‘I Love’ Tuesdays!

My container garden.

I love it.

I dream about planting acres of just edible plants. I drive by peoples empty yards and just think how great it would look with fruits, vegetables, herbs, greens and anything imaginable planted in it.

But, unfortunately, I live in a basement apartment and in 2 days will be living in a  second floor apartment, neither of which have yards.

However I have been freaking out (excitedly not scared) about our new place. Its huge and open with big windows. In the basement apartment there is one window that gets sun. So no plants here.

I have been growing my container garden at my moms house in anticipation of this move. And we’re moving stuff in today. So I finally get green things in my house!!!

Its all planted in organic potting soil. So fresh, organic herbs and salsa all summer!!

I’m growing two kinds of tomatoes, sweet peppers and habanero peppers in window boxes. Then in my indoor pots I have Rosemary, Lemon balm, St. Johns wort, Texas bird peppers, spearmint, basil and aloe.

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You can tell I love it because I buckled them in for the trip to the new place and didn’t buckle myself…

Its so exciting. I can’t wait for everything to be big enough to use!!

I think that everyone should at the very least, grow some herbs. Obviously, if your in my situation and have no yard, your limited on what you can do. But as long as you have some sunshine you can grow something!!

I plan to have mint tea with my spearmint. Make salve with the St. John’s wort. I have lots of plans for the lemon balm, as it is medicinal and lemony tasting for recipes.

No one can possibly comprehend how exciting I am to finally be growing things in my own home. There aren’t words.

I’m gonna go finish moving… Ugh. So much work.

Go plant something!!

Happy Tuesday!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

How to clean your tub with baking soda and vinegar!!

Or, it could also say, ‘How I cleaned my insanely filthy, dirty, 10 months of grime, tub with just baking soda and vinegar.  Be amazed!!’

But that would be too long.

However, that’s what I did.

Let me start by saying I hate absolutely, positively despise more then anything else on earth cleaning.

I’d much rather do anything else. Hence the reason my tub got so dirty…..

But, we’re moving this weekend/week (Yay!!) and it needed cleaned.

Imagine the music from a slasher film when the murder is behind the main character for some dramatic effect....

Imagine the music from a slasher film when the murder is behind the main character for some dramatic effect….

Yes. I’m ashamed to admit my tub was really that bad…. But, you need to see how well this works.

So you wanna see how to clean it??

Gather up some supplies (I thought about getting some grenades, it seemed easier, but I’m renting and decided against it).

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
I add orange peels to my vinegar so it smells better when I clean.

I add orange peels to my vinegar so it smells better when I clean.

Spray the tub with the vinegar and cover it with baking soda. Make sure the worst spots have plenty of baking soda. Then leave and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Just.... Ew.

Just…. Ew. The clumps are orange peel from the vinegar by the way. I realize they look like something dead.

Once its set for a while, scrub away the grime with a damp sponge. The grime will come off super easy. If something is harder to get off, add extra baking soda to the sponge. Then rinse the dirty water/vinegar/baking soda down the drain and…

Bam.

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The little black mark on the left is where the tubs cracked, not dirty.

Yep. Its that clean. No grime. No dirt. No gunk. Just shiny. Very, very shiny.

I feel so accomplished.

And I solemnly swear to myself to clean my tub ever single week for the rest of my life, so it never gets that bad again.

(I promise my toilet and sink are clean! I clean them once a week. The tub just gets to me. Its so big. Too much surface to clean.)

This method of cleaning works for TONS of stuff. I use it on the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, toilet bowl, floors, window sills, pretty much anything you want shiny.

*I did edit my photos, but I just brightened them because my bathroom is so dark you could hardly see the pictures even with the flash on.*

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I especially love that its cheap, chemical free and I can clean with my baby in the bathroom =) If I were using harsh chemicals, she would have to be outside so she didn’t breathe it in.

So go clean something!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

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This post was shared on Thank Your Body Thursday, and Little House in The Suburbs DIY Linky!

‘I Love’ Tuesdays

Organic Oregano essential oil!!

Oh how I love thee.

Click the image to go to AuraCacia's site!

Click the image to go to AuraCacia’s site!

Why do I love such a strange sounding oil? I’ll tell ya.

Last year (before I was pregnant, probably around February 2012) I noticed I had somehow gotten a very large wart on my thumb.

