She Brings Her Food From Afar (and makes toothpaste too): A 4 Moms Post

If you came here looking for a great system to shop and cook by using sale fliers, I’m sorry. I’ve got nothing for you for the simple reason that I don’t and never have done it.

Instead I’m going to share several recipes and tips to help you consider how you can save time and money by cutting down on grocery store shopping period. moms of many manage

Our family currently spends about $10 per person per week at the grocery store.

The reason for this is that most of the items lining the shelves of our local grocery store are foods that our family doesn’t eat and even many of the items that we do eat can be found for less money and higher quality elsewhere (and sometimes we choose to pay more for the higher quality).

She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
~ Proverbs 31:14

Lessening your dependence on your local grocery can save money, but I’ve found that it’s saving us time, once we made the initial time investment to find our sources.

Also it has, in some ways, simplified our life. We purchase food in it’s more basic form which means we start with less variety, but then make it into the variety that we eat. One example of this is raw milk (one purchase). From the raw milk we get cream, butter, kefir, sour cream, cream cheese and other soft cheeses.

We also purchase foods in larger quantities, which means we need to repurchase them less often and we always have food in the house.

So what are some options for acquiring food outside of the grocery store?


Purchasing food in bulk saves time and money allowing us to feed our family healthier foods for less money.With a little upfront investment in time and resources (mainly 5 gallon buckets for storing your bulk foods),  we’ve found purchasing foods through a co-op to be a tremendous blessing to our family.

Foods we purchase via co-op:

  • grains (wheat, spelt, oats, rice, quinoa, popcorn, etc.)
  • legumes
  • spices (salt, baking soda, arrowroot powder, turmeric, etc.)
  • sugar
  • maple syrup
  • cocoa powder
  • raw nuts

Azure Standard recently began a monthly delivery here in Knoxville and this has provided a wonderful source of most of our co-op needs. Azure carries everything from the items listed above to raw milk cheeses, fresh produce, frozen items and even granola bars, chocolate, etc. The prices, variety and quality at Azure are unsurpassed (at least in my research) and a regular monthly delivery is super convenient. (You can check their website for some info on drop locations, but feel free to contact the Wood Family via this Facebook page and to see if they have, or can get, a drop location near you.)

Local Farmers

It may take a little more work on your part to find reliable sources for various items, but it’s worth it!

Buying from local farmers is my favorite way to shop. I love knowing the families that provides our family with milk, beef and produce. I love that they know us. I love knowing that we’re helping them while they are helping us. I say it nearly every week when we pick up our milk and produce. I LOVE shopping locally.

So how to get started?


Visit your local farmer’s market or look for a local farm with a CSA program here.

We purchase our produce from the Colvin Family  and have been nothing but happy. (How fun is it that they have 13 children?) This may be an option for those of you who are in the East Tennessee area.

Our CSA share

Our CSA share


Laws vary by state, but finding a quality source of raw milk has been a wonderful blessing for our family.

Please be careful and do visit the farm because not all those who sell raw milk care enough about the quality of the product.

You may start with this Real Milk Finder to see what is available in your area. Asking people you know may also be a good way to find a good milk source.

We get all of our milk from Cruze Dairy and have been blessed by them in many ways.


We’ve been blessed to know people who raise beef cattle, so this one fell into our lap. This is a super easy time-saver. We purchase a whole cow, pay the butchering fees and then pack it into our freezer. Grass-fed beef and lots of good beef bones for stock whenever we need them.

Does anyone know of a good way to find a nice source of local meat?


This is actually something that our local grocery stores carry at times; local, raw honey. When I see it in the grocery store (or when my sweet friend sees it and gives me a call) I try to stock up a year’s supply. With raw honey, local is important.


Yes, you can purchase groceries online. Since most of the time co-ops are less expensive, this is my back up when I neglected to put something into my order

However, for some products, online is my primary source. Currently, I buy most of our soap making products online.

Homemade and Reusable

Our family doesn’t use most of the paper, cleaning or healthcare products sold in grocery stores. Instead of paper we use cloth (except for toilet paper, we love toilet paper) and instead of commercial cleaning and healthcare products we use homemade.

Many of you have asked for some of our recipes. Some are still evolving, but the toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner are keepers, for sure!



I could say a lot more about this and maybe eventually I will give it it’s own post with a picture explaining why we use these, but there you have it. This toothpaste has eliminated morning breath, seriously who would have thought that was possible?

