Clean-Eating Paleo Baking Powder: no sodium aluminum sulfate required

Dear leavened,

I was happily stirring up a triple batch of banana bread a few days ago when I was dismayed to realize we were out of baking powder! Fortunately, I had the ingredients on hand to whisk together a batch of homemade baking powder. It’s an easy recipe to remember, and it took me just a few extra moments to stir up enough to fill my baking powder container.

Of course, the banana bread came out perfectly; and if you’ve already downloaded the recipe for yourself, you know how good it is!

I was baking cookies with a friend once when she revealed she had no baking powder. “Isn’t baking soda basically the same thing?” she asked, surprised that I wasn’t accepting the brightly colored box of Arm & Hammer.

In a sense, yes; baking soda and powder are both chemical leavening agents that build puffy, gassy bubbles in dough much faster than fast-acting yeast or sour starters do.  Hence, things like banana bread, Irish soda bread and baking powder biscuits usually fall under the category of ‘Quick Breads’.

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Terms and Conditions 

Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate, or alkali), is used in recipes with acidic ingredients it can interact with, like vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, non-Dutch processed cocoa, molasses, honey, and so on.  Baking soda is instant-acting and batters made with this leavener should always be baked immediately after mixing, with minimum stirring involved.

Baking Powder is a mixture of baking soda, an acid salt, and usually a starch to absorb moisture so that the soda doesn’t react with the dry ingredients until the wet components are added.  The acid salt can be cream of tartar. This acid salt takes the place of adding lemon juice, buttermilk or another acidic liquid to your batter; magically, the acid can be wetted by whatever liquids you add to your batter, and activate the baking soda! The cookies my friend and I were making in the story above would not have been sufficiently leavened without baking powder, because there was no acid in the cookie ingredients to activate the bubbling of the baking soda. The third ingredient, a starch, which is technically optional, can be organic cornstarch – or arrowroot powder, if you are minimizing grain ingredients in your diet. If you leave the starch out entirely, you will have to use your baking powder right away, or within a few days or weeks! This is one way Paleo baking powder is different from regular baking powder!

Double-Acting Baking Powder is what you would buy in the grocery store, as packaged single-acting baking powder is generally only sold for commercial baking.  As the name indicates, double-acting baking powder leavens twice (hence the double-acting).  When the batter is initially mixed, there is an immediate acidic reaction from the cream of tartar, with the wet ingredients of the batter and the baking soda, and carbon dioxide gas is produced.  The second reaction comes from a second acid that doesn’t activate until the temperatures are elevated (that is to say, the batter goes into the oven), and the gas cells expand and cause the batter to rise. The second acid is usually calcium acid phosphate or sodium aluminum sulfate, two ingredients that many health-conscious consumers are now choosing to avoid due to possible neurological issues associated with aluminum.

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Homemade Baking Powder is not double-acting – if you use homemade baking powder in a recipe I would recommend baking the batter right away and not delaying (so make sure you preheat the oven when you start mixing your ingredients!). Homemade baking powder is used in the same ratio as store-bought. If your recipe is for a batter that sits in the fridge overnight or which specifically calls for double-acting baking powder, know that the homemade one will probably not produce the desired effect; that second, heat-activating acid would need to be present.

How long do these last in my cupboard?  
Baking Soda can sit in the cupboard, sealed, for an indefinite length of time.  If you are worried that it is too old and you want to test the effectiveness before mixing it into your ingredients, mix 1/4 teaspoon of soda with 2 teaspoons of vinegar.  It should bubble up immediately just like in science class.

Baking Powder should only sit in the cupboard for about six months; the components to homemade baking powder, however (soda, cream of tartar, arrowroot/cornstarch), can sit separately in the cupboard indefinitely so you can keep those handy and simply mix up small batches at a time. To test if baking powder is still active, mix 1 teaspoon powder with 1/2 cup hot water; it should bubble up with carbon dioxide immediately.

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How much baking powder do I use in a recipe? 
If you are creating your own recipe, a good rule of thumb is 1 to 2 teaspoons baking powder to 1 cup of flour.  Too much baking powder, and the gas bubbles will expand too quickly and cause the batter to collapse in baking.  Too little baking powder, and there won’t be enough gas bubbles and the batter will be dense and tough.

