Archive for the ‘random’ Category

Check your cabinet before that new baby gets here!

It’s great when you are going the natural route for most of your skin care. If you are getting ready to welcome a new baby, then you have probably already thought about how to use natural skin care on baby. But have you thought about cleaning out your cabinets to make sure you use all natural ingredients everywhere?  Most everyone I know receives baby oil before they have their first baby. Baby oil? Yes, you know the kind in the big clear bottle that we all used to tan with when we were growing up (am I dating myself? lol). I don’t think I ever actually used it on my baby. Do you know what would happen if your baby were to find that baby oil and aspirate it? It would quickly coat baby’s lungs and there is no way to get it back out. This could lead to brain damage or even death. Do yourself a favor and throw it out! It’s not necessary for baby!

Household cleaners are another area that is great to tackle before baby gets here. I tend to use just baking soda and vinegar for most of my cleaning needs. They are both safer options than any chemically induced cleaner. I use the baking soda paste to clean tubs and sinks. If my drains get clogged these two are also my first products I go for. As long as they aren’t clogged to the point of lots of water sitting in your sinks or tubs these two items work great. You use a cup of baking soda and put it down the drain. Add a cup of vinegar to the drain and then pull the drain closed (the two interact causing  bubbling and fizzing, closing the drain forces it to go the direction of the clog). After a minute or so flush it out with 4-6 cups of hot boiling water and voila…it’s unclogged!  Doing this is so much kinder on our pipes, our water treatment and our Earth! It’s better for us to cut as much chemicals out of our lives as possible.

Vinegar is also a great window cleaner.  Use 1/3 cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water and a few drops of dish detergent to a spray bottle. Spray on, wipe off. You can wipe off with newspapers (although the way papers are going in this day and age you aren’t as likely to have them lying around. So you can do what I do and use a microfiber towel or a plain old kitchen towel to dry it off.  I also use vinegar to clean my floors. I add a fourth a cup of vinegar (oh, who am I kidding, I add a few splashes) to my mop bucket. If you are worried about the vinegar smell it fades very fast.

Do you have any household cleaner tips you can share with us?

Eczema Tip: Allergy Proof Your Home

Outdoor allergy seasons come and go depending on weather patterns and time of year. During high allergy seasons we get refuge in our homes or load up on Vitamin C and allergy medicine. Unfortunately, you are not safe from allergies in your home. There is dust and dander, among other things, that can cause an allergy outbreak. You may have a runny nose, constant sneezing, itchy skin, or rashes as a result from coming in contact with something you are allergic to in your home. You may even start to see a dry rash that flares up which is called eczema. If you have eczema, the flare ups can become worse from allergic reactions. To keep your flare ups under control, here are some ways to allergy proof your home.

An easy way to control allergens is to have a weekly cleaning routine. If you suffer from allergies that are pretty severe or have asthma and eczema flare ups, you may need a daily cleaning routine. You don’t need a floor to ceiling scrub down of your home every day, but you may need to dust or vacuum more often than others. Every week you should vacuum your carpets and sweep tile or wood floors. If you are highly allergic to dust mites, you may want to consider investing in a dust free vacuum. To clear dust off of other surfaces like table tops or windows you can use a damp cloth to wipe them down instead of using a feather duster that spreads the dirt around. There can be a lot of dust mites on your bed, so it is important to wash and change your sheets weekly. When you have clean sheets, you’ll start to notice your eczema improve.

The temperature and humidity in your home should be controlled at all times. High temperatures can cause infestations and mold. The humidity in your home should always be around 50%, and keep the temperature comfortable. You don’t want the temperature too hot or cold, so a good degree to maintain is 70, give or take a few degrees. You may need to use humidifiers to control the humidity, but you can control the temperature with your thermostat. To get the most effectiveness out of your central heating system, clean or replace air filters once a month. This will also help to keep the dust at a minimum. It is important to keep surfaces in your home clean and dry. Make sure there aren’t any leaks under any countertops.

Another great tip for controlling the allergens is to make your home easy to clean. For example, replace carpeting and rugs with wood, tile, or linoleum. Curtains can carry a lot of dust, so buy window treatment that can be dusted easily. If you have curtains, buy them in a material that is easy to wash. Leather furniture is preferable over upholstered sofas and chairs. Because we spend so much time in our bedrooms, you want to make sure that your mattress and flooring is easy to clean too. It is important to use pillow mattress covers to avoid dust mites or other dander. Wool blankets and new foam pillows attract dust mites, so you should have other materials instead. If you have a lot of furniture in your bedroom, keep it as far from the bed as you can.

Using these simple tips can keep your home as allergy free as it can be. If you notice that your allergies or eczema still flare up, you can use eczema oil to control the uncomfortable feeling on your skin.

