Healing Tooth Decay Naturally

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Hello friends! I’ve gotten an incredible amount of questions regarding Walter’s teeth since my last post. So as promised, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about demineralization, as well as the toothpaste recipe we’ll be using to help combat the problem.

This simplest place for me to begin is explaining what demineralization is, and why you don’t want it happening to your little one’s teeth. Before I get into that I want to stress that no amount of natural toothpaste will help if your diet isn’t in order. When the diet is right, a natural toothpaste that facilitates remineralization will help.

Alright, so what is demineralization?
To put it simply, demineralization is the breakdown of tooth enamel. It is the earliest form of tooth decay and is most commonly seen on the surface of the teeth as frosty white spots. Demineralization can be caused by eating a lot of processed sugar and drinking acidic things like coffee and soda. If you’re anything like me, you’d never allow your kids to have things like that. So, you’re probably wondering how the hell your kid ended up with dissolving tooth enamel. Don’t worry I felt the exact same way. I felt like all the hard work I had done to ensure my son had a healthy diet was all of nothing. I never thought for a second the healthy fruits I was feeding him could cause his teeth to break down. The sugar, and acid in fruit can soften the enamel is left on the surface of the teeth for too long. I want to stress that I am in no way saying you shouldn’t feed your child fruit because it will ruin their teeth. I still give my son fruit every single day, and that will never change. However, now that I know he has softer enamel then most I take special care to clean his teeth after he eats fruit. I encourage him to drink water right after having fruit, and if he eats something very acidic, like oranges, I’ll brush his teeth once he’s finished eating.

Now that we’ve gone over all that boring stuff, I’ll get into the recipe we’re using.
After doing a ton of research, I found a recipe I was comfortable using here..
If you have no desire to make your own toothpaste, or simply don’t have the time, you can find a natural toothpaste right here. 😊

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Natural Toothpaste for Healing cavities, and Demineralization.

Ingredients
6 Tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil, or red palm oil (FIND IT HERE)
1 Tablespoon Baking soda. Make sure it aluminum free!
5 Tablespoons calcium carbonate (FIND IT HERE)
1-2 Tablespoons food grade bentonite clay (FIND IT HERE)
20-30 Drops Peppermint essential oil. (If you’re not comfortable using EO you can use Peppermint flavoring)
5-10 Drops lemon essential oil (Again, you can substitute lemon flavoring)
30 Drops trace minerals (FIND IT HERE)
Filtered water as needed. Please make sure you’re using filtered water and NOT tap water. It’s important there is no fluoride, or chlorine in the water you use.

Instructions
Mix the ingredients in a glass or plastic bowl, and store in a glass container. Some people think the transition is easier if the toothpaste is in a squeezable tube. You can find refillable silicon tubes here..
It’s extremely important that you DO NOT use any metal tools to mix your toothpaste. The bentonite clay will become inactive when it meets metal.

Suggested Use
Brush teeth twice daily with a natural toothbrush. We like these.. Before nighttime brushing you can add one drop of Lugol’s Iodine to the toothbrush. It’s extremely important to check with a medical professional before adding iodine to your routine. You only want to use the iodine if you know you or your child has a deficiency.
Also, be sure to consult with a dentist, preferably a holistic one, to ensure that any problem with cavities or demineralization is truly improving and not worsening.

If you’re interested in more information of healing dental problems naturally I highly suggest you read the book “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel. You can find a link to it here.

Make sure you join the family by signing up for email notifications. Next week I’ll be sharing more about our no spend month, and you don’t want to miss it!

Until next time my friends

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Disclaimer: Obviously I’m not a dentist. I’m just a mom who has read a lot of articles about teeth and feels comfortable making toothpaste for my family. Please take everything I’ve written here with a grain of salt. Do you own research, don’t just listen to people on the internet.

Being Present

 

GUIDE (1)I usually try to post a new blog post at least once a week, but often life gets in the way. Things don’t always work out the way I want them to, and I’m slowly learning to be okay with that. So as much as I wanted to get a blog post up, it just didn’t happen. I won’t lie, at first, I stressed about it. Then, I decided to practice what I preach. I decided to be gentle with myself, to give myself grace, and to allow things to happen the way they happened.

Taking the week off showed me a lot about myself, and the things that trigger my anxiety. It also showed me that, like most, I make progress, and end up getting knocked three steps back. It’s no secret I’ve been on a journey of self-healing, and self-discovery. I’ve talked about it countless times before. Throughout my journey, I’ve learned to take the end with the downs. So, even though last week was filled with anxiety and negative thought, I’m choosing to put it behind me. I’m choosing to move on, to continue to grow, and to heal.

Of course, I wouldn’t feel like myself if I didn’t share some tips with all of you 😊. I hope you find them helpful when you feel like life is becoming too much.

  1. Stay in the present moment.

I know, I know, I talk about this all the time! I’m sure some of you are sick of hearing it, but it’s so important to remember. There’s no rule that says you must be doing a million things at once. If you can stay focused on what’s happening right now, you don’t have to be concerned with tomorrow just yet. Simply take one step at a time. Observe your current situation, and engage with it in a way that’s best for your wellbeing.

