Natural Throat Elixir

The Inevitable Winter Curse

It seems like there is no escaping the cold and flu season when you have 3 kids who are magnets for germs. Especially during the colder Winter months. What’s a natural mama to do? Well, I am not completely opposed to using some medication when necessary. After all, there is nothing worse than watching your baby cry and moan with discomfort and having nothing to offer them. Motrin does make an infant drop Ibuprofen that is at least dye free for times when medicine is necessary to make your little one as comfortable as possible. That being said, of course, I would prefer to have a natural source to remedy their discomfort that actually works with their body to help fight off whatever nasty germ or virus has gotten them in this condition to start with.

One of the most painful, aside from the raging headaches and body aches, as well as longest lasting, conditions of the flu, is the ever present sore throat. Gosh. Aren’t they just the worst? And what the heck? They just linger and linger and linger! Generally speaking, the sore throat is the first symptom to creep in and the last foe to go, usually a few days after all other symptoms have finally dissipated. Because it goes on for so long, this is the enemy I tend to focus on. A day or so of some Ibuprofen for aches and pains isn’t nearly as concerning as a week or more of a sore and painful throat! My daughter literally just said that it feels like she is swallowing a fire ball every time she swallows! Ouch.

The Remedy

Everyone knows that a warm tea with lemon and honey is great for the throat. But did you know ginger is also an ultra superstar when it comes to aiding the body in kicking an unwelcome intruder to the curb? A few benefits of ginger;

  • Induces sweating, helping detoxify and aids a fever in running it’s course
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Helps the tummy by aiding digestion
  • Helps the tummy by breaking down proteins which rids the intestines and tummy of painful gas
  • Relieves the feeling of nausea

While ginger is a key component, it doesn’t taste so great to a kid. Luckily raw honey is another helpful throat antidote, is delicious, and has so many wonderful benefits. It has been found to be very effective as a cough remedy (a common sidekick to our buddy the sore throat). Raw honey has wonderful antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Honey has been used for centuries as a remedy for throat aches and pains, so this is nothing new for humanity,  just a sweet reminder (get it…sweet? Har, har, har…). Here is a great article, written by Leah, over at Freedom and Coffee, that goes into greater detail about the many benefits of ginger, and more great ways to incorporate it into your family’s health regime.

Last, but certainly not least, is the almighty lemon. Side Note: did you know, that squeezing fresh lemon juice into your drinking water first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to help alkalize your body’s Ph? Preeety cool, eh? Alright, back to the issue at hand. Ahem. How lemons can help, specifically, with a sore throat.

  • Lemons have a high amount of anti-oxidants and vitamin C, which helps support and boost your body’s natural immune system
  • Lemons have a wide range of vitamins
  • The citric acid in lemon juice helps naturally break up the mucus that causes sore throats
  • Lemons have natural antiseptic properties which aid in killing the bacteria or viruses in the throat

Putting it All Together

Great! Now that we have all of our whys about the key ingredients to this sore throat elixir, let’s put everything together so that we are prepared for the next wave of cold or flu to run through our families. Here’s what you will need:

  • organic lemons (organic is important here because the skins will be remaining on)
  • A good sized chunk of fresh raw ginger
  • Raw, unheated, honey (unheated is extremely important! If the honey has been heated most of the benefits explained here will be lost.)
  • Glass jar with a lid


  1. Peel ginger root, slice lemons and portion out your raw honey into the glass jar
  2. Coarsely chop your ginger
  3. Add the chopped ginger and slices lemons to your jar.
  4. I add warm water (not hot) to top off the jar. This helps the honey warm up and mix with the lemon and ginger, but does not hurt the properties like boiling hot water would!
  5. Give it a good shake and stir

You’re done! Now let the mixture sit for at least 12-24 hours so all of the ginger and lemon can infuse into the honey. Next time your little one (or you!) complains of a sore throat, give them a spoonful of this yummy elixir, or mix it into warm ( not boiling hot) tea or water.

More Ideas

A few other ideas that have proven helpful in times of sickness and sore throats;

  • Gargling warm sea salt water is a time honored tradition around our house. It is amazing how much relief this little trick gives to sore throats! Obviously, this will only work with older children and adults.
  • Sucking on frozen fruit
  • Smoothies
  • Homemade fruit popcicles
  • Sucking on ice cubes
  • Lots of water! Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping hydrated when sick! And please, try to stick to water…juices have so much sugar I’m not convinced that they actually do more good than harm.

