Mommypotamus 2016-12-07T15:26:22Z http://www.mommypotamus.com/feed/atom/ WordPress http://cdn.mommypotamus.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cropped-MP-logo-purple-32x32.png Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[DIY All-Purpose Cleaner With Lemon & Lavender]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=50265 2016-12-07T15:26:22Z 2016-12-07T15:10:01Z “If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, ‘Who could have done this? We have no enemies.”‘” – Phyllis Diller <– That’s my Plan B. Plan A, of course, is to stay on top of the thousand fingerprints that appear on my fridge and the thin layer of […]

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diy-all-purpose-cleaner“If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to the door, greet him with, ‘Who could have done this? We have no enemies.”‘” – Phyllis Diller <– That’s my Plan B.

Plan A, of course, is to stay on top of the thousand fingerprints that appear on my fridge and the thin layer of who-knows-what on bathroom counter with this all-purpose cleaner. Mood lifting, stress-busting essential oils are the superstars of this recipe, but the cheap-yet-effective white vinegar is a close second. Contrary to its humble reputation, vinegar has been found to be effective against a variety of bacteria, viruses and mold. (source 1, source 2)

Quick note: Almost any cleaning project can be tackled with either vinegar or baking soda, which has 20+ cleaning, personal care, and natural remedy applications. However, this dynamic duo needs to be used separately, because they cancel each other out. Vinegar is an acid, while baking soda is a base, so when you mix them together they neutralize each other. They do fizz up when mixed which kids tend to think is pretty cool, but it’s not so great if you actually want to clean things. So, when using this recipe to clean counters, don’t use a powdered scrubbing powder that contains baking soda along with it.

Free download: Lemon & Lavender All-Purpose Cleaner label template

This all-purpose cleaner makes a great housewarming gift, especially when paired with wool dryer balls, homemade beeswax candles, and/or homemade soft scrub.

As a gift for signing up for my newsletter, I’ve created a free label template that works perfectly with these labels and this 8 ounce spray bottle or this 16 ounce spray bottle. You’ll get more exclusive gifts and coupons (I was able to give away a jar of free coconut oil to anyone who wanted it recently!), plus other info and goodies.

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DIY All-Purpose Cleaner With Lemon & Lavender

This recipe will make one 16 ounce bottle or two 8 ounce bottles of spray cleaner.

Ingredients

To Make

Add essential oils and vinegar to a glass spray bottle and shake well. Add water and shake again.

To Use

Shake before using, then spray on surface and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Packaging Suggestions

Dark amber or cobalt blue glass spray bottles are ideal because they filter out UV light, which can damage essential oils.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[6 Sauna Tips For Beginners]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=50310 2016-12-06T19:39:32Z 2016-12-06T17:00:55Z Mayans had the Temazcal – which roughly translates as sweat lodge – while the Japanese have the mushi-buro, Russians have the Banya, and Finns have the sauna. Heat has long been used therapeutically in many cultures, and for good reason. Since posting about the science-backed benefits of sauna bathing and a review of the sauna I chose, […]

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Mayans had the Temazcal – which roughly translates as sweat lodge – while the Japanese have the mushi-buro, Russians have the Banya, and Finns have the sauna. Heat has long been used therapeutically in many cultures, and for good reason. Since posting about the science-backed benefits of sauna bathing and a review of the sauna I chose, I’ve received a few questions about how long one should stay in a sauna and whether or not it’s safe while pregnant or breastfeeding, so I thought I’d put together an intro guide for you.

Quick note: As always, that this is not medical advice and you should always talk to your healthcare provider about any questions you have. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what the research says regarding safety.

According to this study, sauna bathing “is well tolerated by most healthy adults and children. Sauna bathing does not influence fertility and is safe during the uncomplicated pregnancies of healthy women.” However, many sources recommend avoiding sauna use during the first trimester, and the American College of Gynecologists recommends limiting sauna sessions to under 15 minutes. (source 1, source 2)

Regarding  use with children, it’s important to use common sense and evaluate an individual child’s readiness. I wouldn’t bring a very young child into a sauna because they aren’t able to communicate when they need to get out – and really they’re still mastering the task of maintaining homeostasis – however my three-year-old joins me for a snuggle when he feels like it. I’m comfortable with that because he can communicate with me and hop out whenever he wants to.

For breastfeeding, this study concluded that “Far-infrared sauna use is safe and effective for increasing lactation in breastfeeding mothers.”

So who should avoid sauna use? According to this study, contraindications “include unstable angina pectoris, recent myocardial infarction, and severe aortic stenosis. Sauna bathing is safe, however, for most people with coronary heart disease with stable angina pectoris or old myocardial infarction. Very few acute myocardial infarctions and sudden deaths occur in saunas, but alcohol consumption during sauna bathing increases the risk of hypotension, arrhythmia, and sudden death, and should be avoided.”

Since posting about the benefits of infrared saunas last week, I've received quite a few questions about how long one should stay in a sauna and whether or not it’s safe while breastfeeding, etc.  Here's a beginner's guide that should answer some of those question. If you have one not covered, please let me know!

1. Drink dihydrogen monoxide (errr, water)

As I mentioned mentioned earlier, sweating helps to eliminate heavy metals, PCB’s, BPA and other toxins. However, it also depletes our bodies of water and minerals, so we need to replenish both. I drink a glass of water before heading into the sauna, and also take 2 quart-sized mason jars of electrolyte-rich water (and a jar of plain water) in with me to sip on during and after I sauna.

I use my Coconut Lime Electrolyte Drink Recipe (in diluted form) or just water with a generous pinch of sea salt. According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, kale is also a concentrated form of electrolytes, so you can put some in a smoothie after you sauna to replenish electrolytes as well. (source)

So yeah, drink a lot. Except not alcohol. I love my Dry Farm Wines, but saunas and alcohol should never mix. Stick with electrolyte-rich water. (source)

2. Take it slow

Most sources recommend starting with a 10-15 minute session, increasing the time spent as you feel comfortable. I usually spend about 30-40 minutes in my sauna, depending on whether or not my kids game of Memory or Wildcraft is going well. Some infrared sauna studios book sessions up to an hour – that seems to be the generally agreed upon max time.

3. Wear cotton

Breathable, washable natural fibers are ideal for use in the sauna. I prefer a cotton towel, while my kids prefer oversized t-shirts. I also place towels on the bench and the floor to keep the surface of the sauna clean. Once I finish a session, I toss everything in the laundry hamper so that all the stuff I eliminated can be washed away.

3. Wait an hour after a meal

Saunas increase the flow of nutrients (glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and oxygen) via the circulatory system. While it may seem like the perfect time to be pulling in more via digestion, the reality is that digestion gets put on the back burner while the circulatory system ramps up nutrient delivery to the muscle and skin. For that reason, it’s best not to eat a heavy meal right before stepping into a sauna. If I’m hungry I opt for a light snack, then eat when my session is over.

4. Listen to your body

If you feel lightheaded, queasy or off in any way, end your session. It’s not weakness, it’s wisdom.

5. Red light at night

If you’re using the chromotherapy feature, stick with red light at night. Blue light (and possibly other wavelengths on the spectrum) can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it difficult to fall asleep.

6. Rinse and repeat

Take a warm shower after your session to rinse away any toxins eliminated via sweat. By now you should be feeling amazing and looking forward to your next session, so go ahead decide when that will be. 🙂

Got a question?

Leave it in the comments below!

