Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sea Salt Scrub


As part of this week's "Sink or Swim" party giveaway, the bloggers participating are all bringing you ideas to host your own Sink or Swim summer party! We kind of ran with the idea of nautical & beach-themed, and I think you'll love what everyone came up with!

 
Cupcake Diaries: Cookie Oysters
Not Picture Perfect: Summer Party Games

Dessert Now Dinner Later: Blueberries & Cream Pie Parfaits
Homemade Toast: Sea Salt Scrub
The Bucket List Girl: Tillamook Ice Cream Sandwich

Clarks Condensed: Summer Fruit Cobbler
Like Mother Like Daughter: 7 Layer Dip
Our Thrifty Ideas: Party Pleasing Potato Salad
Rae Gun Ramblings: Mermaid Cookie Pops

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway, if you haven't already!

 

Due to my little soap-making escapade a few months ago, I started running up a collection of oils and butters that have been put to good use making homemade lotion bars, lip balm, sunscreen and bug spray. Its been so fun for me to make things for my family that are completely all-natural and organic. Don't get me wrong, my recent posts may indicate that I've gone all-hippie. But really, I just enjoy creating - especially if it happens to be that whatever it is I am making is better and safer for my girls.

A few weeks ago we stopped in Vegas on our drive home from California. We were walking through the Venetian and were given a sample of this amazing sea salt scrub while walking past some of the shops. I wish that I had caught the name of the place - the product was really outstanding. I remember the girl who gave us the sample told us that there was beeswax and shea butter in it - which turned on a little lightbulb in my head. I could make this!

And so I did!

Not even kidding - my hands have never felt softer. The sea salt is just abrasive enough to scratch away dead skin and leave your hands so incredibly smooth and the small amount of beeswax helps your skin absorb and retain the moisture of the oils and butters. My husband literally refuses to use it because it makes his manly dry callused hands feel too girly! Men.


Wouldn't these make the perfect party favors? A great way to send something thoughtful and homemade home with your guests a step-up from a trinket that will end up at the bottom of the toy bin.

I used a lot of different oils in mine - which, is totally not necessary. Mostly, I was just trying to empty out bottles that I just had a few ounces left of. You can really sub out any oil in this recipe for any other - the only rule: use 1:25 beeswax to oil/butter ratio. I found this to be perfect - just enough to coat the skin, but not enough to leave it feeling greasy. I also like how it solidifies the scrub a little bit as well since beeswax is hard at room temperature. You can use less beeswax in your scrub, or even none - but not more than 1:25.

Like I said, you can sub out any oil to make the recipe your own, make it with 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 olive oil if that's what you have in at home. And please, realize that this will make a LOT of scrub - about 5-6 cups worth. So, scale it as needed too.

Here's what I put in mine, but use whatever you have in your pantry and make your own recipe!

14 oz coconut oil
3 oz sweet almond oil
3 oz shea butter
2 oz castor oil
2 oz olive oil
1 oz beeswax
essential oils
50 oz sea salt

Just remember1 part oil to 2 parts salt & no more than 1/25th of your oil mixture should be beeswax, if you are using it.

First, measure all of your butters, oils (but not the essential oils, we'll add them in later), and beeswax in a glass jar. Know that you will probably never get this jar 100% clean again - beeswax is nearly impossible to get completely off anything. You can see in this pic that I just used an old Prego jar. I wiped it out as best I could when I was done with it and then tossed it in the recycling - its really not worth the time trying to get it clean again.


Then, set your jar in a pot of boiling water to melt. It is going to take a little time - especially to melt the beeswax. 


Once all of the oils, butters and beeswax have completely melted - add in your essential oils. I put in some peppermint, tea tree and lavender - one of my favorite relaxing and refreshing combos. You could also add in food coloring at this point if you wanted to.


Now, you'll add your oils to your salt. Again, you'll have a hard time getting your bowl squeaky clean again - I use the same bowl for all of my soap/lotion making so its not really an issue for me. Just use something cheap or disposable - or a bowl you think you may reuse again for a similar purpose. 

