Monthly Archives: June 2013

Bug Spray: The recipe

What Are Essential Oils?

“Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. … Essential oils are non water-based phytochemicals made up of volatile organic compounds. Although they are fat soluble, they do not include fatty lipids or acids found in vegetable and animal oils. Essential oils are very clean, almost crisp, to the touch and are immediately absorbed by the skin. Pure, unadulterated essential oils are translucent and range in color from crystal clear to deep blue.” – ‘An Intro to Essential Oils’ doTERRA website. The quality and purity of essential oils can be affected by many factors. The variety of plants, where and how it is grown (organic/sustainable or conventional), when and how it is harvested, and how it is extracted can all cause contamination if not done right. It is very important to research the oil company’s methods of extraction and testing for purity to ensure your oils will be as effective as possible. There are many companies out there, but we have personally fallen in love with the doTERRA brand oils as well as with how the company operates.

Read the rest of this entry


Bug Spray: A two part series

Recently my family and I moved to Georgia. Before we moved here pretty much everyone warned us about the BUGS! Some said, “the mosquitoes are so big they will carry you off if you aren’t careful!” Well, let me just say I do NOT like bugs in my house. I’m cool with them being outside, in their own habitat, but they need to stay OUT of mine haha! I started scouring Pinterest for natural ways to repel bugs. Like I said, I don’t want them in my house, but I don’t want to kill them all off either. We need bugs! Why didn’t just buy a can of the commercial bug spray? That is a great question! Here is why.


What is DEET?

DEET, which is arguably the number one chemical used in bug sprays today, was developed by the United States Army for use during World War II following its experience with jungle warfare. Originally DEET was tested as a pesticide on farm fields. The Army began using it in 1946 and it became available for civilian use in 1957. In 1998 the EPA reregistered DEET as being safe to use when used as directed. In 2002, Health Canada conducted a review on DEET and restricted its use on children 12 and under. The article can be found here. It states, among other things, that children 2-12 should only use products up to a 10% concentration. This article talks about a study conducted in 2009 by Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le DΓ©veloppement in Montpellier, France. He said: “We’ve found that DEET is not simply a behaviour-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, in both insects and mammals”. The study was published in the journal BMC Biology. During the study, scientists experimented with rodents and found that DEET blocked the enzyme cholinesterase. This enzyme is essential for the brain to transmit messages to the muscles. Another article states “Consider this worrisome statistic: each year approximately one-third of all Americans spray and slather on insect repellents containing central nervous system toxin DEET. And this is in spite of the fact that previous studies have warned of DEET’s dangers. For example, earlier research by Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia, who has spent 30 years studying the effects of pesticides, found that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair functioning in parts of the brain and could result in problems with muscle coordination, muscle weakness, walking or even memory and cognition. In the new study, Corbel and his colleagues discovered that DEET inhibits the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. This is the exact effect organophosphate and carbamate insecticides have on the body, too. Alarmingly, these insecticides are often combined in products with DEET — and the scientists found that DEET interacts especially well with carbamate insecticides, magnifying their toxicity. “These findings question the safety of DEET, particularly in combination with other chemicals, and they highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the development of safer insect repellents for use in public health,” Corbel stated.” This article talks about many adverse health reactions adults and children have had, but states that there isn’t enough evidence to put the cause solely on DEET.

DEET alternatives have been created, but are they really any safer? The US Department of the Interior has posted this list of alternatives. Bite Blocker has a key ingredient of soybean oil, Picaridin, found in Cutter Advanced and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, found in Repel, Off, and Fight Bite.


What is Picaridin?

The official name for Picaridin is Icaridin. It is also known as KBR 3023 and the INCI name hydroxyethyl isobutyl piperidine carboxylate. Bayer, a German chemical company, developed this compound and dubbed it Bayrepel. In 2005, Bayer had two spin offs, Lanxess AG and its subsidiary Saltigo GmbH. The product was renamed Saltidin in 2008.

The Picaridin fact sheet basically says it is not harmful, but skin irritation can occur. When used on rats and rabbits for 2 years the skin got thicker, irritated, and dark spots developed. According to this article, picaridin is a synthetic molecule that Bayer developed in the 1980’s. It is a piperidine-based compound. Piperidines are structural components of piperine which is the plant extract from the Piper genus, aka Pepper. (By all means, lets not use an actual plant! Lets use a man made chemical! Done with sarcastic rant πŸ˜‰ ) Products containing this chemical arrived on the US market in 2005.

So what I’m finding is that the same people that say DEET is safe are also saying Picaridin is safe….gives you the warm fuzzies right?!?!

DEET is to be sprayed on clothing, not under and not on broken skin. It also melts plastics. A bottle of cutter I have (but do not use) says not to spray it on clothing because it is flammable. Nothing like roasting marshmallows with this stuff.

There is a lot of information that say these pesticides are harmful and there is a lot of information that says they are safe. Personally, I am not willing to risk possible reactions and health issues with my children and family. ESPECIALLY when there are MUCH safer alternatives THAT WORK!

