Adventures of the Yellow School Bus | "The Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar" | Article & 2 Photos by Candice Granger

(Article Includes Candice's 'Famous' Hot Toddy Recipe!)

Last night the kids looked at me and said, “Mom what beautiful skin you have!”

I smiled a broad smile and said, “Well, thank you my beautiful children.”

Pah. In my dreams.

My kids actually said, “Mom, why do you smell bad?” Stunned and mouth open, I babbled something like, “W-w-what do you mean? W-w-what do I smell like? I know I mess with goats daily and I have dogs following me around all the time but do I smell that bad?”

“Yes you do. But not like the farm. You smell like…vinegar. Like every time you get out of the shower and before bed. Why?”

So there have been a few times in my motherhood that I feel like I have passed on some very important knowledge that will aid my children in their years to come, major life changing stuff, like:

  • Mary Poppins. I feel that a “spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down” is a life lesson that no person should go through this world without. 
  • Before you get in the car, just use the bathroom. Even if you don’t have to…just go. 
  • Never leave the house with holes in your panties or underwear. You never know what the day entails.

I felt that explaining why I smelled like vinegar was one of those moments. I can’t believe I have never chatted about this before. I use vinegar for EVERYTHING. My motto is: When in doubt, put a little vinegar on it! To date, this motto has not let me down.

I’m not talking about just plain ol’ distilled vinegar though. I use apple cider vinegar 99% of the time. And for my personal use I use raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) with “The Mother” in it. Bragg’s is a common brand that is available on the shelves at H-E-B. I also use HEB's Organic brand when I can't find Bragg's.

Who is “The Mother” you ask? Good question.

“The Mother” in ACV is that murky, thick, cobweb like substance at the bottom of the jar of raw, unpasteurized ACV. “The Mother” contains healthy bacteria, strands of protein and enzymes that are beneficial to our bodies. ACV is made by smashing and squeezing the apple juice from the apples, then bacteria and yeast are added to start the fermentation process. The sugars then turn into alcohol but it is the second fermentation that makes ACV so wonderful. The alcohol is then converted into acetic acid- forming bacteria. That is what causes your lips to pucker and your eyes to burn when using ACV. “The Mother” in ACV is what holds the power to all of the healthy benefits of apple cider vinegar. If you don’t see that goop at the bottom of the jar, move along.

I started using ACV for everything when we moved to the farm. Before then, we had normal plumbing that ran all of our gray water into the city pipes and it went to the magical place where water goes to get “cleaned” and then used again. Around here, we don’t have that. Everything that we put down the drain goes out in our yard. Which then is rooted through by our chickens and then the grass is eaten by the goats. I didn’t want to use toxic cleaning supplies that would make our chickens grow another head. I turned to apple cider vinegar to clean and wash. On a daily basis, I use vinegar for:

  • Laundry – we use a cup of vinegar in the wash (specifically in the rinse cycle) to whiten, brighten and soften clothes. It also takes the smell of the wash out of the clothes. It just seems to keep it fresh. Instead of normal laundry detergent, I turn to a brand called Oasis.  It's not just biodegradable but biocampatible.  Check it out.  

  • The Farm – If I notice any animal feeling or acting a bit “off”, I pour a bit of apple cider vinegar into their water and dose them up. I keep them on it until we have figured out the issue or they are back to themselves. I also use ACV for a flea repellent. I put it in a spray bottle, mix it with water and spray the dogs to keep those pesky fleas at bay.  I read somewhere that if you want to keep kitty cats out of a certain area to spray ACV or leave ACV out in a bowl and the cats will steer clear of that location.   

  • Cleaning – I’m sure you have heard all the wonderful ways you can use vinegar and ACV in household situations -they are so many from cleaning your mini blinds to shining up your silver. I use it on a daily basis to disinfect our counter tops, wipe the floors and windows down and keep mold and mildew out of the shower. Vinegar can also (although I haven’t tried):
    • Wipe off wax or polish build up
    • Revitalize leather furniture
    • Remove water rings on furniture (with the addition of olive oil)
    • Remove pet stains and odor
    • Unclog and deodorize drains
    • Steam clean your microwave
    • Polish brass and copper items (with the addition of baking soda)
    • Clean your coffeemaker

The list could go on and on. I actually bought a book about the specific uses of vinegar in and around the house. I often wish I knew where that book was!  I want to share a recipe for getting pet stains out. This worked for the worst cat pee stain ever.
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon of dish washing liquid 
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda 
  • 16 oz of hydrogen peroxide 

Mix together and soak area, leave on till completely dry. If white residue appears, it can be vacuumed or brushed away. We received this recipe from a lady who has 16 cats. She probably knows this recipe by heart.

