Healers in your backyard

One of the great things I learned when I was in Nelsonville a few weekends ago was how many natural healers can be found in our backyard. Everything that grows has a purpose. Sure, there are some we don’t like, but others are very beneficial. Here are a few of my recent favorites.

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle is a weed that grows in Ohio. Auntie Mame wrote a great post about the benefits of nettle. I haven’t found any in my yard (and I’m not that confident that I could identify it), so I buy nettle tea. But, if you have some, you can dry it and make your own nettle tea. Nettle tea is great for allergies! I drink some every day and it has definitely helped my allergies more than pills do (especially since nearly all allergy pills contain lactose). Mr drinks it and feels immediate allergy relief. It’s also good for the metabolism and creating energy.

jewelweed

jewelweed

Jewelweed

This is a healer. It can heal mosquito bites and sunburns. When I got a sunburn and we didn’t have any aloe nearby, I mashed up some jewelweed and spread it on my burns like aloe. It definitely provided some relief. I’m going to try it on mosquito bites too. Jewelweed grows in our metro parks, and in my backyard. It’s invasive, but it pulls out pretty easily. The flowers remind me of irises.

Mint

Ok, so you may have planted mint, but it grows like a weed. I love mint in milkshakes. It’s also very cooling and healing. Of course, you can use mint as a breath freshener, but it’s also good for digestion, relieving headaches, and more. Organicfacts breaks it down.

The Oil Cleansing Method

SunflowerI have a real passion for healthy skin. In fact, I often compliment people for having nice skin.

For years now, I have been on a quest to find the best products to help our biggest organ look its best. Some products have worked great.. others.. well I wish I could have that money back.

As part of my new year’s resolution, I have slowly started to move towards only using natural stuff. So after changing my cleaning products, tooth paste, shampoo, etc.. it came time for my skincare. Why, you ask? Think about all the harmful chemicals they put into lotion and skin care.. a lot of people do not realize they all get soaked into the body through the skin. No thank you!

After a trip to our local natural health food store I thought I landed a winner. However, my experience was less than hoped. I have roscea so my skin constantly looks irritated if I am not using the right products, well after two trips to the store I was still at a loss. That was until I discovered a pin on pinterest linking to this blog post.

The Oil Cleansing Method

I know what you are thinking, “Are you crazy?” or “Who would want to add oil to their face?”. Well after trying it, I can tell you who.. this girl! My skin has never looked better. In fact, after washing my face with it, you can’t even tell that I am not wearing make up (aka no redness at all).

The blog I looked at used this recipe:

  • Normal Skin- One part castor oil with one part sunflower oil
  • Oily Skin- 2-3 parts castor oil with one part sunflower oil
  • Dry Skin- one part castor oil with 2-3 parts sunflower oil

Directions

Moisten skin with the oil mixture, place a warm cloth over your face until you feel it cool and then wipe off. Sometimes if my skin is feeling extra dry, I will put more on and let it soak in while I sleep.

Some of the other places I researched used different oils other than sunflower oil like jojoba, almond, argon, olive, grapeseed.. the list goes on. Sunflower was easy for me to find at the store and so far has worked perfectly!

Spring Cleaning!

It’s that time of year! It really is quite funny how excited I am about cleaning my house but this year, besides getting everything sparkling clean, I had a new mission in mind. To actually do it all… and do it naturally!

Before I set out on this journey, I did some research for the best “recipes” for homemade cleaning products. I found two really great cleaning sprays, a furniture dusting spray and a multi-purpose cleaner.

Multi-purpose Cleaner

  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar
  • a few drops of essential oil

Since I try not to be wasteful, I reused my spray bottle from my Green Works cleaning spray that recently ran out and 4 cups water and 4 cups vinegar nearly filled it up. I also added some lemon essential oil to help cover up the vinegar smell. In the future I may add more seeing as my grandpa asked me later in the day what I had been doing with vinegar.

Furniture Dusting Spray

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon essential oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup water

I bought a spray bottle for this since I did not have one on hand. Overall, this new experiment cost me so much less than going out and buying harmful cleaning products. For an idea of the cost let me share this with you…

  • Vinegar- $3 for a gallon bottle
  • Lemon Essential Oil- $4.99 from a local store or you can find oils on Amazon ( and you only use a couple drops for an entire bottle so it will last for years)
  • Olive Oil- already had on hand for cooking
  • Extra Spray Bottle- $1

Will I be doing this again? You betcha!!! Everything looks so amazing and clean. I think it is important to also note that the vinegar smell doesn’t linger (well maybe on your hands a little). Best part? It is completely non-toxic and my little children (aka pets) are safe too!

See doesn’t she seem happy about it?

Now let’s see…. what other cleaners can I make myself…

Moneysaver Monday: Bring back the hankies!

Tissues were introduced to the American consumer (and marketed to women) around 1910 by Kleenex. In “1927, Kleenex advertisements used the phrase ‘for colds, never again use handkerchiefs.'” I say, let’s bring back the handkerchiefs!

