9 Hair Care Products You Can Make for Yourself

 9 Hair Care Products You Can Make for Yourself {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer

It’s routine for me now, but when I think about it I realize that I do a lot of DIY’ing. Mostly with kitchen and bathroom items. Sometimes it even feels as if I’m on a personal quest to put certain companies out of business. I mean, that would be a nice side effect in some cases (particularly the companies that malevolently market their junky products to unsuspecting consumers), but that’s not really the primary reason why I do it. 

I do it for one big reason: simplicity. It simplifies my life, my health, and my budget when I DIY products like the ones below. There is a multi-billion dollar industry devoted to making every kind of product imaginable (and then some) for your hair and beauty needs. It’s kind of weird, if you ask me.

They make all kinds of ridiculous claims about what their products can do but when it comes down to it, simple DIY versions can achieve the same end result — and with fewer toxic chemicals and less dollars out of your pocket.

 Case in point: I ditched shampoo and conditioner 10 months ago and currently have the best hair of my life.

I do use natural/organic store-bought products at times (when I can find ones that I actually trust), but I’m a busy woman, and sometimes I just don’t have the time to sort through a bajillion different natural brands to find the one that works well for me. I find that it is often simpler to just DIY it. 

Here are 9 DIY hair care recipes to try:

1. 2-Ingredient DIY Dry Shampoo from Red and Honey

I absolutely adore this simple recipe for dry shampoo. In case you’re not familiar, dry shampoo doesn’t clean your hair; it masks the greasiness until your next wash. I love it because I am a no-poo’er, and only shower and wash my hair about twice a week. (See my posts on How to Stay Clean Without Showering Every Day and No-Poo FAQ’s, Resources, and Tips for more info on that.)

9 Hair Care Products You Can Make for Yourself {KeeperoftheHome.org}

2. DIY Hair Detangler from One Good Thing By Jillee

This is a very basic recipe that uses a store-bought conditioner. If you want to avoid that, try a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
diluted in a small spray bottle of water. That should do the trick too.

3. Coconut Oil Hair Mask from The Crunchy Moose

I love that this post includes advice on how to get the coconut oil out of your hair once you’ve slathered it on. I can imagine it might be sort of tough unless you have a plan!

9 Hair Care Products You Can Make for Yourself {KeeperoftheHome.org}

4. Homemade Hair Gel from Almost Exactly 

This post has two different versions – one that needs to be refrigerated, and one that doesn’t. Both are simple and effective! 

5. Natural Hairspray Recipe from Wellness Mama

Interesting recipe. I love how simple it is, and how much money you can save! Many people are spending $15 or more on a can of hair spray, and I love knowing that they could make this recipe for a tiny fraction of that cost.

6. Homemade Shampoo from Wellness Mama

This shampoo recipe uses one of my favorite smoothie ingredients, and I think it’s brilliant! Judging from the amount of comments on the post, this is one to try for sure if no-poo’ing ever stops working for me.

9 Hair Care Products You Can Make for Yourself {KeeperoftheHome.org}

7. DIY Beach Waves Spray from Empowered Sustenance

This one is sort of similar to the DIY hairspray recipe above, but adapted slightly to give it a more texturizing/volumizing function. 

8. DIY Hair Highlights from Empowered Sustenance

Have you ever used henna to color your hair? This post walks you through it.

9. Moisturizing Hair Treatments from The Humbled Homemaker

This post shares three all-natural DIY ways to do a moisturizing hair treatment. I totally want to try the hot oil one soon.

Which parts of your hair care routine have you DIY’d?

Also check out Stephanie’s post from a few years ago: My Frugal Beauty Routine

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Weekend Links


Links for this week:

Hospitality. But Not The Kind You Are Thinking Of. @ nesting place

When We Are Given More Than We Can Handle @ The Better Mom 

One Pan Chicken Verde Recipe with Rice and Veggies @ Food Renegade

If You Ever Feel Lonely, Read This @ (in)courage 

How to simplify the holidays without feeling like a Scrooge @ The Art of Simple 

Grain Free Caramel Apple Tart @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Lord, Get Me Off This Crazy Brain Train @ Heavenly Homemakers 

35 Things We’d Better Tell Our Sons About Harassment, Assault & “Boys will be Boys” @ A Holy Experience 

It’s nearly Thanksgiving for our readers in the United States! What special dishes do you have planned?

DIY Skin Soothing Salve

 DIY Skin Soothing Salve {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Nina Nelson, Contributing Writer

Living in the Central Oregon high desert, certain things are a given. There’s always, always a week of beautiful spring weather in April that you just can’t get used to because it’s inevitably followed by six weeks of cold. Summer is construction season and any road can be a target, no matter how remote. And as soon as winter hits, the dry climate and cold temperatures mean chapped, irritated skin.

Because I had very sensitive skin, I dealt with it year-round and it came as no surprise that it just got worse in the winter. And it was just something I’d have to deal with.

Turns out, I was wrong.

When I discovered that I could simplify my family’s wellness by using natural remedies, I quickly set out to find something that would soothe my irritated skin. I researched and experimented with all the skin-soothing herbs, carrier oils and essential oils I could get my hands on. And I finally came up with a salve that soothed (and even prevented) my dry, chapped skin.

