5 for Friday

Hi there!  Let’s jump right in with five things I’m loving this week!  I’m linking up with these ladies…AndreaNarci and Erika for their Friday Favorites Link Up!  I am also linking up with April for Five on Friday!

{ONE}

I’m loving that my son is loving soccer camp!  It’s been a day camp from 9-12 each day this week.  He’s enjoyed meeting new kids plus the fun games they play.  He does comment at pick-up that it’s so much fun and so much running.  I’ve also been loving a little extra one-on-one time with this girl!

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{TWO}

I’ve been loving green smoothies for a mid-morning snack this week!  Here’s my recipe:

1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. no sugar added vanilla almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana and a handful of frozen spinach.  I’ve also added in a fiber supplement plus probiotics.  Yum!

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{THREE}

I was extremely cautious while pregnant and breastfeeding about what food I ate, medicines I took, and personal care products I used.  It’s been nice to have a little more flexibility in that department since I weaned my daughter back in April.  I recently started using a Retin A product prescribed by my dermatologist and have seen a big improvement in some acne issues as well as skin smoothness.  I typically use it once nightly and apply a rose hip oil over top.  I love this stuff!  Here’s a link to Amazon to buy.  Here’s a link to an article written by LIVESTRONG.COM about the benefits of rose hip oil use.  

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{FOUR}

I have continued my on again/off again relationship with Wal-Mart.  Isn’t it just a necessary evil sometimes???  I do like the online ordering and curbside pick-up for busy weeks and big, specific orders.

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{FIVE}

I’m loving finalizing and preparing for our last few trips, special days, etc. this summer.  I  want to make the most of the month we have left!  Our plans include three family trips, lots more pool & library days, beach visits, and more!

I hope you have the best day!

Natalie

 

 

hello…Monday!

Whew!  Talk about an interesting weekend!  My post from Friday was definitely a low point of the weekend.  I’m just not a person to pretend with ANYTHING.  I’m many things but a fake I am not.  I try to be authentic especially when it comes to my feelings (maybe this is much to take sometimes???).

Authenticity really allows for honest conversations, and if you can’t be honest with your self and your spouse then what really matters in life….  A small, teeny disclaimer:  Others may not be thrilled at this level of authenticity.  In fact, I annoy myself with my inability to just shut up and smile about it {insert whatever IT may be}.

So…in efforts for a lighter post, here’s some weekend pictures!

Jumping away in the foam pit at our local trampoline park {Technically, this was earlier in the week fun.}

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Bowling ~ Mommy got two strikes and a spare all while holding a 15 month old baby girl I know ~ Older kid complained about not getting enough turns even after being reminded that the computer system kept track of our turns ~ Then, Mommy gave an appreciation lecture that was super well-received…

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On Saturday, we took a big trip to an Aldi grocery store.  This was our first visit, and we were perplexed with how to get the shopping cart unleashed from its spot in the cart rack (you pay a quarter fyi ~ when you return the cart, you get your 25 cents back).  Aldi gets mixed reviews from me.  I was disappointed that there wasn’t more organic options. However, the prices were pretty amazing!  Most notable were the $2 organic strawberries, 49 cents dozen eggs, 1.50 organic popcorn and veggie straws, and the pork chops we got were pretty well-priced as well.  I took no pics since it was a little like chaos in there.  We were confused with two small kids on a busy Saturday.  Another important thing to know is that you bag your own groceries in your own bags AFTER you are finished checking out at a nearby counter.

I spent the rest of Saturday doing a return to H&M plus a gym work-out.

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Jake got me this new Yeti water bottle, so I feel all trendy especially when my outfit was totally aqua plus black shorts.  Very unintentionally!

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On Sunday, we did a whole lot of not much except for church.  I went to church with a fearsome bad attitude.  In fact, I was probably the most mutinous looking soul there including the teenagers.  Thankfully, I got over myself by the time we served Lemonade on the Lawn (aka Countrytime Lemonade plus cookies after the service).  Holden did an awesome job of filling up little Dixie cups for the folks who stopped by.  It was so hot!

I did make some shrimp salad plus kale chips for dinner.  The kale chips were improved with some sesame oil instead of olive.

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I hope you had a nice weekend!  I’m looking forward to hopefully a more positive week.  Holden is going to his first summer camp, so I’m excited/nervous for his first day.

I’m linking up with Heather and Johannah!

Natalie

5 for Friday

Wow!  These summer weeks are flying by!  I officially have three weeks left until the end of my maternity leave/summer vacation.  I’m linking up with Andrea, Shay, and Narci for Friday Favorites.

