Vinegar and it’s many uses

This cheap addition to your cleaning products is pretty easy (we use it regularly) but I am always amazed but the amount of uses it really has.
Here are a few that we’ve found really handy!

Fruits bath: to rinse fruits after you bring them home from the store I dilute one cup of vinegar to a sink full of water. I’ve found this helps keep fruits just a bit longer.

Floor cleaner: especially for woods it’s a great natural cleaner. I use the cleaner I make but I do have to be sure to dilute it (50/50) otherwise it leaves the floor a bit sticky/tacky.

Drain Cleaner: pretty basic ingredients that are more gentle on your plumbing than drano. And much better for our septic system. We tried it today and it went pretty well! Our drains were moving a little slow and it did the trick.

Weed killer: ok, everyone has probably seen this natural weed killer floating around Facebook. Well, since the end of our driveway is covered in em we thought we’d give it a shot. Works perfect! We bought a 7$ handheld pressure sprayer from Menards. Mixed 1/4c of dawn dishsoap, 1/2c Epsom salt, and 1/2 gallon of vinegar….of course the recipe if relatively flexible and can easily be doubled or cut in half depending on your needs. I hate measuring so this is a plus for me 😉

In other news Scott and I rang in the first Saturday of summer doing grill-out with some kid less friends…..while, it was great to get out and everyone was amazing with the kiddos. I think we left more exhausted from chasing the littles all afternoon and quickly remembered why we normally just have family watch them for us to get out. I give major props to the families that go for this scenario because next time we’ll be sticking to the sitter.

DIY Bug Balm

Ok, I love summer, tons!! BUT these BUGS are REDICULOUS. Between the ticks and the Mosquitos I’ve had enough but then we also have flies and gnats… Obviously, we don’t want to spray the yard with round up or something crazy like that. But if we couldn’t even enjoy our yard this summer I would be pretty disappointed. So, I pulled out an oldie but goodie-bug balm recipe, I didn’t quite have everything I needed. Here is my 2014 modified bug balm:) I like this update mainly because it has added tick control!
What you’ll need:
*1oz beeswax (we got ours at the locals farmers market!!)
*1/2c coconut oil
*1/2oz Shea or Cocoa butter
*Cheesecloth(or in my case diaper cloth)
*Double boiler
*4oz mason jar
*Rosemary and cinnamon sticks dried
*Essential oils- I used rose geranium for ticks, citronella for mosquitoes, and a touch of lavender and lemongrass ❤ I would suggest looking at mountain rose herbs they are not only organic but also non GMO.
You of course can put different things in to suite your needs 10-15 drops total should suffice.

Mix oils and dried herbs and put in double boiler until completely melted let warm for 30min.
Strain out herbs through cheese cloth.
Add beeswax to the melted oil with whatever essential oils and double boil until melted.
Pour back into your jar and let cool. Voila…bug balm!

Aaaand the review……this stuff rocks! The convenience of spray is surely trumped by the fact that this stuff lasted a good majority of the day for myself and the kids with no reapplications. Daddy who mowed our jungle with this on did want to reapply after about 4hours. The waxi-ness of it means that it’s mildly waterproof and depending on what oils/butters you use it made our skin wonderfully soft. On the downside it does take a minute to apply it and it takes a bit of work to get it out of the jar….BUT I am sold….I will never buy bug repellants again:)

Green parenting Tips

Obviously, Scott and I have worked really hard to provide a clean diet and a house relatively free from chemicals and “additives” not only for A&B but for us. We still make yogurt and cleaner, see how here, but we have slowly been adding the what we do at home vs. buying.
Bread- pretty self explanatory that you can save money and get better quality with this DIY. While this can be very time consuming we have found homemade bread freezes very nicely, allowing us to make a months worth of bread in one day! We change up recipes but generally make a milk bread(using home made butter and buttermilk). 20140528-095656-35816050.jpg
Butter- another easy-freeze item. Butter, while less time consuming than bread, is still one of my least favorite to make. Whipping heavy cream until it separates/ gets chunky, then pouring the buttermilk into a container to save and finally rinsing the butter under ice cold water (least favorite part) to shape it into a mold. *as a side note it will slosh all over at the end so we also use siran wrap to cover the top of the mixer* We use about 4 pints of heavy whipping cream turned into butter and buttermilk in our house every month.unnamed (141)
Ice cream-*admittedly*we are just learning about this… but, every recipe we have tried either involves cooking or is a cream-cheese-no-cook that tastes well…very cheesey (evidently Wisconsin dairy has spoiled me and I am now an ice cream snob). But, we’ll keep trying recipes and I will keep you posted!
Fruits(citrus)-I love the fruit not only because it’s tasty but we use every part of it! I use the attachment for the kitchenaid to juice them. We then use the rinds of lemons, oranges and grapefruit for the cleaner(with vinegar and cinnamon). I strain the leftover juice with diaper cloths. First, I should clarify by saying we never actually used them as diapers 😉 normal people would use cheese cloth though. I’m debating trying to grow the seeds and of course we drink the juice!
Shampoo/soaps- I know I’ve mentioned it before but soap berries are actually very handy! Recently, I attempted boiling 15 of them in water for about a half hour. The result? A pungent syrup like goop. Smelled rather earthy so I added a few drops of essential oils and viola scented soap(shampoo). The downside of this one is that it apparently needs to be stored in the fridge. I’ve resorted to freezing them in small portions, a caterpillar worth to be exact;) we’ve found that the silicone molds are VERY useful! thanks Fred’s for making fun brain and caterpillar trays!20140528-105058-39058018.jpg
In black and white to hide my dirty counter, the one on the far left is soap:)

