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DIY Chest Rub

As a momma who is equipped with a passion for healing, I am so excited to reach into my herbal arsenal when I have a kiddo in need! Winter always seems to bring waves and waves of illness- lots of practice for our immune system! One of our recent waves consisted of some yucky chest congestion.

My first reach was for some frozen elderberries to make up our homemade elberry syrup. You can find the recipe for that HERE

Tiny helping hands

Next step, a DIY chest rub. I have just been scoping out a new recipe from Plant Therapy and had some new essential oils on hand to try. Kids and chest rubs are always a bit tricky- eucalyptus is an immediate go to for congestion, BUT it is widely known as not being kid safe. Enter a new to me form of eucalyptus, eucalyptus dives, that is KID SAFE!

Plant Therapy is always my go to for third party tested, quality essential oils. They have a lovely blog chock full of recipes and DIY’s. Here is the link for the inspiration on this Plant Therapy recipe. While I did use the general recipe, I could tell right away that there was way to much beeswax in this. Here is my altered recipe below which will create a nice and soft salve that is easy to apply:

  1. Over a double boiler melt together the beeswax and tallow (or coconut oil)
  2. Remove from heat and cool to 140 degrees, then stir in your essential oils.
  3. Pour into tins.
  4. Allow to cool fully
  5. A shelf life of 1 year when stored in a cool and dark place

Sweet baby T fell asleep during the salve making

Freshly poured salves

Thank you for following along with me! I hope you find this DIY helpful. Let me know if you try and it and what you think of the recipe!

<3 Krystal @ Gratitude Farm

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Natural skincare is a lie

“Clean” or “natural” cosmetics are popular, but the terms don’t mean much.

The term “natural” in the context of products, especially in the beauty and health industry, can be somewhat misleading, and there are several reasons why “natural” doesn’t always mean what people might expect:

  1. Lack of Regulation and Standardization: The term “natural” is not regulated consistently across the industry. Different organizations and countries may have varying definitions and standards for what qualifies as a “natural” product. This lack of standardization can lead to confusion among consumers.
  2. Chemical Processes: Some products labeled as “natural” may still undergo significant chemical processing. For example, ingredients derived from natural sources may be heavily processed to extract and concentrate active compounds, and synthetic preservatives may be added to extend shelf life.
  3. Synthetic Additives: Even if a product contains primarily natural ingredients, it might still include some synthetic additives, such as preservatives, fragrances, or stabilizers. These additives are often used to enhance the product’s performance, texture, or longevity.
  4. Misleading Marketing: Some companies may use the term “natural” as a marketing strategy to create a positive image for their products. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire product is derived directly from nature or that it is entirely free from synthetic components.

What is in our control and what can we can do? Don’t be fooled by trendy marketing like I was. This problem actually fueled my passion for creating skin care products. Make informed decisions about your skincare products by reading the ingredients list and researching every ingredient.

What will you find in our ingredients list?

Loads of tallow, a very old world way of moisturizing, along with other high quality oils, organic when possible, and proven for centuries to benefit your skin.

High quality third party tested essential oils. We absolutely love Plant Therapy, a family owned essential oil business in Twin Falls Idaho.

Raw goat milk soap straight from the barn of our herbally managed dairy herd. We lovingly tend our herd and free choice hand milk for our goat milk soap products. We do not make goat milk lotion, as this requires additional chemical stabilizers I do not feel comfortable using for my families or my clients largest organ.

Herbs organically grown and harvested right from our garden, forest, or other local farm. This insures nutrient rich products that are harvested in peak season and handled for the highest healing properties.

All of the colorants in our soaps are derived from plant colorants, and any add ins are natural, too!

Meet Gratitude Farm, the makers of the ‘real natural, natural.’ Endlessly learning, researching and experimenting to create real skin care that works while nourishing your body and creating a luxurious experience Thank you for trusting us on our healing journey. It means the world <3

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Why tallow for skincare?

Are you using tallow for you skincare yet? You should be! Here is why…

Tallow, which is rendered animal fat, has been used for skincare for centuries and has many benefits for the skin.

  1. Natural Moisturizer: Tallow contains a balance of saturated fats, which are similar to the oils produced by human skin. Because it is so close to our sebum, the actual molecular size matches closely to human skin and is able to be deeply absorbed. While it goes on feeling rich and luxurious, it will sink in deeply to the skin.
  2. Rich in Nutrients: Tallow is rich in fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are essential for skin health and may contribute to its overall well-being. Tallow is also known to soften fine lines and wrinkles.
  3. Skin Barrier Support: The fatty acids in tallow can help support the skin barrier function. A healthy skin barrier is important for protecting the skin from environmental stressors and preventing moisture loss.
  4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Tallow has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for soothing irritated or inflamed skin. It is also a fairly low allergen.
  5. Compatibility with Skin: Advocates of tallow argue that it is similar in composition to the skin’s natural oils, making it well-tolerated by many skin types without causing irritation. It is also noncomedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores.
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Winter ice globes

If your kids are like mine, getting them outside in the winter is a challenge. This week I pulled out one of our 1000 Hours Outside books which is chalk full of pictures and projects. The kids were happy to thumb through interesting ideas to get them out. We landed on making rainbow ice orbs.

