Sara's Favorite October Picks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Dear friends,

If you have followed my blog posts at all for a while, then you're probably familiar with the fact that I change my child's "Learning Nook" out every season for new indoor learning possibilities. I base my choices off of what I know about her interests and also put extra things in for her to try out. Even as a baby we began with many Montessori type things and had a Montessori nook for her for quite some time. She is an incredible child with incredible interests...including planets and the inner workings of the human body. Don't worry...she also has a huge imagination and loves fairy tales and everything else! However, we do take keen notice of these interests and I believe 100% in nurturing interests when they are present. Why wait until a certain age or grade to introduce something or to look into it further when the interest may not be there later? Do it while it's present! When there is a true interest in a child, it means that there is a small fire in them just waiting for extra fuel and flaming...we are the flames for our children and must find ways to fuel those interests.

The latest nook consists of a huge array of art options because that is a BIG thing for us in our home. I also noticed that before (last season), she was less likely to explore all of her art options unless she had a number of them right at her fingertips while she was sitting. I did realize after observing for a bit that it wasn't laziness, but that when she was ready to sit and create, she was in a zone and just wanted to be able to move as little as possible to complete her task. Sooooo...we attached hooks to her table and I picked up little buckets at our craft store to hold her crayons, scissors, glue, paint brushes and sponges. I also added an art "caddy" with a variety of little things for her to glue, stick and create with like pom poms, jewel stickers, hearts, flowers, etc. I added a LOT to the paper collection by finding a booklet of small scrap book papers, thick craft paper, watercolor paper for our painting (which she loves and it finally doesn't soak through), a coloring book for when she wants to color characters (which is rare) and more. I added extra clay and markers and a big circle punch. I honestly could not have made better decisions! It changed EVERYTHING! She gets her items from the "art house" and sits down to be in her zone. Since her crayons, glue and everything else are hanging on her table now, she is good to go! I have been absolutely amazed at the art pieces that she has created using the circle punch, pom poms, glue, everything! I also have sewing mats for her with large yarn needles that she asks me for when she wants to use and big buttons that she can work on.

She has a large interest in words and how to say them and what they mean. The bigger the better for her. She has already told us that she wants to learn to read (at age 3) and she WANTS to do phonics sometimes or sight words...we just let her take the lead on that one. For now, I follow her on that, but we do have a small word of the week that we keep up for spelling and sounding out.

For her science interests she now has a human body model that has squishy parts that are all removable. It comes with a booklet and even a chart to match up the parts when taking it a part. She LOVES it and has learned so much from it already! She received a planet projector (not shown) for Christmas from family and that stays in her room so that she can sleep in the stars! It's amazing! We also have a Moons and Blooms calendar that I purchased from Amazon that not only shows us the phase of the moon for every day of the year, but also which blooms to expect to see when throughout the seasons!

Lastly, I wanted to address books and body learning. Now, we have a basket or tray of books in almost every room of the house because I always want them to be accessible for reading whenever she likes! Last year (at age 2 1/2) we began the basic process of talking about "tricky people" and not wanting to be touched, etc. My first bit of advice on introducing these things is to KNOW your child. How does this need to be explained for THEM? Every child is different and needs to understand things on different levels. Our methods of explaining worked perfectly for our child and she gained (at a very early age) a good understanding of what to do and not do and when to make sure she asked Mommy and Daddy and so on. At age 3, we moved on to learning the body...actual parts because she is very literal and always wants to know what something truly means and how it works. It really is best to use actual terms with kids so that there's never confusion as to what something is called. I HIGHLY recommend these books. Especially the " Who Has What" book by Robie H. Harris.

It is completely toddler friendly and age appropriate if you are looking for something to introduce true info and true body terms to your young child. Very well done! My other bit of advice would be to not wait until school age to start talking about it. Not every child is ready at a very young age, but the benefit of just beginning to chat about it on a very simple level such as telling them that no matter what, "Always check with Mommy or Daddy (or whoever) first." Begin the chats while everything is still very factual so it doesn't become scary. The more factual it is, the more it might just stick like glue, like any routine you might have. And we have ALWAYS told her that she NEVER has to let anyone touch her. We have never made her hold hands with cousins or friends or even forced her to hug family or sit on someone's lap or tell them that she loves them. We leave that up to her. If she doesn't want to do something, we have taught her to simply say, "No thank you. I don't want to do that." We don't force each other as adults to hold hands with another adult friend...why is it any less awkward or invasive for a child? Now, if she wants to then that's fine, but we don't make her. We also let her decide if she wants to tell someone her name when she is asked randomly in public by an admiring adult. If she doesn't want to, she does not have to and I simply tell them that we let her decide if she's comfortable telling someone her name that she doesn't know. Most of the time, she has felt comfortable, but there have been times that someone asked and she didn't want to say...I didn't make her and they took no offense to it. In fact, the times that happened, those people actually told me they thought that was very smart and totally understood.  I don't want my child to EVER feel like she HAS to talk to someone she doesn't know, she NEVER has to let someone touch her and she can ALWAYS use her words when she doesn't want something or doesn't like something.

This may not be something you want to do with your own child, but I know that ultimately I'm raising my child to eventually live without me (sniff, sniff) and be independent and I want her to have confidence in her feelings, words and intuition from the start. It is NEVER too early (in my opinion) to begin building confidence and nurturing intuition.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Dear friends,

This post will be extra dear to me because for a while I have tried and tried to create a delicious cookie that is gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free. It's hard to find a good cookie consistency while avoiding the really is. HOWEVER...I. Have. Done. It! The first version I'm going to share is my Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip recipe and then I have a fantastic Oatmeal Raisin that I just created today on the way to the blog soon!

