Winter Duck Care

Winter Duck Care

Winter Duck Care

Don’t worry, the ducks are fine!

 

During the winter months, this is a regular declaration for many duck owners. When people see our ducks plopped down in four inches of snow or withstanding an icy blizzard, they often ask, are the ducks okay? Are they warm enough? Do they need a heater or heat lamp?

 

Luckily, ducks are extremely resilient, cold-hardy animals, which is why they were our first choice for a backyard farm animal. Here in Colorado, temperatures can drop below zero degrees during the wintertime and snow is a constant. Thankfully, ducks have remarkable physical adaptations that allow them to withstand our wonderful, snowy Colorado winters!

 

Ducks are equipped with some of the best natural defenses against the elements. These animals have a double-layer of waterproof feathers and an interior layer of insulating, downy feathers. Underneath all of those feathers, ducks have a thick layer of fat. This layer of fat helps them maintain a core average body temperature of 106 – 108 degrees Fahrenheit. To top it all off, they have a counter-current blood flow that helps reduce heat loss through their feet and legs.

 

These natural attributes help ducks weather even the most brutal winter storms. Despite these adaptations, duck owners need to take a few important steps to keep their feathered friends safe and happy in the winter. 

 

3 Tips for Caring for Ducks in Winter

Keep Your Ducks Healthy & Warm

Provide a dry, wind-proof shelter

Ducks need a dry place to shelter away from wind, snow and moisture. While their feathers protect the body from wind and water, their feet and bills are still prone to frostbite. Adequate shelters should have a solid roof and walls that block wind and water (snow or rain). As an extra precaution, we line our duck coop with old, plastic Amazon mailers. These help reduce any wind or moisture that may penetrate the spaces between wood slates or cracks in the coop. A simple liner can also provide some insulation and protect from drafts.

 

It’s also extremely important to keep drinking water OUT of the coop. Ducks LOVE to play, splash and make a complete mess out of any source of water. Any water inside the coop can potentially lead to frostbite on the duck’s feet or legs.

 

As an important note, please avoid using a heat lamp in any coop or outdoor shelter. Heat lamps are unnecessary to care for ducks and extremely dangerous (fire risk!).

Access to fresh, unfrozen water

Ducks need access to fresh, unfrozen water throughout the day to swallow and digest their food properly. During the winter months, their drinking water should be changed several times a day to avoid freezing.

 

Our duck run is a short walk from our house, so we’re able to easily replace their water a few times a day. If frequent trips to the duck run aren’t feasible for your situation, a heated dog bowl is always a viable option.

Provide extra bedding for nesting

Unlike chickens who roost when they sleep, ducks nest at ground-level. When the temperatures drop, it’s helpful to add extra bedding to the coop, so the ducks can cozy down into a warm nest. During the winter, we add extra straw to the coop to protect their feet from the cold ground and for their overall comfort.

 

So at the end of the snowy, winter day – yes, the ducks are fine! Evolution has equipped them with their own unique adaptations to withstand the winter elements.

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Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Turmeric Honey Milk Latte

Turmeric Honey Milk Latte

Tumeric Honey Milk Latte Golden Milk

The snow’s falling, it’s delightfully crisp outside and I’m snuggled up on the couch watching HGTV reruns. As a play on this entire mood, I’m sipping on my new favorite warm beverage – a comforting, creamy turmeric honey latte. 

 

I’ll admit it, I’ve long avoided the turmeric latte because honestly, I don’t really enjoy the taste of turmeric. Also, the turmeric latte seems to be having a bit of a moment in the trendy, yuppy, fad market. So, just to be counter-culture I avoided the drink all-together (rebel, I know).

 

But finally, I conformed and on this cozy winter day and I steamed up my first turmeric latte.

 

And WOAH.

 

I’m completely, 100% on the turmeric latte bandwagon.

