Locally Made Body Wash and Lotion for Sensitive Skin

I know there are many families dealing with sensitive skin and eczema. You will enjoy this post.

Recently, I was contacted by a local mom to inform me about a new product line in the High Country. Wild Mountain Ash is a globally inspired, locally formulated essential body care. My oldest daughter has extreme sensitive skin and we are not able to use any perfumes or “nice smelling” products on her. You can imagine our reaction when we heard about Ashley Furman, Pharm. D concoctions for sensitive skin.

Wild Mountain Ash

There are two concoctions, Safi and Abhaya. My daughter really enjoyed the smell of Safi. She has been using the Safi body wash for about a week and half and in her own words say, “it’s so refreshing.” In the description on the website, Safi essential care products are formulated with gentleness and restoration in mind. The clean scent balances the delicate and the sensual, while smoothing and soothing skin. The purity of the oils in this formula evoke a sense of modesty and the sweet kiss of salty ocean air. The big amazing news is she does not break out with this scent. Do you know how many products we have tried for her? Also another bonus is the scent stays with you unlike other body washes. The bathroom door will open after my daughter is done with her shower and the scent begins to fill the house. It is glorious and refreshing. Yes, I will admit I will walk by her to just smell her skin. It truly smells that excellent! Both the body wash and lotion will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. My daughter is happy to finally have a product that has a scent that will cooperate with her skin.

The Abhaya is a scent that I find theraputic which is exactly how Ashley describes this scent. The Abhaya products are formulated to rejuvenate and soothe. The calming and uplifting essential oils meet to balance your mood and provide therapeutic, warming moisture to your skin. Created with ingredients that clarify skin and improve elasticity, Abahaya is the perfect choice to relax your body and mind.

All products can be found at Boone Drug on King Street. Ashley uses natural bases and essential oils in all her concoctions. It is safe to say, your skin will thank you for applying these products to your body!

Why I Buy Local

I am very impressed with the support that High Country residents give the local merchants here in Boone and the surrounding areas.  Wow, it seems to me like a local business wonderland.  After living in three other states, two of which were considered rural areas, I don’t feel like I have experienced so much love when it comes to supporting one’s local economy.  With that said, I just might be preaching to the choir, but for those new to the area, vacationing, or just haven’t gotten into the habit of purchasing goods from local merchants allow me to speak my case.

Let me start out by saying that I am in no way opposed to capitalism. Many of the large corporate names in the area add quite a few jobs.  And even though common household names like Walmart aren’t by any means my favorite place to shop and I’m sure would never be my favorite place to work common corporate names do employ lots and lots of people in the area allowing them hopefully purchase from local merchants.  I believe that small businesses should be enabled to grow as their owner sees fit to lead them.  Isn’t that one of the great things about America?

The first reason that I buy local is probably a no brainer, but the food is amazingly fresher than purchasing it in any grocery store around.  You are getting a better taste, way more nutritional value, fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness and not under ripened so that it will eventually arrive to you ripe.  Plus, many local farmers reduce or don’t use pesticides, growth hormones and harmful chemicals on their produce and animals.  This is all happy and fabulous news to a health nut myself.  I am one that drowns myself in more than enough information with it comes to the harmful side affects of some of that junk in the foods we purchase.  Plus, any products or other items I buy local I know are pure and handmade with love and care.

Another great reason would be building relationships.  I love getting to know my local farmers.  I get excited when I can visit the farm of the one who grows my food.  I love purchasing goods from those whom I know and I can build a relationship with.  I love it that I can appreciate their farming practices and the art that they practice.  I feel as though we are all artists in one form or another and I love to appreciate the trades of these individuals.  I love it when I know where my food comes from and that the farmer’s practice humane farming techniques.

It is a support of our local economy.  Being a business owner myself, I hope that as I support local business owners they will also support me as well.  Support of our local economy can not be outsourced.  It is an important part of our mountain lives and I hope to help keep in business those whom I’ve grown in relationships with, who support me as a business owner and who take pride in the work that they do.  I hope this may even enable them to grow their businesses as they desire so that they might also hire local individuals as well as help me grow my business and employ others in the future as well.

I love buying local and there are so many wonderful places to do it in the area.  Don’t miss out on stopping by local farmer’s markets, local restaurants, Green Mother Goods, Blowing Rock Produce Provisions, and other local hot spots.  Next time you are in need of something, anything to support your lifestyle make sure you consider a local merchant first!

