Where healthy meets thrifty, with just a splash of crazy

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Super Simple Swapouts! Dishwasher Detergent Edition!

When I think of ways to detox my home, dishwasher detergent isn’t the first one that comes to mind. It actually took me a little while on my journey to think of it as a potential concern. But, it does affect you, and is a super cheap and easy swap out. If you’re looking for a simple baby step in the world of crunchy DIY, here it is!


Think about after your dishwasher runs (or while it is still running!). It is a steamy cloud of ‘fresh’ detergenty smell. So, not only are you inhaling whatever it is made of, but there’s bound to be at least some residue on your dishes. As I said, not a huge health crisis, but still not the best for you.

Most detergents actually contain highly concentrated levels of chlorine – so toxic that they can be deadly if swallowed in large amounts. There are also multiple hormone disruptors and carcinogens. You know, the usual gunk that gets thrown in most conventional household products. Yet, we use it to wash the dishes we eat off of, and over time, it can build up on them. Then, we are consuming this toxin…every day! Yuck!
Not to mention, the swap we’re offering today is not just healthier, but more economical as well.

I know many DIY and healthy dishwasher detergent recipes call for multiple ingredients and more complex concoctions, but we’ve tried it multiple ways and found this to work just as well, if not better. It’s also cheaper, safer, and simpler! No prep required!


This super simple swap out is just 2 ingredients! Washing soda and citric acid.

All you do is fill the prewash compartment on your dishwasher with washing soda and your secondary wash compartment (the one that flips open during the wash cycle) with citric acid. If your prewash compartment is small, or just doesn’t exist, shake a few tablespoons of washing soda in your dishwasher before starting it. I (Amberlyn) honestly don’t measure it that precisely…just eyeball it. Mama (Sheila) has measurements nicely written on the lid of the containers that she stores the two in and measuring utensils all conveniently inside. So, whichever floats your household’s boat! : )

dishwashing detergent collage
Now, about these two ingredients…


Washing soda is usually manufactured by Arm and Hammer and can be bought at Walmart or ordered online here or here. Or, it is also known as soda ash and can be bought in bulk at a pool store or ordered online here.

Citric acid can be food grade or industrial grade, since you aren’t eating it. But the cheapest option I’ve found is here.

Also, adding vinegar to the rinse compartment (if you have one) helps greatly with getting your dishes cleaner.

*Optional: I add a few drops of a citrus essential oil to the washing soda to help get the dishes extra clean. Plus, it smells nice! : )






*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.

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Super Simple Swapouts! Handsoap Edition!

You’re probably tired of hearing about all the dangerous chemicals in absolutely everything you touch… To be completely honest, I get super tired of it too. Sometimes I start to feel a bit crazy and wonder whether or not I’m the paranoid one. (Some of you may be nodding emphatically at me right now…)

BUT, I think the biggest problem is that we live in a culture in which manufacturers are profit-driven and consumers will buy whatever gimmicks they are given. SO, if a manufacturer markets a product as smelling fabulous and being luxurious for the skin, the consumer (us) generally wants to (and should be able to…but sadly can’t) believe that it is safe and good and does what it claims. Unfortunately, regulations on what is safe have been reduced to whether not there are severe, immediate, provable reactions. Basically, they make sure we aren’t washing our hands in straight bleach or brushing our teeth in gasoline. Aside from that, it gets a little sketchy.

Here’s why.

Most of the biggest dangers in our products are either longterm damage, or side effects that come after a buildup from a few uses. AND, we have so many things we use every day, that something as potentially preventable as an itchy rash reaction to an ingredient is instead diagnosed as ‘contact dermatitis’ and prescribed a cream to treat it. OR, a condition that is much more life-affecting, such a thyroid disease, severe menstrual issues, or even PCOS could potentially be stemming from a lifetime of using various products (and eating various foods) that are endocrine and hormone disruptors. And these are just a few examples of course.

But this is why we tackle all of these aspects of our households and lives. It’s not just a witch hunt or some nebulous fear of the ‘un-organic’. The results of each swapout may not be immediately tangible (or they actually might!). But collectively, we are striving to purify our lifestyles to heal our own health issues (thyroid, adrenal, autoimmune, etc) and hopefully help you do the same in your life!
I know most of our posts are about DIYs and recipes. However, there are a few things we still buy, rather than make. I want to share these with you guys in a blog series of ‘Super Simple Swapouts’!

These are little changes that might have big effects on your health. It’s as simple as choosing a different bottle of shampoo or bar of soap.

