Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap With Coconut Oil

FOR A SIMPLE, EASY HAND SOAP RECIPE MY FAMILY CURRENTLY USES YOU CAN GO HERE: http://www.ourmidwesternlife.com/2016/05/chemical-free-foaming-handsoap.html

So, we've all hear about all the icky, bad for us ingredients in our cleaning and household products, right? 

If you haven't, you've got some researching to do! 

Over the past seven years I have come to making my own cleaning products, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and now, finally, hand soap.

It's just one of the ways I keep toxins out of my house and out of my family's bodies. 

What's terrible about store bought hand soap? Well, if you are buying antibacterial (which consumer markets try to make you believe you need) there is Triclosan in it. Triclosan is a pesticide! It's used as an antibacterial and anti fungal agent and when you use it to wash your hands it seeps through your skin and into your blood stream. Most Americans tested have Triclosan in their blood! 
(There are many other harmful ingredients as well, but for hand soap, Triclosan is the worst in my eyes).

Several years ago, while I was pregnant with my second baby, I discovered the harm in antibacterial soap. And I stopped using it right then and there. 

Many of you may be asking, "Can you buy soap without Triclosan?" The answer is yes. That is what I have done for about six years now. And let me tell you, it's not cheap! 

I always spent more money to get safer soap for my family. But, our family has grown. And we must be some hand washing fools because we go through a LOT of soap! 

When I think about it we are always outside. We are digging in a garden, making mud pies, playing in sand and handling chickens. Even when we are inside we are painting, gluing, and sculpting. My little family makes some dirty hands!

And that is why I needed to find a cheaper way to have safe, more natural liquid hand soap for my family. Did I mention how cheap it is to make our own soap?! 

Here is what you will need:

A bar of soap (you can choose any kind, but all natural and unscented is best)

A cheese grater

A pot for water and soap

Coconut Oil

Essential oils (optional)

Containers to for the finished soap (I started saving our soap pump bottles a while back and I stored the left over soap in a mason jar for refills)

How to make your soap:

First, grate the entire bar of soap with your cheese grater and put it in a pot.

Pour 8-10 cups of water over the grated soap. I started with 8 cups and ended up adding an additional cup of water later. 

Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Heat the soap, coconut oil and water on medium heat until all the soap and coconut oil have dissolved. Did you ever notice on liquid soap ingredients lists the number one ingredient is water? That means all the money we are spending on liquid soap is mostly for water! 

Once everything is dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. 

If you want to add essential oils for fragrance you can do so now. I added 20 drops of Young Living Lemon and Orange Essential Oils. (20 drops of each). Young Living's Thieves Oil would be great too, especially during the winter season! 

Now you let it sit and cool. I stirred about once an hour to keep my essential oils blended in. 

After about 5 hours of cooling and setting my soap was pretty thick, so I stirred it with a whisk and added another cup of water (remember I started with just 8). And it was the perfect consistency. 

I then used a funnel to pour the soap into the pump bottles I had saved and stored what was left in a mason jar for refills. 

This recipe gave me about 4 1/2 bottles, which are 12 oz each.

My entire  family is happy with this soap! The coconut oil adds a little extra moisturizer, which we've  needed this winter! And the lemon and orange essential oils give it a fresh scent. 

One big question I see coming... "Do we get sick often because we don't use antibacterial soap?" 
The answer is NO. We are actually rarely sick! We are one of the healthiest families I know when it comes to getting sick. I could go on and on about this subject, but I will just say this... There are good bacteria too and they help fight bad bacteria. Don't kill the good bacteria! 

Have you made your own liquid soap before? 

What scents do you or will you use? I think I will try a new scent each time! 

And of course, I always like to hear how your soap turns out! Please comment below! 

To get your own Young Living Oils just go here.

When you click on the link, select wholesale or retail at the top of the page and set up your account. Retail members will pay 24% more than wholesale, so please take a moment to read about how to become a wholesale member. It's so easy! 

One of the things I love most about Young Living is EVERYONE can be a wholesale member! All you do is purchase the premium starter kit and you will be a wholesale member for life! There's NO FEES, NO MONTHLY MINIMUMS AND NO OBLIGATION TO SELL! 

If you are interested in getting started with essential oils I highly recommend the starter kit. It gives you 11 of the most used oils (The Everyday Oils Kit) AND a home diffuser! It is literally the BEST way to get to know the oils and see how much you'll love them. 

If you have questions I would love to help you! Just email me.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Feeding a Family of Five With $100 a Week - Week 1

Well, we made it through our first month of only spending $100 a week to feed our family! And I will say, I was VERY shocked at the results! I never felt like I needed to go to the store for anything! I actually felt like we had more food in our pantry than normal. I'm not sure how that is possible, but it's true. 

If you are looking to cut back on spending, groceries is the place to start. If you haven't read Part 1 about why we are doing this you can read it HERE.

Some of my starter tips? 

*Make a list and stick to it. I know we've all been told this before and it sounds harder than it actually is. All you do is scan your house; the pantry, fridge, bathrooms (for toiletries) and make a list of the things you need. Then when you are at the store and are tempted to buy something impulsively, it's so much easier to say, "NO" because it's not on the list.

*Make an assessment of what you need and decide if you REALLY need it or if it would just be nice to have. Yes, when you are out of toothpaste, you really do need to buy toothpaste, but when you fridge is running low on juice boxes, do you really need them? Will your kids die without them? Can they drink juice from a cup or plain water and live? 

*Choose one thing per category. For me lunch was the category I had to trim down. Do we really need lunch meat, tuna, PB & J and chicken breast all at once? Do I really need multiple options every day at lunchtime? Does my toddler really need pretzels and crackers and Goldfish at once? Do we need 8 types of produce at one time? 

* And last, take a calculator with you to the store and add up what you are putting in your cart. This was important for me. As I've mentioned before, we live rurally. Grocery shopping is not convenient. I am VERY tempted to stock up on EVERYTHING. But, while trying to stick to my $100 a week I started to think, "How many loaves of bread do we need for ONE week?" "Do I really need to buy 6 loaves? Or can we get by on 3 loaves?" Because the truth is...I will be right back in the same grocery store one week later! 

So, my first week was a huge success! We had everything we needed for packing school lunches, eating healthy, wholesome dinners and breakfasts. Even my toddler (my bottomless pit) survived! 

Here's a picture of what I was able to purchase with $100...

Showing the world what is in my kitchen feels a little revealing. LOL! I feel I have to explain what I bought. But, I know I don't have to. You will notice there's no meat. As I mentioned in my intro we keep our freezer full of venison and farm raised chicken.

Some of the dinners we had include:
Spaghetti with venison meatballs
Veggie quiche (not all meals need to include meat)
Venison steaks with roasted veggies

Breakfasts usually consist of:
Eggs and toast
PB on toast
My oldest always just wants cereal :(
And Oatmeal made with brown sugar, cinnamon and some of our canned apples.

Lunches at home and for school:
PB & J (it's my kid's favorite!)
Fresh fruit
Carrot sticks (one of the only raw veggies my kids will eat)
String cheese or yogurt

These are just some examples. I can honestly say, no one in this house has gone hungry yet. And we are now on our 2nd month of only spending $100 a week! 

What are your money saving tips? How do you cut back on spending at the grocery store? 
Feel free to ask any questions you might have! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rainbow Rice - Sensory Bin

What you will need:
Uncooked white rice (I used 1 cup for each color).
Food coloring (1/2 tsp per cup of rice)
Rubbing alcohol (1 tsp per cup of rice)
Plastic baggies
and a place to dry the rice (I laid wax paper on cookie sheets)

The task was very simple. I put 1 cup of rice in a Ziploc bag, poured in the food coloring and alcohol, sealed the bag, mixed it up and then poured it on the wax paper to dry.

The rice dries pretty quick, which is good if you have kids as impatient as mine. So, the next morning (remember I was dying this rice at 11pm) I poured it all into a plastic container. It wasn't all that easy to keep the colors separated like the photo on Pinterest shows, but I soon found out that there was no point in keeping the colors separate.

When my kids saw the rice you would have sworn it was Christmas morning. They couldn't stop asking questions about it and begging to play with it! So, with the early morning frost I waddled, with my pregnant belly, out to the sandbox and dug out some toys. I of course had to wash them.

And finally they got to play! I have to admit, I was surprised at how much Kennedy (4) loved it. I thought she may be too old to really enjoy it and thought that Brooke (3) would love it. But they both LOVE playing in it!

And remember how I said there was no point in keeping the colors separate? This is the rice after playtime...

All in all, I rate this as a fun, easy and quick project. And the with kids loving it as much as they do, it was well worth it! There is only one "bad" thing about the rainbow rice, which was not mentioned in the original description...

The dye DID wash off with soap and water!

(A little side note: This is an old post, I decided to re-post. It is SO fun to see our old house and how little my kids were!) 

Spring Garden Craft

I don't know about you, but we have had a REALLY LONG WINTER! We are all ready for Spring here in Missouri! But, it's 46 degrees, cloudy and windy :( So, I thought we could bring a little Springtime indoors. 

First, I gathered some supplies: cupcake holders, pompoms, jewels, pipe cleaners, and glue. Later I added some foam hearts and card stock to the mix for flowers. And when the flowers are finished you will need an empty egg carton and play dough. 

Please note: I used green pipe cleaners for the flower stems, but you can also use green straws or popsicle sticks. The pipe cleaners were just barely strong enough to support the flowers, so I recommend using the straws or sticks.

So, the glueing began. We used the cupcake holders first. They were a little tough because the glue saturated them so much that the objects didn't want to stick to them. 

But, the girls sure loved doing this project! They loved it so much we ended with a HUGE garden! (Good thing I buy my eggs at Costco!)

Since the cupcake holders were not working so well, I started cutting shapes out of card stock. This was much easier to glue things to. 

And so the glueing continued...

I finally convinced the girls that we needed to stop making flowers and let them dry so we could "plant them in our garden" 

So, to "plant" them I used an empty egg carton and play dough. I stuck balls of play dough into each egg hole and pushed it down firmly. Then we were able to stick the flowers in. This is why something stronger than pipe cleaners would have been nice, some of them were too top heavy. 

Overall, this was a fun project. The girls absolutely loved it! And we now have a beautiful garden in the middle of March, when it's freezing outside!  

Homemade Bird Feeders - Snow Day Craft - Teacher Gifts

We first gathered the materials. You will need...
Bird seed (1 cup made 6 small bird feeders)
1 envelope of Gelatine
1/4 cup of water
Cookie cutters and/or molds ( I used some plastic sand molds)
Wax paper
and string/ribbon/wire.

We prepared by laying out the wax paper. Each child got a wax paper surface to work on. Then I tied the knots (with loops) in the string so they were ready when we needed them.

(This is an older, updated post. My kids look so little!)

The girls waited anxiously while I did the next step, which is heating the water and Gelatine. I put the 1/4 cup of water with one envelope of Gelatine in a small pot on the stove. I heated to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the Gelatine was dissolved. This only took a couple of minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the bird seed. (The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of bird seed and said to add more if there was extra Gelatine. Well, I had to add more seed about 4 times, so I am saying I probably used about 1 cup)

I carried the pot to the table and started spooning the seeds into the first mold. Surprisingly, the seeds were not hot and the kids were able to press them firmly into the molds and cookie cutters.

So, we filled the molds about 1/2 way and then laid the knotted loops on the seeds. (This was not as easy as it sounds. The strings WILL stick to your fingers. The gelatine mixture is REALLY sticky!) The girls had to hold the strings in place while I spooned more seeds on top. We used the wax paper to press firmly on the seeds in order to pack them down.

Kennedy and Brooke were not so happy about the stickiness. It made it really hard to work with the seeds and so I ended up doing most of the work.

We made our feeders in the morning and let them dry until about dinner time (Probably 6 hours) and they were not so easy to remove from the cookie cutters. I would let them dry overnight.

The bell bird feeder made it...

The star did not.

Then simply hang them in your trees. These make great teacher gifts also! We did a second batch and used apple shaped cookie cutters to give to the kids' teachers for Valentine's Day. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whipped Coconut Oil Cellulite Cream - This stuff really works!

 The article contains affiliate links. Thank you for helping to support our little family.

Today's topic is not a pretty one. Cellulite; it's not something any of us enjoy talking about, or even want to admit to, but let's face it, most of us have it.

My 3rd child is going to be two in just a few short months. First of all, I can't believe my baby is turning 2! Second, I can't believe I am still fighting the effects of having her! 

When I had my first two kids I was younger and my body had an easier time recovering and bouncing back to normal. But when I had number 3 I had already passed up the big 3-0 and two years later I am still trying to get back my pre-baby body. 

Recently I discovered a dirty little secret, which is about to no longer be a secret.

I discovered Young Living's Lemon and Peppermint Oil. (Read the last two posts to find out more about each individual oil.) And with them I created...

I will start by saying this is NOT a miracle cream IF you are doing nothing else to improve your body and overall health. You cannot eat processed junk food, sit on the couch all day and get rid of your cellulite with this cream. 

But, if you are like me and you eat clean healthy foods, including lean, toxic-free meats, organic produce, and healthy fats, and you exercise on a daily basis (yes, I run, squat, lunge, you name it and I STILL have a problem area on my thighs), this will really help you with those stubborn areas that just seem impossible to fix. 

What you will need:

Young Living's Lemon Essential Oil
Young Living's Peppermint Essential Oil


Why Young Living's Lemon Essential Oil?
Lemon Oil improves microcirculation and helps eliminate waste from cells. It's a detoxifier. (Some believe cellulite is toxins stored in our fat cells. Gross, I know!) It is a powerful antioxidant and is invigorating and uplifting. 

Why Young Living's Peppermint Essential Oil?
Peppermint Oil is an anti-inflamatory, energy booster, digestive aid and also helps heal skin conditions including itchy skin, varicose veins, and eczema. It also helps curb appetite (just a little plus:)

The cream is SO simple to make.

