Posts Tagged ‘homemade’

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Gearing up for Fall

Blog | Family Life No Comments

fall-leaves-purpleAutumn means a lot of things to different people. In most cases, it’s a time for cooler weather, warm nights cuddling with cider, and all things Pumpkin Spice.

This is true for me as well, but there are a few other “annual rituals” that come with the shorter days and longer nights in my little corner of the ‘verse.

Autumnal Equinox: I like to celebrate this in my own little fashion. That means breaking out the colorful scarves, and mulling cider for hours so that the house smells divine! Then a few fall time crafts to really bring everyone together for an evening. It’s a time for collecting thoughts and remembering to be thankful for the blessings you have, and about bringing the warmth of the summer’s end inward so that your home stays bright and happy all winter long.

Halloween: My annual dread of trick or treating is expressed quietly and usually somewhere under the surface. I’ve been taking my sister trick or treating at the mall for years now, because it’s more bearable than wandering around neighborhoods for hours on end with her. Costumes are a delight, and I actually enjoy most of the revelry that goes along with this spirited happening, but I just really can’t get on board with the tot-ing idea. Never have, I doubt I ever will.

NaNoWriMo: If Halloween is the marker for real fall festivities, then NaNoWriMo is the big event that steals my Novembers! Now that we’re hosting Thanksgiving at my house for the family (more on that as we begin our proper planning), I’ll have to really make sure to dedicate time early on to getting ahead of my word count curve so I can enjoy the holiday later in the month without the added pressures of a 50k word novel in 30 days! If you’re doing National Novel Writing Month this year, let me know and we can cheer each other on! It’s always more fun to do it with a friend!

Thanksgiving: Growing up Thanksgiving meant going to my grandparents’ house, lots of pumpkin pie and family, and then Christmas Present Season officially began! As children, we would receive our Christmas gifts from my mom’s parents on Thanksgiving so that our grandmother would be able to enjoy our opening them. It was a tradition that we looked forward to every year. After my grandfather died (on Thanksgiving that year, no less) that tradition died off as well, but in the last couple years, we’ve gone to great lengths to revive it, and my grandmother’s spirit of the season as well. It’s going to be a big celebration of life this year. Last year marked the 5th Anniversary of my grandfather’s passing, but this year Thanksgiving and the 27th of November are one and the same. My grandmother has requested that this year, when we all come together, that we share memories and read them aloud. I’m adding them all together in a binder so that she can take them home with her and read them as much or as little as she wants.

My Autumn is looking like madness right now with everything going in every which direction, but maybe that’s not all that different than my Summer or my Spring, so perhaps that’s just my way of life. I do know one thing though, life is never boring in this corner of the world, and it’s delightful!

Autumn means a lot of things to different people. In most cases, it’s a time for cooler weather, warm nights cuddling with cider, and all things Pumpkin Spice. This is true for me as well, but there are a few other “annual rituals” that come with the shorter days and longer nights in my little […]

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Homemade Chapstick – Round 1

Crafting No Comments

Chapstick, Round 1I have been having a strange allergic reaction to store-bought chapsticks, lip balms and glosses lately. Even the “natural” stuff is giving me this weird hives-esque reaction just around my lips when I wear it for more than a couple hours.

I’ve tried about 9 different types (bet you didn’t know that there were even that many types!) and spent TONS of money on trying to find a lip product that didn’t make my lips itch and breakout… to no avail.

I’m not sure exactly what it is in them (probably a preservative of some sort) but it was just not good. Normally, I drink enough water that a constant layer of waxy balm isn’t really necessary, but with the cold, wet weather and all the working out (and therefore subsequent loss of fluid), I have been feeling REALLY dehydrated and dried out. So I spent a lot of time with Google and I discovered that I’d been not only wasting money all these years, but that I might have found a solution for my dry lips issue.

