Our Favorite All Natural Cleaning ProductsPart 1

Since being diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme disease I’ve developed several allergies and sensitivities that weren’t a problem just 10 short years ago.

Chemicals tend to be one of my biggest problems, and this is something that really bothers me because I’m such a clean freak.

Because of this sensitivity, I started exploring more natural, holistic ways of cleaning my home and body a few years ago.

These cleaners not only work just as well, if not better than their commercial contemporaries, but they are also less expensive, safer for yourself and your environment and have multiple uses in the home, meaning less cleaners to keep on hand.

Combine these with no-toss helpers like rags instead of paper towels, or reclaimed veggie netting as scrubbers instead of steel wool or soaped-scrubbing pads and these are fantastic for saving both your body and your budget.

As we grow and develop the eco-farm portion and farm store on Osiyo, we’ll be offering many of these organic cleaning alternatives for resale, or their components.

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ALL PURPOSE CLEANER

This all-purpose cleaner is for exactly what it says. I use it in my kitchen, bathroom, with my furniture and floors. I do not wash my dishes with it however you could as all the ingredients are organic and food safe.

  • 1 cup spring water (well water, but tap water isn’t so great as it has chlorine in it and other chemical additives)
  • ¼ cup vinegar (white, not ACV)
  • ¼ cup soap nut concentrate (See recipe below)
  • 4 – 6 drops Tea Tree Oil for antimicrobial, antiseptic and antifungal action

Put all ingredients in a spray bottle and use as needed. No need for refrigeration and the mixture does not separate much, just a gentle shake re-blends.

Use this cleaner anywhere in your home, from counters to food prep surfaces, to floors and even on glass and metals that you don’t want to streak.

ALL-NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENT

Soap Nuts to the rescue again! We love these little fruits of the soap nut tree for their versatility AND eco-friendly status. Using soap nuts as laundry detergent will be paramount on the farm as we will be using a gray-water harvesting system for help in the gardens and greenhouses.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Muslin drawstring bag, or recycle an old pair of stockings or thin footed tights by using the foot portion cut away from the leg
  • 7 – 10 soap nuts

DIRECTIONS:

Tie the soap nuts into the muslin bag or the recycled hose or tights and drop them into the wash. These are best when used in hot or warm water. See the cold water recipe, SOAPNUT CONCENTRATE below.

These nuts can be used for approximately 4 – 7 loads depending on load size before they start to lose their potency in the wash. BUT, DO NOT throw them out because the nuts can then be boiled and ground into another cleaning product.

 SOAPNUT CONCENTRATE

This is the core of a lot of our cleaning products. This concentrate can be used alone as a dish detergent, shampoo and cold water or liquid laundry detergent. It can also be whipped and used as a shower gel, shaving cream and body wash.

To create the concentrate, place about 20 already-used soap nuts into a medium sized stock pot. Add 4 cups of water depending on the number of soap nuts you have. Less water makes for a stronger concentrate.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool, store it I the containers you intend to use it with and you’re good to go.

 ALTERNATIVE NATURAL LAUNDRY DETERGENT

For a natural detergent that whitens a bit better, you can use the soap nut concentrate mixed with 2 – 4 tablespoons of natural borax. There is some debate as to whether or not Borax is toxic. I’m in the “not toxic for cleaners” camp, personally, and feel safe using in on the farm and in gray water systems. However, Wellness Momma wrote an excellent article about the toxicity of Borax. Please read it then you can be your own judge.

 NATURAL NO STREAK GLASS CLEANER

  • 4 Parts White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Natural Lemon Juice

Place ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Use with an upcycled t-shirt rag or other lint-free cloth the same way you would use commercial cleaners and paper towels. If you still get a printed newspaper they are EXCELLENT for use in this application. Just wad the paper up, then unwad and use as you would a paper towel.

ALL-NATURAL TOILET BOMBS

Since the houses on the land trust will be tied to a conventional septic system, we will be using regular ceramic toilets in our construction. Keeping a toilet clean, sanitized and fresh is very important, and we want to use natural cleaners to do it. We love these bombs because you can drop it in the toilet and forget it. The natural fizzing action helps the bombs scrub the toilet and they can be used daily for an always-fresh bathroom.  We got our base recipe from DIY Natural and adjusted both the strength and the scent to suit our own tastes.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid (find it at your grocers or whole foods store in the canning section)
  • 1 cup Natural Borax OR Corn Starch
  • 1 Gallon zippered bag OR mixing bowl
  • Water in a Spray Bottle
  • A mold of your choice. I actually use tiny ice trays that have a silicone base but you can use any mold you choose
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons (about 40 drops) food grade essential oil of your favorite clean scent (I use orange oil)
  • 10 drops Tea Tree oil (for extra antiseptic qualities)

DIRECTIONS:

Put the dry ingredients into your baggie or bowl land mix with your hands until well kneaded. If you are doing this with your hands in a bowl, please wear gloves! Now, start spritzing in the water, a little at a time, and knead well until the moisture is absorbed. Do this about five times, not spritzing too much. Too much moisture makes a bad bomb. (No pun intended.)

Now add in the essential oils and continue kneading until the mixture sticks together in a clump when you squeeze it.

Place the mixture into the molds and let air dry for 5 days. Unmold and place in a storage container in your bathroom and drop one in daily for a nice, clean and sanitized bath.

If you’re looking for more natural cleaning products, be sure to check out the blogs below.

 

And be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you’re notified of new blog updates and features as well as membership savings in our shop ONLY available to our VIP List.

Next week we’re going to go over some of our all-natural hair and skin care recipes.

See you then!

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Why an Eco Village?

