Running & Injury Update

Hey y’all!

I know I’ve been binge posting on all my Natural stuff, so I thought it was time to get back to my favorite topic for a minute too: Running!! :-)

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I’d been having significant back pain earlier this year. I started seeing the chiropractor (aka: miracle-worker!!) and he told me to stop running while we got my back and hips back in alignment. Long story short, I haven’t run at all since May, and it has been MISERABLE!!!! Running is my favorite exercise, my stress relief, my energy outlet, my energizer, my weight loss aide, and many other things. But I really trust this doc, so I have followed orders and haven’t run at all. After many long months of treatment, and progressing slowly but well, he released me to start doing some stretches and strengthening exercises about 6 weeks ago. He said I could literally do almost any exercise except running. The repetitive pounding on the pavement could be detrimental to my progress, and my muscles weren’t strong enough for that yet.

Fast-forward to this week: I had a re-evaluation on Thursday, and he gave me some specific strengthening exercises to do that would target the back and core muscles needed to run. He said that I will do those once, preferably twice, per day for the next 4 weeks and the plan right now is to RUN AGAIN on December 1st!!!!!!!!! I was so excited to hear that! I know I’ll have to start slow, and it’ll be a long, hard road to get back to where I was pre-back issues, but I’m looking forward to it so much! It’ll be my early Christmas present ;-)

So that’s pretty much it for right now! Have a wonderful week!!

Home Made Pain Cream

**This is one of my Momma Goes Natural posts**

Hey y’all!

You probably know by now how much I love Essential Oils. If not, see here ;-)

I have several amazing resources for different uses for the Oils and was given a recipe for a pain cream. I’ve been having pain in my right hand for a while. I had originally thought it was carpal tunnel. I recently remembered though, that I broke that hand when I was 3 years old, and have been wondering if it’s not early arthritis setting in. So, I decided to try this cream that I had been told worked well for pain, and especially arthritis pain.

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup coconut oil (the least refined you can find is best. Mine came from Wal-Mart and was pretty cheap)

5 drops PanAway

5 drops Valor

5 drops Peppermint

I was also told that most people started with the 5 drops of each Oil, but went back and bumped that up to 10 pretty quickly.

I tried to fit 1/2 cup of coconut oil into my jar…..but it wouldn’t fit. LOL! So I dropped it down to 1/4 cup and still went with 5 drops of each Oil instead of doing the 1/2 cup with 10 drops each.

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Look at the adorable little mason jar!!

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Just so we’re clear on what it is ;-)

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Not the greatest picture, but this is what it looks like.

Let me tell you, it is SO AWESOME!

#1 – It smells AMAZING! The peppermint really gives it a good kick, though the other 2 smell good too. The other good thing is that it doesn’t smell obnoxious and make my office-mates hate me ;-) (Trust me, I asked to make sure, and they said it smelled good and they didn’t hate me for using it at my desk, haha!!)

#2 – It feels AMAZING! The coconut oil feels so luxurious on my skin, and keeps my hands so moisturized!! That’s a great benefit now that we’re heading into cold weather too!

#3 – It really has decreased my pain in my hand! I was a little wary of it at first. I thought, how in the world can this coconut oil with these 3 little weird oils in it help pain?!?! But really and truly, I’d say my pain was a 6-7 at the beginning of the week and decreased to a 2-3 by the end of the week. I used it twice a day, morning and evening, and sometimes at lunch too.

I am definitely a believer now!! I will be using it religiously, and hope that it makes my pain decrease even more, too.

Have you ever made any home made remedies? What was it, and how did it work?

Oil Pulling

**This is one of my Momma Goes Natural posts**

Hey y’all!

I’ve been doing all this research into natural remedies and such, and Oil Pulling keeps coming up. Now, I’m not a fan of coconut flavored anything, so I had previously just ignored this and moved on. Well, I think I may have a cavity coming up and I remembered that I had read oil pulling was supposed to help with that, so I looked it up again.

Oil pulling is an ancient practice of basically just swishing coconut or sesame oil around in your mouth, pulling toxins out of your body and promoting dental health and tons of other health claims (curing allergies, helping with asthma, diabetes, blood pressures issues, cancer, and etc).

