Homemade Soy Candles with Essential Oils

I got the brilliant idea that I wanted to try and make my own candles because so many of the candle on the market these days are filled with yucky chemicals, toxins and pollutants I’d never want to inhale into my body.

So over the weekend I went thrift shopping and bought 5 small glasswares for $0.49 each. Not only are they completely adorable, but they were super cheap and I love that I am giving them a new life and up-cycling them. After a bit of research, I wanted my candles to be something I’d actually want to burn around my kids so I went with vegetable-based, eco-friendly soy wax that is made from a renewable resource. The wax is completely dye-free, fragrance-free, toxin-free and paraffin-free. I also wanted these to be free from artificial fragrances and knowing the awesome benefits of my essential oils, I made two batches of these candles. I used Wild Orange essential oils in the first batch and Lavender in the second. I think after this first attempt, I’d probably add a bit more of the EO’s to the batches to give them a stronger scent.

It was an incredibly easy process and my sister was on hand to help because it was a 2-man process. Melt the wax to 200*, let it cool to 175* and add in the oils. Heat up the glassware at 150* to avoid cracking. Add the wick and at 100*, pour the wax into glasswares with a funnel. Cool overnight (about 12 hours). Trim the wicks and enjoy!

Features:

  • Eco-friendly vegetable-based Soy Wax
    • Made with renewable resources & helps local farmers
    • Soy wax burns with zero petro soot, creating petro soot-free candles
    • Soy wax burns at lower temperatures, making it longer-lasting than paraffin candles
  • Filled with pure, undiluted Essential Oils
    • Essential oils have aromatherapy benefits
    • Endless combinations of natural scents
  • FREE of parafins, artificial fragrances, dyes, toxins, carcinogens or pollutants
  • Made in upcycled/reused glassware from local thrift stores
Advertisements

Earth Blend Moisturizer

You never know when you try out a new product if you’ll like it so it’s always a gamble trying something different. I had to order us more organic soap from Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve because we recently ran out of our Cucumber Lime Yogurt soap. My husband actually really likes their bars of soap – he said it’s the first bar of soap he’s used that hasn’t left his skin feeling dry or stripped – hooray!

While I was placing our order, I decided to try their whipped body moisturizer in their “Earth Blend” scent and I just have to say – wow! What an awesome blend of natural oils and it just smells like earth, whatever you can imagine that smells like 🙂

earth-blend

Paint Swatches: now comes the fun part!

January has been a busy month at our new home and I think February is only going to be crazier. We still have the 1st week of March as our targeted move-in goal but there’s still so much to get done. The wallpaper is officially down, the counters, carpet and wood floors are picked out and the old ugly green shag carpet from 1980 is torn up. Now we are ready for my favorite part – picking out paint colors!

This is such a crucial step in creating a home because the right colors can do so much for a space. It takes a bit of vision and planning to think through an entire space and I’ve gone back and forth so many times on the direction I want to take the house because it’s literally a blank canvas. My last house had so much color in it – cranberry reds, burnt oranges, golds and greens. Pretty much every room was a different bright color and I loved it. It was fun, cheery, energetic and artsy. But it was extremely hard to switch things up when I got tired of a certain decor because it was too specific.

My goal with our new home is to use lots of soft neutrals and create a more zen, organic, peaceful vibe. I want every room to look and feel like it belongs to the same house while being strong enough to stand on its own. I think I have just enough pops of color to avoid being boring and drab but neutral enough to feel cozy and warm. I am also excited this time around to use eco-friendly non-VOCs paints – safe and healthy for a growing family!

Here’s where I am so far…thoughts?swatches

Homemade Dryer Sheets & Softener

CTA-wool-dryer-ballsWith names likes “soft rain mist” or “fresh cool breeze”, who doesn’t love soft laundry right of the dryer that smells so fresh and clean? But the truth about dryer sheets and liquid softeners couldn’t be farther from the warm, fuzzy feelings Snuggles the Bear sends us on t.v.

