Category Archives: Homemaking

Cloth Diapers in the 21st Century

So you may or may not have picked up on the latest craze in cloth diapering in the last few years. If you follow any kind of mom group or Facebook page you will probably have come across someone, who knows someone, who is cloth diapering. You may have even seen them featured on Shark Tank. In an effort to save money, to keep my baby more comfortable, and to seek a more natural solution to disposable diapers I chose to cloth diaper Luke from birth AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

Now, its not what you think. Cloth has come a long way from the archaic methods of the past. These days when I say “Pin it” I’m not talking about diaper pins. A whole new world has opened up and its going to blow your mind.

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There are several different types of cloth diapers to choose from now. The basic three are All in Ones (AIOs), Pockets, or Pre-folds.  They are made of a state-of-the-art breathable plastic lined fabric called PUL. The insides are lined with highly absorbent fabrics like cotton, microfiber, hemp, bamboo, or fleece.

  • AIOs are virtually the same as a disposable in that all you do is put the diaper on the baby. All the absorbent fabric is sewn right in and you wash the whole thing in one piece. They do take at least an hour, and usually two hours to dry in the dryer.
  • Pockets are similar, but they feature a pocket where you stuff separate inserts. The nice thing about this is that you can change what sort of insert you use based on your baby’s needs. This also means that the diapers wash and dry much more quickly because the inserts come out in the wash. They require extra time to stuff the diapers each time you wash which is annoying to some people.
  • Pre-folds are the old fashioned fold on diaper, but now they come with super awesome diaper covers with a plastic PUL lining that keeps them from leaking. They are also made much better than the old fashioned ones your mom used. They are thicker and way more absorbent. They are also a cheaper option and make great burp cloths.

This is what the Modern Cloth Diapers look like:

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open-cloth-diaperinside-of-cloth-diaper

7 Things I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know About Modern Cloth Diapering

1. You don’t have to use pins –                                                               velcro-or-snap-cloth-diapers

New cloth diapers come in either velcro or snap closures. They’re easy as pie! Its basically just like a disposable. You just put the diaper on the baby and close er’ on up. And if you still want to use pre-fold diapers (which is totally doable!) there’s a new invention for them too! Its called the snappi.

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Its sort of like the teeth on an ace bandage, except its plastic and rubber. prefold-snappiThere’s no need to worry about sticking your baby anymore. My mom tells an awesome story about how she was trying to change my brother’s diaper and my sister stuck diaper pins in their water bed and water was squirting everywhere. I picture my mother looking like Lucille Ball, trying to hold the baby and wrangle my toddler sister all while trying to put a finger on each hole. Hilarious as this picture is to me, it is a thing of the past.

2. They’re easy to wash-                                                                             We don’t have a diaper service in my area, but its really not a big deal to wash them myself. You see, there’s this fantastic invention called a Washing Machine that cleans the diapers for you! I know, I know… you thought you were going to have to go down to the river with a washing board and go to town on those bad boys. Nope, you can just throw them in and the machine actually does the work. Amazing, I know. What will they come up with next?! Many people act like washing cloth diapers is a crazy science but its really not. Don’t listen to anyone when they tell you to use special soap, or to only use a tbsp of detergent. Its not true. Because my baby is exclusively breastfed, his poop is water soluble, so there’s no need to rinse the diapers off or anything before I wash them. I use Tide powder, the same amount I would use for a regular load of laundry, I throw the diapers in (poop and all), I do a hot presoak and an extra rinse, and then I tumble dry them on medium heat. That’s all she wrote! There’s no big secret.

3. Chemicals in disposables are toxic!

disposable-diaper-gel-sapYou know when a disposable diaper gets full and you can tell the baby needs to be changed because it gets all saggy and hangs between their legs? Have you ever seen one of those full diapers break open and all the weird gel stuff spills out? Did you know that substance used to be used in Tampons but had to be removed after is was found to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome? The diaper companies claim that these chemicals are in trace amounts and are not harmful to the baby, but when can you ever trust a manufacturer’s claims about anything? Perhaps it does not cause TSS in such small doses (I’m not buying it), but it is certainly a skin irritant and can cause diaper rash and chemical burn. I personally don’t want to take the risk. Read more about some of the toxic chemicals found in disposable diapers here.

