I asked who you all wanted to hear on the podcast, and you answered! My sister Laura of Our Oily House is joining me today to talk all about where to start when you are swapping out toxic products in your home. We cover cleaning your home, caring for your hair and skin, and how to fit these projects into a full schedule. Then we answer some of the questions that you all submitted through Instagram. We dive into motherhood, pregnancy, online business, our childhoods, living a natural lifestyle, our differences. We laughed a lot in the episode, and I hope you will enjoy listening in on this chat with my sister!
In this episode, we cover:
- Simple, non-toxic recipes to replace all your household cleaners
- How to find time in your busy life to make natural household products
- The few simple ingredients you can keep in your home to make almost every product you need
- How to use lye in soap making; it’s not as scary as you think!
- What the relationships between our kids look like
- Our theory on why we have both had so many boys in a row
- How you can have time to yourself even with a big family
- Recognizing and appreciating the differences in kids’ personalities
- Making sure you aren’t working 24/7 when you run an online business
Laura is a wife and stay-at-home mother of five with a passion for natural living, essential oils, and all things homemade. On her blog and YouTube channel, Laura shares simple recipes for natural home and personal care products as well as healthy family meals.
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Lisa Bass Welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. As you can see today, I have a special guest, my sister Laura, from Our Oily House. A lot of you know her. If you don’t, I will go ahead and introduce you to her. So she is a mom of five. She has a blog and a YouTube channel. You can tell more about yourself and your blog and your YouTube.
Laura Ascher Pretty much on the blog, it is a lot of different natural recipes for skin care, hair care, cleaning supplies, things like that. Then on YouTube, I share a lot of similar stuff as Lisa does— just cooking videos and kind of like from-scratch cooking that I do for my family.
Lisa Bass Yes. So we are going to be talking about natural swaps for a safer toxin-free home. But then we’re also going to dive into a Q&A because Laura and I did a podcast episode like this probably two years ago-ish.
Laura Ascher I had Ben.
Lisa Bass It was a long time ago. Oh. Okay.
Laura Ascher So not two years because I had Benjamin.
Lisa Bass A year and a half ago because he was little in the wrap.
Laura Ascher Yep.
Lisa Bass And we just did a Q&A, and people really like that. I actually put out a question box on my Instagram recently and asked who I should have on. And so many of you said, “Laura—your sister—to do a Q&A.” So I had her down already on my list to talk about swaps for your home, but then I thought we’d also do a Q&A. So if you’re interested in that, make sure to stay to the end. Let’s first talk a little bit about swaps.
Lisa Bass So swaps. What’s the most popular people ask you about? Is it hair? Is it laundry? Is it cleaning?
Laura Ascher Honestly, I think cleaning. And that’s the most— I mean, to me, it’s the easiest one to swap out right away and the most important one because it’s stuff that you’re spraying on your countertops, your kids’ toys, your glass where your kids are smudging their faces up against and licking. And also when you have little kids, I feel like they like to help clean still at certain ages. And so having a toxic-free cleaner that they can just go around and spray freely everywhere allows them to help and then, you know, they’re helping you out. And then you also don’t have to be worried about what they’re breathing in or getting on their skin.
Lisa Bass Okay. So what are some of your go-to cleaning recipes? Or what are your most popular from your blog?
Laura Ascher Okay, so I have a bunch of cleaners on my blog, but to be honest, the one that I use hands-down most often is just my all-purpose spray, and it’s the most popular one, too, like on the blog. And it’s just a combination of water, vinegar, and lemon essential oil. It’s super easy. It’s basic. It works good for mirrors, like cleaning glass. It doesn’t streak. It works good for cleaning your countertops even when you’re baking and using raw chicken in the kitchen.
Lisa Bass Disinfecting.
Laura Ascher Yep. It just kind of covers all the bases. That’s the one that I use. You probably use that, right? Or make your own?
Lisa Bass I use lemon essential oil straight and any time I have like a really tough situation. So whenever there’s something like, I don’t know, like a marker or there’s a stain on my stove— just putting a couple of drops and letting it sit, it really cuts it and wipes it away. So I do that probably most often. Usually for normal stuff, I’m just using like a cloth and hot water for like everyday, but if you’re really trying to disinfect and get in there, yeah.
Laura Ascher The vinegar and lemon.
Lisa Bass Now what about ratios? Because I know people are going to ask. They want like an actual.
Laura Ascher Okay so I do half and half water vinegar. So I have like a 16 ounce glass spray bottle that I use for my cleaning and I’ve used the same ones. I just reuse it, refill it up. I’ve had it for, gosh, probably over five years. A long time. So it’s half and a half. I just kind of guess, about eight ounces of each and then about 15 drops of lemon essential oil.
Lisa Bass Okay, perfect.
Laura Ascher Super simple.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So does that work well for glass streaks as well?
Laura Ascher Yes, it really does. That’s what I use for all. And I use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off. It does. It works really well. When I was doing my first swapping, the hardest one for me was getting rid of Windex because I hate streaks and smudges on mirrors and on the glass doors.
Lisa Bass Windex works great.
Laura Ascher And it works great. So I was really worried about that. But I’ve had so many of my followers on my blog and stuff, like, “I can’t believe how well it works,” because it does. It just doesn’t leave any streaks.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So what about toilet bowl cleaner? Do you have a recipe?
Laura Ascher Yes, I do. I have a recipe on my blog for a— I call it a hands-off cleaner. It’s kind of like a— essentially like a bath bomb kind of that you can just put in and it fizzes and it cleans it. But then I also have a toilet bowl cleaner, too, that you can scrub with baking soda works really well. A lot of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon.
Lisa Bass Pretty much covers like all bases.
Laura Ascher And castile soap too. I use that for dish soap.
