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Top 10 Things In My Arsenal of Kitchen Witchy Mama Tricks.

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I try to parent as gently as I can, and I want to have as natural a home environment for my littles as possible.  I do my best to keep the chemicals and preservatives out of our house, to reduce the garbage  that piles in front of our house on trash day.  I want to show my kids that doing our part to take care of the world we live in is important.  For us, it is how we show our love for Mother Earth.

So I keep certain things on hand to make our lives and this household run smoothly.

 

These are some of my favorite things in my kitchen witch momma arsenal:

 

Several gallons of assorted vinegars.

I use it to whiten my sink and sweeten the drain, clean stains, soften laundry, get lime deposits out of my tea kettle, clean the coffee pot, polish chrome, clean windows, wash hair, improve our health…  It has a million uses….

 

A mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water will remove non-oily stains from carpets. Apply it to the stain with a towel and gently rub, then blot with water to rinse.

 

To make a fantastic all purpose cleaner, mix 1 part water to 1 part vinegar in a new spray bottle and it will clean most areas of your home.

 

To clean calcium and lime deposits (as well as coffee ick) I fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run through the brew cycle once a month. Rinse thoroughly with two cycles of cold water.

 

Cloth.

We use towels and rags in the kitchen, cloth napkins, pads and clothdiapers…  We are working to get as much paper out of our house as possible!  In fact, its become a running joke that any time my mother comes to visit she will ask me if I have any paper towels at least once.  So now I keep a roll on the dispenser for her drop by visits.  I only go through one roll every couple of months, but it does come in handy for things like cat sick or poo.

 

 

My composter and garden..

I don’t have either anymore…  I had to leave both at the old apartment and I MISS them every day.  I feel so guilty when we throw away anything that would have gone into the composter.  I loved burying our kitchen scraps in the earth of my composter, knowing that every visit out there was helping to create beautiful rich soil for my garden!  If I can find a good sunny spot in my very shady yard, I’d love to get both garden and composter going  once spring finally arrives.

 

Coconut products.

We drink coconut milk, use coconut creamer in our coffee, eat coconut ice cream and use coconut oil in our cooking and baking- super healthy and a perfect source of energy…  Coconut oil is also great as a beauty product (it makes a great deodorant when mixed with baking soda!) and a base for making salves or deodorant!

 

Coconut Deodorant:

5 Tbsp. of Coconut Oil

1/3 cup of Baking Soda

1/3 cup of Cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)

Essential oils (optional)

Gather whatever containers you want to use ( I prefer old empty deodorant applicators) Mix ingredients thoroughly you have a paste. You can add more baking soda and cornstarch in equal amounts if it doesn’t seem thick enough to you.  Scoop it into the containers and store.  You may want to store it in the fridge if the weather is hot.

 

My clothesline.

The first time my dryer broke it was the month before Cooper was born, and I panicked wondering how I would keep up with laundry and clothdiapers without it. Luckily we had a wonderful clothesline set up with four lines for hanging clothes because we were a family of seven at the time and doing laundry was a full time project.  I would hang the clothes out at least three times a day, every sunny day between June and November (when the huz bought me a new (old) dryer) and I loved it. It was my thinking time, my time to soak in the vitamin d and just be alone.  I miss having one.  I wish we could hang clothes here but the yard is almost completely shaded.  I’m not sure I will even get to have my beloved garden again.

 

Twitter.

Twitter is my sanity saver.  My go-to place for advice.  It is like having grandmothers, sisters, midwives, computer gurus, doctors and editors available twenty-four hours a day.  I am a better, calmer mother because of the wonderful community I’ve found on twitter.

 

Trader Joe’s.

I love Trader Joe’s.  My weekly visit has become my favorite part of errand day, and my freezer is stuffed with yummy saag paneer and naan.  I love that I can find interesting foods and a lot of organic stuff that I can’t find elsewhere.  I love that the ingredients on the label are usually stuff that I can pronounce.

 

My BabyHawk.

We’ve tried wraps, slings, and mei tais through our years of babywearing.  But my favorite is our BabyHawk mei tai. Now that Cooper is bigger, he doesn’t always like to be in it, but there were many times that dinner would not have been prepared, dolls would not have been sewn, and errands would not have been completed if I didn’t have babywearing in my arsenal of Mommy Tricks.

 

Glass jars.

I use these to store everything from leftovers to loose change, dried beans, pasta, rice, and herbs.  I am always on the prowl for another case of lovely wide-mouthed jars.  Now if only I could get over my fear of canning!

