Homemade Sugar Hand Scrub

There are many different recipes for making your own hand scrub.  Many people have come up with cute ways to package them, but my favorite “name” for it is Sugar Mama Hand Scrub.  Isn’t that cute?  I found it from Jessica and her blog, Craftinessisnotoptional.com.  I give her all the credit!  Check out her cute way of packaging it and her recipe.  This is my own recipe, in which I added and adjusted a few things…

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups sugar (I used half regular white sugar and half organic sugar because it is more course)
2 TBSP kosher salt (to add some more course grains to it)
1 cup oil (I used olive oil from the Dollar Tree!)
2-3 TBSP Vitamin E oil (I used Target brand, Up and Up)
30 drops peppermint essential oil (I used NOW brand from my local health foods store, or you can buy it on amazon here.)

Directions:
Dump everything except the essential oil into a mixing bowl and mix on low for about a minute (or stir with a spoon).  Then add the 30 drops of essential oil – use whatever fragrance you choose…peppermint is very refreshing!  Stir again.  I chose to divide this up into small jars from JoAnn Fabrics (they were each $1.00).  You can use any container you have…just clean it out and load it up.  This recipe made a large batch…enough to fill about six of the jars shown in the picture.

If you are doing some kind of decorating to the jars, do that before you fill them.  I  spray-painted the tops to make them silver…and I used mod podge to attach the pink paper and then stickers for the writing…and also printed off some “directions” and “ingredients” and laminated those.  Do whatever you’d like!  For more at-home-spa recipes, check out our Kitchen Facials post!

Homemade Nutella

I will never buy Nutella from a store again. I mean it. We keep this tasty spread on hand quite regularly – it makes for a great dessert or snack (on toast, with fruit, on top of Baked Oatmeal, etc.) I have been meaning to make my own for a while now and finally did it. Wow. Easy…delicious…so worth it! There were several recipes that I looked at online, from so many different people that I can’t really give credit and then I added my own twists to it to create my own version. It filled about 5 small jars – perfect for gifts too! But please take note: it is not as smooth and velvety as the store-bought kind. You could strain it if you really want, but I actually don’t mind the teeny-tiny grains of nut incorporated throughout. It reminds you that it is homemade and better 🙂 

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups whole hazelnuts (I bought a big bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli’s with 60% cacao)
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips
  • 5 TBSP coconut oil (my new favorite ingredient) OR similar oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 4 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the 2 1/4 cups of hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 13 minutes.
  • During the baking time, pour both of the bags of chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir the chocolate and microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes (it should be melted but if not, continue heating at intervals of 30 seconds – checking each time). Set this bowl aside.
  • Remove the nuts from the oven and pour them onto a dry towel. Usethe towel to rub off as much of the flaky skins as possible…don’t attempt to get every single bit, just the majority of it off.
  • Pour the nuts into a food processor and process for about 3 minutes (or until the nuts have become a paste). You might need to stop halfway and scrape the sides a bit and then continue processing.
 
 
 
 
  • Measure the remainder of the ingredients (except the melted chocolate) into a bowl and then add to the nut paste. Process until combined.
  • Lastly, add the melted chocolate and process until well combined.
  • Pour into containers that can be sealed. It will be very runny at first – but it will firm up.
  • If you are not going to consume this tasty treat for a while, you could freeze it. I usually give away a couple of jars, freeze one and keep the last two in our cupboard for immediate use 🙂 Take NOTE: to make it softer for spreading, place the microwaveable (glass) jar in the microwave for 15 seconds…that should soften it up a bit for spreading.

Rise and Shine! (With Lemon)

I have a difficult time remembering to drink enough water throughout the day. But since I have been making myself a huge glass of lemon-water every morning, things have changed! While I am preparing everyone’s breakfast, I sip on this and for several reasons, I feel like it’s a great first thing to ingest (even before my morning coffee and breakfast). There are many health benefits of drinking lemon-water. It’s just a simple idea and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 
Supplies:
Lemons
Ice cube tray
Zester (or a cheese grater works too)
Large zip-lock bag(s)
Straw (to help keep some of the acidity off your teeth)

 

Directions:
I like to buy a large bag of lemons from Costco and make a large batch all at one time. Wash all of the lemons. Take a couple of lemons to just slice up and freeze (see image). Then, take several lemons, zest them and collect the zest in a bowl. Next, juice those lemons. Pour the juice and zest into the ice cube trays. Freeze. Once they are frozen, pop out and put into a freezer bag or tupperware to keep in the freezer. In the morning (or whenever), place one cube of lemon juice and one slice of lemon in your glass, fill up with water, add a straw – enjoy!

Homemade Coffee Creamer

I have tried a couple of recipes for coffee creamer and they usually end up making the coffee too watery or taste funny. This one is a winner! I love it and wanted to share it – it’s so simple.

