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Category Archives: Natural Living

How does my garden grow?

Awful, stunted tomatoes, one pepper, one okra (!), and pitiful yellow squash. 

Ah, but the zucchini.  I am eating it for breakfast (really, as we speak), lunch, dinner, and dessert. 

 Attack of the Squash People (by the incredible Marge Piercy)

              And thus the people every year
              in the valley of humid July
              did sacrifice themselves
              to the long green phallic god
              and eat and eat and eat.
              They’re coming, they’re on us,
              the long striped gourds, the silky
              babies, the hairy adolescents,
              the lumpy vast adults
              like the trunks of green elephants.
              Recite fifty zucchini recipes!
             Beg on the highway: please
             take my zucchini, I have a crippled
             mother at home with heartburn.
             Sneak out before dawn to drop
             them in other people’s gardens,
             in baby buggies at churchdoors.
             Shot, smuggling zucchini into
             mailboxes, a federal offense.
             You give and give
             too much, like summer days
             limp with heat, thunderstorms
             bursting their bags on our heads,
             as we salt and freeze and pickle
             for the too little to come.
(full text here)
My favorite way to eat them this year:  chop and cook big chunks in garlic, olive oil, salt, onion, and fresh basil.  Eat on whole wheat angel hair pasta with crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.  Oh, how I wish my own tomatoes were thriving this year. 

Easter Traffic

Two of my old posts always get loads of traffic around Easter:

Natural dyes for eggs


Cadbury Eggs

Update:  it looks like Cadbury Eggs in the US are still slave-made.  What can we do??  Global Exchange has some great ideas including a printable coloring page for children to mail to Hershey.  I’m considering throwing together a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate to share in my community before Easter.  We’ll see if I can pull that off.  What will YOU do?

Buy Mindful and Buy Local

Today I wanted to highlight a local farm for beautiful gift ideas. 

Shoals Creek Farm

Lotions, soaps, sugar scrubs, and more.  I’ve also heard the goat’s milk is delicious.

Linda, the amazing mama who raises the goats and crafts these goat’s milk products, has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever encountered.

She made a diaper rash cream for Cedar’s bum.  It has been the only thing that has worked on her poor little bottom. 

I’ve also fallen in love with the natural vapor rub and the sugar scrub.  I hate using Vick’s vapor rub since it is petroleum based.  Yuck. 

I can’t wait to try some of Linda’s soaps next.  I’m going for Monkey Farts or Hot Apple Cider.    

You can buy the products online or find them locally at Rose Hill Plantation or Pickens Family Chiropractic. 

These would make excellent teacher or hostess gifts.  Or stocking stuffers!  Go check them out.

Free Class!

I’m teaching Cloth Diapering 101 at Natural Baby on Dec. 11 at 2pm.  The class will last about an hour.  We’ll look at lots of examples of cloth diapering choices and systems.  And, of course, I’ll talk about poop.  What would a cloth diaper class be without a thorough discussion of dealing with the poopies?

Join us!  No need to rsvp.  Little ones are welcome.  I encourage dads to attend. 

Email me if you have questions:  j_byers (at) bellsouth (dot) net.

Openings are Grand!

We’ve asked for one.  We’ve complained that our town didn’t have one.  We’ve ordered online and paid shipping fees.  We’ve driven to Spartanburg (and however much we love you, Mary, it is a long drive!).

Now it is here.  A natural parenting store.  In our town.  And it opens this week!

Come out of your hiding holes on Black Friday (or am I the only one who hides on Black Friday?) and visit Natural Baby between 10am and 6pm.  There will be giveaways!  And deals!  And lovely things to buy.  Things that are carefully crafted and sustainable.  Things that are fairly traded.  Things that are reusable (cloth diapers!).  Things that are locally made.

Come and see!

And while you’re visiting, tell Ady, the wonderful mama behind this project, how excited you are.  And give her your ideas for products to stock, free classes to offer, or ways to promote the store.

This is not simply another store.  It is an opportunity to impact parenting choices and support families in making mindful choices.  Ady wants the store to belong to the community–a place you can drop in to nurse a baby or let your toddler play while you catch your breath.  A place for gatherings like the monthly Babywearing group or LLL.  It is the new home of Upstate BirthNetwork.  Have I told you yet of this project?  Soon I will. 

