Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Moments when you Know you've done Something Right.

Last night our power went out again, 2nd night in a row and 4th time in the 2 months that we have lived here! it's gonna be a fun monsoon season! We gathered up the kids, because of course the power goes off before dinner has been made, and head out to get something to eat at a small mexican food restaurant nearby.

We don't go to restaurants very often with all 6 of us. it's just too expensive and then the little kids (and one of my bigger kids) okay, the boys, can't stay in their seats the whole time. So we tend to just do the easy thing, grab a pizza or whatnot.

Anyway, we got on the topic of how much this was going to cost somehow, my husband guessing around $38. My daughter, who is the oldest, turns to my son (2nd oldest) and says, you know we should help pay for our own food. She's 10 and he is 9. Does this sound normal to anyone? All I can say is this is one proud Mommy!

A short history of our family and why this is a remark that is not such a rarity in our family....

My husband and I have been married for going on 12 years, we had out first baby 1 year and 2 months after our wedding, and now there are 4. My husband has been in school for the majority of our married life with maybe a year in between a couple of breaks from school. The past 4 1/2 years he has been working on his BA in Mechanical Engineering and he recently graduated in December. He didn't have a full time job or even a part time job for many of those years and we lived off of the income we received from his working on cars from our garage. Money was tight and life wasn't always so easy. We saw lots of people going on vacations that we couldn't even come close to affording and my kids have never been to Disneyland (shocking!). I have to admit, I've often had that seed of jealousy in me for what others were able to do and we were not.

I have always made it a point to be open with my kids about just about everything. Of course I don't always go into complete detail like I would with an adult, but they have usually been aware of our situations. We have had a few instances when money has magically come our way and I have started planning a vacation to California only to have something happen (like Daddy cutting off his fingertip in a school project 2 weeks before he was supposed to start his summer internship and then having to put off internship for 2 more months because of complications with surgery and having it redone 4 times), where that money turned into not our "extra" but our sole income. I always talked with the kids and they understood what the situation was and my responses from them was always the same... "it's okay Mom, we can go another time." I don't know how many times I have just wanted to cry because of how amazing and understanding my kids have been in these instances when others would have thrown a fit or cried because they were so disappointed. I am so lucky! I know that we have been blessed to have our financial struggles too. My kids are involved in many activities, but those activities are things that they are either helping to pay for or are working to get in trade. They are learning the value of a dollar and the hard work that things take in order to get them. I'm thankful for that, despite how hard it has been, who knows if they would have learned those valuable lessons if we had never had those struggles?

Anyway, life is still tough at times and money still tight, so my kids offering to pay for their dinner out of their own money that they have earned by baby-sitting or doing other odd jobs, is a pretty awesome thing to me. It's hard teaching your kids, so those moments when it looks like some of your teaching has paid off is just simply incredible!

I love my family! I love how understanding and thoughtful my kids are especially during those times when it's hardest, when there is something that they want really bad. I love that I have them home with me (we homeschool) and that they are a part of my life all the time and can see the struggles that I face and we can talk about them. My kids are so the GREATEST!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Toothpaste recipe 2nd try!

I ordered some cute little bottles for my toothpaste from Elements Bath and Body and they just arrived a couple days ago and I finally was able to get my hands on some Xylitol, so today I got around to actually making my toothpaste.

I researched a few and then came up with a variation of what others have posted. Here's mine....

2 tsp. Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap -almond
1 TBS. water
2 TBS. Xylitol (can be purchased at Sprout's)
4 TBS. Coconut Oil
3/4 capsule Myrrh
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. arrowroot powder
15 or so drops of peppermint and orange essential oils. Change this according to what you want it to taste like. For doTerra users, onguard blend would be a good one in here.

I mixed everything up in a glass measuring cup.
-Microwave the water and add in the Xylitol and baking soda to dissolve. Some people say not to use baking soda because it is too abrasive while others don't worry about it. I only used a little bit and I decided to dissolve it so hopefully it won't be as abrasive as in dry form.

Add in the coconut oil and mix together. It seemed pretty liquidy at this point and for me, my coconut oil doesn't usually stay in a hardened form no matter how cool my house is, so I decided to add a thickening agent in the form of arrowroot powder. I just added enough to get it a little thicker, and then I added in some myrrh.

