Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cleanup Time

Christmas is over and oh what fun it was. Now it's time to cleanup the mess. All the gifts are put away and now it's time to scrub the kitchen counters, the whole bathroom, all of the floors, etc. You might be asking yourself what this picture has to do with cleaning. Well this is my all purpose scrub. It scrubs away bathtub scum, dirty floors, and whatever else needs a little extra scrub.

Here's the recipe. Mind you that I don't measure recipes often. Recipes are guidelines and it's best to get a feel for what works for you.

- 1 part borax
- 2 parts baking soda
- 10-20 drops of preferred essential oil(s). I like to use grapefruit seed extract, lavendar, tea tree, and sometimes a drop or two of patchouli.
- liquid soap. I use peppermint or eucalyptus liquid castile soap
- water

Stir first three ingredients. Add enough liquid soap to make a crumbly mix with the consistency of corn meal. Slowly add water while mixing until it is a smooth paste. The thickness of the paste will depend on what you're using it for.

I use this recipe mostly for scrubbing the bathroom tub, but it can be used for many things. The beauty of a recipe like this is that it's non-toxic. A lot of times the boys want to help me clean and they can with this cleaner. No need to air out the house for fear of putting nasty chemicals in the home. This cleaner smells so good and you can personalize it to your fragrance needs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!.......and happy cleaning

Friday, December 3, 2010

Take a Guess

So what do you think these are? Go ahead take a guess.......

If you said pumpkin seeds think again. These are acorn squash seeds. Who knew that you could eat acorn squash seeds like pumpkin seeds! Actually you can eat all winter squash seeds if you want.

I was preparing some acorn squash to put in my chili and was feeling guilty about tossing the seeds. I decided to save them and let them soak in a salt water until I was able to bake them, which was about an hr. or so. I baked them in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 20 minutes or until they're golden (stirring them after 10 min.). The results were a crunchy, salty, yummy goodness that I couldn't stop eating. Honestly I couldn't taste a difference between these and pumpkin seeds. I'm totally going to eat all the seeds from the winter squash that I have bought this year so far.

It feels good to have one less thing to throw out and to get more bang for my buck. There's definitely something satisfying about using as much as I can in things that I buy. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the skins.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homemade Shampoo

I'm always looking for ways to make things myself instead of having to buy it . One thing that my body hasn't agreed with fully is regular shampoo. The reason is because my hair is very oily, well I thought it was. When I use regular shampoo (organic, natural, or not) my hair is very oily by the next day and nasty oily by the 2nd day. I don't mind taking a shower everyday if I want, but don't like taking one because I have to.

The last time my commercial shampoo ran out I promised myself I would try to make my own shampoo and try to rid myself of the shackles of daily hair washing. I reviewed all my personal books and found a wonderful recipe by Rosemary Gladstar in her book "Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health." This book is full of easy herbal recipes that help you keep healthy by using natures most natural form, plants. I would totally recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a do it yourself health lifestyle, but I digress. Let's diving into the shampoo making.

Before I go into the recipe you should know that I view recipes as a guideline and meant to be customized. I'll write the main recipe, include my modifications, and end with the results. The best part of making your own things at home is you can customize it to exactly what you want:

8 oz. water
1 oz herbs (dried or fresh)*
3 oz liquid castile soap
1/4 tsp. jojoba oil (rosemary oil if you have really oily hair)
25 drops pure essential oil*
*I'll give you reasons why I chose the herbs and oils that I used, but you should check out Rosemary's book for further details on the specifics on uses of other herbs and oils.

Step One: pick some herbs. I chose dried rosemary, sage, and fresh yarrow leaves primarily because I have them already. Rosemary is great for oily hair and helps with Dandruff treatment and promotes hair growth (I can use that!). Sage is good for all hair types and is good for dandruff treatment. Yarrow has drying properties. I chose little handfuls of each.

