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The Natural Life: What's in your Vaccine?

One of the key points to understanding why vaccines can be so dangerous is knowing what is actually in them. I've heard from parent after parent that vaccines are "Mercury Free," "Chemical Free," and that they "Just contain some dead viruses." ALL of these statements are 100% FALSE, FALSE & FALSE!!!  It never ceases to amaze me what people believe simply because their doctor said it. And doctors will say anything!

Now, I could sit here and type up the entire list of vaccines and their complete ingredients - BUT why do that when the CDC has been so wonderful in providing all of that information in PFD files for us!
I suggest you save them to your computer so you have them on hand all the time while you are doing your research!

The Natural Life: Reading Labels

Recently I read an article about how many "Green" products really aren't. And it reminded me of a story, which I felt I needed to share here. When I first started trying to switch over to a greener more eco-friendly lifestyle I found it to be not quite as easy as I first thought. One of the first thing I switched was our dish detergent, because it made sense to be a good place to start - I mean, why put all those extra chemicals on the dishes we were going to put out food on? So, that's where I decided to start.

I was super excited to see that there were a number of name brand companies making products labeled "Green," "Natural" or "Eco-Friendly." So, the next time I was at the store I picked one up and put it in the buggy... I didn't ever think to read the label. Why would I? I saw words like "All Natural" and "Eco-Friendly" right on the label, why would I have cause to think it wasn't really so green?

So, anyways, I got home, put away  the groceries and started to load the dishwasher. I unscrewed the lid and pulled back the foil so I could fill the machine. When I did I splashed some of the product on my hand and shirt, which of course, was brand new & black (figures right?).  At the time I didn't think anything of it. I figured I would finish loading the dishes, and then go clean up my hands and shirt, no big deal... Well, I was wrong! I finished up the dishes and went to clean up...

Now, I am HIGHLY allergic to Chlorine, but this was supposed to be a natural and green product, why would I worry about Chlorine? Well, I should have! Not only was my shirt (you know the brand new black one) ruined, but my hand had broken out in an allergic rash. At that point, I went to read the label.  Let me just say, this was FAR from Green or Eco-Friendly!

It was at that point that I started to do some more homework about what it means to be a green or eco-friendly product. As I learned there is really no guidelines or rules which are required to be met in order to label something as green, all natural or eco-friendly. These terms are literally free for companies to use, regardless of how truthful the statement is. What I found was many companies replace one or two chemicals with a more natural option and then call the entire product green, while not actually creating a product which is eco-friendly...

What I found to be even more disturbing is that a growing number of companies are sprouting up claiming to have Green products, while masking their ingredients behind "code words" in an effort to trick customers in to purchasing their products - usually at a higher price than they could purchase similar products somewhere else.

It's for this reason that it's very important to read the labels to everything prior to purchasing. If you are looking to purchase a product online, request an ingredients list or copy of the label before ordering. IF a company refuses to provide you with these things, my advice is to look elsewhere for products which are more honest and open, a truly green company, has no reason to hide their ingredients.

It's also very important that you actually know what you're looking for. While it's obvious that ingredients like Chlorine, Ammonia or Benzine are toxic you may not know about others. A good rule of thumb is if you can't pronounce it, don't use it! If you have questions about an ingredient in something, take 30 seconds to run an internet search on it, you'll easily get an answer. However, it's these "code words" which are in my opinion more dangerous than the unpronounceable chemical names, because many people look them over without really questioning what they need. Words such as "Fragrance," "Preservative," "Cleaning or Brightening Agent" or "Stabilizers" should be looked at as higher questionable. These terms usually replace the names of chemicals (you know, those unpronounceable ones) that are far from Eco-Friendly and can in fact be very dangerous.

You'll find that the vast majority of things labeled as green, really aren't. For me, I've gotten to the point where purchasing "green" products means cleaning with Vinegar and Baking Soda, and using products like Crisco and Corn Starch on my children... I'm still mastering making things like soap, shampoo and dishwasher detergent, so for these I do my best to buy what I call "greener" products. By greener I mean, not completely eco-friendly, but greener than your average option. Once I master making my own, I'll stop using these options all together. In some future posts I will post some "how too" information for making your own stuff... A good rule of thumb when making your own products is if you can't eat it don't use it... Please notice (it's sad I have to say this) I said CAN'T not, WON'T, simply because something CAN be eaten, doesn't mean it should be...

Seeing Is Believing!

So any of you who are long time readers know how I feel about living "green" whenever possible. And now that I've been combining my "Natural Living Blog" and this one you're learning about my support of cloth diapering.