What’s in the salve

  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral, making it a wonderful base for DIY skincare salves. Coconut oil absorbs quickly, leaving well-moisturized skin without a greasy feel.
  • Calendula: Calendula, or pot marigold, has beautiful orange petals that offer healing and skin-soothing benefits.
  • Lavender essential oil: Lavender essential oil does more than soothe crazy kids before bed. It also soothes irritated skin.
  • Frankincense essential oil: Frankincense is the king of essential oils and can be used for many purposes. One of my favorites is as a skin soother and healer.
  • Tea tree essential oil: As tough as it is on germs around the house, this typical DIY cleaner-additive is surprisingly gentle and soothing to the skin.

(As always, do make certain you use essential oils from a company that tests to make sure they are 100% pure. Some of the fillers/additives/contaminants used in essential oils that aren’t 100% pure can actually make your skin worse.)

Calendula salve is very versatile and easy to make. By adding these essential oils, you can kick the soothing, healing power up quite a few notches.

DIY Skin Soothing Salve


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp calendula petals, tightly packed
  • 1 Tbsp beeswax or candelilla wax
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 7 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil


Turn your oven on to 200 degrees, then turn it off. Put the coconut oil in a small saucepan and turn your stove to medium heat. Once the oil melts, add the calendula petals and stir them together. Turn off the stove and put the pan in the oven. Clean up your mess and go have fun for a few hours.

After 3 to 4 hours, take out the herbs and strain the oil back into your saucepan, being careful to get as much oil as possible in the pan. Turn the stove on to medium heat. Add your wax and stir until it’s melted and well-mixed.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the essential oils.

Pour the oil into a 4 oz. canning jar, screw on the lid and let it cool. Don’t forget to put on a label (I like to put the name, ingredients and date it was made). Store in a cool place.

To use

Apply a pea-size amount to skin in need of soothing and rub in well. To prevent future irritation, apply a small amount before heading outside. Easy peasy. 

If only I could find a natural remedy for the construction and crazy weather … 

Do you have a favorite skin-soothing remedy? What is it?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu + Stress-free Cooking Timeline

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Guest post by Tiffany Crumbs

I’ll be the first to admit — this is the time of year when we typically throw caution out the window. We toss aside “healthy” recipes and reach for the shortening and corn syrup and pre-packaged short-cuts that we’ve always used, all for the sake of tradition.

I’m including myself in this category too. I’ve been craving hot chocolate for WEEKS, and I’m not talking about the healthy kind. I’m wanting the instant hot chocolate, ripped open from a single-serve package with little miniature marshmallows that I’m sure are nothing but artificial sugar. And I want my hot chocolate served next to an overly sweet and sticky cinnamon bun that I used to make before we switched to real food.

Not a healthy combination in the least, but it’s tradition. And who am I to thwart years and years of unhealthy eating and poor dietary habits?

Well folks, I’m a parent. I’m a real foodie who’s also a mom, trying to change the standard for my kids so that they live healthier lives… and I want to do it all without going broke.

Thanksgiving is coming up and tradition says the menu is lined with sugar-filled this and pre-packaged that and all sorts of other foods that are essentially nothing but empty calories. As a real foodie, my insides are screaming!

  • Where are the whole grains?
  • Why is the green bean casserole filled with soy?
  • How did we come to rely on a cranberry side dish that’s made 50% of sugar?!

Fortunately, many real foodies have paved the way for us, experimenting in their own kitchens so we don’t have to. They’ve replicated our favorite dishes that taste the same, if not better, than the processed alternatives we’ve grown up with.

On their own, these dishes are mightily delicious. With very few modifications, they can be frugal too. Considering that the cost of food is ever increasing and salaries aren’t quite following suit, I think it’s fair to say that we could all use a little help when it comes to eating real food on a budget.

With the big festivities rapidly approaching, I’d like to share with you a Thanksgiving menu that’s just a tad bit different than the usual menu, but just as delicious nonetheless. There’s still the turkey and the gravy of course, but we’ve done away with the processed ingredients and sugar-laden dishes.

There’s nothing fake or from a can, and it’s all really, really scrumptious! In fact, I’m willing to bet that you just might find a new family favorite… even among the die-hard hot cocoa with fake marshmallow fans in the family.

BONUS! This Thanksgiving menu and a corresponding shopping list is available as a FREE download HERE. To help you make this Thanksgiving even easier, it also includes a detailed timeline action plan so you can get more done with less stress! Be sure to download it today so you are fully prepared to shop, prep and enjoy your holiday stress-free!

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu

Brined and Oven-Roasted Turkey

This classic recipe inspired by Alton Brown is a favorite in our family. A quick overnight brine leads to a super-juicy bird that even the novice cook can’t ruin. To make it real-food friendly, make these easy and frugal substitutions:

  • Substitute 1/2 cup maple syrup for 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  • Use homemade chicken stock or water for vegetable stock.
  • Substitute 1 teaspoonground allspice for 1 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries.
  • Substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger for the 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped candied ginger.
  • Use melted butter in place of canola oil.

