For Your Just Add Magic Fan

The words Livonian, Galifrazian and Elysian may not mean much to you, unless someone in your household is a Just Add Magic fan.

Both of my daughters love the show, and the whole family has enjoyed watching the series together but my six year old is what you might call obsessed.

I have been on the lookout for any cookbooks, spices or other merchandise that might delight her. It has taken some searching to find what I was looking for so I thought I would write up a simple post sharing links to the products to help save time for other parents.

First of all, did you know the show was based on a book and that there are actually 2? The book is also titled Just Add Magic and the sequel is Just Add Magic: Potion Power.

More than anything, I wanted to find the cookbook for her. One with the recipes or just a blank one that would let her make her own. I found this one and it is sure to bring joy to your child.

My girls were both interested in the spice families and this wiki provides a well-organized table. They had fun perusing it. We plan to print it out and paste it into the cookbook. We also got this Melissa and Doug spice set.

Chucks’s list of spice families.

natural lifestyle

Thieves Cleaner: Life Saver

I can remember before we switched to all the natural things, I had to wear a mask and open all of the windows on cleaning day.

Cleaning day was every Saturday. I would fuss and complain and basically couldn’t breathe the rest of the day.

Flash forward to today and there is no more mask and no need to open windows.

Back then, I didn’t know any different. Everyone used Clorox wipes and Lysol and Windex and so did I. It was just so normal that I didn’t question it.

Then I entered learning communities on natural living and discovered all of the toxins that are in our popular and heavily marketed products. Why wouldn’t they want us to know? Dollar signs, obviously. And when you know better you do better.

I no longer dread cleaning day and would not want to live without this concentrate. It single-handedly replaces all of our commercial toxic stuff and for pennies per diluted spray bottle.

I have written a separate post with more information about Thieves Cleaner if you are interested in knowing more.

natural lifestyle · Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup: The New Wellness Cabinet Staple

During flu and cold season our family has added elderberry syrup to our health and wellness regimen by taking at least a tablespoon each a day, to help support and protect our bodies.

Did you know…Elderberries are rich in vitamins A, B and C and are a traditional cold and flu remedy that has been used for hundreds of years? They are known to have high antioxidant activity and the bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice of the berry destroy the ability of a cold or flu virus to infect a cell. *mic drop*

Check out some of the other benefits of this amazing, NATURAL elixir:

  • boosts immune system
  • protects the heart
  • anti-inflammatory (in other words, helps with pain)
  • lessens stress
  • helps with back and leg pain (sciatica)
  • helps with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • helps with allergies
  • relieves constipation
  • natural diuretic
  • supports skin
  • can help prevent cancer
  • supports brain health
  • boosts vision health

I add my tablespoon of elderberry to a shot of Ningxia Red, an impressive blend of wolfberry, plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices. Ningxia boasts the same antioxidant activity I just described. Talk about a powerhouse of protection!

Do you have elderberry syrup as a part of your wellness arsenal or any other natural preventatives that you love? If you are interested in elderberry and other immune system boosters check out this post on some lesser known wellness supports.


essential oils · natural lifestyle · Uncategorized

Immune System Boosters You May Not Know About

Most folks already know to take Vitamin C, drink plenty of fluids and to get rest when they are sick. You may not be aware of some on this list. While doing some or all of these won’t guarantee you are protected, they significantly lower the risk. If you do find yourself exposed, I think you’ll be impressed how quickly you bounce back.