When we first began dreaming about having our own farm, the idea of a village was far from our minds. “We can help people in our own way.” We thought.  As the years progressed, though, and we began to experience some seriously life-altering set-backs, we realized that our thinking was far too small to make any lasting, drastic impact on anyone’s lives, including our own.

When we say we want to build a sustainable eco-village, our idea of sustainability includes more than farming or living methods. Our ideal of sustainable living includes providing those things that all communities need in order to not only survive but to thrive and grow and be available for future generations.

All communities, whether urban or rural, need access to water, food, and resources. These resources are where the largest of our efforts in planning have been concentrated.

The portion of our society that we intend to serve first and foremost, is a portion that, unfortunately, is hard to service through conventional means. People with criminal backgrounds, drug histories and health issues who find it difficult at best to obtain gainful employment, housing or housing assistance and vital services such as healthcare, education, and vocational training. In many cases, these factions of society are relegated to menial labor positions at a barely-livable or below poverty wage. Eventually, they are either forced into housing communities.

A community that is either solely or largely reliant on outside resources for its basic needs – food, water, energy – the system, over time, begins to crumble. In the case of a disaster a non-self reliant community can be, and in certain cases has been, completely obliterated, forcing its inhabitants to either re-build with a better model or move on.

By creating a community that provides services to our surrounding communities, rather than relying on services and outside resources, we are planning for a future that can and will avoid these issues.

Aside from having the farm to generate our food, and using sustainable reclamation practices for daily living, waste production and the byproducts of human existence, we plan to have several other programs in place to provide an income for the community as well as for our individual residents. In our next few posts, we’ll be discussing some of these plans and what they will mean for us and our neighboring communities. We want to become a model for others to start such eco-villages and make our world a better place.

 

 

Motivation: When The Going Get’s Tough, What Keeps You Going?

Let’s get real for a minute, shall we? We all have those days where it seems as if no amount of motivation is going to be enough – those days where we manage to piss off people without trying; where every project seems to flop; where we just can’t seem to muster enough courage, strength or “oomph” to keep moving forward. Those days suck! But how do you get through them?

Launching our signature collection has been my complete focus for the past three months. I’ve worked 20 hour days creating designs, sourcing materials, choosing colors and dreaming of the day I can put the full collection online and call it finished.  In those three months, I’ve stopped and started more times than I care to remember. I’ve thrown fits, pulled at my hair, walked away and come back repeatedly and still I keep moving forward.  Sometimes, I seriously have to ask myself “What’s going to motivate me today?” Because to be honest, there are days when I seriously struggle to keep moving in the direction of my dream, and I know from reading the forums that I belong to, and watching videos on YouTube that I am not alone. We all have those days – you know the ones.

So, I wanted to ask you – when you feel like giving up, throwing in the towel and walking away, what keeps you going? What motivates you to go through one more day, or hour, or sometimes – even another minute? Is it money? Is it accolades? Or is it something deeper?

For me, staying motivated has become crucial to life. I have several different weapons in my arsenal – I go for a walk or watch a good movie, read some motivational quotes on my Pinterest board, read over my goals in my Bullet Journal, have a cup of coffee and a long chat with a friend, and sometimes, I just sit down and have a good cry.  But there are days when it seems that no matter what I do to stay motivated, it’s just not happening. I call those my “no adulting” days. Come on, admit it, you have them too.

On those days I don’t force it. If I cannot work, I cannot work – period. Sometimes its due to legitimate health issues (I urge everyone to research Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease), other days it’s due to other issues that have nothing to do with me in particular but have everything to do with the life I live – whether its a marriage thing, a financial thing, or a mothering thing – and sometimes, its just because. UGH, how I hated that answer from anyone when I was a kid! “Why can’t I do this or that?” I’d ask my mother an hear “Just because.” But now? Now I get it. There are days when “just because” is the best answer I can give.

One thing that has helped me so much on this journey is to not beat myself up so badly. We are our own worst critics, or so its said. I believe it! I’m the first one to notice that I didn’t meet all of my housekeeping goals for the day because a piece I’ve been working on took longer than I expected, or that I didn’t get as much created today as I’d planned on because my day was filled with constant interruptions. Learning how to push me forward without pushing myself down has been one of the most beneficial things in my life.

One of the first things I had to learn to do was let go of the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, the world isn’t going to collapse if my bed doesn’t get made for a day, or I don’t get dinner on the table at exactly 6 PM. I’ve had to learn that I do not have to answer the phone every time it rings or the door everytime someone knocks. My greatest obligation is to my own well being because without that I cannot care for others. Sometimes, that well being and peace of mind only come when I am busy working toward my goal of the launch.  Learning to let go of the small things that really aren’t that great in the big picture, has helped me maintain some of my focus and motivation, not just in work, but in everything.

I’ve also had to learn how to prioritize. I think, as women, we tend to get our priorities all mixed up depending on where we are in our lives.  When we’re newlyweds, the marriage comes first, then we have children and they come first. What I failed to realize for a long time was that taking care of myself first – my mental and physical health, my emotional and spiritual well being – was crucial to me being able to take care of everyone else’s needs. We can’t draw water from an empty well.

On days when I just cannot “adult” anymore, here are my top five go-to motivation boosters. What are yours? Share with me in the comments below.

  1. Take a hot shower or bath – this always soothes and relaxes me and gives me a fresh feeling
  2. Watch a great inspirational movie or video – I keep Gaia on my bookmarks bar and watch some fantastic personal development videos
  3. I move everything on my “to do” list forward to the next day and just take a day to rest, relax and rejuvenate
  4. I peruse designs on Pinterest
  5. I get out of the house and go for a walk, or go to the store, or just go visit a friend

Want to pin this article and help start the conversation? We’d appreciate it so much!

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What keeps you going, motivated and reaching for your dreams? #motivation #moonstruckcharms