The activity scratched the never ending itch my kids have to do science as they played mixologist- mixing and experimenting with color combos. First, we took some old birthday party balloons we had lying around, most any kind will do, and got to work adding the food dye, water, and tying off. We loaded these babies up in one of our goat watering buckets (because that’s what we had on hand) and set them out during this dreadfully cold winter to freeze overnight. Only it didn’t freeze, because our weather is so so weird this year! The kids woke up immediately asking about the ice orbs, which were not frozen. Parenting fail! It felt almost as bad as when the tooth fairy forgets to visit.

So at 7 am, half dressed, baby on my back, I hauled those water balloons to the chest freeze and loaded them up. The first ones we opened later that afternoon were not frozen. This did not stop my 5 year old and husband from playing a medieval fight scene and using them as shields (I know imaginations are wonderful, but I still can’t quite picture how this one went down). Fast forward to day two, and these were fully frozen! The kids whisked them off to their snow fort their grandfather had built earlier this winter, and they transformed to magical powers of all sorts.

The ice orbs have lots of hours of play left in them, so long as they don’t melt! I highly recommend this project for some outdoor joy and entertainment. Sky is the limit with the beautiful imaginations of children. Including our ever growing nerdy kids who default to potions, magic, and staring at the moon.

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Essential Oils Vs Fragrance Oils

What is used in my skincare to make it smell good, and why should I care?

Scent has so much power. It can transport us to a time and place, uplift our mood or mellow us out, or simply bring us joy. It is wonderful to experience scent as we practice self love through our skin care products. But beware, some of this stuff is toxic and can actually be harming you. Let’s take a deeper look…

Essential oils are highly concentrated plants that pack and lot of punch and have a wide range of benefits when added to your skin- remember your largest organ- and it does absorb what you put on. Source of the oils is absolutely important for pure and high quality. With the power of plants, essential oils can help calm and soothe your skin, fight bacteria and acne, reduce inflammation and redness, and support skin repair. Unlike synthetics and fragrance oils, the impact of an essential oil can be far-reaching, by both relaxing our senses and supporting our physical and psychological well-being for a truly holistic sense of wellness. Another benefit that lends these all-natural oils to enhanced skincare, is that they are absorbed easily through the skin.

On the other side, synthetics and fragrance oils are completely unregulated by the FDA and have been known causes of free radical skin damage, hormone disruptors, and a load of toxins. The dangers of synthetic scents aren’t always evident, but we have the science to prove that everyone, regardless of age or health, needs to make avoiding fake fragrances a major priority. A National Academy of Sciences points out some vital facts: About 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil). They include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. Some of the worst toxic ingredients used in our skin care and cleaning products often listed as on labels as the elusive “fragrance.” Avoiding the dangers of synthetic scents is crucial. These ingredients are predominantly made from chemicals and are just outright toxic for your health in so many ways. Please don’t just take my word for it, do the research.

So what do I have to lose using essential oils? Because these are natural plant product, the scent can fade faster. In a wash-off product, like soap, essential oils scent will wash off with the product. Some enjoy no scent clinging to them after they get out of the shower, while others would like to have a lingering scent. The easy fix is to follow up your shower with a direct application of your favorite essential oils to your skin easily with your favorite lotion, body butter, or roll on. Plus, you will enjoy all of the wellness benefits of the essential oils!

Be sure to visit our shop to check out our delicious whipped body butter for that leave on, glorious smell and essential oil therapy. Give your skin, your largest organ, a real treat with skin loving tallow, whipped to perfection with our hand made herbal infused healing salve.

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Shampoo Bars, taking the plunge

Would you believe if told you that I made my first shampoo bars nearly a year ago and have never tried them?? Try as I might to love clean body care, and the allure of no waste packaging, I haven’t been convinced. I have very long hair and try to keep low fuss in my washing routine. I try to wash once a week but often go even longer and end up with a huge giant mess of tangle. I just don’t love my hair care routine and haven’t spent the time to change that.

Today I finally tried the shampoo bar I made for my first time ever trying one. Oh my goodness, LOVE!! It lathered more than the ‘natural’ shampoos, leaving my hair clean and soft and not feeling stripped of oils. I did have to spend a bit more time rubbing each section but this left it feeling even cleaner and more nourished.

Now the final touch to shampoo bars is apple cider vinegar rather than conditioner. This is crazy. Totally crazy. I have been on a quest to create healing baths, and came across vinegar baths. I began adding vinegar to mine and the girls baths a few weeks and could not believe the results of our skin and their hair! I plunged into an apple cider vinegar rinse to finish off my hair and adore the results.

My hair has life again! I am so excited with these results and looking forward to exploring and perfecting (well aiming) for the very best line up for your hair care too! Stay tuned!

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Self Care

As I write this, I am enjoying the pleasantries of a minty face mask and feeling so wrapped up in love and inspiration. 

Coming up on a year, I began my personal highly benchmarked accomplishment of making raw goats milk soap… and it was from my very own mini dairy goat herd. Aging is funny, it is actually such a wonderful opportunity to take those big steps into the shoes we dream of wearing, and wearing them. And then walking in them. 

