Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Herbs and Oils

herbalsteams

I’ve been married for almost 16 years and ever since I’ve known my husband, he’s suffered with the ongoing cycle of stuffy nose that leads to a stuffy head that leads to headaches and a sinus infection. He lives for days without sleep because he can’t stop blowing his nose all night…which means this girl doesn’t get any sleep either. He’s had surgery on his sinus cavities to connect them all together and visited multiple allergists that tell him he doesn’t have allergies. At this point, we don’t know what to do and can only do our best to help him treat the symptoms when these flare-ups happen, which is usually once a week (lasting 2-3 days, if he’s lucky). He’s tried everything that anyone has ever told us but suffers anyway. The swollen bags under his eyes make me feel so bad for him. Recently, I’ve seen A LOT of stuff on social media about essential oils but I just dismissed them as one more thing I need to catch up on. Then the other day, a mom at school was chatting with me on our way to get the kids and brought up the topic again. Hmmm…maybe there’s something to this.

In Germany, Americans are known for our crazy approach to pumping our kids full of medicine at the first sign of something. But there, they definitely used a more holistic approach to medicine before prescribing an antibiotic. And I must admit, it took awhile to get used to the fact that even if I took my boys to the doctor, they would probably just tell me something similar to what my grandma used to. Go home, turn on the hot shower and let them sit in the steam, put wet washcloths on the radiators while they sleep, and keep the window cracked for the cold, fresh air to come in. Oh, and once, the pediatrician told me to just give him “more cuddles”. True story.

Anyway, I started searching online for more information about these essential oils and what can I do to 1) help my husband with his ongoing suffering and 2) how can they help when the inevitable cold creeps into this house via the school kids. Theprairiehomestead.com listed a few great methods on how to steam the herbs and essential oils through a shower and diffuser. Oh, and Bonus! There’s all you need to know about which herb treats which ailment. I really need to get that herb garden going, I guess. Or maybe I’ll start with these essential oils that I found on amazon.com. What a great starter set! We’d love to hear how you use your herbs and oils 🙂

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You Should Be Chewing Non-GMO Gum

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I love chewing gum, blue Trident to be exact.  Impossible to find in Germany btw.  My kids also love chewing gum, but they’re not so picky.  They like gross flavors like melon mint and kiwi watermelon.  Gum should be minty but I digress.  The other day I was at a basketball game with a friend. .  She only feeds her daughter non-GMO foods.  She got me onto Glee, a non-gmo gum.  Glee gum has absolutely no artificial flavors, no sweeteners or preservatives and is gluten free.  We think this is a winner.  Here is an excerpt from their website

Glee Gum is natural chewing gum made with sustainably harvested rainforest chicle. It comes in 9 great flavors: cinnamon, peppermint, tangerine, bubblegum, spearmint, triple berry, sugar-free lemon-lime, sugar-free refresh-mint, and sugar-free wild watermelon. Glee Gum is the #1 healthy alternative to synthetic chewing gum and bubble gum! No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners (no aspartame). Non-GMO Project Verified. Chew with Glee, naturally!

If your interested you can also get it directly from Amazon.com

Cute Ideas for Indoor Herbs

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I really want fresh herbs in my kitchen but I’d also really like to just pay someone to come set it all up for me. What can I say? I’m just not a green thumbed girl. The idea seems so overwhelming but when I found these cute setups from The Garden Glove, I thought “Yes”! I can do this AND make it look cute? Here are several ideas for growing indoor herbs and pretty much everything you need to know about how and when to plant them from seed to plate (visual.ly).

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DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash

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When my boys come home after 2-3 hour basketball practices, they’re starving and I know I have to be ready with something for them to snack on, stat. They are much more inclined to grab a fruit or veggie if they can open the refrigerator, grab something, and pop it into their mouths. Nobody has time to wash food, Mom! So I try my best to wash all the produce as soon as I get it home from the grocery store…sometimes it’s a few hours later…but definitely before it’s too late and they’ve already poisoned themselves. I found a DIY Fruit & Veggie Wash recipe over at aprettylifeinthesuburbs.com that I’ve been using and was amazed at how dirty the water looked in my sink. So, today, to prove a point to some well-loved friends, I decided to wash my grapes in a clear bowl so that I could have visible proof of just how important it is to wash it all. Oh wow! Gross!!! As a side note, there’s no need to go spend lots of money on anything pre-made in a bottle. You probably already have white vinegar in your cabinet…and if you don’t, you should, because it’s even great for cleaning around the house. 🙂

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Growing Tulips Indoors…What?!

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Ummm…what?!!! I have so many thoughts about this, I don’t even know where to begin. I can’t even get them to make sense in my head so that I can put them on paper.

There are a few things cheaper in Germany (and most of Europe) than in America. 1) Fresh baked bread 2) Wine/Beer 3) Gelato is only 1 Euro per scoop and 4) Fresh flowers. Fresh Flowers!!! WHY are they so expensive here?! There are FIELDS of fresh flowers growing on the side of the roads in Germany with a sign and a can to put your money in. You picked your own flowers and put your money in the can. It’s based on the honor system and we LOVED it!

When I left Germany, I had to give away 3 orchids, 2 lavender plants, a jasmine bush, a small lemon tree, and a couple of unidentifiable houseplants that were impossible to kill despite my lack of a green thumb. I’ve been living in our new (rented) house in Florida for 2 months now and I have yet to buy any flowers or plants. Just one orchid is $20!!!

