Growing herbs indoors and making our own laundry detergent

Since our outside garden didn’t do too well this last summer, we picked up a few herb planters to get a head start for next years planting.  I think a lot of our problems were that we pulled some seedlings that we thought were grass or weeds and ended up losing most of our crop due to our error.

I found some planters on sale from the summer and decided that we would try growing our herbs indoors to see what they look like when they come up that hopefully we won’t pull them from the ground next year! 🙂

We did plant a grape tree this summer which seems to still be growing but I’ve noticed that the bugs have decided to take a bite out of the leaves.  Anybody have some recommendations on what to use before we lose our grape tree?


On a side note: in our attempt to go more natural we already started on a recipe to make our own toothpaste and limit the flouride and other preservatives in our mouth that we found a recipe for making our own laundry detergent which we have already made a couple of batches.  Since we had enough ingredients on hand we decided to make a powder AND liquid washing detergent.  So far we are liking what we are seeing, our clothes are getting clean and we know what is in our detergent.

Our next project is shampoo and conditioner!  Feel free to send suggestions or comments!

Government to Ban sale of Supplements

I read about this article at my local health food store.  If you have not heard of this, check out the article:

Sen. Orrin Hatch blasted a new bill that health experts are calling a government takeover of the vitamin industry. 

New legislation proposed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., earlier this month would crack down on the testing, labeling, and sale of dietary supplements nationwide.

“I don’t know why we should add more regulation when what we have on the books is working,” Hatch, a Utah Republican, told Newsmax.

The increased regulation almost certainly will deny many Americans easy, affordable access to the natural health products they rely on daily, experts warn. 

“This unnecessary power grab would benefit FDA regulators and pharmaceutical companies by taking their competitors off the market, and it would harm the American public,” says Michelle Minton, director of the Insurance Studies Project at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C. watchdog group.

Sens. Durbin and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., quietly submitted the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act of 2011 over the July 4th weekend. 

Despite its innocuous title, the bill would force a massive reclassification of food additives and dietary supplements to be managed by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Durbin’s bill was made public on the same day the FDA issued proposed new guidelines that would alter the way the agency approves and polices vitamins and dietary supplements. 

“Regulatory hurdles such as these are a means by which government bureaucrats get in the way of individuals’ ability to make their own decisions about their healthcare,” warns Minton.

The combination of the two anti-supplement initiatives would force natural health manufacturers to submit to expensive government testing, adopt new labeling, and compete for market share with well-funded pharmaceutical makers who already have long-standing and mutually lucrative relationships with the FDA, health industry insiders say.

Popular supplements now being sold without government interference would be removed from shelves, in some cases for years, pending FDA tests and approval. The cost of all dietary supplements would likely spike as a result of the additional regulatory burden.

Under existing law, the FDA already has enough authority to ensure supplement safety, said Sen. Hatch. “In fact, several former FDA commissioners have said that the agency already has the appropriate and sufficient level of oversight of this industry,” he said. 

Sen. Durbin claims his bill is aimed specifically at the gray area of food and drink products that pose risks or make questionable claims based on dietary supplement ingredients. The issue gained traction in the wake of a number of hospitalizations of children who ate pastries laced with the sleep-aid supplement melatonin. The foods are marketed under the names Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes, and Lulla Pies.

“Walk down the aisle of your local convenience store and you will see products targeting young people with names like Lazy Cakes, Drank , and Monster Energy Drink,” Durbin said. “These products market themselves as dietary supplements that are safe ways to relax or get a boost of energy, when in reality they are foods and beverages taking advantage of the more relaxed safety standards for dietary supplements.”

The Durbin bill is now before the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The HELP committee is chaired by Sen.
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a well-known advocate for natural health supplements. Insiders hope Harkin’s influence along with other HELP members known to support the supplements industry, including Sen.  Hatch, will result in the death of the proposal.

Unwilling to take chances, however, advocates of natural healthcare are already lining up to oppose the Durbin measure.

“The supplement industry has an excellent safety record, and burdensome, duplicative new regulations are not needed,” says John Gay, Executive Director and CEO of the Natural Products Association, a trade industry group. 

Adds Minton: “The decision about which supplements are right for whom ought to be left to consumers and their healthcare providers.

“The Durbin and FDA proposals do nothing to improve the safety of the supplement marketplace and likely will eliminate many of the available products. 

“The increased cost and decreased variety will mean that many consumers, especially low-income ones, will be forced to stop taking the vitamins and nutrients that can benefit their long-term well-being.””

You can read this article on Newmax.

If this passes, you will no longer be able to purchase vitamins, natural supplements or other natural supplements. 

Preparing Garden for next year

This year our gardening experience outdoors didn’t go too well with the large amount of rain and then intense heat.  So far our grape tree seems to be surviving and somehow one lone tomato plant is struggling to keep an existence.  I have seen a total of three flower buds on it, but that is it.

Our big garden we finally had to pull out all the fencing, weed and mow down the tall grass so that we can start again next year.  However, we had been told to put down tarp over the winter months in order to kill most of the grass and weeds in the area that we are going to want to plant in next spring.

In the meantime, I have a couple of indoor planters that I’m hoping to use for herbs over the winter months.  One of the mistakes I made was in my endeavor to keep a weed free garden, I may have inadvertently pulled some plants that I thought were weeds.  I’m hoping that having a smaller planter will allow me to recognize what the plant is supposed to look like, therefore, we won’t pull it up!!

I’m hoping to start growing our own stevia plant.  Has anyone tried this before and if so, feel free to send in your suggestions or comments on the results?  I will keep you posted on the results.


DMAE Supplement Update

I have written at least one if not more blog posts about DMAE supplements.  In all the different therapies I have tried with my son this one has proven to be the most effective in improving my son’s communication skills.  With the progress that we have had I’ve passed on this information and sometimes the supplement themselves to other parents with similar problems. Another parent wrote me to share her experience:

I also wanted to mention that I gave (my child) the DMAE on top of the supplements he is already taking.  Just the other day he was speaking to his father and he began to stumble at his words.  The amazing thing was, he wasn’t content with jibber jabber which he usually resorts to.  He actually stopped himself, gained his composure, thought out his words and proceeded in a rather mature fashion.”

I originally found out about this supplement at the natural health food store in our area.  The bottle I bought lasted me about a month, since he was taking it with other vitamins I wasn’t really sure that it was helping him until our supply ran out and so did his speech.  My son resorted to no talking or verbal expression and extremely quiet, with struggles getting him to repeat lessons.  Within 8-10 hours of starting him up again his language exploded!

After spending so much time with therapists and trying to get him to talk, I never thought I would have to quiet him down but we have reached that milestone!

You can pick up DMAE at any health food store or online.  I highly recommend the DMAE Source Naturals brand!