Hankies

Handkerchiefs

My husband had seasonal allergies and used to go through tissues like water. It’s hard to find precise numbers on tissues, but the typical American family uses 2,460 lbs of paper each year, including tissues. Only 10% of that is recycled. When we noticed this wastefulness, we decided to change. We bought handkerchiefs. They cut down on purchases (saved us money!) and reduced the trash pile to almost nil. They’re great for traveling too!

You can find handkerchiefs at any big box store. But the real gems can be found at antique stores or estate sales. I found the pictured hankies at an estate sale this weekend. Oh, there were more. All equally beautiful. They may even be hand embroidered. These will be so cute in my purse. Better than a bulky tissue paper pack. Definitely helpful for watching Harry Potter 7.2. When you’ve used one, just throw it in the wash. I hung these to dry, to preserve their lovely stitching. Husband uses about 1 a day and always has one with him. They get softer over time and he doesn’t miss the tissues at all.

So, won’t you ditch the tissues and try handkerchiefs? You could even make your own with old bandannas or pillowcases.

P.s. Disposable Kleenex hand towels? No, thank you. See 3 wasteful products and their eco alternatives.

Summer heat

IMG_0952

hot sun

It’s hot hot hot in NE Ohio. We talked about tips last summer. Here are some more.

  • #1 recommendation – never ever leave your dog in the car. Ever. The temperature in the car can quickly rise to over 130 degrees, even if the outside temperature is in the 70’s.
  • How to prevent/treat heat exhaustion.
  • Wet your clothes, like the sleeves of your shirt, to stay cool. But don’t waste water – a little water should do the trick.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Use your stove less. Grill your dinner, or make cool meals during hot summer days. Using the stove or oven will heat the whole room, sometimes prompting the A/C to kick on and waste energy.
  • Use peppermint soap or lotion. Peppermint on the skin has a very cooling effect. (think IcyHot or BioFreeze)
  • Go to the library. Chances are, the A/C is blasting in there. Learn and cool off at the same time!
  • Remember, it’s summer… it’s ok to be warm. Turn down the A/C to save energy and money. You’ll also feel cooler when go you somewhere that is air conditioned.

Wikihow

Lavender oil = mosquito repellent

Lavender spray

Lavender spray in a patch of lavender

Mosquitoes are back in full force! I’m sticking with my favorite mosquito repellent, lavender oil. Check out these past posts about lavender oil spray, and how to prevent mosquitoes.

We have found lavender oil to be the safest and best mosquito repellent. Just last weekend, we sprayed some on and watched the mosquitoes fly around us and then leave! No kidding! It really works.

Bonus: if you forget to put on the lavender oil mosquito repellent, and you get bit, just dab a drop of lavender oil on your bite. It will relieve the itch.

Recipe:

10 drops of lavender oil
2 oz. water

Put it in a small spray bottle and spray whenever you go outside. Or if you just want to freshen up.

Recipe Friday: Chocolate Cherry Shake

Recipe Friday sneak peek

A fun way to get your spinach is to hide it in a shake! Here’s my favorite:

Chocolate Cherry Shake

3-4 spinach leaves
8 cherries
1/2 banana (or not)
1 1/2 cup of chocolate almond milk

Blend it in a blender. Pour over ice and enjoy. You won’t even taste the spinach.

You could add some flax or hemp seeds for even more power.

The “dark chocolate” almond milk made by Silk is amazing. Seriously. I make hot cocoa with it and it takes like it has marshmallows. Yum yum yum.

Don’t miss

4 ways to pit a cherry

Meet the push mower

Meet my push mowerA few years ago, we had a regular gas lawn mower, but I couldn’t start it, which was a problem when my husband traveled. So, we bought a push mower and we love it. Love! Ever since we brought it home, we both “offer” to mow the lawn. It goes a little like this: “I’ll mow the lawn, honey.” “No, that’s ok. I’ll do it.” “No, really, I can mow it. You just relax.” “Ok, but I get to mow next time.”

It’s so fun! You can smell the fresh cut grass (not gas), and the blades make a lovely whirring sound. If we had a slightly bigger yard, we would probably have to stick with the conventional mower, but for our little yard, it’s perfect.

Green Royal Family

In honor of today’s festivities, I’d like to share how much I admire the royal family’s commitment to reduce their impact on the environment. As world leaders, their actions send a message, and on this day of celebration, I am expressing my gratitude and admiration of their efforts.

A green wedding

In lieu of gifts, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge requested charitable donations. How lovely. Westminster Abbey was decorated with local greenery, growing in planters. The wedding feast will consist of locally sourced, organic foods, which are kind to their bodies and the planet.

The royal family

Other members of the royal family make attempts to reduce their impact on the planet too.The Queen converted her Bentleys to run on biofuel. Biofuels can come from new plants, or from kitchen scraps, so this was a considerate choice. Prince Charles was named Hero of the Environment by Time magazine in 2007.