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31 January 2018

Honey and Lemon Drink Natural Remedy for Colds and Coughs

When I get sick, I don't automatically run to the medicine cabinet.  Most cold medications make me very drowsy, even if they are non-drowsy formulas.  While I welcome the sleep, I do still need to get work done and teach the kids each day.  

Luckily, there are several ways to feel better naturally without taking medication.  One natural cold remedy I like is a honey and lemon drink for colds and coughs.  I feel better quickly and the effect lasts for several hours.


This is even safe for kids, but never give a child under one honey.  If you do give this to a child, heat the water to help the honey dissolve, then let it cool before you give it to them.  My kids aren't fans of honey, but they will drink this because they know they will feel better.

29 January 2018

Dry Brushing Benefits - Why and How to Dry Brush

What if I told you that there's one thing you can every day for smoother skin and overall better health and wellness?  What if I told you that it will take you less than five minutes a day?  Oh, and it's free.

Interested?  I was too.  When I got a dry brush a few months ago, I wanted it for my skin, not knowing about dry brushing benefits for the whole body.


When both of my boys started occupational therapy, the first thing their OTs did was brush them.  They used the Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT) method with a surgical brush.

I'll be honest, I never thought that would work.  Even after seeing it work with David, I thought it would never work for Caleb.  But it did; it helps them calm down and relax.  When I heard about dry brushing, this was the first thing that came to mind.  

Dry brushing is on the list of services at high end salons all over the country, but you can do it at home in just a few minutes with the same results.  


26 January 2018

19 Green Tea Bath Recipes


Green tea is one of my favorite DIY bath and beauty product ingredients because it's something that I always have on hand.  I drink green tea regularly, so I buy either bags or loose tea to brew tea.  I can use the exact same tea in my DIY products.

If you buy bagged tea, you don't have to buy a loose tea for these recipes.  Just cut open the tea bag and use that tea in place of the loose tea.


Some of these recipes call for matcha green tea.  Matcha is a finely ground powder that's made from green tea leaves.  Matcha can be used in food or bath and body recipes, so it's something that I keep on hand as well.

Green tea is high in polyphenols.  These are naturally antibacterial and antiviral, and they are a powerful antioxidant.  Green tea specifically has catchins, which is naturally anti-inflammatory.

With the powerful antioxidants and other properties of green tea, it makes an excellent addition to DIY bath and beauty recipes.  Here are 19 great recipes using green tea.


24 January 2018

Skinny Moscow Mule Recipe (With or Without Alcohol)

You can't scroll through Facebook or Pinterest without seeing those famous copper mugs.  Now you can make a skinny moscow mule cocktail or mocktail.  

When I started seeing moscow mules pop up, I will admit that I'd never heard of the drink.  I used to waitress in a bar and people would order some obscure drinks, but that was never one of them.  I looked up the recipe, and it sounded good except for the calories.


A regular moscow mule has ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka.  Ginger beer isn't actually a beer; it's a carbonated drink that's made when ginger, yeast, and sugar ferment.  It's naturally sweetened, but it can have up to 130 calories per eight ounces.  


22 January 2018

DIY Curl Defining Cream Recipe - Moisturize and Define Curls Naturally

This easy curl defining cream recipe moisturizes your hair while defining curls with just three ingredients.

When I was a kid, I had thin straight hair.  It was so thin that I couldn't wear the hair clips that I so desperately wanted to wear because I didn't have enough hair to hold them in place.  I also remember being so upset that my hair was so straight because I wanted curls.



By the time I was a teenager, my hair was so thick that I couldn't wear clips because they just couldn't hold enough of my hair to even be worth it.  It was a little wavy but manageable.  By the time I graduated college, I had thick curly hair.  

Now I have my hair cut in an inverted bob and usually straighten it.  If I'm lazy...I mean if I don't have a lot of time, then I have to curl it because drying it and straightening it is a time consuming chore.

When I curl my hair, I want to keep my curls intact without making my hair stiff.  Crunchy hair isn't my thing at all.  I've tried many products to keep my curls in check, but most of them made my hair stiff.  So I made my own with carefully selected ingredients.


19 January 2018

Helichrysum Essential Oil Benefits for Hair and Skin

A few months ago, I went to my supply store looking for some new things to use in recipes.  I was talking to the owner, who is well versed in essential oils and their uses, and he recommended helichrysum essential oil and a few other oils.  I had heard of it, but I hadn't used it yet.