  1. Find beauty in every moment. Even the ones that suck.

I’ll be honest, I’m not the best at this. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in negative thought, but it’s so incredibly difficult to drag yourself out of it. I think the important thing is that I try my hardest to see beauty in everything. Don’t get me wrong, I have days where I’m a negative Nancy. However, I try to no allow myself to be consumed with negativity anymore.

There is beauty in breaking your arm, if you’re open to seeing it. Choose possibility, choose beauty, choose to learn, choose to have an open mind, and more importantly choose to have an open heart.

  1. Embrace the surprises in life.

This is my final tip, and probably the hardest thing for me to do myself. Try to go into every situation with as few preconceived ideas as possible. Allow things to just happen, and then roll with it. When we think we know exactly how something is going to happen, we cloud that experience with a ready-made attitude. Simply let life unfold, and give yourself a break from trying to have it all figured out.

A perfect example of me embracing life’s surprises would be this past weekend. I had planned to write this blog post on Saturday, instead, I ended up taking a little road trip with my mother, my partner, and Walter. I could have said no. I could have told my mom we were busy, and just stayed home. I’m so glad I didn’t. I’m so glad, I decided to roll with one of life’s unexpected moments. I ended up having a great time with my family, and I would have missed that opportunity had I not been open to it.

I’ll end things with some pictures from our spontaneous family road trip. Enjoy, and don’t forget to take time to actually live life!

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A Guide to Self-Compassion

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Hi, my sweet, sweet friends! I’m sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I really needed some time to myself, to do some self-reflection and healing. If you’ve been following my blog at all you know I’m on a journey of self-discovery. You’d also know how strongly I feel about self-care. Because of that, I decided to take some time off to work on myself and to really focus on my family. Now that I’m feeling re-energized, I’m ready to get back to my regular posting schedule.

In this blog post, I wanted to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained throughout these few weeks of reflection. So, before I ramble on too much, here’s a guide to becoming the best “you” you can be.

LET GO OF NEGATIVITY 

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times! You must let go of your negative energy to grow as a person. Negativity can hold us back from a lot in life, especially happiness. Your mind creates your reality. If you’re always walking around with an attitude of ” nothing goes right in my life” than that’s what you’ll get in return. So, you’re probably wondering how you can stop being so negative. Don’t worry I have a few tips for you 🙂

  • Be grateful-  Take five minutes a day to write down everything you’re grateful for. When you start focusing on the positive things in your life, your whole mindset changes.
  • Stop complaining-  I know, this one is tough. I’ll be the first to admit that I complain A LOT. What I’ve been trying to remember lately is that complain doesn’t fix anything. Now I try to limit complaining to no more than five minutes. This helps me to mentally notice when I’m getting annoyed, so I’m able to take the right steps to calm myself down, rather than sweating the small stuff.
  • Focus on yourself- Usually negativity comes from a place of unhappiness. Start asking yourself what would you like to change? How can you make your life better? Do some self- reflection, and be open to making some changes.

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LIVE AUTHENTICALLY

It takes so long to be comfortable in your own skin. Once you’ve reached that place in your life, never apologize, or hide who you really are. Never strive to be like someone else. Be unique, be weird, be authentic, be YOU!

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LET GO OF SELF DOUBT 

I can’t stress this enough! How can you become your best self if you’re always doubting your abilities? Letting go of self-doubt is difficult, but it’s possible. Let go of the fear of failure, let go of other people’s opinions of you, let go of pre-conceived opinions about yourself. Know your self-worth, and never doubt it again. Like I said before this may not come easy, and it may take time. A great way to start is using positive affirmations. Every morning while you’re getting ready, look at yourself in the mirror and say something positive about yourself three times. Here are a few examples.

  • I am a beautiful and strong person. I can tackle anything that comes my way today.
  • I am a confident person.
  • I am going to be my best self today. I will stay positive and kind.
  • I am going to have an amazing day. Nothing will crush my positive mood.
  • My outfit is on point today. I feel confident and beautiful.

Trust me I know how cheesy this sounds, but trust me it works!

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INVEST IN YOURSELF

Investing in yourself is always a positive thing. It’s a way to learn about yourself regardless of the outcome. The more you discover about yourself, the easier it is to become the person you want to be. Self-investment can be as simple has taking a class, reading a good book, or even starting up that business you’ve always dreamed of.

Well guys, there you have it, a few tips to help you along your journey of self-compassion, and self-love. Even if you incorporate just one of these into your life, you will see a change in yourself and your life. I’d love to hear the ways you’re working on becoming a better you. Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding has always been important to me. I knew I was going to breastfeed the second I found out I was pregnant. I watched tons of videos on how to get a great latch, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I felt comfortable with my decision to nurse my baby.

When Walter was born he latched within seconds and nursed for around thirty minutes. Natural I thought we were off to a good start. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. We struggled A LOT in the beginning. In fact, we still struggle every day. However, I am pleased to say we’ve made it to nine months, and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon.