Tip: Allspice can be made using cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Get the exact recipe HERE, along with 24 other simple food substitutions that will save you money!

Cost Breakdown

Not including the cost of the turkey (which will vary), this recipe can likely be made with what you already have on hand and cost less than $1.50.

Other Real Food Options: Savory apple citrus brine, simple salt and aromatics brine or mandarin-roasted turkey.

Classic Make-Ahead Gravy

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the gravy, but this make-ahead recipe means you can enjoy the deliciousness of homemade gravy without standing over a hot bird at the last minute. Be sure to make the following changes to the recipe to keep it easy, and real food friendly:

  • Use homemade chicken stock.
  • Toss vegetables with olive oil in place of cooking spray.
  • Don’t skip the fresh herbs since you’ll be able to use them in other recipes.

Cost Breakdown

Even if you don’t have the staples of celery, carrots and onions on hand, this simple recipe should cost no more than $1 to make. Much more affordable than the canned variety!

Other Real Food Options: Roasted garlic gravy and pan-drippings gravy.

Autumn Rice Pilaf (GF, V, DF option)

Whether it’s sausage, clam or classic, every family has their favorite stuffing. We’re taking a different route this year with this delicious autumn rice pilaf instead of the usual stuffing. Not only is it naturally gluten-free, but it can be made ahead of time and tailored to whatever items I happen to have on hand at the time.

Cost Breakdown

This entire recipe can be made for less than $3, and that’s if you had nothing in the pantry. But I’m guessing you have rice, some sort of leafy green, some onion, cinnamon and probably a nut of sorts, right? If that’s the case, consider this one in the bag, because that’s pretty much all you need!

Other Real Food Options: Savory herb stuffing (GF), cranberry and sausage cornbread stuffing and sprouted whole wheat stuffing.

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Sweet Potato Casserole (GF, DF)

I’m a candied sweet potato girl myself, and this casserole that has been modified to fit the real food rules is exactly what I want to see at my own Thanksgiving table. It’s naturally gluten-free, and can easily be made dairy-free, but without a traditional nut topping, it’s also suitable for those with nut allergies.

Cost Breakdown

As written, this recipe costs roughly $3. A few substitutions can trim a dollar or two, but it really depends on what you have in the pantry and your dietary needs. Those who don’t have nut allergies can easily swap pecans for part of the toasted coconut, and those who don’t have dairy allergies can use butter in place of coconut oil.

Other Real Food Options: Light and fluffy mashed potatoes, honey cinnamon roasted butternut squash and root vegetable saute.

Green Bean Casserole (GF)

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for Green Bean Casserole. While my mom made it with canned cream of mushroom soup, this version is 100% from scratch, 100% real food and doesn’t lack one bit in taste. As a bonus, it’s gluten-free … including the homemade French fried onions!

Cost Breakdown

This recipe runs roughly $2.50 when you include the fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms and healthy fat. Although when you think about it, the traditional version that uses canned cream of mushroom soup and canned green beans will run you at least that much, so this recipe is truly a win-win!

Other Real Food Options: Skillet Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots and stuffed mushrooms.

The Very Best Cranberry Sauce (GF, DF)

I have a tendency to make WAY too much cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. What seems to be a side dish in my eyes is really a relish, a condiment to the turkey and stuffing. With that said, you’ll want to make this entire recipe anyway, even if it’s supposed to serve 10 people. There’s nothing better than leftover turkey with leftover sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce on the side in my opinion, so the more the merrier!

Cost Breakdown

Everything remotely related to cranberries and apples is in season, so this is easily an affordable dish. Use whatever honey you have on hand and ground cinnamon for the whole stick and you can easily make this dish for less than $3, too.

Other Real Food Options: Fresh cranberry sauce, cranberry orange relish with ginger and nuts and cultured cranberry sauce.

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Say bye-bye to store-bought rolls and say hello to these light and fluffy puffs of deliciousness that will soon grace every holiday menu. Made with whole grains and naturally sweetened with honey, guests will never guess that these rolls were not from the store.

Cost Breakdown

When made with whole wheat, these rolls cost less than $4, which happens to be less than the traditional Hawaiian dinner roll served at Thanksgiving. Think these don’t measure up? Make a double batch and I dare you to not eat two!

Other Real Food Options: Mini garlic chive muffins (GF, DF, EF), whole-grain rolls (GF),easy dinner biscuits and rosemary olive oil bread.

Pumpkin Pie

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without dessert, and the classic recipe must go to the beautiful orange squash, pumpkin. Did you know you can make your own pumpkin puree in the slow cooker? Definitely a must-do if you’re looking to keep costs down. The best part is that you can’t taste the difference!

Cost Breakdown

The most expensive part of pumpkin pie is the pumpkin itself, so you if you can find a baking pumpkin for $2.50 or less, you’re best of making it 100% from scratch. On the other hand, if you can find canned pumpkin for $1 per 15 ounces, snag one (or two) and you’ll be making this dessert for less than $2.

Other Real Food Options: Pumpkin pie panna cotta (GF, DF, EF), apple oatmeal bars (GF, DF option) and maple pecan pie.

