Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

With all my boys, it’s hard to get out for a manicure or pedicure, but I still love how silky smooth my hands and feet feel afterwards. To get those same results, without always having to arrange for multiple sitters and leaving the house, I’ve turned to making my own scrubs at home. There’s no reason my hands and feet should suffer just because I’ve had four kids.  That being said, I love a good sugar scrub, especially in the Summer, for my flip flop feet. There’s nothing like smooth, scented feet as I sit poolside. I also enjoy experimenting with new scents and combinations, and when I stumbled upon this version  from The Idea Room, I knew I had to make it immediately! It sounded that refreshing, and I just couldn’t wait, literally. The results were everything I was hoping for in a light, refreshing scent, but with all the dead-skin exfoliating power I am used to. Give your feet and/or hands a good scrub down with this, and then rinse. Not only will the delicious scent linger, but everything will be so smooth. It’s perfect for letting those feet or hands make their official debut out in the summer sun!

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

4 Sons 'R' Us: Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • 6-8 drops of Lime essential oil

Directions

  1. In a microwave, or on a stove-top, melt coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in the sugar, stirring until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the coconut and the Lime oil.
  4. Mix together.
  5. Use! This recipe only makes 1 cup of sugar scrub, but could easily be doubled to stockpile some, or even to make to give as gifts.

Easy Oatmeal Bath

I’m sure most of us Moms who have older children have had to deal with the Chicken Pox at least once. I’m sure, like me, when your child has gotten the pox, you’ve run out to the nearest pharmacy and paid a pretty penny for Aveeno’s oatmeal baths to help your painfully itchy little ones find some relief. Worrying about them and this one time illness, I never really paid attention to, or cared about, the expense. Now, years down the road, I have a 3 year old plagued by eczema. Especially in the summer, he gets horribly itchy, scabby patches. What’s even worse, at 3, he doesn’t understand why he get’s in trouble for scratching when it temporarily helps him feel better. He doesn’t think about the sores he will create or the potential for infection like his Daddy and I do. With a child who not constantly, but often needs a soothing oatmeal bath as a healthier form of relief, I was getting a bit frazzled by the prices I was forced to pay for name brand products. A friend of mine mentioned to me that she makes her own version with great success and I followed her advice and I immediately made my own batch of oatmeal bath that afternoon. Now, not only am I saving a ton of money, I don’t have to run out to the store at the last minute, or even clean up sludgy oatmeal out of the bottom of my tub. Do yourself a favor and give it a try for yourself. You will never go back to the name brands again!

Easy Oatmeal Bath

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy Oatmeal Bath

  • 3 cups plain, unflavored oats
  • empty bottle preferably with a shake/pour cap (I used an old Parmesan cheese container)
  • food processor or blender
  • a clear drinking glass
  • a tablespoon
  • old panty hose/stockings (optional)

 Directions

  1. Add oats into your food processor or blender and pulverize until it’s a fine powder and you don’t see any big pieces left.
  2. Test to make sure it’s fine enough by adding 1 tbsp of the oats to a glassful of water. If most dissolves and there’s not much left settling to the bottom you’re done*.
  3. Store oatmeal bath in a container until ready to use.
  4. When ready to use, add 1 cup of oatmeal to warm bathwater, stirring until combined. This will leave some oatmeal mess to be cleaned up afterward.
  5. To avoid any messy cleanup, put the 1 cup of oats into the foot of an old panty hose or stocking. Tie the panty hose around the faucet so the oatmeal is hanging directly under the water as it fills the tub. It will run through the oats, keeping the majority of the messy stuff in the ‘bag’, but still creating the soothing, milky ‘oatmeal’ bath.

*I skip this step, but if you want to be absolutely sure you’ve gotten all the big pieces out, you can sift your pulverized oatmeal before storing it. The more big pieces the less likely it is to all dissolve.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Over the past few years, my husband and I have avidly been trying to look for areas in our home where we could cut costs by doing things ourselves and giving up convenience purchases. We’ve also noticed that the extra effort pays off, in that we’ve been able to cut out a lot of chemicals and other harmful substances. This past week I finally convinced my husband to take the plunge into homemade laundry detergent. He was skeptical since it was a powdered detergent, and also worried that it wouldn’t be able to cut through the dirt and grime of our four, very active boys. The results; however, were remarkable. Clean, clean clothes, including underwear, and soiled towels!  This recipe only costs about 5 cents per load as compared to about 20 cents with store bought detergents I’ve purchased at sale prices. Even better, this is entirely HE washer safe! All that’s required to be HE safe, is a detergent that’s low-suds. Think about it…they use less water so it makes complete sense that they would need a low suds detergent. It’s nothing else. Don’t get caught in the same trap we were initially, and continue to pay the ridiculous prices for ‘special’ detergent. It’s just another gimmick to get you, the consumer, to spend more money.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Laundry Detergent

  • 1 bar fels naptha, or zote
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda

Directions

  1. Grate your bar of laundry soap (fels naptha or zote) as finely as possible.
  2. Put grated soap into a storage container. Add in borax and washing soda.
  3. Stir until evenly combined, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tbsp per load of laundry. 2 tbsp for heavily soiled loads.