Fancy Girls Completed Room Tour! – Fancy Girls Bedroom Update

That Sweet Moment

When the project is finally done! This one was an intense week of working through the wee hours of the morning, to get everything done and back in place during a week we took off school for Fall break.

My little Fancy Girl sure is pleased with the results and I just love how everything turned out! I have some final pictures but thought a room tour was more appropriate. Enjoy!

I hope you all enjoyed this bedroom makeover as much as me and my Fancy Girl did! If you found helpful ideas or inspiration for your own space, leave a comment and let me know! I love to hear what my readers are incorporating into their own homes!

If you didn’t catch my earlier posts in this series, I outlined each project individually so you can do it too! You can find them:

Here – Geometry Wall

Here – Let them be White

Here – Flower Mirror

Here -The Fanciest Switch Plates

Here – Glitter Wall

Glitter Wall! – Fancy Girls Bedroom Update

Final Touches

The final touch for this room make over was going to be an elaborate glitter wall. But I was worried about a few things

  1. All the glitter wall tutorials I saw used a mix of large and small glitter flakes…and I was concerned about needing to paint over flakes, and the surface not being smooth, when she is done with glitter.
  2. Seriously. Glitter? I actually hate glitter. It truly is the herpes of the craft world and bane of my existence.
  3. See numbers 1 and 2


I’m a big believer that there is a solution to every problem. And the answer is usually found on Google or Amazon. HA! Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but this particular solution really was found on Amazon!

I found this Glitter Glaze, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a sheer, smooth, glaze that goes on and dries without any roughness or loss of glitter!! Now, when I have to paint over this amazing wall, it will not be a major headache!


Prepare to be Amazed!

I painted this entire wall, an it’s huge, with just one 16 ounce bottle of glitter glaze. I did mix it with a little water because I was afraid i would run out and didn’t want to have to wait for another bottle to be sent to finish this project. I had a bit left over when i was done, so I probably could have gotten away with not thinning it, but the results did not suffer so better safe than waiting…right?!

Applying the Glaze

This glaze dries pretty quickly, so you want to work methodically and consistently when applying to your wall.

Start in one top corner and work your way out and down. It is a bit hard to see where you have applied when you’re right up close and it’s wet, so make sure you have some kind of pattern or method for keeping track of where you have and have not applied the glaze, otherwise it will be uneven.

Just keep working until the entire wall is equally coated in the glaze…then stand back and admire the beauty of the sheen this creates on the entire wall.

My daughter LOVES this wall! It was a huge impact for a relatively small amount of work. We are both very pleased with the outcome and I am looking for any excuse to use this amazing glaze again!

*FYI the sheen this glaze puts off is slightly green (we call it Tinker Bell green). We love the color but, if you are planning to use this product, and hate the color green, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

It is literally impossible to catch, on camera, how beautiful this sheen is! It ripples across the wall as you move through the room and the angle of light and your view changes. It’s so much prettier than what it looks like here, but I had to, at least, try to give you an idea!







You can See the entire completed room tour, where I did a video, here!

And The rest of this series:

Here – Geometry Wall

Here – Let Them Be White

Here – Flower Mirror

Here – Fanciest Switch Plates

Garden Party in the Pantry!

Store bought celery will sprout new stalks when set in shallow waterGrow Your Own – Everybody’s Doing It!

Grow Your Own – Everybody’s Doing it!

There really is no excuse to not grow at least some of your family’s own food. One of the best things about growing food is how little space it actually takes. If you have some containers and some empty space, you too can enjoy some home grown deliciousness! Not convinced? Here are some places I, personally, have successfully grown delicious food

  • In a bright sunny window
  • in a garage, without windows
  • in a garage with windows
  • in a cheap plastic covered “greenhouse” bought at Raley’s
  • In an unheated shed attached to the garage, with windows
  • In a shallow bowl from store bought cut produce (like the celery in the picture above)
  • in my pantry!

I am going to talk specifically about my pantry greenhouse today, because if I can grow food, in my pantry, then you can grow something where you live too! Be that an apartment, in the suburbs, in a sky-rise, it doesn’t matter! Get the idea of needing a ton of space and time and resources, etc. etc. to grow your own salad successfully out of your head. It’s just not true. I am currently growing;

  • Easter Egg radishes,
  • 4 varieties of lettuce
  • 4 varieties of carrots
  • 2 different herbs
  • and sprouting 5 different varieties of pepper seeds

All on a few shelves in my pantry!

