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Raised Bed Gardening with Woodchips and Pest Preventers.

A little precaution, I don’t have a green thumb. 😔 But I get a lot of tips from my parents are sister who are expert gardeners. 😊

First off if you don’t already have a garden, choose a spot in your yard that gets a good amount of sun. I made my raised beds out of cedar decking that we had from doing demolition on our house. Cedar is naturally rot resistant. Unfortunately I don’t have a DIY on the raised cedar beds, we made those last year.

Here are my beds, full of weeds.


To take care of the weeds I did 3 things.

Homemade Weedkiller


  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dawn dish soap, any kind.


Use a funnel and add the other two ingredients right to the vinegar bottle. I write my ingredient list right in the vinegar bottle and use it to store my extra weed killer in.

I bought the green pump spray bottle from Walmart. Works ok, but I might have to get a full size weed sprayer like my hubby has for landscaping.

Spray the weeds, carful not to get it on your vegetable or flower plants, it is not toxic but it will still kill your plants. After a couple of hours the weeds should be shriveling up in the sun. I’d give it a day or two then pull the weeds, weed whack them, or use a scuffle hoe, pictured below. The scuffle hoe (aka hula hoe or stirrup hoe) works wonders, it cuts of the weed just below the soil line. So easy to use and it’s not hard on your back.

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Hula hoe

Once you have taken care of those weeds you can cover your garden with woodchips. Woodchips keep the weeds down and the moisture in!


Tada! Weed free and hopefully it will stay that way for a while!

If you live in the woods like I do then you’ll have all kinds of pest problems; turtles, rabbits, deer, birds etc. I got some wild life netting and step-in horse fencing. I wasn’t quite sure how it would work when I was at the store buying my supplies but that’s what I came up with.


I think I need some more step-in fence, so for now I just draped the wild life netting overtop of the fence poles.

Lastly, I’m so sick of my husband stepping on all of my plants, because he never knows where I’ve planted new ones. So I made some pallet board garden markers.

Tristan and I had some fun painting some goose egg rocks to put in the garden.



Can not wait to eat fresh strawberries out of my garden!

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Natural Cold Remedies for Children

I’m sitting here in my rocking chair watching my baby play with his toys. Tristan smiles as he shows me his toys so I can join in on his fun.  All the while he has snot running down from his nose, sneezing, coughing, and raspy breathing. It’s hard to concentrate on typing when you have a little cutie smiling at you every time you take your eyes off the computer screen. That’s a little back round on what I ‘deal’ with as I type.

Today I want to share a couple home remedies for a sick kid. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when your babies get sick. You can’t give them vitamin C & zinc or have them drink some Echinacea tea like you would do. However, if you are breastfeeding, eating a nutrient dense diet and taking some extra C and zinc would definitely help your little guy.

First, pray. To be honest, it is something I often forget about. I jump right into doing things on my own to alleviate my child’s discomfort. In fact, I had to take a second to pray just now.

Second. Start giving them lots of water! Another simple step that is often forgotten.

Psalms 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

One of my many passions is healthy eating and herbs. It never ceases to amaze me how God created our bodies to heal, naturally. Of course, because of sin’s curse we need to use traditional medicine once in a while. I like to do everything I can before going to the Dr.

The information you will read here is not to be taken over a Drs recommendations. Please consult your Dr. if your child is very sick.

Children’s Composition.

Children’s Composition is a formula made from three simple ingredients. It’s used to fight colds, flu, congestion, stomach problems, fevers and diarrhea.

How to make it:

  1. Put equal parts yarrow, elder flowers and peppermint in a mason jar.
  2. Cover the dried herbs with a 60% glycerin and 40% water mixture.
  3. Place the jar into a pot. Fill the pot about ½ way up the sides of the jar with water.
  4. Simmer the jars in the water for two to three hours.
  5. Strain the herbs out of the solution using cheese cloth. The resulting liquid should be put into a bottle with a tight fitting lid and stored in a cool, dark place. Make sure you label your glycerite so you don’t forget what it is.

A good dose is ½ teaspoon 2x a day, more if they want it. If needed you can give as often as every 15 minutes or until the illness begins to subside.

I use a dropper bottle to store my Children’s composition. Tristan loves it. He thinks it’s liquid candy. If you don’t have a dropper bottle on hand, store it in a glass jar. You can put it in the tip of a bottle nipple to give to a baby.

