All posts by Emily Donald

I'm a mommy that loves to blog. Follow me to keep up with my journey in making my home a natural environment for me and my family.

Pineapple Vinegar

Get ready to love the smell of your cleaning products!

I love using every part of the food that I’m working with. I use my bones to makes stocks and broths, orange peels become my air freshener and furniture polish, celery leaves go in salad and any scraps go to my animals instead of the garbage.

I’m not telling you so I can pat myself on the back. It’s a segway- trust me.

One thing that I LOVE making with my scraps is vinegar. And my favorite vinegar is pineapple vinegar.

Pineapple vinegar has long been a tradition in the West Indies. It can be used to make curtido (Latin American saurkraut) and also makes a great scented cleaner. I personally mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and get to cleaning. It cleans well, smells amazing, and isn’t harmful if the kids get ahold of it.

Let me cut the chit chat and get to the recipe. I get my recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Nourishing Traditions. If you don’t already own it, I encourage you to get a copy! I omit the whey that is suggested in the book because it is optional and whey hurts my stomach.

Pineapple Vinegar

Skin and core of 1 pineapple

2 quarts filtered water (At least no chlorine. You don’t want the water to kill the good bacteria that is needed to make the vinegar.)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

Place all ingredients in a large glass container and cover with a cheesecloth to keep bugs and bad germs out. Leave on counter for 36 hours. Remove pineapple pieces and strain vinegar into clean jars. Cover tightly. This vinegar will keep for several months if kept in a cool place. Mine has never made it that long!

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!


Placenta Encapsulation: It’s not Weird! It’s Science!

You might have heard of placenta consumption. Whether you have a ryan goslingfriend that has done it, or you have heard of celebrities like January Jones
giving it a try. 
Consumption has been known to be controversial, but many eastern countries and more recently western countries believe it to be restorative. The placenta is the organ that surrounds the growing baby in the womb that nourishes the baby through the umbilical cord. Placenta consumption (placentophagy), which is centuries old, has gained popularity again in the United States in the past decade, mostly in the form of encapsulation. As a Encapsulation Specialist, I have spent the last couple of years learning a great deal about the placenta and had the pleasure of consuming my own with my last child. It was a wonderful experience!

What is Placenta Encapsulation?

Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. It is taken by the mother and it is believed to have a vast amount of health benefits.  It is taken shortly after giving birth and taper off as needed. It can be saved to use later in life; whether is be for menstruation, depression, menopause, etc.

What are Some Benefits?

The placenta is FULL of beneficial hormones and chemicals designed just for your body! Iron, estrogen, oxytocin, testosterone, cortizone, and interferon-just to name a few! While there has been no official scientific study on the benefits of placentophagy (a real shame), traditional study and holistic customs recognize a great deal of advantages that come with encapsulation!

  • It reduces postpartum bleeding at a faster rate.
  • It speeds up recovery. The stimulation of the shrinking uterus is increased.
  • It helps combat postpartum depression, something with which I personally struggled in the past.
  • It is known to increase milk production.
  • It can decrease pain levels shortly after delivery.

Is Encapsulation Safe?

Encapsulation of the placenta has shown to carry no risk if it is taken by the mother that produced it. It is not recommended to take the pills of another mother, as this was not your placenta and not your blood. It also should be noted that capsules need to be refrigerated like any other meat.

The Bottom Line?

There are a number of benefits and very limited risks to placenta encapsulation shown by women all over the world. If you feel like this idea is right for you, call your Midwife, Doula, or OB for more information!


The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children

[The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own research, thoughts and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a health professional so please do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health. You should always do what is right for you.]

A Unique Use for Bentonite


Wow that felt good to get off my chest. My kryptonite is cheese. Yummy raw dairy cheese. Any kind of hard, creamy, or stinky cheese you can imagine-I’m on board. What I’m not a fan of is pre-shredded cheese.


I prefer to buy it by the block. Though it is safe, something about eating cheese dusted with bleached, chemically produced wood pulp (also known as cellulose) is weird to me. While this is a “fiber”, there are no nutritional benefits from it.

I do miss the convenience, though, of just opening a bag and pouring the cheese into whatever dish I am cooking. But in case you haven’t noticed, grating a bunch at one time and then storing it makes the cheese cake up. Hence the need for the cellulose.

So I was thinking: I wish there was something I could incorporate into shredded cheese that wasn’t just safe, but had benefits to it!


First, let me tell you some great benefits that come with internal use of bentonite powder.

  • It allows cells to receive more oxygen

Bentonite clay helps to get oxygen into the cells because it has the ability to pull excess hydrogen from the cells, leaving room for oxygen to take its place.