4. It is WAY cheaper to use cloth – 

Because these modern cloth diapers are so well made and last for so long they are a little bit more of an investment on the front end. They average in cost around $15 each new and even cheaper if you get them second hand, but that is a one time investment because the diapers are adjustable fit which mean they can be used for the same baby from birth to potty training. And if they are well cared for they can be used for future babies, making the cost even lower. Depending on how often you want to do laundry you will need between 12 and 36 diapers in your “stash.” So for between $300-$500 you can diaper several children from birth to potty. Plus if you decide to go the old fashioned route, prefolds are even cheaper running around $4 each. Disposables are much more expensive as you can see in the infographic below.

diaper-cost-comparison-chart

5. Bye Bye blowouts!                                                                                   I’ll spare you an image to prove my point (although a quick google image search and you’ll find plenty of evidence). If you’ve used disposables for any length of time you’re all too familiar with the good ol’ fashioned blowout. It happens because disposables are flat against the baby’s back and it just can’t hold in a serious poop. I’ve been cloth diapering for 3 months and have yet to have a single blowout. Don’t believe me? Just ask anyone who cloth diapers and I’ll bet you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who has experienced a blowout in cloth. Its because they are so absorbent, and are lined with elastic around the legs and waist. When they are put on properly and tightly they will hold everything in beautifully!

6. The environmental effect of disposable is huge –

Did you know that disposable diapers are the #1 single use item found in landfills? Now I’m not a big environmentalist activist by any stretch but I do believe that we should be good stewards of the planet that God has given us, and we should leave this place in one piece so these babies can still have a beautiful place to live and grow up. Here is an awesome image that shows just how many diapers end up in the trash.

cloth-diaper-vs-disposable

7. They’re super cute!

Oh girrrrrrrl, don’t even get me started on how CUTE these things are! I’m slightly addicted. There are so many precious colors and patterns to choose from, and they look adorable all by themselves, no need for a diaper cover to hide those lame looking disposables. You could seriously get lost in the world of adorable cloth.

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How to make Homemade Natural Organic Deodorant

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READ BELOW FOR THE UPDATE ON THIS RECIPE…

On my quest to live a more natural holistic lifestyle I’ve had to look at the many products I put on my skin everyday. When you begin reading the labels on everyday use items, it is shocking how many toxins we’re exposing ourselves to. One of those items is deodorant. Most deodorants and anti-perspirants contain aluminum, parabens and propylene glycol. There are growing links between the chemicals found in such products and chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. So what’s the solution? Make your own deodorant that doesn’t have the junk! Its super easy to do, and lucky for you, I’ve already done the legwork to create a recipe that REALLY works!

Today I want to share with you my tried and true homemade deodorant recipe. I tried many recipes, and with all of them I ended up smelling “crunchy” by the end of the day. My mother made sure to let me know when one of my deodorant creations was NOT working, and I unfortunately had many smelly days. I’m not one of those girls who smells like flowers naturally, and I’m guessing neither are you. I may be a borderline dirty hippy, but I’d rather not smell like a dirty hippy. I worked on a lot of different combinations, I tried other people’s recipes, looked at the ingredients on some of the natural store brands, and finally came up with my own perfect recipe that is seriously awesome! Like so awesome that it stood up to my husband playing 3 hours of tennis in Florida… in August… in over 90 degree weather! This stuff is the truth.

Now here’s my tiny caveat: Because I’m pregnant and my skin is all weird and super sensitive it caused some irritation for me, but I’ve had other people use it and no one else has had any issues. Even one of my friends who has very sensitive skin used it and had no problems. So I’m pretty sure my irritation is pregnancy related. I will say that it only bothered me when I had just shaved my underarms, but I’m even less interested in having hairy pits, than I am in having smelly ones. Do let me know if you have any issues with this recipe as I’m always eager to improve, but I have a good feeling that it will work great for you!

