A glimpse into our natural lifestyle

 Over the years we have transitioned to more natural products. Once you realize there is so much extra stuff in your products and how easy it is to make your own, you won't go back either! I just wanted to share a few things that we use around the house. We actually save money because many things we use simple products that are typically used in the house somewhere anyway. 

- First, there are two products we have been using A LOT lately. Those two products are baking soda and vinegar. Seriously, these have been used in so many ways in our house I do not know why it has taken me so long. When my husband moved to Lansing, before we were married, a lady gave him a book about 100 ways to use baking soda, it was kind of a joke in our house. Now, I understand the reason for the book and I probably could write one myself. 

Back to baking soda, it is a miracle worker. We have a textured bathtub and I sprinkle baking soda on the bottom, then pour vinegar over it. They do the scrubbing job for you! Just rinse and wipe away, no scrubbing for hours. We also use it to clean our sink, in the same manner as above, and for our glass stove top. Put the baking soda on your stove top, pour a small amount of vinegar on it and let it sit for a few minutes. Then we use a cast iron scraper to help scrape anything off, and then clean it off. Don't know what to use to clean something? Start with baking soda! 

- The second thing I want to share is soap, which you can find my previous post about how I make that here.

- In the last year I have switched our shampoo to more natural shampoo. Now, take my advice and my experience and do your research. I am pretty sure that some shampoo from the store ruined my hair. My hair has thinned so much in the last year and a half and it was about the time I switched to natural shampoo. I have since learned that just because it claims to be natural doesn't mean that it is good for your hair. Not all shampoo is made the same and not the correct PH level your hair needs. I trashed my shampoo bottles and transitioned to a shampoo bar, I use one from Perennial Soaps. They take some getting used to and figuring out how to lather and cover your hair. We have been using one since May and it seems to working well for my hair. I also use an apple cider vinegar rinse, 1 part apple cider vinegar and 4-5 parts water (depending on what your hair needs. I put it in a large glass spray bottle and after rinsing some of my shampoo out, spray it on and wash out. The last thing I try is to go around 10-12 days before washing my hair. This is something new I have been trying but I have heard it helps make your hair healthier. In between washes I use a DIY dry shampoo, it is 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and cocoa powder. I store in a jar and just apply with a make up brush as needed, usually around 5-7 days after washing. The amount of cocoa powder depends on the color of your hair, so just put enough in to try and match your color.

- For our cleaners, I have two. One is a multi-purpose which is used for surfaces and mopping (we use a dry mop), the other is a glass cleaner. I was making my own but did recently try out the cleaners from Plant Therapy. It is a concentrate that you mix with water and you get lots of uses out of one bottle. I love all of their products. They also have a great resource of recipes for cleaners, bug spray, and even hand sanitizer. Here is my referral code if you decide to order anything, I would love to share some of my other favorite products.

- Another household product I can think of is our laundry soap. I actually got this recipe from a friend a few years ago and it has worked well for us. I take a bar of soap any scent, I prefer Dr. Bronner's castile soap bar, but I know some people use Fels Naptha too. Grate the bar and add 20 oz. of washing soda then mix together. Simple and easy. I store it in a mason jar and you use about 2 tablespoons per wash. It works out to be $4-$5 per batch and each batch is around 30 loads or so (I haven't ever counted). Then we use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, I bought ours years ago and we are still using them. 

I love sharing our products and helping people change items in their homes to more natural products. If you have any questions or want to know more about something I would love to help if I can. I am no expert but do have some experience and hopefully can point you in the right direction. Thanks for taking the time to read! 

Warning: You may want to stop reading here if you do not want to know some more personal aspects of my life.  I am going to be real and open about a few products I use monthly and daily, so you may not want to read it or know that much about me. 😊

- One of my favorite daily use products is my Temp Drop. Ever since we got married we have used natural birth control, I would set an alarm every morning at 5:00 am and take my temperature and record it. You can learn a lot from your morning temperatures and about your cycle. After having kids it was harder to have a set time in the morning for taking my temperature. Between Elizabeth and Christopher I never could find a good way to take my temperature and we could not rely on that alone. I soon learned that there were companies coming out with cycle trackers that would take my temperature for me. Sign me up! I bought mine shortly after Christopher was born and have never looked back. There are many cycle trackers out now, but I use a Temp Drop and love it. I even have a back up in case mine breaks or gets lost someday, I would be lost without it. It goes on my arm and I wear it while I sleep, then take it off in the morning and sync with the app. It is that easy. BUT once again, please do your research on natural family planning and charting your cycles. There are more indicators to know about than just watching your temperatures and it is important to track more than one so you can be sure when charting. "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" is a great resource book with lots of good information. I am not
an expert but I would be happy to answer any questions you may have or try to help you understand your body more, I have been doing this for almost 8 years now. 

- In my attempt to be natural in all products I use, I have changed the products I use for my period each month. A couple of years ago, I heard about this thing called a Diva Cup. Now, the technical term is menstrual cup and Diva Cup is a brand name. If you know what I am talking about, you may be thinking that it is gross and you won't try it. Hear me out. I was once one of those women who said no way and that it was gross. Now, I cannot imagine using tampons ever again. 

For my periods, I use a menstrual cup and cloth pads. I just use some basic cloth pads I found online, all I do is rinse them out, let them dry, spray with hydrogen peroxide to clean, and then put in the wash. Yes, you do have to get over the concept of washing out blood but you do get used to it. They are so much better than disposable, no smell or irritation. 

Let's discuss the menstrual cup. I use the Diva Cup, but there are many other brands and it is a learning curve. This is the third one I tried before I found the right fit. There is a great resource, that I wish I found sooner, called Put a Cup in It. They have done the work for you, for the most part, and have a quiz you can take to get some recommended brands to try. The Facebook group is also a great resource to ask questions and find what works for others. The biggest thing with a menstrual cup is that every woman's body is different, so what works for me may not work for you. Here is the link to the quiz if you are curious: https://putacupinit.com/.

My first one I tried was a total failure. I almost didn't try them again, but glad I did. I did not do my research and realize there are some brands that are not certified and you should stay away from. Do your research! I bought one of those, and can tell a big difference. On the website listed above, they list those brands to buy and the ones to stay away from and give reasons as to why. The second one I tried was the Lena Cup. It worked, kind of. As some people say, you have to find your "Goldilocks." Meaning, you may have to try a few before you find the perfect one. For me, that is the Diva Cup.

Reasons why I love it: no need to carry a pile of tampons with you, you can have it in for up to 12 hours, you can sleep with it in, you save money, and it is better for your body. I sleep at night so much better, even on a heavy day because very rarely do I leak during the night now. With a tampon, I would have to change it during the night and/or wear a heavier pad while I slept. I have not bought pads or tampons in over 2 years, seriously think about all the money you can save! 

I would be happy to share my experiences and what I have learned over the years!