About the Author: Melanie Nader is the founder of the Homestead Company which makes premium quality natural skin care products including eczema oil and diaper ointment made with the finest 100% natural ingredients. For more information, visit

How to Soothe Your Upset Baby

Sometimes, the only way for a baby to communicate is through crying. There is nothing more upsetting to a parent than hearing their baby cry and not knowing why. Parents learn the different types of noises and crying their baby makes based on what they desire. They can tell the difference between a cry of hunger or a cry of pain. It is common for babies to cry a lot if they are teething or experiencing irritating rashes from diapers. When your baby is upset or crying you instantly rush to their needs and try to stop the crying. Here are some ways you can soothe your baby if they are upset.

Once you have figured out the types of crying your baby makes, you can do preliminary trial and error actions to stop the crying. For example, you can feed your baby, change their diaper, or cuddle them to make them feel better. At other times, your baby will cry and you won’t know why. They could feel discomfort from a rash, they may have a stomach ache, they could be teething, they could be too hot or too cold, or they might just want to be held and cuddled. If the crying doesn’t stop, and you are not sure how to meet your baby’s needs, you can try to soothe them in different ways to stop their upsetting moment.

Babies love to feel warm and secure. To soothe your baby if they are upset, you can wrap them in soft blanket. You can make a little blanket burrito and keep your baby wrapped up as if they were still in their mother’s womb. Don’t wrap your baby too tightly and keep their face uncovered at all times. Hold your baby and softly pat their back or rub their tummy.

Another technique for soothing your baby is to play music that has a light sound such as classical. Keep the volume low but play something that is also soothing for you. Light jazz sounds or nature sounds are also very comforting. If the music doesn’t work, just speak softly to your baby and tell them how much you love them, how safe they are, and how wonderful the little bundle of joy is to your life.

For older babies that can play with toys and hold things, you could give your baby one of their favorite toys. This can immediately stop the crying if they are bored or feeling anxious. If your baby isn’t old enough to hold a toy on their own, you could place a pacifier in their mouth instead. This is especially helpful when your baby is teething.

Some babies just need to feel safe, secure, and close to their parents. Sometimes all it takes to soothe a baby is to look at them and make eye contact. Change the position your baby is in so that they face you, can see your face, or are closer to you.

A baby communicates by crying out for their parents, and these techniques will help you to soothe your baby when you are unsure of why they are crying.

About the Author: Melanie Nader is the founder of the Homestead Company which makes premium quality natural skin care products including eczema oil and diaper ointment made with the finest 100% natural ingredients. For more information, visit

High Temperatures and Birth Rates in August

Late summer months and early fall months have the highest birth rates during the year. July, August, and September hold the highest records for new births. There are many factors that contribute to the hot months showing the most new births. A lot of families plan the birth of their new family member to coincide with the summer vacation plans, teachers plan for summer births when they have 2 to 3 months of vacation time, and cold winters lead to cuddling and other things with your better half.

Parents will have to stock up on sunscreen and bathing suits and things like diapers and diaper ointment during the summer. According to statistics by the National Health Center, August has the highest birth rates. Two states that are major contributors of this statistic are Mississippi and Louisiana; both states have high birth rates in the United States.

The most common day during the week that babies are born is the middle of the week, Wednesday. Weekends are popular for parents who are planning to have C-sections (cesarean delivery) or who are having their labor induced. A lot of planning goes into a pregnancy and birth because a lot of moms are working moms. Maternity leave is only 4 to 6 weeks and some parents make the choice to miss as little work as possible.

There are a lot of factors besides the month of the year or day of the week that affects birth rates. It is surprising that things such as government, religious, and social beliefs can affect birth rate. Some countries try to limit the size of a family or how many children can be born within a time period. Other countries give benefits or incentives for families that have more children, and as a result, those countries have high birth rates.

Some religions also teach that birth control using contraception is looked down upon. Religions that follow these teachings typically have higher birth rates than religions who don’t have guidelines or teachings about forms of birth control.

Economics and poverty rates are another factor in birth rates. People who can afford to have children usually have more births or plan to have a pregnancy at some point. This factor is somewhat contradictory in nature. Studies have shown that in high economic times birth rates are low for some families. On the other hand, countries with low poverty rates tend to have high birth rates because children are seen as a way to make money or help with family farms, businesses, or income for example.

The age of the parents can also affect how many children a family has. Typically most women have children before they are in their mid 30s. Younger couples usually start having kids early and tend to keep having children. Older couples or people who are remarried later in life tend not to have any more children.

About the Author: Melanie Nader is the founder of the Homestead Company which makes premium quality natural skin care products including eczema oil and diaper ointment made with the finest 100% natural ingredients. For more information, visit

Holiday Host Gifts from Organic Flowers to Natural Skin Care Products

The holidays are a time to invite friends over for fun times, making memories, and enjoying one another’s company. Holiday parties are thrown for exquisite dinner parties, ornament making parties, card making parties, and gift buying trunk shows for example. A warm hearted friend or family member opens their home for holiday fun and a place to host a party or event. It is common for guests to bring the host a gift in appreciation of inviting friends and family into their homes for fun holiday occasions. Here are some ideas for all natural, organic, holiday host gifts.

