DIY Sugar Lip Scrub

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scrub 1

Sugar Lip Scrub

Here is an easy as pie beauty recipe. It’s a sugar lip scrub. Great for those winter weary dry lips. Scrubs are easy to use, just rub on your lips, gently rub several seconds. Don’t rub to hard you don’t want raw lips. Rinse. Now apply your favorite lip balm.
Sugar Lip Scrub

You will need:
Brown sugar
Granulated sugar
Honey
Almond or olive oil
Flavoring (optional) I used raspberry

You can make a small batch that has enough scrub for two or three treatments or a larger batch that you store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Mix equal parts brown sugar to granulated sugar. Mix in enough oil to moisten the sugars. You don’t want the scrub runny. Add the honey, it will thicken up the scrub if you use a good quality honey. If you are adding flavoring add now, a few drops will do. If the mixture is too runny add more sugar to thicken a dash more oil if too thick.

Now is the hard part: don’t eat it. Seriously. Once you rub this scrub on your lips and get a little taste you will want to devour the rest.

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Gotha’s Chocolate Coconut Bombs

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Too damn tasty

Too damn tasty

I have added coconut oil to my diet in hopes of helping my dry cracking itchy skin. I am trying to heal my skin from the inside out because in my 40 something years nothing has helped my skin from the outside. If I had back the money wasted on lotions, I wouldn’t be rich but I’m sure I could pay a few big bills off.
I first became familiar with coconut oil from Pinterest when I was looking for natural hair treatments. That sparked my interest about that amazing oil, so I researched the many uses and benefits of the awesome coconut and the oil it produces.
What you must first understand is the oil is solid like lard. Fortunately it has a low melting point of 76 degrees. Which makes it easy to use on the hair and skin. Now getting it inside the body is easier for some but not everyone. I fall into the not everyone category.

I have tried melting the coconut oil and just slamming it down the hatch like a shot of liquor. Nasty doesn’t even begin to describe that process. Some Pinterest pins suggest just eating it by the spoonful, solid. That ended up with gagging like a cat trying to upchuck a fur ball. I have added it to food and drink with some success.

When done properly coconut oil in coffee is a great tasty way to get it into your diet. But when you have stomach issues like me, coffee every morning is a no-no.

Much by accident I came across several pins about coconut bombs.
What are coconut bombs you ask? Just a tasty way to ingest good ole healthy coconut oil.

There happens to be a few ways to make these bombs. Some recipes just have you mix the solid form of the oil with some tasty ingredients. Some call for you to melt the oil before mixing.

Ingredients added to the oil varied also. Some people used ground cinnamon, some cinnamon with chocolate and others used just chocolate or cocoa powder. None that I found had shredded coconut in the recipe. What?
Now my version is one of many. You may not like it. No problem. Go to Pinterest and search ‘coconut bombs’ you will have so many recipes you are sure to find one you love.

Here is my version:

What you need

What you need

Gotha’s Chocolate Coconut Bombs for Smoother Skin

1 cup of melted coconut oil. (about 60 seconds in microwave handles that)

A small handful of chocolate chips, about 25. Semi-sweet, milk chocolate, basically whichever floats your boat.

One tablespoon cocoa powder.

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Here is the easy peasy way to build your bombs:

Add your chocolate chips and cocoa powder to your melted coconut oil and stir. Stir a lot. It took some convincing for the chocolate chips and oil to decide to become one. After that mix in the shredded coconut. Your mixture will be runny. Just toss it in the freezer for two minutes. While your bombs are cooling lay out some wax paper on your counter.

Remove mixture from freezer, stir well. If it’s still too runny pop back in freezer for another minute. Once cooled and slightly hardened use two spoons or a melon baller to shape bite size bombs. Place on wax paper to set up. I ended up with 25 bombs. You may get more or less depending on how you size them. I have most at a two-bite size.

This is from a smaller test batch. The recipe makes much more.

This is from a smaller test batch. The recipe makes much more.

