12.06.2009

Natural Body Products

It has been quite a while since I posted any "tips" or recipes, so as I'm now in "Santa's Workshop" mode and have been making a lot of natural body products, I thought I'd share a recipe.

Whenever possible, I like to use all-natural products in my home. I have found that either time or money is an issue in doing this consistently throughout the entire house (I do still buy bleach, laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs, etc...), but I have found some ways to make natural products that are very effective - some work better than the store-bought kind, in my opinion.

I love natural oils... Olive oil. Coconut oil. Essential oils... you name it, I love working with it. I also have an affinity for beeswax. When I have the supplies on hand, I am regularly experimenting with various mixtures to use for skin care.

Just yesterday, I made a recipe found on the Passionate Homemaking website. All natural deodorant. I'll post the recipe here, but did find it on the PH page.

5-6 T (71-84g) coconut oil
1/4 C baking soda
1/4 C arrowroot powder or talc-free cornstarch

Measure out coconut oil and put in mid-size bowl. In smaller, separate bowl, mix cornstarch or arrowroot powder with baking soda. (I used arrowroot powder, but due to its relatively high cost/oz at my local coop, I'm likely to use cornstarch next time.) Slowly add powder mix to coconut oil, using a spoon to mix the two together. I started out using 71g coconut oil so there was room to add more if necessary. This is kind of like making a dry paste. It took several minutes for me to get the whole mix to stick together without crumbling. If this is the case, add a few more grams of the coconut oil. Store in a plastic container with a lid, a metal tin with a lid or recycle an old (cleaned) deodorant tube.

So far, I have been very pleased with the result of the product. Note that this is a deodorant recipe, so it will not prevent perspiring. The perk of this recipe is that it is aluminum-free. It has been said that aluminum has been linked to cancer - particularly breast cancer in women.

I also tried a recipe for non-petroleum jelly. I found the recipe online, but can't remember the source.

1/4 C shredded beeswax or beeswax pearls
1 C liquid oil - Olive, Jojiba, Canola, Almond, Grapeseed
*Essential oil - I did not do this, but you could add 1ml or so of an EO or EO blend.

Place beeswax in medium glass bowl. Use a double-boiler system to heat. I use a medium size pot with a built in steamer basket. I place the bowl in the steamer basket and use steam to slowly heat the bowl and in turn, melt the beeswax. Once the beeswax has melted, add 1 C of your choice oil (you could also mix 1 cup worth of various oils). Adding the room temp oil will cause the beeswax to solidify a bit. Keep bowl over steam until the liquid oil and beeswax have completely melted. Stir with a hot fork if necessary - I place fork in a cup of hot water and dry it off before stirring the liquid. Using a room temp fork will cause the wax/oil blend to solidify on the fork.

Once the oil/beeswax have completely melted, remove steamer basket from heat and begin the cooling process. I did this at room temp, stirring occasionally with a warm fork to ensure that the beeswax doesn't float to the top during cooling. If using an EO for fragrance, add during the cooling process to minimize vaporization. Before the blend has completely solidified - I waited until the edges began to solidify against the bowl - transfer to storage container. I used an old (cleaned) coconut oil jar.

Though my experience with both of these recipes is very limited, I have been impressed by the cost-efficiency and quality of the products. Honestly, the biggest "sacrifice" for these natural, homemade products is the time it takes to make them. However, I made the "jelly" while unloading the dishwasher, so there are ways you can make excellent, 100% natural products for your family without taking time away from your husband or kids. ;)

11.15.2009

Family Photos

Daniel’s parents and youngest sister, Promise, came for a visit about 2 weeks ago.  We had the privilege of getting together with my parents one evening after dinner for hot cider and music.  :)  Daniel and I are very blessed that our families love spending time together and we very much enjoy the rare treat it is to have everyone in the same place.

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(Side note for the above picture – I was giving my parents’ next door neighbors a break from their 7 week old baby who didn’t want to sleep.  So, we borrowed the baby for the evening!  :) )

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Also, for fun, here are some recent pics of Erin.

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10.26.2009

Sunday Lunch with Family and Friends

Yesterday, we went to lunch at my parents’ house.  My sister and her husband and another family from church came, too.  :)  We had a delightful afternoon of food and fellowship while the kids played.

Around the table.  Food was YUMMY! (Yes, I am holding a baby… Surprise, surprise… I love babies, but feel a special connection to little Justus as I was Lauren’s doula during the nighttime hours of her labor.)image

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Erin being her usual, happy self.  :)

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Developmentally, Lydia, Patrick and Erin are more into playing near each other rather than with each other.  It is a lot of fun to watch.  (Those toys were mine when I was little.  )

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And just for fun, a pic of Erin and me from a previous recent visit at my parents’ house.

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10.19.2009

More Fun With Gramma

My mom regularly keeps Patrick and Erin so I can run errands or do some things around the house.  Mom kept the kids a lot during our transition from the old home to our new home.  Here are some photos of their time spent at Gramma’s.

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10.15.2009

A few photos of our new home…

Daniel and I have been richly blessed with the opportunity to buy a new house.  Though we loved our other house, we were quickly outgrowing it’s space.  Two bedrooms was simply too small.

Last weekend, we moved into our new home.  Here are a few photos of the house.  More will come later.

View from just inside the front door.

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Kitchen…

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Side view of the kitchen

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Built in eating space adjacent to the kitchen. I LOVE the blue in there. :)

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View of Patrick’s room from the door (I have since put up navy blue curtains).

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View of Patrick’s room from just inside the door.

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Master bedroom taken from the door.  The picture really doesn’t do the room justice as it is quite a bit larger than it appears.  We love the windows in here and throughout the rest of the house as it provides a great deal of natural light throughout the day.

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Living room.  The previous owners put up a textured paper and painted over it.  This is a very beautiful, unique feature of the house.  We LOVE the fireplace.  :)

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More photos to come…

8.18.2009

My Birthday – I’m getting old… :-p

I celebrated my 27th birthday this past weekend by spending time with family.  Because Daniel knew we had a busy day on my actual birthday, he made sure we began celebrating the night before by having an at-home date night.  We enjoyed eating ice cream and watching one of my favorite movies – Waking Ned Devine (excellent Irish film if you’re not familiar). 

Daniel also gave me a gift card to purchase one of my other favorite movies – the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre version of Jane Eyre.  I recently discovered this version of the film and think it is, by far, the best version available.  (For those of you who don’t know, Jane Eyre tops my list of favorite books, so finding a suitable movie based on the same story is very exciting to me!)

My birthday was spent tending to the kids, helping my sister and brother-in-law settle into their new house, and enjoying a family dinner at my parents’ house.  My mom made one of my favorite dishes – chicken stroganoff – along with other delicious side dishes. 

Here are some photos from my birthday dinner at Dad and Mom’s house.  (Note:  Erin has graduated from whale hair to pigtails!)

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