A friend of my sister suggested that I do a little Q&A time to let people ask questions. So here it is! If you aren’t on the mailing list (where I sent out an email asking for questions), you can join here. I had fun answering everyone’s questions!

Gardening

1 | Where would you suggest someone start on gardening especially if they have a small space or live in the city? 

A great place to start is with greens. They are usually very easy to grow, and they work in all sorts of climates. Anything from lettuce to kale, collards, spinach or swiss chard. They are all great to have on hand for any meal, and if you are a big salad eater like my family is, you will save a lot of money just by growing greens. Another great place to start is tomatoes or peppers. They are expensive to buy organic in stores, and they do great in containers on your porch or deck.

2 | When is your next gardening class?

Hopefully in the fall! Since we just moved I don’t have a summer garden in, but if I get one in for the fall, I’ll definitely be doing a class.

Food

1 | Do you have suggestions for freezing food besides plastic freezer bags to minimize waste?      

I usually use glass. I store liquids such as lemon juice in mason jars, but just be aware you won’t be able to use the jars for canning in the future once they’ve been used for freezing. For other foods, I use glass pyrex dishes. Not the most efficient way to store food, but it does keep plastic and disposable bags out of my home.

2 | Do you juice, and if so, how?

We do juice. We go through phases of how much we juice, but in the past we’ve done it several times a week. We usually juice before breakfast. A book we read was, “Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life.” It’s been about 5 years since I’ve read it so I don’t remember all of it, but it helped us get started on our juicing journey. We just have this juicer right now. It’s quick and easy to clean which is essential for us trying to get 3 kids ready each morning. One day, we’d like this juicer, but it’s quite pricey.

3 | What’s your monthly budget for food?

We budget $500 for 4 of us (I don’t count the newborn yet). I can do as little as $400, but that is pushing it for me. I wrote an article about eating healthy on a tight budget HERE for my friend Kezia at The Whole Food Diary

4 | What do you use instead of a teflon pan for cooking food?

I wrote a blog a while back on how to detox your kitchen for under $100. One of the ways was to buy a cast iron skillet. This is my favorite one. We use a cast iron skillet at least 3 times a day. We LOVE cooking on them.

5 | How do you eat 100 percent organic when eating out or at a friend’s house without offending? Or how do you navigate that?

We rarely eat out, but when we do, we pick healthy places. Chipotle is a favorite of ours, because all their food is non-GMO. We have one sit down restaurant we eat at regularly, because they serve organic, local food. When we go to friend’s house, I just mention that we only eat organic meat and dairy, and I ask if they’d like me to bring a dish, because I don’t want them to go out of their way to accommodate us if it’s inconvenient or expensive. I don’t want to offend people, but I also won’t compromise on eating non-organic dairy and meat. 99% of people who have us us know how we eat, and they go out of their way to make an organic meal. I never ask people to. I think they just value our family, and because of that they want to honor what’s important to us.

Detoxing Your Home

1 | Lots of people asked about detergent and laundry…

I use Allen’s Naturally. I get it here, because they seem to have the lowest price after shipping. I’m very happy with it and have been using it for year. You can also check out EWG’s website for other detergents that rank well on their scale of “safe” detergents.

As for touch stains, I just don’t worry about them. I never buy my kids white or light colored clothing, and my husband and I don’t have any either. Mostly this is due to us living on a farm, and they would just get way too dirty. I know this isn’t the most helpful answer for some people… sorry about that! I wouldn’t use bleach though if I was trying to get stains out. I’d look into finding some other safe alternative.

2 | What bedding do you recommend?

I recommend mattresses and pillows from Mulligan’s Mattress in Portland, Oregon. They make them from 100% rubber from a rubber tree. It’s where I get my mattresses. Another option for pillows is down. The only problem I have with down is that some down comes from live plucked birds. Meaning, the birds were still alive and they were plucked. It is a very cruel practice. IKEA has committed to sourcing their down from non-live plucked birds so they would probably be a good place to get down pillows from.

I also use 100% organic cotton sheets that are ideally un-dyed. I like to buy the “natural” color, because it’s the least likely to be dyed with toxic dyes. If your sheets smell when you get them out of the package, take them back. They most likely have chemicals on them probably from the bleaching and dyeing process.

3 | Where would you recommend I start on detoxing my home?

I wrote this article a while back on the Dirty Dozen of your home. It’s 12 places I would start for beginning to get chemicals and toxins out of your home.

4 | Do you have recommendations for safe brands for back to school items for kids?