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, and you’re struggling, I hope this post helps you in some way.  Remember to take one day at a time, and don’t be so hard on yourself.

STRUGGLING IN THE BEGINNING

In the beginning, I dealt with a lot of nipple pain. For the first two weeks or so I would cry every single time he latched. Literally every single time. The pain was so bad I honestly considered giving up and formula feeding. I’m very thankful that I have a loving, supportive partner who wouldn’t let me give up. Without his support and kind words, I wouldn’t have made it.

I want to take the time to say pain is not normal. It’s a sign that your baby isn’t latched correctly. This could be due to a lot of things, but the most common are a lip or tongue tie. My son has a lip tie, and unfortunately, we didn’t discover it until a few weeks ago. If you suspect your little one might have a lip or tongue tie make sure you bring it up with you pediatrician.

DEALING WITH NEGATIVITY  

I struggled with this a lot in the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. For some reason, a lot of people feel the need to comment of things that either has nothing to do with them or things they know nothing about. It can be hard to tune these things out, especially if you’re a new mom. I know I always hated hearing people say I should have formula at home “just in case”, or having people tell me to cover up while nursing in public. Unfortunately, it seems like people always have something negative to say to breastfeeding moms. My advice is to let it go in one ear and out the other, and if that doesn’t work don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!

LOW MILK SUPPLY 

This is something that most new moms are concerned with. Honestly, it’s incredibly rare for a woman to not produce enough milk for her baby. Most of the time low milk supply is caused by a lack of knowledge and support. However, in some cases, low milk supply can happen with ample knowledge and support.

If you work outside of the home like me, you might experience a dip in supply when you return to work. If this happens to you, make sure you do everything you can to increase your supply before it’s too late.

Low supply is something I’ve faced since returning to work. I’m very lucky, and with the help of some amazing women, I’ve been able to supplement my son with donated breast milk. I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am to the ladies that have helped me feed my son. I will be forever grateful, I can only hope someday I’ll be able to return the kindness.

FEELING OVERWHELMED 

Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is something I still struggle with every day. Being the only person who can feed a tiny human being can feel like a lot of weight on your shoulders. I’m very lucky that my son was willing to take a bottle of expressed breast milk every now and then. If I wasn’t able to get these tiny little breaks, especially in the beginning, I might have pulled all of my hair out!

 

Nursing my son has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the most rewarding. The bond we have is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Every mom deserves to feel the amazing bond and love that comes with nursing a child, and every baby deserves the food nature intended for them.

xoxo

Destiny

Why I Regret Being a Crunchy Mom

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We all know that being a parent brings an immeasurable amount of joy. We also know that the happiness we feel is often accompanied by fear or guilt. At least I hope you all know this, and I’m not the only one who feels this way.

I personally feel it’s important to share the ups and down of parenthood. This is an absolutely insane roll-a-coaster we’re all on, and the more open we are about it the easier it is. I’m hoping this post will inspire you all to be more transparent. It’s okay to share your parenting mistakes, and regrets with others.

I’m writing this post mostly for myself, but also for the parents who feel just like me. I constantly see photos of perfect little families, and I wonder why parenting seems so easy for them. In order to not fall into that same cycle of only sharing the good stuff, I’m airing out my dirty laundry. Here it is folks, the main reason I regret calling myself a “crunchy mom”

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1.I put myself in a box

Being a new mom is terrifying. It’s even harder when you’re young, and there’s no one around you who really understands what you’re going through. I knew I wanted to raise my son differently than how I was brought up but I didn’t know how. Then I discovered attachment parenting and all the other “crunchy” parenting advice. I latched onto the term crunchy so much that I didn’t give myself enough wiggle room. I started to stress about every little thing, and I felt disappointed when I would turn to less natural options. Now I realize that it isn’t all or nothing and that it’s okay to not be perfect. Yes, I’m trying to give my family the healthiest things I can, but it’s not worth losing my mind over. Now I’m trying a more balanced approach to parenting and life in general. There are certain things I will never compromise on like bed-sharing, or giving my son candy. Other things I try not to stress about too much.

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2.I opened myself up to A LOT of negativity 

I’m sure this goes without saying, but people can be pretty shitty. I’m not sure why this increases when you have children. It’s like people come out of the woodwork with their unnecessary comments. People told me I was selfish for having a home birth because my baby was most likely going to die without a doctor present. I can’t even begin to tell you the horrible things people have said because we don’t vaccinate. Choosing to parent outside of the norm has opened my family up to an unbelievable amount of hate. If it weren’t for the like-minded families I have to lean on I don’t know how I would get through it.

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3.It’s inconvenient 

Before you say “well who told you parenting would be convenient” just hear me out. There are times when I understand why so many parent choose to parents a more “conventional” way. In some ways, it seems a lot easier. There are times when I understand why parents sit their kids in front of the T.V, or why they use disposable diapers instead of cloth. If I’m being perfectly honest there are times I wish I was a “normal” parent, because I wouldn’t have to constantly defend my choices. However, my partner and I choose to do thing differently because we believe it’s what’s best for our family.

