Natural Deodorant Recipe Review

This week I decided to forgo store-bought deodorant and try making a natural version.  Store-bought deodorants are loaded with unhealthy additives. It’s just bad news. But since nobody wants to stink, what do you do?  I did some research and found a recipe using coconut oil, which is one of my favorite things, anyway.  The recipe calls for three ingredients total, but you can add essential oils according to personal preference.

The deodorant is a mix of arrowroot powder, baking soda, and the coconut oil. I didn’t use an essential oil our any other scent.  Mine didn’t really solidify, so I might have used a bit too much coconut oil.  The oil soaks right into your skin, though, so it’s not really a problem.  UPDATE:  After a couple of days, it has solidified and is pretty firm.  I can get it out of the jar, but it would be very likely to work well in an old deodorant tube, if you wish.  I’m sticking with the glass jars, because, um … plastic.

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I put my mixture into a pint canning jar and have used it for two days. Nobody at the office passed out, so that’s a good sign. I told my coworker what I’d done and she said she really only smelled a faint scent of coconut, but said she knows I moisturize with it, anyway.

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The verdict?  It’s natural, it’s safe, and it’s inexpensive.  So far it works pretty well and I plan to continue with it.  Here’s a list of other alternatives to store-bought deodorant.  The lemon one sounds interesting, and I’m wondering if it would work when blended with this recipe.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rules

There are a number of reasons people around the web praise the benefits of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar.  Some of these include for weight loss, clearer skin, and general detoxification.  A very detailed post about the many benefits can be found here.

I’ve been curious about trying it for many of these reasons, especially given the fact that I have inflammation issues from my Hashimoto’s.  All the positive reviews finally got to me and I decided to give it a shot.

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My first reservation was over the taste.  Let’s face it, drinking vinegar doesn’t exactly bring to mind thoughts of champagne glasses and sugar cubes.  The recipe on the bottle 1-2 teaspoons of the vinegar in a glass of water, and to sweeten it with raw honey.  Luckily, I’d just replenished my local raw honey stash at the farmers’ market this weekend.

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The honey is a bit thicker, so it took a lot of stirring to get it mixed well.  Then I was worried about it being slimy or something.  I’m a big chicken like that.  Once it was all stirred I braced myself and drank it down.

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I have to say it’s really not bad.  I’d probably use a little more raw honey next time, though.  It’s got an unusual taste, sort of like a tart, unsweetened apple juice.  According to the bottle, you’re to do this three times a day.  It’s natural and not bad for you, so why not?  I’ll give it a try and see how I feel after a week or so.

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Kid approved!

I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts (Oil)

A couple of years ago I began to seek out more natural ways of living.  Harsh chemicals are in everything from cleaning supplies to the food we eat.  Since I have multiple auto-immune disorders, it’s been a mission of mine to get rid of all of that junk and stick with the basics. I have a few natural staples for our home that we use for multiple purposes.  One of those staples is coconut oil.  Too many people are completely unaware of just how useful this stuff really is.  From soap-making and personal care to wood polish to cooking, coconut oil is truly amazing. I ran out today, and that’s a big no-no around here.  After scouring several stores this afternoon, I was finally able to get my hands on some more.  I use only organic virgin coconut oil because it’s being used both on our bodies and in cooking, and who wants to risk impurities?

I keep several jars.  Usually at least one in the kitchen for cooking, one in the bathroom for my body, and another for general purpose use.  Eventually I suppose I should just buy it in bulk because we use so much of the stuff!

On your body:  One of coconut oil’s most amazing uses is as a whole-body moisturizer.  I’m one of those people who is sensitive to just about everything, especially anything artificial.  Almost every lotion and moisturizer on the mass market contains alcohol and other irritating ingredients – even the ones marketed for babies!  Coconut oil is less expensive and pure.  One simple ingredient.  As soon as I’m out of the shower, I moisturize with it straight from the jar.  (It can also be whipped with added vitamin E and essential oils, if you like.  Instructions for that can be found here.)  It soaks in very quickly, so you won’t have a greasy, oily feeling after using it.  Be aware a little really does go a very long way, so you only want a dime-sized amount at a time.

