Non-toxic dryer sheets

Non-Toxic Dryer Sheets

Non-Toxic Dryer Sheets

Commercial dryer sheets are loaded with toxic chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and hormone disruptors. By making your own non-toxic dryer sheets, you can avoid those chemicals and reduce your waste. 

All you need is scrap fabric - cotton or flannel are ideal, distilled white vinegar, essential oils, and a large jar with a lid. 

Don't worry the vinegar smell doesn't stick around. It will dissipate during the drying process and help with static.

Use caution when adding the essential oils, as some essential oils can be flammable. Use no more than 20 drops of any oil for this recipe. 

Ditch and switch to reduce your toxic load happens one small step at a time. Replace items in your home as you use them. Try out this recipe for homemade laundry detergent and natural laundry boost to fully replace your laundry needs. Switching out your laundry items is a huge leap to reducing the toxic load for yourself and your family. 

Don't have time to make your own homemade laundry detergent? Try out this Thieves Laundry Soap recipe. 

Non-toxic dryer sheets

Non-Toxic Dryer Sheets

Ingredients

  • Approximately 6x6 scrap fabric, doesn't need to be exact
  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 15 drops of essential oils (lemon, lavender, or eucalyptus are great!)

Instructions

  1. Cut your scrap fabric into squares
  2. Add vinegar and essential oils to your jar
  3. Soak your squares in the mixture for several minutes
  4. Remove squares and squeeze out excess liquid.
  5. Fold and store squares in a jar with a lid.
  6. Add one square to dryer load, I like to add two to bedding
  7. Once the squares are used, soak them again!

homemade magnesium spray

Homemade Magnesium Spray

Homemade Magnesium Spray

Magnesium is a staple for relaxation. While folks usually go for a bath or foot bath, this homemade magnesium spray is easy to absorb and apply when you're in a pinch. Magnesium has been shown to reduce stress and enhance sleep. It's also shown to support hormone function and provide energy support. These magnesium chloride bath flakes are the best.

During pregnancy, my feet (along with the rest of me) were very swollen during the third trimester, IYKYK. I was also sleeping terribly, as expected. Magnesium foot baths gave my feet incredible relief, helped set up a relaxing environment, and I slept as good as someone good when they have a pumpkin-sized gymnast attached to them. 

Once the baby came, I definitely needed all the support I could get with hormones, sleep, and reduced stress. Between the cluster-feeding and contact naps, I didn't have the time to continue with my evening foot soaks. Sure, I could steal away for a bath every now and then, but I felt like I needed support each night. That's where this homemade magnesium spray really came in handy. Now, I use it on myself and my one-year old during out bedtime routine. 

Homemade Magnesium Spray Recipe

homemade magnesium spray

Homemade Magnesium Spray

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup magnesium flakes
  • Spray bottle

Instructions

  1. Boil water
  2. Add Magnesium flakes
  3. Stir until fully dissolved
  4. Wait until cooled
  5. Pour into spray bottle

Apply 2-3 sprays on the soles of your feet before bed. 


homemade laundry detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Commercial laundry detergents contain a variety of harmful chemicals. From dyes, to fragrances, to irritants, there are countless reasons to ditch your commercial laundry detergents and move to your own homemade laundry detergent. It's easy, cheaper, and effective!

Use this recipe with my Laundry Boost for the ultimate stain and stank fighting combination. Adding essential oils will give this a great scent, without the chemicals. Castile soap is sold unscented or with scent. I like to add the same essential oil as the scent used in the castile soap - lemon and eucalyptus are my favorite.  

homemade laundry detergent

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

  • Large glass container with a lid
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup castile soap
  • 30 drops any essential oil
  • 14 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Heat water and when almost boiling, add baking soda and salt. Mix until dissolved.
  2. Pour into glass jar and add castile soap and essential oil.
  3. Gently mix.
  4. Mix before use and use 1/2 to 1 cup per load of laundry.

Notes

Be sure to mix prior to use. Contents will naturally settle. Keep out of reach of children.

No time to make your own laundry detergent? Consider the Young Living Thieves brand. Using their ultra-concentrated laundry soap, you can make three half gallon bottles of laundry detergent from just one bottle of laundry soap. Simply fill each bottle with one-third of the laundry soap and top off with water. Add a capful of Thieves household cleaner or 15-20 drops of essential oils if you want an extra boost and great smell. 


