Stasher Bags Review for back to school

School will be starting soon and lunches will need to be packed again. I’m so not ready! I do not like using the disposable plastic bags so I have a set of these Stasher silicone reusable bags. They close easily and tightly with their self loc feature; and comes in all different sizes for an endless number of uses. They are dishwasher safe and can be used again and again. We’ve never had an issue with them leaking.

You can also get larger 1/2 gallon sizes, including a stand up version, to store produce in the fridge or freeze items. And smaller sizes perfect for on the go snacks or keeping a pacifier clean in the diaper bag. And Stasher go that can clip to a bag and perfect to fit a phone, so perfect for the pool or beach to keep your phone clean and dry.

The zipper part can be a little hard to open so practice with your kids before sending their lunch in these. The sandwiches size is perfect for typical bread size but wider sizes, like some organic bread brands, may need the edges trimmed to fit the bag. They obviously are a little bulkier than disposable baggies, but we haven’t had an issue.

Stasher bags are made from food grade platinum silicone. Platinum food-grade silicone is safe for use in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher, boiling water, soups vide, and oven up to 400 degrees F. Stasher also participates in 1% for the Planet. They are BPA and phthalate free.

This Stasher starter set is great to test out the different sizes.

I love my Stasher Bags and plan to add even more to my collection.

This post contains affiliate links, however, the views expressed here are my own. This was not a paid review. I’m reviewing a product I purchased myself.

How I Wash Strawberries

I’ve tried several different methods of pre-washing or not and storing berries but the one that works the best for me is a few minutes of soaking in cold water with a few tablespoons of white vinegar (confession: I totally eyeball it). I give them a gentle rub with my fingers.

After they have soaked, I lay them on a towel to dry. They must dry COMPLETELY before storing them in the fridge.

I typically store them in an open bowl so moisture isn’t trapped in. I sometimes will place a washcloth or paper towel in the bottom and cover with a kitchen towel just to catch any extra moisture. My kids don’t let berries last very long. They will devour 2 pounds in a day, easy (I have 3 kids).

I do the same for grapes

You can also use baking side instead of vinegar to help remove residue. I found vinegar is great to prevent berries from molding too quickly. Have you tried this method? What works for you?

Toxins in the laundry room

Fabric softeners may make your clothes soft and towels fluffy but they are actually bad for fabrics and contain toxins. Fabric softeners work by leaving a thin, lubricating film on the clothes. (This is enough to make me go eek! No!) This is not good for athletic fabrics designed to wick moisture away, and they actually typically have instructions on the tag to not use fabric softeners. (That’s what one of those symbols mean.) Over time, the waxy coating from the fabric softener builds up preventing moisture from being wicked away. The coating can also build up on towels making them less absorbent.

In the same vein, the coating can trap in stains and discolorations. This coating can also make it difficult for water to permeate the fabric to properly clean the clothes and remove stains and odors. Have you ever had a greasy/bluish looking stain on your clothing after the wash that wasn’t there before? That’s because the fabric softener itself can sometimes leave behind discolorations and stains.

Because the fabric softener builds up on the clothes, that means it’s in contact with your skin, probably 24/7 if you use it on all your clothes.

What’s it made of?
Many ingredients, especially ingredients in the fragrance used, are not disclosed, especially fragrance ingredients. Looking on EWG.com, there are many common ingredients that are endocrine disruptors, cause organ toxicity, are skin and respiratory irritants.

“Usually, fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain cationic surfactants of the quaternary ammonium type (also called QACs), which is known to exacerbate asthma symptoms and irritate skin, and has been linked to cancer and reproductive issues. This is what makes clothes feel smoother. But the chemical can build up on fabrics over time, potentially limiting a material’s breathability. It can also inhibit flame-retardancy in kids’ clothes.

QACs biodegrade easily in the air, they don’t biodegrade very well in water. They are actually not completely removed during wastewater treatment. And of course, that’s a problem, because our washing machine water goes straight into the oceans.

Check labels and product websites for these ingredients and avoid them all: distearyldimonium chloride, diethyl ester dimethyl ammonium chloride, variants of hydroxyethyl methyl ammonium methyl sulfate or the vague terms “biodegradable fabric softening agents” and “cationic surfactant.” Also avoid fragrance which can be a skin irritant and contain phthalates.”

Environmental concerns
One researcher conducted an experiment using new organic cotton towels, and clean washers and dryers, to sample laundry emissions after using scented fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

What was coming out of those vents? (And into people’s lungs?) Seven hazardous air pollutants and 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some of these, including acetaldehyde and benzene, are not safe at any level. (These are also pollutants that commonly spew out of vehicle tailpipes.)

