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Monday, February 28, 2011

HOW TO MAKE: Tea Stained Paper

Tea Stained paper is a favorite activity in our house. I have a friend who runs a recycling paper company and he gives us rolls of plain white paper that printers usually just throw away (Call your local newspaper and ask when they give out their short rolls). We haven't bought craft paper in years. I like to give my kids a warm, wet- not hot- teabag to use like a paint brush. We tea stain the paper, let it dry and then I write words (usually Bible Verses) and decorate our house with it. It looks rustic and is a great educational tool too!

Another use for the "free" paper is to let your kids stamp, color, or draw on it with markers and use it as wrapping paper for birthday parties.  (I haven't bought birthday wrap in years either!)

Tea staining is so easy...and it's ADDICTING!  Have fun!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

HOW TO MAKE: Facial Cleanser

When my oldest child started to hit puberty she began trying out different products to help control acne.  I saw a segment on the news talking about a study of cosmetic products and the toxins that we put on our skin everyday, especially teen girls.  I went to the website and read the study for myself ( 

They have examined and reported the ingredients to thousands of everyday products like shampoo, lotion, etc., and rate them on their safety.  I used their search bar to look up the products from we had in our home and ended up throwing away 3 laundry baskets full of products!  (

After my "cleanup", I had to replace the questionable products with safer options.  This is what started my whole focus on being naturally homemade.  I have found that not only do we save money, but we feel better too.

So here is my recipe for FACIAL CLEANSER.


empty 8oz. bottle with lid
5oz. Rubbing Alcohol (I use 70% )
3oz. Aloe Vera Juice
15-20 drops Tea Tree Oil

Pour the ingredients into your bottle.  Then I use a cotton pad to wipe across my face.  *Be sure to avoid your eye area.  If you have more stubborn acne you can increase the alcohol and tea tree oil.  If you have dry skin increase the aloe vera juice.  It is really that simple and this recipe really works!

I hope you are seeing the pattern only need a handful of ingredients to make dozens of products.  Think of it like stocking your pantry with the essentials, like flour and sugar!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

HOW TO MAKE: Natural & Safe Deodorant

Why would anyone want to make their own deodorant?  Well let me share with you a few reasons:

1. First of all, it is quick and easy.  If it wasn't easy I would have stopped doing it years ago.  I do a lot of running our 7 kids around and can't do things that require much time, so it has to be simple.

2. Another reason you should consider making a natural deodorant is because it really works.  I have a darling husband that plays hockey and he LOVES my deodorant!  If it didn't work I would have stopped making it a long time ago because hockey players are stinky.

3. If you are trying to cut your grocery bill and save money, then you are going to love this recipe!  It costs you about $.30 per that to your store bought or organic brands and you will save some serious cash!

4. The most important reason I think you should make your own deodorant is because it is safer.  Most deodorants contain harsh chemicals and irritants to the skin.  Your skin is the largest organ in your body.  It is so important to pay attention to what you are putting on your skin or exposing it to because it can effect every other system in your body.  Read the label on your deodorant and watch for the ingredients tricloson and/or aluminum.  Tricloson is thought to cause many cancers and has been linked specifically to breast cancer.  Aluminum has been connected to Alzheimer's disease. In commercial deodorants, aluminum comes in the form of aluminum chlorhydrate, a heavy metal that can be absorbed through the skin. When you apply these chemicals to an area near the underarm lymph nodes they are very easily distributed throughout your body. 

I hope I have you thinking about the safety of the products you use.  Here is the best working, cheapest, and safest recipe for deodorant I know of, so give it a try and let me know what you think!

All Natural Deodorant

3 TBSP. Corn Starch (Can be found in Organic also)
1 TBSP.Baking Soda
1-2 TBSP. Coconut Oil (Can be found in Organic also)
1/4 tsp. Vit E Oil (or 2 broken softgels)
3 drops Tea Tree Oil
scented essential oils if you want a scent (like rose or geranium)

Sift the baking soda and corn starch into small bowl.  Pour melted coconut oil over the top. Add Vit E oil or squeeze out 2 broken capsules.  Stir until smooth.  Mix in any tea tree or essential oils you may like.  Store in any plastic container that can be sealed, and let cool (will get firm).  To use, apply like a thick lotion to underarm area.

