Quick hand soap and body wash!

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I figured I would K.I.S.S. this Friday afternoon for you 😉 with my hand soap and body wash “recipe” – it is so simple I feel guilty even calling it a recipe.

I stopped buying “hand soap” and body / baby wash ages ago when I discovered Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap, and NEVER looked back! So much plastic waste is created when buying those individual plastic bottles for liquid hand soap and body wash (it seems you just can’t avoid that if you are buying the pre-made product)! Instead I refill my Dr. Bronner’s bottles at The Soap Dispensary, (they also refill the vegetable glycerin) and use this simple recipe for both my hand soap AND body wash:

In a pump dispenser or squeeze bottle, add & mix:

2 parts liquid castille soap
1 part vegetable glycerin
12 parts water

These ratios are approximate – I just eyeball it when filling up my soap containers. You can even add this recipe to one of those “foam soap dispensers” that foams your soap for you, and it will froth up nicely. If you use a regular dispenser, don’t be discouraged by the “wateriness” of this recipe – it still foams up really well when you rub your hands together, AND you don’t have to wet your hands before applying it! Plus, the glycerin makes this soap non-drying. None of our family members (a few of whom have sensitive skin) have ever had a problem with this soap being too harsh on the skin – I even used it on my son when he was an infant as his “baby wash” (using the baby mild unscented version).

I use the lavender or tea tree infused castille soap for my hands, and the “baby mild” unscented version for body wash / baby wash. I actually prefer this recipe to regular storebought hand soap or body wash, as it rinses off super easily and cleanly. Especially for those of you with soft water – it can be a pain washing some of those commercial soaps off, especially from squirmy toddler hands!!

With the essential oil infused soaps, your hands can have a lovely scent without the harsh fragrances from many popular brands of hand soap. And one of the big Dr. Bronner’s bottles goes a LONG way when you are using such a small amount for each of your soap dispensers, so you will save money too!

Hope you enjoy this quick trick!

DIY Vapour Rub

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So I asked all of you what recipe you’d like to see first, and I think we decided on vapour rub? Fitting, since it is sickie season! This recipe is pretty darn easy, too. Eucalyptus and peppermint are powerful congestion busters! And I would like to think it is safer than Vicks (not to mention not using petroleum based products).

Because of the involvement of essential oils, it makes it tricky for me to do this one in ‘parts’. So unfortunately we are doing it with exact ratios today! It seemed to me like I had to use a ridiculous amount of essential oil to get that strong vapor rub sent – I am wondering if my eucalyptus oil is maybe getting a little old. Please let me know if this turns out to be too strong for you!

You will need to melt, in a double boiler on medium-low heat –

4 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp beeswax

Remove from heat, wait to cool for about 3 minutes, and add

20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil

Stir thoroughly, pour into desired container and refrigerate immediately. Should be good to remove in about 5-10 minutes. Finished product will be relatively the consistency of petroleum jelly or so.

If you find the scent to be too mild, you can always add more. Don’t go too crazy though as essential oils at too high a concentration can irritate the skin. The scent may also fade over time, in which case go ahead and add more again.

CAUTIONS: I would not recommend using this for kids under two. There have been cautions surrounding using peppermint oil in infants and very young children. Rub on the CHEST and FEET, not on the face. You don’t want to overwhelm your child with a powerful essential oil right by their nose. Feel free to try it by your own nose, but don’t subject your kids to that, please!!

Let me know how this works for you!

Odour Busting Deodorant!

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It’s time for the big reveal of my amazingly simple deodorant recipe! This was one of the first home recipes I perfected. I have never really been happy with the results using commercially made natural deodorant, nor am I satisfied using aluminum laden carcinogenic antiperspirants. You won’t believe how effective this recipe is, and how easy it is to make! You can use it preventatively, OR as an instant odor neutralizer. You can even use it on stinky feet! As usual, it is super CHEAP to make, too – and you can keep it right on your bathroom counter.

Thus this great, incredibly effective easy recipe:

1 part coconut oil
1 part cornstarch OR arrowroot powder
1 part baking soda
OPTIONAL: 2 drops per 1/4 cup of ingredients tea tree essential oil (or another of your choice, although I recommend tea tree for its antimicrobial properties).

In a double boiler on low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the other ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and pour immediately into desired container – I choose to use a small mason jar and later apply with my finger. Others may choose to fill a toilet paper roll or old deodorant container and rub directly on your pits – I personally find I end up applying too much this way. Allow to set in the freezer to avoid ingredients separating / settling. Results in a very thick paste.

Apply sparingly – a little goes a long way (you don’t want to overapply this stuff or it may end up being a bit irritating)! Also works great for drying out pimples – apply a blob directly to the pimple and let sit overnight.

CAUTIONS / TROUBLESHOOTING:
Not little black dress friendly – may leave a white residue (should not stain your clothes, though).
May melt a bit in a hot environment, but does not change its effectiveness!
If you develop a rash, discontinue use for a 3-5 days, and try applying in smaller amounts at less frequent intervals. If it still bothers you, you may be sensitive to one of the ingredients – try my alternative spray on deodorant HERE.

Natural Digestive AND Sore Throat Tea

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I was making my tea tonight and I thought I would share it with you! It works as natural digestive relief, as well as for sore throats and coughs! You gotta love things with multiple purposes, right? Oh, and did I mention it is super yummy? Well, it is.