Many dryer sheets contain chemicals that react with the air to create formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen.

What are alternatives?

I use vinegar in place of fabric softener when needed. For stinky towels or clothes, I also add some baking soda.

For the dryer, I use wool dryer balls. They help separate clothing in the dryer preventing static and helps reduce drying time. I only dry towels, bedding and basic cottons (socks, underwear and t shirts). If you struggle with static, make sure you are not over drying or using too high of heat. If it’s still an issue, attach a safety pin to a dryer ball. The safety pin will transfer the static to the dryer drum and away from clothes.

I hang dry athletic clothes, jeans, nicer clothes and T-shirts with a heat press I want to keep looking nice. This keeps clothes looking newer longer, reduces fade from the heat, and pilling from tumble drying. It also prevents missed stains from being set in, and saves on energy costs. I have this clothes drying rack with this wall fan to help dry them quicker.

Sources:

It’s time to Stop Using Fabric Softeners & Dryer Sheets

Why is Fabric Softener Bad for the Environment (+ Best Natural Alternatives)?

https://www.ecowatch.com/3-reasons-you-should-skip-fabric-softeners-and-dryer-sheets-1891128935.html

https://nypost.com/2019/04/29/are-dryer-sheets-bad-for-your-health-and-laundry/

Stop Using Dryer Sheets Immediately!

Sheet pan chicken leg dinner

Sheet pan dinners are great! Fairly quick, you only mess up one pan and nothing to really babysit. Plus you can really use your imagination.

I had chicken legs, tons of basil from the garden, potatoes in the pantry and zucchini in the fridge. I grabbed those as well as an onion and some spices and boom! Dinner was going. Here is what I did…

1.5 lbs potatoes cut into bite sized pieces

4 medium zucchini (you can use less, I just used what I had. You can also mix in yellow squash.) Cut into chunks.

Handful of grape tomatoes

1 onion sliced in chunks

Enough chicken legs for your family

2 teaspoons garlic powder or 3-4 cloves minced

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper (or to taste)

Fresh basil, 1 handful slivered

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange cut veggies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the veggies (use more if needed to coat). Sprinkle with most of the spices and toss. Arrange the chicken legs on top. Spray or use a pastry brush to thinly coat in olive oil. Use the remaining salt, pepper, garlic and basil. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Note oven temps and chicken sizes vary, so check with a meat thermometer as to not over cook. This will make the zucchini and tomatoes a little mushy, so if you prefer firmer veggies, cook those in a separate pan and put in oven about 15 minutes after the chicken, potatoes and onion.

This is easy to alter. Brussel sprouts would be so good with this as well.

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Natural menstrual cramp relief and menstrual products

Menstrual cramps are a pain (pun intended), and we all know it. But taking Tylenol or ibuprofen regularly is not good for our bodies. Midol also has less than ideal ingredients. So what ways can we go about this naturally?

There are items you may already have at home to help, and others you may want to consider adding to your Aunt Flow arsenal.

Heating pad — I love the king size. It wraps around more of the abdomen and feels so good!) A flaxseed heating pad is a great natural alternative
Fair trade chocolates — chocolate just makes everything better. I get the soy free, they are trade chocolate. Soy and I do not get along.
Cloth pads — I had far fewer cramps with much less intensity, as well as a less heavy flow once I ditched toxic tampons and pads, and switched to cloth or at least organic cotton pads.
Menstrual cup — this is the best eco-friendly option (besides free bleeding). This prevents any waste.
Earthley’s Ease the Ache — amazing for cramps! I’ll give a testimonial below as well as details of how to save 58%. But if you have cramps, this is a must have.
Kombucha this is a great fermented tea with beneficial probiotics do you help keep your gut health and check.
• Soothing music — I Carmens tend to peek during her your menstrual cycle. Bring a little calmness to your day with soothing music.
Herbal bath — Who doesn’t love a nice relaxing bath? These beneficial herbs can help bring relief to cramping as well as help heal after birth, plus it’s safe for baby!

Earthley’s Ease the Ache was formulated for women who need some help during menstruation. The herbs help to ease cramping and pain, are rich in vitamin K to slow heavy bleeding, and help to smooth out mood swings. It’s also great for postpartum mamas to deal with pesky afterpains! Try it for just $5!

My teen and I have used it the last few months and I can tell you, this works! I no longer have painful cramps, and my teen no longer complains either.

JUNE 28, 2021 ONLY!

Get a 1oz Ease the Ache (Women’s Cramp Formula) for just $5. Click here. No code will be needed.)

