herbs all topped with vinegar. After steeping for a few weeks, all of these beneficial ingredients are strained out and the liquid is used to add to soups, stews, sauces, marinades - but I most often use it as a tea or as a shot. 

Use a variety of ingredients in your fire cider, whatever you have on hand or prefer. Common additions are ginger, honey, lemon, oranges, red onion, elderberry, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, and cayenne. Other beneficial ingredients that can be used are black pepper, jalapeno, echinacea, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, thyme, rosehips, pomegranate, and limes. 

A large glass 64-70 ounce jar is best. Apple cider vinegar is going to be the best tasting and beneficial vinegar to use. As always, use high quality ingredients. 

[mv_create key="11" thumbnail="" title="Homemade Fire Cider" type="recipe"] 

starbucks medicine ball

Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe

Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Drink

Let's make this popular order - the Starbucks Medicine Ball - into a drink that is actually nourishing for the body. Kick your winter cold with this homemade version.

The Starbucks version has 30g of sugar. There is honey in the Starbucks version, but it is not up to the standards you would want to provide a medicinal benefit. It contains potassium sorbate (a preservative), gums, and "natural flavors" (can be a unknown variety of lab-made flavorings). Nothing about those ingredients set your body up healing. 

Let's stick to the good stuff that will actually support our bodies. That's the whole reason we would order the Starbucks Medicine Ball over your usual double-pump, cold foam, latte-blah-blah triple espresso, right? 

Ginger, honey, lemon, and peppermint are the ultimate tried and true threat for cough, cold, flu, congestion, and overall funkiness. Take a drink if you feel something coming on or if you need a little immunity boost. 

I like to swap out the tea depending on how I'm feeling or what I have on hand. Ginger, honey, and lemon - you really can't go wrong adding it to any tea blend. I prefer loose leaf tea. You can typically find it for much cheaper than bagged tea, plus you avoid chemicals and bleach that are used in most tea bags. My favorite tea balls are durable and reusable. Plus, you can mix and match single varieties of tea to make your own custom blend, depending on your needs. 

[mv_create key="10" thumbnail="" title="Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe" type="recipe"] 



natural laundry boost

Natural Laundry Boost

Natural Laundry Boost

Going the natural route for your laundry doesn't meant you have to sacrifice on having a nice fresh scent. Trust me, after Dylan cleans out the pig pen (or leaves his bottle of elk estrus in his hunting pants, IYKYK) - we need a little (a lot) help in the scent department. Plus, kids, exercising - you get it.

We aren't short on reasons to have a laundry scent boost. Plus, we can trust that it isn't filled with chemicals and synthetic fragrance that will disrupt our hormones and cause skin and respiratory irritation. And, most importantly, safe for my bebe. 

The Switch

One of the things that pushed me over the edge into low-tox living and questioning the products and foods I was putting in and on my body was laundry detergent. When I was early postpartum, I started to develop an incredibly itchy rash on my legs, waistline, and arms.

If you're a mama, you know how physically challenging those first few weeks are already. Add the lack of sleep, cracked and sore nips, sweaty, in a diaper, changing diapers - oh, and trying to keep a new human alive. Add a rash that made you want to rip your skin off. I mean, off, y'all. And rashes can be so mysterious. Was it internal? Was it external? It took finally realizing that the rash was the most dense on contact areas where my clothes hit.

That's when I realized. The laundry detergent. I just bought the Oxyclean baby brand that was rated pretty well on EWG. That was it. The shoddy synthetic fragrances. Curses! 

I threw it all away and completely switched everything to Young Living's Thieves cleaning line - it was the cleanest stuff I could find. The rash went away almost immediately. I was skeptical with how effective it would actually be. The liquid laundry detergent is great - super concentrated, lasts forever. I split the bottle of liquid detergent into three one-liter bottles, fill the rest with water, add some oils, and done. With the farm and baby, I knew I needed a little extra boost in our laundry. I'd read articles about Borax that I wasn't quite sold on and I wasn't sure on washing soda. 

In comes this natural laundry scent boost. My favorite oils to add are eucalyptus, lemon, or lavender. 

[mv_create key="9" thumbnail="" title="Natural Laundry Scent Boost" type="recipe"] 

bath bombs

Essential Oil Bath Bombs

Essential Oil Bath Bombs

Doesn't it just add to the relief to have bath bombs that aren't filled with toxic chemicals and fragrances? While a lot of self-sufficiency is learning the basics - growing and preserving food, natural remedies, etc. it is nice to learn those things that make you feel like you're at a fancy spa. Minus the hormone disruption. 

These bath bombs can be customized using whatever essential oils that make your skirt fly up. I'll throw a few of my favorite blends at the bottom, but these make great gifts. Once you get the hang of the texture, they are easy peasy. 

Some things you may not have on hand are linked: citric acid, bath bomb molds, and jojoba oil.

Bath Bomb Essential Oil Blends

All essential oils can be found at Young Living.

4 drops of Lavender
4 drops of Cedarwood
2 drops of Grapefruit
2 drops of Marjoram

Deep Breath, great for stuffy sinuses or cough
4 drops of Eucalyptus
4 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Peppermint
2 drops of Tea Tree

Sleepy Time, great for kiddos
2 drops of Orange
4 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Gentle Baby (Young Living)

4 drops of Evergreen Essence (Young Living)
3 drops of Copaiba
2 drops of Pine
2 drops of Bergamot

[mv_create key="6" thumbnail="" title="Non-Toxic Bath Bombs" type="recipe"] 

garlic salve

Homemade Garlic Salve

Homemade Garlic Salve

It's only been in recent years that modern pharmaceuticals have been the only avenue for healing. Garlic was actually the preferred method to treat bacterial and viral infections up until the wave of vaccinations and medications. This homemade garlic salve will be a staple during cold season. 

Garlic (specifically the compound allicin) is an incredible healer of the lungs and respiratory system. And, since it's from nature, this homemade garlic salve is safe to use on everyone in your family - from babies to the elderly. 

Here is our go-to recipe for this homemade garlic salve. Use lard or coconut oil depending on what you have on hand and your family's sensitivities. Make it before the sickies hit so you have it on hand. Salve lasts four weeks or until completely used. Store in pantry or fridge for a longer shelf life. 

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