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Clean Shaving Soap

Clean Shave Soap

For a traditional wet shave, our Clean Shaving Soap offers plentiful lather, lubrication to guard against nicks and rich moisture from shea and cocoa butter.

Vegan-friendly.

Ingredients: Olive oil, water, coconut oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, cocoa butter, shea butter, cedarwood and orange essential oils.

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Sweet Cinnamon Oats Soap

This soap smells good enough to eat—just like a cinnamon roll! Ground oats provide gentle exfoliation while also soothing sensitive skin. The addition of honey and milk are also gentle on skin, while boosting lather.

Ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, lard, water, castor oil, grapeseed oil, milk, ground oats, yogurt, honey and cinnamon.

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Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo

Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo

This shampoo bar offers gentle cleansing suitable for fine, combination or oily hair. Coconut oil gives it plenty of cleansing power, while a touch of cocoa butter keeps it from being overdrying. The sweetness of brown sugar insures plenty of bubbles in your lather! Our shampoo bars are all sulfate-free.

To use, lather in hand, then work through hair and rinse.

Vegan-friendly.

Ingredients: Olive oil, coconut oil, water, brewed green tea, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, grapeseed oil, cocoa butter, citric acid and brown sugar.

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Charcoal & Clay Facial Soap

Charcoal & Clay Facial Soap

Featuring activated charcoal and bentonite clay, this bar is great for drawing out toxins and impurities. Grapeseed oil acts as a mild astringent, making this an ideal facial bar for problem skin.

Vegetarian-friendly.

Ingredients: Water, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide grapeseed oil, beeswax, activated charcoal and bentonite clay.

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Rosemary & Lavender Shampoo Bar

This nourishing, moisture rich shampoo bar features cocoa butter, shea butter and jojoba oil. Sulfate-free, this is a luxurious and environmentally friendly alternative to commercial shampoos. Works great for thick, curly or dry/damaged hair.

To use, lather in hand, then work through hair and rinse.

Vegetarian-friendly.

Ingredients: Water, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, beeswax, yogurt, turmeric, rosemary and lavender essential oils.

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The Sourdough Experiment

It all started because a friend posted on Facebook about the sourdough starter she was working on. A couple weeks later, there was a post about sourdough pancakes. About the same time, the Kiddo asked if we could get some sourdough bread to go with our planned dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. Somewhere in the course of that weekend, he proceeded to ask me if I knew how to make bread (yes, I did), following that up with, “I think bread is pretty easy to make, right?” I answered that it’s not overly difficult, once you learn how to do it, but it takes some time, then explained the process of mixing and kneading the dough, letting it rise, etc.

Next question: “Oh, could you make sourdough then?” So I began to explain that making sourdough bread is like a whole level above baking regular bread, and tried to explain that I would need a starter, and starters take time to develop. By that point, he was distracted by something else–either planning his next Minecraft adventure or plotting how he would configure the terrarium for the bearded dragon he had pledge to get him (this was before Rocky arrived Easter weekend).

He might have moved on to a new topic, but the seed was firmly planted in my head. In my earlier Friday Favorites post on starting my sourdough starter, I mentioned that I had tried my hand at a starter many years ago (I was fresh out of college and had just learned to bake bread to impress a new beau). That attempt failed miserably. I don’t like failing at things, so with the idea of attempting sourdough once again floating around in my head, I took it as a challenge.

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Inviting weeds

Have I mentioned that sometimes I’m a little crazy? Because sometimes I am.

Sometimes an idea pops into my head, and it’s an idea that I should just shoo away by telling myself that it’s just too challenging, too time-consuming, too whatever. Sometimes I manage to shoo those ideas away. Sometimes my slightly crazy side just latches on to an idea and decides to go with it.

That’s what’s happening now. As I shared a few posts back, the Guy and I have just recently managed to pull out most of the weeds in our little zen garden of life and find some balance after a total upheaval two years ago. Nevertheless, over the past month, we’ve decided to tackle two big initiatives.