Helichrysum has several skin and hair benefits, making it a perfect addition for my stash of supplies.  The first thing I made was a dry skin toner.  

I like how it worked in the toner, so keep an eye out for more recipes with it coming soon.

The oil smells sweet, like a combination of nectar and honey.    It's said to be a powerful antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory.

Before we move on to helichrysum essential oil benefits for hair and skin, I want to note that I am not a doctor.  Please seek medical advice.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


HELICHRYSUM ESSENTIAL OIL BENEFITS FOR HAIR AND SKIN

Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

What is Helichrysum Essential Oil?


There are actually four different types of helichrysum essential oils: Helichrysum bracteiferum, Helichrysum odoratissimum, Helichrysum gymnocephalum, and Helichrysum italicum.  

I'm going to focus on the benefits for hair and skin of Helichrysum italicum only because that's what I use.  

Helichrysum is native to the Mediterranean.  The flower is actually in the daisy family, or the  Asteraceae family.  It's been used for thousands of years in European countries for it's many benefits.

Helichrysum is a great ingredient for your skin care product.  It's similar to chamomile in that it's a gentle oil, so it's good for sensitive skin.

It's a moisturizing oil, yet it won't make your skin oily.  It's also one of the few essential oils that can help reduce dark spots and discoloration.

Since it's naturally anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, this oil is wonderful for eczema, rosacea,  and psoriasis.  It can also help promote cellular turnover, so it's a good oil for scars and stretch marks.

It's high in antioxidants, so it's a great oil for anti-aging.

Helichrysum is also great for your hair.  Since it's antibacterial and anti-fungal, it can help treat dandruff and scalp flakes.  The oil can also strengthen your hair, promote new hair growth, and clean your scalp.



Antibiotic and Antifungal



When applied topically, helichrysum essential oil is a natural antibiotic and naturally antifungal.  It can be used on rashes, infections, and for wounds. Since it's also soothing, it can be used on blemishes or even for irritated skin from shaving.  If you have poison ivy, you might find relief using helichrysum.

Always mix helichrysum with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin.

Acne Treatment


Since acne is caused by clogged pores and bacteria, you can reduce blemishes by killing bad bacteria on your skin.  That's why I used helichrysum in my toner recipe.

Some acne can even be caused by a fungus.  When I was in my early 20s, I had acne on my jaw line that would not go away no matter what I used.  My doctor recommended an anti-fungal product.  My skin was clear in about a week.  I can't say that this is causing any acne that you may have, but I will say that I wish I had known about this essential oil back then!

Anti-Inflammatory


Helichrysum is naturally anti-inflammatory, which can help when you use it topically on your skin.  It's a great oil to use if you have blemishes or other inflammation.  It's also a wonderful oil to use after a sunburn to help the skin heal and soothe irritation.

Pain Relief


Helichrysum is also said to help relieve muscle pain.  It can reduce inflammation, which can help reduce pain.  It's said to help reduce pain from fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sprains and strains.

How to Use Helichrysum Essential Oil


Helichrysum should only be used topically.  Do not ingest the oil.  It is available in a supplement, but that is different from the essential oil.

Use helichrysum in an essential oil roller bottle for easy application.

You can mix up to 4 drops of the oil with a carrier oil and apply it directly to your skin.  It also works as an aromatherapy, so you can diffuse it in your favorite diffuser or inhaler.


You can add a few drops to your bath, too.

Mixing Helichrysum Essential Oil With Other Oils


Helichrysum is a great oil to use on its own, but you can also use it with other oils.

It blends well with the following oils:

  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Juniper
  • Geranium
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Neroli
  • Sage
  • Cyprus
  • Ylang-ylang
Click here to learn more about essential oils and get recipes.  

Special Considerations

  • There haven't been any studies done to know if helichrysum is safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, so it's not recommended that you use it.  
  • Do not take helichrysum internally.  
  • Some people may be sensitive to the oil.  
  • The oil may be an anticoagulant, so it's not recommended to use the oil after surgery.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get notified when I post new recipes with this and other essential oils.

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Helichrysum Essential Oil Benefits for Hair and Skin


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17 January 2018

How to Make Butter and Buttercream with a Stand Mixer

Although we are just over two weeks into January, we haven't really started back into our routines.  My kids haven't had much school work, and the bad weather means that Caleb's therapy has been cancelled several times.  David just started college yesterday, so we had a two week break after Christmas.