I like myrrh because it has good oral health properties. I've often used it when I have a sore tooth or feel like I may have a cavity (brush with it at the end and then don't spit it out! Swallow, I know it seems wrong, but it's good for you!). It kills the pain almost immediately and helps fight cavities and other mouth related germs. It's just a great one to have on hand so I thought it would be great to actually use in my toothpaste too.

 I don't have the arrowroot pictured here because I added it in at the end to help thicken it up. Hopefully it won't be a bad ingredient, I don't see why it would. And I forgot I was going to use myrrh too, I didn't remember and get it out until I was almost finished.
 The finished product. I know it's hard to tell the consistency.
My toothpaste bottle. It's only 50 ml, but you only need a drop of this toothpaste. A little goes a long way.

For more information on Xylitol go to this site, It tells you all you need to know about the benefits of using this natural sweetener as part of your oral health regiment. It can actually help fight cavities! 

Now, I'm not really planning on making this to sell with my other products, but if you just don't want to, I can. Just email me and I will whip some up for you, but you will have to provide your own container because I only bought enough of these for my family to use. I'll charge $2.50 for a tube.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cold Process Goat's Milk Soap

I finally got around to it, and I must say I am once again so very proud of myself!! I never knew how much accomplishement I would feel by doing what I am doing now. My whole life right now feels like i have more purpose to it, and it feels really, really good.

So the soap.... I used what is called Cold Process Soap. From what I have learned this seems to make the best and prettiest soap, but it does take a lot longer to finish. I used a couple of sites to get it all going the first one where I used her basic recipe was from Soap Queen,
I used almond oil instead of the castor oil in her first recipe.
The second site I found very useful was on the cold process soap making procedures. It also had a recipe but it used so many ingredients I chose not to use it and go with something more basic, it is.., I liked the step by step instructions. Many of the sites I found would just show what they did or talked about making soap but didn't really have good, clear instructions. I really liked this one the best. I also liked that somewhere on their site (I don't know where i went through so much), it talked about soap molds and that you could use basically any container and just line it with a garbage bag. I loved that! All I found everywhere else were the molds to buy so this really saved me a ton of money right there!

On to the steps!!!

 Measure out your ingredients using a good scale. We used a digital scale that worked great!
 The goat's milk

 My beautiful little sister measures the oils for me. (She's 17 weeks pregnant so we kept her away from the lye.)

I look awesome in all my protective gear! Safety First!!! Measuring the lye.

 Mixing the oils together and heating them up.

 My wonderful Mom and I SLOWLY adding and mixing the lye to the slushy chunks of goat's milk. Hmmm... maybe chunks isn't the most picture perfect word there!

 The lye starts melting the goats milk.

 It turns this really shocking color orange as it heats up. I have to admit that was scaring me a little bit!
It heated up to about 120 degrees so it was put back in the bowl of ice water to cool to around 90.
 Our homemade soap mold. Thank goodness my mom has a lot of art supplies for the grandkids she keeps in neat storage bins! This is just a plastic bin lined with a garbage bag. You can also use a shoe box or any cardboard box too.
 Once we had both the oils and the milk/lye mixture cooled to about 90 degrees we mixed them together slowly with a big spoon, then I used my stick blender and started mixing them together. The color isn't so pretty right now right? We were hoping that it wouldn't stay that way!

 I blended until I got a light trace which is when the mixture is just thick enough to leave lines that don't go away immediately. I like to think of making frosting, when it starts to form peaks that stay there you know you're done. Just like that when the mixture stays put for a second before being absorbed back into the mass thats a light trace, and thats when I added my essential oils. I used a blend call "Invigorate" which has Spearmint, myrtle, Sage. nutmeg, Geranium and German Chamomile in it, and I also added in some lavender and mixed it all in. Once it got thick enough that it stayed on top I stopped mixing.

 We poured the mixture into our mold and then let it sit overnight.

 It's a pretty creamy color now! I am so relieved! I just pulled it out of the box and the garbage bag peeled off easily,
I cut it into squares and put it on my sheet to cure(dry). I have it in once of my closets away from my kids because at this point it can still be dangerous to touch. My closet luckily is made of wire shelves so there is plenty of air flow around the squares, you could easily use a baking sheet though!

