Natural Living · Recipies

All-Purpose Balm

One of my first recipes I posted on my blog was for my soothing balm. My soothing balm is a powerhouse for skin repair and moisturizing. But some people may find it heavy for all over body application, or may just want a quick but effective hand balm. If this description better fits your needs then let me introduce my All-Purpose Balm! This balm can be made in five minutes with just TWO ingredients! It is incredibly nourishing for your skin. I call this my all purpose balm because it truly is a multiuse product. It is great as a skin balm to keep near the sink to apply after washing your hands, or be used as your main body moisturizer. It can also be great as:

  • Nipple cream for breastfeeding moms (no essential oil)
  • Baby lotion (no essential oil, or 30 drops lavender)
  • Baby Booty Balm (cloth diaper safe, 30 drops lavender essential oil)
  • Cuticle repair balm (30 drops frankincense essential oil , or a blend of lavender and tea tree essential oils)

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All Purpose Balm

  • 3/4cup Shea Butter
  • 1/2cup Coconut oil
  • Essential oil (optional)*
  1. Measure ingredient into a glass bowl
  2. Melt over a double boiler on medium heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Take off heat once melted. If adding essential oils*, add now and stir.
  4. Store in a glass jar.

*Total drops of EOs added should be 50. My favorite oils to add are lavender, frankincense, or pre-blended oils like Plant Therapy’s Tranquil or Calming the Child. When putting in baby care products, I err on the conservative side and utilize less essential oils as noted above.

Natural Living · Recipies

Simple Skin Care Tips

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As the desert summer quickly approaches, I wanted to share my top tips for protecting your skin. I haven’t always been focused on protecting and nourishing my skin. But as I move closer to thirty, and the lack of sleep from two young kids wears on me, I am ready to start taking baby steps towards repairing, protecting and nourishing my skin. I mean it is my largest organ so why the heck not! I have managed my psoriasis and chronic dry skin since high school and it has helped me become more creative and to research simple and effective ways to improve and support overall skin health. In addition to using quality, non-toxic ingredients in your skin care products I have listed my favorite simple steps to promote skin health.

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

Your skin is made up of cells, and cells are made up of water. It is almost a no brainer but I know if your anything like me sometimes drinking water can be a struggle. When you provide your body with the proper hydration, you are not only aiding in digestion, absorption and excretion, you are aiding in circulation. Drinking adequate amounts of water will help improve blood flow, giving your skin a radiant more youthful glow. When you are dehydrated your skin can appear dry, flaky and dull. I recommend at least 2 liters of water a day, but in the summer months and if your exercising regularly (which you should do) I stick closer to 3 liters.

Cover Up

I am notoriously bad at remembering sunscreen! Like to the point that I regularly tell my husband what a bad mom I am because I constantly forget to put it on the kids and myself when we go to the park or for runs. But my goal this year has been to wear some kind of sunscreen on my face every day, and to keep some in my car so it’s ready to go and accessible for the kids. So far this year I have been doing a decent job at sticking to my goal! Woohoo! When it comes to sunscreens though, they are often filled with many chemicals and ingredients that are allergens and hormone disruptors. My go to resource for purchasing sunscreen is the EWG, their 2017 guide hasn’t been released yet, but their 2016 guide is a great start on safe products as we await the new guide!

Whole Foods

Switching to a whole food diet helps improve mental clarity, gut health and most importantly aids in nourishing your skin. Some of my favorite foods for supporting the skin are eggs, avocados, spinach and pumpkin seeds. Eggs are a great source of protein, which is needed for collagen production. Avocados are rich in omega fatty acids and vitamin E; which help contribute to moisturizing the skin and increasing the skin’s luminosity. Spinach is full of antioxidants that help clear and repair skin; it is also packed with water preventing dry flaky skin. Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc and it helps protect cell membranes and maintain collagen production.

Exfoliate

Exfoliating the skin helps promote circulation, removes dead and dry skin cells, helps moisturize your skin more effectively and helps unclog pores and keep them clean. Simply dry brushing the skin before a shower is a quick and effective way to exfoliate. Or you can use a sugar/salt scrub in the shower to exfoliate.

