Category Archives: healthy

Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids

Melissa Purcell, who wrote in 2014 on her blog My Humorous Mommy Life! about some of the summertime activities to keep kids busy.

Homemade Slime:  This is free of Borax, and has only two ingredients.  This page also has some other activities to try out, along with other slime recipes.

Yo Yo Balloons: — instructions are all there, but the youtube video is no longer available.  However, I found one that gives you an easy idea to work with


Chalk Paint: — if you have a sidewalk, give the kids a chance to make huge art in public!  Starch and water and food colours.  Add foam brushes and kids and your work is done!

Homemade Playdough: — another fun creative kinetic easy recipe.

33 Activities under 10$ that will keep your kids busy all summer: — Wow, they ain’t kidding!  Here are some of the offerings: Coloured tape to make roads in the bedroom, or an outdoor board game; Chalk and sponge bullseye game; Exploding paint bags; painting on wet glue with food colouring (seems like a great way to learn about the colour wheel, mixing colours and all that); DIY a throwing tarp; A Jenga-style tower out of cut up sponges; A river in the back yard (what kid can resist a river?); Taping a paper towel to the wall keeps toddlers busy; Pipe cleaners and a colander does the same; Use burlap to make a sewing station; Experimentation using water marbles;

Buy a 2-ounce pack for $7.99 here.

A cool science experiment yielding alien bubbles; Extract DNA from Strawberries!; run balloon rockets; Bowl using erasers and marble; string up the hallway for Mission Impossible; Make soap clouds; Popcorn Olympics; Giant Bubbles; Decorate T-shirts with crayons; Marble Racetrack; Outdoor obstacle course

Summer bingo:

Get creative with science: — these pinterest ideas can get your child’s STEM on (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics).

STEM the summer Slide: — another site with science experiment ideas, including a checklist to watch for as you do these activities.


Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids.

Purcell, M. (2014, June 2). Break the Monotony: Summertime Activities for the Kids. Retrieved from My Humorous Mommy Life! And, the Many Inbetweens ….:


Tags: , , ,

Gramma Nettie’s Toothpaste 3

Gramma Nettie’s Toothpaste 3

Today some different ways to clean your teeth

Disclaimer — this post is not intended for medicinal purposes.  I do not make any medical claims nor do I provide advise.  I provide information about what I have found and do, you are advised to do your own research and make your own educated choices.

Warning!  — This post may contain links to Amazon products for which I may (or may not) receive some recompense.  Thank you for your support.

Paste-style tooth cleanser is only one way to clean teeth (not to include flossing — that would be another post, I think).  Some advocate using chewed up sticks.


4 reasons to break up with toothpaste, plus a whitening tooth powder recipe


Homemade Tooth Powder Recipe — from MommyPotamus

Note: Feel free to add or adjust ingredients based on your needs. For example, if you have very sensitive teeth you might want to skip the baking soda and salt at first, or if you want to focus on removing stains add a little more activated charcoal to the homemade tooth powder recipe.



Using a stainless steel or plastic spoon, mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar. To use, add a little to a wet toothbrush and brush as normal.



product links are my amazon affiliate links


Thankfully, I have a stainless steel blade on my food processor, so I have no qualms using my food processor to make this homemade toothpaste recipe.

Bentonite clay can act like a magnet attracting positively charged heavy metals from your utensils, so you only want it to come into contact with a truly stable metal like stainless steel (which is used to mine the clay).

  1. Place all dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well mixed.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, mix coconut oil, essential oils, trace minerals, and water.
  3. Slowly pour the liquids into your food processor while continuing to pulse. Mix until smooth; add more water if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  4. Remove homemade toothpaste from food processor and store in a glass jar with a lid. This keeps rather well in a medicine cabinet, although with time the exposure to air may dry it out. If it starts drying out before you’ve had the chance to use it, just mix in a bit more water.




But not the chemicals used  to achieve it? This recipe is for you!

