My frugal, non-toxic, ONE ingredient, natural skincare routine!

A Frugal, non-toxic,

 

Ya’ll, I have a confession.  I have about 6 or 7 blog posts ready to be written, but at almost 39 weeks pregnant, the nesting instinct has taken priority…that and I got addicted to the show Heartland. (Just keeping it real.)  It’s been a nice brain break, but I also can’t wait to share everything I’ve been researching and cooking up in the kitchen and that God has been doing in our lives.

Anyways I’m thrilled to be over at The Humbled Homemaker today with my natural skincare routine that has dramatically improved my skin, is incredibly frugal, contains nothing that will interfere with our hormones, and is just one ingredient.  Sounds too good to be true?  I thought so too until I gave it an honest-to-goodness try.  Head on over and check it out!

(And I promise to eventually get my act back together!)

 

Baby Update + Adoption Update

I had a hard time titling this post.  I really wanted to say “How God has supernaturally provided everything we have needed and more, plus how we are preparing for baby and an adoption update”.  But that seemed a bit too long. ;)

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I am now 30 weeks pregnant with a bouncing baby girl.  So far everything is going well, my thyroid numbers are looking great, and I’m feeling pretty darn good. The busy season of youth ministry is nearly upon us, so I have been doing things for months to prepare for baby since I knew the last two months would be a wash.

God Provides

As soon as the reality set in that we really are going to have a baby, I started to freak out just a little.  I had sold all of our baby stuff when I thought that we could no longer get pregnant.  I figured it was going to take a long time for us to raise the money to adopt, and our house is just too small to store things that we aren’t using.  Now all of a sudden we need baby stuff!

I have to say that God has truly and abundantly provided for this little girl in so many ways.  We have been given beautiful hand-me-down clothes (and lovingly hand-sewn clothes and new clothes!), we’ve been given cloth diapers, and I was given so many hand-me-down receiving blankets that I will be able to make plenty of cloth wipes to go along with the diapers (Note to self: get on that!)

One particular thing that I was really concerned about was the crib mattress.  I knew that I wanted a non-toxic option, but they were all way out of our price range.  I even researched making my own crib mattress, but it was still going to be too expensive.  I was praying that the Lord would either give me a peace of mind about buying a typical crib mattress, or somehow provide for us. Then, out of nowhere, a family from our church called us up.  They had bought a trailer, and inside the trailer was a brand new – still in the packaging – all-natural, non-toxic crib mattress.  I kid you not. They GAVE it to us.

I know that God says He will provide for our needs, but I felt so ridiculously spoiled that He provided this mattress for our little girl.  He truly knows how to give good gifts.

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I bought this dresser for ridiculously cheap on Craigslist. It was a shiny brown and broken in several areas. I fixed it up and painted it, and now it’s a beautiful addition to our nursery. Just another example of how God has provided so graciously for this little girl!

 

Our To-Do List

Now here we are, 10 weeks out, and there isn’t much left to do.  I still need to make the cloth wipes and give the cloth diapers a couple of good washes.

I decided not to worry about freezer meals because a) it’s way too hot here in July/August to be baking stuff in the oven, b) our church does a 2 week meal train for people when they have babies, so I’m not really worried about it, and c) there’s just not extra room in the grocery budget to be making extra meals.  Ideally I would have some quick real-food breakfast items and such frozen, but at this point in time it’s just not going to happen.

I need to finish some bookshelves I’m building in the nursery and I really want to make a big piece of DIY wall art to go above the dresser.  There’s a few random things I would like to buy – but they are all wants and not needs.

Oh and we need to buy a mini-van.  I guess that’s a need.  If things had gone according to OUR plans, we would have one already.  But tax season threw us for a loop when it was discovered I filled out a tax form wrong and we ended up having no money withheld throughout the year and had to pay taxes instead of receiving a refund.  The refund was going to be the last bit of money we needed for the car, but now we don’t have that, plus we had to pay a pretty 4-figure amount which has set us back big time.  The old us probably would have justified still purchasing a used van and just making payments, but we are determined to do this debt-free.  If the Lord can provide the perfect crib mattress for our baby, I’m sure he will provide a perfect vehicle for us too (and the money to purchase it).   Someone close to us recently joked, maybe someone will GIVE you a van too.  We laughed because, honestly, nothing would surprise us anymore. It will be fun to see how God provides for this need.

 

I’m truly just enjoying this time of feeling baby kicks and hiccups and enjoying these last weeks with just the boys.  We are about to hit the road running with all kinds of youth ministry related events, VBS, and other summer activities and I know I am going to blink and it will be time to go to the hospital.

baby girl sonogram

A profile of our sweet baby girl. I’m not wild about all of the sonograms I have had, but it’s also fun to see those little features. I could just kiss that nose!

