Love Yourself First-Now Teen Self-Esteem Subscription Unboxing & Review: December 2015

Crunchy Parent December 2015 Unboxing & Review Love Yourself First-Now

Love Yourself First Now is a subscription service targeted for young women ages 14 and up. LYF-Now was developed by a school psychologist/mother of two, and is aimed at promoting self-esteem and developing a sense of self through appreciating one’s self rather than looking to others for validation. Each month’s box features a theme and includes 4-6 functional products like jewelry, makeup, accessories,  and inspiration to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST-now. Boxes cost $29.00/month, shipping included. Discounts with multi-month subscriptions.

Love Yourself First-Now graciously sent me this box to review. I received no additional compensation, and all opinions are my own. To see my previous LYF-Now reviews, look here.

We’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties around here as of late. WordPress is being very temperamental about uploading my photos. My hard drive is rapidly filling with video and has stopped uploading any more for now. I’m at a bit of a standstill. I wanted to get to unboxing and reviews in a timely fashion so that you could see all of the goodies. That’s a long way of saying that video is on hold at the moment and I’m going to cross my fingers that the photos will upload correctly. On with the show….Eva, my almost teen helped me with the unboxing as always. Her eyes light up when the LYF-Now box arrives.

The box came with cute colorful trim and an LYF-Now sticker. Everything was received safely and intact.

LYF-Now enclosures December 2015

LYF-Now included an enclosure card describing the box contents as well as providing valuing information and some usage suggestions. We set the card aside during the unboxing so that we could enjoy opening it all on our own, but did reference it to learn that this month’s theme is “Gift of Giving.” When we reviewed the card following the unboxing, we thought that the box’s theme was well captured by the enclosed Nelson Mandela quote, “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy without expecting anything in return.”

The first item at the top of the box was a smaller card listing ten ideas for ways to give to others. Ideas ranged from giving validation, joy, and support to others, to giving spare change and volunteer hours. I liked that the card focused on what a tween/teen child can give and do that makes a real difference for others. At times, requests for giving are outside of the domain of a child’s ability to give; unless a child is working giving canned goods, money, etc. is really encouraging parents or other adults to give. The suggestions on the card really focused on giving that a child can begin to do independently and take full ownership for, as well as develop life skills, e.g., “Ask someone in need what you can do for them.”

LYF-Now December 2015 unboxing & review ornament & earrings

Up next in the box was a small silver snowflake ornament in its own little gift box (value, $5.00). LYF-Now explained that snowflakes give beauty, softness, and freshness to the season and represent a uniqueness just as every girl is unique and special. We do not celebrate Christmas, and I especially appreciated the seasonal/secular nature of the ornament, as well as LYF-Now’s suggestion that it could be hung on a tree, a window, or used as a bookmark.

After admiring the snowflake we found another wrapped item, perfect for gifting. Eva pulled out a small gold organza bag that held two pairs of festive earrings (value: $12.00). The earrings came in both silver and gold and looked like holiday ornaments int heir own right. The card explained that the earrings were great for adding a little holiday sparkle to one’s wardrobe and that there was a pair to keep and a pair to gift to someone else. Once again, I appreciated that LYF-Now not only sent something fun and festive to keep, but gave the girl a gift that she could give. Eva does not have pierced ears so she will have the opportunity to give two gifts with these earrings.

LYF-Now Teen Esteem subscription unboxing & review December 2015

I loved the next item that we discovered; a heart-shaped glass “Gift of Giving Jar” (value, $5.00). The jar is designed to hold spare change that is then donated to a favorite cause. We have little jars like this around the house, and I think that it is a great way of reinforcing the idea that small kindnesses add up over time to make a powerful difference.

Always ones to notice yummy treats, our next find was a Goodness Knows Very Cranberry snack bar (value, bonus gift) LYF-Now tied the bar into the theme by including this bonus gift to subscribers and highlighting that goodness is a trait that drives giving to others. The bar included some ingredients that Eva is sensitive to, but she enjoyed being able to pass the gift along to Rich to serve as a sweet reminder of her when he needed a little snack at work.

LYF-Now Dec 2015 unboxing

The final item was a hit with Eva. She loved the faux leather clutch wallet (value, $20.00). The wallet was sturdy and roomy. She liked that it included a chain to convert it to a wristlet, although she wished that the color had been something more vibrant and youthful. LYF-Now tucked a small note into one of the inside pockets reminding girls to use their spare change to help others in need.

Love Yourself First-Now December 2015 Unboxing & Review

This may have been my favorite LYF-Now box to date. It can be difficult to balance the focus on receiving and giving during the holiday season, especially for children. I appreciated that the box focused on ways that children can give to others by doing things large and small; both of which make a difference. I thought that the items in the box were age-appropriate and represented a nice mix of accessories, snacks, and decor. The neutral color palette gave a serene, seasonal air to the box that I really liked. Most importantly, Eva loved the items included, although she would have preferred a more colorful clutch.

To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you are interested in finding “crunchy-friendly” subscription boxes to enhance the way you live, eat, craft, play, care for you home and body, etc. you can find them on my ULTIMATE list. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to CrunchyParent!

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Recipe: Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Aebleskiver

Crunchy Parent Gluten Free Dairy Freen Pumpkin Spice Aebleskiver Recipe

I love autumn and all of warm, rustic colors and flavors. I am grasping to these last few days of fall before the winter solstice rolls around in the weeks ahead; folding a bit of autumn into our lives here and there as I can.

One of our family traditions in to make a big batch of gluten free pancakes from scratch every weekend. Rich generally wields the spatula for these breakfasts. On occasion the kids will ask me to break out the Aebleskiver pan and make various iterations of the Danish filled pancake balls. We love filling them with chocolate chips, homemade jam, or leaving them unfilled and dipping in cinnamon sugar or drizzling with syrup.

The November Raw Spice Bar envelope included a packet of fresh, custom blended pumpkin pie spice and a recipe for round pumpkin ricotta donuts. The recipe was not a good fit for our food sensitivity needs but something about the shape of the donut reminded me of aebleskivers. I happened to have some leftover canned pumpkin around from another recipe and thus, gluten free, dairy free pumpkin aebleskivers were born. They were delicious stuffed with a sprinkle of chocolate chips in the center, but the hands down favorite was a spoonful of pumpkin butter in the middle. If I’d had apple butter around at the time, that would have been my next experimental combo. They were perfect little bites of fall.