Very large. Tall, wide, ugly, fat wart right on my thumb where everyone could see it. I just ignored it or put a band-aid over it and pretended it wasn’t there. Finllay In July I decided I was sick of it and it looked awful. So I went to the cabinet and got out  that overly chemically freeze off wart gunk. By that time I knew I was pregnant and noticed on the warning label you can’t use the freeze away stuff while pregnant. So I put it away and ignored my wart even longer.

So a month ago my daughter was chewing on my thumb and I realized I really had to take care of it now, in case she chewed on my wart thumb and got a wart herself. I started looking into natural methods.

Oregano oil sounded promising and my mom had bought some for my brother, who happens to also have a wart on his knee and I told her it might help.

So I dabbed 5 or 6 drops onto a cotton ball and stuck it against my wart with a band aid over it until the band aid fell off. Around 5 hours.

*Note: You are supposed to use a carrier oil (like olive or coconut oil) to dilute the oregano oil in before putting it on your skin. I didn’t know this the first time so I didn’t. But you should.*

Then, me being me, I forgot to continue applying it and figured nothing would happen since I wasn’t consistent.

Lo and behold, a week later my wart was half the height it used to be and a third of it had dried up and just fell off.

2 weeks later, it was a quarter the height it used to be.

Today, its a dry, flat patch on my thumb.

It all dried up and fell off.

How could you not love that? It worked super fast and super well with only one treatment. If you or anyone you know is suffering from warts give this a try!*

Other uses for oregano oil-

  • Fight infections
  • Increasing joint and muscle flexibility
  • Strengthen immune system
  • Burn pain relief
  • Ear infections

And lots more!!

*Please note- I am NOT a doctor!! These are my results and my experiences with this oil. I do not have any medical training and I think you should do your own research and make your own decisions if this is right for you. As with anything there could be side affects to using oregano oil and there are precautions you should take. Don’t use it if your pregnant.

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Cooking with Honeysuckle!!

Depending where your located, you may have noticed that the honeysuckle is in full bloom!

Around here there’s hundreds and hundreds of bushes everywhere! Just in the short 10 minute drive to my fiance’s work, there’s probably 100 bushes.

If you’ve ever sucked the sweet insides out of a flower, you know honeysuckle is delicious. And seeing so much it this year, I knew I could make something yummy out of it. So I picked lots of flowers and created some pretty good stuff!

Freshly picked honeysuckle

Freshly picked honeysuckle

Honey Suckle Simple Syrup

Simple syrup can be used to sweeten anything liquid (its especially helpful with iced beverages because honey won’t stir in easily and sugar won’t stir in at all, generally). Simple syrup is simply sugar and water. So I made some flavored syrups that you could add to iced tea, lemonade, alcoholic beverages, pretty much anything you like.

Ingredients:

3 c. water

1 c. honeysuckle blossoms

2 c. organic unbleached sugar

(I believe you can use honey, if you want, but it lasts longer made with sugar. And since its sweet you use very little at a time. It’ll take us a long time to finish ours, so I used sugar)

Start off by picking off all of the little green ends and stems from the blossoms. Then, submerge them in water in either a glass or steel container and let them in the refrigerator over night.

Soaking in the fridge

Soaking in the fridge

The next day remove the blossoms and put them into a pint size mason jar.

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Take 2.5 c. of the water you soaked the blossoms in and put it in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add in the sugar and stir occasionally until it comes to a boil. It will become clear (well yellowish because of the honeysuckle and unbleached sugar) and thicker. Pour over the blossoms and let cool to room temperature.

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Remove the blossoms and that’s it!! =)

This recipe actually makes 2 pints of simple syrup. You could either make two jars full of honeysuckle syrup, or I put one jar honeysuckle and poured the rest of freshly cut spearmint leaves to make a honeysuckle mint syrup.

Honeysuckle syrup and spearmint syrup

Honeysuckle syrup and spearmint syrup

Honeysuckle Spearmint Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. honey

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour

1 c. oats

1/4 c. honeysuckle blossoms

1 tbsp. fresh, chopped spearmint leaves

Note: I used 1/4 c. spearmint and they were overly minty, so I’m thinking 1 tbsp. would be a good amount.

