DIY: Laundry Soap Recipe

Happy Weekend!

Does anyone else do laundry all day on the weekend? I try to multi-task but end up with things hang drying all over the place and it feels like a full day venture! Despite the time consumption, I actually really like doing laundry. Something about everything all fresh & clean. Re-hung in the closet so I again have a choice of everything I own. I think I just like things in their right place, and the closet (not the dirty hamper) is where my clothes belong! If you have seen my messy closet you might be surprised at that admission…

Point is, as I look around my home filled with partially dry delicates, I just realized I haven’t posted my DIY laundry soap recipe yet. Whoops! I love how super simple this recipe is to make, no funky chemicals or perfumes & the fact that I get to choose a different scent for each load by adding essential oils! My favorites are the citrus oils for towels, melaleuca for heavily soiled items & lavender for delicate clothing. Hope you try it and like it!

DIY Laundry Soap Recipe

DIY laundry soap

Ingredients

-5 gallons hot H2O
-1 bar natural soap (unscented Dr. Bronners)
-1 cup borax
-1 cup washing soda
-5 gallon bucket
-90 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils
(30 drops each of lavender, lemon & grapefruit OR clove)

Directions

1. Grate soap bar with coarse cheese grater
2. Boil grated soap & 1/2 gallon H2O in large pan to melt & combine
3. Add 2.5 gal hot H2O, soap mixture, washing soda & borax to 5 gal bucket. Stir to dissolve
4. Add remaining 2 gal of hot H2O to fill bucket. Stir & allow to sit overnight
5. Transfer to glass storage containers & add essential oils

**If storing in plastic, instead of adding essential oils to mixture, add 1-2 drops per load directly to washing machine.

Holidays: DIY Gift Giving

Joy.

Love.

Celebration.

Togetherness.

Tradition.

Food.

Gratitude.

A former Charlie Brown Christmas tree (no tree this year)

Hmmm… so many words pop up when thinking about this time of year: the holidays. Thanksgiving has come & gone, but the opportunity to be grateful & express our gratitude is there every day. I am still beginning my day by giving thanks for another beautiful day of life. This has definitely made getting out of bed easier as I have been battling the strong desire to hibernate ever since the time change.

Tangent. The point is, the holidays bring up many different things for all of us. This time of year is an interesting blend of magical traditions & chaos. One thing I am doing this year to enhance the enjoyment of gift giving & reduce the stress around the holidays is DIY gifting. Getting creative, recycling supplies, crafting gifts unique as the individual within the comfort of home – it’s a win, win, win!

With Pinterest at our fingertips, DIY has never been easier! Here are some of my favorite homemade gift ideas (spoiler alert – some of you may be receiving one of these gifts from me this year!):

  1. COOKIES – I want to try this Paleo Peppermint Fudge Recipe!!
  2. Sugar Scrub – indulgent & simple! (check out 6 recipes with detailed directions)
  3. Jerky – turns out you can do it on low in the oven if you don’t have a dehydrator!jerky
  4. “Gratitude Granola” … or any granola 🙂 Try this recipe from Oh She Glows.
  5. Sunflower Seed Butter (or you can try any nut butter: peanut, almond, cashew…)
  6. Kombucha – hey, it’s tasty, affordable & healthful!
  7. Mix Tape… or whatever the modern Mp3 version of this is (I miss the simple days)!
  8. Slippers… anyone else have fond memories of grandma gifting these? We got knitted ones with yarn bobbles. Here is a simpler version that’d be fun for kids!
  9. A good book… great for white elephant & gift exchanges. Because recommended books are best, so even if they are a little loved – pass them on!
  10. Vanilla Extract – I love receiving this one! DIY Flavored Extract Recipesvanilla
  11. Advent Calender – fun & unique holiday tradition
  12. Mason Jar with just about anything in it! (Check out these cute ideas!)
  13. Photobook – I love Shutterfly & they ALWAYS have coupon codes available!
  14. Art Supply Kit – or any “kit” (ice cream sundays, build a fort, scrapbooking, spa…)
  15. Original jewelry – check out this spin on friendship bracelets (hint hint: I want one!)
  16. Neck Wrap/Heating Pad – fill with rice & add some essential oils

BONUS: Surprise Balls – Looks fun for kids or stocking stuffers!!