Just make sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. It’s soap, so the aftertaste will remind you a lot of . . . soap. (And if that doesn’t sound good to you, try tooth powder. My kids think it so delicious they sometimes refuse to spit after brushing. It’s all food grade, so I’m okay with that.)





  1. Add everything to a 4 ounce dropper bottle and shake thoroughly to mix. Apply a few drops to your toothbrush and brush as normal.


Flavour recipes from The Hippy Homemaker, using essential oils for adults, flavour extracts for the kids.  She uses Mountain Rose Herbal and Plant Therapy brands.

I include Amazon affiliate links, thank you for your support






Big Gramma

Big Gramma


I am fat. My body mass index (BMI) is 42 which qualifies me as morbidly obese. Not just fat, mind you, but obese. MORBIDLY obese. I am also no longer young, and older people have a more difficult time losing weight due to changes in metabolism and the way calories are burned.

But I have grandsons, and I have a plan. I want to be able to play with those kids, to walk around the park, and keep up with them. I don’t want them to think of me as fat. So, I have this nifty little app on my smartphone (remind me to talk about smartphones in the future) which helps me keep track of my calories and my exersize.

I have tried to concentrate on those (yuk) healthy green foods, and limit my processed foods and what I call the bad carbohydrates. I don’t eat a lot of bread, and pasta is not really on my preferred list. Those (and the apple fritters) are very processed and almost pure carbohydrates, and are on my naughty list. Red beans and potatoes are moderately okay simply because they come that way without any further modifications.

I hit the gym every morning after I work, but I only do about 15 minutes on the stationary bike or the elliptical. I just can’t do any more, and I almost feel guilty. Almost, but not quite, because it is still 15 minutes more than I did last month.

Night shift workers have a greater tendency to have diabetes and be morbidly obese. Those who have a prominent belly are at risk for metabolic syndrome. I realize this risk, this risk for debilitating illnesses, and I choose to do something about it. No — I can’t change to day shift. But my co-workers and I are meeting at the local gym and using the treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and the weight lifting machines. I am sore. I can barely make it up the stairs. My arms and shoulders hurt. But I will meet my friends at the gym and do it again. I would rather just sit down and knit my mitts, but I know this is best.

This will be yet another adventure worth writing about, don’t you think?



Updated March 2018 — I wrote the above four years ago, January 2014.  I still have a BMI of just over 40.  I did get it down below 40 long enough to have one hip replaced, and I have to get it back down so I can get my other hip replaced.  I’ve changed a few things since then, and my greatest success is when I follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  But I still have grandsons, and I still have a plan.


Gramma Nettie’s Toothpaste 1

Why do I make toothpaste?


1880s Dental Ad GraphicsFairy

Graphics Fairy

I started brushing my teeth with oily dirt.

Well, bentonite clay, to be exact.  Which comes from the ground.  Dirt.

I had been using my daughter’s homemade concoction, which seemed to stop the minor toothache.  She was trying to make a home business work out, and I started buying some of those things she made that I could use for my family (which now consists of u

1880s Molar GraphicsFairy
Graphics Fairy

s two old codgers).  The first couple of little jars came in 1/2 pint mason jars and were a little expensive, but I will do things like that to help out family as much as possible.  About every third month we would order two more jars, one for each of us.  I can’t stand sharing germs and you have to dip your brush into the paste, so simple solution is to provide individual personal jars.  We go through the exact same amount, so why not?

It had a gritty feel to it, not at all like commercial toothpaste, and it didn’t foam in the mouth.  It also was flavoured with orange essential oil, which didn’t taste right.  But, I reasoned to myself, my toothbrushing palate had been trained by years (and years and years and years if I’m to be honest) of commercial, white, heavy minty chemical-laden versions.  I really liked that her ingredients lable was only two lines long.  She said she could see that my teeth looked whiter after a few weeks of using the stuff.  Life was going great.  Mostly, though, I kept buying it because my minor toothache went away.