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. 


humidify your home

Low Cost Ways to Humidify Your Home

Low Cost Ways to Humidify Your Home

Using a few of these simple, low-cost tricks, you can easily add moisture to your interior air every day and humidify your home without expensive humidifiers.

During the dry winter days, humidity in your home can drop significantly. When indoor humidity drops below 30 percent, people are likely to experience chapped skin and irritated, sinuses, eyes and nose. When indoor humidity is low and then you mix in cool dry air and wind, our bodies can react with dry skin and lips.

Using heat sources, you'll be able to transfer water vapor into the air easily without an expensive humidifier. While humidifiers are extremely useful, they are often expensive. Especially so if you chose one that doesn't have internal valves, as humidifiers are notorious for getting moldy. 

Benefits of Increasing Humidity in Your Home

Not only will increasing the humidity in your home keep your chapped lips and dry skin at bay, but it will also help prevent illnesses. Keeping the mucus membranes moise in your eyes, nose, and throat create a natural barrier to prevent infection from seeping in.  

Bowls of Water

Place bowls of water on surfaces around your home to increase humidity in each room. Putting these bowls on window sills is ideal, as the sun coming in will help evaporate the air faster. Be sure to keep these bowls away from high traffic areas and keep them up high so children and pets cannot reach them and cause accidental spills. See, now all of those cups of water by your bed are actually for good use. 

Use Your Radiators or Vents

If you have built-in radiators in your home instead of central heating, use these radiant heat sources by placing your bowls of water on top of the unit to humidify the rooms in your home. Be careful, as bowls may get hot. If you do have central heat, place bowls near the vents in your home so that the air can blow the additional moisture around the room. Be sure that these are safely away from electrical outlets or an area where they will be spilled. 

Boil Water on Your Stove

Boiling water on your stove quickly evaporates water to boost humidity in your home. You can even add a few essential oils if you'd like. Be sure that you keep an eye on the pot and never leave it unattended. Set a timer in case you are doing a few things around the house, so that you don't forget. 

Leave the Bathroom Door Open

While you take a shower, leave the bathroom door open to let the humidity flow throughout the home. If you prefer to take baths, don't drain the water immediately. Instead, leave it in the tub until it cools and then drain it. 

 


winter blues

8 Ways to Help your Winter Blues

8 Ways to Help your Winter Blues

The days are shorter, it's dark, gloomy, and cold. You don't need many more excuses to stay inside, cancel plans, and curl up on the couch in front of your phone, laptop, and TV all at once. While decreasing our screen time is huge for kicking those winter blues and getting better sleep, it isn't always realistic for many of us. Between work, friends, and your side hustle, plus keeping up with current events, it's hard to get off of your screens. Even though we know that we should. Here are some tips, besides reducing screen time, to help you fight off those Winter Blues and boost your mood. 

Get Outside

Strive to get outside to help regulate your circadian rhythm, calm your mind, and boost serotonin. While morning sun, prior to 10 AM is best for regulating your circadian rhythm, aim for any amount of time outdoors. Prioritize getting outside, even if it's just for a few minutes. Take the dog for a walk, take some deep breaths as you get the mail, look up, face the sun, listen to the world around you. Even if it's cloudy! 

Maintain a Sleep Schedule

While getting enough sleep is very important, albeit difficult, going to bed and waking up around the same time every day is very helpful to the body. A wonky, inconsistent sleep schedule disrupts our circadian rhythm. This disruption impacts cortisol and hormone production. 

Consider a Vitamin D Supplement

Not medical advice, speak with your doctor before adding supplements. Consider adding a Vitamin D supplement if you are not getting enough Vitamin D through your diet or sunlight. While vitamins are a great tool, there is nothing more effective or free than getting out in the sun. 

Seek Out Light

Open up those blinds! Crack them open if the weather is mild enough. Even if you are indoors, natural light will help keep your mood up. Fresh air is always good and needed during winter months when homes are often closed up tight and air quality goes down. 

Engage Your Support System

Peel yourself off the couch and schedule a coffee date with a friend or dinner with a family member. Kill two birds with one stone and go to the park or on a hike. Spending time with those we care about can boost our mood. 

Eat Well

What we eat matters. Our gut and brain are very intertwined and what we consume has an impact on our mood. That's not to say you can't enjoy your favorite treat, if that's what makes you happy. Just be mindful of how you are fueling, or depleting, your body. This is especially important this time of year as most folks tend to get sick. Supporting your body with your diet is key. Food is medicine. 