Anyway, my love for tulips is deep. Like as deep as it is for peonies and hydrangeas. But I don’t see them everywhere here like I did in Germany. I don’t even know if they can survive in this Florida weather. THIS could be the answer to all my problems…well, maybe not ALL my problems…but it will make this girl smile every morning.

High Protein Snacks…Don’t Leave Home Without Them

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This morning I left the house to take the kids to school. I had scheduled a social meeting with some of the school moms at our local Starbucks after morning dropoff. We met and chatted for 2 hours (What? A mom needs to socialize sometimes, okay?) and then I headed to the mall to redeem some gift certificates I received for Christmas. I didn’t want to carb up on a muffin or scone and didn’t want all those calories just to be starving in an hour, but then I’m at the mall and what are my choices? Panda Express? McDonalds? I just can’t bring myself to do it after so recently vowing to start the New Year off with better eating habits and healthier choices…I mean…I gotta be able to make it a week with that idea! So, I did my shopping, bought a water bottle, and practically ate my arm off on the ride home. . All I could think about was cooking an egg or making a salad when I got there. So, here I sit at the computer, with my salad, determined to NOT let this hunger happen again. Here’s a great list that I found from Greatist.com of some high protein snacks that seem pretty easy to take on the go. Some of these aren’t going to bode well in my purse…ummm…cottage cheese? No. But some of these are definitely easy options. And some of these are just common sense…but can I remember to grab them from the kitchen and throw them in my purse BEFORE I actually have my morning coffee? 🙂

Top 10 Foods to NOT Store

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My family’s move back from Germany to the US was unexpected and happened very fast. We knew for 2 weeks that we were leaving and then we were gone. Correction…my boys and I were gone leaving my husband to manage all the craziness there to get us packed and shipped out. When the packing company showed up to access our household goods, I was there with pen and paper to write down everything she said we could and couldn’t take. I was gonna try my very best to get everything taken care of before I left so that he didn’t have to deal with selling appliances and donating American boxed brownie mixes to my German friends. We basically had to throw out every single thing from the kitchen that we couldn’t pawn off on others…spices, olive oils, canned foods, boxed foods, everything. Now that I’m back in Tampa, I have to start new with my pantry and I have so much space now! What are the necessities? What should and shouldn’t I buy in bulk and keep stocked or not? (Don’t even get me started on how amazed I am at this couponing craziness that’s happened since I’ve been gone.) So, here’s a great list from the Survival Mom of the Top 10 Foods to NOT Store.

 

 

Get The Skinny (or not) On Fructose

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When we first arrived overseas, we noticed that we had to order “Coca Cola Light” instead of “Diet Coke”and we thought it tasted better. Somebody that had been living there a lot longer than us enlightened us with a story about how the Coca Cola products in the US are made with high fructose corn syrup but it’s banned in Europe. The Coca Cola products in Europe are made with simple sugar (and tastes so much better, btw) because the HFCS is so bad for you. Of course I googled this as soon as I was able to and the articles are endless about this topic. Then just this morning I came across another article relating the fructose to obesity. I don’t think this comes as much of a surprise to anybody but now that I’m living back in the US and find HFCS even in yogurt, I have to ask myself “what CAN I eat in America and how is this even allowed in so many foods and drinks?!” Click here to continue reading the article that caught my eye and got me thinking.

Grow Your Garden Made Easy

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Luna was visiting me in Tampa over the holiday and I was able to take her and her family to one of the local strawberry farms for the best strawberry shortcake of her life (plug for Goodson’s Farm in Wimauma, FL here). Coming from Chicago, she couldn’t believe that it’s strawberry season in December. In between bites of sweet strawberries, cake, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, we started talking about how are these berries soooo delicious…do they use pesticides on them…what’s the best way to keep these strawberries tasting their best…how long will they last if we don’t refrigerate them? I mean, let’s be honest, we really didn’t need to worry about that last question because between 4 kids, those berries didn’t last two days. Planting my own berries wasn’t ever on my radar in Germany because I didn’t own the piece of grass out my back door. But here in Florida, I feel like I could do it. How and where do I start? Here’s a perfect way to help anybody start their own garden. If you have been holding off, then hold off no more (unless you live in Chicago and it’s too cold to start :)). Be sure to check out the good to be home blog for info about this post.

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The Yogurt Wars

We went to buy yogurt today. We were looking for something that was similar to what we ate in Germany. Not too sugary…doesn’t have aspartame.  Doesn’t sound hard, right? First we picked up what looked healthy. . Dannon sounded good and is well known.

Dannon Fruit on the Bottom

For one serving size, Dannon (Fruit on the Bottom) had 150 Calories and 24g of Sugar. Ok, got it, now let’s try Activia.

Activia Blueberry

Activia lists 120 Calories and 19g of sugar for one serving. Ok, that sounds right. We expected it to be better than the Dannon Fruit on the Bottom. Now, just for kicks, let’s take a look at what the “sugary” kid’s yogurt has in it. Yoplait Go-gurt kind of scares me. Bright colors…looks fun…seems like it would have a lot of sugar. Believe it or not, GO-GURT HAS THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SUGAR OUT OF ALL THREE! Wait…what?!!! You think your kids should be eating the Activia or Dannon when they actually have MORE sugar than the kids choices?! We’ve been avoiding these as snacks and giving our kids the “healthy” options. And why are WE eating Activia?!! Or Dannon Fruit on the Bottom?!! Shocking doesn’t begin to describe this revelation and we haven’t been able to stop talking about it since that trip to the dairy section. Guess what’s being packed in lunch boxes this week.

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