 

 

My Herbal Cupboard.

It is awesome that I can just grab the things I need to make the kids’ “magic” ouchie cream whenever we run out, tea for menstrual cramps, colds, sore throats…  As well as tinctures and baby butt balm!

Magick Ouchie Cream

1 cups calendula flower

1/2 cup comfrey leaf

1/2 cup chamomile flower

1/2 cup lavender flower

1/4 cup marshmallow root

2 cups almond oil (or whatever you’d like to substitute)

Grated beeswax ( about 1/4 cup grated for each cup of oil)

1. Combine the herbs and oil in a double boiler or a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Let sit, stirring occasionally until the herbs have infused the oil, about an hour.  Strain.  (Or-the longer method, set herbs/oil in glass jar on a sunny windowsill for two weeks.  Strain through a cheesecloth.  Then place mixture in a double boiler and warm for 1 hour over very low heat.)

2. Add 1/4 cup grated beeswax for each cup of oil you now have. Continue to warm until beeswax is melted.

3. Check consistency by placing 1 tablespoon of mixture in the freezer for a few minutes. If too soft, add more beeswax. If too hard, add more oil.

4. Store in small jars or tins.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)

40 Responses to Top 10 Things In My Arsenal of Kitchen Witchy Mama Tricks.

  1. I love it. We have yet to make the total cloth transition, but it is on my to do list for this year.

    As for a fear of canning – it is so so so so so easy. I absolutely love canning. I can tomatoes, sauerkraut, beans, applesauce and pickles every year and I love it. My mom gave me her canning book, which her mother bought for her and both wrote all kinds of notes in the margins. It is falling apart but it is still an amazing resource. I started with a water bath canner and now I also have a pressure canner but I find the water bath one to be much easier.

    • The only non-cloth paper product we still use is toilet paper… I haven’t made the total transition yet, but I am thinking about it.

      I’d love to learn to can. Maybe I should chronicle my efforts in my blog! I wish I had a book like that- what a wonderful legacy to pass on to you!

      <3

  2. I’m so glad you wrote this! I, like Jenn, have been thinking about switching to cloth in lieu of paper towels and feminie care. I know I should do it, I think step one is making my new pads because I already have the fabric, I just need to dust off the sweing machine!

    What type of cloth do you prefer for kitchen clean up?

    Can’t wait for picking season so we can start canning!

    • I prefer the packages of prefolds and flats that you can buy in baby sections of stores like Target, Walmart, etc. They aren’t good enough quality for diapers, but they are perfect for kitchen towels and cleaning! I also recycle my babies old receiving blankets as well as our tshirts, etc.

      <3

  3. I love this!
    I am THERE with Natural Parenting, but I am still working on becoming a NATURAL HOUSEKEEPER! Thanks for giving me some tips beyond ‘wash your hair with baking soda’.

    My goal is to live better with less, and you have given me some new ideas to take me there.

  4. I love this list! We do/use almost all of these things too. Thanks for the post. :D

    Oh, and we use old worn out T shirts for our kitchen clothes – and we call them Not Paper Towels. Family and friends are always willing to pass along 100% cotton Ts that have gotten holes, stains, etc and I cut them to a uniform size. They live in a basket and the kids know where to find them easily.

  5. I have some of the same items in my cupboards and I hear ya on the vinegar – now when I go to my parent’s house and smell their laundry detergent or household cleaners…it’s just too strong for me, too chemically. Thanks for including your recipes, I’m going to try to make my own deoderant (oh, and I *heart* coconut ice cream, a lot!!)

    • I adore coconut ice cream!!! So yum!

      We don’t like cleaning scents either. Even just walking past the laundry/ cleaning aisles in stores makes me sick to my stomach.

      <3

  6. Nice list :) I never believed the vinegar one until I tried it for myself. It really does work!

    I used to use cloth napkins and towels all the time, and then in our big move, we ended up back with disposable ones. I’m in the middle of sewing all our new baby’s newborn cloth diapers . . . after he arrives, I’ll have to make new cloth napkins and towels my sewing priority!

    I didn’t know coconut oil was so useful! I’ll have to try it out!

    • Vinegar is just magick! I love that you are making your baby’s clothdiapers… I’ve always thought about doing that but I’ve never actually sat down and MADE a diaper.

      kudos to you!

      <3

  7. I’m a pretty big proponent of less paper, too, but there are certain things that don’t work as well with cloth: TP, facial tissue, and, as you said, cleaning up various biological items left behind by pets and babies.
    I am curious about the coconut creamer, I have to admit.