:::UPDATE::: It turns out it wasn’t my pregnant skin. I was actually using WAY too much baking soda in this recipe. After doing a lot more research and conducting many experiments. I finally came up with a much better formula. Check out my more recent post with a MUCH more gentle, and totally effective deodorant recipe. Or better yet, you can buy it from me already made. I had so many people ask me to make this for them that I just started making a bunch and selling it. Check it out!:::

So here’s what you need:

homemade-deodorant-recipe-ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Organic GMO free Corn Starch (You can find this at any natural food store)
  • 3 Tbsp Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Powdered Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Beeswax beads
  • 20-30 drops Vanilla Essential Oil (or other scent, optional)
  • Small jar or empty deodorant tube stick

Here’s what you do:

how-to-make-homemade-deodorantIn a double boiler, melt the beeswax beads. If you’re allergic to beeswax I think you could easily leave this part out as I don’t think its essential to the deodorant working. Its mostly for texture and to keep the stuff on your pits. Its also REALLY helpful if you plan to use an empty deodorant container, because it will keep it solid in the tube and will apply more easily. If you’re using the jar, I think you could also skip the wax, but again, I think it helps keep the stuff on your underarms all day.

Once the beeswax is melted, add your coconut oil, and vanilla oil. You can really use any scent you like but I think the vanilla is soft and sweet and goes well with the coconut. Some people like to use tea tree oil in their recipes for its anti-fungal properties, but I found the scent to be much too strong. If you like it then by all means use it! I think it would only help. Other nice choices would be lavender oil, patchouli oil, eucalyptus oil, or ylang ylang.

Once your oils are blended add in the powdered sugar. The purpose of the powdered sugar is that when the sugar combines with your natural body sweat it creates a sort of osmotic substance that then becomes a natural antiperspirant! How about that! And it really works too. Dissolve the sugar using a small whisk.

non-toxic-deodorant-recipeKeep the mixture over the heat and begin stirring in the baking soda, and corn starch, sprinkling it in slowly. It will start to thicken up a LOT. Just make sure everything is well incorporated.

DIY-homemade-natural-deodorantNow you can pour the mix into either the jar or the deodorant stick. Allow it to set up at room temperature for a couple hours. Don’t put it in the fridge or it might crack. It will be solid pretty quickly if your house is relatively cool. If you don’t have a jar you can also use an empty deodorant stick, or you can buy new ones from SKS. They have lots of different options to choose from and they’re dirt cheap! Not having one of those fantastic tubes on hand, I just poured my deodorant into a small mason jar. With the jar you just have to spread about half a fingertip amount of the deodorant on your underarms. Its a little firm so you will want to soften it between your fingers before applying. If you want it to be softer, you could always leave out the beeswax.

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And that, my friends, is it! I really hope you enjoy making your own deodorant.

Homemade Citrus Body Scrub Tutorial

how-to-make-citrus-sugar-scrub-homemakerchic.comI was thrilled when a few friends from church asked if I wanted to help make some scrubs to raise money for folks in our church who are going on missions trips this summer. Not only do I get to help support a totally awesome cause, but I get to play with all my awesome ingredients! I am so in love with all the awesome products I bought for the Lip Balm project and I’ve been having lots of fun trying them out in different homemade products.

sugar-scrub-jars-sks-bottle-homemakerchic.comSo together we researched scrub recipes, and came up with one of our own that turned out so wonderfully! Not only does it smell incredible, and feel so luxurious on our hands, but its so completely and totally adorable in this super cute jar from SKS-bottle. Have I told you lately how much I LOVE SKS-bottle? They seriously have every single type of container I could ever need for craft projects. And this jar was perfect for the look we were going for. We used the 8oz size, but I also have some 16oz jars too that I will use soon for some more scrub recipes I want to try. Since we’re going to be selling these, we really wanted them to look polished and professional and I really think they turned out awesome!

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So here’s our recipe for the Citrus Sugar Scrub.

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Makes 36oz. of scrub.

