Friday, February 1, 2019

A Realistic Look at Coconut Oil




Is this oil a panacea or an artery-clogging villain?  Well, that depends on who you ask.

According to many reputable health sources, any source of saturated fat is considered bad for your health.  Ask an alternative health expert and you'll get a completely different answer.  So who should we believe?  After some quick research on PubMed, I found that coconut oil appears to be a lot better for your lipid profile than butter.  But scientists, based on their findings, still recommend unsaturated fats over coconut oil.  It's a tricky minefield to navigate and when things get tricky, I tend to take the road of moderation.

In my home I use both canola oil and coconut oil regularly and have tried to decrease the use of butter.  From my experience, I don't feel great when I eat a lot of fat in general.  Butter is best in some recipes and cannot be replaced.  And the health claims people make about butter are exaggerated, I think.  You do the research and trust your body.  It usually gives you clues.

All that being said, here are some uses I have found for coconut oil.  Even though I'm not consuming copious amounts of it, it certainly has an important place in my household.  Read below for some great ideas!






5 Realistic Uses for Coconut Oil

Deodorant

Coconut oil makes the absolute best deodorant.  I use it every single day.  And it's the only one that works for me and doesn't give me armpit irritation.  Years ago I quit antiperspirants and traded them in for store-bought deodorants.  While my armpits were less bothered, I still got the occasional flair.  With my homemade deodorant, irritated armpits are a thing of the past!

Click this link for a recipe on how to make your own.  It's super easy and all you will need is extra virgin coconut oil, arrowroot or cornstarch, baking soda, beeswax and any essential oils of your liking.

Replacement for Shortening

I have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  It came from Old Sturbridge Village, a local living history museum and one of my favorite places to spend the day. These cookies are really good, but they are not your typical Toll House variety.  They are a denser and crisper cookie.  Anyway, when made with shortening, as the recipe calls for, they are pretty good.  But when they are made with coconut oil they are delectable.  The fat profile of coconut oil allows them to cook nicely and provides a delicious crunch factor that shortening leaves you without.  

Popcorn Oil

Do you know that classic smell when you go to the movies?  You know the smell that makes you want to spend $10 on a tub of popcorn that in reality costs pennies to make?  That smell is in part due to coconut oil.  Coconut oil is the traditional oil used in popping corn.  It adds a nice flavor, smell and crisp crunch to this all time favorite snack.  Try it the next time you make popcorn on your stove or in your microwave popcorn popper.

Moisturizer

All by itself coconut oil is a great moisturizer.  I used it for years before I switched to vaseline.  Many people find that it absorbs nicely and gives just enough moisture to dry skin.

Lotion Bars

Just type "lotion bars" into the search bar on Pinterest and you'll get pages and pages of recipes.  And one common ingredient?  You guessed it, coconut oil.  

I tried making lotion bars several years ago with some success but I didn't love them.  I made a simple recipe with beeswax and coconut oil.  Next time I want to try adding Shea butter to the recipe so the bar stays firmer.  

Here is a link to Top 5 Lotion Bar Recipes.  I pinned this on my DIY Health and Beauty Pinterest board because it looked very promising.  I have gotten as far as buying the ingredients, but haven't tried any of the recipes yet.  Let me know if you try any of them and which one you like best!  


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Thursday, November 22, 2018

I Am Thankful



First off, Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you all have a wonderful celebration filled with delicious food, family and friends.

This year has had a lot of good and some bad mixed in. I suppose that's like most years, right?  I find that focusing on what I am thankful for puts things into perspective and gives me a better outlook.  

That said, here are some things I am thankful for.


  • My husband, I truly am blessed to have him.
  • My kids.  This year has shown so much growth and even through challenging times we have overcome so much adversity. 
  • This blog.  I am ambivalent toward technology but I'm thankful for the technology that has allowed me to write this blog.  It's been one of the things I've done that I'm most proud of.
  • A nice quite and peaceful town in which to live.
  • Being surrounded by nature daily.
  • Delicious food.

What are you thankful for?  I'd love to see in the comments below!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Loom Knit Hats



I tried this project after, more than a year ago, my mom showed my kids how to do it.  Guys, this is easy enough for kids to do!  When I picked up the loom I figured it would be easy enough. And I was right. Just remembering what my mom taught my kids to do I was able to pick it up without much thought or additional instruction. I know my experience in knitting and crochet helped, but I'd say this is a great beginner project.



Look at that stitch.  It looks just like the knitting that takes me days to complete.  This project can be done in just a few hours!  And the variegated yarn I used made such a nice stripe. Better yet, because this worked up so fast, you can get a handmade holiday gift done in in no time.  Trust me.




I read somewhere that this type of knitting is actually older than the needle knitting.  I hesitate to call it original, but who knows?  I know looms date back pretty far so it sounds totally possible to me.



To make hats on a loom you need a thicker yarn.  I used chunky weight yarn in this coral colored hat and in the one shown at the top of the page.  The multi-colored one shown in the third picture is made using two strands of worsted weight yarn held together as one.  The darker blue hat below is made using one strand of a slightly less chunky yarn, but it still worked up nicely.


