Friday, July 26, 2013

A Summer Surprise...Oregano Anyone?!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  We are having a VERY busy & fun summer here in the Lee household.  It seems each day is packed full of work (dehydrating, learning to can, cooking from scratch, fermenting, baking, etc.), yet is so much fun... and educational too!!

One morning when I was walking back into the house from our garden, I noticed a big long stick on the ground... you can imagine my shock when that stick started slithering... YES, a SNAKE... and yes, I was slightly (okay, VERY) terrified!!  The 2 1/2 foot long snake was in between the 2 doors that go into the back of our house, so I felt trapped unsure of which door to go into.   

Eventually the snake slithered closer to one door & I quickly went in the other; but only to get my camera because I knew I needed to find out what kind of snake it was, not just for educational purposes as I was concerned if someone got bit we'd need to know what type of snake it was. 

Oregano, anyone??
According to my trusty friends, Google & Wikipedia, it was a common garden snake & much to my relief, non-poisonous.  While a snake bite would still be scary, at least I knew that should the snake actually be a resident in our yard and a kiddo accidentally step on it (I almost did that myself) & ** gulp **, get bit, there would not be the added trauma of having to worry about being poisoned.  Whew, what a relief!!

The Lee kids & I watched the snake for a bit (once I knew it wasn't poisonous)... I snapped some more pix... it was so fascinating to watch it slither around the yard, in our oregano, & then finally make its exit away from our presence... God's creation is amazing!! 

My children know that whenever an opportunity presents itself, such as the snake in our yard, we turn it into a fabulous learning experience by reading books (the kids LOVE to read... all.of.the.time!), researching, oral or written reports, etc.  We have some neat science books, "I Wonder Why" & the kids LOVE to read them... we even have an "I Wonder Why" book about snakes, which was quite appropriate for the occasion.  The only downside to the kids reading so much, if you could call it a downside, is that I am quite often finding them around the house, which isn't bad unless you stub your toe or slip on them (not good, trust me on that one!!). 

Hey, my kids always wanted a pet snake, so there you go!! LOL  Not quite what they had hoped for, but for me it means no clean up, feeding, etc. involved.. win, win, no?! 

 How is YOUR summer going??  Have YOU ever found a snake in your yard??  I have never seen one that was not a pet or in a zoo, so I was quite taken back.  Do YOU like snakes and/or other creepy crawlies??  How is YOUR summer going??  What are YOU doing this summer??

Saturday, July 20, 2013

REVIEW: Tinnitus Miracle by Thomas Coleman

I am both honored & excited to tell you about the e-book, Tinnitus Miracle, by Thomas Coleman.  While Thomas Coleman is not a doctor, his book is jammed full of well researched information.  He not only gives ideas of things you can take to try to lessen or reverse tinnitus (certain vitamins, herbs, etc.) NATURALLY, he also tells why & what their functions are, as well as discusses a possible dietary connection for some people.  There are so many ideas & things to try to combat tinnitus listed in this book, I feel a renewed sense of hope in reducing or eliminating my own tinnitus.

I have found that just because someone doesn't have M.D. after their name doesn't mean they can't be highly educated in something.  I know I personally know more about breastfeeding than 80-90% of doctors, nurses, & other health professionals.  No, I am NOT Mama Lee, M.D., but I have spent years researching, talking to others, & also learn from my own experiences over the past several years. 

Most people will not even give a backward glance to any advice, ideas, etc. from anyone but an M.D., which I find very sad because there is so much information to be had in our age of technology.  I have also found that quite often there is no better source of information than someone who has walked your walk, and didn't want to just settle for popping pills or giving up.  Sometimes there is no amount of schooling that can compete with that. 

This book is the result of someone else's quest for answers outside the box... from someone else who wanted not to just put a band-aid on his affliction by popping some pills and calling it a day.  Meet Mr. Thomas Coleman! 

Tinnitus Miracle was a FANTASTIC read!!  It is also an easy read because it flows & it just makes a whole lot of sense.  I felt like Mr. Coleman was speaking right TO me & ABOUT me in some paragraphs.  He surely understands tinnitus & has some incredible information to share about it.  This book is very in depth, yet not dry in the least bit.

Since reading his book, Tinnitus Miracle, I have been trying some of the things he mentions in his book.  I will also be trying more things as time goes on, if one of the previous things I've tried doesn't make a difference.  My tinnitus is more complicated than straightforward tinnitus as I have other auditory issues, but I do feel renewed hope after reading this excellent book!!

