Homemade Deodorant

Yep. I went there. I made my own deodorant. Honestly, it never even occurred to me that I could do that!

Last week, someone on my Facebook posted that they found a great, natural deodorant that actually works! Although, someone in the comments section pointed out that even some of the natural brands aren’t fully clear of certain toxic ingredients, and suggested making your own deodorant. I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a little crunchy, even for me. I found natural deodorants didn’t work great for me, so I stuck to my Lady’s Speed Stick.But I checked it out on EWG.org and even though it didn’t get horrible ratings, I still didn’t like the chemicals they do use, AND they test on animals. Sick. SO,after tossing my cruel deodorant, I figured, what the heck? I searched for some recipes and after reading some great reviews on blogs, I decided to try it out for myself!

I came across Kinda Crunchy Kate’s blog and loved her review and her recipe was so simple!

Just take a reusable container, and mix up:

  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Flour (or corn starch)
  • 6-8 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • Essential oils, if desired (I added about 10 drops  of lavender oil, and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil)

That’s it! mix the baking soda and arrowroot flour first, and then add in the coconut oil and essential oils until a nice paste forms.

It was super hot here, so mine was pure liquid. I’ve since put it in a smaller container and keep it in the fridge (just make sure to label it, so no one tries to eat it!)

***I only added 1/8 cup baking soda after reading the comments on her blog. She mentioned that some people get red underarms because the baking soda can dry out your skin, in which case, just half the amount next time. Since I have fairly sensitive skin, I just went straight ahead and used half the amount the first time.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much, but I quite love it! We’re in the middle of a heat wave, and I made up a batch before bed (ie. I was hot and sticky from a busy day) and I tried a little bit and it worked instantly! I’ve been using it for a couple of days now and I really like it. Because it’s been extremely hot, I find I do have to reapply in the afternoon, but I did that with my deodorant anyways. It does feel a little strange at first, because it goes on a bit wet, which I wasn’t used to. But so far, for such simple ingredients, I think it’s held up amazingly well! It even lasted being out in the sun all morning at the park, which I was very happy with!

So, no more nasty, toxic, cruel deodorant for me!

Smell ya later! 😉

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Cateripllars!

Early this spring, I planted some dill (my third attempt) and it surprisingly took off! My intention was to use it for making my Oma’s pickle recipe, along with the cucumbers I planted (which have not taken off quite yet.). Anyways, last weekend, I noticed what I thought were tiny wasps chilling on my dill flowers, and upon further inspection, I realized they were little caterpillars. “OH NO…You’re not eating MY dill!”, I said. And I scooped them up and put them in our super cool bug container. (I figured BK would enjoy looking at them for a bit.)

Well, I looked them up on google and found out they turn into really pretty butterflies, so I decided it would be fun to keep them and raise them. (When BK is a little older, we’ll try this again and turn it into a little science lesson.)

So, the funny thing is, now I’ve fed them all my dill. (The very hungry caterpillars indeed!) These things eat A LOT!

It’s been fun learning about them and watching them change! They shed their skin (and face- ew.) so they can grow even bigger. I’m surprised at how big they’ve gotten in such a short time.

Pretty neat shot of this one shedding his skin and mask.

BK really liked watching the ‘buggies’ crawl around.

They started looking a little cramped in there, so I went to the dollar store and picked up 3 more homes (there’s 4 caterpillars in total)

I put a nice thick stick in each one, as well as some more dill, and they were all quite happy, I think, to have their own homes.

I’m glad I moved them when I did, because the next day, they started their chrysalis stage.

See him hanging from tiiiny ‘threads’? He did that for about a day, and then I checked on him in the morning, and twenty minutes later, he turned into the picture below!

And then about an hour later, he was fully covered and camouflaged into the stick.

Right now, all four of them are snugly in their cocoon. Once I knew they were all secure in there, I very carefully cleaned out the remaining dill and caterpillar droppings, so they’ll have a nice clean home to wake up to.

I’ll post any changes! They take about a week or so to fully transform! I can’t wait 🙂

 

Father’s Day Dinner

*I knew there was something I forgot to do yesterday! Sorry for the wait. I took a day off on Monday from cleaning because of how many dishes I did on Sunday. And yeah, not worth it! So I took yesterday to catch up! Anyways, as promised, here’s what I made Rob for Father’s Day:

For Father’s Day, I made Rob my new favourite pork recipe, stuffed red peppers, and apple pie! A little bit of an odd combo, but it was delicious!