One of them is a logical step, and it’s really mostly on the Guy (I’m just the support system). The other one is just pure crazy.

No. 1 Initiative (aka the Logical Goal) is that the Guy is returning to school to get  his degree. Due to life circumstances, he made it just a semester or two shy of his bachelor’s and never finished, and we finally decided he needed to make the leap and go back. He’s changing majors (long story), so it will probably take him 2 to 2 1/2 years. A big change and a lot of work, but a completely reasonable, feasible goal, right?

No. 2 Initiative (aka the Crazy Idea Goal) is that we are, as a family, going to build our own teardrop camper. Why you ask? Well, for one, we love camping. But sometimes tent camping is a lot of work (especially packing up for a trip). And sometimes tents get cold and wet. And sometimes sleeping on an air mattress in a tent is no fun at all when the mattress decides to not hold air in the middle of the night and you have bad back (um, yeah, last camping trip…). And we live on a tight budget that doesn’t have room for buying a camper.

But building a camper is a different story. It’s not exactly a cheap endeavor, but it’s definitely more affordable than buying one retail. Plus we can do it in bits and pieces, as we can afford to invest in it. We can tap the resources and knowledge we have through our friends, family and co-workers along the way–both in salvaging scrap materials that can be re-used and learning how to do some of the work we don’t have much expertise in. Which is pretty much all of it.

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Running Au Natural

Don’t worry, I’m talking about food choices, not your wardrobe.

After a pretty long hiatus (originally kicked off by the need for sinus surgery), I am finally back in a running routine, and I’m kind of giddy about it. Running has been one of those things that just kind of, well, got left off the scales in this whole finding balance thing, because with everything else on my plate right now, I just couldn’t seem to make the time.

But make the time I must, because, simply put, I’m a nicer person when I run. It helps me deal with stress so I don’t snap at the Guy or Kiddo for some slight thing. The struggle always is that when I’m the most stressed is when I have the least time to run. I’m making it a priority, though, because it really is a vital component of my own emotional well-being. So back on the scales it goes.

I started getting back in a running routine right about the same time as we started really ditching processed foods. At first, I was running 2-3 miles, which means I don’t really need to worry much about “fuel.” For the non-runners, “fuel” is the runner geek term we use to say “food” when it relates to running–I think it makes us feel cool or special or something. Regardless, “fuel” needs vary depending on how far you’re running, and whether you’re talking about pre-run, mid-run or post-run fuel.

Generally, food before a run should be high in carbs, but with a low glycemic index to provide lasting energy. During a run, your body needs to replace lost fluid and electrolytes. You’ll also need more carbs, but this time in the more quickly digestible form of glucose. The longer the run, the greater the need to make sure you’re taking in calories and electrolytes during the run. If I run three miles or less, I stick with water, unless it’s blazingly hot and I’m sweating and stinking to high heaven. After a run, protein helps repair and rebuild the muscles you’ve just spend several miles tearing down, ultimately making them stronger.

For a lot of runners (myself included until recently), fuel comes in the form of commercialized, highly processed (and highly marketed) products such as Gatorade or other “sports” drinks, energy gels/bars and protein drinks and bars (which, honestly taste unbearably chalky to me). When you take a minute to look at all the chemicals in these options and realize that there’s not much “real” food going into your body, it almost feels like you’re undoing the good you just did by running.

 

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Real Foods on the Road

We just returned from our third road trip of the summer last week–an eight-hour trek to my parents’ home in Pennsylvania. This drive always seems immeasurably shorter than our 11ish-hour trip to Indy  to see the Guy’s side of the family.

Still, eight hours means we needed to plan on lunch and snacks for the road. I try to pack our own lunches for long trips to save money and avoid fast food (we cut that out long before we start eliminating other processed foods). But even packed lunches are a little more challenging now that we’re eliminating processed foods–like deli meat and storebought bread for sandwiches that might have been a “go-to” before. Add in some of the Kiddo’s picky eating quirks (um, he doesn’t like peanut butter–there goes the PB sandwich staple!), and it’s more challenging.