Homemade All-Natural Bug Repellent Recipe | DIY Bug Repellent

July 21, 2013

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Recently, we went camping in the Idyllwild area, a beautiful alpine spot in Southern California.  The pine trees were quite majestic, the air was fresh and woody, and the campground was a perfect place to relax.  A funny habit that my kids – ages 2 and 6 –  have when we’re camping (or any other time we’re in nature, for that matter) is that they like to strip down to their underwear and run around wild and free.  I know that they enjoy this immensely, and I also know that on this trip the mosquitos enjoyed their nakedness immensely as well.  My older child was bitten at least 30 times all over her body before I realized what was going on!  And to my dismay, I had forgotten my homemade all-natural bug repellent, which actually works just as well as the stuff in the stores.  So off my husband went to the nearest grocery store to buy the dreaded OFF spray, which I used for the whole trip with reserved gratitude.  I was grateful that my kids weren’t getting bit, but at the same time I was bummed to be spraying them with poison.

I’m working on creating a camping supplies list, so that this mistake never happens again.  In the meantime, here’s my all-natural bug repellent recipe for all you lovers of the DIY.  It really works at bite prevention, smells wonderful, nourishes your skin, and best of all… you’re not poisoning yourself when you use it.  I must warn you that it works well here in Southern California, where the bugs are not overly voracious.  If you’re somewhere with a serious bug population, be sure to apply liberally and often, and be sure to cover your body with long sleeves, collars, hats, and long pants tucked into your boots.

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Homemade All-Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

Combine all ingredients in a dark colored bottle of your choice.  I have never used it in a sprayer, but that could work very well.  Shake well before applying.  Apply liberally and often.

All of the ingredients can be purchased via Amazon from the links above.

Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe

November 14, 2012

It’s that time of year…  Everyone is breaking out the hand sanitizer to keep the viruses and bacteria away.  In my daughter’s Kindergarten class, her teachers apply hand sanitizer on the kids’ hands four times a day.  Four times a day!  I almost fell out of my chair when my daughter told me this.  Conventional hand sanitizers contain a plethora of toxins.  Things like fragrance and toluene should not be applied to anyone’s skin, much less a child’s skin.  And four times a day…. well, I just had to do something.  After speaking with my daughter’s teacher and coming to an agreement about the excessive use of hand sanitizer, I pledged to provide the whole class with my homemade hand sanitizer for the entire school year.  I am so relieved that these kids will not be doused with that stuff anymore!


Hand sanitizer for the whole class

My hand sanitizer recipe is made from all-natural ingredients that can be found at any health food store (or online at www.vitacost.com), and it takes about 3 minutes to make.  We do not use hand sanitizer that much in our household, because hand-washing has been proven to be more effective at combating germs than hand sanitizer.  But since we are not always near a sink and soap, I do carry my own hand sanitizer for those times when it’s needed.   The alcohol, witch hazel, grapefruit seed extract, and essential oils are excellent germ-killers.  The vegetable glycerine is used to help moisturize the skin.  And best of all: none of these ingredients are toxic to the body.  So yes, this stuff can be used four times a day without this mommy falling out of her chair.  This recipe is also quite cheap in the long run; buy the ingredients once, and you have enough to make hand sanitizer for years to come!

Quick and Easy DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe (with links for where to purchase)

Add the following ingredients to a measuring cup:

Mix ingredients together with a spoon, and pour into a spritz bottle through a funnel.  Shake well before using.  Apply sparingly (1-2 sprays, and rub the hands together).

Enjoy the scent of lavender and grapefruit, without the toxic onslaught of chemicals!

Homemade Popsicles

June 16, 2012

A great way to save money and eat healthier snacks is by making popsicles at home.  Most of the store-bought popsicles are loaded with HFCS, artificial flavorings, and food colorings.  Plus, store-bought popsicles are expensive and wasteful (think of all of the wrappers).  Those natural/organic yogurt popsicles from places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are even more expensive.  I usually see them for $1+ each.

I have been making homemade popsicles for my kids for a couple of years now.  All you need is a mixer, your ingredients, and popsicle molds.  These popsicles molds have been great for us.  I love that I can tone down the sweetness by not adding any extra sweeteners.  If we need a bit of sweetness, we add some agave nectar, dates, or stevia.  We almost always throw some yogurt in for the calcium and active cultures.  And when the girls aren’t looking, I add in some spinach as well.

Here is a favorite recipe of ours:

  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 5-6 medium organic strawberries
  • 1 medium banana
  • a splash of orange juice or organic apple juice
  • a few spinach leaves (optional)
  • natural sweetener of your choice, to taste (optional)

Blend until smooth.  If there are lumps, it’s okay.  They will freeze and become part of the solid popsicle.  Pour the mixture into your popsicle molds, freeze for 8-12 hours.  Run under hot water to loosen the mold from the popsicle.

Another super-easy recipe:

  • Fill your mold about halfway with your favorite juice (be sure to use 100% juice).  We like Trader Joe’s peach or mango.
  • Fill it the rest of the way with water.

Freeze 8-12 hours.  Run under hot water to loosen the mold from the popsicle.

ENJOY!  Have one yourself… you deserve it!

Homemade Popcorn Recipe

May 2, 2012

Do you make popcorn from those store-bought Orville Reden-whoever bags?  Once you see how easy it is to make homemade popcorn, you’ll never want to buy those bags again!  They are lined inside with chemicals (specifically, perfluorinated carboxylic acids or PFCAs) that should not be heated up.  Heated PFCAs enter the bloodstream and their effects are largely unknown, as is the case with so many of the chemicals used in food products these days.  These are the same chemicals that are used in junk food wrappers and non-stick pans, among other things.  Also, the chemicals they use to flavor the popcorn are all artificial.  Making popcorn from scratch takes about two minutes longer than the bagged stuff, and it is significantly cheaper and much more environmentally friendly.  It’s worth it!

Recipe
Just three ingredients:

  • a handful of popcorn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons oil that can handle heat (I use grapeseed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Heat the oil in a large stock pot on medium heat.  Add the salt and stir it around some.  Add the kernels and stir to coat them all with the oil/salt mix:

There are some kernels in the photo that have already started popping!

Put the lid on the pot but leave it slightly open so steam can escape:

The kernels will begin popping rapidly after a few minutes of heat.  Once 2-3 seconds pass without any popping sounds, remove the pot from the heat and transfer the popcorn to a bowl.  Salt to taste.

Enjoy your chemical-free popcorn!  Variations – after popping:

  • Drizzle melted butter for a movie theater popcorn experience
  • Drizzle honey or agave nectar for a sweet ‘n salty popcorn similar to kettle corn
  • Sprinkle garlic powder and crushed seaweed for a gourmet treat
  • Sprinkle garlic powder and Italian herbs for a fresh, herby popcorn

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