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I’m also linking up with April, Christina, and Natasha for 5 on Friday.

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Can’t forget about this link up too!  Amy and Karli

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Here’s 5 things going on with me this week!

{ONE}

Books – I’ve done it!  I’ve conquered fiction (I’m a die hard nonfiction) and read 1 book in entirety!  I really enjoyed it too.  😉

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Basically, the book is set on Nantucket during the summer.  The three step/half sisters have to live together for one summer to be able to sell (and get the $$$) from their father’s vacation home.  Lots of drama and characters!  A great summer read!

Then, I read another nonfiction!  I really enjoyed this book although it didn’t impart any earth-shattering knowledge.  It did reiterate things that I already know/have learned from other books.  One interesting thing was the really overwhelming damaging impact of TV and video games on young minds.  Kind of scary.  P.S.  I had no idea that the American Academy of Pediatrics had issued a statement saying NO TV for kids 2 and under.  Personally, we followed this rule for Holden and plan to do the same with Helen.  I do let Holden watch occasional TV, and he definitely has been loving his one nursing time/one TV show this summer.

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{TWO}

I’m so so so excited about my sister and mom visiting this weekend!  We are celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday about a month early due to a trip that she will be taking.  I have a few surprises that I’m super excited about.  It will be so good to enjoy both my mom and my sister’s company.  The only thing I really dislike about where we live is that family isn’t right around the corner.

{THREE}

Yummy Recipe to Share – Mix and Match Mama’s Shrimp Tacos – I love this lovely lady’s recipes!  I plan to make two over the weekend.  She uses simple ingredients (and not 5,436 of them either!) to make some yummy food.  I especially enjoyed the avocado corn salsa that goes with the tacos.  I had leftovers for lunch, and I could definitely tell the salsa tasted even better the next day.

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sorry so blurry!  dinner is fast and furious around here!

{FOUR}

Running/My Foot – Well, it was somewhat better.  I enjoyed about a 4 mile run on the treadmill yesterday morning.  Very minimal foot pain…However, my calf felt very tight and somewhat sore after I hopped off.  There also was a bit of a “creaking” sound in my foot.  I know…yikes!  I plan to rest it and stretch today.  Fingers crossed for a decent run tomorrow!  12 miles!

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{FIVE}

Playdates – I need to be a little more intentional about scheduling some playdates for Holden.  He definitely wants buddies around to play with, and I am usually up for some playing.  This summer has definitely been a different pace since my time/arms/attention are occupied by Helen.  I’m hoping we can see one of his friends this week!  We’ve also been trying to get out there  and bike ride with our neighbors more often.

Here’s a few cute ones from the camera roll this week!

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Hope you have the best weekend!

Natalie

Pinspiration Wednesday

Good Morning!  I’m linking up with Justine, Leigh, and Erica today to share some crockpot recipes that are perfect for those busy school days on the horizon!

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I know that I’m going to need all the time I have in the late afternoon/evening to check off the daily “to do” stuff AND spend lots of time with the little man and little lady.  I just know I’m going to be missing them so much!  Here are a few supper ideas that will let me enjoy time with them instead of standing over a stove!

Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes, and Green Beans – Doesn’t this look easy?!??  I’ve done this before in the oven too.

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Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili – I think this looks so good!  You could even use leftovers for tacos.  I would serve this with a nice salad.

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Let me begin this one by saying I HATE to bake potatoes!  They take so long, but the Mr. (and now Holden) loves them!  This recipe may be our answer…

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes – I would probably do just cheese or just bacon.  I would even add steamed broccoli.

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Now, this one isn’t a crockpot recipe but…it’s super easy!

Creamy Potatoes and Peas – I didn’t use fresh peas (frozen instead), and I added leftover rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club (about 1/2 the chicken).  My guys loved it!  The Mr. even requested a definite repeat of this recipe soon!

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Isn’t it just something about a crockpot going that reminds you of the cooler months?!

Speaking of getting ready for school, it’s tax-free weekend here in Virginia starting this Friday.  I got my school supply list for Holden ready to go!  His list is so little compared to what I know it will be as he moves up in school.  In case you are wondering, here is a listing of other states’ tax free weekends.  Happy shopping!  Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Natalie

5 for Friday

It’s time for another five for Friday!  Let’s jump right in!