  1. Elderberry syrup. This one needs to be a staple. Keep it in the fridge all winter long. Give to everyone in the house at the first sign or mention of sickness. It not only boosts the immune system, but it is also an influenza preventative. You can check out a post to learn other elderberry benefits here.
  2. Turmeric. You know, legend has it that the “gold” that was given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men was actually turmeric which is also known as “golden spice.” So in a sense they gave him the gift of health. We Westerners and just catching on to what Indians have known for years and years: natural turmeric has medicinal value. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and has many many more health benefits. I was curious how to decide which turmeric/curcumin I should take (curcumin is the powerful constituent in turmeric) and what characteristics to look for. I love this post from Dr. Weil whose information I trust. And you can purchase the turmeric I use here.
  3. Raw local honey. Raw local honey boosts the immune system, can help with allergies, and soothes sore throats. It has so many health benefits. Don’t confuse raw local honey with that cute honey bear you get at Walmart. Very little benefit there. I have written an entirely separate post on raw local honey if you want to learn more.
  4. Probiotics. Do you take one? Everyone should take a good probiotic. Life 9 by Young Living is a great one. Why are probiotics so important? Marketing geniuses have programmed many to think all bacteria and germ exposure is bad. We are trained to Lysol and Clorox wipe everything, when in actuality, we are ridding our surfaces of both good and beneficial bacteria and germs. You don’t have to take my word for it. See what the Environmental Working Group has to say here. Same way, when we trustingly take that probiotic, we are killing the good and bad bacteria in your bodies, which is why so often you will see, they sicker some folks get the sicker they get. Antibiotics should only truly be in order when there is a bacterial infection like strep for example, but it has become commonplace unfortunately to give it for ear infections and other sicknesses. When you deplete your body of that good bacteria, you have none to fight off future illness. My advice if you absolutely must take an antibiotic is to take a probiotic daily to replenish that good bacteria supply.
  5. Ningxia Red or a comparable antioxidant drink. When you or anyone in your household is down and out, or if you have been exposed to anyone who is, reach for  all the blueberries, açaí, raspberries, and goji berries you can get your hands on. Or take me at my word when I tell you that Ningxia Red has one of the highest levels of antioxidants you can find. It contains the rare Ningxia wolfberry. For those of you who may not know, Ningxia China has the highest longevity in the world, and it is said to be a result of their consumption of the Ningxia wolfberry, the key ingredient in Ningxia Red. You can purchase the Ningxia Red Starter Kit here.
  6. Thieves Essential Oil Blend. I seriously would not want to live without Thieves. Immune system booster powerhouse. It contains cinnamon bark oil, for one. Here’s a tidbit: viruses can’t exist in the presence of cinnamon bark oil. Thieves contains it. Viruses live in the spine. I apply Thieves to the spines of all my people on the regular. As I am writing this I’m thinking of four ways I used it just this evening alone. Thieves on the throat and spines of my youngest and husband who said their throats hurt “a little bit.” I added it to my girls’ bath salts because tis’ the season. Thieves in the diffuser for the same reason. Thieves in a spoonful of honey, also for my husband to soothe his throat. A great way to get started with Thieves is either the Thieves kit which includes Thieves and the Thieves line of cleaning products, or the Young Living Premium Starter Kit which includes Thieves as well as a high quality diffuser and the other main essential oils you would need to get started. You can find both of those here.



Bowling Green – Mom’s Day Out

If you’re a mama, near Bowling Green, and find yourself with alone time, keep reading!

My oldest daughter is doing a gifted program at the local university each Saturday of the month so I find myself pleasantly and strangely in Bowling Green without children and time to explore.

Whenever I have the opportunity to explore a different city, there are several common things I am always interested to find: a nice park or outdoor area to walk and be in nature, a local coffee shop, and an experience unique to the area.

I read about several local parks in Bowling Green the week leading up to our first visit and the RiverWalk stood out to me, mainly because I have always been charmed by bridges and being near the water. Granted it is winter and no leaves on the trees, but I could imagine this would be a most beautiful place to walk in spring and fall.

I was surprised and mesmerized by the powerful churning of the river water as I stood on the bridge. I must have stood there for a good ten minutes, just thinking no thought and listening to the sound of the water, watching the white foamy water rapidly move downstream.

On my walk I also was able to see one of the longest trains I had ever seen in my life pass by. We have trains near our town, but the length of this one was so impressive to me, and it blew it’s horn the entire time.

I also chose the park hoping to find solitude early on a Saturday morning, and that’s exactly what I found. I only encountered one other person jogging, but felt the rest of my walk that I had the park all to myself.

After my walk I was eager to make way to my next stop, a Himalayan salt cave. Visiting a salt cave was interestingly enough a new bucket list item for me, and I had just learned about them a few months ago. The concept of the cave intrigued me: skin benefits, release of toxins and negative energy, and support for the respiratory system.


When I arrived I told the lady I had a Groupon. (Look into this – it saved me $16.) She informed me that there was a private session going on and to come back the next hour which I did.

I asked for her help with my search for the best coffee in the area and she mentioned a Starbucks across the street or a local shop. I was quick to let her know I wanted the local shop! She directed me to Q Coffee Emporium which was only three minutes from the salt cave. If you would like to know more about my salt cave experience I shared all about it here in a separate post.