  8. These are such helpful, simple things. I’m in love with vinegar and glass jars, too, and we’re trying to transition to more and more cloth. What a bummer that your yard is so shaded — I hope you find a good spot for your garden, or some shade-loving plants!

    Isn’t it funny that sometimes doing things the “hard” way, like hanging your clothes on the line, is actually such a peaceful act?

    • It is a peaceful act! It was almost meditative for me. I miss standing in the dewy grass, in the quiet of the morning, just me and the birds whilst I pin clothes on the line.

      <3

  9. Great list!

    I really want to switch to using towels and rags all the time instead of paper towels — thanks for the extra inspiration. I also want to get a composter — we’ve been composting everything through our yard waste, but I’d love to have it to use in my (soon-to-be) garden.

    I discovered coconut milk creamer last summer because my son is intolerant to dairy (among other things). I LOVE it and I’m not sure I ever will go back to the other stuff. And coconut milk ice-cream is delicious!

    • Coconut creamer is sooooo good! We also use almond milk, the kids prefer to drink it and it works great as a milk/cream substitute in recipes. But I prefer the coconut creamer in my coffee.

      <3

  10. I actually am going to Joanns so I can get fabric for some more cloth napkins. I feel that the ones are silly expensive. I’m so thankful for the sewing machine you gave me.

    As far as magic ouchie cream, is that a neosporin replacement? You have the herbalist intrigued :)

  11. I’m particularly impressed with the coconut deodorant! I have been using coconut oil since my mother introduced me to its awesomness and use both for cooking and as a moisturizer but DEODORANT! Now that is nifty. Going to try it out RIGHT NOW. Kudos!

  12. Is there actually a product designed to be creamer? We are getting ready to go dairy free, and I’ve tried coconut milk in my coffee, but it is super light. I got Silk soy creamer this past week, it’s pretty good but I think I use too much ;)

    • Oh yes- we are dairy free and I’ve tried everything in my coffee. Coconut creamer is the best! I like So Delicious french vanilla coconut creamer the best. :)

  13. Becoming a mother has made me think about all the chemicals I used to use, and I have been able to eliminate most of them from our household. Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

  14. Thank you so much for posting this! Fabulous list, and I can’t wait to try some of the recipes you shared. I linked to you on FB (as Dulce de leche) but wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your post. :)

  15. I love this list. What great ideas. I’m just getting familiar with coconut and I can’t wait to try it as a deodorant. I hate chemicals but I am afraid of the crystal one. Thanks so much!

  16. Woohoo, great list! Love vinegar, and go through a lot of it! We are also mostly into cloth (other than TP and tissues) but we still do use paper towels, mostly for cleaning our cast iron pans. I suppose cloth would work, though — I just don’t want to wash my other clothes in that greasy oily mess! Think it would not be a problem?

    We love coconut oil and all coconut products. My husband has a dairy allergy and I’ve found coconut oil and milk make AWESOME substitutes in most recipes. I’d like to try making our own balms or salves with that or other oils — sounds great!

    Sorry about the lack of garden space! We lived in a place with a mostly shaded yard and it was a definitely a gardening challenge — now its much better. We also were able to get up a clothesline, but so much of the year we don’t get enough heat & sunshine here in Seattle. Laundry is really something I struggle with, and we only have 5 family members!

  17. My vinegar trick: Put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and pour it over the ends of your hair after you shampoo. Rinse it out well. Your hair might smell a TINY bit like vinegar when it’s damp, but I think it fades completely by the time it’s dry. You cannot believe how good it makes your hair feel. It’s AMAZING. I have NO problem brushing it after and it makes your hair SO shiny. TRY IT!

  18. This is a fabulous list! I, too, love vinegar and coconut milk products. Some friends gave us half a dozen young coconuts this weekend and I’m looking forward to trying to make my own coconut milk as that So Delicious stuff is getting pricey! I am so thankful for the recipes you posted here, too! I need to try them both.

  19. This is great–I just have a question about the coconut oil deodorant–how do you actually put it on? I’m so used to roll on or stick–do you form it in into a stick or put it on like a thick powder or….I want to try this, but I can’t quite get my head around that part. Thanks for being so positive and inspiring!

  20. Your recipe for Magick Ouchie Cream contains some really unusual ingredients, afraid I’ve never even heard of comfrey leaf or chamomile flower. Is it different to find these ingredients and where would you start to look?

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