{ONE}

Running – Lots of running happening around here!  I completed my 10 mile long run of the week on Thursday morning.  I did this, so I would not be running (a long one anyways) over the weekend when we are with family.  This meant I had to rise and shine at 4:30 in order to fit in breakfast and the digestion of it.  I calculated my pace at about 8 minutes 15 seconds.  I must admit that I didn’t really enjoy that particular run.  Some hip pain that alternated sides which I believe may be the result of some toe callouses (lovely image, right?) that were throwing off my stride.  However, I’ve been having awesome shorter runs.  I did the run below on Tuesday in the comfort of my low-humidity home.

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Love that fast last mile!  Looks like I ran that last one in 7 minutes and 2 seconds!

{TWO}

Outings – I love doing little outings with Helen and Holden on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  This Tuesday we went to the library for a reading of Stellaluna and a real live bat presentation.  Holden was such a good boy.  He sat and listened…even raised his hand with a legitimate question!  I remember taking him there when he was just a little over a year and working on those very skills!  I got to just hang out in the back with Helen.

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We also played at the park across the street afterwards.  Gotta take advantage of these temps that AREN’T in the upper 90’s!

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Here’s another picture of our Thursday outing…Mt. Trashmore and Goodwill!  Holden even got to pick out a toy!  For $1.25!  😉

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{THREE}

Checking off my to-do list – I posted back at the beginning of summer a “fun list” of things I hoped to do.  Let’s see how we’re doing!

  • Sprinkler time not yet
  • Sidewalk Chalk sadly not much interest on Holden’s behalf – I think a fun game might work!
  • Visiting all the Eastern Shore family did it!  So much fun!
  • Color Me Pottery {paint your own!} Yes, Holden painted his crab coffee mug 😉
  • Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA may opt out of this one
  • Brickheadz {Lego Play Center} Unfortunately, this place has summer camp until 12 each day.  We do best with morning outings, so I’m not sure if we will make it until fall.  
  • Norfolk Zoo Holden is actually going on a summer camp field trip there!  
  • Farmer’s Market Hope to do this in the next couple weeks!
  • Jamestown Visit check!
  • Visiting Granny (& Auntie Brookie and Uncle Michael) Soon!  🙂
  • Fishing Trip for Daddy, Big H, and Poppy Yes!  Holden caught his first fish!
  • Baseball Game – Try, try, try again at this one! We enjoyed seeing the Norfolk Tides play.
  • Beach – Hopefully, we may even try some quick trips with me and the two H’s. 4 trips total for me and the kids.  Two for the Mr.  Hoping to go again soon!
  • 4th of July Parade – Holden loved being in the parade last year.  We’re looking forward to doing it again! Yes, this was so much fun.  
  • Swimming Lessons These were great!  Now, we just need to keep him practicing all his skills.  
  • Library Visits Oh my stars!  We’ve definitely done this one.
  • Little H’s Baptism in August

Menu for Baptism…

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  • 1 night getaway for me and the Mr. in July – It will be the first night away from kids since Little H’s arrival!  We had to cancel this one.  
  • Play Dates with new and old friends We’ve done some biking with our neighbors!
  • Ziplining Date with the Mr. at The Adventure Park Yes!  This was so much fun.  

I’m so excited about all these things!  My personal goals for June include

  • Put together easel and little table for Holden to use this summer check!  Actually, I delegated these jobs out.  🙂
  • Develop a little summer schedule for Big H’s days at home {He will be attending summer camp starting in July MWF for half days.} with some fun activities We do a little mini “school” on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We have a pretty good schedule going too.  
  • Read 3 books!  Not sure if I met this one…just try to read a little in the evening before bed.  
  • Take Holden on a Mommy – Son date I do feel like most of our days are a Mommy & Holden date since Helen sleeps when we are out and about in the morning.  
  • Run outside once a week For sure!  Every since signing up for the half-marathon I’ve been doing lots of running!  😉

Another item on my work to do list was to wash and wax my car.  Holden helped me wash one morning this week, and I waxed while he was at summer camp.  It always reminds me of my grandfather.  He was the first one to show me how to wax a car.  I remember being underneath a large pine tree in the backyard with him…just waxing away!  He had definite opinions about the right way to do it.  Never would have approved of this wax!  It did the trick though.

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{FOUR}

Bizarre Food I Eat – I think everyone has some weird stuff that they like to eat.  This week I’ve been enjoying a hard-boiled egg (sliced) on two pieces of toast with BBQ sauce.  Absolutely delicious!  I know you’re probably grossed out, but (like I tell Holden) you should try it before you say you don’t like it!  I’ve been eating the same breakfast for like a month a half.  1/2 cup oatmeal + 1 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter + 1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s raspberry jelly + lots of boiling water.  Then, I let it sit covered for a few minutes.  Last, I microwave it for like twenty seconds.  If it isn’t soupy enough, I add extra water.  I love this breakfast!  So filling AND sweet!  No picture of either of these items as I’m sure the pictures would do them no justice!