Here another post with 65 cool DIY ideas… “65 Amazing Homemade Christmas Gifts

Share your ideas with us!!

May your gift giving me unique, generous & full of love. Happy Holidays!!

DIY: Sunscreen

The turn of the season is here & I can feel the shift in the air. It is getting dark earlier. And it is a time for harvest & gratitude (a little extra than normal!). While I am excited to embrace everything fall, the reality is still dry heat & drought in California. As far as the drought goes – being mindful & making little changes daily makes a big difference. Check out this informative & inspirational video a local couple made in response to the Ice Bucket Challenge & the serious water situation in California:

The Five Gallon Challenge

Be inspired. Contribute to a positive change. My household is making plans to complete this Five Gallon Challenge, so more on that to come 🙂

tree

The cool thing about being a Californian is all the natural beauty we get to explore year round because the weather encourages outdoor play! So although summer has come to a close, sunscreen is still a critical part of a successful adventure!

Homemade sunscreen is great for the skin & non-toxic. I love to DIY my beauty products to reduce the chemicals I expose myself (& our world) to!  The majority of the ingredients used in the Sunscreen Recipe below carry a natural SPF 2-6. The Zinc Oxide brings the recipe to approximately SPF 20.

Sunscreen Recipe

sunscreen1Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond oil
  • 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Unrefined Shea Butter
  • 12 drops certified therapeutic grade Helichrysum Essential Oil (Read more about essential oils)
  • double boiler (I use a quart sized mason jar in a pot with a couple inches boiling water in it)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except Zinc Oxide & Helichrysum to the double boiler (mason jar that is sitting in the pot of boiling water).
  2. Stir with a wooden stick (I use a chopstick!) until melted & thoroughly combined.
  3. Remove from heat & wait 3 minutes to cool slightly.
  4. Add Zinc Oxide & Helichrysum. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Allow to cool & apply as needed before sun exposure.

*Please remember this sunscreen needs to be reapplied regularly, especially after prolonged water activities.

DIY Days: Lavender Peppermint Lip Balm

 DIY Lip Balm

Know any self-diagnosed lip balm addicts? I know a few. I myself do like some good lip love! After years of trying different brands, I finally learned to make my own. I will never go back! I am excited to share this simple recipe with you…

DIY Lip Balm is easy! Even pouring the mixture into the tiny tubes without spilling gets easier with practice (I only coated the kitchen floor one time)! The perks of making your own include –

  1. WAY Cheaper – okay, I haven’t actually done the math on this one yet, but I’d guess I make around four tubes for the same cost as buying one from the store!
  2. All Natural – I choose the ingredients & there are no chemicals or additives!
  3. Flavors & Scents – Using certified therapeutic grade essential oils I can try a wide variety of combinations (ex: citrus/lime, peppermint/orange, lavender) & get the added therapeutic benefits of each of these oils!
  4. FUN – did I mention DIY beauty products is super fun? And easy?

DIY Lavender Peppermint Lip Balm

Lavender Peppermint Lip Balm Recipe – Makes 3-4 ounces

Ingredients:

  • 3 T Beeswax (the more you use the firmer the finished product)
  • 2 T Coconut Oil (Coconut Oil melts easily in heat so the more you use the softer the lip balm – at least in summertime!)
  • 1 T Shea Butter
  • 1 T Cocoa Butter
  • 20 drops certified therapeutic grade Peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops certified therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil
  • 1-2 drops Vitamin E Oil (optional)
  • Quart size mason jar & pot with a couple inches water (this serves as double boiler)
  • Empty Lip Balm Containers – makes about 20 lip balm tubes
  • Colored Mineral Makeup (optional – if you want to add a tint)

Directions:

  1. Remove caps from lip balm containers & line up on the counter (double check each is twisted to the bottom of the tube to fit the maximum amount in).
  2. Measure Coconut Oil, Shea & Vitamin E into the mason jar.
  3. Boil a couple inches of water in pot on the stove & then set the mason jar in the water to melt the ingredients. (Be gentle as the glass is fragile as it heats up!)
  4. Stir occasionally until melted & combined (approx. 10 minutes).
  5. After mixture is completely melted, remove from the heat.
  6. Cool for three minutes before adding essential oils. Stir. Stir in tinted makeup now if desired.
  7. Pour into lip balm containers & allow to cool.