First up in this series of swap outs is…


It seemed like a good start to me, considering we use it, well, all day! (At least I HOPE you all do!) It’s such a key element of basic hygiene that we don’t think twice as we pump it on and scrub it off.

There are two main types of hand soaps out there (I’m sure there are more if you want to technical, but just go with it!).

There’s just basic hand soap, which has plenty of issues of its own, believe it or not… And then there’s… antibacterial hand soap! It sounds so much…cleaner. But frankly, it’s a load of trouble with little payoff.

To begin with, antibacterial hand soap doesn’t really get your hands much cleaner. The key to that is good hand washing practices. Warm water, friction, and some time. Try singing your ABCs for an idea of how long. You’ll only get a few funny looks in public restrooms. ; )

Anyway, antibacterial hand soap also destroys the good bacteria on our hands that are designed to fight off the bad guys. It does so with harmful chemicals, such as Triclosan. This nasty stuff has recently been getting some bad press. It causes muscle damage, as well as disrupting hormones. When it mixes with chlorine in tap water, it creates chloroform. To make things better, it was originally registered as a pesticide and is still used in commercial applications. Yuck!

So what about the regular stuff?

Softsoap Warm Ginger and Coconut:

Water, Sodium laureth sulfate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium chloride, cocamide MEA, fragrance, sodium salicylate, sodium benzoate, citric acid, tetrasodium EDTA, sodium sulfate, polyquaternium-7, PEG-18 glyceryl oleate/cocoate, poloxamer 124, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, hydrogenated jojoba oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, zingiber officinale (ginger) root extract,Ext. D&C violet no. 2.

Frankly, there’s just too much to tackle here without putting you guys to sleep. Soooo… we’ll hit the high – I mean – lowlights.

Sodium laureth sulfate: Damages skin and hair by denaturing them so that external contaminants can penetrate deeper. Can damage children’s eyes. Can also cause liver toxicity. Disrupts hormones by mimicking Oestrogen in the body. Potential carcinogen.

Polyquaternium-7: Causes organ toxicity. Potentially linked to cancer.

Fragrance: Guess what? No one (but the company) ever knows what this means. It could be one of over 200 chemicals, packaged under a cute, innocent-sounding name. And regulations don’t require the chemical of choice to be listed specifically, because it is a ‘proprietary blend’ or ‘trade secret’. Even more lovely is that it could be a lethal cocktail of many different chemicals. Some are carcinogens, some are neurotoxins, some cause reproductive issues, and others respiratory distress. The list goes on.

So what now?

Last I checked, skipping handwashing wasn’t the best choice…

super simple soap swap pic

Well, there are a few options.

Sheila’s favorite is Thieves handsoap. It has natural antibacterial properties from the essential oils in it, is completely non-toxic, and smells great to boot! You can buy the individual foaming dispensers from Young Living and then buy a refill bottle of concentrate that is much cheaper. Or, if you already have dispensers on hand, just buy the refill to start out! You only need a little bit of the concentrate in your handsoap dispenser and can fill the rest of the way with water. If you aren’t a member of Young Living and want to purchase some, feel free to contact us!

thieves soap pic

Amberlyn’s current favorite is Dr. Bronner’s castile soap**** that you can buy here. It comes in multiple scents, such as peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and rose. We use almond, which has a nice, mild scent.

It is very concentrated, so you only need about a 1 to 1 or 1 to 2 ratio of soap and water. I put mine in an old foaming hand soap dispenser and it goes pretty far.

There ya go! A super simple swapout to get you started on your journey to better health!

****Now, a disclaimer, my (Amberlyn’s) wonderful, researching mother (Sheila) recently brought to my attention that Dr. Bronners is somewhat more alkaline than our skin pH and has lye in the ingredients list. This raises a bit of concern to me and I’m currently looking for a more balanced castile soap. But to be honest, I’m not super worried about it compared to the ingredients of most handsoaps. However, mama (Sheila) finds it much safer and purer to stick with the Thieves handsoap in the meantime! 
Until I find an alternative, it is still my option of choice. If you know of others, please feel free to comment and let me know! I’ll keep y’all posted on what I find!


*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.



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The Truth about Toothpaste (And a Recipe of Course!)

The average American uses around 4 tubes of toothpaste a year. And if it’s a yummy flavor and you have kids (or grown up ‘kids’!) you are bound to be above average.