Also, save 10% on:
~Natural Balance – Hormone Support
~Castor Detox – Detoxing & Pain Relief
~Detox Bath – Detox Support
~Nourish Her Naturally – Women’s Multivitamin

Which one would you choose?

Here’s more to consider to have a more natural menstrual cycle.

Have you considered what the tampons you are using are made of? How they affect your body? Would they be causing more intense cramps? The materials used to make pads and tampons are often bleached, and because tampons and pads are considered medical devices, manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients. Check out this article for more information. And 7 reasons why you should ditch tampons here.

Alternatives to tampons and mainstream pads are:

Reusable pads or tampons Etsy is a great place to look for these

Period underwear you can wash and use again. Just be very careful of which brand you choose, many contain toxic chemicals. Thinx is in lawsuits over this.

Menstrual cup

Have you tried these natural alternatives?

Herb of the week: Dandelion

Latin name: Taraxacum Officianale Botanical family: Asteracea
Energetics (Chinese medicine): Drying, cooling Properties:

🌼 Diuretic
🌼 Nutritional
🌼 Liver support
🌼 Stimulates appetite
🌼 Supports immune system
🌼 Supports kidney function
🌼 Anti-inflammatory
🌼 Antioxidant-rich

Safety: For all ages. Can be used in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Safe both internally and externally. Be cautious or do not use if you have an allergy to ragweed.

Most people consider dandelions “weeds,” but they are one of the most beneficial plants around! Ironically, we spend so much time and money trying to kill them using toxic chemicals, while the plants themselves can support our livers and kidneys and promote detox. It’s nearly impossible to kill dandelions, anyway, because their taproot can go up to 30 feet deep, and if there’s any piece of it left, it will regrow.

But why would we want to kill this beautiful plant?! It’s in season around mid-late April in northern climates, although it blooms sporadically during warm months. The flowers are open and yellow (composed of many tiny petals) during the day, and close at night and during cool, wet weather. They turn to white puffballs of seeds after a couple of weeks, and the wind carries them everywhere. Dandelions spread easily!
The whole plant is edible and medicinal. The roots are best harvested in the fall when the stored energy is highest, at or after the second year. They can be used raw in tea or tincture to promote liver health. Roasted, they make a nice coffee substitute.

The leaves are bitter in flavor and rich in several vitamins and minerals. They can be eaten in salads, or made into tea or tincture. They support kidney health and are sometimes called “nature’s multivitamin.”

The flowers have mild pain-relieving properties, and are nice infused in oil to make a salve or cream for sore muscles. They are also edible, and can be tossed in salads, used to make jelly or wine. Some also use them to make cookies, muffins, or fritters.

Enjoy all that dandelions have to offer!

Earthley products containing dandelion are:
🌼 Sun Shield
🌼 All Purpose Salve
🌼 Nourish Her Naturally
🌼 Nourish Me Naturally
🌼 Baby Balm
🌼 Pain Potion
🌼 Sinus Saver
🌼 Cough-B-Gone
🌼 Immune-Biotic
🌼 Natural Balance
🌼 Mama’s Tummy Relief
🌼 UT-Relief

I also love dandelion detox tea. You can find in most grocery stores.

Learn more about this herb and recipes for dandelions.

Learn more uses for this powerful herb.

(Note: be sure the dandelions you forage are not sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers.)

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Herb of the week: Rosemary

What is Rosemary?

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a small evergreen plant that belongs to the mint family, which also includes the herbs lavender, basil, myrtle and sage. Its leaves are commonly used fresh or dried to flavor various dishes.

Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Hebrews considered rosemary sacred and it has a long history of use. Rosemary has been known throughout time to be a wedding love charm, as well as a sign of honor and remembrance when used at funerals. It has also been used throughout history to soothe digestive problems, boost immune systems, relieve aches and pains.

Rosemary has an antioxidant ORAC value of 11,070 which means it is just as possible at fighting free radicals as goji berries.

Benefits include:
Discourages hair loss and boosts growth
Improves Memory
Boosts Liver Function
Lowers Cortisol
Helps Fight Cancer

Earthley products that include Rosemary:
Rosemary Lavender Dry Shampoo
Rosemary Lavender Shampoo Bar
Silk Smooth Leave In Conditioner
Herbal Baby Powder
Breathe Well Salve
Milk Flowin’ Salve

Castor oil detox pack, cool formula
Pain Relief Rub
Sea Salt Soap

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Sources:
https://www.superfoodly.com/orac-value/fresh-rosemary-leaves/
tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10412905.2003.9712248
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001177.htm
http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/25842469
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517595
https://draxe.com/essential-oils/rosemary-oil-uses-benefits/

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.

Herb of the week: Blue Tansy

I’m doing a bonus herb of the week in preparation for the Blue Bliss launch this week, which will include the good night lotion, a lip balm, an essential oil roller ball blend and a bar of soap. The sale on these (minus the soap) will run from Friday to Monday.

Many of you may be wondering:
💙 What is Blue Tansy?
💙 And why is it such a big deal?

Blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) is a perennial herb native to Morocco, Portugal and Spain. Today, it’s mainly cultivated in Morocco, and often called ‘Moroccan blue chamomile.’ Blue Tansy is part of the daisy family. It yields a deep blue essential oil when the flowers are distilled with steam, which is how it gets its name. Blue Tansy essential oil has a sweet, fruity aroma due to it’s camphor content, and also has a complex, woody undertone.

Low worldwide demand and small crops can make blue tansy essential oil expensive and difficult to find. It is important to not confuse blue tansy with its cousin, tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). Despite being related, the two plants and their essential oils differ in color and have different benefits and uses.

💙How is it made?💙

The above-ground flowers and stems of the blue tansy plant are gathered and steam-distilled. In the distillation process, one of the chemical components of the oil, chamazulene, is released.

When heated, chamazulene turns deep blue, giving the oil it’s indigo-to-cerulean hue. Exactly how much chamazulene the plants contain changes as the growing season progresses from May to November.

Blue Tansy has shown to be beneficial to soothe irritated skin, an effective decongestant (when inhaled), helps calm the mind and ease tension, has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps repair damaged skin (including acne and wrinkles).

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💙Personal Experience💙

My daughter has gone through some anxiety and also gets car sick. I have taken her to a health specialist who muscle tested her for an oil that would be most beneficial to her to help these areas. Of course, my child would test best for one of the the most expensive essential oils! It does have a very calming scent and is very quickly becoming one of my favorite oils. I’m very excited for this launch!

https://www.healthline.com/health/blue-tansy#safety

Blue Tansy Essential Oil

Herb of the week: Rosehips?

Rosehips is the fruit of a rose that develops on wild roses as the flower drops off and usually appears in early summer, while rippening until Fall. These fruits are full of concentrated sources of Vitamin C! Rosehips are native to Europe and Western Asia.

Rosehips have been used to make jelly, jam, soup and oils; it can also be used to flavor tea and liquor. During wars, such as WWII, governments would use the rose hips to make hip syrup for their vitamin C supplement as citrus fruits were rare to find.

Many rose species produce edible rose hips, but rugosa roses (Rosa rugosa) are especially known for their rose hips.

Rosehips contain: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

Benefits include:
Boosts the Immune System
Obesity Reducer
Helps with Arthritis
Anti Ager
Anti Cancer

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Sources:
https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-vitamin-c-rosehips-6920.html
http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/11467225/reload=0;jsessionid=jMlOx3kyihWngHUULj6h.6
https://www.britannica.com/plant/rose-plant#ref54343
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/cyanogenic-glycosides
medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318706.php
https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/ethnic-foods/10470/2

Earthley Products that contain Rosehips:
Clear Essential Oil Roller
Soothing Belly Butter
Milk Flowin’ Salve
Elderberry Syrup Kits

And Energy Plus (herbal iron)

I always add rosehips to my homemade Elderberry syrup due to its immune boosting vitamin C content.

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.

Herb of the week: Elderberry

What is Elderberry?

Elderberry is native to Europe, Africa and parts of Asia, but it’s become common in the U.S. It has transient leaves, white flowers and berries that turn from green to red to black when ripe. Sambucus nigra is the full scientific name of the most common variety used for medicinal purposes, as well as the species on which the majority of scientific research has been conducted.

Benefits:

1) Boosts the Immune System.

2) Studies have shown it can decrease duration of colds.

3) Studies have shown it can improve Flu symptoms.

4) Reduces the amount of days sick with the flu.

5) It is an anti viral herb that can help reduce inflammation and congestion from Sinus Infections.

6) Elderberry has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and has been used to treat diabetes.

7) It has been found to lower insulin dependence in Type 1 Diabetes.

8) Promotes Urine production and bowel movements.

9) Supports Skin Health.
Elderberry has been shown to have significant bioflavonoids, antioxidants and vitamin A which is perfect for healthy skin.

10. Eases Allergies.

11. May have Cancer Fighting Effects.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16328973
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17201636

12. Improves Gut Health and Lowers Cholesterol.

Side Effects:
Never consume raw berries or other parts of the plant since they contain a cyanide-inducing chemical, which can result in diarrhea and vomiting.

What does Earthley offer?

Elderberry Elixir Herbal Extract

Elderberry DIY Kits

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This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.