Homemade Cold Medicine

Ever feel a cold creeping up and need to knock it out before it has a chance to take hold? This homemade cold medicine can nip it in the bud. Designed to tackle coughs, congestion, and a sore throat, it surpasses anything I’ve ever gotten from the store and it’s my go-to recipe when someone in my house starts feeling sick. Even better, I don’t have to wonder is it safe? Is this actually the proper dosage?  How many hours has it been? What is 2% of “asdlkjasdklh” for? All four major ingredients are known for their different healing and therapeutic properties. When combined they’re a cold-kicking powerhouse. I always keep some on hand stored in the fridge, especially during the winter months when my kids are more prone to catch something. Give it a try for yourself next time you or your loved ones have got the tell-tale signs you’re coming down with a cold.

Homemade Cold Medicine

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Cold Medicine

  •  1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp raw honey (local is best*)

Directions

  1. In a small jar, combine vinegar and water.
  2. Dissolve cayenne and ginger into the liquids.
  3. Add honey.
  4. Shake well.
  5. Dosage: Adults should take 1 tbsp as needed. I give my kids** 1/2 tbsp as needed for cough/congestion.

*Some research suggests that consuming local raw honey can help allergy sufferers find some relief. Raw (unprocessed) honey still contains enzymes and pollen. Local honey contains pollen from plants in your vicinity that you’re constantly exposed to and that might be causing or triggering your allergies. Essentially, ingesting the local pollen, in small doses, over a prolonged period of time would act as a natural vaccine.

**WARNING: Children under 12 months of age should NEVER consumer honey, raw or processed, as there is a risk of Child Botulism (bacterial illness). Further, honey is acidic and the practice of keeping it sitting in the mouth for prolonged periods of time may erode dental enamel.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

In my effort to cut costs everywhere I can, and to be as all natural as possible on our families budget, I decided to stop buying store bought dish detergent and see if I could replicate it for minimal cost and still get great results. This at home, all natural version is only 3 ingredients, which I keep on hand and only takes a few minutes to whip up. Using equal parts of the two main ingredients, I can make as much or as little as I need. My favorite part, each load only costs pennies! My dishes even seem to be cleaner than when I previously used a store bought detergent. A cheap way to achieve sparkling results? Yes, please!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Dish Detergent

  • borax
  • washing soda
  • lemon flavored kool aid packet (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix equal parts borax and washing soda together. Make sure it’s equal parts.
  2. If using, add in kool aid packet.
  3. Stir until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  4. Transfer detergent into a storage container.
  5. Use 2 tbsp per load.

The kool aid packet is just for scent purposes, and without it the detergent will still clean just as well.

I couldn’t ask for, and haven’t found, an easier all-natural recipe for dish detergent and for only pennies per load!

*For best results, rinse dishes thoroughly before loading them into the dishwasher. This isn’t an issue for me since my husband is a stickler about rinsing dishes pre-wash. Also, to avoid an streaks try using a rinse aid. If needed, I use plain white distilled vinegar as an all natural rinse aid.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Dish Detergent

Candy-Grams

Are you struggling to find that perfect gift for someone special? Or the perfect gift for that special occasion? Do you just dislike spending all that money on a greeting card that is just going to be discarded or thrown in s drawer and forgotten? Instead of  a boring printed card quip, give a ‘card’ that won’t be forgotten. A card, that is more than a card, that with some simple creativity can be tuned to any holiday or special occasion. My husband has a raging sweet tooth, so anything involving sugar instantly means that much more to him. My sister was graduating high school and I wanted to give her a ‘card’ with a special touch, because I didn’t just want to give her money. These were the resulting ‘cards’ they received with my messages for them. Candy-grams are an awesome way to put your own thoughts into words, some spelled out in sugar, with a personal touch and a little flair. Whatever the occasion and the message, they will certainly leave a lasting impression and memory!

