Spa at home with the kids

Awhile back I was invited to a spa night with the girls.  My friend arranged her home to have little stations through out where one could do a facial, mani/pedi etc, she dimmed all the lights and we made our way around while chatting and relaxing.  It was lots of fun and turned out to be a well needed relaxation session for myself.

I’ve done the girls nails before and we’ve experimented with scrubs and such but never have we combined it all for one special hang out.  I thought it was time so I adapted my friends idea and being march break we didn’t need to worry about how late it went or how much mess it made.

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We didn’t get too fancy but thought I’d give it a bit of a grown up feel for the girls-hence the candles.

Shown above is our mask (plain yoghurt and oats), and a foot/hand scrub (white sugar, safflower oil and a few drops essential oil), and my gel eye mask (recently refrigerated).  Everything is really easy to make and you likely have it at home, which is what I was going for.  To make your own items just combine the ingredients listed till you get your desired consistency.  I wanted to show my girls that you don’t need make up and expensive store bought products that are harmful to ourselves and the planet, its just as fun with household ingredients.   They both noticed how soft their skin was after the treatments and how it actually healed some of their chapped skin.

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(you might be wondering what’s with her eyes?  I allowed them to put on temporary tattoos for March break, these ones give them a cat eye look)

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I also filled a large pot with warm water and essential oil to soak our feet in.

We sat in a circle and soaked/relaxed and laughed.

 

Streak-free Windows

Streak-free Windows

Everyone who knows me knows I hate cleaning.  I agree that it really does feel rewarding when I’ve cleaned the whole house and its sparkly and bright, but within a day you can’t even notice it.  So I usually stick to the most important things like the bathroom and that which you cannot function without doing like laundry and dishes.

I was recently talking to a friend who noticed that her windows were quite streaky and dirty though she had cleaned them recently and she read somewhere to use black tea on windows.  She gave it a try and loved it and so I figured I should to as my windows were last cleaned in the spring.  So it was time for some fall cleaning.  I brewed a strong batch of Tetley black tea and once cooled put it in a spray bottle (can be found in most gardening aisles and at the dollar store).

At first it seemed really weird using the tea and of course the smell is no where close to what you would be used to when using standard window stuff, but it worked.  The outsides of my windows needed to be done twice because of the dirt build up but inside was fast and easy.  The result is very clear and streak free windows.

Such an easy and chemical free way to clean.  I love it and it will likely be my go to window cleaner from here out.

side note- make sure to do all the windows within a day or two-I did one here and one there and of course the bottle got moldy- so do it all at once and then discard the tea

Happy cleaning, let me know if you have any cool DIY window cleaners.

 

Bath tub cleaner

Bath tub cleaner

Ring around the tub?  We often go barefoot indoors and out and our tub gets pretty grimy.  The girls want to start having baths again instead of quick showers and so the ring has got to go.

Growing up my mother would use Ajax and I remember it being so abrasive and often feeling like it was still floating around in the water.  To get the same scrubby effect I’ve been using baking soda.  Super simple and safe.  Use a plastic kitchen scrubbie, a little water and pour enough baking soda on it to scrub the tub, add more soda as needed.  Rinse well and if needed touch it up with my DIY All Purpose Cleaner.

WP_20130908_006Happy Cleaning!!

Up-cycle old tights

Up-cycle old tights

My girls love tights/leggings but go through them so quickly.  The knees get worn out or the bums get really dirty and so once they have outgrown them they aren’t really in a state which can be donated to others.  Instead of throwing them out we’ve come up with a few fun and easy ideas.  The following would make really cute gifts for friends or siblings and of course to be used at home.

My eldest loves dressing really funky and so we made these awesome wrist warmers, simply take some old leotards and cut off the foot and then cut up the leg at which ever length you want or where ever you run into a hole.  She asked for thumb holes so I guessed where they would fit and cut a little hole.  The project is completely no sew, you could of course sew the edges to make them more sturdy, but this pair in photo has been going for years and has barely run.  For extra fun you could sew on some buttons or shapes of fabric etc.  The pair in question uses the design which was originally on the tights and so we didn’t bother to further embellish them.