Step Two: Cover herbs with water and boil. Cover and let simmer for 20 mins. Of course longer doesn't hurt either as I'm sure there are plenty of distractions as your house as with mine. I just figure it pulls more of the good stuff out the longer it sits.

Step Three: Strain the tea into a large glass measuring bowl. This way you know how much liquid you actually have. This will be the basis on how much castile soap and essentials oils you put in. I ended up with 2 cups of tea so I doubled the recipe.

Slowly add the castile soap while stirring. Then mix in the rosemary oil and essential oil. I used 25 drops of lavendar, 15 drops of patchouli, and 10 drops of Tea Tree oil. All of these oils have oil, and itchy scalp fighting properties and plus they smell so good.

Pour into a container with flip-top lid. Shake before use.

Since this is a tea based shampoo it doesn't last forever. I made this once before the it lasted me a good month or more and smelled as fresh as ever. Honestly I'm not sure how long it does last, so make it as you need it. Also, I have found that my hair does wonderfully with a baking soda rinse (1 tablespoon baking soda to 16 oz water) everytime I use the shampoo and a monthly cider vinegar rinse (1 tablespoon vinegar to 16 oz water). I suppose this method of shampoo is considered "no poo", but I really don't know much about it so I won't talk about it. Feel free to leave comments explaining more about "no poo."

I would also love to hear what other herbal and essential oil blends people use for homemade shampoo or how this recipe works for your hair.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Definition: Modern Homemaker

I feel it's necessary to begin this blog with my definition of a modern homemaker. Of course, this is my opinion and by no means official.

Modern Homaker: Someone (man or woman, married or single) who takes care of their home in a positive manner using as many resources as possible. When I say resources I'm talking about using things that are already available, something that can be made and not bought, or something that can be borrowed. Being a modern homemaker is all about simplicity and keeping life as close to nature as you desire. It's all about using products that can be reused (hence the picture of cloth diapers hanging on my neighbors line), figuring out ways to reuse things that are manufactured to throw away (i.e. keeping toilet paper tubes to make rainsticks or other crafts), and creating as many things from scratch instead of buying buying buying.

Everyday I learn more on how to become a modern homemaker by my own defintion and will continue to learn everyday. I hope to use this blog to communicate methods that have worked for me in creating a wonderful home. I really enjoy reading how others create, cook, and their detailed instructions, so I'm determined to provide as much "how to" details so everyone can try.

Keep your eyes open for wonderful posts on how to make laundry soap, graham crackers, etc.... I'm excited to share the knowledge

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why Create this Blog?

I have been wanting to create a blog for a long time (3 + yrs.) so I can communicate my experience and knowledge to whomever is interested. I have a lot of interests that aren't particularily inline with today's society and I know I'm not the only one interested in doing things the "old school" way. I use cloth diapers, make 90% of my food from scratch, and really want to make more homemade goods. Why you ask? Because I like to be self reliant, live within my means and provide everything to my family even if we don't have any extra money. If you're resourceful then anything can happen. If you have a negative attitude then nothing happens. I choose to try anything and everything and if it doesn't work then I know for future reference. I want my two boys to dive into new things without any doubt and live life to it's fullest. Honestly I think we can learn a lot from previous generations on how to live life simply, yet have everything that we need. This blog is to help us in our adventures of this goal and to help others achieve it through cooking, cleaning, crocheting & knitting recipes, etc. The more we make ourselves the less we rely on others to make our lives that much richer. I'm all about doing it ourselves as our ancestors did.

To start the blog I'm currently doing a project to transcribe my husband's grandma's (Amy Park) Homemaking book. It's written in pencil and the pages are falling apart. My goal is to get it re-written well before Christmas (hopefully around Thanksgiving) so my mother in-law can get it publish for the family to enjoy. What a wonderful chance to be part of history to share history. I try to live my life as self reliant as possible and I'm hoping we can all learn a lot from Amy Park's recipes as I transcribe this book