Spring Cleansing: Why More is Less, Simplilife.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo Da Vinci

TADA! I made you wonder..."Er, more is less? I have always heard that less is more." Well my friends, I am going to help you understand my play on words with this phlegmatic cliche.

Obviously, as the lust for material possession increases tremendously throughout our Westernized culture, we become a selfish people of expectant entitlement. Each generation expects a little more than the previous. Then, we arrive at present day youth. With society at our fingertips, and possibly in front of our very own eyes, a growing need for immediate satisfaction arises. The wants become greedier, the expectations become more demanding, and the apathy for the well-being of another become overwhelming pronounced. Technology has created nations of zombies. Current communication has been limited and completely deplorable. Little sprites of dialogue beginning with, "Where you at, girl" to "I been there before!" to "You done been to work?" You get the picture.

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Unfortunately, it is not merely the instance gratification of a text, instagram comment, or tweet that continues to hinder the growth of our society, but the constant need to accept these interruptions during the most thought-provoking moments in every day activities. Schools have accepted cellphone incorporation in "good faith", however, the temptation and distraction is constantly engrossing the attention span of even the most brilliantly loyal student. Furthermore, the exponential growth in instant gratification is impacting the safety of not only the self, by the passerby as well. If I must answer a text while in my car, I wait until I am stopped at the nearest light/stop sign or pull over in the nearest parking lot. The sickening feelings surround your heart when you're driving down the road and the car in the other lane begins to slowly move over in your own. You slam on your horn, only to see the person at the wheel suddenly look up at the road, sometimes in shock, but most of the time stoically.

Ok, so I did not commence writing a blog about the scariness of instant gratification - per say - but more because the youth of today, from extremely early on to well into their early 20s, engross themselves in some sort of technology. Whether it is a video game console, computer game, television, cellphone/smartphone, IPOD, IPAD, ITOUCH, IDON'TKNOW...eyes are always glued to a screen. And really, now that I think about it, most adult eyes are as well. *Sigh*

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I do admit I allow my son on my computer for a short window when he doesn't have a chance to go to school...but he plays on www.ABCMouse.com, therefore, I don't mind finding a small window for educational material.

And you're probably thinking, "You're the one blogging." Aye. I'm guilty of my screen time. However, I have come to learn in my many struggles to simplify my life, that it's not worth my time to keep up with everyone's business. Presently, I even struggle with the time I spend trying to promote myself and my business; which in this day and age, you have to in order to find work. There aren't many face to face or phone contact. Dismally, though, this comes during times that I would rather be painting, writing, or reading. I try to never spend time in front of my phone/computer during my son's waking hours...only when he is in bed. Now, I don't feel I am hopelessly involved with my screen times. I'm like a Jack-In-The-Box, you never know when I am going to pop out and get in your face with another post (nothing too creepy though).

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Therefore, let me introduce my newest revelation: More is Less. The more gadgets, the more "likes" and "comments", the more money, the more junk, the more busy, the more complaints, the more clutter...the less time spent on being thankful for what you have and need, the less positive interactions you are going to have with the world around you, the less perfect your life will seem after realizing your material items can be broken, burned, stolen, and...here's the kicker, replaced. The minion says, "WHHHHHAAAATTTT???" Instead of worrying about things that can be replaced, why not focus more on things that can't. Time and people are a good way to start.

Of course there are things that you could use "more" of: time, knowledge, love, happiness...paint. My apologies, I had to throw the last one in, however, I hope you continue to follow. When I recite the phrase: More is Less, I'm not speaking about the delicate aspects of life, I'm speaking of the materialistic, tangible objects we clutter our lives with every time we spend money. (You can hear it too? Madonna's Material Girl melody? Yeah, I thought so.) Don't get me wrong, money is certainly needed, unless you can cook, grow, and make everything you need; but obviously money does not make you happy. Take the copious amount of "celebrities" that have addiction problems, egotistical rants, and suicidal tendencies. All the songs and movie titles come flooding like Niagara Falls, but one sticks out the most: Can't Buy Me Love. That's right ladies, Patrick Dempsey's hard-to-nerd-that-up looks flooding into your memory?

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I digress once again. Anyway, let me help you realize the significant change that throwing and giving away much of my current possessions has given me in this upcoming Spring Cleansing time of the year.

