Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lavender Pillow Pouch

We have some gorgeous lavender bushes growing along our front sidewalk.  I love smelling them in the summer as I walk up to the house.  Harvesting the lavender is really easy and fun to do.  Of course they are not in bloom right now, but I had some dried lavender in the basement that I needed to use up.

I sewed a little pillow out of fabric scraps, filled it with lavender, and sewed it shut.  I tucked one inside each child's pillowcase so they would receive the benefits of smelling the calming lavender all night long.  These have lasted quite a long time, even going through the washer and drier a couple times on accident, but are still smelling wonderfully.  Scrunching them up a bit releases the scent.

One of these pouches in the drier also works well to lightly scent your laundry.

We've also put lavender buds in water to simmer on the stove and add some humidity and calm to our house.  I'm looking forward to harvesting more lavender this summer and coming up with more uses for it.  I imagine you could also purchase dried lavender somewhere for this same purpose.  Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guest Post: Herbs for Children's Sleep

Today's post is from Nina at ShalomMama.  Nina Nelson is a follower of Jesus. Wife to Ian. Mama to Isaac, Eva, Ella and Isaiah. Hippy. Conservative. Lover of simplicity. And babies. She enjoys writing about health, building relationships and simplifying.  (and is also a good friend of mine!)

Sweet dreams for your sweet baby

When I asked my friend Christy to do a guest post the other day she laughed and told me that she was about to ask me to do one on her blog. Great minds think alike ;) .
She specifically asked that I discuss herbal sleep remedies for kids. I’d actually never tried any and was really glad to have something new to research. I’m especially grateful that she asked me as I’m having some trouble with Isaiah sleeping well at night while he’s teething and I’d love to try a gentle remedy. I’m getting tired of being used as a pacifier all night long.
I first visited Sister Wisdom, a wonderful site that I found months ago that has great information on herbs for babies. She had exactly what I was looking for and I used her information as a jumping off point to begin researching more on my own.
The following herbs are wonderful to have on hand to gently calm your kids and use in a handful of other remedies as well:
Oh how I love the scent of lavender. Lavender essential oil is frequently used in aromatherapy for its soothing effects as it helps to alleviate restlessness and irritability. I’ve also successfully used it to ease headaches by applying it to my temples. It is one of few essential oils that is safe to apply directly to the skin without diluting it in a carrier oil. However, I suggest diluting when using it on kids, as they are more sensitive. According to The Handbook of Vintage Remedies, it also offers antibacterial properties.
This is the standard sleepy-time herb that comes to mind for many people. When using chamomile, it’s important to use only the flowering tops – sometimes ragweed can be confused as chamomile and cause an allergic reaction in some. Using only the flowers will prevent that mistake.
Like many of the other sedative herbs, chamomile is also commonly used for digestive disorders. One of my favorite uses of chamomile is topical as it soothes inflamed skin and is gentle enough to use on small children. A diluted bottle of weak chamomile tea helps to calm a teething baby and prevent colic spasms. (I’m all over this one!)
When I think of catnip, I picture my mom’s cats sniffing it and rolling around on the ground for a while afterward. What I didn’t think of was the effect that it has on people. Catnip is a soothing herb that is so mild it can be given as a tea to children. According to, catnip also has a long history of being used to treat digestive system disorders and helps to reduce fevers because it induces sweating. The leaves or flowering tops of catnip also provide relief from stomach spasms and coughing, and because it is so gentle, it’s a beneficial herb to have on hand for little ones fighting an illness.
Lemon balm
Lemon balm has some lovely qualities. It’s antiviral and is also aids in healing minor skin irritations. Like catnip, lemon balm is antispasmodic. It can also increase sweating to reduce fevers. It is commonly used to reduce anxiety and restlessness and relax the body. Lemon balm is gentle enough to give to children.
Tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll be making a balm that you can rub on your little one before bedtime to help them get a good night’s sleep. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.
I love reading about herbs and learning about all of the plants God has provided us to take care of ourselves and each other. Yet another thing He does for us that makes me smile. :)
Herbal Medicine by Dian Dincin Buchman
The ABC Herbal by Steven H. Horne
*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or certified herbalist. This information is intended for informational purposes only. If you choose to use these herbs, please do so in conjunction with a trusted herbal reference and herbal professional.
Also, buy purchasing products using my affiliate links, I will earn a small commission. Thanks.
    Thanks for sharing, Nina! - Christy

