Best Tips and Recipes for Going Green Series

jBr1tv1355309168¬† It’s simple! Just follow this blog! ūüôā From now until the end of December, daily tips for going green in our life! Going green is cost effective, easy and fun! Why should you be Going Green in your Home? Do you enjoy the smell of Bleach or Synthetic Air Fresheners? Are you cleaning your body on one end (detoxing) by eating right and then bombarding it with toxins on another end by using toxic products in our home? About 98% of store bought products are made with synthetically made chemicals. And we wonder why we are tired of being tired and sick of being sick! Commercial products you are using in your home are not good for our planet and the environment The home products you are using are toxic to your our dogs, cats and…children! Who is Really Winning? The companies who manufacture drugs, cleaning products, paints, insecticides are slowing killing us with toxicity. They care about their bottom line; not our health. I hope you become committed to going green in your home. Do it as a gift to yourself, your children, your animals and your planet! I wish you the best in your life and your home!

I am now on Pinterest!
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Candy Cane Bath Salt Gift Recipe

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CANDY CANE BATH SALT RECIPEIngredients:
4-5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
1/2 cup Sea Salt
2 cups Epson Salt
2-3 drops red food coloring
2 mixing bowls or gallon sized ziploc bags
large glass jar (see picture)

Mixing Bowl/Bag One: 
1 cup of Epsom salt and 1/4 cup of sea salt
Add 2-3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and mix.

Mixing Bowl/Bag Two: 
1 cup of Epsom salt and 1/4 cup of sea salt
Add 2-3 drops food coloring and mix until the color is even.
Add 2-3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and stir.

Create stripes in the jar by layering the white salts and the colored salts, like a candy cane! For gift giving, top off the jar with red ribbon, a bow and a few real candy canes.
Have fun!

Click here to purchase Peppermint Essential Oil
Click here to purchase Therapeutic Mineral Bath Celtic Sea Salt 

Learn how to make your own Echinacea Tincture

http://www.mindbodysoulessentials.com

ECHINACEA TINCTURE

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Echinacea is also referred to as “purple coneflower”.
ECHINACEA TINCTURE
It takes very little time and money to make your own Echinacea tincture. ¬†It rewarding to to do things for yourself and know exactly what is in the ‚Äúmedicine‚ÄĚ you are taking. Making herbal remedies is as grounding and fulfilling as growing our own food.

Echinacea stimulates the immune system and its antiviral activities help fight colds and flu, as well as promote the healing of infections.

This is an oral application.  You will need:
1 one pint glass jar (make sure it is clean) Do not use anything but glass to make your tinctures.
¬ľ cup dried or 1/2 cup fresh finely chopped or crushed Echinacea flowers and leaves
1 cup vodka (60% alcohol with dried and 80-100% alcohol with fresh)  You can use another alcohol such as rum or gin, if that is your preference.

One part plant to two parts alcohol.  EXAMPLE: Three ounces (dry measure) of fresh Echinacea flower heads would be placed in a jar with six ounces (liquid measure) of alcohol.

Place dried Echinacea in the jar.

NOTE: If you have fresh Echinacea available there is no need to dry it. Fresh is better than dried. If you  use fresh Echinacea, gently wash off the petals and measure about 1 cup of flowers and leaves. You can use the whole plant, flowers, leaves, and root. Many people use the flowers and leaves only since they don’t want to dig up the roots.

Pour vodka over the top. Fill as completely as possible to eliminate air, and seal tightly with lid. Label the bottles with the herb name, date made, and the expected date your tincture will be ready. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

You have now created a menstruum. A menstruum is the liquid used to extract the soluble principles from the herbs or roots.  Leave menstruum at room temperature for four to six weeks. Place the jar in a cabinet that you go into daily, so you can shake it every day for thirty days.  The tincture will get stronger the longer it sits.  The dark brown color indicates that the essential oils from the root have been absorbed by the alcohol.

After the four to six weeks has passed, you will need to strain the herbs out of the vodka. To do this, place a layer of cheesecloth over a large glass measuring cup or small glass mixing bowl and secure with a rubber band. Pour menstruum slowly onto the cheesecloth and allow to drain for a few minutes. Then use your hands to wrap the cheesecloth around the herbs and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Strain herbs as described above.  Then discard the herbs.
You now have your very own Echinacea tincture!
Pour tincture into dark, glass bottles for storage. And don’t forget to label them.

To use:
At the first sign of a cold or throughout a cold take take ¬Ĺ to ¬ĺ of a teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day, per day. ¬†Echinacea has shown to be most beneficial at the beginning and for the duration of a cold. It is not intended as a long term preventative.

Tinctures from different herbs can be combined for dispensing as a blend!