The fresh, flavorful spices from Raw Spice Bar were delicious in this recipe, but you can substitute in any Pumpkin Pie spice blend or your own combination of autumnal spices such as cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger. You will need an Aebleskiver pan to make this recipe. I highly recommend using a cast iron pan (I have nothing nice to say about Teflon or its toxic, non-stick, chemical friends). I found mine at a thrift store, but Amazon or kitchenware stores should have them as well. To turn the ableskivers, I often opt for using bamboo and wood skewers. I happened not to have any on hand so toothpicks worked out in a pinch.

 

Ingredients:

2 c. milk substitute

1 T. lemon juice

1 1/2 T. coconut oil, melted (plus additional for frying aebleskivers)

2/3 c. canned pumpkin puree

2 eggs

2 c. gluten free flour

1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 T. sugar

goodies for filling aebleskivers such as pumpkin butter or apple butter, chocolate chips, jam or preserves

Directions:

  1.  In a bowl mix together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. In a second bowl, blend together milk substitute, lemon juice, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and egg until well mixed.
  3. Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir until evenly mixed. IMG_3840
  4. Warm up your aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Brush the inside cavities of the pan with coconut oil to coat.
  5. Fill cavities approximately 1/2 full with batter.
  6. Quickly top with a dollop of your chosen filling, trying to keep filling in the center.

    Pumpkin butter fills the center.

    Pumpkin butter fills the center. (Overfilled the batter on these a bit-oops).

  7. Add another small dollop of batter to the top, covering your filling.
  8. When bottom browned (approximately 1-2 minutes,) carefully flip the aebleskiver and cook the second side until done. pumpkin spice aebleskiver recipe gluten and dairy free
  9. Serve warm aebleskivers sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or syrup and enjoy!
warm and gooey pumpkin butter center-yum!

warm and gooey pumpkin butter center-yum!

 

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Raw Spice Bar Global Culinary Subscription: November 2015 Unboxing & Review

Crunchy Parent Raw Spice Bar Global Spice Blend Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

Raw Spice Bar is a subscription service aimed at expanding culinary horizons with fresh, exotic spice blends and recipes mailed to your door every month.

Envelopes cost $6 per month, which includes shipping. I was sent this envelope for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

A good friend of mine recently sent me the Raw Spice Bar link with a note that she was requesting that I review their subscription on Crunchy Parent soon. She has a “foodie” family and knows that I love to cook and enjoy good food from various cultures. As luck would have it, Raw Spice Bar reached out to me a short while later and offered to send me an envelope to review. I was all too pleased to say yes, and eagerly awaited my envelope. I opted not to do an unboxing video because I didn’t think that pulling spice packets out of an envelope would be especially compelling media. I went for lots of food photos instead.

Raw Spice Bar Unboxing & Review November 2015

The envelope was thin and unassuming, but sturdy. It was received in pristine condition.

When I opened the envelope, I saw that the November theme was Ethiopian food. I was thrilled. I have had a few absolutely delicious and memorable meals at Ethiopian restaurants in major cities. I loved eating the brightly flavored mounds of meats, vegetables, and legumes; using the spongy, flat injera bread as my utensil. That said, I have never tried preparing Ethiopian food at home. This was a perfect nudge and inspiration.

Raw Spice Bar November 2015 Ethiopian theme

Raw Spice Bar included a colorful pamphlet with recipes, photos, and information about Ethiopian cuisine. They highlighted Asante Mama, a farming business in Uganda that helps to elevate the financial circumstances of impoverished women, and who provided some of the peppers in this month’s blends. Raw Spice Bar also included three freshly-ground, custom spice blends for use in the recipes; Berbere, Mitmita, and Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Raw Spice Bar subscription ethopian spice blends and recipes

The recipes that Raw Spice Bar provided were Berbere Roasted Carrots with Fennel & Mint, Spicy Ethiopian Stewed Beef (Key Wat), and Ethiopian Pumpkin Spice Ricotta Donuts. I decided to prepare the first two for a family dinner and seek an alternative to the third, which would have been difficult to work around our food sensitivities.

It took me a couple of days to gather the ingredients for the meal, which included fresh mint, fennel, and stew meat; all of which I don’t always have on-hand but were not hard to acquire. I was looking forward to presenting my family with the dishes, and breaking out of our routine meals. I even went big time fancy and bought colorful heirloom organic carrots to use in the vegetable dish to match the ones in Raw Spice Bar’s beautiful photo.

I also decided that I wanted to make injera bread to eat with the meal as well. The spongy, tangy Ethiopian bread is made by fermenting teff flour; a perfect bread for gluten-free dining. It took me a few tries to find a store that carried teff flour, but I was able to track some down and make the bread too.

When food prep time rolled around, I began to notice a few curiosities in the information provided by Raw Spice Bar. They called for large quantities of the spice blends in the meat and vegetable dish, especially since these blends listed very hot peppers among their primary ingredients.

I do not have an very bold palate and the children fall in the same category. Rich appreciates spicy, but I suspected that even for him, a tablespoon or more of a hot pepper-based spice blend to a pound of meat would be too much. I took a taste of the two spicy blends and quickly determined that I would be cutting back on them a lot when making the dishes, and then adjusting the amount to taste as needed. In the end, I used about 1/8 to 1/4 of the spice suggested in the recipes.

In addition, the roasted carrots, fennel, and mint dish called for four fennel bulbs to one pound of carrots. I weighed out a single fennel bulb at one pound and thought that it would be excessive (and expensive) to include four pounds of fennel to a pound of carrots. This ratio of fennel to carrots would look very different than the picture of the dish provided by Raw Spice Bar. Moreover, even for our veggie-loving family, I couldn’t imagine us needing five pounds of roasted vegetables with our meal. I decided to stick with one fennel bulb. I also decided to double the recipe of the meat dish to feed us all because a pound of meat seemed inadequate.

One pound each of fennel and pretty carrots.

One pound each of fennel and pretty carrots.