I won't go into all of the long ways it took me to get here, but I'm glad there is a cookie for me to make, eat and enjoy now...and my family too.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C - Blanched Almond Flour (blanched is best so the almond skin just get in the way...also, I just buy a bag of blanched almonds and blend my own, but you can buy it already done)
1 C- Nature's Path Organic Old-fashioned Oats
4 TBSP - Pure Maple Syrup
1 TBSP - Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil (use it solid and not melted)
1 TBSP - Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter (I use Crunchy)
1/4 TSP - Vanilla Extract
1/4 TSP - Salt
1 TSP - Baking Powder (I always use Rumfords)
1/2 c (at least) - Enjoy Life Brand Mini Chocolate Chips
1 Duck Egg ( I use Duck, but you could use two chicken eggs too)

Blend altogether and drop cookie sized globs onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Flatten them just a bit if you like and bake at 350 F for around 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.




Sunday, January 8, 2017


Dear friends,

Have you ever stepped into a warm or hot bath, lit a candle and just soaked in the water, listening to relaxing music and perhaps indulging yourself with a lovely essential oil in your water for aromatherapy? Isn't it wonderful? Isn't it divine?

Now, have you ever considered how much your child could benefit from the occasional "relaxing bath" too? Sure, most of us mothers have used bubbles at some point or other to give them the fun bubble bath and I know (as a mom) how much kids love to play in the tub with toys. But from time to time, there is quiet and there is therapy that is necessary for bath time. Making a very special bath time just for them with a special soap, beeswax candle (all the rest of the lights off), lavender or chamomile essential oil in the water and playing soft and relaxing music can be a delightful treat for them and certainly a nice break from splashing and toys for you. If they still want a toy, allow them to bring in an animal figurine or one toy that can "enjoy" the relaxing bath with them.

Consider offering this to your child or children. I think you'll be amazed at how often they will request a "relaxing bath" thereafter!

Here are the products I use for my child:

Bee Tree Company Bar Soap

Beeswax Candles (they do not blacken walls or omit any type of toxin...pure and natural)

Relaxing Music ( I love the Heavenly Streams album by Tom Hambleton from iTunes)

Mountain Rose Lavender Essential Oil

Everybody Soap Bubble Bath (it's natural so it only bubbles so much, but it is at least a non-toxic way of giving your child a bubble bath and you can use it for the soap and shampoo too!)



Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Dear friends,

Anytime I have a huge delay in writing, I am legitimately sorry. Because I also own a photography business, the end of summer and fall season for me is extremely busy and I have had little time to blog. HOWEVER, it is autumn and nothing says October like a darn good pumpkin muffin. I am always trying to find ways for my family and especially my little one to have amazing seasonal favorites, but without the extra crud and if possible, without the extra dairy, gluten and sugar! I thought and I thought and I thought some more. Then it came to me. Why not simply use my cake recipe I created, but substitute just the right things to make a pumpkin muffin with it instead! So I did it for banana muffins and also with pumpkin! Delicious! They were a huge hit with everyone!

So without further ado...the PUMPKIN MUFFIN RECIPE...followed by the banana muffin version...


4 tbs - White Rice Flour (all flours are Bob's Red Mill Brand)
2 tbs - Tapioca Flour
2 tbs - Potato Starch
4 tsp - Baking Powder
1/4 tsp - Baking Soda
1 tsp - Cinnamon
1/4 tsp - Nutmeg
3 tbs - Raw Honey
2 tbs - Organic Maple Syrup (do NOT use any syrup other than real, organic maple)
2 tsp - Rice Milk (NOT vanilla) OR Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 cup - Organic Pumpkin Puree
1/4 of one Banana
2 tsp - Vanilla Extract
2      -  Duck Egg Whites - OR 4 CHICKEN EGG WHITES
2 tbs - Melted Coconut Oil

Throw it all in one bowl and mix it with a hand beater for around 2-3 minutes. You will notice that the batter will fluff up because of the egg whites and start to look a bit foamy. That's what you want! The egg whites keep it light and mixing it longer creates more air in the batter, so that when it bakes, it renders a light and fluffy cake!

*Use muffin liners...they work really well in the tin foil ones and come out easily*

Fill your liners half of the way so that they can rise!

Bake at 350 F degrees for at least 15 minutes and then begin to watch it and do the toothpick check in the middle to see if it comes clean.



4 tbs - White Rice Flour (all flours are Bob's Red Mill Brand)
2 tbs - Tapioca Flour
2 tbs - Potato Starch
4 tsp - Baking Powder
1/4 tsp - Baking Soda
3 tbs - Raw Honey
2 tbs - Organic Maple Syrup (do NOT use any syrup other than real, organic maple)
2 tsp - Rice Milk (NOT vanilla) OR Unsweetened Almond Milk
One whole Banana
2 tsp - Vanilla Extract
2      -  Duck Egg Whites - OR 4 CHICKEN EGG WHITES
2 tbs - Melted Coconut Oil

Throw it all in one bowl and mix it with a hand beater for around 2-3 minutes. You will notice that the batter will fluff up because of the egg whites and start to look a bit foamy. That's what you want! The egg whites keep it light and mixing it longer creates more air in the batter, so that when it bakes, it renders a light and fluffy cake!

*Use muffin liners...they work really well in the tin foil ones and come out easily*

Fill your liners half of the way so that they can rise!

Bake at 350 F degrees for at least 15 minutes and then begin to watch it and do the toothpick check in the middle to see if it comes clean.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Dear friends,

As always, please read my post HERE first on why I choose the ingredients that I do for my child's smoothies so that you'll have a better understanding as to what amazing things they do for the body and how they can aid your child's development.


