Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade Body Wash


homemade,bodywash, recipe, soap recipe, body, washOur Homemade Lavender-Lemongrass Body WashWhat do you put on your body every day? By the time I’ve finished my morning routine I’ve used shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen for my face, and lotion for my body. Somehow, it took me close to a year before I started wondering what the heck was actually in those bottles in my shower. Isn't it odd that we’ve become so conscious of what we put inside our bodies, and somehow managed not to give any thought about what we were putting on them? 
All of that changed a few weeks ago when a friend recommended The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database which rates products according to the chemicals they contain and how harmful they are. I searched the items in my bathroom and found that all of them except for what I put on my face (Alba Botanica and Kiss My Face) had a moderate to high hazard score. Scary!
I decided to replace some of the items in our routine with safer, natural products - preferably something homemade (well, yeah!). The first to run out was body wash. We had been using Dove's Go Fresh Bodywash which is a 5 on the 0-10 hazard rating system. I am a huge fan of a nice creamy bodywash and an exfoliating pouf and felt a tinge of dismay thinking about the future of my suds, sure that I would have to give up this little luxury for a bar of something filmy and a washcloth. Little did I know that I was about to make the best bodywash EVER. I’m serious.
I searched out different recipes and ingredients that would be good for my skin -not so easy when you have been fighting a lifelong battle against the frustrating combo of hypersensitive skin and acne. I went with an infusion of oats and rosemary to soothe and tone, coconut oil to moisturize because we had it in the house and it’s one of the few oils that doesn’t make me break out, and the essential oils of chamomile, lavender, and lemongrass for their properties and scent.
Scrapple and I have been using it for about 2 weeks now and will never go back! Actually, I think he'd use whatever I put in there, but at least I'd never go back! It smells amazing, produces a great lather, gets you clean, and actually leaves you moisturized. It’s an amazing shave gel for legs (not so sure how it would fare on Scrapple’s stubble) and Scrapple's been using it as shampoo (again, I think he'd use anything). I should also mention that this batch that made 24oz using all organic (and local where available) ingredients cost only $4.50 to make - half the price of the scary stuff! Here's the breakdown:

Give it a try! Swap out oils and infusion ingredients to make a recipe that’s perfect for your skin. This would be a fun project to try with kids too.
  • 1 Tbs steel cut oats (optional - to infuse)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (optional - to infuse)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 Tsp citric acid (to prevent bacterial growth in your bodywash)
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil (can swap out with olive, grapeseed, almond, jojoba, apricot kernel or any other oil)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1-1/2 c. liquid castile soap (I used Dr Bronner’s)
  • 1 tsp guar gum (you can find it in most markets that carry natural foods with the Bob’s Red Mill grains)
  • 30 drops essential oils (your preference - I used a blend of lavender, chamomile, and lemongrass)
1. Boil water in a kettle and once boiling pour over the oats and rosemary (or whatever you decide to infuse). Cover and let sit for an hour, then strain to remove oats and rosemary bits from your infusion.
2. In a bowl whisk your oil, honey, infusion, and citric acid together.
3. Sprinkle in the guar gum, whisking to combine, and then immediately afterward whisk in the castile soap (if you wait too long the guar gum will thicken and you’ll have clumps) until blended and smooth.
4. Drop in your essential oils and fold in with a spoon or spatula. Store the mixture in a bottle (opaque is best) out of direct sunlight and use within 6 months. Shake before each use.
Have some questions? Just ask in the comments section and I'll be happy to help you out!
Next up will be body lotion - let me know if you have a great recipe you’d like to share or any other tips related to making your own body care products. I'm especially interested in eventually trying to make soaps from rendered animal fats (I don't think we're going to have an olive grove or coconut trees on the farm) and would love any info you might have on that as well!
That's all for now - keep it clean!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Salvation Prayer

Free Gift from God - Salvation 

If you would like to receive the gift that God has for you today, say this prayer with your heart and your lips out loud;

Dear Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me of my sin. Wash me and cleanse me. Set me free. Jesus, thank You that You died for me. I believe that You are risen from the dead and that You're coming back again for me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Give me a passion for the lost, a hunger for the things of God and a holy boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm saved; I'm born again, I'm forgiven and I'm on my way to Heaven because I have Jesus in my heart.

If you prayed this prayer and believed it in your heart, then your sins are forgiven. Always remember to run to God and not from God because He loves you and has a great plan for your life. Read your bible everyday to get to know Jesus Christ better. Talk to God in prayer every day. Be baptized, worship, fellowship and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached and the bible is the final authority. Tell others about Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March Trip to Bok Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida

One of the fun things my mother, sister and I do in March is drive over to Lake Wales and tour Bok Tower Gardens - an awesome place for anyone who wants to feast their senses on acres and acres of beautifully landscaped gardens that sit on top of one of the few ridges in Florida.
In 1921, Edward W. Bok was spending the winter months in the residential mountain lake community located adjacent to one of the highest hills of Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge, 298 feet above sea level. He enjoyed taking evening walks to the top of “Iron Mountain,” among the virgin pines and sandhill scrub, to enjoy Florida’s dramatic sunsets and bird life. The idea came to him to preserve this hilltop and create a bird sanctuary – a place of beauty, serenity and peace.
Integral to Bok’s idea was the availability of a famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Having made arrangements to buy land on the hilltop, Bok commissioned Olmsted to change this arid sandhill into “a spot of beauty second to none in the country.” The first year was spent digging trenches and laying water pipes for irrigation, after which rich black soil was brought by the thousands of loads.
With the requisite conditions for a subtropical garden in place, planting of bushes and trees was begun that would provide food for visiting birds. Today, these plantings provide shade to visitors as well as refuge for squirrels and more than 100 bird species.

Created to entice wildlife to take residence, the Reflection Pool gives visitors one of the most memorable experiences in the Gardens. Its location captures the reflection of the Singing Tower and offers the first image visitors have when entering the gardens.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's the end of strawberry season in Florida and today I am going to make a fresh dtrawberry pie for my ESL (English as a Second Language) picnic.  I found this great recipe on the internet:

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie
When I was a kid, I liked to dip fresh strawberries into a little bit of sugar before I ate them. When they were still damp from being washed, the sugar clung perfectly to the berries and having a little bit of sugar made not-quite-perfect berries taste amazing. I didn’t use a lot, just enough to kiss the berries. I would eat the strawberries that looked the sweetest and darkest without sugar. This fresh strawberry pie reminds me of eating those sugar-sprinkled berries, made with fresh strawberries that are lightly glazed with a sugar-kissed strawberry sauce that holds everything together.
This is a recipe that I first made several years ago after finding it on the back of a box of cornstarch. I like it because it doesn’t use gelatin, which I tend to think takes away from the flavor and texture of the strawberries, but is frequently used in no-bake strawberry pies. The strawberries are layered into a pie crust – I like graham and shortbread, but any 9-inch crust will work – and topped with a sauce made from strawberry puree and sugar. The glossy red of the pie looks great and it tastes very fresh. The topping tastes great and doesn’t have a gelatiny feel to it, although it does a wonderful job of holding the berries in place and making the pie easy to slice.
You can’t use frozen berries for this pie, since they just don’t have the same texture as fresh. That said, you can actually use frozen berries to make the topping portion of the recipe and use fresh for the bulk of the pie. It goes without saying that you should use the best tasting fresh berries you can find for this pie, since they’re mostly unadorned. Wash and dry them well before using. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to pick up some extra strawberries when you’re at the market, because if they’re ripe and sweet enough to put into the pie, I guarantee you’re going to want to snack on some while you work!
Fresh Strawberry Pie Slice