Preheat your oven to 350°

Combine everything in a big bowl. Mix thoroughly and roll into balls. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies are starting to get golden brown. And your done!

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Both these recipes and super yummy, so get picking!!

Just note that if you aren’t picking flowers on your own property, make sure your not picking them somewhere that doesn’t get sprayed with pesticides. I picked mine along a trail that I know doesn’t get sprayed. Also make sure you aren’t picking them right along side a busy road, they will be covered in exhaust fumes and gross road gunk.

I also soaked all the blossoms for both recipes in the same bowl overnight and used 3 cups of water on 2 cups of honeysuckle. Not that it makes that much difference, just what I did.

Happy picking!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

Shared on Natural Living Monday, Tuned in Tuesdays , Party Wave Wednesday, and Simple Meals Friday!

The Lack of Nutrition in Government Nutrition Programs

This is a subject I have been wanting to write about for while and have been thinking about even longer.

When I got pregnant, it was a total accident and wasn’t planned in the least. We hardly had any money and were having trouble making ends meet at the time and were not planning on bringing a baby into the world at the time. So, I got on WIC (Women Infants and Children).

WIC is a governmental nutrition assistance program for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have young children under the age of 5. They provide you with milk, bread, beans, veggies and fruits, peanut butter and a few other basic foods as well as formula and baby foods. They even have a farmer’s market program in the summer.

When we first started, I was so relieved to have some food in the house all the time without worrying that we would have to pick between food and bills. During my pregnancy is when I really started getting into eating real food and organic. I have always ate fairly well since I was little. My parents always had whole wheat bread, raw milk, my mother always cooked our dinners from scratch. The past few years my mom has really been taking it to the next level and really getting into organic and real foods as well. Her and my sister are really good about it and I started to follow suit.

Then I started noticed how little nutrition such programs offer.

What was I allowed to get?

We got 2.5 gallons of milk per check. Sounds good right? Not so much. I was allowed to get skim, 1% or 2%. No whole milk. And obviously no raw milk, since the government doesn’t even allow the sale of raw milk at grocery stores in my state. I was pregnant and needed nutritious foods to help the baby grow and develop.

Skim, 1% and 2% milk aren’t going to provide anyone any nutrition. If you still think they are going to provide vital nutrients and are healthier since there’s less fat, read this post by The Butter Believer.

The chemicals put into milk to remove the fat block any nutrients leftover in milk from being absorbed into your body. So the very small amount of nutrients still in the low fat milks, go in one end out the other, unable to absorb into your body.

What else?

Peanut butter.

What kind of peanut butter?

Jif. Regular Jif. Not the natural Jif. Not other brands of natural. Not organic. Just plain old Jif.

Fruits and veggies! Yum!

It specifically states in the booklet, NO Organic Fruit or veggies.

You also got cheese. You could get any cheese you wanted as long as it wasn’t individually wrapped slices. And it had to be prepackaged, not from the deli.

And for breakfast?

Cereal! Tons, and tons and TONS of cereal. I got 36 oz. of cereal per month!! All of the kinds I was allowed to get on my check were sweetened. Whole grain Cheerios, Dulce le Leche Cheerios, Life, Rice Krispies, Honey Bunches of Oats…. All horrible cereals.

Even organic breakfast cereals are not ideal for a meal and most are just empty calories with no nutritional value. So why would I want processed, sugar filled (a lot of them even had high fructose corn syrup in them), GMO packed boxes of junk to pour my skim milk over??

There’s nothing good for you in that type of a breakfast.

Yet, that’s what they want you to eat.

We were only using WIC for a very brief period of time for that reason. It was filling us with unhealthy, non-nutritious, GMO filled, heavily processed foods.

These types of foods are generally what the government endorses. As a matter of fact, they’ve created a new version of the food pyramid in plate form that’s totally anti-real food/real health.

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This is their suggested plate and meal portions.

Where are the good fats? And why are there so many fruits (too much sugar)? The ‘key consumer message’ under the dairy section is, ‘Switch to low fat or fat free milk.’  (source)

There are lots of problems with this government endorsed idea of food. What else do see wrong with it? And why? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Let me know in the comments!

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~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

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‘I Love’ Tuesdays!

My favorite food in the whole wide world is tacos.