STOP. Listening to what “everyone” says and START experimenting with what you have to work with. I think you will be surprised how much you can do in small unexpected places when you use all available space efficiently and creatively.

Let’s Get Started

Here’s the short list of what you need to get basic food items (lettuces, carrots, radishes, herbs) growing;

  • shop lights and hoods (about $12 at Lowes)
  • Thin chain
  • Small “S” hooks that will hook inside the chain
  • extension cord IF your spot is not close to an outlet
  • Hooks that you screw into a ceiling (make sure the chain is large enough to fit over the hook)

Not Required but might make your job easier

  • Drill for pre-drilling small holes to screw your hooks into

All of the above should cost less than $20 for one light set up. Of course, if you end up doing multiple lights, like I have, it will cost a bit more up front, but this is not an expensive set up! I do not use expensive grow lights for this get up. Shop. Lights. Don’t be wooed by the fancy plants and veggies on the grow light boxes, I have never found them to be necessary or worth the cost!

**I would like to add, however, that when I was planting less hardy crops, in a very cold garage space, I also used a basic heat light to make sure my veggies stayed warm on freezing cold night. But that’s not what this post is about so i will not be going into detail about heat lamps here

Putting it All Together

Let’s put everything together and get growing!

  1. There are small holes on either end of your shop light hood. Measure the distance between the two holes and that is roughly the distance you want to drill the holes for your hanging hooks to be screwed into the top of whatever shelf or space you will be using to grow.
  2. Pre-drill a hole smaller than the screw tip of your hanging hook. Then go ahead and just screw the hook in by hand, it should go pretty easily.
  3. Once your hooks are in place, slip one end of your small “S” hook into each hole on both sides of your light hood. Hook your chain through the other side and hang your light up on the hanging hooks you prepared
  4. Plug your lights in and turn them on…

Let’s Get Planting!

Now the fun part!! Pick some lettuce varieties that will not be overly tall (so skip the romaine for this one), unless you have a very tall space. I love May Queen, Tom Thumb, Red Sails, or any of the loose leaf lettuce varieties! There are thousands of seed catalogs and varieties out there! Of course, in a pinch, I’m sure your local garden center also has a few fun varieties that will work. I am a big believer in supporting the local businesses that I don’t want to close up shop, so I intentionally make purchases at my local garden center whenever I can. Of course, it would be impossible for them to carry every variety, so seed catalogs get a fair share of my business. There are thousands of seed companies out there! Just make sure the seeds you buy are Heirloom, organic, non gmo, etc. Here are a few of my fav’s (not necessarily in order, but pretty close!).

  1. MI Gardener (this will actually be my first year using these seeds, but I have followed his YouTube channel for years and trust they will be excellent…and they are ONLY ONE DOLLAR each!)
  2. Bakers Creek (have used their seeds for years and LOVE them!)
  3. Territorial Seed Company
  4. High Mowing Seeds
  5. West Coast Seeds

As far as planting medium goes, do not use dirt from your backyard, unless you have a proven, weed free, pest free compost pile. I always use organic bagged potting soil, from my local garden center, for my seedlings and have yet to regret it. You will be using only a small amount of soil and, remember, this will be food you and your family will be eating, so it’s worth the few bucks to buy a good organic potting soil.

Now, for the actual container to plant in. Basically anything that holds dirt and water will work. I never put holes in the bottom of my planting containers in the greenhouse. It just means I have to water them more often, and I tend to be lazy when it comes to water. Here are a few container ideas;

  • plastic cups
  • Milk Jugs cut in half
  • Empty Yogurt Containers
  • Cardboard Soup Boxes cut in half
  • Water Catchment Trays

For my pantry I moved to large indoor plant catchment basins (basically the plastic disc you put under your indoor houseplants to catch water). They are 4 inches tall and have a 12 inch diameter, so they are a decent depth and enough width to fit several plants in one container. For my full size carrots, I am using 14 inch cheap plastic pots. I definitely recommend using plastic for plants you plan on having in the container for a long period of time, in this case, all Winter. I will be experimenting with “Soil Blocks” this Spring to hopefully move away from starts in plastic cups and containers.

Get This Party Started

Now that you have your lights set up, your organic potting soil ready, and seeds purchased,  let’s get dirty!

