Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A few of my favorite things recipes...

I'm all about ease of use. I'm all about finding good deals and being thrifty. I'm all about craftiness, but prefer projects that a) have few steps and b) can be completed in a nap-time or two. I made this for Evie one Christmas, and I thought I was going to curse cursed a whole lot while finishing it up in the wee-est wee smalls on Christmas morning.

(Don't you judge me for that pink linoleum. It was a rental and we don't live there anymore. ;) )

So in the spirit of crafty-thriftiness-involving-three-steps-or-less-that-can-be-completed-in-less-than-a-nap-time, I bring you some easy-peasy recipes for a few of my favorite things:

Cana doesn't often have problems with diaper rash, since her cute little bum can breathe in her cloth diapers. And my all-time favorite cloth-diaper-friendly salve is CJ's Butt Butter, but as this works just as well (just not as yummy-smelling), it's hard for me to justify the extra expense. This cream is made with coconut oil, which is awesomely antibacterial and antimicrobial... and it's a really healthy cooking oil, too! This recipe is also good for eczema, dry skin, etc. But the Shea butter makes it kinda stinky, so I'd throw some of your favorite essential oils in there if you're using it for that purpose.

Homemade Diaper Rash Cream:
1/8 c coconut oil
1/4 c raw shea butter
3-4 tablespoons talc-free cornstarch or arrowroot powder (optional, to thicken)

Combine it all with a mixer and you're done. (I do use liners with our cloth diapers when we use this cream, just to be on the safe side.) Waaay cheaper than store-bought stuff, and so nice to know all the ingredients going on your little one's nether-regions. :)
(Compliments of Passionate Homemaking)

I might have posted this recipe before-- shoot me. I love homemade soup, but I am a pretty sucky soup maker. I don't actually know if Kristi "came up" with this recipe (if it can even be called such, since it is so easy!) but it is guh-ood. Hubby doesn't care for beans (what the world?!) so I save this for an easy lunch for the girls and me. They inhale it. I throw in a bunch of fresh basil and garlic, and whatever else I have around; I'm excited to make this with fresh tomatoes from our garden this summer (provided I don't actually kill said tomatoes with my black thumb of death).

Kristi's Yummy Tomato and Bean Soup
Large can of tomatoes
2 cans cannelloni beans (or whatever kind of bean tickles your fancy)
Fresh/dried herbs, garlic, onion, add-in veggies-- whatev.
Throw it all in the food processor or blender, heat it up on the stove, and enjoy. So good!

I'm not a huge fan of all of the chemicals and metals they put into commercial deodorant. Do they cause breast cancer? I don't know. I try not to be too much of an alarmist when it comes to stuff like that. But if there is an easier and cheaper way to use something that's completely natural...? Then I see no reason for not doing it. Also, commercial deodorants are expensive, and all the natural ones that I have personally tried-- work marginally at very best. I have tried several different homemade recipes, some involving making a paste and then shoving it all into an old deodorant tube. But I think this one works better, and is way easier. I guess feel free to correct me if you've been around me lately and I stink to high heaven. But fyi, that might have more to do with not having time to bathe than a homemade-deodorant-fail. Just sayin'.

Cheapo Homemade Deodorant
1/4 cup baking soda
10 drops tea-tree essential oil (I was sensitive to this for the first couple of days that I used it, but the ol' pits got used to it. Gah. I just used the word "pits" on my blog. That's disgusting.)
10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Or you can be all crazy and do 5 drops of two different kinds. I used lavender and patchouli, 'cause I am a dirty hippy like that.
Mix it all together. The EO will kinda glob up, so you either need to mash it all up with a fork or send it through the food processor to get it really fine. I store mine in an old jar I saved from the recycling bin, and I apply it with a big powder brush. A little messier than traditional deodorant, but what's a little mess when you're avoiding potentially toxic, cancer-causing elements? Sign me up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


You know how life has ebbs and flows? Everything is great (until it's not). There's enough money (and then there's not). Everyone is healthy (and then they're not). I think marriage is a lot that way. It waxes and wanes with the seasons. Some days are unspeakably happy; others-- you wonder if God truly can give you sufficient grace to be married to this man for the rest of your life. Right now is a truly joyous season in my marriage. I'm not sure that Chris would say the same thing. But for me, I am feeling so grateful that Jesus has given Chris to me.

Being a mom of two little ones can often be an unflattering role. I lose my patience daily, I am unkind when I don't mean to be, I bribe my kids with lollipops, and am often completely inconsistent in discipline. Chris comes home to two three cranky girls, often unbathed and in stained, unmatching clothing-- all of whom are stuck to him like little leeches from the time he walks in the door. "Daddy, let's wrestle!", "Daddy, can I play the smashing ants game on your phone?", "Daddy, I HUNGY!!", "Honey, PLEASE take these kids from me-- I need a break!", "Babe, can you take the trash out?" etc. etc, ad nauseum, world without end, amen and amen.

We're a needy bunch, us Strayer women. And when you add pregnancy to the mix, it's like the perfect storm. Let me preface this by saying that, for the most part, I have had relatively easy pregnancies. And for the most part, I try to make a conscious effort to not be that pregnant lady-- the one who's always complaining about being nauseous or swollen or sore or miserable. 'Cause truly-- the ends more than justify the means. And in addition-- we know several families who are dealing with the frustration and aching sadness of infertility... or the blinding pain of losing a child... and I remember that I have no room to complain about swollen ankles. That said, pregnancy does have a way of humbling you; you physically cannot do all that you would wish, you're tired all the time (but can't sleep), and your normally-oh-so-very-steady hormones are all over the place. It's a (God-given) reminder of our limitations and our fragile humanity.

I need Chris. Desperately. Need him for the mundane "man-chores", and need him to hold me up when I'm feeling weak. He has been such an extension of Christ's grace to me; he comes home from work, exhausted (I mean, he works three jobs, after all!) and still listens to us, plays with us, laughs with us. He gives me needed time away from the girls, and plans special little projects and "daddy dates" to the utter delight of our children (raising ducklings, Chris? Really??). He's always working on projects to make our home more beautiful and functional; he picks up the slack when I am too tired to finish my tasks. He doesn't complain when the house is a wreck, or when dinner is peanut butter and jelly (again) or when all we have to eat in the house is eggs and lollipops. In fact, he just doesn't complain at all.

I wrote earlier that I am not sure Chris would agree that this is a blissful time in our marriage. Though pregnancy can be difficult for women, I think that it is often just as difficult for their husbands. And not for nothing-- but I am the one who is being served by all of Chris's thoughtfulness and care. He's the one who is constantly putting aside his own agenda, his desires, his plans--- laying down his very life for his family. I am intensely grateful for my husband, and I am glad I have the rest of my life to "pay him back" for his attentiveness and compassion for me in this season.

Just as soon as my ankles aren't so friggin' swollen. :)