Lastly, the Key Wat recipe recommended serving with injera bread, couscous, or butternut squash mash, all of which sounded great. They instructed the reader to go to RawSpiceBar’s monthly blog for recipes, but I did not find recipes for any of the suggestions there. I found an injera recipe on my own and used that instead.

In addition to the seemingly disproportionate quantities in the recipes, I also was a bit confused upon opening the spice packets. I had noted that the spice blends were all labeled .4 oz., but when I opened the envelopes they very obviously had different amounts in them.

These do not look like the same quantities to me.

These do not look like the same quantities to me.

I weighed the spices and after adjusting for the weight of the envelopes themselves, I discovered that there was actually .55 oz. of the Berbere blend, .2 oz. of the Mitmita, and .35 oz of the pumpkin pie spice. In total it averaged out to about .4 oz. per packet. The quantities also supported the recipes included, which called for greater quantities of the Berbere than of the ultra-spicy Mitmita, but it threw me at little, so I wanted to mention it.

Ethiopian Key Wat and injera bread smelling delicious.

Ethiopian Key Wat and injera bread smelling delicious.

I made the appropriate adjustments to the recipe quantities based upon my instinct, experience, and preferences. After those tweaks, I found the recipes to be easy to follow and relatively simple in their steps. The Key Wat essentially involved browning the beef and the aromatic ingredients and then adding tomatoes and stock and simmering a number of hours until tender.

Berbere spiced carrots and fennel ready to be roasted.

Berbere spiced carrots and fennel ready to be roasted.

The vegetables just needed some peeling, chopping, and tossing with olive oil and spices before being roasted in the oven and then tossed with chopped mint.

Berbere roasted vegetables tossed with fresh mint.

Berbere roasted vegetables tossed with fresh mint.

I was really excited to be cooking a new type of food, and loved seeing it all come together. The family was also intrigued by the tempting fragrances and unfamiliar foods. My children are relatively adventurous in their eating, but they were a bit dubious about what would happen if they were not fond of the food.

When the Key Wat, vegetables, and injera were ready, we all sat down to eat. Eva and I thought that the Key Wat and vegetables were delicious and we went back for seconds. Rich spiced his portions up a bit with added Berbere and Mitmita. He was blown away by the meal, and I think was in for thirds. Alina found everything a little too spicy. She ate a half serving of the meat and veggies and then made herself a sandwich. Asher eats about seven foods at this point so he had opted out of the meal and stuck with one of his standards. We negotiated over the leftover Key Wat the next day (Eva and I split it), and I claimed the leftover veggies.

The Pumpkin Pie Spice did not go neglected. The next morning, I modified our weekend gluten free/dairy free pancake breakfast to be gluten free/dairy free pumpkin aebleskiver breakfast. I added pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Spice to the batter and filled the aebleskivers with chocolate chips or pumpkin butter. They were a big hit (I’ll post the recipe soon). I also used the spice blend in a GF/CF chocolate chip pumpkin bread that we enjoyed for Thanksgiving.

Raw Spice Bar subscription ethopian spice blends and recipes

The spices from Raw Spice Bar were everything that they promised to be. They seemed very fresh and were extremely aromatic and flavorful. Every recipe that I made with them was delicious, once I made adjustments to spice quantities that seemed more consistent with our palates. I thought that the flavors in the foods were bright and lively; balanced, and layered. It was a great way to acquaint the kids with Ethiopian food and to introduce me to preparing it at home.

Eva raved about the Key Wat in particular, and made me promise to make it again. She also expressed a desire to try making some other Ethiopian dishes at home. Rich praised the meal so effusively, and so often that it was striking. He kept saying how delicious the food was, but also that he really appreciated having a whole spectrum of new flavors at our dinner table (and at breakfast).

I am not sure if the spice quantities that were suggested by Raw Spice Bar were reflective of authentic Ethiopian cuisine and we are just mild-palated, or if the recipes were aggressively spiced under any circumstances. I certainly didn’t mind adjusting the spice level down, and am excited that it means that I can make these dishes several more times with the quantities of spices that were provided.

As for my overall impression, my mother has worked in fields related to food advertising and marketing or specialty-food gifting since I was young. I have joined her in attending many food and gift-oriented trade shows around the country over the years. She also happens to be a fantastic cook. I have had the good fortune of tasting a lot of good food. I find that I often have high standards for food and for food-oriented subscriptions.

That said, Raw Spice Bar delighted me with what they had to offer. I think that for the open-minded eater and relatively experienced cook, this is a fantastic subscription. I was a little concerned about presenting my family with such exotic flavors. I was pleased that the girls tried both dishes, and Eva loved the food. Next time, I’ll cut back on the spice a bit for Alina and the rest of us will just add a pinch more at the table.

In addition to the high quality of the spices and the exotic blends that Raw Spice Bar provided, I really appreciated how they expanded our family dining horizons. I know that we will make these dishes again. They were truly so good, and absolutely packed with flavor. I am also inspired to try and to create additional Ethiopian recipes at home using the spices, and I love that sort of creative inspiration.

Have you received RawSpice Bar in the past? Who do you think would love this type of subscription as a gift?

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Holistic Cyber Monday Deals: Subscription Boxes, Green Beauty, and More

Photo credit: twicepix / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: twicepix / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Is your credit card crying yet? I must admit that I’m feeling a little exhausted by all of the shopping frenzy that seemed unavoidable these past few days, even though I’ve only been to the grocery store in that time. I do appreciate the opportunity to save money on purchases that we have been waiting to make. There are some great deals to be had on everything from appliances to winter outerwear. It’s also a good time to stretch your dollar and bring healthier products into your home or the homes of others at a more manageable price. I wanted to highlight a few more deals that end today.

Subscription Box Deals:

Once again, I love crunchy-friendly subscription boxes. I think that they make great gifts or gifts-to-self. Most of the following subscriptions are all featured on my Ultimate Guide to Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. You can find out more about each one there. Some will be added to my Winter update very soon (keep an eye out for that).

1. Mindfulness Box is offering 20% off of everything in their online store and off of subscription purchases with the code GRATITUDE20. See reviews of past Mindfulness Boxes here.

