Sunday, March 30, 2014

Homemade Garden Tags

This is a fun, little craft that you can include the kids in.  One recent, boring day we got out a bushel of supplies, plopped it all on the kitchen table, and got to work making garden cards for our Spring (if we ever get it planted!) garden.

You will need:
popsicle sticks (large or small)
sturdy colored paper
seed packs for inspiration
laminate covers

We picked out a few seed packs that would be fun to turn into tags, and cut out the corresponding shapes to match.  Each fruit or vegetable cut-out got its own background, then was laminated (at the same time as all the others).  We then glued popsicle sticks to the back of the laminated cards.

I meant to label them before laminating, but I might just write what they are on the sticks.  I think they look kind of nice without any writing as well.  Below are some pictures that show the process.

My guys really liked being involved, because they got to play with paper, glue, and (kid-safe) scissors.  They aren't old enough to cut out the shapes yet, but I imagine that this would be a really fun thing to do with older kids.

 It was St. Patrick's Day, hence all the green!

Linked up with:
Simply Designing | Ginger Snap Crafts | Lady Behind the Curtain | Creations by Kara Someday Crafts | Life with the Crust Cut Off |  The Turquoise Home

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homemade Mouthwash

I'm sure a lot of you know that most mouthwashes on the market do contain some pretty icky ingredients. This is a very simple recipe to make, and it does the trick without any toxic chemicals!

Homemade Mouthwash

1/4 cup distilled water
10 drops of peppermint essential oil
5 drops of malaleuca essential oil
3 drops of clove essential oil
3 drops of rosemary essential oil

Mix this up very well before each use, as the oils and water naturally separate.  I just used an empty vanilla extract container that I've had for a while.

Your breath will smell so fresh after using this mouthwash each morning!  There are other homemade mouthwashes out there, but this recipe is my favorite, because it's so easy to make, the ingredients are easy to find, and it really works.  The malaleuca will aid in killing nasty germs, too.  Did you know that if you have a cold sore, it can also help get rid of it?

Malaleuca is known to be:
  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
Don't forget to keep it out of children's reach.

Linked up with:
Simply Designing | Ginger Snap Crafts | Lady Behind the Curtain | Creations by Kara Someday Crafts | Life with the Crust Cut Off |  The Turquoise Home

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Dirt and Worms" Sensory Activity

This is so much fun for the kids!

Making a "Dirt and Worms" Sensory Activity for your kids is fairly easy.  All you will need is:

coffee grounds (for the dirt) Cheap coffee will work. :)
cooked spaghetti noodles (worms)
raisins (bugs)
some grass, flowers, weeds, etc.

I just put all of this into a large tupperware, and my boys loved it.  They threw the worms up in the air, and scattered coffee grounds EVERYWHERE.  I think I developed an eye twitch, trying to keep it away from the carpet, but their smiles were worth it!

This activity is pretty baby-friendly (if you leave the grass, flowers, and raisins out).  Most of the "ingredients" are edible and non-toxic.  Just watch out for baby eating the pasta, and getting a caffeine rush.  Mine had to sample the spaghetti, and seemed to be disgusted by it, but kept eating more.  Mom of the year here.  Yep, that's me.  I let my kid eat coffee coated spaghetti.

I got this idea from my favorite kid-friendly learning blog: Fun at Home with Kids

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ranch Dressing Mix

Have you ever made ranch dressing mix from scratch?  It's really easy, and tastes even better than store-bought dressing in my opinion.  You know exactly what is going into it, too!

Here is how you can make the dried mix, which can be stored for a long time, until you decide to add the wet ingredients.  

This recipe is to be mixed with 1 quart of wet ingredients.


Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix


2 Tbsps. dry parsley flakes
1 Tbsp. dry onion powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry dill
1/4 tsp. sweetener of choice (like sucanat)

Salad Dressing:
Mix with 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of mayonnaise, and 2 cups of buttermilk or kefir.

Vegetable Dip:
Mix with 1 quart of sour cream, yogurt, or Greek yogurt.

For a thick spread: 
Mix with 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 cup of sour cream, and 16 oz. softened cream cheese.

Ranch Avocado Dip:
Mix with 1 cup of pureed avocados, 1 cup of sour cream, and 2 cups of buttermilk or kefir.  Add a little cayenne if you like!

Chipotle Ranch Dip:
Mix with 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of mayonnaise, and 2 cups of buttermilk or kefir.  Add 2 tsp of chipotle chili powder and a pinch of cayenne.


-You can play with other herbs to customize it to your likes.  For instance, I like to add a little cayenne every now and then.

-The flavors blend together and taste best if the dressing, dip, or spread is mixed up the night before and kept in the fridge overnight before use.

-Unless you add some homemade whey as a part of the wet ingredients, the dressing will only last about two days in the fridge, even if you use homemade mayo.  The friendly bacteria in the whey will help maintain the freshness for much longer.  Just mix the whey into the other wet ingredients, and let it sit on the counter overnight before refrigerating.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Calendula Infused Oil

I'm in love with Calendula flowers.  I got a free pack of seeds with a Calendula baby body wash once, and have grown them ever since.  They are very easy to grow and take care of.

You can find Calendula seeds here: Seeds of Change S14529 Certified Organic Orange Zinger Calendula

Calendula officinalis :
-also known as pot marigold or garden marigold, has been used for centuries to heal wounds and skin irritations

-Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties .

-It is useful for disinfecting and treating minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed skin, cradle cap, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot, acne, yeast infections, bee stings, diaper rashes, sore or inflamed muscles,  and other minor irritations and infections of the skin. 

-Plus, it stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites to help minimize scarring and assist with stretch marks

-This versatile botanical can be incorporated into baths, creams, compresses, washes, salves, ointments, massage oils, baths, facial steams, tinctures, and teas. 

-It is also gentle enough to use for babies, children, or animals. 

-Internally, gargling with Calendula infused water may ease a sore throat, sores in the mouth, and inflammations in the mouth and throat -Source

This medicinal oil is simple to prepare and has so many uses. The gentle, soothing, and healing oil can be used alone, or incorporated into salves, massage oils, lip balms, ointments, creams, and lotions. 

How to Make Calendula Infused Oil:

You will need:
organic olive oil
organic dried Calendula flowers

1. Place Calendula flowers in a clean, dry glass jar. Too much moisture will cause the oil to go rancid, so that is why it is a good idea to dry them for at least three days before adding to the jar. Pour olive oil into the jar, making sure to cover the flowers by at least 1” of oil so they will have space to expand. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.

2. Place the jar in a warm, sunny windowsill and shake once or more per day.

3. After 4-6 weeks, strain the herbs out using cheesecloth. Pour the infused oil into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place.

This is my own personal method for drying flowers.  It looks kind of pretty.

Stay tuned to see how I like to use Calendula oil in an upcoming  "Healing Lotions" series.