I know a lot of you have been waiting for this so here it is. The recipe for marshmallows.
- 4 Tbsp Grassfed Kosher Gelatin OR Agar Agar for Vegan Option
- 1 Cup cold water
- 1.5 Cups Organic Sugar
- a pinch Himalayan Salt
- 1 Tbsp Organic Vanilla Extract
- Organic Powdered Sugar for Dusting
- 2 Tbsp Organic Pure Cocoa powder to make chocolate marshmallows. Dust with cocoa powder. I added 1 Tbsp of Chocolate Shakeology as well
- 1 tsp Peppermint Extract (do not use mint or it will taste like toothpaste)
- 1 Tbsp of Vanilla Shakeology to the vanilla marshmallows
Prepare a small cookie sheet or glass baking dish by placing parchment paper inside and dusting with powdered sugar.
In a large, deep bowl, combine Gelatin (or Agar Agar) with 1/2 cup of COLD water. Stir until mixture gels.
In a small sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of water with sugar and salt and cook on high, continuously stirring until it begins to boil. Remove immediately from heat and slowly pour into bowl of gelatin. **BE CAREFUL as the sugar syrup is very hot! Watch out for splashing mixture out of the bowl while whisking.
Whip with hand mixer. It will begin to turn white after several minutes. Continue to whip until marshmallow fluffs and thickens just enough that the mixture isn’t runny, but not too fluffy that stiff peaks form. I’d say about 15 minutes. It will be hard to pour into prepared cookie sheet if over whipped. Add the vanilla extract toward the end. (if using KitchenAid, reduce whipping time to 10 minutes, the machine will fluff it up quickly)
With a rubber spatula, pour mixture into the prepared dish and smooth out. Dust again with powdered sugar and set aside to dry overnight. Do not refrigerate.
When dry, cut up marshmallows with a knife into squares, or if you’re feeling festive, use cookie cutters.
It happens to the best of us. Sneaky, not so healthy treats and snacks make their way back into our shopping carts. I fell into an ‘organic snack trap’ and was buying cookies and chips just because they said ‘organic’ on the label. No more! Well at least for now. I tossed them all out and decided to make a new snack ‘drawer’ for the kids. A healthier version. While I would prefer to not use plastic snack bags, the reusable bags are not in my price range at the moment for the amount I need, so this works for now. I had old shaker cups and they fit perfectly into the basket to separate the snacks. I will add a few apple slice bags as well as some with strawberries and melons, but I’m trying to get the kids to eat more veggies at the moment. I will probably put the veggie sticks in the gaps between the cups and the fruit in the cups when I expand the variety of snacks. I also have organic dips and yoghurt as well to go with their snacks that sit right above this basket in the fridge. Outside of the fridge, I’ve got nuts, fresh fruit on the counter, and some dried fruits as well. All healthy varieties in my opinion.
We bought a small pool for the kids at the Toys R Us in Germany. It was only 50 Euro and came with a filter and while it was small, it was just perfect for the kids to have a refreshing summer in the yard since we have NO AC in our house. It may as well be hell.
We had only purchased one packet of ‘kinder safe pool cleaner’ and I decided to move the pool off the grass and onto the patio for a more even surface. Of course I had to dump out the pool and I sat and thought about what to put in it to keep it clean-ish and safe. Remembering how the ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) baths helped my son a bit, I decided to put some in the pool. Before letting the kids out, I of course needed to put sunblock on them and made some from scratch, modifying a recipe from Wellness Mama. Basically a lot of butters and oils that I will share. So with a mixture of the sunblock and the ACV and 3 hours in the pool and then a rub down of my homemade lotion concoction before bed … my son’s eczema almost completely cleared up. No sunburn and a nice tan, aside from the white spots where he was originally red. His skin is smooth and he hasn’t itched for 2 days. He said he feels AMAZING and doesn’t itch at all. Downside, BEES LOVE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! After the kids got out, there were at least 50 bees drowning themselves in the pool and drinking from around the filter. So my husband emptied the pool out for me and I started again, this time using Dead Sea salt, which I hear is also good for eczema and keeping pools pretty clean. So if you want to do the ACV be prepared for bees.
Sunscreen from Wellness Mama with Modifications
Original Recipe <— Linky
I left out the Zinc Oxide because while I did order it and do have it, it didn’t arrive for a month and I was still wary of adding it to the sunblock.