If you are making a smaller batch you may have enough room in your jar that you can just pour the salt right in. 

Whatever you decide, combine your oils and salt. Stir it around until all of the salt is wet and there are no dry spots remaining. If you have oil floating on the top like in the photo below, add more salt. 


Perfect. 


Now, pour it into your containers and let it cool to room temperature.


To use: rub about a teaspoon of scrub in your hands, or on your feet for a minute or two. Rinse off salt with warm water. Pat dry.

Enter the Sink or Swim Giveaway here! 
More information on the prizes and sponsors can be found here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sink or Swim GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to announce our "Sink or Swim" giveaway this morning! Along with ten other amazing bloggers and twelve generous sponsors, we are bringing you everything you need to spice up your summer party!

Make sure you check back later in the week - we all will be posting fun ideas, recipes and printables that you can use to host your own "Sink or Swim" nautical-themed party!

Events to CelebrateArtsy Fartsy MamaClarks CondensedRae Gun RamblingsHomemade ToastThe Bucket List GirlFab DecorLike Mother Like DaughterCupcake DiariesOur Thrifty IdeasDessert Now Dinner Later

These prizes are insane, valued over $500! Check them out...

Joseph Joseph More Sprinkled Joy Bucket Boutique Heavenly Cake Pops Waring Pro Sprinkled Joy

Prize Package 1:
  1. Joseph Joseph Triple Dish
  2. 15 Bitty Bags, 25 Straws, 12 Chalkboard Labels and 12 Daisy Cut Mason Jar Lids from {More} Sprinkled Joy
  3. Earrings from Bucket Boutique
  4. Easy Roller from Heavenly Cake Pops
  5. Waring Pro Snow Cone Maker
  6. One 8x10 Print of your choice from Sprinkled Joy

Tovolo Epicurean Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker Cuisinart Fab Decor Shirley K Designs

Prize Package 2:
  1. Tovolo Pie Pops Kit
  2. Epicurean Hipster Mustache Cutting Board
  3. Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker
  4. Cuisinart EasyPop Popcorn Maker
  5. Summer Decoration and 20$ Gift Card from Fab Decor
  6. Shirley K Design Printable
A huge shout-out to our sponsors for making this party happen! Each of these guys offer amazing product. Haven't heard of them before? Click on their logo to check them out!

Waring Pros Fab Decor Shirley J Designs Sprinkled Joy Joseph Joseph Tolovo Hamilton Beach epicurean Heavenly Cake Pops Bucket Boutique  Cuisinart 

So, you want to win? Thought so. Do it here.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY Herbal Bug Spray

photo by the incredible Dave Taylor

At first, I was a little hesitant to try out my own bug spray - its not really one of those things that is worth the risk of not working, especially on the kids. It actually sat in our car for about a month before we even used it - but when we did, I couldn't even believe the results!

We were out at the lake, and on our way home The Hubs wanted to stop for a few minutes to throw in a fishing pole. The place that we stopped at had swarms of these giant-mosquito-looking bugs. I am not sure if they were actually mosquitos - but they were gross and huge and everywhere.

So, I opted to stay in the car with the kids and Vahe set out to face the bugs. What a man won't do for a fish! :) I was so excited when I realized that I had the potentially-effective bug spray I had made in the car - and, since it was better than nothing, Vahe decided to try it out. 

I couldn't even believe it. I took this first picture of the passenger side of the car - probably 100 bugs just hanging out on my window.


This picture was taken of the driver's window - where Vahe had sprayed himself down just outside the door, about 5 minutes before. ZERO bugs!


If this doesn't make you a believer, I don't know what else will! Since then, we have used it on the whole family around mosquitos without a bite. I would even go as far to say that this repellent works BETTER than a deet-laced pesticide spray that you'll find in the store. Plus, it smells way better and all of the ingredients are completely natural and safe on everyone!

You'll find varying recipes online for DIY bug spray, this is just how I decided to make mine. Since it has worked so well for us - I don't think I will ever try anything different. If you use essential oils, chances are you have almost everything you need to make this bug repellent in the cupboard. The only oil I had to add to my collection was citronella - and it has turned out to be a great investment!