A lovely bouquet of flowers or a poinsettia arrangement are always welcomed and greatly appreciated by the host. This gift idea is a way to show your thanks for an invitation to an event or dinner, and they also act as a decorative addition to the host’s home. Poinsettias are perfect during the holiday season because they are festive in color and are a common holiday decoration. You could also make a flower arrangement with flowers from your own garden or from a local garden where you live. Organic flowers are beautiful and safe for your or the host’s home because they are pesticide free.

Baking some type of sweet treat, pie, or bread is another great gift idea. The host could use your home baked gift at her dinner for dessert or save it for themselves after everyone has left as a nice way to relax and enjoy something wonderful tasting. Baking or cooking with organic ingredients will ensure the best tasting dish that is healthful and good for our bodies. Organic cooking won’t have any synthetic or harmful ingredients. You could bake a warm apple pie, some sweet pumpkin bread, or some homemade fudge. These are festive and great tasting holiday treats.

Throwing a dinner party or holiday party can be stressful and take a lot of work and preparation for the host. A great idea for a host gift is to make a basket with relaxing lotions, candles, or body oils. You can include all of these to make a variety basket with different types of relaxation products. Making the basket with natural skin care products will show that you really care about your host because you aren’t giving harmful products with harsh chemicals that could cause skin irritation, which isn’t very relaxing. Organic products are made with relaxing scents and ingredients such as plumeria or cucumber. The host will really appreciate being able to relax with organic cucumber body butter.

You could give one or all of these ideas for a host gift. When you are preparing the gift for your host, take the time to make the presentation beautiful. The holiday host will love these gifts.

About the Author: Melanie Nader is the founder of the Homestead Company which makes premium quality natural skin care products including eczema oil and diaper ointment made with the finest 100% natural ingredients. For more information, visit

Eat Local, Backyard Local

Think about walking into your backyard and picking a juicy, crisp apple. Imagine the smiles on your children as their fingers turn purple from picking plump blackberries (the thornless type of course). It’s a great experience to visit your local farmer’s market, but its an even greater thrill to go into your own backyard and pick your own food. Nothing beats the taste of fresh picked fruit not to mention its more nutritious, chemical free, and environmentally friendly.

So I know what you are thinking, sure it sounds great, but I don’t live on a farm and I have a blackthumb. Growing fruit trees and plants is very easy. You don’t even have to have a big yard. Strawberries can be grown in a flower pot, although postpone flower pot growing until spring.
Fall is the best time to plant trees and perrenial plants. The roots grow all winter and have plenty on time to get the plant established before the summer heat arrives.

Your first stop is your local garden center. It is the best place to buy a fruit tree or a berry plant. The garden center staff should be able to help you find a variety of fruit that grows well in your area (a.k.a. doesn’t die during the winter). They will also help you determine the amount of room you need to grow your fruit of choice. Today that tree may look small, but ten years down the road it could be ten feet tall and ten feet wide. So let them help you plan accordingly.

If you go to a discount store or hardware store please do research before you buy your plant! I was going to purchase some pear trees last fall. I wrote down the variety names and looked them up on the internet to make sure they would be hardy for my area. Both pear trees would have been great if I lived two states to the south. So don’t just assume the plants will grow in your area.

Another source of fruit trees and plants are mail order companies. There are several reputable companies out there. Even though they arrive bare root and look like little sticks with a couple of roots hanging off them, they are a good choice.pear

When buying fruit trees, I check to make sure the tree trunk is healthy. I didn’t say straight, I said healthy. Make sure there are not cuts or pieces of bark missing. The tree will be more likely to get diseased and die within a few years.

Some easy to grow plants are raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes (although they will need a trellis or something to grow up), rhubarb, apple trees, pear trees, or plum trees.

Bottom line make sure the trees or plants are cold hardy for your area. Make sure the trunks or stems are healthy, without damage.

I can just taste those raspberries now!

written by, Shannon Ulrich, Horticulturist

I am so Excited!

I am excited to get started on this blog, I have been wanting to get a blog going.  I feel like there is so much to talk about on the subject of skin care and nutrition.  Nutrition is directly related to skin care, as our skin is a reflection on what is happening on the inside.  I look forward to hearing any and all topic suggestions, questions that I can answer.  I love a challenge, so don’t hold back.  

Now, as you can see this blog is directly related to The Homestead Company, Natural Skin Care LLC.  I am the owner of the company, started in September 2005.  I started this company because I have a passion for nutrition and natural living.  I also was amazed at the way that Emu Oil works and I wanted to share that with the world.  


Each of the products found on our website was born from a need for my own family.  Each one has been formulated specifically to be natural, gentle and effective.  I stand behind the products, and guarantee them fully.


I hope that you will add your name down for updates, as I will be updating with information related to skin care, healthy living, and family related topics.  One topic that will be frequent is healthy foods and feeding your family.  I can’t wait to get started!

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