I left out essential oils, unnecessary for our needs.
I added 2 TBSP Avocado Butter
My Eczema Lotion Recipe
- 2 Tbsp Organic Raw Shea Butter
- 2 Tbsp Organic Raw Cocoa Butter
- 2 Tbsp Organic Pure Beeswax
- 2 Tbsp Organic Raw Avocado Butter
- 2 Tbsp Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil
- 1 tsp Organic Borage Seed Oil
- 1 tsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Organic Hemp Oil
- 2 Tbsp Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream (Organic)
Melt all ingredients in a double boiler (or glass bowl in a pot of water), starting with the cocoa butter as it takes the longest to melt, then the beeswax, then the rest of the butters and the oils. Once everything is melted and incorporated, cool in the freezer for about 20 minutes, it will start to harden. Then whip with a hand mixer and whisk. I do this right in the lotion container so after it’s melted, I usually pour it right into the jar, but if you have a hard time whipping this up in a small container, use a deeper bowl to whip it up.
Many mothers have asked me “How do you do it all?” The short answer? DETERMINATION. I have goals as a mother and wife and homemaker and to get them done I NEED to be organized and scheduled. And I have what I call “Mild OCD” or my husband likes to call, “Fricken ANNOYING.”
So this is how I roll:
- I plan my to-dos. I usually do this on Saturday or Sunday evening, figuring out my week in advance keeps me on track for things I absolutely have to do. Tools that help me stay on track:
- iPhone’s iCal which I sync to my email calendar that my iPad and my husband’s phone is also synced to. That way he is in the know of appointments, trash days, and what’s for dinner. I plan all my dinners in my iCal and use ZipList.com and their app to keep all my family’s favorite recipes in one place. Then I add the ingredients I need into my ZipList and place them in their specific store (I shop 5 stores). I add breakfast and lunch staples as well after the dinner must haves are listed. This eliminates food waste as well! And prepping your food for the week cuts down your prep times. I do this as soon as I put all my groceries away. I hate doing it, but I do it any way.
- To let me know what I need to do for the week, I use my Home Routines App. I schedule each day by what needs to get done (Monday, clean and laundry, Tuesday, grocery shop, etc) and then add what I have to get done that week to my to do list in the app. Bake cookies for the unit bake sale (lol, like I would do that), make more lotion, weed the garden and so on. Note* I do plan for the unexpected and have learned how to be more flexible with my schedule. One thing that is ALWAYS made time for is my workout. The times when I do it differ depending on if it’s summer break or during the school year.
- I wake up early. Any time between 4:30 and 5:30 AM. Now that I’ve planned my week, I need to maximize my time. I know many are not morning people, but after 2 years, I have trained myself to become a morning person. 24 hours in a day is just not enough, and I lose 8 of those hours getting the ever important SLEEP. So that leaves me with 16 hours in which to be productive and get shite done. Having this extra time before the kids wake up gives me either time to work out or make lunches. I empty the dishwasher and begin breakfast, cleaning as I go and reloading the dishwasher with the newly dirtied cook ware. The kids have chores and one of theirs is to clean up the table after each meal. That includes wiping down the table and chairs. This way they bring me the dishes and I load the dishwasher, keeping my kitchen counters and table clean right away. One annoying task out of the way. Then I’m free to get on with our day.
- I keep it neat. If I let messes build up, the task becomes more daunting. As soon as a mess is made, I clean it up, or make the kids clean up if they’ve made the mess. Wiping down sinks and mirrors, vacuuming or wiping up a spill on the floor, toys that aren’t played with must be put away, little quick chores that make my deep cleaning Mondays a lot easier. That and my carrying case of green, homemade cleaning supplies. (I’ll post about those later). After dinner, vacuum under the dining room table to get up the crumbs. Clean up as I cook for every meal. There’s nothing more discouraging than seeing a sink full of dishes, so as soon as the dishwasher is loaded after dinner, I start it right away. A bonus of keeping it clean is unexpected guests. We all hate it when they just ‘drop in’ to say ‘hi’ and then one wonders what their motives really are. Oh well. At least the house is clean, can’t judge me today, Sally!
