Crafts/Fun Recipes, Tips & Tricks

Homemade Faux Pewter Pedestal Dish


Homemade Faux Pewter Pedestal Dish ~ Ashley's Homemade Adventures
Homemade Faux Pewter Pedestal Dish ~ Ashley’s Homemade Adventures

I absolutely LOVE the DIY faux pewter pedestal bowl tutorial at Morena’s corner so I had to try making one myself. I looked on Amazon to find similar items to see how much they cost and you can definitely get the look at a fraction of the price with this method. Here are some examples: Mermaid Pewter Bowl  , Decorative Pewter Bowl on Pedestal and Pewter Octopus on Glass Bowl (Just use this method on the figure before attaching it to the glass). Just think of all the possibilities! 

I picked this cute little angel to stand in the middle of mine. The angel, dish, and pedestal were all from Dollar Tree! I love how it turned out, what do you think? 

For the full tutorial please visit Morena’s corner HERE. 

It makes a perfect jewelry holder! Homemade faux pewter pedestal dish ~ Ashley's Homemade Adventures
It makes a perfect jewelry holder! Homemade faux pewter pedestal dish ~ Ashley’s Homemade Adventures

❤ Ashley

Beauty/Body Recipes, Uncategorized

Homemade Shaving Lotion


Homemade Shaving Lotion ~ Ashley's Homemade Adventures

Finally an alternative to store-bought shaving cream! I have tried using plain soap or body wash (can we say razor burn?!) and also plain conditioner (worked fine but not silky enough for me) So yes I will admit I was still using store-bought, but now I can kiss it goodbye! I was using lotionized shave creme, but looking at the label makes me cringe. Sulfates, parabens, and a whole bunch of other crap I can’t even pronounce. I am so glad this homemade shaving lotion can be made without all that! Not to mention it works great and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.

I found this recipe here but I did modify it a bit to make it more natural 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shampoo (I used 1 cup of my homemade liquid castile soap)
  • 1 cup conditioner (I used Simply U sulfate and paraben free conditioner)
  • 5 tablespoons baby oil (I used grape seed oil)
  • 5 tablespoons lotion (I used 1/2 cup of St. Ives with natural moisturizers, but I plan on using homemade lotion in the future)
  • Essential oils (optional, I did not use any in this batch but probably will in the future)

Wisk all ingredients together, pour into a bottle and you are done! I am absolutely in love with this stuff and never plan on buying any chemical laden shaving cream from the store again! I store mine in a pump bottle, which makes it super convenient. Enjoy!

I will leave you with this bonus tip… Dry your razor blades off when you get out of the shower. They will last longer, seriously! 🙂

❤ Ashley

Beauty/Body Recipes, Drinks, Tips & Tricks

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 🙂

Cleaning Recipes, Tips & Tricks

Homemade Glass Cleaner


Goodbye commercial glass cleaner! Who wants to pay more when you can make it yourself? Besides being cheaper it is much better to know exactly what you are using in your home. The kind sold in stores contains 2-Butoxyethanol, which can cause adrenal tumors in animals (not good if you own pets!). Moderate exposure in humans can cause irritation of the mucus membranes and heavy exposure can cause more serious side effects like hypotensionmetabolic acidosishemolysis, pulmonary edema and even coma. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be breathing that in or touching it, and certainly do not want it around my child. Luckily there is a solution and it is super easy!

Homemade Glass Cleaner:

  • Empty Gallon Container (I used a spring water jug)
  • 1/2 cup Ammonia (I used lemon because that is all I have)
  • 16 oz. Rubbing Alcohol (I used 1 and 1/2 cups of the regular kind and 1/2 cup of the mint kind because I ran out of the regular)
  • 1 tsp Dawn Dish Soap (I used the blue Dawn)

First fill your container halfway with water, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed, then fill the rest of the way with water. Give it a gentle shake and you have a gallon of glass cleaner! Pour some into a spray bottle and be amazed at how awesome it is!

I cannot take credit for this recipe, when doing a search for “How to make homemade glass cleaner” This was one of the top results. If this is not quite what you are searching for then check out Crunchy Betty’s Battle of the Homemade Glass Cleaners. I prefer this one because it cleans easier but the others are good if you don’t want to use some of these ingredients.

Here is a little secret to get streak free, fuzz free windows and mirrors…. clean them with NEWSPAPER! It works like a charm 🙂 I have been doing it for years!

Now get to work, those windows and mirrors aren’t going to clean themselves! 😀 Cleaning is a lot more fun when you make your own cleaners!

❤ Ashley

P.S.- You can use this on other hard non-porous surfaces as well. It is great for the outside of the toilet and bathroom counter tops!

Cleaning Recipes

Homemade Soap Scum Remover (that really works!)


This is another wonderful, EASY homemade cleaner recipe that will save you money. You might even have the ingredients on hand already…. dawn and vinegar! I know this recipe is going around on Pinterest, that is how I found it, but I still feel the need to share and give you my two cents 🙂

My husband loves to use bar soap in the shower, which leaves me with a problem… soap scum! I have literally begged him to switch to something else and even took his favorite soap and made it into a body wash (hoping it would rinse easier) but I just couldn’t get him to part with his bar. Before I “woke up” to the dangers of many cleaners I tried just about everything they sell for soap scum and I still had to scrub like crazy. This was also a problem for me because sometimes my back acts up and that definitely doesn’t help.