Be ready for buckets of snot! Remember earlier I said Tristan was sneezing? Every time this kid sneezes stuff goes flying out of his nose. Essentially this is how children’s composition works. It helps the body eliminate sickness. If you catch it in time, you could avoid the sickness all together.

The original ‘recipe’ can be found here.

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace.

Works like a charm.

Teething necklaces are not just good for teething babies. I just ordered one for myself (back pain & overall health).

“Amber is so effective due to it’s high content of succinic acid. Succinic Acid is a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Amber has many immune boosting properties: It promotes longevity,enhances memory, alleviates stress, is therapeutic for people suffering from arthritis, asthma, kidney stones, and thyroid problems.”

I’ve worn a Baltic amber necklace on Tristan since he was one month old. Maybe it’s all in my head, I honestly don’t know the science behind how these things work, but I believe they do.

“Baltic amber is not a gemstone or mineral, Baltic Amber is a fossilized resin, not a stone. Baltic amber instead is fossilized tree sap”

These necklaces look cute on boys and girls alike.

Be sure to wear your babies’ teething necklace on his/her skin. The warmth of the body releases the beneficial properties of the necklace. The necklace is not meant to be chewed on, typically they are short in length. If you want to keep the benefits of the necklace going while your baby is sleeping just wrap it around their leg and put a sock over it.

I have noticed every time I forget to put Tristan’s teething necklace on he seems a bit more grumpy. There’s a lot going on in his little body, anything I can do to help is worth it.

I got Tristan’s necklace on etsy.com This shop.

Chiropractor

This is not a home remedy, but it’s very high up on my list of important things. I became familiar with chiropractic when I was 16. I started working at a Chiropractor’s office where I was the Dr. assistant.

Our spine starts at the brain and goes down to your lower back. Nerves branch off from the spine that go to every organ in the body. You can see how if your back is out of whack your organs will be suffering too.

Chiropractic adjustments are great for ear infections, headaches, head colds etc.

We took Tristan to the Chiropractor when he was only a week old. I truly believe it is important. You can speak to your local Chiropractor more on the benefits of chiropractic care. This is a website my Chiropractor referred me to, she specialized is adjusting children.

We typically go to our Chiropractor once a month. Once in a while when we go one of us will be battling a cold. You can just feel the pressure leave your body when the Dr. adjusts your neck. It’s simply amazing.

Cod Liver Oil

I am a distributer of Nordic Naturals. To my knowledge they sell the most pure fish oils that you can find. The one I use for Tristan you can find here. Once he’s a year old I’m going to get the Children’s DHA liquid. If your interested in purchasing some Cod Liver oil aka DHA liquid for your little one I can get you all set with that.

Good fats support the immune system. Fatty acids like EPA and DHA reduce inflammation.

I hear it’s great for kids with ear infections.

Cod liver oil is a good fat which is important for proper brain health. Cod liver oil aids in digestion as well.

I started feeding Tristan cold liver oil right from the beginning. I found the easiest way was to put it in a bottle nipple and let him suck on it. You can also use a dropper for this. If you start early enough they wont mind the taste at all.

Elderberry Syrup

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This is a MUST to keep on hand at all times!

Autumn is the perfect time of year to make some elderberry syrup. Your whole house will smell of sugar and spice and everything nice! You really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

½ cup dried elder berries, or 1 cup fresh or frozen berries.

IMG_4490I’ve got an elderberry bush growing in my flower garden. I hope to harvest my own elder berries in the next year or so.

1 cinnamon stick, or 2 or 3.

IMG_44935 cloves, or maybe more.

1 Tablespoon ginger, freshly grated. If you don’t have any fresh ginger on hand ground ginger can be used instead. Use 1 teaspoon ground ginger.

2 cups water

1 cup honey, PLEASE NOTE it is not recommended to give honey to children under the age of one. I use beet sugar when I make it for Tristan. You could also try maple syrup or other natural sweeteners.

Add all ingredients but honey. Bring to a boil then let simmer, cover and let sit to reduce liquid to ½, about 20 minutes.

IMG_4497Strain. Add honey.

Store in fridge for a couple of weeks.

This is one home remedy your kids will be asking to take! This is one of the only natural remedies my husband will take when he is sick. Tastes great over pancakes with a little butter.

Probiotic

I get a powdered form of Raw LIVE probiotic from Garden Of Life. I am also a distributor of their supplements. I would HIGHLY recommend giving a probiotic to your children on a daily basis.