- I keep the laundry in check. Every Monday, I wash EVERYTHING. Bed sheets, towels, rugs, all the clothes. While the washer and dryer are running I am being productive in my cleaning. Luckily, my husband and twin daughters now put away their own laundry. I place their baskets in their room and they put it away themselves. I still put away mine and my son’s laundry, but he actually tries to help put away his own. Having my family help with their laundry accomplishes two things: 1. Keeps them aware of how often they change in a day and 2. Makes laundry day less stressful for me. No wanting to throw every item of clothing into the trash instead.
- I plan for the next day. I recap what needs to be done tomorrow at the end of each day. If I need to defrost meat for tomorrow’s dinner, I pull it out of the deep freezer and put it in the fridge and get the prepped foods for it ready to go. If it’s during the school year, I make sure the kids have their bookbags packed for the next day and figure out what they will have for lunch so when I wake up in the morning, I can put it together quickly and get their lunch bags packed in no time. If I have an appointment, I make sure to have the necessary things ready like paperwork for school or doctors, etc. And then we go into our bed time routine.
- I go to bed early. I mentioned I need those 8 hours of sleep, so if I’m waking up early, I HAVE to go to bed early. I’m usually tired by 9:00PM any way! I’m OLD! But usually after dinner and things are cleaned up and everything is ready for the next day, we get the kids showered and in their PJs. Books are read or I Love Lucy is watched or Wizard 101 is played for a bit. We make a bit of extra family time during the week days too! It’s IMPORTANT. Once the kids get to bed, the husband and I have a moment to talk or just spend time together, and then WE go to bed. Then next day begins! I’m not always that enthusiastic about doing it all over again. But the weekends are for fun and it’s my ‘mini-break’. If we stay home, I still keep it neat and if we leave the house for an outing, I make sure the house is straightened up before we leave. I find it irritating when I come home to a mess after a fun, tiring day. The last thing I want to do is clean.
So this is the shortened version of how I find the time to get it all done. If I get too detailed and include my schedules down to the minute, it would take up pages of blog if you are like me, you most likely wouldn’t read it. It may not work for everyone, but it really works for me.
We live about 45 minutes from Cologne and decided to just go. It was a beautiful day and the drive was pleasant. We got there at about 3:30 and parked in the structure under the church. The steps going up lead us right to it.
panorama done with iPhone app “360″
All of us made it all the way to the top and then back down. My legs are going to feel it in the morning for sure. So after that, we decided we were hungry and went in search of a restaurant. On our way to one we saw a few interesting things. I’m sure the guys are performing some kind of illusion. Schmuck Christ made us chortle. And of course, my husband says out loud, “Let’s check out the fountain that looks like a giant penis.” Yes. Lets. The water that came out of it was brown …
All the stores were closed (it is Sunday) but the restaurants are open until about 7:00PM. There were many street vendors and artists about. We wanted to have the kids sit for an amazing portraiture artist, but there were a few people in front of us and it was getting late.
Eventually, we settled on a Mexican Italian restaurant. After a week straight of watching “Kitchen Nightmares”, I wished I could call Gordon Ramsey on this place. They even messed up a simple taco order. DO NOT EAT MEXICAN FOOD IN EUROPE. It is just not done right. Not that I liked Mexican food to begin with, but I didn’t want to spend $22 for a filet mignon. I’m pretty sure I’ll have diarrhea from Maggiano’s.
To get the yucky taste out of our mouths, we got some ice cream and walked around. Got lost and some how ended up really far from where we started. We took some random streets to the view of the church, passed a homeless man camped out in a store front alcove, screaming in German at people as they walked by. It was very theatrical, and kind of scary. I became cranky because I couldn’t understand how we ended up where we were. All I wanted was some bubble tea. By the time we returned, the bubble tea people were closed. Grr. So we hoofed it back to the parking garage and drove home.
So that’s it. Our trip to Cologne.
That’s right. Home made! AND it WORKS. I have to admit I was skeptical. I usually go into a lot of things with skepticism because I don’t want my hopes up. But even after a hard core workout, I my pits smell like coconut oil. If you don’t like the smell of coconut oil, you can use essential oils to cover it up. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties which I feel is effective in keeping the pits fresh and clean.