I will never forget in 2012 while on vacation in Hawaii when I first stepped foot into a luxury body care store. I instantly fell in love and wanted it all! Though my pocket book told me no. Over the years I researched relentlessly and drooled over the ‘cult classics.’ I grew my own small collection I fell in love with. These became my go to Christmas gifts for the ones I loved to enjoy those ‘treat yourself’ items. Soon I couldn’t help but began a tradition of treating myself during Christmas shopping season too, of my very favorites. I savored every mask applied to my face, inch of my body scrubbed and polished, and the ridiculously soft skin that make me feel like a million bucks. But the ingredients really weren’t up to par for my sometimes over obsessive organic clean demands. Finally, I couldn’t bring myself to spend those hard earned dollars on products that I knew weren’t truly good for me with all of those preservatives, dyes, and even parabens. How could this luxury ‘healthy’ skin care be filled with these toxic ingredients? So I finally stopped using it. And those fleeting self care moments became none existent. 

Self care is so so important. I especially resonate with us moms with kids, giving them our all and feeling totally empty by the end of the day. Resources of time and money are limited and must be spent with great care. 

Enter the idea of creating, something I love to do, with the ingredients I feel good about and trust on my skin. Starting a small holistic body care line has gifted me with so much. Spending time creating something with my hands I am proud of. The opportunities to challenge and push myself in so many ways. And huge, unexpected rewards taking me places I thought I’d never be headed outside of my personal dreamland. 

Tonight, rather than feel that seasonal sadness of not ordering those favorite products, I decided to do some research and recreate with my own twist those favorite products I adore. And the reward is gold! I am having so much fun enjoying these moments of self love and was so inspired I had to write it all down. <3 

Believe. Chase dreams. Take some time for you, if only a little. Sending all the love. 

Favorites make
Minty mask
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Baby Goatsss!!!

It is here, that beautiful time in the season when the the baby goats arrive!! How can you resist two delicate pounds of spunk?? We are so grateful to our friends over at Little Avalon Farm who allowed us to pop in for one of their births this year. They have incredible holistic skills I am so grateful to be learning, and this of course applies to birth! Here you will find loving care from Little Avalon’s whole family (people, livestock guardians, and goat herd included) all gather around in support of the birthing does. So beautiful to watch the love turn to excitement as we all bounce around the kids (baby goats) entering this world!

This photo was snapped of V’s first baby goat siting. I was not able to see it, but am so thankful for the captured memory!
Thank you Megan @ Little Avalon!                                                                  

This beautiful doe, Penny, had a long labor. After some assistance from her human momma in turning an ill positioned kid, she birthed 4 beautiful healthy babies! We loved Penny so much, we squealed with joy  when she came available this spring to add to our farm! And of course, how can you buy just one more? Her friend Esme, who was also in labor that day, will be coming home with us, too! These are incredibly hardy and productive bloodlines we couldn’t resist adding to our farm!

And, speaking of which, how could we say no to this little buckling? He is a powerhouse of milking genetics with a momma described by Little Avalon as the perfect homesteading goat. Momma Cleo is a wonderful, hearty doe with a beautiful strong body, incredible milk production, mothering skills, and sweet to boot. Excitedly we said yes! to bringing him home to add to our breeding program.

Check out the rest of Little Avalon’s kids available over on their website! Quality stock for your family homestead or breeding program!

Our existing girls were bred earlier this year and due in June! We are over the moon in anticipation to welcome our first babies to the farm! A combination of my love for birth and love for goats seems to be the magical formula!! Goat midwifing, here I come!!

And last but not least, our lavender maran decided to join the egg laying crew!! Look at this beautiful dark color!! Yes they do all taste the same, but the color fun sure brings a smile to my face!

We are gearing up for a big hatching season this year and expect to have lots of baby chicks, baby ducks and baby goslings! All of our birds are in full mating swing around here, diligently seeking those perfect nests. Be sure to follow along with us!

Much love from Gratitude Farm <3

PS- submit your email below to subscribe!

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    Elderberry Syrup

    Today we are making elderberry syrup! Every fall we forage our own elderberries, it’s a lot of fun to get in the woods with a purpose. We remove stems and leaves, wash and freeze to use as needed during cold and flu season. Here is a simple recipe to make your elderberry syrup at home. We often double or triple out batch, depending on illness severity and number of people sick. Elderberry is a powerful preventive and treatment for common cold and flu. 

    1 cup frozen elderberries

    1 cup filtered water

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1/4 tsp ground clove

    1 tbsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp powdered ginger

    1/2 cup of honey

    Combine all except for honey in a pot- bring to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 45 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool until berries can comfortably be handled. Strain berries using a fine mesh colander or cheese cloth. Compost all seeds and solids. To elderberry juice, add honey and stir. Enjoy a warm teaspoon and refrigerate remainder. Should keep for months.

    Adults drink 1 tablespoon, kids (1 year old and over) 1 teaspoon daily as preventative. Increase to every two hours during illness. Be well ♥️