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[25+ Homemade Gift Ideas For Everyone On Your List]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=50250 2016-12-05T17:55:18Z 2016-12-05T17:34:09Z Do you want to make gorgeous, handcrafted gifts without stressing yourself out? Well then, this post is for you! These gift ideas are easy to make, require no special skills, and turn out beautifully. We’ll cover body care gifts like lotion bars, homemade candles and other gifts for the home, culinary gifts like vanilla extract and chai […]

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Do you want to make gorgeous, handcrafted gifts without stressing yourself out? Well then, this post is for you! These gift ideas are easy to make, require no special skills, and turn out beautifully. We’ll cover body care gifts like lotion bars, homemade candles and other gifts for the home, culinary gifts like vanilla extract and chai tea mix, and more.

But first, I have a few tips based on my successes (and failures!) in DIY gift making:

Tip #1: Plan 2-3 projects at the very most

That way you can enjoy the gift making process without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, thoughtfully purchased gifts are a joy to give as well – here are 70+ ideas that cover everyone on your list.

Tip #2: If you can, make plans to sip something delightful with friends and make gifts together

In other words, plan a gift making party. Use these instructions and substitute gift “recipes” for food recipes.

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Body Care Gifts

These ideas will nourish your body {and soul} with wholesome, natural ingredients. Oh right, we are talking about gifts to give away. In that case, make a double batch and reward yourself for your thoughtfulness by taking some time in the bathroom ALONE (if you’re a mom you know what I mean!).

1. Lotion Bars – Luxurious and silky smooth, lotion bars melt slightly when rubbed against the warmth of your skin, leaving a layer of moisture that softens and protects. They are perfect both in the dry winter months and as a summertime after-sun soother. Many people find them especially helpful for dry patches on elbows, knees, feet and hands. I keep one in my purse, another one in a soap dish next to the kitchen sink for after I wash dishes, and a few in my pantry to give away.

2. Lip Balm – This tried-and-true, super easy lip balm recipe moisturizes and protects with beeswax, natural cocoa butter and coconut oil. While it’s very soothing to chapped lips, it’s also light enough to be worn year-round.

3. Calendula “Everything” Salve – Because it’s so versatile, I call this easy formula my “everything” salve. I use it as a face moisturizer, chapped-lip balm, baby bottom balm, owie salve, burn salve and bug bite balm. Makes a great gift for a mom to keep in her purse!

4. Sugar Cookie Body Scrub – Sugar contains naturally occurring glycolic acid, which dissolves old, dead skin and makes exfoliating that much easier. Though I prefer unrefined sucanat for baking, more refined types of sugar work better for exfoliation.

5. Dead Sea Salt Scrub – This Coconut Lime Dead Sea Scrub feels amazing, and it leaves skin soft and dewy. Unlike regular salt, which can be drying, it contains minerals which actually hydrate and support skin health.

6. Vanilla Body Spray – This particular recipe has three different variations: One that blends vanilla with the sweet, tropical aroma of ylang ylang, another that contains a hint of sweet orange, and one that incorporates the rich aroma of coffee.

7. Nourishing Rosehip Face Serum – This blend contains ingredients that support skin repair and renewal, elasticity and firmness, and even skin tone.

8. Salt Glow Face Scrub – This scrub nourishes skin with antioxidants that neutralize damaging free radicals, contains mild hydroxy acids that brighten skin and even overall tone, and minerals which support the body’s natural lipid barrier.

9. Dry Shampoo – This technique for “washing” my hair on days I technically have to skip the suds is one of my favorite tips to share with busy moms. It’s called dry shampoo, and it can transform greasy, lifeless hair into locks that are fresh and full of body. It works by absorbing excess oils on scalp and hair, leaving hair looking freshly washed. It’s good for all hair types: oily, normal, and even dry when used sparingly – and makes a great gift for busy moms. I love giving this gift with a nice makeup brush for easy application.

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Gifts For People Who Love Food

1. Flavored Finishing Salts – Tuck these in a box for a simple and elegant edible gift, or wrap a single jar in brown craft paper with a simple bow. Give as a housewarming gift, wedding favor, or holiday set, but make sure to keep some for yourself as well!

2. Hot Chocolate Mix – Put this mix in a mason jar with some butcher’s twine wrapped around the lid and – voila! – you have an instant gift that just about everyone will love.

3. Chai Tea Mix – Makes a great gift with this monkey tea diffuser or a tea diffuser basket. Free printable gift label included in the post.

4. Homemade Caramels – Softy and chewy, these homemade caramels are made with just 2 ingredients.

5. Homemade Vanilla Extract – Not only is it more delicious than store-bought, homemade vanilla extract is far more affordable. With just a few minutes of your time now and at least six weeks for the extract to ripen, you’ll have amazing homemade gifts that will bring warmth and joy to holiday events and other special occasions. All for a fraction of the cost of other goodies, of course! (Tip: Although it’s ideal for the vanilla to be completely ready when given, sometimes it’s not practical. If the extract needs a few more weeks, I sometimes give it with “Open me on November 1st” (or whatever date is appropriate) written on the tag.)

6. Brownie Mix In A Jar – Though it’s pre-made like store-bought stuff, it’s so much better than a box! I’d like to say the secret ingredient is love, but the fact that it only uses high-quality ingredients like real butter and pure cacao powder probably has something to do with it, too.

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Gifts For The Home

1. Beeswax Candles – Making beeswax candles is SO. MUCH. EASIER. than you probably think!

2. Wool Dryer Balls – They reduce drying time, soften clothes without chemicals, and save money.

3. Lemon & Lavender All-Purpose Cleaner

4. Chalkboard Mugs – These cozy coffee mugs are perfect for the odd game of tic-tac-toe. an inspiring word for the day, or a whimsical doodle.

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Gifts For Men

1. Beard Oil – There’s no Hallmark card for “I want to kiss you every day of my life but your beard is giving me road rash, ” but there is this beard oil.

2. Bay Rum Aftershave – Clean and woodsy with spicy notes and a hint of citrus.

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Gifts For Kids

1. Play Dough – Made with natural dyes found in your kitchen, this easy recipe makes a great stocking stuffer or kid’s holiday gift.

2. Moon Sand – It’s squishy yet crumbly. You can mold with it or smash it to smithereens. Kids love it, and you can make it in under 10 minutes from stuff you already have in your pantry.

3. Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace – Use kid-inspired stamps to decorate this necklace and – if desired – include a bottle of lavender essential oil.

4. Sweet Dreams Tea – This blend contains calming herbs that help kids drift off to sleep gently.

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Gifts For Grandparents

1. Salt Dough Ornaments – A boxed set would be perfect for grandparents, and you can make a few extras as a keepsake for yourself. If someone in your family is sensitive to gluten, you can find a gluten-free salt dough recipe here.

2. Butterfly Footprint Art – Turn your little ones footprints into canvas wall art.

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Miscellaneous Gifts

1. T-Shirt Tote – I like to use this tote as a gift bag filled with candles, my favorite salami, a bottle of wine, etc.

2. Happy Adrenal Tea – This blend contains herbs that help the body adapt to stress and are considered beneficial for all personality types.

Do you want to make gorgeous, handcrafted gifts without stressing yourself out? These gift ideas are easy to make, require no special skills, and turn out beautifully.

