March 23, 2010

Food Face and Hand Masks

Frozen Egg and Honey Face Mask
Recommended for dry skin
1 Egg
1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted, not hot)
1 tablespoon Honey
Beat the egg in a small bowl until frothy and well mixed.  Slowly add the coconut oil and honey.  Beat until the consistency of mayonnaise.  Pour into an empty toilet tissue roll that is set, on end, in a clean bowl.  Freeze overnight.  Use like a push-up, peeling away a bit of the cardboard, and smoothing over face.  Cover with clear wrap and store in freezer, indefinitely.
I have this in the freezer right now.  I will say that it's not quite as easy as "stick in a bowl and place in freezer."  After three attempts, I found what worked was to put the toilet paper tube in a small (as snug of a fit as possible) tupperware bowl, then into a bigger bowl (to catch drippings if it spills over), fill (pressing down in the tube the whole time), and place another bowl on top of the tube to weigh it down.  Otherwise within a few moments the mixture will push the tube up and come pouring out.  THEN place it all in the freezer! Source
Avocado Face Mask
1 ripe Avocado
1/2 teaspoon of Lemon Juice (squeezed from lemon)

Scoop out avocado into bowl and mash well. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and blend vigorously. You can add in a full teaspoon if you have oily skin -- lemon juice helps to clean pores and remove dead skin. Once mixed, apply to face, steering clear of eyes and eye area. Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off and finish with a splash or two of cold water to close pores. 

I made half the amounts of this recipe and still used less than half of that.  It made my face feel extremely soft, more than I expected.  I only left it on for 10 minutes, but enjoyed it!  Source
Aloe and Cucumber Mask
1 cup of Aloe Juice
1 cup of chopped Cucumber
Puree in a blender and apply to a clean face.  Leave on for 30 minutes, rinse with cool water.
I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds very refreshing, especially in the summertime.  It also sounds like it makes a lot for one mask, since I'm not sure how it would store (I would guess refrigerated for a few days), I would make a 1/4-1/2 batch.  Source
Face Mask Combinations
Brown Sugar+Milk
Egg Yolk+Honey+Olive Oil
Oatmeal+Olive Oil
Blended Almonds+Honey+Egg White
Baking Soda+Water
Just mash the given ingredients together and let the mixture sit on your face for 10-15 minutes. Source
Lemon Hand Mask
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
Cotton Gloves
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Rub into your hands for one minute.  Wipe off excess with paper towel, then place hands in gloves overnight.  By morning the oil will have soaked in and your hands will be exfoliated, moisturized and smelling fresh!  Works on feet too, slip some socks on through the night.  Source
Check out this site on Natural Hair Vinegar Rinses.

March 19, 2010

Gracious Essential Two: Gratitude

Gratitude: The state of being grateful; Thankfulness.

Living a life of gratitude... what does that really look like?  My first thoughts are being content, even in the mundane; saying "thank you" often (and meaning it), especially to those closest to you and those serving you (yes, even those waitresses that give you attitude and that you are paying to bring you water - you still need to thank them!); to count your blessings, out loud - in front of your children (or family); smile - the countenance of your face shows the posture of your heart (Proverbs 15:13, 27:19).

Those are all great ways to show gratitude in our actions, behavior, words and life!  I'm still working on the simple, every day, showing gratitude in the mundane acts of life and before my children so they will learn by watching me.  Those times are the hardest for me.  Saying "thank you" when someone is serving me or blessing me is the easy part ... it's thanking God for my blessings even when it's raining and dreary and I'm not feeling good or I'm exhausted.  That's what I am working towards.  I don't believe we can become gracious women all on our own though.  We need the power of God's Word, His Truth to stand on.  So here are some truths we can apply, let soak into our spirits and stand on when it gets tough:

Colossians 3:15 (Message) - "Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other.  None of this going off and doing your own thing.  And cultivate thankfulness.  Let the Word of Christ - the Message - have the run of the house.  Give it plenty of room in your lives.  Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.  And sing, sing your hearts out to God!  Let every detail in your lives - words, actions, whatever - be done in the Name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way."
Philippians 2:14 (NLT) - "Do everything without complaining or arguing."
Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT) - "Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

"To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven."  -  Johannes A Gaertner

March 17, 2010


Okay, I have finally decided to share the good news of Swagbucks... I just found out about it myself a few weeks ago and have already received a reward!  Check out this link to find out how it works... but at the very least, start using as your search engine and you gather Swagbucks.  Then you can turn them in for rewards at the Swagstore... I got a $5 Amazon gift card just for searching with Swagbucks for about a week and a half!  Sign up using the widget above and use it to check out possible Swagcodes (read more about that in the link above).  Happy searching and good luck everyone!  It's fun getting free stuff!