But then my dealer stopped supplying my habit.  My stash dried up.  Well, was used up, actually.  In point of fact, I had started using that commercial stuff again.  It felt like old home, even comforting in a way.  Oh, I worried about the chemical factory ingredients, but at least I was doing something, right?  wrong.  My minor toothache came back after about three months of withdrawal.  I had to learn how to make my own product, to start my own laboratory, to become my own cooker, dealer, supplier.  I was hooked, and I had to get my fix.  But, I am also (sometimes) cheap and I couldn’t see myself paying those outrageous prices to anybody other than my family.  So I did some research, found lots of recipes out there in WebLand.

1880s toothbrushes-graphicsfairy002sm

Graphics Fairy


Now, I have to say that you do not NEED toothpaste of any kind for dental health.  Brushing your teeth with a soft brush and water on a regular basis, and flossing regularly and as needed gets the job done quite nicely.



And your saliva “helps buffer the pH…” — The Things We’ll Make (Ariza, 2013-2017).  But, homemade toothpaste has some remineralizing benefits that you may want.  This is the primary reason I started myself.

 In fact, if you’re using toothpaste mainly as a mean of removing plaque, you may be surprised to find that a review study done last year found that using a toothpaste when brushing didn’t provide any extra plaque removing abilities (Valkenburg C, 2016).    — The Things We’ll Make (Ariza, 2013-2017).

I will include here a description of the proper method of brushing and flossing, with or without paste.

While it is normally suggested that you brush your teeth multiple times a day, I think the most important thing is to have at least one thorough brushing session each day, preferably right before you go to bed. … I have a hard time going to sleep without getting in that all important thorough brushing session at night.

When doing a thorough brushing session, you want to make sure that you brush each tooth surface completely. You want to brush with small, circular motions following the contour of your gums, or guide an electric toothbrush to gently massage your teeth and gums at the gum line.

1914 boy brushing teeth graphicsfairy007c

Graphics Fairy


Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. You should be brushing for at least 2 minutes, which is normally the programmed time for an “alarm” of sorts on electric toothbrushes.

After that thorough brushing session, it’s the ideal moment to floss between all teeth, and behind the last teeth in your mouth. You want to gently bring the floss down along the side of each tooth, gently pushing down past the gum line, and pulling up any trapped food debris and leftover plaque accumulation on your way back up.  — The Things We’ll Make (Ariza, 2013-2017).

DISCLAIMER: This post is meant to be informative only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition. While I use this homemade toothpaste recipe myself, I also recognize that there are many dentists who will only approve of fluoridated toothpastes with the ADA seal. (The ADA will only place their seal on toothpastes with fluoride in them.) Keep that in mind when choosing what toothpaste to use. — adapted from The Things We’ll Make (Ariza, 2013-2017).


Contains affiliate links.  When you purchase using these links, I may get a small recompense.

My recipe is adapted from Weed em and reap blog (Wolford, 2018).  Her toothpaste uses filtered water, but I used my unaltered well water.  She also added baking soda which I left out for reasons listed above.  I didn’t have trace minerals so I left that out.  And I changed up the sweetener.  Other than that, it is exactly the same!


New sample book of cut and gummed druggists' labels.

Graphics Fairy


  1. Heat water to hot.
  2. Put all other ingredients in the food processor, add the hot water and pulse until smooth (no more bumps).
  3. Store in a glass mason jar or a silicone squeeze tube for up to 3 months.


My experience with this is that the taste is okay.  The texture is smooth with no lumpy chunks, slightly gritty, and pasty like commercial stuff, but it is grey.

Cacao_Droste_Adv_Card_550.jpg  And gritty.  As long as I don’t chomp down my teeth together for about five minutes or so, I can live with it.
I think I will add about another 5-10 drops of OnGuard and another 5 d

rops Peppermint in my next batch.  It isn’t as oily as I originally thought.  I’d heard of oil pulling and couldn’t actually do it.  I don’t like overly greasy stuff in my mouth.  But this is not oily feeling.  I’ve been watching for that.

