Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No 'Poo Results

Ok, I've found the routine, and the product, that works for me. Key word here is ME. What works for me may not work for you. I began this challenge with the hopes to use a simple baking soda paste for cleansing, a bi-weekly lemon juice rinse and possibly skipping putting anything in my hair. But I've found this doesn't work for me. Or maybe it would work if only I could tough out the transition period. I can't. I don't do well with greasy hair.This is how my experiment looked:

Day 1 - Day 4  Baking Soda Paste
~ I keep my jar of baking soda just outside the shower (this prevents water getting inside the container and hardening the baking soda) so before jumping in I fill my medicine cup (the little one tablespoon cup that comes on the top of cough syrups) half full of bs -baking soda....not the other bs. Once in the shower, I wet down. Add a little water to the bs and apply to hair.
~Hair feels clean and soft. However my scalp in feeling tingly. Hmm.

Day 5 Baking Soda Paste and Lemon Juice
~Clean hair following same procedure mentioned, followed by a lemon juice rinse (approximately 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice and 1 cup water). HINT: Add the water to the rinse while in the shower. If this is done ahead of time (like the night before) the rinse may be startling cold. ACV, or apple cider vinegar, can be used in place of the lemon juice.

Day 6 - 7 Baking Soda Paste
~Still feeling good.

Day 8 - Baking Soda Paste and HAIR CUT!! Before heading to the salon, I decided I'd let this be my "cheat" day and let her shampoo my hair. However she didn't! She knows that I am thrifty ( meaning cheap...don't worry, I DO tip!) so she just wet down my hair. I normally get my hair cut once a year. However when I got my yearly cut in January I decided to go a little shorter. My hair had grown to that "in-between" stage and I wasn't able to quite get it into a decent looking ponytail (necessary for summer heat) so I decided to go shorter. A LOT shorter. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to but now I love the easiness of my new do.

Day 9-11 - Baking Soda Paste
~My hair looks good but my scalp is tingly. Not a itchy sensation but tingly. I wasn't experiencing dandruff. I mention this weird sensation to my husband, who suggests that maybe it's from the baking soda. I scoff at this notion and I blame the hair cut.

Day 12 - Castile Soap  ~ I mix this up ahead of time in my reused honey bear using a 3 parts water to 1 part Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap.
~I was starting to feel a little greasy so this was my alternative. My castile soap/shampoo is what my husband uses to wash his hair and he's noticed a huge improvement in his skin - no more dry spots!

Day 13-15 - Baking Soda Paste
~Still tingly. Feels weird but hair is clean and soft.

Day 16 and 17- Water Rinse
~My hair is doing so well that I decided to try skipping a "cleansing agent". By day 17 I was beginning to get a little greasy...ok, I'll be honest. It was a lot greasy...disgustingly greasy. The plus side? The grease acts as a nice styling gel. ;)

Day 18  - Shampoo Bar ~ Chamomile and Orange Blossom Shampoo and Body Bar
Hair was disgustingly greasy and I decided to eliminate the bs to see if that was causing my head to tingle. I bought this shampoo bar from a Apple Valley Natural Soap which is operated by homeschooling family. I LOVE it and I'm happy to give my business to a family owned and operated business.

Day 19 and beyond - Shampoo Bar
Shampoo bar is working fabulously! Hair is clean and manageable. Tingles have completely disappeared. Last fall I made my own shampoo bar (lavender/lemon) which I also loved but just haven't had time to make again. When I get a little extra time I will make that recipe. Meanwhile I will continue to use Chamomile and Orange Blossom Shampoo and Body Bar.


At first I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't go longer without washing my hair but my objective in this no 'poo venture was to spend less money and to rid my shower of chemicals. I feel that my hair regime has accomplished this.

I Love Contests!

Who doesn't like contests? I love them. I don't win often but last year I won a cool gardening book. It felt like my birthday when my book arrived.