Continue Reading...25+ Homemade Gift Ideas For Everyone On Your List

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[DIY Chalkboard Ornaments]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=50232 2016-12-03T16:25:29Z 2016-12-03T16:25:13Z Salt dough ornaments are one of my family’s favorite traditions, but this year in addition to our usual afternoon of painting and sprinkling with glitter, I decided to grab my hand saw and head into the forest behind our orchard. Inspired by this ornament on Amazon (and this one, and this one) and my recent education […]

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Salt dough ornaments are one of my family’s favorite traditions, but this year in addition to our usual afternoon of painting and sprinkling with glitter, I decided to grab my hand saw and head into the forest behind our orchard. Inspired by this ornament on Amazon (and this one, and this one) and my recent education in using my husband’s drill (don’t worry, you won’t any tools), I thought it would be fun to try to make them from scratch.

You see, one day I’ll be sending off each of my little ones with a handmade ornament for each year we trimmed our tree, and I thought it would be especially meaningful if one of those ornaments actually came from the land where we’ve made so many memories – getting snowed in and sledding down Elderberry Hill, finally getting stuff to grow in our garden (after two failed attempts!), catching glimpses of deer in the orchard and building campfires out by the barn just so we can scramble some eggs . . . even though we have a perfectly good working stove in the kitchen. 🙂

So I sawed, and we sanded, and in the end a whole lot of our ornaments looked like they’d been done by a three year-old who needed a nap (because they were), but some turned out quite lovely, too, and I thought you might like to make some as well.

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DIY Chalkboard Ornaments

Equipment

  • Wood slice tags or homemade wood rounds*
  • Black chalk paint (or you can buy these tags that have been pre-painted with black chalk paint)
  • White chalk paint
  • Chalk pen with a fine tip (Optional – use if you’ll be decorating with stencils)
  • Stencils and/or stamps with simple, clean designs – The bird in the photo is a stencil from a local craft shop, the words are handwritten, and the rest are stamps
  • Small paintbrush (If you’re using stamps to decorate)
  • Baker’s twine to hang the ornaments
  • Permanent marker (Optional, but helpful if you want to keep track of which child made which ornament)

*To make the rounds, I used a hand saw to cut a branch down, then cut the branch into small rounds and sanded them with fine-grit sandpaper. Then, after we painted them I drilled holes.

Instructions

Start by painting a large black circle on each wooden round. My littles weren’t quite coordinated to do this step, so I made them some paper “rounds” to practice their stenciling and stamping on while I finished them up. See how they totally followed my suggestion and place the designs within the circles? 😀

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Once the circles have dried for several hours, use a chalk pen and stencils to add your design OR brush a very thin layer of white paint on the stamps you selected and then stamp on your design. If something doesn’t look quite like you want it to, you can usually rinse off the white paint if you move quickly. If there’s a little white paint remaining after you rinse you can dab on a little more black paint and let it dry, then try again with the stencils/stamps.

If you’re working with more than one child, it can be helpful to have them keep separate piles of their creations until you (or they) have had time to write their name and the year on the back – my kids always love hanging up “their” ornaments from previous years!

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Which Infrared Sauna I Chose (And Why)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=50143 2016-12-04T15:01:00Z 2016-12-01T17:15:05Z I live at the end of a dirt road on 40 acres. My definition of luxury is the fact that Amazon Prime delivers here. So when I decided to order a sauna for myself, I seriously considered not telling you about it. It sounds too luxurious, you know? But here’s the deal: When I first […]

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I live at the end of a dirt road on 40 acres. My definition of luxury is the fact that Amazon Prime delivers here. So when I decided to order a sauna for myself, I seriously considered not telling you about it. It sounds too luxurious, you know? But here’s the deal: When I first started reading about the science-backed benefits of saunas, I literally couldn’t shut up about them. Ask my husband.

Here’s how it went:

Husband: Mimi has invited the kids over to play on Saturday afternoon.

Me: Did you know that saunas activate heat shock proteins that have been shown to extend the lives of C. elegans worms by 30%? Also, they stimulate the production of collagen and help the body eliminate xenobiotics and heavy metals.

Husband:  . . . .

Y’all, seriously, I can’t stop talking about it. The more I research, the more benefits I discover, which is why I decided to invest in a Health Mate. Not only did they win me over with their non-toxic materials, responsible sourcing of cedar, and ultra low-EMF heaters, they turned out to be much more affordable than I was expecting.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t pay full-price – I negotiated a deal that is hundreds of dollars off what they usually sell them for, and I talked them into offering you the exact same deal. More on that at the end of this post, but first, here’s why I love my Health Mate.

Crafted With Non-Toxic Materials

Some sauna manufacturers use toxic glues or chemically-treated boards in their saunas. As the sauna warms up these materials off-gas into the inner-cabin . . . not exactly the kind of stuff you want to breathe while you’re trying to detox.

Health Mate’s parent company actually grows and harvests the Canadian Red Cedar they use – it’s durable, maintains its structural integrity in extreme temperatures, smells amazing, and is resistant to bacteria and fungi. It’s also sustainably harvested and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, and as you might expect given their obvious commitment to quality, they use a water-based, non-toxic wood glue as well. (It’s sometimes even used as a pastry glue, although I’ll stick to my homemade buttercream.)

Heats Up Quickly

Yes, this was a real factor for me. It only takes about 30 minutes to heat up, while others take an hour or longer. If my kids are playing well together I can usually sneak in a session if I’m fast enough – an hour is too long!

The short warming time is due to their use of dual wave micron tecoloy heaters. They emit two wavelengths – both mid and far infrared. The far wave heats up the body’s core quickly to produce a detoxifying sweat, while the mid wave penetrates the soft tissue to increase of the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

Low EMF

While some far infrared saunas emit high levels of EMF’s, Health Mate’s patented tecoloy infrared heaters have been third-party tested and validated as very low-EMF – the full test results are available on their website. Finding a low-EMF option was super important to me, and one of the reasons I decided to go with Health Mate.

Also, because I happened to have this EMF meter on hand (I used it to detect EMF radiation in homes when my husband and I were house shopping), I tested mine when it arrived and verified that their lab results are accurate.

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Chromotherapy

Unlikely as it sounds, different light wavelengths effect our physiology in unique ways. As this Harvard Medical School article explains:

not all colors of light have the same effect. Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.

That’s because blue light suppresses melatonin production – a hormone needed to tell our bodies when it’s time to sleep. There is a lot more research needed on the benefits of different color wavelengths, but some are already used in clinical settings. (source 1, source 2, source 3)

When I was shopping for a sauna I noticed that most companies only offer chromotherapy as an upgrade, but Health Mate includes it with each sauna. The chromotherapy feature emits near-infrared light, making this a full-spectrum sauna.

When I sauna at night I use red light exclusively so that I’ll sleep well, but when I do it in the morning I set the chromotherapy feature on automatic so that it slowly rotates through the whole color spectrum.

Emotional Connection

Because of the way its crafted, our sauna feels like a personal retreat. The heated air draws out the scent of Canadian Red Cedar, and the whole room feels emotionally grounding. It’s become a place for one-on-one, heartfelt conversations with both my husband and littles ones  – the kind that is so relaxed you want to slow down and savor it. I’ve also had some amazing moments alone, which is every moms dream, right?

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Energy Efficient

Our farmhouse throws temper tantrums if we use much energy via the circuit connected to my bedroom. I found that out the hard way when natural gas delivery was disrupted to our house and a severe ice storm stranded us. Just plugging a portable space heater in there will blow the fuse, yet I can plug my Health Mate into a regular wall outlet in there and run it with no problem at all. That’s some serious energy efficiency, y’all.