Did you know that lip balm is ridiculously easy to make? I did it in less than a half hour, before we went out to the grocery store. The longest part of it was finding the beeswax. I started with a recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs, the Lemon Coconut Lip Balm. And as much as I love Lemon… I don’t want to wear it!

So I made a few adjustments to the recipe before I’d even gotten started!

Riss’ Spicy Sweet CinnaKiss Balm

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Almond Oil
1 Tablespoon & 1 teaspoon Beeswax
4 Vitamin E capsules (punctured and drained into mixture)
9 drops Cinnamon Candy Flavoring

You just melt down all the oils and wax until it’s just a slightly yellow-colored liquid in a double boiler (or in my case, a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup in a small pot of water). Once it’s all combined, add in the flavoring oil and mix it again. Then fill your tubes. BE CAREFUL! The liquid will be hot and hurts if you splash it on your skin. Use a pot holder or oven glove to make sure that you don’t burn any fingers. I found that the Pyrex’s little pour spout made it an easy transition, though I think the next time I do this I’ll invest the buck to get a pack of those little plastic droppers. It will probably be a lot cleaner in between tubes that way. Once they’re filled, add another drop to “top off” the tubes. You’ll notice as the wax starts to cool, it shrinks in it’s new home, and then you end up with concave little chapstick tubes. One extra drop to just bubble up on the top of the tube at filling makes a nice flat stick, just like the kind you buy at the store! The hard part: waiting for the tubes to cool and solidify before diving in. I will admit, I didn’t wait the recommended hour to snag one of the CinnaKiss ones. I took it with me when we went to the store and it was amazing, even when it wasn’t completely hard all the way through. (You could feel a little of the warmth from the heated wax and oil still in the center of the tube, but even that cooled quickly in the Oregon weather!)

I filled about 4 tubes with just the cinnamon flavor, then added an additional 6-7 drops of the cherry flavoring to the remaining wax/oil mixture. I’ve only tested the cherry version once or twice, but I think next time I could definitely use a bit more of the flavoring for a truly cherry experience. These are vaguely reminiscent of candied apples, but that sense fades within a few seconds of applying the balm. I personally like that, so I’ll have to whip up a batch that are more strongly flavored later on.

So far, I’m pretty much addicted to the cinnamon one though. There’s just a slight little spicy tingle when it’s applied and then you get this wonderful sweet and spicy aroma. A little flavor goes a long way here, and you can’t really taste it when you lick it off your lips, but once it hits your tongue, it’s delicious. Like Christmas in a tube, in your pocket!

And on that note, I’ve been lugging this thing around with me all day at work, and it’s not getting mushy or melty in that little pocket they insist on putting on jeans. (You know what I’m talking about!) That’s a big selling point for me, because I like my chapstick to stay in the tube and not go all slush and mush on me when I take the lid off!

I think my favorite part about this whole “homemade natural chap-lip-balm-stick” thing is that I can apply it to little A’s lips without worrying about whether or not she’ll have an allergic reaction to it! Goodness knows I’m doing MUCH better with it!

So, I’d say 8 out of 10 for my first test batch. I could use more flavor next time, and maybe a dropper for a cleaner application from pot to tube, but other than that, this has been a GREAT SUCCESS!

Update 4/7/2013: Day 2 of my usage, and I’m happy to report, noticeably softer lips, NO HIVES and I could, in all reality, apply it less often than I have been. Flavors started to come out more the morning after, and it’s just so delicious that I can’t stop using it!

Update 4/14/2013: One week and counting. So far no reactions, other than positive ones! I’ve given a couple tubes to some friends for them to try and they’ve been giving me rave reviews! I can’t wait to do this again!

Chapstick, Round 1

I have been having a strange allergic reaction to store-bought chapsticks, lip balms and glosses lately. Even the “natural” stuff is giving me this weird hives-esque reaction just around my lips when I wear it for more than a couple hours. I’ve tried about 9 different types (bet you didn’t know that there were even […]