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29 June 2018

DIY After Sun Salve Recipe

Use this DIY after sun salve recipe if you've been in the sun all day.  Even if you don't burn, your skin still need moisture to recover.  

After the long winter, few things feel as good as sitting outside in the sunshine.  While I wouldn't say that I have SAD, I definitely feel better when I can get in the sun.

As much as I love the sun, I know that I have to be careful because I do tend to burn easily.  When I was a kid, I would get a deep tan and never burned.  As the years went on, I started getting burned and not tanning.


My grandmother had skin cancer when I was a teenager, so I use sunscreen on myself and my kids when we will be outside.  

Even if you don't get a burn, your skin still needs some love after being in the sun.  This after sun salve recipe helps soothe irritated skin and puts much needed moisture back in your skin.  

27 June 2018

Natural Homemade All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

This natural homemade all purpose cleaner recipes is easy to make and can be used on most surfaces in your home.

When my oldest was a baby, I started using natural cleaners.  I wanted a more natural home for him, and I wanted to save money.  One of the first things I made was an all purpose cleaner.


I've changed the recipe a few times over the last few years and improved it (I think so anyway) with each modification.  

One thing that I like about making my own cleaners like this natural all purpose cleaner recipe is that I never run out.  I always have dish soap and vinegar to make a new batch.  If I don't have the essential oils, I can use one or the other until I get more or use different oils.  

I'm crazy about this cleaner, but my husband is not.  He doesn't like the smell of vinegar.  It dissipates quickly, so it doesn't bother me.  I'd rather smell vinegar than smell chemical cleaners.  

25 June 2018

Instant Pot Sweet Iced Tea Recipe

Use your Instant Pot to make sweet tea that isn't bitter. 

Summer just wasn't summer without my grandmother's iced tea.  She would make a gallon of sweet tea almost every day, so there was always a pitcher in the fridge  When I moved out on my own, I called her for the recipe.


For one gallon, she used 14 tea bags and 3 cups of sugar.  Needless to say, it was strong and sweet.  My husband loves real sweet tea, but he doesn't like bitter tea.

I've heard of the baking soda trick, but he hated it.  Yes, he could taste a quarter of a teaspoon in a gallon of tea.  He wouldn't drink my tea for about three years after I tried that.

I normally make sun tea just because it's easy and low maintenance.  It's not sweet though, and it tastes bitter.  

I've made infused water concentrate in my Instant Pot, so I thought why not use it to make sweet tea?  

Now I don't make tea any other way.  It was so easy because you can let the pressure cooker naturally release, so you don't have to babysit it.  Once you fill up the Instant Pot and turn it on, you can walk away without worrying about turning it off or having it boil over on the stove.

I was pleasantly surprised that making iced tea in the Instant Pot makes a smooth tea.  It's a gentle, smooth tea.  It's perfect for hot summer days.

22 June 2018

33 Healthy Popsicles Recipes for Kids and Adults

Summer means popsicles.  My kids will go through some popsicles!  I can barely keep the freezer stocked.  

I don't like buying store bough treats because they are full of dyes and extra sugars.  Caleb can't have food dyes, and I don't like the extra sugar for any of my kids.


Now we make our own frozen treats.  All of these healthy popsicle recipes are easy to make, and you can make them when you have time to enjoy later.

I like to use fresh fruit and even some veggies in my homemade frozen pops.  I know my boys don't eat enough fruits and veggies, unless ketchup counts, so this is a great way to sneak more nutrients into their bodies.  

20 June 2018

Why You Should Be Wearing SPF Every Day

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.



You might be surprised to learn that I don’t add an SPF product to my daily skin care routine in the summer.  That’s because SPF is always in my skin care routine.



I’ve been using SPF on my face every day since I was a teenager.  Now, in my mid to late 30s, my skin looks great.  When I tell someone my age or that I have a child in college, they are in disbelief.  I was lucky to inherit some good genes, but I attribute most of that to wearing sun protection daily.

18 June 2018

Homemade Body Powder Recipe With Essential Oils


I always joke that I'm going to move south when the kids are grown, but it hit the 90s today, and I legit thought that I was going to melt.  I couldn't even walk outside.  My hair frizzed, and there was no saving my makeup.  By the time I got home, I felt, well, icky.  Now we are in a mad scramble to get the pool open before we all die from the heat.  

Nothing beats a nice shower after a hot day, but sometimes you just need to freshen up before you can get to a shower.  That's why I make this homemade body powder recipe with essential oils.