Tools for a Green Clean

Tomorrow, my baby is going to be 3 weeks old.  Just where does all that time go?  Granted, it’s only been three weeks, but it feels like just yesterday that I had her.  You know that if 3 weeks goes that fast than 30 years is going to just fly by.  Eeek!

My husband and I have been facing the challenge of being family-less here in the high country.  We are transplants that moved here a bit over a year ago so that my husband could take a job.  Our families lives hours and hours away, 10-15 hours away respectively.  After two weeks of sitting around holding my baby I just couldn’t stand it anymore and I have had the urge to give my house a drastic deep clean.  Is nesting possible after the baby is born? I have been going crazy wanting to clean this place!  9 months pregnant isn’t the most optimal time to give your house a deep clean, especially when you have two other little ones to chance around.  And, unless you have some serious nesting urge chance are pretty good that the house is not going to get any cleaner before that baby comes.  So, now it is time to get my house sparkly clean.

There are a few tools to help green and deep clean my house that I have been dying to purchase.  Do you have any deep clean green tools that you love?  So, last night I decided that it was time to make the plunge and just purchase some highly reviewed green deep cleaning tools.  Here are a few that I hope will be my favorite green cleaning tools ever:

MUkitchen MUbamboo Dishtowel, Moss – This dishtowels made from bamboo are environmentally friendly, super absorbent, and fast drying.  The fast drying is supposed to eliminate bacterial growth in the towels.  Since our kitchen towels have been around since the birth of our marriage I believe it is time to get some new ones.  There are great reviews on these so i’m excited to green my kitchen with some new towels.




Full Circle FC09200-3C Flip Loofah Sponge, 3-Pack – I really don’t like purchasing the cheap sponges.  They seem to get musty and moldy smelling so quickly.  I am excited about these sponges because they are completely biodegradable and they have a sponge side and a scubber side.  Since we have been using the same reusable paper towels for over a year, I’m excited for a little switch.



Skoy Eco-friendly Cleaning Cloth (4-pack: Assorted Colors) – I happen to love this little product.  These are the reusable paper towels that we have used for quite some time.  They make less waste and they absorb so well.  If you want to disinfect just throw them in the dishwasher or in the microwave for a few seconds and voila!  You won’t be disappointed!




Full Circle FC11126 Lean and Mean Scrub Brush – I desperately need something to scrub the bottom of my bath tub.  I believe this brush will do the trick! It boasts of a comfortable handle and tough bristles, quick drying, and prevents bacteria build up.  I can’t wait to try out this green ditty.




 How do you give your house a green super clean?  Do you have tools or products that you love to use on a regular basis?

Is Joining a CSA Right for You and Your Family?

Even though I am all about purchasing everything local, I still have my doubts about joining a CSA at least for my family.  There are many families out there that are part of them that love them, but as for us I have decided to opt out of joining one for this summer.  If you have never been part of a CSA and are teetering on the fence hopefully this article can help you navigate if a CSA is right for you.  But, before I get started here is a  question that I know there are a few people out there asking.

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Typically when you participate in a CSA you take part in a share.  You are supporting a local community farm by ultimately purchasing in bulk along with everyone else.  Often times when you join a CSA you get a box of food on a weekly basis.  Sometimes the frequency is less depending on the farmer and the product.  I’ve been part of both a meat CSA where the farmer provided a bi-weekly mix of chicken, beef, and pork as well as a fruit and vegetable CSA where the farmer provided a weekly box of a fruit and veggie mix.  Generally you get whatever is in season at the time in your box and don’t know ahead of time what you will get.


  • You are in Full Support of a Local Farm – By joining a CSA you ensure that you get the bulk of your produce from a local farmer and contributing to your local economy.
  • Organic Foods on the Cheap – Often times those in a CSA get priority and if you can eat all the food you get you are often saving a little money over farmer’s market prices.  Although you may be able to find many of these fruits and veggies in the store for less you are often still saving money if you like to purchase organic on a regular or full-time basis.
  • You Get Foods that are in Season – You get foods that are in the prime of their freshness and literally picked from the vine often only the evening or day before you get your produce. You can’t get much better nutritional value than that.  Often times when you are purchasing food from the grocery store it has come miles and miles before you get it and had to be picked early so that it won’t over ripen before it reaches you.
  • You Often Get a Large Box of a Variety of Foods – If you and your family are into trying new dishes and new veggies you will love a CSA.  Often times you will receive vegetables that you may have never before eaten or that you have no idea how to prepare.   Unless you ask the farmer you may not even know what they are.  It was a challenge and fun for me to be able to figure out new recipes and how to try out a veggie.  If you purchase a full share you also get a rather large box.  Depending on how large your family is and how much you can eat or put away this can either be a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Grocery Shopping Done For You – It is nice to just go pick up your box and not have to do all the supermarket shopping.  Ah, I really enjoy much of my grocery shopping done for me!