2. Goddess Provisions is offering 15% off subscriptions for first time subscribers with code magic15. Subscriptions will renew at regular price. Expires on Dec 1. They also have stocked a few of their first two boxes in their shop if you missed out. See reviews of the past Goddess Provisions boxes here.

3. Vegan Cuts is offering up to 20% off their snack and beauty subscription boxes as well as bonus gifts through the link provided (no code needed).

4. Love with Food is offering 15% off all subscriptions as well as bonuses for multi-month subscription purchases (see link for details).

5. Send Me Gluten Free is offering 20% off a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription using coupon code CYBERMONDAY20.

6. Mystical Mojo Box is offering an array of Cyber Monday deals with the following codes: CMMEGA = 27% off Mega Mojo Boxes; CMMOJO = 22% off Mojo Boxes; CMCRYSTAL = 18% off Crystal Mojo Boxes; CMTAROT = 18% off Tarot Readings.

7. Yogi Surprise is offering 40% off your first jewelry box with code JEWELRY15.

Green Beauty Deals:

1. Devine Beauty Emporium (the sister site to PureBox) is having a Cyber Monday sale with the code DEVINE10. Buy $100, get $10 off. Buy $200, get $30 off. Buy $300, get $50 off.

2. Lauren Brooke Cosmétiques is offering 30% off all full-sized products today.

Bonus Deal:

Chico Bag is offering 40% off all orders $50 or more today using code CYBER2015 (excludes sale items).

For additional deals that may still be running through today, check out my earlier holistic Thanksgiving weekend deal posts here and here. If you have any crunchy bargains to share, please let me know in the comments.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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La Ritzy Vegan Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Crunchy Parent La Ritzy Vegan Beauty Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

La Ritzy is a monthly beauty subscription service that sends 4-5 vegan, cruelty-free cosmetic and skincare items in each box. Although not specifically marketed as a green beauty box, the brands that La Ritzy sends have tended to be non-toxic, natural brands. La Ritzy recently ran a promotion offering one month free with a three month subscription. I knew that it was the right time for me to give this subscription a try.

Boxes cost $24.99 per month, which includes U.S. shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the my very first La Ritzy box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

La Ritzy had released spoilers showing what two of the items would be in the November box. I was excited to get my hands on the box and check out everything inside. The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact.

La Ritzy November vegan green beauty subscription-GlamNatural and Jacq's Organics

La Ritzy included an information card that provided a brief description and valuing information for all items in the box. The first item that caught my eye had been spoiled in the sneak peek. It was a full size of GlamNatural’s Finishing Powder (value $30.00). The natural, super-fine powder is designed to be applied atop one’s makeup to set their look and give lasting wear to cosmetics. I must admit that I tend to neglect this step and then start wish later that I hadn’t. I was glad to be sent this little reminder to take an extra moment to finish off my face in the morning to get more bang for my buck when I do my face.

The next item in the box was a big surprise to me. I was so excited to see the Jacq’s Organics Green Smoothie Scrub and Mask (1 oz., value $17.50). This item has been in other subscription boxes recently but none that I had received and I was coveting it mightily. The mask blends clarifying and detoxifying charcoal, clays, and sea kelp with almond meal for scrubbing and mints, rosemary, geranium and other essential oils to stimulate and cool the skin.

The dry powder is designed to be blended with your liquid(s) of choice, which can be anything from water to honey, yogurt, a hydrating hydrosol, or other nourishing selection. I love dry masks for exactly this reason; they can be catered to your preference and the shelf-stability is prolonged with the absence of liquid, which also eliminates the need for preservatives. I opted for water to try the mask in its purest form. Although I was expecting a green mask based on the name, the charcoal gave it a deep gray/black appearance. I made a relatively thin mix with the water and painted it onto my face with a mask brush (an old, clean foundation brush works well for this step too). Once dried, I rinsed as directed, scrubbing my skin with my hands to get the most out of the almond meal as I rinsed. My skin looked clear, bright, and refreshed after using the mask. I am interested to see how my skin responds to repeated use over time.

La Ritzy vegan beauty box Palmetto Derma and Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques

The next box reveal was the second item from the sneak peek. I was very much looking forward to receiving the full sized Palmetto Derma Collagen Booster & Restoration Serum (value $48.00). The serum is packed with anti-oxidants and hydrating ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid. I was surprised by how light and completely odorless the serum was and yet my skin was noticeably more hydrated immediately after I applied. I think that this product will be an excellent addition to my skincare routine this winter layered beneath my skin oil and moisturizers. For those with combination oily skin, I think that the serum would hydrate and nourish the skin without adding oil or shine. As a tip to those who missed out on the box and want to give the product a try, or who received the box and want to stock up on more Palmetto Derma items, the site is offering 30%-50% off all of their items sitewide throughout the cyber weekend shopping extravaganza.

The last item in the box was a full size Pressed Cheek Colour from Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques (value $14.00). I have been using Lauren Brooke products as a natural cosmetic option for about a year and have been very pleased with their ingredients and formulations. I have not tried the cheek colors yet so I look forward to trying this one out. The Sweet Sixteen shade that I received looks like it will be easy to wear and complement many skin tones. Once again, if you are looking to take advantage of sales this weekend, Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques will be offering 30% off of all of their full-sized products for Cyber Monday.

La Ritzy November 2015 vegan natural cosmetic and skincare subscription box unboxing review

I was very pleased with my first La Ritzy box. I liked the mix of skincare and cosmetic items. I am sometimes wary of cosmetic items in boxes because it can be so difficult to appeal to a wide range of skin tones and color preferences. I thought that the cosmetic items included in the box were useful and flattering for most skin tones. Although La Ritzy markets themselves as a vegan beauty box and not necessarily a green beauty box, all items included were from great green beauty brands and were chock-full of organic, natural, and plant-based ingredients. The overall value for the box was $109.50, which is an exceptional value for the box price. I am looking forward to the December box. La Ritzy has already released a spoiler saying that the box will include a vegan, 7-free polish from Trust Fund Beauty.