Move Your Body

Do this in whatever way feels good for you! Have a dance party with your kids, wrestle and play fetch with the dog, breathe and stretch, go for a run. There's no denying that exercise boosts our mood. 

Aromatherapy

Our sense of smell is directly connected to the emotional parts of our brain. You know how a smell can take you back to your childhood? Like that! Diffuse essential oils to calm the nervous system and create a relaxing environment in your home. Be sure that the oils you are using are high-quality and from a good source - like Young Living

 


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. 

thieves laundry soap

Thieves Laundry Soap Recipe

Ingredients

  • Three 32 oz glass pump bottles
  • Thieves Laundry Soap
  • Thieves Household Cleaner
  • 15 drops lemon essential oil

Instructions

  1. Split the Thieves Laundry soap into thirds into each glass pump bottle until the Thieves Laundry soap is empty. Measure with your eyes.
  2. Once each bottle has 1/3 of the Thieves Laundry soap in it, pour two capfuls of the Thieves Household cleaner into each bottle.
  3. Add the lemon essential oil (or your fav EO - I love eucalyptus or lavender here!)
  4. Fill the rest of the bottle with water
  5. Give it a shake to mix
  6. Add 6-8 pumps per load.

cast iron care

Cast Iron Care

Cast Iron Care

Ahhhh, yes. Cast iron. The staple of a homestead kitchen. Much like sourdough, cast iron care is one of those things that folks are terrified of and don't know where to even start. Much like sourdough, again, cast iron is very forgiving. Keeping in mind how these pans were used by your grandma is helpful when approaching your cast iron today. 

How Grandma Used To Do It

First, a single pan or dutch oven, or a pair of each, was likely used for every single meal, every single day. This means they got a lot of work and if you know anything about cast iron, it's that it gets better the more you use it. 

Second and related, your grandma probably didn't have to go through the hump of seasoning it enough for use. Cast iron is incredibly durable, so it was likely passed down from generation to generation. That's a lot of meals. Getting a cast iron now means you're likely buying one brand new. If you can find one at an antique or second-hand store that is in good shape, snag it. 

Third, cooking fats used then were very different than cooking fats now. Now, the American kitchen uses a lot of oil. Your grandma likely cooked every meal by starting that pan with a heaping scoop of butter or lard (pork fat), instead of the more lean options like olive oil.

Fourth, cast iron care isn't a skill that is passed down anymore. Folks, mostly women, don't know how to care for their cast iron and when non-stick requires literally zero care and you can throw it into the dishwasher, why wouldn't you go that route?  

You just bought your first cast iron. Now what?

Alright, congrats! You're doing this. I believe in you! Everyone says you need to "season" your cast iron. But, what does that really mean? To me, season just means to build grease over time. When you buy new, you're starting with a blank slate. Without enough extra fat or oil, things are going to stick to your pan. Stick with it though, pun intended! The more you use your cast iron, the better it will be. 

Take it out of the box and wash it well with soap and hot water. You're starting with a blank slate. Even though some say that are "seasoned", they likely haven't been, so it's better to get a good clean to start off right. 

Next, set your oven to 350 degrees F. Put your pan on the stovetop and turn it on low. Take a tablespoon of lard or butter, drop it in the center of the pan. Let it melt a little so that it will easily spread. Remove it from the heat and use your hands to grease the entire pan. Once the oven hits 350 degrees F. Put the pan in and turn the oven off. Come back later in the day after the pan has cooled and wipe it with a dry paper towel and store it. 

Ideally, you would do this multiple times before you actually cook on it. I like to do this every so often when my pan needs a little extra TLC.  

If you want to start cooking, just use extra cooking fat (butter, lard, oil) to keep things from sticking. 

Tips

  • It's always, always, always way easier to clean cast iron when it's warm.
  • The only care item you truly will need is chain mail. Think of it as your cast iron's own personal dish sponge. This will help get 99% of the gunk off with water alone. 
  • You really don't want to use soap, ever. Unless you have something terribly stuck on and nothing below is doing the trick. Use some soap. The soap removes the grease that you've been working so hard to build. Best to use it sparingly. 
  • The handle gets hot, grab a handle cover or two. 
  • Besides my heirloom cast iron pieces, I really like Lodge cast iron. It's durable, reliable, and affordable.
  • There's nothing better than cranking up the temp, smoking up the kitchen, and getting an incredible cast iron sear on a steak. 