On your face:  You might be surprised to find that coconut oil can also be used as a facial moisturizer!  I know you’re thinking, “Oil? On my face?”  Yes, but coconut oil is different.  I have very oily skin that’s prone to irritation and breakouts, as well as issues with redness.  Coconut oil has proven to be the best thing for even my sensitive skin.  I’ve used it for almost two years and have not once had a breakout from it.  Even better, I experience less irritation and redness in my t-zone when I use it regularly.

On your hair:  Coconut oil is a wonderful hair conditioner, just be aware you should use less than a pea-sized amount for even very long hair.  You’ll want to rub it between your hands until it’s liquefied completely and then smooth it into your hair, starting at the ends.  If you use too much it’ll look oily.  If that happens, just rinse your hair thoroughly to get some of it out.  You can use in while in the shower, if you prefer.  Your hair will love you for it.

For sun damage:  This year I took my kids to a music festival and oops!  I forgot sunscreen on myself.  Really dumb, I know.  I’m blonde and pale-skinned and of Irish descent, so you can imagine the sunburn I had.  I was out of aloe, so I just put coconut oil all over the burn.  It took half as long to heal, and didn’t peel very much at all.

As a natural deodorant:  I’ve read fantastic things about natural, homemade deodorant made with coconut oil.  I got all the ingredients today and will make up a batch tonight.  I’ll post the recipe (with proper credit, of course) and tell you how well it works within the next few days.

On wood furniture:  Last year a friend of mine brought me a couple of old bookshelves he’d had sitting in his barn for quite some time.  They were handmade and very primitive, and covered in cobwebs and dust.  After cleaning them up with some orange vinegar solution (I’ll go into that in another post), I grabbed the coconut oil and rubbed it in well.  They looked good as new, and really looked completely different from when they’d been dropped off. A year later, and they still look fantastic.

For cooking:  If you’ve heard coconut oil isn’t a healthy option, you’ll want to read this.  That claim is completely false, and coconut oil is a very healthy food product.  It’s pure, and it even has some wonderful healing properties.  You haven’t lived until you’ve had homemade pancakes cooked in coconut oil.  I don’t use it in everything, though, because you can taste it in the food.  I like it in both sweet and savory dishes, so just be creative with it and figure out what works best for you.

Coconut oil has myriad other uses, which you can read more about here.  

Unintentional Tiny House Living

Last year I’d come fairly close to living my dream.  We were renting a big, 200 year-old farmhouse in the country on a few acres with a gorgeous view, a huge garden, and some very large, well-established grape vines.  It wasn’t perfect, but it had possibilities.  It was peaceful.

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Then some necessary but painful things happened and everything changed.  We moved a few hundred miles into the tiny house we are renting now.  Our home here is very small.  It’s not terribly cramped, but the quarters are tight.  We’ve had to make some sacrifices and pare down quite a bit.  None of these things are negatives, though.  “Stuff” is not what makes us who we are.  Living more simply is a good thing, and will prepare us for bigger and better things later.

The bills are cheap, which means I’ll be out of debt much sooner; quite likely by next spring.  There isn’t room (or decent soil) for a garden here, so mine is limited to containers.  For now, I have started some herbs in my kitchen and make due with what we have in exchange for the joy of the dreams that will come true in the future.

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Fun Saturday at the Home Depot and Local Farmers Market

We had such a great Saturday morning!

Our first stop was the monthly Home Depot kids’ craft.  This is a free event for kids, which Home Depot hosts on the first Saturday of every month.  It’s a great family outing for those of us with limited funds.  You can register online, or just show up.  It’s really for kids age 5 to 12, but that’s more of a guideline.  There were even toddlers working on the projects with their parents.

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When you get there, you’re given a kit for each child which includes everything you’ll need for your craft.  There are tables set up with tools, sandpaper, and safety goggles. The children build their project from the kit, using the included instructions.  My kids are pretty crafty, so they had a great time with this.

Each child is also given an apron they can keep, in case things get messy.  It was very warm and a little muggy today, so my kids opted to wait for their aprons until they were ready for the painting station.

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This month’s project was courtesy of the movie Despicable Me 2!  It’s a cute little wooden replica of Lucy’s car:

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Isn’t it adorable?  I just love the Minions.