I continue to delight in the growth of the green beauty industry and its integration into the subscription box world. Two years ago, when I first began to look into subscription boxes there were only a handful of vegan and green options available. In the last quarterly update to my comprehensive list of crunchy-friendly subscription boxes, there were over twenty boxes geared toward green beauty and cruelty-free beauty enthusiasts. I think that this growth speaks volumes about growing consumer awareness and demand for healthier, safer, more conscious beauty and personal care products. It’s exciting to see.

What do you think about La Ritzy? Are you a fan of their vegan cosmetic and skincare hybrid approach? Are you curious to see what will accompany the Trust Fund Beauty polish in the December box? I know that I am.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Barganic Alert: Holistic Black Friday Through Cyber Monday Deals Continue

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday. I had a great afternoon and evening with family and good friends. It was particularly special to see all of the little friends and cousins running around and playing together. It brings me great joy to start to make happy memories in our new home.

The deluge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals is in full force. I will try to post deals that I think are significant and may be of interest for those looking to make healthier and more natural choices this holiday season and into the new year. Please share any deals that you may find in the comments.

Subscription Box Deals:

You all must know by now that I love crunchy-friendly subscription boxes, and I think that they make great gifts or gifts-to-self. The following subscriptions are all featured on my Ultimate Guide to Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. You can find out more about each one there.

1. Beauty Heroes green beauty subscription is offering 10% off all gift subscriptions with the code CELEBRATE. Deal ends 11/30. See my Beauty Heroes reviews here.

2. La Ritzy vegan green beauty subscription service is offering 40% off your first box for any new subscription using the code BF40 . Deal ends 1/1/2016. I just received my first La Ritzy box this month (review to come) and have been enjoying the mix of skincare and cosmetic items included.

3. Love Goodly green lifestyle subscription box offering 20% off sitewide with code CYBERLOVE.

4. Yogi Surprise yoga lifestyle subscription box offering 25% off regular or jewelry subscriptions with code BLACKFRIDAY today only.

5. Causebox socially conscious lifestyle box offering 10% off subscriptions with code BLACKBOX valid 11/27 only through 11:59pm PST.

6. The Honest Company offering 50% off first subscription bundle with code BUNDLE50

7. Cuisine Cube is offering $10 off your first artisan, vegan, or gluten-free cube with code THANKSCUBE10.

8. Glowing Beets green beauty box is offering 50% off first box to new subscribers with code NEW50 and 30% off all shop purchases of $35+ with code GB30 through 11/30

9. Farm to People offering 20% off sitewide on their small-batch, non-GMO, humanely-raised food products with code blackfriday. Can be used on gift subscriptions (including gifts to self).

10. Healthy Surprise offering 20% off sitewide with code blackfriday25. Includes their gluten-free, GMO-free, and Paleo snack boxes.

Green Beauty:

1. Kahina Giving Beauty offering 20% off entire luxe skincare purchase with code KAHINA20 through 11/30.

2. 100% Pure is offering 40%-65% off on their Black Friday mystery bags. New customers may also qualify for $30 off $60 purchase through link provided. Ends today at 11:59pm PST.

3. W3ll People offering 20% off sitewide and free shipping on their green beauty cosmetic items. Deal runs through 11/30 at 11:59pm PST.

4. S. W. Basics green, natural skincare and body care items are all on sale up to 30% off today only. Use code VIP10 for an additional 10% off your purchase.

5. Birchbox is offering 25% off purchases with code BIGDEAL and 30% off for Aces members with code ACESONLY . Although Birchbox carries conventional beauty brands as well, they have great products from many green beauty brands including One Love Organics, Kahina Giving Beauty, Alima Pure, Inika, 21 Drops, and more.

6. Pharmaca is offering 30% off their health and wellness brands today only with code FRIDAY . Some exclusions apply, but includes great brands like Acure, Eminence Organic, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Motherlove, Pangea Organics, Suki, S. W. Basics, Zhena Gypsy Tea, Plan Toys, and Melissa & Doug.

Toys, Goodies, and Kid Things:

1. Natural Candy Store is offering candy specials on many holiday favorites. Some deals include 15% off gluten free, vegan, organic peppermint bark and 25% off organic English Toffee. As always, all candies are free of food dyes and artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, and they come highly recommended by the Halloween Fairy.

2. hanna Andersson offering all of their organic cotton longjohns (pajamas) for $20 through cyber weekend (regularly priced at $40-$46). All other items are an additional 15% off online and 25% off in stores.

3. CP Toys is offering 20% off your entire purchase today only with code CPT15TF. Although they carry a range of toys from more natural to more conventional, some of my favorite items include Tree Blocks and child-size tools, perfect for little learning hands to gain skills.

4. Magic Cabin, a popular natural toy resource for Waldorf, Montessori, and open-ended natural toys is offering up to 50% off on a selection of items in their Black Friday collection. Click through the link to see the complete range of items included.

I hope that you find some great deals that allow you to uphold your values without blowing your budget.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Barganic Alert: Holistic Thanksgiving Deals Begin

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: John-Morgan / Foter.com / CC BY

I have been enjoying this week of holiday preparation. The house is still a jumble of partially-unpacked moving boxes and I cannot recall where our china, tablecloths, or serving pieces may be. Fortunately our dinner guests are family members and close friends and they are forgiving souls (who also come bearing food so it helps to lighten the cooking load).

I hope that you are enjoying a day of autumn appreciation, gratitude, parades, good food, family, or however the holiday is meaningful for you. Since Thanksgiving, for better or for worse, often kicks of holiday shopping frenzy, I wanted to share some bargains that have come to my attention that may help you to stretch your dollar as you try to embrace healthy and holistic choices during the holiday season and into the new year.

Laurel WPO Winter Radiance Collection and Thankful Sale

I was first introduced to Laurel Whole Plant Organics at the A Night for Green Beauty event this past summer. The handcrafted, herbally-based skincare uses the highest quality whole plant ingredients to enhance and nourish your skin. Thanksgiving is the one time each year that the small company offers a sitewide sale. All items on the site will be 20% using the code THANKFUL20 at checkout. The sale starts Friday at 6:00pm PST and lasts until Monday at midnight PST. All orders over $100 ship for free. Every person who places an order during the sale will be entered in a raffle to win the last remaining Winter Radiance Collection; a seven-item, limited edition collection valued at $360.

