I’m back…and now I’m going to talk about my armpits

buy non-toxic deodorantWell, the morning sickness is over (mostly), my energy-levels are rising, and I have only two weeks left until I’m halfway through this pregnancy.  Now that I’m feeling human again, I FINALLY feel like I can jump back into this blogging thing. I have so much stuff floating around in my head that I want to talk about and research and share, so thank you for being patient with me.

Now about my armpits…

buy non-toxic deodorantPhoto Credit: libertygrace0 via Compfight cc

I, like many of you, sometimes stink.  Once I cleaned up our diet I noticed that the stink became much less, but nevertheless, it’s there.  I never worried too much about the ingredients in my deodorant until our family had a personal experience that made it very clear INGREDIENTS DO MATTER.  I will not share that story on this blog out of respect for my family…but I will never apply a questionable ingredient to my skin ever again, especially while pregnant.

If you want to read why conventional deodorant may not be the healthiest option for our bodies, I suggest taking some time to read the following links:

Mommypotamus – 5 reasons to ditch your deodorant

Holistic Homemaking – All About Deodorant

Natural Cosmetic News - Dangerous Chemicals in Deodorant & Antiperspirant: A Detailed Review of the Chemicals, Research & Avoidance Tips

buy non-toxic deodorantPhoto Credit: Nesster via Compfight cc

I know it can be overwhelming to switch from conventional personal care products, to more natural options.  I’m still navigating those waters. But there’s hope!

I have some sweet friends who I’ve known now for probably 10+ years.  We met at Bible study where I was greatly encouraged by their mature faith.  Over the years we have watched each other get married and start families and we all ended up pursuing a more natural lifestyle. You’ve heard from them before when they guest-blogged for me about Essential Oils & The Bible (one of the most read posts on this blog).  They formed a small family business called Sister Power where they sell essential oils and natural homemade products.

Many moons ago they sent me their deodorant recipe to try out and review for the blog.  Then life got busy and the review never happened. Recently the deodorant they sent me ran out.  I decided it was well worth the purchase, so I bought another one and told myself “Self, this will be the first blog post you will write when you get back into blogging.” So here it is, my review of Sister Power’s natural deodorant.

buy non-toxic deodorant

 Photo courtesy Sister Power

I love that the ingredients are all things I have in my kitchen: Himalayan sea salt, organic coconut oil, natural arrowroot powder, natural baking soda, natural bees-wax, and mineral water.  In fact, I could make this myself if I had the time/energy/gumption to actually do it. I definitely could not say the same thing about store-bought deodorant.  I just checked on Amazon, and they don’t sell aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex.

I have to be honest and say that I didn’t fall in love with this deodorant right away.  If you are transitioning from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant like I was, there is a bit of a learning curve. I received it in the heat of summer (110+ degrees), and it was much softer than conventional deodorant (due to the coconut oil/beeswax).  I was not expecting this, so the first application was quite liberal!  It didn’t take long to get a good system down for applying an appropriate amount though.  And with this deodorant, a little goes a long way. I actually usually just apply a small dab with my fingertips and rub it in.

I also developed a slight underarm redness about a month or two into using it.  It didn’t bother me, it just looked funny.  I figured it was from the baking soda in the deodorant.  I talked to my friends at Sister Power and they assured me that with time the redness will go away, and it did.  I haven’t had a problem since. If you do struggle with redness that actually irritates you, it’s most likely due to the PH balance of your skin.  Here’s a quick and easy way to bring everything into balance without going back to conventional deodorant.

Finally, with natural deodorant, if you are really stinky, you may need to apply a second time through-out the day.  99% of the time I do not find that necessary – especially the longer I’ve been using it.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I haven’t actually paid for deodorant in years.  I used to be a coupon crazy-lady and was usually able to stock up on free deodorant during sales using double-coupons.  In fact, I just recently went through my closet and de-stashed my stock pile of store-bought deodorants/toothpaste/lotion etc. So paying for deodorant did hurt a little (it costs $7 plus tax/shipping).  But I figured if I’m too busy to make it myself, and I’m too concerned to wear the cheap/free stuff, then what better option than to pay some sweet stay-at-home moms who have created an excellent, non-toxic product. Plus I know it will last me several months, at least.buy non-toxic deodorant

I can honestly say I truly love and appreciate this product.  I will probably someday venture into making my own (like when my boys are all teenagers!), but right now I’m happy to have a great alternative I can purchase. If you are interested in purchasing their deodorant, or any of their other natural care products (body butter, diffuser jewelry, etc.), then contact them at info@sisterpower.net.  You can also connect with their facebook page.

Are you concerned about the ingredients in conventional deodorant?  What natural options do you use?