1/2 c ~ almond milk (I use homemade and you can check out my post on it HERE)
1/4 c ~ organic plain kefir (found at Kroger)
1 whole sliced peach (not canned)
1 tsp ~ ground flax meal
1 tbs ~ organic canned pumpkin

What your child is getting in this smoothie:
~ Rich vitamins such as potassium, zinc, magnesium, copper, calcium, phosphorus, iron.
~ Protein, probiotics, omega-3, fiber, beta-carotene and more!




Monday, August 29, 2016


Dear friends,

As always, please read my post HERE first on why I choose the ingredients that I do for my child's smoothies so that you'll have a better understanding as to what amazing things they do for the body and how they can aid your child's development.


1/2 cup - Raw Coconut Water (I use Harvest Raw brand which can be found at Kroger in the organic section)
1/4 c - Organic Plain Kefir (found at Fresh Market or Kroger)
1/2 to whole peach sliced (depending on how sweet you want it...I suggest blending 1/2 first then adding if you need to)
1 dry cup - Organic fresh spinach leaves (you don't have to push them into the cup...just enough of a loose pile of leaves to fill it)

Makes about 3/4 cup of finished smoothie

Blend a few minutes so that the spinach becomes nice and smooth in it! Enjoy! And remember...if this doesn't end up being the one for your child, there are more to try! Don't give up!

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Dear friends,

Please read the post on why I choose the smoothie ingredients that I do HERE first. It will give you an inside look at just what these amazing ingredients do for your body and your little one's body!

Remember that if your child doesn't like this smoothie...don't give up. There is always a delicious way to get nutrition into your child's body and there will be one that they like soon, if not this one!

"IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN SMOOTHIE" (or call it whatever you think will appeal most to your child...ex: orange shake, sun smoothie, etc). It's a wonderful way of getting good fats, vitamins, beta carotene, antioxidants and more into your child.

This makes around 5 oz of smoothie. You can double it for two children of course, but there is no need to over-smoothie them. They don't need a huge smoothie like you might.

1/2 c - Unsweetened Almond Milk or other milk
1 tbs - Native Forest Canned Coconut Full Fat Milk (found at the Health Nut and at Fresh Market)
1 tbs - Farmer's Market Organic Canned Pumpkin (found at the Health Nut)
1 1/2 tsp - raw honey (you can use a bit more if you feel you have to, but don't over sweeten it)
1/8 tsp - cinnamon
1/8 tsp - vanilla extract (optional)

Blend well altogether in a blender and serve or chill first if you want. This particular smoothie is not super thick, so don't expect it to be. I never use ice in my smoothies because very cold items cause more mucus in children and chilling it for a bit in the fridge should be sufficient.




Friday, August 26, 2016


Dear friends,

There is nothing quite like the power-packed goodness of a smoothie for the littles in your household. If your child is one who likes veggies, fruits and such then this will be a no-brainer. If your child is the kind who gags when they even look at a spinach leaf, then these smoothies I will begin to post will hopefully be a segue into an easy fix for you and a nutritious answer for their bodies. 

* Please remember that I'm not a physician or nutritional expert. I'm just a mama who loves to create delicious and healthy items for my own child and am happy to share what I do in hopes that it may inspire or help someone else. *

Here are a few suggestions I will make prior to you trying smoothies in your home as a way to get healthy things into your kiddos:

~ Do not over use the ingredients at first. There is no need to bomb them with spinach or any other veggie at first...especially if they already dislike them. The idea is to ease them into a new pattern that they will hopefully love.

~ Do not over sweeten the smoothies. A nearly, all-fruit smoothie isn't that jam-packed...other than with sugars. Yes, fruits have nutritional value, but adding more than a bit of two fruits to any smoothie for a child is unnecessary. You're trying to train their bodies to want what is in the smoothies...not just to want something sweet.

~ Think about what your child is truly lacking in their daily nutrition. Is it mostly greens? Is it orange veggies? Is it omega-3s and good fats? Is it probiotics?

Here is a little 411 on why I use the ingredients that I do:

~ Ground Flaxseed Meal
An excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid which is essential and crucial in a child's brain development. It doesn't have a harsh taste and can actually thicken the smoothie a bit because it expands in liquid.

~ Fish Oil
The taste must be covered well obviously, but the benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids that it provides it much better than even flaxseed. Super brain!!

~ Organic Pumpkin
Rich in carotenoids and antioxidants! The beta carotene is essential for maintaining healthy eyes, lungs, heart and circulation!

~ Organic Spinach (fresh)
First of all, please get organic or local when possible. You do not want spinach that has been sprayed with chemicals and pesticides! The health benefits of spinach are so numerous that it should be eaten daily...improving eyes, blood pressure, boosting growth in infants, strong muscles, neurological benefits, anti-cancerous benefits and more. 

~ Raw Honey
Do not get store bought because it's heated and loses its nutrients from the process. Raw honey is anti-cancer! It contains carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumor properties! It is chocked full of antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties. It boost brain function, provides natural energy, is antimicrobial and just plain yummy! Why would you not use raw honey to sweeten a smoothie for your child if you needed to?

~ Organic Plain Kefir
Why plain? It doesn't contain the sugar that the flavored ones have and there's no need to add additional sugar. Kefir is an amazing probiotic drink that contain minerals, vitamins, amino acids, proteins, enzymes and more. Probiotics protect a child's intestinal flora to help them fight better when prescribed antibiotics. These probiotics also help develop a strong and healthy immune system while fighting off harmful bacterias and viruses. Probiotics are absolutely essential to a child's body and strengthen bones, teeth, gums and enhance metabolism. We use plain kefir for so much more in our home. I make ranch out of it, use it as a sour cream substitute on our potatoes and create avocado-kefir dipping sauces and desserts for my little one.