I have a few, but I wish I had more! I like this company for lunch box and storage type items. This company has good non-toxic craft type items such as play dough and crayons for kids. A good thing to think about is what will come in direct contact with my kid’s skin? So backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. I don’t worry as much about. But things like markers (they are bound to get some on them), finger paint, food storage, etc. I put a little more money and effort into finding safe options.

5 | How do I get mold out of my shower without using bleach?

As a house cleaner for 15 years, I have a few tricks. If the mold is showing up on your tile grout, you probably need to reseal your grout. I’m not sure if there is a non-toxic way to do this or not. If you don’t have grout, but have mold other places, I use Mr. Clean magic sponges. They do wonders for getting grime off tough spots that normally you’d need bleach for.

6 | What does the bentonite clay in your toothpaste recipe do?

Here’s a great article by Wellness Mama on the benefits of bentonite clay.

Parenting

If you didn’t already know it, my husband is a children’s pastor. That being said, he is great with kids! We’ve been very intentional with our parenting. We are coming out with a parenting book this fall/winter so if you are interested, keep an eye out for that!

1 | What is quiet time and how do you do it?

I had several people ask about quiet time, and what’s funny is I planned on blogging about it next week. Yes, I do get 1 full hour twice a day all by myself. I do this by having my kids do “quiet time” in their rooms each morning and afternoon. It is by far my FAVORITE thing we do as parents. It benefits us (the parents) and our children in so many ways. If you can’t wait until next week to learn more, my husband and I did a 30 minute Facebook live video about it. On his public figure page, go about 10 rows down in the video section. You’ll see a pic of me and him and it’s labeled as “sorry this video is sideways at first…”

2 | How do you handle comparison among siblings?

I’m actually not sure! I haven’t had to deal with this yet. Sorry I’m not much help on that one.

3 | Do you ever deal with “mom guilt?”

Yes! But I intentionally stay away from that feeling, because it doesn’t do me any good. There are days I end the day feeling like a did a bad job with the kids… was too short with them, had a bad tone with them, got frustrated, didn’t play with them at all… if I need to, I apologize to them for not being the best me. Most of the time though, I might spend a moment figuring out what caused me to act the way I did. Maybe I didn’t give us enough time to get ready to leave so I was frustrated that it was taking so long. I look at what caused the problem, and I figure out if there is something I can change. I also intentionally forgive myself. I’m not perfect, but I need to realize I am a good mom… it’s okay to make mistakes!

The “Other” Questions

These questions didn’t really fit into one of the categories above…

1 | How does your husband feel about your passion for health and a healthy life?

He loves it! My husband is quite passionate so if anything, he is more passionate about it than I am. I am just the researcher and the “do-er” so I’m the one learning a lot and making it happen in our home. But he absolutely loves anything having to do with health. He watches documentaries and reads books along side me. Many of the conversations in our house revolve around health!

2 | What does a typical day and week look like for you?

Fun question! I work from home and I’m a stay-at-home mom so much of my day is spent at home. I usually get up 5-6am. Feed animals and get ready for the day. Kids are up at 7am, and it usually takes us an hour to get everyone dressed, fed, and chores done (making bed, etc.). Around 9-10am my kids go to quiet time and I work for an hour. We run a small business, and I’m the admin and book keeper for it. The kids and I usually spend a good part of the day outside. They are usually playing, and I’m usually doing some kind of work… in the garden, cleaning up flower beds, etc. In the afternoon, they do quiet time again which is when I get another hour of work in. We make dinner around 5pm, and I usually only take about 20 minutes to make dinner. We do healthy but not fancy! We all usually go outside again in the evening and just play and hang out. I’m a do-er so much of my day is spent getting things done… whether it’s for our business or just work on the farm. I am NEVER bored! Lol! There are always things to do around our house.

Mondays are my husband’s day off so we try to plan something fun. Tuesdays – Fridays are pretty much what I wrote above. My kids are both in gymnastics so we do that once or twice a week. Saturdays are usually farm work days. I can’t say we get a ton done around the farm… having three small children limits the amount of work you can do, but we do our best to do some things! And Sundays my husband works all day, so me and the kids do our best to make it to church then back home for them to play and to get some work hours in.

3 | What is a good contraceptive besides birth control?

My favorite book on this is “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.” It’s all about how to chart and know when you are ovulating. Charting, when done correctly, is actually more effective than birth control.

That is it! Thank you all for your great questions! I had fun answering them. We will have to do this again sometime in the future.

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