  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. diatomaceous earth
  • 1 T. Xylitol
  • 40 drops Peppermint essential oil *
  • 2-4 drops Thieves essential oil *

Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in a small glass jar in the bathroom. We use tongue depressors to apply the toothpaste to our toothbrushes.

* Use only high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils. If you are interested in Young Living, please contact me for more info or you may use my member number 1328200 to sign up.



Please note this is just a recipe, not instructions on how to make soap. If you’re not familiar with soap making, I suggest this free video tutorial to help you get started. All measurements are by weight and as always you can substitute ingredients as long you run them through a lye calculator. This recipe has 6% superfat.

3 ounces almond oil (sweet)
1 oz beeswax
5 oz castor oil
2 oz cocoa butter
9 oz coconut oil (76 degrees)
9 oz olive oil
2 oz shea butter (unrefined)

4 oz water
6 oz milk (or goat’s milk or coconut milk or all water or an herbal infusion)
4.24 oz lye

Essential oils of your choice for fragrance. (optional)


Perfect to use in conjunction with the above soap. Mix apple cider vinegar and water (we like 1:4 ratio) in a spray bottle and spray onto hair after shampooing. Rinse clean. Your hair will smell amazing, not like vinegar.


Please note this is just a recipe, not instructions on how to make soap. If you’re not familiar with soap making, I suggest this free video tutorial to help you get started.  All measurements are by weight.

16 oz. Coconut
16 oz. Palm
16 oz. Olive Oil
2 oz. Castor Oil
13 – 19 oz. water
7.4 oz. lye


We use this soap as is for our laundry soap and then French-mill it to add color and fragrance for a more luxurious shower experience. My favorite so far is our green tea and mint bar, that’s surprising because I thought I would like the cocoa mint better.
In what ways have you lessened your dependence on the grocery store or what tips do you have for saving money on groceries?

You may also be interested in:


And if you were looking for those great sale-flier-shopping tips, visit the other moms:

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62 Responses to She Brings Her Food From Afar (and makes toothpaste too): A 4 Moms Post
  1. Anita Chamblee
    January 10, 2013 | 9:05 am

    Doing lots of the same things here. I am shopping for some of our GF “instant” foods and our supplements for my highly allergic children at They have great service and ship free with a $49 order. My orders typically arrive within 4-5 days. We also buy our pork and beef on the hoof and then render the lard for cooking and make broth with the bones from the cow. We also are raising our own meat chickens and slaughtering them ourselves, so we always have a freezer full of chicken…then I also always have a pot of chicken broth in the pot, in the fridge or ready to can. We also have our own flock of laying hens and trade eggs for raw milk. It is so very freeing not to be dependent on the grocery store. We keep a good stock of basics in our home “store” and I’ve even learn to can fast foods: salsa, various soups, spaghetti sauce, sweet and sour chicken, a variety of beans, etc….so we always have good quality foods on hand.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Canning is something that will be on my list eventually. Right now I just do things that I can do in a water bath.

    Maybe next time your up in our area you’ll stop by and give me some canning lessons.


    Anita Chamblee Reply:

    That would be fun!


  2. Annie
    January 10, 2013 | 9:27 am

    Awesome post! I received my Azure Standard catalogues in the mail just this week and as soon as I have the time, I plan in devouring them!
    We live in east central Ohio and have a great wealth of local businesses, farmers, markets, Amish, etc., we purchase some of our foods and goods from. I have heard we Ohioans are able to purchase raw milk but it is illegal and one can be fined for doing so. So basically you have to break the law to buy it is my understanding. I haven’t looked into raw milk yet ( we are not a big milk family) but I understand the practicality of it as you can make so much from it! We also purchase meat boxes from our local butcher and that will last us a good 4 to 5 months.
    We have almost 2 acres here at our home and have used good portion of it for veggies. Last year my hubby planted four fruit trees and a black berry bush and I work part time for a farm market during the late spring thru summer months. I score so many good fruits and veggies!
    I guess because we have done this much so far, I haven’t looked into purchasing grains, legumes, etc in bulk and wonder how you work food prep into your schedule? Do you choose a day during the week to prep all the basic ingredients for a weeks worth of meals and other needs or do you make them in an as need basis. I would LOVE to have a more simple diet and a smaller price per person spent. I currently budget under $400 a month for our family of 5. It would be nice to cut that down with out cutting out the nutrition.
    Lastly, would you say the initial investment is a couple hundred dollars or more hefty?