Body powders used to be really popular, but they aren't so popular anymore.  I remember walking into Bath and Body Works in the late 90s and getting a tin of body powder.  It was probably in Sun Kissed Raspberry or Cucumber Melon.  

I didn't use them for years after that, but then I started again, especially in the summer.  Body powders are wonderful all year round though.  I like to use them after a sugar scrub or after I put on a body butter because they help make your skin oh so soft.  

15 June 2018

DIY Finishing Powder Recipe

It's summer!  It's time for lazy days, swimming, catching fireflies, and outdoor movies.  It's also time for high humidity and temps so high your makeup melts right off.  

Luckily, there is one easy DIY recipe that will help keep your makeup looking flawless.  It naturally absorbs sweat and oil while it gives you a flawless airbrushed look and fills in fine lines and large pores.


If you go to the drugstore or specialty makeup store, expect to spend anywhere from $10 to $40 or more for a finishing powder.  You can make this one for a few pennies, and it works wonderfully.

I had all of the ingredients already, so I didn't even have to spend anything.  If you do have to buy some of the ingredients, you can use them in other recipes, so there's no waste.  

Storebought finishing powders can also have questionable ingredients and preservatives.  Since this recipe doesn't have any water, you don't need a preservative.  I know exactly what's in my DIY finishing powder recipe, and I can control the ingredients.  

13 June 2018

15 Liquid Castile Soap Uses

Ten years ago, when Caleb was still a baby, he developed environmental allergies and breathing problems.  He would later get diagnosed with asthma, but even before then, his allergist suggested that I not use chemicals to clean.  Even that short of a time ago, using natural cleaners wasn't popular.

I found some recipes online, tried them, played with them, and came up with my own recipes.  I loved making my own cleaning products because I saved a lot of money and because if I ran out of something, I could just make more.  Most cleaning product recipes use many of the same ingredients, so I just have to keep those on hand to make more of my products.


One of the ingredients that I always try to keep on the shelf is liquid castile soap because it's so versatile.  Seriously, you'd be amazed at what all you can use it for!

11 June 2018

Dynatrap FlyLight Insect Trap Review and Giveaway Ends 6/25/18

It's summer on the farm, which means planting, yard work, and lots and lots of flies.  If you live in a rural area or have spent time in a rural area, you know that flies are just a part of summer.  

Flies outside are a pain, so we use a Dynatrap outside to keep pests to a minimum.  What the Dynatrap doesn't take care of, we use my bug repellent wax melts on the patio.  

I detest flies in the house.  My kids don't understand the importance of keeping the back door closed, so we might as well just leave the door leading to the patio open for as many times as it opens each day.  

Dynatrap recently sent me their FlyLight Insect Trap to review.  They were generous enough to host a giveaway as well, so one of my lucky readers will get one too!


08 June 2018

Save Time, Money Shopping Online + Enter The Off to the Races Sweepstakes from Scott Comfort Plus

This post is sponsored by Scott Brand, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I love shopping.  But I don't love driving to the store, walking all over, waiting in line, and then driving home.  I'm more of an online shopper.  There are weeks that I literally do not have time to go to the store except for my weekly trip for food.  

Since I live in a rural are, a quick trip to the store is at least an hour trek since I have a 20 minute drive each way.  That's why I love Amazon so much.  I can buy what we need and have it on my doorstep in two days. 


I've been buying more of our home essentials on Amazon, and I'm even saving money with coupons.  Right now, you can get $1.50 extra savings on Scott Comfort Plus toilet paper.  No more clipping coupons, remembering to take them, and then digging for them at checkout.  Plus you can save 15 percent and get free shipping with Amazon Subscribe & Save.


You can save even more on Scott products like flushable wipes and paper towels on Amazon right now, too.  If you by $50 or more in select Scott products, you can save $10.  Considering you get free shipping with Prime, this is an amazing deal.  

I had a lot of writing work to do this week in addition to keeping my house running, so I took advantage of the savings and stocked up on the new Scott Comfort Plus toilet paper.  In just two days, I had it sitting on my patio.  

Not only is a product that we obviously need, but it also doubles as a cat bed.  Carly, for one, really appreciates the big boxes that get delivered to the house.  I couldn't even get the box open before she claimed it as her new bed.  


We live on a farm, so we have a septic system.  I have to be very careful about the brands that I buy.  Some septic safe brands aren't the most comfortable brands.  I don't like to compromise in that area, so I'm happy that the new Scott Comfort Plus is soft, strong, and septic safe. 




