Sunday, October 21, 2012

When Allergies Lead to Crunchy...

At MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) this year, the theme is “Plunge,” as in, “Plunge right in!” So, that’s what I’m going to do this year. I don’t often talk about myself on an intimate level (and especially not on paper), but this year is about focusing on getting to know each other better as mothers, friends, and women. In that spirit, I’m plunging right in!

I stink. Yes, you read that right. It started in the middle of my pregnancy for my second child, Andrew. I became allergic to something in commercially available deodorant. I frantically tried many of the “natural” deodorants with not much success. When I’m out and about during the day, I often sneak in another application of deodorant just before getting out of my car. I cringe inwardly when someone stands just a little too close, and keep my arms tucked tightly to my sides. I always take the bottom half of hugs. I fervently hope that the people sitting next to me have stuffy noses… for their sakes.

It has been a big struggle to accept this part of myself. Of course I would never go back to B.K. (Before Kids), but just what was it about my dear son that made my body so different? And what am I to do about it? 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...

Thankfully, I have recently developed a passionate relationship with Pinterest, and found a homemade deodorant recipe there good enough to cover up “Texas Summer Man Smell.” Well, that sounded promising!

  1. equal parts aluminum free baking soda and either arrowroot powder or GMO-free cornstarch (The creator uses about ½ cup baking soda and 1/2 cup arrowroot)
  2. mix with coconut oil until moist and then store in a jar
  3. seriously. that’s it.
  4. If you want to get fancy, though, add a little lemon, tea tree, rosemary, lavender or bergamot essential oil
  5. Natalie's Note: I react strongly to the alkalinity created by too much baking soda, so as recommended in the comments of the linked website, I decreased my proportion of baking soda. I used 2 Tbsp baking soda and 1/2 cup corn starch.
So, yes, as we bob along through life, clinging to each other as we would a life vest, remember that we each have our own trials, life changes, and sometimes body stink to deal with. Don’t let that come in the way of making new connections to those around you.

This year, for me, is all about making new connections by Plunging right in there. Love as if your life depended on it. At MOPS and in my Facebook group (Lansing Area Crunchy Mommas), the goal is to have no mother mothering alone, You are why I am here, and you are not alone.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (ESV)

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)

Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY Oven Cleaners

If there was a medal for cleaning ovens, I wouldn't even be a contender. The nasty chemical smell of commercial oven cleaners deterred me somewhat before having children, and it is a definite not-gonna-happen now that I've got three precious little ones underfoot. All. The. Time.

Ahem. But I digress. Over the last few months, as my love (obsession) of Pinterest has grown, I've pinned a few natural oven cleaners. In a fit of energy, I decided to put them to the test.

First up was probably the most simple. I pinned it from DIY Home Sweet Home. Simple baking soda, with enough water added to make a thin paste. I used a small paintbrush I keep in the kitchen for tasks just like this to spread the paste over the window. My door was also dirty, so I spread the paste over the door too. I wish I would have taken a paste-free before picture, but I was inspired to blog about it between pictures. So, here's the before! You can see it is pretty bad!

I left that to sit for a while. Long enough to cut up 1/2 pound of vanilla beans to make vanilla extract. More on that another time. I then wiped off a little corner of the window with just a wet paper towel to check our progress. It was ok, but not great. I finished wiping it all off and went in search of another recipe. I can't find the link now, but it was basically the same thing with hydrogen peroxide mixed in. So, I painted that on, and left it to sit again. You can see below half of the door painted with the new solution. It *is* a bit cleaner than it was! But the door is still pretty dirty.

And I waited about 30 minutes, then wiped it down. This time I used a scrubby sponge and put some elbow grease into it, but I am still not satisfied with the results:

So back to the internet I go! This time I found Crunchy Betty's oven cleaner and set to work:

30 minutes later, this is our result, with lots and LOTS of hard scrubbing this time.

Well, it is significantly cleaner than when I started, and that is a step in the right direction. I can't say as I'm putting much faith in homemade oven cleaner at this point though. All three websites promised me a sparkling oven with very little effort, but I certainly had to scrub pretty hard to get it to the point it is at now.

Do you have a favorite recipe?

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