So I decided to give this a try after seeing it spread on Pinterest like wildfire. My only regret is not trying it sooner! It works amazingly well, I have literally never had an easier time getting the tub clean. I sprayed it on the dry tub, let it sit for about an hour, wet down my scrub brush and started scrubbing. I figured I was going to have to scrub the entire tub pretty hard but I was surprised to see how easily it was coming clean. There were still a few spots that I had to use more elbow grease, like the area where the bar of soap actually sits for example… but still I was very impressed. The walls were sparkling when I was done rinsing…I almost did a happy dance 🙂

You can also use this for cleaning sinks and even your toilet… yes your toilet! You may want to test it in your toilet using only a small amount first but I have had no problems. At first I thought it might be TOO sudsy but it worked great. I bet this would be fantastic for cleaning outdoor toys and furniture although I have no tried it myself yet. I also plan on using it to clean my bird’s cage. For a little extra scrubbing action if you have a really heavy duty mess you could add some baking soda.

Just a little warning, as with any cleaning product you will want good ventilation… crack the window or turn on the vent fan. The smell is a little strong but at least it is not toxic!

You can find the recipe here: Tub and Shower Magic or continue reading below:

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces white vinegar
  • 12 ounces liquid blue Dawn detergent

Directions:

1. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.

2. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.

3. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

I hope you love this stuff as much as I do!

❤ Ashley

Food Recipes

Homemade “Caramel” Apple Dip


Today I may have just stumbled upon the EASIEST and most amazing apple dip ever! At least that is what I would like to think 😉 My 4-year-old took one bite and told me I HAD to write a blog about it. With fall just around the corner it means there will be lots of apple picking and eating going on. I remember getting so excited when my mom would bring home the caramel apple dip from the store. She only bought it every once in a while as a special treat but I found a way to get the same taste with out all the sugar and guilt. My daughter wanted an apple this morning, and lately I have been making her a dip that is a mixture of yogurt, peanut butter, honey and ground flax seeds (also really yummy by the way). I didn’t feel like eating that particular dip this morning, I wanted something more fall like… so I came up with this. You probably won’t even need to write this one down, it is so easy to remember.

  • 1/4 cup plain (organic) yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Stir together and voila, creamy, caramel-y tasting goodness! Skip all of those dips loaded with sugar and preservatives and just try this simple and healthy dip once, you won’t be sorry 🙂 I am not gonna lie I kinda felt like a genius for coming up with this even though it is so easy haha.

Next time I will probably be mixing some flax-seed meal into this dip as well, I am always trying to find ways to get more into our diet. (For other ideas on how to eat more flax-seed and why it is good for you check out this post) I bet this would also be amazing with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Do you plan on trying this, what did you think, what are your other favorite apple dips? Enjoy!

❤ Ashley

Uncategorized

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 🙂

Beauty/Body Recipes, Cleaning Recipes, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized

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. I 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 compared to other soaps. It’s 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, you can also order it here: Kirk’s Castile Soap

I have 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 ended up with 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)


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 until soap dissolves.

3. Store covered. (I use empty gallon-size water jugs and shake gently before use)

Update – This liquid soap seems to thicken or gel up when cold, store in a warm area of your house and it should remain liquid. 

I really love this stuff and you can’t beat the price. 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

 

 

Cleaning Recipes

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

Food Recipes

Quick & Easy Homemade Yeast Rolls


When I was little, my dad used to take my sister Amanda and I to visit family in Texas every summer. When we would go visit my Nanny (great-grandma) in Palestine she would always have lots of yummy food ready when we got there. We would have a great meal, all of the best southern comfort foods. Then we would sit on her front porch and watch literally HUNDREDS of hummingbirds swarm the feeders at sunset. One of the things I really looked forward to were her homemade rolls. This is not her recipe, but it must be pretty darn close! I took one bite of these, warm out of the oven with some honey butter and it flooded my mind with memories of my Nanny. I found this recipe on Your Homebased Mom. I followed it exactly the first time, but this time I attempted to make it a little healthier. I figured I wouldn’t feel so guilty about wanting to devour the entire batch by myself lol. These are SO soft and tender and don’t take long to whip up. It is more work than opening a can of dough from the fridge but I promise you it is worth it. Your house will smell like a bakery, and best of all you will get bragging rights! lol.

Ok here we go! Quick Homemade Yeast Rolls (Makes 12):

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm (not hot) water
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used honey)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 and 1/2 cups flour (I used all-purpose, whole wheat and ground oatmeal)

 

In your mixing bowl, combine the water, oil, yeast and honey – allow to sit for 15 minutes. This is proofing the yeast, it should start to foam up like this:

The original recipe I tried said to use your dough hook with a stand mixer for this next part… however when I tried that the dough just “climbed” up the hooks and made a big mess. I prefer just to mix this recipe by hand. Add in your salt, egg and flour until well incorporated. The original recipe says to use bread flour or all-purpose flour, but since I was trying to make it a little healthier I used 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, then 1/2 cup of finely ground oatmeal (I just put quick oats into my food processor to grind them up) Now both times I made these, that was not enough flour. I was left with a very thin and sticky dough. At this point add in 1/4 cup of flour at a time until your dough starts forming a ball and is not sticky anymore. Each time I added an additional 1 and 1/2 cups of flour (this can vary by where you live and the weather so this is why I say add in 1/4 cup at a time, you don’t want to add too much) Knead for just a couple of minutes until its soft and smooth. Your dough should look something like this:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Form dough into 12 balls and place into the greased dish.

Don’t worry if they are not perfect. Somehow I ended up with balls that were slightly bigger than the rest. I put them on the outside edge so they will cook through. Let them rise for 10 minutes. Then bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top (it took about 13 minutes for our oven).

At this point you can brush them with half of a stick of melted butter, garlic butter or my personal favorite; honey butter. I use half of a stick of butter and an equal amount of  local raw honey YUM!

Beware though… these are so good you might have to protect them from cute little roll thieves!

They are also great for sandwiches!

Enjoy!

❤ Ashley