Monday, January 30, 2012

A Polite Title Regarding Diarrhea

At the risk of sharing too much information, I am still going to do this post, so be warned.  We have had a wicked bug going around the childcare centre I work at.  We've had different children and staff home sick everyday.  It got to me last Saturday (which made me mad because my weekend plans were ruined, and I couldn't even take the day off work).  I was hit with diarrhea.  In past years I would have immediately reached for the Immodium, but I decided to risk it and try some natural remedies from 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic.

"Eat bananas and carob
Bananas and carob are both rich in pectin, which binds loose stools.  Eat a banana mashed with a tablespoon or two or carob powder: One serving may take care of the problem, or you may need more.  This is an especially good remedy for children."

Bananas also have a high potassium content which helps to replace electrolytes that are being lost.  We didn't have carob powder, and the only bananas we had were sliced and frozen, thus I decided to have a banana smoothie.  I had about 2 bananas worth of slices with rice milk (I am lactose intolerant, so this is all I have, but it was good as well because dairy products are a bad choice when suffering from diarrhea.) and a little bit of vanilla extract.  This was quick, simple, tasty and began to ease the problem within the hour.  I was still having less severe bouts though with a lot of stomach pain.
"Eat a brown apple
To help stop an attack of diarrhea, shred a peeled apple on to a plate, let it turn brown, and eat it.  Apples contain pectin, which helps bind loose stools."

Brad peeled and grated an apple for me and spread it out on a plate.  After waiting about 3 hours, it had turned brown, but not extremely.  I was surprised how long the process was taking, and this was the biggest disadvantage to this remedy.  When I am sick like this, I don't want to have to suffer through 3 or more hours first before getting something to help me into my system.  By the time I was able to eat the apple, I had already had the banana smoothie which was helping.  This did seem to continue to help though as well.
Other things I consumed include:
-peppermint tea to calm and relax intestinal cramping and gas - this was a miracle worker for me
-white bread sandwich for easier digestion - whole grains are so important usually, but when you're sick, don't make things harder on your digestive system
-mashed potatoes (white rice is another good option) - again low in fibre means easy digestion

Foods I avoided:
-gas producing foods such as beans, broccoli, cabbage as they increase intestinal gas
-dairy products which become harder to digest as a result of less enzyme lactase
-fatty foods (even good fats) as they speed up contractions in the intestines

Overall it worked very well.  The original severity was eased fairly quickly, and by Sunday evening I was significantly better, and then well enough to go back to work on Monday.

What natural remedies do you know of for this ailment?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Classy Closets

For those interested in our minimizing efforts, I thought I would open up our closet to the public. This is the first area we turned to when we began our mission of decluttering.  Today I am debuting our new, pared down closet!  Brad's stuff on the left and mine in the middle and right.  When we had begun I had well over 100 pieces of clothing.  Now I believe I am down to about 70 or so, and I really tried to include everything.

It looks like nothing, but it really adds up.

-3 tank tops (everyday)
-3 t shirts (everyday)
-8 shirts (everyday)
-4 sweaters (everyday)
-2 exercise shirts
-4 tank tops (work)
-5 t shirts (work)
-4 sweaters (work)
-1 blouse (dressy)

-1 dressy dress
-1 casual dress

-4 scarves
-2 belts
-1 hat
-1 toque
-2 pairs of mittens
-2 pairs of pants (everyday)
-1 pair of jeans (everyday)
-4 pairs of shorts (everyday)
-1 pair of leggings (everyday)
-1 pair of exercise shorts
-2 pairs of pants (work)
-1 pair of jeans (work)
-4 pairs of shorts (work)

-1 pair of everyday shoes
-1 pair of flip flops
-1 pair of dress shoes
-1 pair of everyday boots
-1 pair of snow boots

-1 fall/spring jacket
-1 dressy jacket
-1 winter jacket
-1 snow jacket
-1 pair of snow pants
-1 bathing suit

I still feel like I could do even more, but I am happy with what I've done so far.  There are some factors I am not sure how to get around.  I have a completely different set of clothes for work and regular life resulting in 2 nearly full wardrobes.  Since I work in a daycare, I am unwilling to risk ruining my everyday clothes with paint, bleach, or who knows what else.  Also, I live in a place where the temperature can range from -20° to 35° C (-4° to 95° F) depending on the time of year, meaning I need clothes for all the seasons.  There are also so many pieces that only serve one purpose (like dress shoes or exercise shorts) which drives me crazy.

This is why no one can set a magic number for the "perfect" or "right" amount of clothes for a person to own.  Based on your life and circumstances, come up with a reasonable amount you're comfortable.  Work towards it over time.  Once you've achieved it, stick to a "one in, one out" system.  If you purchase or receive a new item of clothing, be sure to remove an old one (give it away, donate it, throw it away if it's in poor condition) before allowing the new one into your wardrobe.