 

This sweet, frothy beverage has subtle hints of spice and everything nice. It’s earthy and grounding, yet uplifting and sweet. It’s my new daily non-caffeinated pick-me-up and surprisingly, it doesn’t have the overbearing, bold turmeric taste.

 

Turmeric lattes also have many health benefits depending on the ingredients you choose incorporate. The use of turmeric for herbal medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years and even traditional medicine has recognized the benefits of this spice.

 

Turmeric is known to be a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It can help reduce chronic inflammation that contributes to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative conditions. It can also aid digestion, reduce symptoms of depression and boost immunity.

 

Basically turmeric is too good to be true, right?! It’s a powerhouse spice that can supplement any daily health or wellness routine.

 

My favorite adaptation (so far) of the turmeric latte includes almond milk, honey, turmeric, ginger powder and cinnamon. Together, these ingredients made for a sweet and slightly spicy drink that enhances digestion, increases energy and fights inflammation.

 

So here I am, being basic and trendy AF with my turmeric latte… and I’m okay with it. 

 

Follow my recipe below and let me know what ingredients are a must-have in your latte! Snap a pic of your turmeric latte and tag @minimalist_mamaco for a chance to be featured on my Instagram stories!

Turmeric + Honey Milk Latte (Golden Latte)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (may substitute with coconut milk or oat milk)
  • 1 teaspoon raw, unfiltered honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Optional Ingredients: :
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Shot of espresso

Stove Top Directions:

  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a stove top pan.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour + enjoy!

Directions for Steamer (espresso machine):

  1. Add all ingredients in a stainless steel frothing pitcher.
  2. Steam with the steam wand until the mixture is the desired temperature. If you have a built-in or hand-held frother, you can froth the milk as well.
  3. Pour the mixture into a mug and enjoy!
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Portia Owens

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Immune Supporting Elderberry Syrup (Homemade Recipe)

Immune Supporting Elderberry Syrup (Homemade Recipe)

Immune Supporting Elderberry Syrup

Cold, flu, COVID… oh my! ‘Tis the season for the sniffles and the most important time of the year to take extra precautionary steps to boost your immune system. Throughout the winter months, elderberry syrup is a staple in my household because of it’s immune-boosting and anti-viral properties. 

Elderberry Syrup Basics

So what exactly is elderberry syrup and why should it be a part of your wintertime health routine?

 

Elderberry syrup is a combination of four simple ingredients: raw honey, cooked elderberries, water and cinammon. Elderberries are small fruits that have long been touted for their medicinal properties and health benefits, including:

  • Immune boosting properties
  • Antiviral – elderberries help decrease duration and severity of respiratory illnesses
  • Natural antioxidant – elderberries are rich in anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid) that act as an antioxidant and have anti-iflammatory, anti-vital and anti-cancer benefits
  • Helps to clear sinus infectons
  • Reduces symptoms of allergies
  • Chock-full of vitamins and minerals
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Natural diureic – help promote bowel movements
 

Incorporating elderberry syrup into your daily health routine can have so many benefits beyond cold and flu prevention. It’s really a powerhouse plant that supports many whole-body functions and benefits the entire family!

Benefits of Homemade Elderberry Syrup

So why make your own elderberry syrup instead of simply buying it from the store? For starters, store-bought elderberry syrup is expensive. To put it in perspective, a 3-ounce bottle of Gaia Elderberry syrup costs around $16. According to the recommended dosage (1 teaspoon a day) for a single adult, that bottle would only last 18 days (36 days for a child). The cost of elderberry syrup can quickly add up, especially if you’re using it throughout the entire cold and flu season. 

 

Aside from price, the majority of store-bought elderberry syrups contain potentially harmful ingredients. Even the products marketed as natural or organic contain ingredients that can have adverse side effects.

Many popular elderberry syrup brands contain:

 

 

  • color and flavor additives
  • sugar (in the form of glucose syrup, corn syrup, cane sugar)
  • preservatives (citric acid and potassium sorbate)
 

These ingredients can be irritants for those with sensitive digestive systems, acid reflux, allergies, and hypersensitivity.

