Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Links

Ever heard of Farm Dreams? It's a one-stop place for like-minded people to connect on things like gardening, homesteading, animal husbandry, farming, etc. It's a cool new homesteading mecca!

Trying to get away from using plastic? Here's an interesting article on how to freeze food without using plastics.

Ever wonder if your favorite cold-fighting stand-bys really work? Check out this article here!

Oh, and I just have to mention that hot water bottles are our new best friends! They are a great investment (the reusable silicone ones by Fashy are awesome!) and are not only good for keeping toes warm, they can help a tummy ache, or some achy muscles.

I used to dream of electric blankets and how warm I'd be in the winter if I had one, but I found out that they take over your body's task of keeping you warm. So, like in the summer when the AC is cranking, it is taking over your body's natural ways of keeping cool and therefore your tolerance for heat plummets. Likewise, with electric blankets, they lower your tolerance for keeping warm in winter. Interesting, huh?

A belated happy winter! I hope you're all staying warm. We've had rain all day, but I'm sure there's snow coming sometime. :-)

No-Poo Update

Just a quick update on going no-shampoo. Things have been going much better than I expected. For the first couple weeks my hair was totally normal and felt and looked clean. In fact, a friend of mine, after finding out I was only washing my hair with baking soda, looked at my hair and said, "Your hair looks clean to me!" haha! These past couple weeks my hair has been a little more greasy than usual, but that just may be because I'm not washing it as often and so it's just adjusting.

A big thing that I noticed is that with my thick hair I have to be very liberal with dousing my hair with the baking soda/water solution. I have to make sure my hair is sopping wet with it, that it's getting to my scalp and everything. I scrub it around and then rinse it out and then do the vinegar rinse. One time I did not thoroughly douse my hair with the baking soda/water and my hair wasn't that clean.

My scalp has also been a little itchy, so I've been making sure to rub some of the vinegar mixture on my scalp. If that doesn't help, I'll try honey next. Honey is a lot more moisturizing than vinegar, but if you tend to have oilier hair, vinegar would work better.

I'd say the biggest downside is that the baking soda/water is stinkin' COLD when I pour it on my head in my nice hot shower. Not very nice, but maybe having it sit in the hot shower with me on the floor of the tub for awhile before I use it will help solve that problem.

So in the end - Things are still going strong and I have the cheapest shampoo ever! Woohoo!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

No-Poo, Take 2

Thanks to Tsh over at Simplemom.net I am giving no shampoo a try again. She's been using baking soda and vinegar to clean her hair for 2 years! Here are her articles that I read:


After reading her blog posts, I realized what I think I did wrong before. I was measuring out the baking soda and mixing it with water right before I washed my hair. This didn't give the soda enough time to dissolve in the water, so it was just ending up on my scalp. She uses a recipe where you mix it up in advance, shake it up before you use it and she applies it differently than I did. Those were enough differences to get me to want to give it another go!

So, I just washed my hair, incorporating the changes, and just with this first wash I noticed a difference! I am excited to try this long term and will keep you updated. I'm worried about itchy scalp, but one commenter left on her blog the suggestion of rubbing in a little cocoa butter or coconut oil?

I've been using apple cider vinegar instead of conditioner for quite a few months and I love it. (I use Bragg's raw, unfiltered ACV.) My left-over conditioner has been consigned to be used as shaving cream in the shower. Way to be thrifty, eh? It actually works pretty well!

We'll see how this adventure goes!

Dough Whisk Update

Yesterday I made a 2-loaf batch of bread. We've been out of town and then I was sick, so it's been almost 2 months since I last made bread! I was so excited to use this dough whisk and a little skeptical too. How could a funky-looking thing like that make mixing dough by hand easier?

Well, let me tell you, folks, it DOES! I was totally amazed! Those super sturdy wires just cut through the dough like butter, mixing it quickly to boot! I was totally floored. Those Danes sure know their stuff! (which is where this dough whisk originated)

Check out  my review of this dough whisk on Amazon.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Turkey Pictures

I just added pictures to my turkey post below! Check them out!

Fast-Stir Peanut Butter

I really love the all-natural peanut butter made of straight up peanuts and salt. The flavor is just so pure and delicious! The downside is, yes, the stirring to reincorporate the oil. Those darn peanut oils! Sure, they've come up with no-stir natural peanut butters, but do you know how they're non-stir? It's because of the extra cottonseed/palm oil they add to it. Yuck! 

Well, if you're like me you've slaved over one of those jars - laboriously shoving the knife around the jar, sloshing oils over the side, and wishing you had done this earlier so that you could just have your stinking peanut butter sandwich now! Today was one of those days. 

And then... I had a breakthrough. Why was I putting myself through the agony? Why should I have to stand there for 15 minutes to get a semi-mixed peanut butter and oil all over the counter while my kids went hungry? No more! I dumped all that peanut butter into a mixing bowl, whipped out my electric hand mixer and beat that peanut butter into submission!! It took 2 minutes. The peanut butter is now smooth and creamy and perfectly blended. What a relief!

Why did I wait so long to do it this way? I guess besides necessity, desperation is also the mother of invention.
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