Homemade Lotion Bars

homemadelotionbarsBefore Christmas, I had decided to make all of our Christmas gifts. As my husband has plenty of female relatives, I thought that homemade beauty products would be just the ticket. I purchased the ingredients for products like lotion bars but didn’t get the chance to make them in time. The cocoa butter and beeswax lay on our shelves, just waiting for their big debut. It would take at least a month, but they would finally get their big opportunity.

With the cold, dry weather recently, our skin has become painfully dry. Unlike when we were younger, commercial lotion doesn’t seem to do the trick. My husband’s hands have especially suffered, and so I wanted to provide him with a healthy and homemade alternative. Enter the homemade lotion bars.

This recipe was super easy to mix up, with just melting and pouring involved. For a first try at making my own beauty products, it was definitely a win. Too, they hardened quickly in our cool basement, leaving us with beautiful lotion bars within hours.

And the verdict? The lotion bars are a perfect, portable lotion for those dry areas that seem to be perpetually dry. Made from all natural ingredients, it is very rich and nourishing, making our skin feel better almost immediately. Too, there is no greasy residue; even if you apply the lotion to your hands, there’s no problem with doing a bit of work afterward. My husband loves that particular aspect of them.

Any down side to these little beauties? They tend to leave little “crumbs” on your hands even with thorough rubbing into the skin. It is possible that we didn’t quite get the ratio correct, but I believe that this may just come with the territory of a lotion bar. Still it is a small inconvenience as compared with the other benefits.

All in all, these lotion bars were certainly worth the time spent in mixing them up. The lotion is rich and will be much more frugal in the long run as the bars will last a long time, much longer than a bottle of the commercial variety. And if I can give us a little comfort during the cold, winter months, then why not? I might have made the bars a bit late for Christmas, but my husband at least gets the benefit of them in the new year.

Almond Chocolate Freezer Fudge: Love Calories

almondchocolatefreezerfudgeSometimes I go a little crazy and make an expensive dessert. I suppose I could excuse this in that it did use up some chocolate that has been lying around on the shelf for a bit. Too, it could be considered energy saving in that I didn’t need to heat up the mixture. However, I would say that this recipe is mainly “love calories,” those calories that bolster our family’s morale in the midst of frugality.

The ingredients make this recipe expensive. I used SunButter due to the sensitivity of my husband’s daughter to peanuts. While that certainly made it an appropriate dessert for her, it sure was expensive. Also, I was concerned in that once mixed with the other ingredients, the butter did not “pour” as the recipe said, and so it seemed as if the fudge would certainly fail.readyforthefreezer

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fudge did not fail, but rather tasted wonderful. Despite the lack of sugar in the batter itself, it was very sweet, but not overly so. If you’re wanting to introduce your family to whole foods desserts, then this might be a good place to start. Both my husband and his daughter readily ate the fudge and never complained.

Perhaps it’s good for me to go crazy every now and then. My family sure enjoys it!

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So What’s So Crunchy About Me?

whatssocrunchyaboutmeYou may have been wondering what could possibly be so crunchy about someone like me. I don’t ask you to buy only organic products or clean only with baking soda and vinegar. I am not a vegan. And I don’t have a mini farm in my backyard.

And yet I call myself crunchy? Well, perhaps I am redefining the term. Supporting my family on a part-time job, I realize how tough it can be to buy food, pay the bills, and generally keep things going. The pressure to buy expensive products on top of that can be too much. And yet we are pressured to do just that by society and media. Going “crunchy” is now seen as a higher calling, one that is moral and almost spiritual in nature.

However, you can incorporate some of the natural ideals while still staying in budget. That is the true focus of this blog.

Does this mean that I will always cook with whole, organic ingredients? No, it sure doesn’t. But you will see posts on whole wheat usage, solar cooking, LEDs, and the like. You will see that being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean destroying the environment and ordering freebies in the mail. Indeed, it instead means to use your resources wisely.

At middle age, I realize that I’m never going to be perfect, and I understand that life is harder than it should be. By telling the story of my progress and the lessons learned along the way, I am hoping that perhaps you can benefit, gleaning the general lessons of my approach in the process:

  • Do without.
  • Make your own.
  • Use it up.

So grab a cup of coffee and sit back. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and provide any guidance or suggestions that you might have as well. Being frugal can be a community experience, one in which we learn from each other. I welcome any knowledge that you might have to share!

What’s Bugging You?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmong all of the summer fun, bugs emerge to join in on the festivities. Whether gnats, fruit flies, or mosquitoes, they’re bugging us in our homes. Here in Kansas, with such a cool, wet summer, this seems to be even more true this year. Some cities are spraying standing water and other areas to deal with the little suckers. But what are we to do in our own homes? Luckily, there are frugal and natural ways to keep bugs at bay.

A fan of The King of Random, my husband discovered in one of Thompson’s recent videos a great tip for dispatching fruit flies. You simply need a container filled with bait and a covering, such as plastic wrap. Poke a tiny hole in the covering, and you have the perfect trap. The bugs can get in, but they can’t get out. It sounds like a horror movie for flies, right? And yet it’s true, very true. Their horror is your benefit. Using everyday kitchen ingredients, you can get rid of those little pests.

Too you can also entice gnats to an early death using apple cider vinegar. This method is simple and effective. To create this trap, squirt a little bit of dish soap in a bowl and then add a mix of water and apple cider vinegar. Stir it up and then make sure that the bowl is placed where you are seeing the gnats. After a day or so, you should find that the gnats have succumbed to the temptation of your trap. Again, all easily available elements can be used to make a frugal bug trap.

When it comes to flies, well, I have an all-natural means for killing them as well. I have cats. The cats enjoy chasing and playing with the flies, but the cats don’t always kill them. The thrill of the hunt is often enough for them. Not quite as effective as I would wish, but it is entertaining. Also the cats get some needed experience in hunting prey, even if it is a little fly. Everyone benefits in that the cats get some exercise, and we get rid of the flies.

So if something’s bugging you in your home, then you might want to try one of these methods for getting rid of the little pests. They’re cheap and effective, but also very safe for you and your family. Don’t let those flying bugs bug you!

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