But sometimes it's hard to really wrap your head around the damage disposable diapers really do. So, I wanted to share something that someone sent to me today... Maybe this will help "hit home" how much using cloth really does help the planet as a whole!

This is an approximation of how many disposable diapers the average child will go through. EACH ONE of these diapers will take 500 years to completely decompose. In that process they will release Dioxin, Formaldehyde, Chlorine and numerous other chemicals in to the Earth and Water around them... 

Even choosing to use Cloth part time will decrease this amount by a large percentage, as well as reduce your child's exposure to such chemicals as well! 

Give Cloth A Chance!

The Natural Life: Laundry Soap Recipes

There are most likely just as many home made laundry soap recipes as there are store bought ones. But here are SOME of the ones I have encountered... Making your own laundry soap will not only save you money, but will allow you to control the ingredients and their quality.

Just as each family will have their own needs and preferences when it comes to store bought soaps, you'll encounter that for home made too. I suggest if you see a recipe you like, make a small batch and see what you think if you are nervous about trying something new. But since most ingredients are either already in your home or are very inexpensive to buy, even if you decide to make a large batch and don't like it, you really aren't loosing much!

OPTIONAL: If you prefer to have a "prettier" smell or if you would like more of an antibacterial or anti-grease property to your laundry soap, you can add Essential Oils. Tea Tree Oil has great antibacterial properties. Sweet Orange is wonderful for grease. And there are a myriad of options for fragrance. 10-15 drops per 2 gallons

Liquid Laundry Soap

Recipe #1

You will need:
  • 1 quart Water (boiling)
  • 2 cups Bar soap (grated)
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Washing Soda
*Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.
*Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
*Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
*Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

Recipe #2

You will need:
  • Hot water
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1 Soap bar
*Grate the bar soap and add to a large saucepan with hot water. Stir over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
*Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the melted soap, Borax and Washing soda, stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water.
*Use 1 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

Recipe #3

You will need:
  • Hot water
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/3 bar Soap (grated)

*In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
*In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
*Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

Recipe #4

You will need:
  • Hot water
  • 1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory Soap - grated
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
*In a large saucepan add grated soap and enough hot water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until soap is melted.
*Fill a large pail with 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot soap mixture. Stir until well mixed.
*Then add the washing soda, again stirring until well mixed.
*Set aside to cool.
*Use 1/2 cup per full load, stirring well before each use (will gel)

Recipe #5

You will need:
  • 2.5 gallons Water (hot)
  • 1 Bar soap (grated)
  • 3/4 cup Washing Soda
  • 3/4 cup Borax
  • 2 TBS Glycerin
*Melt bar soap over medium-low heat topped with water, stir until soap is melted.
*In a large pail, pour 2.5 gallons of hot water, add melted soap mixture, washing soda, borax and glycerin. Mix well.
*Use 1/2 cup per full load.

Recipe #6

You will need:
  • 2 cups Bar soap (grated)
  • 2 cups Washing Soda
  • 2 - 2.5 gallons hot water
*Melt grated soap in saucepan with water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until soap is dissolved.
*Pour hot water in large pail, add hot soap and washing soda. Stir very well.
*Use 1 cup per full load.

Recipe #7

You will need:
  • 2 gallons Water (hot)
  • 1 bar Soap (grated)
  • 2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this time–not washing soda)
*Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
*In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
*Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
*Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

Recipe #8

You will need:
  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner's pure castile liquid soap
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup salt

*Warm the water and mix with salt and baking soda until dissolved.
*Pour into a one-gallon container.
*Add the Dr. Bronner's and fill the remainder of the gallon jar with water.
*Use 1/4 cup of laundry soap per load.
*This laundry soap doesn't create suds, but it doesn't need to in order to get your laundry clean.

Powdered Laundry Soap

Recipe #1

You will need:
  • 12 cups Borax
  • 8 cups Baking Soda
  • 8 cups Washing Soda
  • 8 cups Bar soap (grated)
*Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
*Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

Recipe #2

You will need:
  • 2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda
  • 1 cup Borax
*Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
*Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

  • Use Milk Jugs or Old Laundry Soap Jugs for liquid/gel soaps
  • Gallon sized "Food containers" are great for powdered soap storage
  • Remember to check the ingredients of any soap used, some of them are less than healthy choices! I prefer Castile Soaps but there are many options out there.
  • Use a food processor or blender to grate or powder bars of soap quickly and easily.

**More to come! Post yours as a comment & I'll add it!

The Natural Life: Wipe Solution Recipes

    I have never believed in the "one size fits all" myth, and that goes for wipe solutions as well. Some parents will prefer to just use water, while others will prefer more bells and whistles. I suggest trying out a few and seeing what you like best. I'll be adding to this list as I find more recipes, and I would love to hear yours if you have them! These solutions are cloth safe and even better, face and finger safe!