 

If I’m being completely honest I can’t imagine myself not parenting the way I do now. The only thing I truly regret is labeling myself. Defining myself as a crunchy mama made me feel like I needed to hold myself up to unrealistic standards. And when I couldn’t meet those standards I felt like I had failed as a parent in some way. My advice to parents who are feeling the same way I was is to be gentle with yourself. No one’s a perfect parent, and that’s okay.

xoxo

Destiny

Why I’m Raising my Son Vegan

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I know this post is probably going to receive its fair share of negative commentary, so I’d just like to remind everyone that what works for your family might not work for mine, and I don’t expect everyone reading this to become vegan (I can dream though). Please, do what you think is best for your family, and I’ll do what’s best for mine 🙂

So I’d like to share a few reasons why I became vegan, first and foremost it was for the animals. I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, and that’s okay. I would like to point out that I wasn’t raised this way, I was brought up eating the standard American diet. However, for as long as I can remember I’ve always hated eating meat. When I was younger my parents made me because they thought that was what was best for me. When I got older I continued to eat animal products because I didn’t know there was any other way to be healthy. I ate this way until I stumbled across a few documentaries on Netflix and Youtube. After watching these I stopped eating meat cold turkey (pun intended). I’ll include links/ titles for the documentaries that I watched at the end of this post. Even if you think being vegan is insane I think you should still take a look at these films. Everyone should know exactly where their food is coming from.

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The second reason I decided to go vegan was for the environment. Factory farming has a huge impact on our environment. The methane gasses the animals produce is contributing to global warming, and the runoff from farm cesspools is being dumped into our water supplies. You can find more information on how factory farms are impacting the environment here.

The third and final reason I stopped eating animal products is for my own health. While doing research about the vegan lifestyle I stumbled across The China Study. This is ” the most comprehensive Study of Nutrition ever conducted”. You can read more about The China Study here, and you can purchase a copy for yourself here. I don’t want to go into too much detail here but the study examines the relationship between consuming large amounts of animal products and long-term health issues such as diabetes, breast, and prostate cancer. Meat and animal by-products create and acidic environment within the body. I’ve touched on this before but cancer cells thrive in acidic environments. Having an acidic body can also lead to poor bone health. Studies have shown that countries that consume dairy at high rates also have high rates of osteoporosis. This is because dairy contains lactose, which breaks down in the body as lactic acid. This obviously makes the body acid, so to combat this issues the body leaches calcium from our bones creating weaknesses in our skeletal system.

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Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get to why you’re all here. So why am I raising my son vegan? Well, for all the same reason why I don’t consume animal products of course. Plus a few more.Number one being I want my son to have compassion, and love for all living beings. I don’t think we can teach our children to be kind to cats and dogs while we ignore the torture and suffering of farm animals.

Now I know there are a ton of you who are thinking ” why don’t you let him decide if he wants to be vegan?!” Well, are any of you letting your little ones decide if they want to eat animal products? I think it’s only fair to give our children a full understanding of where food comes from, unfortunately, that means teaching them about death. My partner and I have deiced that our son will eat a plant-based diet until he is able to fully understand the consequences of eating animal products and make his own choice.

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If you’re interested in teaching your children about where their food comes from there is a fantastic children’s book that will help. It’s “Why We Don’t Eat Animals” by Ruby Roth. This is the book we plan on using to help us explain things to our son. You can purchase a copy here.

Like always I’d like to point our the importance of being kind to one another. My goal here is never to shame people for their parenting choices. My only goal is to create a safe space for parents who choose to do things differently.

LINKS TO GREAT INFORMATION!

If you’re interested in raising healthy vegan kids here are my favorite blogs and YouTubers

Mango Island Mamma: Here’s her blog, and Youtube

Sara/ It’s All Ways Beautiful: http://itsallwaysbeautiful.com/test/, and Youtube

Both of these women have been raising healthy vegan babies since conception. They have Amazing e-books, and they’re a huge inspiration!

Here’s a link to the Youtube video that changed my life

101 Reasons To Go Vegan

Some more Great Films

“Forks over Knives”

“Cowspiracy”

Both of these can be found on Netflix

xoxo

Destiny

WHY WE BED SHARE

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Trust me I’ve heard it all, so if you have something negative to say about my family’s choice to bed-share, save it. I’m very confident in my parenting decisions, and I trust my instincts.

I would like to say that there is a correct way to bed share. There are do’s and don’ts, and a million and one things to learn, but after making the decision to bed share with your baby don’t waiver- trust your instincts and don’t let others make you feel bad for it.

Our son has slept in our bed since day one, and he will sleep with us until he’s old enough to not want to anymore. I know some of you think we’re crazy, but trust me this wasn’t always the plan. Before our son was born my partner and I planned on co-sleeping. Okay, so I’m sure some of you are confused because you thought co-sleeping meant having baby sleep in bed with you. Don’t worry you’re not completely wrong. Co-sleeping is an umbrella term which basically means sharing a sleeping environment with your baby.