At first, the spray had a really awkward smell to it. When you smell all of the oils separately, you can kind of pick each one out when you smell the entire mixture. But, after a few days it gave off more of a woodsy-lemon scent that actually smells really nice! 

So, here's what you'll need:


4 oz witch hazel
1 oz sweet almond oil - totally optional, I just added it so that the spray was slightly mosturizing. You can sub it for another ounce of witch hazel, or any another skin-safe liquid oil
12 drops lavender oil
12 drops tea tree oil
12 drops peppermint oil
12 drops lemongrass oil
12 drops citronella oil

Pour all of the ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use, it will separate quickly!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bolo De Coco - Brazilian Coconut Cake




Two of my baby sisters took off early this month to go serve as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are both headed to Brazil, and I couldn't be more proud of them.

I made this Brazilian cake for them before they left. It was out of this world - a coconut lover's dream! I had actually never tried it before, but combined a few recipes I found online and added in my own little twist - and it turned out perfect!

The cake is made up of a regular, lightly sweetened cake and then soaked in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk.

Bolo de Coco - Brazilian Coconut Cake

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs - separated into 3 whites and 3 yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup (about 1/2 can) coconut milk or coconut cream
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups shredded coconut

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round pans. (Or make it a single layer in a 9x13)
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir extracts into OJ.
  3. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add in sugar until stiff peaks have formed. Fold in egg yolks.
  4. Gently alternate folding in flour mixture and OJ. 
  5. Pour batter into pans.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. (40-45 for 9x13)
  7. Remove from oven and use a fork to poke holes all over the top of the cake, about 1-inch apart.
  8. Mix together coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and almond extract. Evenly pour over the cakes, and then sprinkle with shredded coconut. 
  9. Let child until cold, at least 4 hours. If desired, remove cakes from pan, stack - and sprinkle with more shredded coconut.


Gracie is headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Olivia is going to Florianopolis, Brazil.

We will miss them!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The TRUTH about Homemade Sunscreen



About a month ago I decided to try out homemade sunscreen - initially just for the fun of it. I did my research - a lot of research. Which, overwhelmingly supported my reasoning for buying more crap stuff to add to my ever-growing craft stash of things I will never use up. You know how that goes.

I read up on both sides of the debate (store bought vs. homemade) and everywhere in between. I'll let you do your own research, because my sources are likely bias, but I'll try to touch on the aspects of each that I found that are important to me.

With the info I found, and after putting the theories to the test by making and using both a regular and waterproof sunscreen, I came to this conclusion:

Homemade sunscreen is best. Period. 


It's effective, it's all-natural, all-organic and completely safe. *But* when I need something waterproof - I'll take the chemical can. I can have my kids covered in seconds with a spray bottle of store-bought sunscreen, when the homemade waterproof sunblock takes me upwards of 10 minutes to apply. The convenience of the time and sanity saved is worth it to me.

Let me tell you why with a good old-fashion pro/con list...

Store-Bought Sunscreen
+ Waterproof
+ Quick to apply
+ High SPF (up to 60+)
+ Does not whiten skin
- SunSCREEN
- Hormone-altering chemicals

Homemade Waterproof Sunblock (bar form)
+ Waterproof
+ All-natural and organic
+ SunBLOCK
+/- Lower SPF (20-30)
- Takes a long time to apply (the beeswax which makes the sunblock waterproof takes time to spread)
- Whitens skin slightly

Homemade Sunblock (liquid form, not-waterproof)
+ All-natural & organic
+ Quick to apply
+ SunBLOCK
+/- Lower SPF (20-30)
- Whitens skin slightly

First, I should probably let you know that I opt for organic and all-natural when I can, but I also drink 3-4 (read: 6+) cans of Diet Coke everyday. (Gotta get you 8 glasses, right?)

If I wanted to cut chemicals, preservatives, or anything artificial out of my lifestyle - sunscreen is way down the list. Baby steps, people.

Also - it's important to know that my babies have their daddy's Armenian skin. They tan beautifully. If I had pasty babies like myself, I would be more hesitant to use the homemade sunscreen because of its lower SPF.