For topical applications, use olive oil; it’s much easier on the skin than alcohol, and has it’s own nutritive properties. And you can easily use your tincture made with oil into a salve by melting in some beeswax and adding drops of Essential Oils, if you want.

The key advantages to tinctures are that they are convenient to use, easy to mix into combinations, dosages are easier to control and they have excellent shelf lives.

USING THE ROOTS: You can also use the roots in lieu of flowers and leaves.  Fresh roots should be ground with the alcohol in a blender into a pulpy mush.

The ratio of echinacea root to menstruum is 1 to 2. If there is 1 cup of root, add 2 cups of menstruum.

Harvest Echinacea roots by sinking a garden spading fork (a shovel works, too) deeply into the soil, and lean back on the tool handle to GENTLY lift the root ball. The roots grow deep and wide. The idea is to harvest as much root as possible.  Keep the tops of the plants intact with the roots so that the echinacea will be easy to identify from the roots of neighboring plants

Shake and massage the soil and unwanted plant roots from the clump. This is a good time to kill a few weeds! Leave as much soil as possible in the garden.  Scrub roots with a brush and rinse while rubbing the roots to remove any grit. Place all of the washed roots in a colander to drain.  Slice big roots crosswise into rounds (as if cutting carrots) and then chop them into smaller pieces.

As Echinacea ages, clumps are formed with new plants sprouting around the original plant. The oldest plants in the clump may decline as the younger vigorous plants compete for nutritional resources. Dividing the clumps regenerates the plants and gives a perfect opportunity to harvest the roots for tincture. For tincturing, choose Echinacea plants that are at least three years old.

Echinacea works to prevent. ¬†Once you get a cold, try Thyme. Thyme acts as an expectorant and boosts your immune system ūüôā
Hope you try this out!  Thank you reading!
Vanessa
Mind Body Soul Essentials
PS – here are some pictures of my Echi from my gardens!

Growing, Harvesting & Propogating Basil

Growing, Harvesting & Propogating Basil

This is a picture of what my Basil and Rosemary looked like after cutting and placing into small plastic bottles and glass jars to begin growing their roots.

Growing, Harvesting & Propogating Basil

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Basil, Week 2

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Ocimum basilicum, is a popular sweet herb of the Mint FamilyBasil grown indoors requires at least six hours of sunlight

Grows easily from seed ~ Basil loves well drained soil

I use organic soil & peat pots to grow the babies.  In the fall, I cover the way back of my yard with the leaves and every two years, I use that beautiful soil in my gardening.


Basil, Week 3

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Starting Basil indoors: 
Place peat pots in a flat; cover with a plastic dome.  Rotate flat each morning to provide equal sun on both sides.Lift dome & gently spray the pots with water every other day or as needed; replace dome top.  You are checking to see if the soil is moist.

Seed Germination Period is 5 to 10 days.  See pics on this page showing the progress.


Basil, Week 5

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Once the seedlings have developed two (2) pairs of true leaves, then you can thin out the weakest seedlings in each peat pot.  This is when you can begin to use organic fertilizer.
Think of a newborn baby.  The baby needs food and to be kept directly out of the sun or the baby will get sunburned, right?  As you grow your basil, think of your seedlings as babies.  Treat them as such.

Allow adequate drainage ~ after transplanting to a pot, line the base of the pot with dime sized rocks

Hang bunches of stems up to air dry.  We also keep basil cuttings in water in a little gatorade bottle on our dinner table for easy access Рwhatever works

Basil is easily propagated through herbaceous stem cuttings.¬†Place cuttings in water to root.¬† You’ll see roots¬†shortly.¬† It’s amazing to see – get your kids involved


Basil outdoors in the garden

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Mother nature provides most of what Basil needs naturally! Basil is an annual plant, and loves the sun!  

Plant basil outdoors after the last spring frost.  

Plant in well drained soil; basil will grow in soils ranging in acidity.  


Companion gardening with Basil

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Plant Basil near tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Basil also does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. 

Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. 

Basil is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. 

Do not plant Basil near Sage. 


Basil in my garden!   

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Leaf production slows or stops on any stem which flowers, so you should pinch off any flower stems to keep the plant in production ~ SAVE THOSE SEEDS FOR FUTURE PLANTING    Or if you know that you want your Basil to return, pick the flowers and let them drop to the ground!

After your Basil is done for the season, the leaves are beginning to yellow or wilt, it is time to cut. 


Propagating Basil

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Basil propagation from cuttings is easy! ¬†Share your basil! ¬†Take new plantings and give them as gifts! ¬†Swap herbs with others! ¬†It’s free!Take a four to five (4-5) inch basil cutting right below a leaf node. Remove the leaves off the bottom; approx. two inches from the end making sure that this cutting hasn’t flowered yet.