 

I know these four steps seem simple, but they are very effective in promoting your skin health. Since it’s my latest obsession, and I wanted to help jump start your changes to healthier skin, I have included a sugar scrub recipe below!

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Lavender Sugar Scrub

  • 1cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2cup oil (coconut, sunflower, almond, olive oil, or avocado)*
  • 20 drops of Lavender Essential oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried lavender (optional)

Combine all ingredients and stir. Store in an airtight jar. The oil and sugar may separate between uses simply stir before use!

*Use any kind of oil you prefer. In this recipe I used ¼cup sunflower and ¼ cup coconut oil.

 

Recipies

Snack Time

Sometimes I feel like my kids will eat me out of house and home. I do not know where my kids (who barely make it on the charts for weight) put all the food they eat! In our house we try hard to provide a balanced meal with fats/protein/veggies so that the kids don’t snack as often. But snacking is inevitable with growing kids, so we try to keep the snacks simple and healthy options. We give the kids pretty much free reign to apples/bananas and organic cheese sticks. But if I am preparing a snack or throwing something in my purse these are some of our go-to options:

 

Veggies and hummus-my kids love carrots, sweet peppers, cucumbers and snap peas

Smoothies- Usually a milk/kefir base with frozen organic fruit and a plant based protein powder added.

Kefir-this is a fermented milk product that is similar to yogurt, but has a more diverse range of probiotics

Oranges/Grapes (when in season)

Organic Cheese sticks (we love the organic valley from Costco)

Granola Bites

Chips and Salsa (Organic Non-Gmo tortilla chips with jarred organic salsa. If you want to avoid BPA you can certainly make your own salsa.)

Rasins, dried apples, dates or banana chips

Packets of organic applesauce

Homemade whole grain muffins (I don’t always make muffins but these are fun to mix up the monotony and I have heard they freeze well. This website is awesome for recipes!)

Homemade chia seed pudding (recipe below)

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Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

  • 2cups milk (whole milk or almond milk*)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-4tablespoons of maple syrup
  • pinch of celtic sea salt
  1. Combine milk and chia seeds in a bowl. Whisk together.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and whisk.
  3. Cover and place in fridge overnight.
  4. Serve as is, or with fresh fruit, coconut chips, a dash of cinnamon or sliced almonds.

*Make Almond milk from scratch or if using store bought avoid brands that contain carrageenan. I prefer raw or organic whole milk.

 

What do your kids like for snacks? Have any quick fool-proof recipes or links to share, comment below!

 

Recipies

Granola Bites

Raising little kids means I often survive on multiple cups of coffee a day and lots of Jesus. Traveling with kids (even just to the grocery store) can seem like purgatory some days. I have definitely been the mom who has left her semi-full cart in the middle of the store with one baby strapped to her in the carrier while carrying the kicking and screaming toddler out the store. Since having my second child, I am slowly learning the art of pacifying two kids at the same time. One of my saving graces when out and about is SNACKS! Throw a few handfuls of food to the kids and most days I can get by with an hour or two of running errands. In today’s modern food world, snacks are often filled with excess sugar(often high fructose), gmo ingredients, hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. One culprit of snacking ease is the the granola bar. Something that looks so simple, is usually a sugar bomb, often containing as much as some candy bars. A simple remedy to avoiding the these artificial ingredients is looking for bars with minimal ingredients or making your own!

I will be the first to say that I bounce back and forth between buying organic bars due to sheer convenience and making my own in large batches and freezing them. If your not up to making your own here are a few of my recommended brands:

  • RX Bars
  • Lara Bars
  • Kind Bars
    • Look for bars sweetened by fruit or natural sugars like maple syrup or honey

I usually make a double or triple batch at once, so I can pull out a new batch from the freezer once we finish the one in the fridge. This does contain honey so please do not give to infants under 1 year of age. Agave syrup can be substituted for honey. The granola bites should stick together well at room temperature and not fall apart. These are also great for a pre or post workout snack for parents too!!

Granola Bites

  • 2cups Oats
  • 2cups coconut flakes ( I like toasted)
  • 1cup natural organic peanut butter or natural organic almond butter or sunbutter
  • 1cup ground flax seeds
  • 3/4cup chocolate chips, or raisins or cranberries
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients in a standmixer, or large bowl if you do not have a mixer.granola3
  2. Mix on low, or with large wooden spoon until the ingredients are blended.granola
  3. Form into 1 inch balls. I use a cookie scooper and then roll in my hands.granola2
  4. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer in an airtight container for 3 months. Make  32 granola bites.