Monday, January 24, 2011


I am sick.  For the last week and a half the girls have been fighting off coughs, colds, sore throats, and a bit of pink eye.  Friday I finally came down with it all.  Saturday night I had a really painful earache and now I think it's ruptured.  I was up all night trying every remedy I could think of because the pain was so awful.

Instead of posting about sleep like I said I was going to, I've been sleeping!  Ross has been great about helping around the house and taking care of me.  His mom and sister both came over to play with the kids and let me rest.  My ear is not as super painful today but I'm still exhausted and sick feeling.  I may try and get in to see the chiropractor tomorrow.  I'm ready to pack my luggage sets and head out somewhere vacationy, I have had enough of this already!  Ugh.  I'll be back with more posts soon...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Mama

Do you ever forget to shower, or is that just me?  Like the other night when I sat down to write this post (about my shower soap), I realized I should probably go shower.  I mean, I usually don't show up places unshowered (thank goodness!), but when I'm at home I just get busy with getting the baby to sleep, finishing up the dishes, washing the cloth diapers, and a million other things.  Its easy to forget about my own needs, even the most basic ones, until I get to a point where I'm really stressed out and tired.

Like I mentioned earlier this week, lately one of my goals has been to get enough rest and take care of myself.  Which probably includes showering....  which is the point of this post... to tell you about my Happy Mama Body Wash.

I love this stuff!  If you haven't noticed, I recently put up an affiliate button for Earth Mama Angel Baby® .  I did that because I absolutely love their products.  I love that they are zero rated in the cosmetics database, contain no yucky toxins, and just all around great.  My bathroom cupboard holds quite a few Earth Mama Angel Baby products.

I've been using the Happy Mama Body Wash for about a month now and really like it.  I even told my husband to keep his hands off my special soap.  Actually I told him he could try it and if he really loved it he could use some, but otherwise he should leave it for me.  ;)  The body wash smells like ginger and is nice and refreshing.

If you have even less time but are feeling frazzled, try the Happy Mama Spray for a quick pick me up.  The ginger and lime can help lift your mood and encourage you.  I've loved trying out this product lately as well.  You really can't go wrong with any of the Earth Mama Angel Baby products.

Want to win a bottle of Happy Mama Body Wash?  Leave a comment letting me know what your favorite quick pick me up activity is for when you are feeling frazzled.  Prize can only be mailed to US and Canadian residents.  I'll close the giveaway on February 4th at midnight.  Want an extra entry?  Share the giveaway somehow (blog, facebook, etc) and leave a second comment letting me know you did so.  Be sure to leave your email address or enable it on your profile so that I can contact you.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'm off to go shower...

I received Happy Mama Body Wash and Happy Mama Spray for review. All opinions are my own. If you choose to make a purchase, clicking through the Earth Mama Angel Baby link in this post or button on my sidebar helps support my blog. Thanks!

*Giveaway closed.  Congrats Vanessa!*

Isabooties Survey

Click here to take a quick survey and be entered to win a Starbucks gift card.  I took the survey a while ago and don't even really remember what they asked, so its obviously not very long or obnoxious.  ;)  I haven't been to Starbucks in forever, but lately have been craving a carmel apple cider with whipped cream.  Do they still make those?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Liners and Cups

Last weeks Muffin Tin Monday theme was muffin tin liners and cups.  As I've said before, my girls know that Muffin Tin Monday happens on Monday.  By the time I make lunch, snap a photo, and get around to posting it, I'm a week behind.  I suppose I could jump a week ahead for the theme, but that would be confusing., without further ado, here is our muffin tin.