March 14, 2010

What Is Recycled Toilet Paper?


My younger sister-in-law and I were talking about recycled toilet paper (not sure how we got on the subject), she looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned it and said "Ew! Why would anyone want to re-use their toilet paper?!"
So I set out on a mission to find out exactly what recycled TP is made from.  And I was shocked how hard it was to get the facts!  I found lots of advertisements from specific companies pushing their products; softness tests and surveys; I even found a site that some reporter "got to the bottom of this dirty business" and told a huge, hilarious story about recycled TP being made from used toilet paper at sewage plants.  Wow.  I don't know if they meant their report to be a joke, but it made me laugh.
This is the only site I could find that gave me the real facts.  So here is what I found:
Toilet tissue made from recycled paper is made from both colored and white stock (paper), with staples and pins removed. The paper goes into a huge vat called a pulper that combines it with hot water and detergents to turn it into a liquid slurry. The recycled pulp then goes through a series of screens and rinses to remove paper coatings and inks. The pulp is whitened somewhat and sanitized with oxygen-based products like peroxide. The pulp is mixed with water again to produce paper stock, a mixture that is 99.5% water and 0.5% fiber. The paper stock is sprayed between moving mesh screens, which allow much of the water to drain. This produces an 18-ft (5.5-m) wide sheet of matted fiber at a rate of up to 6,500 ft (1981 m) per minute. The mat is then transferred to a huge heated cylinder called a Yankee Dryer that presses and dries the paper to a final moisture content of about 5%. Next, the paper is creped, a process that makes it very soft and gives it a slightly wrinkled look. During creping, the paper is scraped off the Yankee Dryer with a metal blade. This makes the sheets somewhat flexible but lowers their strength and thickness so that they virtually disintegrate when wet. The paper, which is produced at speeds over a mile a minute, is then wound on jumbo reels that can weigh as much as five tons.  The paper is then loaded onto converting machines that unwind, slit, and rewind it onto long thin cardboard tubing, making a paper log. The paper logs are then cut into rolls and wrapped packages
Well, that wasn't quite as interesting as I had hoped.  But the good news is we can save a little money, and help our environment by purchasing recycled TP and tissues that are just going to be flushed and thrown away.  Save a few trees, why not?!  I'm not a "tree hugger" by any means, but it just makes sense to me.  It's like using fresh, clean (expensive) printing paper for your kids to scribble on... don't we always give them our misprinted papers and junk mail?  Side note: I'm starting to save all that "used paper" for printing out my own coupons online.

So far, I have only tried White Cloud Green Earth (Walmart).  They are actually very soft, and strong.  I haven't tried any other brands yet, but with the $1 off coupon, they are less than $2 for 4 Mega rolls (equivalent of 10.5 rolls).  Pretty good price!  Made from 100% recycled materials,
"Greenearth Comes from Everyday Recyclables Like Office Paper and Magazines, Deflecting Megatons of Waste Paper from Entering Landfills and Saving Numerous Trees from Commercial Harvest. Only Available In Giant Rolls, Greenearth Provides 40% More Sheets and Uses 15% Less Packaging Per Equivalent Roll.
Hypoallergenic. Septic Safe. Sewer and Septic Tank Safe. "  - From the packaging.
I've tried the paper towels too, and I like them!  They come in a select-a-size style that has helped our first roll to last more than a week already (and only half-way through)!  They aren't quite as soft as the toilet paper, but they stand up to cleaning the kids and counters... I'll leave the softness test to my bum.

So there you have it Hannah, my dear sister.  I hope that eases your mind the next time you're visiting us!

March 9, 2010

Homemade (non-toxic) Cleaning Products

Liquid Dish Soap
I filled an old squeeze bottle with approximately
2 cups liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner's)
1/2 cup warm water
a few drops of essential oils (tea tree and lavender)

Mix well and wash away!

Tip: To cut through the greasiest dishes, let them soak in your sink filled with HOT water and 1/2 cup of salt. Then wash as usual. Vinegar and lemon juice also have degreasing properties.

I just made my first batch, I think I'll enjoy all my cleaning products better with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap.  I will use what I have, try again with the peppermint (mint and lavender sounds wonderful), and still buy green/safe products with coupons and discounts.  I like knowing I can make all my own products but I still feel limited with my scents.  Plus, I'm a sucker for the great packaging of 7th generation, Dapple, Mrs. Meyers... what can I say!? source.