Now, the apple pie recipe, I loosely follow The Joy Of Baking’s recipe for the filling (although, I don’t let it sit for half an hour, I just chop up the apples and mix with spices and there ya go.) For the pastry, I use a recipe my aunt gave me:

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour (I used Cake and Pastry flour)
  • 1 1/4 Cups Butter (chilled)
  • 1/3 Cup Ice Water

In a large bowl, add the flour and cold butter. With a knife or pastry cutter, cut the butter into small pieces, then use a pastry cutter until the mixture is well mixed and crumbly (There shouldn’t be large pieces of butter- like rolled oats) Sprinkle with water while pressing the mixture until a dough forms. Mix dough well, and divide it onto two balls and flatten. Wrap dough and chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

Super simple! This recipe either makes two pie crusts, or one top and one bottom crust. For apple pie, I like a bottom and a top crust, and this time I did a basket weave pattern.

Now, my favourite part of dinner, was the stuffed peppers! I had never made them before, but we had a bunch of peppers, and I needed to use them up. So here’s how I made them:

Boil a cup of rice (I made two, and it was a lot, but it depends how many peppers you’re making. Set aside the cooked rice.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Cut up a red onion, zucchini, and whatever other veggie you would like to use. Toss in a bowl with the rice, and grate a bunch of mozzarella cheese. Add a generous amount of Italian Spices, and mix everything well.

Slice your red peppers in half, length wise, and remove the seeds and that white part you don’t eat (what’s that stuff called?) Leave the stems, it helps hold the peppers’ shape.

Brush the inside of the peppers and place them in a baking dish, with a little bit of water in the bottom (about 1/2 inch to an inch) – make sure your dish isn’t tooo big, mine was just the right size for 4 pepper halves.

Then, spoon your stuffing into the peppers. (You may want to fill them over the mixture bowl, because it spills easily,and you don’t want filling in the water of your baking dish.)

 

Bake for about 20 minutes and then remove from the oven, grate some more mozzarella onto each one, and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until everything looks cooked and the cheese has melted.

YUM! Even BK liked these!

 

And there you have it! A delicious dinner 🙂 Rob appreciated it so much, it took a while to make, I’ll admit, but it was well worth it.

 

 

Chicken Fajitas!

This recipe is a favourite of ours. It comes from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution website. It’s so simple, yet so delicious. I’ve recently started making my own whole-wheat tortillas too, (Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food’s Blog) SO yummy!

These tortilla wraps can be made in advance and either kept in the fridge for a few days, or frozen for later use. Today I made them during dinner.

unfortunately, my dough hooks broke on my electric mixer, but I was able to knead these by hand, no problem. Just mix up the dough, knead a little bit, then roll it out into a log and cut it into 12 pieces. Let stand for 15 minutes.

While you’re letting your dough settle, start the chicken.

All it takes is chicken, red pepper, onion *red onion is best, but we only had yellow, 1 tsp paprika, 1 pinch of cumin, 1 pinch of salt, and a lime. Cut up your red pepper, onion, and chicken into strips (They should all be about the same size), toss into a bowl, add the spices and juice of a lime (I roll the lime around on the cutting board before I slice it, it helps loosen the juice)

Let that sit for 5 minutes or so, and while that’s marinating, go ahead and make your tortillas.

Roll out each ball on a floured surface. Roll ’em out as thin as you can get them, they should be about the size of a dinner plate.

Then, place them in a dry pan on med-high heat, no need for oil, since they already have a lot in them! Let them get slightly brown and bubbly on each side- it only takes a minute or two!

Once those are done, move onto the chicken. Heat your pans with a little oil, onto medium-high heat. (I use two pans for the chicken, so I don’t over crowd the frying pan) And make sure you’ve got nothing else to do for a couple of minutes, because once you put the chicken in the pan, you have to keep it moving or else you’ll set off your smoke alarms…trust me.

Keep the chicken moving until it’s nice and brown, and if you’re like me and you’re paranoid about chicken being cooked all the way through, once the outside is nice and dark, turn your heat way down and let it cook a little with a lid on while you get your toppings ready.

I love my fajitas with some sour cream, salsa, cheese, and avocado

Enjoy!

 

I’m still here!!!

Sorry for the lack of posting, I seem to be having trouble uploading pictures and accessing parts of my blog. I wrote a whole loooong tutorial and then the whole thing froze when I tried to up load pics! LAME.

So, sorry for that. I hope to figure out wha’ts up and be back to regular blogging soon. In the mean time, here’s a cute cat 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_5tpLjUcrE&feature=related

T-Shirt Upcycle Tutorial

A few years back (2005, I suppose) a friend gave me this t-shirt after working on the stage crew for a Gwen Stefani concert.

He knew I was (and still am) a huge fan, so it was a really sweet gift. The only thing is, the shirt was HUUGE! So I wore it as a pj shirt for a long time.
BUT, I recently came across this easy tutorial on Pinterest, showing how to turn an old, big t-shirt into a cute one!