Some noteworthy notes:

* Coconut oil has a very low melting point.  If you live in a warm/ hot climate your deodorant will be soft or may need to be stirred before use.

* I put 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil in the recipe so you can adjust it your climate or preference.  I like mine more creamy like lotion, but my husband likes his more thick like paste. 

* If you increase the coconut oil a bit and can keep your deodorant cool it can be put into a deodorant stick!  I actually pushed up my daughters Teen stick and broke it off, washed out the container, dried it, spooned in my deodorant "batter" and let it set.  Then you can turn the button and your deodorant will come up perfectly and you can use it just like the store bought kinds!!!

* If you do not want to use coconut oil you can substitute Olive Oil.   It works just as well, but it does tend to separate more often.  The olive oil is lighter and works it's way to the top of the deodorant.  So you will probably need to stir it before each use.

*Vitamin E and Tea Tree Oil are great for the skin as well as acting as natural preservatives in your deodorant.  I do not recommend omitting them, but you can easily leave out the Tea Tree Oil if you do not like the smell ( I personally love it :)

* I don't scent my deodorant, but sometimes do for my daughters.  It is up to you, just be careful to add oils that are not burning to the skin (like cinnamon).  You can always add imitation extracts (like Almond) to get a nice scent without the risk of stinging.

* I included linked words (ones in blue) so if you want to see an item or need help finding one you can just click.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

HOW TO MAKE: Baby Wipes

Most of us don't mind buying baby wipes, but it is still a very useful thing to know how to do in case you ever run out or have a child with skin allergies.  I use a wipe warmer and when I have store bought wipes (like Huggies) they can get dried out and I make this recipe to pour on them keeping them moist. 

So here you go, my recipe for HOMEMADE Baby Wipes:

INGREDIENTS1 roll of Paper Towels
5-10 drops Tea Tree Oil
3 drops of Lavender Oil
 First take the paper towels and separate them by pulling them apart.  (I have my kids do this while they are sitting on the couch watching TV!)
Then, cut them in half, and then each pile in half again, giving you a stack of quarter size sheets.  In a large measuring cup pour in your ingredients.  Put the paper towels in your container and pour over the top.  I flip them several times to insure they are evenly saturated.  That is it!!!

Some noteworthy notes:

*Most containers hold only 1/2 roll, so you can easily adjust this recipe.  I would only decrease the Aloe Juice, not the oils, but that is up to you.

*Buy a good quality paper towel and be sure it is dye free without a colored pattern printed on it. 

*Many people use water, but I do not.  Water grows bacteria and especially quick if you use a wipe warmer.  Trust me you do not want to worry about mold.

*Aloe and Tea Tree fight bacteria and are natural antiseptics making them perfect for baby wipes.  They are proven safe for baby's skin, but as with any herb/product it is wise to ask  your pediatrician before use.

*All the above ingredients can be purchased at your local Walmart, Walgreens or Health Food Store, but I have linked them (in blue) so you can see what you are looking for or have a way to find them if you are having trouble.

Please feel free to comment or leave your recipes below!  Next time I will be teaching you to make your own all natural deodorant!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homemade Fabric Softener

I thought I would share my economical (and fun) recipe for fabric softener since my last post was on laundry detergent.  But first for the science of it!

Why do we use fabric softener at all?  Well there are several reasons, like the perfume smell is nice, the reduction of static cling, less wrinkles and of course the softness.  Fabric softener's history began with the need to condition the rough newly dyed fabric rolls.  The first formulas were made from water, soap, and oils like tallow.  Tallow is animal fat. It is harvested mostly from cows around their organs.  The industry has grown into the billions and yes, they still use a form of chemically enhanced tallow as well as a bunch of other chemicals that probably aren't so great for you to put right on your skin, but that is a different kind of blog!  This blog is meant to share easy, economical, and cleaner ways of taking care of you and your family.  So, here it is....the recipe for Homemade fabric Softener:

HOMEMADE Fabric Softener:

4 cups White Vinegar
1 cup Baking Soda
6 cups warm water
essential oil

First, add the baking soda to the warm water.  Then slowly add the vinegar to the water mixing slowly.  It will foam up each time your pour in the vinegar!(making it a favorite chore for any little ones in the house :)   Add in any essential oils you like or you can leave it plain.  I have used mandarin orange or lavender in mine.  For the container, I use a plastic canister like from animal crackers or jelly beans.

Fabric Softener OPTION #2:

On the ZOTE website it lists fabric softening to it's uses.  You can take a corner and tie it into a sock and throw it into your dryer.  I have tried it and didn't notice a huge difference and eventually we lost the sock, but it is another option :)

NOTE: I have included links on some of the items (words in blue) so you can see what I am talking about or find some difficult items, but everything you need can be purchased at the local Discount/Grocery store or local Health Food Store.

Next up will to make Homemade Baby Wipes!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Well, here it is, my favorite recipe!  I haven't bought Laundry Detergent in over 2 years and we have tried several different versions.  The first one is my ALL TIME favorite.  I have a very large family and we have normal wear and tear on our clothes.  All 3 laundry soap recipes are mild for those of us with allergies and still work hard enough to keep us clean.   We have a septic system and the homemade detergents listed here are septic safe.  I have researched the detergent needs for those of you with front loaders, and these are exactly what you need, a low sudzing detergent.  So get out your grater and get ready for some good clean fun!

Recipe #1 POWder Laundry Soap:
1 box Borax- 4 lbs. 12 oz. (sodium tetraborate)
1 large box- 4 lbs. Arm and Hammer Baking Soda  (sodium bicarbonate)
1 container Oxygen Cleaner-3.5 lbs. like "Oxiclean" or "Sun" (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate)
2 bars natural Soap (like Ivory, or 1/3 bar of Zote, or 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha)
Grate the soap with a grater. 

Spread the soap out to dry.

(I let mine dry on a cookie sheet) Then you put the soap through your food processor.  Mix all  4 ingredients into a five gallon bucket.  I use the scoop from the Oxiclean container to measure with.  Use 1-2 scoops per load depending on size and stains.

That's it!!!  It works great, is super effective and saves some serious dough!  The ingredients I purchased above cost around $7.50 and it will wash around 75 loads of clothes.  I make it in double batches about every 2 months and we are a family of nine.

#2 RECIPE for Powdered Laundry Detergent:

2 cups Baking Soda
2 cups Borax
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
2 cups white Vinegar
(This was a fun recipe the kids loved to help with.  When you mix the ingredients you get the "volcano" bubbling effect so be sure to add them in small batches in your bucket)!

Mix together the Baking Soda and Borax.  Then, add the liquid castile soap.  Slowly add the vinegar until it is all mixed in.  This makes a thick paste at first and dries into hard rock-like pieces. Keep stirring and mix completely.  After the mixture dries break up any lumps, it is pretty easy.  I used 1/4 cup per full load and it works great.

*we made this one just a few times for fun and then went back to Recipe #1, because it was easier and less messy.

RECIPE #3 Liquid Laundry Soap:

1/3-1/2 Bar of Zote or Fels Naptha (grated)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Oxiclean or "Sun" oxygen cleaner
2 gallons of water

Grate your soap.  Pour 1/2 gallon of water into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the soap and stir until melted.  Meanwhile pour the other 1 and 1/2 gallons of water into your bucket.  Add the melted soap and water to the bucket and then stir in the Borax and Oxyclean, mixing well.    Let it set for 24 hours.  It will turn into a pink gel.  (The kids loved to squish it through their fingers the next day!)  Use 1/2 cup per load.  It is very cost effective, about $.02 per load, but it is very time consuming and messy.

***There are many MANY more recipes out there.  Search for "homemade laundry soap", "how to make laundry detergent", etc.  Experiment and have fun!  You can't lose when you know what is in your household products! 

Do you have a recipe to share or a question to ask?  Click on comment below....

*The above ingredients can all be bought locally.  I have added an Amazon link to them if you have trouble finding something or just want to see what I am talking about (the words highlighted in blue).  Of course Walmart, your local Grocery Store, or Discount Store, like Big Lots will save you money.

Next up will to make your own Fabric Softener!  Don't miss it!