Spring is all about the idea of rejuvenation, of a new beginning, a change in the air. All around us, the world will be awakening to the smile of the sun and the song of the birds. The weather will warm just enough to persuade the use of a jacket in the morning and evening hours. The vegetation will ripen, gracing the world with a fresh, new green glow. The rainbow will bloom amidst the grasses and gardens, radiating vibrant, cheerful colors. Even if you are not located within the same season change as I am, you know the feeling, and it is just as exhilarating. In the glory of this revitalization, I felt it perfect to cleanse my clutter as well.

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First and foremost, I began with my under-the-sink cabinets. Because I am beginning to "go green", I removed all of the store bought cleaners and replaced them with my own brand of cleaners: laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, cleansing clothes, vinegar sprays, hydrogen peroxide sprays, and all the lovely ingredients. The amount of space underneath my sink is mind-boggling. I can see the bottom of my cabinet and I feel safer allowing Grayson to touch the cabinets (while he can still not open the latch). I recycled many of the containers and kept several for Grayson to play with outside.

Then, I continued the "cleaner" decluttering into the bathroom. I have a very small cabinet under my sink. However, it no longer contains the unnecessary harmful chemicals, and holds all of my essential skincare ingredients: oils, spices, beeswax, and almond face scrub. Not only can I see the bottom of this cabinet, I can also see and take out anything I want without a number of bottles coming crashing down onto the bathroom floor. OH THE UNNECESSARY FRUSTRATIONS OF CLUTTER!

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Next, I continued into my tiny niche closet near my backdoor. This closet had many unused items from when my grandparents renovated the house. I had merely stuffed my random crap around theirs in an attempt to "organize". At least every other time I tried to open the damn closet, something would crash onto the floor and onto my head. It was pathetic. Cleaning it out, I found items I hadn't seen in AGES! ...and realized the amount of tupperware containers I had stuffed into the smallest of crevices. While the top shelf presently holds all the tupperware, at least everything has a place. I even placed a box of washcloths and Grayson's spray at his eye level to use when he needs to clean up.

Burdens are evaporating already...

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Finally, in the kitchen, I cleaned out my large food cabinet. This was an ordeal. The amount of junk and expired food astounded me, and mainly because I am not tall enough to reach up high to get most of my food down. I was on my tip toes upon Grayson's stool. I recycled three-fourths of the boxed items, sugars, flour, and miscellaneous items. And here's why: junk. Not only does clutter mean random objects laying around your space, but includes food that gets forgotten, or snacks that are unhealthy for you to consume. I threw it all away. I kept the minimal amount of healthy snacks - almonds, Annie's bunny crackers and cookies, some pasta in a container, my coffee filters and syrup (guilty), pure sugar, gluten-free bread, peanut butter that's only ingredient IS peanuts, some amazing Sweet Onion chips I found in the organic section at the grocery, and my son's oatmeal. We don't need an abundance of food/snacks. I don't eat a lot, and I have made a pact with myself that we will only buy the limited amount of food we need for the next couple weeks, and the rest will be fresh fruits and vegetables to incorporate from the fresh food market.

You may be saying, "Organic? Really? You must be out of your potential tree hugging mind!" You must understand that I cannot afford to just BE ORGANIC. However, I have learned what essentials my son and I can live on and I shop the sales. If the Annie's bunny crackers aren't on sale, well, we will just need to substitute an organic snack that is on sale. Unfortunately, though, I can only speak of what little food "needs" that my small family of 2 can live off. Grayson would be happy with his peanut butter sandwich and cantaloupe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I would allow! I know he needs more than that though, so I dabble in what I have.

The concept is to simplify, no matter how you want to say it: More is Less; Less is More; it all leads to one very important fact: We want more. I have lived that way most of my life. And while it took me this long to realize that I don't need to continue to buy things I don't actually need, I can not only strive to cleanse my body and mind, I can cleanse my life. I'm still no where near finished. I will continue with my son's toys and our clothes over the course of the next few months. Through it all, I hope to give something to someone who has nothing.

Trust me, if I can do it, you can certainly give it a go. Take time to think about cleansing your space around you of the material abundances in your life and allowing more time to enjoy the rebirth of life around you. I call it: Simplilife: Spring Cleansing.

Bonne chance.

To wish for more gold is far less satisfying than to hope for less gold and receive more satisfaction.

