Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Essential Oil Flea Repellent: Hello Homemade

Now that summer is finally here in full swing, those if us with pets know that it is also the time for dreaded fleas!

Our chihuahua Sissy gets a bath almost everyday o get the fleas off of her. And she only goes outside to use the bathroom!
We have tried every flea and tick spray and gel that is out there, but they only seem to work until she gets bathed again.

My biggest issue with store bought flea/tick repellents and killers is thatched are FULL of chemicals and toxins.
When we sprayed Sissy a couple of days ago I almost choked on all the chemicals and toxins that were released into the air.

This is when I figured that there had to be a better and safer way to deal with these pesky fleas.
Enter: Essential Oils

For the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time researching and learning all about essential oils. What they are, how they work, and how I could practically use them in my day to day life.

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants

I have learned so much and cannot wait until my diffuser comes in so I can have my home smelling fabulous without compromising the air with chemicals and toxins from candles. (I am sort of a candle junkie, so this may be a more difficult change than many of you are thinking)

But back to the evil fleas. When I decided to look for natural and healthy ways to get rid if fleas I immediately thought about essential oils (from here on out they will be referred to as EO). So I shifted my research to learn about EO and pets.
I found a plethora of information on all the ways you can treat and heal pets with EO, including a flea repellent!

I made a flea repellent spray that I could spray directly on my dogs, as well as on my furniture and around the apartment.
I also added a drop of EO to each of my dogs collars to help when they go outside.

There are several different EOs that work well to repel fleas such as:
• Eucalyptus
• Tea Tree or Melaleuca
• Lemongrass Essential Oil
• Pine Essential Oil
• Cedarwood Essential Oil
• Peppermint Essential Oil
• Lemon Essential Oil
• Lavender Essential Oil
• Orange Essential Oil
• Melrose Essential Oil
• Rosemary Essential Oil

Each of these would do a great job separately at repelling fleas, but a blend would be better.

Since I wanted to make some flea spray immediately instead of ordering some EO from online I stopped by Whole Foods. While there I saw that the brand Wyndmere had an EO blend called Breathe.

SODE NOTE: EOs are full of health benefits and a single EO can have multiple uses and purposes.

Okay, back to what I bought. As I just said, the blend I bought is called Breathe, and was created to help clear a persons clogged nasal passage caused from colds and allergies.
Well I decided to look and see which EOs made up this blend.
The Breathe blend by Wyndmere consist of 100% pure therapeutic grade Basil, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Pine, Rosemary, Lavender, and Cederwood.
Um....that means this blend includes SIX of the recommended oils for repelling fleas!
So I got it.
I already had peppermint EO at home that I had planned on adding to the spray as well.
So that means my spray contains 7 out of the 12 recommended oils! Woo Hoo!

Anyway.... Now to the recipe:
In a 4 oz metal spray bottle I added:
4 drops Peppermint EO
12 drops Breathe Blend
3/4 full of purified water
1/4 full of Witch Hazel

To use, just shake the bottle and spray.
You need to use this more frequently than the ones laden with chemicals and toxins, but it is well worth it to me! :)

It smells good, kind of rustic. But what I love about this is that it repels fleas as well as does 100 other beneficial things! So when I spray it in my home I get every benefit that each delightful EO used has to offer! How cool!

Now I'm sure you are wondering how these oils repel fleas. Well here is some info on some of them from The Whole Dog

A sweet-smelling, all-purpose insect repellent, lavender essential oil performed well in recent studies as both a tick deterrent and a method of preventing tick eggs from hatching. Additionally, Ohio State University recommends it for controlling fleas. A 2007 South African study found that formulas containing diluted lavender at rates of 10 to 20 percent lavender performed well as tick repellents when compared artificial DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) sprays.

A wonderfully fragrant oil that provides a pheromone interruption agent that impairs the insects mental capacity and repels them.

An oil high in menthol - it repels fleas, spiders and even mice.

While better known for its anti bacterial properties it is a great natural pest deterrent as well.

I am super excited to begin this EO journey.
I already have some diffuser "recipes" to try when it comes in!
I'm sure ill have several more post about EOs in the near future!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

DIY Foundation Powder: Update

In March, I started making my own foundation make up. That blog post can be found HERE

Making your own powder is as simple as mixing together some cornstarch (the base) and adding in some cinnamon and/or coco powder until you get your desired color.

I am always looking for ways to improve the things I make at home so I was thrilled when I found a "recipe" that called for mixing Green Clay with the cornstarch/arrowroot powder, cinnamon, and coco powder.

I found this great addition just in time since I used up the last batch of powder this week!
So for my new batch I started with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 Tbsp Green Clay then added in the cinnamon and coco powder little by little.

You may be asking why Green Clay?!?!
Good question.
Green Clay is often used in resorts for facials and spa treatments. It’s pretty great at absorbing dirt, oil and bacteria while being gentle on pores.
You can also mix some of the green clay with apple cider vinegar or water to make a clay mask for your face that is detoxing and great at cleansing it! :)

I ended up getting the Indian Healing Clay at whole foods for $6.
I think I may try doing a face mask later this week!

DIY All Natural Toothpaste

Okay, I feel like you all should have seen this coming, right?!?
I mean I make my own everything, toothpaste was sure to be added to the growing list!

There are several recipes for DIY toothpaste, all including baking soda.
One recipe I found also called for coconut oil, which you all know I love me some coconut oil, but the recipe looked WAY too similar to my DIY deodorant (mis the cornstarch) and I don't think I could cope with that! ;)

The recipe I used is simple and the ingredients are probably already in your kitchen pantry.