Breaking the Silence…An Update on my Hashimoto’s Journey

breaking the silenceWell, it has been awhile since I’ve blogged.  We have been through quite the roller coaster and, to be honest, I just haven’t had the energy to sit down and write about all the things I’ve been researching/cooking up lately.

Before I get into the newest developments in my Hashimoto’s journey, here is a reminder of what has happened so far:

Last year at this time my husband and I experienced our third miscarriage.

I knew that multiple miscarriages was not normal, despite being told that it was by the doctors.  I knew that something was not right, so I went searching for answers.

I finally convinced a doctor to do a full blood work panel on me.  (It really shouldn’t be this hard).  The blood work came back showing elevated thyroid antibodies. And by elevated, I mean the antibodies were so high they could not even measure them.  They were above 2,000 – that’s all we knew.  That discovery led to my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

At the same time my husband and I had also decided that God had called us to adopt.  This was not a back up plan because we kept losing pregnancies.  It was something God had grown in our hearts over a period of years and was the result of a lot of prayer.

Determined that Hashimoto’s was not going to be my permanent story, I started researching.  I went grain free/dairy free/sugar free, started using essential oils very deliberately to treat the inflammation in my gut, support my endocrine system, and regulate my hormones.  I started supplementing with raw liver, selenium, mineral drops, herbs, and Real Salt to support my adrenals/hormones.  I read A More Excellent Way by Henry Wright which addresses the spiritual root behind diseases and I worked through some things spiritually.  I instituted a day of rest and sought balance in my life.

During this time I noticed small improvements in my energy levels and was encouraged.  I knew I had a long road ahead of me.  From what I could gather from the limited information on the web, it appeared that with the measures I was taking, I could expect my antibody levels to drop about 100-200 points a year.  At this point I knew it could take 10+ years to get my antibodies below 30 which is where they should be.  I grieved, fought, cried, and then accepted the fact that my body could not sustain a pregnancy with antibodies so high (even though I knew we were adopting, I still prayed to have more biological children).  Plus, my cycle still had not regulated since our miscarriage which was a tell tale sign to me that I still had a long way to go with regulating my hormones.

And then…

The weekend before Thanksgiving we were preparing to go camping with some friends.  The day before we left, I all of a sudden had an urgent feeling that I needed to take a pregnancy test.  I laughed at myself.  It was still a day before my cycle was due if my cycle was actually on a normal schedule.  However, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I finally packed the kids in the car and drove to the nearest pharmacy.  I felt ridiculous.  I didn’t even tell my husband I was buying a test because I had NO reason to suspect anything, except a nagging feeling in the back of my mind.  We were definitely not trying to get pregnant.

I also felt ridiculous because never have I had a pregnancy test turn positive for me on the first try.  With all 5 of my other pregnancies, I didn’t get a positive test until several days after my missed cycle.

I got home from the pharmacy, put the kids down for a nap and with a sigh and a feeling of ridiculousness I took the test.  I knew it was going to be negative, I actually thought to myself “This is new, never have I EXPECTED a negative test like this.” And it turned positive right away.

After I scooped my jaw off the ground, I called my doctor right away to get in.  How can this be?  What could this mean?  Will I lose this baby?

They drew my labs right away and it was discovered that my antibodies had dropped to 1536.  That is a HUGE drop to occur in only 6 or 7 months (miracle?!). It was also still dangerously high. The presence of high antibodies in pregnancy can result in miscarriage, premature birth, deformities, and I even found one study that showed a lower IQ in babies born to mothers with thyroid antibodies. They started me on 50 mcg of Levothyroxin to try and lower the antibodies even more.  I wasn’t thrilled about starting on conventional medicine, but I will do anything to protect this precious little life growing inside of me.

A couple weeks after the positive test, the sickness set it.  That’s about the same time there was a drastic decrease in the amount of blogging/social media presence that I was able to keep up with.  Nausea/fatigue/food aversions pretty much consumed my day.  I am still struggling to get through the day and our whole family has been in survival mode for the past several months as I have not been able to be in the kitchen/ keep up with daily household activities.

But that’s OK because look at that cute little profile:

nugget

We are 12 weeks and blissfully in love.  We covet your prayers during this time because this has not been an easy pregnancy and the reality is a lot could still go wrong.  We are trusting that this little miracle baby is in God’s hands though and have a peace.

Unfortunately I won’t get to realize my dreams of a home birth since I’m considered so high risk, but that’s OK because I’m pretty confident in my abilities to have a natural, VBAC hospital birth since I have already done it once before. Plus, how can I complain about anything, I am growing a miracle.

