Gift Exchange Idea – Misto

  • Misto is the #1 Selling Oil Mister Brand in the U.S (Source: The NPD Group, Inc./Retail Tracking Service. 52 weeks ending April 2016)
  • Reusable oil spray and mister bottle gives you the convenience and health benefits of an aerosol sprayer in a more economical and environmental form
  • Fill MISTO with your favorite oils, vinegars, lemon and lime juice, sherry, or marsala wine. Great for salads, breads, or cooking
  • Easy-to-use pump style cap features a 2-step operation: simply pump the container, then and press the valve on the pressurized sprayer for an even mist.
  • Environmentally friendly: The non-aerosol sprayer doesn’t use chemical propellants, and it’s refillable, so no more throwing cans away to end up in landfills. MISTO is BPA-free. Threading the cap on incorrectly allows air to escape and in turn does not allow the bottle to build up pressure to spray.

Well in my effort again to be the most environmentally conscience that I can be without being weird, I would like to offer my recommendation for the Misto.

We have used PAM or knock off store version of PAM for years, the spraying seemed wasteful and also full of chemicals, that while we were buying organic foods and worried about what we ate, we put chemicals on the pans to cook with? This seems counter intuitive.  My friend recommended the Misto. I read up on it and realized that a lot of people give this as a gift exchange present. It is perfect to give the gift of something you know they will use, but also something that is good for them.

It’s not just for oil, this can me used for salad dressing, breads and endless other options. It’s healthier because you can control the amount of oil or seasoning.

I have been using mine for about a month and I LOVE IT. This was by far the best $10 purchase, which I used my Amazon Rewards points to buy. My MISTO was actually free.

Last night we made roasted asparagus and I simply did a few pumps of the Misto rather than tossing in olive oil.

With the holidays around the corner, I would recommend this for a Favorite Things or any under $10 exchange. They will be thanking you.

Burt’s Bees Makeup- I am in Love

Well over the weekend, I bit the bullet, by bullet I mean under $40 for ALL NATURAL BURTS BEES MAKE-UP.

I saw an ad on my Facebook timeline that Burt’s Bees now offers a makeup line, made up natural ingredients.  I was already hooked on their lip balm, due to the healing nature of my overly dry lips, so I thought, why not give it a go.

Today is day One with my new minimalist make-up routine. I bought the press powder foundation because I love the look of powder over liquid.

I have been in my office for about 4 hours and so far I have received 3 compliments on my skin!

The mascara comes with a an easy to use silicone or rubber brush- not sure which, but if you have seen me in person recently and noticed the hard times I have been having with my eyes this mascara in combination with the eye pencil is the answer to my prayers. No flaking and no clumping. I am still waiting for a good cry or a rain storm but for me this mascara is standing the test of time.

The blush was so smooth and silky, loved it.

The eye shadow was easy to use, and I am always a fan of anything natural around my eyes.

Of course you know I love the lip balm already but the tinted lip shimmer added the pop of color I needed. I ordered the holiday 4-pack already to sample the plum, fig…etc.

I will update more as I wear more, but so far today, this is an excellent choice for my sensitive skin, eyes and me.

A few things about Burt’s Bees to know in case you haven’t already tried their other products.

Their products are not formulated with parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum, talc, synthetic fragrances, or silicones.

  Our products are not tested on animals.

They believe that what they keep out of their products is just as important as what they put in.

Read more

DIY Drain Unclogger

Drain Unclogger, that is the official name I have selected, sounds fancy doesn’t it.  Who else has super long thick hair and/or a household of teenagers? Welcome to Mr. Maker’s least favorite chore, unclogging the drain.

You and I have probably all used a  type of clog-reducing chemical found in stores to  to flush out drains. You may have even thought of yourself as a Handyman or woman because you tackled that drain clog.   I am here to explain why there is an Easier, Better, Greener, HOMESPUN option.

Consider these four issues or concerns with regard to the use of  store bought or  similar drain cleaner products. You know what they are called.

1. Environmentally unsafe ingredients

Many commercial drain cleaners contain unsafe ingredients that can be detrimental to residential and water environments. Some contain lye and other highly toxic materials. Liquid waste that has high levels of such toxins can make its way into the sewage system and out to rivers, streams, and the ocean, and take its toll on plants and wildlife, possibly even contaminate food and water supplies.

2. Risks to children

Many cleaning agents, sport warning labels to inform consumers about physical threats the ingredients may pose. Unfortunately, children often cannot or do not read labels when they are playing and exploring. Practice good home safety tactics by removing these harmful chemicals from use altogether and replacing them with less toxic alternatives.