Okay, so I was too lazy to scavenge some peppermint from my winter garden tonight (if you have some kicking around, by all means use it), so I cheated and used Traditional Medicinals Organic Peppermint tea as a base. Next, add to the teapot about 10 thin slices of fresh ginger root, a couple slices of lemon, and a few cloves. It is of course always best to source these things organically. Let steep for 10 minutes, with the lid on. Add a teaspoon or so of raw, organic, QUALITY honey to your teacup, stir, and enjoy!

If you don’t particularly care about the flavour, and want an extra kick, add a few slices of garlic and turmeric to your tea as well. It won’t be quite as yummy with these two ingredients added, but it sure busts bugs! I encourage you to add these in if you can handle it 😉

All of these ingredients calm your digestive system when it is irritated, as well as acting as immune boosters and throat soothers for you sickies out there! The ginger even helps to soothe nausea.

What are your favourite recipes for when you are sick?

Cleaning with Toddlers & Small Children

After finding a nifty list of suggested chores for kids, I figured I could blog some thoughts I have about cleaning with kids. I have a two year old who loves to copy Mommy, which sometimes works as an advantage OR a disadvantage when cleaning your house – depending on how much time you have to be patient while they explore the task, or whether you just need to get it done in a hurry!

If you involve your child with cleaning behaviour from a very early age, they will be more likely to internalize the values associated with having your living space clean, and chances are they will be more likely to independently engage in the same behaviour when they are older. The earlier they can be come involved with taking care of their living environment, the better – IMHO!

If you clean your house with toxic and poisonous chemicals, you likely will be keeping toddlers and small children out of your cleaning routine. Nobody wants their kids breathing in / mouthing these kinds of cleaners. BUT if you start making your own safe cleaning products, you will feel more comfortable involving your kids in these activities. Got a kid who likes to use a spray bottle? Your all purpose vinegar spray cleaner is perfectly safe for them to use, and fairly gentle on the skin. Have them spray the mirror or floors for you and help you wipe it!

One thing my two year old loves to copy is sweeping the floors – so much so that we bought him his own mini broom to help sweep. He is now at the age that he even targets pieces of dirt – usually just flings them around to another part of the kitchen, but it’s pretty cute to watch 🙂

Kids usually love doing the laundry, too – you can have them add the laundry soap, turn the dials, press the buttons, and transfer the clothes from one machine to another. Folding laundry can be fun – start them with washcloths and hand towels! Finding the matches for socks can be a thrilling exploit for a two year old ;). My LO also loves taking the clothes to the proper bedrooms and putting them in the drawers. Especially the underwear, for some reason!

If you have a LO who loves to copy, but you can’t have them involved in the task either for efficiency’s sake or safety – try and have them either pretend with some imaginary / distracting objects, or give them an empty bottle to “spray” or “pour” with. If you are using a bucket, give them their own empty bucket to carry around. Be creative – it will work to your advantage later if you have tried to have them involved in the task in their own capacity rather than dissuading their participation!

If your munchkin has not taken an interest in cleaning and tidying, sometimes singing a song or making the activity into a game can be helpful. My LO loves counting, or singing the ABC’s – this has been a great strategy when completing a task involving steps. “Score a goal” with dirty socks or when putting toys in bins. Sticker charts can be a great initial motivator, too.

I thought I would make up my own list of the hierarchy of easier to more difficult “cleaning” tasks, and out them in categories, rather than lump them into age ranges – every little cutie develops at their own rate and has varying levels of interest in household activities. This way you can pick and choose from the list by category of interest! Check it out:

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CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS:. I wouldn’t have a toddler shaking around the powdered scouring cleaner, as breathing in the dust from it is not super great for you – but it is certainly FAR safer than any other scouring cleaners you would purchase commercially! Your school aged kids should certainly be able to use this cleaner with supervision. If you involve your small children in mixing some of your cleaners, watch out for recipes with a lot of powdered dust floating around – have them wear a scarf over their face if they are joining in.

Re-useable wet wipes

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My little one has been out of diapers for a while now – we used cloth and LOVED them – but I thought I would share with you one of my favourite DIY tricks for babes: re-useable cloth wipes!

This tutorial comes with a recipe for diaper / wipe “spray” – you can either spray it on a bum directly and wipe, or spray it on a wipe first. In a small spray bottle, mix:

1/2 part MILD castille soap (Dr. Bronner’s makes an excellent one)
1 part olive oil
1 part aloe vera gel (food grade – I like Lily of the Desert)
10 parts water

Shake to mix. Because of the aloe vera, this recipe will only keep about a week or so out of the refrigerator. I recommend making a small batch first to see how quickly you will use it up. Using a tablespoon as your “part” should make a small batch.

For your wipes, you can use any small pieces of absorbant material – I personally loved using those little baby washcloths – they worked brilliantly, and I happened to accumulate a lot of them. I kept a basket full of them by our change table, and the spray bottle beside. Spray your baby or your wipe, and clean away! I recommend following with a dry wipe to remove any residue. The aloe and olive oil will soothe any rashes or irritations and be moisturizing for that bumby. The castille soap will take off anything stuck!

If you find your babe’s bum gets irritated in any way from this, remove the castille soap. Still works well without it!

And there you have it! Toss them in your diaper pail with your cloth dipes, or throw them in the laundry basket. Wash ’em with your lovely homemade laundry detergent, and you are helping eliminate a lot of paper and plastic waste, while also taking care of your LO’s tender tushie. Not to mention saving yourself some hard earned cash! Hope these work well for you 🙂