Earth-friendly Spring (or anytime) cleaning with Daddy Nickell

Remember when I mentioned making my own cleaning and beauty products the other day?  This article from Daddy Nickell helped inspire me to play with my recipes and get back into the kitchen.  He’s given me permission to share these tips with you.  Don’t let “Spring cleaning” fool you – these tips work any time of year.  

Home & Parenting Expert Daddy Nickell Has The Scoop On Common Natural Household Cleaning Agents 
Spring 2014 is here!  Do you want to ensure that your spring cleaning effforts are both effective and Earth-friendly? Say “no!” to all of the toxic chemical-filled cleaning agents on the market this season, because home & parenting expert Daddy Nickell has come up with a list of common household items that make natural, yet effective spring cleaning solutions! A great way to go green this spring!

According to Daddy Nickell, the below natural cleaning agents and methods will help get your home fresh and clean this spring while protecting the environment:

Natural Cleaning Agents:

Baking Soda
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural and inexpensive way to regulate the pH levels of either an acidic or alkaline substance.  In layman’s terms, it works great for both cleaning household surfaces and keeping odors at bay.  In fact, you probably have a box in your freezer right now!  But did you know that its uses don’t stop there?  Here are just a few tips for keeping your home sparkling using this age-old, economical and eco-friendly product:

Make your own “soft scrub:  Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub bathtubs, sinks and tiles the same as you would with the commercial brands.  It’s great on greasy, stubborn pots and pans too!

Polish silverware:  Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water and rub gently on the surface with a clean, dry cloth.  Rinse thoroughly and let dry for a brilliant shine.

Clean shower curtains:  Sprinkle directly on a damp sponge and scrub gently until the shower curtain comes clean.  It neutralizes any odors here too!

Give your liquid laundry detergent a boost:  Just add ½ cup or so to your (eco-friendly) laundry detergent to make it work even harder.  Baking soda will help to get your clothes cleaner, brighter and fresher by balancing the pH levels.

Get rid of grease and oil stains:  Sprinkle baking soda on oil and grease spills on your garage floor and then scrub with a wet brush.

White Vinegar
Vinegar is a form of acetic acid that stems from the fermentation process of sugars and starches.  Because it is derived naturally, it cannot harm humans, pets or the environment!  It literally has 100’s of uses, but here are just a few tips for using it for household cleaning purposes:

All purpose cleaner:  Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water and use as you would any commercial glass cleaner.

Remove stickers and other ‘gummy substances’:  Moisten the surface with vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes.

Carpet spills:  Pour the half and half mixture directly on the carpet stain, let sit for 5 minutes, then blot with a damp sponge and repeat as needed.

Remove stubborn, corroded stains on shower heads and other fixtures:  To do this, simply remove the fixtures and let them soak in vinegar overnight. Rinse them off in the morning and they are will sparkle!

Remove strong odor from hands:  After chopping onions or garlic, wipe your hands with vinegar.  It works on stains from fruit juice too!

Clean wood cutting boards:  To clean your cutting boards, simply wipe them down with vinegar!

Olive Oil

We all know that olive oil is delicious and heart healthy, but this Mediterranean staple is also known for its moisturizing and healing properties and can be used around the house too.  Here are some great applications:

Furniture polish:  Replace waxy commercial polish with olive oil; just add a tsp to a ¼ cup of lemon juice and you can clean and shine your wood surfaces naturally.

Shoe polish:  Just dab a small amount of olive oil on to your favorite pair of leather shoes and buff to a brilliant, all natural shine.

Hinge lubricant:  Replace that commercial can of oil with olive oil and spray directly on the hinge to eliminate that annoying squeak!

Hairball treatment:  Even household pets can benefit from the many uses of olive oil.  Just add a tsp of olive oil a day to their food to eliminate this messy, noisy nuisance.

Soothe skin rashes:  The soothing properties of olive oil can lessen the symptoms of skin rashes and may help to eliminate them.  Gently rub a small amount to affected area for quick relief. It helps with a baby’s bum too!

Robert Nickell, a.k.a.” Daddy Nickell,” father of seven, is the founder of Daddy & Co. and the Daily Daddy blog where he provides parenting advice from a dad’s perspective.  He also contributes to national talk shows and daytime television shows and as a syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and websites. Robert Nickell and his family practice what they preach as they are in the process of building an eco friendly home that is on track to receive Platinum LEED certification, from the U.S. Green Building Council.

To learn more about “Daddy Nickell” or to read additional blogs, visit Visit Daddy & Co.’s website to view apparel and gift items, and you can also become a fan on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


Handmade beauty with Beauty by Shea

You know how people tell you that many commercial health and beauty products are bad for you and how we should go more natural?  What they don’t tell you is how expensive it is to go more natural.  Sticker shock is a killer!  But once you get over the shock you hit Google and Pinterest.  Once you hit Google and Pinterest, you find recipes for the health and beauty items you need.  And sometimes you realize that you have most of the ingredients on hand.  Then you go into the kitchen and blend, giggling all the while.   Sometimes you share these handmade products with friends and family.

That’s my story.  I drifted away from handmade a little, but learning more about Fibromyalgia and environmental sensitivities sent me back into the kitchen.  I make my own laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, and skin cream.  The family doesn’t always share my enthusiasm for my handmade concoctions, but the addition of Shea Butter to the skin cream recipes brings them around.