The Bottom Line

You’d think that since there’s so much food at the table, Thanksgiving dinner is going to be expensive. Quite the contrary my friends! You can feed a full table all of these delicious dishes for less than $20. Of course, this doesn’t include the turkey itself since that will vary from region to region, but even turkeys are on average $1 per pound. Add that all up and you’re feeding a table of 12 for less than $35 — 40% less than the national average in 2013. Not too shabby given you’re providing wholesome, nourishing food to your table!

Frugal Real Food Thanksgiving Menu {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Thanksgiving Day Stress-free Cooking Timeline

Last year I was in such a frenzy trying to get my portion of Thanksgiving dinner ready on time that I nearly forgot to take a shower! With so many dishes going at one, it’s tricky to time it all so that everything is ready and hot at the same time.

Hopefully this simple timeline will help eliminate some of day-of stress and flurry. It’s written according to the recipes above, but you can substitute with the items on your own menu and tailor to fit your family’s schedule.

Earlier in the Week

  • Thaw the turkey.
  • Print out all the recipes and make notes of how long each takes to complete.
  • Use the shopping list and double check your pantry for all ingredients, including condiments like butter, salt and pepper, and shop for last minute items if needed.
  • Wash all vegetables with an all-natural produce wash. Peel chop and prep all vegetables that will be cooked.
  • Prepare meals that can be made ahead of time, like the cranberry sauce, make-ahead gravy and desserts.
  • Clean the house in 2 hours or less.

Night Before

  • Brine the turkey.
  • Wash all dishes and empty the dishwasher.
  • Set the table for dinner.
  • Set aside plates and utensils for dessert.
  • Set out serving ware for dinner and dessert.
  • Do a quick pick-up of the house, picking up items that don’t belong and hiding them (yes, hiding them!) out of sight for the big day.
  • Divide recipe cards into hot dishes and cold dishes.
  • Organize hot dishes by time it takes to complete, putting the longest ones first.

Thanksgiving Day

  • Prepare the turkey.
  • Bring dishes that you’ve already prepared to room temperature, if needed.
  • Set out appetizers.
  • Prepare side dishes, completing the ones that can be served room temperature or cold, first.
  • Double check condiments for the table.
  • When the turkey is pulled to rest, place all hot dishes in the oven to warm before serving.

Find even more tips for a stress-free Thanksgiving HERE.

DON’T FORGET! This FREE step-by-step guide for preparing for the big day is designed to help you get more done with less stress. The guide includes the above real food menu, a complete shopping list and a detailed timeline action – already written out for you! Download it for free HERE, and then tape it to a kitchen cabinet the week of Thanksgiving so you always know where it is!

Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions — food or stress-free tips — to share? Leave them in the comments!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products

Real Deals: This Week's Sales and Discounts on Natural Products for the week of 11/18

This week’s top deals:


Just a reminder that this Blendtec holiday promo expires December 1, 2014 and is only available while supplies last.

Lowest Prices Ever!  Certified Refurbished Blendtec Blenders an additional $30 Off + FREE Shipping.  They have also just introduced a new FourSide refurbished blender package at the low price of $229.95 (regularly $259.95) good during the Holiday Promo.  This new package is the same as their old Certified Refurbished Total Blender Classic, but comes with a FourSide Jar rather than a WildSide + Jar at a $20 lower price.  While Supplies last!


Just $5.00  A SIMPLER SEASON is on sale until November 23, 2014 at the LifeasMOM estore
A guide to planning the winter holidays, Simpler Season provides creative ideas , time-saving tips, and budget-minded inspiration for making the most of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  Recipes, to-do lists, children’s activity sheets, planning pages, gift ideas, and step-by-step tutorials for creating homemade gifts. 

25% Off! Mountain Rose Herbs has several books on sale right now.

Here are a couple that look interesting (though there are several others on essential oils, herbal home remedies, natural dyes, natural skin and hair care, etc.):


Regular $24.95 On sale for $18.71  Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (click the Specials tab near the top right)


Regular $30.95 On Sale for $23.21 The Way of Chinese Herbs(click the Specials tab near the top right)

Also on sale at Mountain Rose Herbs:cork_top_bottles-product_1x-1403631126

Just click their Specials tab for all these and more!


As low as $6.28/ 16 oz bottle McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract-16 oz. is on sale for $7.98.  Save $0.50 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in). Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.


List price $59.95 On Sale $39.95 Deluxe LED Fogless Shower Mirror with Squeegee by ToiletTree Products. Guaranteed Not to Fog, Designed Not to Fall. 20% Larger Than Our #1 Selling Original Mirror.  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.


List Price $69.99 On Sale $49.99   P’Kolino Little Reader Chair, Orange  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.  


List Price $49.99 On Sale for $35.99 Ticket To Ride.  Our family loves this board game!  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

frozen trouble

List Price $16.99  On Sale for $12.74  Frozen Olaf’s in Trouble Game. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.


List Price $28.99 On Sale $24.21  Plan Toy Tea Set (Solid Wood Version) Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. 

3 bears

Just $30  Goldilocks and the Three Bears Toy House and Storybook  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.   


List Price $14.99 On Sale $10.24  Lowest Price to-Date!  Bananagrams  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.