We start our adoption classes on Tuesday which is the first step of our homestudy. The new plan is to go through the classes/homestudy and then wait on submitting our profile until we give birth and are confident in our ability to handle another newborn.  This is another answer to prayer, though, because my biggest desire is to be able to nurse our adopted child just like I have nursed my biological children.  I plan on pumping colostrum those first few days to freeze and save for our adopted child.  Then I just have to keep my milk supply up which has never been an issue in the past.

So that’s our story, and I’m sticking to it.

I promise I have all kinds of interesting things in the works to blog about.  However, right now I’m just focusing on keeping the family alive and trying to stay well nourished.  Hopefully I will be rounding a corner soon and can get back to my regular schedule of posting.

Thanks for sticking with me through this lull and for your prayers and support.

Are you as surprised as we are? Have any of you been through pregnancy with Hashimoto’s and sky-high antibodies? I would love to hear some happy testimonies of other mama’s who have been through this.

Best Grain Free Recipes of 2014

best grain free goodies of 2014At the end of every year, my blogging friends in the Alternative Living Network like to do a round-up of the best posts from that year. I decided to do the grain free roundup since I am always looking for new and yummy grain free recipes. I don’t think any of these will disappoint. So without further ado, I present to you the best grain free recipes of 2014 from the bloggers in ALN.

crackers

Grain Free Almond Chia Crackers – This House of Joy

GAPS Shepherds Pie Recipe – Natural Momma in Progress

Summer Salad – Simple Life Abundant Life

Blueberry Chicken Meatballs – Worth Cooking

Grain Free Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits – Natural Momma in Progress

Black Cherry Cobbler Squares – Back to the Book Nutrition

Grain-free-granola

 

Grain Free Granola – It Takes Time

Paleo Cinnamon Raisin Granola – Natural Momma in Progress

Cranberry Orange Coconut Flour Muffins – Well Fed Family

Easy Grain Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coookies – Natural Momma in Progress

Easy Salmon with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale – Back to the Book Nutrition

grain-free-tortillasLegit Grain Free Tortillas – Natural Momma in Progress

Pumpkified Cheesecake Mousse – Whole Intentions

Paleo Chicken Enchiladas – Natural Momma in Progress

Creamy Shrimp, Potatos, and Kale – Back to the Book Nutrition

Grain Free Spice Cake Recipe for GAPS and Paleo Diets – Natural Momma in Progress

magic cookie bars

Grain Free and Sugar Free Magic Cookie Bars – Intoxicated on Life

Italian Seasoned Kale Chips – Natural Momma in Progress

Apricot Almond Thumbprint Cookies – Intoxicated on Life

Grain Free Sweet Potato (or pumpkin) Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Secret Ingredient – This House of Joy

You’re the Apple of My Pie – Whole Intentions

crepe cakeDecadent Grain Free Crepe Cake – This House of Joy

Coconut Butter – Natural Momma in Progress

Middle Eastern Lemon Feta Chicken – Back to the Book Nutrition

Stuffed Zucchini – Purposeful Nutrition

strawberry muffins

Strawberry Muffins – My Cultured Palate

Grain Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins – Natural Momma in Progress

Grain Free Butter Toffee Pecan Waffles – Natural Momma in Progress

“14 Carat” Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting – Whole Intentions

What is your current favorite grain free treat?

(P.S. If you are one of my regular readers, I promise I will be breaking the silence soon about why I haven’t been posting much lately. And hopefully soon we will be back to our regular posting schedule.)

 

 

 

Saturday Bargains 12/6/2014

saturday bargains 1

Welcome back to Saturday Bargains! Katie and I thought it was a good idea to take last week off with people feeling a bit “dealed out” with Black Friday, Small Busines Saturday and Cyber Monday. We’re back and ready to share with you some awesome finds today.

Why not take a few minutes and make yourself a nice cup of coffee or a hot cocoa and settle in for a bit. If you decide to buy through these links we are very grateful since not only do you get some great deals but we also earn a tiny percentage off of each sale costing you no extra money! Have a wonderful and blessed weekend!

Wanting try out microfiber cleaning cloths? Now is a good time, this set has 36 cloths for $24.84, that’s 38% off. You could even split the pack with a friend or two. I have a few cloths similar to these that I really enjoy using for cleaning anything and everything.

How fun is this travel cup? Today it is $7.12, 88% off! I know some friends that would get a kick out of this! I also love how it has a stainless steel interior!

Traveling this Christmas and have kids sharing a listening device or maybe you’re wanting to watch a movie with some one on your laptop, this little gadget make it possible for $10.50, 47% off!