  • It’s a Large Box – My family consists of me, my husband, and my two little kids.  The box was much too large for us.  And at least half my family is picky eaters so it was extremely hard to conquer the box.  It might have been nice to split the box with another family so that it could all be enjoyed.  It pained me to have to throw away things, but it didn’t always keep well if it was put away.
  • There are a Variety of Foods – Often times I was experimenting with new recipes to find that I was the only one willing to eat them.  Not only is this a complete bummer and a waste of food, but it felt like a lot of work for one person to eat what they’ve cooked.  I love eggplant but my family can’t stand it.  So whenever I’d get an abundance of egg plant there was no way that I could eat it all.
  • Money Waster – Although I love supporting local agriculture I don’t have the money to purchase a CSA and not use all the goods.  Sometimes being part of a a CSA last summer did waste our money.  Often times I could cook the foods to everyone’s liking and I was the only one trying to stuff away all the veggies that we had been blessed with.
  • Hard to Meal Plan – If you are trying to save money meal planning like I am it is very hard to do so when you don’t know what fruits and veggies you are going to get.  I feel as though I was scrounging for recipes at the last minute to please my family when it was rather hard to do.

I want to encourage you to examine both the pros and cons of a CSA and see which option fits your family.  Right now I believe that we are not going to participate because it just won’t get eaten, and I will once again be trying to conquer the CSA box.  Until then you will find me on Saturday mornings shopping the local farmer’s market as much as I can.  I really do love buying local and want to support local businesses whenever I can!  But, I also like making sure our money is always put to good use.

What about you?  Are you part of a CSA or not?  I would love to hear your thoughts on being part of a CSA in the comment section below. 

April Weekend Events: Cold Weather – Another April Fool’s? 04/13-15

Don’t put away those winter clothes yet! Just when we thought we were in the home stretch of Spring weather, we’ve been hit with cold weather! It kind of seems like this might be another April Fool’s day or week. I just hope that our plants and trees aren’t hurt by this culture shock of shivering temperatures!

Regardless, there are some super fun things to do this weekend that will get you out and about. So come on and join me for High Country happenings from Movies and Music Festivals to Home Shows, Bike Rallies, and ummm, wait for it……..Tweetsie’s Season Opening. There’s some kind of fun for everyone!



This Weekend at Regal Cinema…

Now Showing:

  •  Mirror Mirror NEW! PG

Visit www.regmovies.com for more info or call 828-262-3330.


On Friday…


Get all aboard for the 55th season’s opening of Tweetsie, right here in Blowing Rock this Friday, April 13th from 9am – 6pm, and open later at night for special occasions. This Wild West adventure theme park offers a variety of fun for the whole family including Wild West action throughout the park and on the Train, fun Rides, Shows, Panning for Gold, special guests such as a Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine, and Dora the Explorer, even seeing animals at the Deer Park Zoo located within the park. Right now, season passes are available for a limited time. For more info on the park and the schedule of shows during the season visit their website at Tweetsie.com or call 877-TWEETSIE (877-893-3874).



Feel Good and feel Groovy at the Earthtones Music Festival  this Friday, April 13th from 2-8pm located on Duck Pond Field at ASU. This free festival is part of the celebration of Earth Month, learning about how to live “Green” and about Sustainable Energy & Businesses. There will be lots of music and local bands performing such as the festival headliners Nomadic, The Inverted Sea, Funk Pro’s Supatight, Bluegrass-Folk outfit The Major Sevens, Folk Singer/Guitarist Brian Swanson, and Country-Rockers, The Blue Ribbon Boys. Along with music you’ll find local vendors and businesses that include Caravan Botanicals, a natural& organic soap shop, Green Mother Goods, selling organic cotton clothing & fair trade gifts to local art and more. A portion of vendors’ proceeds does go towards helping the college and will benefit ASU student organizations. For more info visit their Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/386813151348924/.