The War of the Pores: Salvaged Beauty

“It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before.” ~Jane Austen

How appropriate. Excitingly, my 29th birthday is this week! Yay me! It just so happens that I decided (thanks to a curious friend) to write a bit on my evolution from store-bought cleansers and make-up, to my own homemade beauty products. It's proved to be an amazing change. I, like so many others, struggled continuously battling acne, popping those blackheads, only to be bombarded by twenty more in its place. It was embarrassing. At work I would, on occasion, be forced to linger in the bathroom to stop the bleeding abomination on my face. Self-conscious and frightened of judgment, I desperately panned the internet for gold. Any information I uncovered on battling acne, I researched. I left no stone unturned. Eventually, after a multitude of useless products, I decided to go "natural".

It has nearly been a year since I took up the hobby of creating my own cleanser/make-up, a relentless pursuit of pore happiness; and let me inform you, it was NOT an easy first several months. From everything I read and researched, the store-bought cleansers and make-ups strip your skin of their natural oils. This leads to chemically induced blemishes and a puddle of toxic waste seeping into your pores. I was fed up with spending hundreds of dollars to have futile results. I became desperate to rid my skin of its toxins and to bring back the "natural" appearance.

First, I started out slow. I began with the cleansing. Now, I'm all about saving bees, but if their not being treated cruelly and mass poisoned, I am fine with buying natural, raw honey locally or organically. Honey has been used throughout history as a source of health beneficiaries. Therefore, I trusted my instinct and commenced to cleansing my face night and day with raw, organic honey. I used a washcloth to scrub lightly and then wash off with water...you have to make sure you wash away all remnants, or you'll have a few sticky spots, and that's never a pleasant surprise.

Simple. Right? Aye. Honey, how I love thee...

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Well, you have the beginning of my secret. To this day, I maybe buy a jar of honey every 2-3 months. Normally, it costs me around $9. However, that is such a small price to "dish out" compared to the amount of times (within 2-3 months) I was buying $6-8 acne cleanser, and they didn't even make my skin clear!!! I would swear on honey to cleanse anyone's face, regardless of their skin type.

A wonderful lead in to my next issue. Unlike some of my reader(s), I have always had extremely oily skin. I could wipe my face on the back of a receipt, and the receipt would disappear. I could accidentally wipe my eyes after touching my face, and the oil from my face would burn my eyes, causing them to turn red and watery. Disgusting, is it not? Certainly, but what can you do? Well, ask for a better hand. While I'm smiling at my insignificantly droll joke, you may be wondering, and how the bloody Hades do you accomplish that?

Excellent question...Release the ooze!! Okay, it's certainly not "oozy", per say. However, for my oily face, it definitely seemed that way. After mountains of research, you know how you rid your face of oil?!?!

...put oil back on your face. *sigh*

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At this point, I undoubtedly was wondering, "What the bloody Hades...?!" Pardon my Greek. But I was befuddled. I could not believe that placing oil...let alone OLIVE OIL, was going to not only provide me with a delicious simmer for my zucchini AND clear my face of the dreaded acne and oil. My, my, I was in for an awakening.

You may, or may not, know that oil was used heavily by the Egyptians to cleanse their bodies. Throughout history, various oils were used to cleanse and revive ones...aroma. How convenient, eh? A substance that already exists in its primordial state is effective? Of course!! It's a breakthrough!! Why does not every one see that mass production of toxins and chemicals only benefit the person(s) at the top? Well, we are an age of manipulation and desperation. We want to look, act, and feel as though our lives are bellowing, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!! I USE THIS PRODUCT, OR I WEAR THIS BRAND, OR I TWERK THIS WAY AGAINST THE WALL...AND I LOOK LIKE THIS CELEBRITY...THIS ENTERTAINER...THIS POPULAR KID DOWN THE STREET!" Society has created, in reality, androgynous generations of consumers willing to try and BE someone else, rather than realizing the benefits of exploring of individualism and historical significance. "Buy this product, and you'll look like..." heaven forbid "...Lady Gaga!" Did I get that reference correct? Or is it Miley Cyrus who everyone freaks about presently?

Anyway. Just because a celebrities name or face is on the product, DOES NOT mean you are going to benefit from the product and appear like the Photoshopped model.

I digress. OIL.