Home Education Family Publishers is having a contest which ends on June 30th. Enter here for a chance to win:
1. "A Journey Home" from Franklin Springs Media
2. "Beside Still Waters" by Tricia Goyer
3. Well Planned Day Planner, 2011-2012 (this is the planner I used last year in our homeschool)
4. 1 year subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine

One Year US Subscription


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gasping for Air

Sometimes life seems like just a constant battle to keep afloat. My great hope when I began this blog was to blog daily....or at least more often than I have been. However life "gets in the way" and I'm reminded that I shouldn't let some things (like blogging) get in the way of life. I thought I'd take two minutes to share what's been happening around here this week. And then I have to return to life as we have a big to-do list for today.

My post on the Warrior Day Obstacle Course
Isaiah, aka "The Boy", has now officially entered the ranks of Middle School, which means he is now in our churches Student Ministries. Student Ministries kick off event for summer fun was Warrior Day. After feasting on hot dogs and worshipping with song the students competed in a muddy obstacle course. The race began with a slip and slide and a run down a path to their first obstacle. This is where I was positioned to cheer them on and guide (verbally) them to the to the bell across the creek. These kids got muddy from head to toe.

This picture reminds me to clean the van.



Yesterday I experimented with baking bread outside. My oven's heating element went out so I have been without an oven for two weeks. My husband is a great "fixer" which means my old oven will be saved from the landfill. I am so thankful to be blessed with a man who not only saves me money but helps me "recycle". Although I'd love a shiny new stove, my outdated (70's yellow) one will keep on ticking because of my handy hubby.

I decided to experiment with my cooking methods. I put one loaf in my gas grill and I baked the other in a dutch oven in my fire pit. Of course I read that more coals should be on the top of the dutch oven than the bottom but I didn't think that was quite right. (I've never been good about following directions.) So I burnt the bottom of my D.O. bread. Oh well, I cut off the bottom and the kids and I enjoyed it with homemade jam. I REALLY liked this bread recipe which came from "Log Cabin Dutch Oven".

Nevada Bread
Heat until butter is melted:
3 cups water
1/2 cup of sugar (I used 1/4 c. honey instead)
1/2 cup of butter (I used coconut oil)
2 t. salt
Stir and cool to 115 degrees.
Add 4 t. yeast
Let fester for 10-15 minutes.
Add 9 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)

Knead. Put in greased bowl to rise for 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and kneed. Split in two. Knead and shape. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes.


Now I need to wake The Boy. We are off to a craft sale, Gander Mountain for camping supplies for The Boy (he leaves for Scout camp tomorrow), pick up a license for The Boy's kayak, Father's Day shopping and pick up a few groceries for our Father's Day dinner (I may just make something in the Dutch Oven)!

Have a lovely weekend of LIVING!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Camping Week at Laurie's Little Sprouts

To celebrate the end of school and the return of our old, school-age friends to Laurie's Little Sprouts Daycare, the kids and I decided to have a "Camping Week". A couple weeks before, I asked the kids what camping week would "look" like and we generated a list including but no limited to tents, bugs, fishing, flashlights, campfires, s'mores and ghost stories (we skipped that part for the little ones).

TENT
It's amazing how fun setting up a tent is for kids. I even let the kids help and they did a great job of putting the poles together and helping in "raising the roof". Not an easy feat with this big tent.

Camping coloring pages and worksheets (camping vocabulary, word search, crossword puzzles) for here.





BUGS and Trail Mix
We inspected bugs with a magnify glass and made trail mix. In our trail mix we added pretzels, chow mien noodles, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, raisins, tropical fruit mix (bananas, pineapples, etc) and shredded coconut. As we were adding the ingredients there were a few, "Ew, I don't like such and such." With all the varied dislikes, I was wondering if our trail mix would be eaten. Guess what? Every kid had seconds and some had thirds. Most surprising....almost everyone asked for more coconut! Our trail mix activity turned out to be successful in getting the kids to try something new (not always an easy task). Some of the kids poked their pretzel sticks into the marshmallows and exclaimed, "Look, we're roasting marshmallows!" Sometimes it's good to let kids play with their food. ;)

In the afternoon, when the temperatures soared well above 90, we filled a couple five gallon pails with water and brought out the squirt guns. Our water play kept us cool and it kept the kids entertained for over an hour. Even I got wet.

