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Category Archives: Getting Healthy

Bath Recipes

I almost called this School in the Tub.

Because that’s what we did. Until the book fell into the water. Don’t worry, it’s all dry – now.

bathrecipes KimberlyA.Vogel

My daughter has a skin condition. When it flares up, lotion usually does the trick. Not this time. We had to resort to long soaks in the tub. To keep her occupied, I sat with her and read books. I tried to have her read to me, but the book was heavy and it crept lower and lower until it got wet. That was today, let’s back up to last night.

Our night started like this:

“Mom, I have tell you something, but I don’t want to because you’ll make me go to the doctor. It’s my skin condition. I have blisters. But I don’t want you to see.”

What she doesn’t know is that I’ve researched the skin condition more than what’s needed. I’ve seen the pictures. I know the possibilities. She has a very mild form. VERY mild. So mild, most people don’t even know about it. So mild, I’ve never showed her pictures and probably won’t tell her the full name so she won’t google it. When I heard she had blisters, the worst images popped into my head. The worst. Panic crept up my throat and my stomach dropped to my toes.

In the middle of facebook-messaging my friend, I asked her to pray. She gave me words of Jesus to keep me sane.

I asked my daughter to please show me.

She refused.

I demanded.

She refused.

Why? It’s her body. She’s at that age. She didn’t want to go to the doctor or use a lotion that would burn.

I don’t blame her.

But I had to make sure she’s OK.

So I brought Daddy into the picture. Or the idea of him.

“We can go in my room or your room. You can show me or you can show me and Daddy.”

I gave her choices so the element of control would be back in her hands.

She refused.

I repeated my request in a not-gonna-budge tone.

“Ok. Your room with JUST you.”

She sat on the bed with me. I gently looked. And started breathing. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t that bad.

“How long has it been like this?”

“A loooong time. Since I’ve been my age.”  (Ok. That’s almost a year. After more questions I found out it’s only been since the new year. Whew.)

Two months. Two months she’s suffered in silence.

I quickly found the oatmeal bath packet she received from her skin camp. Because it was from camp, she readily agreed to use it. 10:30 at night, I’m running her bath water. I haven’t run a child’s bath water in years. I let her roll up her pants to use her feet to swish it around.

She let me sit with her and read to her. We bonded over an oatmeal soak and books.

Today she asked for another soak. I was invited to sit with her. This time she needed to soak for 40 minutes. I was invited. We did schoolwork. In the tub.

My thoughts wandered to how blessed we are. She can wear clothes that don’t irritate her skin. She doesn’t have to sit in uncomfortable seats all. day. long. If she wants a bath at 10 am or 10 pm, we can do it. It doesn’t keep her home from learning. She can rest when she feels bad. Lotion when she needs it. And mom can stop class to google “bath recipes” when we run out of oatmeal bath packets. And what better lesson than make your own bath remedies?

Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal has anti-itch properties. (Scientific term: avenanthramides) To make your own oatmeal powder, just put some non-instant oats in a blender. When it’s powdery, it’s ready!

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom Salt is high in magnesium and draws toxins from your body. It also softens the skin. Many athletes use this to loosen tight muscles.

Baking Soda Bath

Baking Soda soothes dry, itchy skin. It also detoxes and has alkalinizing properties. Great for allergic reactions.

Essential oils

Adding Essential oils brings another level of healing. Find what oil works for your need. (peppermint – refreshing, lavender – relaxing and soothing, Elemi – soothing and skin support)

What are your favorite bath recipes?

Roasting Chickens

Chicken Bone Broth – Part One

There are many benefits to making your own chicken broth.
Not only is it economical, it is very healthy. I’m sure you’ve heard the old wives tales about chicken soup being good for a cold. There really is fact behind that statement. It’s not just any chicken broth that has healing properties. Chicken BONE broth is the type that heals. I first read about the health benefits at Divine Health. What I want to share with you is how my family makes bone broth. This will be a two part post. Part One tells you how I roast a chicken. Lots of people like to initially cook their chicken in a crock pot. I like the flavor of a roasted chicken better. Not to mention that I roast two chickens at a time and my crock pot barely holds one.

