Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY Deodorant {Recipe, Cost Breakdown, Review}

Along with my crazy shampoo adventure, I've also been wanting to try making my deodorant for quite some time now. I've researched a bunch of different recipes and finally decided to try this one from Brittany at The Healthy Chickadee because it incorporated one of the essential oils I got in my starter kit, plus it looked super easy. Below are the ingredients, the cost breakdown, and my thoughts!

3 T coconut oil (or more if the mixture won't stick together): $0.56 ($5.99/16oz)
1/8 C baking soda: $0.05 ($0.79/16oz)
1/4 C arrowroot starch (found in the gluten free aisle): $0.62 ($4.99/16oz)
5 drops of Purification essential oil: $0.40 ($24.67/15ml)
TOTAL: $1.63 for enough to fill one empty deodorant container

I love love LOVEEEEEE this deodorant! Like, truly. I've used antiperspirant for forever, but wanted to switch to an aluminum-free deodorant, so I have been using Toms for a couple of months. It was the only one I could find on the shelf that didn't have aluminum, but after using it for a while it just does not work well with my body chemistry. It was sticky and didn't help with odor, and some days I would have to change shirts a couple times because of the stink. (Sorry if that's too much information, just being honest.) I honestly love this new recipe, and I've put it through the ringer the last several days with hard work outside, sun bathing (hallelujah!), and a few situations where my nerves were high and I was extra sweaty. Every single time I've smelled fresh as a daisy and that has been so nice!

You can read more about Purification either via the Healthy Chickadee recipe, or on Young Living's site, but basically it's a blend of citronella, lemongrass, rosemary cineol, melaleuca, lavandin, and myrtle. It has powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, anti fungal, and sanitizing properties and is used for purifying and cleansing bacteria. I wasn't sure how I would feel about the smell (since some oil blends smell very health food store-ish), but this one I really liked, and when combined with the coconut oil it smells very fresh and clean. Like the original recipe states, if you have super sensitive skin, you could use lavender essential oil instead.

One small drawback about this deodorant is since it has coconut oil, it will get soft when it touches your warm skin. I have it in a deodorant stick now, but I actually use my fingertips to apply it because it gets soft in the stick when I put it on. Not a huge deal, especially since I love it so much, but it might just be easier to keep it in a mason jar and take a little out each day to use.

Hoorayyyy!!! So glad this one was a success!! I will definitely be making and using this from now on. So simple and it works super well for me. Let me know if you try it and what your feelings are on it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY Shampoo {Recipe, Cost Breakdown, Review}

I've been wanting to try making my own shampoo for a while. The thought of mixing simple ingredients together that were good for my hair seemed really appealing, and I was also hoping it would be a money saver in the long run. I based my recipe off of this one here and just tweaked a few things. Below are the ingredients, the cost breakdown, and my thoughts on the whole thing.

1/2 cup liquid castile soap: $1.97 ($15.75/32oz)
1/4 cup canned coconut milk: $0.37 ($2.49/13.5oz)
1/4 cup honey: $0.40 ($4.79/24oz)
2 tbsp Jojoba Oil: $2.00 ($7.99/4oz)
1/2 tbsp Vitamin E Oil: $2.24 ($8.95/1oz)
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil: $1.00 ($30.95/15ml)
10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil: $0.90 ($28.29/15ml)
TOTAL: $8.88/8.4oz

The shampoo is really rich and creamy when you first have it in your hand. It feels very moisturizing when you first apply it, and I ended up not needing any conditioner (which is CRAZY for me) and my hair combed out fine. The peppermint oil gives a really nice cooling sensation as well.

My hair reacted SO TERRIBLY to this shampoo! Ha! I was trying to stay so positive, but as I was rinsing it out of my hair, I felt like one of those poor baby otters during an oil spill (without the life-threatening part). It was SO GREASY and I just simply could not get it to rinse out of my hair no matter how long I poured water on my head. Midway through shampooing I actually started yelling for Andy in the hopes he'd hear me and bring me something to help... like more castile soap or something. Ha! I had half a mind to just use my normal shampoo to try and get the grease out, but I wanted to see it through at least for a day. 

