From Scratch


In our family’s attempt to make as much as we possibly can here in our home, there are those weeks that go by when we are in the midst of a creating whirlwind, and suddenly I look at the calendar and it’s Wednesday.  This is one of those weeks.  Oh boy.


There have been baskets and baskets of beans harvested from the garden, more than we could ever eat at this time.  So, this weekend we rinsed, cut and froze most of our harvested beans to set aside for the winter months.


We are to that point in the growing season where some of our plants have gone to seed.  So this weekend, entrenched in vines and leaves of green, we pulled out arugula and collected the seed pods for late fall planting.  Then replanted carrots and beets for fall harvest.


I opened my linen closet last Friday to a cavernous black hole, completely void of any form of soap, lotion or shave oil.  The girls and I got to work and rounded out the weekend with a fresh batch of lotion (I use the recipe from this book.) and shave oil (my recipe can be found here), and a new eczema-friendly soap concoction.  (The recipe for this soap to come soon.)

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And last but not least, there is the fermentation frenzy that has taken over our house the last two weeks.  I don’t often become overly obsessed with much, but oh my, I think I may just be in love with Sandor Katz, his book The Art of Fermentation, and all of the nutritional benefits fermenting has to offer.  I gave this book to my husband last summer for his birthday, to aid him in his beer-making endeavors.  But I now find myself huddled with my morning coffee, spilling over the pages of this book, completely enraptured by the content.

Amidst the fermenting madness is fresh made yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha.  The constant growing process of it all is just amazing, and the wonderful probiotics offered naturally in these foods is simply mind boggling.  I have so much more to learn, but I am sure enjoying the entire process along the way.

I hope all of you are enjoying a wonderful start to your week!

Homemade Shave Oil and Shave Soap


When you peek at the back of a shaving cream can, you may notice a longer list of ingredients than the processed food in the grocery store.  Almost all of the ingredients are unpronounceable, and really a bit scary when you think of what impact those ingredients have on our bodies once they are absorbed into our skin.

My husband has been searching for a good shave soap for years now and he continued to come up empty handed.  He has very sensitive skin and couldn’t seem to locate anything that worked, didn’t contain a ton of chemicals, and didn’t irritate his skin.

So, like many other things in our life, we decided to try our hand at making our own.  My hubby has been extremely happy with how these products turned out, and he uses them on a daily basis, confident in the fact that toxins are not leaching into his system, and he does’t have to worry about skin irritation issues.

Sandalwood, Cedarwood & Bay Shave Oil

(Apply a small amount of this Shave Oil prior to shaving.  Follow with Shave Soap.)

1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

1 cup castor oil

10 drops sandalwood essential oil

10 drop cedarwood essential oil

5 drops bay essential oil

4 oz. amber bottles with lids (I bought mine here.)

medium-sized bowl

metal spoon


Mix the olive oil and caster oil in a medium bowl.  Then, slowly mix in the three essential oils.  Using a funnel, pour the shave oil into the amber bottles.  Cap.  Enjoy.

Sandalwood, Cedarwood & Bay Shave Soap

(Place a bar of this soap in the bottom of a large mug.  Thoroughly wet a shave brush and then vigorously rub it over the bar of shave soap.  Lather the soap on your face and you are ready to begin shaving.)

1 pound Melt and Pour Soap Base (I use this Goat’s Milk Soap Base.)

2 teaspoons bentonite clay (I purchase mine from this local natural food store, but you can get it here.)

10 drops sandalwood essential oil

10 drops cedarwood essential oil

5 drops bay essential oil

a shallow pot or saucepan

a glass bowl

wooden spoon

soap molds (You can purchase these at your local craft store or here.)

Fill the pot or saucepan half full with water.  Bring to a simmer.  Place the glass bowl in the pot of water to create a double boiler of sorts.  Place the melt and pour soap base in the glass bowl.  Stir the base with a wooden spoon until it melts.  Remove the bowl from the heat and quickly mix in the clay.  Then add the three essential oils and stir.  Allow the mixture to cool just slightly (enough to thicken the mixture just a bit).  Pour into your molds.  Allow to rest until completely cool.  Remove the soap from the molds.  Enjoy.