Tips:

  • Stir with a wooden chopstick to make cleanup easier.
  • Use the same mason jar for all your DIY & you can store as is without needing to wash!
  • Add cute, hand-written labels for a personal flare!
  • Check out my post on essential oils for more info on why I use this brand & how to order.
  • Replace half the Shea Butter with Cocoa Butter for a peppermint patty effect! Yum!
  • Make plenty of extra for friends – these make a great gift!

Lemon: Nature’s Cleanser

Lemons. Just the name can get the mouth watering! I’m lucky to live in a place where lemon trees brighten every neighborhood. A fresh slice squeezed in a glass of ice water or over a filet of barbecued salmon. Yum! Or lemonade on a hot summer’s day. As children we passed the summertime selling lemonade to the golfers that passed by our house. I usually got bored & left to play while my brother raked in all the quarters! Picking fresh fruit continues to bring joy to the children (& adults) in our family.

Lemon Essential Oil is also easy to use & reasonably priced. Benefits of using lemon include clearing toxins from the air, uplifting mood, energizing, cleansing & aiding digestion (ever heard the recommendation to drink lemon water every morning?).

Lemon is the perfect tool to have on hand when that deep cleaning mood strikes because it cleanses stubborn grime while energizing & uplifting the cleaner in the process! Here are a few favorite tricks for cleaning with lemon essential oil:

  1. Clothing Stains: Dab directly on stain & wash as recommended. *Easily removed stains that were probably a couple years old on a white dress I hadn’t worn in years! 
  2. Bathtub: Apply a few drops and sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub with a brush or cloth to easily remove soap, dirt & hard water build-up from tub and faucet. *also like to use lemongrass essential oil for my tub – both work wonders & smell amazing! 
  3. Freshen Towels: Add a drop or two to the washing machine to brighten whites & rid towels of mildew smell (when left wet in the washing machine too long!).
  4. Easy Counter Spray: Add 10 drops to spray bottle & fill water. Spray & wipe. *Please note that essential oils should be kept in glass. Some recipes are diluted  enough to recommend an alternative container – but glass is the preferred choice.
  5. Removing sticky substances: Apply directly to sticker residue, gum or tar to remove the gunk! *Remember citrus oils can melt plastics so be careful what surfaces you choose to clean!!
  6. Purify the Air: Put a few drops in a diffuser or make a simple room freshening spray by adding to water in a glass spray bottle. A good friend just made me this one that I love using in the kitchen & bathroom!
What are your favorite cleaning tips or uses for lemons or lemon essential oil?

Homemade Hand Cleanser: a Summertime essential!

Nothing says summer like a day spent playing at the State Fair! Growing up with the Fair coming to town every summer, fond memories include eating giant slices of overpriced pizza, begging carnies to let us stay on again for a free ride, spinning round & upside down until our tummies hurt, splashing in the demo pools for relief from the triple digit heat, & screaming with joy when the concert performers walked to the side of the stage that faced our nose-bleed, bleacher seats.

Going back to the Fair of my childhood yesterday brought back the freedom only felt by a new teen – out of school for summer & only one mission: fun! We adults could benefit from recreating these simpler & more playful times! While the hypnotist show, I once loved, no longer comes to our fair, the new favorite is Mutton Busting. Has anyone seen this? Brave little people (under age 6) ride sheep, rodeo-style, with the goal of holding on for six seconds. It is a little shocking to see them fall, faces in the dirt, for the first time – but it sure does draw a crowd. I’m not here to discuss ethics of rodeo or other Fair activities – but it all makes for great people-watching!

Being at the fair also reminds me how much I dislike public bathrooms & port-a-potties! Summer activities like camping, fairs & festivals bring the inevitable long lines & shared germs. To combat environmental threats & keep hands soft, I carry homemade hand cleanser. Here is the recipe…

Hand Cleanser Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 5 T aloe vera gel
  • 4 T water
  • 1/4 t vitamin E oil
  • 8 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils (protective blend)
  • 5 oz squeeze container

Directions:

1. Mix 5 tablespoons aloe vera gel & 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil.

2. Add 8-10 drops essential oil.

3. Stir in about 4 tablespoons water to achieve desired consistency.

4. Pour mixture into squeeze container using measuring cup or funnel. I chose five 1 oz containers to share with friends.