Download Baking Powder Recipe

[Paleo] Aluminum-Free Single-Acting Baking Powder for Storage

If you bought this at the grocery store, it would cost twice as much as regular baking powder. Crazy, huh? Use this baking powder teaspoon for teaspoon to replace store-bought baking powder. The ratio is one part baking soda, two parts cream of tartar and one part starch. 

Sodium bicarbonate: 1/4 cup baking soda
Acid Salt: 1/2 cup cream of tartar
Starch: 1/4 cup arrowroot powder or 1/4 cup organic cornstarch

Whisk ingredients together, pressing through a mesh sieve if baking soda has clumps. Store in an airtight container for less than six months.

Immediate-Use Starch-Free Baking Powder

The ratio for baking powder is two parts cream of tartar to one part baking soda. This baking powder is meant to be used immediately – do not store it! Since there is no starch, you only need 3/4 teaspoon total to replace 1 teaspoon in a recipe calling for standard baking powder. 

To replace 1 teaspoon of baking powder in a recipe, without any additional starches:
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Remember, your baked goods must go in the oven immediately after you mix them, as the carbon dioxide bubbling will have begun the second liquids contacted the acid!

Download Baking Powder Recipe

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Happy Baking!

Mrs H

Summer Make & Take Recipes – including sunscreen and bath diffusers!

Dear tribe,

Periodically, we host a “make & take” for our tribe [our community of family members connected by a love of healing and encouraging each other in everything from drinking bone broth to loading the dishwasher], where oilers, new and experienced alike, gather together and combine knowledge, skills and ingredients to make a menu of essential oil-infused items. There is usually a theme, such as Pregnancy and Childbirth or Home Cleaning Closet, and it is always an educational and lively experience with lots of food and good company!

Sometimes we get a little TOO lively, but we always make it home safely at the end of the day.

This recipe folder is from my summer-themed event and includes an allergy roller, bath diffusers, sunscreen and a new variation of that beloved summer body lotion – as well as The Base!

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Download the Summer Make & Take recipe file here
Find resource links for all the ingredients and tools used in the recipes

Detoxifying Bath Diffusers
from the Summer Make & Take

Customize your bath diffuser based on your need! A few variations are suggested below. These also make great foot-soak bombs! 

Makes 12 bath diffusers

3 cups baking soda
1 to 1-½ cups filtered water
6 drops each of preferred essential oils (see below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with foil liners.

  1. Measure the baking soda into a bowl, and slowly whisk in water to make a thick paste. Divide evenly into cupcake liners.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes; alternatively, let them air-dry overnight. Once they are finished baking, remove paper-lined discs from the pan and set on a cooling rack.
  3. Once they are cooled, distribute essential oils drops across the top. Remove from paper liners and store in an airtight glass container.
  4. To use: set a disc on the floor of the shower out of the shower’s spray, or drop one in the tub.

Allergy Soother: 6 drops each of lavender, peppermint and lemon
Morning Refresher: 6 drops each of Citrus Fresh and grapefruit
Weight Loss Trio: 6 drops each of peppermint, lemon and grapefruit
Sleep Aid: 6 drops each Peace & Calming, lavender and cedarwood
The following are recommended for shower diffusing only
Respiratory Relief: 6 drops each of R.C. and lavender
Virus Purge: 6 drops each of Thieves and lemon
Sore Muscles and Congestion Relief: 6 drops Panaway and copaiba

Download the Summer Make & Take recipe file here
Find resource links for all the ingredients and tools used in the recipes

Watch the video! That’s right, even at nine months pregnant I’m something of a movie star. Watch me prepare everything from the recipe file in 25 minutes.

If you’re using your starter kit (see the P.S. at the end of the blog) and you aren’t familiar with how to use the wonderful oils that come in the kit, here’s another graphic made by a friend of mine to help you get started. Use this to customize your bath diffusers or lotions based on your individual needs.

To better living without chemicals!

Mrs H

P.S. As always, if you haven’t gotten started on your own journey of healing with essential oils, I would love to welcome you to the oil tribe and get you connected to your own starter kit. Follow the link here and use PIN 4321 so I can provide customer care for you, and we’ll begin something great together! Connecting you to a sponsor is Young Living’s way of ensuring everybody gets their kit with information and individualized oil love, so if you want, we’ll connect to talk about what you really need to get out of your oils. 