    Leslie B Reply:

    We used to live in KY and the sale of raw milk is illegal there, too. Our way around the law, in a very legal manner, is to “buy” a cow that the farmer owns. We then pay the farmer to milk OUR cow and deliver OUR milk. It is not illegal to consume your own raw milk. We call it a cow-share program, as many people can go in on one cow. A single dairy cow can produce up to 6gallons a day! Plenty to share 🙂 So maybe you could look into that.


    Annie Reply:

    Oh wow thanks! I think I have heard of people doing that. Like I said we aren’t a milk drinking family but I would love to have the fresh cream cheese, butter, etc…. Thank you for the information!


    Faith Reply:

    I’m in central Ohio too, and we purchase our raw milk through a herd-share program. It works great and is an easy way to obtain the milk you want without breaking the law. Most of the farms around here that offer herd-shares allow you to use your share not just for milk, but cream, butter and cheese, too! We’ve been really pleased with ours.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Annie. The initial investment is mostly time rather than money.

    You will need to find containers to store your food in, but the 5 gallon buckets that we use can be found free or very inexpensively. Back when we were collecting them we got them all free from Krispy Kreme. All of KK’s frostings come in those containers and Mark just stopped by one time and asked if they’d keep them for us rather than throwing them out. They did.

    More recently we’ve been able to purchase some for $5 each from Firehouse Subs. (Beware of the pickle buckets ’cause it’s pretty miserable to eat 50 pounds of pickled oatmeal, just ask how I know.)

    Deli’s and bakery’s also have 5 gallon buckets.


    Rebecca Reply:

    We also live in OHIO, and we’ve explored the raw milk option. We currently don’t purchase raw milk ourselves, but it isn’t illegal. You aren’t allowed to sell/purchase raw milk in Ohio, but you are allowed to buy a share of a cow from a farm that will bottle the milk from the cow for you and then you can pick it up from them. The reason it’s not illegal to do it that way is because you ARE allowed to own a cow and drink it’s milk. So long as you’re buying a share of the cow itself, it’s your milk. We live in the Miami Valley and have a few options here to buy raw milk.


    Faith Reply:

    Hi Annie –
    In case you hadn’t heard, Azure will begin delivering in Columbus, OH this April. Let me know if you would like some more information about that!


    Annie Reply:

    Yes I would love info on that! My husband works in downtown Columbus so that would be perfect for him to pick up orders. Email me at when you are able!


  3. Leslie B
    January 10, 2013 | 10:00 am

    Thank you for this wonderful post, Kimberly! We eat a diet much like yours and our concerns about food cost as our family grows is rising. I’m so glad to see that you all are making it work! We use may of the option other than the grocery store that you have listed. Maybe one day I’ll get around to making those heavily used products 🙂 I also can’t wait to read the comments to this post to see what tricks others have up their sleeves for eating whole foods!


  4. Darcy
    January 10, 2013 | 11:20 am

    I need help for when co-ops and CSA’s are not an option or even local produce grown year-round (nothing local being grown here right now with all the snow!)

    ! I’m also interested to know how much yous spend in addition to the $10/person at the grocery store on your other purchases. I might not be doing too bad if I look at the total number.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We spend about $15/person per week in groceries, personal care products and cleaning supplies. However, we could spend less if we chose less expensive options (i.e. butter substitutes, processed cheeses, pasteurized milk or frozen veggies). We could also spend a lot less if it was necessary, or if we chose to have less company. Right now our grocery budget is nicely padded to accommodate fun food options (like homemade pizza night with ice cream sundaes) and lots of company.

    However, when my husband and I were first married we spent $12/person per MONTH on groceries, personal care and cleaning, so I know our food budget could be cut if we needed to cut it. 😉

    I forgot that when I quoted our grocery expenditure that was for winter months when we’re much of our produce at the grocery because the CSA isn’t producing. Our summer time grocery spending should be much lower.

    Co-ops should be an option year round since they’re dealing primarily with non-perishables. Azure, that I linked to in the post is located out West and deliver all the way out here to East Tennessee, I would check about seeing if you can get a group together to order from them.


    Darcy Reply:

    We don’t eat processed foods, we have to be gluten-free and some of the things we eat are almost always organic (dirty dozen) and we buy as much natural as possible. When I do have to buy meat (right now we have a freezer full of homegrown chickens, goat meat, and venison), we have to buy hormone/antibiotic free meat.