 

 

In the case of elderberry syrup, homemade is best! My recipe incorporates pure, simple ingredients that truly support your health. It also yields more syrup than store-bought options and at a fraction of the cost. 

 

Supplement and support your families health with this affordable, homemade recipe.

Immune-Supporting Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Supplies:

  • Large cooking pot
  • Fine-mesh strainer
  • Spoon
  • Mason jar with lid

Ingredients:

Optional Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, bring water, elderberries, cinammon, ginger, clove and vanilla extract to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes (or until the liquid is reduced by half).
  3. Drain the liquid with a fine mesh strainer into a mason jar or other glass storage container. Press the elderberries with a spoon to remove all liquid from the berries. Discard the cooked elderberries. 
  4. Let the mixture cool until it reaches room temperature.
  5. Add raw honey and mix well.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: Shake well before every use.

Storage:
  • Store in an airtight container (mason jar with a lid is best)
  • Refrigerate for up to 2-3 months
  • Freeze for up to 6 months

Dosage:
Adults: 1 teaspoon a day for maintenance, may increase to 3 teaspoons a day when sick or feel an illness coming on.

Children over 1 year-old: 1/2 teaspoon a day or maintenance

Important Notes:

  • Do not give elderberry syrup to infants under 1 year old. Honey can contain bacteria that causes botulism in infants.
  • Elderberries MUST be cooked for safe consumption. Do not eat dried elderberries, as they are toxic and contain cyanide-inducing glycoside. Cook elderberries for at least 20 minutes.
Cost Comparison:

This recipe yields about 16 ounces of elderberry syrup and costs about $12 to make at home. This batch will last the average adult about three months when taken once daily.


Most store-bought elderberry syrups average around $15 for 3 ounces, which amounts to over $75 for 16 ounces. By making this elderberry syrup recipe at home, you can save around $63. That’s a HUGE cost savings and a small investment in your personal health and wellness!

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Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Benefits of Raising Kids with Livestock and Animals

Benefits of Raising Kids with Livestock and Animals

Benefit of Raising Kids with Animals and Livestock

Children and animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s a magnetic, almost inherent connection between the two that often becomes evident in the early years of childhood. Raising children with animals (as pets or livestock) can be incredibly beneficial and play an integral role in emotional and physical development. 

 

 

Animals teach love, compassion, and responsibility. They can be a fur-ever friend for children and diminish feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. Beyond the emotional dynamic, animals tend to have significant benefits in the physical health and well-being of children. 

 

 

While it’s a big responsibility and commitment  to welcome a pet into your home or to raise livestock, children can benefit tremendously from growing up with animals. 

 

Here are some of my favorite reasons to raise children with livestock or pets…

 

…like I need a reason to bring home another animal!

 

Animal Care Teaches Responsibility

Benefits of Kids Raising Livestock

Raising kids with pets or livestock helps teach responsibility.  Regular chores in pet and animal care, such as feeding, bathing or walking –  can encourage children to maintain a schedule and develop leadership skills.  Animals are a commitment and when children raise their own animals they learn their responsibility for another life. Animal care also encourages children to think of the needs of others and fosters feelings of compassion. 

Animals Encourage Outdoor Time

There are many benefits of outdoor play for children, and animals play a significant role in encouraging kids to spend more time outside. Whether they’re going outdoors to provide care for livestock or taking the dog for a walk, spending time outside enables them to get fresh air, sunshine and some immune-boosting vitamin D! Animals help enhance a child’s outdoor experience and incentivize physical activity and play. 

Animals Can Be A Source of Food

Animals like goats, chickens and ducks can be a source of food for families and they’re relatively easy to keep.  The eggs, milk and meat provided by these animals are naturally healthy food sources – free from the antibiotics or additives often found in store-bought foods. 


When children raise animals for food they learn about the life cycle,  food supply, and basic survival skills. They also have the opportunity to be a part of their own food production, which teaches an appreciation for the animals that provide us with sustenance. 