Kloverbox holiday sale

As seen on the Ultimate Guide of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes, the green lifestyle subscription service Kloverbox is offering daily discounts for the next few days. The subscription is regularly priced at $25.00/month and sends 4-7 sample and full sized products across the categories of beauty, health, nutrition and home. Starting Black Friday and extending through Sunday, Kloverbox will be offering a 20% discount off of subscriptions of varying lengths, bringing the individual box price down to as low as $18.00/month (no code required). Deals will change daily, so be sure to look for the subscription length that you wish to try and check in on that day.

**Barganic Alerts are an effort to spread awareness about affordable crunchy goods and services (and here’s why). They are not endorsements, nor am I compensated in any way. They tend to be time-limited, and often go quickly. To make sure that you are always in the know, subscribe to CrunchyParent.com to receive emails of all Barganic Alerts as soon as they are posted**

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Thrift Store Fall Haul: Adventures With My Tween

Crunchy Parent Thrift Store haul for tween or tween girl

Last weekend I finally admitted that the cold weather was here to stay for the season. It was not moment too soon as yesterday the Chicagoland area was blanketed with several inches of snow. Along with the plummeting temperatures came the cold, hard fact that twelve year-old Eva really needed warm clothing that would fit her. I think that she has fully outgrown her wardrobe at least four times in the past year, which is making it a challenge to keep her clothed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have shopped for the kids’ clothes at children’s consignment sales for many years. I love consignment sales and thrift stores as a way to reduce our carbon footprint and to conserve our family’s financial resources. For us, spending money on healthy food and other wellness choices trumps fashion. I have also found that there are a lot of great clothes to be purchased through resale routes. Kids’ consignment sales are still a great resource for me to find clothes for Alina and Asher, but in the past year Eva has shot up to almost 5’6″ and has really grown beyond the sizes featured at most children’s sales. It is also difficult to buy clothes for her that she cannot try on for fit, and that cannot be returned if they don’t work for her. Clothing resales generally do not allow try-ons or returns.

To solve this lack-of-wardrobe challenge, Eva and I set out last weekend for our old neighborhood to hit the racks at a couple of my favorite thrift stores. The thrift stores that I have found by our new home have been very hit or miss, and I knew that making a day out driving to visit these stores would be a good use of our time. Eva balked a bit at the idea of a long drive to spend hours at thrift stores, but she too was getting tired of trying to get dressed for school each morning without clothing that fit properly.

Our first stop was a privately-owned thrift store that was featuring 50% off of two of their four tag colors on that day. Mind you, three days earlier I had received a text that everything in the store was 50% off, but pulling Eva out of school for a sale seemed irresponsible. I settled for my more modest sale and remaining in good parental standing. I was able to hold Eva’s attention at the jeans racks for a short while before I lost her to the books. I played the role of her personal shopper and loaded up the cart with jeans and tops that I thought that she would like, and then listened to her refrain of “are we almost done?” as I made her try everything on in the dressing room. In the end we left with several pairs of jeans, and a handful of sweaters, as well as a pair of pumps and a few books. I have a shopper card at the store, and although I completely do not understand their rewards program, I apparently had earned a $10 coupon previously which I applied to my purchase. After making this purchase, I earned another $10 coupon for a future visit.

Thrifted tween jeans: Aeropostale, Express, Guess, 7 For All Mankind

Thrifted tween jeans: Aeropostale, Express, Guess, 7 For All Mankind

Our second stop was to a large Goodwill store. Once again, I knew that my timing was not ideal because we were missing their % off tag days, but I was more concerned about getting the errand done than about getting the best deal for this trip. If we lived closer, I might have tried to capitalize on sales. As it turned out, it was student discount day and Eva was offered 10% off at checkout with her student ID (I knew that kid would pay off someday). Goodwill was a layering tee and sweater goldmine. We found another pair of jeans here too, and more books of course, but overall the tops won the day at Goodwill.

By the time we were done we were tired, thirsty, and hungry. The reward for our efforts was a new wardrobe to carry Eva through fall and winter, assuming that she doesn’t grow more by then (which I am not really assuming at all). It was interesting to see her style leanings. She is clearly straddling the worlds of girl and young woman. Her choices ranged from the cute and whimsical, to hipster.

Tween clothes: quirky and bright

Tween clothes: quirky and bright

I must admit that it is fun watching her grow up, and to spend the better part of a day shopping and laughing with her. Eva and I don’t get a lot of one-on-one time together. Even if the time was spent shopping, we still had fun.

Hipster chic: Gap, Halogen, Land's End, and LOFT (aka, "the one with the bacon sleeves.")

Hipster chic: Gap, Halogen, Land’s End, and LOFT (aka, “the one with the bacon sleeves.”)

It total we came home with a lot of great clothes at a fantastic price. There are a few items that I did not include in the photos (books, the pumps, a few new-with-tags camisoles, etc.) but by my count the pictured piles include 5 pairs of jeans, 16 long-sleeve and layering tees, and 16 sweaters, hoodies, and cardigans. Our total for these items, including our discounts and tax was $168 and change, or just over $4.50 per item.

thrift store haul-tops & jeans for tweens and teens

Eva has loved wearing her new-to-her clothes this week. I love that we were able to pull together a whole new wardrobe in a day filled with cute clothes to reflect different aspects of Eva’s personality. I like that we were able to buy it all at prices that don’t put us in debt. I also understand that Eva is at a stage in her life when she could wake up tomorrow having outgrown all of her clothes again, and that spills, stains, and accidents happen. Buying thrifted clothes means that I won’t be upset if these clothes end up being handed down, given away, or if they reach the end of their useful life in our home.

I think that buying previously-worn clothing still carries a stigma in our society where abundance is the norm, and “new” and “expensive” hold status. I also think that unless you are in a trendy-Boho area, the notion of a thrift store often conjures up images tantamount to indigent individuals dumpster-diving for any rags that they can find.