Why do I roast two chickens? Since I started doing this, we don’t buy lunch meat on a regular basis. Two chickens cost me less than $10 (that’s my goal, anyway)  and feeds us for one or two meals and several lunches. I just can’t say that about $10 worth of lunch meat. And have you read the extra ingredients in lunch meat??? Most are not even gluten free! (end rant… back to my two glorious chickens.) As soon as I pull the birds out of the oven, we eat part of one right away as a meal then use the rest of the meat in our lunches over the next few days. After several days if we have some left it becomes a quick meal (TACOS!!!!) or we throw it into the freezer.

Part One: Roasting the chicken

Roasting Chick1

  • Rinse your chicken(s) and remove any innards. (I save them for later.)
  • Place bird(s) in a pot.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give it a good rub with olive oil.
  • This is the part you can add your favorite tastes and make it your own. I personally like onion, celery, and rosemary.
  • I place the breast side down. I feel like it keeps them moist. You can really do it whatever way you want!
  • Put the pot in a preheated (350 degree) oven.
  • Roast the chickens: 20 minutes for each pound of the heaviest bird.
  • When the outside is golden brown, they are ready!

yummm chickens

At this point, I yell the magic words and my whole family comes running. “Chicken Skin!”
Yes… we eat (and thoroughly enjoy) the brown and crispy skin.
We eat most of one chicken for our main meal. Perfect for Sunday lunch after cooking all morning while we’re at church. There’s nothing better than opening the door after church and having the aroma greet you! Makes my mouth water!

Now it’s time to debone the chicken.  It’s not hard, but lots of people think it’s gross. I’ve taught my older kids how to debone the chicken. After you do it a few times, it becomes easy. Don’t let that part keep you from trying this!

Every few weeks we take a break from this and buy lunch meat (gluten free, of course!) to take a break. It only takes about a week before someone asks, “Mom, when are we going to have chicken again?” One of my kids calls it “REAL chicken.” Chicken breasts don’t even cut it for her. She does have a point… with the additives even in lunch meat, it’s not quite so real anymore.

If you have a favorite recipe for roasting your chickens, I would love to hear about it!

One New Thing – Try Again

This week I’m going to try again. I’ve tried before. And failed. Tried again. And failed. Yeah, keep going… try – fail. try – fail. It’s time to try again.

Have you guessed it yet?


This week I’m going to try it a little differently. Last week I met Mark and Cathy Cornelison. You might remember Mark from Biggest Looser Season 13. He spoke at a women’s conference I attended last week. When I stopped by their table to chat, Cathy gave me a very simple, yet profound tip. The area we live in is covered with gorgeous trails. (She gave a specific number, but I didn’t take notes.) Just go for a walk.

Get Up, Get Out, Get Going! (Which was the theme of the conference!)

I think I can do that. Spend some time outside enjoying the beauty around me with the kids on a trail. Wow. That’s doable. That’s my One New Thing this week. What’s yours?

Dime-sized Bite

file0001097164283A dime-sized bite of cracker = three days of sickness.

Welcome to the world of food allergies. In my One New Thing post this week, I told you about having a discouraging week. I have to persevere through my allergies. It’s my race to endure.

Without thinking I picked up the cracker my kids were discussing with their aunt and popped it into my mouth. I thought, it’s only cheese. I know just what happens with cheese and I can handle it! Just one. Just one dime-sized bite. It wasn’t until I was swallowing that I realized the overpowering taste was garlic. GARLIC! My foe. One of my bigger allergies.

For awhile, nothing happened. Then a headache appeared right in the middle of my forehead. It wasn’t too bad and I thought, maybe I’ll be OK this time! Thirty minutes later the headache was in full force. With the headache came the mood swing. By the time we were almost home, I was over-reacting to all situations with my kids. The kids knew I ate something and was right in the middle of a reaction. They knew the drill. They knew to stay away from mom and just give her space. A few hours later I was better, except for the headache that lasted for three days, despite any meds.