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We’ve made many different pairs of these and so she can switch them up depending on her mood or wear them as leg warmers.

I was given a gift for Christmas which inspired this next idea.  Cut a length of tight to fit snugly around the wrist and decorate as desired.  We cut shapes out of felt and rummaged through our collection of buttons to come up with this cute bracelet.  You could fasten with a button and button hole but we just sewed the two sides together with a button for decoration.

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Lastly we used some of the scraps to create doll clothing.  Shown here is a simple dress, we used the existing trim from the pants as is and just sewed up the back.  Not shown are the many different skirts, infinity scarves and tube tops that we also created by simply measuring and sewing up the back.

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If your children are old enough to sew this could be a great independent craft, if not its a fun way for your children to design with help. Either way its loads of fun and a great way of keeping old worn out clothing out of the landfill.

 

DIY All Purpose Cleaner

DIY All Purpose Cleaner

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As I mentioned earlier on some of my natural body care posts I’d like to make most of what my family uses myself.  There are so many reasons I don’t want to purchase pre-made goods; I don’t know what is in them, some are tested on animals, some of the green products are produced by larger conglomerates I do not wish to support, products are expensive and most importantly I don’t want to poison my family or the earth.

I have used plain vinegar as a cleaner before but this new version smells much nicer.  Its also really easy to make.

Eat a bunch of oranges and lemons etc and save all the peels.  Place the peels into a large mason jar and fill with white vinegar, let the mixture sit for a few days and then strain off the liquid.  Fill a spray bottle with the liquid and a bit of water and you’re set.  Easy peasy!

Happy cleaning!!

Home made deodorant

Home made deodorant

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It’s been years since I’ve used deodorant, ew gross right?  Not really,  I’ve found that over the years as my diet has improved and the amount of exercise I get has also improved I just don’t smell.   Or not much anyhow.  I do however like to use a natural home made deodorant mostly in the summer since its gets a bit more sweaty in 40C then it does in the winter.

My recipe is very simple and there are two options

  • equal amounts of baking soda and corn starch about 1/2 cup each (though I’ve noticed a lot of people online using arrowroot powder as an alternative to corn products)
  • few drops of essential oil (more if you are making a huge batch)

You can leave the recipe like this and use a damp cloth to pick up the mixture and apply to all sweaty areas, or you can add oil to the mix till you reach your desired consistency.

I used safflower oil because it is what I have on hand but I’ve seen others recommend coconut oil.

There will be a little residue on your skin and clothing but it goes away and I haven’t noticed any staining on my shirts, either way it is nice to know that I’m not adding any toxins to my body.

Teacher Gift- peppermint foot scrub

While scanning recent pins on pinterest I found a wonderful recipe for peppermint foot scrub and thought what a great idea for an end of school teachers gift. Now that kindergarten has gone full day and since my daughter is in french immersion she has 8 teachers/support staff and my other daughter has two teachers. 10 gifts total seemed somewhat daunting and since I didn’t want to get gifts that would end up in the landfill and don’t feel like spending $100 on gift cards I thought this was the perfect gift. I always love homemade things and this is especially useful for the time of year.

Unfortunately I cannot find the original pin again but the recipe is as follows;

1 cup of sugar
oil of choice – add enough till the sugar is moist but still grainy (we used safflower oil but I imagine any could be used)
few drops of peppermint essential oil (could switch this also, maybe orange or lavender)

 

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Write out some little cards and attach with ribbon or string.  Great scissor and writing practice!!

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Now bring it to school but make sure to save some for yourself.  We actually had a hard time not eating it all and decided it would taste great on a chocolate cookie, after all the ingredients are edible.