And like I said, I am really proud of myself! I can't wait to be able to use ti. I wish it didn't take so long to cure, but thats the drawback to using cold process method. I think they look really nice though. They seem to have come out alright despite my ignorance in soap making. I'm going to try a crockpot hot process soap pretty soon, those only take a day to cure but won't come out so smooth and pretty. I'm excited to give it a try though, and to make more of this kind too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oil Pulling

I read about oil pulling on a site while I was searching for toothpaste recipes and I thought I would give it a try. I mean why not when I am trying just about everything else, right? I'm hoping that I can convince my husband to give it a try after I do it for a little bit. Why is it always the husbands who have to be convinced? I'm not a crazy lady! Didn't he know that when he married me? Why would he think I would turn crazy on him now and make him try something that would be horrible? I can't recall an instance that he can use against me! Well here goes my test run!!

Day 1- I only lasted about 5 min. I think I put more than a tablespoon in my mouth and it was too much to keep swishing around for that long. We'll see results wise what happens though.

I think I may have had some sensitivity in my back molars. These are teeth that at random times do have sensitivity to anything sweet though. I just brushed with myrrh and they were fine.

Day 2- I did it for about 12 minutes today!

Day 3- Well I lost 2 pounds since yesterday. I don't know if that is connected in any way though. I was able to get in a full 15 minutes today, which wasn't easy with my kids constantly trying to ask me questions!

Day 4/5- I got in my 15 minutes again on day 4 but i don't really remember much else. Day 5 I was only able to get in a few minutes because the lid on our chickens water wasn't coming off and my son was getting close to beating it, so I had to spit it out and yell at him! Boys and their tempers I tell ya!

Day 6- My kids are getting really good at the charades game we play every morning! The first couple of days I did notice sensitivity in my back teeth but now I haven't noticed any for a few days. I can't tell if I'm having any other results, there aren't any negative at least. I'm going to keep on using it just because for now. Really i won't see any true results until going to the dentist but who knows when that will be!

Day 7- Still doing it! It definitely has gotten easier to swish for 15 minutes and i don't really notice the flavor or texture much.

Days 8/9- Nothing much to report. I have lost another pound, but don't really know if it's tied into oil pulling or not. I have had 2 migraines since starting, but also, they happened after playing volleyball which has happened quite a lot to me before. Reading on it does say that it is supposed to help with migraine headaches, I don't know if that is if you oil pull while you have the headache or if it is supposed to cure you of them forever. Who knows, maybe it's one of those it will get worse before it gets better things because it is bringing up all of the toxins and causing problems until they are removed. I'm going to keep doing it though. Daily for a few more days and then just a couple times a week after that.

Day 11- I really can't tell if this has made a difference for me. I try to exercise and eat well as it is so maybe all of my results are internal and not something that I would see. My teeth seem somewhat whiter but that is about all that I can tell. I am hoping that it will help me get rid of my migraines but I'm  pretty sure my migraines are due to my neck issues which might not be effected by oil pulling. On it says that the best oil to use is sunflower oil. I don't know, I've been using coconut oil so maybe when I get to my health food store I will try to find sunflower oil and see if it makes any difference.

I'm going to keep up with it but I would love to hear from anyone who ends up being daring enough to give oil pulling a try. It may help strengthen your teeth so if you are heading to the dentist soon maybe try doing this for a few weeks beforehand and see what your results are. Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Making a Goat Stand!

 Finally we started on our goat milking stand! A friend of ours has offered to let us milk her goat for a few months and we accepted! We just have to get our stand done and we can get her! I'm so excited! It was a late night doing it, and on Father's Day, but the saw is what I got my husband for Father's Day so really I was just helping him out by letting him use it right away right?
 The finished base. I am so proud of my handy work! I actually was able to drill some of the pilot holes and the screws in! I know not a big deal to so many of you do-it-yourself women, but for me, it was a big deal! I'm totally a weenie at trying something for fear of ruining the project (or the equipment) so I really haven't used a drill much! I am very proud of myself, I can't wait to get the rest of it to be finished!!

This little boy would NOT go to bed so he was our unofficial screw placer! Gotta love gray feet and hands at 11:30PM and a bath! He sure does love working out in the garage though!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Homemade Lovely Laundry Soap

So trying to go natural with all the products that touch my skin is not a cheap thing. I have been looking into making my own laundry detergent to save some money. Right now I buy either Mrs. Meyers or 7th Generation and that costs about $15 for a bottle that does 66 loads. That is about $0.22 a load. That doesn't seem like much, but when you are doing as many loads a week as I am, that goes pretty quick. 
I found quite a few recipes online, all calling for basically the same thing, super washing soda, borax, and fels naptha soap, and water of course. Then a friend told me that she had been using a recipe that is concentrated so that you don't end up with huge jugs of liquid detergent sitting around your house, you just have some creamy detergent that is in nice Ball or Kerr jar with the plastic lid. She said that she really loved hers and it got out really bad stains and cleaned really well.
The recipe is from , my friend let me sample a bit for my laundry and while I felt that it did do a good job, I noticed that my legs really started itching when wearing the clothes I had washed with it.