When cells have more oxygen entering them, you feel more energized and your body can repair itself more easily from illness or hard workouts. (source)

  • It boosts your immune system.
  • It takes care of tummy and bowel troubles.
  • It helps balance out your pH levels. Read about the importance here
  • It restores your gut wall.

I gave it a try and I have never looked back! Just shred a block of cheese while you’re doing your food prep for the week. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of powder on the shredded cheese and toss. Put in a ziploc baggie and you have freshly shredded cheese that doesn’t cake up!


[The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a health professional and AM NOT ALLOWED to claim that essential oils can cure, treat, or prevent illness, so please do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health. You should always do what is right for you.]

Homemade Chicken Broth

Properly prepared meat stocks/broths are SO beneficial for you!

  • The gelatin from the bones has been proven to be a wonderful aid for digestion, among MANY other benefits.
  • The cartilage can be helpful for treating bone disorders.
  • The collagen has been used to treat problems like rheumatoid arthritis.

There is no comparison between store bought and homemade! It is nutrient-dense and very cheap and easy to make! I like to use a variation of the recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook that can be purchased through my Amazon store

What You’ll Need (Makes 1 gallon)

1 whole 2 to 3 pound free-range chicken (They’ve started selling these affordably at Aldi now!! Thanks be to God!)

4 quarts cold filtered water

2 tablespoons vinegar (white or apple cider)

1 large onion, coarsely choppedDSCN1334

2 carrots, coarsely chopped (I do not peel them. I make sure they are well washed)

3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped

1 bunch parsley (This is optional but recommended. The parsley adds mineral ions to the broth)


If you have the feet and want to use them, that is great! It provides even more gelatin. Most poorly raised chickens will not give good gel so try to get a free-range if you can. Cut the chicken in to pieces. Breast, wings, neck, legs, and cavity. Remove the fat glands and gizzards from the cavity. Place chicken pieces in the pot. You will want a large stockpot.  Add water, vinegar, and all the vegetables except the parsley. Let it stand for about 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove the junk that floats up. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12 to 24 hours. The longer you let it cook, the more flavor it will have. About 10 minutes before the stock is done, add the parsley.

The finished product.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth into a large bowl and refrigerate it until the fat congeals. Take out the fat and put you stock in covered containers or one gallon sized container. It can be refrigerated or frozen. My family goes through it so fast that there is never a need for the freezer.

The chicken left over after the stock is done will shred perfectly and can be used in recipes.



Homemade stock/broth can be used as the liquid in soups, gravies, etc.

Drinking it daily during the cold and flu seasons is a great boost to the immune system.

It is great for adding to baby food! It gives their food flavor and gelatin that is so good for development!

Because it is a great digestion aid, it is also great for easing and getting rid of stomach bugs.

With it being so easy and inexpensive, you should make homemade stock a staple in your kitchen!

The medical information on this post is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Easy Whey and Yogurt Cheese

Time to knock the dust off the blog with a recipe!

The cookbooks I use call for the use of whey in many recipes.

Whey is simply the liquid remains of curdled milk. It is used as a starter culture for lacto-fermented foods (including my favorite sauerkraut recipe I will share in a later post) and drinks. 1 tablespoon in a glass of water helps digestion. It’s a handy ingredient to keep in the kitchen. The cream cheese, which is the by-product, is much better than store bought. Better tasting and better for you.

Getting her morning fix of yogurt cheese, egg yolk, and avocado!

There are several ways to make whey, but my favorite way is to strain yogurt. Mostly because there is no advance preparation! It can be used for cooking or on bagels. It also makes a great first food. Whether you are a WAPF groupie or you follow the FDA to a T, they both agree that plain yogurt can be introduced from 6-8 months; and my youngest little bug is a yogurt cheese fanatic!

First start with a good quality plain yogurt. I use Seven Stars Farm yogurt that I purchase from my local Earth Fare. Line a large strainer with a clean dish towel. Pour in the yogurt, cover, and let it sit at room temperature for several hours. The whey will drip into the bowl.

Next, tie up the towel with the solids and tie the sack to a wooden spoon placed on top of a container so the rest of the whey can drip out. When the towel stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store the whey and cheese in the refrigerator. The yogurt cheese will last about a month and the whey about 6 months. A 32 ounce container of yogurt yields about a cup of cheese and about 1.5 cups of whey for me.


If you like the recipes and health advice I post on here, check out my Amazon store for suggestions on cookbooks, ingredients, and healthcare products. You can find it here.

[The opinions expressed on my blog are based on my own thoughts and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a health professional and AM NOT ALLOWED to claim that essential oils can cure, treat, or prevent illness, so please do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health. You should always do what is right for you.]

