Peppermint Sugar Scrub

Just in time for Christmas! If you are looking for any last minute quick and easy gifts. We were low on cash this year and I decided to use some stuff I had around the house to make some small DIY Christmas gifts. The recipe is so easy, I used only 4 ingredients.

  • 1 Cup Sugar (I had left over white sugar I never used)
  • 1/4 softened or melted Coconut Oil
  • 6 drops of Pure Vitamin E Oil
  • 8-15 Drops of Peppermint Oil

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Each batch made 2 small jars. I bought the jars at the Dollar Store and had labels and ribbon kicking around the house. This made a super cute little (natural) add-on gift or stocking stuffer!

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Lavender Bath Bombs

I really wanted to add some fun DIY elements into all our Christmas presents this year. We all know we appreciate the DIY gifts the most, or is that just me? It takes time, effort, and love. We tried to make our Christmas presents a lot more sentimental this year and we actually considered what people might use day to day. Bath bombs are fun to make and use. I found this recipe HERE.

bath-bombs

Most things I had at home but there was a few things I needed to run out and buy in the end.

1 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Citric Acid (I unfortunately went to buy this late and was only able to source it out at the pharmacy and not my local health food store)
1/2 cup Cornstarch
3 tablespoons Epsom Salt
2 teaspoons Sweet Almond Oil (you can also use witch hazel)
15 drops Lavender Oil
A few tablespoons of dried Organic Lavender Flowers

Silicone Mold or Stainless Steel Ornament. (Amazon 2.99!)

In a stainless steel bowl mix all the dry ingredients together and then in a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together (Meaning the Almond Oil & Lavender Oil). In this recipe I eliminated the water completely and used 1 more tablespoon of almond oil.

Add wet to dry and use your hands to mix, the mixture should clump lightly together in your hand, if it isn’t staying together nice at all add more oil or witch hazel, not water as it will make the citric acid and baking soda fizz on contact. I found this recipe was good, it just needed more oil sometimes.

the recipe called for the mix to sit in the molds for 2 hours but I only had one mold so I needed to be a little careful. I put them all aside to set over night in a flat pie dish. I could make 2 batches and that gave me 13 all together.

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Make sure to use within 4-6 months as different environments and moisture levels can effect them differently and they do expire at some point.

For my first time making bath bombs it was actually really easy and fun. the recipe was great and they are holding together pretty nice!

Lavender Orange Laundry Detergent

Today was my first day off in a while, so I walked down to my local health food store and bought washing soda. Since getting our washing machine fixed we had sooooo much laundry to do. I figured it was time to ditch the store bought stuff and make my own! I love this recipe because it makes a HUGE amount of powder detergent and all in all, each load is approximately 0.06/cents a load. and you get around 100 loads. You only need 2-3 tablespoons. Yes, you read that all correctly. Rather then the $6.00 for maybe what, like 40 loads? Amazing right?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax – $12
  • 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Washing Soda – $9
  • 
1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean – $7
  • 
2 Bars of Laundry Soap – $4
  • 1 Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda $2
  • 
10 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil from dōTERRA (preferably, I unfortunately had to quickly settle for my local health food store brand)
  • 
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil from dōTERRA (preferably)

You’ll also need:

  • 2 gallon bucket for mixing
  • a food processor or blender
  • a large mixing bowl
  • a whisk
  • a fine cheese grater
  • LARGE storage container (glass preferably)

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Take the cheese grater and grate the laundry soaps bars (This is the most time consuming and annoying part of the process)

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After its finely ground put it in a food processor or blender and blend into a powder.
Mix all the ingredients (except the essential oils) in the 2 gallon bucket.

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To add the essential oils, take half of the powder mixture and put it in a mixing bowl, add the essential oils and fold them into the powder. The amount of oils you add determine how strong the smell and a little goes A LONG way so go slow.  Mix it all back together and pour it into a glass, air tight storage container. I am having some difficulty finding such a large glass container so I had to opt for a 2 gallon plastic container until I can find one.

TIP: Save the scoop you get in the OxiClean container and use that to measure your detergent. 2 tablespoons go to line A and 3 tablespoons go to line B. How convenient is that? If you look hard the powder with the oil mixture makes little orange swirls in the detergent.