(And yes, if we ever get another ice storm like that, you will find me in the sauna with my kids!)

Best Price

A lot of people don’t realize this, but Health Mate is actually the only U.S.-owned sauna manufacturer.  They make saunas for about 30 other companies – many of which are sold in Europe. Buying from the manufacturer means you get the best price, because they don’t have reseller costs built into their prices.  As a bonus, Health Mate’s parent company actually grows and harvests the cedar they use, so they’re able to offer top quality materials for the best price out there.

Easy To Assemble

Not only are they incredibly well-constructed, Health Mate saunas are crafted so that they can be broken down and rebuilt easily. I know this because I was afraid I’d have to knock down a wall or something to get our sauna out of our bedroom when we move (we’re planning to build at some point). Nope, turns out that some NFL and MLB teams actually take the sauna model I have on the road because it snaps together quickly and easily.

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I snapped a photo of Box #1 while my husband brought in Box #2. We soon discovered that freshly unpacked Canadian Red Cedar smells amazing!

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Snap, snap, done!

Special Pricing Through December 15th

Remember how I told you I got hundreds of dollars off my order, and negotiated the exact same deal for you? Here are the details on that: It’s a group buy special just for Mommypotamus readers, and it’s available now through December 15th. I can’t actually publish the discount because it’s so much lower than their list price, but you can get more info over here.

Also, because a few of you have asked, we got the Enrich II. It’s perfect for two people and comes with a sound system and ergonomic bench that is super comfy.

Click here to get pricing

Continue Reading...Which Infrared Sauna I Chose (And Why)

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[9 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=49375 2016-12-06T19:29:33Z 2016-11-29T16:56:51Z Remember that time I shared a silly pic of my head popping out of an infrared sauna? I’ve since upgraded to my favorite sauna ever, and I’ll share a link to it at the bottom of the post (Go ahead and take a peek if you can’t help it. I’ll wait…), but first I want […]

Continue Reading...9 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

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screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-9-47-21-am-pngRemember that time I shared a silly pic of my head popping out of an infrared sauna? I’ve since upgraded to my favorite sauna ever, and I’ll share a link to it at the bottom of the post (Go ahead and take a peek if you can’t help it. I’ll wait…), but first I want to share with you the reason that I decided to put one in my bedroom and use it nearly every day.

The short version: I am able to burn 500 calories, read a chapter to my littles (they like to visit), take my stress levels down 10 notches, support detoxification, activate heat-shock proteins associated with longevity, and think more clearly in just 30 minutes a day . . . all while sitting down. I feel AMAZING when I get out, and can’t wait to do it all over again.

The long version: There’s a lot of science supporting the physiological benefits of saunas, and that’s what we’re about to dive into. But first, you might be wondering . . .

What is an infrared sauna?

Infrared light, which we experience as heat, is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum. Although we can’t see it, we can feel it in the warmth of sunshine on our skin. The far infrared wavelength – which is what I’ll be focusing on in this post – is highly beneficial, penetrating deeply into tissues to induce a detoxifying sweat.

It’s so safe it’s used to keep babies warm in the NICU, and our bodies radiate it naturally. (source) The warmth of a hug? Infrared heat. The gooey feeling you get when you hold hands? Not necessarily caused by infrared heat, but your hands do in fact emit about 8-10 microns of infrared.

Traditional wet and dry saunas use heated air to warm the body, which means they typically have to be uncomfortably hot to reach therapeutic levels. Infrared saunas, on the other hand, penetrate into tissues directly, causing the body to sweat at a more comfortable ambient temperature.

Sauna Benefits

But why is it so important to sweat? Here are nine reasons:

1. Increases Metabolism

Sauna therapy is sometimes called passive cardio because it raises your heart rate in a way that is similar to exercise, or as this Harvard article puts it, “the high temperatures can drive heart rates to levels often achieved by moderate-intensity physical exercise.”

A 30 minute session burns about 600 calories, says this article in the Journal of the American Medical Association,  while this study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes found that patients receiving far-infrared sauna therapy showed “a trend toward decreased waist circumference.”

2. Detoxifies Heavy Metals, BPA, PCB’s and other toxins

Some people say that detoxing is silly because are bodies are perfectly capable of detoxing without help. While I agree that our bodies are amazing and we have powerful innate detox capabilities, the reality is that:

  • The average person carries about 700 pollutants in their bodies at any given moment. Even babies are affected – a recent study found more than 200 chemicals in newborn cord blood alone. (source 1source 2)
  • Companies are not required to study the long-term health effects of the majority of chemicals they produce, so most don’t. (source)
  • An estimated  30-50% of the American population (myself included) has the MTHFR genetic mutation, which may impair detoxification

Expecting our bodies to manage those factors in addition to naturally occurring heavy metals like lead and mercury leaves is like expecting a housekeeper to keep things spotless with a band of uninvited monkeys living in the house.

Our detoxification systems need support, and there are many ways to go about that. I’ll be discussing several of them in future posts, but one of my favorites is infrared therapy because it requires very little effort on my part. All I need to do is take 20-40 minutes of time to sit and relax  – one of my kids often joins me for about 15 minutes so that we can read a chapter from their current book, then the next one hops in to read their book, etc. while the other kids play just outside the sauna window.

So what does all this have to do with sweating in a sauna?

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick, who holds a PhD in biomedical science, the fact that sweat contains both hydrophyllic (water soluble) and lipophilic (fat soluble) makes it an elimination pathway for a variety of toxins, including:

  • xenobiotics such as BPA (often absorbed through store receipts), PCB’s, and phthalates
  • Arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury

(Source: Sauna Use And Building Resilience to Stress – Also, here are some studies you can check out if you want to learn more : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

One important note: Sweating also eliminates electrolytes, so you’ll need to replace calcium, magnesium and potassium. I use my Coconut Lime Electrolyte Drink Recipe or just water with a generous pinch of sea salt. According to Dr. Patrick, kale is also a concentrated form of electrolytes, so you can put some in a smoothie after you sauna to replenish electrolytes as well.

3. Gorgeous, Youthful Skin

One of the most unexpected – and welcome – changes I noticed when I began using a sauna regularly is how much more refreshed and “glowy” I looked after a few weeks of use.

Far infrared wavelengths increase the production of collagen (which makes skin supple) and elastin (which makes it elastic), and also improves the delivery of nutrients to the skin via increased blood flow.

(source)

Incorporating sauna therapy into my life is one of the BEST things I have ever done for my health. I can increase my metabolism, activate collagen production, read a chapter to my littles (they like to visit), lower stress levels, support detoxification and think more clearly in just 30 minutes a day - all while sitting down.  If you're curious about sauna therapy, here are nine science-backed benefits worth checking out.

4. Optimizes Your Biological Age

We have two ages: Our chronological age (the actual time we’ve been alive) and our biological age, or the rate at which we’re aging on a cellular level.

Most of us have all had the experience of being surprised to find out that someone is far younger than we had imagine — for instance, when an individual we thought was in their late 50s turns out to actually be in their mid-40s,” Dr. Terry Grossman, founder and medical director of the Grossman Wellness Center in Denver, explained for Everyday Health. “And, by the same token, we will occasionally discover that someone is considerably older than we had guessed. The reason for these discrepancies is often because their biological ages are different than their chronological ages.” (source)

According to Dr. Rhonda Patrick,  “Almost all the primary causes of aging have stress at their root. Inflammation is a prime example and in fact it’s been identified as one of the key drivers of the aging process . . . . However somewhat paradoxically, stress isn’t always bad. Short term stress can result in a reduction in long term chronic stress – in other words we can build resilience. This is because short-term exposure to stress can strengthen the cellular response mechanisms in the body to stress. This is called hormetic stress.”(Source: Sauna Use And Building Resilience to Stress)

Exercise is a type of hormetic stress, as is cold stress and – you guessed it – heat stress. Sitting in a sauna creates heat stress, which causes the body to increase it’s production of heat shock proteins, which help repair damaged proteins and protect DNA.