It brings me to tears to see the revolutionary changes these oils are bringing about in people’s lives around me, especially in my own family. I enjoy every moment of learning with them. Come to the tribe! We’re ready for you. 

Ordering Details: I began by ordering the Premium Starter Kit – it includes a wholesale membership to all of Young Living’s products, so you can purchase anything else at a discount immediately by clicking “view more products”. 

Summer Body Lotion: detoxing and flushing hibernation fat!

I’m not a doctor or medical professional. This product and any statements made herein are not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any medical illness or symptom. The information is for educational purposes and as a guideline for personal use; it should not replace medical counseling with a health professional.

Dear emerging, blinking hibernators,

Miraculously, spring has arrived. It’s still snowing here in parts of Virginia, but we’ve had a few tantalizingly balmy days to assure us that summer is soon to follow!

I’ve become fascinated by essential oils, after using them to heal a cavity, obtain a week of full nights’ deep sleep for the first time in 7-1/2 months of pregnancy, soothe the husband’s aching muscles after a 50k, detoxify our little boy from free-radicals (as much as one can) after an emergency CT scan, and just using the darn things to make my house smell good! To tell you the truth, I was kind of sick of hearing about essential oils from everybody on my Facebook feed – but when these issues cropped up for me, and a wise aromatherapist friend stepped in with essential oils, I sighed begrudgingly and took the plunge.

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Now there is no going back for me! I’m wholeheartedly sold, in love. That’s the power of experiencing my own healing at the hands of plants, in my own life. It’s how I got hooked on eating organic and local, for instance! And on that note, let’s not ignore the other aspects of a healthy lifestyle – spending time away from the screens, outside, in the fresh air, eating well, living as purely as possible … and essential oils help bridge necessary gaps in our nutrition, healing and detoxifying regimens!!

So, about those bonus layers of fat we want to release. A friend of mine, after working hard to gain a trim body after three children, was frustrated by a layer of belly fat that persisted. Nothing wrong with that, it’s a sign of loving, hard work dedicating her body to bearing beautiful babies – but she just wanted to get rid of it. She started massaging coconut oil and grapefruit essential oil into her belly, and do I need to say the rest? She finally achieved her goal.

Knowing that in a few months I’ll be flushing out loads of extra baby fat from this pregnancy, I created what I call the Summer Body lotion! You can make your own Summer Body lotion with essential oils and coconut oil, or make it into a massage oil with another carrier oil if you’re allergic to palm oils. Following, I’ve provided the recipe for you to download.

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20150324_151827It looks a lot like frosting, but be ye not deceived!

Download recipe and fact sheet for Summer Body Lotion

Summer Body Lotion

Solid Organic Coconut Oil, expeller-pressed or virgin*
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Tangerine Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil
Gentle Baby Young Living Essential Oil Blend
Peppermint Essential Oil**

Scoop the solid coconut oil into a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Do not melt the coconut oil. Add essential oils, approximately one drop per ounce of carrier oil; it’s up to you if you want to go stronger! Beat with an electric mixer or the whisk attachment of the stand mixer until oil is fluffy and whipped, and essential oils are thoroughly homogenized into the oil. If using a liquid oil to replace coconut oil, or using fractionated coconut oil, whisk or blend thoroughly before transferring to container. Scoop into jars and cap; store in a cool, dark place. Slather on belly, or any other troublesome areas, daily or twice daily. Avoid applying to areas that will be exposed to sun or UV light in the next 24 hours.

*Expeller-pressed coconut oil will have no coconut scent. Use virgin if you want that extra coconutty aroma! If you are allergic to palm oils, use a liquid oil instead, in the same ratio. Olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, tamanu oil or a combination would be excellent.

**I leave peppermint out of mine, since these days I am always either pregnant (peppermint, as a digestive aid, can induce labor), or breastfeeding (peppermint, as an agent to dry mucus membranes, can potentially dry up milk supply). It’s optional to add!

Download recipe and fact sheet for Summer Body Lotion

Most importantly, remember to take before and after pictures – I know, taking before pictures is not very fun, but it’s really awesome to compare them with the after pictures!! Some people start seeing changes as quickly as three days of dedicated use in, so be prepared for exciting results!! Be sure to let me know how this lotion worked for YOU!!!!

Blessings,

Mrs H
Instagram that stuff! #farmandhearth

“I don’t have these essential oils yet!” 