~ Raw Coconut Water
The benefits are absolutely incomparable! The coconut tree isn't called "The Tree of Life" for nothing! Raw coconut water is so incredibly nourishing that it is given to newborns intravenously in other countries to nourish and hydrate them when needed and has been a substitute for formulas. It was also used in WW2 for emergency transfusions. It has twice the potassium as a banana, super rich in electrolytes, anti-aging elements, boosts immunity with it's richness in lauric acid (the component present in breast milk), best summer drink and hydrator for kids, no allergic reactions with coconut water, remedy for vomiting as it hydrates and soothes the tummy and so many more! This is a no brainer on baby, tot and kids drinks as far as I'm concerned!

~ Unsweetened Homemade Almond Milk
While almond milk isn't a super blast of nutrition, it does vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, protein and other trace essentials of the super nut they come from. It does make a nice and neutral base to some smoothies though...especially if your kids can't do dairy! I make my own milk (find that post HERE) because I don't like the additives in store bought almond milk, its fresh when I make it and it's super easy!

~ Organic Coconut Milk (canned)
This is a nutritious amount of good fat! The saturated fatty acids it provides contain lauric acid which are converted in our bodies into an anti-viral, anti-bacterial compound! It is an immune booster, it rapidly metabolizes and should be used once to twice a week. It's highly rich in vitamin Bs, iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous! 

~ Avocado
They are rich in healthy fats and contain vitamins, including vitamin K which is big for growing kids. It contains calcium, zinc, iron, and more to help develop strong bones, tissues and even help wounds heal faster. They are neutral in taste and can be used to thicken a smoothie easily!

~ Choice fruits
My favorite fruits to use are bananas because even using just half of one thickens and sweetens a whole smoothie! Peaches are delicious when in season and of course, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries when you can get them organic or without spray since they are some of the most sprayed fruits out there. Look for fruits that contain antioxidants or magnesium when possible since most children are magnesium deficient. It usually only takes half of a banana, one whole peach or a 1/4 cup of other fruits to sweeten and do their job credibly...especially if you're adding a little honey.

I will begin posting a smoothie recipe at a time. Your child may love it...they may hate it. If they hate it though...I encourage you to NOT GIVE UP. Everyone has a different flavor and perhaps we just haven't stumbled upon your child's yet. There will be at least one magic smoothie that they will like...and when they can add little by little, the extra things and you will be happy and your child's body will be even happier!


Dear friends, 

I wanted to repost this now that it's been a number of years in hopes that it might help someone else looking into an organic journey for their baby. Enjoy my friends!

From 2013~

I need to preface this with saying that the following is my journey, experience and perspective. In no way am I undermining anyone who feels the exact opposite. I completely believe “to each their own” and I’m just fine with that. My only wish would be that if someone out there has an interest in these things that perhaps my own experience could be a little helpful. Here I go…

A Stereotype?

Not all, but I do believe some folks see organic as a type of snobbery…turning a cheek to the food and textile industry because they want to be different or prove a point to the world. Maybe that is true of some. If there are then I don’t know them. All of the individuals or families I know who go organic in some way, shape or form simply care a great deal about where their food is coming from and are trying to avoid some extra things in their lives. I think it may also be true that many people believe that you have a lot of money to go organic. Again, this isn’t so. Do you have to be rich to take a family vacation? Not necessarily. It’s all about choice and priorities. If you know that you want to go to Disney World with your family then you know it isn’t going to be cheap. However, if you go about it the right way and even budget if need be through the year…it can definitely be done. I believe that folks tend to invest in what means a great deal to them. As for the cost itself of going organic…yes, in SOME areas it can be a little pricier than non-organic. Let me ask this though: If you were given the choice of spending $15,000 on a new, untainted, no mileage car and spending $14,000 on one that was dented, had a lot of mileage and was several years old…I don’t think it’s hard to figure what most of our answers would be. Long story short…going organic has nothing to do with how much money you do or don’t make in life. It is a choice like everything else. 

What is Organic?

I find that there can be a lot of confusion with organic. If you don’t buy organic, then you might not be totally sure what it is. In a nutshell, it’s food or textiles that have not been treated with pesticides, herbicides, etc. Essentially, it’s a more “pure” food because it’s not chemically ridden. For example, veggies from an organic garden have had no chemical treatments…they have grown naturally. Organic meat means that the cows, pig, etc have been grass fed or grain fed (with organic grains) and that no antibiotics, steroids, etc have been injected into those animals…ultimately giving you a clean and natural piece of meat rather than one that has been taken from an animal raised on chemicals to enhance growth, etc. Organic cotton comes from cotton fields that again, have been untreated with pesticides and so on. 

Deeper than Just Organic

If you really wanted to delve deeper than you’d see there are loopholes in every industry. The cotton may have been organically grown, but it may have unfortunately been treated later with bleach and chemicals or modified somewhere in the process. This brings me to GMO. If you’ve seen this on food products saying “Non-GMO”, you may either know what it means or may have been confused or could care less. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, meaning that those Organic corn tortilla chips you bought may have been organically grown, but the seeds or other things may be GMO. Let me put it this way too…it means taking the DNA of the plant or animal in question and merging it with other DNA and species creating a fairly unstable combination and ultimately ending up in your belly or on your body. Non-GMO means that it is as pure as you can get it these days from start to finish. 

My Organic Journey

I have been a fan of healthier foods for a long time now, but most especially over the past 5 years. As the years have gone on I have become more versed in the world of organic because I began having a deep interest in what I was really eating, drinking and so on. When we found out we were pregnant with daughter, my husband and I both knew and agreed that we wanted to start her life off as chemical free as possible and simply minimize what we could for her. Most of her room and clothing are organic, but I’d like to tell you why these things became so important to me.