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Different types of oil help in different ways. My experience has been with Jojoba, Olive, Castor, and Avocado. On the spectrum, it seems that dry - olive, combination - jojoba, and avocado - oily. Castor oil is a mixture for each. Before I was able to buy jojoba oil at the Renaissance Festival, I used the olive oil/caster oil combo. This certainly began my oozy trail to the most glorious solution I could ever embrace for my face. The first two weeks or so were the roughest. I constantly had oil draining down my face, and the oh-so-present acne paraded like wildfire. Fortunately, I was persistent, diligent, and dedicated. I had read many warnings of terrorizing overproduction of oils. However, that was how it must be. In order to cease the overproducing oils that were brought on by the chemical warfare and toxic wasteland of the store bought cleansers, I had to create the War of the Pores on my face.

It was a delightful feeling to know I was taking the first step to a less chemically induced lifestyle. Finally, I bought jojoba oil (which you can also purchase on AMAZON) at the Renaissance Festival and swapped the mixtures out. I combined the castor oil and jojoba as both a intermittent cleanser and spot treatment. Yippie! The affect was glorious! ...but my most dangerous weapons during the first 2-3 months, my oil absorbing pads...or receipts...*pleasing grin*, and cornstarch. I used those pads like they were going out of style. The overproduction of oils were no match for my little blue squares, and I carried them like a badge of honour. I was defeating the War of Pores, and I was confident that, in the end, my disgust for my own complexion would cease to exist.

The amount of little packs of oil absorbing pads I bought decreased significantly within 3 months. I know that may sound like a bit of time, but trust me, well worth the results. You also may inquire, cornstarch? Yes, a beautiful oil-regulating powder that I still use to this day, even in my make-up.

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For my oil concoctions, I bought small bottles from Walmart's travel section (one you can twist open the top and pour substance into). I mixed an equal mixture of pure extra virgin olive oil (not made in the US) and jojoba oil. Depending on your skin type, I recommend using the most effective oil. Even to this day, I measure 1 tbsp Castor - to 1 tbsp oil of my choice. I also recommended mixing a few drops of essential oil (lavender, ylang ylang, tea tree) in it, this helps the acne, along with the smell, but it doesn't linger. I have read that tea tree works delightfully paired with oily skin, but I just go with my desired smell...and I love LAVENDER! As I specified, this is the every other day nightly cleanser and spot treatment.

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Of course, experimentation was a HUGE deal when deciding what was, and was not, best for my skin. Many articles/blogs I have read use coconut oil as a moisturizer. And let me specify, I love coconut oil. However, after my experience of using it as a moisturizer, unfortunately, it created too much oiliness on my face. I do hear it does wonders for those with dry skin!

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Another substance that benefited my skin in the beginning was organic Apple Cider Vinegar. This helped to keep away the minions of toxins that seeped through my night's of restful sleep. I would apply it as an astringent after cleansing my face with honey. I have since stopped using it because the oil on my face has regulated itself, and I am happily using less and less on my face! It's another glorious feeling! When you can go nights only washing your face water and waking up to a morning of oil-free skin, a burden the size of Jupiter lifts itself off your shoulders! Proudly, I wear my newly found freedom on my face with a smile.

Ah, well, all this reading has paid off. You have made it to my cleansing regimen. I will now inform you the steps I have taken to defy my acne prone skin! Granted, this is a STICK TO IT FOR 3-4 weeks until you feel comfortable that your natural oils have made their lasting impression on your face to the point of nestling themselves comfortably in for a life-long stay.

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Day One:

1. In the morning, with a wash cloth, scrub face with raw honey

2. Wipe off face and, with a q-tip, use the oil mixture as a spot treatment

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3. With a cotton ball, dab cornstarch all over your face, making sure to rub in enough so you don't see any white. (For this step, I eventually found some actual cotton rounds that I use and then wash every couple weeks or so. This is, of course, after washing them with warm water before setting aside).

Night One:

1. At night, use honey as a face wash again with washcloth.

2. Spray the Apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and wipe well over face.

Day Two:

1. Repeat steps 1-3 of previous day

Night Two:

1. At night, with a wash cloth, scrub oil mixture all over face (it needs warm water) and will need to be cleansed with the washcloth.

2. Spray the Apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and wipe well over face.

Continue to alternate the days!

At last, you may be inquiring about the homemade make-up I eventually prompted me to research once I regulated my army of pores. I stand true to my cornstarch when making this wonderful creation. Granted, you can make foundation, this can be completed through the process of combing almond oil with your powder make-up. Therefore, if you would like to try, I say, "Good for you!" Me, I stick with my powder right now. 

