Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Anti-perspirant warning

I kept seeing posts about using some deodorant crystal stick that's all natural and supposed to be great.  I bought one.  It was ok, but I felt sticky and damp.  I don't think I smelled great, either.  I tried this before going the baking soda route.  It wasn't for me.  Supposedly the stick lasts at least a year, and it was only $6.  Not as cheap as baking soda, but I didn't know about baking soda then.

One day I thought I'd try them both at once.  DON'T DO IT!!!  Something happens chemically.  There was a burning sensation and I smelled something like ammonia almost immediately.  I washed off very quickly.  I hate ammonia, and certainly don't want to smell like it or having it burn my pits!

I knew not to mix cleansers, but....

Just a warning to anyone who may want to mix something.

I'll be trying baking soda with corn starch this week and I'll let you know how it goes.  I'm certain there's no strange chemical reaction with those two.  :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


While researching the no-poo movement, I came across a few sites that talked about not using anti-perspirant.  Some avoid it because of the aluminum (in the active ingredient), since that may be linked to alzheimer's disease. Others just want to be all natural, and others don't like other ingredients, or artificially stopping the healthy sweating process.

In 5th grade, I think, my mom told me I really needed to use deodorant.  She bought me deodorant, and I still smelled.  I quickly upgraded to anti-perspirant, and things were better.  I still smell sometimes.  Most of my shirts are ruined from stinky stains.  I hate it.  I've tried several brands, even the clinical ones and a super strong one my dad used that the doctor recommended.  Apparently I get my stinky sweaty pits from him.  Nothing works great on me.

That's why I was extremely skeptical about no antiperspirant.  I was certain that I'd stink worse than ever.  The site that impressed me was at Kitchen Stewardship.  She talked about the step by step process that she used to figure out what works best for her.  Since I'm allergic or sensitive to so many things, I figured a step by step approach would be best.  So far I haven't moved past step 1.  I dampen my fingers and armpits with a little water, then rub on some baking soda (which I already have in my bathroom for my hair washing).  That's it.  I did it for a few days when I knew I'd be home in case I smelled really bad.  I don't!  Once in a while I smell a little sweaty, but better than I usually did after a day with anti-perspirant on.  I think I actually sweat less now, too.  I'm a little damp when working hard or in the heat, but don't notice trickles of moisture dripping down.  The only time I really notice that I smell bad is when I'm damp and my shirt is one of my old stinky ones.  But those stink already.  So, I smell my pits, and they're fine; it really is just my shirt.  I'm looking for some cheap Ts on clearance that aren't so low cut that someone can see everything when I bend over.  So far I've replaced 4.  I'm also making some shirts for myself.  Well, I bought fabric and patterns anyway!

I'll probably try adding some corn starch to make sure I don't react to that, then I bought some coconut oil and I'll eventually move on to actual deodorant-looking stuff that I can shove into some old containers.  I'm so happy with just using baking soda, that I may just chuck the stuff in the containers even though they're not gone, and I hate to waste things!

I'll keep you updated on my no anti-perspirant trials as I find out new things and see how they work on me and my girls (who will have to try this stuff out too!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

No-Poo Update 1

I'd been trying to go longer in between my natural washings to see what my hair really needs.  I was going 2-3 days easily, sometimes 4 before really needing to do my baking soda wash and vinegar rinse.  A couple weeks ago, I noticed all of a sudden every day didn't seem often enough!  My hair was greasy.  I put a little extra baking soda into my cup of warm water, and massaged it in longer.  It made my hair tolerable every day, but not great.  One day I was so greasy, I decided to just dry wash with just straight baking soda, then do a normal baking soda wash in the shower.  I also started only using my vinegar rinse on the ends, thinking maybe it made the top too shiny or something.  Either the dry baking soda on my scalp or the lack of vinegar screwed up something new on my scalp.  With shampoo, I've had itchy scalp and flakiness (the dermatologist said it was a type of eczema).  That started up, but not the itching.  Who wants flakes and greasiness!  I started to freak out.  I've been no poo since the beginning of July exclusively (and a few months before that with a weekly breakdown of using shampoo).

I decided to go back to my original formula, and try to go as long as possible between baking soda washings and vinegar rinse (including my scalp).  After a week of craziness, I can now go 3-4 days without feeling greasy, and the flakiness is almost all better.  I read a few posts about a repeat transition time, so I assume that is what I had.  Contribute it to hormones, stress, natural changes in my body, who knows.  All I know is I'm happy with my hair again!  Yay for natural stuff, and I'm so glad I don't have to keep trying new things, or go back to shampoo.  I may even whip out an egg and try that once, just to see how it works.  It still sounds yucky, but maybe it will help with the static that's starting to happen since it's getting colder.  I wonder what will happen this winter!  I'm also going to watch for a huge container of apple cider vinegar (acv) since that's what is most recommended as the vinegar rinse, and my husband may prefer that scent.  I'll keep you updated!  Remember, transitions can apparently happen more than just at the beginning of your no-poo journey!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


While my daughter loves Tinker Bell, this is not what this post is about.

It is about the happy sound I heard in bed Saturday night.

After 10 hours of canning pear butter, spiced pear butter, peach butter, spiced peach butter and peach preserves, I watched a movie with my hubby and went to bed.

Just before falling asleep I heard a jar seal.