With a family of five, including three growing children who need new clothes every season if not sooner, buying the bulk of our wardrobe through thrift and resales is a lifestyle choice that has a big impact on our budget. These clothes will make up the bulk of what Eva will wear over the next six months. Our total expense for the thirty-seven items was close to the full retail price of one of the single higher-end items in the bunch. In addition, I feel much better from an ecological and social perspective getting more wear out of clothing items that are no longer useful to someone else, and easing the burden on other countries (and their children) to produce clothing for us to buy new, wear, and toss. The items purchased at Goodwill give the organization funds to train people for jobs. Moreover, even with a tween focused on how she looks, and wanting cute, trendy clothes, we were able to pull together great clothes from quality brands, and in very good previously worn condition.

What is your experience with thrift store shopping? Any great finds or tips to share?

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Goddess Provisions Spirit Enhancing Subscription Unboxing & Review: November 2015

Crunchy Parent Goddess Provisions Spirit Enhancing Subscription Unboxing & Review November 2015

Goddess Provisions is a new subscription service, just added to the recent fall update of the Crunchy Parent Ultimate List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes. Created by the owners of Vegan Cuts, Goddess Provisions is a monthly lifestyle box for women. They send products to nourish your inner goddess and grow your spiritual practice. Boxes feature a mix of 4-6 full size items, spanning across the categorizes of aromatherapy, apothecary beauty products, superfood snacks, teas, crystals, books and more. All items are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Boxes cost $33 per month, which includes shipping. There are discounts for multi-month subscriptions. I purchased this box and was not compensated in any way for this review, although review may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. If you want to see my unboxing of the first-ever Goddess Provisions box from October, look here.

If you would like to see the live-action unboxing of the November Goddess Provisions box, please enjoy the video unboxing below. If you prefer to skip right to the product close-ups and details, scroll down past the video.

The box came well-packaged, and everything was received intact.
Goddess Provisions November subscription box review

As with last month, I loved the bright and informative enclosure card. Goddess Provisions does an exceptional job of highlighting their featured brands and products, as well as weaving the theme into the box. This month’s theme was passion and creativity, and their association with the sacral chakra. The card was a vibrant orange, the color of the sacral chakra.

The box was packed full of goodies. The first item that I spied was a Kishu charcoal filter (value $9.99). This all-natural water filter is designed to be dropped into a reusable water bottle and used for up to four months of water filtration. The filters are made from sustainably harvested oak branches that are kiln heated to transform them into naturally detoxifying charcoal. The brand makes their filters in several sizes to use in pitchers, jugs, carafes, and even a pet’s water dish. I think that the concept of a natural and plastic-free water filter is a great one. I have never seen anything like this product before and am excited to give it a try.

I was also excited to see the next item in the box, 100% Pure’s Maraca Oil Mascara (value $25.00). As with all items in Goddess Provisions boxes, the mascara is vegan, and it also happens to be gluten free and colored naturally with a blend of black tea, berry, and cocoa pigments. I had kind of written off mascara for about ten years due to the toxic ingredients that they generally contain, but in more recent years as the green beauty industry and options have grown, I have been experimenting with the more natural mascaras available. I was very happy to receive this. I like the 100% Pure brand and was eager to give this a try. I was surprised by the chocolaty scent of the mascara. I’m not sure if I like the smell or not, but if fades pretty quickly so it isn’t much of an issue. I found that the mascara added a length and thickness to my lashes that looked natural and not clumpy. It was not as dramatic a change as other formulations that I have used, but I kind of liked the more natural looking “enhancement” for an everyday option or times when I want to look fresh but not too heavily made up.

Goddess Provisions vegan spirit box Noveber review

My sweet tooth was all excited about the heart-shaped cranberry pecan raw cookie from Rawxies (value $1.99). The ingredients include oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, and more. The cookies are raw, vegan, and free of gluten, dairy, and soy, which is perfect for us. I couldn’t wait to give this cookie bar a try. I think that my expectations may have been too high. I was not a fan. I have eaten a lot of date and nut bars in my day so perhaps I was expecting something sweeter. Maybe a more dedicated raw foodist would have developed a different palette and greater appreciation for the cookie’s flavor.

The next item had been released as a sneak peek item by Goddess Provisions earlier and I was eager to give it a closer look. The Healing Crystals Information Card and Oracle Deck (value $6.95) was even more awesome that I expected it to be. The deck included several cards with information about crystals, their form structures, and the Mohs hardness scale for rating crystals, as well as several cards with information about the seven chakras. The deck also included 47 additional cards, each highlighting a unique crystal with a photo, chakra association, attributes, affirmation, Mohs rating, and more. I even noticed a card for the Vera Cruz amethyst crystal included in last month’s Goddess Provisions box.

I know that I would have loved this deck as a kid and would have poured over it learning about all of the crystals. I think that it would make an excellent homeschooling tool when teaching about crystals, or a gift for any science or spiritually-inclined child or adult. The cards can also be used as an oracle deck for a more metaphysical application.

Goddess Provisions 21 drops essential oil rollerball and red quartz crystal November box unboxing & review

The fifth item had also been released in the earlier spoiler, an essential oil mini rollerball from 21 Drops (.3 ml, value $7.00). The Passion rollerball is a blend of jasmine, rose, cardamom, and sandalwood essential oils is a jojoba oil base. The rollerball is designed to be applied to wrists, temples, or neck and inhaled to bring about a release of inhibitions, and to heighten magnetism and sensuality (oh my!). I found the scent to be feminine and beautiful. On initial application, I smelled the jasmine and rose primarily, but when going back for a second sniff, I could sense the cardamom especially shining through. Cardamom is such a warming herb, and I cannot ever get enough of it in autumn. I think that I will use get lot of use out of this rollerball as a natural perfume option.

Just like last month’s unboxing, I ended with the opening of a tiny drawstring bag. This month I discovered a small crystal point of red quartz, also known as hematite quartz (value $5.00). The crystal features a unique burnt orange color and is associated with the sacral chakra. I am really enjoying building up my collection of crystals large and small through subscription boxes.

Goddess Provisions included a final bonus item that I did not notice until after I completed the unboxing video. The enclosure card listed a code for an online yoga class with instructor Michelle Shea Walker. The yoga sequence was specifically designed to balance the sacral chakra, and had a listed value of $22.00. In the past of couple months I have been increasing my yoga practice at home through online video options such as these. I appreciate this bonus item and cannot wait to give it a try. I am curious to see if it incorporates the crystal in any way.