5. Squeeze small amount on hands & rub until dry.

That’s it – easy! This recipe cleanses without chemicals or drying the skin. Enjoy!

DIY DAY Part III: Body Wash

Finally got over the obstacle of DIY body wash!! I kept putting it off because it seemed hard. I was wrong – it is easy! So grateful to be lathering up in healthy oils instead of chemicals now – yahoo!! Body wash is a personal thing. Try it, tweak it, let me know what you think…

Foaming Body Wash Recipe

Invigorating Eucalyptus Lime Body Wash

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz glass jar with pump (I reused an empty 32oz vinegar jar & a lotion pump)
  • 1 c unscented castile soap
  • 6-7 T aloe vera
  • 1 t vitamin E oil
  • 6 T fractionated coconut oil (olive oil would probably work okay too)
  • 20 drops certified therapeutic grade essential oils – Peppermint, Lime & Eucalyptus

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients in bottle & shake.
  • In shower: shake to combine ingredients & use of 1-2 pumps

Benefits:

  • I chose these three oils to jump start the morning. The combination is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, stimulating, revitalizing & opens the airways to take in a new day!

Swapping (even just one!) store bought product for a DIY alternative can save money, reduce toxins in the home & help preserve our planet! Enjoy!

Check out Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner & Part II: foaming hand wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for info on the ingredients & essential oils I recommend 🙂

DIY Day Part II: Foaming Hand Wash

Foaming Hand Wash Recipe

Foaming Handwash Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix castile soap & oils in bottle
  • add water to fill (leaving room for pump) & shake
  • 1-2 pumps per hand wash

Benefits:

  • I like to use 5 drops of a protective blend of essential oils that includes Orange, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Eucalyptus & Clove. Benefits includes cleansing properties, purifies, oxygenates, stimulates nerves & promotes circulation.

Check out Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner & Part III: Body Wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for more information purchasing certified therapeutic grade essential oils.

DIY Day Part I: All-Purpose Cleaner

Happy Tuesday! If you were thinking it was already Wednesday (like I was until mid-morning when someone burst my bubble) – sorry! The good news is we made it through Monday & it is DIY DAY! That means I have some awesome, clean-living, do-it-yourself recipes to share!

  1. All-Purpose Cleaner
  2. Foaming Hand Wash
  3. Body Wash

The beautiful thing about all of these recipes is that they are EASY (& arguably fun) to make, have effective cleansing properties, & reduce the toxins we are exposed to at home! Instead of damaging the air we breathe & our water supply with the chemicals used in standard cleaning products – these DIY recipes use essential oils (from plants) that have been used throughout history & have lots of positive side effects (check out my post about essential oils for an overview).

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

All Purpose Cleaner

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix water, vinegar & oils in spray bottle & shake before each use.
  • Spray & wipe clean 🙂

Benefits:

  • All three of these essential oils are an excellent choice for cleaning bathrooms & kitchens.
  • Lemon is great for tackling grease & freshening with the added benefit of mood elevation – it’s good to smile while you clean!
  • Oregano & Melaleuca are powerhouse oils for combatting seasonal & environmental threats.

Check out Part II: foaming hand wash & Part III: body wash for more DIY recipes!

Contact me for more information on purchasing certified therapeutic grade essential oils.

Link

Happy Monday Friends! What is it about Mondays? They just take it out of me! I sure am grateful to be in my comfies now, all cozied up on the couch – that’s for sure! I may have made up a couple of words there, but sometimes I find that necessary to more accurately describe how I’m feeling! I bet you are doing the same thing right now (the comfy pants – not the word inventing).

Anywho… Kombucha! I’m currently up to my ears in home brews & new scoby “babies” as I’ve been learning & drinking my home brewed Kombucha for a few months now! I’m in love! Where to even begin? My first run in with the fizzy, fermented tea was at a health food store when a good friend (with a bad hangover) recommended it for it’s detoxifying properties! I spent four dollars, drank one teensie sip, grimaced & dumped the rest. Water has always been my drink of choice anyways – hydrating, delicious & nothing fancy!