The Chemicals

The crib mattress is organic because I couldn’t bring myself to have her on something else knowing what I did about mattresses. They contain FLAME RETARDANTS which are actually endocrine disruptors (and toxic and linked to cancer)…meaning that they can mess with hormones, reproductive systems and development in general. FORMALDEHYDE, which is found in just about everything from mattresses to mulch has been linked to cancer as well. LEAD, MERCURY, BPA (BISPHENOL A WHICH ALSO IS ASSOCIATED WITH INFERTILITY, OBESITY, THYROID AND METABOLIC DISORDERS BECAUSE IT’S A ENDOCRINE DISRUPTOR). Why do you think that you’re seeing more and more “BPA free” items in baby and kid products? Well, it’s toxic and some companies are getting a clue and making sure that don’t use it anymore. Needless to say, we didn’t want our baby sleeping everyday on a product that contained so many toxic chemicals. 

Organic Mattress: Aren’t you scared to have your baby on a mattress that doesn’t have a flame retardant you might ask? No, I’m not because her mattress is filled and lined with organic wool which many people don’t know is a natural flame retardant. Wool is a wonderfully pure way to avoid that issue and she is nice and safe. Honestly, if you’re buying a nice mattress for your baby anyway…It’s really about the same cost.

Organic clothing and linens: We personally care very much about what is sitting on her skin all day and all night. Her bed linens, washcloths, blankets, clothing are all organic. Well, mostly. My best friend gave us a ton of her girls’ clothing to use and not knowing that she was going to be 18 pounds by the time she was 5 months…well, let’s just say we have been incredibly grateful for the extra clothing to use in between her growth spurts! Most of her clothing though is untreated or organic and I was very frugal about how I did this. I will list the links of many of the things we used at the end for reference if you’re interested. Again, I’m not saying ANYTHING against it if you don’t use organic…this is simply what we chose to do and why. Many pesticides actually never “wash out” of cotton and believe it or not, there are over 2000 chemicals currently used in the textile industry on our clothing including dyes and so on. We decided to minimize her direct skin exposure to those chemicals if we could.

Carseats, pacifiers and toys: I had no idea prior to my research on it that car seats were so incredibly filled with toxic chemicals! Bromine (flame retardant), lead, mercury, formaldehyde…you name it, it’s pretty much all over it. I personally researched by going to and could see the level of chemicals and which ones were used in many items. Our carseat (Britax Chaperone in Cowmooflage) decision was based partially on that. Although many toys and pacifiers are now BPA free, I went with an all natural rubber pacifier…derived directly from rubberwood and no chemicals, etc. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard, “I’ve never seen a pacifier like that.” Well, you don’t see them often in stores, but I feel better knowing that it is natural, plant derived and chemical free. As for toys she is still only 5 months old, but she has organic teething giraffes which I found on , a couple of organic crinkle/rattle toys and a wood and non- toxic colored shape sorter with blocks. We didn’t want her chewing on the fore mentioned chemicals either!

Food: Currently, she is still nursing and I have eaten organically, non processed foods all along with her since even MSG and so on pass directly to her if I eat it. Considering she is already pushing 20 pounds, I think it’s safe to say that you don’t have to have a diet of unhealthy fats, sugary junk foods and drinks to have a plump baby. When we start her on solids, I will be making her food, which is easy for us because we have veggies and such anyway, so pureeing a little extra is no problem. She will eat what we eat and I will tell you now that we don’t suffer in taste or foods. It’s amazing how wonderfully you can eat and it doesn’t have to be out of a box. We get organic veggies and fruits, organic dairy, grassfed meats, organic grains and I use a lot of organic coconut oil to cook and bake with…it’s sooooo delicious! We have a garden and bees so we grow a lot of our own items as well as harvest our own honey and thanks to our lovely Farmer’s Markets, we can buy locally and easily!

The Big "D"

Diapers!  If you haven't gotten the clue yet...there's toxic chemicals in almost everything...diapers included! Well this is a big one! Get ready...dioxins and sodium polyacrylate, two of the chemicals found in disposable diapers, have either been linked to or have caused the following toxic responses: cancer, reproductive & infertility problems, asthma & respiratory distress, hormonal problems, developmental & cognitive problems, suppressed immune system, diabetes, endometriosis, allergic reactions, chemical burns and more. AND WHAT'S MORE...There have also been reports (on sites all over the internet) that diapers may contain many other chemicals.Some of these chemicals include:
  • Tributyltin – This is toxic to humans and environment, is a persistent organic pollutant, causes irreversible damage to aquatic life, and is linked to obesity in humans (triggers genes that cause the growth of fat cells).
  • Xylene – This is toxic to the respiratory and central nervous systems. Breathing
    high concentrations in an enclosed space can cause irregular heartbeats which can cause death.
  • Ethylbenzene – This chemical is listed as possibly cancer-causing. It is mutagenic (capable of causing mutation). The substance may be toxic to the central nervous system. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. It may cause central nervous system depression, is an aspiration hazard if swallowed and can enter the lungs and cause damage. It causes eye, skin, and respiratory tract irritation.
  • Styrene- This substance is cancer-causing and is toxic to the nervous system and upper respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. It is very hazardous to the eyes.
  • Propylene – This chemical is an anesthetic at high concentrations. Inhalation may cause central nervous system depression producing dizziness, drowsiness, headache and similar narcotic symptoms. Extremely high concentrations can cause asphyxiation and death by displacing oxygen from the breathing atmosphere.
  • Toluene – The substance may be toxic to blood, kidneys, the nervous system, liver, brain, and central nervous system (CNS). Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.
Whew! Oh my goodness! Hard to believe that all of these things are just a possible handful of chemicals that are sitting on baby's bum ALL DAY long and possibly absorbing into their skin!