- 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Arrowroot Powder
- 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda (IF you start developing a rash or bumps, baking soda may be too harsh for you. You can try and leave it out next time)
- 6 tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil (Organic Expeller Pressed)
- 6-8 tbsp beeswax (***you don’t have to use beeswax if you don’t want to or are allergic. This deodorant works fine without it, but you will have to keep it in a glass jar as the coconut oil will melt in temps under 74 degrees fahrenheit)
- Few drops of your choice of essential oils (optional)
Heat all ingredients over a double boiler (I used a pot and a glass bowl) and stir until melted and well blended. Remove from heat and let cool until it begins to stiffen (if your container does not have holes in the bottom, you can pour it directly in), then scoop into clean, empty sticks.
Makes 3 of these sticks (They are emptied and washed Nature’s Gate deodorant sticks) Or you can buy empty containers. I will be ordering some of these from amazon to use as lotion sticks as well as deodorant sticks:
My son has eczema. It seems to be flaring up a lot more now that it’s allergy season. I wanted to make him something that he could take to school and wouldn’t be messy to apply to his face. He has a small spot near his mouth that needs to be consistently moisturized. So I decided to make some lip balm for him and the family. I purchased these empty containers from Amazon (of course!).
I have a stock of organic, fair trade butters and oils for use in making deodorants and lotions already, so I used what I had on hand.
- 2 Tbsp Beeswax (I recommend buying this in bead form, easier to measure and melt)
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 Tbsp Shea Butter
- 1 Tbsp Cocoa Butter
Melt all ingredients in a double boiler (or a pyrex measuring cup or bowl in a pot of water). Once incorporated, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before using a dropper or a small spoon to drop into the tubes. This recipe fills 12 with a little left over. The mixture will sink as it cools so be sure to top it off before letting it harden completely and cap.
There are 11 pictured here, my son has taken one of his tubes to school. You can decorate them if you like. I used wrapping paper and some packing tape and wrote the kids’ names on the backs of the labels as well.
This mixture has kept my lips soft for hours. I put it on before bed last night and woke up with still moisturized lips! Let me know what you think if you make it as well. For added sun protection, add a bit of avocado butter.
One thing you’re going to find out about me in this blog adventure is that I’m a woman of few words. I find it boring and tedious reading long winded blogs. So I will try to just get to the point as fast as I can. It could change though as I get the hang of this … ANY WAY. To the point!
In my quest to not only do better for my family, I am also trying to do better for our environment as it in turn, affects my family and everyone else on the planet.
One of the things I have changed in my home after trying and tiring of the ‘no poo’ method, was find a clean and organic shampoo and conditioner. This is what my family uses:
And the icing on all that cake, my kids and I have fabulous looking and smelling hair. I haven’t tried their lines of lotions or face products yet as I make my own at the moment, but have plans to test them out. What are your favorite hair products that leave little damage to humans and our environment?
Well. I guess I’ll start like everyone else starts:
Hi! I’m Anya. I am a stay at home mom to 3 kids (pictured in my header). They are my reason to do what I do. To be healthy.
Before this revelation I lived life oblivious to the health risks I was taking for my self and my family. It wasn’t until my son was born with several health issues that I began to question the reason behind it. He was sick often, diagnosed with anemia once, hypothyroidism, pneumonia twice, and a few bronchial infections all before the age of 2. He also had issues with eating which landed him in the hospital for 3 days due to low blood sugar levels. He was also allergic to milk, egg whites, and dog proteins (hair, dander, saliva, blood).
One day, at a doctor appointment (we’d had many) I was given his prescription list. It was two pages long. I thought to myself, “My god, this CAN’T be good for him. I have to find a way to make this list near to completely empty.”
SO I sat down and did research. I still research every day, learning about health benefits of good, organic, natural foods is an ongoing study for me. With what I learned, I completely changed my family’s diet. Within 6 months of his last blood draw and a final diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism, his new blood draw pulled up no trace of hypothyroidism. In fact, his levels were PERFECT. His eczema has improved and aside from the occasional sniffle, he (and my daughters) are rarely sick any more. His medication list is 0 pages. SUCCESS
He eats organic eggs with whites included, organic milk. Everything we have done has worked and life is so much better for him now.
So I decided I wanted to share what I’ve learned and am still learning with others who want ways to improve the health and well being of their family.
Along with good nutrition, we exercise. Exercise keeps us fit and healthy as well. If you’re interested in how I stay fit, just ask and I will be happy to answer your questions!