Reduction of Allergies and Asthma

According to a scientific study, having at least one pet around the house when your child is a baby can help reduce their chances of developing asthma, hay fever, and eczema. Additional studies suggest that having animals around your baby can reduce the chances of the child having allergies in general.

 

This is especially true when dogs and cats live inside the house and are often in close proximity to the child.

 

So, not only will having pets around your child improve his or her emotional and mental responses to sentient creatures, but this companionship will also help strengthen a child’s immune system.

Animals Provide Loyal Companionship

Benefit of Raising Kids with Animals and Livestock

Mammals make great pets due to their noted abilities to express love and affection for their companions. These companion animals are a constant and consistent source of love, comfort and support for children. Feelings of anxiety, depression and anger are often diminished when children have a pet  or animal in the home. 

 

Not only do children benefit from the love of their companion, but animals benefit from the love of their human! 

Animal Care Encourages Compassion

When raised with a pet, children typically learn to love and express love much earlier in life.  Children who have animals learn empathy and compassion at a young age and are likely to reciprocate those feelings throughout childhood and adulthood. Pets give the priceless gift of unconditional love and there’s nothing comparable to the pure bond between animal and child. 

ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Simple Homemade Bread Recipe (for White or Wheat Bread!)

Simple Homemade Bread Recipe (for White or Wheat Bread!)

Homemade bread recipe

Looking for a simple bread recipe for beginners? Well, here’s the perfect recipe for a delicious, homemade loaf of goodness!

 

My family loves bread, but my oldest daughter has a severe allergy to a very common bread ingredient – sesame. Instead of scouring over ingredient labels at the grocery store, I decided to take the safe route and make my own homemade bread. I needed an easy recipe for rookies, that’s free of sesame and several other major allergens. Thankfully, I developed a recipe that’s safe for my daughter to eat and absolutely delicious!

 

This recipe is easy-to-follow, made with simple ingredients and makes a seriously tasty loaf of bread. This recipe can be used to make either white or whole wheat bread, depending on your preference. Plus, it’s free of several major allergens including sesame and tree nuts.

 

I hope you enjoy this easy recipe for the BEST loaf of homemade bread!

Simple Homemade Bread Recipe

Supplies
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Cloth or towel
  • 9″ x 5″ loaf pan
  • Bread bag or bread box
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan sea salt (fine ground)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal
  • 5 cups all-purpose white flour or bread flour (you can substitute white flour with whole wheat flour)

Optional Ingredients:

  • butter or ghee
Directions
  1. Mix warm water and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the yeast to the mixture, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture has a foamy texture.
  3. Mix the nutritional yeast, flaxseed meal, salt, and olive oil to the mixture and stir.
  4. Add one cup of the flour at a time and stir until well combined. Knead the last two cups of flour into the mixture.
  5. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then place the dough in a large bowl.
  6. Top the dough with a little olive oil and cover with a wet, warm cloth or towel.
  7. Allow the dough to rise for one hour (this is the first rise).
  8. After an hour, remove the cloth and punch the dough down into the bowl (this removes air bubbles). Then, knead the dough for another few minutes.
  9. Place the dough in a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Allow the dough to rise until it’s about 2 inches above the top of the pan (this is the second rise). Note: the dough can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to fully rise. The dough will rise faster in at a warm temperature and takes longer to rise at higher elevations. I live in Denver at a high elevation, and it takes about 2 hours for the second rise. Just keep an eye on your dough and wait for it to rise two inches above the top of the pan, then it’s ready!
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 35-38 minutes.
  11. Brush with butter, ghee or olive oil and enjoy!
Storage

Store in a bread bag or bread box for maximum freshness. I love these zero-waste, linen bread bags!

ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Simple Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe (Just 3 Ingredients!)

Simple Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe (Just 3 Ingredients!)

Homemade dishwash detergent

Dishes, dishes, dishes… the constant leaning tower of dishes. My downfall, my demise, my absolute nemesis.