Fast forward several years & I decided to give Kombucha a second chance. I tend to be motivated to try things known for their health benefits as I’m always looking for new ways to boost my immune system, detoxify my body & support digestive health. Plus, Kombucha turned out to be a tasty, carbonated drink (unlike the time I tried to make homemade sauerkraut not knowing how it should taste or if I even like it)! So I’m plugging along in Kombucha heaven and I begin to realize I’ve developed an expensive habit. By asking around I learn that Kombucha can be easily made by using a starter scoby often referred to as the “mother” & apparently many of the women I know have mothers & grandmothers who have been brewing this tea for decades! Lucky me!

My Kombucha teacher (also my girlfriend’s mother) gave me a personal home brew tutorial, starter scoby, & an awesome packet of information including history, recipes & anecdotes! By the way, I love discovering new health routines via word of mouth, doing my own research & trusting intuition. So Kombucha fits the bill! I’ll show you a snippet of my modified version of this method below, but for the original recipe (plus a plethora of other fun stories & info) check out The Kombucha Center website.

KOMBUCHA BENEFITS

You can read many stories of amazing benefits like detoxification, grey hair reduction, alleviated menopause & allergy symptoms, increased fat burn and even healing from illnesses. So far I have experienced increased energy, healthier digestion, and lots of fun while enjoying the brewing process, sipping my tea & sharing with friends!

KOMBUCHA INGREDIENTS

5 tea bags – I use a combo of green & black tea for my preferred flavor & to reduce the caffeine. There are simple methods available for removing the caffeine from your tea bags if that is a concern for you.

1 cup organic sugar – I’ve used light brown & white sugar successfully

3 quarts boiled water – I have been using sun tea lately but the jury is still out on my preferred method of steeping the tea

1 scoby “baby” in 1 cup Kombucha from previous batch

1 large glass jar – that holds around 4 quarts

1 coffee filter & rubber band to secure

1 wooden spoon *Never touch the tea or Kombucha with any metal

IMG_5059

Kombucha Ingredients: Tea, sugar, purified H2O, scoby & kombucha

HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA

Make tea using boiling method (glass tea kettle on stove, ceramic dish in oven) – but – I like sun tea & haven’t had problems so far. I steep all day in the sun & then add sugar until dissolved.

IMG_5062

Green and Black Teas brewing in the Sunshine

IMG_5060

Add 3 quarts of fresh brewed tea to brew jar, add sugar & stir until dissolved.

Cool tea to room temperature & add the scoby with 1 cup of previous batch of Kombucha.

IMG_5065

LEFT: “Mother” Scoby ready for retirement (the compost bin)                             RIGHT: New “baby” Scoby in 1 c. Kombucha ready to be added to the new batch TOP: Bottle leftover from tasty store bought Kombucha & two mason jars filled with my previous finished batch (ready to be bottled & consumed).

Cover the container with a coffee filter & rubber band for protection. Store in a cupboard that isn’t disturbed often & let ferment for 7 or more days depending on temperature and conditions. After 7 days, it is helpful to taste the brew every couple days until it reaches desired fermentation.

img_4454-e1402379979885

New batch of tea ready to be covered & stored for fermentation.

After Kombucha has fermented to your taste preference, just remove the Scoby “Mother” & “Baby” (they will probably be connected) & it is ready to be consumed! However, I like to bottle with fresh ginger & fruit at this stage to enhance flavor & promote carbonation. Add whatever fruit you prefer, seal bottle(s) with plastic or rubber lids only & let sit on counter for another day to carbonate. Then store in the fridge! Yummmmm!!!

IMG_5063

Flavored, carbonated & ready to be refrigerated!                                                         LEFT: Blueberry, Ginger & Lemon                                                                           RIGHT: Farmer’s Market Peach & Strawberry

My teacher & information suggest drinking 4 ounces every morning on an empty stomach for maximum health benefits. I aim to do this, but also enjoy my Kombucha in a pretty wine glass while sitting on the porch after a long day! Enjoy!