Normally we produce fewer heat shock proteins as we age. However, some people have genetic mutations that cause them to maintain higher production. Specifically:

Centenarians, or people who live to be at least 100, tend to have an increased expression of heat shock proteins – the same proteins that are produced in a sauna. (source)

In another study, researchers found that exposing C. elegans worms to sauna-like conditions – thus producing heat shock proteins – extended their lifespan by about 30%. (source)

Also, the “longevity gene” – FOX03 – is also activated by heat. (source) Just like with heat shock proteins, people with a higher expression of FOX03 genes are more likely to live to 100. (source)

5. Relaxation & Stress Reduction

Our lives are typically full of chronic stress and very little running away from tigers. Unfortunately, unlike short-term stressful experiences, which produce a rise in cortisol and a physical response (such as running away) followed by a reduction in cortisol after the event, our bodies stay in “high alert” stage for hours, days and even sometimes months without a reset.

Our bodies often can’t distinguish life-threatening situations from non-critical situations, and therefore react to everything just in case. That’s a problem because:

When you repeatedly experience the mobilization or fight-or-flight stress response in your daily life, it can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can shut down your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, speed up the aging process and leave you vulnerable to many mental and physical health problems.” (source)

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to renounce civilization and move into a yurt to reclaim relaxation – you can manually reset your stress response. Exercise is one way to do it – sauna therapy is another.

When you expose your body to heat stress, your cortisol levels (an indication of stress) will typically stay the same or even rise. However, when you remove the stress by stepping out of the sauna, they’ll drop almost immediately and set a new baseline that is lower than before. Your body thinks the “tiger” is gone and has reset, leaving you feeling relaxed.

In addition to helping with stress, sauna therapy stimulates the release of “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which is why I feel AMAZING when I finish a session. (source 1, source 2)

6. Soothes Sore Muscles

This is my husbands favorite benefit. Soothing infrared heat penetrates into sore muscles and joints, increasing the flow of nutrients (glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, and oxygen) to the area while removing lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts.

7. Benefits Cognitive Function

Heat stress:

  • Creates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which stimulates neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells) and protects existing neurons from damage (source)
  • Significantly increases norepinephrine levels, a hormone that supports focus and attention. (source)
  • Increases “prolactin, a hormone which encourages the growth of myelin (the insulation around the nerve fibres in your brain), which determines how fast your brain works.” (source)

8. Supports Cardiovascular Health

As I mentioned earlier, infrared sauna therapy is sometimes called “passive cardio” because, as this Harvard article puts it, “the high temperatures can drive heart rates to levels often achieved by moderate-intensity physical exercise.”

“The cardiovascular effects of sauna have been well documented in the past. It lowers blood pressure, and there is every reason to believe that its effects are good for blood vessels,” says Dr. Lee of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (source)

9. Supports Immune Function

According to Mark Timmerman, M.D. of the North American Sauna Society, “During a sauna session, white blood cells increase in the bloodstream, suggesting an elevation of the body’s natural defense against illness.”

Want to see the sauna I put in my bedroom?

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Warming up in my Enrich Mate II. I recommend wearing a towel usually, but if you are going to post a photo on the internet cotton clothes are a good option, too :)

Remember that silly sauna pic I mentioned at the beginning? That was my first go at in-home sauna bathing. It served a purpose, but had some limitations.

Here’s the sauna I use nowHealth Mate won me over with their non-toxic materials, responsible sourcing of cedar, and low-EMF heaters.  It’s like a personal retreat, and alongside my bed it’s literally my favorite thing in our home now. (Don’t ask me to choose between them. It’s just like with children – I love them the same!)

If you want to learn more about it, I’ll be posting a full review along with details on how to get special pricing from the manufacturer.

Continue Reading...9 Benefits of Infrared Sauna Therapy

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Ideas for Men, Women and Kids!]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=31738 2016-12-07T01:59:01Z 2016-11-28T17:23:05Z Who really wants to say “no, we don’t need a rubber gorilla” three hundred times, or leave the line you’ve been waiting in for 45 minutes because someone is doing the potty dance? Not me, which is why I’ll be pointing-and-clicking my way to gifty goodness without ever setting foot into a mall. If you’d […]

Continue Reading...Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Ideas for Men, Women and Kids!

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gift-guide

Who really wants to say “no, we don’t need a rubber gorilla” three hundred times, or leave the line you’ve been waiting in for 45 minutes because someone is doing the potty dance? Not me, which is why I’ll be pointing-and-clicking my way to gifty goodness without ever setting foot into a mall.

If you’d like to skip the crowds, too, here are some gift ideas from my holiday shopping list that you may find helpful. Some are past purchases that I’ve loved and/or given away, and some are on my wish list this year.

gift-guide-women

For Us (The Girls)

1. “Because Kids” Wine Glass – So, maybe your kids never help reorganize your pantry by dumping EVERYTHING on the floor. But some do, and their parents would probably love this glass. 🙂

2. Shhh, Almost, Now You May Speak Mug – For the houses that run on laughter, love, and coffee. I chose these because most of the white mugs are made in China, and I couldn’t confirm that the glaze used was lead-free.

3. Monkey Tea Infuser – Because sometimes it is your circus, and they are your monkeys.

4. Basket Tea Infuser – For strong teas or herbal infusions I prefer this tea infuser because it allows herbs to circulate more.

5. Essential Oil Tote – I keep this small tote in my purse for day-to-day use – the sides are linked with little pockets that hold essential oils bottles. It would pair perfectly with a car diffuser as a gift!

6. Essential Oil Carrying Case – For longer trips, this essential oil carrying case is really useful. Depending on the destination it can be helpful to include oils for immune support, restful sleep (super helpful if jet lag is an issue), sunburns (which hopefully won’t be needed), etc.

7. Tree of Life Diffuser Necklace – Scents are deeply interconnected with our limbic system – the part of ourselves that connects, feels, experiences intuition, inspires and motivates. Essential oils can help to soothe and calm us, or invigorate us and lift our mood. Diffuser necklaces are a beautiful way to experience their benefits throughout our day. I also love this Flower of Life necklace.

8.Essential Oil Room Diffuser – I love the way diffusers can transform a room, whether it’s to make things feel more cozy, or fill the room with the fresh scent of lemon and lavender while I’m cleaning. This is the one I have in my bedroom – you can see it here. I absolutely love it!

9. Essential Oil Room Diffuser – I just bought this one for my living room because it’s gorgeous and has great reviews.

10. Essential Oil Car Diffuser – Oh my goodness, this makes road trips and errand running so much easier with kids!

11. Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolate – I like this particular bar because it’s organic, fair trade and made without emulsifiers.

12.Beeswax Candles – Unlike paraffin candles – which release carcinogens like toluene and benzene into the air– beeswax candles burn clean and bright while releasing a faint honey scent. This candle is handmade with 100% beeswax and will burn for up to 45 hours.