It is priceless to have so much information in one resource.  This book is a compilation of several years of Mr. Coleman's research & experience while on a journey to cure his own tinnitus.  If you or a loved one suffers from tinnitus, this is a MUST read!!

Do YOU or a loved one have tinnitus??  If so, what have you tried to combat it??  Have you lost hope??  Well, you can recharge your tank & find oodles of fantastic information in this book!!  I look forward to sharing my experience with using the natural supplements, etc. discussed in depth in Tinnitus Miracle. 

Have YOU read Tinnitus Miracle??  Check out the testimonials & the site for more information!  It is on special for $37, & is normally $69.99.

Mr. Thomas Coleman provided a copy of his e-book for my review.  My unbiased review is based upon my experience with it, & was not influenced by any outside factor.  I have not been compensated in any way for my review.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap How-To

I have been making my own liquid laundry soap now for about 4-5 years & I LOVE it!!  Not only is it super cheap, but doesn't contain anything scented.  So while our laundry may smell boring, it is perfect for us not to have a mama with a giant headache from the chemicals, fragrances, etc.  It is also very low sudsing, which is perfect for an HE washer, whether top or front loading. 

Everyone in our house, minus Mr. Lee, has sensitive skin.  Right before I made my very first batch of homemade detergent all of those years ago I had purchased a bottle (a very EXPENSIVE bottle too!) of a big name "natural" detergent that was supposedly free of this & free of that.  Well, wouldn't you know that everybody but Mr. had rashes; those who wore cloth diapers & those who didn't as well, so it wasn't "diaper rash."  It was HORRIBLE!!  For 3 days I walked funny so I wouldn't be in agony if my skin rubbed together... & for 3 days I had to apply salves, breastmilk, etc. to my own skin & to the Lee children's skin as well.

After that whole fiasco was over, I was left w/a tiny $14 bottle of HE detergent that I wanted to chuck out of a window or something.  I was at a loss because I had no idea what to do... that detergent was supposed to be the best I could get locally being fragrance & yada-yada free, and that was kind of affordable.  I can't say it was even in our budget because I felt like throwing up spending $14 on a tiny bottle of detergent that was going to last for MAYBE a month... YIKES!!  So after the rashes broke out, I surely felt ripped off, frustrated, & quite angry!

I got on the net & found many homemade laundry soap recipes.  I read site after site, recipe after recipe.  While they all may vary a bit with how much water to use, or how much Borax or washing soda, if they do contain both of them, the recipes are all generally the same.  I did experiment once by adding lavender essential oil, but it only scented the soap in the bucket for a few days & then the fragrance was gone. I never could detect any scent to our laundry, so I omitted that part because it was pointless & wasted money.

There are varying brands of soap bars called from from castile, to Ivory, to Fels Naptha, & so on.  I find Ivory to work best for my family because the fragrance is very subtle, it doesn't irritate our skin, & it is FRUGAL!!  Need I say more?!  Oh, another BIG plus is that it rates decently on EWG Skin Deep's database for safety.  While it does score a three, & 1-2 is a better range, I am very happy with a 3.  The score of a 3 comes from the unknowns associated with the fragrance used in Ivory original.  Since my family is very sensitive to chemicals & we don't react to Ivory, I am at peace with my decision to use it in our laundry soap.

Even though this laundry soap is VERY frugal, I can't see spending $4 on ONE bar of a name-brand castile soap if I don't need to.  If the need ever came for me to switch brands, I would get a bar of castile soap though.  I also keep reminding myself just how chock full of chemicals laundry detergent is & I have no problem using Ivory... especially when I think of that horrible rash we all endured after using detergent & that we have only had one rash since when on vacation & I hand washed our clothing in a tiny hotel sink with a bar of hotel soap (loads of fun being on.vacation & having a rash on your legs, thighs, stomach, etc.... not!!).

After just writing about the castile soap I decided to check EWG Skin Deep for the score on a bar of more frugal castile soap, Kirk's.  The score is either zero (if unscented) or a two (if scented).  I wasn't aware that there is a scented & an unscented version, so I am actually going to check into that as the bars are a about $1.15-1.25 per bar at Wal-Mart when I saw them there a while ago.  If I can get the bar with a zero score, I am willing to pay more for a bar of castile soap versus a bar of Ivory, if it is a reasonable price.  Every bit I can affordably cut down on toxins on our skin, in our home environment, etc., I do so; this is one area I may be able to do so even further.