Solar Ovens



I found two boxes that closed tightly and painted them black.



                                                                                                
  I lined each box with aluminum foil - shiny side out. Cut a flap on top and stapled a page protector on the opening to make a "window". Unfortunately the temperature in the inside of the box never got above 130 degrees. Which meant that our brownies were still raw after baking for 5 hours. We ate s'mores instead.

Unsuccessful but fun experiment. The kids did learn that SOLAR refers to the sun while LUNAR refers to the moon! We also talked about the reason we used black paint instead of white. We also talked about temperature as I told the kids that brownies SHOULD bake at 350 degrees. We made predictions on if we'd be enjoying brownies before everyone went home. I guess our success today can be measured by fun and learning...but I'd still like a brownie.


Insects, Arachnids and Fishing

For snack we went "fishing". Pretzel sticks became our fishing rods, Peel and Pull Licorice for the fishing line and of course we used gummy worms for our bait. The kids had a blast with this snack project.   We studied insects in our Stratton House "Discovering Insects" Learning Kit. In the first lesson  we discussed the difference between insects and spiders. We also counted the wings (or noticed the absence of wings) on the plastic bugs that came with the kit. The lessons that accompanied the learning kit are a bit advanced for the preschoolers but I condensed and simplified the information and they LOVED looking at the plastic bugs.

 Caterpillars

Our butterfly kit came just in time! Yes, I could have taken a walk in the fields to find my own caterpillars but mail order is just so much easier.....sometimes I opt for easy.

Besides the thought watching THIRTY painted lady butterflies flying away on our "release" day is pretty cool.

The kids had fun transferring the caterpillars, and their food, to their individual homes.
 
Caterpillars and Food

 












BANANA BOATS
 
Cooking banana boats

 During rest time, the kids watched Yogi Bear and I prepared the coals in the fire pit. I sliced the bananas length-wise, leaving the peel intact. When the movie was over, the kids stuffed the slits in the bananas with mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips. I wrapped each banana in foil and placed on the hot coals. After a few minutes I flipped the bananas and cooked for another 3-5 minutes. Yummy.



It was a fun week and now this daycare mama is ready for a hammock, a good book and a nap!

Monday, June 13, 2011

No Poo Challenge

This morning I read, "Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a correlation between an ingredient found in shampoos and nervous system damage. The experiments were conducted with the brain cells of rats and they show that contact with this ingredient called methylisothiazoline, or MIT, causes neurological damage." The article at naturalnews.com goes on to state that MIT can also be a contributing factor to Alzheimers and other neurological disorders. Even if these are exaggerated claims, shouldn't these claims alert the consumer to the POTENTIAL danger of the ingredients that we are putting on our bodies, as well as in our bodies. I think it's time to wake up, shake off the naivety (believing that if it's on the superstore shelf it must be safe) and make some conscience decisions about what we will allow in our homes.

 A couple of weeks ago I wrote about no poo and homemade shampoo. Since that posting I have decided to toss out my shampoo recipes and try a month of "no poo"....or at least a minimalists approach in my shower. For the last week and a half, I have used baking soda every day (except one) and about 4 days into my new regimen I used a lemon juice rinse. This weekend I could feel a grease "coming on" so yesterday I used a diluted castile soap to wash my hair. I didn't want to go to church with a greasy head. During this time I also got a "boy cut". I am still adjusting to not having any hair but am loving how easy it is!

I also mentioned in my no poo post that I will not give up my daily shower, defending this choice with the fact that I take short showers. I really need that daily shower to wake me up and get me going. I wasn't sure how short my showers are so this morning I timed myself.....TWO MINUTES! Total time in bathroom: SIX MINUTES. I'm so proud of this accomplishment that I have to break it down for you and include the products that I use....
5:30 am - 5:32 am  SHOWER:  Baking soda paste to clean hair. Homemade soap to wash body. Rinse with cold water. Turn off shower. Spray shower with homemade shower spray (lemon juice, water, and peroxide).
5:32am-5:36am  Towel dry, comb hair, brush teeth with baking soda, apply deodorant (homemade or Tom's - more on this later), wipe down sink and counter top. DONE!

