Category Archives: personal care/beauty

slow living update – May 2013

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I’m following the example at Slow Living Essentials again this month, and using her categories to summarize my month and list some things I’d like to accomplish. Once again, it doesn’t feel like we did a lot, but once I got started writing, I could see that we really did.

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{Nourish}:

We’ve been enjoying lots of local asparagus this month, mostly marinating it in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and grilling it on the barbecue. I also wrote about Butter Tart Mini-Muffins, which I made with great hopes of freezing some for lunch pails, but they were all gone too quickly. We cook our meals at home, but a current MS flare-up has made me tired and we have resorted to a few dinners out and take-out a couple of times. Prepackaged cookies and lunch snacks have been sneaking back into the grocery cart again, but I’m hoping to get back to making more from scratch again soon.

{Prepare}:

We’ve been busy preparing the flower gardens, lawns, and the vegetable garden. That has taken up pretty much every spare minute of time this month – though mostly for the dad and the young lad that we hired to help with the flower gardens. There are so many flower beds here at the farm that we could probably keep him employed into adulthood. Or at least pay for his first car and university.

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{Reduce/Reuse/Repurpose/Repair}:

There is an ongoing list of things for the dad to repair around here – he keeps the tractor, lawn mower and cars going and then helps out friends, neighbours and storage customers when a little extra expertise or an extra hand is needed.

The girls took an old unused shelf, painted it and added a few extras to make themselves some more horse stalls to house their toy horses. They’ve already gotten hours of play out of it.

{Green – cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies}:

I made some linen spray with essential oils – just to leave a nice smell behind on the bedding when I make the beds. I’ve also been using cornstarch in place of body powder and would like to try adding a few essential oils and maybe some baking soda to it to make it more like powder.

{Grow}:

The garden is mostly planted with the exception of a few packets of seeds and the raspberry canes. I haven’t been out to look since it was planted, but the dad says that many seeds have already germinated and are poking through. We’re well on our way. We’ve even managed to get the pots around the patio planted with flowers and once we get the flower beds free of weeds and mulched with some wood chips, the place should be looking good. Right about in time for the wedding ceremony for some friends that the dad agreed to have on the grounds.

{Create}:

Nothing to write about here this month.

{Discover}:

I found a new on-line magazine and blog called From Scratch, and have been reading through their first few issues. I wouldn’t call us homesteaders by any stretch, but they also have some articles on gardening and cooking and DIY that are quite interesting.

We’ve also made our way through the first season of Breaking Bad on DVD – I bought it for the dad at Christmas and it’s been addicting enough that I will need to go in search of more.

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{Enhance – community}:

The dad started off the season by hosting a skeet shoot and lunch for his local Ducks Unlimited committee members. I love that the high score of the day went to a female investment banker. The local rural guys who are all quite cocky about their shooting prowess didn’t stand a chance.

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{Enjoy}:

It was a little quieter around here this month, which was all right with all of us. The girls are getting back on their horses and enjoying some riding lessons from their grandma – and I may even work up the nerve to get on the big horse soon to go for a short walk.

We are enjoying the nice weather when we get it, the dinners in the porch on those nice evenings, and watching the girls chase each other around the yard while having water fights.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, GNOWFGLINS

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an easy hair mask for frizzy or curly hair

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It’s been a while since I wrote about anything to do with homemade products, so I thought I’d show something simple that I used on my hair last night.

I have curly hair that tends to dry out easily. I wake up with freakishly frizzy hair that looks like the stylists for Whitesnake and Motley Crue broke into my house while I was sleeping and teased my hair. The dad is kind and averts his eyes and says nothing. Usually I am able to beat it into submission with a shower and some kind of hair product, but lately it was getting a little out of hand. Last night I made a quick hot oil treatment and the results are nice, submissive shiny curls this morning. Mostly. The curls tend to do their own thing. I call it a good day if I look less like Richard Simmons and more like Phyllis Diller. But it was shiny. And soft. And more importantly, it wasn’t frizzy.

I used coconut oil, honey and apple cider vinegar; each ingredient on its own has conditioning and moisturizing qualities. The apple cider vinegar also removes hair product residue from hair, works as a natural de-tangler and leaves hair soft and smooth. I’ve used it in the past as a rinse after shampooing (mixed with water in a squirt bottle) and my hair always felt great afterwards. And you stop smelling like a french fry as soon as your hair dries.

This made enough to cover my chin length hair, so if you have longer hair just mix a larger batch. The measurements don’t have to be precise, just in approximately the same ratio as below.

Moisturizing Coconut Oil, Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Mask

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Mix together in a glass jar or container that can be heated. Warm in a hot water bath or place in the microwave for a few seconds until the oil and honey are warmed and runny. Apply to dry hair, cover with an old towel or shower cap and leave on for at least 30 minutes before washing hair.

I had to borrow the new cap that I bought for our new bathroom caddy (a wine bottle holder that we found hidden in our bathtub after our annual ugly gift exchange).

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Linked to Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugally Sustainable, GNOWFGLINS

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getting ready for Christmas – a spiced chai sugar body scrub

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Christmas is getting closer and I really don’t have much of a plan. In fact, knowing that we are moving in January, I didn’t put up any lights or greenery outside of the house. We always have a real tree inside, so we don’t decorate until a week or two before Christmas to avoid having a needle-bare tree by Christmas. This year I am reluctant to do even that, knowing that the Christmas decorations are the only boxes that I already have packed. But somehow I doubt that I will win that battle.

I made a head start today on an idea for teacher’s gifts. I’ve started knitting a few dish cloths with an apple pattern (I know, exciting, right?) and I thought that I would include a sugar scrub of some sort. This is one that doesn’t require refrigeration, making it easy to give as a gift. It’s also pretty easy to customize according to ingredients that you have on hand.

You can make this in any quantity you like, to fit any container you have on hand. The basic rule of thumb is 2/3 sugar to 1/3 oil – and then you can add any scents/additions that you think would go well together. I used Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea because I think it smells like Christmas.

Spiced Chai Sugar Body Scrub

  • 2/3 cup sugar (white or brown or half and half)
  • 1/3 oil of your choice (olive oil, grapeseed, almond, etc)
  • 3-4 bags of Bengal Spice (or your preference) chai tea

Cut open the bags of tea (use more bags if making a larger batch or you want a stronger smelling scrub) and mix it together with the sugar and oil in a jar. Use it anywhere on your body that needs a little scrub, moisturizer or general healthy glow. This should keep indefinitely without the need for refrigeration – just give it a stir to mix in the oils and sugar occasionally.

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Linked to Frugally Sustainable, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday

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