I used an assortment of silicone cups for our cheese, dried cranberries and papaya, hummus, sesame sticks, and oranges.  Lucy and Julia were so excited to have a "Muffin Tin Monday"; the novelty never seems to wear off.  Oh, that reminds me - they were thrilled with the new muffin tins we got them for Christmas.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, yogurt, and pickles (or cherry tomatoes) made a perfect Christmas lunch!

Thanks for stopping by!  Check back next week for this week's theme, or something like that.  lol!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One Thing at a Time

I don't really make New Year's resolutions.  I have plenty of goals, and am always working on something, but a year just seems so long.  Its hard to decide which one thing is deserving of the whole year.  Changing our eating habits, de-cluttering my home, raising my kids... it can all be overwhelming.  If I made a list of what I want to accomplish in a year it would be pretty long.

It's much easier to work on "one thing at a time".  I put that in quotation marks because I say it to myself frequently.  "One thing at a time."  Looking back at things I've accomplished always helps my feel better too.  Just for fun, here are a few of them:

researching and getting our Berkey water filtration system
learning to grind my own flour and make fresh bread, tortillas, and more
teaching my little girl to read
living without a microwave
replacing kitchen items
trying (and loving!) new recipes: homemade ginger ale, easy root veggies, popcorn, granola bars, and more
nursing my sweet baby
and of course keeping the laundry done, children fed, and being a good wife are big accomplishments too!

I usually end up focusing on one thing for about a month.  Lately I've been working on clearing out clutter and creating space in our home.  I'll post more about that soon.

I think my newest goal is going to be getting enough sleep.  Keeper of the Home has been writing about fatigue, wellness, and sleep.  Its interesting and has me thinking.  In order to be a good mama I need my rest!  I have a few posts about sleep planned for this week... if I can stay awake long enough in the evenings to write them.  ;)

What about you?  Do you struggle with being overwhelmed at times?  Do you make New Year's resolutions?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kitchen Tour: Safe Bakeware and Cookware

Welcome to my kitchen!  Today I thought I would take you on a little tour and show you some of the safer choices we've made as far as our bakeware and cookware.  It has been a slow process of replacing things as we could afford to and as we found good alternatives.  Take a peek:

Untitled from Christy Vande Waa on Vimeo.

What about you?  Are there things in your kitchen that you have replaced?

linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Easy Bento Box

I've had these Bento boxes on my wish list for several months now.  Today I noticed that they are down to half price!  From $9.99 to just $4.49 plus 8% off if you buy 2-6 of them, and of course, free shipping.  I picked up 4 and only payed $1.52 because I had Swagbucks gift cards saved up.  My girls are going to love using these bento boxes for picnics at the park this summer!  (and yes, the fourth one is for me)  ;)

Check out Another Lunch for photos of some super cute Lock n Lock Bento lunches.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New House

This is what happens around here if you leave an empty bookshelf sitting out for too long.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Birthday Cake Impromptu

You know those minor crisis' that always pop up when you're doing something important (like preparing for a birthday get together)?  Here is ours from the other day.

My sweet husband has been doing the grocery shopping for me occasionally.  I have a hard time managing three kids and a full grocery cart, so one of us will run out for groceries in the evening or after kids are in bed.  This week I had "birthday cake and frosting" on my list.  I forgot to tell him to look for an organic one.  He brought home Betty Crocker (probably remembering this time when I sent him with specific instructions for just that).

I didn't want to complain, after all, he had done the grocery shopping for me!  On Esther's birthday I opened the mix, poured it into the bowl, and read the ingredients.

Enriched flour (white flour),
corn syrup,
partially hydrogenated oils,
baking soda with aluminum,
and four or five other words I couldn't even understand.