When I got out of the shower I was able to comb through my hair alright, and instead of blowdrying I just scrunched my hair because we were going to be outside for the day. About an hour after I got out of the shower, my hair just looked sooooo greasy. The strange thing was it didn't feel greasy, it just looked it. When I pulled my hair up into a pony tail it looked even worse. Then, when I woke up the next morning it looked AWFUL! It looked like I literally had not showered in weeks, which normally wouldn't be so bad but we had spent the night at my parent's for Easter and I had to walk around looking like that for a couple hours until it was my turn for the shower.

So, in summary, this is not something I will be using, but it was still fun to try. I don't consider it a total failure, because I learned things, and at least I won't always wonder if a recipe like this will work for me. I do think that it works well for other people with different types of hair. Based on the comments in the original blog post, there were several people that said they loved it, and a lot of them I think had really coarse, dry, and maybe even curly hair. Or short hair. My hair is just not like that, so it didn't accept this shampoo well. The ingredients were also really expensive. I will thankfully be able to use them for other things (and I'm using the shampoo as a body wash now, which surprisingly works pretty well), but to get started it would cost about $40 not including the essential oils. 

So that was my little adventure this weekend! Hopefully this will be helpful information for someone out there who might want to give it a try. Have any of you ever made your own shampoo successfully? I haven't completely given up on the idea, but I think it would have to be a drastically different recipe. Oh, and stay tuned for another DIY recipe that I tried this weekend - this time with a lot more success :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014 {Nature Edition}

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We spent a wonderful few days at The Farm and mixed in family visits, church and movie nights whenever we weren't gallivanting in the woods. You know it was a nice break when you find yourself waking up at 9:30am the next morning (including the dog) when you were planning on being up a few hours earlier ;)

The guys have been spending the last week working on a new pond. They're clearing trees and pushing dirt to make it more viewable and easier to access.

We took an Easter morning walk around the property and enjoyed the (FINALLY!) warm temperatures and beautiful sun.

Spring is officially springing!

Chloe has the time of her life at the farm. I'm pretty sure she would live there if she could.

It's so nice to finally see bright pops of vivid green amidst all the brown we've been seeing for six months. The property really changes once everything blooms, so it was fun to still be able to see through the trees for a bit.

We planted these trees as little saplings... (4 years ago Dad?), and now they are really taking off! Pretty soon we'll have big pockets of these beauties all around the farm and through the trails.

Apparently a little bird family even found them perfect for a little nest :)

The peach trees that we planted last year are budding as well! We weren't sure how they'd fare in the rocky soil and harsh winter, but it looks like they came through ok and will hopefully bear fruit soon!!

Later on in the day after dinner the whole family went out for a stroll to see the trails and burn of some calories to make room for dessert ;)

Dad was giving tours and talking plans while Oma and I were... um... adventuring in the rhino! 
Let's just say I have not been certified as a farm tour guide and because of that we had a bit of a wild ride. ;) Thankfully Oma has a streak of adventure in her too, so we managed to have a few good laughs amidst risking our lives on uncharted farm trails.

There is another pond that we call The Danny Pond (after my brother). Two years ago Andy bought 20 feeder fish and dropped them in. To our utter surprise, my parents spotted them this year in the pond and they have quadrupled in size and there is even one that got HUGE. We can't believe they made it, since the pond isn't really that deep in all parts, but they are there, and there are probably over 100 now!

The reading hill is a big hill on the property that allows you to see a lot of the trails and the new pond. Hopefully someday there will even be reading taking place up there... perhaps in a gazebo... ;)

These are more little babies we planted maybe two years ago. They are doing really well too!

Happy Easter! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 
I'll be back soon with my hilarious adventure in shampoo making.

He is risen. He is risen indeed!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Recently I'm...

Longing for: Spring. The real spring, not the "looks just like winter but we'll call it spring because it's April" spring. I've taken to wearing skirts and heels even though it's still in the thirties when I leave in the morning. It seems to help my mood, that is, until I exit my house. Then I silently curse my stubbornness and vow to wear pants and a sweater the next day so I don't freeze my buns off again.

Exited about: making my own shampoo!! I have officially crossed to another side I tell ya. I've caught the "make your own stuff and feel awesome because you know what's in it" bug and I can't wait to share how it goes with all of you. I'm really hoping it doesn't completely flop, but I told Andy that even if it does, it's still a fun adventure. I'll also be sure to do a cost breakdown like I did with the bread because currently it's costing me an arm and a leg to buy all the ingredients. You don't use all of each ingredient for one batch though, so I'm hoping once I have everything I can get a lot of good use out of the recipe before having to buy more.