Goddess Provisions November box unboxing & review organic, natural, vegan goodness

The overall value of the box was $55.93 which does not include the $22.00 value of the online yoga class, since Goddess Provisions designated it as a bonus item. I think that this value is very strong for the purchase price and high for the “spiritual lifestyle” genre of subscription boxes. I loved the mix of items in the box, with food, beauty, body, home, and spirit all represented. With the exception of the one snack item that I just didn’t personally care for, every item will be put to get use by me, by my family, and in our home. I was introduced to a number of new brands or received products from brands that I had been hoping to try. I am very impressed with the two boxes that Goddess Provisions has put together thus far, and am already looking forward to my next month’s box.

As a reminder, you can see my unboxing and review of the first Goddess Provisions box here, and you can go to Goddess Provisions to get your hands on your very own box. Will you be getting in on the December box? I think it would make a great centering gift-to-self during the heightened energy that surrounds holiday time.

If you would like to see the most recent Crunchy Parent List of Crunchy-Friendly Subscription Boxes for other great crunchy-friendly subscription or gift deas, you can find that here. To see other crunchy subscription box video unboxings, look here on the Crunchy Parent You Tube channel. If you have any suggestions or requests for future videos or reviews, please let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe!

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Lemon Compress: Natural Remedy for Chest Congestion, Sore Throat & Cold Symptoms

Photo credit: Vanilla and lace / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: Vanilla and lace / Foter.com / CC BY

I do not know how the colder weather and darker days are impacting the members of your family, but we here are a seemingly endless chorus of *cough* *cough* and *sniffle.* Once upon a time we did not get sick very often, but with children getting older and branching out into the world more it means increased exposure to germs. With all three of them in school full days for the first time we are also battling increased stress, decreased outdoor and play time, and less sleep. In combination, it is no wonder that we are succumbing to illness more often.

I am always trying to incorporate more ways to bring fresh air, healthy food, and positive wellness practices into our lives. Over the years, I have also tried to gather ideas to address illness and manage symptoms in many ways and representing different schools of thought. This helps me to draw from a great big bag of tricks when a child gets sick.

The idea of a lemon compress to help alleviate sore throat and chest congestion was introduced to me by an anthroposophical doctor who gave a talk at the kids’ Waldorf school over nine years ago. I have used it countless times since, and we have found it to be a gentle and low intervention method that provides symptom relief for the kids. It is also quick and easy to prepare, and one of the many reasons why I always keep fresh lemons in the house.

As a reminder, I am not a medical doctor. I am sharing this information but advise you to consult your own medical practitioner and make your own decision before adopting any new health practice.

For your lemon compress you will need:

a lemon, organic preferred
hot water, approximately 2 cups
bowl or dish with high sides
natural fiber cloth, rag, or wash cloth
wool flannel or felt (I used part of an old felted sweater)
sick child (an adult would work too)

1. Heat your water until just below a simmer. You can do this directly from the sink if your tap can get quite hot. You can use a pot on the stove, an electric tea kettle, etc. Please avoid using a microwave for this step. I used my stove top and heated the water until I just started to see little bubbles at the bottom of the pot, which is technically a saucepan, but I still call it a pot.

making a lemon compress for cough and colds natural remedy

2. Next, you will want to cut your lemon in half width-wise. Take this half and place it cut side up.

Hello little lemon. You smell nice.

Hello little lemon. You smell nice.

Then, taking your knife, cut across the lemon’s face to divide the lemon into eight sections. Try to cut through the lemon flesh and peel, avoiding the divisions between the segments. Extend the cuts about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down the height of the lemon so that the pieces remain attached. That sounds complicated, right? It’s not. A picture will make this much clearer.

crunchy parent lemon compress tutorial

3. Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, pour the water into a bowl or better yet a high-sided, shallow dish. Then place the lemon face down in the water and smoosh it down using your hand or the back of a spoon if it is too hot to tolerate doing with your hand. The lemon should splay out like a flower. Really squash it to release the juice and the volatile essential oils from the peel.

lemon compress for natural cough and cold relief

4. Take your natural fiber cloth or rag and soak it in the lemon water.

rag soaking in lemon water for compress

Wring out the cloth until it is no longer dripping wet. Check the temperature of the cloth to make sure that it will not be too hot for your child’s skin. If it is too hot, wave it around gently in the air for a few seconds until it has cooled enough. It will cool pretty quickly.

lemon compress

5. Fold cloth to a manageable size and place it on the child’s chest and throat area, avoiding their nipples. I folded my wash cloth into thirds lengthwise and then folded up the length a bit. I placed this in the center of the chest in between the nipples to avoid irritation. Then, cover the wet cloth with the wool flannel or piece of felted wool. This will contain the moisture and help hold in warmth. Whenever we get holes in a wool sweater, I felt the sweaters and cut lengths to use with compresses.

Placement of lemon compress and wool cover.

Placement of lemon compress and wool cover.

You can then reposition the child’s shirt back over the wool to help hold everything in place. I cover the child with a warm blanket (unless they are feverish and uncomfortably hot) and encourage the child to engage in a restful activity like reading a book. They usually opt to watch TV, which I let them do because they’re sick and crabby.

6. After five minutes, check the cloth. If it has grown cold, apply a new compress (you can reheat the water a bit and wet the same rag again). Continue to check and refresh the compress for a total of approximately fifteen minutes. This process can be repeated several times throughout the day as needed.

When doing the compress, you may find that the skin shows a bit of redness or a slight rash. This is usually not cause for concern, rather it may indicate action beneath the skin, which is good. However if significant irritation, burning, or general discomfort arises, discontinue use and wash the area to remove the acidulated water. Likewise, avoid applying the compress to skin that is cracked, chapped, broken, or otherwise compromised.

For more information about anthroposophy as it relates to health and wellness, the doctor who taught me about this compress recommended the book, Practical Home Care Medicine. I personally am not an anthroposophist nor have not read the book. I cannot comment with respect to the suggestions that it makes. Since the anthroposophic perspective is a relatively esoteric one however, I wanted to provide the resource for those who may be interested in learning more.

What are some of your favorite natural remedies to help support health during the cold and dark months ahead?

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