Filled with harmful chemicals like benzyl acetate, benzyl alcohol, ethanol, limonene, ethyl acetate, camphor, chloroform, linalool, pentane, etc. (how do you even pronounce these ingredients…yikes!)…dryer sheets are so dense in artificial fragrances just to cover up the pungent smell of all of these toxic chemicals. These fragrances and chemicals stay in the fibers of your clothes for a long period of time, allowing plenty of opportunity for your skin, body and brain to absorb these nasty toxins all day and all night long.

These chemicals are known to have cause…

  • Central nervous system disorders and headaches
  • Skin disorders and allergic reactions
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimers
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Irritate mucous membranes and impair respiratory function
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or drowsiness
  • Liver or kidney damage

With the insane amount laundry I do on a weekly basis and knowing that the majority of it is my children’s clothes, I regret that I haven’t paid more careful attention to this sooner. While I would love to hang our clothes out to dry in the sun the old-fashioned way like my parents use to do, it’s the middle of winter and we are staying with my sister until our forever home is ready.

I recently shared a new all-natural laundry detergent recipe that we are trying and now I have a 2-part solution to both the softening of your fabrics and the fresh smells. Substituting these chemically-ridden fabric softeners for an all-natural, toxic-free alternative is much easier and affordable than you may think!

wool-dryer-ballsFabric Softener: Organic Wool Balls

I bought a set of 3 organic wool dryer balls to give this method a try and I am so impressed! People have been making wool dryer balls for years as an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. Adding one or two of these guys to your dryer with your wet laundry, they help fluff up your laundry as they bounce around in the dryer with your clothes. They are great at reducing static and softening your laundry and wool can absorb up to 3x it’s weight in wetness, helping your clothes dry faster and consuming less energy by your dryer because it doesn’t have to run as long. They are especially good for drying baby clothes and anything for people with sensitive skin because they are organic and completely chemical-free. The wool balls are naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-static and are reusable for up to a year or more, unlike disposable dryer sheets that you toss after each load.

Dryer Sheets: Cotton with Essential Oils

If you are the type of person who needs your clean laundry to smell fresh and scented, essential oils are the way to go! There are so many great benefits to using these oils and making your own homemade dryer sheets are so incredibly easy. I cut up one of my husband’s old cotton t-shirts into roughly 5″ squares and added 3-5 drops of essential oils to the dry fabric. I tossed 2 of them into my wet load of laundry in the dry and let them spread the essential oil goodness on our clothes. My favorite to use is lavender, although it may be fun to play around with seasonal scents and use a citrus lemon or orange blossom in the warm summer months or the holiday scents through the winter season! Use the sheets for 2-3 loads before washing them and starting over with new oil.

Have you had any experiences with natural drying solutions for your laundry routine? What has worked well or not at all for you? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Recipe: Whipped Organic Coconut Lotion

lotion-ctaTis the season for dry, flaky skin but beware…the chemicals, artificial fragrances, and other nasty ingredients in the lotions that we apply to our skin are directly absorbed by our bodies and are linked to all kinds of not-so-good health issuesyikes.

While we have been using safer lotions here at my house that protect us against some of these nasty toxins, I wanted to take it a step further, especially knowing we use lotion on our babies every night after their baths. I found this super easy recipe for all-natural organic lotion that uses just 3 simple ingredients and decided to whip up a batch to give it a try!

So…this recipe is full of super healthy ingredients that are safe and effective on our skin. Vitamin E Oil is a great moisturizer which keeps your skin healthy and softens rough rough patches while reducing wrinkles. Coconut oil, unlike water-based lotions that give the appearance of moisturizing your skin, helps strengthen underlying tissues and helps remove excessive dead flaky cells on the skin. And it calls for a few drops of essential oils – I chose Balance blended oil for my recipe just because I’ll be using this on my kids and it has calming and focusing benefits – what mother wouldn’t want that?!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (optional)
  • a few drops of pure essential oils (optional)

Directions:

Measure 1 cup of coconut oil into a mixing bowl and add the Vitamin E and essential oil drops. Coconut oil is best when whipped from a solid state at room temperature. Place in a KitchenAid mixer or use a hand-held mixer and blend for 3-4 minutes on medium speed. Pour into a glass jar and seal.