This recipe is SO easy peasy.  Some people complain that the soap grating is a big pain, & some people don't mind it.  Now don't leave any hate posts if you don't like grating (LOL), but I honestly don't mind it.  It goes pretty quickly & is far easier than shredding cheese with a hand grater (we always shred our own cheese to avoid the chemicals, like cellulose, in shredded cheese, so I am familiar with shredding by hand).  I imagine you could use a food processor with a shredding blade, but I just assume not to have to wash it all out, which in my opinion, would take just as long, if not longer, than shredding the bar soap by hand.  I have read of some people using liquid soap instead of bar soap shreds, but I can't tell you how much to use, etc.

The washing soda is popping up at more & more stores these days.  It is sold at several Wal-Marts, grocery stores, mom & pop stores, etc.  It is made by Arm & Hammer, like baking soda, so be sure not to confuse the two.  If you absolutely cannot find WASHING soda, you can make it by simply baking some baking soda.  However, running the oven to make your own washing soda is not as frugal as buying the box of ready made stuff for just under $4.  But again, if push comes to shove, you will still save money making your own laundry soap, even if you make your own washing soda & have to run your oven to do so.

For me to buy the ingredients it costs about $15 w/tax.  I spend about $4 per box of washing soda, $4 for a box of Borax, & $4.50 for an 8 pack of Ivory soap bars.  If I save the ingredients for the laundry soap only, they will last about 18 months, possibly 24 months and even then I may have bars of soap left over.  I find we typically go through a 5 gallon bucket of the laundry soap every 5-6 MONTHS, so it lasts quite a long time... FRUGALITY for sure!!


1 bar of soap, your choice (Ivory, castile soap, Fels Naptha, etc.
1 C washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 C borax
5 gallon bucket

Soap shreds

  1. Shred the bar of soap
  2. Add the soap shreds to a small amount of hot water in a sauce pan
  3. Simmer until all of the soap shreds are dissolved
  4. Add the dissolved soap to the 5 gallon bucket
  5. Add a gallon or so of water
  6. Stir in the washing soda & borax until dissolved
  7. Fill almost to the top of bucket with water, leaving room to stir it without spilling (trust me on this one!)
  8. Stir it all up & put the lid on tight so no littles get into harm's way
  9. Let sit overnight or longer (10-12 hours is probably enough... possibly even 8 or so hours would be enough)
  10. Open the bucket & stir it up good (there will be a big mass of what is like a very thick gelatin in the bucket once it sets along with some water around the edges of the mass so you want to combine the two as best as you can)
  11. The mixture after filling the bucket to the top the rest of the way with water.
  12. Pour some of your laundry soap into a smaller jug, container, etc.

VOILA!!  That's it!! 

To use it, shake the smaller container before use to combine the laundry soap gel with the water again, & then use 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup per load in an HE machine (I use 1/2 cup unless something is REALLY gross... like pukey towels or clothing... then I use a full cup, just because I like to be extra sure, not that I actually NEED a full cup, but I feel better using a full cup.. you know, because MORE is better!! LOL).  Be sure to shake the smaller container before each use. 

Do YOU make your own laundry soap??  If so, do you make power or liquid??  Do you used shredded bar soap or liquid??  If liquid, what kind & how much??  If you haven't made it, will you give it a try after reading how easy peasy it is??  Be sure to come back & tell me if you make it!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


First of all, I hope everyone had a fabulous Independence Day!!  We spent some time w/family & had a wonderful day, didn't get eaten alive by mosquitoes, no fireworks went off in anybody's hair (happened to me when I was a kid when someone let a child have a firework.. nothing illegal or anything like that, but still... NOT smart, eh??), no sunburn, etc... great time in my book.

So today I was out with my children (minding my own business) & getting everybody loaded into our vehicle after a quick run into a store.  I was busy unloading my cart, buckling kiddos in, helping one w/an owie get the seat belt to fit properly, etc.  I had to literally smoosh my head & upper body over an extended weight car seat (the kind of seat that is really tall for kiddos who are too young & /or too short for booster seats using just an adult seat belt... so there was NOT a lot of room for me to reach over it) to reach into the back seat so I could assist my one child... (talk about a bad hair day after that! LOL). 