Adding the coconut. Yum

Adding the coconut. Yum

I store the bombs in the fridge. Remember coconut oil has a low melt point. My house is HOT!
The husband thinks we live in the artic and keeps our heat on what I call the tropical setting. I have had to go outside in 20 degree weather wearing shorts and a t-shirt to cool down. True story. Neighbors must think I’m having menopausal hot flashes. So I feared my coconut bombs would react like Frosty the Snowman on a tropical island and turn into coconut puddles.

Tasty. This is a skin treatment that can spoil a girl.

Tasty. This is a skin treatment that can spoil a girl.

Right now I have two bombs a day. One at my first break at work the other during my second work break. If in a few weeks I feel I need more coconut oil I will add a third bomb. And yes I do yell, “Bombs away” before eating one. (UPDATE: with two per day for two weeks my skin still looks dry, but man it feels soft. So it is helping. I will now add a third bomb to see where that takes me on my dry skin journey).

How do they taste? Like an Almond Joy minus the almond. But without almonds it’s a Mounds you say. Nope. Mounds uses a dark chocolate which changes the taste dramatically. Don’t argue I’m a ‘robust’ girl, I know my candies.

Now some people use coconut bombs for weight loss. Does that work? I don’t know but you might want to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe if you are trying to watch your weight. I have not lost any weight but I have noticed that after eating a bomb I do feel full plus do less mindless snacking. It’s the late evenings that kill me with the over eating. I will soon tackle my food issue. First I am focusing on being more active. Which with my Vivofit is working well. Small changes, not all at once is my plan.

A note on buying coconut oil. My first suggestion is do your research so you can make an informed decision. After trying several, some refined some unrefined. Some virgin some not so virgin. Some without taste others with a coconutty taste. As of right now my favorite is a unrefined virgin coconut oil from Target. It does have a coconut taste. I still try other types/brands as I find them so one day my favorite might change. So, research, try a variety, maybe look at some brands on Amazon and read the reviews.

Are you a coconut oil user? If so please share with me, I am always looking for new ways to try this amazing oil.

UPDATE: I have tried this a few times adding extra ingredients. After research I have discovered Cacao Nibs are a nutritional powerhouse. Brazil nuts may help my Thyroid issue. So I added 1 tbsp of the nibs and three chopped Brazil nuts to the recipe for my bombs. The bombs are still great with the add ins.

 

You Dropped a Balm On Me

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Leader

Most over the counter lip treatments. Like lip balms in tubes, name brands and generic. The moisturizing effects don’t seem to last long, some even tend to dry the lips even more. I have made a cinnamon lip balm in the past, my first time I made the mistake of replacing some of the ingredients I needed with what I had on hand. Lip balm did not set up. My second time I used the right ingredients but used too much cinnamon oil. My lips were on fire after using even a tiny amount.

Those failed attempts did not stop me in fact they made me more determined to master the whole do it yourself lip balm. Have I mastered it? No, I feel DIY natural product making will always be a learning process, the more you learn the more your recipes evolve. I have had several dozen lip balm making sessions that have turned out perfectly. Some batches not so perfect yet I have learned a lot from the failed batches.

Today I will share a few recipes that have worked pretty well for me. I like these balms a lot as the moisturizing benefits can last up to several hours with just one application.

Before we begin lets apply some common sense. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, DON’T USE THESE BALMS. If you use these balms and experience an allergic reaction, wash balm from lips and discontinue use. If your lips puff up like a actress that has had a bad botox injection you may want to seek out medical attention. ALWAYS research your ingredients before making anything that will go on or into your body. I am sharing the recipes NOT forcing you to make and/or use the products.
I have had only positive experiences with these balms, lotions, and hair treatments. Every person is different so I would advise trying a tad of the product on the skin at the fold of your elbow to test your reaction before committing fully.

The little container with the brown balm is COCOA BALM

The little container with the brown balm is COCOA BALM

Cocoa Lip Balm

Makes three 0.20 oz. jars (tiny)

1 tsp. beeswax pellets
2 tsp. Shea butter
1 tsp. sweet almond oil
1 tsp. cocoa powder
Using a glass container, sit it in a pot with a few inches of water also known as a water bath. Turn heat on medium low. To the glass container add the beeswax. Next add your Shea butter and sweet almond oil. Allow to melt, stirring often. I use a wooden skewer to stir, once I’m done with the balm I just toss the skewer in trash. Once melted remove glass from pot. Stir in your cocoa. Pour your flavored lip balm into whatever container you have chosen. I use these little plastic pipettes to transfer the balm from glass to lip container. Makes things easier but is not a necessary piece of equipment.
Let set. Now you have in your possession a balm for tasty smooth lips.
*with this recipe you can replace the cocoa with flavorings. Some people use Kool-Aid drink mix powder I like to use Crystal Light drink powders.

