The Health Home and Happiness Top 10: Top health articles, products readers love, recipes, and more!

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top 10 lists for 2014

2014 is coming to a close, what were your top  moments from this year? I’ll share mine below, and then do another few top 10 lists including my top 10 recipes this year, the top 10 health articles, top 10 products that my readers have loved, and what I’m working on for 2015 as well.

Even if it wasn’t the start of a new year, January and the end of the holiday season is a natural break in the year.  The kids still have about a week before starting school if you do school, and after a month of indulgence and too much busyness, everyone’s ready to breathe deeply, center themselves again, and regroup.

Find inspiration in some of these lists, from what other readers enjoy to what I’m doing this year- if you have a top 10 or something to add to my lists I’d love to hear below in the comments!

 

Top 10 Health Articles on Health Home and Happiness:

This is my favorite part of blogging, sharing what health-related stuff I’ve found out, and how it’s worked in my family.  My readers love these posts (they take a LONG time to write – months of research, and then hours more of writing and referencing), these are your favorite from 2014

10. Read This Before You Use Eucalyptus Essential Oil with Children

9. How to get Children with Sensory Issues on the GAPS Diet

8. Dandelion Root for Liver Health and Fat Digestion

7. How I healed my dairy allergy in 6 weeks using the GAPS diet

6. You Know We Have a Special Needs Child, Here are 10 Things We Might Not Have Told You

5. Diatomaceous Earth and How to Use it

4. GAPS Intro for Gut Healing and Sealing

3.  What is a Healing Crisis?

2.  Folate vs Folic Acid, MTHFR, and Tongue Tie: This wasn’t written that long ago, and it still made the #2 spot here.  This essential information about vitamin B9 may help many families this year.

1. New Moms, You Need to Rest. Everyone Else,This is How You Can Help.

Top 2015

My top 5 moments from this year:

Every year has lots to be celebrated, and this year was no exception! I always feel like it’s the best year yet, and I believe this was!

 

5. Putting The Empowered Mother up for Presale. This book is a labor of love, with information that will help many families have a healthy start, which will translate into healthier generations. I’m so excited that it’s out!

4. Road trips are getting easier, realizing that everyone is starting to enjoy these rather than endure these was big.

3. Completing 9 day hikes (We aimed for 10 and came close!) with the family.  I love that we all love the outdoors.

2. Buying a house, this is more of a relief to be locked into a consistent housing payment, the same school district, and thankfulness to be done with renting.

1. The birth of our youngest, a baby is always such a joy! Seeing the older kids’ interactions with him has been such a blessing.

Top 10 Recipes from Health Home and Happiness:

Even I Google my own website and reference recipes on here at least once a week.  Many of you have purchased meal plans, but for those who are getting recipes from the site, these are the top 10 that were visited in 2014

10. How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

9. GAPS Yogurt in the Dehydrator

8. Grain Free Sunflower Seed Crackers

7. Grain Free Scones made with almond flour and berries

6. Overnight Oatmeal with Fruit and Vanilla

5. GAPS Apple Pancakes

4. Cooking with Coconut Flour: Grain Free Baking Tips

3. Simple Meringue Frosting

2. DIY Kombucha Scoby

1. Slow Cooker Baked Apples

Salt lamp

Lots of you have salt lamps in your home, I keep one in each bedroom (on a timer that goes off at bedtime and on at wakup)

Top 10 Products that Health Home and Happiness Readers Loved in 2014:

When you purchase through my website, often a small part of your sale comes to me for referring you (thank you!) at no extra cost to you. Based on sales that I’ve seen go through, you guys love these.

10. Cod liver oil.  I love seeing cod liver oil sales! I purchase this one, and so do many of my readers.

9. The Gelatin Secret: You readers loved this book! It talks about all the benefits of gelatin with tons of recipes to help you use it.

8. Grasssfed Beef Gelatin: This superfood is super fun to use. It easily makes gummies, fruit-based desserts, and is added to chicken stock to make homemade broth cubes that I keep in my freezer.

