All winter I dreamed of summer. Every time I looked outside my window and saw the almost endless drifts of cold white snow, and even more so when I was forced to venture outside, I would fantasize about green grass, walking around without a parka. That dream is here. Summer is awesome (other than the oppressive heat), but it is also the time that my kids sustain most of their injuries. If you think about it, summer is the time we expose the most skin. Clothing is what protects that skin during falls from bikes, insect attacks, stray poker hot embers from a camp fires, you get it. At all times of the year I have several ice packs in my freezer ready to go (my kids, and myself are super accident prone). I have now discovered an amazing tool to add to that pain pack arsenal... witch hazel cloths.
If you read yesterday's post, you may recall my sharing that Rowan received a rather painful injury. When my kids are sick or injured I want to help them. If I were being honest I want to make the pain go away (and not just because my kids are loud when they are in pain). Lately, and by lately I mean the last few years I have really been connecting with my Mother Earth side. For years I fought the hippy values of my upbringing, but as I grow older they seem to have slipped into my life, unasked for, but strangely welcome. I will at no time soon be making oatmeal, flax and carob cookies (a stable of my school lunches), but I want to use the least amount of chemicals with my kids. This has lead me to making as many foods from scratch as I can. It has lead me to begin making my own cleaning products for around the house (which not only work amazingly, but cost pennies to make and use). I find myself expanding my inner hippy.
I am sure that many of us are well acquainted with the amazing properties of witch hazel, well those of us who have been pregnant. You may know it better as "Tucks". That little pad that you purchased to help ease that pain in your rear, was actually witch hazel soaked pads. For centuries witch hazel has been used to help swelling, and reduce bruises, apparently it also makes an amazing facial astringent. Not only does it reduce swelling, it has antibacterial properties. It falls into the the same category for me as hydrogen peroxide, that category being "Why have I not incorporated you into my life before now?"
On my laundry room shelf I have a stack of old towels, torn and worn sheets among other things. Waste not want not. These items make great cleaning rags. Of all of those items that I listed, my most favourite item is flannel sheets. Flannel makes the best everything, in my humble opinion. I cut long strips of flannel to dip in my tea/ apple cider vinegar mixture to help sooth Riley's poor sunburned legs.
I use smaller strips of flannel for my kitchen wipes (vinegar and steeped lemons.) http://themiddleagedwomanwholivedinashoe.blogspot.ca/2013/05/home-made-disinfecting-wipes.html
I also use smaller strips of the flannel for my new staple item, "ouchie cloths".
What you may ask is an "ouchie cloth"? I folded up my flannel strips and put them into a small container. Next I poured some witch hazel on top, enough to soak in without drenching them. I then put this container filled to the top with witch hazel soaked cloths into the fridge. Rowan will be the first to tell you that these are amazing! There is the soothing comfort of the cool from being in the fridge, but also the amazing properties of the witch hazel which helps remove inflammation, and pain.
The entire summer if you look in my fridge you will now see a jar of these amazing witch hazel soaked flannel. Witch hazel is also used to treat the itch of bug bites, one more amazing reason it will be on hand all summer. For more severe injuries that require an ice pack, I think that I will be adding a witch hazel cloth as my thin towel layer. I just cannot say enough great things about this amazing and really inexpensive remedy. Give it a try and let me know what you think.