13. Roomba Vacuum – A robot that does all the vacuum cleaning? Heck yeah! This one can be scheduled to clean seven days a week and gets rave reviews for performance.

14. Wellness Mama Cookbook – Why on earth did I order THREE of these for the holidays even though the cookbook won’t ship until the 27th? Because the author, Katie, has arranged for you to get all kinds of amazing stuff to put under the tree along with the card telling your recipient when to expect their cookbook – over $100 in products and coupons. One is a coupon code for $25 off $50 order from Thrive Market. I shop there anyway to save money, so I used the $25 to get a friend three gorgeous candles made with coconut wax and essential oils. There are also essential oil diffusers, personal care gift sets, and other goodies that are about the same amount as the gift certificate. To get all the bonuses, just go to this page after you make your purchase in any store (Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com) and enter your order information for immediate access.

15. Wool Dryer Balls – Yes really, because the best part of the week is the five seconds all the laundry is done! These wool dryer balls reduce drying time so that your recipient can get through each load faster. They also soften clothes naturally.

16. Konjac Sponge Set – Made from a root vegetable, this sponge gently cleanses and exfoliates delicate skin, making it perfect for use on the face or with babies. I love this set, which includes one plain sponge and one that has been blended with activated charcoal, which is helpful for detoxing skin and keeping it clear.

17. Adult Coloring Book – Coloring isn’t just for kids! In adults, it can help with relaxation and creativity. I’m buying this book for several family members this year. Don’t forget to include some colored pencils!

18. Lotus Wood Skin Brush –  This dry skin brush is abolutely amazing for skin. It comes with a bonus pair of exfoliation gloves, too.

19. Real Plans Membership – Know anyone who could use a personal assistant in the kitchen? It’s WAY more than a meal generator or menu planner, it’s a personalized experience that takes your schedule into account, knows your dietary quirks, and even delivers a shopping list to your phone so you never forget anything. Did I say you? I meant your gift recipient. Or you, if you need an assistant, too! Check out my video tour of Real Plans here.

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For The Dads, Brothers & That Guy Who Drinks All The Egg Nog

1. Honest Amish Beard Balm – Made with organic and natural butters and waxes + wild crafted essential oils, it softens and tames beard scruff while making it smell yummy.

2. RTIC Tumbler For Hot & Cold Drinks – Very similar to a YETI, but more affordable. The one I linked to has over 6,400 five star reviews on Amazon!

3.DefenderShield Phone Case – Independently tested by the FCC, this phone case uses conductive, non-conductive and advanced absorption shielding materials together to block, divert, and absorb EMFs, Radio Frequency (RF) and heat radiation.

4. Shiatsu Foot Massager with Heat – I bought this for my husband for his birthday and he LOVES it! I borrow it a lot, too. 🙂

5.Bulletproof Coffee – It’s processed and stored in a unique way that reduces mycotoxins, which many people react negatively to. Add in butter, Brain Octane or coconut oil, and grass-fed gelatin for a rich, creamy treat. Find it here.

6. Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat – This model works on the neck, shoulders, lower back, thighs and calves.

7. Gourmet Habanero Sauce – This stuff is so good I order it by the case!

8. AVE Meditation Device – My husband started using this device to help him “rewire” his brain after an injury, and it was so helpful we invested in one.  It uses light and sound to guide the mind toward alpha waves (for relaxation), beta waves (for energy and focus), theta waves (for creativity), or delta waves (for sleep). Here’s my full review. (Quick note: When I use these at night I wear the meditation glasses over my blue blocking glasses because I”m weird like that.)

9. Mentioned below but GREAT for guys: Blue Blocking Glasses

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For People Who Love Sleep (My tribe!)

1. Blue Blocking Glasses – Computer screens, t.v.’s, phones and even regular light bulbs emit blue light, which the body perceives like sunlight. Blue light exposure after sundown can suppresses the release of melatonin, which disrupts our bodies process of preparing for sleep at night. My husband and I used to wear these glasses, but they scratch easily and made the screen look a little fuzzy when we tried to watch movies. We now use the ones in this guide – they’re much more comfortable and crystal clear for watching movies. I find that I fall asleep easier on the nights that I wear them.

2. Magnesium Flakes – Magnesium helps to relax achy muscles, mitigate the effects of stress, and calm the mind by supporting the production of the neurotransmitter GABA. This study also suggests that magnesium may improve sleep quality by increasing melatonin levels and decreasing cortisol levels.

3. Pillow and Mattress Topper from intelliBED (or a mattress) -After years of looking for affordable non-toxic bedding, I’ve finally found a company I love. Best. sleep. ever. Read about what makes them different here, and make sure to use the coupon code MOMMYPOTAMUS  to save 10% on your entire order.

4. Wakeup Light – Our circadian rhythms – which orchestrate the ebb and flow of cortisol and melatonin – are tied to light and darkness. This wakeup light simulates sunrise in your bedroom, which helps your body synchronize it’s internal clock (which is often dysregulated due to blue light at night, etc.) so that it know when to produce the hormones which produce energy, and when to make the ones that help us drift off to sleep.

5. Blackout Curtains – In order to avoid the problems associated with too much blue light at night, we need to do more than cover our eyes. We now know that our skin senses light in ways we used to think only the eye could, so light can disrupt our circadian rhythm even when we’re wearing a mask. Blackout curtains are a much better option, and they don’t just come in black.

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For People Who Love Good Food

1. Dry Farm Wines – This is hands down the healthiest and best collection of wines I’ve ever tasted. Every wine they make is grown with organic practices and doesn’t contain added sulfites or other ingredients that are commonly used (like sawdust and food coloring, ewww!), and each batch is virtually sugar-free, containing less than 1g/L of total sugars (including fructose and glucose).

2. Instant Pot 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker –  If you’re not familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s basically a programmable pressure cooker, crockpot/slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker in one. Unlike other products with iffy glazes or non-stick surfaces, the inside of the InstantPot is stainless steel. (Phew!)

3. Ceramic Waffle Maker – Finally, an electric, teflon-free option!

4. Chemex Glass Coffee Maker – This year I retired my French press after tasting coffee made with the Chemex. It’s much less acidic and more smooth, and there’s literally no plastic involved. Don’t forget filters!

5. Kombucha Brewing Kit – For all things kombucha, my friends Hannah and Alex of Kombucha Kamp are my “go to” resource.

6. Veggie Spiralizer – For making zucchini pasta and other veggie pastas

7. Stainless Steel Food Dehydrator – For making jerky, fruit roll-ups and yogurt, and also drying fruits and herbs

8. Portable Glass Tea/Fruit Water Infuser Bottle – I like that this one comes with a stainless steel insert and a protective sleeve.

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For Teens

1. Charcoal Soap With Bonus Konjac Sponge – This gift set can be very helpful for teens with acne prone skin.

2. Pure Plant Mint + Vanilla Wish on a Star Coconut Wax Candle – Made with coconut wax and essential oils

3. Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet With Gray Strap

4. Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet With Black Strap

5. Amazon Gift Card – Because Amazon has just about everything!

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For Kids

1. Olive Kids Sleeping Bags – My kids love to “camp” inside, which is why I was thrilled to find these sleeping bags that have not been treated with chemical flame retardants.

2. Buddha Board –  This is basically a “Zen Etch-A-Sketch” that allows you to paint and then watch your art fade away like disappearing ink. My daughter selected this as her souvenir on a trip and it was such a hit.