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Like I said before our plan was to just co-sleep. We had a side-car sleeper set up right next to our bed and our son even slept in it ( for about 2 minutes). I hating seeing him in there. Every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed to be held and cuddled so that’s what we did, and we’ve never looked back. Bed sharing is just what works for our family, call us crazy if you want, but our son has slept through the night since day one 😉

So for those of you who still don’t understand why we bed share, or for those of you who are interested in bed sharing with your littler ones here are my top five reasons for bed sharing.

1.Safety and Peace of Mind 

Studies have shown that sleeping within arms reach of another person significantly improves baby’s heart rate and blood pressure. Sharing the same bed as your baby also helps to regulate their temperature. A mother’s body with cool, or heat to meet baby’s needs. This helps to prevent overheating, something that is very common in cribs.

Having my little one next to me at night also keeps me from worrying nonstop. Knowing my son is safe helps me sleep better at night, in fact, countries with the highest rates of bed-sharing have the lowest rates of infant mortality, including SIDS. ( This is not to say only babies in cribs die of SIDS. Babies in bed sharing environments can die of SIDS, it’s just rare)

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2.Happiness and Comfort 

Bed sharing with my son means we both get to have happier mornings. Nothing is better than waking up to baby snuggles. Plus the comfort he gets from being close to me at night means we rarely wakes at night (usually he only wakes to nurse), so we’re all able to get a full nights rest.

3.Bonding

I believe sharing a bed has helped develop a strong foundation for our family as well as for the relationship I have with my partner. A healthy, happy relationship can be hard to find once babies are introduced to the mix. After talking to both families that bed share, and crib sleep I’ve concluded that those of us sharing a bed with our little ones have the best sex life. Let’s face it bed sharing forces you to get creative.

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4. Creating REAL Independence 

The first thing people bring up when they hear that my partner and I bed share with our son is his future independence. Often people think that because we allow our son to sleep with us now that he’ll become a whiny, clingy little brat in the future. I personally don’t believe that’s true. Having our son close to us means that he feels our constant love and support, this includes night time. I don’t believe parenting ends when the sun goes down. In my opinion leaving your child to comfort, and support themselves overnight is cruel.

5.Laziness 

Honestly, this is one of the main reasons we bed share. I’m simply too lazy to get out of bed every time my son wakes up. It’s easier for both of us if I can just roll over and pop a boob in his mouth. This way he doesn’t have to wait, and I don’t have to open my eyes 😉

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Now I couldn’t make a post about co-sleeping/bed-sharing if I didn’t discuss how to do it safely. Here are a few rules you need to follow if you’re planning on bed-sharing with your little one.

  • Bed-sharing should NOT take place on unsafe surfaces such as couches, or water beds
  • A parent should NEVER share a bed if they’re intoxicated, taking sleeping medication, or a heavy smoker.
  • NEVER place baby on the edge of the bed without a side rail or bumper. Here is an example.

Every single bed-sharing death is tragic, however, these deaths should not be related to those who bed share safely. Just as the deaths that occur in cribs does not mean that crib sleeping is deadly and should be eliminated.

As always this post was not created to shame anyone who doesn’t bed-share or agree with the topics discussed on my blog. I’ve said this a thousand times, but I feel it’s important so I’ll say it again PARENTING IS HARD ENOUGH WE DON’T NEED TO MAKE IT HARDER BY BEING HATEFUL TO EACH OTHER.

Like always make sure you’re subscribed so you never miss when I post. Enter your email and you’ll be notified as soon as a new blog post goes live. If you’d like you’d like to see what I’m up to on a daily basis follow me on Instagram I post there almost daily.

xoxo

Destiny

PS. Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate!

An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

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I’d like to take a moment to point out how difficult it will be to summarize the immense love I have for you, but I will try my hardest.

There are a million and one ways I could begin this letter, but I think the best place to start is by saying thank you. For everything.

Thank you for loving me, even when I think I’m unworthy of it.

Thank you for being my Dwayne Johnson.

Thank you for always allowing me to speak my mind even when I cut you off, or make you feel like I don’t value your opinion.

Thank you for holding me when I feel like I have the weight of the world on my Shoulders. More importantly, thank you for being willing to carry my burdens for me.

Thank you for reminding me it’s okay to laugh at myself.

Thank you for standing in the kitchen with me every night after work and letting me unload my frustrations on you.

Thank for you wiping my tears, and for the many forehead kisses.

Thank you embarking on this amazing journey with me.

Thank you for trusting me with our son, even when I didn’t trust myself.

Thank you for not thinking I was crazy when I told you I wanted to deliver our son at home.

Thank you for always being supportive of my choices even when you don’t always agree with them.

Thank you for respecting my body when I’m too tired, you offer a back rub with no motive.

Thank you for telling me my body is beautiful, and that it’s okay to have loose skin and stretch marks because I made a person.

Thank you for being patient with me when I freaking out for literally no reason at all.

Thank you for reminding me that it’s just a panic attack and that I’m not going to die.

Thank you for remaining loyal, and faithful to me.

Thank you for always making time for me even when I don’t make time for you.