Lisa Bass So between those four ingredients, you can clean your entire house basically.
Laura Ascher Yep. Pretty much.
Lisa Bass You’re pretty much simplifying it down. So those specific recipes are on OurOilyHouse.com if you want to print them out, pin them for later. Let’s talk about hair and like conditioner, shampoo, conditioner, body stuff.
Laura Ascher Yeah. So again, it’s way easier than what people think. I know whenever you start talking about this, people get very overwhelmed and think like, “Oh my gosh, I have to throw everything out and start over and how do you do this?” And the thing is—just like you were kind of mentioning with the cleaners—if you have a small handful of ingredients, you can pretty much make everything. So I do make shampoo and conditioner. I have recipes for that on my blog as well. Shampoo bars, conditioner bars, if you want to be more sustainable. But again, it’s just very simple recipes. Like Lisa said, I’m a mom of five, almost six. I don’t have time to spend like— everyone’s like, “How do you do it all?” I’m like, it’s not actually as hard. Like, I can be in the middle of doing dishes and whip up the dish soap while I’m in the middle of doing dishes.
Lisa Bass Right. You’re not doing this massive day except for maybe soap making, which we’ll talk about. But you’re not doing something where you’re spending a day making all of my hair care, all of my dish soap, all of my cleaning supplies.
Laura Ascher Yeah, as it runs out, I just—
Lisa Bass Like measuring and working on formulas. You probably also have a routine to where you’re not measuring out a cup of this, a tablespoon of that. You’re just kind of using these same basic— yeah.
Laura Ascher Yeah. My husband, I make all of his beard oil and beard balm and whatever and— yeah, just he’ll have it and be like “Oh, it’s empty,” and I can just fill it up now.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Well, now that you’re familiar with the recipes.
Laura Ascher Yeah. I don’t have to even look at a recipe. It takes, you know, 30 seconds to put together some of these things. And the thing that I like most about it is it really does save a lot of money. If you’re trying to buy things that are natural, sometimes are not actually even natural. You have that greenwashing, but it’s a lot more expensive with that natural label on the product. And so making your own really does save you a lot of money.
Lisa Bass So what are the basic staples when it comes to hair care? Coconut milk, I’m assuming? Is that one of them? Honey?
Laura Ascher Yes, coconut oil, too, I put in a lot. Castile soap is in my shampoo. Honey, I use that for hair mask type things or like a deep conditioner treatment. I think that’s pretty much—
Lisa Bass Those are the basics?
Laura Ascher Yeah, and with skin care, it’s definitely like shea butter or cocoa butter—kind of picking one of those—a coconut oil.
Lisa Bass Those are the basics.
Laura Ascher I think so. There’s not— and I even put those ingredients go in the shampoo bar and conditioner bars you have a lot of that same stuff in there. Vegetable glycerin is good because it makes things lather and it thickens it up and so it makes it have more used to conventional feel that you have because that’s one thing when you switch over, it’s definitely different because there’s not the chemicals in there that make it foam up or suds like you’re used to from the store. But if I ever have someone that’s asking for that, I’ll say to add in a little bit of vegetable glycerin because that does thicken it and make it lather a little bit better.
Lisa Bass And then for body butters, what’s the magic ingredient that gives it that fluffy feel that actually makes it absorb unlike just putting like oil on yourself?
Laura Ascher Okay, so my thing to make it not greasy is arrowroot powder.
Lisa Bass Oh, that’s right. You told me about that.
Laura Ascher Yeah. Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter— those three are pretty interchangeable, so it kind of depends. Some people hate the smell of either shea or cocoa. I personally love them all.
Lisa Bass I do too.
Laura Ascher So I like to do a combination. But if you are someone who doesn’t like it, you can kind of pick one or the other. A coconut oil, usually some type of carrier oil that’s not solid like coconut oil will be in there. And maybe an essential oil if you want to add a scent to it or have some more different benefits for your skin. And then when you get to the part where you’re whipping it up, adding in a little bit of arrowroot powder will make it to where it’s not greasy, makes it really light and fluffy.
Lisa Bass Absorbs those oils.
Laura Ascher Mm hmm.
Lisa Bass That is good to know. That must be in the body butters that you’ve given me.
Laura Ascher Yep, it is. Once I figured that out, it’s like in all my recipes now. It’s always optional because the other ones still work really well, but they definitely are more greasy and, again, just not what you’re used to whenever you grab a pumpable bottle of lotion from the store.
Lisa Bass Okay, so I like that you really haven’t mentioned that many ingredients. You don’t need to go out and buy mango butter, cocoa butter, shea butter. You can buy one.
Laura Ascher Nope. You can buy one.
Lisa Bass And then maybe like a couple of carrier oils. The castle soap is really important. What else? Vinegar. Basic stuff.
Laura Ascher Vinegar. Baking soda.
Lisa Bass Because I think people think like, “Oh I’m going to start making all my own stuff. I’m going to have to get— I’m going to basically have a whole apothecary down in my basement.”
Laura Ascher Nope. Most of the stuff you probably already have in your pantry, honestly. And then maybe get a couple of things. And they last for so long. Oh, beeswax.
Lisa Bass Oh, beeswax. You’re right. That is a big one.
Laura Ascher That’s another big one that I put in things like my lotion bars, sunscreen. You need beeswax; it makes it waterproof. Holds things together.
Lisa Bass Right. And then zinc oxide for that. That’s like one more ingredient that you kind of need for the sunscreen.
Laura Ascher Yes. Yeah.
Lisa Bass I know that coconut oil has a little bit of an SPF, but—
Laura Ascher The zinc oxide makes it more.
Lisa Bass Yeah.