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In a bowl, I place the desired amount of cornstarch, let's say about 1/3 - 1/2 way full. Then, using pure, organic cinnamon (which I still have plenty of after buying at the Farmer's Market half a year ago) place about a 1/2 tsp at a time, mixing it with the cornstarch completely before adding more. You do this until it's desired color. You can always test on your skin each time. Unfortunately, my skin doesn't get much darker than it's normal light coloring, therefore, my days as a beach goddess are nonexistent...I tend to gear toward a smaller amount of cinnamon. You can use any type of powder container, or buy one on AMAZON, but I reused an old Mary Kay powder container because, otherwise, it would have been thrown away!

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Of course, the make-up goes on after my face regimen. And once applying my face powder, I used Hibiscus Powder for a beautifully pink blush, or my container of cinnamon for a brown tinted blush. I apply this with a brush directly onto my cheeks. There is nothing secret about these powders, use the powders in their natural form.

Naturally, you may wear more make-up than that, and I do too, on my eyes. However, I have foregone wearing eye shadow right now, and only buy the most natural mascara I can find. I attempted to create my own masterpiece of mascara magnificence, however, to my chagrin, my attempt horribly failed me. I still have yet to create a perfect mascara. Every time I try, it separates the aloe gel from the charcoal, and I stomp my feet like a spoiled child. Curse the homemade mascara! And unfortunately, if it weren't for the concern of salmonella in uncooked eggs, I would attempt the concoction of eggs and charcoal. That, my dear friends, will have to be experimented when I have x-ray vision and can see bacteria floating in my eggs.

If you have made it this far, congratulations! You really were interested in my eye-opening journey on being victorious in the War of Pores! Bravo! I will honour you with a thumbs up. I do hope this has helped and encouraged you to take the first steps in helping rid your skin of the toxin and chemical induced products you may be currently rubbing on your face religiously.

Adieu.

In beauty, as in all things, there is a double edge. One may keep you balanced, and the other over the ledge. Keep in mind your strengths, and eventually you will find, that combining the internal and external for good, will make you one of a kind.

To Shine or not to Shine; that is the question!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” George Sheehan

I'm a woman of my word. I informed the curious that the blog would be ready by Saturday...and here I am, two days early! I am here to introduce my method of DO IT YOURSELF dishwasher detergent, because this mommy doesn't necessarily have the time (or energy) to hand wash every single dish the builds up in my sink. Granted, I COULD, however, with my sensitive skin, and my notion that The Dust Bunnies are Plotting my Demise, I chose to toss them in the dishwasher. Being a family of two, it is curious how we build up so many dishes...and even clothes (laundry detergent to follow)...but I accrediting it to the fact that my son is now potty trained and his underwear is the culprit to extra loadage in the laundry and the ability to consume copious amounts of water and milk from cups that pile up in the sink because of his dire need to pee (or poop) in the toilet. I'm not complaining. Having my 3-year old potty trained has been an absolute lift off my already weighed down shoulders. Through this, I have more freedom to complete daily activities while he practices going to the john, standing up, sitting down, pulling up, pulling down...so far, so good. 

Pretty..........

Pretty..........

One of my first task in completely revamping our demolition of chemical products around the house (besides my extremely easy spray), is to create my own dishwasher detergent. Thank goodness for the internet! I'm not saying I wouldn't mind going to the library to research healthy alternatives for my generic dishwasher detergents I buy from the grocery, but I have the freedom at my fingertips to research and study right in the comforts of my own home (or a coffee shop) without the hassle of lugging my almost 40-lb child around. 

Naturally, when I started researching, most of the DIY/homemade products called for Borax. I immediately red-flagged the recipe as toxic. I will explain. Despite the overwhelming debates on the toxicity of Borax and its uses around the house, the only thing I have ever used Borax for in the past was for...that's right...gross little friends-cockroaches. My mother gave me her Borax several months ago to spread around the corners and baselines of my house to get rid of those nasty little boogers! Let me tell you...while I hate seeing a dead cockroach belly side up on the floor in the morning, I hate watching a live one scurrying across my floor early in the morning. ERGH. Anyway, I automatically relate Borax to poison. However, if you feel differently, then by all means, use it. I just pull myself to add even the smallest amount to my detergents or cleaners where it's going to touch, rub, or potentially soak into my 3-year old's skin.