OK, let's talk deodorant. A couple of years ago I tried making my own deodorant and loved it! BUT after a few weeks my armpits would break out in a rash. Since that time I've tried Tom's and Kiss My Face deodorant which I alternate with my homemade stuff. I've noticed that the Tom's deodorant actually smells like b.o. ...not exactly what I was looking for. The patchouli-scented Kiss My Face works well. But even these natural deodorants cause my pits to itch after awhile, especially after shaving. So after reading a post about a woman that had not only gave up shampoo but also deodorantI thought, "Why not?" I now alternate between 2 days off...meaning NO deodorant and one day with my deodorant. I avoid deodorant on shaving day. Guess what? I survived two days of high humidity and heat WITHOUT deodorant and I wasn't stinky! By the third day though, I knew it was time for a little help from my deodorant. ;)

We've all heard that Carmex lip balm is addictive, meaning once it's applied to the lips, the lips become dependent on the Carmex to provide lubrication. I don't know how much truth there is to that but I do know that our bodies would make natural oils if we allow them too.  I believe that all the junk we put on our bodies is telling our bodies to shut down it's own natural defenses. Once we eliminate all the toxins, both external and internal toxins, our bodies will find it's balance. Yes, I'll forever use hand lotion after washing my hands but I use homemade lotion. I also don't use as much lotion as I used to.

The following link, http://www.healthfoodemporium.com/index_dangerous-ingredients.php , lists the ingredients that should be avoided. Parabens, petroleum, fragrances (found in EVERYTHING! Common sense tells me this isn't good for allergies, asthma, and skin disorders such as eczema), Sodium Laurel Sulfate, and many more. Watch out for deceptive names and labels. Companies spend a lot of money to make their products look good....and fool the consumer. Just because the bottle claims to be "natural" doesn't mean it is. Check out what is in your favorite products at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Although I may sound like a fanatic, there are still times, such as when I'm out of baking soda or castile soap, that I reach for my daughter's (she thinks I'm nuts) Herbal Essence shampoo (I don't think there is anything herbal about it). It's about baby steps and becoming an educated and conscientious consumer.

So, would you like to join the No Poo Challenge now? :) I'll be spending the next month using baking soda in place of shampoo, a hair rinse of diluted lemon juice (once a week) and skipping deodorant (most of the time). I'd love for you to join me. Better yet, I'd love if you'd write a guest post on Everyday Notions about your no poo experience! Let me know if you are interested.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Magical Lemon

Who knew that lemons are so versatile? Not only do they make a great thirst quenching beverage (Did you know that drinking lemonade may date back to medieval Egypt?) but lemons can be used both externally and internally. Lemons have more uses than just flavoring fish or making my favorite lemon poppy seed muffins. This humble, sour fruit can make products for your medicine cabinet, for your beauty basket or for your cleaning bin. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, which is important for a strong immune system. Lemons are also antibacterial, antiviral, contain antioxidants and anti-cancer properties......and are a bit magical. ;)

