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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Scented Rocks

Who needs potpourri that you're not supposed to touch, or chemical-filled air fresheners? Make your own non-toxic scented rocks! Place these fragrant rocks in a bowl or dish to scent a room.

These are a great gift for the kiddos to make for friends and family.


  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon essential oil (your favorite scent)
  • 2/3 cups boiling water
  • Food coloring, if desired

  1. In bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
  2. Add essential oil, and boiling water to dry ingredients. (Scent will be strong, but will fade slightly when dry.)
  3. For colored stones, blend in food coloring, one drop at a time until desired shade is reached.
  4. Blend ingredients, and form balls into different shape and sizes to look like stones.
  5. Allow stones to dry.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Facial Cleansing Oil

This is like giving yourself a spa facial treatment in your own home. The oils involved will not clog your pores, but will purify your skin and provide natural moisture. Since you're making your own personal blend, you can find a combination that works perfectly for your skin. This does mean that there will be some trial and error involved, but I promise the end result will be worth it!


You're going to need two oils. The first oil is castor oil. This oil will draw out any impurities in your skin. The second oil can be any oil you choose. I think it's great to start with olive oil because most people already have it around the house. I've also used grapeseed and sunflower oil. My personal favorite is sunflower oil. I recommend avoiding any oils with a strong scent such as hemp or jojoba.


Basically, you'll want to figure out the right balance of oils for your skin. People with oily skin will want more castor oil. Those with dry skin will want to use more of the base oil. Start with something like 75% base oil and 25% castor oil and adjust as needed until you find the best mix for you.  For your first batch, just go with 3 teaspoons of base oil and 1 teaspoon of castor oil. 

How To

After you've mixed your oils, pour a quarter-sized amount of into your hand. Apply oil to dry unwashed face and gently massage for a minute or two. Soak a washcloth in clean steamy water and drape this over your face. Leave the washcloth over your face until it has cooled to room temperature. Remove and rinse the washcloth in the hot water and repeat two more times. After the 3rd application and cooling of the steamed cloth, gently wipe your face to remove any remaining oil.

That's it. You shouldn't need any additional moisturizer, but if you do, apply a small amount of your oil blend to your face.

Once you've mastered your personal oil blend, you can add healing essential oils. For my somewhat acne-prone skin, lavender and tea tree essential oils have been very helpful.

I do this once or twice a week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lotion Bars

I just made a fresh batch of lotion bars in preparation for another Minnesota winter. These bars are great for elbows, knees, and feet. I've used them pretty much anywhere other than my face. Here's another simple recipe that is just measure, melt, mix, and pour.

Your basic proportions will be really easy on this recipe. 1:1:1.  I used roughly 1/3 cup of each ingredient to make 4 bars.


1 part oil
1 part butter
1 part beeswax.
Essential oils if desired

I personally prefer shea butter and coconut oil for this recipe.


Melt ingredients over a double boiler. Once melted, continue to heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add essential oils if desired. Quickly pour into molds* and allow to cool for several hours. Store in container of your choice.

*I use a silicone muffin pan for this and any molded other project. I ordered some 4 oz tins from Mountain Rose Herbs to store my lotion bars.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lip Balm

This is a ridiculously easy recipe! As usual, the trickiest part is just figuring out where to get your ingredients. If anybody sells honey at your local farmer's market, they most likely have beeswax for sale as well. Most local health food stores or co-ops will also sell everything you need. Or, you can order online from many sellers, my favorite of which is Mountain Rose Herbs.

In double boiler* melt equal amounts Cocoa Butter and Beeswax and 3/4 that amount Jojoba Oil

For example:
1 Tbsp Cocoa Butter**
1 Tbsp Beeswax
3/4 Tbsp Jojoba Oil

Melt for at least 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add essential oils if desired. Then quickly pour into containers of your choice.

You can do so much with this basic recipe. Add peppermint essential oil for holiday gifts, tangerine for summertime, or coffee for a mocha lip balm.

You can use old lip balm tubes or buy some new online (these are also available at Mountain Rose Herbs). I picked some up at Joanne Etc once when I didn't have time to wait for shipping.