Here’s what you’ll need

Supplies:

  • 6, 8oz Jars with Lids
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Large Sturdy Spoon
  • Small Spoon for packing
  • Tablespoon measure
  • Double Boiler
  • Cup Measure

Ingredients: (click the links to get the exact products I used for this recipe)

Here’s what you do:

homemade-sugar-scrub-homemakerchic.comIn a double boiler, melt the orange butter. (I just use two glass pyrex cups, and boiling hot water from the kettle, this also makes it easier to pour the oil directly from the cup).  Once it is melted slowly stir in all the oils and the vegetable glycerin. Make sure to mix thoroughly so all the oils and the butter are properly emulsified. Pour the sugar into the bowl. Into the sugar, slowly stir in the oil mixture. Be sure to mix very well. You may need to get your hands in there to make sure there are no lumps or spots that aren’t completely combined (And you just happen to get the added benefit of super soft hands when you do it this way!). Let the scrub set for about 10-15 minutes to continue marrying. Give it one last stir then you are ready to go! Wasn’t that easy?

homemade-sugar-scrub-tutorial-homemakerchic.comI made enough for 6 portions of 6 ounces of scrub. I used these 8 oz containers, because I didn’t want the scrub to be all the way up to the top.

I chose do do tags instead of sticker labels because I figured stickers would get ruined it gets wet in the shower. I printed the labels directly onto a sheet of brown kraft cardstock using a simple 1 1/2 label template and used a 1 1/2 inch circle punch to cut them out. I hole-punched each one, and tied them on using twine. Super easy, and adorably rustic.

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Special Thanks to Jessi, Dink, and Alex for making this project awesome, and for a super fun day hanging out and being crafty!

Homemade Citrus Lip Balm Tutorial

recipe-for-12-tubes-of-lip-balm-homemakerchic.comI’ve been wanting to make my own lip balm for a really long time. I’ve spent lots of time looking at various recipes and researching all the ingredients before I finally took the plunge and decided to do the legwork to come up with the most wonderful, luscious lip balm recipe ever! Lucky for you, I write a blog and you get to reap the moisturizing lip benefits! The other awesome thing is that I have a super awesome new sponsor, SKS Bottle, (you remember them from my apothecary spice jar project) who sent me these awesome lip balm tubes! I couldn’t resist.

When it comes to lip balm, the sky is the limit when it comes to ingredient variations. There are so many wonderful natural ingredients that you can mix and match to come up with the best recipe for you. I recommend playing around and seeing what works for you. The following is just one of many lip balm recipes I will be posting in the coming weeks and months.

Before you continue, are you thinking “ain’t nobody got time to make lip balm!” Word. That’s why I started making it FOR you. Check it out in my Etsy shop!

I give you Homemaker Chic’s “Citrus Splash SPF Lip Balm ”

lip-balm-making-supplies-homemakerchic.comNow, this may seem like a lot of ingredients, but there are so many different variations you can do with just a few small tweaks. I ordered all of the ingredients I needed in one day, online, from my living room. And most of it was free shipping. All in all, I spent about $100 for everything (That includes some other ingredients not included in this recipe, for different flavored lip balms). It may sound like a lot for lip balm but everything came in large enough quantities that I will have enough to make lip balm for my sisters, my mom, my friends and myself for a very VERY long time. PLUS- many of these ingredients are excellent for other skin preparations other than lip balm and are very handy to have around the house. It is an investment, and a project, but if you want to do this, you really need to have all the best ingredients. If it seems like too much for you, then buy my ready made lip balm from my etsy shop (the recipe has improved and so has my packaging!) I will tell you though, that this is the most luxurious, smooth, and moisturizing lip balm I’ve ever tried. It smells and tastes amazing and you will LOVE it! I won’t ever go back to store bought again.

Supplies:

  • 12 lip balm tubes
  • 1 lip balm filling tray
  • Plastic putty knife

Lucky for you SKS Bottle has an awesome deal for Homemaker Chic readers! You can get the exact lip balms tubes, filling tray and putty knife that I used, and actually a few other tube designs for a big discount! They’re giving my readers $10 off an order of $50. They also have lots of other containers that I’m going to be using in some upcoming posts so you can spend $50 real quick. Just use the code HomeChic413 at checkout (or click the image below). I love their site!!