No-Time-To-Care Care

It's Wednesday night, you threw together dinner and have to get everyone cleaned up and ready for bed. The last thing you can do is care for one more thing.

If your cast iron is warm, bring it to the sink. Use the chain mail and hot water to get everything out from dinner. Throw it on a drying rack or towel and you're done. 

If your cast iron is cold, pour some water in the pan on top of dinner remnants. Put the cast iron on the burner and bring it back up to medium while you clean up other items from dinner. Trust me, this is better than fighting the cold stuck-on bits. Grab the warm pan and bring it to the sink. Use the chain mail and hot water to get everything out. Now is a good time for your drain catch to shine. Throw your cast iron on the drying rack or towel and you're done.

A-Few-Minutes-To-Spare Care

You've done the steps above from "No-Time-To-Care Care" and have your cast iron cleaned out and wet. Put your pan on the stovetop on medium-low, dry or wet. Clean up the rest of dinner. Turn the burner off and leave the pan until tomorrow. 

Dad-Has-Bedtime-Covered-Tonight Care

Before you start cleaning up dinner, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You've done the steps above from "No-Time-To-Care Care" and have your cast iron cleaned out and wet. Dry off your cast iron with a dish towel. Pour or place a tablespoon of oil, butter or lard in your pan and put it on your stove top on medium. When the butter/lard just  starts to melt or the oil starts to spread and shine, remove the pan from the heat. Take a paper towel, fold it up to protect your fingers, and rub the oil or fat all over the inside and outside of your pan. When your oven is preheated, put the pan inside and turn the oven off to let it cool as the oven cools. Remove the pan tomorrow before you cook again.

Grab a glass of wine, run the sink periodically, bang a couple dishes around, get into your secret chocolate stash. He's got this, take the breather. 

Tough Spots

My go-to approach is to fill the cast iron with water, typically an inch, but feel free to add more depending on where the sticky gunk is. Bring the water to a boil. Turn the burner off and safely and carefully pour the water into the sink. Again, let that drain catch do its thing. With more hot water and your chain mail, scrub the bits. 

My last resort is to add a little soap to a sponge and spot treat stuck on areas, rather than putting soap in the entire pan. If you have to use a little soap in the entire pan this one time, it won't be the end of the world. 


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. 

Natural Laundry Scent Boost

Natural Laundry Scent Boost

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Baking Soda
  • 1.5 Cups of Epsom Salt
  • 35 drops of essential oils

Instructions

Dump, shake, done!

Sprinkle 2 TBS in each load.

Notes

I love eucalyptus, lemon, or lavender essential oils.


Orange-Infused All Purpose Cleaner

Infused All Purpose Cleaner

This infused all purpose cleaner is easy to make, non-toxic, with no essential oils, artificial fragrances, dyes, chemicals. It's pretty much free of all the things you don't want to clean with, especially when you have babies roaming around the house. This is great for a quick wipe on the bathroom counters, toys, your car, the changing pad. Just don't use it on marble or hardwood - orange and vinegar can be finicky when it comes to those surfaces. 

Is this my mega-deep clean, dog had an accident, baby had a blow-out go-to cleaner? No. This is my everyday, de-funkify, give the countertops and high chair a quick wipe and move on type of spray. Vinegar is a surprisingly effective cleaner. Plus! Put those rinds to good use. 

Instead of orange peels, swap them out for limes or lemons for a fresh fun scent. Love using essential oils? Feel free to add a few drops in when you are mixing this in the spray bottle. 

When you've mixed your cleaner, throw the rinds to the chickens or pigs or add them to the compost pile for a no waste cleaner. 

These are my favorite amber glass spray bottles

Orange-Infused All Purpose Cleaner

Orange-Infused All Purpose Cleaner

Yield: Quart jar

Ingredients

  • Glass Quart jar and lid
  • Orange peels 6-8, depending on size
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Well-filtered or distilled water
  • 16oz Spray bottle

Instructions

  1. Add orange peels to your quart jar as you use them
  2. Once the jar is full of peels, add vinegar to cover the peels
  3. Let sit on counter and steep for 10-14 days, with lid on.
  4. When it's ready, remove the peels, fill your spray bottle with 8oz of water and 8oz of the vinegar.

Notes

Use on counters, toys, bathrooms, highchairs, and more.

Swap the orange peels for lemon peels!