Thank you for loving Jordan as much as I do. And thank you for helping me pick up the pieces when I almost lost her forever.

Thank you for pointing out when I’m being selfish, and unreasonable.

Thank you for supporting me in raising our son differently than how we were raised.

Thank you for doing the diaper laundry.

Thank you for being an amazing father, and a fantastic role model for our son.

Thank you for rearranging your school schedule to stay home with Walter after my mom’s surgery.

Thank you for always packing my lunch for work.

Thank you for being my best friend, and loving me even when I couldn’t love myself.

Thank you for the best two years of my life. I know we have many more trials, and tribulations to go, but I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

I hope you never question my love for you.

xoxo

Destiny

 

12 Tips for healthy eating

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EATING CLEAN ON A BUDGET
Written by Ariana Hamidi 4/1/17

If you’re anything like me, feeding your family healthy whole foods free of chemicals is a top priority. A lot of people think that many foods are out of reach, too expensive, and I am here to tell you it’s just not true! You can nourish your family organically and frugally, so I’ve created a list below of ideas on how to do that. The first piece of advice is: be committed! You may have to give up certain conveniences or treats; you may have to offer your time and labor, but your body will be healthier and your bank account will be fuller. Write a monthly amount to what you can spend on groceries and stick to it however you can. For me, it means using cash only. Other families might fare better with apps like Mint. Budgets are very personal and only you will know what works for your family. No matter what that number looks like, these tips can help you keep costs down while improving your health and well-being by feeding your family the very best you are able to give. In the case of our children, you are helping them grow and thrive into strong human beings with healthy immune systems. It’s worth it!
1. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
This is the best piece of advice anyone can give. It is critical in today’s society to build community and work together to become as self-sustaining as possible. It’s also the best way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. If you’re unsure where to start, ask friends, find a workshop, check out books from the library, read blogs. Lots of cities are establishing community gardens where you can rent space. If you’re in the suburbs or rural communities, chances are you have some lawn you could turn into a garden. If you rent, building a few raised beds with cheap wood can still produce a substantial amount of vegetables and is simple to break down when you move. Apartment living? A long as you have a porch, you can have a garden using only large pots. Start small, and build from there. Plant herbs for flavor and amazing health benefits. (Did you know parsley has more iron than a serving of meat?) Once you gain experience, expand if your housing allows it. Raise chickens or ducks for eggs, goats for dairy, plant an orchard, berry bushes, or whatever excites you. There’s really nothing more satisfying than getting your hands in the earth growing food that you pick from your porch or backyard, tastes delicious and is relatively free! Be sure to buy organic and non-GMO seeds, and use local soil whenever possible. Many landscape businesses will sell an organic mushroom blend by the yard. It is also a good idea to have your soil tested for lead and other contaminants. Many states provide that service for a small fee. We had the soil at our rental home tested for $15 when we moved to RVA last year before we established a large garden.

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2. EAT LOCAL
I am fortunate to live in a city that has a farmers market open almost every day of the week. The key to saving money at a farmers market is to shop around and avoid impulse buys. Compare the prices of each stand before purchasing. Make notes about how these foods compare to grocery store prices and quality. Sometimes I choose lesser quality produce from Kroger if it saves me a few dollars, other times I opt for the fresher ingredients. In the height of the spring/summer season it’s easy to find a good deal at the market, just avoid purchasing extras we often see like baked goods, hot foods, or artisan cheeses, as these items can break the bank.

Another way to eat locally is to do your own fruit picking. Last summer we went to Barry’s Berries, Pleasant Field Farms, and Newcastle Bee and Berry farm to pick blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The cost and quality are fantastic in comparison to any berries offered at the grocery store, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting someone’s labor with the big brands like Driscoll’s. We always pick as much as we can handle (with three kids running around) take them home and freeze them. I was lucky enough to have a family member gift us a vacuum sealer and it has allowed us to enjoy fresh picked berries all winter long for the last several years. (Investing in a deep freeze is an essential element to this money saver).

3. TASTE THE RAINBOW
Diversify your plates. Eat fruits and veggies in season, as you are more likely to find a great deal. Stock up on asparagus and peas in spring, pumpkins, and squash in fall, greens in summer. Like they say, too much of a good thing is…too much? I think life would be pretty boring if we were to eat the same meals on repeat each day, and frankly, I have no interest in living that way. I am a frugal foodie and to do that I constantly push my palate to keep things interesting, whether it’s spending a whole week figuring out how to love kohlrabi or giving offal to my baby. My goal for my kids’ meals every day is that they will get the full rainbow of colors in their meals. A typical example of that for us would include red bell pepper, sweet potato, banana, kale, blueberries, and grapes. (Purple is the hardest one for me to achieve consistently). I like to think of it as my kid’s multivitamin, but that’s another post entirely! When that’s not possible, or when you have a very picky eater, (for some of us that might even be most days), do what you can. Make smoothies. Hide veggies in meatloaf, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti. Try to acquire variety based on shopping sales or plan your meals around your CSA haul.