The first impression is grit and OnGuard.  It is not hard even in the dead of winter, because of the water and the clay worked up in the food processor into an emulsion, the same way the hand lotion is.  After about 30 seconds of gently brushing and another surprising feel developed.  It is a squeaky feel, somewhat astringent.  I like it as it feels clean.  I only use a pea-sized glob, and I spit excess down the drain.  I run hot water as I spit, and I don’t see it getting oily in the water, either.

With the next post, I will provide some rationale for each ingredient in toothpastes, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.



UPDATE 26 July 2018 — I just made up another batch.  This was in the summer, when the coconut oil at room temperature is liquid.  I still used hot water, and instead of a food processor, I used my metal bowl and beaters.  Yes, I am aware of that argument about Bentonite Clay is to never touch metal, but I work with what I have, ok?  I doubled the batch, and whipped it into a frenzy, almost looking like whipped cream when it cooled down.  Then I divided it into two pint wide-mouth mason jars.  That should take me to the next year, actually.


Ariza, T. (2013-2017). Natural Homemade Toothpaste Recipes & Tips from a Dentist. Retrieved from Oh, the Things We’ll Make:

Watson, K. (2010). Thursday is Request Day — Apple, Fountain, Teeth, Bulldog. Retrieved from Graphics Fairy:

Wolford, D. (2018). Homemade Remineralizing & Whitening Toothpaste Recipe. Retrieved from Weed ’em & Reap: Urban Farming, Healthy Living:


Posted by on 22 February 2018 in DIY, Grandmothers, healthy


Skinny Gramma Nettie

My scale must have lied to me.  For a week.  I didn’t feel any different, but I keep almost daily track of my weight.  I know some women are obsessed in an unhealthy way, and weigh once a month.  When I did that myself, I found I felt great but I had gained back everything I’d lost and took two months to get back to the new starting point.  When I weigh almost daily, I can easily relate any weight gain with eating habits, like this bag of potato chips I really want to finish off.

So far, I’ve been busy blogging, not munching.

But my weight it’s Now thirty pounds off.  That’s more than a sack of potatoes.  That’s a one-year-old child.  I’ve decided that my weight loss is best described by a term I’ll steal from evolutionary biology – Punctuated Equilibrium.  Things are all the same for two or three months then BAM!, five pounds gone.  Everything is once again the same for four months then SHAZAM!, ten pounds gone.

This Trim Healthy Gramma wants new clothes for every five pounds gone.  I am overdue for six items of clothing.

The disappearing Gramma!  Started January, 7 months mostly on plan, 31 weeks.  Just about a pound per week.



BadBird’s Bad Back

BadBird’s Bad Back

I have 16 days left before my new hip arrives and is installed.  Five more shifts in two weeks.  At least that’s what my calendar says.  

My husband has had a bad back for the last week and a half.  He has a history of back pain which is sometimes debilitating.  He misused his back when he was in high school and played football.  Then he damaged his back when he worked in the wrecking yard lifting small engines single handedly.  

When he tested with a local police department 25 years ago, they told him then that he had the back of a 65 year old and they couldn’t hire him.  Now that he’s 65, it is worse.

Typical back pain means two weeks of ice, muscle spasm meds and pain meds.  Mostly ice.  This time it is different, with pain radiating down the front of his thigh and weakness to the point of falling to the ground.  The ice and The meds don’t work.  He walks hunched over with a hiking stick or walker.  Three visits to the Emergency Department later, we finally got his MRI.  Normally, insurance won’t authorize an MRI until the patient has been on nsaids and six weeks of physical therapy.  For us, PT would start six weeks down the road.  Not very helpful for someone who is in agony right now.

After the imaging and a rest at home, we visited the PCP.  “It’s a good thing we pursued the MRI,” he said.  One disk bulges into the spinal column impinging on the nerve and on the nerve root where the nerves branch out of the spine to provide the electrical power to the leg.  The pressure from the misplaced disc slows down the electricity.  Think of a garden hose going full blast.  That is your healthy nerve bundle with electricity flowing like gangbusters.  Now, park your Ford F150 on the hose and see how much flows.  The truck represents the disc blocking some of the nerve’s power, making the leg weak.