Laura Ascher Yep. Very few ingredients that you need. And then once you have them, you can use them for interchangeable recipes. So you can use it to make your shampoo bar, to make your lotion, to make your sunscreen. And everything only needs about a quarter of a cup. So it lasts a really long time. I mean, even with my blog, I’m making things way more often than we even need them because I’m testing recipes all the time to get new recipes out on the blog, and I’m not constantly buying the stuff. It lasts me for a very long time.
Lisa Bass Yeah, yeah. That’s good to know that it actually can be an economical thing up front. What about something like toothpaste? What’s your top recommendation for that?
Laura Ascher Okay, so you can do it as simple as just coconut oil and baking soda. On mine, I add in xylitol— is that how you say it?
Lisa Bass Yeah, I think xylitol. Yeah.
Laura Ascher Okay. Just to give it— because baking soda is very bitter.
Lisa Bass Mm-hmm. It tastes like salty almost.
Laura Ascher Yeah. You can add in that. Calcium— what’s the carbonate?
Lisa Bass Calcium carbonate. That’s right.
Laura Ascher Yeah, that’s what it is. That adds in extra benefits for your teeth. So my recipe has that— xylitol, baking soda, and coconut oil. And then you can add an essential oil for flavor if you want, but you don’t even have to. But you can make a basic toothpaste with just coconut oil and baking soda if you can stand the bitterness of the taste.
Lisa Bass Which most adults probably can. And that’s really nice to know because you have both those ingredients already in your kitchen. Stir it up, keep it in maybe a little jar. Make small batches you don’t have like a— I don’t know. If you don’t label things— I’m bad about labeling stuff, and then I forget what is what. So unless it’s in the spot and just a small amount, it’s probably going to go to waste a little bit. But yeah, those—
Laura Ascher We make it and all my kids use it and constantly people are asking me like, “How do you get it out?” Because you do want to keep it dry. If you want to make sure it doesn’t get moldy or new bacteria on it. So you can have a popsicle stick to get it out. Honestly, we just dip our toothbrushes right in, which is probably not the way you’re supposed to do it, but that’s just what we—
Lisa Bass You’ll get in trouble for that.
Laura Ascher It’s never been a problem.
Lisa Bass So far, you’ve made it through.
Laura Ascher But if you want to do it the right way, having something to get it out because it’s not a squeezable recipe like regular toothpaste. I’m sure there are recipes like that. This is the one that we’ve been using for a very long time and—
Lisa Bass It’s always been fine.
Laura Ascher Yep. We’ve always done it.
Lisa Bass And I’m assuming you have also on your blog a laundry detergent recipe.
Laura Ascher Yep. That one’s also very simple. That one saves you so much money because— I mean, especially for us having larger families, I’m doing a load of laundry every single day. And so having— I make the five gallon bucket. I have a liquid and powdered, and I make both, but the liquid one I make most often just because it’s five gallons, and so I mean it’ll last me for six months. And it costs like $2 to make.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Detergent is very expensive.
Laura Ascher Mm-hmm. I haven’t bought it in a very long time. I’ve been making my own for forever. Well, probably ten years. I think when I first got married, I started making it and it works well. So that’s all we use.
Lisa Bass So I know something that’s really big on your blog is soap making, and I think most people are very intimidated by soap making. It’s not something we’re very familiar with— using the lye, all of the ratios, you have to worry about the fat and the calculator and all of that. Can you give us a brief primer of soap making and then maybe refer us to some of your best and most popular soap recipes on the blog?
Laura Ascher Yeah, I was definitely one of those people that I was scared of soap making. I ordered lye and had it sitting up on the very top shelf of my—
Lisa Bass I can beat you. I’ve had one for like five years. It came over from from Boone Street. You can have it.
Laura Ascher All right. Thanks. I had it for a good year before I started making soap. And then once I did it the first time, I realized that it wasn’t as hard or scary as I thought.
Lisa Bass Like everything.
Laura Ascher Yeah, like everything is how to do it. But the thing with lye—and everyone’s always asking like, “Well, can I make it without lye?”—all soap has lye in it? So if you’re using a melt and pour soap, that one just already did the process of mixing it for you. There is lye in it because that’s just part of—
Lisa Bass That’s what turns oil into soap.
Laura Ascher Yes, exactly. So you do have to be safe with it. I have burnt my arm with— nothing serious, but I’ve had red spots on my arm before from it. So you do need to be careful with it, doing it in a well-ventilated area. Outside is best. I never have a baby strapped to me when I do it. There’s no pets around. I wear my long rubber gloves. I have my safety goggles on. But once you jump in— and you denitely need a digital scale. Everything has to be measured very precisely, but there are soap calculators. And I have exact recipes on my blog. I don’t know— a dozen of them or more of soap recipes. And so you can just follow a recipe exactly, but if you want to change anything up, you definitely need to get a soap calculator and plug in what ingredients you’re going to be using. Because it is important to have your ratios right, to make sure that your soap turns into soap. But once you do it a couple of times—if you have the right safety equipment—it’s actually very easy. And it’s fun. It’s so fun because you can make so many combinations with the different scents that you add. Adding in— I did one just recently where we used— instead of mixing lye and water, we did lye with coffee, and then we added in coffee grinds to make it exfoliating.
Lisa Bass How many extra do you have of those?
Laura Ascher I do have a bunch. They’re still actually curing— that batch is.
Lisa Bass I liked your loofah one. She gave me one where she put a loofah into the soap mold, and so there’s exfoliation while you’re cleansing.
Laura Ascher Yeah, that was my husband’s idea. Let’s do it. That was actually a melt and pour. So I have recipes if you’re a total beginner and then ones that are definitely more advanced, but there’s a lot of different ways to make it. But we’ve done hot process soap, cold process soap, melt and pour soap. But once you start—just like with everything—doesn’t take a lot. And now when I go to make soap, I have all the things that I need. I don’t have to buy new things every single time I make soap. It lasts for a really long time and another one of those things that will save you money.