 

This Granola bites recipe is one that I have been using for probably over three years, I have it saved to my phone and have lost track of where it originated from. So, it is not my own developed recipe and if I could link to the original site I would have. But if you recognize this from a site please let me know so I can link to them! 🙂

 

 

Natural Living · Recipies

Perfect Lip Balm

I guess you could say I am a little bit obsessed with lip balm. Confession…I have a tube of it in almost every room of my house and multiple in my purse! So I suppose you could say I am a lip balm snob.Since transitioning to cleaner products, I have had good and bad experiences with natural lip balm products. Some lip balms were great, but they cost was a small fortune for a tiny tube or pot. Others went on great but did not last; I felt that within 20mins the balm was gone and my lips still dry as ever. I began to search the internet for an amazing recipe but at that point I still had not jumped on the make your own products ship. I was nervous to say the least! These thoughts kept running through my mind. “The initial cost of products can be startling. What if I make something and hate it? What if I mess up the recipe and ruined the ingredients I just spent all this money on?”

Well after weeks of indecision, I decided to buy ingredients to make lotion and lip balm. The awesome thing about making most natural products is that you can buy 5-6 different ingredients and make multiple types of products! This lip balm recipe is so simple and works perfectly. It hydrating and moisturizes your lips while not being too sticky or greasy. I have tweaked this recipe to my liking, so I hope you do too! Give it a try I hope you won’t be disappointed!

Perfect Lip Balm

  • 2 tablespoons Beeswax pellets
  • 2 tablespoons oil (coconut, almond or sunflower)
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • 20 drops essential oil (peppermint, vanilla or lavender)
  • Pipettes
  • Lip Balm tubes

This lip balm can also be put into a pot or tin as well, but I would decrease the beeswax to 1.5tablespoons. You will also need a double boiler set up, I take a small pot with about 1 inch of water and turn the heat to medium. I make sure to put my ingredients in a glass bowl that will sit easily on top of the pot. Try to work quickly when transferring the mixture from the bowl to the tubes because it solidifies quickly, hence my limited photos. But if it does solidify before your finished, pop it back on the double boiler and melt again. Easy! Now off to the instructions!

  1. Prepare a small pot with 1inch of water, set heat to medium to bring water to a simmer. Also, open tubes and set caps aside. Ensure pipette is next to tubes.Blog2
  2. Measure out beeswax, oil and shea butter into a glass bowl that will sit easily on top of prepared double boiler.                                       Blog1
  3. Place bowl on top of pot, stir continuously until mixture is melted.
  4. Add honey and stir till honey dissolves. Take the bowl off the heat.
  5. Add essential oils off the heat and stir.
  6. Begin to transfer melted mixture to lip balm tubes with the pipette.
  7. Allow tubes to cool and replace caps.

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I hope that you take the leap and give this recipe a try! Here is a few extra pics of the kiddos helping while I made my lip balm, these kids love helping in the kitchen!

 

 

Recipies

Soothing Balm

Sensitive skin is just plain awful. I have suffered from sensitive skin and psoriasis since I was in high school. After college it became more clear that my skin could not handle lotions or detergents with fragrances. I began using unscented products and became a lotion junkie, I was incredibly picky and tried just about every “extra strength”/healing lotion on the market. Nothing really helped, most were a temporary relief.  After I began making my own lotion, I was determined to make a balm that would soothe my psorasis and help my dry cracked nurse hands. I wanted something simple but effective, and I wanted it to include essential oils that could aid in healing and soothing my skin. This recipe is what I have been using for a few years now, although I am constantly tweaking it and trying new oils. Below I have given my foundation recipe that has been the most effective. Surprisingly, when I last saw my Dermatologist she was impressed that my homemade cream has helped my psoriasis so much!

Let’s get to what ingredients are in my healing balm…The healing ingredients are olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax and essential oils.

  • Olive oil contains Vitamin E which helps restore skin smoothness.
  • Coconut oil contains antioxidants, has antibacterial properties, and is very moisturizing for skin.
  • Sunflower oil is high in oleic acids and vitamins A,D, and E.
  • Shea butter is intensely moisturizing for rough skin, as well as high in vitamins A and E.
  • Jojoba oil is actually a liquid plant wax, that closely mimics our own skin sebum.
  • Beeswax contains anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated skin, it also helps seal in moisture to the skin.

In today’s recipe I used lavender and tee tree essential oils. I usually use frankincense and  lavender, but I was all out of frankincense, so I went for my next best blend! This recipe utilizes a double boiler to melt all the ingredients together. I use a large glass bowl over a small pan with 1-2 inches of water. I let the water come to a boil on medium heat and then place my glass bowl on top, just be sure to use oven mitts and a heat safe glass bowl! Once you make this lotion you will also notice is it “greasy” in texture, but it does settle in your skin nicely after a few minutes. There is no water or emulsifiers in this recipe so it is a true balm not a lotion. Although, once whipped, I find it to work beautifully as a lotion for my dry skin. But if you have more normal or oily skin you may prefer this as a spot treatment on stubborn patches or a hand/foot cream.

Whipped Soothing Balm

  • 1/2c. Olive Oil
  • 1/4c. Coconut Oil
  • 1/2c. Shea Butter
  • 1/2c. Sunflower Oil
  • 1/4c. Jojoba Oil
  • 2tbsp. beeswax pellets
  • 30drops of essential oil (May use one or multiple oils, total drops to equal 30)

Prepare a pan with 1-2inches of water. Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Once water is boiling, place the glass bowl on top of the pan. Turn your heat to low, so that the water in the pan remains at a gentle simmer. Stir the ingredients in your bowl frequently, once melted turn off your heat source and remove your bowl (with oven mitts) to cool. Allow ingredients cool for 20mins on the counter, then add essential oils and stir. Next place the bowl in the fridge to complete cooling.  After the mixture firms up in the fridge it is ready to whip. You will know the mixture is ready to whip when you press on the lotion and it resembles room temperature butter (it is firm,but has a slight give and will leave a thumbprint). Use either a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachments. Whip on low for 1 min to loosen the lotion from the sides of the bowl, then whip on med-high for 3-5 minutes until the lotion has become lighter in color and consistency. Store in airtight jars for 3 months at room temperature or 6 months in the fridge.

Natural Living · Recipies

Simple Saturday

As I sit on my couch relaxing, I have my windows open on this beautiful 70 degree day, and both kids are sleeping!!! Shhhh…its a small miracle! I am thinking about where my natural living journey began and where it is now.

 One of the many changes I began to make in our home towards a more natural environment was cutting out candles and conventional air fresheners. When it comes to home care products, many people (myself included at one time) are not aware of the harmful chemicals we are placing in our homes. Home air pollution  comes from harmful chemical cleaners and even simple things as candles and plug in air fresheners. WebMD has an article on how to purify your air and it states, “In one study, a plug-in air freshener was found to emit 20 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including seven regulated as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws.” I was shocked when I read this! With this knowledge I knew I could easily cut these chemical filled products out of our home. But what could I use instead? I began to research alternatives to candles and air fresheners, luckily I easily found out there are many alternatives when you utilize essential oils.  Essential oils are made by distillation through water, steam or mechanical process of natural material, resulting in the essential oil. Essential oils can be used to scent your home in multiple ways. My favorite way to utilize essential oils is with a diffuser. The diffuser uses water and essential oils, turning them into a vapor that suspends in the air.  Some of my favorite scents are Lavender, Lemon and Orange, Vanilla and Lemon (smells like a sugar cookie), and germ fighter which is a blend from Plant Therapy. If you do not own a diffuser, an easy alternative is using baking soda mixed with essential oils. The baking soda helps to deodorize, while the essential oils provide a nice light scent. I have included a recipe below.

diffuser

Baking Soda Refresher

  • One small Jar-I prefer a mason Jar
  • 1/2c baking soda
  • 15-20 drops of essential oil
  • coffee filter

Place baking soda in the jar and your essential oil of choice. Cut a coffee filter to cover the jar and secure it with the jar ring. Shake and Enjoy!

Refresh ingredients weekly or as need.