On Saturday…



Go check out what’s new at the 10th Annual Home Sweet Home Show, this Saturday, April 14th from 9am – 4pm. As the High Country region’s largest 1-day Home Show and sponsored by High Country 365, Main Street Marketing, and Ashe County Homebuilders, there will be something for everyone from Furniture, Shoes, Health & Beauty items and much more! If you are Renovating, Building, Landscaping, or making your home more beautiful, this is the place to find great 1-day specials. Register for amazing Door Prizes worth over $7000, and great food from Daniel Boone Inn.  For more info call Charles Bateman at 828-964-0684 or email at charles@highcountry365.com.



On Sunday…



Head on over to have some fun with the 3rd Annual Spring Bike Rally, this Sunday, April 15th from 2-5pm. Sponsored by the BAC or Boone Area Cyclists and App State Cycling Team, the event will be held at the Watauga Swim Complex Parking Lot and adjacent Greenway. There will fun Games for Kids and Adults alike, along with Group Rides and Clinics on Bike Safety, a Training Wheel Clinic, Bike Handling and Riding Safety, and Bumps and Jumps, and more. For more info visit their website at http://www.booneareacyclists.com/.



Take a look and experience the Broadstone Festival this Sunday, April 15th from 3-7pm out at Broadstone in Valle Crucis. University Recreation of ASU is putting on this event to help get the community familiar with what all Broadstone has to offer with it’s facilities and programs. It’s an afternoon of Fun, Music, Games, and of course yummy Free Food, all the while touring the area for Meeting and Retreat spaces, Recreation activities, which include the Alpine Tower and Challenge Course. Come have some adventure. For more info visit their website at www.urec.appstate.edu, or call Dave Hutchison at 828-262-2100.



Have a Fun and Safe Weekend!


***Make sure to visit our Online Stores at www.timespasttoys.etsy.com , our NEWEST website www.timespastwoodentoys.com, and www.dailycrossdesigns.etsy.com for our Wooden Toys and Home, Business, and Garden Decor.

You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter under http://www.facebook.com/TimesPastToys; and as a follower @TimesPastToys; and at http://www.facebook.com/dailycrossdesigns and as a follower @dlycrossdesigns.

Hope to see you soon!

Here is a current item being offered: For a Special Easter Treat ~ From our Times Past Toys & Daily Cross Designs Online Stores, here is our new Spring Lil Country Church Birdhouse with Stained Glass WindowsOnce in a while, you happen upon a truly beautiful sight way out in the Country! That’s what this reminds me of, a Spring Lil Country Church Birdhouse with Stained Glass Windows. So bright and cheerful, it will liven up your day and your little Bird friends too! This sunny Church Birdhouse with hand-painted beautiful flowers is sitting a top a grass green colored wooden base and a Steeple to match. Perfect for Sparrows, Chickadees, Finches, Swallows or Wrens, it can also be used in your home decor. Both Decorative and Functional, this Birdhouse has a screw in the bottom that can be loosened for easy cleaning purposes. Can be mounted on a post or a tree, or hung from a nail or rope, whichever you fancy! Made for Interior or Exterior use. All materials made from Reclaimed and Recycled Wood. Painted and/or Stained with Safe, Non-Toxic Paints and Stains. Measures – approx. 8 1/2” Length X 4 1/2” Width X 10 3/4” Height. $23.00

We are now offering our Toys and products packaged for your convenience.

Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs

Are you dyeing Easter eggs this year?  Did you know that typical Easter egg dyes are made of petroleum based ingredients?   You probably aren’t planning on taking a big bite out of the egg shell, but many times those ingredients will still end up on your eggs.  Though I don’t want to gross you out or ruin your Easter fun, it is something that you want to consider when using store bought egg dyes.  The use of petroleum based products is getting increased recognition for research indicating that they causes cancer and Easter egg dyes are only of many sources that petroleum finds its way into our food.

Easter Eggs

You might not have even thought about all the natural colors and dyes that are probably sitting in your refrigerator right now.  There are many foods that give off the most glorious colors that you might want to consider when you are dying eggs this Easter instead of reaching for the store bought synthetic dyes.  You probably won’t even have to take an extra trip out of the house, and you may not even realize that these God given beautiful dyes are just sitting there waiting to be a glorious color for your Easter egg creations.

Many juices, fruits, veggies, and spices can make lovely colors for your Easter eggs.  The application on the egg shell will depend on what type of food you are using.  Be creative and feel free to dream up your own colorful creations.  This can be a fun experiment to get the kids involved to figure out what foods might be best to color your eggs.  Have lots of fun using my suggestions below or dream up your own  brilliant sources for egg color and try them out!