Lisa Bass Once you’ve got everything, you know what you’re doing, it’s probably pretty easy to incorporate into your life. It’s probably a little bit of time here, and then it cures for a while, a little bit of time on the back end, but once you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty straightforward and then something that you can be in control of all the ingredients for your family. So that’s pretty cool. What am I missing? We talked about laundry, hair, skin, cleaning. Those are probably the top ones.
Laura Ascher Yeah, those are most of the things that I— I mean, we get into— on my blog and things, we also make things for your garden and pest control type things. If you have ants in your house, things like that. But those are definitely the things that we use.
Lisa Bass And get asked about the most. And those are also probably the biggest impact as far as what would make its way into your skin and affect your health because it’s so direct in your house. So for that, OurOilyHouse.com. She has printable recipes and you could just go for days scrolling through and finding all of her stuff. It’s also on YouTube. You have a beginner’s guide to soap on your YouTube, I know. Yeah. And with that, I’m going to pull up some of our questions. Okay. So I already peeked through this a little bit and there was a couple good ones.
Laura Ascher Oh boy. You had a lot.
Lisa Bass I know. Let’s see here. First off, are we twins? No. Oh, somebody also said who’s older. I’m two years older, almost to the day. Okay. This one I liked: so have you guys ever been pregnant at the same time? I feel like you take turns.
Laura Ascher We—for a while—were on the same schedule. We were pregnant at the same time.
Lisa Bass Yeah, we’ve gotten off the schedule.
Laura Ascher My first and her third were just six weeks apart. My third and your fourth—Jude and X—were a few months apart.
Lisa Bass You’re going to have to think about this for me.
Laura Ascher And then our fourth and fifth.
Lisa Bass They’re best friends.
Laura Ascher They’re best friends. They’re four years old right now, and they have been best friends since one.
Lisa Bass It’s so cute. Yeah.
Laura Ascher I mean, it’s just hilarious.
Lisa Bass We’ve never seen anything like it because all of our kids, they play together, but no one has ever latched on like that. And it happened so young. Like, my son couldn’t even talk yet. Hers was a really early talker. And he couldn’t talk at all till he was three and—.
Laura Ascher Best friends.
Lisa Bass Her son could talk since he was 18 months, and now they both obviously talk just fine. But they were best friends even through all of that. It’s so funny.
Laura Ascher Yeah, they’re four now, and they are literally inseparable. Any time that we’re together, we’re like, “Where are our four-year-olds?”
Lisa Bass Yep. “Where are the four-year-olds? Where were the three-year-olds? Where were the two-year-olds?”
Laura Ascher We were saying, “Where are the three-year-olds?” Because if one is there, that’s where the other one is. So they were the same time, and then the last few, we’ve been on this every other year thing.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So since you’ve been watching us, that’s been the case. But actually before that, we had three different times where we have kids almost the exact same age. So that’s been very fun.
Laura Ascher But all of them out of the 12— is there 12 of them?
Lisa Bass Almost 13.
Laura Ascher Almost 13. The oldest one is 13. So they’re all very close in age, which is fun. And we both had our girls first, which is really nice because then our girls are good friends and then we had all the boys kind of together.
Lisa Bass All right. I’m going to take a break from chatting with Laura about natural swaps in your home to talk about a very appropriate company when it comes to that, Toups and Co. I’ve talked about them a lot on here before. I love their skincare products— so their tallow balm that’s so moisturizing and made from natural animal based, grass fed ingredients so that it actually absorbs into my skin, gives it that moisture level. I like cleansing with the seabuckthorn oil and the charcoal bar. Today I actually have some new products that I’m trying out. So I got an email from Toups and Co about natural ways— so organic, natural, not just green washed, but actually organic natural ways to contour, which I’m really interested in learning how to do. Need lots of practice on actually figuring it out. But I want to share with you what I got and I’m already loving them. So I got a primer. I got the Toups and Co foundation. I also picked up the highlighter and the bronzer and the illuminator. So I’m going to start practicing with this and figure out how to put my face on in a more natural way, which I’ve been doing for so long. I just feel like sometimes, though I do it, I don’t always look the best. So I’m going to figure out how to actually employ some of those conventional makeup practices like contouring, but with all natural ingredients. Toups and Co is a husband and wife team. It’s made right here in the U.S., so if you love supporting small business, U.S. based business and you care about toxins and natural, organic ingredients, Toups and Co is definitely one to go check out. So you can go to ToupsandCo.com and use the code FARMHOUSE to get 10% off your order. Again, that’s ToupsandCo.com. Use the code FARMHOUSE to check out some of their beautiful makeup skincare moisturizing— a full line of organic skincare products.
Lisa Bass Okay, that actually kind of goes with this question. Do you think there’s a curse on your family only allowing you to have boys? Laughy face. JK. JK.
Laura Ascher Yep. We think so. Not a curse. We love all of our boys.
Lisa Bass No, not a curse.
Laura Ascher We do think— we have our own—
Lisa Bass We have reasons. We have theories.
Laura Ascher We have theories. We have theories of why this is happening.
Lisa Bass All right. I think I’m going to explain.
Laura Ascher Okay. We think it’s a good theory.
Lisa Bass Yeah, we think it’s pretty sound and based in science. So basically there’s some science behind acidity and alkalinity in the body. And we ended up discovering— I realize this is correlation, not causation, so, again, hold this loosely. Hold how you will. We believe that when you’re more acidic, you’re more likely to have girls, and more alkaline, you’re more likely to have boys. And we discovered the wonders of fermented foods around the time that the boy boom began. Now, this is not like a hard— you know, like, obviously you can be really into fermented foods and have all girls. I’m not saying that. However, I do think if you drink a quart of kefir every morning, your body is probably going to be more alkaline. We didn’t know that’s what we were doing, but looking back—
Laura Ascher We discovered.