Place the cutting in a glass of water and put it where it can get good sunlight. Use a clear container so you can watch your basil propagation grow root! ¬†I use little gatorade bottles or cleaned out jelly and sauce jars ūüôā

Change the water every few days until you see root growth. Once the roots on your basil cutting are two inches or longer, you can plant the cutting in a pot indoors. Make sure you put the planter in a place where the plant will get sunlight.

Keep the basil on hand for cooking and for adding to your food after it’s prepared!

All of the pictures here are of my basil, from different years. ¬†I have grown to love this herb; in cooking, while growing, the smell of it on my fingertips…
Give it a try! ¬†You’ve got nothing to lose ūüôā
Thank you!

Halloween Classroom Activities – Witch’s Brew & Halloween BINGO

Two Classroom Festivities that I’ve done before that were hits! ¬†I have not and do not dare try this is middle school (7th grade and up). ¬†I think that my daughter would be mortified. ¬†No, I KNOW she would be. ¬†But I can say that up until 6th grade, all the kids loved the brew and bingo!

Halloween¬†BINGO: Play a few rounds of Halloween BINGO with prizes for the lucky winners! ¬†The favorite prizes were not candy; the kids like sticky, oozing, gooey goop, slime and other things like that. ¬†(Eww) ¬†In lieu of numbers, I made bingo cards with pictures of witches, pumpkins, ghosts, candy corn, etc. ¬†I printed out the pictures to use in the classroom to call from and printed out the bingo sheets for the kids to play on. ¬†We use candy corn as markers. Pour the candy corn in little cups OR before arriving at school, place one bingo card and some candy corn in a Halloween decorated plastic ziploc, so it’s easier to hand out and takes less time to start the game. ¬†Buy at least three bags of candy corn, because most of the candy corn is eaten! Yummy

Witches Brew: Sent a letter to all of the parents through the teacher.  Ask one parent to arrive to the classroom dressed as a friendly witch, who will help the class make the special Witches Brew.  Each child is asked to bring an ingredient for the brew to the party.  With the witch’s help, they add their ingredient into the cauldron one by one and as the witch stirs the cauldron, they all help make the Witches Brew.   A little cooperation + taking turns = Halloween fun!!  Also ask for additional items, like plastic baggies because after they snack, there will be leftovers to be brought home.  See below.

Sample letter:

Witches Brew: A friendly witch will help us make the special Witches Brew.  Each child has been asked to bring an ingredient for the brew to the party.  With the witch’s help, they will add their ingredient into the cauldron, as she stirs, to help make the Witches Brew.   A little cooperation + taking turns = Halloween fun!!

Please find your child’s name and their ingredient to bring into class below:

Child’s Name – Bat Brains (Smartfood Popcorn)

Child’s Name –¬†Witches’ Warts (Milk Chocolate Chips)

Child’s Name –¬†Bloated Ants (Raisins)

Child’s Name –¬†Ghost Guts (Mini Marshmallows)

Child’s Name –¬†Plops of Pigeon Poop (White Chocolate Chips)

Child’s Name –¬†Cheesy Owl Eyes (Puffed Cheese Balls)

Child’s Name –¬†Boiled Lady Bugs (Red Jelly Beans)

Child’s Name –¬†Candied Spider Eggs (Gum Drops)

Child’s Name –¬†Goblin’s Belly Button Lint Balls (M&Ms, Any Style)

Child’s Name –¬†Wolf Toenails (Candy Corn)

Child’s Name –¬†Earthworm Knots (Miniature Pretzel Twists)

Child’s Name –¬†Dehydrated Dragon’s Wings (Doritos)

Child’s Name –¬†Splintered Turkey Bones (Shoestrings Potato Chips)

Child’s Name –¬†Compressed Cobwebs (Chex Brand or Similar Cereal)

Child’s Name –¬†Crumbled Bat Wings (Smartfood Popcorn)

Child’s Name –¬†Cheesy Owl Eyes (Puffed Cheese Balls)

Child’s Name –¬†Chocolate-Dipped Houseflies (Chocolate-Covered Raisins)

Child’s Name –¬†Flattened Slugs (Sour Patch or similar type Earthworms)

Please email, text or call if you can send in any of these additional items:

~ Plates             ~ Napkins

~ Cups        ~ Goodie Bags

~ Ziploc Bags ~ Juice boxes or pouches

We are shooting for smiles, fun, laughter, good times and happy memories!!

I hope you can use this!  I love Halloween!!  If you do, let me know how it went!  If you have any questions, email me at vmbsrm@mindbodysoulessentials.com  ~ Vanessa