Don’t worry!! If you don’t have your own stash of essential oils yet, or you’re building that collection up gradually like I was, I can help you buy a [heavily discounted] kit loaded with 11 of the most commonly used (and some of the most expensive!!!!) essential oils, along with other goodies like a [normally quite expensive] diffuser and some cool samples. Save some bucks and get some pure, organic oils! Leave a comment, contact me at andrea (.) globetrotter (@) gmail (.) com or click through this link!

Best Gifts for New and Expecting Mamas: Stocking Stuffers and Beyond

Note: Since this is a post with recommendations for pregnancy care,
there will be the occasional usage of anatomical terms referring to areas involved in pregnancy.

Dear Wondering What to Buy When She’s Expecting,

We’re joyfully expecting our second child, and while having two children by birth does not by any means make me an expert on childbirth, I am also privileged to be a doula and prenatal yoga teacher with a thick network of birth professionals and mamas that I communicate with constantly. Sometimes, the same issues come up over and over again in conversation, and the same favorite products win the prize every time … There are a few things that every mom deserves to have when she’s pregnant or newly delivered, and they aren’t the usual gadgets you might be thinking of (note that the hallowed boppy, treasured as those funnily-shaped pillows are, didn’t even make this list – we’re talking crucial crucial things here, the stuff that never makes the registry list!).

I know we're all expected to bend over backwards for pregnant mamas ... Photo by Matt Palalay

I know we’re all expected to bend over backwards for pregnant mamas but really … Photo by Matt Palalay

These are some hardcore “thank-you-thank-you-forever-how-did-you-know” gifts that will really make the transition into I Just Had a Baby-hood so much easier, gracefuler (??) and more pleasant. I’ve sorted them by price, so if you’re stuffing a stocking for the little one or mama, putting together a basket of sweet treasures, or going all out and blowing the big Gs on somebody special, you can find something that fits your budget!

Sometimes you feel like glowing, sometimes you don't!

Sometimes you feel like glowing, sometimes you don’t!

Under $10 – little things can make a big difference, dontcha know!

Witch Hazel Oil Towelettes $3.99

After birth, everything downstairs needs to heal and stay clean and fresh. For the first few weeks, a mister bottle with witch hazel and purified water (see below), spritzed on the areas in question after every restroom use, will do the trick of keeping the area so fresh and so clean clean. For on-the-go convenience, after maybe the first week (because really, who is going anywhere that first week, anyway?), the towelettes are very handy.

Unscented Witch Hazel $7.25

(See above) Witch hazel is an astringent, a toner (it tightens and shrinks pores!), and great for wound care (or stretched and sore tissue care!). It may or may not sting with stitches (I didn’t experience any stinging), and is recommended by birth professionals for after-birth lower-area care.

Candlelight Yoga $7.62   Favorite-Favorite

This yoga DVD isn’t prenatal or post-natal, it’s just a soothing and restorative class that can easily be done by mama, whether it be in the first trimester to combat morning sickness, or in the month after baby is born when she’s moving back into physical fitness. There’s a 15-minute class that is more energizing and active and might need to wait until a while after birth, and the main class is 45-minutes long (she can do that during the baby’s nap!), that is relaxing and rejuvenating. Sarah Ivanhoe, the featured talent and instructor, is a renowned yoga master now (this is one of her early works!). Her style is calming and easeful, with no “yoga weirdness”.

Multi-Use Spray Bottle $9.19

(See above) I really like this mister bottle for the witch-hazel and water, because instead of a finger pump it has a trigger pump, so I can hook it on the toilet paper dispenser in my bathroom. It makes it pretty hard to forget to use it during those first, fragile restroom visits! I continued to use the witch hazel and mister for several weeks, in tandem with the bottom balm (keep reading!).

Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm $8.71   Ultra-Favorite

I wouldn’t dare go past the 37th week without having this stashed in my top drawer, and even that’s pushing it (that pun was totally unplanned!). After having a baby vaginally, some things can sort of, well, be a little itchy for a while. It’s really nice, and really refreshing, and a real hair-pulling teeth-gnashing life-saver, to have something that can immediately, I say immediately soothe and appease the inflamed or angry areas of your body that so recently went through the greatest transformation of their life! I swear by this balm, and I buy it for every pregnant woman I know – it’s a gift that is always gratefully received. Yes, it is also safe for baby’s bottom, even with cloth diapers. Note that mama cannot use it until a few days or a week after birth, so if you have it on order, you have time to go drop it off after the baby is born!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter $8.99  Ultra-Favorite

Let’s get real for a minute here. All that new-baby suckling, or pump-machine-pumping, can leave our poor breasts a little chafed. This butter is another one of those gotta-have-it life savers that she’ll silently thank you for at three A.M., when she’s burning, sore and chapped, and this butter is the only thing that heals and soothes! Paired with some chilly ice packs and the coolness of fresh air (yes, leave those knockers out in the air for maximum healing effect!), the experience of nursing a newborn can be so much more pleasant and enjoyable.