In a glass bowl combine 1 cup of coconut oil with about 15 drops of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil and about 5 drops of Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil. (Never use plastic to mix or store your essential oils).

Mix well using a metal whisk until it has a "whipped" appearance. 

And done! Simple, right? 

I have been using this for just 3 days and I can already tell a difference! The skin on my thighs is smoother and softer! My husband just got back from a business trip and I hadn't told him about this cream (who wants to talk about their cellulite?!). Well, this morning he walked up behind me and said "I think you are getting smaller right here" and he was pointing to my thighs! 

Another way I know it's working? I am constantly going pee (I know another fun thing to talk about). But all my quick trips to the potty are letting me know that my cream is pulling waste out of my cells and getting them out of my body! What a great feeling! 

I will say, since this cellulite cream is made of pure oils you will want to let it soak into your skin before getting dressed. (It is an amazing moisturizer too!) I have been applying mine in the morning and after showers. You may not want to apply at bedtime because of the bathroom trips and energy it gives. 

Other uses for this cream:
Varicose veins (aids in circulation)
Foot fungus (antifungal)
Calluses (skin softening) 

To order Young Living Oils visit

When you click on the link, select wholesale or retail at the top of the page and set up your account. Retail members will pay 24% more than wholesale, so please take a moment to read about how to become a wholesale member. It's so easy! 

One of the things I love most about Young Living is EVERYONE can be a wholesale member! All you do is purchase the premium starter kit and you will be a wholesale member for life! There's NO FEES, NO MONTHLY MINIMUMS AND NO OBLIGATION TO SELL! 

If you are interested in getting started with essential oils I highly recommend the starter kit. It gives you 11 of the most used oils (The Everyday Oils Kit) AND a home diffuser! It is literally the BEST way to get to know the oils and see how much you'll love them. 

When you set up your wholesale account, the premium starter kit is the first kit listed in step 2. When you get to step 3, select "no thanks," then continue the set up. Step 3 is to set up an autoship. It's an awesome program, but you'll want to wait until you know your oils and it's time to order again. 

If you have questions I would love to help you! Just email me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Young Living Lemon Essential Oil - Curing a Plantar's Wart

As you read in my last post, I have become a true believer in Young Living Essential Oils. Tonight I am telling you about their Lemon oil and the wonders it has done for me. 

You see, during the summer months while playing sand volleyball I got a plantar's wart (a wart on the bottom of the foot). Plantar's warts, like all warts are caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and I'm sure I contracted it from the sand where we play barefoot volleyball. It's a little gross I  know, but it's really not a huge deal. It's the same a getting a canker sore in your mouth. 

The worst things about a plantar's wart is 1. The pain they cause and 2. How hard they are to get rid of. So, they are the same thing as a wart you would get on your hand, but due to the pressure of standing on your feet all the time a plantar's wart grows in, instead of out. They look like a hole in the bottom of your foot, as apposed to a bump.

And this is why they are so tricky. Since the wart grows in, it's really hard to get any medication to it. Over the counter medicated pads, such as Compound W, may work well for a wart on your hand, but when you put it on a plantar's wart the medication doesn't even touch it. (I won't even go into what the "medication" in Compound W is, but I can promise you, you don't want to put that on your body or into your blood stream!)

I am a runner. I have 3 young kids and NEVER sit down. I suffered with a plantar's wart for 6 months! It was terrible! 

After my amazing results with Young Living's Peppermint Oil treating my head aches I decided to see if there is an oil that could help my foot feel better. 

And you guessed it. Young Living's Lemon Oil is what I found. 

So, here's how it worked. I applied the lemon oil (undiluted) to the "hole" on the bottom of my foot once per day for two days. And you know what? 

The pain was gone! 

The "hole" (aka plantar's wart) in my foot was almost completely gone! 

The lemon oil gets down in to the hole and attacks the virus causing the wart. And it KILLS it! 

After the first 2 days of treating my foot and having such amazing results I continued treating it until it was gone for good. 

Young Living's Lemon Oil has been an amazing addition to our house. 

I've used it to 
*Clean and sanitize our yoga mats (a few drops in a spray bottle of water)
*Get rid of a blemish...Ah hmm...pimple (which disappeared over night!)
*And I've been rubbing it on my leg for a varicose vein (I so graciously received after my 3rd baby :( ) and shhh...I've been rubbing it on my upper thighs for cellulite, but let's pretend I never said that! 

Young Living's Lemon Essential Oil has endless possibilities! 

Here are a few more uses...

To order Young Living's Lemon Essential Oil visit:

If you are interested in becoming a Lemon Dropper or saving 24% on all Young Living's products contact me

And as always, never substitute Young Living's Essential Oils with another brand. Ingredients, purity and quality differs with other oils. They could actually hurt, instead of help you.