*If you don't have a double boiler, you can place a glass measuring cup on a canning jar ring inside a larger pot of water. If you don't have a canning ring, you can just hang the measuring cup over the side of the pot.

**Be sure to get natural cocoa butter (not refined) for that great natural chocolate scent!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Scented Play Dough

Every kid loves play dough. I make a few big batches of red, yellow, and blue. Then the kids can mix the colors to make their own favorite colors. We also add essential oils to make it smell great! Here is the recipe I got from my son's Early Childhood class. This is a great activity to pair with a fun children's book on mixing colors.

5 Cups Flour (I go with unbleached whenever possible)

1 Cup Salt

2 Tablespoons Alum

3 or 4 Cups Boiling Water

4 Tablespoons Cooking Oil

Food Coloring

Mix Dry Ingredients. Add oil (and food coloring if you want just one color) to boiling water. Knead as it cools.

I personally just boil the water in my tea kettle, then pour it into a glass measuring cup, add the oil and food coloring, then dump everything into my stand mixer. I start with 3 cups of water and add more if needed. Then just use the dough hook to mix it all up. It's much nicer than trying to knead dough made with boiling water. After everything is all mixed up, I add an essential oil to match the color (orange, lime, lemon, peppermint, etc)

The kids absolutely love it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Green Body: Homemade Deodorant

This stuff really works! Keep in mind, this is not antiperspirant, you will still sweat. Also, the coconut oil will melt in hot weather. Don't leave it in your backpack on a hot day. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Melt about 1/3 C coconut oil over the stove or in the microwave. This amount is just a rough estimate. Your quantity really just depends on the size of your storage container.

Remove from heat and mix in baking soda until you have a very thick paste. You should be nearly unable to stir the mixture. Add enough tea tree oil to cover the scent of coconut oil. Add any other essential oils that you enjoy-I love lavender or patchouli ;)

Pour contents into your preferred container (I just re-use an old deodorant container) and you're done!

Basically, the baking soda and tea tree oil are eliminating the odor. The coconut oil is just there for easy storage and application.

You can get coconut oil in most health food stores.

A note on coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil will have more delicious nutrients for your skin, but will also have a stronger smell than its refined counterpart. Choose whether you want less scent or more healing properties when selecting your coconut oil.

Also be careful with any essential oils you use on your body. Do some research to ensure that they are non-irritating. I always go organic with any EO used for personal care. I do buy cheaper oils for cleaning products.

Mountain Rose Herbs has great info on their site and carries high quality oils.

Wholesale Supplies Plus has great prices and selection:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Homemade Bath Bombs

These are so much fun. They fizz in your bathtub!!


1 cup Citric Acid (available at home brewery supply stores, health food stores, and soap making suppliers.)

1 C Baking Soda

½ C corn starch

½ C Light Oil (olive, grape seed, sunflower, etc)

Epsom Salts, fragrance*, herbs, or coloring if desired.

Mix all ingredients together to form a slightly wet powder. The only trick here is to get the mixture wet enough to hold together without setting off the citric acid fizz. If you squeeze some of the mixture in your fist, the powder should hold its shape after you open your hand. It should be the consistency of sand you would use to make a sand castle. If your mixture is too dry, add additional oil very slowly until you obtain the desired consistency.

Pack into molds and let sit for several hours. I personally use muffin tins or plastic Easter eggs. You can purchase bath bomb molds online, but in the spirit of being as green as possible, I just use whatever I already have on hand.

That's it! These are a huge hit as gifts.

*I recommend using essential oils rather than fragrance oils. My current favorite blend contains lemon, rosemary, and gardenia essential oils. I don't have a set amount of each oil that I use, but I typically will do highest amount of lemon oil followed by a little less rosemary and even less gardenia. So perhaps something like 10 drops of lemon, 7 drops of rosemary, and 5 drops of gardenia. It smells wonderful.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Download the Guide| Environmental Working Group

Buying organic is better for our bodies and our planet. Eating well is generally a more expensive option that consuming cheap preservative-laden junk food.

As a single mother, my budget is very tight. But, being healthy is one of my top priorities. This handy little guide from Environmental Working Group helps me choose my grocery buying battles.

Download the Guide| Environmental Working Group