Lacto-Fermented Chicken Feed. Why and How.

It’s been about 3 months since our sweet chickens have made their way to our house and we have enjoyed the benefits of having pets that make us breakfast. And something called lacto-fermentation helps us enjoy it even more.


If you’ve ever heard the word fermented before, you probably have in mind “sour kraut, yogurt, kimchi, wine, etc”. If you’ve been to my house and seen my laboratory kitchen, you might have kombucha in mind.

Just like fermented foods are good for a human’s stomach and digestion, it is also good for a chicken’s; which, in turn, is once again good for us.

Fermented feed can increase intestinal health which helps fight things like E-coli and other nasty pathogens. It can also strengthen the egg shells and increase egg weight.

To summarize, fermented feed produces better eggs and healthier (therefore happier) chickens. For more info on the WHY, visit the African Journal of Biotechnology.


Now for the HOW

First, fill a glass or food grade container about a third of the way with your feed of choice. You’ll need to leave room for the grains to expand. I buy a basic layer feed from a local feed store, but if you want to be adventurous, The Elliott Homestead has a great recipe for a homemade organic feed that can really optimize fermentation.


Second, fill the container with filtered water until it sits 1-2 inches above feed. Water straight from the tap has levels of chlorine that will kill bacteria, including the good that you’re trying to create. If you need to use tap water, just let it sit on your counter over night before pouring.

Next, cover loosely with the lid and leave in room temperature for 2-3 days. Try to remember to stir the feed at least once a day and add water as needed to make sure the water stays at the recommended level.

When you start to see bubbling and a cloudiness, you know your fermentation is in progress!

You want your feed to have a sweet/sour smell. It will smell like a fruity yogurt. That’s lactic acid. If your feed smells rotted, dump your grains and start over. If it has a bit of a yeasty scent, add about 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to balance it back out.

You never want to see mold. This is another reason to dump the feed! Always make sure you have plenty of water to prevent this from happening.

DSCN1195After 2-3 days your feed should be ready. You’ll know by the strong sweet/sour smell. Scoop and drain and feed your chickens. They will love it!

You can reuse the fermented liquid but I haven’t reused it more than a couple times. I don’t want the feed to go bad.

This is still a supplementation to the worms and grit that chickens love so much. If you want beautiful nutrient dense eggs, you still want them to be getting fresh green grass and worms! Let your hens roam for treats!

To conclude things, I’d like to introduce a new member of the Donald family: T-Pain, Baby, Blackie, and many other names the boys have gone through since Christmas.


Disclaimer: Everything in this post is based off personal experience with my own chickens. Do your research and make sure you are comfortable with your own decisions!

My Last Week to Cohost Wake Up Wednesday

This is my last week to co-host the Wake Up Wednesday link up party. I’ve had a great time! Please follow the link to post links to your blog posts or posts from other bloggers you love reading!


               Welcome to the 44th week of 

 Wake Up Wednesday “Linky” 


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Last week we had  410 awesome linkups!   
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This weeks 
Featured Bloggers

                  The Homestead in
the Hills of Tennessee

Thanksgiving-Style Brownies

I’m really excited about this Thanksgiving twist on brownies! Gooey chocolate, crunchy walnuts, and guess what? Dried cranberries! It makes a luscious treat for Thanksgiving or any time of the year!

Sweet & Simple Projects: 

Pipe Cleaner Christmas Tree Ornament

Easy to make pipe cleaner Christmas tree ornament. So cute and a great kids activity!
You can make your own pipe cleaner tree ornament using a just a few simple materials, and the end result is a sweet little tree ready to hang on your real Christmas tree. This is a great craft to do with kids!

Hot & Cold Rice Bag Tutorial

                             Creative Pink Butterfly
    A rice bag is probably one of the smartest things one can have lying around  your house (in their designated area). It is also super-easy to make! You can even make any size or shape you want. You can make hand warmers, like A Bee In My Bonnet or a foot warmer like V and Co. Today I am going to show you how I create a shoulder bag. The great thing about this design is that it sits comfortably around your shoulders. You can of course use it for other body parts such as backs, stomaches, feet, etc. It is 40 x 15 cm and is divided into four sections. This prevents the rice from going to one side only

Green Beans with Cranberries and Walnuts

Whether you are looking for the perfect seasonal side dish, or just love green beans, this dish is for you. They are coated in delicious butter and garlic, and then topped with cranberries and walnuts for a dash of sweetness and a bit of crunch. The key to keeping these green beans vibrant and bright is making sure to plunge them in an ice bath (see directions), and completely cool them down before continuing the cooking process.
Cookie Dough Cupcakes | Tackling Life
I knew before even making these that the guys would love them! How can you not like raw cookie dough? And dough without egg makes it safe to eat. Which meant I snuck a little bit while making them

The Reality of Getting Ready With a Child

                                      Winks and Eyerolls

Oh the carefree mornings…back when I was able to walking around as I pleased, take my time to make sure my makeup looked nice and the perfect outfit was picked out. This all seems like a distant dream. Those mornings aren’t around anymore and that’s ok. As a working mom (who is not a morning person), I’m going to tell you about my realities of getting ready with a child.

