Homemade Hand Sanitizer

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I usually try to wash my hands with plain old soap and water to get rid of icky germs and try to avoid illness, but it is not always possible.  In an effort to try to avoid harsh chemicals, I decided to give this recipe for homemade hand sanitizer a go!  I’m not sure what magazine I clipped it out of, but the article references Kate Snow, a green-living expert and author.  It contains 4 simple ingredients, the aloe vera and witch hazel I found at a discount store and the essential oils at I picked up at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market.  It was a super easy project and took me less than 10 minutes to whip up a batch.

1/2 cup pure aloe vera gel

1 1/2 tsp witch hazel

15 drops tea tree oil

5 drops lavender essential oil

I mixed it up in a glass bowl and then used a small funnel to fill one three ounce container.  It took a little tapping on the counter but it went in pretty easily.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t  in love with the smell at first.  I think the tea tree oil has a strong scent, but the lavender balances it out.  However, I’m willing to put up with the smell in order to avoid harsh chemicals.  The smell of the oils did seem to dissipate after a few minutes.  When I tested it out, it felt a little sticky at first, but I kept rubbing for a few seconds and it evaporated on my hands.

How about you?  Do you have any natural recipes you love?   I’m always looking for more natural chemical-free ideas.  We would love to hear from you!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

DIY Cozy Rice Heating Pad

Recently I have been going to physical therapy for a back injury and as part of my visit, I lay on a giant heating pad that covers my whole back and it feels wonderful!  I decided to try to recreate this DIY, cozy, rice heating pad at home.   I like the idea of a portable heating pad, instead of one you plug in, so you don’t have to worry about finding a plug or falling asleep and burning yourself.

I was able to whip up the one below in an afternoon.  (If the sewing part of this project scares you, trust me, you can do it!  I have VERY minimal sewing skills and even had to get the manual out to re-teach myself how to use my sewing machine!  If I can do it, anyone can!)

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This heating pad is large and kind of heavy and bulky, but I love how it covers my whole back.    I found this fleece material on the remnant rack at my local craft store.  It is so soft and cozy!   If you need a smaller heating pad for a more isolated area, you can make a smaller one like this:

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I have even made tiny ones to heat up if my kids have an ear infection. It feels nice to lay one that has been lightly heated by the sore ear.

For the DIY Cozy Heating Pad You will need:

-rice (The amount depends on how large your heating pad is.  For the large size I used two large bags of rice. The smaller one uses 3/4 to one bag of rice.)

-a sturdy cotton material for the rice

-fleece for the case (You could use any material for this, but I like fleece because it is so soft and cozy.)

*I usually shop the remnant isle for the material because it is super cheap and you don’t need a large amount of material to make these.

-sewing machine

-thread color of your choice

Directions:

1.For the inside case, use the sturdy cotton material.  Fold the material in half so you only have to sew three edges.  Fold and pin the edges and then sew three edges shut like a pillow case and  leave a small opening at the top of the case to fill it with rice.

2. Fill the case with rice and sew shut (Make sure it is sewn securely shut or you will have a mess!).  You can sew inside or outside seams, depending on whether you want them to show.  I didn’t really care how fancy mine looked, so I sewed the seams from the outside.  If you don’t want them to show, you can turn the material inside out and sew the seams, then turn it back right side out when you are done. Another alternative for this would be to sew the large one into 4 separate compartments for the rice. This would stop the rice from sliding back and forth through the whole pack. You would just leave an opening in each section to pour rice in and then sew it up!

My large inside pad case looks like this:

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**You could also add 1-3 drops of essential oil such as lavender to the rice and your heating pad will smell nice when you heat it in the microwave

3. For the fleece cover, if you want a nice finished edge, you can sew a seam around the edge that will be open (not sewn) before sewing the sides together. Once you have hemmed the edge of the fleece, fold it in half, pin the edges and sew two sides together leaving the third side open(the one you hemmed) like a pillow case.  It is nice to make a case for the rice bag so you can remove it to wash.

4. Slide the rice bag into the fleece case and you now have a cozy, portable heating pad!

I usually heat the small one in the microwave for about 2 minutes (the time will depend on your microwave) and the large one took about 6 minutes with me taking it out and rotating it every 2 minutes.

This heating pad will sooth all of your aches and pains or  just warm you up on a cold winter night!

Enjoy!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

Back To School Inspiration- An Organization Idea

Hi Friends!  As a teacher, my summer officially comes to an end today.  Although I am very sad to see the laid back days of summer end, I have to admit I am a little bit excited to get us all back on a regular schedule.  I haven’t posted many organizational ideas to our blog yet, but one thing you will learn about me is that nothing makes me happier than an organized space!  It brings me peace to have a clutter-free environment and I feel like it frees up my mind to think inspirational thoughts!

This inspirational back to school idea I have for you today is one I found last year on the web (I can’t remember exactly where I found it…).  If you have kids in school, you know one of the biggest issues to manage is the amount of paperwork that comes in the door (newsletters, permission slips, art projects, homework and on and on and on….)!  It can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning of the school year.

So, to tame the clutter, I purchased a pack of wall mounted file folder holders from the local office supply store.  The one I bought came as a three pack.  I only have two kids, so I saved the third in case one ever broke.

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I used large Command Strip hangers instead of the enclosed hardware so I did not have to drill holes in the wall.  They have held up for a year and are still going strong!  Before mounting them on the wall, I taped a picture of each girl on the inside (face out).  Oldest Daughter got the high spot and Little One got the low spot on the wall so she could reach the slot to file all of her papers.  I chose silly pictures from our Disney vacation because they remind me of a fun family time. Notice the Mickey ears and silly faces! (Who doesn’t need a reminder of a little fun when filing school papers!)

IMG_2791 back to schoolFinally, I purchased some cute file folders and each girl was assigned a color and two folders in their slot.  One folder is for extra-curricular papers and the other is for school related items.  Little One also uses this space to store her homework folder and library book (no more scrambling on library day to find her book).  She is really good about unloading all of her school papers into the slot, then I go through them when I have a moment and toss what we don’t need and file the rest.  This system is located next to the door where we exit and enter the house so the papers all stay contained in one place.

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This whole project took me about 10 minutes from start to finish and has been a real lifesaver in managing the truckloads of paper that come home from school!

Do you have a favorite back to school tip?  We would love to hear your ideas in the comment section!

I wish everyone a smooth, happy, organized and inspirational new school year!

~Blessings,

Jen