Your Best Birth: Know All Your Options, Discover the Natural Choices, and Take Back the Birth Experience  $9.99    Ultra-Favorite

So much better than the What to Expect-type books that leave many moms fearful and heading to the pharmacy with every sneeze! Rather than victimizing and terrifying the new mom, this book empowers, uplifts, makes her chuckle and inspires. It addresses – in non-judgmental or snotty terms – c-section, vaginal birth, epidurals, drugs, hospital protocol and home birth. No matter what kind of birth mama may be planning – or not planning, since sometimes nature takes things on a new course! – this book will gently and reassuringly provide factual information. So many chunks of the book made me laugh out loud, and I had to read passages to my husband and sisters or anybody who happened to be nearby – you have questions, this book has answers! A fun, enjoyable read that leaves mama feeling refreshed, informed and happy.

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It’s wheely nice to practice yoga during pregnancy! Photo by Brian Pittman

$10 – 25 – for all you big spenders out there

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Tea $10.47

or  Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk $19.60

Especially useful for the mama who wants to produce more milk, these relaxing and milk-encouraging teas are a delight. Note that in the links I’ve provided, the Traditional Medicinals has twice as many tea bags. I consider both to be equally good, and leave it up to your preference!

Morton Epsom Salt, Plain  $11.99

After baby is born (as far as concerns vaginal births – I am not sure with c-sections), a sitz bath is a strong recommendation or even requirement for the new mama. Fill the tub with warm water about up to the hips (when sitting!), and dissolve a few cups of Epsom salts into the water. When mama is more stable (blood levels returning to normal!), she can take a deeper Epsom salt bath and this will help detox out any chemicals left from birth, if drugs were used, retained water, reduce her stress, and it will certainly help with muscle soreness. If the bath is any deeper than just the hips within the first month or two, or if mama is having any trouble whatsoever after birth, I would recommend a friend or partner sitting in the bathroom to keep her company. You can find Epsom salts in most grocery or drug stores, and I would suggest unscented (plain) for the beginning.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes $12.30

Those same milk-maid jugs can get hot and sore as new milk ducts are forced full of milk for the first time, and the situation can be a little painful at moments! Cool ice packs help soothe, but sometimes their poky plastic edges are just torture. These booby tubes (ain’t that name the cutest?), are soft, cloth-covered and shaped like little Cs, so they can rest oh-so-comfortably right there.

American Health Original Papaya Enzyme $12.58     Favorite-Favorite

When you’re pregnant, organs get a little smooshed and pushed out of the way like the arbitrary blobs of cells that they are – but wait, hey, that stomach? I was using that! I was planning on using those digestive tube thingies, too – urggh – now I can’t breathe, or digest my food, and it seems like I’m hiccuping, burping and, well, belching … Spare mama the pain of all that internal pressure with these relief-bearing, yummy chewables. Hey, I eat them for a snack, when nobody is looking, if you really want to know the truth.

Bella B Body Buzz Post-Pregnancy Cream $12.99

This delightful, nasty-ingredient-free lotion has a gentle fresh scent and is so soothing to the belly, butt and everywhere else that feels a little squooshy during and after pregnancy. I use it during pregnancy as well as after, because sometimes you just need to hear the word “firming” in your life at that time!

Right now mama is mostly folding diapers, not cooking ... but funny, people still want to eat!

Right now mama is mostly folding diapers, not cooking … but funny, people still want to eat!

