April 6, 2013

3rd Annual Earth Day event: Making Your House a Homestead

We just celebrated our third annual annual Earth Day event. The 2013 theme was "Making Your House a Homestead" and was at my House--Harvest Haven. And this year it was a family event! Though the rain threatened, we still had a great turnout.

We started at my house and while we waited for everyone to arrive, we talked food storage 101 and handed out a survey on general emergency preparedness, so people could see where they were at. On that handout was also 12 steps from BeReadyUtah.org for ideas to get started--awesome FHE ideas for emergency prep. We also had a list of recommended food storage amounts for one adult in basic staples (grains, beans, oils/fats, sweeteners, etc. and an example of mine downstairs.

Paul showed them his newly built shelves in our cold storage. This was just a short intro and a few steps for those interested. And we talked a little about the variety of grains too, besides just wheat and oats.

BACKYARD PETS 101: Bees and Chickens

Jared shows us his chicken coop and talks about the ins and outs of owning chickens. Then he talks about bees 101--super interesting! I know a lot of the men came to hear that.
Jared's cute wife Tamara brought out a little honey bear of their real, raw honey for everyone to take home, and a little "honeycomb" treat she made (not real honeycomb, which is beeswax). I swear it tasted just like the British crunchies candy bar!

I interrupted a lot...luckily i had liberty too, right? It was my Earth Day event and the goal was to help people see where and how to start with these things, if they want to take the next step. And I had Paul share his experience with Jared trying to find the new queen bee at our neighbor's house, when the old hive of bees split off and formed a new one across from our house. Paul got to scoop the bees up in his hand and flick them off...so easily, without gloves or a suit or anything. Bees can be so tame and not always as scary as we think--it was quite eye-opening.
Thanks Jared and Tamara for an awesome backyard pets segment of our Earth day!

Next, we walked a few houses down to Sahms beautiful backyard retreat! IT was raining, so we didn't stay long and enjoy their playset or bball court. But we saw their 12 fruit tree orchard and Paul gave some pruning tips (he's a good sport to jump in and do random things like this for me, and he likes it too)...which he continued at our house, along the side, while others were filtering back into the house for treats.

Half of the kids stayed in our basement watching a movie or coloring some Earth day coloring pages, while the other half went around to see the bees and chickens (or should I say the playsets and trampolines). :)
Charise's daughter Rachel babysat all the kids who stayed at the house. Thank you!!
But then everyone came back to the house and ate the yummy snacks everyone brought. Chips and blackbean, corn salsa, gluten-free sweet chili rice chips, blue corn chips; rice krispie treats, strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar, cantaloupe, edamame, etc.

And of course, my Earthday jello was forgotten in the fridge. Whoops. But Ethan and I are enjoying it: mixed berry, coconut, lime (inspiration from Mom, who did a July 4th one like that--and yes, the coconut milk and gelatin layer is homemade and healthy--no sugar or artificial ingredients!).

At the very end I just gave a short intro I gave in our living room, with a handout on it (as well as composting). A few people were really interested and listened, while everyone else just finished eating. I had a prize, but we ran low on time, so it was awarded to Wendy Hallstrom who showed a great enthusiam for getting her yard and garden together this year...so she will need them: a pair of gardening gloves and packet of Nasturtium seeds to plant those flowers among her vegetables--to help deter bugs (like Marigolds).

If anyone is interested in any of those handouts, just let me know and I can send you the digital copies. I will be getting Jared's Bees and Chicken handouts too.

Stevie took this photo of Ethan... (this is what he would've worn, had it been sunny outside)

So....thanks again for all those troopers who made it out--and in the rain too! IT was a fun, educational morning. And my brother was in town too and good to have him there as well.

Next year will be even greater, so get prepared. :) It might be for families again...and if it's sunny, I already have some great ideas for fun kids earth day activities!

Homemade Lotion Bar

So...I have tried a few homemade lotions and it is hard to get exact measurements when you buy in bulk. So I sometimes don't get the exact consistency for a lotion that I put in a jar. And they frequently look slimy. Not appealing, I know. But...I finally found a homemade version that makes sense! A bar!  I know...lotion as a bar?

Granted...this isn't a good facial lotion because it may clog pores, but I use it on my kids and on my hands and such. I just rub it on my skin and it kind of just glides on perfectly. But even better than that is what I have been looking for in most of my homemade versions of things. The recipe is simple and only needs a few common ingredients--from wellnessmama.com.

If you are going to be making your own bathroom products, these are all items you should have on hand in bulk. Just add them all in equal parts. Here is an example for six thin bars.
1/3 c coconut oil
1/3 c beeswax
1/3 c Shea or cocoa butter (I use Shea, but it is more stinky)
Essential oils (optional: i do about 15 drops. Lavender is the best for children and basic needs and skin healing. Tea trea for cleansing.)

Place the first three oils in a glass jar and put into a pan with water.
Then melt all in the jar.
Once melted, add the essential oils if you chose. And pour...divided into six muffin tin molds.
Let cool, then pop out and enjoy!

You can use a double boiler, but it is messy once done...with all the melted waxy, oily things, so i prefer the glass jar. I did a lavender one for my kids. A lavender, tea tree, peppermint, rosemary one for me. And a spearmint, tea tree, lemon eucalyptus, cedar wood for my hubby (he doesn't generally need lotion, but it is to rub on his chest for sinus and congestion stuff). That is the fun part...mix and mingle the essential oils to your liking for whatever purpose you and your family need. They each can have their own bar. If I were really cool I would add some natural food coloring tints to them each so they looked different....like turmeric or beet juice. But...that is way too much work; and the lotion bars, on the other hand, weren't. So enjoy!

April 1, 2013

Homemade Deodorant

Top 5 Toxic ingredients in you deodorant

Paul and I haven't been using typical store-bought deodorant for a few years now. We didn't like the anti-perspirant and aluminum problems. Our bodies are meant to sweat, and who are we to force it not to? So...we have tried a few natural brand deodorants and the "crystal."

But now...I am happy to share our homemade version that is great and I love the smell!

1/3 c coconut oil
1/3 c arrowroot (this is a cornstarch alt.)
2 T baking soda
10 drops essential oil (we love grapefruit for the smell, but lemon would be antibacterial)

Just use a fork to mix it all together and store in a little glass jar. 
When you want to use it, just dig out a little with your fingers and smear it on under your arms.

Yeah...not the most ideal, but it smells so good and isn't as messy as it sounds. I will keep playing with it, to see if we can get it hard enough to put in a deodorant container to rub on, but until then, this works just fine.

Happy deodorizing (remember, this isn't an anti-perspirant, but it keeps the smell under control)!