That means that we've had two glorious weeks where we didn't have much to do.  We played board games, watched an entire season of The Big Bang Theory, and I got through my almost full DVR.

I also had time to tackle my "want to do" list.  These are things that don't need to be done; I just want to do them or try them.  One of the things that I wanted to do was make homemade butter and buttermilk.


As I've talked about before, we are homesteading on a 12 acre farm.  We have livestock, an orchard, and grow a big garden.  We can and preserve our own food.  I want to be self-sufficient or at least know how to be self-sufficient.

So I wanted to learn how to make butter.  I've made it before with the kids using a mason jar.  This takes forever to do and makes such a small amount.  I have a 6-quart Kitchenaid, so I decided to use that.

HOW TO MAKE BUTTER AND BUTTERMILK


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

As with most recipes, the better the quality of your ingredients, the better the quality of your final product.  I used whipping cream for a local farm that's been organic since the 1970s, well before organic was a thing.  As far as anyone in the county is concerned, they have the best milk.


INGREDIENTS


  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 quarts ice water
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS


STEP #1


Let the cream sit on the counter for half an hour before you start to make butter.  This helps the separation process happen quicker.

STEP #2 


Pour the cream into a Kitchenaid mixer and use the whisk attachment.  If you have a splash guard, use it and have a towel handy.  


STEP #3


Start at speed 1 and gradually move to speed 10.  It will splash, so drape a towel over the mixer to stop it from maxing a mess.


STEP #4


Let it whisk on speed 10 until the buttermilk starts to separate.  This can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes.  It took 10 minutes for me.  It should look like the photo below.


STEP #5


Drain the buttermilk and set aside.  I poured mine right through a funnel and into a mason jar.  You can use cheesecloth, but I did not.  I was going to use it in pancakes, and my recipe calls for melted butter.  What little bit of butter got into the jar wasn't going to make a difference for me.  


STEP #6


Add two cups of cold water to the mixer and mix on medium speed for a minute.  Drain off the liquid and discard.  


STEP #7


Rinse and discard the water three to five more times until the water runs clear.  


The first time I made butter, I rinsed five times.  Since then, I've started using my hands to squeeze excess water out and only rinsed two or three times.  

You should now have about two cups of buttermilk and two cups, or four sticks, of butter.  You can press it in a butter mold, but I just put it in a plastic container.



No matter how hard as you squeeze, you won't get all of the water out of the butter.  This water can make the butter go bad, so don't store it on the counter.  Store the butter in the fridge up to two week or freeze it.  For best results, use an airtight container to store the butter so it doesn't take on the flavors of your fridge or freezer.

You can also add herbs and spices or even honey or sugar to make flavored butter.  Again, store it in the fridge.

The buttermilk can be used to make pancakes, biscuits, or even fried chicken.  I used it to make buttermilk pancakes with homemade butter and real maple syrup.  

If you won't be using the buttermilk within a few days, you can freeze it.  I like to freeze it in an ice cube tray then transfer the cubes to an air tight container.  If it separates when you thaw it, just mix it together before using it.  


print recipe

Homemade Butter and Buttermilk
Easily make butter and buttermilk in your stand mixer.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 quarts ice water
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions
1. Let the cream sit on the counter for half an hour before you start to make butter. This helps the separation process happen quicker.2. Pour the cream into a Kitchenaid mixer and use the whisk attachment. If you have a splash guard, use it and have a towel handy. 3. Start at speed 1 and gradually move to speed 10. It will splash, so drape a towel over the mixer to stop it from maxing a mess.4. Let it whisk on speed 10 until the buttermilk starts to separate. This can take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. It took 10 minutes for me. It should look like the photo below.5. Drain the buttermilk and set aside. 6, Add two cups of cold water to the mixer and mix on medium speed for a minute. Drain off the liquid and discard. 7. Rinse and discard the water three to five more times until the water runs clear.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 cups butter and 2 cups buttermilk

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15 January 2018

Chamomile Hard Lotion Bar Recipe Using the Instant Pot

My dad and stepmom got me an Instant Pot for Christmas, so I've been experimenting with that.  So far, I've made an amazing roast with mushroom gravy, buttery ranch pork chops, and a few more things.  I was in a serious rut with dinner ideas, so I'm really excited to have a new with which to play.