3. Magna Tiles – These were an investment but my boys love them and play with them for hours on end each week.

4. Small Glass Perfume Spray Bottles – I pour a little vodka and a few drops of essential oils in these to make my daughter “perfume.”

5. Q&A a Day  -Ask your kids one fun question every day for a year and write down their responses. Then the next year, you ask them all the same questions and see how their responses change as they grow.

6. Wildcraft Board Game – As I mentioned in this IG post of my family playing, Wildcraft teaches about edible and medicinal herbs. Also, the players increase their chances of winning when they help each other. That’s a perspective on success I can get behind!

7. Mushroom Growing Kit – The kids get a fascinating look at the natural world, and you get edible mushrooms. Win win!

8. Chronicles of Narnia Audiobook – This version from BBC Radio is my kids absolute favorite. Hard copies range in price from $45-400 (yikes!), so we downloaded it and put it on my husband’s iPod, which is now basically my daughters iPod. It’s loaded with classics that she listens to when we’re running errands and around bedtime.

9. Gorilla Gym – I learned about this indoor gym from Katie of Wellness Mama. Or actually, my kids discovered it at her house and had some serious fun with the swing. It’s such a great way to keep kids decompress during the winter months when it’s too cold to go to the park.

10. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? – This book explains that everyone – grandparents, friends, siblings, etc. – has a bucket in which they hold good thoughts and feelings. It talks about how to be a BUCKET FILLER and discusses “bucket dipping” – or trying to fill our buckets by making others feel bad – and why it doesn’t work long term. Such a simple concept but I know it’s going to help my kids “get it” at a deeper level.

11. Kids Cook Real Food eCourse – A clutter-free gift with no shipping, and at the end someone makes dinner instead of you? Yep!

12. Piggy Paint Nail Polish – Free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, Bisphenol A, ethyl acetate and acetone.

13. Indoor Tent – My kids love to “camp,” so a family friend made them a beautiful tent using fabric and wood. Here’s another option.

14. Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide For Little Inventors – I bought this book for my kids a couple of years ago. It’s more than a project book – though it does contain a lot of fun ideas. It’s a guide to creating an atmosphere that encourages creativity, exploration, and innovation. It doesn’t provide a lot of picture-perfect “final” shots that will leave kids insecure if theirs don’t look the same. There is gorgeous photography for sure, but most of it focuses on enjoyment of the process.

15. Imagine Childhood: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination, and Play – 25 Projects that spark curiosity and adventure – On my list for this year!

16. Gorgeous Memory Game – Vibrant colors and nature-inspired scenes.

17. Ocean Science Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts – This award-winning box includes eco-friendly activities that promote art, science, imaginative and active play.

18. Rainforest Science Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts – Like the one above, this award-winning box includes eco-friendly activities that promote art, science, imaginative and active play.

19. What happens to your food? – My kid love this colorful flap book about the “food tube” and digestion.

20. Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelet – I like this kind more than others because the oil is on the outside of the bracelet rather than touching the skin.

21. Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace

22. The Kings Equal – This is one of my favorite fairy tales, because there’s a twist at the end that reveals a different kind of beauty and wealth.

23.  I’m ordering several books from this article: 29 books to read your kids if you want them to be kind and brave. The article doesn’t link to the actual books, so I’ve included links below to the ones I chose . . .

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Gag Gifts

1. Eat Grub: The Ultimate Insect Cookbook

2. Egg Separator 

What's on your holiday list this year? Here's a peek at mine! :) There are 70+ options to cover everyone - I've included links to gifts I've bought for family/friends, items on my wishlist, and a few things that are just awesome.

Continue Reading...Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Ideas for Men, Women and Kids!

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[22 Baking Soda Uses for Cleaning, Personal Care, and Remedies]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=49984 2016-12-07T01:58:47Z 2016-11-28T16:21:54Z Operation Deep Clean for guests is currently underway at my house, which means I’m glamming it up in sweatpants and dumping baking soda on everything. Okay, maybe not dumping, but certainly using it in every room. Not only is natural and non-toxic, it’s cheap and it WORKS. I even use it in my personal care products […]

Continue Reading...22 Baking Soda Uses for Cleaning, Personal Care, and Remedies

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Operation Deep Clean for guests is currently underway at my house, which means I’m glamming it up in sweatpants and dumping baking soda on everything. Okay, maybe not dumping, but certainly using it in every room. Not only is natural and non-toxic, it’s cheap and it WORKS. I even use it in my personal care products and home remedies.

Here’s how I use it . . .

Cleaning With Baking Soda

1. Make a soft scrub – This all-purpose version makes sinks, tubs and counters shine

2. Use it as scouring powder – Mix one cup baking soda with one teaspoon cream of tartar with 10-15 drops of essential oil (if desired – I prefer citrus oils like lemon and orange) and sprinkle over sinks, tubs and countertops. Scrub with a moist sponge and rinse with water.

3. Freshen and deodorize carpets – Mix one cup baking soda with 18-20 drops essential oil (if desired – I like lavender and frankincense) and sprinkle over rug. Allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes, then vacuum.

4. Remove rust for cast iron cookware

5. Deodorize garbage cans – Sprinkle a little in the bottom of the can before placing a fresh bag in to keep odor under control. If a deeper clean is needed, mix one cup of baking soda in one gallon of hot water, then pour it into the bottom of the can and allow it to soak overnight.

6. Soak funky sponges – Fill a mason jar with hot water and stir in 3-4 tablespoons baking soda. Soak for an hour, then rinse.

7. Deodorize stinky shoes – Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 2-3 drops essential oil (if desired – I use lavender or tea tree) and sprinkle inside the shoe. Allow to sit overnight, then take them outside and shake them out before wearing.

8. Make your oven look like new – This method requires more elbow grease than store bought brands which use solvent, but you can rest assured that it doesn’t fill your kitchen with noxious fumes. You’ll need 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup vinegar and water. Mix 1 cup of baking soda with water until you have a spreadable paste. Remove oven racks and place them in the sink to soak in hot water. Using a damp sponge, spread the paste throughout the inside of the oven, avoiding the vents. Turn on the oven to 200° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the door open. Let the mixture work for about half an hour, then pour the water out of your spray bottle and pour in 1⁄4 – 1/3 cup vinegar. Spray the entire surface with vinegar and allow to bubble up. Dip your sponge in the remaining vinegar and scrub all surfaces. Use fine steel wool on tough spots if needed. Rinse and wring out your sponge when it gets gunky, then dip it back in the vinegar and continue to wipe away grease and grime. Once the oven is clean wipe it down with water and dry with a soft cloth.

9. Keep your clothes hamper smelling fresh – Place baking soda with a few drop of essential oil (if desired) in a sachet and toss in the bottom of the hamper.

10. Use as a toilet scrub – Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 8 drops lemon or tea tree essential oil (if desired) and sprinkle into toilet bowl. Allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes, then scrub.

11. Clean your toothbrushes – According to The Children’s Oral Health Institute, you can add 2 teaspoons to 1 cup of water and soak your toothbrushes to clean them effectively. (source)

12. Deodorize your fridge – Place a box in the fridge to absorb odor.

13. Absorb litter box odor – Place baking soda at the bottom of the box to absorb odors.

14. Deodorize lunch boxes/bag – Sprinkle lunch box/bag and allow to sit for 30 minutes (or overnight), then rinse.

15. Freshen Fido’s bed – Mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 8-10 drops essential oil (if desired – I like lavender and frankincense) and sprinkle over rug. Allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes, then vacuum.