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Peppermint Lip Plumping Balm

Makes three 0.20 oz. jars

1 tsp beeswax pellets
2 tsp. Shea butter
1 tsp coconut oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil

Using a glass container, sit it in a pot with a few inches of water. Turn heat on medium low. To the glass container add the beeswax. Next add your Shea butter and coconut oil. Allow to melt, stirring often. I use a wooden skewer to stir with. Once melted remove glass from pot. Stir in your 5 drops of peppermint essential oil. The peppermint oil will increase blood flow to the lips adding a dash of plump. Pour your peppermint lip balm into whatever container you have chosen. Let set. Now you have a lip balm that will plump those lips. Now that your lips are plump, give your man (or woman) that pouty look to get your way. BUT remember there is a fine line between pouty and duck face. Let’s not cross it.

For my personal peppermint balm, I add a small chunk from a Burt’s Bees lip crayon for a hint of color. If you make a batch of tinted balm for friends please use a fresh stick of whatever lip color you choose. To use one you have been using on your lips is just…yuck, wrong.

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Healing Balm

Healing Balm

Healing Lip balm

Makes three 0.20 oz. jars

1 tsp beeswax pellets
2 tsp. Shea butter
1 tsp coconut oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
¼ tsp. of honey (local is best)

Using a glass container, sit it in a pot with a few inches of water. Turn heat on medium low. To the glass container add the beeswax. Next add your Shea butter and coconut oil. Allow to melt, stirring often. I use a wooden skewer to stir with. Once melted remove glass from pot. Stir in lavender essential oil and honey. Pour into lip balm container and allow to set. Here’s my experience with this recipe. I have made it several times. I don’t know why, but sometimes the honey mixes in well and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t you have honey in bottom of your container and atop that you have your set lip balm. Weird.

This if for when your sweet lips are in need of some TLC. Like severely dry and cracked or worse; your lip has exploded from a fever blister/cold sore. This is why I like to make small batches, it’s cheap so tossing it after your lips are healed is no big deal. Some people argue that the virus that causes cold sores dies quickly so your lip balms aren’t contaminated. Well, I just made a healing lip balm for mere pennies; excuse me why I toss the left over in the trash just to be on the safe side. Better safe than lip explosion!
If you don’t have all this handy and the lips are in emergency need just rub some honey on your lips several times a day.

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balm 5

A little of this a little of that:
The beeswax is what allows the balms to set. If your balms are too hard next batch use less beeswax. Too soft next time more beeswax. Easy fix. You can add a few drops of vitamin E to every recipe. I do not because I tend to experience some itching of the skin when I use Vitamin E.

I buy most of my supplies from Amazon. Mainly because I have Amazon Prime and can get most items with free shipping. If you plan on making balms, lotions and other concoctions in large batches I would suggest shopping around to find the best deals.

I have used many items as lip balm containers. Little jars I purchased just for balms, also Altoid tins, old chap stick tubes, if it has a lid it is fair game in my house.

HAVE BROOM WILL TRAVEL

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Halloween will soon be upon us. Ghouls, zombies and witches will be bringing the fear to my neighborhood. That is if I get everything done in time.

A few of my projects this year are complete. Many others are in the works. Two of the ones complete are simple yet are great props to include in a porch display.

A simple rustic witch broom and a tall spooky witch hat. Witch shoes are in the works but they are not cooperating with me at this time.

Today I will share with you how to make the broom.

The broom was quick and easy. I have an oak tree, I call him The Might Oak. Yes I do talk to my tree, he’s a nice guy. Sadly during every storm he loses a few limbs. Some small and others big enough to use as a weapon in a zombie apocalypse.