MEDICINAL:
  • Water Kefir "Lemonade" - Add a couple lemon slices to your brew. Yummy probiotic.
  • Tea for colds - hot water, lemon and honey. So soothing on a scratchy throat.
  • Cough Syrup - 1 cup honey, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, 1 t. turmeric, chunk of ginger root.
  • Athlete's Foot - mix the juice of half a lemon with 2 cups of water. Rinse feet. (This also helps smelly feet!)
AROUND THE HOUSE:
  • Furniture Polish - Mix lemon juice with olive oil.
  • Disinfectant - Every time I cut up a lemon I use the end piece to clean my cutting board. After rubbing on my cutting boards, I throw the lemon into my garbage disposal. Cleans the disposal and leaves it smelling fresh and "citrus-y".
  • Shower Spray - recipe in earlier post. Helps fight mildew.
  • Microwave - squeeze a little lemon juice into a cup of water (I use my Pyrex measuring cup for this job), place in microwave and nuke for a few minutes. Remove (careful the container will be hot!) and wipe out microwave. The helps loosen any stuck on gunk, the lemon juice eliminates any odors.
  • Clean coffee pot. I learned this trick from my days as a waitress at Perkins. In the coffee pot add about half a tablespoon of salt, squeeze in half a lemon, add a few ice cubes and shake. Dump out (preferably in the garbage disposal to "kill two birds with one stone") and rinse.
  • Stain remover - my white kitchen counter tops get stained easily. I sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stain, squeeze a little juice on top and let sit for five minutes (or until I remember that I was cleaning the counter) and then I rub the lemon over this mixture and wipe clean.
HAIR, FACE AND BODY:
  • Hair Spray (haven't personally tried this recipe as I don't use hair spray, but I made it for hubby and it worked for him) -  Chop 2 lemons, simmer in 2 cups of water on low heat until lemons are soft. Cool, strain out lemons, and put in a spray bottle.
  • Use as an astringent on pimples. Simply apply lemon juice with a cotton ball or make a toner by mixing 1/2 lemon juice, 1 cup water and 2/3 c. witch hazel.
  • Facial Mask -  One ripe banana and blend it with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Leave on for 15 minutes
  • Lighten hair - Dilute 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice with 1/4 cup of water. Put the mixture in your hair and let it sit for 30 minutes
  • Hair Rinse - mix 1-2 T. of lemon juice with 1 cup water. (I use this hair rinse once a week or so)
  • Dandruff Control - again, use as a rinse by diluting with water OR mix the juice of one lemon with 1/2 cup olive oil. Apply to hair and let soak a bit, shampoo and rinse.
  • Whiten Teeth - I learned this trick in my bartending days. A woman who liked red wine would bite into a lemon slice to prevent the wine from staining her teeth. Sucking on lemons is also a good breath freshener.
  • Spray on too much perfume? Rub area with lemon.
  • Lines from self-tanning lotions? Again, rub area with a lemon. Lemon is a good skin "lightener".
  • Stained fingernails - soak in lemon juice. Good for "garden hands".
It is believed that lemons originated in India and later "migrated" through the Mediterranean. Christopher Columbus introduced lemons to the Americas when, in 1493, he brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Now if I could just figure out how to grow a couple lemon trees in my Minnesota garden.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hula Hoop Rug

When I was asked for a tutorial on the hula hoop rug that The Boy and I were making, I thought that creating a video explaining the process would be a perfect experiment  for us. Unfortunately time is an issue and we've been swept up into summertime fun.  I read about the hula hoop rug in  Family Fun Magazine so instead of recreating the wheel (or the hoop), I'll just share their tutorial with you. I will however add a warning from my experience. DO NOT pull the weft too tight. When we began weaving, I thought it would make sense to pull tightly to get a tight weave...I thought that would be a good thing. It wasn't. The center of the rug bulges out and would make a good hat. When time permits, we will unweave and re-weave. :) Another note: this is a fairly easy craft yet it is more time consuming than I had expected. The Boy got bored of weaving and I had to stop when my fingers started to (painfully!) cramp. I am anxious to try it again, however for now the project has been set aside. 

 

 http://www.familyfun.go.com/ has a wealth of craft ideas for all ages.

 

Hula Hoop Rug as seen in Family Fun Magazine

by Nicole Blasenak Shapiro From FamilyFun Magazine
 
Total Time Needed: 2-3 Hours
 
What does it take to transform a pile of old T-shirts into spectacular works of woven art? Just a spare hula hoop or embroidery hoop and the techniques we'll show you here. The oversize looms and easy-to-use loops of T-shirt fabric make these projects particularly appealing to beginning weavers. Learn the basic hoop weaving technique by crafting a colorful accent rug to brighten up a room. And if you want to take the weaving a little further, check out our basket and chair pad weaves
Before you begin, some terms you need to know: the warp is the material you string on the hoop, the weft is the material you weave with.