Now this would really be a problem solver!  My mind was blown when a friend showed me this, and now I would like to show you all the Versalette.  According to the {r}evolution apparel website, "The Versalette is a multi-functional piece that can be worn over 15 different ways — with just a few adjustments. It serves as a dress, shirt, skirt, scarf, purse, hood & more. It’s a simply designed staple that makes travel, minimalism, and living sustainably just a little bit easier."  Check it out here:

{r}evolution apparel Introduces the Versalette from {r}evolution apparel on Vimeo.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Easy Toilet Bowl Cleaner

I've previously spoken about what a danger household cleaning products are to our health and the environment.  You can check out this post for more information if you're interested.  Since learning all of this, I have been switching over my cleaning products.  When I ran out of toilet bowl cleaner, I looked around on the internet for a natural alternative.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the borax toilet bowl cleaner post. Thanks!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oven Baked Bread

Brad and I have been baking our own bread for quite some time now.  This is our go-to recipe that we make pretty well week after week.  The recipe has been slightly altered from this one on Summer Harms' blog.  It's so delicious!  We love it.  Especially all the seed-y, grain-y goodness.  It's perfect for sandwiches and stays fresh for so long.  Plus, nothing beats the smell of bread baking in the oven.

 Multigrain Bread

1 1/2 c warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 c honey
2 1/4 c multigrain bread flour
2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c ground oats
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, very soft

Mix water, yeast, and honey in a large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
Combine flours, oats, salt in a med bowl.
Add dry ingredients and melted butter to the large bowl in one or two dumps and use dough hooks on handmixer to mix.
After a few minutes, dough should have pulled away from the sides of the bowl and come together in a large ball around the hook.
Pull dough off, dough should be easy to handle. Slightly sticky is fine.
Put dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for 1 hour.
After first rise, punch down, form into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.
Cover and let rise 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

I'd like to play around with the flour mixture a little more.  I was only just told that bread flour is a mixture of white and whole wheat (I had assumed it was all whole white since we bought the multigrain variety).  This recipe uses that plus the additional all purpose flour that is white, which is too much white in my opinion.  I am always worried to use too much whole wheat flour and have it not turn out though.  Any suggestions?

Do you have a bread recipe to share?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Giveaway Winner + Simple Ginger Sore Throat Relief

Today is the day!  The deadline for the giveaway was last night, and the draw has been made.  The winner of the Wife Life prize pack is... *drum roll*

Susan with her comment, "i follow you on your RSS feed."

Congratulations Susan!  You will be receiving:
-3 Lavender Love Lotion Bars (post here)
-1 container of Lemon Meringue Moisturizer (post here)
-2 tubes of Spa Spirit Lip Balm (post here) 

Thank you to everyone who entered!  I am thrilled to have so many suggestions for blog posts and am excited to cover those topics in the future.  Now on to more serious business...


'Tis the season for colds and flus.  Brad had gotten a pretty rough sore throat.  I have find it easy to find many natural remedies for coughs, and have even written about a honey and lemon one here, but the sore throat remedies seem to be scarce.  Luckily for me I found an old post on Keeper of the Home about ginger.

Ginger Sore Throat Relief
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp olive oil

Take 1/2 tsp at a time.  Swallow slowly to coat the throat.  The ginger is for its anti-inflammatory properties and ground clove is for pain relief.

Appetizing, isn't it?

Brad took this the night we made it before bed and woke up the next morning pain-free.  I made him take it again that morning for good measure, and the sore throat never returned.  Very effective!  I have also been thinking of how to make this into more of a throat lozenge.  Should make for a good experiment another day. Before I finish up, I want to be straight with you.  This - stuff - tastes - awful.  Be prepared.

Do you have any sore throat remedies?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Natural Multi Purpose Cleaner

Way back when, some of you may remember that I made 3 cleaning products as a bridal shower gift for a friend.  I've already covered the homemade laundry soap and a natural air freshener.  Today I am talking about a multi purpose cleaner.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the natural multi-purpose cleaner recipe. Thanks!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Spa Spirit Lip Balm

Lip balm is a beauty staple.  Unfortunately it is also toxic (mainstream brands) and addictive.  I admit that I was once addicted to lip balm, and have had to take steps to breaking that addiction.  It sounds silly when talking about lip balm, but that has truly been how my experience felt.  It is now a priority of mine to keep what I put on my lips natural and safe while still using it sparingly.