Tightening after twins….when diet and exercise just don’t cut it

In light of the fact that I REGULARLY get asked if the twins are even mine I thought I would share some of my beauty secrets.
Let me preface this by saying goals should be realistic and looking like you did in high school or even early college is somewhat far fetched for most …and I’m just going to say it… pathetic. I’m not trying to relive the “glory days” here. That being said it’s not unfair to want to look and feel confident in your own skin.
Like most twin moms in the weeks and months following delivery I was HORRIFIED….why had no one told me I wouldn’t even fit into early pregnancy clothes post csection is still beyond me. The sad fact is that many new moms are never talked to about any post baby stuff during pregnancy to better prepare emotionally and mentally. All I was told was, “you’re young, you’re body will bounce back…” Boy was that doctor WRONG! But, that’s a different topic- what I want to share is how I used natural and cheap methods to become me again!
Post delivery I wasn’t the momma who lost mass amounts in days from breast feeding. Though BF’ing did help shed pounds-it didn’t change the skin or the sag. In my twin pregnancy I gained 28lbs total, I was on the small side, however, I went from a size 00 to a 10 in my short 34wks. Take a guess what that did to my hips and thighs, and let’s not even mention the boobs or ab area. That is what led me to look up methods to be rid of that body that became foreign to me. I soon found plastic surgery…the quick fix….not quite ready to resign myself to having surgery at 23, let alone pay for it, I kept looking. Wraps, lasers and other expensive salon treatments were next, but here again for how expensive it is you are still not guaranteed results, so no thanks. Both of these methods also involve the possibility of heavy scaring, not something that really appealed considering I was trying to get rid of “scars”.
Working within my means I got a personal trainer and hit the fitness and nutrition method, drank lots of water, ate balanced meals, no junk food etc. While I admit it helped me get back to a size 2(by 12m post delivery) it still didn’t fix my problem areas. Fitness was great and all but I wanted my skin back, not just my overall body size.
An impending beach vacation 4m post delivery meant I desperately wanted to don my bikinis. Fat chance at being confident enough for that! Though they covered all the necessary parts, I still packed numerous cover-ups. Granted, I had now lost all the weight and I probably wasn’t as saggy as I thought, my confidence was GONE. When we returned from vacation I was so down that I revisited the methods I had researched. That’s when I stumbled upon Bentonite Clay, the main ingredient in many wraps and salon treatments, the benefits of this natural supplement are vast. But, it would be months before I would try it. In the interim I tried mederma, scar lotions, skin tightening elixirs, anti-agers and anti-cellulite…all to no avail. Time to give the clay a shot.
Now, there are many methods to mix and apply. This depends on your preferences, skin type and goals. I, personally, have sensitive skin and simply used water but I did like coconut oil, and yogurt. The first attempt was MESSY, I painted it on like a paste (thicker for a more intense mask), then sealed it all up with plastic wrap and went overtop with ace wraps for compression; I bought about 10 ace wraps and plastic wrap. I then laid still for about an hour. I am not particularly fond of this method, mainly because I have two toddlers and this is a pain in the ass. However it worked! I instantly saw an improvement in the elasticity of my skin. Skeptical, I waited until the next day to really assess anything. The next day I was still pleased and decided to try it again, but modify it. As I played not only with ingredients but also duration and ways to wrap, I continued to be impressed with my results. After 3 hour-long wraps, the handful of marks on my belly were gone. Yes, gone! Admittedly, my stomach marks were not so much of my issue as my inner hips/thighs and boobs.
To be honest, I fell off the wagon for about a month as the time just wasn’t there. So, if I wanted to keep doing masks it was time for a revamp. I started back up and tried simply mixing with water and applying to desired areas, no wrapping, no laying still, just a bit of Nakie time 😉 and results were still just as impressive! I ditched all the extras and continued masks like this once every 2 weeks. Let’s just say EPIC!! Fully satisfied with my “new” boobies I wondered what else the mask would work for. I started using it as a facial, and I couldn’t have been happier. My acne (that I’ve battled since high school; even prescriptions and diet didn’t touch) is GONE. It has evened out my skin and again improved elasticity. I will note that I do very light and thin masks for my face since I do them way more often than body masks.
I am now about a month into this routine (body masks every week and face every 3 days) and I LOVE it. I get beauty/mommy time to relax and enjoy, which was a huge boost to my confidence, (being able to spend time on me) doing something I feel improves me. Even if I am the only one to see the difference I am thrilled that something so simple has allowed me to regain what I feel is ME.
So here are the basics-
Ice – To close up pores post mask…yup all “masked” areas. And to be fair cold water will do. I just find it easier to rub an ice cube over areas.
Bentonite clay – There are many different names for it and even different types. Try em see what you like based on your skin. And don’t mix in it or with metal. It reduces it’s potency, I made this mistake early on:/
Cocoa butter – Pure, organic with no additives. I found it on amazon.
Nutrition & Exercise – Pretty self explanatory but also drinking lots of water.
Now, lemme take a selfie…..
pictures are 1, 2 and 3 weeks post partum
first two pictures are after 1 mask- last picture though not great quality is pre any mask
again keep in mind my belly was not my problem area however there is really no good way to photograph my inner thighs ;0