7. The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. This is on a flash sale for New Year’s – the sale is over the 31st (click here to purchase).  Included in it is my Freezer Cooking Guide and dozens of other full-length e-books and even full classes on anything you could want to tackle health-related in the new year (check it out here)

6. Salt lamps- I love them too! I have 3 (one in each bedroom).

5. Tart cherry juice – I talked about how this helps my kids sleep here.

4. Grain Free Meal Plans.  These continue to sell well, I’m so glad I can offer them! Buy one at a time or buy the yearly plan and get a free paperback cookbook bonus. (coupon code NEW15 for 25% off through 1/2/2015 – save $40 on the yearly plan!)

3. The GAPS Class.  Melanie’s GAPS class is a great step-by-step class for those who need more help and community as they start the GAPS diet.  (She’s opening her GAPS class at a pre-sale discount – $100 off! until the end of 2014.  Click here to learn more)

2. The Leaky Gut Class.  Jordan and Steve have a comprehensive leaky gut healing program set up for you, I’ve learned tons from these guys. You can hear my free webinar with them here, and listen to a new one from them here- listen to this one all the way through to the end to get a nice discount code on this class.

1.  The Health Home and Happiness Starter Package – I was just describing to a family member how to do GAPS intro, they said it was complicated and they’d need me here. Then I told them about the starter kit – it’s just like having me there telling you what to do each day and keeping you on track. You can check it out here (coupon code NEW15 for 25% off through 1/2/2015 – save $18!)

Thanking about starting an allergy elimination diet or the GAPS diet

Top 5 Questions that I Got in 2014:

Bloggers get lots of email, and while I try to keep up with it I don’t always.  I know I have a big backlog from the holidays, I’ll get to it soon. In the meantime here are the answers to my five most frequent questions of 2014.

5. Are you still on GAPS? Why are you going on GAPS again if it worked? I did GAPS strictly for about 6 weeks when my daughter started, and then I went off and on for the 2-1/2  years that she was on GAPS.  After 2-1/2 years she was able to go off GAPS finally and has been food allergy free for 2 years now.  We are doing a GAPS trial again for the winter break because I believe it’s helpful to do every year or so just to help restore the gut flora and seal any stress or environmental-induced leaks.

4. Can I do GAPS if I’m Breastfeeding? What if my baby needs GAPS? Both those questions are answered in this post, one of the top posts.

3. How do you get schools and caregivers to keep my child on GAPS? To be honest, this is a really hard question, and it’s as individual as each family is.  For older children, explaining to them how the diet works and having them see how much better they feel can be key.  For littles, it’s more important that the caregiver be educated about the diet.  People who don’t understand it don’t understand that just a few crackers really do hurt their system.  In any case, limiting the amount of time they’re at other places without you makes this easiest, especially in the beginning. I recommend starting GAPS over school breaks for those in school.

2. My child has sensory issues, how can I possibly do GAPS with them? I talk about that in this post, thankfully GAPS works quickly with sensory issues and most children just start eating most GAPS things after 3 days on the diet. See how here.

1. I’m allergic to ___ and ___ and ___, can you tell me what to eat? Yes, intro is great for that, you don’t always have to be that way - read more here.

Top 5 Things I want to do in 2015 (join along with me!)

5. Clean out my laundry room. It’s become the catch-all for boxes that haven’t been broken down, clothes that have been outgrown or someone will grow into soon, and sewing supplies. I’m going to be shaping up all my house with 30 Days to a Clean and Organized Home, with some extra time in the laundry room to make it into a functional space.

4. Visit Yellowstone! I haven’t been, I want to explore this summer.  Included in this is my goal to hike 10 day hikes around the area, I’m a huge fan of hiking, and it’s making lasting memories for the kids.

3. Re-do GAPS intro again.  We’re doing that right now, actually, I want to see if going on GAPS does anything for my olders, and my nursling had an egg allergy (that seems to have gone away with just probiotics and chicken stock) so I don’t think that it’s a bad idea to do a couple weeks on GAPS to see what it does for us.

2. Do a GAPS video series for you! I need to figure out how to do minor editing of videos and then I can do a few recipes. And a good friend who has put 11 (!) kids on the GAPS diet is going to do a webinar series with me that we’ll have ready for you this spring. I’m super excited!

1. Continue to prioritize down time, spending quality and quantity time with family, and enjoying what we have rather than getting sucked into wanting more.  As the kids are growing older, I’ve learned how precious the time between planned activities is.  Teachable moments happen, impromptu craft projects have time to be started and finished, neighborhood kids can join in a baseball game or baking project, and I lean more about my kids and what they need from me as a mom than I do when they’re in an extracurricular activity or other event.