I decided to try it for (obviously) the dental health benefits. To get the best results, you need to use the purest, most unrefined coconut oil you can find. I got mine at Wal-Mart for pretty cheap.

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There are varying opinions on how much to use. I read anywhere from a teaspoon to 2 tablespoons! I was DEFINITELY not starting with anywhere near 2 tablespoons. I just stuck my (clean) finger in the tub and got a small blob that I could easily spit out if it was nasty. Honestly, I expected to gag and spit it right back out.

I read that it helps to start with putting it in your cheek to melt enough to swish it around. Oh, and also you’re supposed to do it first thing in the morning before you have anything to eat or drink so that it pulls all the toxins out and you’re not just swishing around food particles from things you just ate.

So I put my little blob in my cheek and……….it wasn’t totally gross! Now don’t get me wrong, I still made quite a face when I started tasting it. I still don’t care for coconut. But it wasn’t completely awful.

I swished it around my mouth the first day for about 10 minutes (you’re supposed to do it for 15-20 minutes). What did I notice?

First, it was pretty easy to swish around, it wasn’t all thick and nasty, and although it tasted like coconut it wasn’t so strong that I couldn’t handle it.

Second, at about 7-8 minutes in, I noticed that my sinuses were starting to clear up. I was literally feeling sinus congestion breaking up and I had to keep sniffling and blowing my nose! I had NO IDEA that this was a side effect of the oil pulling!! This, by far, has to be my favorite benefit of oil pulling currently. With the current transition to cold weather, everybody and their brother is getting sick, and sinus congestion is just no fun. My clear sinuses lasted me almost all day too! I was very impressed :-)

Third, I felt overall really good, and energized when I got done! I don’t know if this was a placebo effect, or maybe just a result of the clear sinuses? But I hadn’t even had my coffee yet, and I felt super energized!

Lastly, once I spit it out and rinsed and brushed my teeth, I could definitely feel that my teeth were cleaner than usual and that my mouth felt really good.

As the week went on and I kept doing it, I was able to increase to a full teaspoon, and swish for the full 15-20 minutes. I feel less sensitivity in the spot where I felt a cavity might be coming up. My sinuses clear out nicely every morning, and stay clear for most of the day. I do still feel better overall and get an energy boost after I finish, but not quite as much as I did that first day, haha! And I’m getting more used to it every day and it’s getting easier to do.

Some points to note:

-Make sure you spit it out afterwards because you don’t want to swallow all those toxins and nasties (getting rid of them is kind of the whole point).

-Make sure you rinse and brush your teeth really well afterwards, or everything you eat and drink will taste like coconut.

-Pick whatever amount and time you feel comfortable with. I noticed the most benefits starting at about 7-8 minutes in with whatever amount I chose.

-Use the purest, most unrefined oil possible.

Have you ever tried oil pulling? How did it work for you?

Home Made Soap

**This is one of my Momma Goes Natural posts**

Hey y’all!

As you know, I’ve been trying to slowly rid my home of unnecessary chemicals, and next on my list to make myself was SOAP!

I did a TON of research on it, and found there were several ways to make it (cold process, hot process, and melt-and-pour). I decided to do hot process, because it takes less time than cold process, and the melt-and-pour isn’t home made from scratch and that’s what I was going for. (**Please do your own research and find a tutorial prior to making your own soap. This is not intended as a tutorial, only to share my experience with you**)

The tutorial I used was from One Good Thing by Jillee (I totally love all her tutorials and home made items!). She included another link to the tutorial she used that was also really great. I read the tutorials several times each just to make sure I was really familiar with the process, steps, and ingredients. Then, I dove in!

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Obligatory selfie before getting started :-P

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All my equipment and ingredients, ready to go!

So what do you need for this?

Tools: A crockpot, a kitchen scale, a glass bowl or two, a stick blender, and a wooden spoon.

Ingredients: I used olive oil, coconut oil, water and lye, plus my Essential Oils (Lemon and Lavender).

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I measured out my oils and poured them, unmixed, into my already heated crockpot (low setting). The coconut oil melts into the olive oil once it hits the heat.