It said, "tink," just to make me smile and remind me of my productive day.

at least 6 half pints of each type, and a jar of each is in the fridge!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Flowers = Smiles

These hanging baskets of flowers in the back yard are still making me smile.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dinner ala Alex

Alex is taking a Creative and Foreign foods class.

He gets to experiment on us!

He didn't warn me ahead of time, so he had to make his own enchilada sauce from scratch.

He had to prepare 3 pieces of dinner.

He chose a salad.  He loves eggs on his salad.

I'm amazed how good a salad is when you don't have to make it.

Cheese enchiladas with sauteed chiles, onions and homemade sauce.

Complete with a candle.

And tapioca pudding (his favorite dessert) with caramel drizzle designs for a garnish.

His teacher really emphasizes pretty things like garnishes.

Lucky us.  :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Home Depot + HOA + procrastination = Dead Trees

We have no landscaping.  One 3 foot tall ponderosa pine with a half green branch doesn't count.  Neither does grass, rock and bark.

I'm part of Home Depot's garden club.  I get coupons.  BOGO coupons.  Buy one, get one free TREE!!!  I was thrilled.  8 foot black Austrian pines already on sale for $150 (normally this size can go up to $400).

We also had to rent a trailer (since someone stole their only rental truck) to get them home.  Each tree weighed about 500 lbs since it was a huge bucket full of dirt.  I asked them if it would be ok not to plant until we get HOA approval.  They said it would be fine.  Those suckers are heavy, but the wind out here knocked them right over.  We eventually got them to the back yard, standing up and secured.

Well, it took about 45 days to get our plan submitted and HOA approved.  In the mean time, we watered them once a week.  One started to turn a little brown, so we put it in the ground before the official approval came in order to save it.  The approval came, and the second one went in.  We didn't save either of them.  They are both completely dead.  Maybe that could be due to the fact that there were almost no roots on this tree.  There were 5 little 6 inch severed spikes for roots.  This was in a huge bucket of dirt, which I assumed contained a large root ball.  I've heard you shouldn't make assumptions.

Jim refers to these as his rare "golden pines."

Jim and Alex are especially upset at the time it took to dig these large holes.  I'm upset that I wasted a coupon.  I'm also upset that we rented a trailer to get them home.

The bird is happy for another perch.

I'm glad Home Depot told me about their great return policy and that I kept my receipts.  I tried it out with some dead ferns they insisted could live in my stairway on some pot shelves.  It's too dry here, so they died.  They gave me store credit.

Now I have to figure out how to get them back to the store.  The lady who I returned my plants to said I could cut them in half.  I think I'll bring in a pic with me standing next to it, then just bring in a chunk.  The lack of root ball perhaps.  Apparently they need proof of their dead trees.

Maybe next year I'll have the guys dig holes, then we'll watch for good deals, buy them cheap and just slap them in the ground, then ask for HOA approval.  How can I get great deals if I submit my plan first?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Summer Chick Pea Salad

Clara said she wanted a salad with chick peas (ie. garbanzo beans) with tomatoes and cucumbers.  I got all the stuff and whipped it together in a flash for dinner tonight.

3 cups chickpeas (I crock-potted them a couple days ago)
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 T fresh mint
1 T fresh flat leafed parsley
1 T extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
a bit of freshly ground lemon

I tossed it all in a large bowl, and we sat down to dinner.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Roasted Chiles

Last year, Jim went to a produce stand and got a very full quart sized bag of fire roasted Hatch chiles for $6.  I was excited, and overwhelmed with how many little containers I filled for my freezer.  I figured it costs about $1 for a little container at the store, so he did great!

This year I went to the stand and the bags were about half as full as last year, and the bags were now $7.  The only perk this year is that the bags were labeled "hot" or "mild."  Last year they weren't labeled and I'm pretty sure Jim got hot ones.  He was happy, but me and Clara weren't very pleased when tasting my dishes made with the chiles.  Anyway, I was quite disappointed when I left the stand with my tiny bag of chiles.

I peeled them, diced them up and didn't even get 4 half cup servings out of it.  I counted 17 chiles.  For 7 dollars.  This was definitely not a good deal.

Luckily I went to the grocery store, and Hatch chiles were on sale.  I paid $1.37 for 13 chiles.  I should have bought more, but wasn't sure until I cut up my bag of pre-roasted ones that I'd need a lot more to last for the year.

I searched for how to roast my own chiles.  I don't touch the BBQ after a slight explosion, a fireball and singed hairs on my arms several years back.  Jim's out of town, so I roasted them in the oven.

500 degrees
15 minutes

Watch your chiles, or you could have burnt and not roasted.  I've seen some sites that suggest they'll be done in 5.  Mine weren't.  The skins should start to blister and blacken in spots.  This is where the skin is separating from the yummy flesh.

Put them all in a plastic bag to "sweat."  I think this is kind of like blanching.  My new friend.

Let cool, then peel the skins and slice, dice or whatever.  Some of mine didn't blister and blacken enough, and then the skin stuck, kind of like my blanched peaches.

Use gloves, or you'll be sorry later!  Especially with the hot ones!

I diced mine and froze them in little 1/2 cup blocks.  When they're solid, I'll pop them into a baggie.  If I leave them in the containers, I have a tendency to drop them on the floor, shattering them into lots of pieces.

I now have 13 roasted chiles that I paid $1.37.  I also have some seeds I snagged from one before roasting, that will hopefully provide me with free chiles for me and some friends next year!