 

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What my kids & others are getting for Christmas (Some practical, some fun)

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Healthy Clutter Free Gift Guide - Health Home and Happiness

When you order online, this week is the week to do it in order to get gifts in time for Christmas.  Even places that advertise 2-day shipping can get backed up for the holidays, and we don’t want to be doing a mad wrapping session Christmas Eve.  So, shopping now it is.

These are the gifts that my children are getting. My children (6 and 8) are at the pivotal age of childhood where what they get now is really setting them up for habits for the rest of childhood. If they are opening toy after toy this year, there would be some let down next year if they got less toys and I don’t want to feel like each year we have to outdo the last.  With babies and toddlers, even early preschoolers, it’s unlikely that they remember the details of what they got the year before, so showering them in gifts isn’t going to set up expectations as much as it does in childhood.

I love that my children are thrilled (thrilled!) with simple things now. A new pair of shoes (that they needed because they outgrew or wore out their last pair), a new coat for the cold winter, a new hat knit by Grandma, a matchbox car are all thrilling and exciting and talked about for over a week.

I’m concerned that receiving an abundance could squelch their enjoyment of everyday things. I’m not willing to lose that.

For some of you this will seem like a lot. For some this will seem like hardly anything.  It’s so individual, for me it’s less about how much (we all have so much!) and how to balance what the kids need, what they want, and what all us adults will enjoy seeing them play with on Christmas morning. 

Because we’re setting patterns with the children, I wanted to keep the ‘fun’ things to just a couple, and then have the rest be practical.  I suggested things for the grandparents to give the kids that I know they’ll enjoy without Christmas morning looking like a Toys R Us catalog.

Analog watch

Stockings:

  • Gloves (we’re always out of these!)
  • Socks (we’re always low on these too- most of their stocking is going to be filled with socks)
  • Toothbrush
  • A flashlight (always a favorite)
  • A matchbox car (a classic)
  • Army men (they love playing this at the neighbor’s house)
  • Coloring books (they have a ton of crayons/pens or I’d add a pack of these)

baby toys

Under the tree (this is from everyone – their gifts to eachother, grandparents, etc):

I let the olders choose a toy for their baby brother and for each other, I love seeing them spend the time to choose something their sibling would enjoy.  I also noticed that this increases the amount of gifts by quite a bit, I’m going to consider sticking to homemade next year.

Squishy human body science fun gift recommendation

More ideas for kids:

Some other things my kids are really into right now:

Salt lamp

And for others

Local:

We’re gong out of town for Christmas, so bringing gifts that were made in our home state is fun and different. When you buy local it gives much appreciated business to the community as well as a nice quality product for the recipient.  I like to choose gifts that are used often.

  • Local made clothing, here we have alpaca here – socks, hats, scarves
  • Local made pottery – beautiful serving dishes, coffee mug sets, stoneware casserole dishes
  • Local food- jams from a berry that’s famous to your state, maple syrup, artisan cheese, etc
  • Local alcohol – You’ll know whether this is an appropriate gift for your family or not.  If it is, a bottle of wine from a local vineyard, 6-pack of microbrew, or whiskey from the local distillery.
  • Local coffee – For people here, I give gift cards to our local coffee shop rather than the national chain. For people we’re visiting, ground coffee from our town is fun if they drink that.

Sustainable

  • Epic Bar puts together ‘Paleo Survival kits” which are sustainable and contribute to improving the environment. I got some stockings for people that I know will appreciate paleo goodness, they are huge and packed full of fun things. I’m letting my kids open treats from one stocking (they’ll share one) for the car ride to visit family too.

Personal

  • With kids growing up so fast, family loves personalized calendars, framed pictures, and little photo books. I’ve used shutterfly in the past, but lately I’ve just been using the photo service at Costco.com and picking up my items with my regular shopping.

Health promoting

  • Salt lamps are a great replacement to regular nightlights and purify the air – I have one in each bedroom
  • An essential oil set is a perfect stocking stuffer for mom
  • A juicer for someone wanting to start off January with juicing could be perfect
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