16. Clean a scorched pot/panFollow these instructions.

17. Remove stains from coffee and tea mugs – Sprinkle a little baking soda inside the cup and scrub with a damp sponge. Voila! Like new again.

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Personal Care

1. Brighten up your smile with this tooth scrub – I use this recipe about once a week to keep stains from building up. (Turmeric powder is also amazing for whitening teeth.)

2. Homemade Deodorant – Here’s my original recipe, and here’s my sensitive skin formula.

3. Exfoliate – Wet face with warm water, add a teaspoon or two of baking soda to your palm and add water until it forms a thick paste. Gently massage in circles over your face, avoiding the eye area. Rinse and follow with a toner to restore pH balance.

Natural Remedies

1. Soothe a sunburn – This remedy is recommended by Seattle Children’s Hospital.

2. Relieve itchy bug bites – Make a paste with baking soda and water and dab on bites to neutralize the itching.

3. Because I know someone will ask, yes you can add baking soda to water and drink it to ease heartburn symptoms. However I’d personally avoid that approach – here’s why, and this is what I’d do instead.

Did I miss anything?

Continue Reading...22 Baking Soda Uses for Cleaning, Personal Care, and Remedies

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Black Friday Deals For Natural Living]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=50061 2016-11-25T17:28:08Z 2016-11-25T03:02:38Z So, pants. They’re just not happening today. I have a date with my pj’s, an eggnog latte, and some of my favorite online shops. Because parenting is hard enough without circling a parking lot for 45 minutes to find a spot, then rushing inside to find a potty for two small children only to discover a line out the […]

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black-friday-dealsSo, pants. They’re just not happening today. I have a date with my pj’s, an eggnog latte, and some of my favorite online shops. Because parenting is hard enough without circling a parking lot for 45 minutes to find a spot, then rushing inside to find a potty for two small children only to discover a line out the door, right?

If  you want to skip the lines, too, here are some deals on some of my favorite healthy products. Also, if you need more inspiration, my 2016 Holiday Gift Guide has 70+ ideas to cover everyone on your list!

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Okay, back to the Black Friday deals!

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Skincare & Oral Care

Crunchy Balm is offering 25% off plus free shipping with orders over $50. Tallow is uniquely compatible with our skin’s biology, leaving it supple and nourished after use. My friend Emilie makes the best whipped tallow balm I’ve ever tried. It smells amazing, she’s carefully formulated the essential oils in each blend to be safe for use on the face and with children. I’m using the Sweet Girl blend right now and I love it.

10% off your entire OraWellness order plus a free specially designed Bass toothbrush with every bottle of their HealThy Mouth Blend – I use it to brush with and add it to my homemade tooth powder and oil pulling chews.

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Supplements

Just for you guys, Perfect supplements is offering 45% off their products for Black Friday. That’s 35% on all Perfect Supplements products for everyone, plus an additional 10% off for Mommypotamus readers with coupon code MOMMYPOTAMUS10. I use and love their grass-fed gelatin, hydrolyzed collagen (gelatin that can be dissolved in cold liquids), dessicated liver and anti-oxidant rich Revive blend. While the sale is going on I think I’m going to order their fermented kale because it’s an easy way to get extra greens in during the winter months.

Ease Magnesium Spray is 20-55% off – My kids used to run away when I tried to spray them with magnesium unless it was heavily diluted, then we found Ease. It’s a different form of topical magnesium that we’ve found doesn’t burn/itch like other forms.

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My Favorite Non-Toxic Bed

After years of looking for affordable non-toxic bedding, I’ve finally found a company I love. Best. sleep. ever. Now through Monday they’re offering a free adjustable base or $1000 discount when you purchase a mattress from their therapeutic line, and $750 off Gel Elite mattresses. Read about what makes them different here.

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EMF Protection

DefenderShield is offering 15% off plus free shipping on their cell phone cases, laptop shields, and tablet shieldsUse coupon code SuperSale16

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Non-Toxic Cookware

Xtrema Cookware is taking 25% off everything in their store, with some categories up to 30% off. Their products can go from stovetop to oven to table, then straight into the dishwasher.

I won this 14 piece cookware set in Firebrick red at a real food conference (pictured above) and I love it, but there are some awesome limited edition sets available this weekend that look good, too. Each cookware piece is free of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals – here are the published test results on their website. You can check out all of Xtrema’s cookware and bakeware here.

Kitchen Storage

Radiant Life is offering 15% off all food storage items – use coupon code FOOD at checkout.

Ebooks

All of my ebooks – DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes, and Nourished Baby – are 50% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY16.

Plus, the ebook mentioned in this post on probiotic myths – The Mother’s Guide To Probiotics – is 50% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY16.

Amazon Deals

512maahr88l-_sy679_One of the items from my shopping list – this RTIC tumbler – is currently 29% off.  Very similar to a YETI, but more affordable. The one I linked to has over 6,400 five star reviews on Amazon!

 

 

71-ak79nv1l-_sl1500_Instant Pot Pressure Cooker – I know a lot of you have been waiting for this to go on sale – it’s 47% off right now! This is the 7-in-1 vs. the 6-in-1 that sold out yesterday. I have it and I love it!

 

 

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Masala Chai Tea Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=49434 2016-12-06T20:46:17Z 2016-11-17T12:43:55Z Make tea. Take first sip. Help kids find shoes for 45 minutes. Finish cold tea. Sound familiar? Well then, you’re going to love this masala chai tea recipe! Infused with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, fennel and peppercorns, it’s absolutely delicious both hot and cold. Most people probably tend to prefer one or the other, but I […]

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Make tea. Take first sip. Help kids find shoes for 45 minutes. Finish cold tea. Sound familiar? Well then, you’re going to love this masala chai tea recipe! Infused with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, fennel and peppercorns, it’s absolutely delicious both hot and cold. Most people probably tend to prefer one or the other, but I usually get to experience both with just one cup. 🙂

Unlike my adaptogen chai tea recipe – which incorporates herbs that help the body adapt to stress – this recipe is true to blends found in India. Masala chai literally translates as “spiced tea,” so it’s no surprise that it’s full of rich, full-bodied spices that fill the kitchen with a delightful aroma when brewed.

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Free download: Masala Chia Tea label template

This chai tea mix is easy to put together and makes a delicious gift for teachers, friends, grandparents, co-workers, neighbors, and whomever else you want to make smile. Put it in a cute mason jar and voila! You have an instant gift that just about everyone will love.

As a gift for signing up for my newsletter, I’ve created a free label template that works perfectly with these labels. You’ll get more exclusive gifts and coupons (I was able to give away a jar of free coconut oil to anyone who wanted it recently!), plus other info and goodies.

How To Package Chai Tea To Give As A Gift

For this project, I filled two of these 4 ounce jars using the recipe below. A tea infuser is needed to brew this chai, so I often include one like this with the tea.

chai-tea-latte-recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
How To Make Chai Tea Mix
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons hulled cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon chips
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns (I like to use red and green to add a little color)
  • 7 tablespoons loose black tea
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and spoon into a clean jar. (Or jars, if you're giving the mix away as a gift.)
5.0 from 1 reviews
Masala Chai Tea Recipe
 
If giving the chai tea mix as a gift, include the instructions below.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon chai tea mix
Instructions
  1. Place one tablespoon of tea into a tea infuser. Steep tea in ¾ cup hot water for 5-7 minutes, then remove tea leaves. Add ¼ cup milk and sweeten to taste.

 

 

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