I realize we all have differences in opinion and in feelings toward chemicals and a green life, etc.. These are my opinions presented with the research I have done/found. I don’t just accept someone’s “word for it” and I don’t expect you to either! I am in no way a doctor or an expert on this stuff, just a woman who demands better for my family. Tomorrow I will be posting my bug spray recipe that I KNOW works GREAT and it’s safe!

Links used:

Grandma’s Roots?


Hello and welcome to our blog! Let me start off by saying…I am not a writer! I never have been and I probably won’t ever be because I write how I talk. πŸ™‚ I’m all about being real, not perfect! That is precisely what this blog is about. Real. Real food. Real life. Real experiences. My sister and I have been on a journey that we feel many people could relate to or benefit from…or both! Our journey has been about getting back to “Grandmas Roots”, the way life was when people farmed, made their own soaps, clothes, food, etc… Obviously life is quite a bit different now considering I’m currently typing on an ipad and posting it on the internet for millions of people to access. πŸ˜‰ But the idea is the same. We are passionate about doing it ourselves, keeping it clean and homemade (as much as possible), and finding more organic and natural ways of doing things. We will be posting about a variety of topics. Everything from PCOS to refurbishing and remodeling. From the incredible uses of essential oils to gluten/dairy/sugar cane free recipes. And everything in between! Including raising kids in this day and age with these principles!! We are very excited to share our knowledge and experiences with you, as well as welcome you to join us on our journey! Our hope is that your life will be changed for the better! However, one very important requirement for joining us: you must be able to laugh at…er, I mean with us. πŸ˜‰

Welcome to Grandma’s Roots!

THE chocolate cake!


So there’s this cake…and its soooooo good! I made it for my son’s 6th birthday and it was a huge hit! There wasn’t a crumb left! This cake is gluten, dairy, and sugar cane free too! (We have gluten, dairy, soy, corn, yeast, sesame, cranberry, and sugar cane sensitivities/allergies.) The gluten eaters all thought it was amazing too!! Well I made it again for Father’s Day and I had lots of people asking for the recipe. I adapted it from a recipe I found in a cookbook called The Food Lovers Make it Paleo by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason. I have had success with everything I have tried out of this book! Without further adieu, here is “Dark Chocolate Cake”. πŸ˜‰


3/4 c coconut flour, sifted
1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
10 eggs
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 c pure maple syrup (Costco sells this at a great price!)
1 c melted coconut oil (Vitacost has a great price on this!)


First preheat your oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, add sifted coconut flour, cacao powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.

In a large bowl, or mixer, add eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil. Mx until well combined, but don’t over mix. This should be pretty liquidy. Be sure to temper your eggs if you are adding the coconut oil while it is still hot. You don’t want to have scrambled eggs!

Then add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Again, don’t over mix! πŸ™‚

Grease two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil or coconut flour.

Pour batter into pans and spread evenly.

Bake for 25-35 minutes. Test center with a tooth pick–if the tooth pick comes out clean, then the cakes are done. **I have baked this in 2 states now. NM and GA. NM worked great. In GA I checked mine at 30 minutes and it was done and almost too much so. This could be because of my oven, but next time I will be checking at around 25 minutes, just to be sure!**

Remove cakes from oven and cool.

This cake looks like it would be dry, but its soooo moist! You are welcome to add a frosting of your choice, but we just slice up some strawberries and put with it. It is a phenomenal combination!

We hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!


P.S. Sorry I don’t have step by step pictures, I will work on getting some! πŸ™‚

This is a slice from Father’s Day!


Who is Nerdyhomemaker?

Howdy! Welcome to our site! I am a current college student in a graduate program and when I am not doing that I am always trying to find new healthy ways to improve our lives! I am married to an awesome guy! He brings out the nerdyness in me that I now embrace :). We have a dog named Sue who thinks she is a human and a cat named Bear who thinks he is a dog, they supply me with endless hours of entertainment! I was diagnosed with PCOS at age 11 and subsequently put on birth control from age 11 to 22! After I got married I decided I wanted to see how my body worked without birth control so we could eventually have children when the time was right. I have then spent the last year trying to find a natural way to deal with my PCOS! I hope to share with you my trials and errors! Welcome to my path!

Who is Crunchymama0402?

Hi! I am a mommy of 2 amaaazing children, wife to the funniest guy I know, an “involved, hippie daughter” to great parents that are slowly “seeing the light” ;), a sister to some awesome girls, and a lover. of. Jesus! Having children really sent my love of health into overdrive but its only been in the last few years that I have really learned about just what is actually in our foods, medicines, cleaning products, beauty products, etc… My husband and I watched Food Inc. and that was our mega turning point! We started with food and expanded from there. Its amazing how much your life and body changes when the chemicals are cut out! Welcome to my/our journey! πŸ™‚