$25 – 50 – A gift basket of edible goodies

Make mama a big basket for post-partum! Sometimes, preparing food can just be too much of an effort. A few ideas of things you can include are: pre-sliced cheeses (Trader Joe’s has a great cheese tray for only $5), and a variety of healthful crackers. Canned tuna (our favorite is the Tuna Guys, hands down, nets up!), fresh fruit and vegetables or even organic bagged salads, canned healthy soups, sparkling drink snacks such as Izze that don’t have corn syrup or sugar, and bottled kombucha (home-made, if you make it yourself!). Fermented foods such as jars of raw, refrigerated kimchi or kraut, kefir or yogurt will help her recovering gut bacteria (especially if she had a hospital birth and experienced any use of antibiotics or medication, or exposure to hospital equipment!), as well as help her milk to boost baby’s system. Some rich, organic chocolate will never be remiss, I am sure. Gift cards to grocery stores near to her such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s that have healthy deli options will probably be joyfully received.

 

Seedling Products $11 – 25 or more, if you buy them all

Young Living has an entire line of non-toxic care products for sweet little babies called Seedlings (with THE cutest logo of ALL TIME), and you can buy one or all for the new mama. My babies love an evening massage with essential oil-infused baby oil, and the wipes are my favorite – finally a non-toxic wipe with a yummy aroma!!

Love happens

Love happens

$150 + for the mama you just love SO much and who deserves the BEST 

Young Living Essential Oils Starter Kit + Lifetime Membership Discounts $160.00 Ultra-Favorite 

It’s hard to resist something that literally changed my own life during my pregnancy, and changed the trajectory of my life ever since! The gift of a starter kit comes with a lifetime of wholesale discounts and access to free oil gifts from the company, as well as a membership number she can share with other moms to get referral bonuses from Young Living. I’ve become so passionate about sharing these oils that they are now my favorite hobby, full-time income and educational platform! All the new mamas that get a starter kit through my referral link are gifted with welcome packets, educational information and access to secret educational groups.

kit oils

$400 and up – the big dollars for all that extra money burning a hole in your pocket

Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer $429.99    Ultra-Favorite

What’s the most important thing for a succesful, balanced pregnancy and the whole, natural recovery of mom after the birth? What is going to play a huge role in her risk of post-partum depression? What will be the number one factor in losing the baby weight and nursing with super-powered milk? Nutrition, of course. And juicing is an easy, one-handed way to accomplish that during pregnancy or during the hectic time after birth. You can drop whole pieces of fruit in this juicer, and it slow-masticates them – the way to get the most nutrition out of each piece of produce! Leaves, stems, kale and herbs can all go in. Add some ginger if her tummy is upset … throw in some cilantro and celery for detoxing after the epidural, and boost the oranges and lamb’s quarters to fend off illness, gain some Vitamin K for wound healing, and bolster the immune system.

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smoothie

Vitamix 5200 Series Blender $459.95    Ultra-Favorite

And what would this list be without a Vitamix on it? Honestly, you can make an entire dinner with one hand using the Vitamix – trust me, I’ve done it. I compiled a list of 70 awesome things you can do with your Vitamix because I am so in love with mine. I love making smoothies in it, grinding coffee, blending soup for dinner, and churning up cold, healthy ice cream (especially when I’m saying bye-bye to baby fat!). Any mama would be lucky to receive this as a gift. I recommend the 5200 Series Blender (see link above) because I find it the easiest to use; I’ve used most of the models of Vitamix (even the old, 1980s ones!), and this one is a snap. The only thing the modern blender cups are missing are the old spigots the blenders used to have – do you think they’ll ever bring those back?

 Cute Ideas for the Baby Book (and other recording-type books)

I’ve kept journals and diaries for just about my entire life, since I learned how to write. I have a box of them in the shed at Mom’s house – they’re a chuckle to go through! At first, I tried to keep my diaries secret and wrote them in a code I developed for just that purpose, but they were eventually discovered and decoded by my merciless siblings. I switched to a new tactic, where I wrote detailed accounts of everyday life and left the journals out for anyone to read, and everybody enjoyed seeing themselves in the stories I captured. These fun and unique books are some of the ways I like to continue that journal-keeping tradition – even though my time is significantly more limited now!

These three adorable books are by a Seattle artist, Nikki McClure.

The First 1000 Days: A Baby Journal  $12.08

The Next 1000 Days: A Journal of Ages Two to Six  $12.93

Embrace: A Pregnancy Journal  $13.43

Even more fun reading and writing …

The Belly Book: A Nine-Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly (Potter Style) $10.13

And for all you Moleskine addicts, yes, there’s even one for you!