I thought I heard someone honk their horn, but my head was smooshed against the ceiling there was all kinds of rustling in my ears from rubbing against the van ceiling & my long hair was in my face (I couldn't SEE anybody, so I just went on about my business because I needed to get the AC running STAT & be on my way).  Oh & add to that a toddler who was protesting about her shoes or something like that AND a baby who was MAD at the world to be in a car seat (hates the car seat!)... so it was quite a noisy vehicle!  I think I was also struggling to breathe because a human body just doesn't contort well like that... LOL.  Did I also mention it was near 90 degrees outside?!

Anyway, after I managed to free my wedged upper body & head that had previously been hanging over the car seat into the back seat with sweat dripping off of my forehead, some lady decided it was the perfect time to YELL at me!?!  WHAT?!  I was seriously taken back by her... what on earth was her problem?!  There I was just minding my own business trying to make sure everyone was buckled up properly... doing what I SHOULD have been doing... & she started yelling at me... she said something about me being rude.. yep, rude.  Know why?!  Apparently my cart was about 8-10 inches into the parking space right next to me and she wanted to park in THAT one space.... there were at least 6 other OPEN spaces CLOSER than that spot too, but she wanted THAT one for whatever reason.  If she REALLY wanted it she could have honestly gotten in the spot with no issue without ever having to say anything to me at all, as there was truly enough room to go around the cart. 

I had one of those carts with the double kiddie seat on the front of it where the push handle is, so it was quite long.  I was very careful to line it up parallel to the back of my vehicle to it wouldn't block drivers from driving down the row to find a parking space & had no idea it was sticking out into the parking space next to me.  I thought it was out of everyone's way, but I am guessing it must have rolled a bit when I grabbed the car seat, shopping bags, my diaper bag, etc. out of the cart... so THAT makes me a RUDE person?!  Eeeeks!!  How about a HUMAN being?!

I tried to apologize & explain to the irate lady that I was struggling to get everything in the vehicle, everybody buckled, etc.... I tried to appeal to her compassionate side & said that I had kids crying, again with sweat pouring off of my forehead... but she responded with, "Not MY problem!!"  Uhm, gee, did I say my children were a PROBLEM?!  Uhm, actually I did NOT!!  My children are NOT nor have they ever been, a problem... but RUDE people in parking lots ARE... no, I didn't say that to her because I knew I'd better just keep my mouth shut... not to mention I had several little eyes watching me & wanted to be the best example I could be for them... trying my best at showing them what TRUE compassion, mercy, & grace are all about.  It was just not worth it.

As I walked to return the cart to the cart return a guy who had heard the whole confrontation said to the lady,"There is a whole PARKING LOT of spaces lady; pick a SPOT & have some COMPASSION!!"  

I thanked the man for being so kind, not that I needed a cohort, but it was so nice to feel like someone ELSE thought she was off her rocker too.   

Apparently THAT didn't set so well with Mrs. Attitude though because as I was getting into my vehicle she rolled down her window yelling at me more from the parking space right next to me... she then decided that yelling at me wasn't enough so she flipped me the bird!!  Yes, right in front of my children she flipped me the bird!!

I responded with, "What a CLASS act!!" and her senior citizen (not being snide... she was probably in her 80s) mother retorted, "You KNOW it!!"   

WOW, seriously?!  If there was something that could make me want to give a tongue lashing back, THAT was it.  It is one thing to say things to me ALONE, but to just verbally & visually attack me in front of my kids?!  Uhm, that just doesn't go over so well.  I took a VERY deep breath, said a VERY quick prayer for strength, & oddly enough, I was able to maintain my composure & just pull out of my parking space.  Not that I don't believe God has the power to quell anger, but rather that I LISTENED to Him as fast as I needed to... LOL. 

I am far from perfect & that has sometimes been reflected in my responses to whatever is being thrown at me in the heat of the moment... I am trying SO hard to slow down & let my mouth catch up with my thoughts... AND to NOT let my thoughts be filled with vengeance to begin with.  It's a day by day process, but I passed the test today!!  I hope I am as wise tomorrow... & the next day.

Have YOU had any parking lot run-ins??  If so, what were they over??  Do you think you'd have yelled at someone or just found another spot??

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!!  Thank you for reading & I wish you a safe, happy Independence Day!! 

Please share my blog with others & be sure to leave comments to let me know you were here.  It is very encouraging to know others are reading!!

<3 Mama Lee <3