3. Further pipe damage

The chemicals in some of the other uncloggers may not solve all clogs, and they can lead to a worsening of pipe issues. They can build up in a clogged area, and corrode the pipe. With repeated use, these chemicals may eat their way through a pipe, and cause a leak or a collapse of the system.

4. A danger to pets

Like children, pets are susceptible to accidental poisoning by household chemicals. They are not able to read cautionary labels and cannot ask for help when they encounter and ingest harmful materials. Caring for pets should include taking proper safety precautions, such as moving cleaners to higher shelves where furry critters cannot reach the containers.

Animals can also track harmful substances around the house. Avoid pouring or spraying cleaners on surfaces over which a pet may soon walk. Otherwise, your four-legged housemates may track harmful chemicals around the house, develop irritated paws, and end up ingesting toxic substances by trying to clean themselves.

Now that I have explained all the reasons why  you should try to DIY, take a gander at how easy this recipe is. You probably have this in your house already.

Instructions:
  1. Pour a pot of boiling hot water down your drain.
  2. Dump in about 1/2 c. baking soda.
  3. Then, pour a mixture of 1 c. vinegar and cover the drain or plug the drain.
  4. Cover with a drain plug (to keep the reaction down below the drain surface) if you have one and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Flush one more time with a pot of boiling water.

Why this works: The baking soda and hot water treatment will loosen up any grimy sludge that’s hanging out at the bottom of your drain, and the explosive chemical reaction with the vinegar will jolt it all loose. Then one final super hot-water rinse will make all the bad stuff go bye-bye.

 

DIY Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

For those of you who know me in real life and not just blog life, you know I HATE STORE BOUGHT COFFEE CREAMER. Recently while listen to an Adam Corolla pod cast, he shared my disdain for coffee creamer, this got me thinking…..How many others share the HATE for store brand coffee creamer, and how many people don’t really know how BAD it is for you?

There are new brands and lines of coffee creamer on the market nowadays touting “natural flavors” and whatnot, but my stance hasn’t changed.

Honestly, my internal red flags go up when I buy Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer and neither pumpkin nor spice is listed as ingredients.

Besides natural flavors, there are other ingredients you should be leery of too in your coffee creamer. Specifically, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.

Hydrogenated oils are also known as trans fat, and for awhile now the FDA has known trans fat is not healthy for the human body. It wasn’t until 2015 though, when the FDA finally made the decision that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer generally recognized as safe either.

Despite these rulings, there are loopholes that allow hydrogenated oils to be in your food, including your coffee creamer.

High fructose corn syrup is created in a factory using a 7-step process to convert corn into a sweetener. In the conversion process, strains of bacteria known to cause anthrax, food poisoning and used as a pesticide are added to the starch. The end results is a 90% concentration of fructose.

For comparison purposes, honey is roughly 37% fructose.

Even if you find a coffee creamer that doesn’t contain either of these two ingredients, it probably contains one of these:

  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Artificial flavor (which could be anything)
  • Artificial color (again, which could be anything)

AND STILL if your coffee creamer doesn’t contain these, I’m guessing it cost an arm and a leg.

HOMESPUN PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER

Warning- his recipe actually contains REAL pumpkin and REAL spices. 

 The key to making that happen is the combination of whole milk and cream.

Note – I did not say skim milk or half-and-half or 2% milk or all cream or anything else.

Print
HOMSPUN PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE CREAMER
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree this can be real or from a can
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat, stirring often with a flat whisk as it cools to prevent scalding of the milk and burning of the sugars.

 

Easiest Shepard’s Pie

Well if anyone else is having a week like I am, this easy and delish. Maker family approved.

Print
Easiest Shepards Pie

This is the worlds easiest, busy mom, ain't got time for that- Shepard's Pie

Ingredients
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 packages Jack Daniels Tenessee BBQ Pulled Chicken
  • 1 package Family Size Mashed Potatoes
Instructions
  1. in a baking dish, open the package of Pulled Chicken, and spread along bottom. The second layer is the bag of frozen corn (do not heat)


  2. In a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add potato flakes per instructions. 

  3. whip masked potatoes and add as top layer

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35-45 minutes until mashed potatoes begin to brown on top. 

Mental Clarity – Simple Living

Part of living your life on purpose is mental clarity. I know I mention simplifying in a way that is material things, saving money, DIY Natural Remedies etc. This is all for nothing if you are a mess mentally. I can tell you this is SUCH A STRUGGLE for me. I must credit blogger Erica Layne for some of these common sense ideas. I am working on or should I say a work in progress of focusing on things that matter and living simply. Giving up control for our type AAA personalities is always going to be a work in progress. I hope you enjoy the read.