I'm pretty sure that it was the Fels Naptha soap. I had read some blogs that said it wasn't good, others that said it wasn't bad. So of course that was added to my long list of products to research. I found that it does contain ingredients that for me and my sensitivity I don't even want to go near it.  Here are the ingredients from,


Soap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, cocnut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)
*contains one or more of these ingredients
I've highligthed just a few that are cause for concern; These tend to be carcinogens, cause cancer, scientifically linked to Alzheimers, and commonly found in things like brake fliud and anti-freeze.

If you want more information, I found these sites to be quite helpful,

Feel overwhelmed yet? Thats how I've been living my life lately trying to figure out what I can and cannot use, and it's pretty horrifying the things that I have learned that I use every day that are just plain bad.

SO back to the soap, I decided to go ahead and switch out the Fels-Naptha with Kirk's Coco Castille Soap (for those of you who are LDS, the temple uses the same basic recipe but with Zote soap instead, and I can't find a full ingredients list on it yet), I followed all of the instructions from the White Silk Purse blog, and I took pictures as I went since she doesn't have any.

Step 1- Get the ingredients, Borax (I ordered mine from Mountain Rose Herbs for $12 for 5lbs.), Super Washing Soda(NOT baking soda, that won't work!),  2 3/4 bars Kirk's Coco Castille Soap (Walmart), and water

Step 2- Grate the soap, I used my Ninja blender and it worked great! 

Step 3- Heat 6 cups of water and add the soap, stir frequently until disolved. Do not boil or you will have soapy suds all over the place!

Step 4- Take off heat and add 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups Super washing Soda to water and stir until disolved.

Step 5- Pour into containers add a little bit more water once in the containers. It will start to seperate right away.

Step 6/7- Let sit over night, it will be pretty solid. Then cut it up as much as you can because it will make it easier to scrape out.

Step 8- Scoop it into your mixer/blender (I used my BOSCH), and cream it up until it's nice and smooth. Then scoop it out into your containers and you are done!

The recipe says that it makes 4 quarts. I ended up with 5 quarts and 1 pint. 1 quart is supposed to be 64 loads using a tablespoon per load if you have a regular washing machine. A front loader only needs about 1-2 teaspoons per load.

There's the recipe if you want to do it. It is quite messy and a bit of a pain, but if you're up to it, then go for it!

 I am also selling it for $6 a quart which costs you about $0.09 per load for a regular top loader or about $0.04 for a high efficiency front loader. 

I've only used this recipe a few times, but so far so good. The soap smells fantastic but doesn't leave any kind of scent on my clothes.

This is phosphate free, without any artificial fragrances or dyes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

All Natural Deodorant

I've finished up some more fabulous deodorant today. 
Scents Available; (limited quantities)
Lavender Lemon
Lemongrass Peppermint New!
$4.50 each

Ingredients: Organic Arrowroot Powder, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Beeswax, Tea Tree Oil, and Lavender/lemon, lemongrass/peppermint, or tangerine essential oils

This is by far the BEST deodorant I have ever used! I really love it so much! I can go all day and not have my arm pits stink! I even had to test it to make sure that I wasn't just imagining my over all smell goodness. I had been outside (in the AZ 108 degree temp) a good portion of the day taking care of animals cleaning up my yard and taking care of my garden, and then I played some really good volleyball for 2 hours that night, not to mention the regular mommy to 4 duties and homemaker jobs. I was sweaty throughout the day and at times pretty gross. I came home from volleyball and gave myself a few sniffs thinking I really did still smell pretty good, but just to validate it I forced my husband to give me a few sniffs too. He wasn't quite excited about that at first, but after a small tentative sniff he happily gave a few more because I really didn't stink! I know, I have a great husband! He said all he could smell was the scent of my deodorant (not the gross BO + deodorant smell that you usually get, just the nice light scent of my deodorant). So go ahead and give it a try!

Note- This is not an anti-perspirant, you will still sweat, but I don't feel like I sweat any more than I did with my old Secret that I used awhile back.