It was super easy! You will need:

  • A large t-shirt you don’t mind cutting up. The bigger the better.
  • Scissors.
  • Sewing machine.

Cut the arms off your shirt and the top portion, straight across, as pictured:

Next, cut the bottom seam off your shirt, as well as a strip about 3cm wide (or, the same width as the seam you just cut off) Discard the seam, or save for another project. Save the strip – this is what becomes the straps.

Fold over the top front of the shirt (fold it into the shirt) and stitch straight across, creating a channel for the straps to be threaded through. Do the same for the back half of the shirt. (there’s better pictures on the original blog)

Cut the strip you saved for the strap, so that you have a looong piece of fabric. Attach a safety-pin to the end to help you feed it through the channels you just sewed. (I couldn’t find one, so I used a paperclip and wrapped tape around it, so it wouldn’t catch.)

And you’re done! You don’t have to worry about hemming your shirt, because the ends won’t fray! How awesome is that? Just sewing two simple lines?

I made my shirt a little bit tighter, by trying it on inside out and pinning the approximate size I wanted it. I took it off very carefully and just sewed straight up the sides:

I did a zig zag stitch up the side to make it a little stronger.

Cute huh? I really like it for warmer weather, it’s very breezy 🙂 I’ll definitely make more of these …maybe I’ll steal some of Rob’s old shirts. 😉

Meal Planning

Meal planning is an essential part of being frugal and staying on budget. Recently, after looking over our finances on mint.com (A website that helps you keep track of your spending and see exactly where your money goes), we saw that we had spent $700 on groceries that month!  And the month wasn’t even over!! WHAT?? Where the HECK did we spend $700?? Now, groceries do include diapers, toiletries, and anything we spend at the grocery store, but still. That’s just nuts. We do not have that much to spend on groceries.

I decided to be really strict about meal planning. It’s something I’ve done occasionally, but I wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t think asking Rob to pick up something small here and there on his way home from work was a big deal, but as you can see- that adds up!

So, I printed out this super cute, free menu sheet: http://ollibird.com/images/scribblemenu.jpg   <- I use #2, the one with the pots and pans.   Check out more free organizational printables here: http://www.designfinch.com/2011/07/31/sunday-planning/

I slipped my menu planner into a plastic page protector and keep it on the front of the fridge, so everyone knows what’s for dinner. I just use a dry erase marker to write the meals down. I have a similar one for groceries- any time we’re out of something, I write it down on the dry erase sheet on the side of the fridge. They’re cute and it saves paper keeping them in the plastic sheet. You can also get really fancy and put them in a picture frame with glass and keep it on the counter.

Every weekend, I sit down with my menu planner and my laptop at the kitchen table, and I search for the flyer at my local grocery store’s website. (you can search for yours at www.flyerland.ca if you’re in Canada)  I scan the flyer for the deals they have that week, then I base my meals on that. I try to cook meals that will give us leftovers for lunch as well.

Another thing, believe it or not, that has saved us money is cooking from scratch! Everyone always says that healthy food is expensive (and yes, organic food IS more expensive) but Healthy, home cooked meals don’t have to be. All those premade, microwavable meals LOOK like great deals, except you’re really only getting one meal out of them, and you don’t have any ingredients left over to make other dishes. Often I can make a couple meals out of the brocoli I buy, as well as the bag of potatoes and carrots. (buying in bulk is a great tip too!) I was inspired after reading http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/ to cut out processed food from our diet, and although its’ a little more work in the beginning, baking snacks and cooking from scratch has become second nature and it’s not as hard as I thought. And our grocery bill is way cheaper.

Last night for dinner, we had homemade burgers, fries, and salad using lettuce from the garden!

I used this recipe for meatballs to make the burgers- http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-meatballs/ (minus the veal- I just used half and half beef and pork) and tonight we’ll have the meatballs and pasta. This recipe makes a LOT, I find. So there’s enough for both! These are things I try to keep in mind when meal planning, is to stretch ingredients across a couple of days.

I’ll let you know how the meatballs turn out!

Frugal Gardening

What can be more frugal than growing your own food? Gardening is something I’ve always been interested in, although I’m not great at it yet. Do you ever feel wasteful tossing out all those seeds that come in red peppers, or watermelon? I do. So this year, I thought I’d plant some. We don’t have a lot of space on our deck, but it gets a lot of sun, so this spring, I started some seeds in hopes that they’d be ready to go outside by May.

I found a cool tutorial on Pinterest to make my own paper pots! I recycled last years Flylady calendar (The paper isn’t glossy) and planted some seeds! Bk had fun helping scoop the dirt into the pots.