Probiotics can help with thrush in babies, yeast infections and overall support a better immune system!

Calendula Salve

IMG_4486We all know what happens when our warm summer days turns to brisk fall mornings. Weather changes bring the cold/ flu season along with chapped lips, dry skin and for some kids, eczema.

How to Make Calendula Salve:

IMG_4454¼ cup dried calendula petals

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles

10 drops lavender essential oil, or your favorite essential oil.

You will also need:

Cheesecloth, this can be found just about anywhere, I got mine at Wal-Mart in the craft section.

Pot or Crock pot – you may want to invest in a cheep pot. I got one at the local thrift store; I use it for all of my herbal concoctions. Beeswax and oil is a pain to clean out of your nice pans.

Spoon – again you might want to use a cheep one

Measuring cups

Rubber band

  1. Put the olive oil and calendula petals in a small pot on low heat for approximately three hours. I added comfrey leaf to mine for added skin benefits.IMG_4475
  2. Lay cheesecloth over the top of a mason jar and secure with a rubber band. SLOWLY pour the olive oil through the cheesecloth so the petals are caught on top and the oil goes through the cheesecloth and into the mason jar.IMG_4471
  3. Pour the strained oil back into the saucepan and turn the heat on low. Add the beeswax and stir occasionally until melted. Add the essential oil and stir to distribute.IMG_4481
  4. Pour into a clean container, leaving uncovered until completely cooled.IMG_4483
  5. Cap and label. This salve should last for a year. I like to store my remedies in 4 oz. mason jars with those white plastic reusable lids. (mine turned green, I might have burnt it. oops, still learning)

The version I shared with you is the quick version. The long version is preferable to the quick version since it uses less heat which will keep more of the natural healing properties of the calendula flower in tact.

The long version:

IMG_4468Place dried calendula petals in a clean jar and pour the olive oil over petals. Close lid tightly and shake to blend. Allow to sit for one to two week until the oil turns a golden color.

Strain and follow the same directions as the quick version above.

Great for dry skin, eczema, rashes, chapped lips, cuts and scrapes, and minor burns.

Here is the recipe I used as my guide.

There are so many variations, and endless possibilities with making your own salves.

Another salve I use all of the time is Eden Salve.

Essential oils

You have already heard a bit about essential oils reading my post thus far. I use essential oils in just about everything. You can also use them raw such as peppermint oil on your temples for headaches or lavender on the bottom of your babies’ feet to help him sleep.

I get my essential oils from Doterra. I have a wholesale account with them. For more information please feel free to leave a comment, I’d be glad to answer any questions.

I won’t get into essential oils much right now. Some day I will make a whole post on the uses and benefits of essential oils. Just make sure you do your research, some essential oils can be harmful, especially to babies and pregnant women.

Vapor Rub

IMG_4460¼ cup beeswax

½ cup coconut oil

25 drops eucalyptus

IMG_446310 drops tea tree

5 drops peppermint

Simply melt the oil and beeswax in a pan and then add the essential oils.

IMG_4467Pour into metal tin(s) or a glass 4 oz mason jar. And that’s it!

The salve will harden within 10-15 minutes. If you find it is too soft, like the consistency of an ointment, you can scoop it back into the pan, remelt it and add more beeswax. If it is too hard, remelt and add more oil. You could add more essential oil at this time as well.

Earaches

My husband, Ben used to be plagued by earaches when he was a child. I have not had to deal with earaches with Tristan yet, hopefully it stays that way. I do know that ear aches are a big concern for many moms out there. Hope this woman’s advice can help one of you out!

Conclusion

I made the calendula salve, and chest rub this morning, while writing a blog, taking care of a sick snotty baby with a little puppy nipping at my heals. I also managed to get a shower and stay in my pjs all day. I know many of you have way busier lives than mine. My point is these things are easy to make, and the benefits are amazing. It feels good to be a mommy Dr. for my family.

I would say the hardest part to making your own herbal concoctions is finding the right ingredients.

So where do I find all my herbs and other ingredients. Some herbs I actually grow in my herb garden. Most of them I buy here at mountain rose herbs or my favorite place is Bulk Herb Store. You can find lots of helpful information on both of these websites. I originally learned how to make salves and home remedies from Shoshana at Bulk Herb Store.

