Animal Home Scavenger Hunt

This past weekend I needed to get the kids outside, but was having difficulty motivating them. The rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest have the tendency of creating homebodies. Looking out my window I noticed a hole in the ground and called the kids over to show them and brainstorm what animal might live inside. What followed was a wonderful hour adventure outside searching for animal homes.

Animal Home Scavenger Hunt

What You Need

  1. Access to the outdoors or a window
  2. Helpful, but not necessary: A camera, a list of types of animal homes, a sketch book and pencil.

What To Do

  1. Before venturing outside create a list of types of animal homes: web, hive, hill, nest, hole, burrow, cave, etc.
  2. Go outside and try and find as many animal homes as possible. You may sketch the animal homes or take pictures of them.

See below for pictures of our animal home scavenger hunt. We had a bit of an Amelia Bedelia moment where my daughter heard, “X out the homes” instead of “Sketch out the homes”.

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Olive Oil Citrus Scrub or Misadventures in DITY Essential Oils

I tried to make my own essential oil and kind of succeeded, but mostly failed. There are many methods available including ones using crockpots, oil infusions, etc.

The first one I attempted was a rosemary essential oil using a crock pot. I washed off the rosemary, placed it in a crockpot, covered it in distilled water and left it to cook on low for 24 hours. An unintended consequence was that the house smelled wonderful for those 24 hours (if you like rosemary). Following the 24 hours of cooking, I left it to sit in a dark room, uncovered for one week. An oil was supposed to have gathered at the top, this did not occur. I ended up dumping the whole concoction.

The second “experiement” involved infusing olive oil with grape fruit. A friend had given me a dozen, beautiful, organic grapefruits. I peeled the skin off, removing any of the white pith. After leaving the peel to dry for about 12 hours, I placed the peel in a dark bottle and covered it with olive oil. I left that to sit in the cupboard under my sink for a whole week. I then strained the mixture into a bottle using a coffee filter (a cheese cloth was recommended, but I do not own own). I used a spoon to press the remaining oil out of the peel. The resulting mixture did not resemble any essential oil  that I have used before and the odor of the olive oil overpowered the delicious grapefruit scent. However, the grapefuit did soften the olive oil scent so all was not lost. I created a graprefuit-olive oil- sugar scrub to be used on arms and legs as an exfoliant and moisturizer. Next time I will try this using a different oil such as sunflower oil. I realize grapefruits are not on my Terrific Twenty list; lemons would work as well.

Grapefruit-Olive Oil-Sugar Scrub

What You Need

  1. Peeling device
  2. Grapefruit (or other citrus fruit) peel
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Dark, glass jar with air proof lid
  5. Cheesecloth or coffee filter

What To Do

  1. Peel the citrus fruit, avoiding the white pith.
  2. Dry the peel for about 12 hours on a baking sheet. A good idea is to place it in the oven, but don’t turn it on.
  3. Place the dried peel in the dark, glass jar.
  4. Cover the peel with olive oil (I used olive oil, but a different oil might work better).
  5. Seal the jar.
  6. Place jar in a dark place and let it sit for one week.
  7. Strain the contents into a second jar using a cheese cloth or coffee filter.
  8. Add some sugar to the grapefuit infused olive oil.
  9. Use the scrub on your arms, hands, legs and feet as an exfoliator and moisturizer in the shower.

I never thought I would be the sort of person who was into essential oils, but I was converted after buying a little bottle of thieves essential oil from a friend who is a Young Living consultant. To be honest, I am not a fan of all the offshoots of tupperware parties that have become so big in mom circles in the United States. It has become almost comical with everyone having their item to sell to each other, whether it be scented candles, books, jewlery, cooking ware, etc. Why can’t we just be friends? HAH. That being said, over the past year I have acquired lavendar, peppertmint and thieves essential oils and use them on a daily basis. This is why I wanted to try and make my own. I am determined to find some better methods and may even update my Terrific Twenty list to reflect what I learn.

Two New Face Masks

I have developed the habit of trying out one face mask (masque) each week. My two new favorites are below. As always, know your skin and test out a little on your skin before doing the whole mask.

Baking Soda-Lemon Juice-Honey Mask

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I found this mask at Style Craze. There are some great ideas on that website. This mask left my skin glowing and did not irritate. The three ingredients help to exfoliate, tone and moisturize all at once. Check out the link or look below to see my notes.

What You Need

  1. 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  2. 1 teaspoon Honey (creamed is best)
  3. 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

What To Do

  1. Mix the three ingredients together. Wait for the fizz to die down and you will have a runny, yellow paste.
  2. Spread the paste on your clean face and neck. Avoid eyes and any other sensitive areas. Lightly rub the mixture into your skin for some nice exfoliating action. Don’t be too rough.
  3. Leave the mask on your face for 15 minutes.
  4. Wipe off with warm water.
  5. End the experience with a splash of cold water.

Notes: Use any left overs to exfoliate your hands and elbows. I have found these masks are best done before I take a shower in order to rinse off any residue that gets into my hair. Great for days when you use a coconut oil hair mask.