I began this project by gathering a sturdy limb big enough to serve has the broom handle. After finding the perfect one I began to gather up smaller limbs. Some sturdy others thin and flimsy.

Before going any further I took some twine. It was a light beige. Not liking the new clean twine look I decided to age some. Which is a simple process. Get some tea bags throw them and the twine in a pot of water, bring to a boil. Take off burner and let sit awhile. Easy as pumpkin pie.

a little potion

a little potion

While the tea is working its magic grab some duct tape. It’s time to make a broom!

the magical items being guarded by my new puppy

the magical items being guarded by my new puppy

Take one of the small limbs, place it toward the bottom of the broom handle. take the duct tape and use it to attach the smaller limb.

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Keep wrapping the tape around the handle adding more limbs as you go. Stop when you are satisfied with the look of your broom.

Ready for the twine

Ready for the twine

Then I took the twine out of the pot of tea water. You can let the twine dry to use wet. I find it works better and you get a tighter wrap with it wet. Knot it at the top of the taped area. Now just start wrapping until you reach the end of the duct taped area. Tie off.

Done. Now wait for a full moon then take your broom for a spin!

finished hat 3

 

It Hat to Be You, Tale of a Witch Hat

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finished hat 2

Tall witch hat. Makes tall witches look like giants and makes short witches look like…well, like short witches in tall hats.

This was an easy project. Just took a few short hours. During those hours I also had time to bake a cake, make dinner and plot evil plots.

What you will need:

1 cheap witch hat (I purchased mine at Wal-Mart)

Duct tape (If you have black duct tape great, if not the silver will work just as well)

1 paper towel tube

Black fabric

Glue (if you have glue that is recommended for use on fabric great, I used glue that wasn’t recommended for fabric but it worked out just fine)

Something to stuff hat to help hold shape. I used doll batting but newspaper will work also.

Begin by stuffing the hat with batting to give it an upright shape then tape the hat brim to strengthen it. Inside and out. I gently taped half way up the inside: pushing the batting up out of my way as I went. Cut the tape into little pieces at first to give yourself more control. Now you are ready to tape the outside of the hat. Again be gentle and just little pieces. Go higher and higher. Once you pass the tip of the hat begin using long strips place the lengthwise (us and down) until you reach your desired height.

Not a great picture but it gets the point across

Not a great picture but it gets the point across

Now we need to strengthen and build up layers. Take your cardboard tube. Choose an end for your bottom, cut several 1 inch slits all the way around making ‘flaps’. Push the flaps outwards now lower the tube down the hat. At this point you will have some empty space between hat and inside of tube. Stuff it with something. I used a plastic shopping bag. It’s what was handy.

Using tape again just start wrapping until your hats feels sturdy and has the height you want. You may have to mash and torture the high end of the tube. If not you will end up with a penis shaped hat.

Ready for some fabric

Ready for some fabric

Cut a notch in the end of your black fabric about 4 inches from the side. Rip until you get to the end. 4 inches is just a guess at size I used. I eyeballed it. You can vary the width on the next few strips you rip. Now just glue the crap out of the hat and fabric. I started with the cone first and finished with the brim. Don’t be shy with the glue.

Start at the base and work up

Start at the base and work up

hat 4

hat 2

I’m using my hat as a prop and not for a costume. I feared it might be to top heavy and keep falling over. To fix that problem before I started I glued several rocks inside the hat at the base of the cone, I covered it with fabric also.

finished hat 1

I loved how this turned out. It was wickedly easy and fun!

finished hat 3

You Gotha Try This Banana Pudding, Pt. 3 of a Family Food Saga

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Banana Pudding. There’s a hundred recipes out there, each one claiming to be the best. How do you determine which is the best? Easy, it’s the one you grew up on. See, it is not about the taste when it comes to banana pudding (unless you find yourself face to face with a bowl made by someone who doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing), banana pudding is about memories.

I come from a big family. BIG. Not only do we breed like bunnies but once you become friends with someone in the family, you become family. There’s no getting out either. Kind of like the mafia but with less violence.