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If you want to make this even more natural, you can eliminate the borax, and strictly use baking soda, washing soda, and epsom salts. You can also opt to use fragrance free laundry soap bars AS WELL as opting to use OxiClean “Baby” or “Free” instead of the original.

When its time to use (for top load washers) allow it to fill part way then add the powder.
Use Cold Water

For front load washers, mix 2 tablespoons of the powder to two tablespoons of hot water, then add to the load.

So why did we use all those ingredients? I did a lot of research on different detergent recipes before actually making it. I’ll keep it short and simple. The Borax is a laundry booster and the washing soda acts as a solvent to remove stains, but doesn’t stain like bleach. Baking soda also removes stains, whitens, and removes odors from clothing. Baking soda also acts as a natural fabric softener. OxiClean and the laundry soap bars also act as a stain remove and detergent booster. Finally the essential oils, for a natural alternative to smelly perfumes and chemicals.

The entire thing was a process, but I really had a good sense of accomplishment along with finishing it. I also did my first “test batch” with a load of towels and they actually turned out great! The were for sure clean but didn’t have an over-powerful smell. The lavender-orange smell was definitely noticeable. This huge container is going to last me FOREVER and its a natural way to clean your clothes, that’s cheaper in the end too!

 

Indoor Herb Update

I’m so happy cause my herbs are doing beautifully! Since re-potting them they are so happy! Also the organic pest spray I made worked, no more aphids. So my oregano is finally starting to come back to life with a bunch of little leaves sprouting, along with my mint now that it’s finally getting enough sun. On nice days I stick them outside for the afternoon and when they are not outside they remain in that sun “sweet spot” in my office.

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Believe it or not those stems were cut-off, little nubbies, now it’s like the plant is completely regenerating. My rosemary and basil are growing like weeds so I’m going to be freezing them in oil. I’m sure most of you know that old trick.

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Honestly, I’m just happy they aren’t dead or dying  and that I am actually keeping them alive. Maybe I am finding my green thumb! I feel like I may actually be able to take on a few new herbs, and that’s a lot coming from me.

Green Tea Aloe Face Scrub

In the midst of me throwing away all my cosmetics I threw away the face scrub I’ve been using since grade 7…yup, I ended my 11 year relationship with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I also ditched St.Ives because I learned they test on animals! This face scrub took less than 5 minutes to make. I had all the ingredients at home except 100% pure aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil (both I grabbed from my local health food store for $5.99 & $11.99).

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– 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
– 1/4 Cup Sugar
– 1 Tbs. Aloe Vera Gel
– 2 Green Tea Bags
– 3-4 drops Vitamin E Oil (optional)
– 5-6 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
– 1 Small Glass Jar ($1.00 at the Dollar Store)

You literally just throw all the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and mix them all together. I used tea tree oil because I love the smell and it’s great for getting rid of acne due to its antibacterial properties. Vitamin E is optional but it’s great for your skin! I used it tonight on my face and it was amazing! Exfoliated my skin, smelt amazing, and my face was so soft afterwards. Of course the biggest plus of them all, no chemicals or toxins! Be sure to store in a cool, dry place so the coconut oil holds together.

Homemade Cleaners

It’s a whole new world for me and I’m completely shocked. After letting my first batch of natural all purpose cleaner sit in the closet for 2 weeks, I strained out the citrus vinegar, diluted with water and tried it out, officially. Like I said, completely shocked. I cant even believe I’ve ever been paying for department store cleaners and I’m not even trying to be dramatic! I’ll probably never use them again. Not only did my all purpose cleaner blow me away, but I made a natural bathroom cleaner as well which further knocked my socks off (pardon the corny cliche phrases). The vinegar smell evaporated away (which I was a little skeptical about), the citrus in the cleaner seems to just repel the dust, and the bathroom cleaner LITERALLY removed all the hard water marks on all my fixtures and the soap scum on the shower wall. That alone has been an on-going issue with store bought cleaners for the two years we have been here. To top it all off, no headaches from the nasty chemical cleaners and the cleaning power is just amazing. I’ve never had such good results with brand name cleaners and my own recipes costs a fraction of the price.

In trying to keep up with the routine, I made a whole new batch of all purpose cleaner (considering it needs to sit in the closet for two weeks). The idea being when I run out of this batch I’ll have another one ready to go. The recipe I used is in my previous post Small Steps. I also want to share this bathroom cleaner recipe cause I love it and I’ll probably be screaming it from the rooftops to everyone and anyone cause it was that good!