Father’s Day Candy-Gram

4 Sons 'R' Us: Father's Day Candygram

“Dad, we were going to give you a ‘whopp’ ing ‘100 Grand’ for Father’s Day, but the money slipped right through our ‘butterfinger’s. We didn’t have an ‘extra’ ‘whatchamacallit’ to sell and it wasn’t ‘payday’. We didn’t think a pet ‘kitkat’, a trip to New ‘York’, or an ‘orbit’ around the ‘milkyway’ would be appropriate. We do want to wish you ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ both ‘now and later’ as you eat this card. We hope it doesn’t make you ‘rolo’ver and get sick. If it does we promise not to ‘snicker’. Love, your favorite ‘airheads’ (include children’s names).”

Graduation Candy-Gram

4 Sons 'R' Us: Graduation Candy-gram

“We (or I) thought it would be ‘sweet’ to make you a card. I still remember when we were little; we were like the ‘3 musketeers’. I still can’t believe just yesterday you were in your ‘cap’ and gown and ‘skor’ed a diploma. You’ve come a long ‘way’. You should be filled with ‘mounds’ of ‘joy’ that you’re no ‘dumdum’ and are filled with ‘extra’ good stuff that’ll take you far in life– ‘now and later’. You’re an ‘awesome’ individual and as a sister worth more than ‘100 grand’. I am so proud of you I could just ‘kiss’ you!!!!”

D.I.Y. Deodorant

There are basic toiletries that I think most everyone can agree are necessities, antiperspirants among them. Over the years, I’ve read several medical articles substantiating the claims that the aluminum in deodorants can be linked to an increased risk in women of developing breast cancer, although nothing has ever been completely confirmed. My husband and I try to buy and use as many organic products for our family as possible on our budget and organic deodorant, or even all natural, is just too expensive for us. When I came across a recipe to try making it myself, using ingredients I keep stocked in our kitchen, I couldn’t wait to try it. We, and my teenage sons, have used this for a week and it’s worked as well as anything I’ve purchased from a store. The first batch had no scent, although the coconut oil did give it it’s own faint coconut-ty smell. To the second batch we added a few scant drops of lavender essential oil which made the deodorant smell wonderful, without being overpowering. For something so easy, good for you, and cheap, is there any reason to keep paying for over-priced chemical laced sticks from the store? This deodorant is not only husband approved, but teenage boy proof! Not a single whiff of funk from any of my guys, all for pennies on my part.

D.I.Y Deodorant

4 Sons 'R' Us: D.I.Y Deodorant

  • 3 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 3-4 drops organic essential oil for fragrance, optional

Directions

  1. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and baking soda until evenly combined.
  2. Stir in coconut oil until evenly combined.
  3. Put mixture in a container, or empty deodorant stick, for storage and use.
  4. Deodorant can stay out, but it will be more of a paste to apply. If you want a hard bar to rub on, store in the refrigerator.

Birthday Balloon Wreath

Growing up my Mom tried really hard to make memories and create traditions for myself and my sisters. We always had something to look forward to. No matter what the holiday, we had something special to coincide. Looking back now, it always added to our anticipation and made events seem more special, even the little ones, and sometimes almost magical. Mom also loved flags. She had lots of flags, a flag for everything. We would even compete for the honorable duty of ‘changing the flag.’ Perhaps the only occasions without their own designated banner were birthdays. I will never forget the year I woke up to discover a special flag had been hung, while I slept, with a birthday cake on it. Let me tell you, when you’re under 6 and there’s a banner waving to the world announcing your birthday, you feel like royalty. Every year after that, for every birthday, we woke up to our flag flying high. I wanted to do something similar for my boys, but I didn’t inherit my mother’s love for flags, so that was out for me. However, I do love wreaths! I had seen several balloon wreaths for sale and decided that would be the perfect announcement to grace our front door announcing my own children’s special days. The boys loved it!  I loved it! It was simple, affordable, and could easily be adapted by coordinating colors for any theme or other event.

Birthday Balloon Wreath

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  • 1 12″ Straw Wreath, left in plastic wrap (but you could use a larger frame if you desired, or smaller for table centerpieces)
  • Floral pins
  • balloons (whatever colors and sizes)
  • wreath hanger

Directions

  1. Warning: Do not unwrap your straw wreath! It will make a gigantic mess and you’ll feel like you woke up in a hay field.
  2. Take one balloon and one floral pin.
  3. Starting at any point on the wreath, pin the balloons into the wreath using the floral pins.
  4. Pinning the balloons to the wreath at their middle helps ensure a more uniform look.
  5. Continue pinning balloons around the wreath, alternating colors until you’ve achieved your desired result.
  6. Display on your front door.