Lisa Bass We discovered that maybe starting the day off with something really sour— so lemon juice makes your body more alkaline. Kefir. It’s just— I don’t know why acidic things make your body alkaline, but that’s how it works. And that’s when the boy boom started.
Laura Ascher Right when we got into kefir.
Lisa Bass Saurkraut.
Laura Ascher Making our own yogurt, sauerkraut.
Lisa Bass Sourdough.
Laura Ascher Sourdough.
Lisa Bass It’s— I mean, we do have three girls in a row, and then—if Laura has a boy here—ten boys in a row, which is—
Laura Ascher Very likely.
Lisa Bass Pretty compelling. So I also ran my own nonscientific study on red raspberry leaf about a year and a half ago— or no, around a year ago before I had Theo. No, it was when I was still pregnant with him. Anyways, with our group of kids, we do have a pretty large sample size, so it gets our wheels turning quite a bit to where we start to think we know what we’re talking about. And so we also believe that if you drink red raspberry leaf tea your entire pregnancy— not in the third trimester, so don’t tell me you had your baby on time if you started in the third or the second. If you start drinking red raspberry leaf tea from the beginning of your pregnancy and you drink a half a gallon a day. I’m talking like a lot— a quart a day or half gallon?
Laura Ascher Probably a quart. But still a bunch.
Lisa Bass Okay, a quart a day of strong red raspberry leaf tea, the baby will be late. We have 12 kids that prove this to be true.
Laura Ascher Yeah.
Lisa Bass And then I actually put a poll out on Instagram, and so many women chimed in with the exact same story. And then I actually started seeking out studies, and there were studies on it too. So that actually is true.
Laura Ascher Yeah. That happened. We should put a thing out about—
Lisa Bass The boy thing.
Laura Ascher If there’s families families that have mostly girls or boys.
Lisa Bass Or if there was a shift. I think what interests me more than anything else is the shift.
Laura Ascher Is the shift. Yeah, like why—
Lisa Bass Because I do think some bodies are more prone. Like our mom had four girls. My grandma had nine girls of a 14, so very heavily skewed.
Laura Ascher My mother-in-law had eight girls.
Lisa Bass Her mother-in-law had eight girls, two boys. So I do think there is definitely something going on there, but I’m interested in the shift that happened with us. Three girls in a row.
Laura Ascher Yeah, and it was right around that time. And so to us, it’s like, hmm.
Lisa Bass And you know what? We could come back here in five years and tell you how wrong we were. Just like we thought that girls made you more sick during pregnancy than boys. And then that has been flipped— not flipped. It’s just been completely and thoroughly disproven by having enough kids that we now see that that wasn’t actually true because we’ve had sick pregnancies with girls and with boys. But at first, it looked really right. After about six kids, it looked really right.
Laura Ascher And then after six more, nope.
Lisa Bass With a little more evidence, it didn’t.
Laura Ascher That was debunked.
Lisa Bass So, we shall see.
Laura Ascher When this one comes.
Lisa Bass Yeah, we’ll see when this one comes. Yeah. Anyways, okay, so there’s that very long explanation. Okay. So did you both always want big families?
Laura Ascher I did.
Lisa Bass Laura did. I didn’t.
Laura Ascher Yeah. I wanted ten kids when I was five years old.
Lisa Bass Yep. She’s been very consistent with this dream. Mine only started happening— like with each child, it’s kind of a new discussion. People think it’s something I set out to do, and it’s more just been a discussion with each child. And obviously faith has played a big role in it as well. And so, you know, as an unbeliever before, that didn’t play into it then. But Laura has always—
Laura Ascher Yep.
Lisa Bass Always.
Laura Ascher Always loved all the babies.
Lisa Bass Okay, so how do you make time for yourself with all the kids? I have two under two and I’m already tired.
Laura Ascher It gets easier the more kids you have, I think.
Lisa Bass Laura’s really good about schedules in her family, so she could give you tips on that.
Laura Ascher Yeah, I definitely— like there’s times of the day— I mean, in the evening, our kids are like— everyone’s in bed by 8:00. So I know I always have that time. I mean, I say every day— if we have something going on— like tomorrow, we got something going until 10:00 at night.
Lisa Bass So that won’t happen.
Laura Ascher It won’t happen. But for the most part, like when we’re home, there’s always that time in the evening when the kids are sleeping and I have time. And also I think that people only get a glimpse of my life on YouTube and think— you know, like I’m always getting that comment. I’m like, “You’re only seeing parts of it. There’s definitely times when I have downtime and I lay low that I’m not showing because that would be boring to see me sitting on the couch doing nothing, but that does happen.”
Lisa Bass But normally the kids are around in those times, but you’re able to— I think, over time, you’re able to figure out, too, how to relax with kids. Because I remember when I first had kids and I would hear a mom who had maybe more kids or like some young kids and some old. And she’s like, “We’re just going to lay low and relax today.” I’m like, “But you have kids.”.
Laura Ascher Yeah. How do you do that?
Lisa Bass How are you going to relax and have kids? And I have figured out, over time, that actually you can do that. You can relax with the kids around. That can all be restful. Also, Abby from M is for Mama, she was sharing in one of her recent “What do you want to know Wednesday.” She does like a question box, she answers questions. And she was basically encouraging this young mother to hold those loosely. And you don’t actually need alone time. Getting it is a blessing. And so whenever you have it, being thankful for it and really appreciating it, but then also not setting with this expectation of like I have to because then you’ll find yourself disappointed. And I actually really like that because I definitely struggle with that. There are times when I think I should get this, and then whenever I don’t, I’m really upset, and I’m mad because I deserve it.