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Then I measured out my water, and added the lye to the water. **This is a very important step. It is imperative that you add the lye to the water, because if you add water to lye it will explode** **Also, lye is a very caustic substance, so do not let it touch your bare skin or inhale it in it’s original form. (Thus, why I did it outside) Once it’s added to the water and diluted by the oils, it’s caustic properties are reduced to where it’s merely a cleansing agent and able to be used on your skin.** It’s probably best to use glass bowls also. (Sdie note: The mixture did heat up when I mixed it, so just keep that in mind as well. Just something I noticed that I don’t recall seeing in the tutorials.) Once it was mixed well, I added it to the oil in my crockpot and mixed it all together with the stick blender.

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All mixed!

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And that was LITERALLY all there was to it! Now to let it “cook” for an hour according to the instructions. However, every crockpot is going to be different, and mine took longer.

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This is how it looked after 30 minutes.

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After 45 minutes. The edges are starting to look “crusty”. I got curious though if it was hard or not, so I poked it LOL….it just had a very thin “crispy” layer on the very top, which I poked through pretty easily. OOPS! But luckily, no harm done :-)

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After an hour and 15 minutes, it looks all “crispy” on the top so it should be ready!

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My Lemon and Lavender oils. I added 10 drops of each. It smells very light and clean, but I think I’ll add more scent next time because I did want it a little bit stronger. That was literally my only complaint about the whole thing!

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Mixed it all up! I did have to work pretty fast at this point because it was hardening before my eyes, and I needed to get it into the “mold” (just a bowl for me, but you can put it into pretty molds to make it whatever shape you want) fast before it set up and hardened and fell apart.

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Poured it into a Tupperware bowl, put the lid on and let it set up overnight! Once it’s cool all the way through, and solid enough to not move when you tilt it, it’s ready to be cut!

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All done!! This is one of the pieces I cut. It was ready to be used that day, but continues to harden up for about a week. Like I said, the scent is very light and clean-smelling, and it lathers up pretty nicely (not too much, but enough to be noticeable).

I hope you enjoyed the lengthy post, and please don’t hesitate to ask anything about the process or the soap!

Have you ever made soap? How did yours turn out?

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Farmer Momma

**This is part of my Momma Goes Natural posts**

Hey y’all!

A couple of years ago, I became aware of a diet/eating style called Clean Eating. It didn’t catch on with me until about a year ago. Now, I know myself well enough that I knew I’d be setting myself up for failure if I just drastically made this huge change all at once. So I decided to go “Clean” for 1 week.

And it worked beautifully!!

I can’t remember how much weight I lost, probably about 2-3 lbs that first week, but I definitely lost a ton of bloat and water my body had been holding on to. I felt SO energized, and a lot of my nagging aches and pains eased up!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to stick to it all the time (long days and short nights, lots of stress, lack of willpower) and have kind of gone on and off of it for the past year.

More recently, within the last month or so, I’ve gotten a bug in my ear about this thing called Real Food. This is not a diet, this is not an eating style. This is just what it’s called, you eat REAL food!! (I’m not an expert at this, so pardon me if I botch this explanation….)

Eating REAL food just means that you work to eliminate processed food, GMO foods, excess sugars, foods full of pesticides, and food-FAKERS from your life!

Why would one do this, you might ask?

I’m not going to get too far into in this post, but personally I’m doing it to reduce the chemicals in my house and body, to become more healthy, to lose weight, and to feel better.

You might also ask: How do I go about doing this?

Shop at local farmers markets, local farms, co-op’s, choose healthier foods at your grocery stores, or grow your own.

One last question you might ask: Where do I get more info?

Google and Pinterest are always go-to’s, however my favorite resources to start out are Food Babe (who is actually local to me :-) ) and Food, Inc.

Now, what is this momma gonna do about it? Well, I’m gonna try my hand at being Farmer Momma! LOL! Of course, I’m all gung-ho about it and want to jump right in….but as it’s full on Fall now, it’s not the best time to start. I picked 1 fall plant to try – Spinach – just to get my feet wet.

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First, we (okay my wonderful hubby) drilled holes in the bottom of the planter.

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Added gravel underneath for draining.

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Added gravel in the bottom of the planter, also for draining (duh!) :-P

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Insert the dirt.

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Seeds!

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All planted and covered.

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Just add water :-D

Now I just have to wait….and try to be patient :-)

I’ll keep ya updated, and post pictures as it grows! Have you ever tried your hand at growing your own food? What did you grow? How did it turn out?