This book looks like an awesome way to have some interesting conversations with your kids! Ask them a new question every day and let them journal their answers.  Then look back at the answers over the years and see how they have grown/changed. It is $10.88.

Looking for a devotion to for the rest of this Advent and Christmas season? This one is only$2.99 on Kindle.

The Berenstain Bears are always a fun read! The stories always teach an important lesson in a creative way. I love that this story teaches about the joy of giving. It’s just $0.99 on Kindle!

Little Critter is a another fun read for little ones! This darling book is only $3.99.

This sweet story has Santa telling the story of Jesus birth. It is $5.49, 45% off right now!

Nourishing Traditions is the first book that helped many real foodies step into eating nourishing foods. This new book, Nourishing Broth teaches you all about how to make broth, how it heals the gut and delicious recipes using multiple types of broth. Is is 27% off right now for $16.80.

This micoplane is on Katie’s wish list this Christmas. It is perfect for grating chocolate, zesting citrus and grating spices like nutmeg. Right now it’s $12.32, 38% off! It’s a great gift for any real foodie!

This knife set is a great deal! These colorful KitchenAid knives are $28.38, normally $112.00. A good sharp knife makes all the difference in the kitchen!frugal secrets of real foodies

Speaking of real food, are you struggling to learn how to keep your budget down while feeding your family real food? Earlier this year we wrote an ebook, The Frugal Secrets of Real Foodies with Modern Alternative Mama, Smithspirations and Simply Smiles. We teach you how to shop, how to use your scraps, how to make the basics from scratch and so much more!

Happy Saturday!

 

 

Saturday Bargains 11/22/2014

saturday bargains 1Brrrr! We  just got back from an overnight camping trip.  There is nothing like squeezing a family of four on a full size blow-up mattress with loads of blankets and snuggling as if your life depends on it.  That’s what memories are made of my friends.

Enjoy these Saturday bargain deals.  Remember these are affiliate links and the prices are subject to change at anytime, so always double-check the prices.emma

This sweet movie is only $5.69 right now.

spiralizer This spiralizer is a quick and easy way to turn vegetables into noodles. Or to make your salad really fancy.  Either way it’s 64% off right now!dear mr knightleyThis Kindle book looks so intriguing and is only $2.99 right now. That’s 81% off.
blendtecCostco has a great deal on the Blendtec Total Blender Classic with Wildside Jar and Twister Jar.  Through tomorrow (11/23/2014), it’s only $359.99. It usually retails at $799.99.strawsMy family has these straws and I love how versatile and reusable they are. I also love how it reduces the amount of plastic my family is exposed to.  Right now they are 73% off.mayflowerOnly $5.38 right now.  Take a historical look with your kids at what it would have been like to sail on the Mayflower.
nourishing traditionsThis book is a must read.  It completely changed the way I view fat and really helped propel me into the world of real food. It is much more than a cook book. Right now it’s 32% off.  I checked it out from the library, but this is definitely a book that would be handy to have around at all times to use as a reference.ina may I have never read this book, but it is definitely one that is on my list.  It’s 28% off right now at only $12.99.vanilla steviaThis vanilla stevia is made with real vanilla and a glycerine tincture of the Stevia herb (not the processed powdered stuff). It’s 48% off for a pack of two.  Remember, a little bit goes a looooooong way.  My husband likes to add a drop or two of the real liquid stevia to his coffee in the morning.  That’s all it takes!pilgrimsThis looks like a fun way to learn about the pilgrims with your kids.  Only $3.99.thanksgivingThis one is also only $3.99.night before thanksgivingWe have this book and my children LOVE it.  They love the pictures and the rhyme, even though they aren’t familiar with the original Twas the Night Before Christmas poem. It’s also only $3.99.lodgeWe never would have survived our camping trip if it wasn’t for our cast iron.  I won’t divulge just how much bacon and eggs we cooked over the camp fire, but our cast iron never lets us down. This set is currently 57% off. krupsThis espresso maker is 68% off.  You can never have too much espresso.  Yes you can.  No you can’t.  (This is the conversation I have in my head everyday.)address Right now Zulily is having a sale on a bunch of really fun and trendy address stamps.  They are $19.99 each which is discounted from the original $50 price (although who would really spend $50 on a stamp?! Not this lady!).  I think these would make a fun stocking stuffer for family and it would definitely reduce the amount of time it takes me to address Christmas cards!  The way Zulilly works is you have to make an account with your email address to look at the deals.  Don’t worry, they won’t spam you.  Once you’re in just type stamps in the search bar on the top right and they should pop up.  After you create an account, if you share it with your friends, you can get a $15 credit if your friends buy something.  That would practically pay for the stamp!  Here’s my link: http://www.zulily.com/invite/snichols5830