Note: I have found this lotion seems a bit greasy when first applied to the skin. Wait just a few minutes, as your body will absorb the oils, leaving your skin soft and healthy!

A Season of Love

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope your holildays were filled with lots of family, blessing, delicious foods, and most importantly…God’s perfect love. He gave us the greatest gift we could ever imagine – the life of his only son – and what better reason to celebrate his eternal love than by loving one another?!

So many wonderful presents were exchanged and some of my favorites include gift cards to home improvement stores (we’re in the middle of renovating our new home), organic compost starter, an essential oil diffuser (score!) and a date night with my hubby – all too much but so thoughtful!

My Lovies

My favorite encounter of these past two days was in the car on the way to dinner tonight between my 2-1/2 year old daughter and my 1 year old son who is just starting to learn a couple of simple words:

L: “Hey, can you say ‘water’?”
C: “Wa wa.”
L: “Yeah, good job! Can you say ‘elephant’?”
C: Silence, staring.

🙂

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Greening Your Life…Even When Your Husband Doesn’t Really Want To

weddingI love my husband. Truly. We’ve been through a journey these past 10 years together and I’ve made quite a few lifestyle changes without letting him have too much say in the matter, especially these past few years. I know I can have some pretty lofty ideas and he is usually wildly supportive of me, even if he does think I’m a bit crazy at times.

Three years ago, I did all kinds of research into how to create a simple, sustainable life with recipes, tips, ideas, how-tos and I was dead-set on transforming our home. I was hooked. Obsessed. So when I had big plans to declutter our lives, he maybe did look at me like I was a bit insane and naturally resisted pretty much anything I told him. Like when I said I wanted to give away all of our possessions and live a minimalistic life in an RV. Or something like that.

There are signs he’s coming around…he affectionately refers to me as his little hippie 🙂 But I know him better than anyone and I have learned a few tips for getting someone on board who it a bit resistant to change at first.

Ease into it.
I’m an all-or-nothing person who wants results immediately. My husband…not so much. Pushing a new idea on someone out of the blue naturally encourages push-back to change. So I wouldn’t suggest going from wearing Gap jeans to sewing your own organic hemp parachute pants in an evening. Baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and transforming your whole lifestyle takes time, practice and research.

Start on yourself first.
You can learn a lot about the process by starting on yourself first. Declutter your kitchen, empty out your closet, have a garage sale and clean out the basement. Start with things you can control – your personal cosmetics, cleaning products and household items – and use it as a trial and error period. If you do the shopping, focus on the produce area, particularly the organic produce. More than likely, your husband won’t even notice you’ve made all these small changes because none of them will really affect his daily life.

Actions speak louder than words.
On paper, some of my ideas sounds completely foreign to my husband. Composting? Making our own toothpaste? Vegetarian cooking? My husband is a visual person and does much better by seeing the benefits of these types of unfamiliar things than talking it through. He doesn’t always get my vision but if I show him how easy it can be and all the wonderful health, environmental and life benefits simplifying can have, he’s all for it.

Be the leader.
If this is your idea, make it easy on him. If he’s got to put forth all kinds of effort for something he isn’t completely behind yet, he might grumble and complain through the whole thing. Show him by example how using cloth napkins instead of paper towels is easy, simple and makes such an impact. Be the one to take reusable totes grocery shopping. Plan out whole food meals for the week and healthy snacks for the kids. Eventually he will make your habits his habits without even really realizing it (my husband rarely realizes that he eats my vegetarian recipes).

Do research together.
I’m not going to lie – documentaries on Netflix are my best friend. My husband and I alternate who gets to choose the movie on movie nights and mine is usually some sort of environmental/animal cruelty choice. These documentaries can visually communicate what I try to speak to him but in a thousand better ways. They are my best friend in trying to get him on the same page as my vision and educating us together in making more conscious decisions for our family. He always feel more invested in this lifestyle when he can see first-hand why I’m so passionate about it.

What are some ways you get loved ones on board with change? I’d love to hear your ideas below!