Essential Oils

**This is part of my Momma Goes Natural posts**

Hey y’all!

Recently I’ve seen a ton of posts (FB, Pinterest, etc.) about Essential Oils. Now, before recently, I’ve heard a little about them and how they are natural solutions for everything from cleaning to healing and beyond. I never really gave them any thought until I saw several recent posts. I read several websites about the oils, and then had a friend post on FaceBook about the kit she had just gotten. She talked about how they’d helped her family get over cold/cough yuckies recently, without the chemicals, additives, and unnatural stuff of OTC cold meds! This piqued my interest, especially with winter coming up. So I reached out to her to get some more info!

Long story short, I ordered my starter kit from Young Living Essential Oils.

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It included 10 commonly used oils, a diffuser (which I’m absolutely in love with), and a kit with samples and info. The 10 oils are Lavender, Valor, PanAway, Peppermint, Peace & Calming, Lemon, Frankincense, Purification, Joy, and Thieves.

I started with Thieves. This is the one my friend used, so I wanted to give it a try first! I diffused it, and fell it immediately became my favorite!! It smells amazing….it smells like fall, and it’s a blend of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary. It also relieved all of my family’s sinus symptoms immediately! We had all had stuffy noses for weeks, and this cleared it right up!

Next I used Lemon. I added 10 drops of this to my Home Made Cleaner mixture….and I was blown away at how good my house smelled! I had never had a problem with the smell of the vinegar, but my husband said he didn’t care for it too much. The Lemon took the sting out of the vinegar smell, and made the house smell so fresh and clean! Plus, lemon has its own cleaning properties so it bumps up the cleaning power of my mixture even more :-)

I making something else special right now, which I’ll post about later, and I’ll be using Lavender and Lemon with it.

You’ll hear me talk a lot about these oils, I’m sure, so please feel free to ask me questions about them, let me know if you’d like to try them, or if you want samples or to place any orders (I can get you my discount if you want!)!!

Have you ever used oils? Which ones do you use, and for what purposes?

Home Made Cleaner

**This is a part of my Momma Goes Natural posts**

Hey y’all!

This is my very first post for Momma Goes Natural! This is the first thing I did on my journey to become more healthy and more natural.

I’ve never been a fan of bleach. I know it’s a great cleaner, but smelling it literally makes me nauseated. I’ve always bought cleaners from the store that are full of chemicals, which work just fine, but once I had kids I decided I really didn’t want all those chemicals around my children and even myself anymore. So the first change I made was to make my own home made cleaner.

Thanks to Pinterest, I had seen many different types and recipes for cleaners. I decided to go with the simplest….water and vinegar. Simplest is best for me ;-)

So, all I did was just go to the store, buy plain ol’ vinegar and a spray bottle, and mix it with some water! I did a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar. I got a 30 oz bottle, so I put in 15 oz of vinegar and 15 oz of water. The vinegar was maybe $1.50 or so and I have yet to have to buy any more! Cheapest, best cleaner EVER!

I know that there are other recipes that include blue Dawn soap, or baking powder, or other things, but I find that this works just fine for me without extras. The only thing I don’t use it for it the toilets. (I still use SoftSoap for that.)

Let me know what you think!! :-)

Updates

Hey y’all!!

It’s time for a much delayed update on the world of Erin :-)

It looks like the last time I posted for real was in MAY?!?! Jeez! So let’s catch up!!

Let’s back up a little farther than May, back to when I was preggo with my now 1-year-old (huh? Not sure how that happened so fast!). I had quite the problem with my back, and my sciatic nerve in particular. I did physical therapy with no relief, so I was told I’d just have to wait it out and it would improve once I had the baby.

Fast forward a little bit to November 2013….I started my post-baby fitness journey on 11/18/13. My back had improved a little, but I found that once I started exercising regularly that it helped get me functional at least, even though I wasn’t pain-free.

Now coming back to May 2014….My back pain, including pain and numbness radiating down my leg, had gotten to a point where I wasn’t even really functional anymore. Even working out regularly didn’t help anymore. I could barely walk, it hurt to sit for more than 5 minutes at a time, and I couldn’t bend AT ALL. Add in having a sedentary job, and having to lift and move around the baby (10 months old by that point), I had a recipe for disaster.