Okay – that was a slight exaggeration but to be frank, doing dishes ranks pretty low on my favorite household chore list. I’m (admittedly) lazy when it comes to doing the dishes. I prefer a quick rinse, and it’s off to the dishwasher for the hard labor. Manually washing dishes requires extra effort, and it’s more wasteful than running a fully loaded dishwasher. One study found that washing dishes by hand wastes 3.5 times more water than a dishwasher!


If you want to be more efficient with your water usage in the kitchen, use that dishwasher! AND use a dishwasher detergent that effectively cleans dishes. To be honest, I haven’t found a commercial dishwasher detergent that’s non-toxic, eco-friendly AND effective… so I simply make my own! With just three simple ingredients, you can make an effective DIY dishwasher detergent.

 

Homemade dishwasher detergent is not only easy and fast to make, it’s also safe, non-toxic and reduces plastic waste. Plus, it’s cheap! Comparatively speaking, a 62-pack container of dishwashing pods at Walmart runs about $0.27 per load. This dishwasher detergent recipe is simple to make and only costs about $0.01 per load to make!


I believe having safe, homemade alternatives to the chemical-heavy products you can find in the store is important for living a minimalist lifestyle. I also believe that you don’t need to have any fancy equipment or secret ingredients to get the job done. Some DIY dishwasher detergent recipes call for Borax or washing soda, and those are great if you’re not in a pinch. But this homemade dishwasher detergent recipe is super easy and only requires three ingredients: naturally derived dish soap, baking soda, and water.

Make Your Own Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

All you need are a few items you likely have on hand already: 
  • An airtight container like a clean milk jug or bottle
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Water

Take 2 teaspoons of your favorite dish detergent or castile soap (preferably a natural option like Mrs. Meyer’s, Seventh Generation, and Dr. Bronner’s) and add them to your container along with 4 teaspoons of baking soda. Slowly fill the jug with water, swirling it around to help mix everything up, and voilà! You have a simple dishwasher detergent that’s ready to use like any store-bought option. Simply fill your detergent reservoir before turning your dishwasher on, and you’re good to go.


Helpful hints: Gradually add the dish soap to your jug as you fill it with water. This will make the mixing process easier and help prevent over bubbling.


If you want to take your DIY approach to the next level, check out this recipe for homemade bar dish soap!

Simple Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Supplies
  • 1 clean gallon jug or airtight container
  • 2 teaspoons dish soap or castile soap
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • Water
Directions:
  1. Add baking soda and dish soap to jug, or gradually add dish soap to container with the water to prevent bubble build-up.
  2. Fill jug with water, gently swirling along the way to mix the ingredients together.
  3. Fill dishwasher detergent reservoir
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Please feel free to leave comments about your experience and any additional helpful tips for other readers.
Up Your DIY Cleaning Routine

Be sure to check out other homemade recipes to fit your lifestyle:
Easy DIY clean laundry

ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Homemade Bubble Bath Paste – A Non-Toxic DIY Soak

Homemade Bubble Bath Paste – A Non-Toxic DIY Soak

A Non-Toxic DIY Soak

Let’s be honest, I’ve tried almost every plant-based, low-tox alternative to commercial bubble bath… and each has been a complete #momfail. When it comes to bath time, my sweet little children demand clouds of everlasting bubbles – to which, I’ve failed miserably to provide. But alas! I found a recipe that meets the high expectations of my children AND that satisfies my lowtox, easy-to-make mom requirements.

 

Bubble bath is self-care staple for many households and unfortunately, one that can be potentially dangerous for human and environmental health. Much like shampoos, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquid, lotions, and hand soaps, bubble bath typically contains a number of harsh chemicals. These chemical components can cause skin irritation and contribute to household and environmental degradation. I’m especially wary of store-bought bubble bath products because they tend to include toxic ingredients like:

  • Strong artificial fragrances and synthetic colors
  • Sodium laureth sulfate (which creates the bubble or foam effect)
  • Various other sulfates (another item used to create foam, and to loosen oils from the skin or
    hair)
  • Preservatives like methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone (which can
    potentially cause contact dermatitis)

The ingredients present in many bubble bath products can also disrupt vaginal pH levels and contribute to health issues like infections and UTIs.