There’s about a million ways to make the traditional taco super nutritious and real. Such as using grass fed meats, half organic rice half meat, tons of dark greens on top, raw cheese etc.

I have experimented with making homemade tortillas but they turned out a little off. I will definitely make more (and share when I do). Store bought shells almost always have all kinds of fillers, preservatives and chemicals in them no matter what you do.

However, I LOVE these!

Click the picture to go to the source and Garden of Eatin's website

Click the picture to go to the source and Garden of Eatin’s website

I’ve always loved organic blue corn chips and the day i found out they came in taco shell form, I made tacos just so I could try them. They are so good. I know they aren’t quite real food, but they are a much better option from other corn shells you could get.

They are made with organic corn (so no GMOs!) and expeller pressed oils. So only two ingredients!

I love a lot of Garden of Eatin’s products, but these are so good.

So go eat some tacos!!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

My Natural Birth Story

Today I’m going to share the most scary, painful, amazing day of my life. The day this little bean:

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Became this little squish

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(*disclaimer* while I find natural, med-free deliver to be the best option for me and my babies, I in no way think that women who need c-sections or epidurals, to be bad people or less of a mother because of it. No matter how you had your baby your just as much a woman and just as much a super hero as the any other mother!!)

Last year at this time I had just started living with my boyfriend and we were planning on having tons of fun and becoming parents when we were both in our 30’s. Little did we know, in just 2 weeks, we’d find out our children would be coming 12 years earlier then planned.

The day I found out I was pregnant the first thought that entered my mind (after, oh crap, what on earth am I going to do), was,

I need a c-section. No way on earth I’m having this baby naturally. C-sections are so much faster. No pain.

HA!

Thank my lucky stars I didn’t go with my first gut reaction.

The more I thought about it, the more I started leaning towards a completely drug free delivery with a midwife. After all, my sister had done it twice (at the time, we ended up being pregnant together and she just had a third un-medicated midwife delivery!) and my mom had 5 un-medicated hospital deliveries, so why couldn’t I?

The more I researched it, the more I knew this was the only way I could have my baby.

Women are physically built to have babies.

Did you know that even if you don’t push, you’d still have your baby? Your body would push the baby out on its own without any help from you. How cool is that? Ours bodies are just perfect for having babies.

So, I started to see a group of midwives at a local birth center.

It was the most amazing experience of my life. They felt the same way I did about birth and believed in me and my abilities to have a natural birth. They helped me through my crazy pregnancy and all the ups and downs. They answered my questions every time I had one and would spend over an hour at an appointment just talking to me if I had concerns.

They were amazing and helped me make it to d-day,

February 10th 2013

When my due date finally arrived I had been having false labor on and off for 5 weeks. I was worried I’d have no idea when it was the real deal because sometimes the false labor got pretty intense and regular.

But as I was bouncing on my  yoga ball (trying to help baby’s head drop down and engage) watching a movie with my fiance the night of my due date, I started leaving little puddles everywhere I would sit.

In movies a woman is always just standing around (usually in an elevator) and suddenly there’s a gallon of water on the floor, she’s screaming bloody murder and one commercial break later, she has the baby.

Not in real life.

I waited around to see if it was really my water breaking or not. I had been having contractions since 4 pm that day and was so tired of false labor I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

Sure enough, it didn’t stop and I knew my water had broken. I called my midwife to give her the heads up that I’d probably be coming in at some point in the near future and my water had broken. I planned to labor at home as long as possible.

Within a few hours of my water breaking the contractions became very painful and there was no position in which I could get comfy. I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before so only getting 4 again that night seemed like a bad start to what could be a long labor.

By 4 am on the 11th I had been having contractions for 12 hours and my water had been broke for 8. They were about 3 minutes apart and I couldn’t really move through them so I decided to go into the birth center. I thought for sure I’d have to be close to4 cm dilated (and 5 cm meant I could get in that big, warm, amazing birth tub). So when I got in they checked me and I was at a 1. I was a little discouraged, but I figured I’d just move around and do different things to help me dilate.

After 5 hours of no progress the midwife sent me to go out for breakfast. Sometimes getting your mind off of labor (haha, that doesn’t ever happen. At least not for me) can help you to relax and progress. So there we were, me in tons of pain, my fiance and my mom just chillin’ at Bob Evan’s eating pancakes and eggs.