Fill all of your containers with your soil, leaving about 1/2 inch of space around the rim. Wet the soil and mix it all up to make sure it is evenly damp, but not sopping wet.

Either follow the planting/spacing instructions for your seeds or start your seeds sprouting for transplanting later. You can read more about pre-sprouting your seeds here.

I direct seeded my lettuces with excellent germination success. It is extremely important that your soil stay moist while the seeds are germinating. This is one reason I like my soil nice and moist before I plant.

Here is a list of seeds I pre-sprouted to improve germination rates and how many days it took for them to sprout:

  • Carrots – 3-5 days
  • Radishes – 2-3 days
  • Herbs – 1-5 days (depending on the herb and variety)
  • Peppers – 5-10 days

As the seeds germinate, they are placed into their pots at the suggested spacing for that particular plant. I only put a very light dusting of soil on top of my seeds and then water them into the soil well. Remember, there are no holes in the bottom of your containers (unless you bought container with pre-made holes, like my larger carrot buckets) so don’t do crazy with the water. Just enough to keep the soil damp.

Check daily for new sprouts! Some of mine were up the  next day! Some didn’t come out for 3 days, it was equally exciting for me to see each new seed and variety pop up! Some things never get old.

Now that everything is planted and lights are set up…all you have to do is wait. And wait a little more….and waiting is my least favorite thing. Ha! But it’s always worth it. Below are a few things that are growing in my pantry, right now, in the beginning of January in zone 5. These would never be an option outside or in my unheated greenhouse!

I would love to hear if you used any of these ideas to grow something new in your own space…the more creative the better! Please share in the comments below – pictures are a bonus 🙂

Happy Growing!






Improve and Guarantee Your Seeds Germination!

The Rub

We’ve all been there. You painstakingly prepare your garden beds, add enough fertilizers, order the perfect seeds, and lovingly tuck them into the soil. Then you wait. And you watch. And you water.

And nothing ever happens.


Talk about a major let down! It’s enough to make you want to give up gardening all together. What went wrong? Well, the problem is that as soon as those seeds slip into the soil, it’s essentially impossible to know what happens to them. The most likely culprit is the seed never germinated to begin with.

So what is a gardener to do?

The Solution

The answer? Pre-germination! If you only put germinated seeds into the ground, you are much more likely to have a successful sprouted seed, which will grow into the beautiful plant you always knew it could be. Right? Yes.

Luckily for all of us, there is a simple method that all of us, no doubt, have done at some point in an Elementary Science class. Seeds actually need very little to germinate. The main element necessary is moisture. I live in the desert…guess how fast the top 1/4 inch of soil dries out here on a warm Spring day? I’ve never timed it, but I’m guessing less than an hour after I water my seedlings, that soil is on it’s way to drier than dry! Which means, dried out seeds, no germination, and no food for me. Fortunately, pre-sprouting your seeds saves a great number of disappointments in the gardening department of life.

Tools for the Pre-Sprouting Method

  • Paper Towels (I try to use recycled and non chemical paper towels)
  • Ziplock Plastic Baggie
  • Masking Tape
  • Sharpie
  • Seeds

Ready? This is going to be so easy and quick you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it your whole dag gone life.

  1. Soak paper towel and slightly ring out, so it’s not dripping everywhere but very wet
  2. Tap desired quantity of seeds onto wet paper towel
  3. Fold paper towel up into a square and tuck it inside of a ziplock bag
  4. Label the bag with the masking tape and sharpie
  5. Put the baggie in a warm place until germination

Make sure you check your sprouts every day. I like to open the towel up every few days to make sure none of the seeds are molding, which is rare but can happen.

Once you have sprouted seeds (congrats!) you can carefully unfold the wet paper towel and plant each sprouted seedling according to the packets direction (or just roughly 1 inch apart, if you don’t have a packet with directions).

Some seeds are very tiny and need to be handled more gently. For seeds like carrots and basil, you can either arrange the seeds at the spacing you want on the paper towel, and then plant the whole paper towel along with the seeds.

Or, you can use something like a pencil or scalpel to place each individual seed into it’s place. For example, the basil in the pictures below were so tiny I couldn’t grab them with my fingers, so I used a knife and pencil to place each one where I wanted it. A bit tedious, but again, a for sure germinated seedling!

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this handy gardening tip and use it to your advantage in all your garden adventures!

Happy Growing!