Laura Ascher And you feel entitled to it.
Lisa Bass But yeah, in reality, I should just be grateful when it happens and then not be so worried about getting it, too.
Laura Ascher Right and having two under two, that’s different. They’re more needy then. There comes times whenever— my oldest one’s only nine, but still they can go off and they can play while I’m sitting down and having alone time even though they’re around. But they don’t need me every single second of every day anymore like they did whenever they were two and under. That’s a harder phase.
Lisa Bass It is. And you’re new to mothering. When you have two under two, you’re still on that— like this is a whole new thing. Your world has been completely changed, and you haven’t figured out just exactly how you exist in this new world that you’re in. And so I do think that there’s just some hard times with that. I guess what I’m saying is don’t— like if you set out each day like I need this amount of alone time, and then you don’t get it, there’s going to be the disappointment. Trying to reframe that a bit.
Laura Ascher Yeah.
Lisa Bass Okay. I saw this one and I really don’t know how we’ll answer it. What are some lifestyle practices that you disagree on? I honestly don’t think there are any. We do things differently. We do a lot of things differently, but I wouldn’t say that we disagree. A lot of the things we do differently, I think your way is probably better. It’s just personality. So like I tend to be late to things. Not super late, but Laura always manages to get there with your kids’ shoes on, everything you need for that event.
Laura Ascher We run a tighter ship, for sure.
Lisa Bass Laura runs a very tighter ship.
Laura Ascher But it’s partially our husbands, too.
Lisa Bass Yeah, Luke and I are— yeah. We went on vacation with them twice, and both times we’re like, “Whew.”
Laura Ascher We just— we have different—
Lisa Bass We just sit there and drink coffee in the morning. and Laura— they’re ready to go.
Laura Ascher Yeah.
Lisa Bass And their kids are all that way.
Laura Ascher Yes. The personality of our kids— it’s hilarious. We talk about it constantly.
Lisa Bass It’s our favorite thing to do.
Laura Ascher It’s night and day difference which is funny because we are very similar in a lot of ways, but the personality is so opposite, it’s—
Lisa Bass We have very different personalities, but personalities that mesh and get along really well.
Laura Ascher Yes.
Lisa Bass But we see it in our kids because also, obviously, we married husbands that go with us.
Laura Ascher Yes.
Lisa Bass And so then there’s even that much different.
Laura Ascher It’s just major divide, and it’s just hilarious.
Lisa Bass Yeah. They’re different in every way. Like her kids, they show up where they got their socks, their shoes—
Laura Ascher Their watches, their hats.
Lisa Bass Their watches, their hats, their belts. They look perfect. They’re ready to go. And you would think like, oh, wow, what a great mother, but the kids do that.
Laura Ascher Yeah, I don’t say, “Now get your watch on.”
Lisa Bass I’m not saying she shouldn’t deserve some credit, but also—
Laura Ascher No, it’s just their personalities. They don’t lose things.
Lisa Bass At all.
Laura Ascher They put things away.
Lisa Bass They have the same toy for five years. Mine lost it within five minutes. Literally, it didn’t even make it home from the Christmas party.
Laura Ascher It’s just a personality thing because we do— I feel like we raise our kids very similar.
Lisa Bass Yeah.
Laura Ascher But they do have such distinct personality traits that are so opposite. It’s just— it’s funny.
Lisa Bass I find it very encouraging to observe because it makes me realize that they’re their own humans. There’s only so much you can control. You do what you can. But if certain parts of their personality present in this way, it’s just literally who they are. And so not going to get like beating ourselves up for like, “Why can’t my kid do this?” when really— I’m so closely intertwined with Laura’s life that I know what they do, and I know what we do, and I see the way that they turn out very differently. And so it just kind of makes me know that there’s definitely an element of personality that you have to completely take into account and allow for your kids to be.
Laura Ascher And with the personality, too, there’s pros and cons to both. It’s not like this way is all good and this way is all bad. There’s things that my kids do that would be way easier if they did it like your kids or vice versa.
Lisa Bass Like because they’re so particular, if they get dirty or wet— they’re better now as they’re older, but the younger ones, if they get dirty— Laura would be like, “Stay out of the creek,” and I’m like, “Why do you care?” She’s like, “Because they’re going to bug me the rest of the day.”
Laura Ascher Because if they get wet, they’re going to cry the rest of the day.
Lisa Bass And I’m like, “Just roll around in the creek. It’s 50 degrees outside, but I know that you’re not going to complain to me about it.”
Laura Ascher Mine will complain. And so then if I don’t have extra clothes, you might as well not get wet, because if you have a wet toe, you’re going to cry all day at my feet like.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Mine aren’t going to do that.
Laura Ascher Because they’re not particular.
Lisa Bass They can be dirty for weeks, and it’s fine.
Laura Ascher And if someone goes in their room and touches or moves anything, they’re going to know about it, and they’re going to complain. Your kids don’t really care.
Lisa Bass No, they don’t. I have one that’s sort of particular, but not in the same way.
Lisa Bass All right, I want to pause to tell you about another sponsor today, and that is Redmond Real Salt. So if you are cooking from scratch like I am— making homemade bone broth, fermenting your own vegetables, you will find that you need a lot of salt. I know that every time I turn around, I’m refilling my little salt canister that sits above my stove. I’m sprinkling it all over our meat, into our homemade bone broth. Everything just tastes better with a good quality salt. And when you’re using that much of anything, you need to make sure that it is quality, that you aren’t introducing something into your food—after all of this hard work—that is going to have negative impacts on your health. That’s why I trust Redmond Real Salt. I actually purchased a huge bucket from them so that I don’t run out. I find that that is one thing I can’t do without. I can have staples on hand like eggs, like whole grains, so that I can mill them and make flours and breads and milk from our cow. But if we don’t have salt, I really can’t pull a meal together. So head on over to bit.ly/RedmondFarmhouse and that is where you can get a discount on Redmond Real Salt. They’ve offered this for Simple Farmhouse Life podcast listeners. So make sure to stock up on a good quality salt for your kitchen. While you’re over there, check out their seasoning salts. You can find so many things to dress up those summer barbecue meals, any meal that you are cooking from scratch. Again, that’s bit.ly/RedmondFarmhouse to get a discount on clean quality salt to add to all of your homemade dishes.