{FIVE}

Summery Desserts! – I’m going to pick up the ingredients to try out these Strawberry Lemonade Bars this afternoon.  I have really been enjoying lighter desserts since the weather has been so hot.  Don’t these look delicious!?!?

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photo & recipe from the baker upstairs

P.S. I realized I didn’t snap any pics of baby Helen this week!  Poor girl!  I’m going to blame it on having my hands-full when she’s awake!  I’ll try to do better by the sweet girl this weekend.  Have a great one!

Natalie

5 for Friday

It’s that time again!  Wow, the days are flying by for me {two weeks left of summer vacation!}.  I’ve really enjoyed being home with H, and I’ll miss him so much once we are back in the full swing of the school year.  I think he may even be looking forward to it as he asks me “when will I eat lunch with my friends?”  Really, dude?!?!?  You’re three!  Mommy is your best bud and top priority, right???  🙂  Here are five randoms on my mind this Friday morning…

{ONE}

H’s school bag – Last year, H’s church preschool that he went to two days a week required a book bag.  Well, the new preschool requires a tote bag.  I love consulting Etsy for random buys like this.  I got him this bag.

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I did really like these too.  Images from Etsy.

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He likes to sling his bag over his head.  Kind of reminds me of an explorer or something.  When I see him at the end of each summer camp day, he always tells me he had fun and a good day at his new preschool.  What answered prayers!

{TWO}

No Naps Here – Well, there may be a quickie, but that’s it.  I think we are saying our formal “good-byes” to H’s longish naps.  Most days, he is quiet in his room for maybe 30-45 minutes.  Then, he asks if it’s time to get up.  No, sir.  Ha!  To provide more of down time for me, I’ve been going into H’s room and putting a few books or something on his bed.  I tell him that he can play quietly in his bed until I come and get him.  This usually lasts for 30-45 minutes depending on lots of variables.

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Yesterday’s “nap!”

{THREE}

Reading! – Who can believe it!?!?!  I’ve actually read some fiction this summer….thanks to my mother.  🙂  I tend to gravitate towards nonfiction (i.e. self-help, parenting, etc.).  I still have some of those I’m working on.

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She highly recommended both of these books.  I think I liked The Shoemaker’s Wife better, but Tiffany Girl was a very easy, quick read about a time in our nation’s history.  I’ve been mainly reading after H has gone to bed or a bit during nap time.

{FOUR}

Popsicles – the obsession continues.  These are AMAZING.  When you’re eating one, you become slightly confused like maybe you’re on some tropical island, and a local just whipped this up for you in the seaside restaurant.  Sounds good, right?

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Seriously, try them if you can.  Dee-licious!

{FIVE}

Cookies – H and I baked cookies for the Mr. and as a treat for the weekend.  As you may remember, the Mr. took 6 flights on Thursday to various locales for work.  We were thinking about him all day, and I thought some cookies might let him know that.

The picture below is terrible.  However, the cookies are very good.  Love this lemon {which I change to lime} crinkle cookie recipe! 

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Yum.

Do you have any favorite “summery” cookie recipes?

Any good summer reads for these last few days?

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Something about a Smoothie

Good Monday morning!  I’m not quite feeling this Monday morning yet, but I’m working on it!  We had a great long weekend thanks go the Mr.’s day off on Friday.  I’ll share more about our weekend later.  Today I wanted to share my new breakfast that I’ve been having each day for just about a week.  I mentioned that I had to pick up a few interesting ingredients from our local Whole Foods for my smoothie creations.  Well, these ingredients are interesting!  IMG_2509

Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

1/2 banana (or a whole depending on taste and desired calorie intake)

Probiotic packet (I’m using up H’s kids while also taking a capsule with water)

1 tbsp. Chia seeds

1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

dash of cinnamon

1/4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. cold water

1 tsp. Royal Jelly

1 tbsp. almond butter

1 heaping tsp. Bee Pollen

1 scoop powdered wheatgrass

add any other fruit you may want **suggestions:  1/4 c. frozen blueberries/other berries, peach, etc.

  1. Be sure to place in blender in this order.  I’ve found it helps to add the wheatgrass last to help it blend better.
  2. Blend for about a minute.  You may want to stop midway to scrape the sides.
  3. Enjoy!