The light blue hat above reminds me of a frosty winter night.  It is made using a chunky weight yarn.  After completing several of these hats I would have to say my best results came from the chunky weight yarn.  The two strands of worsted weight worked fine, but I like the look and feel of the chunky yarn better.

I don't have my own instructions for you in this post, but Here's a tutorial so you can make some great gifts for your friends and family!  It's not hard at all and even young children can do it.  Give it a try and let me know what you think below.

Have you ever tried making a loom knit hat?

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Tea Tree Oil - An Antimicrobial Powerhouse?




I came across tea tree oil many years ago in a mall.  It was in a Body Shoppe and I thought that it was weird that this oil was supposed to help with acne.  At the time my skin care regimen was oil free due to sensitivity.  I dismissed the tea tree oil, thinking any oil would make my pimples worse, and didn't think about it for years.

Years later I had a bureau that became musty.  I would clean it and it would look fine for a while, but then the mold would reappear.  It was frustrating and I thought I would have to get rid of the piece.  I finally went online and looked up how to get rid of mold on furniture.  It was then that I found out about tea tree oil.  I purchased some online and diluted it to the proper portions and began to clean the piece of furniture.  The mold, as it had before, came off.  This time, though, it did not return.  Tea tree oil to the rescue.  This really was a great find.  See below for the recipe!

Already having it on hand, I found that it had many other uses.  I remembered what I had learned about its use for acne and started using it on any blemishes that appeared.  It worked wonderfully.  I still use it.  I just wet a cotton swab with tap water and drip a drop of tea tree oil on the end of it.  Then I dab the swab on any blemishes.



I found that it is also a great remedy for ear aches.  I have read some warnings online that have cautioned not putting it directly in the ear canal, so I rub it around the outside of the ear canal even behind the ear.  I believe it penetrates the skin and attacks the infection.  It's worked great for our family.  One thing I should note is that tea tree oil should never be ingested.  It is not meant to be consumed.

As far as scientific research, the data is sparse.  I did come across some research that, while it did not find conclusive results that tea tree oil was effective, said the results that were found warranted more research. As for me, I'll be using it despite the lack of evidence, because, for me, it's proven helpful.  

And remember lack of evidence doesn't mean something doesn't work, it means it hasn't been effectively tested.  The use of things that have been conclusively shown to be false should be carefully considered.  But when there is lack of data and you find something that works well for you, go on and use it as long as it makes you happy!  

Tea tree oil with its distinct medicine smell is probably my favorite essential oil.  What are some of your favorites? 


-----------------

Tea Tree Oil Mold Killer

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 teaspoon tea tree oil
1 spray bottle

Mix ingredients and add to spray bottle.  Shake vigorously before spraying.  Spray some on surface and wipe off until clean.  Then spray a thin layer over clean surface and let dry.



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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Scrapbook Fall and Winter 2017





After a successful endeavor with my summer scrapbook I think I caught the bug!  I really enjoyed making this one and I feel like I'm picking up a style.  I have to say that I love framing almost every photo with paper.  I've stuck some in there without a paper frame and I like how they look in certain places.  For the most part, though, I really like the look of a border around the pictures.





One thing I was disappointed in, though, was the quality of my photos.  I thought these ones were a little lower quality than my summer pictures.  I'm not sure why.  And I've got about 500 extra!  We can thank Walmart for that one (insert eye roll).

After I finished up my Summer 2017 *LINK* scrapbook, I went to the Walmart photo site to order my next set of prints.  I debated between just fall or fall and winter combined, but settled on getting both.  If it turned out to be too many then I could just save them for the next album.





Anyway, I ordered the pictures and waited for the message that they had arrived.  Well, two weeks went by and I never got the message.  I had signed up to receive a text but the text never came.  The next time I was at Walmart shopping I stopped by the photo department and asked about my photos.  As fate would have it, the pictures had arrived on inventory day.  So the system recorded them as arriving at the store but not arriving in the photo department.





The woman who helped me was kind and courteous and she called the main Walmart photo center.  They cancelled my credit card payment and asked me to re-order online.  Easy, right?  Well, no.  When I reordered I wasn't sure how many pictures were in the original order.  I assumed the site would save my exact order so I simply clicked "reorder".  

For some strange reason the order had been saved with doubles of every picture.  It also included the pictures that I had originally discarded.  I'm not sure what happened.  My husband said I should have asked for a refund.  But I was the one who ordered them.  I should have reviewed it more thoroughly.  So I paid double for pictures I didn't want that didn't come on time.  Go figure.





In addition to that all the pictures arrived out of order!

After organizing my stash, I started in on a project that I grew to love.  All-in-all it took me a few months to complete, working on it sporadically.  It gave my hands and shoulder-blade-crochet-knot a break for a bit.

I'm going to order prints for Spring and Summer 2018 once fall rolls around.  In the meantime I may scrapbook some old photos I found or start in on my new yarn stash.  We shall see!






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