Anyway, I furthered my research into the realm of Borax-free detergents. And by golly, I have deemed myself successful! For not only do I feel wonderful about my recipe, I had amazing results the first time around! To be clear (hehe...no pun intended), I have an older dishwasher and while it gets the job done, I have had instances where it doesn't clean the dishes all the way, or still leaves behind a garlic-y odor from the previous nights dinner garlic incorporation. Therefore, I felt I had nothing to loose. I couldn't tell if it was just the dishwasher, or it was my lack of finding the right detergent to clean. I got down to work.

Blog after blog, website after website, I searched for the perfect ingredients, possible measurements someone used opposed to another, and in the meantime, found some cheap (but nice looking) tall glass jars at Kroger to place my detergents in when they were complete. While I recycle the plastic containers that once held my chemical infested products, I find that glass suits me better, and I give the empty washed out plastic containers to Grayson to play about!

I collected all the possible additives intermittently when I came across the most decent priced ingredient. I already possessed the baking soda I needed, for I use that stuff like it is going out of style! My toughest challenge was to locate citric acid. This was the only ingredient I have had to purchase that cost me more than any other. Despite the fact that it was more expensive, I concluded that it was better to buy a 5 lb bulk off Amazon for $17.99 (click here) and have it for the next couple years, than buy a small 7 oz bottle at Walmart for almost $3. It was really a no-brainer. Because, as you will see, you do not need to use much of the citric acid. From what I have researched, this is the ingredient that helps to make your dishes clear. Another alternative is LemonShine (a whooping $6 *sigh*), which I had to use at first because I couldn't find citric acid - HOWEVER, you need citric acid for both the dishwasher and laundry detergent, therefore, much better to stick with citric acid. 

Taking a picture of himself.

Taking a picture of himself.

By this time, my hobby had become a slight obsession. I wanted to research the cheapest, most convenient ways to incorporate my ingredients on a global scale in my home! I'm sure that my son is convinced that "Mommy has lost her sanity." ...and in some way, I concur, but it's only to provide the best living environment while using my "free" time productively. If you consult with my mother, she will tell you that I have ALWAYS enjoyed creating things, trying new activities, and researching. Therefore, my new hobbsession (patent pending...hehe) is just in my nature. And so, why not incorporate nature! TA-DA! The most interesting, and probably beneficial task this accomplishes, it the incorporation of Grayson in my creations. The ingredients I am utilizing can be handled by my son using standard precautions. Normally, as long as he washes his hands after cleaning or mixing, I ask him to wash his hands for any residue that he might potentially place in his mouth if he chooses to rub his mouth, snack, or, to mommy's chagrin, add in his nose. 

We continue the additions to my ever-growing newbie hobbsession in the form of washing soda and coarse sea salt. All of these ingredients (despite my unfortunate run-in with LemonShine and Walmart's overpriced citric acid) cost me pennies. When you divvy up the ingredients out of the boxes and containers (in which will keep and you can utilize in other concoctions later on) is about $1.50. My apologies if in ANY way this seems too overpriced for nearly doubling the amount of dishwasher detergent you buy in the store...while incorporating the "no-chemical" aspect. I'm hoping that everyone is becoming as elated as I was (and still am) over the detergent.

To continue...

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Let's establish our ingredients:

Citric Acid (or LemonShine)

Washing Soda

Baking Soad

Fine Sea Salt

...and my absolute favorite...FRAGRANCE! You can accomplish this through essential oils, or you can go to your nearest craft store and walk up to the soap making (or candle making) aisle and grab a little bottle of "fragrance".

Now you're wondering, "What are the measurements Brittany." In which I will respond, "Give me a minute!!" No, not really, but I want to make sure you understand that it depends on your container size. First, I would start off with a 1:1 ratio of Citric Acid and Washing Soda, followed by a 1:1 ratio of baking soda to sea salt, and several drops of fragrance.

Try this first and then double, triple, or quadruple at your leisure.

1 1/2 cup: Citric Acid

1 1/2 cup: Washing Soda

1/2 cup: Baking Soda

1/2 cup: Fine Sea Salt

5-10 drops of your fragrance (I use Red Rose and Tulip fragrance...it is FRESH and makes my dishwasher smell heavenly!)

NOTE: Tea Tree and Lavender are natural antibacterial essential oils...but I waited to use those in my laundry detergent.