We knew that we would either be using Seventh Generation disposables (which are free of most chemicals, save a small amount of SAP gel used for absorption and still is a chemical that I don't like, but a small amount is better than a large one), cloth diapers or a little of both and so we stocked up just enough on each kind. I had every intention of using cloth from the start although I did want some kind of disposables on hand in case. Everything changed as her birth approached though since we were going to have a home birth, but had to have a c-section because she was breech. Because she was breech for so long, there was concern from the start about the possibility of dysplasia in one of her hips. Praise God that we never had to use a full body harness or any harness on her little body and her hip thankfully went back where it needed to within a short period of time. However, to encourage her hip placement, we had to double diaper her starting at the hospital and that would have been a little hard to do with cloth diapering. We started with the Seventh Generation ones and are using them still since we had to double diaper for 3 months. With that being said, I still have my cloth diapering and have every intention of giving it a go once she is on solids (since we are currently stocked up from Christmas on Seventh Generation diapers)! I know cloth seems intimidating, but like everything else...once you do it for a while it becomes second nature! Although we do use the Seventh Generation free and clear wipes for the most part right now, I do make our own spray for her little bottom and I have and use organic cloth wipes on her a lot of times though.

Planet Wise Wet/Dry bag, Planet Wise Changing pad, Organic burp cloth, Organic Teething Giraffe, Rubber Pacifier, Extra Change of Clothing, Diapers & Wipes, Homemade Bottom Spray, Burt's Bees Hand Sanitizer, Organic Blanket and last but not least...a tea bag and sugar for me because you just never know when you might need a good cup of tea! : )

Home and Chemicals:

Currently I make our own household cleaner (below) and it works perfectly on everything and I have the knowledge that I'm not spraying extra things into the air and on our surfaces! : )

The Future

Now, will she always wear organic clothing? No. Will she ever eat or drink something non-organic or processed? I’m sure she will. We can’t control everything. My goodness…the air is full of pollution, but we all have to breathe it. We wanted to start her off as chemical free as we could because we know that there are things that are simply unavoidable…especially as she gets older. It’s not about sheltering, bubbling, or doing something for show. It’s just about minimizing the amount of toxic chemicals that our family may personally consume and that is the choice we have made. 

Please know that we LOVE certain things that just are not (sadly) organic, but we still have them from time to time. We aren't snobs about our food, but we do try to make the best choices for us within our own home. We have our favorite little spots on our vacations just like everyone else! Our life and our home is far from all organic or chemical free, but we are striving to buy what we know and know where it grows as we continue through this lovely journey of life. Below I have listed several links of reference if you have any interest and of course, you are most welcome to ask me questions anytime if you have them! Here’s to healthy and wonderful living…whatever that may mean for your family! 

Homemade Baby Bottom Spray:
Mini Spray Bottle (The Health Nut in Wyndhurst)
Water and only 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil (Lavender is cleansing)

Homemade Household Cleaner:

1/4 part White Vinegar
3/4/ part Water
Several drops of Tea Tree Oil (very cleansing)


Learn about Organic and Non GMO: 

Food Inc Documentary (on Netflix and Amazon Prime and DVD)

Organic Crib Mattress:

Changing Pad and Wet/Dry Bag:

Organic Cloth Wipes:

Burp Cloths I love: (We use these for burp cloths a lot)

Organic Blanket (our favorite)

Organic Teething Giraffe:

Organic Crinkle Bear:

Rubber Pacifier:

Natural Toys:

Organic Clothing:

Baby Wash:

Forest Farmer’s Market

Lynchburg Community Market:

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Dear friends,

Every 4-6 months, the learning nook get changed. Each time, it's inspired by something our interests evolve. This season is a nature nook. One of our favorite new things is our Nature Treasure box. We are trying to use nature for a little bit of everything this season...containers, brushes, inspiration, education, counting, healing, etc. We found a freshly rubbed off antler from a young deer that circles the globe. 

A large conch shell holds the crayons. 

A lovely aloe plant clears the air of unwanted toxins, needs the responsibility of being cared for, and offers healing juices for burns and cuts if needed. 

I am SO happy that my mom held onto our Golden Guides from when we were kids. I learned many a tree, flower, insect and bird from these (now vintage) books. I'm so happy they have been given a whole new chapter (no pun intended) of life! 

I can hardly wait for autumn to begin and all of the wonderful new discoveries to make, adventures to have and treasures to find!

Monday, July 25, 2016


Dear friends,

As my little gets closer to the "pre-school" age, I find myself thinking more and more about how I want to go about her schooling. When I was a child, I experienced both regular school and homeschool.  I started out in regular school, but was dreadfully shy as a child. I began to physically get sick to my stomach throughout first grade and although my grades excelled and I liked my teachers, the social aspect was too much for me at the time. There were many reasons in our home for us to begin homeschooling, but this was just one that my mom saw needed to be changed in my life. I will FOREVER be grateful that she did. 

Some might have said to keep me in and that my shyness would get better with age. I'm so glad that my mom didn't think so. For me personally, it was one of the best things my parents ever did for me. I absolutely thrived though homeschooling. I could actually focus on my work, not be tied to a chair and I loved that it was just me and my brother...not a huge classroom (and yes, we had friends). My mom had been a teacher in the school system for years already, so we had lesson plans and everything else that we needed to thrive educationally. I LOVED IT!

Fast forward to age 14. I loved my parents, but I had hit the teens like a Mack truck and wanted to be around a school and in that environment. My parents listened and they made it happen! My parents gave me the education I needed, when I needed it. 

As a mother, I look back on both experiences and have considered my options for my own child. I fully realize that every child is very different. They learn in different ways, they are different socially...everything. I don't believe that there is one single way of schooling that fits every child. I think it needs to be tweaked and tailored for each child throughout their school years. Homeschooling  now isn't what it was in the early 80s. Back then, we were all just considered weird. Homeschooling itself was weird to people. If you were a homeschooler, then you must've been super sheltered and you had no life (not true). Interestingly enough, all of our dollars and coins bear the face of a homeschooler...our country was founded by homeschoolers! Whether your child is homeschooled or goes to a school building, there is always room to be different. 