 

Aside from the potential health impacts, commercial bubble bath products can damage household drainage systems, pollute local water sources and damage soils. The chemicals in these products eventually make their way into the surrounding environment, where they can cause significant damage in large quantities. Sulfates in particular tend to make their way to local water resources and contribute to the acidification of water and soil.

 

So, as the hippie-granola-eco(and)health-conscious mama, I’ve created a simple bubble bath paste recipe that for the entire family to enjoy!

Bubble Bath Paste Recipe

Supplies:

Large mixing bowl and spoon

Mason jar or other air-tight storage container

Ingredients:
Instructions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir.
  2. Once your ingredients are thoroughly mixed into a paste, transfer them to an airtight container
    or jar.
  3. Use between 1/2 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon of the paste per bath (more bubble bath paste = more
    bubbles!)

Tip: For the best bubbles, drop one teaspoon of the bubble bath paste in the bathtub and then run the water (this will produce more bubbles than adding the paste to the water later). 
Storage:
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Natural Bubble Bath Liquid
If you prefer liquid bubble bath, you can try the following combination of ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 4 oz cup water
  • 4 oz vegetable glycerine
  • 10 oz castile soap
  • 10 drops of your favorite essential oils
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and stir until you have a uniform mixture.
  2. Transfer the liquid to a bottle or jar and seal with a lid.
  3. Pour a few teaspoons of the liquid into the water at bath time.

Note: The liquid bubble bath solution produces fewer bubbles than the paste (especially if you live in an area with hard water)

ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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DIY Multi Purpose Cleaning Scrub

DIY Multi Purpose Cleaning Scrub

DIY Cleaning Scrub

DIY Multi Purpose Cleaning Scrub

Let’s talk about the most downright dirty, filthy, bacteria-ridden places in the home…

 

Of course there are the typical culprits – the blatantly obvious, smelly petri dishes of yuck like garbage cans and toilets. But did you know that the there’s over 200,000 bacteria per square inch lurking in your bathtub alone? Sinks and bathtubs harbor dangerous bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, campylobacter, streptococcus, hepatitis A and norovirus, which can cause severe illness in humans.

 

The top ranking, down-right dirtiest places in the home include sinks, bathtubs, toilets, and the surfaces surrounding these places. To effectively clean these germ-havens, you’ll need an effective disinfecting, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial cleaning agent. Unfortunately, the majority of commercial household cleaners used to target these surfaces include dangerous chemicals and toxins like phthalates, butoxyethanol, and chlorine. These toxic ingredients (when regularly ingested) can cause damage to major organs, disrupt hormonal balance and cause respiratory distress.

 

Aside from the adverse health impacts of generic household cleaners, the monetary and environmental costs of using single-use cleaning products can be significant. One of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact while simultaneously saving money is to incorporate multi-use products into your household cleaning routine. Multi-use products target several different cleaning needs, ultimately decreasing the amount of products you need to buy (and the waste associated with those products!).

 

While there are several non-toxic, eco-friendly, multi-purpose cleaning products available on the market, it’s easy to make your own using common household ingredients!

 

One of my favorite multi-use cleaning agents is a combination of just a handful of simple ingredients – baking soda, castile soap and essential oils. Together, these ingredients make a cleaning scrub that effectively targets those dirty, bacteria-ridden surfaces.

 

If you’re in the market for an easy, eco-friendly, and non-toxic household cleaner, try my multi purpose cleaning scrub recipe! This simple scrub can replace up to four different household cleaning products and takes less than five minutes to make. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and extremely effective against dirt, grime, grease, and germs. So, don’t let those germs fester any longer… check out my DIY multi purpose cleaning scrub below!