With a big family and the merging with other families comes many variations of banana pudding. To me each one is good. One does stand out above the rest but for the sake of family peace I will not name names. Over the years I have learned these recipes and have combined the best of each one to make…‘You Gotha Taste This Banana Pudding’. I’m sure the name won’t catch on but I think once you try this banana pudding recipe you just might be hooked.

You Gotha Taste this Banana Pudding

Ingredients:

Bananas

Vanilla Wafers

Vanilla instant pudding, 2 small boxes

2 ½ cups milk

1 small tub of cool whip, thawed

½ small can of condensed milk about 7 ounces.

2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl mix the 2 boxes of pudding with 2 ½ cups milk. I use a hand mixer. Once mixed add condensed milk (you can use the whole can but your banana pudding will be way to sweet) along with the vanilla extract. Beat until it has a smooth pudding consistency and has started to thicken up slightly. Gently fold on the cool whip. I put my pudding mixture in fridge until I’m ready to assemble.

Just the pudding and milk

Just the pudding and milk

With cool whip added

With cool whip added

While you’re pudding mixture is chilling out in the fridge, take a handful of vanilla wafers, place them into a Ziploc bag, and seal it.

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Find a weapon, I use a hammer with a dishrag or small hand towel laid over the bag (this prevents the hammer from tearing open the bag). Now beat the wafers. Beat them until they are vanilla crumbs. This will be the topping.

Beating the wafers. Ignore my chipped nail polish

Beat the wafers. Chipped nail polish is optional.

wafers to crumbs

wafers to crumbs

Slice your bananas. The amount depends pretty much on what you have on hand. I usually have a lot since my dad is always coming by with a bag of bananas he found on sale. I swear that man has not met a banana he didn’t like.

I just toss the banana slices into the cool whip bowl. No need to dirty extra dishes.

I just toss the banana slices into the cool whip bowl. No need to dirty extra dishes.

Once the bananas are sliced it’s time to get assembling. A pretty bowl or casserole dish is what you need.

Line the bottom of your bowl/dish with vanilla wafers. Spoon half of your pudding mixture over wafers. Add a layer of bananas. Repeat.

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Wafers, pudding mixture and banana.

Wafers, pudding mixture and banana.

Now the top is up to you. Some people line the top with whole wafers while others sprinkle the top with wafers crumbs. There are even those who lay down another layer of wafers, cover with a layer of just plain cool whip then sprinkle wafer crumbs. No wrong choice here. Cover with foil and allow to sit in the fridge a few hours.

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An important note: if you are making this dish for a get together you must make a small bowl of banana pudding and put in fridge. Why? Because if it’s like my family gatherings you’re not going to get any of it unless you do this.

Cover with foil and let chill in fridge for a few hours.

Bowl I made for myself as I was assembling the banana pudding

Bowl I made for myself as I was assembling the banana pudding

banana pudding 3

banana pudding 2

banana pudding 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

United States of CAKE

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July Fourth is just around the corner. As you are making plans to celebrate the anniversary of our independence why not add this cake to your cookout menu?

This is just another spin on the multi colored Bundt cake I have made in the past. I didn’t get the swirl effect I was going for instead it looks more like a Pepsi logo. Haha!

I added too much batter to my blue layer. I will remedy that when I bake this for our family cook out. If it turns out the same way I will have a cooler of Pepsi’s on hand to make it look like the Pepsi logo was intentional.

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The day of the fourth we will begin by watching “The Patriot” because my husband is obsessed with that movie. We will have family and friends join us for a cookout. Last but not least we will gather in the town square to enjoy the fireworks display.

Have a great and SAFE Independence Day!

Red, White and Blue Cake

One white cake mix.

Follow directions on box.

Divide batter up between three bowls.

Using food coloring color gel mix your colors.

Layer colored batter in Bundt pan.

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Bake.

Cool.

Turn out onto cake stand.

Using a can of white frosting, divide it between three bowls.

With the first bowl of frosting. Melt in microwave. Usually 15 to 20 seconds.

Add color, mix well.

Drizzle over cake.

Do same with second bowl.

Finish with the third bowl.

Let the icing set up.

Dazzle people with your awesome cake design.

After admiring your work finish up by EATING CAKE!

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