Saturday, February 15, 2014

Make Your Own Body Wash

There are so many recipes over Facebook and the internet for food, cleaning and personal care products.  There are so many that it is hard to tell what works and what doesn't.  The best way to find out is to try them.  That is what I did with a recipe a friend sent me for Body Wash.  Apparently the body washes that you buy have a lot of unnecessary and possibly dangerous ingredients.  In order to have a long shelf life, the companies add a lot of preservatives that keep the product stable.  This recipe was quite easy and didn't have any unusual ingredients.  The strangest is the glycerin but that can be found in the toiletry section of most stores.  

The recipe calls for glycerin, distilled water, castile soap and optional essential oil.

It just takes distilled water, castile soap, glycerin and essential oil if you want.  I like the clean soap smell so I didn't put in the oil.  It also called for the oil in two Vitamin E capsules.  I didn't have any but I read they are a natural preservative.  I followed the instructions by grating the bar of soap and melting it in 4 cups of slightly boiling distilled water.

Grated soap looks just like coconut.

Then I took it off the heat and stirred in the glycerin.  At this point I covered it and left it.  It is supposed to cool untouched for 12-24 hours.  Apparently it is supposed to thicken up.  Mine didn't and was quite watery.  To use it this way, I put it in a self foaming soap dispenser.  I used an empty foaming hand soap dispenser.  It comes out foamy and will conserve the soap so it will last longer.  Time will tell if I like it. * (update below)

I have been diluting Dr. Bronner's liquid soap with water for years and using it in a foaming soap dispenser.  I use it for hand soap, but I think it would also work in the shower for a body wash.  Dr. Bronner is natural soap and come already scented.   It's all about experimenting to see what you like.

*  After I put the liquid soap into the foaming dispenser, I put it in the shower.  This morning when I took my shower, I couldn't get the pump to work.  I looked and the body wash had thickened up overnight.  I had to put it into a rinsed out body wash bottle.  I don't know if the temperature has something to do with it.  It is several degrees cooler in the bathroom I use.  The soap I had in a warmer area of the house remained watery.  I put a container in the car to take to my daughter, and that turned to gel.  I did find out that whether it is thick or thin, it suds up nicely.  The glycerin has a moisturizing effect and it smells good.  I will use it up and try again.

The exact instructions for the body wash can be found on this link.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Often Overlooked Mourning Dove

Today I'm dedicating my blogpost to the Mourning Dove.  They aren't flashy and beautiful so most of the time I tend to ignore them.  The last couple days I took a closer look at them, and I decided that they deserve some time and attention.  My husband thinks they are not very smart, but that's because their head is out of proportion to their body.  He claims they can't have very many brains in that tiny little head.  That may be true but they are peaceful and I have very rarely seen them fight or even ruffle their feathers at each other.  I have heard that they mate for life, but that doesn't mean much because they don't live very long.  They are a target for hawks and eagles.  This county in Wisconsin also has a hunting season for these birds.  No wonder they make such a mournful sound.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sometimes You Just Have To Dream

I am normally not a dreamer, but 2014 has started out as a really crappy year.  The cold temps are one thing but there also have been a number of strange illnesses in our family.  Recently we were sitting looking out at the wildlife and the cold.  We were trying to think of something fun to think about (at least I was).  I had a couple of bright ideas.  My husband just looked at me with not much expression.  I have been married for 45 years, so I know what he is thinking.  He was thinking "and who is going to do all this work?".

See this wonderful old garage.  We use it for a workshop, but only in the summer.  In the winter it is cold and crowded with 'stuff'.

I think we should convert this cute little garage into a guest cottage.  It is about 25 feet by 15 feet.  It would need a lot of work, and it wouldn't have a bathroom.  It does have electricity.  I think we could have a little outhouse nearby for those who want to rough it.  Those who would want the conveniences of indoor plumbing, we have a couple of bathrooms available in our house.  I need an architect or at least a piece of graph paper to do some planning.  Any suggestions are welcomed.

I got a little more response with this next idea.  We have a terrible lawn.  The last two summers we have had very little rain.  As a result any grass we had has burned up and all we have is weeds.  I have blogged about a spring fed pond on our property.  It is quite deep and has never frozen in the bitter cold temperatures we have had this winter.  My idea is to tap into that water for a sprinkling system.  We could pump water for watering the grass.  I don't even know if that is legal because of the strict DNR laws, but I want to find out.  I'm probably living in a fools paradise, but don't we all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Devil's Food Fudge Cookies

Last week we had two of our grandsons spend some time with us.  They know that grandma always has cookies, so I had to quickly make some.  The little one, Ewan, likes chocolate so I thought of these Cake Mix cookies.  They are super chocolatey.

They look like cookies and taste like cake.

Devil's Food Fudge Cookies
(A Duncan Hines recipe)

1 pkg. Devil's Food Cake Mix
2 large eggs
1/2 vegetable oil
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  It says to the grease cookie sheets but I didn't and they didn't stick.

Combine cake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl.  Stir until thoroughly blended.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Shape into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-11 minutes.

Cool for a couple minutes before removing cookies from the cookie sheet and then cool completely on a rack.  It makes about two dozen cookies.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Flannel Hand Warmers

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me this link from Little House Living.  Little House Living is a nice blog that features a lot of fun things.

My friend said she thought of me when she saw these hand warmers.  Since then I have seen them posted on Facebook a few times, so I thought I would try to make them.  I had purchased a king sized flannel pillowcase at a thrift store for 99 cents for another project.  I will probably blog about that some time in the future.  In order to make my other project, I needed to cut the hem off of the pillowcase.  Being a person who doesn't like to waste anything, I cut the band into eight pieces.  The side seams were already sewn, so all I had to do was seam the bottom of each tube.  I had eight little pockets.  In the top of two of them, I put in some dry white rice and hand stitched the top shut.  I microwaved these two hand warmers for 40 seconds.  They were very warm but seemed slightly damp.  I wondered if the rice had some moisture in it.  I tried two more times and each time they seemed damp for just a little while.  So I filled the next two with lentils.  Then I used split peas and finally barley.  Each time the warmers seemed dampish.  I even heated the lentils in a dry frying pan to try to eliminate any moisture.   I don't know if it's the flannel, the microwave or the various fillers that caused the moisture.  So I found a small ziplock baggie.  The kind you put jewelry or spices in.  I opened one of the warmers and poured the rice into the plastic bag.  I reinserted the bag of rice into the flannel bag.  I sewed it shut again.  Then I poked a needle through to puncture the plastic bag.  I didn't want it to explode in the microwave.  This time the bag was dry and worked quite well.  I think these hand warmers are fun.  The heat lasts less than an hour but that may be long enough to take the chill off if you put them in your mittens or in your pockets.  I don't recommend the split peas.  They don't smell very pleasant.  I also read that you can put some dry white rice in one of those single unmatched socks you have lying around.  Just tie a knot in the top and microwave in the same manner. 

I will keep them on hand in case we need them, but I think mine will be used for bean bags for the kids to play with.