I am a big fan of Pinterest and discovered this recipe recently there. I would like to thank the source of this great recipe, Mrs. Happy Homemaker. Her beautiful photographs/recipe can be found here. I used her recipe but changed it just a bit…

Ingredients:
1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (I tried both the regular and fat-free version…fat free is just as great!)
21 ounces milk (I liked whole milk the best or you could use half and half, or fat-free half and half.) Just measure this by pouring milk into the empty can 1 1/2 times.
2 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
 
Directions:
Grab yourself a Mason jar or something you can close and shake well. Pour all ingredients into the jar and shake it really well to combine. Enjoy!!

Mom’s Favorite Things Part II

We’ve reached the subzero’s here in Minnesota, and Lindsey and I would like to share more of our favorite things that we use to treat ourselves in such desperate times as these. 🙂

Lindt Excellence Chili Dark Chocolate

…need I explain???
Sweet Coconut Chai, Decaf:
a very nice way to start or end the day, or enjoy any special moments inbetween!  My daughter and I have our Chai Girl Time on the days when the big boys are in school and her sister is napping!

 

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion:
(for sensitive skin of ALL ages)…and for survival in the dry Minnesota winter.  

New Skin:
This is more necessity than pampering for me…from all the washing dishes and wiping kids and their messes in this winter dryness…my fingers crack!  So I just paint on this liquid bandaid and carry on.  My father-in-law gets credit for this great suggestion.





Beethoven’s 6th Symphony:
      to lift your spirit and share beautiful classical music with your children, click here. The story behind this is that my husband and I went to this symphony for our anniversary, and I wanted to share it with our kids, so here was the easiest way!

Flower Hair Clips:



To add a little Hawaiian flare to your look in the dead of winter. I’ve gotten many compliments when I wear these…everyone wants one!  So maybe they were designed for tweens, but in my book they work great in your thirties too! They help transform a crazy-hair day to a fun-hair day! I found these at Target with the hair accessories.  My daughters steal them out of my hair any chance they get. 



I gave these as stocking stuffers to family–great gifts!

 
And the great part about all of these favorite things is that they are all from Target!  Because who enjoys mall shopping when there is Target??? May our friends be encouraged and pampered in this bleak mid-winter.  As my husband keeps stringing me along…although right now we may get frost bitten if we forget our mittens, green is just around the corner.  Until that corner reaches my horizon, I will be sipping my chai. 🙂

Kitchen Facials

It took me a few years to figure out that if I was feeling stressed out, I needed to do something about it – taking care of kids is so special and yet, so tiring. Carving out time to relax is essential to one’s health and well being. I decided to plan a gathering with friends and try out these “kitchen facials” I have heard of and it was a blast! What is a “kitchen facial”? Well, I found several different recipes online for face masks, exfoliators, and other treatments using only items from your pantry and fridge! Give it a try – you will be pleasantly surprised by how well they work! If you have other ideas, please share them by adding a “comment” at the end.

Here are my favorites so far:
Eye Make-up Remover:
  • Olive oil – put a dab of olive oil on a cotton ball and be amazed at how well it removes mascara! Be careful to not use too much because it will feel strange if it gets on your eyeball.
Facial Scrub:
  • 1 TBSP cornmeal
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Combine in a small bowl and then scrub all over your face to exfoliate. Follow with a cool rinse and pat dry.
Nourishing Face Mask:
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 TBSP water or olive oil
  • Blend the avocado with the water or olive oil until smooth (or just mash with a fork) and spread evenly over your face. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse clean. AMAZINGLY SMOOTH!
Facial Tightening Mask:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 TBSP yogurt
  • Mix up all ingredients in a small bowl and spread all over face. Let it sit for 15 minutes (or until it feels tight) and then rinse clean.
Facial Toner:
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – put a dab of vinegar on a cotton ball and spread all over face. Follow with a cool rinse and pat dry.
Skin Softener:
  • Milk – pat some milk on your face. Once it is dry, rinse off completely.
BEST Hand and Foot Exfoliator:
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Honey (or olive oil but we loved honey)
  • Mix in a small bowl (add more sugar if it’s too runny) and then take a scoop and scrub your hands or feet for several minutes. Rinse completely and enjoy the amazing smoothness!
  • Or check out Sugar Mama Hand Scrub

Ba’Mocha Blended Coffee – Treat your kids at a picnic!


A fun and wild summer picnic at the park with all my kids inspired this naptime creation. On our way home I was feeling desperate for a drive-thru Starbucks, but EVERYONE needed naps immediately. So I whipped up my own (much healthier) version once the house got quiet. It’s a wonderful naptime refreshment!

 
Ingredients:
  • 5-6 coffee ice cubes (take your leftover morning brew, pour into ice cube trays and once they are frozen, pop them out and keep them in a ziplock baggie for times like these)
  • 1/2 or whole banana
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon flavored coffee syrup (I use Starbucks caramel–add more to sweeten after you taste it.)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use soy but regular would be great too!)
  • Optional: 1/2 Tablespoon ground flax seed (added boost of nutrition)
Blend all ingredients and ENJOY!!
>> Also check reviews on best picnic tables at here!

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