 

For every project they do, each child also receives a certificate of completion and a special collectible pin pertaining to the project:

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The Home Depot Kids’ Craft Day lasts from 8 am until noon, but they were already set up around 8:30.  It’s not rigidly structured, so you can just leave whenever you finish your project.  We finished up around 9:30 and were off to our first ever visit to our local Farmers’ Market.

While the kids snacked on fresh strawberries and blueberries, I scored some rosemary, basil, and sage plants to start a little kitchen garden.  Please excuse the mess, I was having far too much fun playing in the dirt.

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Those are red onions in the jars.  As soon as the roots are long enough, they’ll get planted to keep us in fresh green onions for a long time.  I also picked up some chocolate mint and apple mint plants.  The kitchen smells amazing!

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Our other wonderful finds included this gorgeous bunch of fresh radishes, as modeled by Gracie,

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as well as some incredibly good dill pickles, apple butter, and local honey.

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Our local farmers’ market is over half a mile long.  Several downtown city blocks are cordoned off every Saturday morning from June through November.  It’s almost like a mini-festival with food vendors, arts and crafts booths, street musicians, in addition to the farmers’ tents.  November through March the city continues the farmers’ market inside the local City Center Plaza.  Year-round healthy, fresh goodness!

We’ll be spending our Saturday mornings here from now on.  It felt good to walk around the entire market (several times) in the warm sunshine, discovering lots of healthy offerings from our local farms and merchants.

Why Pressure Canning Scares the Be-Cheezits Out of Me

For most of my life I have had an intense fear of pressure canners.  It’s not that I’m afraid of the sight of them, but the thought of actually using one sends me into panic mode.  I’ve been researching and will probably try it eventually, but since my rental home only has a glass-top stove, I can’t use one anyway.

My playroom at my grandparents’ home was just off the kitchen.  I’d often watch while my grandma baked or canned.  She would hum a sweet song while she worked.  I’d have cartoons on the playroom T.V. while playing with my Weebles or Barbies.  Totally soothing and traditional mental picture, right?

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I loved when my grandmother would can soup.  Split pea soup is my favorite, especially when it’s very thick.  My grandmothers was filled with fresh minced onion, sliced carrots, green peas, and the ham hock leftover from her pineapple glazed ham roast.  Whenever we had a ham, I knew what was coming, and looked forward to the resulting soups.

Until it all went horribly wrong.

The nightmare happened when I was about five or six years old.  One bright, sunny day as I was watching the playroom television, Grandma was just finishing up a batch of fresh split pea soup.  I was vaguely aware of the clanking coming from the kitchen as she set up the pressure canner and filled it with the big jars of soup.

The pressure canner was enormous and always made a slightly disturbing noise.  It would wobble and clank on the burner, hissing and shaking and shooting steam from the top like an angry dragon.  It had always worried me a little, but I’d gotten fairly used to it since Grandma canned with it quite often.

Grandma had sternly warned me many times to stay out of the kitchen when she was canning, so I timidly peeked around the doorway at the seething metal monster on the stove.  Today it wobbled and shook and steamed a little harder than usual.  I’d never seen the steam come out from around the edges before.  I stared with wide eyes and a slight tremble as it shook harder and harder.  It was even scarier than when the washing machine was off-balance.  This time the pressure canner was thumping up and down on the stove, as if it was about to jump off of it.

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Obviously the demented invention of Hellraiser’s Pinhead character.

Grandma had started yelling by the point.  She had on her oven mitts and was trying to get to the knobs on the back of the stove, but she couldn’t get past the angrily billowing steam to turn off the heat.  There was a very loud CLANK-CLANK-CLANK, followed by a huge BOOM as the lid flew into the air, struck the ceiling with a bang, then slammed onto the floor.  Pea soup had erupted in a tower of green slime along with the lid, covering everything from the floor to the ceiling within a five-foot radius.

 

I was left with pea soup-induced nightmares for years afterword.

If you’re like me and willing to try to overcome your fears (eventually … when I get around to it … maybe), you can visit An American Homestead for pressure canning safety tips to avoid turning your own kitchen into a war zone.