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  • 1 ounce measuring shot glass
  • Eye dropper for oils (I found mine at PetSmart)
  • Double boiler
  • Small spatula
  • Glass pyrex cup with pour spout

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz white beeswax pellets
  • 1/3 oz Mango Butter
  • 1/3 oz Solid Room Temperature Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 oz Orange Butter
  • 1/4 oz Avocado Oil
  • 1/4 oz Olive Oil
  • 1/2 ox Cold Pressed Castor Oil
  • 15 drops grapefruit essential oil
  • 15 drops raspberry seed oil
  • 5 drops vitamin E oil
  • 1/16 of a teaspoon of Mica Shimmer Powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia or other sweetener
  • Small sliver of lipstick for color (optional)

homemade-lip-balm-homemakerchic.comOkay so here is the basic ratio for Lip Balm:

1 Part Beeswax : 1 Part Solid Oil or Fruit/Vegetable Butter : 1 Part Liquid Oil.

You can really play around with the oils. You could use one type of oil, or make a blend like I did.

Let me explain a little bit about why I chose the blend that I did.

Orange butter comes specifically from Florida Oranges (of which I am a HUGE supporter since I’m from Florida!). It has wonderful moisturizing qualities, smells incredible, and gives this balm part of its wonderful citrus flavor and scent. Mango butter is light and fresh smelling and very smooth. It has great healing properties for dried, cracked lips, and peeling skin. It also has SPF natural SPF properties. Coconut Oil has amazing moisture benefits, and is well known for bringing chapped lips back to life. It has a wonderful scent that really pairs well with the tropical flavor profile in this balm.

The raspberry seed oil was added for its natural SPF benefit. It has very little scent. Several studies have show it to be anywhere from 6-20 on the SPF scale. Living in a sunny climate I really need SPF in my lip balm so this was a must. Same goes for the avocado oil, which aside from its incredible moisture and healing benefits, is also a natural SPF of 6. The vitamin E oil is excellent for healing chapped lips and protecting them, but a little goes a long way.

I added the castor oil because it adds a really nice shine to the balm, and helps maintain soft and supple lips. The olive oil was added because I needed a little bit more filler and olive oil is slightly cheaper than castor and avocado oils, but it still has tons of moisture and lip protecting benefits.

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The Mica Shimmer powder is a mineral powder that is used in eye shadows and other make up to make them shimmer. The version I’m using is natural and perfectly safe to use on the lips. Make sure the Mica you get is lip safe, as some are and some aren’t.

Here is the exact product I used.

Instructions:

This recipe fills 12 lip balm tubes plus a little leftover. About 3 ounces.

SKS-lip-balm-tubes-homemakerchic.comStart by snapping your tubes into the tray. I really love this lip balm filling tray from SKS-bottle because it makes filling the little tubes SO easy. I seriously can’t imagine how I would have done this without the tray. I’m sure I would have been knocking them over and spilling hot lip balm everywhere. I’m sure you could DIY this by cutting holes in a cereal box, or by sticking the tubes into styrofoam to keep them still, but the thing I like about this tray is that the tubes fit perfectly and snap in firmly, so they don’t fall over. Plus once the balm cools you can smooth the tops with a putty knife and you get a really professional flat top to the balm. Its really worth it if you plan to make a lot of balms.
melt-beeswax-for-lip-balm-homemakerchic.comPrepare your double boiler. I just used a small saucepan with a pyrex measuring cup. I filled the pot with water and placed metal cookie cutter in the bottom, then just set the cup on top. The cookie cutter kept the glass from directly touching the heat. You could also use a couple rings from a mason jar. Get the water simmering and pour in 1 ounce of beeswax. Use a metal spoon or knife to gently stir the wax. I like using a flexible metal spatula because it really makes it easy to scrape down the sides of the cup later on.


Once the wax is melted, add your butters. I only had one little ounce measuring cup so instead of washing it out and losing all that wonderful butter in between, I just scooped out the little bit that was in the cup and rubbed it on my skin. Its wonderfully moisturizing, and expensive too, so don’t waste!

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Once the butters are melted add your oils and the sweetener.