DIY Multi Purpose Cleaning Scrub

Supplies:

Spoon

Mason jar with lid
Scrub brush

Ingredients:

2 cups baking soda (where to buy)

2 tablespoons castile soap (where to buy)
10 drops tea tree essential oil, 10 drops lemon essential oil (substitute either of these essential oils with disinfecting, anti-bacterial essential oils)


Tip: I typically use  Dr. Bronners unscented castile soap, but you can also use Dr. Bronners peppermint, lavender, citrus, tea tree, or eucalyptus castile soaps for this recipe. If you substitute the unscented version with any of the scented versions, do not  add the essential oils (the castile  soap blends listed above are all anti-bacterial and anti-microbial). 

Instructions:
  1. Combine baking soda and essential oils in a mason jar.
  2. Add castile soap to the mixture and stir, breaking apart any clumps.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture on sink, tub, grout or in the toilet and scrub with a scrub brush.
  4. Rinse the scrub away with water or remove with a wet towel.

Note: I recommend using this scrub on sinks and tubs weekly (see the NSF guidelines on cleaning frequency).

Storage:
Store in a cool, dark place until next use.
ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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DIY Clean Laundry Detergent

DIY Clean Laundry Detergent

DIY Clean Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry Clean Detergent

In the growing age of product transparency, there’s been a lot of concern over the number of toxins and irritants in common household products. Commercial laundry detergent has been at the top of my list of home products to replace with a natural, non-toxic alternative. Recently, I made the transition to a homemade detergent for number of reasons, including the overall health of my family, cost, and environmental impact.

 

 

As a mom, I’ve been on the hunt for a gentle alternative to our regular detergent. Many detergents contain harsh chemical ingredients that can be either irritating to the skin or even mildly toxic. Common irritants and toxic ingredients in standard laundry detergents include phosphates, formaldehyde,  phthalates and chlorine. Each of these ingredients (in moderate to large amounts) can be harmful to both people, animals and the environment.

 

 

Standard detergents not only cause skin irritation, but they’re also significant sources of water pollution. Generic laundry detergents typically contain phosphates, which are components that help soften hard water and increase the effectiveness of the product. Unfortunately, phosphates aren’t removed in the wastewater treatment process and often make their way to groundwater resources. Once these pollutants reach groundwater, they can cause significant human and environmental damage.

 

 

Along with water pollution, standard laundry detergent use contributes to the growing plastic waste problem. Almost all store-bought laundry detergents are packaged with single-use plastics, which typically end up in landfills and take hundreds of years to decompose.

 

 

For these reasons and many more, I’ve made the transition to a simple and non-toxic homemade detergent.

DIY Laundry Soap Basics

If you’re currently scouring the internet for natural laundry detergent recipes, you may have noticed a common ingredient in many of them: Borax.


Borax is an effective cleaning additive for laundry detergents, but it can also be harmful to humans and animals when ingested. Borax can lead to acute toxicity and cause skin and eye irritation, vomiting and respiratory issues. Because of the potential danger associated with borax, I use a recipe that utilizes washing soda instead.


Some of the best homemade laundry detergent recipes are simple to make and incorporate washing soda, rather than borax. Because washing soda is a different chemical compound than borax, it’s significantly safer for humans.


My favorite recipe so far incorporates only a few simple, easy-to-find ingredients and costs under $8 to make! Check out my go-to homemade, zero-waste laundry detergent recipe below:

DIY Clean Laundry Soap Recipe

Supplies:

Large baking pan or sheet

Ingredients:

4 cups baking soda (where to buy)

1 five-ounce castile soap bar (where to buy)

20-30 drops of your favorite essential oils (optional)


Tip: I typically use Dr. Bronners unscented castile soap bar, but you can also use any of the scented variations of the castile soap bar. If you use a scented castile soap bar, you do not need to add the essential oils. Some of my favorite scented castile soap bar options are lavender (best for sensitive skin and children), peppermint and citrus

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Prepare the washing soda by spreading baking soda evenly across the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for one hour, or until the powder is greyish and no longer clumps together. (Tip: Sift through the powder halfway through to break apart any clumps).
  3. Remove the baking sheet and combine the washing soda with one bar of grated castile soap.
  4. Add 20-30 drops of essential oil to the mixture (optional).
  5. Use 1-2 tablespoons of the detergent mixture per laundry load. 
  6. Store in an airtight container, in a cool and dark space.