List Price $20.14 On Sale for $12.26 Amco Dial-A-Slice Adjustable Apple Corer and Slicer  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. (Stephanie’s note: We have one of these and use it constantly – my kids are pros at slicing apples with it!)


Just $9.03  Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (Giant Golden Book)  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.


List Price $156.00 On Sale $89.03 KRUPS FL700 Electric Kettle with Incorporated Tea Infuser and Temperature Settings, Silver  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. 

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

ultimate christmas party

The Ultimate Christmas Party: How to host amazing holiday gatherings on any budget [Kindle Edition]


 21 Christmas Crafts for Kids: Holiday Kids Crafts and Decorations [Kindle Edition]

busy girl

The Busy Girl’s Guide to Speed Cleaning and Organizing: Clean and Declutter Your Home in 30 Minutes  [Kindle Edition]


Simplify Your Parenting: The 5 simple keys to being a great parent and raising great kids [Kindle Edition]

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1:


Cooking With Herbs: The Essential Recipe Collection & Guide to Cooking Delicious Meals with Herbs- 30 Amazing Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner [Kindle Edition]

(Note: Prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

This week’s best coupons:

Real Deals: This Week's Sales and Discounts on Natural Products for the week of 11/18

Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Want to get these deals in your inbox each week?

Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Read this.

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Here are practical ideas to get rid of the frazzle and return a sense of peace to your very full life {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Kresha Faber, Contributing Writer

Just a quick note before we begin: I purposely didn’t title this post “5 Ways to Fight Overwhelm” or “5 Tips to Living More Simply” because while the five items listed below are the five things *I* remind myself of when I get into overwhelm mode, I know you wise mamas have lots of tried-and-true ways of making life feel less crazed and more meaningful as well. So please share with all of us in the comments what YOU do to maintain sanity when life gets stuffed to the brim and overflowing.

Please share how YOU deal with overwhelm and busyness below!

When was the last time you cried yourself to sleep (or couldn’t sleep at all)?

Or how about snapping at your kids just because they spilled their peas during lunch?

What about feeling actual physical stress because dinnertime is coming (do you all really have to eat AGAIN? – seriously!) and you hope you can come up with something that takes less than 10 minutes.

If you’re like me, it’s these little emotional responses that are my barometer to when I’ve crossed the line — that line from normal-healthy-mama who can go with the flow to grizzly-bear-mama who has so many balls in the air to keep track of and manage that if One Little Thing goes wrong, all the claws come out and my stress level goes through the roof.

Not a fun way to live.

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

And at this time of year, when kids have headed back to school, when we deal with all of those school-time breakfasts and lunches and school activities, when we begin heading into the ever-busy holiday season and life just seems to be fuller, it’s especially important to know how to create space for remaining sane and joyful.

So, how do we decompress in the everyday and – more importantly – make our lives simpler and considerably less frazzled (even with all the busyness)?

With that in mind, here are five essential aspects to moving yourself from frazzled, heavy overwhelm to a sense of purposeful joy. This is the list I personally return to each time I find myself acting like a grumpy green eyed monster.

Now, two very important notes here….

1. This post does not deal with psychological issues that can cause mental and emotional overwhelm, such as clinical depression.

If you suspect you are dealing with a larger issue, seek help from someone you trust. And find someone to give you a bear-hug daily. I’m sending you one virtually, but that’s no substitute for the real thing.

2. This post is not a how-to article on how to get more organized, how to get rid of clutter, or other similar how-to tutorials (as lovely as those are).

This article is specifically geared toward helping you step back, reflect, and identify what’s important to YOU, your family, and your community. Because, really, once you see clearly and identify what’s really important to YOU, all the rest – the healthy eating, the exercise, the organization, and the clean house – all falls into place, whatever that proper place is in YOUR life.

 Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

1. Do something every day that brings you joy — and take every opportunity to laugh.

Laughing, singing, reading, exercising, talking to a friend or loved one, or just doing something you genuinely enjoy all increase the level of endorphins in your body and allow the body to destress. Thus, laughing, connecting, and finding deep enjoyment not only are important mentally but physiologically - they not only allow a breather from the stress of the day, but those pleasant, endorphin-creating activities allow the body to actually begin to heal from the stress.

Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship even suggests laughter can be used as a sugar replacement! (Her article is seriously fun – definitely give it a read when you’re finished with this one. :) )

Finding opportunity to laugh everyday is also just an important habit to cultivate. No matter what life brings, laughter can be the levity that carries you through.

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

As the man who traveled the world wearing a pink tutu to help his wife heal from cancer said:

“Oddly enough, [my wife's] cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing — no, the only thing — we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.”

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

2. Prioritize – and then be okay with letting what’s not at the top of the priority list fade into the background.

Our plates are full. Meaning filled to the brim, packed down, and still spilling over the edges kind of full.

But our time and energy are finite. So whenever you choose one activity, you are automatically giving it precedence over another one.

Think about it: the next time you’re asked to write all the fundraising letters for the PTA at your child’s school, stop to reflect on the fact that that will inevitably take afternoons and evenings of your time. Is that the best use of your time at this point in your life or would those hours be better spent cuddling with your kiddos on the couch, connecting with your husband, or even writing letters to friends you haven’t connected with in a long time?

If the PTA option really is what you would like to be your priority, then bless you and go for it. But if not, then by all means feel free to say no, even if there is great pressure for you to say yes. (“You’re the only one.” “But you’re so good at it.” “You did it last year and we so appreciated it.”)

Also, sometimes the requirements on our time come from within ourselves – such as when we’ve said yes to too many activities (even if they’re all good ones) and we have yet to follow through. But sometimes they come from outside ourselves – such as when we’re caring for an ailing family member. Either way, we still have to balance all the of things on our shoulders.

Examining and identifying your priorities is both the easiest and the hardest step to regaining joy in your life. It’s easy because in the grand scale, we know what’s important to us, so it’s simple to give priority to those things. For example, “family” is important, so we give family activities precedence.

However, it can also be excruciatingly difficult because at a more specific level, priorities can get a bit more muddled and we also often feel great pressure from others for what we perceive should be our priorities.

For example, while “family” is priority, does that mean eating dinner together every night is our priority? Attending every soccer game of every child? Keeping your house clean to the extent where you’re happy with it versus your mother/sister/neighbor’s version of clean?

It’s also difficult because many of the activities and responsibilities that fill our life are GOOD things, like volunteering to help out at a task day at the church or leading Girl Scouts. These are even important things as we invest ourselves in the lives of our community. But when we’ve crossed the line into crushing Overwhelmville, we have to examine EVERYTHING in our lives and choose our priorities.

What I find especially helpful to remember when sorting through my priorities is that just because I say “no” now to something, doesn’t always mean that it will be a “no” forever. Life is full of seasons. What may need to be a “no” now may be able to be a resounding “YES!” later.

Here’s an illustration about finding our true priorities: Sean Croxton, author of The Dark Side of Fat Loss, told this story about a woman he was coaching regarding weight loss:

“This woman — we’ll call her Sarah — had been trying to lose 20 pounds since the Reagan Administration. She jumped from diet to diet, trainer to trainer, practitioner to practitioner.

In the end, self-sabotage reared its ugly head and she found herself back at square one (or worse).

I asked Sarah about the things she valued most in life, what she considered of utmost importance.

With a little bit of coaching, she rattled off things like taking care of her family, traveling, contributing to her church, spending time with her friends, and excelling in her career.

After about 20 minutes of coming up with a solid list of her highest values, I asked her if she found it interesting that a certain something was missing from her list. And that’s when she shouted…


Yup, for two decades Sarah had been setting a goal that was out of alignment with her highest values.

In the grand scheme of things, getting healthy and losing weight just weren’t that important to her.  And when that happens, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find yourself in Self Sabotage City. Sarah knew the place well.

Her goal of “getting skinny” was more about the values society had imposed upon her, not really her own.”

What’s especially important to note here is that what will help you regain deep joy is not just knowing which activities you should give priority to, but knowing that you need to be truly content with letting the ones that don’t have priority fade into the background and even disappear.

These can be activities, relationships, lifestyle habits (such as sleep or exercise), or even food choices. (Yes, you read that right. If the way you’re doing real food is stressing you out, reconsider the relationship. You have my blessing.)

Example #1 – How to Redefine Priorities

You feel like you spend a lot of time cleaning and you feel stress if your house is not clean. Why?

Is it because you’re worried what a neighbor might think if they knocked on your door unexpectedly? Is it because you yourself can’t think straight if there’s clutter? Is it because you then feel like an unworthy mother who isn’t successfully teaching her children to take care of their belongings? Is it because your husband gets stressed when there’s clutter?

Each of these can define a different priority for your time and energy when it comes to cleaning your house.

Example #2 – How to Redefine Priorities

You feel stressed every night to get dinner on the table and then cleaned up. Again, let’s look closer.

Do you choose to cook from scratch because you enjoy it or because you believe it’s the healthiest way to feed your family (or both)? Do you cook from scratch because it’s important to your husband but it doesn’t really matter to you? Is the stressful part the time it takes to cook each meal or is the stressful part the planning what you’re going to make? Or for that matter, the clean up? Do you cook homemade meals because you feel that’s what “expected” of you and you’d be embarrassed for ladies at your church to find out that you don’t always make “from scratch” meals?

Again, according to your answers, how you get dinner on the table each night and what you serve might change according to YOUR priorities.

When we can see the ROOTS behind our actions, our motivations, and our stresses, it’s easier to decide whether the activity is important to include in our lives – and if it is, how we can best minimize the stress we feel.

This is what causes me stress when I sit to work through these steps in my own life – it’s absolutely downright difficult – sometimes even painful! – to see something in my life that I realize I need to be okay to let it go. (I’ll refrain from singing any Frozen songs – I promise.)

Stephanie recently wrote an absolutely beautiful description of this called “the little no.” Absolutely read it. It will feed you and fill you.

Also, just a side note: STOP comparing yourself to other moms! (Here’s why.) This is not only a one-way street to Stressville, but it breeds discontent, which pervades your mind and spirit, and doesn’t allow you to nurture and focus on whatever it is that YOU do so well. I struggle with this one big-time and I find that the more I let myself dwell on other people’s successes, the less work I can actually get done on my own tasks, which then makes me feel even more discontented at my lack of “success.” Ironic, isn’t it?

So, how do you say “no”?

Saying no can be as simple as: “I’d really love to participate, but I’m over-committed at this point and I know I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Thank you so much for thinking of me!”

If you’d like, you can include contact info for someone else you think might do a bang-up job on the request or send along some other helpful information with your gracious “no” (the templates you used last year for writing all those PTA letters, for example, so that the person who does take the job has a ready-to-go framework).

Beyond that, there’s no need to explain your reasons, apologize, or offer to do it later – just decline graciously, take a deep breath, and let it go.

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

3. Find a quiet place, go there daily, and just breathe.

Creating a quiet space for yourself even just for a few minutes a day can provide needed respite, clarity of mind, and a sense of renewed energy to accomplish the day’s tasks. Curl up and just be still or go for a walk in natural surroundings. (And of course, be sure to turn off all media.)

As a side note, if you’re a mom of young children and they don’t “get” the whole quiet-time-alone thing, here’s a tip: I remember one writer over at Passionate Homemaking writing years ago that when she would sit down in the afternoons for a bit of quiet, she would light a candle as a signal to her children so they would know when Mommy’s time alone was up. I thought that a wonderfully concrete image for young minds. She also describes the quiet time bins she provides for her children to keep them occupied.

It’s also helpful in this quiet space to cultivate thankgiving. Not only are we instructed to do this by numerous writers in the Bible, but I find this makes naming priorities easier and easier over time, because as you find yourself thanking God for the good things, the challenges, and the grace to sustain you through stressful periods, slowly you hear yourself talking about / praying about what is really important to you and what you long for.

Also, through times of quiet, we slowly get a glimpse of the fears that drive us – and not in the good way. Personally, I’m terrified people won’t respect my intellect, but by naming that fear and seeing it, I can more easily recognize the times when I agree to take on a task or even create a task just to prove that I’m smart and capable. It doesn’t end the compulsion, but it does help me recognize when I’m about to agree to a task under the guise of being “helpful,” when really it’s not a task I would enjoy and my main motivation is proving my intellectual worth. Not exactly a recipe for REDUCING stress. :)

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

4. Lean on family

I know not everyone has this option, but if at all possible, connect with family members and lean on them as much as possible.

Connect: Curl up to read with your daughter, take a half-hour break from all the to-do lists and have a glass of wine with your husband, or linger over dinner with your whole family even when other tasks are screaming for your attention.

Lean on: Ask your older children to take on tasks in the household to relieve your load, ask extended family members if they’d be able and willing to take care of your children once or twice a week, or discuss with your husband ways he can help you shoulder the load through an extra-busy season.

Are you tired? Overwhelmed? Come re-discover how to thrive! {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

5. Remember that YOU are precious and that you have gifts to give to the world that are uniquely yours.

Now, I know that this sounds a bit shallow — or at best, cliché — but it’s true in a profound way.

You ARE precious — not in the newborn baby, “Oh, isn’t she precious?!?” sort of way, but in the “You are a treasure worth more than all the riches in the world” kind of precious. You have been created for a purpose, with a purpose, and in the times of exhaustion and overwhelm, it is INCREDIBLY easy to lose sight of that.

So, even if it’s hard to believe it when you feel like you’re barely holding yourself together with some sort of metaphorical super-glue, just hold on to that little thought. Cherish it in your alone times, remember it when you’re frustrated, and cling to it when you feel like you’re drowning.

You ARE precious. Your very presence here in the midst of your family, co-workers, friends, and community makes the world a better place, even on the bad days, so rest in the promise that “He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (did you hear that? even better and more than the best you can imagine!) and who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

Let me end with two little stories.

Did you know that many of the grand cathedrals in Europe took hundreds of years to build? Think of the shivers and goosebumps you get when you stand in such places! Can you image what it must have been like to be the designer or the ones who built the foundation knowing that you would never see the final building – the end of all your work?

And what about many of the great artists and composers? So many have died thinking they had been failures and not knowing the blessing their music and art would provide for hundreds of years.

It’s the same with us. We work, we strive, we dream, we pour ourselves out until we are beyond empty. But in all this, remember two things:

1. You may not see the purpose behind all your striving, but God has a plan, even when seems like all your striving is empty, so know that your work is not meaningless.

2. You are precious and you were made to thrive, not just scrape by through each day, so refresh and renew yourself as often as you are able and remember this manifesto:

Hope for Busy, Tired, Stressed, Overwhelmed Mamas Everywhere

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Want more tips for making life less frazzled? Read Why “The Simple Life” is Rarely Simple and How to Make “The Simple Life” Simpler (and More Joy-Filled).