A WORD ABOUT SWEETENER: So a lot of people use stevia to sweeten their balms. I personally don’t like the taste so I tried Nutresse, which is a sugar from the monk fruit. You could probably just use regular sugar, but there might be something to be said for the fine powder of stevia. Here’s the thing with sweetening lip balm. SUGAR WILL NOT COMPLETELY DISSOLVE IN OIL. BUT, it will partially dissolve, and you just need a little. I stirred and stirred, and the oil was really hot, but on a molecular level, oil just doesn’t have the ability to completely break down the sugars (even in liquid form like honey or liquid stevia. Liquid sweetener will separate in your finished balm.). So you will probably end up with sugar crystals in the bottom of your cup. This is okay. As you pour the finished lip balm into the tubes, the sugar will stay at the bottom. You won’t end up with undissolved sugar crystals in your balm if you pour carefully. So just dissolve it as much as you can and don’t worry about it.

melt-lip-balm-for-pouring-homemakerchic.comNow you can add your coloring if you want. I added sugar blush mica powder which added a hint of color and shimmer. A little Mica goes a LONG way, so use it sparingly. You can always add more, but you can’t take away. I also added a sliver of Revlon colored lip balm in a nice coral color. This really doesn’t add much color to your lips but it makes the balm a little more presentable and pretty in my opinion. Just slice a bit of lipstick off, and melt it into the balm. You could totally leave this part out. I know there are some other natural ways to tint lip balm out there, I just haven’t tried them yet.

Use the back of your spoon or spatula to collect a test sample. Allow it to cool. (I stuck the spatula in the freezer for a few seconds to speed up the process.) Use your finger to rub a bit on your lips to see how it feels and tastes. If its too hard, too soft, or not sweet enough you can still alter the recipe. You may find that you want a stronger grapefruit flavor, so just add a few more drops of the essential oil (although be careful not to add too much because essential oils tends to be pretty intense and can dry out lips if you add too much. just add a few drops at a time to be safe. I wouldn’t add more than 30 drops to this recipe.) If its too hard, add more coconut oil. If its too soft, add more beeswax. I have tested this recipe and found it to be the perfect consistency and flavor, but you can always change it if you’re looking for something different.

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NOW- the pouring part is a bit tricky.

Pour quickly and carefully into each tube, filling all the way to the top. Its okay if it slightly overflows onto the tray.

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The balm will cool and harden very quickly, so quickly in fact, that as you’re pouring, you will notice it hardening in the glass. You will have to pour as much as you can, as quickly as you can.

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Once it cools too much to pour, scrape the cup and return it to the water bath to remelt it. I had to do this twice while filling 12 tubes. After you fill the tubes, the balm will settle and you will have little pits in each tube. Refill each tube to the top again. Allow them to cool for a good 5 minutes.

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use-putty-knife-to-smooth-lip-balm-homemakerchic.comFinally, scrape the putty knife firmly across the top and smooth out the surface of your balms.

Once you have smoothed the tops, let them sit for an hour or two to completely firm up before using.

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If you follow the recipe correctly, you’ll have a bit leftover. I remelted it and added an equal part of coconut oil to the lip balm mix, then I poured it into a little pot I had. It turns out to be a wonderful skin balm or belly butter for stretch marks! I absolutely love rubbing it on my hands. Just one example of how all these ingredients can create another awesome skin product. And its all natural!

I’ll be working on some cute custom labels in the coming days so I’ll hopefully be sharing a printable with you soon.

I hope this helps! This project was so much fun and the results are wonderful. I know you’ll love this recipe. Happy Lip Balm making!

Repurposing Grapefruits

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A couple weeks ago my mom gave me a huge bag of grapefruits. Living in Florida this sort of thing happens often. People have tons of citrus growing in their yards this time of year so bags of grapefruits and oranges are doled out like free candy! I ate as many as I could but eventually I got grapefruited out and the 4 or 5 that were left started to get very overripe. Instead of throwing them out, I thought they would make a delicious juice! Especially since they were so sweet.

Since I don’t have a juicer, I just put a sieve over a bowl and started squeezing away. I ended up with a pint of juice! Hey not too shabby, because its not cheap in the store. If the juice is too tart, add a little stevia to sweeten it up. Since the fruit was so ripe it was nice and sweet! I had this lovely mason jar on hand from SKS Bottle, and it was perfect for my country style juice. juicing-grapefruit-homemakerchic.com

The rinds also serve another great purpose. Toss a few down your garbage disposal and grind away. The citrus cleans the shoot and leaves your kitchen smelling like spring! So don’t throw away that overripe citrus! freshen-garbage-disposal-homemakerchic.com

Happy spring everyone!