Fresh Strawberry Pie
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (store bought or from scratch)
2 pints fresh strawberries (2 lbs)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Wash and dry the strawberries, then remove the hulls (green leafy tops).
Take 1 1/2 cups of the berries and puree them in a food processor to make approximately 1 cup puree.
Combine puree with sugar, cornstarch and water in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute, then remove from heat, add in the vanilla extract and whisk the mixture steadily (doesn’t need to be fast, just to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan) while it cools down for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the berries in half (unless they are small and you can leave them whole) and arrange them in the pie crust. When the strawberry sauce has been cooled for 5 minutes, pour it over the sliced berries, trying to cover them as evenly as possible.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve. This pie is best eaten the day it is sliced.
Serves 6-8

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Ten Fun Facts About Algae

Algae can power planes, churn out—and eat up—oxygen, grow to hundreds of feet, and more.
Published: January-February 2012
1) Percent of oxygen produced by algae: 30-50
2) Milligrams of carrageenans, a red algae extract, the average American consumes daily, often in dairy products: 250
3) Maximum length, in feet, that kelp, the largest algae, can grow: 200
4) Times more productive algae is than traditional crops as a biofuel: 50
5) Number of Continental Airlines flight that, in November, was the first U.S. commercial passenger trip powered by algae biofuel: 1403
6) Years ago, after a mass extinction, that algae and bacteria consumed all of the sea’s oxygen, slowing the earth’s recovery: 250,000,000
7) Number of glowing algae that can be found in a gallon of water from Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays: 720,000
8) Number of moderate to large algal cells, per milliliter of water, needed for an algal bloom: 15,000
9) Area, in square miles, of the Mississippi River’s dead zone, where decaying algae have depleted oxygen: 8,500
10) Number of cells in the most basic algae: 1

Top 20 Unexpected Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Practically every day there’s some new news on the benefits of antioxidants, the cell-protecting nutrients found in a wide range of foods that can help combat heart disease, cancer, the effects of aging, and other conditions. Here is a quick alphabetical list of 20 foods you may not have realized are excellent sources.
  1. Apples (such as Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, and Delicious, with skin)
  2. Artichokes (cooked)
  3. Beans (such as black, red kidney, pinto)
  4. Blackberries
  5. Blueberries (cultivated, wild)
  6. Cherries (sweet)
  7. Chocolate (dark)
  8. Cranberries (cooked)
  9. Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale)
  10. Pecans
  11. Plums (black and red)
  12. Pomegranates
  13. Prunes
  14. Raspberries
  15. Strawberries
  16. Sweet potatoes
  17. Tea (black, green, white, and oolong)
  18. Tomatoes
  19. Walnuts
  20. Wine (red)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 3

It doesn't appear that anyone is reading my blog but me!  I have my own private world - a little corner of cyber-space all to myself.  (:

Today I worked on my computer - filing all the books I list on Amazon. I had help from my good friend, Caroline.  I also took Addie and Kodi for two short walks and attended a class on Child Abuse Prevention with Anne.  We are going to help out in a children's camp in Appalachia this summer.  Can't wait!

 I also made a cream of black bean soup and gave most away to an Indian family who are vegetarians.  I tutor their son who is in the third grade.  Dad manages a hotel and Mom works about an hour's drive east as a bookkeeper for an insurance company.  She has been getting up at 2 am so as to be at work by 4 am.  Then she gets home about 6:30 and makes dinner.  I hope they like the meal because if they do it will give Mom a break!
Here is the recipe:

Creamy Black Bean Soup


  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup half and half 
  • can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn: frozen, fresh or canned
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Toppings: avocado, sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla chips, chopped onion 


  1. Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes or until tender.
  2. Blend 3/4 of the beans with the half and half.
  3. Stir in blended beans, remaining beans, corn, salsa, chili powder and cumin - stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven; cover and heat but do not boil. Uncover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and lime juice. Let cool 5 minutes.
  5.  Serve with desired toppings.
  6. Enjoy!