    Right now (at our lowest amounts budgeted) we are spending $400/month for our family of 11 and that includes grocery store, animal feed (because we get milk and eggs from the animals) and the little bit of non-grocery items such as garbage bags, toilet paper (which some of us use family cloth).

    Azure doesn’t deliver to MI and the one option we have available, our group usually can’t combine enough for them to ship to us (we used to order every month and I could get great deals, but people have moved and those of us left just can’t make the minimum).


    Jenn Reply:

    I would like to know how you and your husband survived on $12.00 per month, per person. Did you have any children then? What did you folks eat? Were you making everything from scratch then?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    No children.

    We ate a lot of wheat. We ground our own whole wheat flour, rinsed out the bran and starch (we saved the bran and starch to make other things) so that we were left with gluten. This gluten we cooked and seasoned and it was one of our main sources of protein (you can use it as a wheat substitute). This site gives you and idea of what I’m talking about.

    We purchased powdered milk in bulk (because it was less expensive than milk from the grocery) and from that made all of our homemade dairy products (except butter), but these we considered an extreme luxury and used rarely.

    We ate a lot of oatmeal for breakfasts (without sweeteners because they were expensive 🙂 ). For Mark’s “hot lunch” he ate plain Ramen Noodles for lunch as they cost $.10 for the meal.

    Dinner was often beans or pasta with our gluten “meat” and other spices.

    Yes, we lost weight, but we were happy and debt free. We even saved enough money during those ‘poor’ days to put down more than 20% on our first house.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Oh nearly forgot, another ‘special’ thing we made (and enjoyed) was cottage cheese. I’m not sure it was really cottage cheese, but if you put some canned fruit over it, you could pretend. We made it with powdered milk and white vinegar. 🙂

    I was pregnant during this time and our first was born, but was just nursing during our ‘poor’ days.


  5. Lucy
    January 10, 2013 | 12:40 pm has a listing of farms by state that sell pastured meats. That’s where we found “our” farmer, we have to drive about 90 minutes to pick up meat, but considering we live a major city, that’s not too bad.


  6. Rebecca
    January 10, 2013 | 1:54 pm

    I was wondering what the purpose of the diatomaceous earth in the toothpaste is.
    Also, have you “healed” cavities by using this or know of a way that they can be healed?

    Really enjoyed this post. had a lot of info on things I had been considering/looking for.



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The diatomaceous earth (DE) serves as a scrubbing agent. Many homemade recipes use baking soda for this and that was what we used for starters (and it could certainly be used to substitute for the DE), but we’ve found that we prefer both the taste and the effectiveness of the DE.

    Additionally DE is high in silica which is said to heal and re-mineralize teeth. Silica is a form of silicon that facilitates the transportation of nutrients into the bones such as calcium and vitamin D. Without silica calcium cannot get into your bones.

    Now, I’m not thinking that silica in our toothpaste is going to help with the calcium and vitamin D absorption, but I’m also thinking that it can’t hurt. 😉

    We have very healthy teeth in our family and no one other than me has ever had any cavities, so we’ve not healed any cavities.


    Lana Reply:

    I have read information about cod liver oil and ghee butter for healing cavities. I am currently experimenting with this and know some others that are as well, successfully.


  7. Anna
    January 10, 2013 | 2:00 pm

    I have six children and do most of my shoping at Aldi and Sam’s Club. One way that we have saved money on beef is through a relative of mine who is a dairy farmer. They usually butcher 1-2 times a year unless they have a cow that goes down and has to be put out. I order 1/2 a cow from her. It’s great because I am not paying grocery store prices for prime cuts of beef and I can choose what cuts I want and how much I want. She also throws in the neck bones for soup, heart, and liver for free. I also buy whole chickens and break them down myself which saves money than buying it already cut. Because of this meat savings, I don’t have to drive three miles into town to shop at the local store.


  8. Jessica McCarthy
    January 10, 2013 | 2:14 pm

    Kimberly, if you feel uncomfortable having this link on your post- please feel free to delete it!
    We can’t get Azure Standard to deliver this far east yet. But, I found another one! I have been a coordinator for a drop for me and my friends for 13 months. I just started working for the company, very part-time, on finding new coordinators. I do love this company and would like to share the link- It explains how the site works. In order to see any prices for comparison, you will need to sign up. There is no cost or obligation to continue. We get plenty of people that are just curious to look.