How to Clean Fan Blades (without a Dusty Mess!)

Dusty Fan Blade Homemakerchic.comSo the other morning My Hubby and I were snuggling in the bed when I looked up and noticed how dusty my fan blades had gotten. I mean they were really bad! I remembered a clever little trick I had seen awhile ago and decided right then and there to try it out. Lucky for you he decided to film me doing said trick. So you get the benefit of both my very first video on Homemaker Chic, and also a very nifty way to clean your fan blades without getting dust all over the place. Enjoy!

Use a pillow case to clean fan blades homemakerchic.com

Give Yourself a New Year’s Planning Retreat

 

Today I’m sharing a lovely blog that I read this week. It inspired me so much that I wanted to share it with you all. It comes from Keeper of The Home: Naturally Inspired Living for Homemakers. I know you’re going to love it as much as I did.

 

Written by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

 

 

I have found that when I make the time to sit down and spend a few hours on New Year’s Day (or very close to it) to plan out goals for the new year, my year goes much more smoothly than if I just take each day as it comes and fly by the seat of my pants. 

Now, we can never totally predict what  a new year will bring (like little did I know during my 2010 retreat that I would spend the majority of that year pregnant and my goals would change to reflect preparing for a natural birth!), but having a flexible, workable list of goals to keep me accountable and on track helps me immensely–especially when the unexpected happens. 

And I’ll be honest. Last year, I did not give myself a New Year’s planning retreat. I had a 2 1/2 year old and newborn, and I spent the majority of the year overwhelmed and without much direction. As a Christian, I feel these verses from Proverbs 29:18 ring true: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” For me, having a written “vision” for the new year is key.

Image by alicja_sto

Where to Go?

For me, it takes getting out of the house. As long as I’m at home, I will be distracted by the needs of the house. Two years ago, I spent my retreat at Panera Bread. And I will probably go either there or a local coffee shop this year as well.

If you are able to leave your children with your husband or trusted family or friends, you could even take a mini vacation somewhere by yourself. If you live in a warm climate, sitting somewhere outside might be nice. Or, you may be a homebody and actually be able to think more clearly if you can just set aside a few hours at home–while your children are napping or are elsewhere with your husband or a friend.

Regardless, make (or buy) yourself a healthy treat and sip on a hot drink as you pray, dream, think and plan.

Image by ba1969

What to Take?

As a Christian, taking my Bible is a must, as I seek the Lord for what my goals should be. I also plan to have ajournal for jotting down notes, my laptop to type everything up once my notes are completed, and perhaps even my ipod to listen to some inspirational music.

If you have one, make sure to take along your homemaking binder. (And if you don’t have one, perhaps you can use some of your retreat time to put one together!) This year, I also plan on taking a printed out copy of Amy Andrew’s Tell Your Time eBook, as a big portion of my retreat will be working on time management.

Image by teyoo

What to Plan?

My goals/planning range from the physical and mundane to the spiritual. Some of what I hope to conquer during this year’s retreat includes:

:: Focusing on spiritual growth:

  1. choosing a scripture as my theme verse for the new year
  2. making a list of spiritual goals, like number of verses to memorize

:: Fleshing out growth goals for my various roles:

  1. making a list of goals as a wife, like being better about ironing my hubby’s shirts (because it makes him feel special)
  2. making a list of goals as a mother, like leading my children in a daily devotional
  3. making a list of goals as a homemaker, like developing a better cleaning schedule
  4. making a list of goals for my health–and the health of my family, like sticking to a realistic exercise routine
  5. making a list of goals as a professional, like setting up a Word Press site for my blog and editing services

:: Developing steps to reach the aforementioned goals–including books to read that will help me grow

:: Writing out a mission/vision statement for the year

Giving yourself a New Year’s planning retreat can be as simple or as detailed as you want to make it. The goal isn’t to stress yourself out, but to give yourself time to rest and reflect and plan–so you can breathe a little easier the rest of the year.

Do you give yourself a New Year’s Planning Retreat? If so, how have you found it beneficial?