Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…

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Thoughts on Allergies.

Recently, I have had some thoughts on seasonal (namely, spring) allergies, and I want to share them with you.
My whole life I have suffered from allergies.  In addition to indoor and pet dander, I had a multitude of outdoor allergies.  Pollen and freshly cut grass were especially bad, and most of the spring was spent battling itchy, puffy eyes, a clogged yet runny nose, a scratchy throat, and sometimes asthma. 
This year they are just about gone.  Sure, I sneeze a little.  My nose was itchy a few times.  But basically?  They are gone!  For the first time in my life, I am smelling the roses… literally!  When I drive home from work with my windows open, I am shocked by the amazing aromas of the flowers.  I never realized it before, but my nose is always so clogged during this season that I have never had the ability to smell it before.  The other day, I was at a traffic light near a home that was having its lawn trimmed.  In the past, I would have held my breath to prevent breathing in the allergens.  This time?  I inhaled deeply and enjoyed it!
I haven’t figured out why I am immune this year.  I mean, rumor has it that this year has the highest pollen levels in ages.  I do have a few theories…
1)  Our diet.  This spring marks nearly year in which we have been eating in this way.  Happy animals, raw milk, and local honey may have contributed.  Each of these foods has been attributed with healing allergies.   
2)  Our location.  We moved last summer.  This is the first spring that we lived here.  Maybe the plants are different!   I’m not sure how much this contributes, though, because I still work in the town that we were living in before.  I am still there every day with no problem.  
3)  Our cleaning products.  We really only use anti-bacterial products for really germy messes… toilets, raw meat juices, and things of that nature.  Maybe my immune system has to fight more environmental germs the way it was designed to, and it stopped wasting its time on pollen and grass?
4)  I outgrew them.  Doubtful, but possible.
Yes, I know that by posting this, I am basically ASKING for a major allergy attack.  It’s like when you say “It can’t get any worse!” and it does.  Well, I’m ready for it.  
What are your thoughts?  Where did my allergies go?

This post was shared on Your Green Resource and Simple Lives Thursday!


Toothpaste Update

If you haven’t already, check out the original “Toothpaste” post.  
I have been using the toothpaste for just about a month now.  I have pretty much adjusted to the taste and texture of the paste.  I want to add in some more peppermint oil next time I make it, because I want a stronger flavor.  My teeth and gums still feel sparkly and clean. 
I went to the dentist for a checkup.  I am cavity free, which is great, but there is more good news!  When I went for my check-up a year ago, they found a teeny tiny cavity.  I asked them NOT to drill-n-fill it, just as a personal experiment.  I had read a little about the body’s ability to re-mineralize teeth and I wanted to see if it was true.  Now, I don’t recommend doing this, of course.  I made the decision because I have exceptionally strong teeth, the cavity was VERY small, and I trust my intuition.  
When I went back to the dentist 6 months later (6 months ago), the cavity had morphed into a “slightly sticky spot.”  Good news!
When I went this time (now, a year after it was first discovered) it was gone!  The tooth was totally healthy!!!!
Now, I know the toothpaste didn’t fix my tooth.  But, I had no new cavities, the existing one healed, my gums bled WAY less than usual when the hygienist scraped around, AND both my medical doctor and my dentist commented on how white my teeth are.  
With all those positives, I’m sticking with it!

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade,  and Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet!



Thanks for all the support and commiseration on my Armpit Woes.  I was so inspired after sharing it with you all that I decided to experiment more with personal products… and share them with you!
Next up?:  Toothpaste
Why, you ask?  Why not?  I don’t have really strong feelings either way towards commercial toothpaste.  I do have strong feelings towards putting things into my body with tons of unnecessary ingredients that were created in a lab.  
Here is a list of ingredients from the toothpaste in my bathroom. 
Active ingredient: sodium monofluorophosphate
Inactive ingredients: 
  • glycerin
  • hydrated silica
  • propylene glycol
  • water
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • pentasodium triphosphate
  • tetrasodium pryophosphate
  • sodium lauryl sulfate
  • flavor
  • sodium hydroxide
  • sodium saccharin
  • carageenan
  • cellulose gum
  • calcium peroxide
  • titanium dioxide
  • FD&C blue no.1
  • D&C yellow no.10
Okay, so opinions on those ingredients?  First of all, flouride is the only active ingredient.  I’m not sold on the importance of flouride.  I know, I know… dentists say we need it to keep our teeth healthy.  Well, doctors and other experts have been telling us to do things for generations and then we find out that it’s not so great after all.  So… there’s that.
Secondly, that is an awfully long list of “inactive” ingredients.  If they aren’t active, why are they there?  To carry the active ingredient, and maybe to make it taste better, since it is going in your mouth?  I’m okay with those reasons, but I find it hard to believe there is a need for THAT many.  I don’t really like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…and saccharin?!  I refuse to eat that in my foods, why would I rub it all over my teeth daily!?
Sigh.  I started searching for a toothpaste recipe that contained ingredients I had on hand.  I settled on this one.  Here’s how I made it. 
Ingredients:  Coconut Oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil.  
… Used!
The verdict?  A little salty, a little minty, overall a win.  I’ve only used it twice so far, but I like the way it makes my mouth feel.  I’ll keep you posted as I use it more. 
The biggest problem I am having now is that the coconut oil is solid.  This is easily resolved by brushing my teeth after I take a hot shower, but what if I want to brush at another time?  Any suggestions? 

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS!


Armpit Woes

So, I had a great post about a lactofermented success ready, but that will just have to wait until tomorrow.  This I HAVE to share today.  
A little over a year ago I decided to stop using my traditional deodorant/antiperspirant and start making my own.  I’m not sure that I believe all the negative hype about antiperspirants, but the cost of them adds up, they were leaving white caked on stains on my clothes, the smell (although delightful) wouldn’t leave my clothes, and I was trying to weed out chemicals whenever I could.  
I was scared.  I teach dance and I sweat a lot.  I did lots of research and settled on a mix of coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch.  The first few days, I stank a little.  Then, after about 3 days, I noticed that I was sweating less and didn’t smell.  I smelled lightly of coconut for the majority of the day.  My clothes were clean, and new things I have purchased since then no longer have that caked on deodorant nor the cloying scent even after washing.  
Our annual recital is in June.  It is a hot, sweaty, stressful week.  I hadn’t been using my recipe for too long, so I was nervous it wouldn’t hold up.  I switched back to my commercial deodorant for the first 2 days of rehearsals.  I STANK!!!! It was horrible!!! I can’t ever remember smelling that badly!!!  My guess is that my body was some how adjusted to the chemicals before, and when I gave them a break and then put them back on, my body was like “NO!!”  I went back to my home made one for the shows and smelled like a coconut again.  WHEW!
Next hurdle:  I started reacting to the baking soda.  This happened around October.  I had been using it with GREAT results for over 6 months at that point.  It was sudden.  Just one day, I started to have a rash from it, and some weird pimple like things.  I stopped using it immediately (over a weekend when I was home, don’t worry!).  I switched to just coconut oil and hoped that would fix the problem.  Not only did the rash heal (really quickly), but I still didn’t smell!  Yes, I was moister than usual because the baking soda and corn starch weren’t absorbing it, but the smell didn’t come.  
Now, I just use coconut oil.  In the summer, I might add some cornstarch in and see if that works, but I might not even need to.  Life was good.
UNTIL TUESDAY.  ::cue scary music::
I forgot to put it on!  Once I got to work, I used some commercial deodorant.  WORST IDEA EVER.  Apparently my body was no longer used to it.  Not only did I REEK, but my pits swelled up and got a rash on them.  I couldn’t even put my arms on themselves.  I had to teach in a sweater to buffer my skin from itself.  They were so swollen and painful even after I went home and took a shower.  It was horrible.  It subsided by mid-day Wednesday, which is great, but I have learned my lesson.  
I wonder, though… how is it that something I used for years and years every day is now causing my body to practically declare war?

This posted on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS!



I thought it was about time to take a break and bring you up-to-date on some of our ongoing projects. 
1.  Shave Oil– Since I last posted, I got my hands on some essential oils and started experimenting.  I used:
  • Tea Tree Oil- Chosen for its antibacterial properties.  The goal of tea tree oil is to prevent anything that gets into the open, fresh skin from causing or exacerbating breakouts. 
  • Chamomile- Chosen for its soothing properties.  The oil is still on the skin after the razor passes over it, and the chamomile is ready to soothe it. 
  • Lavender- Also chosen for its soothing properties.  Skin that just had a layer taken off by a metal blade needs all the help it can get!
  • Peppermint- Cooling, and makes his skin feel better.   
  • Jojoba Oil- Known to be good and nourishing for the skin, so I added in a bit as another carrier oil.
The verdict?  He loves it!  He has had way less inflammation, and less breakouts on his neck.  In his words, “The best shave EVER!”  Sometime he doesn’t even need to use any aftershave (which is good, because I haven’t managed to make that at home, yet!)

2.  Hot Dog Bun Disaster– I wish I could say that I made them again and they were wonderful.  I didn’t.  I didn’t do anything like that.  But, I did turn them into breadcrumbs.  So, win.  
3.  Saurkraut–  WAS A SUCCESS!!!   Finally, I was able to lacto-ferment something!  Check out the bubbles!
It was so tasty!!! Even John liked it!!!!

This post was featured on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegades and Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS!


Shave Oil

Yesterday I shared with you all my recipe for Orange Cleaner, and I realized as I was tagging it that it was one of the only non-food creations I have shared!  Uh-oh!  To remedy that, today you will be presented with…
Shave oil (Ohhhhhh!  Ahhhhhh!)
John has very sensitive skin that gets quickly and easily irritated when he shaves.  He had been using this product for a while, with moderate success:

I was happy that he was happy, but as we continue down this frugal green path, it hasn’t been fitting in.  A quick check of the ingredients and some research revealed:
  • Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis leaf juice
  • PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
  • Eucalyptus Globulus leaf oil
  • Tocopheryl Acetate
  • Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) oil
  • Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) leaf oil
  • Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Bark Oil
  • Limonene
  • CI 61565 (Green 6)
So.. Basically, a bunch of oils, some aloe, some scientific things, and  some artificial color.  Hmmmm…
The grape seed oil is a carrier oil and makes up the majority of the oil.  The aloe is added for its soothing, healing properties.  The rest of the oils are essential oils to serve various purposes.  The rest are just for fun? 
More research has yielded more information about the different types of oils than I will share with you, but here is what I have done with it so far.
I filled a tiny bottle with Grape Seed oil and added maybe 5 drops of tea tree oil.  Why?  Because I had Grape Seed oil in the kitchen and tea tree oil has antibacterial properties.  After John shaves, he is prone to tiny whiteheads. 
He keeps it in the shower and has used it 3 times so far.  He said that it feels great on his skin, like he “isn’t even pulling sharp blades across his face.”  I guess that is a good thing!  I noticed that the irritation and tiny whiteheads he gets after shaving were gone MUCH more quickly.  
He did have a few requests, and I have some tweaks that I want to make.  He would like some more soothing or cooling ingredients, so I will be adding either some aloe or some soothing essential oils (or both!).  In my research I have found that Jojoba Oil is very good for skin, so now that I know this works (in theory) I will be getting some.  So, the next batch should be SUPER awesome.


This post was shared on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Your Green Resource at Live Renewed, and Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet!


Orange Cleaner

In our quest to remove nasty things from our bodies and lives, we have changed more than the way we eat.  It has brought about changes in what we use on our bodies and in our home.  
We use white vinegar and baking soda for most of our cleaning needs, but sometimes we need something a little stronger.  The solution? 
White Vinegar
and Citrus Peels
I save the peels from all the citrus fruit we eat.  Instead of putting it into the compost, I put it in a mason jar and fill it to the top with white vinegar. 
When the jar stopped smelling like vinegar and started to smell like oranges (or whatever peels you are using) it is ready.  Just pour it out!
I pour it into a spray bottle diluted halfway with water.  It is a great degreaser!

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS and the Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet!