SUPPLEMENTal Health Insurance: Apple Cider Vinegar

The wonders of Apple Cider Vinegar are countless. This amazing product can do so much from cleaning our body both internally and externally to cleaning our home and the environment not to mention the host of ailments it can alleviate or cure.

My favorite thing to do with ACV is cook and rinse my hair. It sounds morbid to most people that I keep a bottle in my shower but it works and it works WELL!

So what is ACV???

Apple cider vinegar is vinegar(duh) made from apples. Raw ACV is unpasteurized and contains mother of vinegar which has a cobweb-like look to it and can make the vinegar look cloudy.

ACV is produced by crushing apples to squeeze out the juice. Bacteria and yeast are added to start a fermentation process in which the sugars are transformed to alcohol. In a further fermentation session, the alcohol converts into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria. This acid gives the vinegar its flavor and makes it ideal for use in a lot of foods such as dressings and marinades among others.

Apple cider vinegar has many health promoting properties aside from its talents in the kitchen, such as helping with arthritis and stopping the itch from annoying poison ivy. I was surprised to learn that although taken orally can help with many problems it is a miracle worker applied topically.

Here is a helpful list of ailments this wonderment can help with:

Arthritis
Athlete’s Foot
Burns
Dandruff
As a deodorant
Insect bites and stings
Itching
Poison Ivy
Sore Throat
Sunburn
Swimmer’s Ear
Toothache

Apple cider vinegar and honey mixed in a glass of water and drank daily up to three times is believed to cure arthritis as well as the common cold. Equal parts of vinegar and honey in a warm glass of water does the trick. (I do not have arthritis, personally, so I have not tried this remedy but people I’ve spoken to swear by it!)

For a case of athlete’s foot, dabbing a vinegar soaked cloth or swab on the affected area at least twice daily should clear things up and keep fungus at bay. Moist areas of the home like showers bathtubs and bathroom floors should be cleaned often with a good antiseptic (vinegar works well).

Burns * Something not to be taken lightly * unless you are certain the burn is minor and manageable at home please consult a physician, pharmacist or professional healthcare specialist for treatment.- soaking bandages in vinegar is said to ease pain, heal the burns and keep infection away and all the while preventing a scar. Patience is key, however, this remedy could take several weeks or even months depending on the extensivity of the burns.

Dandruff is the scalp shedding dead skin flakes. More than half of the adult population suffers from dry, red, itchy scalps with unsightly flakes being released into the hair and on their clothes. Uncomfortable and unattractive, there are many treatment options for dandruff but this one tops them all. After one rinse of ACV the sufferer finds relief. In most cases, they find indefinite relief. After washing the hair simply dilute a cap-ful or two in a small amount of water and apply it to the scalp. Letting sit and then rinsing it or just leaving it in if it’s a more severe case (don’t worry the smell dissipates upon drying) and voila! No more dandruff.

Body Odor is embarrassing! It is something we all have to deal with, though, so finding a good deodorant that works is important. Unless, you prefer o’naturale ACV is a great alternative to the conventional deodorant. Especially if you are looking for something more earth and body friendly or if you have sensitive skin. Most deodorants being sold retail are really antiperspirants containing a lot of chemicals and neurotoxins like aluminum. Antiperspirants  block your body from sweating and cooling itself as it was meant to. Sweating is the body’s way of detoxifying and conditioning and regulating temperature. If we stop perspiration we hold on to toxins and in turn could develop illness. If you, like me, want to avoid all the shenanigans going along with antiperspirants  and even some deodorants give ACV a try. It’s as easy as dabbing it liberally on the underarm and allowing it to dry.(again the smell will dissipate) Nurses, farmers among many others swear by this method of keeping their body odor under control.

Insect bites and stings can be a real pain, literally! Simply stop the itch by dabbing with ACV; swelling, redness and itchies disappear almost instantly. For bigger bites or more severe stings soak a cotton ball or pad and hold in place over the affected area with a bandage for about 30 minutes.

Itching can be caused by almost anything, laundry soap, fabric or material, bug bites, dry skin even bacteria can cause itchiness. Persistent itchiness leads to scratching and scratching leads to more bacteria, infection, scars etc. ACV applied or substituted for soap in many cases can stop the itch. It reminds me of an old infomercial “STOP THE ITCH” to the tune of “She’s got the look.”

Poison Ivy is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy! (maybe; depending upon the enemy) Oh wait! I don’t have any enemies. Anyway, poison ivy is itchy, oozing with puss and contagious. Let’s kick its butt with apple cider vinegar. Just the same with treating other itchies, dab it on liberally and let it dry. After a few minutes, you can finally get some sleep.

An unpleasant but unfailing cure for a bothersome sore throat is to mix 1/4 c. vinegar with 1 c. warm water, adding a dash each of salt and pepper. Gargle. The next morning you’ve forgotten all about the problem and its unpleasant cure.

Sunburn is like a fire burning gloriously atop our skin. Put the fire (and the sting) out instantly by splashing with good ole ACV. Feeling better will only last about 20 minutes but it’s better than sitting slathered in aloe with a sticky shirt that absorbs all your relief.

As with anything involving ears and eyes always consult a physician if you suspect injury or damage but apple cider vinegar can be used to prevent swimmer’s ear. The key is the pH. Acidity of the vinegar kills organisms that can get waterlogged in the ear canal causing infection, pain and irritation. Use a few drops in each ear to prevent this painful occurrence which happens all too often to our little ones in the summertime when water play and poolside time is imperative to our fun.

I hate the dentist, as do most of us I’m sure. To see him for every little toothache is not my cup of tea. I have found that warming a bit of vinegar and holding it in the mouth on the affected tooth brings relief. An occasional toothache is what we are talking about here. For chronic pain and problems please do go to the dentist and get the proper care for teeth and gums.

Whether you have skin problems, arthritis or the common cold I hope you’ll try these apple cider vinegar remedies and find yourself a new best friend in this miracle worker. If you have success stories using ACV or any questions about its magical properties, please share them in the comments; I always love hearing from my readers.

 

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How to keep house while living with a million mess-makers

I’m no expert. My house is not clean. I do have some tips and tricks to help you, though.

Raising any number of children and/or pets as well as having a mate, a day job and any kind of a social life while maintaining and keeping a house is a difficult task. Take it from me, it’s tough!

This post is bit lengthy so if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read and nod in agreement I’ve highlighted the main points at the end 🙂

Let’s get to it:

First thing in the morning, MAKE THE BED! as soon as your feet hit the floor, pull up the sheets and blankets, fluff the pillows. If this is the ONLY thing you carry out on the housekeeping front for the day, at least you did something, right?!

The thing about making the bed is it can make the messiest of rooms seem neater and cleaner some how. I guess because the bed typically takes up most of the visual space in any room that if it is neater the room looks neater, fresher, cleaner.

When you go to get into the bed, you feel better about yourself, your house and what you accomplished(or didn’t accomplish) for the day.

Second thing and throughout the day, if you see it clean it. It takes meer seconds to wipe the bathroom counter with your hand towel after washing your face hands and brushing your teeth.

Third, don’t step over around or on it, pick it up and take the seconds to put it where it belongs.

A helpful tip: keep a basket, a box or a bag in a central location of the house. When you come across an item out-of-place put it in the receptacle. Later, take five minutes and empty the receptacle to the items’ proper homes.

Fourth, ask for help. Whether from the kids, husband, friend or neighbor, ask someone to play a game with the kids or take them for a walk. I find I have the most productive housekeeping adventures when I’m alone in the palace. I can turn on the music (helpful tip: upbeat music always motivates me, even in the background) and get stuff done, like the pile of dishes or that basket of laundry.

Frankly, I’ve received housekeeping advice that I should get my stuff done when the kids go to bed but I’m tired and want to go to bed myself so the stuff never gets done. In fact most of my cleaning and housework doesn’t get done until someone is coming over for a visit. Shameful, but true.

We’re all guilty of the mad dash. You get a call, “hey can I stop by, I’ll be there in twenty minutes” and you surprise yourself with how much you can achieve in those urgent twenty minutes.

Why can’t we get this done this on a daily basis? because we don’t care about US seeing our dirt and mess, but we care about other’s seeing it. We can justify to ourselves that we can do it later; the dirt will still be there tomorrow; and we don’t have the time to do it “right” right now so we don’t do it at all.

At least this is the way I think of it all.

I’m the worst offender of letting my laziness dominate whether my house gets cleaned. Sometimes I just have to kick myself in the butt and DO IT, but it’s a mountain in my mind and I don’t have any climbing gear. So the most crucial things get done but the dust piles up in the corner and the laundry sits in the dryer for a day (or three) but my kids are fed and the time I spend with them at this crucial age is priceless and I know we can not get these or any years back so I definitely don’t beat myself up over the dirt but someone’s got to do it and my one month old isn’t picking up a broom so it’s up to me.

Fifth, we have 3 bathrooms so to make it a little easier to be less lazy I keep toilet cleaner and rags in each one so I’m not chasing done, or lugging cleaning supplies all around the house. If I remember or notice it needs it I can just clean it on the spot, not go to get the cleaner and then get sidetracked getting someone a snack or tying a shoe.

Helpful tip: try not to take on a task that takes more than a few minutes. I don’t and can’t sit and scrub down the entire bathroom with all these little ones so, I’ll wipe the counter in the morning when I wash brush. Then later when I take my five minutes at the throne, I’ll scrub it down. Later after I give the kids a shower or bath, I’ll wipe down the shower and tub with their dirty wash clothes and towels. Presto, I cleaned the bathroom today.

Typically I’ll lug out the vacuum and steam mop and do one level of the house all at once. It’s just easier for my laziness to have to take it out, do the job and wind up the chords one time then to clean one whole room at a time.

helpful tip: Cleaning in zones means to dust the whole level, clean the glass, the whole level, vacuum the whole level. Obviously not back to back. We’re not cleaning the whole house at once, just trying to keep dirt at bay and do what we can when we can. It takes a few minutes to dust all the bedrooms and then do snack time or read a story etc. later or the next day clean the glass on all the windows, and the next day vacuum and mop the floors, you get the picture.

Having the right or wrong attitude about cleaning can make a huge difference and although I struggle most with my perfectionism and letting it get the better of me I try to think “progress not perfection” or NOT a thing would get done around here.

The battle of the dirt is an ongoing task so doing a little here and there when we can is the only way to get anything done, when you have kids, that is.

This method of little by little also lets you take back your weekends, so even if you don’t have any kids or pets cleaning the house or apartment doesn’t have to be an all day affair sucking the life out of your weekends. A little in the morning a little in the evening and you are ready for company at any given time.

To recap:

MAKE THE BED

CLEAN AS YOU GO

PICK UP AND PUT AWAY RIGHT AWAY

ASK FOR HELP

KEEP SUPPLIES HANDY

CLEAN IN ZONES

PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

LITTLE BY LITTLE

 

What are your best and worst cleaning mantras? How do you battle the dirt?

Tell me about it in the comments, please.

“You don’t know how lucky you are!”

Oh, but I do. See, I chose this. All of it. It’s mine!

So many times people have told me I don’t know how lucky I am, referring to my wonderful husband. (Husband, not hubby, husband).

I cringe at these naysayers. I call them naysayers because as nice a compliment it might sound I take offense. They imply that I don’t know how good I have it or that I take my husband for granted. I DO know how good I have it and I DON’T take him for granted.

Part of what makes my relationship work is that it is not public information. We are private people and don’t share our bumps and dips. We don’t always share our praises either, it’s not in our nature. I take offense because it also implies that he is not as lucky as I am to have me as I am to have him. It implies that he’s too good for me or I don’t deserve to have him.

The fact of the matter is I never wanted to be married or have kids. As condescending as it sounds, it’s true. I NEVER WANTED THIS! The house; the kids; the husband, none of it! The fact is that any relationship I entertained in the past broke my heart in a million pieces. The fact is my parents were no good for each other and raised a family in a tumultuous environment because of it. The fact is I swore I would not end up like my parents, like my mother. I swore I would not bring children into this world for fear of them ending up like me. The fact is I felt I wasn’t good enough. I was the epitome of NO self esteem. Not low self esteem, NO self esteem. (keep in mind this paragraph is past tense)

Until I met him.

The story of us is long and complicated (and personal). Until I met him, I didn’t want any of those things because I didn’t believe there was anyone out there that would change all that for me. I was wrong times a million. There was someone out there for me but he didn’t change all that FOR me I changed it for myself. I saw and found a life in him I didn’t believe could exist for me. I was happy, for the first time in my life, I was happy with myself, then I was happy with him. We share a love and a life that no one could understand. It’s strong and true. It’s honest. That’s why we work.

I love my husband, I thank him constantly. I often wonder, if I hadn’t found him or he, me, where I would be. What would I be doing? I don’t know the answer but I do know that I would NOT be happy. I owe some version of my happiness to my husband but in most part I owe it to myself. Like I said, I CHOSE!

To the nay-sayers,

Out of envy, you deem me unworthy of a life and a man I have chosen and sought out and worked very hard to have for myself. You know not of what you speak so callously about. Maybe in your jealous heart you wish you had my husband or a husband like him. You can not have mine, but someone like that, is certainly attainable by anyone willing to do the work. I am not a life coach or relationship guru, I am however, very happy for my life and all the people in it. For that I am grateful. I will not take your criticism or cynicism to heart because I know that misery does love company and it is sad that unhappy people will try to tear apart the happy ones.

I quote the talented Alicia Keys, “People keep talking they can say what they like; But all I know is everything’s going to be alright” And, NO! no one can get in our way. “I know some people search the world to find something like what we have. I know people will try, try to divide, something so real. So till the end of time I’m telling you there ain’t no one.”

So, in conclusion, I appreciate that you notice how wonderful my husband is but I resent that you think I don’t deserve him or that I don’t know how wonderful he is. I do.

Signed,

Happily Married

For good measure and to have it on record here is a note especially for the man of the hour (every one of my hours).

 

My Dearest Darryl,

I love you more than words could express but in this I shall try. I love you. With all of my being. With every ounce of matter within this skin. Within and beyond the walls of this heart.

I vow to love you forever and ever. I vow to be your partner, your lover, your best friend. I will hold your hand at your best and especially at your worst. I trust myself and my heart with you. I bear your burdens as my own and whole heartedly appreciate all that you are and all that you do. I know how lucky I am despite my belief that it is not luck. I choose you just as you choose me.

I will choose US over all else.

With all my love and that of the universe,

Me

I survived a day with my kids!

Sounds ridiculous, I know, but today was the first day without my husband that I ventured out for errands with all five of the kids. On. my. own!

Since the new addition a month ago, I have been dreading this day. It wasn’t all that bad, but it was something to write about. (hence this post)

We started out getting everyone breakfast and then dressed, hair fixed, shoes on, buckled in and ready to go by 10am. First stop was the post office which is really not worth mentioning because luckily, Darryl was able to meet us there and sit with the kids while I waited on the long line for a handful of stamps. We went our separate ways. Him to drive to south Jersey and us to the library.

While the girls poked around and pulled books of the shelves, I sat and stamped our birth announcements. We are relatively behaved and quiet. I didn’t feel stressed at all walking out of there as I have in the past for fear of disturbing patrons and clerks and librarians. I was confident walking out that no one looked at me with THOSE eyes of a tumultuous mother of a million kids running rampant in public. Library: success!

Next we attempted to go to a local park but everything was wet. We walked through and saw the dampness and walked right back out. Park: circumstantial un-success.

I stopped for a quick visit to our car’s service center to get pricing on maintenance I know we are due for but with a family of our magnitude it takes planning to set up and coordinate alternate transport and timely service in the garage. That stop was a great success thanks to auto start. The cherubs relaxed in the car watching Pippi Longstocking in the a/c.

After a quick feeding and diaper change we went on to the grocery store. This is the toughest of the tasks for the day. Most mom’s won’t take one baby to the store let alone two. Me? I take all FIVE!