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P.S.  This does taste somewhat like eating a meadow {for lack of a better description!}.  HOWEVER, the taste is not terrible.  It does grow on you.  Be sure to use blueberries if you don’t like seeing the green color.  Remember-IT IS SUPER GOOD FOR YOU!  I confess that I really just wanted my favorite breakfast of oatmeal, almond butter, and strawberry jelly this morning.  I sucked it up and then suck up a smoothie {literally!}.

Below is some reliable information on some of these ingredients.  Be sure to read up and do your research if you decide to try this smoothie out.  My smoothie was adapted from this one.  

Benefits of Wheatgrass from WebMD:

Wheatgrass is a kind of grass. The above-ground parts, roots, and rhizome are used to make medicine. Wheatgrass is primarily used as a concentrated source of nutrients. It contains vitamin Avitamin C, and vitamin E, iron, calciummagnesium, and amino acids.

Wheatgrass is used to treat many conditions, but so far there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support effectiveness for any of these uses.

Wheatgrass is used for increasing production of hemoglobin, the chemical in red bloodcells that carries oxygen; improving blood sugar disorders, such as diabetes; preventing tooth decay; improving wound healing; and preventing bacterial infections.

It is also used for removing deposits of drugs, heavy metals, and cancer-causing agents from the body; and for removing toxins from the liver and blood.

Some people use wheatgrass for preventing gray hair, reducing high blood pressure, improving digestion, and lowering cholesterol by blocking its absorption.

Wheatgrass is also used to treat various disorders of the urinary tract, including infection of the bladder, urethra, and prostate; benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH); kidney stones; and in “irrigation therapy,” the use of a mild diuretic along with lots of fluids to increase urine flow.

Other uses include treatment of respiratory tract complaints, including the common cold, cough, bronchitis, fever, and sore throat; tendency toward infection; gout; liver disorders; ulcerative colitisjoint pain; and chronic skin problems.

Wheatgrass is used for cancer and arthritis in alternative treatment programs. Wheatgrass contains a lot of chlorophyll, the chemical in plants that makes them green and also allows them to make energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Some people think chlorophyll might fight cancer and arthritis.

Benefits of Bee Pollen from WebMD:  

Bee pollen is available at many health food stores. You may find bee pollen in other natural dietary supplements, as well as in skin softening products used for baby’s diaper rash or eczema.

You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholismasthmaallergies, health maintenance, or stomachproblems, but there is no proof that it helps with these conditions. Before you take any natural product for a health condition, check with your doctor.

Bee pollen is also recommended by some herbalists to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.

At this point, medical research has not shown that bee pollen is effective for any of these health concerns.

Benefits of Royal Jelly from WebMD:

Royal jelly is a milky secretion produced by worker honey bees. It typically contains about 60% to 70% water, 12% to 15% proteins, 10% to 16% sugar, 3% to 6% fats, and 2% to 3% vitamins, salts, and amino acids. Its composition varies depending on geography and climate. This product gets its name from the fact that bees use it for the development and nurturing of queen bees. Some people use royal jelly as medicine. Don’t confuse royal jelly with bee pollen or bee venom.

Royal jelly is used for asthmahay feverliver disease, pancreatitissleep troubles (insomnia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures, menopausal symptoms, skin disorders, and high cholesterol. It is also used as a general health tonic, for fighting the effects of aging, and for boosting the immune system.

Some people apply royal jelly directly to the skin as a tonic or to the scalp to encourage hair growth.

Benefits of Chia Seeds from WebMD:

The antioxidant activity of chia seeds is higher than any whole food, even blueberries.  Enjoy chia seeds for their flavor and to boost the fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s in your diet.

Benefits of Coconut Oil from WebMD:

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm. The oil of the nut (fruit) is used to make medicine.

Some coconut oil products are referred to as “virgin” coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, there is no industry standard for the meaning of “virgin” coconut oil. The term has come to mean that the oil is generally unprocessed. For example, virgin coconut oil usually has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined.

Some coconut oil products claim to be “cold pressed” coconut oil. This generally means that a mechanical method of pressing out the oil is used, but without the use of any outside heat source. The high pressure needed to press out the oil generates some heat naturally, but the temperature is controlled so that temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coconut oil is used for diabetesheart diseasechronic fatigueCrohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, energy, and boosting the immune system. Ironically, despite coconut oil’s high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it to lose weight and lower cholesterol.

Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to treat a skin condition called psoriasis.

Happy sipping!

Natalie