 

Which brings me to the point that although my heart truly wanted a home birth, financially a hospital birth was going to be significantly cheaper for us, so we decided to take that route.  My doctor knows that I am a “minimal-interventionist” kind of gal and she is trying really hard to be OK with that. :)

Adoption Update

As far as our adoption goes, as soon as the adoption agency discovered I was pregnant, they very kindly asked that we wait until the baby is 9 months old before pursuing the adoption.  We will be allowed to start the home study process when she is 7 months old.  While I was disappointed to put off the home study, I completely understand the reasoning behind it and, to be honest, we wouldn’t even pass the home study right now without a car that can fit four car seats.  So yeah.

God provides and His timing is better than our timing.

This seems to be the lesson we are learning in this stage of life.

Praise the Lord!

Real Food Taco Salad

Make this delicious real food taco salad recipe!

This real food taco salad recipe is full of all the goodness of taco salad without the preservatives and chemicals found in store-bought taco seasoning and dressings.

When I shared my homemade, real food French dressing recipe, I confessed that I don’t even like French dressing.  However, I do eat it and love it in my homemade, real food taco salad.

This recipe is so versatile and healthy.  Customize it to your family’s preferences and enjoy!

Note:  The recipe calls for a pound of ground beef.  One of the ways our family saves money is by using 1/2 a pound of meat in recipes that call for a whole pound of meat.   When I make this recipe, I brown and season a pound of ground beef, then set aside half of the meat for a future meal.  Your family won’t even notice that there isn’t much meat in the salad and you will stretch those valuable food-budget dollars.

Another Note: If you plan on having this as leftovers, don’t stir the chips and avocado into the mixture, just add them on top of each serving.  The chips will get soggy and the avocado may brown if you try to mix them into the whole recipe and then save it for another day. This real food taco salad recipe is full of all the goodness of taco salad without the preservatives and chemicals found in store-bought taco seasoning and dressings.

Link for the homemade, real food French dressing: http://simplelifeabundantlife.com/2015/05/06/homemade-real-food-french-dressing/

Real Food Taco Salad

Real Food Taco Salad
 
Prep time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we like sharp)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I usually just quarter a bunch of cherry tomatoes)
  • ½ cup chopped olives
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 avocado peeled and cubed
  • (optional) 1 small bag of organic corn chips crushed (we use Trader Joe's corn dippers)
  • 1.5 - 2 cups of homemade french dressing (see recipe linked above)
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef. When it is almost brown, add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  2. Add the water to the skillet and stir, continue to simmer the meat and spices until most of the water has evaporated. You now have your taco meat. If you want, set aside half for a future meal.
  3. Toss together the lettuce, meat, beans, cheese, tomatoes, bell pepper, and olives. If you are planning to have leftovers, don't stir in the avocado and chips - just leave them on the side. If you plan on the whole meal getting eaten up in one sitting, then go ahead and throw it all in there.
  4. Stir in the homemade French dressing until everything is well combined.
  5. Enjoy!

 What mix-ins do you enjoy in taco salad?

Homemade, Real Food French Dressing

Make your own delicious, nutrient dense real food French dressing that your whole family will love!

Ditch the store-bought French dressings with all of their questionable ingredients and make this delicious, nutrient-dense, real food French dressing recipe.

Water, Sugar, Vinegar, Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Modified Food Starch, Paprika,Xanthan Gum, Phosphoric Acid, Dried Garlic, Polysorbate 60, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Natural Flavor, Potassium Sorbate And Calcium Disodium Edta (to Protect Freshness)

These are the ingredients in a popular store-bought French dressing. Let’s quickly review just some of the reasons we avoid many of these ingredients:

  • Soybean oil – most likely genetically modified, hormone disruptor (Read why we avoid GMOs) (source for info on soy being a hormone disruptor)
  • Corn syrup – most likely genetically modified (and seriously, sugar is the second ingredient, why is there a need to add MORE sweetener)
  • Modified Food Starch – most likely genetically modified, not a real food ingredient!
  • Phosphoric Acid – added to provide tang, this ingredient has been linked to lower bone density because it is thought to disrupt the “hormonal regulation of phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca), and vitamin D” (source), is not a real food ingredient (although it can occur naturally in some foods), and is also used for rust removal.
  • Polysorbate 60 – Not a real food ingredient, used as an emulsifier or thickener, “it is known to be commonly contaminated with 1,4 dioxane which is known to cause cancer in animals. Often derived from petroleum.” (source)
  • Yellow 6 & Yellow 5 – linked to hyperactivity in children, for a more thorough investigation of why our family avoids artificial food dyes, check out our book “Can I Get a Pickle Without Yellow 5, Please?”
  • Natural Flavor – Sometimes safe, sometimes not.  May be MSG in disguise.  I’m always suspicious when I see this label, although it’s not always going to be a deal breaker for us.
  • Potassium Sorbate – Potassium Sorbate is used as a preservative.  One study found that potassium sorbate is genotoxic (causes mutations to cells). (source)