And who doesn’t accidentally swallow some while brushing? In my opinion, it’s kinda inevitable. Growing up, my (Amberlyn’s) mama (Sheila, the awesome other half of these blog posts!) always told me NOT to swallow my toothpaste and to make sure I spit it out. I don’t know about you, but that was sure easier said than done. Let’s just say I did more swallowing than spitting. Shhhhh… ; )

Anyway, remember what I’ve said about what we put on our skin being just as, if not more, critical than what we consume? Well guess what? Our mouths are lined with skin… thin, absorbent skin. Soooo… we put toothpaste on our ‘skin’ AND we consume it. Double whammy.

Trust me, you want to make sure your tooth scrubbing stuff of choice is puuuure. And I’m betting yours probably isn’t. Just a statistical guess….

So, good ol’ Colgate. An American cavity-fighting classic. What’s in it? As usual, I’ll briefly break it down. (And don’t forget, most toothpastes are fairly similar. I just chose one brand for simplicity!)

COLGATE TOTAL (Which, according to their website is “recommended and used by more dental professionals than any other toothpaste brand.”): Sodium flouride, triclosan, water, hydrated silica, glycerin, sorbitol, PVM/MA copolymer, sodium laurel sulfate, cellulose gum, flavor, sodium hydroxide, carrageenan, propylene glycol, sodium saccharine, titanium dioxide.

Ok, so to be frank with you, I don’t have the time to cover what’s wrong with every ingredient here, and you probably don’t have the time to read it… seriously. It’s that bad. So I’ll hit the high (or should I say, low) lights.

Flouride: Oh-so-controversial. I could write a whole post on it. Suffice to say that it has been linked to hypothyroidism, dental flourosis, iodine deficiencies, accelerated aging, immune system disfunction, cartilage problems, and much more.
The MSDS (material safety data sheet) for Sodium Fluoride states that the potential acute side effects are: “Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant, corrosive), of ingestion, of inhalation”. And the potential chronic health effects (like, from ingesting it every day in toothpaste, water, etc) are that: “The substance may be toxic to kidneys, lungs, the nervous system, heart, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, bones, teeth. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.”
Flouride has also been banned in China, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Japan.

There is so much more behind the fluoride issue, but this is just a start!

Triclosan: Contributes to antibiotic resistance, is an endocrine disruptor (think thyroid, adrenals, hormone regulators, etc), and has been linked to breast cancer. It also, when used in hand sanitizers, has been known to cause nerve damage. The state of Minnesota has already banned most uses of Triclosan. Unfortunately, the rest of the U.S. is still catching up.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate: This stuff basically has become a lethal buzzword, even in more mainstream circles. Honestly, I can’t figure how Colgate gets away with keeping it in their toothpaste. (Probably because no one really reads labels…and we should be able to trust such a highly-recommended brand.) Anyway, SLS was originally marketed as a pesticide for organic farmers, but was denied because of potential environmental damage. It is now registered as a insecticide. It is linked to canker sores and skin irritation, and the manufacturing process causes it to be contaminated with carcinogens.

Propylene Glycol: This stuff is used in antifreeze, paints, enamels, etc. Need I say more? Why in the world is this in toothpaste?

And the list could go on and on and on… But if I haven’t convinced you by now that toothpaste is one of the most lethal products in your medicine cabinet, then I might as well give up.

Because of these dangers, there are now ‘natural’ toothpastes on the market, like Tom’s of Maine.
Fortunately, they don’t have antifreeze. Unfortunately, they still have insecticides.
Tom’s may have ditched the Triclosan and propylene glycol. But they still have sodium laurel sulfate and fluoride in their ‘Simply White’ toothpaste. To be fair, they do have some options sans fluoride, but they keep that SLS across the board. Not to mention, they can get pricey.

Of course, all of this led us to our usual solution… homemade ice cream! Wait, that’s my husband’s default solution for anything…haha. What I meant to say was… TOOTHPASTE!
Don’t worry, we’ll share the homemade ice cream recipe yumminess another time! : )

There may be a couple ingredients you need to order for your toothpaste making startup. But don’t let that initial little outlay inhibit you at all. Remember that the recipe below (which will use a small part of what you buy) should last a family of 4 at least 1/2 year! Of course, you could always buy smaller amounts than what we’ve linked to, and halve the recipe if you’re intimidated by bulk! 🙂

Here goes…



1 ½ cups coconut oil
I cup baking soda
I cup xylitol (non-gmo)
½ cup bentonite clay
1/2 cup ground up eggshells (totally optional, but great for remineralization. See note below)
Young Living Essential oils Peppermint 20 drops
Young Living Essential oils Thieves 10 drops

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and add essential oil, then add coconut oil and blend.  I use the stick blender to get all the lumps out of the baking soda. When blended, pour into jars for storage. (I use glass as a rule. You will see that there are a couple of plastic ones in my pictures but those are for travel.)