  • Washing face – I use “The Mother” ACV on my face every night. It is helps with age spots (it contains hydroxyl acids that helps remove dead skin cells), it aids in keeping those pesky pimples away (the malic acid in ACV gives it an antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties that prevents skin infections. Awesome.) and it helps keep oily skin under control. Now, it will make your eyes water and I definitely recommend diluting it down. I put it on a cotton ball and rub it all over, especially in those fine lines around my eyes.  I read on the internet that ACV can also be a part of a healthy cellulite plan. What the heck is a cellulite plan? I had to look it up. Who knew you could have a specific plan to beat those pesky dimple thighs! I need a plan like that. Evidently, since ACV contains minerals, potassium, magnesium and calcium, it helps flush out toxins and decreases water retention around your thighs and stomach. Who knew? Now you can make a rub with honey and ACV and put it directly on your troubled areas or you can soak in a diluted ACV bath. Just make sure you don’t have any open cuts or you will be cussing up a storm! That would be sting so bad.
  • Hair Rinse – I keep diluted ACV in a squirt bottle in the shower. After shampooing, I spray the ACV mix into my hair making sure I get my scalp. I leave it on for the duration of my shower and do a nice rinse before I get out. That’s it! I don’t use conditioner anymore because the ACV leaves my hair tangle free and soft! But why? Well, “The Mother” contains vitamins that help build beautiful locks. ACV is also acidic which helps restore your natural PH of your hair. The acidic nature of ACV also flattens your hair follicle leaving it smooth and shiny and less likely to tangle! Love it. Oh yeah, and it kicks dandruff’s butt. Pretty amazing!

So it does all these wonderful things to the outside of your body, what do you think it does to the inside? According to WebMD, “Apple cider vinegar contains some pectin; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; biotin; folic acid; niacin; pantothenic acid; and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of the minerals sodium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Apple cider vinegar can also contain significant quantities of acetic acid and citric acid. It is used to make medicine. Apple cider vinegar is used alone or with honey for weak bones (osteoporosis), weight loss, leg cramps and pain, upset stomach, sore throats, sinus problems, high blood pressure, arthritis, to help rid the body of toxins, stimulate thinking, slow the aging process, regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and fight infection.”

Holy cow, right. I know. Once I read this, I started drinking a Hot Toddy every day (yes, sometimes they contain whiskey, only if I am partaking in the evenings…or at least after 5 o'clock or close to it.)

Here is my Hot Toddy recipe:
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Good squirt of real honey
  • 1 tsp or so of ACV with “The Mother” in it
  • Fill the rest of the cup with HOT water
  • I stir it up and snuggle it close. Just thinking about all the wonderful effects that ACV does for my body makes me smile and think, “What a beautiful day it will be!”

That’s it! If I am feeling a bit under the weather, I add some fresh ginger and a bit of garlic for a cold remedy concoction. But I usually stick to the basics.

It might be hard to get next to the idea of pouring that sour smelling smashed apple liquid on your head or drinking it down in your favorite mug in the morning, but the benefits far outweigh the smell. I got used to it. Hopefully, my kids will get used to it too. I shared all of this information with them. I hope that in the future, when they smell the wonderful aroma of apple cider vinegar in the air, they will smile instead of cringe and think about all the healthy attributes “The Mother” brings to their mother every day.

Candice Granger and her super cute brood call home (and art studio!) to a 16+ acre homestead in Gonzales County. They live in a converted yellow school bus with a large cast of furry characters including sheep, goats, and chickens. Candice focuses her many talents towards 'healthy and homemade.' Candice is an artist, home-schooling teacher & mother, and partner to her potter husband Jim Bob.

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