Beauty by Shea photo.

Beauty by Shea photo.

I regularly make my own foot cream and muscle rubs with essential and coconut oils, but the family wasn’t fond of the coconut oil base.  Adding Shea Butter seems to do the trick.  It thickens the base and the products leave no oily or sticky residue when applied.  I had the chance to try Beauty By Shea’s Pure Organic Unrefined Raw Shea Butter and jumped on it.  This was not my first purchase of raw Shea Butter so I knew what to expect.  My package arrived quickly (thanks to Amazon Prime) and I was impressed from the jump. Real, unrefined Shea Butter is firm-textured at room temperature, has a creamy ivory color, and a faint fragrance on its own that blends perfectly with any added fragrance.

I use it straight up on my elbows and knees to help soften the rough skin. Just a touch is all you need. For my hands, I use a 60/40 blend of Shea Butter and Coconut Oil without added fragrance as a nightly hand cream.  In cold weather when my hands are particularly dry and cracked, nothing beats a 90/10 Shea/Coconut blend, especially when its still warm and has a hint of added fragrance. I reach for essential oils because I’m cutting out as much junk such as artificial fragrance as possible.

This is the start of something wonderful.  Sherrie Thompson photo.

This is the start of something wonderful. Sherrie Thompson photo.

When I need to pick up more Shea Butter, Beauty By Shea is where I’ll shop.  The 1 pound bricks regularly sell for $19, but right now are on sale for $11!  That is an unreal deal!  I may order another bag now so I’ll have it on hand through cooler months and for holiday gifts.

Do you make your own household or beauty products?  What are your favorites?

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Painsomnia is real

It’s a little after 2 am and I’m wide awake.   I don’t want to be.  It’s nothing new, really,  because insomnia is my frenemy.  What is fairly new is pain-induced insomnia.   Thanks to fellow spoonies, I now know that painsomnia is real and unfortunately common.

So, what do I do when painsomnia strikes?  It depends.   Tonight I’ve played around on Instagram and Facebook.   Sometimes I work if I have a deadline around the corner.   If I’m still awake in an hour, I’ll go pack lunches for the family.   Or not.  The thought of the 5 am alarm going off while I stare at the ceiling is a downer.

I’m going to meditate for a while in corpse pose and hope I can drift off.  If not, I’ll see you later.

Do you get insomnia?   How do you cope?


Ahh, chocolate! Thanks, Freedom Superfoods Organic Raw Cacao!

freedom cacaoHello.  My name is Sherrie and I have a chocolate problem.  I could eat it every day and never get tired of it.   I like it sweet, dark, mild, straight up or in recipes.  Cutting out dairy meant cutting way back on store-bought chocolate goodness and getting back into the kitchen for my fix.  That wasn’t a problem necessarily, but it wasn’t exactly the best thing for me to do.  You know, since I have that problem.

When I was asked if I’d be interested in trying Freedom Superfoods Organic Raw Cacao, I was not opposed.  Well, more than that.  I was excited; giddy, even.  I know that good quality chocolate has health benefits (it’s rich in antioxidants and minerals), but it seems this stuff is even better.  According to the folks at Freedom Superfoods, their raw cacao is alkalizing and energizing in addition its fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron that help keep my blood pressure and energy level on point.  It’s non-fermented, organic, raw goodness.

The first thing I did when I received the bag was make a mocha.  It was late morning when my shipment arrived and I needed caffeine.  I noticed how smooth and fine the powder was.  This was not the cocoa powder I was used to.   It blended perfectly into my mocha and made my chocolate-loving self smile.  I think the flavor did more to lift the afternoon slump than the caffeine.

Freedom Superfoods Organic Raw Cacao has adds rich dark chocolate flavor in anything its added to.  When you order a bag, Freedom Superfoods includes an e-book with recipes to try.  Instead of following their recipes, I used the raw cacao the way I usually use cocoa powder.  I mixed it into smoothies and oatmeal at breakfast, coffee and coconut milk for afternoon lattes and mochas, chili at lunch and dinner, and for dessert, everything.  I made raw banana chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup for topping and dipping, chocolate mousse, and, my current favorite, homemade coconut dark chocolate candy. Thanks to Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows) for that one.   she inspired me and sent me on a candy-making spree.

cacao ig

Coconut Oil, raw cacao, and maple syrup = vegan superfood candy bars!

The recloseable bag helps keep the cacao powder fresh until its all gone.  At this rate, I’ll finish it by the end of the year.  Yes, I plan to give chocolate goodness as holiday presents.   If you want your dark chocolate goodness throughout the day like I do, Freedom Superfoods Organic Raw Cacao is the way to go.  Check them out on Facebook and see why I love this stuff.  The company stands behind their products and offers a 60 day money-back guarantee.

If you’ll excuse me, I have a raw banana chocolate smoothie to finish while I work.  I’d share, but, you know, you’re not here with me.

choc smoothie


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Happy Sunday!

What’s going on with you?   Football,  fitness,  family, and meal prep here.  It’s going to be a busy week, so a head start is a good thing.

Sorry, I was distracted by the Falcons’s awesome OT win against the Saints.  Raiders, it was close, but you know next week will be better.  Here’s to an awesome NFL season and killer week!

Oh, and check on me tomorrow,  please.  I took on PiYo Define: Upper Body and 10 minutes of TurboFire Low HIIT 20 this afternoon.  Eep!