What makes this an emergent problem is that a part of the disc broke off and has traveled UP the spinal column.  It must be removed by surgery.  Soon.  Maybe next week.

This is not the best timing, since my own surgery is two weeks away.  I briefly thought to postpone it, but I don’t have much more to work with.  Just walking through Wal-Mart too fast caused me so much pain.  I’m still able to work, thank you, Father.  

So, both of us will be laid up.  Momma asked if he would be well enough to drive me to the hospital, and I couldn’t say.  I didn’t have enough information.  Our original plan was to rent a hotel room the night before, and he would stay there during my stay, driving me back home upon discharge.  Now I don’t know.  I told Momma what she told me so many times as I grew up: We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it.  It is wonderful how my mother’s words have become so much wiser as I have grown older.

My oldest daughter and her husband arranged the downstairs to make it more manageable for me post surgery.  Now, it appears it is not for me after all, but for my husband.

Ok.  I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t know how laid up we will both be at the same time.  I do know that God has a plan and that I trust Him.  I have a calm faith, the same as I did when he was in ICU on a ventilator because of a massive PE, a blood clot in both lungs.

A nice non-scale victory is that as I was At work to tell My boss in person, one co-worker came by and told me I was a Skinny Minnie.  Of course she was joking.  My daughter also told me that I must have lost more weight.  No, I know I didn’t.  But I checked the scale, and it still says “more than 20 pounds” off. My BMI shows me still obese, but not morbidly so.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 29 July 2016 in family, healthy, surgery


Bionic Gramma Nettie

​I have an important announcement.  My family already knows this.  I have been scheduled for a hip replacement August 15th.  I am ready for this.  So so ready.  Those who know me see how I walk funny.  I’ve been fighting this for about two years and it just got much worse in the last six months despite everything. 

 The surgeon said I don’t have much mileage left on it.  I had to stop walking extra, stopped the elliptical.  Now that the date is less than a month out, I’ve doubled up on those exercises, doing two sets each.  I can feel the muscles work.  Doing this allows me to continue working.  It is like duct tape and glue keeping the pelvis and hip working together somewhat.  The exercises also are to get muscles moving that have not moved properly in years, preparing for the rehab I’ll have to do later.

At first I suspected something in the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan caused the exacerbation and worsening of the arthritis.  I thought this because it seemed to get worse beginning about the same time I started THM in January.  Every pound I lost should have made the joint move better, but instead it seemed to have an atypical response, the pain got worse.  

I posted on the THM page a question about this, if anybody else had a similar cause and effect.  Before I got an answer, my post was removed for being inappropriate.  Again I posted asking for response.  They have such a huge data base that SOME one else had to have an answer for me.  As before, my post was removed for the same reason.  I was asking questions, not blaming.  Shutting down my post that quickly gave me NO answer, instead it made me think the founders have something to hide.  I think we need to know the rosy goodness that is THM, but also the not so good things too.  This program probably had side effects, and it behooves the mama to know them before starting out.  In the medical field it is known as “informed consent.”

Again, I wasn’t blaming Trim Healthy Mama.  One admin was more helpful and directed me to the THM allergy group.  Here I leaned that dairy may cause increased inflammation and pain, and I learned how to start an elimination diet to find out if I am similarly affected.

I did some research in medical journals and found that osteoarthritis (OA) can lumber along quietly for years and decades.  Then, suddenly, it explodes and you are debilitated within a matter of months or weeks.  Mine started the explosion about the same time I started THM.  A coincidence of the greatest order.

So, what to do now?  Now, I have to have a new hip joint.  I ordered one from Amazon, and it will be installed August 15th.  Yes, I have hip replacement surgery, and I should be out of work for about two months.  Ooh, don’t get me wrong!  I will have my (rehab) work cut out for me, but it will mean I will go back to work, and whup arse!  I’ll have to get over the idea of needing help.  I’m a tough, independent old bird … And my kids are the first to agree with me.  Gramma Nettie becomes bionical.


Tags: , , ,