  9. Jessica McCarthy
    January 10, 2013 | 2:16 pm

    Sorry, I forgot to mention the coverage area is small. New York state, Eastern PA, and parts of Conneticut and Massachusetts.
    We work with a lot of New York farmers.


  10. Tammy Scott
    January 10, 2013 | 2:53 pm

    If you don’t have a CSA or need additional produce that is organic for reasonable (better the grocery store)prices, there are companies like Global Organic. You can create a co-op. Global only delivers in the southeast U.S. I would always say support local farming but If it is not available or convenient this is an option.


  11. Mari Beth
    January 10, 2013 | 5:59 pm

    THank you SOOOOOO Much!


  12. Bethany Wood
    January 10, 2013 | 6:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing Azure Standard! If anyone has any questions regarding how to get a drop, I would love to help. Our family has shopped with them for many years and in 2008 started delivering for them. We would love to start a route in Ohio if there are enough families that would like to order. 🙂 Feel free to email or call! 785-380-0034


  13. Sarah
    January 10, 2013 | 9:09 pm

    A good source for finding local meat is, they have a ton of information that is very useful.


  14. jul
    January 10, 2013 | 10:26 pm

    wow – now i’m stressed. our budget is tight, and i’m looking for ways to cut but i spend $840-$1000 on food for our family of eight. i don’t see how i can get it down to what some of you gals spend!


  15. jul
    January 10, 2013 | 10:27 pm

    and thankyou for posting your recipes!


  16. Golda
    January 11, 2013 | 7:48 am

    Love the Colvin Family Farm! We bought from them at the Farmer’s Market when we lived in Knoxville. Had we not moved, we would have done their CSA as well.


  17. Mindy at Grateful for Grace
    January 11, 2013 | 2:14 pm

    I am disbelieving that this adds up to only $120 a week and includes the meat. I want to believe it, truly. I will keep studying it.

    I am keeping us at about $150 a week, but that means no meat and no raw milk. It’s so hard. We grind our own wheat (haven’t had to buy wheat in 2 years because I over stocked 🙂 ). Make our own pizza, tortillas, cornbread. Use cloth napkins. We do use paper plates for lunch, but can stop (that’s about $12 a month).

    I will check out Azure again. Just got a drop off here.

    I will look into your recipes for cleaning. I keep trying recipes and they don’t work great. I use them anyway, but it aggravates me.

    Sigh. I really don’t see how y’all do it with these numbers. I need to evaluate what I’m buying, I guess.

    Thanks for the post.


    Mindy at Grateful for Grace Reply:

    Came back to clarify:
    I don’t think you are being dishonest or lying or anything. I just keep thinking you must be leaving something out of that $10 a person a week statement. I just keep trying and get no where near that. Sigh.

    It’s an issue because our life has changed (moved to NM) and I really need to cut the food budget. I am feeling like a big failure in this area. I keep seeing women post things like $300 a month for a family of 8 and am stunned. I don’t know how they are doing it.

    Thanks again!


    Darcy Reply:

    For me, we spend just under $400/month on our food budget, but our freezer is full of venison, home grown chickens, and goat meat that we butchered this fall so I don’t purchase any meat except for when there is a great deal on fish I will try to pick that up. We also get eggs from our chickens and milk from our goats. I do include their feed in that $400, but we get a great return on that investment. We also don’t eat like everyone else. We have had to make sacrifices, but we just can’t increase our food budget at this time.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    $10 a week is what we spend at the grocery store (actually it’s less than that as I forgot that when I looked at my grocery receipts it was after our CSA was over, so I was buying much of our produce at the grocery). We don’t purchase our beef, milk, produce at the grocery.


  18. Brandy L
    January 12, 2013 | 12:35 pm

    I love azure and I am wanting to purchase a grain mill. Do you have one you recommend I am looking heavily into the wondermill Jr. Thanks, Brandy


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We use and love our Nutrimill grain mill. I’m not familiar with the wondermill. 🙂


  19. MomStarr
    January 12, 2013 | 6:48 pm

    I definitely want to hear more about your online shopping. How is CSA during winter months? I really want to find ways to save more money in the food department. I am formally requesting that you spend more time on separate posts on the above topics. I can do this because I have known you a long time and we are friends and I am snarky sometimes. 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    So does my visit to your house count as separate posts on those topics? Or did we not cover everything.

    Next time you get to come here. 😉


    MomStarr Reply:

    You don’t get off that easy. Madam Midas. We look forward to coming to your house for the tutorial we spoke of. 🙂 Soon!!


  20. 11 On My Own
    January 13, 2013 | 5:35 pm

    We get the majority of our bulk foods from here:, the best thing about them is that they have $5.00 shipping, no matter the weight.


  21. Becky
    January 14, 2013 | 5:51 pm

    Do you use cloth diapers? If so, do you use your home-made laundry soap to wash them?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We no longer use cloth diapers. I’m not certain whether or not our home-made soap would work on those. Sorry, I’m not helpful on this.


    Becky Reply:

    Thanks for letting me know! 🙂


  22. Karen
    January 14, 2013 | 9:04 pm

    Thank you for giving us so much to think about. We are looking into organic, natural foods and products, and wondered if you have ever estimated the cost of the toothpaste, soap, or shampoo? We are trying to decide between buying organic, natural products and making our own, and do not know how to compare prices.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:


    If you’re comparing prices with organic or natural options making your own is a lot cheaper.

    For example, we generally pay about $5-6 for all natural soap. We can make our own bar with nice scents and colors for about $1/bar. It would be cheaper if we didn’t scent or color them.

    Toothpaste is also cheaper than organic varieties. organic toothpaste on runs about a dollar an ounce, while coconut oil (the most expensive ingredient) from the same source runs about $.50 an ounce. The DE costs us less than $20 for 50 POUNDS and the essential oils are, of course, optional.

    I haven’t priced out the shampoo bars, but I don’t think they are much more than our regular soap bars, certainly not double.

    Hope this helps out.


  23. Sillygeesedesigns
    January 15, 2013 | 1:15 pm

    I have been looking into CSA’s I just have not been able to bring myself to do it, We are picky eaters and while I am working on it, I am not at the point where I can take on vegetables that I have never cooked with before on a regular basis.
    I have been following your blog for the last 3 years and I recomend people check out your recipes section, I have found them to be very helpful, along with the recipes from the other 3 mom’s in the 4 mom’s posts. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject


  24. R Binder
    January 15, 2013 | 3:53 pm

    Check out for grass-fed meats.


  25. Tommie
    January 17, 2013 | 11:24 am

    How does your hair compare to your homemade shampoo and conditioner vs. the No-Poo method? Do you believe your homemade recipes to be better than commercially available shampoo and conditioner? How does your homemade recipes affect the curl in your hair?

    This post has been fantastic! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    With the homemade shampoo and conditioner the switch over from commercial products was a lot easier (there is an adjustment period, for me it was a couple of washes) than with “no poo”. I also have found that it’s a lot easier to maintain a balance. I just wash it when it’s dirty. With “no poo” I still needed to do an egg rinse every so often or scrub with baking soda.

    “Better” as far as ingredients and overall health? Yes. “Better” as far as ease of caring for my hair, for me, Yes. (My oldest daughter has had a different experience.) I can easily go several days (close to a week) without washing my hair and it still looks nice and clean. My oldest daughter needs to wash hers more frequently.

    My husband prefers that I wear my hair straight, so most of the time I’m blowing it dry, so really am unable to comment much about that.

    If you try it, I’d love to hear how it affects your curls. 🙂

    Thanks for your encouragement.


  26. Mylinda
    January 17, 2013 | 2:12 pm

    For the cleaning products that you make, Do you buy large amounts of ingredients and store those? If so, how long is their shelf life? Do you store the already mixed cleaners (toothpaste, Shampoo)? What is their shelf life?

    We are trying to go more organic/natural but it seems that everything organic is so much more expensive. We joined a CSA this last summer and spent almost 2X as much on produce than we did from the commissary.

    My other issue is the time to make everything. Do you have some kind of a system to produce a tone of (whatever) and store it so that you don’t have to be making stuff all the time? We are a family of 12 and I seem to spend ALL of my time either homeschooling or cleaning and my kids are really good helpers and do most of that but management is a full time job.

    Any ideas you have would be much appreciated.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, we buy ‘large’ amounts of ingredients, but not huge, bulk quantities, and we store those.

    I haven’t thought about shelf life. I know the coconut oil that we use lasts a VERY long time. We’ve not, up to this point had any problem with ingredients going bad, but in the quantities that we purchase we don’t store them very long.

    Yes, management is a full time job with a large family.

