Friday, March 28, 2014

Oil cleansing

About a year ago, I got fed up with the chronic bad skin I've had since getting pregnant with E. I went through my teenage years with excellent skin, and never had much trouble with breakouts through my twenties. I was blessed with mostly clear, though very sensitive, skin.

Enter pregnancy hormones. Nearly from day one of my pregnancy with E, I struggled with skin eruptions. On my face, on my chest, on my back. I tried SO many different cleansers, but I was already on the all-natural path, so I mainly just dealt with it.

After E was born, my face cleared a lot, but I still had more eruptions than I was used to, and noticed my skin was very hormone sensitive. I couldn't find anything that worked very well for me. I started doing some research, and ran across the oil cleansing method. I decided to give it a try, and it's been amazing for me. It took a little while to get the proportions right, and sometimes I still have to tweak my recipe, but oil cleansing has simplified my daily routine even more. And it's made my skin healthier and younger looking.

Now that I'm using the highest quality essential oils, I investigated what oils to add to my oil blend for maximum benefit. When I made my new blend of oil last week, I added eucalyptus and melaleuca, both of which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. I'm hoping to add geranium to my next oil order, and add that as well, since it's excellent for skin repair and balancing oily/dry skin.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Oil Pulling

For anyone who runs in alternative circles, oil pulling is likely not a new term. It's gained tremendous popularity in the past few years, and seems to be really picking up steam in the past few months. Without going into all the details (I'll place some links at the bottom of this post), let's just say oil pulling is basically just swishing a high quality oil around in your mouth. For twenty minutes a day. It pulls out toxins, bacteria, all kinds of nasties. It's touted to help with many health issues, and there's some evidence that it can help reverse tooth decay.

I first heard of oil pulling about a year ago, and gave it a try. I grabbed a teaspoon, scooped out some extra virgin, organic, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil, and popped it in my mouth. And I immediately started to gag. That clump of cold oil sitting between my teeth and my tongue wasn't melting yet, and it was gross. So I spit it out. I claimed failure on the crunchy front, and I had found the line - you know, the one you just can't cross to keep up with the Granola Jones. Sad day for this hippie.

Fast forward nearly a year. Oil pulling starts to show up on my Facebook news feed again and again. Surely I must have done something wrong - if everyone else is doing it, why did I nearly toss my cookies? So I tried again. This time, I managed to keep it in my mouth until it started to melt (after a twenty second battle to get it there in the first place - you know that feeling when your body justwon'tdo what your mind tells it to?), but after it melted, I couldn't bring myself to swish. And then I started wretching. Nearly knocked myself out on the cabinet edge trying to get to the trash can. I gave myself a bit of a bruise too, but don't you worry - I put some essential oils on it.

I mentioned my failure to a crunchy, oil pulling successful, friend of mine. She said, "Why don't you try melting the oil first?" Um... wow. Dense woman of the day award - straight to me. Especially since, in my attempt to be successful, I had already sat down and ordered a giant bottle of sesame oil, which is a traditionally recommended oil.

So the next morning, I melted my teaspoon of coconut oil. And I added a drop of protective essential oil blend. And I swished for twenty minutes that day. And the next. And the next. And now I'm nearly a week out, and I'm pulling every day.

I feel really good. My teeth don't get that post-pasta grime anymore. My mouth doesn't feel sticky and dry when I wake up. It's hard to say if it's helping my skin yet, but I do know my lips are really soft after I oil pull. 

Here's a few links about oil pulling, because, honestly, why rewrite it when I can just link it?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Make It At Home Monday - Salad Dressing

One of the byproducts of making kombucha  is the sometimes leftover tea that is either not enough to bottle, or, after bottling, is just a little too sour for drinking. In this case, I have a bottle that I keep in the kitchen to hold this kombucha vinegar. I just keep adding to the bottle when I need to, and I use it in place of apple cider vinegar for a lot of applications.

One of my favorite kombucha vinegar uses is salad dressing. Oil and vinegar dressings are really simple to make at home, and cost much less than a good quality (organic) store bought dressing. The ingredients are simple, the process is simple, and the result is just delightful.

To make your own salad dressing, you'll need:
Berries of your liking (I really love raspberries, but used strawberries this time)
raw sugar
A glass jar (Pint or larger)
Good quality oil, like extra virgin olive oil
kombucha or apple cider vinegar

To start, I chop my berries very fine. I love my Alaskan ulu,
by the way, especially for jobs like this.
Add enough raw sugar to coat the berries well and
toss them together. Allow to "mellow" in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Add about 1/4 cup of oil, then fill the rest with vinegar.
Shake well before every use. Store in the refrigerator, obviously.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Shameful Secret Saturday #3

Shameful secret - my kid gets into some AWFUL shenanigans. He's mischief, pure and simple. He's so bright, and so independent, and constantly into something. It sounds like we never watch him. Like we leave him alone for hours on end. But, in truth, it's SHOCKING what he can accomplish in just a few minutes of silence. Here's some of the mischief (the list is SO long) that he's managed in his three years.