How about some comforty-cozy drinks while you curl up? Some of my favorites are tea, black coffee, Honey Caramel Apple Cider, a homemade Salted Caramel Mocha, a Slow Cooker Gingerbread Latte, cozy Chai, or occasionally, Glögg (Swedish mulled wine done right :) )


Weekend Links


Links for this week:

Thanksgiving Meal Plans for 5 Special Diets @ Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS

Take time for non-work things @ Life Your Way 

The BEST Grain Free Apple Pie! @ Life Made Full

On Practicing True Hospitality @ (in)courage 

Grace for Your Disappointing Birthing Experience @ Red and Honey 

Two Potato Scallop @ Garnish & Glaze

The Importance of Moving From Applause to Participation @ Becoming Minimalist 

How to Get Over Cliques & Get Real Community @ A Holy Experience 

What’s the weather like where you are? How do you stay warm (or cool for our friends in the southern hemisphere!) this time of year?

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free)

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free) {KeeperoftheHome.org}By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

Mmm, pumpkin donuts! The aroma of sweet pumpkin pie spices filling the air with subtle maple syrup undertones is enough to wake even the sleepiest sleepy heads in our home. Combine these irresistible fall treats with a side of crispy bacon sizzling in a pan and I can guarantee you there will be a stampede making its way to the breakfast table!

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

While it’s not everyday that we enjoy donuts for breakfast, there’s no reason to feel guilty about enjoying these treats on occasion since they are made using pure whole food ingredients.

In fact, this scrumptious recipe is a newfound fall favorite tradition in our home. They’re so good, I’ve included them on this year’s Thanksgiving Holiday MenuSince Thanksgiving Day is all about being grateful to God for His abundant blessings, these tasty little pumpkin donuts will certainly be a delicious prelude to a day filled with lots to be thankful for!

I love it when we can create wonderful family traditions centered on healthier foods with thanksgiving to God! And should these donuts grace your table this wonderful holiday season, I hope they bring a big smile to your family’s faces too!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free)
Donut Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup pure coconut milk
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
Maple Glaze Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon palm shortening (or butter, if not dairy-free)
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 6-cavity donut pan with palm shortening or coconut oil; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the blanched almond flour, spices, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla and coconut flour until well combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and use a spoon to throughly combine. Then, carefully spoon the donut batter into the prepared donut pan until just shy of the fill line. Use your finger or back of spoon to even out the top of the batter.
  5. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until donut springs back when touched.
  6. While donuts are baking, in a small saucepan, whisk together the Maple Glaze ingredients over low heat until melted and well combined. Remove saucepan from heat; set aside to cool while donuts are baking.
  7. When donuts are finished baking, remove from oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Then turn out onto a clean dish towel (or countertop) and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  8. Once donuts are cool to touch, dip top of each donut into the maple glaze and turn in a circular motion to allow excess glaze to run off. Then place on a wire rack to allow glaze to set – if you can wait that long! YUM!

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Donuts (Grain-Free, Dairy-Free) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Looking for even more delightful pumpkin recipes? Then, be sure to check out our delicious post, “Celebrate Fall with 35 Favorite GF Pumpkin Recipes.”

What are some of your favorite fall traditions?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

PlanToEat-150x150This post is sponsored by Plan To Eat. If you know you need to make strides towards regular meal planning and you’re looking for a tool to make it easier, I highly recommend you check out Plan To Eat’s virtual tour. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how it works and then take advantage of their Black Friday sale at the end of November to get 50% off your subscription! Plan To Eat was born from a desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together.

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products

Real Deals: This Week's Sales and Discounts on Natural Products for the Week of 11/11

This week’s top deals:


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Stephanie’s note: Our family made a commitment a while back to only buy fair-trade chocolate. Sometimes, the options get a little boring. When we tried a selection from Take a Fancy, we were back to chocolate heaven. Soooo good.


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Kick Chemicals To The Curb!: How To Make Natural, Healthy Cleaners For Your Home 

Creative crafting (52 Brilliant Ideas) 

Organize Yourself Starting Today! 63 Effective Strategies that Actually Work and Help You Immediately Take Control of Your Life, Your Mind and Your Future

Do Herbal Antibiotics and Antivirals Actually Work? The Truth About How to Naturally Heal and Protect Yourself with the Use of Herbal Remedies

This week’s best coupons:

Real Deals: This Week's Sales and Discounts on Natural Products for the Week of 11/11

Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

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Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

How to Make Your Own Furniture Polish

How to Make Your Own Furniture Polish {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer

Always one to look for safe and simple ways to clean my home, I was really excited to finally discover a homemade recipe for furniture polish.

For years I had used aerosol dusting sprays, simply because it was the way I had been taught to dust. Only after I started making healthier choices and greening my cleaning did I search for a recipe for homemade furniture polish.

What I found and tweaked is so.very.simple. Really.

As you start preparing for holiday get-togethers this year, try this homemade furniture polish. It takes just a moment to whip up and is completely natural. Chances are you’ll never be tempted to go back to manufactured sprays!

How to Make Your Own Furniture Polish {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Homemade furniture polish


1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar


Squeeze half of a lemon into a small bowl. Add olive oil and a splash of white vinegar.

Whisk the three ingredients together.

Rub the polish on wooden furniture with a soft dusting cloth.

To avoid an oily surface, really rub the polish into the wood. You may want to wait a few hours for any oiliness to absorb before putting objects on top of the polished wood.

What do you prefer use as a safe furniture polish?