    So far our system has been to just make more as we run out. Toothpaste literally takes about 5 minutes to whip up and whoever does it makes enough for all the bathrooms. We need to make it every couple of months.

    Kaitlin (15) makes our laundry detergent whenever we run low. Again it only takes a few minutes to melt the soap and mix the ingredients. We grate the soap for our laundry soap as soon as it’s cured and put it in a baggie with the pre-measured baking soda.

    The soap and shampoo we make in larger batches and do it at one time. The longer soap (and shampoo bars) cure, the better they last, so no problem with shelf life on that one.


  27. Christina Nicolle
    January 20, 2013 | 3:13 pm

    First do your toddlers also use this toothpaste and second is it safe to make soap while prego. With the lye?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, our toddlers use this toothpaste. Everything in the toothpaste is edible. 🙂

    I’m very hesitant to say that making soap is safe to do while you’re pregnant as I’m not a doctor and don’t have any of that training.

    Of course the lye does not come in contact with your skin, so the main concern would be fumes. I’ve never noticed the fumes to be bothersome and I don’t worry about the little children being around (not underfoot, but in the area) when we’re working with the lye. However, if it’s not safe to paint while pregnant, I wouldn’t think that it would be safe to work with lye.


  28. jul
    January 29, 2013 | 12:24 pm

    help! i made your laundry soap, and then it sat for a while – couple weeks? now i have this congealed layer on top of it, about an inch thick that won’t stir back in. Have you had this problem? I’m assuming I need to be careful to not let it sit so long in the future – but if you have a solution that won’t require me to make a new batch, i’d sure appreciate it. i was so hoping your super easy and cheap recipe would work the best for us!
    thank you,


    Becky Reply:

    I wonder if heating it would melt the gelatinous part enough to stir it back in. If it were me, I would probably start by setting it on a furnace vent. Or, if I had a wood stove, next to it. 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The fix is simple. (yes, it’s happened to us, often. I’m not sure why.) Just stir each time you go to scoop some out. I just stir it with the measuring cup that I use to scoop it with.

    It won’t change the texture, but it will still be effective in your laundry.


  29. Nicki
    March 5, 2013 | 2:05 pm

    We have a local produce and grocery co-op where we buy all of our meat, produce, and grains. It’s amazing how much stuff we DON”T buy anymore, like cleaners, cereal, medicines, etc. I have a stash of essential oils, a homeopathic kit with 100 remedies, vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, and a steam mop. That just about does it for us! We are in the process of putting in a large vegetable garden, berry bushes, and medicinal herb gardens, as well as ordering fruit trees in an effort to buy even less. My mom is coming to train me in canning, and I will dry and preserve our herbs for medicine and cooking. I also plan to learn how to save seeds each year so I don’t need to buy more. Oh! And chickens are next! : )

    On of the things my children hear me say often is, “How did Ma and Pa do it?” referring to the Ingalls family. If they could move their family to the wild prairie with just a wagonload of stuff and live independently, why can’t we???


  30. Autumn
    April 13, 2013 | 12:14 pm


    Am I understanding correctly that you make one kind of soap to use as shampoo and then a second kind of soap to use as body soap/laundry detergent? I am just starting the soap making process as our baby goats are here, so we have plenty of milk (yay!), just trying to not make several different kinds of soap if one will work for the different purpose.

    Thanks so much for all the info – this was a great post!!


  31. Lana
    July 31, 2013 | 10:47 am

    Just wanted to share something about cleaning products. I got this from a natural doctors website. For cleaning in your kitchen, bathroom, etc. he said these would disinfect and clean, I find they work extremely well. Just fill one spray bottle with peroxide, fill another spray bottle with white vinegar. Spray on one, then the other, doesn’t matter which one first. If I need an abrasive like on a tub ring, I sprinkle on a little baking soda that I keep in a spice bottle. A friend recently shared that you could put orange peel in your vinegar for a while (sorry, don’t remember how long) and have orange scent and would enhance the cleaning power. Haven’t tried that yet myself.


  32. Courtney
    August 14, 2013 | 12:11 am

    Hi:) I have gleaned alot of useful tips on your blog to help me as a young mother of 2 and one on the way. Thank you for going the second mile to help others! I wanted to ask you if you used your homemade toothpaste recipe while you were pregnant and nursing? I believe in the health benefits of diatomaceous earth. But I was wondering if what your view on using it while pregnant or nursing is? Thanks!


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