Materials
  • Scissors
  • About a dozen T-shirts
  • 33-inch hula hoop
Instructions
  1. null For the warp, cut 1-inch-wide loops from the bodies of one or two tees (we found a boy's large worked best on our 33-inch hoop), removing the hem and stopping at the sleeves. Ideally these loops should all be the same color; we used two colors for clarity in our photographs. You'll need a total of 11 loops. For the weft, cut at least 50 loops from the remaining shirts. Save the unused sleeves for the basket project.
  2. null Stretch one warp loop over the hula hoop, as shown.
  3. Add and secure a second loop, perpendicular to the first.
  4. null Repeat, filling in the spaces, until all 11 loops are in place.
  5. null Push together two warp loops at the top of the hula hoop, as shown. This creates an odd number of warp spokes in your wheel, which allows the overunder pattern of the weft to alternate with each new row.
  6. Secure the first weft loop to the center of one of the warp spokes (we chose the doubled spoke from step 5) by wrapping it around the warp and then looping it back through itself.
  7. null Begin weaving the weft over and under the warp spokes, forming a tight spiral. For now, treat both parts of each warp spoke as a single unit, weaving over or under the two together. As you work, push the weft material toward the center of the hoop and keep it just snug. If you pull the weft tight, the rug will develop lumps or bends. When you reach the end of the piece of weft, add a new loop by threading it through the end of the first and back through itself.
  8. null When your rug is about 8 inches across, begin treating each warp spoke as two individual strips instead of a single unit, weaving over or under each strand instead of going over or under the doubled spoke. This increases the number of warp spokes, improving the structure of the project. When you get to the two warp spokes that you pushed together at the top of the loom, separate them. Treat one of the spokes as two individual strips, but continue to treat the other as a single spoke. This maintains the odd number of warp spokes.
  9. null When the rug is the size you want, but no closer than 8 inches from the edge of the hula hoop, snip open your weft loop.
  10. null Tie the ends around a warp spoke, and tuck the ends into the rug.
  11. null Cut the warp spokes off the hoop one at a time.
  12. null Tie the ends in pairs, then trim them to make a fringe or tuck them back into the rug.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fighting Mildew

My bathroom has a mildew problem. I'll blame it on my 106 year old house and the fact that I don't have any ventilation/fan in my bathroom. A month ago I noticed that the ceiling tile that butts up to the wall was turning black...the whole length of my bathtub. Eww. My first thought was to break down and buy a big jug of bleach. But I hate bleach. No matter how careful I am, I also seem to ruin whatever clothing I'm wearing during "bleach cleaning".  Besides I hate the smell. I haven't used bleach in about two years. So, in search for a recipe for mold killer, I turned to my trusty friend, Google. In the past I've made shower cleaners, which do a good job keeping the shower clean but only a fair job at keeping the mold at bay. I needed something made specifically to kill mold. I found several recipes but this one looked the best:

Shower Mildew KILLER Cleaner
2 cups water
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/2 cup lemon juice

Mix, put in spray bottle and shoot away!

I've been using this cleaner for two weeks. I also brought in a fan and keep it going for a couple hours each morning. The mold is disappearing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What's in Your Shower? Shampoo or No Poo

For the past two years...maybe three, I've been in search for the perfect homemade shampoo and conditioner/rinse. This search began with the desire to save money but as I researched, I found a whole "No Poo" Revolution going on out there. I already knew that many shampoos were filled with a few a lot of undesirable ingredients but as I learned more, I became more aware and more convinced that "no poo" was the way to go. I've found things that work ok and even not so great. I'm still searching for a hair care regimen that works best for me. I'm not giving up.

The key is to find the shampoo and rinse that work together...for you. The most popular hair care in the "no poo" world is by cleansing with a baking soda paste (simply add water to baking soda), rinse and follow with a cleansing rinse of diluted cider vinegar. Many have huge success with this combination. For me it works in cycles.  Baking soda tends to make my hair amazingly soft but sometimes (I think when I use too much) my scalp becomes a little flaky or my hair becomes excessively oily (which may be due to too much ACV). I dunno. I think my biggest problem is not measuring. My finger scoops aren't consistently the same size. Cider vinegar seems to work well but if I get the combo wrong my hair is crazy greasy. I'm not a high maintenance girl but I don't like being greasy.