Lisa Bass Okay. So somebody asks, “How do you two differ as mothers?” I think we’ve pretty much covered that there. I mean, for the most part. I had a couple people asking like, “How are you close? What do you encourage for people who have young kids who they want to be friends when they’re adults?” And then also somebody said, “What from your childhood makes your families close? Like Sunday dinners?” Because we go over to my parents’ every Sunday for Sunday dinners.
Laura Ascher I mean, one thing that definitely helps that we have an advantage of that I know is not normal is that all of our family is local. I mean, so many people— I mean, even a lot of our extended family and in-laws for all of us— everyone’s just very— I mean, for the most part. I know you have a couple in-laws that aren’t totally, but still within the state— are local. So we don’t have to—
Lisa Bass Proximity. Yeah. That’s how we’re able to do Sunday dinners. I will say as an encouragement that we fought when we were little kids, just like all little kids do.
Laura Ascher Yeah.
Lisa Bass So that helps me when my kids— if they fight or bicker about something, I’m not like, oh, great, they’re going to hate each other for the rest of their lives. Because I remember doing that and we still get along.
Laura Ascher Yeah, totally.
Lisa Bass And then again, I guess there is a personality factor to enjoying— you know, you have to agree on certain things to enjoy hanging out with somebody. So there is that. And I don’t know. Like how do you foster that?
Laura Ascher All the big things, we totally agree on, so that makes it easy. And just being in the same stage of life. Being just two years apart and both married with a bunch of kids. We’re going through the same thing day in, day out.
Lisa Bass And then also— I mean, personalities in our family, there’s not a whole lot of drama. Or there’s not really any drama.
Laura Ascher No. Nothing.
Lisa Bass So there is a family culture of we’re all fairly laid back. You’re not really going to have these fights where nobody’s talking for a few weeks.
Laura Ascher That’s literally never happened.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So that’s— I don’t know how exactly you foster that, but that does seem to be the culture.
Laura Ascher Again, probably just a lot of personality things that you can’t even necessarily—
Lisa Bass Why are you a hard worker, Laura? Personality, personality.
Laura Ascher Yeah.
Lisa Bass Who started the natural lifestyle first? I’m older, so I would say that because of that, it would be me. But it was pretty much around the same time. I also got married four years before.
Laura Ascher And had a baby first.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I got married and had a baby four years before. And so that did send me down that pathway a little bit earlier.
Laura Ascher Because that was kind of whatever we both started was whenever we had babies and you start thinking about all the things that come along with being a mom and putting the regular lotion on your baby like, “Oh, my gosh. What are those ingredients in there?” And different things. You start really— what kind of food are you going to feed your baby first? All that kind of stuff.
Lisa Bass Okay, so what’s the biggest challenge with running your own online business?
Laura Ascher Hmm.
Lisa Bass Laura’s got it all nailed down over there.
Laura Ascher Well, I guess partially just any business that you have that’s from your home— being able to turn it off. That was harder. I’m definitely better at it now that I’m lazier. No, just kidding. I don’t know what it is, but if you’re home and it’s a random night when maybe my husband’s doing something, all the kids are in bed, being able to lay down and watch a show or read a book or just not have to be like, “Oh, my gosh, I should be answering comments right now or editing a video or—” you know, like in the beginning, if there was any downtime at all and everyone was quiet and I had a second to myself, it was going to be throwing it into the business and not being able to turn that off was something that I struggled with for sure. And not as much anymore, but in the beginning that was hard because it’s all so intertwined. Like you’re making a dinner like, “Oh gosh, I should be recording this because it could be a video.”
Lisa Bass Yeah, that’s true. Yes, the work/life balance. Trying to figure out when to just separate it all is probably the biggest challenge.
Laura Ascher Because when you work outside of the home, you leave it and it’s gone. But I don’t know, I guess just over time of doing it for several years, that’s not as much of an issue anymore.
Lisa Bass “Do you all have a favorite shared comical childhood/adolescent memory or story?” Gosh, I wish I could think of something right off-hand.
Laura Ascher Oh, yeah. I know there’s—
Lisa Bass There’s probably a lot.
Laura Ascher I mean, at this point, all the stories that are funny, I’m just thinking of all the funny things our kids say.
Lisa Bass Uh-huh.
Laura Ascher It’s like constant, “Oh, my gosh, the other day Micah said this,” or “William said this.” But yeah, I mean, I’m sure there’s something.
Lisa Bass I saw it a couple of times. People want to know, like, what did you learn as a kid? What did mom and dad teach you that helped you maybe go into the natural lifestyle or maybe trying things? Online business?
Laura Ascher Well, our family is definitely very business minded.
Lisa Bass Entrepreneurial. Yes.
Laura Ascher Every single one in our immediate family. No one has just like a regular job.
Lisa Bass Yeah. And then also people asked if we grew up on a farm. We did which I’ve shared this a lot, so some of you are like, “I know. It was an elk farm.” But we grew up on an elk farm, which was very interesting. So we grew up, you know—
Laura Ascher Very much so in the farm life. My dad was always farming too. So we’ve been around all of that.
Lisa Bass Yes. Yes. We put the hay bales in the barn and climbed fences.