I was delighted as soon as I pulled into Q Coffee Emporium. It had garage doors that looked as if it would be open air in the warmer months, and the entrance and parking was in the back. When I asked about what they were known for, the barista told me they get their coffee from Nashville, and it’s the same coffee they have at Frothy Monkey. Well, I adore Frothy Monkey. So Nashville Frothy Monkey friends, take note. I had a cafe latte and toasted bagel with cream cheese and butter. Both were delish.


If you’re looking for an enticing atmosphere, Q Coffee Emporium delivers. It’s oozing with charm. There is a cozy area indoors with couches, books, games and natural light. There’s an area that makes an excellent workspace with tables and outlets for charging. There’s an outdoor area with firepit and blankets. This was my personal favorite. There’s also a more traditional looking area that is better suited for dining.


I also appreciated the bathroom doors labeled “Humans” instead of the traditional “Men” and “Women.”


I spent the better part of an hour here, and left feeling like I had three different experiences: I ate, sipped coffee, wrote for a bit, and cozied up by the fire. I left there thinking, “If I lived here, I would be a regular.”


natural lifestyle · Uncategorized · yoga

Himalayan Salt Cave Experience

I was so excited to learn that there was a Himalayan salt cave located near the university where my daughter would be attending class in Bowling Green, KY. Interestingly enough, visiting a salt cave was a new bucket list item for me, and I had just learned about them a few months ago.

The concept of the cave intrigued me: skin benefits, release of toxins and negative energy, and support for the respiratory system.

During my research, I had made a list of some of the more specific benefits that Himalayan salt caves have to offer:

  • Clears respiratory and sinus issues, reducing symptoms of allergies and asthma.
  • Builds the immune system. Possible protection from the flu, since salt also has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
  • The salt has upwards of 84 minerals that can be absorbed through the skin, so you’re actually nourishing your body as you relax and breathe deeply. It can also help the skin absorb moisture. Can help with acne, eczema and other skin conditions.
  • A salt cave is roughly the equivalent of spending two whole days at the beach.
  • The negative ions in the air may help boost your mood and give you more energy. Some visitors find it helps them with issues such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder.
  • Increases focus.
  • Improves lung capacity and blood flow.
  • Reduces the frequency of migraine and tension headaches.

The “cave” is actually a man-made cave. Believe it or not, it’s located in a strip mall and it is also home to a yoga studio. On their website I read that it’s composed of 6 tons of Himalayan sea salt!

When I arrived I told the lady I had a Groupon. (Look into this – it saved me $16.) I made sure to get there about ten minutes before my start time which worked out perfectly. They had several procedures to explain to me and it allowed time to pay and place any belongings back in my car.

You will be asked to take off your shoes and put on fuzzy socks which are provided. This is to help keep from compromising the integrity of the salt floor. You place the socks in a hamper when you exit. There are cubbies for you to place your shoes or bag if you have one.

You are also discouraged from bringing your phone in the cave since salts and electronics don’t mix. I had one of the employees take a couple of photos for me and then handed my phone over to them.


One thing that surprised me is that as you enter, the floor is ground salt and feels like sand under your feet. I expected the floor to be solid and hard, so I stumbled a bit when I entered. Once I realized it was soft, I found it very satisfying.

Someone will help you to your chair which is like reclining lounge chair similar to one you might find at the pool. They will cover you with a blanket, and explain that they also turn on a special type of humidifier that releases particles of therapeutic grade Himalayan salt into the air.

There are light panels in the wall and also in the ceiling above you. They supposedly emit a color light that is supposed to help relax you. I find I need to close my eyes to meditate and kept my eyes closed most of the session, so not sure how much I benefited from that. There is music playing that seemed to affect my mood and frequency – in a good way- I am sure it was intentional and part of the experience.

You may be in the cave with people you don’t know, which honestly concerned me a bit. I had intended on meditating while in the cave and I worried that someone might make noises that would distract me. That was not the case at all. Everyone was as silent as church mice and seemed to have the same intention.

The first five minutes I noticed my sinuses completely clear and drainage initially, followed by some of the clearest breathing I’ve had in recent memory. I did struggle with clearing my mind somewhat. My mind would wander, and then clear for about the first half of my time in the cave. Thoughts kept creeping in. The second half of the time, I was presence, clear of thought and felt tingly all over, totally at ease. I also went in with a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and didn’t have any tension when I left.

I picked up a schedule and was excited to see that they have “kids in the cave” experiences and also yoga in the cave. I have already shared the details with my husband and he is eager to try it himself.

Here is the website for the salt cave I visited where you can find out more information and book your own visit.