When we got back I got a birth room and they checked me.

1 centimeter.

It was 10am and I had been feeling contractions for a while and they hurt really bad. They never felt like cramps like everyone said they would. They felt like a terrible, piercing pain all over my stomach and back. I attribute the amount of pain I was in the whole time to the fact my water had been broken almost my entire labor, and once your water breaks, contractions can become much more painful.

Finally around 2:30pm the midwife checked me and I was only at a 2. I was in so much pain and couldn’t believe I was only at a 2.

At this point a new midwife was on duty and she decided to test whether my water had truly broken or not. All the tests came up positive except for the most important test (which we later found out was messed up because the previous midwife had used KY jelly when checking my cervix). So she decided to send me home until they became more painful.

Boy did they ever.

As soon as I got home the became unbearable. I was in so much pain I just moved from one place to another moaning every 2 minutes with the contractions. At 9 pm on the 11th we decided to go back into the birth center.

Mind you, its a 45 minute drive to the birth center. This was my third 45 minute car trip in labor. Not fun.

When we got in she checked me and I was at a 3. Woo. Hoo. 25 hours of labor and 3 cm dilated. At this point I became very discouraged and just wanted to cry. She tested again to see if my water had broken. This time she got positives on all the tests and we decided I should stay there.

Looking back it was a really good thing the first test was screwed up. Because technically, my water had already been broken for 21 hours and at the 24 hour mark you have to be in a hospital. But ‘officially’ it had only been broken since I got to the birth center this second time.

Que 6 more hours of uneventful, painful labor. I started to get sick and threw up everything I had eaten for the past few days. Not fun. However, puking dilated me to a 5. Which meant (drumroll please!) I could get in the birth tub! Yay!

So I found a little relief in the tub and labored, again uneventfully until 7 am. By 7 I was done. I just wanted it to stop. I was done being in labor. I was done being pregnant. I was done being alive. I wanted the baby OUT! After the midwife checked me and I was only at a 5 still, we both decided some, ‘therapeutic sleep’ was in order. I hadn’t slept in 30+ hours and only had 4 hours before that. I was exhausted.

So I got a shot of nubane mixed with Benedryl. It made it so you could still feel and have contractions, you just couldn’t stay awake to know it.

I got 4 hours of sleep and it was truly a lifesaver. I felt ready to continue after that and got back in the tub.

At 1pm the on 12th, I felt like I had to push. Lo and behold, the midwife checked me and I was at a ten and the baby’s head was right there!!

I was so excited. So I pushed.

And pushed….
….and pushed….

….and pushed…..

For 5 hours.

At 6 pm the midwife said we had to go to the hospital. The baby was all the way down (literally an inch in, I could feel her head with my fingers) and she wasn’t coming the rest of the way on her own. Plus my contractions were spacing out.

So we made the half hour car trip to the hospital.

Let me tell you what.

NEVER EVER TAKE A HALF HOUR CAR TRIP WHILE YOUR PUSHING OUT A BABY!!!!

It was the worst car trip of my life.

Plus my mom got lost on the way to the hospital and we had to stop and ask some random guy where it was.

We finally arrive and they make me change into there hospital gown, get hooked up to 6 IVs, sign papers (yes, sign papers while I’m pushing….) before anything happened.

So finally, after 51 hours of labor and 6 hours of pushing, the doctor finally came in, made the decision (without consulting me) to give me a third degree episiotomy, and vacuum out the baby. More then anything I wanted to keep my placenta and have the baby right on my chest for skin to skin contact with delayed chord clamping.

But, her chord was immediately cut, I didn’t even get to see her before they whisked her away to test her for who knows what, and they refused to let me keep the placenta as it was ‘hospital policy’.

However, the second she was out, I instantly felt a wave of relief and felt awesome. They were poking and prodding at her for half an hour and then they finally handed her to me.

Delilah Raine B. was born at 7:12 pm, February 12th 2013 weighing 8 lb. 3.1 oz. and 22.5 inches long

My fiance was crying, I was crying and we finally had our baby girl. She was so worth all the pain. Looking into her eyes I fell in love right away.

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Most amazing day of my life.

If you took time to read all that, thank you!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommy’s out there!

~Courtney, The Crunchy Delinquent

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