Laura Ascher Yeah. Lots of animals always. Cattle, elk, which is obviously kind of weird.
Lisa Bass I don’t know if we’ve really talked about the racetrack. Do you want to talk about that while I find the next question?
Laura Ascher Yeah. We grew up on a racetrack, so our grandpa started a drag race, like car racetrack. It was a three mile track. By the time that Lisa and I were around, it was just a quarter of a mile drag strip, but that’s where our house was. So that was every weekend. But then all during the week, we were able to explore and all of that. It was super fun with go-carts and things and being able to run around it and every single weekend having this huge event in our area of racers coming.
Lisa Bass On our farm.
Laura Ascher Yeah. It was on the farm. Like on this side there was the elk fence, and on this side there was the cattle fencing.
Lisa Bass And then the racetrack.
Laura Ascher Like in the middle of this. And so it was right there.
Lisa Bass We didn’t realize how weird it was that we could—when we were kids—on a Sunday, you could ride the golf cart up and get a burger at the concession stand.
Laura Ascher Yeah. Sno cones. And people came from all over. I mean, it was a huge thing. Anyone in our area definitely knows of this racetrack.
Lisa Bass Yeah, it was super fun. I didn’t realize just how lucky we were to grow up how we did.
Laura Ascher My dad had acres attached to also his dad, so we grew up on this 400-acre farm with a big creek.
Lisa Bass Spring.
Laura Ascher Spring through it.
Lisa Bass Horses.
Laura Ascher Yeah, horses. But yet only about 10 minutes from the town.
Lisa Bass Yeah. A good town. You really don’t find stuff like it.
Laura Ascher Yeah. That would be awesome to find that again. You felt like you were in the middle of nowhere, and then you were like 10 minutes from your Walmart and Target and everything. Well, not when we were kids. Not everything was there. Not Target.
Lisa Bass Well, not Target.
Laura Ascher Walmart.
Lisa Bass But yeah. Walmart.
Laura Ascher Restaurants.
Lisa Bass McDonald’s. So they sold it when I was 18. Laura was still home, so I only lived this place when I was a kid. And then they bought a different farm. So it would be really fun to show the kids, but it turned into subdivisions. It’s sad.
Laura Ascher Yep. Every time I pass it, I always tell my kids, like, “That’s where the elk were.”
Lisa Bass Like, “See that house right there? That’s where we were in the back of my dad’s truck looking for—”
Laura Ascher The baby elk and things.
Lisa Bass So it’s sad, but they do have a lovely farm now that we like to go visit every Sunday. Okay, your favorite thing to do together?
Laura Ascher I mean.
Lisa Bass Strap all our kids in the car and then just sit up front and talk and just drive.
Laura Ascher Yeah. Any time that we can, we drive together. Lisa has a big van now because she had to with all of her kids. We can’t all fit in it actually with all of our kids, but if there’s a time where we’re going where we’re just both bringing like four-ish children or five or something, we can fit in there. And that’s the best. Or we do girls’ nights, and that’s fun because we only have three girls between us and then my sisters and my mom, and all of us will go. Every year, we do a girls’ trip, which is a weekend but usually it’s during the week, but like a couple of nights. That’s always fun.
Lisa Bass Yeah, that’s always fun. Just a lot of— just anything, really.
Laura Ascher Yeah. We go to my parents’ house every Sunday. Going just randomly, like, “Oh, let’s run up and go out to eat and go shopping somewhere.” Always a couple kids in tow.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Very rarely do we get out without any children at all.
Laura Ascher Yeah, that’s like once a year, probably for that shopping day. We’re just talking about, like, literally, that’s probably it. But we’ll get way less kids than normal.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I know I was thinking of something else, but oh well. I’m sure it’s not that important. I’ll have to have you on again, so I can complete the thought. Actually, before I wrap it up, can you tell us about your free masterclass? You have a essential oils— you explain it.
Laura Ascher Yeah. So if you are interested in learning more about how to make these natural swaps for cleaners and hair care and skin care and just if you want to incorporate essential oils into your home and know how to dilute them properly, I do have a free masterclass where I pretty much teach you all of these things and I guess you’ll link it below?
Lisa Bass Don’t you have a bit.ly?
Laura Ascher Yeah. Gosh, I never use that. Can you believe that? I know you do.
Lisa Bass Oh man with a podcast, I have to— if I don’t verbally say it— it’s always—
Laura Ascher It’s bit.ly/ouroilyhousemasterclass. That’s what it is. But I don’t use it very much because I don’t do podcasts.
Lisa Bass So with podcasts, there are always show notes, but a lot of people really struggle to figure out where they are. And so I always want a verbal link.
Laura Ascher Got it. Are you pulling it up to make sure I’m right?
Lisa Bass Yes.
Laura Ascher I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I think I made it the last time—
Lisa Bass We did a podcast?
Laura Ascher I was on your podcast, and I just don’t use it very much. Do you use yours for other things?
Lisa Bass I do because—
Laura Ascher Oh yeah, ouroilyhousemasterclass.
Lisa Bass I use it all the time.
Laura Ascher I’m almost positive that’s what it is.
Lisa Bass Yeah.
Laura Ascher Yep, that’s right. Okay.
Lisa Bass So yeah, so there are show notes. I also do have a website which I don’t tell you guys about much, but it’s SimpleFarmhouseLifePodcast.com and there’s a transcript and there’s links, and so everything you’d want to know about an episode is there.
Laura Ascher Is there? Okay.
Lisa Bass But a lot of times people aren’t going to go to that.
Laura Ascher They’re just listening. So that’s why you give the bit.ly.
Lisa Bass So give them that bit.ly and they’ll find your ouroilyhousemasterclass. All right. Well, thank you so much for listening, and I’ll see you in the next episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast.