Tag Archive | all natural

Homemade “Vaseline”/ All Natural Non-Petroleum Jelly


Homemade "Vaseline"/ All Natural Non-Petroleum Jelly ~ Ashley's Homemade Adventures

I was inspired to make this because my husband’s hands are so dry and cracked this winter. Coconut oil healed the little cuts, but his skin is still super dry. He doesn’t just need a moisturizer, he needs something to protect his skin as well. What would most people turn to in that situation? Good ole petroleum jelly. Problem is, I don’t have any and haven’t for a long time. When I read about some of the dangers I threw it out. It can easily be contaminated and is a possible carcinogen. Cancer causing slop? No thank you! I don’t want that stuff anywhere near my family ever again. On top of that it does not even moisturize at all and can actually prevent your skin from getting rid of toxins. It is even banned in some other countries! It is amazing how many products I used to use all the time without even thinking about WHAT I was using, and many other people are the same way. Of course now I am always checking labels lol. Anyways I knew there had to be a better way, and luckily I found one! This recipe is for homemade non-petroleum jelly. I was even able to simplify it a little more and make mine totally organic! It could not be any easier 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup (about 1 ounce) beeswax (I used organic beeswax pastilles)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I used organic olive oil)

Pour your ingredients into the same jar you are going to be using to store it. Place the jar into a saucepan and add enough water to go about halfway up the jar. Heat on medium until the beeswax melts. Stir, and carefully remove jar from pan – I am sure it goes without saying but just in case, it is HOT. Let cool completely, store covered.

I loved using the same jar to store it in, because there was no clean up afterwards! I always have popsicle sticks on hand because we love to make our own, so I used one of those to stir. Literally the only thing I had to do was dump the water after I was done. You could even let it cool completely and use it to water your plants. It only takes a few minutes for the beeswax to melt so keep an eye on it. I would not recommend boiling the water because the jar might tip and spill. This only fills a small jar so if you want to make a large amount use a bigger jar and double the ingredients.

I actually made two jars of it, and while one was cooling I stirred some essential oils into it to make a natural antiseptic ointment. I used about 10-20 drops each of lavender, lemon and tea tree essential oils. I will probably also use this as a base for homemade vapor rub with some eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender essential oils. Any one of these would make a great gift too!

Homemade Petroleum Jelly & Antiseptic Ointment ~ Ashley's Homemade Adventures

Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

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Homemade Electrolyte Drink (Homemade Pedialyte)


Homemade Pedialyte Recipe - Ashley's Homemade Adventures

The flu is going around like crazy! We have been dealing with it in our house for several weeks now. My daughter and I are past the worst part now, thank God! There was one day we were both very weak with very high fevers. I was so happy I had made some of this homemade Pedialyte the day before. This is a great way to save yourself some money and a trip to the store. You can also flavor this any way you want! I know there are quite a few recipes out there but this is how we do it:

Homemade Pedialyte:

  • 8 cups water (I prefer to use distilled water, I always have some on hand)
  • 1/4 cup honey (you can also use sugar but we try to stay away from extra sugar and the honey has added benefits)
  • 1 teaspoon SEA salt (contains important minerals that table salt does not, you could also use Himalayan salt which would be even better)
  • Juice of an orange, lemon or lime (optional but has even more benefits, like Vitamin C)
  • Crystal Light or Kool-aid powder for flavor (also optional, we love the lemon Crystal Light with Stevia)

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, stir until salt and honey have dissolved. Store in refrigerator.

We also love to make this into popsicles, great for when you or your child is burning up from a fever. When my daughter is sick I make sure she takes a sip of this every 10 minutes or so. Best served chilled.

Warning: Honey is not considered safe for children less than a year old.

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Also a quick update on my cousin Joe… (I mentioned in the First Birthday post about how he had a massive heart attack) Miraculously he has no serious brain damage, his heart is working on its own and it looks like he will be okay! He still has to get through heart surgery on Thursday so he is a long way from full recovery, but I am just so happy and thankful he is still with us. If anyone could send some positive thoughts or prayers his way I would really appreciate it 🙂

Flax-seed Benefits & How to Get More In Your Diet


Don’t let this tiny seed fool you, it is packed with many benefits. Flax seeds contain fiber, lignans, micronutrients, and essential omega-3 fatty acids. It has been shown to help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, prevent hardening of the arteries and may even be helpful to people with certain types of cancer. You can find a lot more information on health benefits and other uses here and here.

The best way to consume this amazing little seed is to grind it up, whole flax seeds will just pass through your system and you won’t get the benefits. You can buy ground/milled flax-seed or you can grind it up yourself in a coffee grinder. It is best to store your ground flax-seed in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them from going bad. It is recommended to take 1-2 tablespoons daily.

If you have never used ground flax before, or you are not sure how to get more into your daily diet have no fear! I have some great ideas for you, and you won’t even taste the flax in most of these.

  • Stir into unsweetened applesauce (I like to add a sprinkle of cinnamon for the benefits of that as well)
  • Stir into yogurt
  • Add to your morning oatmeal or overnight oatmeal
  • Sprinkle on top of cereal
  • Bake into bread, such as this wonderful oatmeal molasses bread
  • Bake into muffins
  • Add to homemade tortillas (which you can also turn into baked chips)
  • Add to meatloaf or meatballs
  • Make some homemade popcorn, stir in some unrefined coconut oil and sprinkle on top along with some sea salt
  • Sprinkle on top of ice cream or frozen yogurt

I asked my Facebook friends to share some of the ways they use flax seeds and these were the responses I received:

Chandra- “I put flax-seed in my green smoothies in the morning. Spinach, kale, cucumber, flax seed, a banana, frozen blueberries, a couple frozen strawberries and a little fresh OJ. All 3 of the kids love it. (and so does my hubby!)”

Jessica- “I have made peanut butter/granola ball snacks with honey and flax-seed in it. Delicious! I did throw a little bit of chocolate chips in for some yummy goodness ;)”

Pari’- “We eat ground flax every single day in our lunch smoothies. Even if you don’t have this routine, ground flax is much easier than the seeds to consume wether it be cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or baked into practically any goods. You can also get cold milled flax-seed oil & pour it on any dish once it’s done cooking. Such as salads, casseroles, stir fries etc. A little bit goes a long way!” (Note: The oil does not contain the fiber benefit)

Haley- “They make flax-seed chips and they are yummy!! They taste kinda like fritos!”  (She recommends these corn chips with flax seed)

I hope this has inspired you to get more flax into your diet. If you have any other ideas please let us know in the comments 🙂

❤ Ashley

Homemade Shampoo Part Two


Since my homemade shampoo recipe is by far the most popular post on my blog, I decided it was time for a part two! I have had many questions on here, and facebook that I wanted to address and I also have some new ideas to share as well.

First of all, I know some of you may be hesitant to buy a whole bag of xanthan gum just to try my shampoo recipe and I don’t blame you one bit! The good news is they sell little tiny packets of it! I found these in the baking aisle for less than 50 cents each! One packet has enough to make a gallon of shampoo, perfect for making a test batch 🙂 I have to tell you I was so excited when I saw these lol. Seriously who gets excited over xanthan gum? I don’t blame my husband for occasionally shaking his head at me haha.

Probably the most common question I get asked is if there is a way to make the shampoo thicker. I know it can be a little hard to adjust when you are used to the products in the store. I have been able to make it thicker but still not as thick as commercial shampoo. I will share the recipe to make it slightly thicker at the end of this post. I am sure you could get it even thicker if you wanted, but part of the reason I make this is to save money. If you are trying to make it thicker you will be using more ingredients, which means it will cost you more money. It will also take you more time to make it. I would love to experiment even more but I make no money from this blog and can not afford to waste supplies I need. Yes it is rather thin, but it still works great for us. Just put it in a squirt bottle and apply it directly to your head and you are good to go 🙂

A couple of people have mentioned to me that their hair did not feel quite clean after using this. There are a few reasons why you might have this problem. This shampoo will not strip your hair like the harsh detergents in store-bought shampoo. You may need to massage this into your scalp a little more than you would with your old shampoo, it is meant to be more gentle on your hair and scalp. I have also read about your hair/scalp having an adjustment period when you stop using store-bought shampoo. You can add a little extra castile soap and slowly cut back on the amount you use while your hair gets used to the new shampoo. If it is used to being stripped of oils, it is used to making extra oil to compensate. You may need a few weeks to adjust to this, but please don’t let this discourage you. If your hair looks greasy on the second day, simply brush some cornstarch through it. This will help absorb the oil and you can even add a little essential oil to the cornstarch first for a nice scent 🙂 I do not wash my hair every day, it is bad for your hair and frankly a pain. No matter what I use I still have the problem of my hair being a little greasy looking on the second day. Sadly some of us are just “blessed” that way. No store-bought product ever helped me with that issue either but my homemade shampoo does still get my oily hair clean.

Another fairly common question is “How long does it keep?”  I don’t think there is any set answer to this question. Honestly I think this really depends on how you make it and store it. If you boil your water first, use an essential oil that is anti-microbial and then store your extra shampoo in a dark, cool place I am sure that will help it last longer. I have kept mine under my bathroom sink for 3 months before it went bad. If you are concerned about this I would make a half recipe at a time, and I would also suggest smelling it before refilling your shampoo bottle for the shower. You will definitely be able to tell if it has gone bad or not.

I wanted to add that it is NOT necessary to use tea.  Since my original shampoo post I have made it with just plain water and prefer to make it that way now. It is easier, cheaper and works just as great. If you use water and unscented castile soap (like Dr. Bronners Baby Mild) it is better for children or individuals with sensitive skin 🙂 I have also made homemade liquid castile soap since my original shampoo post that you can use if you don’t want to buy or can’t find Dr. Bronners.

I hope this information has helped clear up any questions you may have. If anyone has any other questions please feel free to post a comment and I will do my best to help you. I would also love to hear more reviews as well 🙂 This is still the only shampoo that we use and I don’t foresee us switching back to store-bought anytime soon! We have been very happy with it and I hope you will give it a try if you haven’t already.

❤ Ashley

Homemade Shampoo – Thicker Formula

  • 13 cups water or tea
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup castile soap
  • 30 drops essential oils (optional)

Add 13 cups of water to a large pot. In a seperate bowl mix together the remaining cup of cold water and cornstarch, whisk until no lumps remain. Pour cornstarch mixture into large pot with the water. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly for several minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, whisk in baking soda, xanthan gum and castile soap. Let cool completely, mix in essential oil.

 

Edit added on 08/06/2012 ~ After using the thicker formula a few times I have noticed that it does not foam up as much as my original shampoo recipe. It still works to get your hair clean but I will be sticking with the original or skipping the cornstarch and just using less water 🙂

Making Your Own Homemade Liquid Castile Soap


I love Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap, the only problem is that when you use as much castile soap as I do the price can add up. The price around here is about 5 dollars for one of the smaller bottles. I had heard of Kirk’s castle bar soap, so I bought it to use in the shower. I really loved it and it is super cheap too compared to other soaps. It is all natural and made with coconut oil, but it does not smell like coconut.  I found it in the regular soap aisle at Wal-Mart, less than $1.50 for 3 bars.

I had made liquid hand soap out of other bars of soap before, so I figured I could make this into liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s. I grated up a bar of Kirk’s, put it in a big container, covered it with 10 cups of hot water, stirred and let it sit 24 hours.

After 24 hours I had a nice liquid soap, but very thin. I was actually a little disappointed and thought that I had watered it down too much, until I used it. It was still very sudsy and effective! You could use less water if you wanted it thicker but for me this works just fine. Here are some of the ways that we use it around our house:

Face/body wash in the shower (add baking soda for a great exfoliating wash)

Hand soap (in a regular pump bottle or about 1/4 soap to 3/4 water in a foaming dispenser)

In place of Dr. Bronner’s in my homemade shampoo (I double the amount for this)

To clean fruits and veggies from the store (to remove germs and pesticide residue if you buy conventionally grown produce)

In place of Dr. Bronner’s for cleaning (Diluted with hot water for mopping the floor, cleaning the walls, cabinets, etc.)