All you need is:

– 1 Professional glass Spray Bottle
– 1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
– 1 Lemon (squeezed)
– 1/4 Cup Liquid Soap (I used Blue Dawn)
– 2 tsp. Baking Soda
– 1-1/4 Cup Distilled Water
– 5-6 Drops of Tea Tree Oil (Optional)

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Some Tips:

  • Use a funnel to put everything in the bottle and make sure to put the baking soda in first (I learned the hard way), when you add the vinegar it will react and fizz, wait for it to finish then scrape away the excess foam.
  • I added tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties but feel free to use whatever essential oil you’d like for smell.
  • Be sure to use distilled water for your recipes as the cleaner will last longer and store your cleaners in glass bottles (vinegar doesn’t react will with plastics over time)
  • You may need to let it sit and soak for a couple minutes after you spray

Now my fixtures are literally sparkling and all this stuff I have bought previously, so at the time it cost me $0.00 to make!

Small Steps

Its refreshing to me to think that I am constantly doing something positive or that I am working towards something, even if it is just small changes here and there. They don’t need to be big.

There was a sale on LED light bulbs that last 22 years, they were less than $2 each so we took advantage of that completely and replaced every light in our house with a new LED. A small change but with electricity costs rising, every little thing helps.

I also have been only accounting for one rest day a week…and I quickly learned, from hardly being able to walk up stairs and roll out of bed, that you really need one more somewhere in between there because OUCH. I was so fricken sore. Once my muscles get used to the activity and the routine I’m sure it will be fine but until then my muscles need one more rest day.

Working full-time is also proving to be a task because I’m finding it so hard to find the time to do fit in workouts or runs. Or I’m just so exhausted from working 6 days straight or a close and then open. It seriously drains you and on top of that the environment has been hostile at home with our roommates leaving. The real cherry on top of the cake is that I really stress eat when I’m upset or anxious. So these have all been things interfering with my new lifestyle change. It has been difficult to get on a new routine when it feels as though everything around you is changing. But, I’m also finding that it’s this new routine that’s been helping me stay grounded and motivated.

I’ve been noticing with me reading more I have been watching way less TV and movies. Having no cell phone plan and just using WiFi doesn’t even phase me anymore. It has all really made me focus on myself and my well-being rather than just what’s going on in the world around me. I’ve noticed I have been more focused on living in the now and appreciating small moments. I have been trying to be outside whether to relax on the hammock or read whenever I can.

I have also definitely noticed that I have been way more conscientious about how wasteful I am. I noticed we had a lot of organic bananas left that were starting to go bad so I made a bunch of banana muffins from scratch (which actually turned out amazing!). We also had a bunch of vegetables sitting in the fridge so I threw it all in a pot and made a big pot of soup. waste none right? Here’s the Banana Muffin recipe I used, they were so light and fluffy.
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All in all, its been baby steps…going from working 25 hours and having 3-4 days off a week to 40+ hours with 1-2 days off a week has been the biggest barrier. Less time for cleaning, cooking, working out, even things like showering. You honestly have to MAKE time for yourself in a day and you have to make time to cook better food for yourself, and cleaning products. I finally made my first batch of all-purpose cleaner.

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All you need is:

Quart sized Mason Jar or Glass Container ($2.00 at the Dollar Store)
Citrus Peels (I used lemons and oranges; lemons were only 0.67 cents/lb)
Vinegar (less than $3.00 for 4 L)

– Fill the jar 3/4 full with your citrus peels. Pour white vinegar over the citrus peels so the peels are completely submerged.

– Cover with a lid and set in a dark cupboard for two weeks. You might want to mark the top of the lid with the date in case you forget.

– In two weeks, pour the vinegar through a strainer. Dilute with two parts water to one part citrus vinegar. and store in a glass spray bottle.

The vinegar smell will leave when it evaporates, leaving behind the citrus scent. You can use any citrus, orange or lime, or add some herbs for you own unique custom blend. In the end, it cost me the same amount as a store bought all-purpose cleaner (around $3-$4) for all the ingredients and supplies and I only used a liter of vinegar which will give me maybe 4 bottles of cleaner in the end after its diluted. SO, I got 4x the amount of cleaning product for the same cost as 1 bottle from the grocery store.

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