What won’t go away is the fear. If a bite the size of a dime can set off that much of a reaction, what would an entire meal laced with my poison  allergies do to me? Why did I react so much? I normally don’t react to this degree. What else in my system is off? I’ve been working with my doctor to regulate my thyroid. It’s off. Again. When it’s off, my system is overloaded. When my system is overloaded… you got it! I react more to my allergies. I know all of that, but it still doesn’t take away my fear.

A few plans needed to be set in place.

  • First, we looked at our calendar. Any plans that would place me in danger with food were re-evaluated.
  • Can I control the food?
  • Can I request special items?
  • Can I bring my own food?
  • Some events were cancelled. One in particular was a difficult decision.
  • Some events will just take extra planning – calls to local restaurants to find one to work with me or extra time around a kitchen so I can cook safe meals.
  • Plans for date nights – find at least one place that will work with my food allergies.
  • Plans for lunch out with friends -Salads are easy, but that means I need to bring my own dressing.
  • Plans for coffee at coffee shops – Once again, I can take my own add-ins – I just have to remember to!

Instead of planning, this week I pouted. Until my pastor read this verse:

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.                                     1 Peter 1: 6 – 9

Now I’m finding joy.

I can make the best of this.

One bite at a time.

One New Thing – Water

One New Thing is back for the New Year!

Last year I began a journey to healthy living. Quite a few changes needed to be made, but I didn’t think I could do everything at once, so One New Thing was born. (Tip: the underlined words in orange will link you to information on a different post!)

This year, many of you have at least one item on your list of Resolutions pertaining to healthy living. I challenge you to follow the One New Thing posts as you strive for your goals.

My One New Thing to start off the year – Water.

I know I don’t stay hydrated enough. Did you know that if you are thirsty, you are already showing signs of dehydration? I didn’t.

I found some interesting facts about water, especially drinking first thing in the morning.

As I start my mornings drinking water, I’ll also fill with the Living Water.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13, 14

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1

What’s your One New Thing?

Recipe Switch-A-Roo Pot-luck Adventure

Tonight I am going to a Pot-luck. My family is excited. Well, some of us are – the ones who can eat anything. I am not one of those. Being the one to cook and not eat is frustrating. Normally I would cook a quick, easy, yummy, cheap meal for the pot luck and just eat something “safe” beforehand. That started changing when I had to think about my daughter’s many food allergies, not just mine. Now that my awareness is growing, I want to bring foods that many people with food issues can eat. I searched the internet for a meal we both could eat. I found one. It would be a bit time-consuming and a tad more expensive, but I was determined. THEN I read the email. NO NUTS. My recipe has almond flour. The other gluten-free flours are safe for my daughter, but not for me. *sigh*

Back to the drawing board.

Then I remembered my own advice, Keep it simple.

So I will.


Lettuce boats!

I roasted a whole chicken for dinner last night. Using the leftover chicken, I chopped it up. I’ll prepare the rest of the ingredients, then heat the chicken and assemble right before we leave.

To assemble:

Romaine lettuce leaves, separated and spread out, with the spine down and the top open – the boat.

Spread meat over the leaves.

Top with sauce: avocado, 1/2 cucumber, tahini – if  you have it, dash of salt

Provide a small bowl of extra toppings: tomato, cucumber, whatever else you want

Make a sign that informs guests: Lettuce boats! Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, paleo

Not only is this one of my family’s favorite recipes, it’s fun to eat too! That’s my Recipe Switch-A-Roo for tonight! I’m still searching for the rest of the recipes on my list!

One New Thing – Kombucha!

In my quest for better health, I started One New Thing a week. This week I’m going to tell you about one of my family’s favorite things.


It sounds like a battle cry and looks like a foreign language. That’s not too far from the truth. When I yell Kombucha, my kids come running. (Except one – she runs the OTHER way, but I’ll tell you why a little later.)

This phenomenon has been in the news lately. A child was recently sent home (almost suspended) for bringing Kombucha in their lunch. It violated the school drug and alcohol policy. Kombucha is often found in the hands of famous stars who probably pay high dollar for a bottle of this popular drink that is one of the “new” health fads.