Conditioning Rinse

My recent conditioning recipe, pictured at the left, is a combination recipe. I made this to deal with winter static. The rinse works good for my daughter, who has thick, curly hair, however it is too oily for my fine hair. Can't remember all the ingredients but I am going to assume by the color/consistency that it has an oil or two, such as coconut, sweet almond or olive oil.  I do remember adding the vinegar (good thing that was in the picture) as well as a little lavender essential oil. I reused a grapeseed oil bottle wrapped in duct tape and topped with a "bottle pourer". The duct tape will prevent the glass bottle from breaking when dropped on my porcelain tub (amazingly this hasn't happened....yet). The rinse is runny so the bottle pourer helps slow down the flow of the rinse. Not much is needed - maybe a tablespoon. Diluted lemon juice can also be used as a hair rinse.

Honey Bear Shampoo Container
Homemade shampoo is also runny and my little, re purposed honey bear is perfect for housing my shampoo. Again, not much is needed. A tablespoon goes a long way. The castile soap makes a good lather. The dispenser is perfect for depositing just a tad of shampoo to the top of my head and prevents waste. It's also plastic which means I won't break it! I've had a problem with labeling my shower products. Permanent marker on both plastic and glass will smear off when it gets wet in the shower. Solution? Write on your container and cover writing with packing tape. Make sure container is dry or the packing tape won't stick.

When I use baking soda in place of shampoo, I keep a wide mouth jar filled with baking soda. During my shower I scoop a little into my hand and carefully add a little water to make a paste. This will not lather but as I've learned, clean can occur without lather. Another no poo technique is to shower less often (when you switch to a no-poo regimen, your hair doesn't need to be washed daily) but showering is a luxury that I can't live with out. A shower wakes me in the morning and motivates me for my day. On days when I skip my shower the only thing on my mind is a nap. I justify my frivolousness by taking lightening quick showers. 2 minutes may be an exaggeration, maybe 5 minutes. I do know that I am the quickest shower-er in the family. I may have to time myself tomorrow to find out just how quick I am. ;)


My most successful homemade shampoo was a shampoo bar. I LOVED this soap but making bars of soap is a little lot more time consuming. I found that the constant distractions in my day result in inconsistent or botched batches of soap. A botched batch of soap means a waste of precious ingredients and a waste of precious time. This kind of soap making has to be reserved to the wee early morning hours or weekends. Here are a couple of simple shampoo recipes that I have tried and liked. I think the key is to find what works for your hair. The second recipe uses chamomile tea but this can be altered by using your favorite herb.


A few herb options:
Rosemary: good for the scalp and helps strengthen the hair 
Nettles: stimulates hair growth
Eucalyptus: fights dandruff
Chamomile: light colored hair


Shampoo Recipe:

1/4 c. water
1/4 c. Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap (I have substituted this by using shavings from botched soaps.)
2 T. Rosemary
2 T. sweet almond oil
1/2 T lemon juice
1/4 T. lavender essential oil
Bring water and rosemary to boil - steep - cool - add remaining ingredients. I like this recipe but I can only use it for a week or two before it makes my hair to greasy. The following recipe has similar results. I think maybe I need to cut back on the oil.


Shampoo #2:

Boil 2 cups of water, steep 6 tea bags of choice (I used chamomile) for 20-30 minutes, add 2 T. castile soap and 1 t. vegetable oil. That's it. Pretty easy.
Google "no poo" and you will find tons of resources from recipes, the experiences of others, as well as convincing arguments that will cause you to want to switch to a more gentle substitute. My theory is that I should care not only for what I put in my body but also for what I put on my body.


5/22/2012 UPDATE ~ Since this post last year, I found that Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap is the best for me. I mix 1 part soap to 3 parts water. It is very runny but you need very little. I no longer need a conditioning rinse. My hair is clean and soft. Easy, cheap and it works!