My only complaint about these, would be that they decompose rather quickly. Next time, I don’t think I’ll clump them so close together, because they started getting a bit moldy between the pots :/ So some plants didn’t make it, and the rest I transplanted into bigger, plastic pots I had.

Also, I learned that dill apparently likes being planted straight into a pot in the hot sun and forgotten about (oops) I tried growing it inside and watering it frequently, and they’d grow ok, but then they’d get so skinny and fall over and die. The dill I planted on the deck and totally forgot to water? Fantastic! (same goes for the cilantro, apparently)

Here’s what I have on my deck at the moment:

Lettuce

This is the mixed green ‘bowl’ I received from Rob for Mother’s Day. As you can see, we’ve been eating from it, and after just a couple of days, it’s already starting to grow back!

Cucumber

Red Pepper

^These I planted after everything else, directly  into a pot…so we’ll see if they get big enough in time to grow some peppers!

Basil

And …a carrot? I forget what this is, but I guess we’ll find out!

That’s all I have on my deck at the moment (well, and parsley that amazingly lasted through the winter!) On Mother’s Day weekend, BK helped me plant tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber in my mom’s backyard. I’m excited to visit and see how they’re growing!

 

I’ll keep you posted on how everything is growing, and lets hope we can eat some of this stuff! If all goes well this year, next year I’ll plan on an even bigger garden.

 

 

 

P.s. – Tip I learned about growing tomatoes. When you’re ready to transplant your baby tomato plants into a bigger pot, pinch off the bottom two ‘simple’ leaves and bury as much of the stem as possible, right up to the bottom of the ‘fancy’ leaves. They’ll apparently sprout roots higher up on the stem and will give the plant more strength so they don’t flop over as much.  Cool, huh?

Long weekending.

This long weekend has been awesome so far, I love it when we’re all home together. Yesterday, we all had a fun time in the park. BK is getting really good at running around on his own and going up and down the slide (And I’m getting really good at letting him). After the park, we took a little stroll over to Christie Pits and got ourselves some ice cream- 2 for 1, how frugal is that? 😉

BK is a huge fan of strawberry frozen yogurt! (I like Gold Metal Ribbon ice cream myself) 🙂

Today, Rob took BK to the park on is own for a little bro-time and that let me get some deep cleaning done around here. The deck still hadn’t been cleaned and organized from this winter, so I did that and re-planted some of my seedlings into bigger pots. I’m hoping to grow some veggies this summer. We don’t have a yard, but we do have a nice sized deck. So far, I have cucumber in a coffee tin growing nicely, cilantro, dill, basil, and parsley, and a nice lettuce bowl that Rob bought me for mother’s day. I’ve been loving all the fresh salads from it! If you snip the leaves off a few inches from the ground, apparently they keep growing back, which is great, because I loooove salads in the summer. At my mom’s house, I’ve planted my tomato plants and some more cucumber. (and I *think* I have some red peppers growing {tiny plants still} , but I can’t remember…sometimes, I just toss seeds into a pot and see if it’ll grow. Next time I’ll label things better :/)

Hope you’re all having a great weekend! (I totally missed the solar eclipse by the way…bummer)

Curbside finds and free organizing!

Yesterday, on our way to the park (for the 2nd time that day- yay for great weather!) I spotted a bin someone put out on the curb, filled with wooden Melissa and Doug puzzles! Score! At first I just grabbed a puzzle board thing, where you move the animals around the maze to different locations, but then I went back and just took the whole thing! I figured I could sort through it at home and see what puzzles are missing pieces. So far, so good!

These are some of my favourites:

How cute are the 3D Animals?

The puzzle board has a bit of crayon on it, but nothing a little Magic Eraser won’t fix!

I had been hoping to add some more puzzles to BK’s collection, but that just wasn’t in the budget, so I had been praying to spot a good deal somewhere! And what’s better than free?? The Lord provides, even puzzles 🙂

And speaking of free, I made some cute labels for BK’s toy bins using supplies I already had on hand. I finally organized all his toys and sorted like with like, and I wanted to make sure we would all remember where things went. Since BK can’t read yet, I drew pictures as well as words.

First, I gathered up the toys I wanted to draw: some trucks, play food, animals, etc. These were the bins I wanted labelled.

Then, I took out my sketch book and measured out card sized rectangles and drew the images on each one.

Then, I covered the whole thing in packing tape as a way to ‘laminate’ the paper! This gives it a little extra strength against spills and a strong toddler.

After covering both sides carefully and making sure there were no air bubbles, I cut out each card.

Then, I poked holes in the card with a hole punch and tied them onto the appropriate basket using embroidery thread (I didn’t have string, and it’s thicker than thread- use what you have!)

I think they turned out super cute!  I think I have some blank recipe cards laying around, they’d be perfect for some flash cards!