 

Honey-Lemon Juice-Olive Oil Mask

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This is my own concoction. It is a great moisturizer, but I know olive oil can be too strong for some people. My skin is on the sensitive side due to rosacea, but this worked fine for me.

What You Need

  1. 1 teaspoon Honey (creamed works best)
  2. 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  3. 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

What To Do

  1. Mix the three ingredients together.
  2. Spread on face and neck, avoid eyes and other sensitive areas.
  3. Leave on for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse off and pat dry.

 

 

Hair Conditioning: Two Ideas

I have been trying out two different ways of conditioning my hair. The first involves an apple cider vinegar rinse. The second involves a coconut oil hair mask. Thanks to the aforementioned conditioning methods I have eliminated store bought conditioners from our house. Personally, I much prefer the apple cider vinegar rinse, but I do think the coconut oil hair mask is a great addition to one’s hair care routine. Just figure out what works for you.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

What You Need

  1. 1 Cup Water
  2. 1-2 Tablesppons Apple Cider Vinegar (figure out what works for you)
  3. 1 Used Shampoo Bottle

What To Do

  1. Mark off one cup on your bottle.
  2. Fill bottle with shower water to the one cup mark.
  3. Add 1-2 Tablespoons ACV to the water and shake.
  4. Squirt the mixture into your hair folllowing your normal shampoo routine.
  5. Rinse your hair.

Note: Be careful to avoid your eyes. I find it is helpful to hang my head upside down while applying the rinse. I really, really love the results!

Coconut Oil Hair Mask

What You Need

  1. 1 teaspoon-1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  2. Comb

What To Do

Following your shampoo routine, while your hair is still wet, apply the desired amount of coconut oil to your hair. The amount you use is dependent upon the length of your hair and whether you are prone to having dry or oily hair. I find the coconut oil really adds to the sheen and health of my hair, but does not give me the full body the ACV rinse provides.

  1. Rub the coconut oil between both hands.
  2. Work into your wet hair beginning at the ends. I tend to avoid the roots because I have oily hair.
  3. Leave the coconut oil mask in your hair for 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the coconut oil out and allow hair to air dry.
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Materials for your ACV hair rinse!

Secret Messages for Valentine’s Day

I thought it would be fun to put together a little Valentine’s Day activity for kids using one of the ingredients on my list of twenty. The activity I came up with involves using lemon juice to create invisible ink for writing loving messages.

What You Need

  1. Red and white paper
  2. Lemon juice
  3. Q-Tips
  4. Scissors
  5. Markers

What To Do

  1. Create a pocket by folding a piece of contruction paper horizontally, leaving a little tab at the top.
  2. Seal the edges using staples or tape.
  3. Using a q-tip and lemon juice (do not diulute with water), write simple messages on pieces of white paper. Examples: XO, a heart, I love you
  4. Allow lemon juice messages to dry.
  5. Place the messages in the construcion paper pocket.
  6. Give to loved ones and instruct them to hold the secrect messages up to light (lamp, sunny window, etc) to reveal what they say.

Honey

I frequently pass a honey store and educational bee farm that I thought was just a personal residence and felt uncomfortable venturing inside. This past weekend I worked up my courage and gave them a ring. I am very glad I did because it turned out to be a very special and unique Pacific Northwest experience (it was raining, but that did not stop the adventure). The lady at the shop shared with us her passion for bees and honey. I did not realize that honey is flavored depending on the type of plant it visits. Of course it seems obvious to me now that honey would taste like blackberries because the bee obtains the nectar from a blackberry bush. I also learned how to make creamed honey for spreading. And I learned that most honey one would buy at the grocery store is made from bees who live off of sugar water. There is a catch here. Currently due to abnormal weather patterns and overuse of pesticides, the bees do not have access to the necessary amount of nectar producing plants. To combat this shortage many bee enthusiasts feed the bees sugar water to ensure that colonies survive. So, honey made from bees that live off sugar water does not contain the healing properties of a good, local honey, but many are finding that without the sugar water the bees would not stand a chance. We bought three bottles of honey: blackberry, fireweed and rasberry and have enjoyed all three over the weekend.

Uses For Honey

  1. In teas to help relieve allergies
  2. In face masks and body scrubs as a moisturizer and anti-bacterial
  3. As a sweetener

 

Nature’s Paintbrushes

Whenever I mix up a new household concoction I am reminded of my Grandmother Rose. Molded during the Great Depression she abhorred waste. I recall one day being at her house when she found a twenty-five cent stamp on the floor and called everyone to the room in a panic asking to whom it belonged. I also loved the old pantyhose that hung in the bathroom to collect small pieces of left over soap. Nothing went to waste in her house. Our modern culture is so obsessed with throwing away and always having what is new. The Artful Parent recently posted about a wonderful idea for an art project with children: Nature Paintbrushes. The process of going out into the forest behind our house and finding sticks and plant material with which to make our nature brushes absolutely delighted my children. They really got into the process. It was so refreshing to be able to start a brand new project without leaving the house to pick up supplies. I even partook and enjoyed the painting; the long moss brush was my favorite. Although our brushes did not turn out as picture perfect as the ones from the Artful Parent, we still enjoyed the project just as much if not more. My grandmother would have loved this idea.

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