Monday, January 31, 2011

Black and White and Read All Over

A practice that Brad and I started up just before this Christmas is wrapping our presents with newspaper.  We've thought about it before and done it sometimes, but now we are committed.  The main purpose is to give the newspaper another purpose before getting tossed in the recycling bin, but an often overlooked advantage is that it's free!  My favourite is to match the newspaper article on the paper to the person I am giving the gift to.  Here's an example.

Present for a friend's bachelorette party, hence the wedding ad.

As you can see there, the gift can still be dressed up with ribbon, bows, etc.  I like to use twine and natural elements.  Another idea is to use the "fun" sections of the paper such as the comics or the crossword.  The only thing to be careful of is the black ink left all over your hands.  Newspaper is thick, tough, folds well, eco-friendly, and my wrapping paper of choice.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Gonna Be a Bright Sun-Shiny Day

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had been using the herbal highlighting shampoo.  I noticed a bit of a difference in my hair, but I wanted even more.  I looked through my books and even on the internet, but I couldn't find one that used the ingredients I wanted and clearly described its usage.  And thus, I made up my own!  All of this is done right after regular shampooing.

Highlighting Hair Rinse

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the natural highlighting hair rinse recipe. Thanks!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sweet N Sour

This weekend I was fighting off a cold.  Working in a daycare means that everyday I come in contact with an average of 15 different children who pick their noses, don't cover their mouths and hate to wash their hands.  That's a ton of germs.  And this particular week, even most of the staff was feeling under the weather.

For a general health boost I take oil of oregano.  I've heard some people say it is vomit-worthy, but I really don't mind the taste (though I do take mine with a little bit of juice).  I swear by the stuff and recommend it regularly.

For the particular cough and sore throat I was experiencing this weekend, I turned to 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic for a solution.  I found a herbal cough syrup, which I look forward to trying in the future, but I did not have all the ingredients.  I decided to go for the Quick Cough Reliever instead.

Quick Cough Reliever

1/2 tsp honey
squeeze of lemon

 (Oops, should have wiped my counter first.)

To use, let is dissolve slowly in your mouth before swallowing.

I coughed only once or twice for the rest of the night, and when I woke up the next morning I didn't have a sore throat!  Hurray!  The thickness of the honey was really soothing on my throat and seemed to quell the feeling to cough.  So quick and simple, I will be using this whenever needed to relieve a cough.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keeping Vinyl Alive

Happy birthday goes out to a great friend of mine and Brad's today!  My post will be about the birthday present that we made him, vinyl record bowls!  It was surprisingly quick and simple to do, and everyone seemed to love them.  Here's how we did it.

Place record on an upside down bowl (oven safe) on a cookie sheet and place in oven preheated to 225°F.

Take out when it begins to melt, approximately 3 minutes.

Place inside of a 10" bowl and quickly shape.  Hold until cooled, about 30 seconds.


We had made a set of 4 with the purpose of being snack bowls for movie nights in mind, but after they were opened, everyone brainstormed many more ideas for their usage, such as a holder for your keys and wallet by the door. With near limitless potential, these vinyl record bowls were a hit!

Monday, January 17, 2011


My next hygiene necessity of which I am running low is shampoo.  The recipe I chose is from a different book, 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic.  What won me over was that it is supposed to bring out highlights in dark hair.  A friend came over and made this with me as well.  We did a double batch, but unfortunately she forgot hers here, so I haven't been able to get her thoughts about how she likes it.  Here's what we did.

Herbal Shampoo for Dark Hair

1/2 c water
1 tsp dried lavender
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp whole cloves
2 tbsp unscented natural shampoo


In pot of water add lavender,


and cloves (I used ground) and bring to boil.

Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.


Pour into container.

Add shampoo (I used a natural liquid soap).  Refrigerate to keep for up to a month.

I have always been a freak about washing my hair everyday, and thus I notice any little increase in a greasy feeling.  When I use this shampoo, I find my hair heavier than when I use drugstore shampoo.  I don't know if this might actually be good or not.  Perhaps my hair is just heavier because I am not completely stripping it of all the natural oils?  I am considering just added more soap to the mixture and seeing if that helps.

I think I might be noticing the oncoming of some highlights though.  To help that along, I think my next project will be a highlighting hair rinse.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Food for Thought

I came across this passage yesterday while reading Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren.  I found it gave me a lot to think about, and thus I wanted to share it.  I know it's lengthy, but I think it's worth the read.