I know what I believe in. I believe in a very hands on approach of learning. I believe that nature itself holds a myriad of learning possibilities. I believe that you can sit on a rock by a creek and read a lesson, I believe that math skills can be harnessed using unique materials. I also believe that worksheets and lessons have their place. Each in their own and right time. I found myself compiling an array of teaching methods because just one is way too monotonous for me. If I expect to light fires under my own child's interests then I need to be on fire for it first!

Recently all of my desires were given a name: Wild + Free! One of my best friends (who knows us so well) mentioned it to me and I was immediately smitten upon reading the website! Wild + Free is simple. It is a community of like-minded mamas and dads who want their child to receive the education they need and yet, have a Wild + Free childhood. A childhood that is filled every single day with nature, life, reading, art, music, conversation, exploring, getting dirty...whatever it entails. What I love is that this isn't just a concept for homeschoolers. There are Wild + Free parents who have their children in a school building too. If you're interested, you can read about it all yourself on their website: Wild + Free

This is exactly who we are in this moment in time. Wild + Free! I value education. I value respect. I value nature. I value childhood. Everything that I love and want for my own child right now has found a name...Wild + Free. More importantly, it's exactly who she is right now. She is a quick learner...very quick...scary quick. She's barely three and can count to 50, she can already write some letters, she can spell some words, she has known the entire alphabet since she was 20 months old, knew 115 signs in sign language before she was 2 and so on. I know who she is. She loves the presence of other children, but loves nature even more. We will continue to be apart of groups, families, co-ops even if we so choose. We will tailor each year and evaluate the next. 

I have the blessing of being able to be at home with my child. Since my work is through my home, I am here. What better situation for me than to teach at home too? Will she always be homeschooled? I don't know. Will she go to a school building one day? Perhaps. We will take each year at a time, savor every experience and opportunity we are given and seize the power of learning in every unique and inspiring way possible!

If you plant a flower in a pot, it might might continue to bloom and grow. If you plant a flower in the ground, it might might continue to bloom and grow. In either situation, that flower needs to be nurtured and placed in the right environment for that specific type of flower and for that season of life. It may need sun or shade, it may grow best when given more space or it might grow best when crowded with other flowers.

Seed packages always come with guidelines, but there is no guarantee. There is no guarantee put on my child... but for now, in this moment...we are Wild + Free!

Monday, July 4, 2016


*QUICK UPDATE* The Health Nut in Wyndhurst now carries Bone Broth from grass-fed cows in jars in their refrigerated section!!! Now if you don't have time or don't want to try making it yourself, just slide over there and grab and jar and heat it!!!

Dear friends,

I must deeply apologize for my long, long delay in posting! Between my very busy photography schedule, creating a brand new website and of course, every day domestic duties... I had to hit the pause button on a few things!

Today though, I am delighted to share with you something that you may or may not be familiar with. The powerful properties of the BONE! No doubt you have heard when it comes to cancer, often times patients need marrow donors. I'm here to shed some basic light on the needs of our own bodies and how we can utilize the power of beef bones to assist them.

WHY DO WE NEED BONE MARROW? Simply stated...our cells and platelets depend on our bone marrow. It creates the white cells we need to fend off things, the red cells we need for oxygen and if we didn't have platelets then we couldn't stop bleeding...marrow builds these cells and our platelets in a big way.

HOW CAN BEEF BONES HELP OUR BODIES? The marrow found in beef bones are loaded not only with fat, but with collagen and stem cells...rebuilding intestinal lining and damaged tissues. The collagen repair helps with bruising, bleeding and more. In short, it REPAIRS our bodies where they need repairing most.

You may be thinking that bone marrow sounds pretty gross. How in the world does one consume bone marrow without gagging and so on. Well, I'm here to tell you friends that consuming bone marrow is easy and delicious and your body will begin it's healing treatment from the inside out almost immediately.

BONE OPTIONS: BONE BROTH and ROASTED BONE MARROW (there are always other things too, but these are quite effective and delicious).

BONE BROTH: Bone broth is SOOOOO easy to make. Simply purchase marrow bones (ask for MARROW bones specifically since marrow bones are cut in a certain way) from your local farmer's market, beef farm or butcher. Throw the bones right into a huge pot of filtered water and you can go as simple or as complex as you like with it from there. I know folks who just do the bones and water and cook it down all day long and drink the broth like that, or use the broth in a stew. I also know folks who add all kinds of goodness to the broth while it's cooking like fresh ginger, carrots, leeks, garlic, meat, peas, spices, etc. It's really whatever you want it to be. It's the healing power of the marrow that has now been cooked down through the water that you will consume ultimately and everything else will simply be a bonus!! It is a HUGE boost to your immune system all year long!

ROASTED BONE MARROW: One day, I decided I was finally just going to try it. I had heard of it, but I felt timid. I made bone broth all the time, but had never just roasted bones and tried to do something with the marrow. How does that work?! Well, almost as easy as the broth! There is a fantastic link for bone roasting HERE, but I will include what I do as well. Below is an image of bones I've prepared just before putting them into the oven to roast.

One small marrow bone per person is plenty. You don't need to overload on it. Although, it's healing properties are high, so is it's fat content.

- Soak the bones in salted water for at least 4-6 hours to allow the salt to draw the blood out of the marrow (I just do this in the morning and throw it in the fridge).

- Place the bones onto a foil-lined pan or onto a cast iron pan so that a marrow side is facing up (you'll know what I mean when you see them).

-Sprinkle with the spices you want. I use pink salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano.