I’ll be teaching a free Cloth Diapering 101 class on Dec. 11 at 2pm.  And the monthly Babywearing group will meet Dec. 9 at 6pm. 

Find Natural Baby via their website or on facebook.  And find it on Black Friday!

Frugal and Natural Baby Care

Natural and organic baby products can be expensive!  Here are a few ways to save some money.  Please add your tips and recipes!

Baby Wipes

Using cloth baby wipes can save as much as 800.00.  Still, the initial purchase can be pricey for a bum wipe.  If you don’t have the funds, you can cut up old t-shirts or flannel blankets.  For Norah, I bought the 1.00 “bag o rags” from Goodwill.  It was a huge lot of t-shirts already cut into rectangles.  I washed them on hot a few times to make sure they wouldn’t bleed on the dipes.  Good to go.  They weren’t pretty but hey, they were for wiping butts.

Baby Wipe Solution

You can simply wet your cloth wipes in water.  There are many solutions that are easy to make and smell yummers.  I like to use a few drops of lavender essential oil, a few drops of almond oil, water, and a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s castille soap.  There are lots of additional great ideas here.  I keep my solution in a spray bottle (one for the diaper bag and one for the changing station).

Cradle Cap

When your babe gets the scalp funk, use some olive oil to loosen it.  Use a fingernail or a toothbrush to gently exfoliate the area. 

Shampoo or Baby Wash

A tiny bit of castille soap goes a long way.  I often find Dr. Bronner’s on Amazon for a great price with free shipping.  A 32 oz bottle retails for 14.99 and lasts a long time.  One important point:  this soap is not “tear-free” so keep it out of baby’s eyes.  And pick a mild kind like the baby unscented or lavendar.  The peppermint might be a bit strong for baby bums. 

Baby Oil

I prefer baby oil to lotion.  My favorite is calendula.  Calendula flowers are so healing.  To make this oil, heat 8 oz of oil (I like almond but you can use other vegetable oils) and 1 oz of calendula flowers on low heat or in a crockpot for several hours.  Strain and cool.  You also can make a simple oil by adding a few drops of essential oil to a quality veggie oil.  Try lavendar, orange, rose, chamomile or a combination.

Oatmeal/Milk Bath

Grind oatmeal in food processor or coffee grinder.  Mix with dry milk.  Pour in the bath.  You can also add some epsom salt for a calming bath.  My friend, Ellen, gave me a variation that was ground oatmeal with lavender from her garden.

Diaper Pail Deodorizer

Simply put 10 drops of orange, lemon, peppermint, or lavender essential oil on a cotton round and attach to your diaper pail.  I love the diaper pail liners that have a built in pocket for such a deo-disk.  Mine doesn’t. 

Diaper Rash Treatment

Coconut oil is fantastic!  Combine coconut oil with nakey time and say bye-bye to diaper rash.  Or use the calendula oil you made earlier.

Bug Repellent

Lemon Balm grows in my herb garden and anywhere else it escapes to.  I grab a leaf and rub it on arms/legs.  You can also make a spritzer by boiling the leaves.   

Tummy-ache and Gas Medicine

Fennel tea.  Fennel is inexpensive.  I grind mine just a bit in the coffee grinder and make the tea in a french press.  Let it cool.  You can give with a medicine dropper, make into popsicles, add to a bottle, or for older babies, put in a sippy.  You can also combine with chamomile or catnip for a sleepy tea.  When Norah has a tummy-ache, I add peppermint.

Certainly with all of the above concoctions, be smart.  Try out a tiny bit on your baby’s skin first to make sure there are no allergic reactions. 

The item I don’t try to make frugally or find inexpensive alternatives is sunscreen.  I’m still a big fan of Jason’s Mineral Sunbrellas.  You can find a fantastic cheat sheet from safemama on sunscreens here.

What do you have to add?

Such incredible yumminess

I tried this raw chocolate mousse at Earth Fare.  The gRAWnola guy was doing a “cooking” demo although, of course, there is no cooking required and he let me scrape the bowl.  This recipe is beyond yum.

  • 3/4 cup dates soaked until very soft with pits removed
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup agave

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.

The recipe card I picked up doesn’t credit anybody so apologies to the raw chef I’m not crediting.