        If [we are told] that we humans are godlike beings with godlike privileges - intelligent and virtuous creatures outside a limited environment of time and space, without potentially fatal flaws - we will have no reason to acknowledge or live within limits, whether moral or ecological.  Similarly, if [we are told] that the purpose of life is for individuals or nations to accumulate an abundance of possessions and to experience the maximum amount of pleasure during the maximum number of minutes in our short lives, then we will have little reason to manage our consumption.  If [we are told] that we are in life-and-death competition with each other, that only the fittest will survive, that each species and group is in a violent struggle to outcompete and gain independence and safety from or dominance over all others, then we will have little reason to seek reconciliation and collaboration and nonviolent resolutions to our conflicts.  If [we are told] that we are simply masses of atoms in a complex and ultimately meaningless fermentation and decay process, that there is no ultimate purpose to existence, no higher value to the story, then we will have little reason to seek transcendence.
        But if [we are told] that we are free and responsible creatures in a creation made by a good, wise, and loving God, and that our Creator wants us to pursue virtue, collaboration, peace, and mutual care for one another and all living creatures, and that our lives can have profound meaning if we align ourselves with God's wisdom, character, and dreams for us... then our society will take a radically different direction, and our world will become a very different place.
        . . . [F]or now we can safely conclude that our societal systems are perfectly designed to yield the results we are now getting.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Milk, Beyond Nutrition

I was in despair when my favourite face soap, which I received as a sample and cannot be bought in any store, ran out.  Then I realized this was the perfect opportunity for another concoction from my new book EcoBeauty by Lauren Cox, and a good excuse to get together with a friend to experiment.  I have always had trouble skin.  It is sensitive, dry and acne prone.  Yikes.  That is how I came to choose this recipe which is ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Milk Maid Cleanser

1/2 c water
1/4 c whole milk (or soy milk, goat's milk, or hemp milk)
2 tbsp baking soda
1 egg white

Gather ingredients.  I used soy milk in place of whole milk.

Combine water, milk and baking soda.

Separate egg.

Whisk in egg white.

Pour into a container with tight fitting lid.

Ta da!  Store in fridge to keep for up to 3 weeks.  Shake before using.

It is written that the baking soda cleans away dead skin build up, and the milk and egg white nourish and firm the skin.

I used it today in the shower, thought I admit I was a little bit nervous.   (I've heard it doesn't take much heat to end up with a scrambled egg in the shower.)  It felt refreshing on my face, and my skin felt so soft and smooth afterward.

I have to say, I believe it is another success!

I'm now using a new platform, but you can still subscribe or just check in on your own as you wish.  I'm feeling enthusiastic about this new venture, and I hope you will join me!  You can hop on over to the new site here:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Don't be a Meathead - Tofu Stir Fry

Though I've never had any moral or heath concerns regarding the consumption of meat, I rarely prepare it in my meals.  I just generally don't enjoy the flavour, texture, etc of meat.  For this reason, and since I'm going on this health kick, Brad and I decided to embark upon the wonderful world of tofu.  Here's how it went.

I actually really enjoyed it!  I had expected it to taste like nothing, as everyone says, and thus not notice it, but I genuinely preferred the tofu over pork, chicken, or beef.  The lessons we learned along the way were to make sure the tofu cubes were very small, and also to use oil when frying.  We weren't going to, just to cut out some fat, but we really wanted the crispiness.  It turned out great!

While we were out doing our grocery shopping today, I also picked up bamboo knitting needles, soy wool yarn and an introduction to knitting book which I got all on a smokin' deal.  I'm excited to learn!

Monday, January 3, 2011

See the Whiteness. Feel the Shine.

My first experiment in natural living is making my own toothpaste. For as long as I can remember, the inside of my lips peels after I brush my teeth. This has been a major deterrent, especially as a child, for brushing my teeth. (This may or may not play into why I had 11 cavities at my dental check up, oops!)  For this reason, I was especially excited to find a couple of toothpaste recipes in the book Brad gave me for Christmas, EcoBeauty by Lauren Cox.  This one was so simple and had ingredients I already had in the house, so I had to try it first.

Cinnamon Toothpaste

2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp water

 Gather supplies.

 Pour in baking soda.

 Add cinnamon.

 Stir until you have a smooth paste.

Spread a small amount onto toothbrush and brush teeth for 2 minutes.  Rinse well.

I loved it! 

Turns out cinnamon is actually a popular ingredient in toothpastes and mouthwashes because it helps kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.  It also helped hide the taste of the baking soda.  Reminded me of cinnamon toast, yum.

The clean I felt afterward was incredible.  I could have swore my teeth were polished.  It lasted into the next morning, and best of all, no peeling skin!  I think this is going to be a staple for me.

Try it out sometime.  It's quick and easy, and the results were more than I expected.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolution

My new year's resolution is to live my life in a more natural, healthy and earth friendly manner.  My hope is that this blog will help me do so as I write about the experiences I have, perhaps with family or friends as well. I enjoy the opportunity to share my stories, and I hope for feedback from friends, family and other bloggers with advice, thoughts and stories of their own.

Stay tuned! Soon the real fun will begin.