Roast at 400F for around 15-25 minutes depending on your oven and the size of the bones. You'll know they are ready when the marrow is bubbling up at the top of the bone. I also test it by putting a meat thermometer or skewer through the marrow. If it's hard to stick it through, it's not done. When it is ready, it should go through just like it's going through butter.

In fact, the roasted bone marrow really is like a seasoned butter in consistency. When it's done you simply scoop out the seasoned marrow from one bone and spread it over a piece of toast or thick bread or whatever you like. Use it like a spread and truly think of it as a butter, since it's so fatty. Spread out over toast, it is delicious! We love to have a slice each in our home with a bowl of soup and a veggie! Even my toddler LOVES it! "More marrow and bread!"

I take my left over roasted bones and then throw them into a pot of water and still make broth. The best of both worlds! I've used my broth to make homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving, put into a crockpot with a roast and so on! I even cook my daughter's rice penne pasta down in bone broth so it's literally soaked up with all of it's goodness!

Now go out and get some beef bones and begin healing your bodies!!!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Dear friends,

I have a weakness for a really good chewy granola bar with peanut butter and chocolate chips. I've wanted to create my own for a while and have made a version I am beyond pleased with!

I'm the one who cares about the chocolate in it, so I make two sides. One for me (the bigger side since I go through them faster) and my husband eats them too and another side for my little one.

They are gluten and dairy-free and completely chalked full of goodness with all of the nutritional benefits that come along with raw honey, raw pumpkin seeds and pecans and coconut oil too!

Now, will you be able to pull these apart and watch a string of stickiness between it? No. But they will hold well especially since they are kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to cut and eat them!

I don't need to say much about these bars except this...they are delicious, nutritious....just make them!!!

All you have to do it throw all of the ingredients into one big bowl. I prefer mixing it with my hands and I recommend it to you. It's easier to mix everything together well and really coat everything. Then put it on parchment paper into a pan with sides and form it into a tight formation against the sides so it will stay together. Put in the refrigerator and enjoy once it's chilled!!! Keep them stored in the refrigerator!



Saturday, May 14, 2016


Dear friends,

Recently, I've been doing a lot of research on Matcha tea. I've done all of the work for you here except buy a tin of it for you to try. So if you know very little about Matcha, then here is the scoop on this incredible tea.


* It is a POWERHOUSE of antioxidants! Like, seriously! One small cup (as in 2-4oz of water) contain up to 10 TIMES the antioxidants that regular green tea do.

* It contains a catechin (a beneficial and potent compound like antioxidants) called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg). That's a mouthful, right? So what's so great about that thing I can barely pronounce? This EGCg makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha and it is widely recognized for it's amazing cancer fighting properties. Even more amazing is that it has been scientifically found that Matcha contain over 100 TIMES more EGCg than any other tea available. That's a lot of goodness right there!

*It may have caffeine in it, but because of a wonderful little amino acid called L-Theanine, Matcha actually enhances calmness and focus, boost moods, and memory. And because it contains the L-Theanine it is a slow release of the caffeine which causes it to NOT give the caffeine jitters! Awesome!

* It increases metabolism and is a powerful detoxifier thanks to the high amount of chlorophyll in Matcha! And talk about an immune booster with it's extra luggage of calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamins C & A and protein too!

I could keep going, but the bottom line is that Matcha is the highest quality of green tea available. It is the WHOLE leaf ground into a fine powder rather than a dried leaf that you steep.


Heck no. You can buy Matcha, but if you want the the best of the best, then you will want the "Ceremonial Grade" tea. That means that the leaf was picked young...first harvest leaves...ground and sealed. There are "Culinary Grades" and "Daily" and so on, but if you are going to pay for Matcha (and you pay for it, believe me), then I encourage you to buy organic, Japanese (not Chinese), Ceremonial grade Matcha.

Your Matcha should be a vibrant color of green! Really vibrant! I recommend the brands Encha and Pure Matcha. I'm sure there are others out there too that are wonderful, but I did more research on these two brands because they are organic and come from small farms in Japan (and I prefer small farms rather than mass production). Ultimately, I ended up buying Pure Matcha mainly because I could get it faster at the time and I was anxious to try it! I haven't been on my personal Matcha journey very long, so I can't tell you how a Matcha latte or anything is...yet...but that will come I'm sure.

TO WHISK OR NOT TO WHISK? Okay, so long story short...before I ordered my Matcha I asked myself, "Do I REALLY need to purchase that bamboo whisk?" I mean, I'm all about the whole experience, but I have regular whisks at home and figured maybe I could get by with that just to try it. That night I had a dream (this is true).  I dreamed that I tried Matcha and I loved it, but I didn't buy the whisk and quickly realized that yes, I did in fact, need that special little bamboo whisk because it just didn't blend properly. When I woke up the next day, I went with it. I ordered the Matcha and I ordered the whisk. Fortunately, my dream was spot on. I really am glad I ordered that whisk and scoop. I need that whisk to blend it just right to where it makes it smooth and frothy. Totally worth the extra $11 for a whisk and scoop! 


The water needs to be hot, but not boiling. You don't want to burn the powder. Remember that it is a fresh leaf that was steamed and ground and not dried out like most teas. Let the kettle boil, but then let the water sit a bit before pouring. It should be around 180 degrees. For one heaping bamboo scoop of Matcha, you only need 2-6 oz of water (depending entirely on how thick or thin you want it).

Then the fun part! Before you pour your water, use your handy, bamboo whisk to whisk the tea about just a bit to break a part any lumps then once you pour the water you will quickly whisk in a vertical motion (rather than circular). This will give you froth! I add a little raw honey to mine because I like it a little sweet, but you don't have to!

Then you sit, enjoy, reflect, slow down, sip and know that every time you are giving your body an amazing, incredible and beneficial boost...creating a powerhouse within yourself.
Enjoy it my friends! Happy Matcha journey to you!