 

I hope you enjoy this homemade, low-waste recipe!

ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs: 4 Reasons Why I Prefer Duck Eggs

Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs: 4 Reasons Why I Prefer Duck Eggs

Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs: 4 Reasons Why I Prefer Duck Eggs

There’s a certain charm to raising backyard poultry, it’s an alluring hobby that yields farm fresh eggs and a fairly consistent food source. Today, chickens seem to be the preferred backyard poultry choice and actually quite mainstream for backyard flocks. Ducks are also an excellent choice, especially if you’re raising them for egg production.

 

 

Over a year ago, we started our backyard flock consisting solely of ducks. Since ducks seem to be a little more unconventional, we get a lot of questions about raising ducks and the eggs they produce. Most frequently, we’re asked:

 

 

What do they taste like? A rich, nutrient-dense chicken egg!
How do you cook them? The same way I cook chicken eggs – fried, scrambled, or baked (duck egg Quiché is a must!)
Are they bigger than chicken eggs? Yes, about 30% larger.

 

 

There’s naturally a lot of curiosity from family, friends and neighbors about the differences between the two types of eggs. If you’re curious to know why we’ve made the transition from chicken eggs, here are four reasons why duck eggs reign in this household!

Size

The bigger, the better – right?! As a breakfast-loving girl, I prefer to start my day with a large, protein-packed meal. Prior to raising our own laying ducks, I would use four store-bought, jumbo chicken eggs each morning for my breakfast alone. One of my favorite attributes of the duck egg is the sheer size of the egg – it’s about 30% larger than the chicken egg. With a much larger yolk and a greater yolk-to-white ratio in comparison to a chicken egg, duck eggs are massive and incredibly nutrient-dense. Now, my hearty breakfast only requires one (sometimes two) eggs!

Nutrition

Duck eggs have all the goods… nutritionally-speaking. With higher levels of Omega 3, fatty acids and protein – duck eggs are nutritionally superior to their chicken counterpart. Duck eggs are chalk-full of essential vitamins and minerals, including: niacin, vitamin B12, vitamins A and D, iron and folate (especially if they’re pasture-raised or free-range). In comparison, duck eggs have more essential vitamins, healthy fats and vitamins (and a longer shelf-life!).

Flavor

This is a biggie. I get questions weekly about how duck eggs taste, their flavor, and whether it’s similar to that of chicken eggs. To answer those questions, YES! Duck eggs taste very similar to chicken eggs, but a little more rich. As mentioned before, duck eggs have a larger yolk and a greater yolk-to-white ratio, so you guessed it… they’re more yolky. Duck eggs are also higher in protein and lower in water-content, making them GREAT for baking – think tasty, fluffy, and rich baked creations! Initially, you’ll notice a subtle difference in taste and a slightly different consistency between the two. But, overall they taste the same – duck eggs just have a little more flavor!

Consistent and Versatile

Ducks are very hearty animals and unlike chickens, they often keep laying year-round (even during the winter). Their consistency in laying is what allows us to have fresh eggs every day for our favorite dishes and recipes. Oh, and there’s no single way to make duck eggs! They have the same versatility as chicken eggs and can be used for so many of our staple dishes.

 

My two-cents, don’t hesitate to sub those chicken eggs for ducks eggs! They’re different (in a good way!) and have so many nutritional benefits.

Do you have any questions about the differences between duck and chicken eggs? I’d love to help answer them.

ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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