So… what is it???? It’s a tea. But a very special tea. When you read all of the health benefits, it starts to sound too good to be true, like one of the miracle cure-alls door to door salesmen tried to sell in the early 1900’s before they got booted out-of-town. Unlike those cons, this stuff is for real! This article tells the many facts of WHY you should drink kombucha: but basically it helps anything from digestion issues to depression. Not to mention it’s a detox, cancer prevention, arthritis help, and probiotic.

So where can you get the stuff??? Health food stores carry it for around $2 a bottle. Or you can make your own. And I’m going to tell you how! (Which will save you a whole bunch of money. You’re welcome!)

That cute picture came from HERE. It’s almost how I make my kombucha. Every website with instructions about how to brew your own Kombucha has a different version of the same thing. Look at the recipe and alter it to what fits you. The important things are the starter, sugar, tea (not a herbal one), and the can’t make without it Scooby. Or as my friend loving calls its, “Scabby.” Scooby is the reason my daughter runs away. She thinks it’s too gross. I look at Scooby as a growth of health and wellness. Scooby is the culture. Scooby is the WHY Kombucha is so good for you. Besides that, I can’t really explain the magic of the Scooby – this Mother of health that even grows a baby!

Now for the HOW:

  • Boil 3 cups of water (to remove impurities) for five minutes,
  • Add tea bags to make tea.
  • Let it steep.
  • Add 1 cup sugar and stir until it’s dissolved.
  • Give it time to cool. (If the tea is too hot when you put the Scooby in, the heat will kill it!)
  • In a glass container put the cooled tea/sugar mixture, one cup of starter, and one Scooby.
  • Fill the rest of the container with filtered water.
  • Cover with a towel or linen and secure with a rubber band.
  • Place container in a cool, dark area for fermenting. I stick mine on a top shelf in the pantry.
  • Let it rest and work it’s magic for around 7 days.
  • Taste. If too sweet, let it sit longer. If vinegary, it fermented a day or two too long. Next time, do it a day less.

*I came up with these instructions based on what works for me. I make 3 gallons at a time. The large pot I boil my water in holds 10 cups. I needed to divide the tea between all containers. That is the scientific reason why my recipe call for you to boil the 3 cups of water. (Technically it’s really 9 cups give or take and I add three cups of sugar because I triple the recipe.) Do what works for you.*

Congrats on being patient and waiting for your Kombucha to brew. Now it’s time to harvest! When you see your Scooby, it will be a white/tan color with brown stringy stuff around it. That is what it’s supposed to look like! I peel off the strings – so Scooby will look presentable for the next harvest!

Harvest your Scooby:

  • Take the towel off and gently remove the Scooby. Place in a bowl (non-metal but I couldn’t tell you why, I think they just don’t like metal) with a cup of the Kombucha brew (what I call the starter). The Scooby is thicker than what you put into the brew. Peel off the top. That’s the baby! Now you can make TWO batches!!! I make a batch as I harvest. The tea starts steeping before I get the Kombucha out of the pantry (the fermenting location).
  • Strain the rest of the Kombucha into bottles. I use a mixture of wine and beer bottles, but have also used mason jars. The wine and beer bottles are colored glass. Scientists (my kids) swear that it just tastes better from colored bottles. Either that, or it’s the novelty of drinking from alcoholic bottles. One day they might need therapy for this.
  • Let the bottle sit on the counter for a day or two, then stick in the refrigerator. This part adds a natural carbonation. It reminds my kids of soda! (Maybe a flat soda… but a little fizz does wonders!) This is the stage where many people add fruits to give it some flavor. I tried berries and ginger. My favorite was the ginger!!! My kids enjoy it so much plain, I don’t add fruit to it anymore.
  • Rinse (with water only) the gallon jar you  harvested from and start over!!!!

After a few more rounds, you will have more Scoobies than you need. Place them in a glass jar (I use pint-sized Mason jars) with starter and cover with the lid. Now you have a Scooby Hotel. Add more each time you brew until the jar is full. Be sure to share a Scooby with a friend! When a Scooby becomes discolored (not the brown string stuff but dark colored infected looking spots) or molded. THROW IT OUT and start over! Have fun and do One New Thing for your health!

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