Just getting them in the store is a chore, what? with unbuckling everyone, strapping on the infant, letting the 5, 3, and almost 2-year-old use the potty. Getting the shopping cart and remembering my purse, coupons, diaper bag and shopping bags(we use our own reusable bags for the earth and for our pocket, I get 5 cents off per bag) Now in the store, we work on produce first which is the easy part because they’re just in the store and not really bored, hungry, tired or too fidgety, yet.

I move fast! As fast as my 3 year old’s feet can keep up, that is. I think we were in the store no more than 20 minutes with the lengthiest stay being at the check out.

We’ve trained them well to only ask for things we normally purchase and nobody wanders off without one of their sisters noticing and calling out their name in a panic. (heaven forbid we should leave someone in the frozen food aisle) Everyone wants to help load the belt at the check-out and the cashier knows us well and chit chats to make the experience a bit more fun for them. We make it out of the store under budget, we make it home in time for lunch and the 2 and 3-year-old girls have a splended 1 hour and 30 minute nap. A much-needed rest time for mom where I feed the baby and help lemon with her workbook while Juniper is off in the distance playing her sweet sounding violin…AAAAHHH I survived!

Barely! That was the short version. The edited version. The version without the trip to the second park where on the way people were fighting and mom was yelling subsequently leading to us leave that park wtihout playing. That was the version where I fed my 2-year-old potato chips the entire way home to keep her from falling asleep. The version without the part where my nipple leaked and I used my baby wrap to cover the wet spot on my shirt. The version where  the librarian made me log into the computer database fill out forms for my name address and credit card to pay a $5.60 fine for overdue books and the kids had to just stand there for 10 minutes with me bribing them with the park for good behavior, yep the park that was all wet and we didn’t get to play at. The version where the 2-year-old kept saying potty and I had her on the pot 3 times with no action. The part where my frustration crept up on me a few too many times. The version of the day that made me dread this day to begin with but

It’s a beautiful life; beautifully stressful, but…

 

I SURVIVED A DAY WITH MY KIDS (and so did they)

For the Moms

In light of Ash’s 3rd birthday, I thought it appropriate to pay homage to my own 7 year anniversary of becoming a mama.

First, I have a confession. We were trying to make a baby and on the very first try we succeeded (he he). But when that test showed up positive, I didn’t feel how I expected to feel.

In fact, every step of the way was completely different from how I thought it would or should be. So to the new moms or expecting moms or any woman on the path to motherhood, DON’T TAKE ONE THING FOR GRANTED. Let all expectations fall by the way side and saddle up because it’s a good ride.
In these past 6+ years I have learned so much about myself and this world and life in general I could write a book but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet for this blog post 🙂

During pregnancy, I wasn’t excited. I didn’t love my baby the way some mothers say “I loved you from the moment I knew you were in there.” I didn’t feel connected, or attached. Every day was just like any other day. I wasn’t freaked out, too much. I did switch to an all organic diet, but I didn’t take my vitamins (bad mama).

I enjoyed my pregnancy and thankfully had no complications, ailments or complaints. NONE. In fact, the pregnancy was so wonderful Darryl and I vowed to have as many children possible before I turned 30. Well, I’ll be thirty-one in September and just birthed our FIFTH in June…mission accomplished.

After I had my baby, I didn’t feel the overwhelming Joy I was expecting. I loved my baby, I cared for her and (again)thankfully escaped the dreaded baby blues and post partum depression but it wasn’t until she picked up her little arm and reached out to touch mine with her little fingers that I really felt special. Her voluntary movement and touch gave me butterflies in my stomach, the kind you get when you’re a teenager in love. sigh. At that moment I realized she was a person. With feelings. With a choice. And she chose to touch my arm. I was flattered. I honestly didn’t feel like anything special or magical had happened to me until that moment. I realized I was somebody’s MOM.

 

From One to two…

 

So many moms (and dads) ask us about how easy(or difficult) it is to transition from one to two kids, or two to three, three to four; we always have the same answer: “Piece of cake!”

It’s difficult to comprehend because when you are building your nest for that first little baby-bird you are all consumed with nursery decor, whether to buy a bouncy seat or swing. Whew, there is an entire aisle of choices for high chairs, or which car seat is the safest and how many pediatricians to interview…. the answer to it all: “It doesn’t matter!!!!”