Common Cloth Wipe Solution Recipe Ingredients:
    Most of the recipes below, as well as others you'll find, will contain many of the same or even similar ingredients. Before you decide to make your own solution, it's best to know why you're using these things, so here are some common ones:

Oil:  Helps the wipe glide across baby's skin and keeps skin soft
Soap:  Cleanses by removing all traces of urine and feces
Essential Oil:  Added for antibacterial and/or aromatherapy purposes.
Water:  The main ingredient in each recipe, cleanses the diaper area and dilutes the other ingredients

    Each ingredient is going to add it's own "personality" to the solution and each can come with pros and cons. I'm a fan of using a single solution for at least a few days without using any others, this way SHOULD your child have an allergy to an ingredient, it's much easier to understand which one. Even though most of these options are chemical free or close to it, there can still be allergens in them. For people like me, Essential Oils can be a BIG problem! And for others it could be an oil ingredient or something else. So try not to mix them until you know that there is no reaction...

**I wish I didn't have to say this, but please keep all wipe solution ingredients away from your child. You may not think that these everyday products can be dangerous, but some infants have suffered respiratory problems after aspirating baby oil. And remember, it takes less than a Table Spoon of water to drown an infant... So be safe, not sorry!

    When it comes to actually creating your solution, I prefer to start with water and add from there. Otherwise your bowl/bottle and tools can become coated in oil or soap and less will actually end up in your final solution.

I suggest using bottled water and not tap, although tap will work. The reason here is because tap water can contain all kinds of things from softeners to high levels of Chlorine, which will settle as it sits. Also, you'll want to make small batches - maybe once a week - to avoid mildew or mustiness.

Cloth Wipe Solution Recipes

Almond 'n' Chamomile
 *2 chamomile tea bags
 *2 teaspoons almond oil
 *2 cups hot water
Steep the tea bags in the hot water then add the oil.

 *1/4 cup white vinegar *1 tablespoon calendula oil
 *A few drops lavender oil
 *A few drops tea tree oil
 *1/4 cup 100% aloe vera gel
 *1 cup water
Omit vinegar if baby has a raw rash.

Anti-Fungal Too
Similar to the other anti-fungal recipe, but less vinegar and water.
 *1 teaspoon white vinegar
 *1 tablespoon calendula oil
 *A few drops lavender oil
 *A few drops tea tree oil
 *1/4 cup 100% aloe vera gel
 *1/2 cup water
Basic Wipe Solution
This basic recipe can be adapted by changing the type of soap or oil.
 *1/2 cup baby oil
 *1/2 cup baby wash
 *2 cups water

Castile Solution
Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap comes in several yummy scents!
 *1 tablespoon almond, apricot, or other oil
 *1 tablespoon Dr Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap
 *2 drops tea tree oil
 *1 drop lavender oil
 *1 cup water

Chamomile 'n' Honey
 *1 chamomile tea bag
 *1 teaspoon honey
 *1 cup boiling water
Brew the tea, add the honey, and drink any leftovers!

Easy Peasy
 *2 tablespoons oil
 *2 tablespoons baby wash
 *1 1/2 cups water

Eight is Great
Similar ingredients as other recipes, but in different amounts.
 *1/8 cup vegetable oil
 *1/8 cup baby wash
 *8 drops lavender oil
 *4 drops tea tree oil
 *2 cups water

Essential Oil Solution
With three different EOs contributing their unique properties...
 *4 cups water warmed in microwave
 *2-4 drops Tea Tree Oil
 *2-4 drops Lavender Essential Oi1
 *1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
 *1 Tablespoon Calendula Oil
 *2 Tablespoon Baby Wash

Fruit 'n' Veggie
 *1 teaspoon fruit-based oil (apricot, olive, grapeseed, etc)
 *1 tablespoon vegetable-based soap (like Dr. Bronner's liquid castile)
 *1 teaspoon 100% aloe vera gel
 *1 cup water

Just One
 *1 chamomile tea bag
 *1 teaspoon oil
 *1 teaspoon baby bath or shampoo
 *1 drop lavender oil
 *1 cup hot water

Lavender 'n' Tea Tree
Very Popular
 *1/8 cup olive oil
 *1 tablespoon baby shampoo
 *4 drops tea tree oil
 *8 drops lavender oil
 *3 cups water

No Measuring
Don't measure for this one, just estimate amounts.
 *2 squirts baby oil
 *2 squirts baby wash
 *1 drop Essential Oil of your choice
 *1 cup water (about)

Olive 'n' Tea Tree
 *1/4 cup olive oil
 *1/8 cup gentle baby bath
 *A few drops tea tree oil
 *4 cups water

 *1-2 drops tea tree oil
 *1-2 drops lavender oil
 *1 cup water
**Use caution with this recipe as we've been told some children may develop a rash since the essential oils aren't dissolved in a carrier oil.

Witch Hazel Solution
 *1 cup witch hazel
 *1/2 cup aloe vera juice
 *1 tablespoon olive oil
 *1 teaspoon white vinegar
Zany Apricot Solution
 *1 tablespoon apricot oil
 *1 tablespoon unscented baby wash
 *3 cups water

Zany Lavender Solution
 *1 tablespoon baby oil
 *1 tablespoon lavender scented baby wash
 *2-3 drops lavender oil
 *3 cups water

 More Notes!
    If you're trying to go natural or chemical free, you will want to make sure that you are NOT using the regular Baby Soaps, Shampoos, Body Oils or Washes. Many of these contain Mineral Oil, which is a Bi-Product of Petroleum. Look for Natural or Organic baby options on Amazon, Natural Parenting Shops or Whole Foods Companies. 

     Dr. Bronner's Soap can be found on and off line through natural product shops, Amazon or Whole Foods...

Pagan Blog Project: Germs

Early on in my education I read an analogy that has stuck with me all these years later. It was talking about "spiritual germs" and how they are just as damaging to us as physical ones are. It's something that many of use tend to overlook, but it's something that is in fact extremely important for us to focus on.

Now, for the most part we all understand the dangers of germs on our hands and throughout our homes (although there are benefits as well - but that's a different subject) and we all understand the importance of and how to keep our homes and bodies as germ free as possible. Unfortunately, we ted to forget about the importance keeping our home and bodies just as free of spiritual germs.

First it's important to understand what "spiritual germs" are...  Of course there are no actual, germs made of spirit, nothing you can slide under a microscope and nothing you can simply wash off your hands before you eat. But, there is just as much danger in forgetting to clean away spiritual germs as there is to the physical ones.

So what are "Spiritual Germs"?  Well, just like physical ones are tiny "pieces" of bacterial or illness that can affect your physical health, spiritual ones are tiny "pieces" of negative energy that can affect your spiritual - and even mental and physical - health. These pieces of energy can be left over from our day to day lives, magickal workings and even the energies of fae or other "beings" who may encroach upon our personal space.

Just like it's important to clean your home and self from physical germs, it's highly important to clean your home and self from spiritual germs as well. But ti's also important to maintain that cleanliness to the best of your ability as well. To be honest, it's no harder to be spiritually germ free than it is to be physically germ free. Because spiritual germs can come from numerous places it's important to remember that maintenance cleaning can not be skipped.

Negative thoughts & emotions created by you, your family and even non-family visitors, can leave behind germs in your home that can affect you long term. Unfortunately, if they aren't cleaned out, they will compile over time and begin to affect your emotions and even your mental state - which in turn affects your spiritual state.  So, the first step to being germ free is to do your best to limit negativity in your home. Work on how you think, and learn to speak in a positive manor, even when you don't feel like your in a positive place. I know that isn't always the easiest of steps, positive thinking tends to be something that people today overlook. From the time we are small we are taught to think negatively - "No, you can't have that." or "I don't want that." - when in reality we should be making a point to think positively. - "You can have this one instead." or "This option is best." It's a simple change in wording, but it's a HUGE change in attitude and energy output. Remember, negative thoughts create negative energy and negative energy attracts negative energy. So just by thinking in negative terms, you're not only creating negative energy that will affect you now, you're attracting negative energy that will affect you in the future.

Beyond changing how you think and speak, it's important to remember to focus on the positive aspect of life as a whole. When your bills come in, it's easy to think "UGH, More Bills!" but without those bills, you wouldn't have heat or running water! So rather than focusing on how the money has to go out, why not make a point to focus on the positive aspects of your life that those bills allow you to have - I don't know about you, but a hot shower is heaven to me!

Second, it's important to go beyond attempting to prevent germs from accumulating and start clearing them out. We all think of cleaning our homes as an important part of our physical health, but we tend to forget about cleaning them on a spiritual level. Most people rely on White Sage for spiritual cleaning, and although there are other options, sage is by far my favorite option as well.