I had a couple of options. 1) Go to a Orthopedist, who I knew would most likely recommend PT, injections, surgery, or pain management. I wanted nothing to do with any of these options. 2) Go to a chiropractor. I was really nervous about this because I hear very conflicting opinions on Chiro’s. However, since I wanted so badly to avoid an Ortho, I decided to give it a try. I got recommendations from friends and family members, and actually found a great office that is literally the next building over from where I work.

Long story short, I have been going to Dr. Overcash for almost 3 months now. It was slow going at first, and was very frustrating. It also made me frustrated because he restricted me to nothing but walking. No running…no lifting…no yoga even!! I’ve been walking at least a mile 3-5 times a week since then, just trying to keep up an aerobic base for when I am able to get back to real exercise.

In the last month,however, is when I’ve really been able to start seeing improvement in leaps and bounds!! I can now bend over without pain, I can sit/stand/walk as much as I want to (within reason, and I do have a bad day here and there where I need extra TLC), and I can pick up both of my boys with no problem!! He is literally a miracle worker, LOL :-)

I should have another re-evaluation around the first week of September to see if he can release me back to exercising. He says we’ll start with introducing stretching and gradually build back up from there. I’d be happy to do ANYTHING but walk at this point ;-)

I’ve got a bunch of other updates coming soon too, so stay tuned :-)

What updates do you have? What’s been going on in your life?? I want to hear from you!!!!

29 Things About Me on My 29th Birthday

Hey y’all!

*Side note: longest post name ever right there…lol!*

As if the post name wasn’t obvious enough, today is my TWENTY-NINTH BIRTHDAY! Whaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttt?!?! How have I already reached the last year of my 20’s? I’m not sure if I should feel sad or not. I don’t though…go me! LOL!

In honor of this 29th anniversary of my birth, I thought I’d regale you with an amazing list of 29 things about me! Now, these “things” are in no particular order, and are really quite random…just like me :-P

1. I really really really really hate spiders.

2. I’m allergic to strawberries. Not to the point where I need medical care, but I do break out.

3. I have an innate ability to talk about gross, personal things and not be embarrassed. I’m apparently the go-to person if someone has something going on, cause they know I won’t be all grossed out…haha!

4. I have 2 degrees: BS in Accounting; BSBA in Finance with a concentration in Risk Management and Insurance.

5. My day job is a Disability Case Manager.

6. I really really love numbers. I know, I’m weird :-D

7. I’m obsessed with flip-flops.

8. I love anything and everything pink. (I’m such a girl…haha)

9. I must be too much of a girl, because God has seen fit to put me in a house full of males (hubby and 2 sons).

10. I’m the oldest of 3 kids…I have a brother and a sister.

11. I was in vocal lessons for 6 years. I love singing, and really just music in general. That was actually my first choice for a major in college.

12. I haven’t been to a movie in the theaters in 6 years.

13. I spend way too much money on Kindle/iBooks books….maybe that’s why I haven’t been to the movies? LOL

14. I hate condiments.

15. Phantom of the Opera is my favorite ever. I dream of seeing that on Broadway!

16. My life-long dream trip is to Ireland. I would even consider moving there if given the chance.

17. I still twirl my hair around my finger. I know I know…total valley girl over here.

18. I get comments all the time on my Southern accent….even though I live in the South.

19. I can’t whistle.

20. I don’t tan. I burn and then go right back to Casper.

21. I love chocolate, but I hate chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate milk.

22. Actually, I hate all milk. Yuck! I never drink it.

23. I’m a grammar nazi. I’m so sorry. I just can’t help it. At least it’s mostly just spelling errors that irritate me.

24. I’m not a fan of going shopping. I’d rather shop online than go to a mall any day.

25. Almost all of my workout clothes are pink. Almost all of my work clothes are blue or purple.

26. I have absolutely NO artistic skills. Seriously, I can’t even draw a good smiley face.

27. I usually laugh in really awkward situations…because I don’t know what else to do. Sorry for my awkwardness….it’s not you, it’s me.

28. I have a huge fear of needles.

29. I absolutely love summer! I hate winter, so you will NEVER hear me complain about the heat. :-)

Well there you have it! 29 things about me! (That was pretty darn hard by the way, haha!)

Tell me just ONE thing about you :-)