Bathing pets

Pest control in the garden (Drop bugs into a bucket of hot soapy water)


I really love this stuff and you can’t beat the price. You get 10 cups per bar of soap so that is almost 2 gallons for less than 2 dollars 🙂  Little changes like this can make a big difference in your budget and eliminating toxic chemicals from your life. It takes hardly any time at all to make, it is cheap, all natural and works wonderfully. If you can think of any other uses for this please feel free to share in the comments. Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

Homemade Liquid Castile Soap:

1. Grate 1 bar of Kirk’s castile bar soap into large pot or container.

2. Add 10 cups hot water, stir and cover.

3. Let sit 24 hours, stir.

Update added on Feb. 6th 2013 – This liquid soap seems to thicken or gel up when cold, store in a warm area of your house and it should remain runny like it should be.

Update added on July 12, 2013 – At my store they have raised the price. It used to be less than $1.50 for 3 bars, it is now over $3.00! I am kinda bummed but it is still cheaper than buying Dr. Bronner’s.

Homemade All-Natural Cinnamon Scented Cleaner


I have tried a few a lot of recipes for homemade all-purpose cleaners. I keep going back to this one because its super easy, works great and smells great too. My favorite part? No chemicals! It only has three ingredients so it is not hard to remember how to make it when you run out. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of cinnamon, you can use other scents as well 🙂 You will need:

  • Large clean spray bottle
  • Measuring cup
  • 12 oz. White vinegar
  • 12 oz. Water
  • 20-40 drops Cassia essential oil (depending on how strong you want it to smell)

A quick word about my measuring cup in the picture above. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves to cook. It is a flexible silicone measuring cup, I have had it for almost 2 years and I love it. (Here is the link to the site if you want more info about it: Flex-It Silicone Measuring Cup) Ok back to the recipe!! Add the water, vinegar and essential oil to the large spray bottle and shake, that is it! (Give a quick shake before each use as well)

Just a few warnings:

  • Avoid eye contact, the cassia oil will burn!
  • Do not use cassia essential oil if pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not use this cleaner (vinegar) on granite counter tops
  • You may develop the sudden urge to bake cinnamon rolls

Now some of you who are new to this homemade stuff may wonder if this will really clean/sanitize your surfaces. Well the answer is yes! Vinegar and cassia essential oil are both anti-microbial 🙂 The other benefit to using essential oils in your homemade cleaning products is that you are getting aroma-therapy while you are cleaning! Cassia oil is very refreshing, uplifting and comforting. If you would like more information on cassia oil and its uses you can find some great info here and here. Some other great essential oils you could use in this recipe (that are also anti-microbial) would be lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and oregano.

Happy cleaning!

❤ Ashley

Garlic Cilantro Buttermilk Dressing


Adapted from The Homesick Texan Recipe (Great blog with lots of yummy looking recipes)

We have not bought regular salad dressing in quite a while. Instead I started buying the ridiculously expensive ones in the refrigerated section because they don’t contain MSG or preservatives. I do have to say that the Marketside brand (sold at Walmart) has some great dressings, I love the sesame ginger (which is also great for marinating chicken) and the light buttermilk ranch. The bottle in the picture above is one of their bottles, but with homemade dressing in it. Although they taste great, the price was bothering me since we go through a lot of dressing and I knew I could do better. I make my husband a huge salad to take to work every week for his lunches and we eat salad quite a bit too. We also like to dip baby carrots and celery into ranch dressing. I have found many recipes through Pinterest but this one really interested me. You can leave it really thick and use as a dip for chips or veggies, or make it thinner by adding more buttermilk. The great thing about making your own dressing is you can make it however you want 🙂

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (I used the kind made with olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream (I used light but greek yogurt or yogurt cheese would probably work very well too)
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk (I used reduced fat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (lemon juice is fine too)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • add salt & black pepper to taste

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix together. Store covered in a glass jar in the fridge. You can certainly use it right away, but I think it tastes much better after sitting over night. The flavors really have a chance to meld together and the garlic mellows out quite a bit. The flavor of the cilantro really shines in this, if you do not like cilantro you will not like this dressing. However you can easily replace the cilantro with parsley or dill or both. Personally I love cilantro and how fresh it makes everything taste. The original recipe says it keeps for a week. I have had some of mine sitting for 9 days to test it and it is still fine. Use your own judgement, if it starts to smell funky don’t eat it lol. Just give it a quick shake before using and enjoy!

Nothing compares to fresh dressing you made yourself!

❤ Ashley