Moleskine Passion Journal – Baby, Large, Hard Cover (5 x 8.25) (Passion Book Series) $16.55

Whatever you choose for the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life, your gestures of kindness and love will be deeply appreciated by the whole family – even if you don’t get a thank you card for a long time, or ever!  I hope this list has proved useful to you – and if you have additional ideas, let me know in the comments section!

Blessings,

Mrs H
Bountifully posting on Facebook
Reproducing images on Instagram

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In the kitchen looking for food, just a few hours after the [planned] home birth of our first baby.

Laundry and Cloth Diaper Detergent – a success story

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
That’s how I earn my blogging income, so thanks for clicking through!  

Dear historic, not to be confused with histrionic,

It’s Throwback Thursday, time to reblog one of your favorite posts from the old blogstead!  This post originally went up June 19th, 2012 – unbeknownst to me, just three days before our son would make his very welcome arrival into our home!  It’s been one of our most popular posts ever since it first launched, so much so that I had to write a follow-up. The following post has been modified from it’s original version; it has been formatted to fit your screen. 

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Dear frugal readers or earth-conscious types,

And those who write to-do lists,

I’m getting to the tail-end of my “to-do before baby” list, which is good since I’m also getting to the tail-end of my “how long it usually takes to build a baby” calendar.

One of the things on my to-do list was to make some cloth diaper detergent.

Why homemade?

Bona-fide bottled store-bought cloth diaper detergent – which can’t contain certain fragrances, whiteners, and other ingredients that adhere to cloth and diminish the absorbency of the diaper – can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to find something that’s not too harsh on the body.  I also feel bad going through lots of plastic bottles, since plastic doesn’t really deteriorate once you throw it out.  Homemade just seemed like a natural choice.

I started my recipe hunt, and stumbled across Elisa’s beautiful blog.  She shared several detergent recipes, including a cloth diaper recipe that was ultra-minimal to avoid causing any rash or problem with her child’s sensitive skin.

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This recipe became my choice for our diapers so far.  I like leaving out as many chemicals as possible, but I also like clean diapers.  I am grateful to Elisa for sharing this recipe!

Here, she explains the ins and outs of the recipe – as well as another recipe for your everyday laundry, if you need one!  (She also posted a recipe for dishwasher detergent!) We’ve chosen to use the following simple cloth-diaper-safe detergent for all of our laundry needs; when my husband comes home with fuel or grease soaked uniforms, I throw in some extra detergent, or even beef it up with Borax (I definitely keep the baby clothes separate from his uniforms!).

Elisa’s Three-Ingredient Cloth Diaper Detergent

Download the detergent recipe here

When you’re looking for an oxygen cleaner, if you aren’t sure exactly what it is just check the ingredients on the container – there should only be two.  The oxygen cleaner and washing soda would be in the laundry aisle, and regular baking soda will be in the baking aisle.  You can bring the cost of the detergent down even more if you can find these items in bulk at a big-box store or wholesale supplier!  

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Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Oxygen Cleaner (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate) Try Bio Kleen or Seventh Generation
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)

Mix equal parts of each ingredient.  Use one tablespoon for a small load, two tablespoons for a medium load, and … you can extrapolate for the large load! For extra stains, throw in additional baking soda.

Download the detergent recipe here

I put the jars on the laundry-room shelf, and posted instructions for mixing more and how to use, in case family members ever volunteered to run a load.  Why only two tablespoons for an average load, you may ask?  Homemade detergents will always be more concentrated than store-bought detergents because we don’t bother to add extra fillers and junk to make it look like we have more than we do.  Using a one-cup scoop for laundry detergent feels pretty pointless now, doesn’t it?

I didn’t add any fragrances to this batch, but you could try adding essential oils if you wanted a little something more.

We’ve been using this laundry detergent for over two years now, and we’ve loved it continuously!  My husband has taken it on deployment, we’ve traveled with it and use it for all our towels, linens, laundry, dish cloths, diapers and the whole nine yards [of fabric].  Our diapers are remarkably stain-free, and our clothes are light and without a filmy residue of chemicals.  I borrowed a pair of jeans from a friend and was shocked that I immediately felt the residue of chemicals and fragrances all over the clothes – it took me a moment to realize what was “wrong” with them!  

Yours in laundry,

Mrs H
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There aren’t any fillers in our detergent or on our Instagram feed