Store Bought Sunscreen

The one thing that turns me off from store-bought sunscreen is that it contains ingredients that literally alter the chemicals in your skin (also affecting your hormone levels) to make your skin itself become sun-resistant. That's why so many sunscreens you buy in a bottle are waterproof - once they have done their job, they are good to go - even if the carrier cream rinses off. Many believe that more people are actually getting cancer from the chemicals in sunscreen than from the sun itself, and that more of us are actually Vitamin D deficient than overexposed.

While I can't vouch for the cancer proposition - I do believe that we were meant to have a little sun on us. Which, is why the low SPF in the homemade sunscreens are not a problem for me.

(PS - Did you know that an SPF 40 is not equivalent to 2x the strength of an SPF 20? A SPF 20 blocks about 94% of UVB rays, a 40 blocks around 98%)

The one thing that is great about store-bought sunscreen is that you can purchase so many varieties now in an aerosal can and have your baby covered in seconds.

Homemade Sunblock

I love that with the homemade sunscreen, I know exactly what is going into my product. I buy my ingredients organic and make it myself. It is made of an all-natural combination that personally - I have found to be perfectly effective. In waterproof sunblock, I use all-organic coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, zinc oxide (a natural mineral) and tea tree oil. That's it.

The sunblock is just that - it blocks the sun, forming a barrier ON TOP of the skin to protect it. It does not alter any chemical or hormone in the body and is completely, 100% safe.

Under a microscope, many argue that the particles of an unprocessed zinc-oxide based sunblock do not distribute perfectly. But, from personal use, I have found it to be very effective. Which, personally, tells me more than a microscope could.

Through first-hand use, I have found that the homemade sunblock in both bar and lotion form really do their job. But, you should also know that homemade sunblock does have a lower SPF than what you would probably buy in the store. Personally, I don't mind a healthy dose of sun and since my girls do not burn easily, it has worked perfectly for us.

One drawbacks of both the homemade lotion and bars is that it leaves your skin looking a little white. For the kids, this isn't even a problem for me - if anything, it's actually a benefit. I know where the sunscreen has been applied. And, it's not even that noticeable, really - just a slight difference only Mom will notice.

The only thing that is a deal-breaker for me is with the homemade waterproof sunblock. It takes much longer to apply. I have found it easiest to break off a little chuck of the bar and massage it in my hand until it has softened. Once soft, it smooths out onto the skin pretty easily - but it does take a while to rub in all the way.

It would probably take me about 10 minutes to cover my kids head-to-toe, which neither me or my girls have patience for - which is why I go for store-bought at the pool.

The regular, lotion sunblock applies just like any other lotion-based sunscreen. Rub it in, and you are set. You get all of the benefits of the chemical-free, all-natural sunscreen and don't have to put in too much elbow grease or bribery to get it on the kids.

There is so much information out there that will sway you on either side of the sunscreen debate. Decide what is best for you and your family - it may be completely different than what is best for mine.

I went a little overboard in making the waterproof sunscreen bars - that probably won't get all used up this summer. But, I have found them great for calming itchy bug bites and have also been using them as chapstick - they work great!

If you are interested in making your own homemade sunblock, here are the recipes I used to make my own:

Homemade Sunblock - Waterproof Bars (~20 SPF)
1.5 oz beeswax
1.5 oz shea butter
1.5 oz coconut oil
1 oz zinc oxide
~10 drops of tea tree oil

1. Melt the beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil together. (I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar, and set it in boiling water until melted).
2. Remove from heat and stir in zinc oxide. Pour into molds. (I used empty deodorant containers and ice cube trays.)
3. Let cool completely. Remove from molds - refrigerate until use.

Homemade Sunblock - Lotion (~20 SPF)
2 oz shea butter
2 oz coconut oil
1 oz zinc oxide
~8 drops of tea tree oil

1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil together. (I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar, and set it in boiling water until melted).
2. Remove from heat and stir in zinc oxide. Pour into container.
3. Let cool completely before use. Store at room temperature.

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