IMG_8929Then, put it in the fridge for about an hour, until it sets up. After that, you can take it out and leave it on the bathroom counter.  If you don’t like double dipping, use a spatula to dip it out or buy reusable silicone tubs. This makes enough toothpaste for about 6-8 months for a family of 4. You can see how much it makes in the picture, and I (Sheila!) use a lot of toothpaste each brushing.  They call me a toothpaste hog! (Amberlyn’s note: it’s true…she is a toothpaste hog! If you’re like my hubby and I, the recipe could last a year…haha)

***NOTE: If you are trying to remineralize your teeth, adding powdered eggshells is a free, easy option. All you need to do is save your eggshells, rinse them out, bake them on 300 for 15 minutes or so to sterilize, then throw in a coffee grinder or food processor. Voila! Homemade remineralizing calcium powder.




**This post contains affiliate links. We would never endorse a product we don’t believe in and find beneficial.



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Grate-Free DIY Laundry Soap Recipe

You know that ‘fresh laundry’ smell? The one that’s so familiar? The one that so faithfully greets you as you scoop a warm fluffy load from the dryer?

Do you know where that smell comes from?

From any combination of about 25 VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in your laundry detergent, 7 of which are classified as hazardous air pollutants. Unfortunately, even ‘fragrance-free’ detergent options, marketed as hypoallergenic, contain petrochemicals and synthetic chemicals. These chemicals are cancer-causing, make your body toxic, and often trigger allergic reactions.

Worst of all, laundry detergents (as well as fabric softeners – but those are a whole different story…) leave residue in your clothing. This means that all of those toxic chemicals sit next to your skin all day for you to breathe and absorb. Yuck! Chances are, you could be experiencing a symptom of this toxicity and have no idea that your laundry detergent is to blame!

So, after we discovered this, we tried purchasing ‘natural’, ‘green’ detergents, thinking we were detoxifying this aspect of our homes. But, after some time, we discovered that these still had funky stuff in them.

It’s scary what you can discover when you read the labels of some ‘healthy’ products.


Not to mention, laundry detergent can become costly, especially the ‘natural’ kind.

At this point, we knew we had just been prolonging the inevitable: making our own. Of course! With each passing year, we head closer and closer to crazy (though really, if we got much closer, we’d be smashed up against it…). There was not much left in our households that we didn’t make, so why not add laundry detergent?

But alas, many recipes called for less-than-natural ingredients, and most demanded the messy, laborious, sticky, sanity-sucking task of grating a bar of yellow soap. And heaven knows we didn’t need any more of that… the sanity sucking, that is…

THEN, we stumbled across a soap-grating-free recipe, and, as always, tweaked it a tad to make it our own!

It is super easy, super cheap, and works fabulously!

Ready to try it for yourself? Here ya go! This is definitely our most requested recipe.

soap in bucket


5 gallon bucket (you can find them cheap at the hardware store, use empty grain buckets, or grab one on Amazon here)
1 1/2 cups Super Washing Soda (you can order it online here or find it at Wal-mart)
3 cups Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Liquid Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronners – which you can find online. I think other Castile soaps are available in stores.)
1/2 cup Thieves Household Cleaner (This is a Young Living essential oils product. I haven’t tried substituting anything for it, but you might be able to try some extra essential oils, and extra Castile soap. I can’t vouch for the cleaning power without it though.)
10-15 drops Lemon (or other citrus) Essential Oil
5 gallons hot water


Pour the washing soda and baking soda in the 5 gallon bucket. Add in about 1 gallon of hot water.
Stir until the sodas are dissolved.
Add the Castile soap, Thieves Household Cleaner, and Lemon Oil.
Stir again.
Add the rest of the hot water until the bucket is almost full.
Stir well.

Leave it to sit overnight. Don’t worry if it looks separated and chunky in the morning. This is how it it supposed to look!

Use about 1/2 cup or so per load of laundry!

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below!  Happy washing!




*This post contains affiliate links. We will never link to products we don’t fully believe in and endorse.


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Household Tips and Recipes Are in the Works

Do you have any idea how many nasty chemicals are lurking in your house? You probably use them every day…or maybe you know the dangers and are searching for safe, economical solutions. Either way, we want to save you from poisoning your body or breaking the bank.

Our household detox started years ago and has definitely been a gradual process. We’ve had a lot of trial and error and done a lot of research and would love to pass on our discoveries to you.

Subscribe and keeping watching for us to populate this section with some solutions very soon! Feel free to comments with requests or suggestions!