Mama’s Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Mama's Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding, raw, gluten-free, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, zinc, soluble, insoluble fiber, add bulk to food, raw cacao powder, raspberry puree, apple sauce, bananas, almond butter, chia gel, substitute for fat, coconut milk, water, dairy-free, processed sugar-free, pumpkin patch, James Whitcomb Riley, poem, quote, when the frost is on the pumpkin, snacks, breakfast, refrigerate overnight, trendy, dessert, health benefits, cozy, autumn, fall, harvest time, recipes, Pinterest, homemade, homemaking, keeper at home, health benefits, lose weight, feeling full, relieve constipation, DSCN1891
Since it has turned all fall-like and cozy-feeling I’ve been making this {raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free} chia pudding concoction with pumpkin for breakfast and snacks…anything to add more pumpkin to the season! Our visit to the pumpkin patch was just perfect for that crisp autumnal day!

Cocktail: Texas Lemon Drop Martini

If you have an upcoming holiday party or bachelorette party, these Lemon Drop Sugar Cubes are the perfect on-the-go mixer to make this simple Texas Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail. What makes this a Texas Lemon Drop Martini?? The Dripping Springs Texas Vodka of course. This vodka is pure and smooth…making it the perfect pairing in this cocktail.

Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess

The Holiday season is almost upon us. To this day, side dishes play just as an important role as the entrée in our house. Here are twenty-five feast worthy side dishes. 

This is such an easy and inexpensive DIY project. You can make your own Chevron Tray on the cheap…or you can choose a different pattern if chevron is not your thing.I was able to use a 40% Off a Single Item coupon at my local craft store…so the tray cost me around $5. The scrapbook paper was under a $1. I had the Mod Podge (decoupage) on hand…but if you don’t you can grab a bottle for $5- $10 depending on the size. I also sealed the wood with poly (optional).

November Beauty Favorites

   Unfading Beauty

My Bare Minerals Ready foundation was running out and was on the search for a paraben free and natural foundation. I loved my Bare Minerals but i was looking for something with a more natural look and not too heavy.

In the beginning i had a love hate relationship with the Tarte airbrush foundation ,the coverage wasn’t so good compared to Bare Minerals Ready  and it didn’t cover much of the redness in my face.


My husband loves blueberry cream cheese pie and every year at Christmas, it’s his one request.
Of course, the boys also have favorites for Christmas, but though their so-called favorites may vary a bit, my husband’s request is always the same.

DIY snowflake necklace – Perfect gift for your girl friend


Today I am sharing my first post for Christmas this year. It is about making a beautiful snowflake necklace for your sister, friend or your wife /girl friend (If you are a guy reading this post ;)) to gift this holiday season or may be one for yourself. It is so easy to make and you will be surprised “How gorgeous” it looks. If you can’t afford for real diamonds then this is something you should make to impress your girl. I am sure it has more value than the real diamonds if it is handmade jewelry by you.(Don’t you agree ? :))Lets start making!!

Coffee Filter Trees

If you have been following my blog a little, I think you can tell that I like to recycle, up cycle and use materials in new ways.
One of my favorite materials to use is coffee filters.
They are inexpensive and very versatile. 
I have used them for many projects.
With Christmas around the corner, I wanted to share an easy project today.
Coffee Filter Trees!
The other day I decided to use some of the fun fabrics I have to make some Christmas throw pillows for the living room.  I have had this Christmas Tree pillow on my Christmas Pinterest board for a long time so I was ready to give it a go.   I got my inspiration from this Christmas Tree Pillow Tutorial I followed on Inspired Honey Bee.  She actually got her inspiration from a tree pillow on Style Me Pretty.  I didn’t follow the tutorial exactly but I do love how they turned out! 

10 tips to make sending Christmas cards easy


mail boxes, christmas, mail, packages, letters, post
Sending Christmas cards should not feel like a chore
Whether you are planning your USA Thanksgiving or not, Christmas comes faster than Rudolph can blink his nose, and if you send out Christmas cards (See one of my most popular posts on this very topic) there is no time to waste.
Last year I shared a few tips on how to make sending out Christmas cards easy instead of a chore that we dread, or worse, that we feel obligated to do. Here’s my updated list:

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