MENTAL CLARITY

  • Have a “do nothing” day. (Regularly.) We call this a PJ day in our house.
  • Design a morning routine that helps you start each day peacefully and efficiently. I can testify that my beginning of my capsule wardrobe has helped immensely with this.
  • Choose an intention or a mantra for the week. For example,

Less is more.

Live Simply

May I practice with what I’m given—rather than wish for something else.

  • Institute one hour to hammer out all the tasks you’ve been procrastinating.
  • Single-task. Focus on one thing at a time rather than multitasking and doing half a job.
  • Set timers to help you work with more focus and produce results you’re proud of.
  • Plan a trip. Whether it’s a day-trip, a weekend road trip, or an exotic vacation, nothing reminds you to value experiences over things like travel does.
  • Take a good look at your to-do list and cross one thing off that just doesn’t REALLY need done.
  • Double the time you spend outside.
  • Drink a Tea and listen to rain.
  • Pet your fur animals.
  • Take a deep breath. Take another.
  • Take your shoes off and put your feet in the grass. This always reminds me of the “pop a squat” scene in Pretty Woman.

Let me know what you practice for Mental Clarity. Comment below.

 

DIY Makeup Remover Pads

DIY Homemade Makeup Remover Pads

As you know, in our house we have teenage girls. When we were really looking at tracking our grocery budget it was around the same time cat eyes were in style. Well, makeup wipes are about $4-$8 depending on the brand. This was a ridiculous waste of money. When ever I feel like something is a waste of money, I think…Can I do this myself?

What you will need:

  • 1 quart wide mouth jar
  • 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 squirts of tear-free baby wash
  • 2 cups of purified water
  • 2 packages of cotton pads
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Instructions: 

    1. Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 squirts of tear-free baby wash and 2 cups of purified water.

    2. Microwave in 10-20 second increments until melted and well blended.

    3. Place about 50 cotton pads in you quart jar.

    4. Pour your liquid mixture over your pads in the jar. Press pads down to help soak up the liquid. Add more pads to fit, pressing down.

    5. Secure lid tight and keep in a dry, cool place.

    6. Use your pads to remove your makeup daily.

    Enjoy!

My Capsule Part Two

Starting a Capsule:

1. Pare down your closet to 37 items.
2. Wear only those 37 items for three months.
3. Don’t go shopping during the season until…
4. During the last two weeks of the season, plan and shop for your next capsule.
​5. The amount you buy for the next capsule is up to you, but less is more.

Since my post last week on my capsule wardrobe, I wanted to let you know that I have since shipped 2 giant bags off to ThredUP for extra money and I have given away one giant plastic tub, and two laundry baskets to friends of mine.  Each and every piece of clothing was held up and asked the 7 questions!

It was funny to me how many things in my closet, I know I feel uncomfortable when I wear or they are just not my style. This initial purge was easier than I expected.

What I am left with is still a bit of disarray but less of a disarray than before.  Getting rid of sweaters and pants with holes in them was liberating. I highly suggest starting there. I had 6 sweaters with various rips, one that I had even worn recently and swore I just wouldn’t lift my arm where someone would see. That’s nuts. After that it was a matter of money guilt as my reason for hanging on to most things. Thinking I had spent my hard earned money on this and therefore it should hang in the closet and I could pretend I hadn’t made a buying mistake. I also adopted some new planning for this most amazing wardrobe.  This brings me to my step two!

Step Two Is Round Two

Yes that is correct. As you can see above and if I were to take a guess, I would say there are probably 50 pieces of clothing in my closet still.  My goal is to get rid of another 25-30 pieces.

As incentive to myself I bought 30 really nice hangers, the velvet lined kind and I am only using those.  30 hangers =30 pieces.

My Color Pallet

That is it, that is my neutrals. I want to add some Navy and some light blues and I have green eyes and anything green looks good on me, the colors in my pallet can be worn together. I love experimenting with colors, but the pallet is optional as long as each piece can be worn a variety of ways. I know that every color in my pallet except black and navy can be worn together this will make dressing and outfit combinations easier. Totally up to you if this works for you or not.

There are some goals I set for myself. Setting goals will help me to make sure I am not getting right back into an overabundance of spending and clothing. This is something I need.

