Sunday, September 23, 2012

Product Highlight: Bath Salt Soaks

I am working like a busy little bee preparing so many awesome products for my next event, the Indie Garage Sale, next weekend. My kitchen smells wonderful (although it looks like a bomb went off)! While I really enjoy making all of these products, tweaking recipes and such.... it is REALLY time consuming!

I am thrilled with how so many of my products are turning out - not just because of the health and beauty benefits of the high quality and natural ingredients I use, but also in how the packaging is turning out. Hey, I'm finally putting that Journalism degree to good use! Ha! 

I wanted to share some pictures of my batch of bath salt soaks. Due to the high prevalance of "Bath Salts" (as in the street drugs), I cannot justify calling these bath salts. Every time I tell some one that I'm making bath salts, I get the "Oh, ha ha... so you're in THAT kind of business" line. Oh yes... that just never gets old. 

Anyway, here is how the salt soaks turned out.

Another somewhat fuzzy picture

I made four distinct scents: lavender, peppermint and lemongrass, and eucalyptus lavender. Each soak is made with a healing blend of salts (epsom, coarse dead sea, himalayan pink, and fine atlantic) and pure doTERRA essential oils. The soaks are packaged in a hinged bale jar, include a small wooden scoop, and are finished with a matching ribbon. They would make a great gift!

I will have these listed on my Etsy page very soon. In the meantime, if you would like to order any soaks, please email me. They are $12 each, plus tax (and shipping).  I can also custom make salt soaks using other essential oils (lemon, wild orange, patchouli, cedarwood, cinnamon, white fir, bergamot, litsea). I am already taking holiday orders!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Best of the Rest...

Ahhh...Sunday evening. The fun and chaos of the weekend is coming to an end, and the hard work and chaos of the upcoming week is only a few hours away. I spent the weekend taking the kids to the zoo, hanging out with friends and making bath fizzies (more on that next time). Before I hit the sack, I wanted to finish up my mini-series highlighting a few of my favorite natural household ingredients.  In case you missed it, my last post was all about baking soda, and the first post was about vinegar.  I know... pretty exciting stuff, huh?  They may not be the most glamorous of topics, but I guarantee that a little time and research can save you money, waste and exposure to harmful chemicals.

There are few other products and ingredients around the house that I use frequently, both individually and combined to make natural cleaning recipes.  Here are a few:

Washing Soda

Washing soda, or sodium carbonate is very similar in chemican makeup to baking soda. Its chemical compound is Na2CO3. I have read that you can change baking soda into washing soda by baking it in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or so, which removes the carbon dioxide and water. Washing soda is used as a laundry booster and water softener. It is highly alkaline (even more so than baking soda), so it is excellent at removing acidic stains. I use washing soda as part of my homemade laundry detergent.  Washing soda can also be used to remove mineral deposits from things like coffee pots and tile grout.


Sodium tetraborate is a natural mineral mined from deep within the earth. It is highly alkaline, with a pH of 9.5. This makes it an ideal laundry booster. Borax is used in many products including laundry detergent, soap and other body care products like lotions and moisturizers. This may seem strange, but it makes sense considering its softening effects. Borax is also antifungal. While large amounts of Borax can be toxic (it is used as a natural insecticide), it is very safe in small amounts.  Who hasn't used Borax and Elmer's Glue to make "Gak??"

The Rest

Some of my other favorites include lemons (antibacterial, antifungal and moisturizing-make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to cut through grease and grime), herbal tea (brewed herbal tea makes an excellent additive to any wood cleaner because it leaves a nice shine without buildup), castile soap (an all-natural oil-based soap that I use in all of my handmade cleaners) and hot water (sometimes all you need is a little hot water!).

So, there ya have it. My virtual cleaning arsenal. The beauty of using natural ingredients like this is that you don't have to worry about chemical exposure (especially in kids), you can save money, and you can waste less (no need to buy all those cleaners packaged in plastic).

Got any recipes or natural cleaning tricks you'd like to share? Please post them here and share this with your friends. 

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Happy Cleaning!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Song of Sodium Bicarbonate (aka: Baking Soda)

Whew! It's been a BUSY week! Getting one kid started in preschool, first gymnastics lesson, creating some sort of meaningful lesson plans at school... All this on top of the regular cooking and cleaning at home, PLUS trying to get products ready for my next event at the end of the month. I'm not complaining or anything, but I'm just sayin'... Please excuse my lack of blog post over the past week. Especially since I know you have been DYING to read more about natural ingredients you can use for cleaning around your home. ;)

Ok, enough blabbering. Let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Baking Soda. Sodium Bicarbonate. If you want to get technical, its chemical formula is NaHCO3. Baking soda is weakly alkaline, therefore it helps to break down and neutralize acids. This quality also makes it an excellent tenderizer and leavening agent. Add a bit to tomato sauce or strong coffee to help reduce acidity. Medically speaking, ingesting small amounts of baking soda is said to help adjust the body's pH level to a more alkaline balance.

We all used baking soda in baking and probably keep a box in the back of the refrigerator, right? Well, there are so many other ways to use this versatile ingredient! For example, you can add it to your conventional or homemade laundry detergent to boost the cleaning power. Ditto for the dishwasher. Mixed with a little water or lemon juice, it makes a gentle abrasive cleanser for kitchens and bathrooms. I sprinkle some down my kitchen drain when the sink gets stinky.

Baking soda is a key ingredient in bath bombs and fizzies. It softens your skin beautifully.  It is non-toxic and will not harm babies or children if ingested. The best part about baking soda? Like vinegar, it's cheap and plentiful. A box of generic baking soda retails for around 50 cents!

Here are some additional blogs/articles with more ideas:

51 Fantastic Uses for Baking Soda

Arm and Hammer Website

Medicinal Uses

Happy cleaning!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ode to Vinegar

Well, it's that time of year again... back to school. Whether this brings cheers or jeers in your family, it is probably a time of chaos, excitement and a little anxiety. As a teacher, the first day of school is always a combination of these three things. 

Since I'll be a little short on time for the next couple of weeks while I jump start a new school year, I'd like to do a little mini-series if you will. Each of my next several blog entries will highlight a natural ingredient that I use around my home and in my all-natural cleaning products.

Tonight, I'd like to extol the virtues of white vinegar. Although the smell of vinegar is, at best, unpleasant, you can't beat this simple ingredient for it's versatility. I probably use vinegar around my house in some way or another at least once a day. I use it diluted with water to clean my hardwood floors. I leave a bowl of vinegar on my kitchen counter after cooking bacon to help clear the air. I sprinkle baking soda on my stove top and then pour on a little vinegar for an awesome grease fighting fizz.  I use vinegar as a rinse aid in my dishwasher with my homemade dish detergent to keep my glass sparkling and spot-free. I could go on and on....

Instead, I'd like to share a website I found that literally provides 1001 uses for white vinegar. Click the link to be directed to the "Vinegar Tips" website. 

How do you use vinegar to clean in your home?

Happy Cleaning!