To kickoff the new Scott Comfort Plus, Scott is giving shoppers the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the NASCAR race of their choice!  



Head over to Amazon to take advantage of the $1.50 coupon for Scott Comfort Plus, the $10 savings when you buy $50 in select products, and the 15 percent savings when you select Subscribe and Save!

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06 June 2018

Effortless Everyday Hair Care With Dove

This post is sponsored by Dove Hair Care but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I will confess that I'm a high maintenance girl.  My hair appointments take every bit of three hours with three colors and an inverted bob.  I want my hair looking perfect before I leave the house.

I don't have a small makeup bag.  I have a large lockable train case with several trays and dividers full of makeup.  I don't wear makeup every time I leave the house, but I do wear it more often than not.  

Even though I'm a high maintenance girl, I'm also a girl with a packed planner.  Most weeks, I have something planned every day in addition to homeschooling and working from home.  I simply don't have an hour to get ready each morning.


I have my hair care routine down to a science, so it only takes a few minutes each day.  I can usually manage to get my makeup done in 10 to 15 minutes.

EFFORTLESS EVERYDAY HAIR CARE


I have naturally curly hair, but unfortunately they aren't pretty curls.  They take a lot of coaxing to fall into place, so I generally straighten my hair.  Curly hair is naturally dry, so combine dry hair with bleaching and heat processing, and you get really dry hair.


I've been using Dove Thickening Ritual Shampoo and Dove Thickening Ritual Conditioner from Walmart to nourish my hair and give it a boost of volume.  They have lavender oil and rosemary extract inspired by French women to add fullness and volume to your hair.  Both are gentle enough to use every day.

After I wash and condition, I towel dry my hair, use a heat protectant, and either let my hair air dry or blow it dry, depending on my schedule.  I prefer to let it air dry to reduce damage, but sometimes I need to get it dry it so I can get to an appointment.

Once it's dry, I straighten it and that's it.  If it's raining or really humid, I'll use a curling wand for loose curls because my hair tends to frizz if the humidity is too high.


On the days that I don't wash my hair, I just have to brush it out if it's straight or rework my curls and go about my day.

Since my hair is color treated and I use heat to style my hair, I try not to wash it every day.  I like to wash every two to three days.  To keep my hair fresh, I use Dove Refresh+Care Volume and Fullness Dry Shampoo from Walmart between washings.


I just spray, let it sit, and brush as usual.  It keeps my hair feeling clean and soft while it adds volume.  Now I can get ready in no time at all and still look like I spent a lot of time on my hair.

I have dark hair, so sometimes I have some problems with it leaving white spots on my hair.  I use dry shampoo at night, so if there are any spots, they are gone by morning.  You can also brush your hair well or try using a hair dryer for a few seconds to get rid of white spots.

Dove Thickening Ritual Shampoo and Dove Thickening Ritual Conditioner and Dove Refresh+Care Volume and Fullness Dry Shampoo are available at Walmart, so I even save time by picking them up during my weekly shopping trip.


Have you tried Dove hair care?  Which one is your favorite?

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04 June 2018

Homemade Strawberry and Clay Face Mask Recipe



This homemade strawberry and clay face mask recipe is easy to make.  The powder will last on the shelf for several months, and you can customize it with different carrier oils and essential oils.

A few months ago, I got a sample of a strawberry and clay mask to try.  My skin felt amazing after I used it, but when I tried to buy a bottle, it had a pretty big price tag.  It also had preservatives and some other unnatural ingredients, so I wanted to try to make my own.


I've made strawberry face mask recipes before, but I've always used fresh strawberries.  These masks are messy.  I really liked the clay that was in this mask, and I thought that adding clay to mashed fresh berries sounded like a big mess.


I thought about it for a while and started testing some recipes.  I came up with a recipe that worked wonderfully for my skin.  You probably don't have the same skin needs as I do, so I'm also going to give you several options to use to make a homemade strawberry and clay face mask recipe that works for your skin type.

HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY AND CLAY FACE MASK RECIPE


I use a lot of different face masks, and my favorite ones are one that you just add the liquid or are premade.  I didn't want to use a preservative in this recipe, so I decided to make a powder and add a liquid when you want to use it.

As you read the recipe, you'll notice that you have to add a liquid and the oil when you make the mask.  Strawberry powder can go bad if water gets added to it, so I wanted to err on the side of caution and not include the oil with the powder even though the oil shouldn't have water in it.  Better safe than sorry.  I certainly don't want any of my readers to open up their jar and find mold in it.