Two main options exist, and I feel they work best when used together:
  • Burning Sage throughout your space is the "deep cleaning" method. Native Americans tend to use burning white sage in a large shell fanned with a large eagle feather as a way to include all the elements in to the process. You simply want to ensure that the smoke from smoldering sage reaches all parts of your home - this takes some time, but it's worth it - make sure to include corners and doorways!
  • Powdered Sage or Sage Essential Oils can be added to blessed water and then sprayed throughout your home as needed. It can also be added to the laundry when it's time to wash your ritual clothing (or any clothing) to remove any remaining energy. 
Now, for my taste, burning sage through my house every time I clean is just to much work... But, I do keep a spritzer bottle of sage water around for when I am in need of a quick option. Usually, after a physically clean a room, I go through quickly with a spritz or two... Then, I do deeper cleanings throughout the year - usually right around the Sabbats (it's an easy way to remember).

In addition to keeping up with cleansing your home, you really need to remember to keep up with yourself as well. There are quite a few methods for this, I'm only going to cover them briefly here, but you can obviously do some quick research and find the ones that work for you...
  •  Cleansing Meditation is just what it sounds like. It's a deep meditation where you focus on cleaning your energy. Chakra Cleansing Meditations are done by focusing on each chakra individually and visualizing it glowing bright while pushing all negative energy out and absorbing positivity.
  • Self Smudging is done much in the same way as smudging your home is, you simply do it to yourself. 
  • Cleansing Baths are a very relaxing way to clear both your physical and spiritual germs. There are many ways to do cleansing baths, many use these before ritual or spell work as a way to cleanse away any energy which could affect their workings poorly.  Again, there are lots of ways to go about doing these -  herbal satchels, essential oils, candles, incense and/or bath salts/bombs can all be beneficial for this purpose. 
It's also important to remember to completely release your circle and any energy raised during spell work and rituals. Grounding yourself and insuring that all energy is expelled is extremely important not only because you want that energy to work for you rather than simply hang around, but because when energy is simply left to hang, it can easily "sour" and become an attractant for negative energy.

For most of us, cleaning away physical germs is simply a part of life... And we need to remember how important spiritual cleaning is as well... Germs are germs, and they need to be treated as such, regardless of their makeup! 

The Natural Life: Reasons To Cloth Diaper

   At one time, everyone used Cloth Diapers, there were no other options. In the 1950's the first disposables were introduced, but were "luxury" items. However, the idea of disposables became much more popular as the price lowered and parents looked for "better" ways of doing things. As a result cloth diapering became something that not everyone did. Eventually it became thought of as more work for less benefit.

   When I had my oldest child I didn't see the value or the health benefits to cloth. I didn't believe I would EVER spend $500 in disposables and figured it would be spend over time so it would hurt less. And of course I believed they were going to be SOO much more work and "gross." Oh, how naive I was! Chances are, at least at one point, you yourself could have (or still can) list a ton of reasons why Cloth simply isn't for you. Hopefully though, you are at least willing to get all the facts before you decide to make a permanent choice.

    Cloth diapers have come a long way from rubber pants and diaper pins. Today, there are so many styles and choices I could start listing now and not finish for a week! Of course the old options are still available, but there are many many others as well! From simple all-in-ones (AIOs) to prefolds with wraps, there are tons of choices to keep your baby covered.

There are many benefits of cloth diapering. Here are some:
  • Cost Savings
    Cloth diapers do seem to cost more. There is usually an investment of between $200 and $500 depending on the style, company and accessories you decide on. BUT, that cost is NOTHING compared to the THOUSANDS you will usually spend on disposables. (I found that out the hard way!) And because you only need to buy them once, you can use them through multiple children! Even if you add up your cost of diapers, accessories (like a diaper pail), cloth wipes, washing, so on and so forth, you're looking at a per change cost of less than $0.35... And of course that lowers if you have more than one child.
  • Better for Baby
    Because Cloth diapers contain less chemicals babies tend to have less diaper issues, like diaper rash, UTI's and allergic reactions. IF you have a child with extremely sensitive skin there are even options such as organic materials and chemical free diaper washes which you can use as well.
  • Better for the Environment
    Well, it's rather easy to figure out that cloth diapers which don't end up in a dump, are going to be MUCH better for our world than disposable after disposable after disposable after disposable...  Disposables take HUNDREDS of years to break down and since they harbor chemicals which then seep down in to the soil and water as well. Cloth diapers are the best way for your family to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle when it comes to baby!
  • Less Time in Diapers
    Because disposable diapers and pull-ups keep children so dry feeling, they have actually been shown to elongate the potty training experiences. Children who wear cloth will typically spend less time trying to potty train or educate their child about elimination communication (EC).
  • Adorable!
    Okay, lets face it... Disposables are just white paper, or MAYBE have pictures or Elmo on them. But with Cloth there are literally HUNDREDS of design options from colors and patterns to pictures and even personalization...

Check out what else I'm writing!