Dish Washing Detergent
There are both liquid and powdered recipes, but here's the one I'm going to try (when I run out of what I'm using now):
1 Part Baking Soda
1 Part 20 Mule Borax (available at Walmart, cheap!)
 Mix together and store in plastic container.  Use 1 TSP-2 TBSP per load, figure out what works best for you.  Sometimes using too much soap can leave a filmy residue.  To help with that also, put vinegar in the "jet-dry" rinse compartment.  source.

update: I just made my first batch, added 4-5 drops of Tea Tree Oil and put one Tbsp. in the compartment.  I made sure to fill the rinse aid compartment with white vinegar.  My first load came out great!  I'm going to try 1 1/2 Tbsp. next time and see if that gets it a little bit cleaner without the residue.  Very, very happy!!

Laundry Detergent
Here is a link to Ten Homemade Laundry Detergents.  This may be the last thing I make myself.  I already have enough issues with my laundry, I'm not sure it's worth the time and effort and trial and error, for me.  I already use All Clear detergent, and I'm looking into 7th Generation (powdered, then liquid).  We'll see!  I'm keeping my eyes peeled for clearances and coupons!

All-Purpose Spray
Fill an empty spray bottle with
Water, almost to the top
2 TBSP Dr. Bronners (or another castile soap)
A few drops of Tea Tree Oil
Optional: a few TBSP vinegar or 2 TBSP baking soda

Mix well.  Spray and wipe.  Be careful not to use too much vinegar on grout, it can start to eat away at it after many, many uses.

I found a great clearance, plus had a coupon for 7th Generation all-purpose spray cleaner at Babies R'Us.  So I will be using that as well as my homemade kind! source.

Window/Glass Cleaner
50% water
50% vinegar

I love this, works great!  No streaking, easy and quick.  I also use to wash produce before rinsing, and eating!

Toilet Cleaner
Pour 2 cups of vinegar and 5-10 drops of Tea Tree Oil.  Sprinkle with baking powder just before scrubbing.
1/2 cup of 20 Mule Borax

I tried each recipe out today, one for each of my toilets.  I definitely liked the vinegar and baking soda best because of the TTO smell.  Much cleaner smelling and I think it cleaned just a tad bit better than the Borax.  source.

Carpet Freshner
Sprinkle Baking Soda over your carpets, let set 15-20 minutes and then vacuum.  Makes a great deodorizer!  source.

Five Basic Ingredients for Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes source.

Baking Soda - Cleans and deodorizes.  Softens water to increase sudsing and cleaning power of soap.  Good scouring powder.

Borax ("20 Mule Borax")- Cleans and deodorizes.  Excellent disinfectant.  Softens water.  Available in the laundry section of most grocery stores.

Soap - Biodegrades safely and completely and is non-toxic.  Sold as liquid, flakes, bar,  or powder.  Insist on soap without synthetic scents, colors, or other additives.  Castile soap (made from vegetable oil) is a great buy.

Washing Soda - Cuts grease and removes stains.  Disinfects.  Softens water.  Pure form "sodium carbonate."  I haven't been able to find this anywhere locally. 

White Vinegar - Kills 99% bacteria, 82% mold, and 80% of germs (viruses).  Is powerfully antibacterial.  Cuts through grease.  source.

Lemon Juice - Antibacterial.  Neutralizes vinegar scent.  Natural bleaching agent.  Cuts through grease.  source.

March 6, 2010

Parenting Privileges and My Local Farmer's Market

I completely forgot about this awesome cash back service!  I just got surprised by a $16.88 visa gift card in the mail from Parenting Privileges, just for making my normal online purchases through their website!  Go here and check it out for yourself.  It's easy and actually pays off.  You can sign up for a free 90 day trial, or if you order Parents magazine (for yourself or a friend) you use that info to sign in!
For the month of March has a $5 off a one year subscription of $9.97 offer going on! So for $4.97 you can have a one year subscription to Parents magazine which allows you access to Parenting Privileges for that full year.

I made it to my local Household Hazardous Waste drop off today!  It was very fast and easy to drop off my unused cleaning supplies and chemicals.  But what was even more exciting was checking out our local Farmer's Market which happened to be a block away!  I've wanted to see what they had to offer for about a year, and just never made it out on a Saturday morning before.  It was pretty small, and not many fruits and vegetables (I'm sure that has to do with the season as well), but I picked up some soap and honey!  Fun fun!  What a beautiful and productive, overcast Saturday morning.

March 4, 2010

Tiny Artichoke

A few weeks ago I came across this "secret sale" at Tiny Artichoke.  There are only a few items left now, but when I found out about it there were about 20 different items all under $5!  I was able to purchase:

  • Short Sleeve Organic Cotton Kimono Dress (12-18 month, for baby number three) $3.99 (original $26)
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm $1.99 (original $11.95)
  • Earth Mama Natural Nipple Butter (nursing moms) $1.95 (original $11.95)
  • Earth Mama Milkmaid Tea $1.95 (original $8.95)
  • 6 Green to Grow BPA-free Bottles $.99 each (original $9.99 each)
  • They threw in a small sample snack pack
Total of $27.97 (with tax, 5% discount code, and $12.95 S&H)!!!  Of course, the shipping and handling was nearly as much as the total purchase, but more than worth it since I was able to save: $103.77!!!!  
Okay, now I feel like I'm just rubbing it in since I didn't post this in time for you to really partake.  So for the future, check out this site... it's an AWESOME blogger who gives numerous organic deals everyday.  I even keep it up on my iPhone to make sure I'm not missing any last minute deals. 

Of course, I haven't had a chance to try the nursing and baby products, since we're still a few months away from our due date.  But I did try the Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm on my youngest (almost out of diapers), and it has worked tremendously well!  I was putting Desitin on her everyday and after just one or two uses she's clearing up her little red spots!  So happy!

March 3, 2010

First Step to Graciousness: Humility

"Humility is royalty without a crown." - Spencer W. Kimball

I love that image.  We are daughters to the King of Kings, we are royalty! And we represent our Father to this world by our words, actions and life. And unless you're like my 3 year old, you don't walk around strutting your princess tiara. But humility is our crown. Humility is what the world sees as our mark of royalty, that we belong to The King.

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." - Colossians 3:12-13 (New Living Translation)

What a beautiful picture of what a gracious woman might look like: clothed with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, forgiving anyone who offends her.  Wow!  I have such a long way to go before I look like that woman (or man for any men reading this - you're royalty too).  But it certainly gives me a good place to start, and a great goal to reach for.
"True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us." 

Lord help us to become more like You, to represent You well in our lives.  Help us to be merciful, kind, humble, gentle, patient and forgiving ... just as You are with us.  Let us always be a picture of humility to those around us, especially those close to us who know our faults so well.  Just help us to be more and more like You each day Daddy.  Amen.

— Tryon Edwards

If you're interested in studying humility a bit more, check these out:

What Does God Think of Humility? Psalm 138:6 _________________

Psalm 149:4 "(the Lord) crowns the humble with ________________"

What Will the Humble Find? Matthew 11:28-30: _________________

Proverbs 18:12 "Humility precedes ____________"

March 1, 2010

How Do I Recycle Toxic Products?

This has been a very extensive searching process for me!  I thought it would be a little easier, but I'm happy to report that I have done all the hard work so you don't have to!!  So as we take the steps to ridding our homes of toxic chemicals, we can dispose of them properly too!

Here is what I did:
  • Made a list of everything I needed to get rid of and checked all the labels for specific ways to discard them (everything was assuming the container was already emptied).  
  • Then I looked online for more specific instructions from each product/company (to no avail).  
  • So I moved onto searching for ways in my area that would be acceptable to discard hazardous household products... here are a few great sites to check out for yourself:
  • But what I finally decided to do was an internet search for "Collection days for hazardous household wastefollowed by my zipcode.
I was taken to my cities government page - environmental quality/hazardous household waste page.  I found out the next day for collections of HHW in my area is in about a week!  I did have to "register" for it, by calling or filling out a simple (free) online form.  It looks like I have to drop it off myself, but worth the little effort to know I'm taking care of things the right way on all ends!  YAY!  I did it, and so can you.  I hope this information helps you on your journey to ridding your home of dangerous chemicals. For a little more information on the dangers of chemical usage in the home check this out:

Some Statistics of Cleaning with Toxic Chemicals:

  • Studies link 50 % of all health problems to indoor air quality, which is proven to be 70% more toxic than outdoor air pollution.
  • Only 30% of the 17,000 chemicals used in our homes have been adequately tested for the negative affects on our health and only 1% of these are required to be on labels.
  • Due to household cleaners, housewives have a 55% higher risk of contracting Cancer
  • Over 150 chemicals found in the average home have been linked to allergies, birth defects, Cancer, and psychological abnormalities. (Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • Environmental studies have proven that 4 million Lbs. of chemical cleaners go down Canadian drains annually causing detrimental toxicological effects on our water systems and our air quality due to the chemical waste (that's just Canada, how much more in North America if you factor in the US as well?).
  • The average household spends $576.00 annually on cleaning supplies. Many detergents are full of fillers which make us consume more and therefore buy more. (found at

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