By making the powder base first and then adding the liquid and carrier oil, this also means that you can make a different mask each time you use it.  I'll give you some options for the carrier oils, essential oil, and liquid so you can make a mask that's just for your unique skin needs.

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY POWDER


Strawberry powder is the star of the show in this recipe.  You can buy premade strawberry powder, or you can make it like I did.


I found organic freeze fried strawberries at Aldi for about $3 for 1.2 ounces.  I used my bullet style blender to grind them into strawberry powder.  I used the entire bag and got just under half of a cup of strawberry powder.

This is the same strawberry powder that you can buy for $4 an ounce or more online.  It's great for DIY beauty recipes and cold process soap, but you have to be careful with it.  As soon as you add water to it, it's not shelf stable.

This means that you have to use a preservative if you use it in a lip balm or any other recipe except cold or hot process soap.  Do not use this in melt and pour soap without using a preservative.  I've also seen it used in lip balms without a preservative.  While I haven't used it in a lip balm, that kind of scares me.  Personally, I would never use this in a lip balm without a preservative, even if the lip balm is completely oil based.

BENEFITS OF STAWBERRIES FOR SKIN


You get wrinkles and fine lines when collagen production decreases in your body.  Strawberries are high in ellagic acid, an antioxidant that helps stop collagen destruction.  It also help work to counteract damage from UV light.
Strawberries can also help improve acne and blemishes.  They are naturally acidic, which can help remove excess oil.

Strawberries are high in vitamin C to combat oily skin and nourish your skin.

If you have dark spots on your skin, strawberries can help even your skin tone by fading dark spots and can even help reduce acne scars.

CLAY


I used kaolin clay for a few reasons.  First, I have a lot of kaolin clay.  I mean a lot.  Someone didn't have room to store it and asked if we could store it in one of our outbuildings.  Now I am the proud owner of over 1,000 pounds of kaolin clay.

The other reason that I used kaolin is that it's a gentle clay.  The strawberries are pretty powerful on their own, so I wanted to use a gentle clay.

Kaolin clay helps absorb extra oil and sebum from your skin.  It also helps detox by pulling impurities from your skin.
Kaolin clay can help exfoliate your skin, so it gently removes dead skin cells for better looking skin.

It's the mildest clay, so it's good for even sensitive skin.

You can also use bentonite clay, red clay, or green clay.  I have not tested this recipe with any clay other than kaolin, but I would't use more than half of another clay in this recipe.

LIQUID


You have several options for the liquid portion of this recipe.   I used rose water, but you can use any of the following:

  • Water
  • Rose water
  • Hydrosol
  • Buttermilk
  • Aloe water
  • Cooled green tea

    ROSEWATER


    Rosewater is naturally anti-inflammatory, so it can reduce puffiness and works well with blemishes.  It also helps remove excess oil from your skin, making it good for acne prone skin.

    HYDROSOLS


    Hydrosols are made by distilling plants with water.  They aren't as concentrated as essential oils, and you can find them made from some plants that can not be made into essential oils.  They have some of the properties of the plant they were made from, so you'll have to choose the one that is right for your skin.  

    BUTTERMILK


    Buttermilk is high in lactic acid, which can exfoliate your skin.  It's also a natural astringent and can help tighten pores.

    ALOE WATER


    Aloe water is high in antioxidants and vitamins.  It's said to be good for those with acne prone skin.

    GREEN TEA


    Green tea is another great choice.  It's high in antioxidants and tannins.  The tannins act like an astringent to clear your pores and reduce oil.  The green tea works as the base of the mask.  It's high in anti-oxidants, so it can help prevent signs of aging.  It's also naturally antibacterial, so it can help reduce blemishes caused by acne.

    CARRIER OILS


    Again, you have a choice in the carrier oil that you use. 

    JOJOBA OIL


    Jojoba oil is a wonderful product for your skin.  Although it's called an oil, it's actually a wax made from the jojoba seeds.  The wax is similar to the sebum in your skin, and it dissolves sebum, which can lead to clearer skin.  It's a dry oil, so it soaks into your skin quickly.   This is a great choice for oily skin.

    ROSE HIP SEED OIL


    Rose hip seed oil can help firm the skin and improve elasticity.  It has essential fatty acids to help soften and smooth your skin.  It can also reduce inflammation, redness, and scarring.  Use rose hip seed oil if you have fine lines, wrinkles, or dry skin.