All of the above blunders that first-time new parents face are a blip on the radar once that sweet baby is resting in your arms. All the blood and gore of the delivery fades fast and all you can do is wonder how you could love someone THIS much having just met.

Then, the fantasy fades as fast as the blood and gore and the sleepless nights and countless diaper changes take hold and you don’t know what day it is or when the last time you yourself ate something or even used the bathroom. Aah the reality of parenthood, what a breath of fresh air!

In all seriousness now, for us, going from four to five (that’s right, five!) is no different from going from one to two. We did not flip our life inside out or upside down to accommodate our newborn. We fit her needs right in with our own and how we always lived our life. We incorporated her instead of resenting her. Some parents can get so overwhelmed with feeding times and diaper changes and gadgets and gizmos they forget to love their baby.Our philosophy is not to let the baby and all the stuff that inundates a new parent because of today’s consumerist social system overtake our home, life or relationships. We welcome the baby into our current routine and since it’s a baby, a clean slate, there is no adjustment for anyone, not us or our kids. The baby is just here with us doing what we normally do. (Yes, I breastfeed at the schoolroom or dinner table. In fact, I’m nursing while typing this post!)

It wasn’t always this way for us. We had all the gadgets and gizmos when our first came about but over the years we have paired down our packing list though. I remember when we first had Juniper and we went for an overnight. Just one night. Oh boy! We had a pack n play, a stroller, a portable high chair, a bouncing seat, a bug net, a  baby carrier, 4 sets of EXTRA clothes, towels and blankets, crib sheets, toys, Tylenol, a thermometer, Benadryl, baby food, diapers and wipes(enough to last us a month) our car was jam-packed and we only had one kid!! Now, with five, on an all day trip, no overnight, I have a few diapers, wipes, a baby carrier and my breasts. HAHA!!! and really all I need is my breasts.

So there it is, simple as pie!

A note on the resentment I was referring to earlier: Something else inquiring minds wish to know is “How the kids are with the new baby?” Well, they love her like Darryl and I do. There is no  jealousy, or hard feelings toward her. We treat them all according to their and our needs. Everyone is considered and considerate of others. I have a hard time talking to parents who tell me their 3-year-old hates their new baby. I might sound ignorant but there is something the parent has done to facilitate those ill feelings, be it keeping the older sibling away from the baby and idealizing the newborn. In the eyes of a 3-year-old this would seem demeaning to them and they might feel they are being tossed to the wayside; once the head honcho around the house, all that 3-year-old hears now is “No! Don’t play near the baby.” or “Shh! The baby is sleeping.” and “Mommy can’t play now I have to hold the baby.” The baby! the baby! the baby! {flashback to Jan Brady shouting “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!”}

For children, they need continuity and stability to really feel the love and safety they so desperately require. When life changing events happen they need to know that THEIR world hasn’t changed too much. If a toddler slept in mom’s bed UNTIL baby came then gets kicked out and replaced by the baby, of course the older sibling will hate and resent the new baby!

Quick story about an encounter with my dad for Juniper’s first thanksgiving. She was 6 1/2 months and sitting on her Grandpa’s lap. She found his watch, ooh sparkly! She started to play with it on his wrist and he began to take it off. I asked him not to give it to her and he snarled at me, “Why not?!?!” I asked him “If she were 2 years old, would he being doing the same?” He sullenly replied, “No.” I then explained my theory about continuity and he understood. If you allow a baby to play with a watch, then when the baby grows up to be 2 or 3 and expects to play with the watch but you don’t allow it, the child now questions everything and has a severe sense of rejection. In their mind, won’t they think “I was allowed to play with it before? What changed?”

Just my hair brained theories but It makes sense to us and I believe helps our kids to have an emotional balance about their boundaries, their relationships, their EVERYthing. I don’t let them grow up too fast but don’t treat them like mindless fools. They are intelligent and worthy of respect from day one!

We welcome our new little one with love and try our best to give our kids everything that they need, which basically is LOVE!

Agree or disagree?? Tell me your story in the comments.