Even though I've only used my Instant Pot a few times, I've been pinning recipes like crazy.  I'm amazed at what all it can do!  When I started reading about the different modes it has, I had an idea.  

Why can't I use an Instant Pot to make a hard lotion?



12 January 2018

Roll On Lip Gloss Recipe with Essential Oils

I love making lip balm because it's a fairly easy DIY recipe with ingredients that I always have on hand.  It does require that you melt beeswax, and sometimes I want something quicker.  I am still adjusting to our new routine this semester, so I didn't have a lot of time this week to get out all of my supplies.

I have some roller bottles, so I decided to make a lip balm with carrier oils in that.  I'm glad I did because it worked really well, and it literally just takes a few minutes.


You can customize this recipe to fit your needs and the oils you have on hand.  I used four oils because each one has properties that I wanted.  You could use any carrier oil for the base and add essential oils as desired.  

10 January 2018

Sinus Relief Solid Essential Oil Stick Recipe

We went straight from fall allergies to sinus infections to colds.  It's been a rough winter several months at my house.  I'm particularly sensitive to cold and sinus medications, so I've been using essential oils for relief with a lot of success. 

When a few of us have sinus problems, I diffuse oils so we can all benefit from them.  If it's just one of us with sinus problems, I normally use a solid carrier oil stick  and apply oils that way.


I taught my oldest how to use the stick and use the oils, but he doesn't like getting oils on his hands.  I can't blame him for that!  He wondered why I couldn't just make a sinus relief solid essential oil stick to use.

That sounded like a great idea to me, so I made him one.  Now he can apply his favorite sinus relief oil without making a mess.

SINUS RELIEF SOLID ESSENTIAL OIL STICK RECIPE


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

This recipe is easy to adapt.  You use equal parts beeswax pastilles and carrier oil, so you can make as much or as little as you need.  I gave the measurements to make about 2 ounces.


If you want to make two or more tins, you can easily make them with different oils.  Just melt the beeswax and the carrier oil, let cool, and pour into tins.  Then add your oils and stir right in the tin.  That doesn't work as well for the push up tubes, but I guess you could stir with a toothpick or a skewer.

I like the push up tube because we can use it without making a mess or getting our hands oily.  

You can use any carrier oil that you'd like.  I used fractionated coconut oil because it's a light oil and fairly inexpensive.  I didn't need any skin benefit from the oil, so it didn't matter which one I used.  You could use sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, or even olive oil.




This is my favorite blend for sinus relief, allergies, and coughs.  You can also make this with the following essential oils for sinus relief:
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Pine
  • Peppermint
  • Frankincense 
Learn more about the best essential oils for coughs and colds, including a few recipes of blends.  



This recipe isn't just limited to a sinus relief solid essential oil stick; you can add any of your favorite essential oils to customize your recipe.  

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS


STEP #1


Melt the beeswax and carrier oil in a double boiler or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave.  If you microwave, use 30 second intervals and stir between each interval.  

The beeswax will seem like it's never going to melt, but it will melt all at once after a few minutes.

STEP #2


Once the beeswax is melted, let sit for a few minutes to cool down.  If you add the essential oils when it's hot, they will burn off.  Stir well.

STEP #3


Carefully pour into your tin or push up tube.  You can even use a lip balm tube.  Let cool for several hours before using.

STEP #4


To use, apply to your chest, the outer edge of your nostril, or beside the bridge of your nose.  You can also apply to the bottom of your feet.  Be careful not to get oils in your eyes.  


print recipe
Sinus Relief Solid Essential Oil Stick Recipe
Make this solid essential oil stick to apply oils quickly and cleanly.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax pastilles
  • 2 tablespoons carrier oil
  • 20-20 drops essential oil
Instructions
STEP #1 Melt the beeswax and carrier oil in a double boiler or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. If you microwave, use 30 second intervals and stir between each interval. The beeswax will seem like it's never going to melt, but it will melt all at once after a few minutes. STEP #2 Once the beeswax is melted, let sit for a few minutes to cool down. If you add the essential oils when it's hot, they will burn off. Stir well. STEP #3 Carefully pour into your tin or push up tube. You can even use a lip balm tube. Let cool for several hours before using.STEP #4 To use, apply to your chest, the outer edge of your nostril, or beside the bridge of your nose. You can also apply to the bottom of your feet. Be careful not to get oils in your eyes.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield:

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