I had a flashback to the day before at the chiropractor's office and a pamphlet I had seen.  It said in no uncertain terms that hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils were poison.  I already knew that, but the little poison skull illustration had stuck in my head.  I couldn't make this for my child's first birthday!  There was absolutely nothing good or natural in it.

I picked up the white frosting.  More hydrogenated oils, food coloring (in white frosting?!), and lots more junk.  Ugh.  There wasn't exactly time to send Ross back to the store.  I did a quick search at Tammy's Recipes and Heavenly Homemakers for vanilla cake.  Eventually I decided that this would be a great excuse to buy the recipe cards What To Do With the Vanilla In Your Kitchen.  They contain a recipe for vanilla cake and vanilla frosting, among other things.

So... crisis almost averted.  I didn't have quite enough powdered sugar for the frosting, but used my blender to make some from cane sugar.  I also used rice milk instead of regular because we were out of that too.  The cake turned out pretty dense, but tasty.  I even avoided having to put yucky colored sprinkles on it by using some birthday picks we had in the house.  We thought the frosting was too sweet (but there is a cream cheese frosting recipe that looks delish).  In the end though, Esther enjoyed her birthday cake.  Phew!

Now I have plenty of cocoa recipes and vanilla recipes to try out!  Anyone want to come over for dessert?  It seems I have some practicing to do.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The girls and I decided to make brownies today.  We tried out a recipe from Heavenly Homemakers "What to Do With the Cocoa in Your Kitchen" recipe card pack.  They turned out well, a little too dark chocolatey tasting for me, but I added peanut butter on top and that made it all better.  They were just as easy as using a boxed mix, but healthier.  I might need to try experimenting with some different brands of cocoa powder to find one that works better.  We have 13 cocoa recipes to work with.  I'm not complaining.

Click here to visit Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers.
(Scroll to the bottom of the shop for the recipe card packs.)

The cocoa recipe card pack can be printed off through Shutterfly or whatever photo printing service you use.  Each recipe prints out nicely on its own card.  We gave these recipe cards along with some organic cocoa as Christmas gifts this year.  As long as you don't share the actual files, you can print out as many of the recipe cards as you would like to, which makes these a great deal.

I want to try the "What to Do With the Chicken in Your Kitchen" cards next, but gifting those to someone along with a chicken just didn't seem to work as well so we went with the cocoa set first.

Disclosure:  We received these cards for review.  I'm an affiliate for Heavenly Homemakers so if you happen to make a purchase through my link it helps support my blog.  Thanks!

Monday, January 3, 2011


Some nights most nights lately my brain is too mushy to write a post that makes sense.  I sit here and browse, reading all kinds of fun things and thinking about blog posts that never make it to the page.  Half written sentences float through my head and get mixed up with recipes I need to try and ...what was I supposed to do tomorrow?  Yeah, it gets confusing.

Don't worry, I won't write much more tonight, I'll just send you straight to the fun posts.

Tammy's Recipes - Berkey Water Filter Giveaway

Sew Sara - fun sewing project I want to try

Heavenly Homemakers - which of her recipes should I try next?

Let's Explore - 10 Ways To Play in January

I'm sure there is more I could post, but I'm falling asleep....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Another Sale

I'll be back to regular blogging soon, but wanted to let you know about another deal.  Heavenly Homemakers has some great sales going on through January 6.

Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve preschool curriculum is $8 off, and you get a free downloadable Kid's Character Chart as well!  (I purchased this kit to use with Julia and think it looks great.  We haven't started using much of it yet though.)

Also on sale are the e-books Fill Em Up! (cookbook and spiritual lessons for kids) and Do The Funky Kitchen (tips for organizing and making your kitchen functional).  Both of these are priced under $4 and would be great ways to start off the new year.

I am an affiliate for Heavenly Homemakers.  Clicking on the button above or links and making a purchase helps support my blog and gets you a great deal.  :)