After checking out EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for this post, I found that popular brands such as Blistex, Maybelline, Softlips, and Avon (even the "natural" line) were in the top ten most toxic lip balms.  These toxins are absorbed easily through the thin skin covering the lips and also through ingestion from eating or licking the lips.  To combat this, I have chosen to make my own lip balm.  This is a slightly modified recipe for homemade lip balm originally from Eco Beauty by Lauren Cox.

Spa Spirit Lip Balm

1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp grated beeswax
1 tsp sweet almond oil
1/8 tsp vitamin E oil
3-5 drops essential oil blend of grapefruit, eucalyptus, benzoin, and peru balsam

The supplies.

Combine all ingredients into a small glass dish and place into a pan with a few inches of water (or microwave).  Heat and stir until everything is combined.  Pour into a suitable container of your choice.

Allow to cool completely.  Enjoy!
(To make 2 lip balms as shown in this picture, double the recipe.)

A friend and I made it and were both pleased after using them.  The consistency was great without being gloppy or greasy.  They are packed with moisturizing ingredients making this a perfect recipe for the winter especially.

If you're interested in learning more about cosmetics or taking action against the toxins in most beauty products, I encourage you to check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.


Don't forget about the current giveaway going on right now!  Part of the prize pack is winning 2 tubes of this lip balm.  Check out this post to enter.  Deadline is 1/15/2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Frontier Fixes"

I thought it would be a fun way to begin the year by looking back in time at some very silly sounding remedies of North America's pioneers.  I found these in Canadian Edition of The 2012 Old Farmer's Almanac by Robert B. Thomas.  Please do not try these at home.

Arthritis: Rub rainwater collected in a stump on the joint.
Baldness: "Fertilize" new hair growth by smearing cow manure on head.
Boils: Eat roadrunner soup.
Chicken Pox: Run around the chicken house naked 3 times.
Chills: Stand behind a dogwood tree from dawn until sunrise.
Colds: Drink a mixture of fruit juice and pounded dried frog skins.
Cuts: Have a large red ant bite the cut while its jaws on each side of the wound then pinch off the body leaving the jaws to hold the cut together.
Headaches: While leaning your head against a tree have someone on the other side drive a nail into the trunk.
Hiccups: Jump over a broom that is laying on the floor 3 times.
Pinkeye: Kill and fry a chicken snake.  Rub the grease collected in the pan onto the sore eye.
Sore Throat: After tying 9 knots into a string of black thread, soak it in turpentine, and wear it around your neck.
Toothache: Spit into a frog's mouth, and ask it to leave with the toothache.
Warts: Dip the eye of a dead cat in spunk water, and place it on the wart.

I wonder how these came about or why the settlers believed they had any power.

What olden day remedies have you heard of?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Blogiversary + Giveaway

Happy New Year!  I hope you have a wonderful night last night ringing in the new year.  I am lucky enough to get to begin this year with another celebration as well.  Today is my first blogiversary!  One year ago today I wrote my first post and began this incredible journey.  In the past year...
-I have posted 101 entries.
-164 people have become followers.
-there have been 107,332 page views.
-there are readers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Mexico, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Japan, and more.
-you guys have left 274 comments (my favourite part).

I am so thankful to each of you who reads and those who comment for your encouragement and support.  In this upcoming year I hope that even more conversations can be started.  Learning from one another, and me learning from you guys, is the best part of this blog to me.  To show you my appreciation and to celebrate my first blogiversary, I am going to do my very first giveaway!

The prize:

I am making some popular items that I've posted on my blog, and one brand new one.  Here is the prize pack:
-3 Lavender Love Lotion Bars (post here)
-1 container of
Lemon Meringue Moisturizer (post here)
-2 tubes of Spa Spirit Lip Balm (coming soon)


-shea butter
-sweet almond oil
-lavender essential oil

-grapeseed oil
-lemon essential oil

- coconut oil
-sweet almond oil
-vitamin E oil
-essential oil blend of grapefruit, eucalyptus, benzoin, and peru balsam

These products are made with beeswax and other potential allergens.  They were not made in a peanut- or nut-free facility.  You accept all risks and responsibility for any and all consequences resulting directly or indirectly from the use of these products.  They are free from chemicals and additives.

How to enter:

Mandatory entry:
-Tell me what you want to see on the Wife Life

Additional entries (1 entry for each):
-Become a follower through Google, RSS feed, or email (or tell me if you already are)
-Like me on Facebook (or tell me if you already have)
-Post about the giveaway on Facebook linking to this post

Leave one comment for each entry (up to four comments per person) below.  If you comment through the anonymous setting, please sign your name in the comment.  I will be using's random number generator to determine the winner.  Giveaway deadline is 1/15/2012 at midnight PST.  The winner will be announced 1/16/2012.

Also, because I am from Canada and get so disappointed when I cannot enter giveaways, I am opening this contest up worldwide!  Everyone is welcome to enter.  Good luck!