    ARGAN OIL


    I used argan oil in my homemade strawberry and clay face mask recipe.  It's high in vitamin E and saponins to soften your skin.  It helps restore the skin's hydrolipid layer, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It's also said to tighten the skin.  It's a dry oil, so it's not oily on your skin and soaks in quickly.  Argan oil is good for fine lines and toning.  

    EVENING PRIMEROSE OIL



    Evening primrose oil can make pores appear smaller by dissolving the oil that collects in pores.  It's also naturally anti-inflammatory and can reduce redness.  The gamma-linoleic acid can help improve skin elasticity and promote cellular turnover.  Use evening primrose if you have fine lines or acne prone skin.

    AVOCADO OIL


    Avocado oil is high in vitamins A, D, and E.  It can help soothe irritated skin and works as a natural anti-inflammatory.  It can help combat the signs of aging due to the sterolins in it.  Use avocado oil if you have dry skin.


    ESSENTIAL OILS


    Finally, we move on to the essential oils.  I used carrot seed oil.  It doesn't smell the best, but it works well on my skin.

    CARROT SEED OIL


    Carrot seed oil is said to help rejuvenate the skin.  It helps promote cell regeneration and smooth the skin.  It's also said to help face scars, including acne scars.  It's full of antioxidants to fight free radicals.  

    FRANKINCENSE ESSENTIAL OIL


    Frankincense essential oil is good for most skin types.  It's naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so it's good for acne prone skin.  It can help tone the skin the reduce the appearance of pores.  It is said to promote new cells, tighten the skin, and fade scars.  

    GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL


    Geranium essential oil is great for dry skin and acne prone skin.  It helps improve elasticity and tighten the skin.  It can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines.

    LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL


    Lavender essential oil is another oil that is great for most skin types.  It's said to help promote cellular turnover, so it's good for aging skin.  

    ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL


    Rose essential oil is good for dry or mature skin.  It is antimocrobial and anti-inflammatory.  It can help tone the skin and improve the texture of the skin.  

    YLANG YLANG ESSENTIAL OIL


    Ylang Ylang essential oil can help reduce oil production and reduce blemishes.  It's said to help boost cell turnover to smooth fine lines and improve skin elasticity.  

    Learn more about different carrier oils and their benefits in my book, Carrier Oils: A beginner's guide to use more than 40 carrier oils.

    INGREDIENTS



    See above for information about selecting the right ingredients for your skin care needs.  Before you make this, be sure to read all of the directions carefully or it will not turn out right.

    DIRECTIONS


    STEP #1 


    Combine the clay and strawberry powder in a 4 ounce mason jar or other container.  Mix well.  This will be shelf stable, so you can keep it on the shelf until you're ready to use it.


    STEP #2



    When you want to make a mask, combine 2 tablespoons of the strawberry and clay mixture with 1/2 teaspoon oil, 4 drops of essential oil, and 1 tablespoon liquid.  Stir well.  It will get clumpy, but you can use the back of a spoon to smoosh it to break up the lumps.

    I've also made this with just the powder and cooled green tea.  It works very well.  You don't have to add the essential oils and carrier oil for an effective mask.

    STEP #3


    Spread on your face, avoiding the eye area.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse well.

    This is a messy mask because it is thick.  I usually put it on and then rinse it off in the shower.


    My skin feels amazing after using this mask!  It exfoliates, hydrates, and pulls dirt and oil from your pores.

    This mask will make your skin turn red for a while after you rinse it off.  That's the strawberry powder working.  I have semi-sensitive skin and didn't feel any irritation, but I wouldn't use this on sensitive skin.

    If you didn't read all of this super long post, then you may be wondering why I made a powder and then added the other ingredients.  It's so the strawberry powder doesn't get moldy.  You can not make this recipe in advance, so always discard any leftovers.

    For this reason, you should always be careful not to introduce any water to your strawberry and clay powder.  Always use a dry measuring spoon to scoop it out, and don't dip wet fingers in the powder mix.

    I an honestly say that this homemade strawberry and clay face mask recipe is one of the best that I've ever made to soften and hydrate.  I have large pores and a very oily T-zone, so my skin needs charcoal and bentonite clay once a week.

    Let me know in the comments if you try my homemade strawberry and clay face mask recipe.

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    Homemade strawberry and clay face mask recipe with kaolin clay and strawberry powder.


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