I have to say, this was fun! It’s nice having all of my most used herbal remedies in one neat blog post. Even if no one else reads my post, I’ll certainly be back to follow my own recipes.

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Homemade Baby Food

What better way to start out this blog than a post about a mommy making some homemade baby food. 🙂

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Fresh Washed Veggies

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love all of the beautiful colors and scents. Today we’re going to cook up and puree some seasonal butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Freshly picked from my parent’s HUGE veggie garden! We just moved into our house a couple months ago, so for now I’m mooching off of their harvest of goodies!

I recommend eating organic and non GMO. I know that can get expensive, so at the very least check out the clean 15 and dirty dozen.

Making your own homemade baby food is relatively simple. It helps to have the right equipment.

1. Sharp knife. I learned from my sister (a pampered chef consultant) that using a good quality sharp knife can save your fingers. A dull blade is more likely to slip on hard veggie skins, therefor causing you to cut yourself.

2. Emersion blenderVitamix, Magic bullet, or basically any type of blender to puree your cooked veggies.

3. Pot & Veggie Steamer – also from Pampered Chef

You also need something to store your finished baby food in. When my baby had just started eating solids he only ate 2 oz. My favorite thing to use was Green Sprouts Freezer Trays. I would freeze his purees in the freezer trays, pop them out and store them in tupperware containers in the freezer. Just thaw one or two of the one ounce squares for your baby to enjoy.

Now that Tristan is eating more, I like freezing his food in 4 oz. Mason jars. I use the Ball wide mouth reusable plastic lids on the mason jars. To make eating on the go simple I got reusable squooshi pouches. These pouches are so cute and convenient.  BPA & Phthalate free, Dishwasher (top rack), & Freezer safe. They have a zipper closure at one end to make filling them very easy. You can also buy a fill n squeeze filling station (this on is cheaper, not as many pouches etc.) to make things even faster. I would recommend the filling station if you plan to make large batches. I found it very easy to use (and clean) for the pouches and my glass mason jars.

Pureed Carrots – same method for sweet potatoes.

Ingredients and items needed:

  • Raw, full sized carrots
  • Basket steamer (optional)
  • Pot with lid
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Food processor or blender

Directions:

1.)   Wash and peel the carrots and cut them into smaller pieces.  The smaller the pieces the less time you will need to steam.IMG_4578

2.)   Add just enough water to the pot to hit the bottom of the steamer basket and bring to a boil.

3.)   Add the carrots to the basket and cover. If you don’t have a steamer basket just cover the carrots with water. Check the carrots in 10 to 15 minute increments by attempting to cut or stab with a fork. If they are still too hard to easily do so, continue to steam. Be careful to watch your water level, as it will decrease over the time.

4.)   Once the carrots are completely softened, remove and add to your food processor or blender. Purée until smooth.

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Using the Filling Station

5.)   Serve, refrigerate, or freeze immediately.

Pureed Butternut Squash

Ingredients and items needed:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 9”x13” or larger baking dish or rimmed baking sheet
  • Food processor or blender
  • Ice cream scoop or large spoon
  • Tin foil
  • Water

 Directions:

1.)   Preheat your oven to 350°.

2.)   Begin by rinsing off the squash and scrubbing away any dirt or debris. (Though you wont be serving the skin, if your child is anything like mine he already gets enough dirt in his diet.)

3.)   Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place face down on the baking sheet.IMG_4585

4.)   Add a small amount of water to rise about 1 inch up the side of the squash. The purpose of this is two fold.  The water will prevent the squash from sticking to your bake ware, and will also create steam to aid in the cooking process.

5.)   Cover the baking sheet with tin foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

6.)   Remove, flip the squash over right side up, and stab with a fork in a few different areas to determine the softness of the squash.

7.)    If you can easily stab or mash it, you can remove the squash and allow it to cool. If it is still too dense, return it to the oven in 10 to 15 minute increments. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your squash.

8.)   Once the squash has cooled enough to touch, discard any seeds and scoop out the soft inside.  An ice cream scoop is the perfect tool for this:

9.)   Place it in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add some of the cooking water to make it the right consistency.

10.)  Serve, refrigerate, or freeze immediately.

Finished Product

Finished Product

Optional: Flavor with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey (not till 1 year of age).

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These are so cute & handy.

When using the squooshi pouches another helpful gadget is the ChooMee Sip’n. Makes it so your kids can sip on the pouches without making messes! Huge plus for us moms!