Remember with many of these colors the longer you soak the darker the colors will be. There are a couple of ways to dye these eggs you can boil the eggs along with some of the fruits, veggies, or herbs listed below or you can boil the fruit, veggie or herb, strain it, allow it to cool, and set your egg in the cooled water to soak up the dye.  When an item needs to be boiled to bring out color I’ve listed boil with eggs in parenthesis below.  Some dyes such as the grape juice or water added to the frozen blueberries you can simply sit your eggs in to soak up the color.  Have fun!




Beat juice


Red onion skins (boil with eggs)


Spinach (boil with eggs)


Purple Cabbage (boil with eggs)
Grape Juice
Frozen Blueberries
Frozen Blackberries


Lemon or orange peel (boil with egg)
Yellow onion skin (boil with eggs)
turmeric (boil with eggs)
cumin (boil with eggs)
carrot tops (boil with eggs)


red cabbage (boil with eggs)

Experiment, have fun, enjoy the beauty of God’s creation this Easter season by using foods as natural dyes.  Have you ever dyed eggs naturally?   Do you have any other suggestions that aren’t listed above?

Cheap and Green Super Spring Cleaning

I really do like things clean and organized.  Like, I really do!  I don’t know what it is about having everything in its place for me.  It makes me feel so…at peace.  We just moved into a new house a week or so ago, and it feels so nice to live in a place that I feel like I can actually keep clean again.  Ah, no more mice, no more unfinished wood floors, no more excessive dust, and much less space to clean.  It just makes me happy.  You really have no idea.  I strangely can’t wait to clean my new house.  Maybe I’m a bit of a weirdo, but  I am ok with that.

There are two things that bother me about most cleaning supplies that are on the market.  I don’t like to have lots of unwanted toxins around my family and my kids, and I really think that the prices are way too high for most of the cleaning supplies that are out there.  I don’t like to shell out all the money that I might normally use to eat to buy stuff to clean.  So, over the years I have experimented with homemade cleaning supplies, I have also tried many of the green brands that are on the market which also seem to cost way too much too.  Though I still have an occasional “green brand” on hand, you can typically find me buying over-sized boxes of baking soda, way too many bottles of white vinegar, borax, and washing soda.

Since it is time to get your spring cleaning on I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes for homemade cleaners.  If this is your first time using homemade cleaners keep in mind that vinegar is a disinfectant.  So, there is no need to worry about your home being overrun with germs just because you aren’t using commercial cleaners.

Natural Disinfectant Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar (source: Naturally Knocked Up)

1. Spray Hydrogen Peroxide over infected surface.

2. Spray vinegar over infected surface.

3. Let sit for a few seconds and wipe clean.

All Purpose Cleaner

1 cup vinegar

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon or two of liquid soap

optional: add 10 drops of essential oil, lavender, peppermint, tea tree
Note: Tea Tree oil is also a disinfectant so it can work great for yucky surfaces

Mix your ingredients in a spray bottle and shake!

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

I usually sprinkle the bowl with Baking soda and then spray or pour white vinegar into it.  Then let sit while you clean a few other things and come back and scrub clean.

 Homemade Laundry Detergent Powder

2 cups finely grated bar of soap

1 cup washing soda

1 cup of borax powder

Mix well and store in an air tight container. Use 2 Tablespoons per full load.  Add a few drops of essential oil to wash water if desired. 

Do you have any favorite natural cleaning recipes?

Why Does Your Garden Grow?

It’s that time of year again.


Do you feel it? When you drive up to the house, and you see the place where last year you had so much satisfaction out of picking your own fresh veggies for a salad.

Garden Photo

Maybe you had a big enough garden to do some canning. Maybe you dread the thought of all the work that is entailed to harvest all the food that you do. Hopefully, you feel good about this year’s garden plans. If you don’t, then you might want to readjust your plans, or take a year off.

I’m amazed that everyone doesn’t have at least a small garden, and even more amazed that those who can, don’t want to. I guess having had a few gardens over the years has convinced me that the little bit of effort required to grow a garden is overshadowed by the benefits.

The standard benefits you will find if you google “benefits of gardening” include good healthy food, exercise, learning, social outlets, creativity, sales opportunities, and emotional and spiritual gratification. I don’t know about all that but for me, the reasons are numerous. First and foremost is economic. Who doesn’t care about saving a buck? That’s why I buy used vehicles and carry liability insurance. That’s why I drive a scooter that despite going highway speeds, it still gets 63 miles per gallon. It’s the “Show me the money”.