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4. CSA or WORK SHARE
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an opportunity to support local farmers while enjoying the benefits of homegrown organic foods. You pay for a half or full share up front, and each week you pick up whatever crops they have harvested that week (May-November). It typically comes out to $30-50/week for a nice variety of chemical free vegetables. Many CSAs also have fruits, eggs, dairy, and fresh bread. Check the web or social media for the names of various CSAs in your area, then write emails to them asking if they are accepting new members. They should be happy to tell you about their growing practices in detail and if they’re not, move on! When my family moved to RVA last year I tried one of the delivery box services (there are several) but I was disappointed in the quantity, quality, and price so I canceled. It was not worth the convenience for me but you may find that is a good fit for your family. I did find a CSA that was Certified Naturally Grown (Victory Farms), which seems to be the new standard since it’s becoming harder to trust the safety of organic pesticides in USDA Organic food. This year I found Willow Hill Family Farm in their second year of a CSA. They also offer a work share (check them out here), five hours of farm work in exchange for the CSA share. Since we have been missing our Pennsylvania homestead so much, I chose this option. They offer a variety of seasonal no-spray, non-GMO vegetables, pastured eggs, lamb, and pork. My family enjoys connecting to our food through harvesting and building relationships with farmers so I am very excited about this season!
5. BUY IN BULK
Pretty simple. Only buy what you need and skip the extra packaging altogether. Another instance of …good for the planet, good for your wallet. Natural grocers (like Ellwood Thompsons in RVA) will typically allow you to bring your own containers to fill. An example of the savings: I can buy three times the amount of organic rolled oats in bulk as I can packaged for the same price. The same is true for dried beans, rice, and flour.

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6. MEAT AND RAW DAIRY SHARE (Vegan friends look away!)
If you can front the cost, buying a ¼, ½ of a whole cow, lamb, or goat is a great way to eat local and save money. Although this way of purchasing is certainly more expensive than buying factory farmed meat, it is a better value for families who choose to eat grass-fed beef and other pastured livestock exclusively. This season I found someone to split a ¼ share with me from Fresh Branch Farms (they can be found on Facebook). I have bought beef from them several times and it’s simply amazing! I also feel good about supporting a young family like mine. Many farms also offer a raw dairy share, such as Avery’s Branch Farms, who deliver at various drop-off locations in RVA.

7. BARTERING
Just this week I had a friend offer to buy some pastured chickens from her neighbor in exchange for some of my homemade bone broth. I gladly accepted! Whenever I can barter labor or supplies and avoid the exchange of money I do. This is another way of building community. Ask your friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in this. Perhaps you have a neighbor who always has an abundance of tomatoes but can never find a sitter for her children, make an offer to barter! Be creative and outgoing as there’s so much to gain and really nothing to lose if they say no.

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8. START A CO-OP
Start your own co-op (or find an established one) so that your food is sourced locally and directly without the inconvenience of having to visit all the farms yourself each week. I have a friend who does this in Austin, TX with a group of parents committed to eating clean. The group was formed on Facebook and has almost 400 members. The process looks something like this: a member scopes out a food source and posts to the group to gauge interest. Once a source is voted on and chosen they negotiate with the farm to buy a large order each week. They use Google forms to manage the ordering. The food gets delivered to the main organizer’s house and she keeps it frozen, refrigerated, or in coolers until each member picks up what they bought. Some members pick up for rural members and establish secondary pickup locations. They buy everything from meat, poultry, pork products, broth, eggs, Elderberry syrup, local honey, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and certain pantry items. This is a unique way of tailoring your eating to both your budget and lifestyle. I hope to have a part in making this happen in Richmond!
9. SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES
I know I know busy parents don’t have time to shop different stores each week, so you’ll have to decide how much of a savings is worth the extra time. If you look at it over the course of a month, I’ve been able to save up to $80/month with this method. For much of the year when our CSA or garden is not producing, we do a Kroger trip once a week, and a trip to Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompsons, or Aldi 1-2 times a month. We have certain dietary restrictions and some items much be purchased at those grocers. Kroger has a great natural foods section as well as organic produce, Aldi has affordable pantry items, Whole Foods has a nice seafood counter, and Ellwood Thompsons has a great bulk section. Each place offers something. I know a lot of people enjoy Click List, the online ordering system that Kroger now offers. If you are someone who makes a lot of impulse purchases, this is a good option for you. Stick to your list for meals and avoid the budget bumps!

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10. STOP EATING OUT!
Seems obvious, but for some, this might be a tough sell. Dining out, even at casual restaurants, is expensive. As someone who has worked in the service industry for many years, I always tip at least 20% (as everyone should) and that really adds to the cost. Because my family is living on a strict budget, we almost never eat out. We limit ourselves to special occasions maybe 3-4 times a year. Additionally, restaurant food has a lot of added sugar and salt and even if you choose a spot that sources locally, you really can’t be sure where all the ingredients are coming from. If you have to eat out, limit yourself to one drink and skip the appetizers and desserts. Look for lunch specials or nightly happy hour deals.
11. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD
(As much as possible) Let’s get real, everyone loves junk food…. at least in theory. Momentary pleasures of salty or sweet are something most folks can relate to, not to mention the convenience factor packaged foods provide when you have kids! But in reality, these foods are not helping your body or your budget, even if they are “Organic junk food.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices in any way because I definitely indulge plenty, but you may need to make a few rules for yourself in order to keep the spending in check. I give myself a rule that if I decide to buy the kids some kind of convenience food; it has to be on sale. When I see a great deal on a processed food like organic rice cakes, I buy a few extras for my pantry. Today at the grocery store I avoided all of it because I did not see a good deal and these foods are not necessary to any of us.