Combine the top 4 ingredients to a large mixing bowl (or directly to your chosen container) and mix together thoroughly. Then, add the drops of fragrance, mixing a little more.

And VOILA! You have your detergent.

BUT WAIT! There is one more important factor when you decide to make your own powdery products...and it is called CLUMPING. You may think, "Oh dear, I have to do something about clumping? That's completely not worth making this concoction!!" To which I would respond, "Don't worry, I did the research for you, and it's a breeze."

I read the word desiccant several times during read and, while not knowing if I was pronouncing it correctly, I finally realized the importance (especially with the laundry detergent). Apparently, this is the SAME idea as those little packets that fall out of new shoe boxes that: "You're not supposed to eat..." I think I heard that several times throughout my childhood, and while I never ate one, i always wondered, "Why was it in there?"

Calcium Carbonate

Calcium Carbonate

And I stumbled rigidly over the answer...to keep fresh. Well, I'm not going to go buy a million pairs of shoes in order to keep the little package of silica gel (that isn't ACTUALLY a gel)...no matter how much i LOVE shoes. Where do I turn? The internet-browser search: How can I make a desiccant? Everyone loves information - you can use silica gel, calcium carbonate, salt, rice, and white clay. Well, which bloody one do you use? After briefing several websites, I came up with a person who actually compared them together, and guess which one was the best? CALCIUM CARBONATE! *sigh* ...I didn't know where to even start looking for calcium carbonate until I accidentally laid eyes on a picture of a bottle I had passed in Kroger. Calcium carbonate is used in pickle jarring to keep pickles crisp and fresh. With an eye roll, I think, "Yes, because pickling has a lot to do with de-clumping, but whatever!" I bought a container of calcium carbonate in the jarring section of Kroger, and even though it was $6, I hardly used any of it, therefore, the investment was well worth it because I can use it in my laundry detergent desiccant also! 

To make your lovely desiccant, you will need:

Desiccant and measuring cup...both fit nicely in my jar.

Desiccant and measuring cup...both fit nicely in my jar.

1-2 tbsp: Calcium Carbonate (or your chosen weapon against clumping)

Baby sock or panty hose (be able to tie)

Drop it in your closed container of dishwasher detergent and place your top back on.

You DID it!! Yippie! You have now completed Brittany's beneficial dishwasher detergent blog. I wanted a tongue twister for amusement. Now say it 5 times fast!

To add my last tidbit of fascination with my newest concoction, my dishwasher has NEVER smelled so clean, NEVER appeared so pristine after a wash, and NEVER cleaned my dishes so well :) If...wait...WHEN you have the same experience, I do hope you will consider my other blogs on "going green". And if not, I hope you STILL consider reading my other blogs...

Buonasera

In all things pure, your heart will sing, "Let me soar above the clouds with the gift of faery wings!"

 

My Little Bean goes Green

"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” Plato

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My little bean goes green. Within the past year, I have been searching, researching, and searching more for ideas to make my little family's routine a little more green. Living in an old house, I have been more horrified from the evil, manic cockroaches that could possibly crawl across my son's tiny foot...or even carry him off. Horror story in the making! Anyway, I made them bathe in chemicals (the cockroaches by themselves, Grayson was not present). I sprayed constantly, around the corners, behind the machines, refrigerator, couch, beds, bookcases. Once Grayson got a little older, he would mimic the sound, "Mommy, look! PEW PEW PEW PEW!!!" (Even with the hand motions and everything!) After 2-years (and him already walking around), I resorted to using Borax and cockroach motels. Therefore, instead of liquid chemicals, I set the cockroaches up in a residency and had white, powdery corners and floor lines. *sigh*

In Spring 2013, I decided to "go green" with my make-up and skincare products (that blog can be view in my Blogger blog, and I will repost again in my Pixies and Pirates Blog). Because I could be considered pizza face in my late 20's, and unfortunately, I have always been pizza face since I could remember beginning in puberty. After a year of adoring my homemade, DIY products, I decided to make new hobbies out of "going green". Might I say, it's become a bit of an obsessive hobby, but at least I have good goals in mind!

This is where my research and searching for answers comes in full throttle. There is an important factor in my changes, and it takes the form of my tall, smiley, rambunctious, headstrong 3 year old. You have to understand, he is my mini-me. Therefore, every way I describe him (beside the tallness) is the mirror of my overall personality. Which is why it's been such an amazing change to make - you know, GOING GREEN.