I’m a teacher, and I try to explain to my students the cost benefit ratio of gardening. Let’s use broccoli for example. Initial investment is a couple of bucks for seeds, maybe $10 for a seed tray and soil. You plant 48 seeds, grow 48 broccoli plants, eat a lot of it fresh broccoli and freeze the rest. That’s like $100 worth of food for a $12 investment.

Take this same example a step further. How do you make a seed grow? With a minimal amount of reading, or talking to others, or a few youtube videos, you learn to keep the seeds and soil warm, and after germinating, add sunlight. After getting to a good size, give them some time in the sun/wind/rain to “harden” them off, and then transplant. Minimize weeding with lots of straw mulch. Really, it is that easy.

Gardening for me is a low risk adventure. It’s almost like a box of chocolates in that you never really know what you are going to get. You can only control so many of the variables and the rest you give up to Mother Nature. The unknown factor makes gardening fun. You get to watch and wonder as things germinate, some sooner than others. Crucial decisions must be made but you usually have time to read up on the topic or call a friend. When is it safe to plant potatoes? You will get lots of different answers, since all those solutions have been working for all those people probably for years.

This brings me to another aspect of gardening. It is hard to fail. Seriously, if you follow a few simple rules Mother Nature will help you succeed. If you even do a minimal number of things right, you will get something for your efforts. Most of the time, you will get something to eat.

Even in those rare cases where you planted something and it didn’t produce, you will have something that did. In the process, your mind was totally engaged in a creative process, taking in with all of your senses the wonder of nature. A seed, the size of a grain of salt or bigger, grew to be a plant sometimes several feet tall, produced flowers that smelled good to both you and the many different kinds of pollinators (bees, wasps, butterflies and possibly hummingbirds).

Here is the best part though. You pick it, you rinse it off, you slice it, and you eat it. No concern for chemicals, e-coli, destruction of the environment, cruelty to farm laborers. You started something months ago, invested time and energy, and maybe a few bucks, and with help from Mother Nature, your taste buds are screaming with joy.

But you aren’t done yet.

You take some of the extra harvest to a friend or neighbor, or even the local hunger coalition, and you have nourished your heart.

Now that is a deal!

Do you garden? Why or why not?

Stay Healthy: How to Read Labels Like A Pro

I typically try to purchase natural products for my family whenever I purchase any kind of soaps, toothpaste, or personal care items.  The reason that I want to purchase natural products is because there are known toxins in virtually everything that you would use for a personal care item unless you buy natural items and read the labels first.  It just sickens me that you can put the word natural on a personal care product and it actually means nothing!  In fact, companies aren’t even required to list all the toxins that they use on their labels.   Do you know what chemicals are in your personal care products?

Recently, I purchased both Method hand soap and Tom’s of Maine toothpaste to find out that both, yes both had Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in them.  Natural?  I don’t think so.  There is a list below of common carcinogens and what they are known to do to the body.  I was utterly disappointed that these natural products really aren’t so natural.  I guess they don’t contain any artificial colors or dyes or anything like that.  So, they are missing pretty colors.  That doesn’t mean they don’t contain other things.

So, no matter what a label may say I would never trust it to be natural until you take a look at what the label says.  It is best to buy toiletries and personal care products in a health food store or at my favorite online store for personal care products Vitacost.  And, like the two products listed above I would stay far away from any personal care products that are mainstream.  I haven’t seen any yet that are actually natural even if they claim to be so.

If the list on the bottom of the page overwhelms you, the moral of the story is to buy products in which you can understand and pronounce what is on the label.  Look for ingredients that are naturally derived and not synthetically manufactured.

If you are a detail person, just read the list below and try to commit it to memory.  These are common ingredients in many products that we use everyday.  Yuck!  Just think about what it is doing to our bodies, and the bodies of our children.  I have even heard stories of individuals who work in the cosmetic industry getting sick because of the products they are working on and will later find jobs manufacturing natural products.  Of course, they are working with large quantities of carcinogens, but then again think about the large quantities we are taking in or many of these toxins over our lifetime.

Since our skin is very much like a sponge, it is important to remember that what we put on it will find its way in.  Not only is it dangerous to put toxins in your body for logical reasons, putting toxins on your skin is far worse because they bypass the liver and don’t get filtered out like many do that pass within your body.