  • I am not shopping for anything else until January 2018.  I did buy a few pairs of Talbots pants because I got rid of a lot of my brown, navy and black pants that no longer fit or yes some had stains and holes. I also bought a few cardigans for this exact same reason. This project doesn’t have to cost money, but I wear pants and cardigans in all seasons so this made sense for me.
  • I want to make sure each thing in my closet can be worn 7 different ways.  For example, if a pink sweater is in the closet it needs to be able to be worn with brown pants, navy pants, black pants, skirts of same color. Add accessories like necklaces and scarves to change the look. So the pink sweater can stay.  The bright red floral dress? No it can only be worn as a floral dress, it isn’t even set up to wear with a cardigan or blazer. This will go.
  • Talbot’s pants are awesome. (ThredUp $16.99) I only say this because I never even considered trying this brand of pants, and they are awesome.
  • I have established my color pallet.  I can check that off the list.
  • My motto this month- heck this year is-  “Live Simply”

I would love to hear stories about how your capsule is coming along. Message me with your own adventure.

ThredUP

Creating less:

3 reasons to build a capsule wardrobe

1. Figure out what matters.
If you are overwhelmed with stuff and busyness, you may have forgotten what really matters to you, how you like to spend your time, and the dreams you had for your life. Living and dressing with less helps you reconnect and remember. Sometimes to figure out what matters you have to get rid of everything that doesn’t.

2. Reduce decision fatigue.
Deciding what to wear requires mental energy better spent on other things. Instead of trying on several outfits getting ready in the morning in hopes of finding the perfect thing to wear, curate a small capsule wardrobe. Then there are no daily decisions required. You get to wear your favorite things every day.

3. Create more space and time for what you love.
Even if you don’t know what matters yet, or what you love, by dressing with less you’ll have a little more time and space to figure it out. A little more time and space to breathe.

The idea of capsule wardrobes has been fascinating to me since I learned what they were.  In my mind with a capsule wardrobe I would look like princess Kate and always be crisp and perfectly fashioned.  As weird as it is to type this out loud, I feel like I have a relationship with my wardrobe. My clothes define a lot about who I am and what mood I am in.

Anyone who has ever seen my closet or asked me to borrow something knows I have WAY TOO MUCH! Mr. Maker may indulge in beer making kits but I certainly blow our budget out of the water with my clothing spending and hoarding habits.

The thing is these clothes aren’t sentimental. They are not like the t shirt of my first concert, or the shirt I was first kissed in. They are just clothes.

Lately, inspired by blog writing, decluttering my life and a way to live a happier carefree greener life, I have been slowly working on my capsule wardrobe.

So what is a Capsule Wardrobe?

When I Googled the definition of a capsule wardrobe I found …

  • a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential
  • a person’s basic collection of coordinating clothes that can be used to form the basis of outfits for all occasions
  • a set of clothing, normally around 24 items, which can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits.

For my own capsule wardrobe, I am still working on the basic collection part. I have been trying to look through my clothes and see what I actually want to wear and how I feel about wearing it. Add that to what else I can put with it, different pants or shoes and I am on my way.

So where does ThredUP come into all of this.  I discovered this site based on a commercial. One thing about a capsule wardrobe is to buy less but buy better quality or spend more per item since you will be wearing it more and want it to last. I am thrifty by nature and spending more than $40 on a sweater has never been cool with me. ThredUP is an online thrift store.  This backs up my whole concept of reusing, and also allows me to buy cashmere sweaters and name brands for under $30.

My first order arrives this week.  This includes some great sweaters from JCrew to pair with skirts or pants or even jeans for weekend wear. I can add pearls or a blazer, even a scarf. Basics like this give me plenty of options.

Now the other thing…I have been selling some clothes on our community Buy Sell page on Facebook. Lately the people wanting clothing has really dropped off.  ThredUP, also lets me sell on consignment. Order a Clean Out Bag and refresh your wardrobe. Fill it up with like-new women’s and kids’ clothes. Earn a little cash or credit.

Like I said, for me this is a work in progress. I hope you will join me in this adventure and we would love to hear how you plan your wardrobe.

Starting a Capsule:

1. Pare down your closet to 37 items.
2. Wear only those 37 items for three months.
3. Don’t go shopping during the season until…
4. During the last two weeks of the season, plan and shop for your next capsule.
​5. The amount you buy for the next capsule is up to you, but less is more.

Limoncello

As you probably have figured out by now, our family is Italian. One of our favorite family dessert drinks is Limoncello.

Well with the inspiration of Mr. Maker making all the home brew and wine, I couldn’t let him be the only one making fabulous beverages.

This is what started my obsession with anything cello.  I say anything because I am working on Orangecello as we speak. Stay tuned to see how that turns out.

Limoncello is easy and basic, really being patient is the hardest part.

What you will need:

Ingredients

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 14 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.  Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature anywhere from 2-4 days. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles.

This is perfect as a sipper on the patio or I like to add to a little lemonade and some half and half for the perfect lemon meringue beverage.

This batch is called “Back to School Limoncello”  My babies are off to 11th grade and college this year and this mom needs some patio beverages!

I hope you enjoy.