I started out small.

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Instead of using Lysol or Clorox wipes, I mixed together hydrogen peroxide and water (3/4 HP and 1/4 H2O) in my own recycled spray bottle. I showed my enthusiasm for cleaning with our new, "magic spray" that I expressed to Grayson he could even do it himself! He was ecstatic. Then, at Walmart, I took him to the travel section in which I told him that he could get his own spray bottle! He chose green (such a convenient colour for our "adventure"), and we put "magic spray" in his little bottle. For his, I place half and half. He has NON STOP sprayed his table like a maniac - before he eats, after he eats, and even between times.

At first, we used paper towels, but again, my goal is to be more efficient even with the environment. Therefore, off to Walmart we go again (trust me, Walmart is NOT my cup of tea, but I can find the cheap stuff there). We bought an 18 pack of rough looking washcloths for $4 - not bad, and they already looked like crap! I also found an awesome dish dryer mat...which is perfect for my coffee washes every morning. And this, of course, is despite the fact that we stocked up on $1 paper towel rolls at Kroger the previous week (I say "stock up" - that means........2 rolls). Of course they still come in handy when I don't have a towel nearby, but I hate using so many on cleaning. Anyway, another purchase at Walmart was a small sweeper and dust pan for his little hands. Not only am I convincing him to spray, I'm convincing him to sweep! Point for Mommy-dom.

Allow it, and I will continue to digress.

This week has not just allowed me to sit still with my passion to go green, but enamored me enough to continue pursuing the ins and outs of green living - cleaning products, skin and hair products, etc. I read and compare several different resources, and on my journey to come up with a new body wash solution for myself, I thought about Grayson. Johnson and Johnson is unfortunately "tear free" for a reason...actually, MANY reasons. Those reasons are called "chemicals". Yep, you heard me right, CHEMICALS. The chemicals numb your child's eyes so that they cannot "tear up". Oh gracious me! The terror of exposing my child to such products. However, that is the current world we live in. Products are no longer "pure"....but a mixture of substances that harm our bodies and minds. Therefore, I started researching DIY alternatives...soaps, add-ins...etc. Then, I found a miracle brand - Dr. Bronner. This liquid soap and castile soap can be a safe additive to most of your household, chemical-free needs. Lovely, eh? I say so!

Well, here came the research! I looked all over for the best prices on Dr. Bronners soaps. And I must say, they are not cheap UP FRONT...you will enjoy the benefits of frugality as time passes and you don't have to buy cleaners, shampoos, washes, etc! I have experienced this with my make-up/skincare products, and let me assure you, it's WORTH it! Anyway, Amazon has everything of course. However, I wasn't going to be convinced until I searched locally first. Now, I'm sure a place such as Trader Joe's has it all, but there is not one near. Therefore, the first place I searched was Hobby Lobby - and while they have some essential oils...they DID NOT have castile soap. WAH. I dawdled over to Kroger for some grocery items and wandered through the health food section. Without realizing, I stumbled upon the soap I needed!! The HALLELUJAH chorus began parading in the background...along with my precious 3-year sliding across the floor on his knees. I snatched the Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Soap up and coveted it all the way to the house.

This is where it gets fun...

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I MADE BABY WASH!! Woot! And it only took me a minute. All you need:

Dr. Bronner Baby Mild Castile Soap

Distilled water (or well water)

Essential oil (I did lavender...you can find that at Kroger...it's a soothing oil)

A container (I poured out my J&J and refilled it with my stuff!)

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Then, all you need to do is measure out the container - 1/4 cup soap to each 3/4 cup water. I think mine turned out to be 1/2 cup castile soap and 1 1/2 cup water. Add about 15 drops of essential oil and shake it up! You have chemical free baby wash! Isn't that fabulous?!?! I like to think so...you can even view the results for yourself. I washed his hair last night, and it STILL looks as fabulous (if not MORE) with the awesomely "magic" wash! 

Now you have it...our little budding of green to be added upon by ten-fold! I'm so excited. It's a feeling of pure accomplishment when you are carving a better future for your child(ren). I must retire for the night, I feel my painting is sobbing profusely at my absence! PS: Speaking of sobbing - the soap is NOT tear free...but just have them close their eyes, tilt back their heads and they will be happy :))

Bon Soir! 

Children may play with the worms under the adult prying eye; but turn your back, and they may see a faery fly by.