There are two great giveaways going on right now at the Endless Blessings blog, Made On Acorn Hill and Harmony Acres Soap Company both companies provide great non-toxic products and understand that you want to take care of the health of your family!  Check them out and enter to win! 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate

  • Most commonly used foaming ingredient in shampoos & toothpaste
  • Can cause damage to the immune system
  • Commonly contaminated with carcinogenic dioxane
  • Can cause permanent eye damage – without getting in eyes
  • Denatures skin oils – skin irritant with serious drying effect
  • Penetrates to systemic tissues such as heart, liver, brain

Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl or Butyl Paraben

  • Most widely used preservatives in Personal Care
  • Accumulates in the tissues of the body over time
  • Mimics the action of the female hormone estrogen
  • Detected in human breast tumors
  • May affect development of the male reproductive system

Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea

  • The most commonly used preservatives after the parabens
  • Primary cause of contact dermatitis
  • Releases formaldehyde (see below)

Bisphenol (BPA)

  • Found in certain hard plastics and is released into any liquid that comes into contact with it.
  • An endocrine disruptor that mimics the body`s own hormones and can cause permanent reproductive harm.
  • Builds up in the body so that long term low dose exposure can induce chronic toxicity.


  • Used in synthetic rubber and are also released by certain preservatives used in cosmetics.
  • Has been linked to Alzheimer`s, Parkinson`s and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Is a known carcinogen, linked to bladder, brain and spinal cancers

2-bromo2 nitopropane 1,3 diol (also known as Bronopoll)

  • Preservative
  • Can break down into formaldehyde
  • Can form nitrosamines which are carcinogenic


  • Not listed on labels but released by the following preservatives:
  • 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium 15.
  • Also found in:
  • Permanent press sheets
  • Mattress foams
  • Nail polish and hardener
  • Building materials
  • Known carcinogen and neurotoxic
  • Skin, eye and respiratory irritant
  • Can cause insomnia, coughing, headaches, skin rash, nose bleeds and nausea

Cocamide DEA Note that all of the following may contain DEA:

Cocamide MEA, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate, Lauramide DEA, Linoleamide MEA, Myristamide DEA, Oleamide DEA, Stearamide MEA, TEA-Lauryl Sulfate, Triethanolamine

  • Foaming agent
  • Clear evidence of carcinogenicity
  • Disrupts hormone balance
  • Causes yeast infections
  • Causes contact dermatitis and skin irritations – Dandruff
  • Produces cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines


  • Not listed on labels but present in many artificial colors and fragrances.  Also present in PVC plastics – especially flexible pvc sometimes used in teething rings.
  • Known to be a hormone disrupter for both sexes
  • Associated with diminished fertility and genital birth defects
  • May have links to breast cancer

Petroleum Bi-products (Mineral Oil, Petrolatum)

  • Inexpensive oil substitute
  • Reduces the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins
  • Interferes with the body’s natural moisturizing system
  • Passes through liver & sequesters fat soluble vitamins
  • Known to be comedogenic – acne causing
  • Increases photosensitivity – promotes sun damage
  • Accelerates aging

Propylene and Ethylene & Polyethylene Glycol

  • Solvents, also a kind of alcohol
  • Many industrial uses including anti-freeze
  • Used in personal/baby care, hand sanitizers, toothpaste & cosmetics
  • Also used as a carrier for artificial fragrance
  • Can cause allergies, dermatitis, drying to skin
  • Reported to cause kidney and liver damage
  • Linked to throat & tongue cancer in mouthwash

PEG’s (Synthetic Polyethylene Glycol)

  • Powerful solvent – dissolves proteins
  • Accelerates aging
  • Potentially carcinogenic

Isopropyl, Ethyl, Cetyl or SD 40 Alcohols

  • Solvents
  • Severely drying to the skin
  • Changes Ph balance
  • Accelerates aging
  • Can cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression.

Artificial Colors – (FD&C Colors)

  • Made from coal tar and petroleum
  • Often contain impurities like lead acetate
  • Toxic to the nervous system.
  • Known allergens, irritants – some known carcinogens.