Freaking out when: my phone rings. I feel like we could hear any day (or not) about an adoption referral, which is making me a little twitchy. I try not to get all crazy, but it's hard not to. Now whenever my phone rings I get all gladiator-like and dive to grab it to see who's calling. Imagine my dismay when it's Verizon telling me I'm over my texting limit. Or my doctor calling to confirm my appointment. Such a rapid rush of emotions.

Enjoying: grilling! Well, eating food from the grill. Andy grills, and it is soooo good. Now when I go to the grocery store I just buy things that need to be grilled, and then get home and load them into the refrigerator, and turn to Andy and bat my eyelashes and tell him I bought all this wonderful food to go on the grill and "your grilling is soooo good" (because it is) and hope that he is fine with making dinner for the rest of the week. ;)

Watching: this. Ugh. (GMO's, our food, etc.) You may not want to watch it if you're feeling especially stressed or agitated, because it's bound to make you more-so, but I think it's good information to have. I haven't quite figured out what to do with it yet, but for now I'm just doing a lot of reading and thinking.

Anticipating: the arrival of my Young Living Essential Oils Starter Kit. I know, I've crossed to another side. Haha. I've been reading for over a year about essential oils and health, and how they can really be a help with treating common health issues naturally instead of with medication (because I cannot admit to you how much Advil I consume). Andy bought me the resource guide for my birthday and the go-ahead to purchase the kit to give them a try. I've been really struggling with headaches, and allergy season is upon us, so I'm hoping to try some oils and see if they help. I'll be sure to report back if I have any success :)

Getting ready for: a little family road trip soon! Chloe is coming with us which will thrill her to no end! I love little road trips, and the chance to see family members who we don't see often enough. 

I think that's all that's going on in our neck of the woods recently! Lots of tidbits and not too much earth-shattering to report, but all good stuff :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Adoption Update: Hopeful News

Yesterday we received a special update from our agency saying that the Federal MOWA in Ethiopia is starting to sign off on cases again! This means that if the regional MOWA is signing (of the two our agency works with, one is and one isn't), then cases can begin moving forward and our agency can start matching children with families. It's been 5 months since we've seen any movement, so we are so thankful for this update and hope that children who really need families can now start being matched with them.

Thanks for sticking with us friends! Hopefully we'll begin moving down the list again really soon! :)

Happy Friday! :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Silliness In Phone Pictures

^^Crochet Flowers: I decided the other weekend that I was sick of just crocheting in a straight line. Also, spring needs to be here, like, yesterday. So, armed with my crochet needle and random colors of yarn, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos over and over until I managed to squeak out something that resembled a flower. There was a lot of counting involved, however, so I would recommend finding a quiet, uninterrupted chunk of time (45 minutes maybe?), otherwise you're going to be ripping things out and starting over a bazillion times because *ahem* your dog *ahem* keeps wanting to go inside and outside and you get so frustrated that you throw your needle across the room like a toddler. (Not like that happened or anything.) Here is the video I watched (there's a series of 3) in case you're interested:

^^ St. Patty's Day Fun: I am so bad at celebrating holidays through my outfits. For one thing, I typically forget until I'm dressed and out the door for the day. However, Andy left for work today proudly supporting green and reminded me not to forget as well. I honestly didn't even think I owned green, but low and behold I do!! Also, I bought that necklace this past weekend with friends (see below) and when I looked at it again this morning I thought it was perfect to represent a pot of gold. Ha! Now I'm so giddy about my ability to pull together a respectable outfit that I feel the need to schedule extra meetings today just so I don't wear it in vain. ;)

^^ GGW Reunion: These two used to work down the hall from me and we became really close friends. I was so, so sad to see them go, but I am so happy we still keep in touch. We drove two hours this weekend to meet at a huge mall and topped off our visit with a ride on the carousel. Because, really, how could we not?! :)

Miss you girls like crazy!!

Those are some silly phone photo snippets from life lately :) What have you been up to? Tying any yarn together in cool shapes, wearing anything you're particularly proud of, or shenanigan-ing with friends?

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Other Woman

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you've already seen this gem, but I wanted to share it here too.

This dog. The head on Andy's shoulder, the front paw wrapped around him… Perhaps the best part is when Chloe settles herself in all cozy with Andy, and then turns her head towards me with this look that says, "I win."