Ten months old... So... Why do they put child proof lids on medicine? Because precocious 10 month olds like mine can unscrew regular lids and smear 1/4 inch thick layer of $9 lotion on their legs. Ask me how I know.

Fifteen months old... Tonight I found him rubbing deodorant all over himself. He got a tube of lip tint off my dresser yesterday, and looked really adorable with shimmery stuff all over his face. I have a feeling I have one of those kids - you know, the ones who drive their parents to the brink of insanity because they are in to EVERYTHING. (Yes, Mama of two years ago, this is Mama of the future. Your suspicions are right. You have one of those kids. Sit back and enjoy the ride.)

Sixteen months old... Okay. So. E painted my mom's living room carpet with teriyaki sauce this morning. Looked like a Jackson Pollack. I don't even want to talk about how he got a bottle of teriyaki sauce...

Seventeen months old... Ugh. E just wrote all over his legs with Sharpie. I don't even know where he got the thing! I was in the kitchen baking, and I realized was being incredibly quiet.

So, that sets the stage. Mischievous child. In the past WEEK, this is what he's been into.

I walked into the bathroom the other night and he chewed the toothpaste tube into a barely recognizable mess. He looked up and said, "I was just trying to get some on my finger like Daddy said it was okay." (By the way, I confirmed with Daddy that he did not, in fact, tell E that is was okay to eat toothpaste off your finger.)

We visited the local library a few days ago. E was working some puzzles, so I went to the front of the children's section to find some books. I heard him say, "Mama!" and as I came back around the stacks, he was standing there with his pants around his knees and saying, "I need to poop and there's no bathroom at the library."
This is not the first pants-around-the-knees incident we've had. E has indecent exposure in Five Guy's, the coffee shop, Target, and a few other places.

Last week, I made chocolate drizzled shortbreads for my essential oils class. I left several on the counter before leaving home, and when I got home, DP had put them all away. I thanked him, and he said, "Well, after E ate all the chocolate off the third cookie, I thought it was time to hide them."

This week, I made lemon cream cheese cookies for a class. I left them to cool on the rack, and when I came back, there were only six cookies where there had been nine.

This morning, I heard him go upstairs, but then it got very quiet. ALWAYS a bad sign. I quietly went up the stairs, and saw a lump on his bed under his covers. When I pulled back the blanket, there sat my son, with a package of cream cheese in his hand.

And speaking of, I can hear him banging around upstairs again. Better go check...

Fleece Sleeves for My Oils

As my essential oil collection grows, I'm trying to figure out the most effective method for storage. I had a great little box, but now I have too many oils, and when they are loose in my bag, they fall over and get very disorganized. I thought about creating a folded zipper pouch with elastic bands for each oil, but when I began to design a pattern in my head, I was overwhelmed. Always on the quest to make rather than buy, I took to the internet for some inspiration.  This is what I found. It seems like a great little bag, and the price is not bad, but I'm not a huge fan of the embroidery on the handle. In fact, my exact words to DP were, "That's got to be the dorkiest thing I've ever seen!" The important thing, though, is the fleece sleeving inside the bag. I knew it would be perfect inside my current bag (and the new bag I have planned in my mind now), so I was off to the drawing/cutting board.

To start, I cut two strips of fleece 3" wide, and two 3" strips of this adorable fabric. I bought this fabric a long time ago, not really sure what I would do with it. Now, it seems to scream "essential oils!" Then I cut an equal length of medium weight interfacing at 2". I really wanted to cut it at 2 1/2" (so I could catch it on both long seams), but I didn't have enough to do that, so I'll have to make do at 2", since I don't want to wait until I make it to the fabric store to buy more.
I sewed the strips together, right sides facing, with the interfacing facing the wrong side of my cotton fabric. I caught the interfacing on one seam, and did a quick basting stitch on the other edge to keep it in place while I turned it. I sewed both long edges and one short side, then turned and pressed.

After pressing, I hand stitched the open end shut, then hand stitched the two ends together to make a big loop. I forgot to take a picture at this point, oops.

I fiddled around and figured out that a 4 inch opening would hold the bottles snug, so I sewed lines every two inches down the entire length of the folded loop. I ended up with nine "pockets" on one loop, and nine and a half (perfect for a 10 mL roller bottle!) on the other.