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12. HOMEMADE IS BETTER
I grew up on junk food, but later taught myself how to cook and now I make everything from scratch. I like to experiment, take risks, and rarely use recipes. If you’re a novice cook, check some books out at the library or look online for ideas. You really don’t need every ingredient listed in a recipe. Cooking and baking at home not only tastes far superior to anything store-bought, but you can control the ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, or other things you can’t pronounce. Worried about time? Use the crockpot; get an InstaPot, freeze dishes, or do a little meal prep on the weekend. Find a few go-to dishes that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. Cooking homemade is a major money saver. My favorite way to make meat stretch is with soup. I can feed my family of five plus several lunch leftovers with one pound of meat. I use bones and wilted veggies (I collect both in my freezer over time) to make my own broth, fill it with cheap nutritious vegetables like cabbage, kale, carrot, and potato, and I have 3 meals for under $15.
I hope some of these ideas help your family on the path to both wellness and financial freedom!

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Ariana Hamidi for writing this incredible post today 🙂 I’ve had family visiting so I wasn’t able to write a full post this week ( Prioritize what’s important to you my friends) If you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to this weekend follow me on Instagram I make new post there daily. If you haven’t subscribed yet make sure you enter you email so you never miss a post.

xoxo

Destiny

Essential Oils 101

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Essential oils are a big deal in the natural community right now. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone talking about them recently. I know most of us crunchy mamas have a set at home. And for good reason. They are a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.

I couldn’t go a day without my oils! I never leave the house without them in my bag. I use them for supporting my immune system, calming my anxiety and much more! They’re an amazing, natural way to manage your family’s health. If you’re interested in taking charge of your health as well as your family’s this post is for you!

I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST OF DOCTOR. I’M JUST A MOM WHO HAS DONE HER OWN RESEARCH. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH OR CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING OILS ESPECIALLY ON CHILDREN!

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are often called the “life blood” of a plant. They are aromatic, volatile liquids that are found in most shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, seeds, and bushes. They have been used for thousands of years, some say they date back to 3,500 B.C.

Today people use essential oils in three main ways

  1. Aromatically
  2. Topically
  3. Ingestion

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: AROMATICALLY 

Recently there have been a number of studies published linking the benefits of essential oils both physically, and emotionally. You’ve probably noticed the link between scent and emotions. When we smell something When we smell something, we first process the input via the olfactory bulb, which is at the base of our brain and connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of our brain associated with emotion and memory.

Aromatherapy is basically inhaling essential oils. The easiest way to do this is with a diffuser. You can find links to the ones I use here and here. The diffuser works by breaking the oil into tiny molecules dispersing them throughout the air. An essential oil diffuser is a much healthier option compared to toxic air fresheners and candles.

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: TOPICALLY 

Applying essential oils topically is another way to get all the amazing benefits essential oils have to offer. Because of their molecular structure, essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. When applied topically, it takes about 20 minutes for an oil to affect every cell in the body. The oil is then metabolized within a few hours.

The safest place to apply essential oils is the bottom of the feet because they contain thicker less sensitive skin. Most essential oils are too strong to be applied to the skin neat. Make sure you are always dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. Dilution doesn’t make them less effective it just helps them spread over a larger surface area. I can not stress this enough! Always make sure you are following essential oil safety guidelines, especially when it comes to children.

Although diluting ratios vary depending on age and medical conditions the general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for adult
  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for children over 2 years of age.( Never apply a “hot” oil such are oregano, cinnamon bark, or wintergreen to children. I also recommend to keep peppermint oil away from anyone under the age of 10)

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: INGESTING

 This should only be done with a health care professional with experience and essential oil education! Please remember essential oils are VERY potent. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to twenty-six cups of tea! You should educate yourself, and do what you’re comfortable with. Always make sure you are working with someone who is knowledgeable in using essential oils internally before you ingest them. DO NOT GIVE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY TO CHILDREN!

With all that being said I have used essential oils in my water from time to time, just to give it a little bit of flavor.

WHAT BRAND TO USE

There are hundreds of brands out there, I won’t go into too much detail but I will tell you to stay way from the oils sold in places like Wal-mart or even some health food stores. Do your research and compare different brands until you find the one you like. I personally use Doterra oils and LOVE them! You can purchase them here.

If you’d like more information on essential oils, check out the book modern essentials. It’s a fantastic source of information and can answer any question you have regarding essential oils. You can find it here.

xoxo

Destiny