Artificial Fragrances

  • Made from coal tar and petroleum
  • Can involve as many as 600 separate chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic, such as  methylene chloride
  • May contain or release formaldehyde
  • Can cause allergies, skin irritation, headaches and nausea
  • Musk fragrance, xylene, is hormone-disrupting
  • Can trigger asthma attacks


  • An antimicrobial agent used in many hand washes
  • Registered as a pesticide with EPA
  • Hormone disrupting agent
  • Produces chloroform when mixed with chlorinated water
  • Interferes with reproductive and sexual functions

Toxin details taken from Fresh Organics Blog

7 Methods of Natural Stress Relief

Today, on the way home from picking my little one up from preschool I almost hit a deer.  We were on 421 moving fairly quickly and heading towards home.  He was probably 5 or 10 feet from the car.  Talk about getting home all jittery and a bit stressed.  All I could say was, “thank you, Jesus” it was not on my list to hit a deer today.  An event like that can add to the stresses that already exist in our lives.  In fact, stress is designed to work with our body in an event like that and not necessarily the only going  reason for stress.  Right now, I feel like I have a lot on my plate, we are getting ready to move across town, I’m launching a new website, I have responsibilities on the MOPS steering team, not to mention all my responsibilities with my family, plus I’m pregnant.  Wow!  No wonder the weeks are flying by so fast!

When the body is stressed the hormones both cortisol and adrenaline are released. Cortisol is released in order to give you a burst of energy, a burst of immunity, a lower sensitivity to pain and increase your immune response. And, adrenaline is a hormone that binds to receptors in the heart and the vessels around the heart causing increased heart rate and breathing. Adrenaline and cortisol are the same hormones released when the “fight or flight” response kicks in.

Although, these hormones can be very useful during a stressful event when you may be in danger and need to act quickly, the problem arises when the body is in a constant state of stress and release of both hormones. Problems that prolonged or chronic stress can create in your body can include impaired brain function, suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalances, decreased bone density, decreased muscle tissue, decreased immune function, high blood pressure, and the increased accumulation of body fat. It can also caused adrenal fatigue where you are constantly exhausted. It is obviously why would not want these things to continually take place in your body.

So, what do you do when you are stressed-out, over-anxious, and continually tense? Here are some great, natural ways to cope with overwhelming stress in your life to make things more relaxed for you and your baby.

1. Get a massage – It might be a bit of an investment for you like it is for me, but it is well worth it! Massage therapy can calm and relax you. Make sure you seek out a massage therapist that is respected and recommended. When I give my clients a list of referrals I have a wonderful massage therapist that I send people to. Massage therapy is a double dose of goodness, great for both the body and the mind.

2. Spiritual Meditation – Since I am a Christian, I have found power in meditating on the inerrant word of God. Scripture has such wonderful truths to meditate on. Having a positive mindset is very important. It should always be a high priority to fill your mind with positive things so that the negative things can’t over take it. One of my favorite scriptures is, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV

3. Try Calming Herbs – Herbal remedies have been around since the beginning of time and there are many herbs that are proven save medicinally during pregnancy. Some of the best calming herbs are Chamomile, Catnip, Lavender, or Oatstraw. Many of these herbs can be consumed in a tea form that can be a nightly ritual that can be both relaxing and calming. Lavender is also fabulous used by aromatherapy methods in an essential oil. Try putting lavender on your wrists, pillow, or in candle form. Whenever I am experiencing overwhelming stressful situations this always helps to calm me!

4. Take Time For Yourself – We live in an fast-paced stressful society. We often work hard and don’t take much time to play hard. If you like me you are always scrambling on to the next thing and rarely taking time for yourself to relax. Ask your hubby to take your other children if you have them and go spend an hour or two at your favorite coffee shop reading a book. Maybe, go out for a girl time breakfast without the kids, or just do whatever relaxes and calms you. Don’t forget that it is never bad to have “me” time. Without it we over exhaust ourselves and end up in stressful places where we’d rather not be.

5. Exercise – Go on walks, stretch, and get an emotional release by exercising. Exercising can actually decrease levels of adrenaline and cortisol so it is a perfect natural remedy in order to relief stress. Just make sure you check with your doctor about how much exercise is appropriate for you and your pregnancy.

6. Get Plenty of Rest – If you are a mom of other children rest when they take a nap. If you are a mom-to-be don’t feel guilty about taking a nap during the day. If you have trouble sleeping like I always have there are some wonderful herbal tea blends to help with sleep (most contain the calming herbs above). Just drink a cup of tea a 1/2 hour before bed time and allow your mind to calm. Don’t watch TV and don’t use the computer since both activities stimulate both the conscious and unconscious brain. Instead read a book, listen to music or just visualize beautiful scenes.

7. Listen to Calming Music – I don’t know about you, but music speaks to my soul. If I listen to instrumental calming music or praise and worship music it helps to rid me of stress. I continually wonder why I am not always playing some of my favorite calming music in my home.

Do have any other great suggestions for coping with stress?