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I have to admit I’m not even a French dressing fan.  I find it way too sweet.  However, I do love it mixed into a taco salad recipe I’ve been making for years.  For that reason alone, I knew I had to recreate a homemade, real food version of French dressing.  

The substitutions weren’t hard – olive oil instead of soybean oil, raw honey with all of the beneficial enzymes instead of sugar and corn syrup, vinegar and lemon juice to provide the tang associated with French dressing, and no need for coloring or preservatives.  I think the color is beautiful all on its own, don’t you agree?

Ditch the store-bought French dressings with all of their questionable ingredients and make this delicious, nutrient-dense, real food French dressing recipe..

Homemade, Real Food French Dressing

So without further ado, here is a very tasty, nutrient-dense, homemade and real food version of French dressing.

Homemade, Real Food, French Dressing
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
A nutrient-dense, homemade, real food version of the store-bought French dressing that will have you begging for seconds. No GMOs or artificial anything needed!
Author:
Serves: 3-4 cups
Ingredients
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½-3/4 cup raw honey (start with ½ cup and then add more if you prefer more sweetness)
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 TB onion powder
  • 1½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender (or to a bowl and use an immersion blender).
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the flavors meld together.

Don’t forget to check out the other homemade, real-food recipes in this series:

Are you a French dressing fan?

Anyone need help with their homemaking skills? {besides me}

Dear Homemaker,

Are the inmates running the asylum?

I hear you. Sometimes I look around my house and wonder how things got so out of hand.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed about getting married, becoming a mommy, and having my own home.

I imagined a home that was more than just 4 walls, a roof, and a mortgage.

I wanted to make a special place that was a magical mash-up of:

  • a school,
  • a playground,
  • a refuge,
  • a boo-boo “fix it” station,
  • a “you can do it” pep rally, and
  • a safe place for personal expression, sharing and growth.

And then real life happened…

…laundry, diapers, stretch marks, and never-ending meal prep… money worries, gritty floors, soap scum, and the stain that won’t come out of my son’s favorite shirt… holiday stress, and teaching my children to be responsible adults… a husband who works long hours, a kid with the sniffles, stomach aches and a fever… and a secret dream to run my own little business from home.

And that’s why Erin and Stephanie created the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… because as rewarding as it is, homemaking is hard work and it doesn’t always come easily.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

The first step in putting together this collection was to find the critical homemaking skills that you need to transform your house into a home.

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… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

Are there too many books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

Let me ask you a question.

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Of course not!

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But that’s the thing… because you do start… with something.

Maybe it’s a tender flaky biscuit, or a piece of delicious roast beef, or maybe you’re like me and start with a piece of pie (mmm, blueberry or apple with whipped cream)?

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Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle worth it?

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That breaks down to 30 cents per book.

Your 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason, you decide that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is not for you, then please send an email to customerservice@Ultimate-Bundles.com and we will refund 100% of your investment. No questions asked.

Don’t Forget the Bonuses…

Of course, no Ultimate Homemaking Bundle would be complete without the generous, inspiring gifts donated by companies that understand homemakers like you. Every gift is yours to keep and enjoy.

  • Choose 1 FREE Online Class from Craftsy (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – Up to $60 Value)
  • 1 FREE Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 Value)
  • FREE $15 Credit to Hope Ink PLUS 2 FREE 8×10 Art Prints ($71 Value)
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Now It’s Your Turn

I think Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best…

“Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women’s work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization.”

The proven, simple, and effective skills you need to transform your house into a home are all waiting for you in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

This is your chance to get all the love, support, guidance and inspiration you need to nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker.

But time is running out! The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.

After that, the shopping cart closes and the deeply discounted price is gone.

Act now!

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Best wishes and happy homemaking!

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Because I am an affiliate for this awesome sale, I always like to share my commission with you. If you decide to purchase a bundle through my link, send a copy of your receipt to simplelifeabundantlife (at) gmail (dot) com and I will personally send you a pdf copy of my husband’s new devotional #Disciple.

What book/ecourse/bonus item excites you the most?