2/3 cup baking soda
1/2 Tbsp peppermint extract OR 10-15 drops essential oil (you can use any flavor of extract/oil you want)
Water (add until desired consistency reached)
Dash sea salt (optional, I found it to be too salty, so I omitted it)

Combine baking soda, oil/extract and salt (if using) and add in water little by little until desired consistency.

To use:
I just dip my toothbrush into the jar of toothpaste. That's it.

I ended up making 2 batches of this. The first time I added the sea salt but when I tested it out it was too salty for me, and since it isn't a crucial ingredient I made another batch omitting it, which I liked better.

Heads up: there are no "suds" or "foam" when using this toothpaste but I can tell you that my mouth felt just as clean after I used it as it does with super expensive store bought toothpaste.

This toothpaste cost me about $.80 to make 5.3 oz. 5.3 oz of All Natural toothpaste cost about $7 in the store and regular toothpaste cost around $4.
So there are mega savings to be had when you make your own products at home!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soft Caramel Chews: Hello Homemade!

Photo credit and original recipe can be found here

Almost every night I get a craving for sweets. Lately I have been indulging in watermelon, a lot of watermelon.
Although watermelon is delicious and healthy it's as if my bids knows that I'm trying to trick it by eating healthy sweets and sometimes still craves something sweet.

Enter: homemade chewy caramels.

I had a suspicion that I would have everything I needed to make some delicious caramels, and I did!

Most caramel recipes call for corn syrup, which is a big no-no for me so I was thrilled for one that used no corn syrup OR refined sugar!
Just honey!

They are super easy to make and so yummy!
I didn't think mine would turn out, but the did!
I didn't post a picture of mine because I haven't mastered the art of wrapping them up all cute in parchment paper, so I just left mine in the pan in the fridge.
Am I being lazy? Possibly. But they taste great whether they are cut into cute squares or scooped out with a spoon! :)

1 cup Honey
3/4 cup Heavy Cream (I USED ALMOND MILK)
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Butter

Combine honey and cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while it cooks. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, I used candy thermometer)
Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in vanilla and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Pour into a generously buttered 8 by 8 dish or smaller if you want thick large caramels. Place in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes. Cut into squares or scoop out with a spoon and enjoy!
Keep left overs in the fridge or freezer.

See, so easy. And they really are fabulous!

Homemade Mini Hot Pockets!

Okay, okay so maybe they are just stuffed crescent rolls, but they remind me A LOT of hot pockets.
Mini hot pockets.
Whatever you want to call them, I made some today. And they are fabulous.
AND, the possibilities are endless! You could do savory, sweet, salty, whatever you want!!!

For lunch, I stuffed my mini hot pockets with spinach, feta, and mozzarella. They were fantastic! Jonathan loved them! ;)

Can of crescent rolls (if I hadn't been in such a hurry. Would would have made my own dough)
Spinach (I used frozen, but fresh is great too)
Feta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Spices (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder)


Combine spinach, cheeses, and spices in a bowl and mix well.
Add a spoonful of mixture to each crescent, then roll and bake according to the directions on the crescent roll package.

As I said earlier, they were so yummy and reminded me of mini hot pockets!

Tonight to accompany our eggplant gratin I am going to make some more mini hot pockets with tomato, onion, garlic and cream cheese as the stuffing! I think they will be super yummy too! ;)

Below is a photo of what the stuffing looked like.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My New Face Wash: Coconut Oil!

A couple of months ago I wrote THIS BLOG POST on the oil cleansing method of washing your face. In it I gave 2 links that explained why I was using olive oil and grapeseed oil to wash my face. (If you haven't already, you should totally check it out!)

Well, since then I stopped using the olive and grapeseed oils to clean my face and have switched to coconut oil! In the links I posted in my blog post explained the super simple concept of why cleaning your face with oil works. It's basic chemistry: like dissolves like. Translation: the oil you put on your face to clean it dissolves all the oil that is already on your face so you are left with perfectly soft and clean skin! Also, oils are GREAT make up removers. And...olive and castor oils get rid of acne!

If you want more of a face "scrub" add a little baking soda to your hand before you wash your face with the oil. It exfoliates your skin AND gets rid of acne! Win-win!!!

Since coconut oil is a solid, I scoop some out into a little container that I keep by my shower and use my fingers to scoop a tiny bit out each night to put on my face, then with a wash cloth and warm water I wash the coconut oil off. So simple, and so effective! (And cheap!)

Where do I get my coconut oil?
You may have noticed that your local store probably has coconut oil in the COOKING section, and the BEAUTY section.
What's the difference?
Which one do I buy?
Why is the one in the beauty section more expensive? Is it better?

I get my coconut oil from the cooking section. There is NO difference in the coconut oil from the cooking isle and the beauty oil EXCEPT that the oil in the beauty is,e can not be heated on the stove (to cook with). I honestly have no idea why it's more expensive, but I do know that either one is safe and effective for beauty purposes. I get the mine from the cooking isle just in case I ever want to cook with it, and it's cheaper!
Does that make sense? If not, let me know and I'll try to explain it better!

Enjoy the all natural life!

One Week With NO Shampoo!

Yesterday made ONE week with no shampoo!!
I think I can do this! :)

Yesterday was my second day in a row to only rinse with hot water. Today my hair is a bit oily, but not unmanageable.
Once I sprinkle some coco powder in it it will look as good as new, won't feel as good as new, but it will look it! ;)

Let me talk a bit about how my hair is feeling. Right now the roots feel kind if stringy (?!?!) and oily. The length of my hair is as close to normal as I can expect. It is soft, but not silky soft like usual.

I am so glad that I decided to switch to no shampoo during the summer where I don't have many places to be where I would feel self conscious about my hair not looking its best. But I'm confident by the time I have places to be and people to see that I will be through this dreaded (but not so bad) transition period!