Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Household Projects

With any new house there is a mile long "to do" list. Even though we bought our home "move in ready," we are no exception. There are always little tedious starter projects and, saved for the future, big projects like tri level porches, house wide wood flooring and changing the color of the house to a creamier yellow beige.

We have tons of tackled tasks, but the two recent that were by far the most enjoyable, were figuring out our recycled smoker and installing a kid friendly screen door that will keep the new kittens from escaping. I have to say, I didn't think I was the type that would enjoy working over smoker heat in the 99 degree advisory {literally: forecast says it is 99, feels like 103 - we're feeling it!}, but I got into it.        

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our Twin Girls

Twin girl kittens that is...

We finally made the decision to go mid-grade easy with a pair of female identical twin kittens. Now we have husband, wife, our twin boys and our twin girl cats. I don't feel quite as outnumbered anymore with the household rounding out at 3 females and 3 males. We ended up working with a private adopter out of The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. Welcome to your new home, still unnamed kitty cats - we'll figure out something within the next week, hopefully. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A List to Consider


Recently our family has begun the serious consideration of adopting a new pet. It has been 3 years since my little kitty Mooch passed away from feline leukemia, and with life finally very stable, we think we're ready for another round of pet ownership. We've looked around at various stores and have filled out our application for The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. Figuring out what type of pet best fits our current lifestyle is where the weighty thinking is needed.  Some of Our Thoughts...

Positives of Owning a Pet
Our children is where the positives get high marks with all domestic pets, across the list. Children learn a lot of valuable lessons from their pets. They improve in their social skills, non-verbal skills, become more emotionally stable, engaged and attentive, learn how to develop trusting relationships, compassion, loyalty, empathy, responsibility, respect for all creatures - the list goes on.

Dog Ownership
Owning a puppy is just like having a new baby. They need a lot of attention, care, constant exercise, obedience training, grooming and so much more. Most of that list, never changes. They will always need walks daily, attention, vet visits, even when there behavioral skills are well engrained. Depending on the size of the dog, it is a 24/7 commitment for an expected 12 years, on up to 20 years. Even with all of that said, the heavy need for constant attention is matched in our 2 year old boys. If I really and truly feel deep within that I can meet all of the needs of a puppy, I know it would be the absolute perfect choice for our kids.

Cat Ownership
I already know from past experience that a cat, especially with 2 year old twin boys, is much more realistic for our household. They are much more self sufficient and independent. Similar to a dog, they need love and attention, grooming, to be fed, etc...but they are usually able to have food out all day and they free feed, don't need a leash when they go out, can go out by themselves, they potty on their own, they're quiet and generally very naturally clean. Cats are on the top of our list, even though they can tend to be a little fickle - meaning that when they are done playing, they'll hide out on a tall counter where kids can't get to them. They very much value there alone time.

Other Small Fluffy Animals
Here we're talking bunnies, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs - the traditional small fluff's. This is where the work gets super easy. I've considered dabbling into the pet world with one of these easier options. As far as the kids go, they'll still learn responsibility, caring for small things, compassion, empathy - all the important parts of pet ownership with little ones. They need care, love, a cage for when they aren't free playing, little toys and exercise equipment. When it comes to rabbits, if you have a lot of patience they are completely trainable. Although they get high marks in the easier to care for category, they don't engage with people as well as cats, and certainly not as well as dogs.

It's really is a tough decision, not one to be taken by anyone lightly. One of the biggest reasons animals get turned over to shelters, is from the needs of the animal not being able to be met by the owner. Dogs for example - if someone doesn't have the time to give them their daily exercise, take them out for regular bathroom breaks and take the time for obedience training, can become very unruly and not by any fault of the animal itself. Anyone holding "it" all day and being trapped inside would eventually get stir crazy and make a mess. So many important things to think about.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ingredients Corner - Frankincense Essential Oil


Frankincense is a very aromatic resin that is tapped from a tree, pretty similarly to the way real maple is gathered. The essential oil is extracted from the tears {hardened resin} by steam distillation, where the originally deep earthy scent, becomes sweeter and cleaner. The final product is very warm and woody, with a slightly fruity sweet spice kick to it. It really is a beautiful scent. I'm always adding it as a base in solid parfum recipes, handmade soaps, facial cleansers, facial lotions and solid lotions.

Frankincense Essential Oil Benefits in the Bath and Beauty World:
  • Facial Care: Frankincense essential oil helps to keep the skin youthful and firm. It actually helps to tone and lift the skin, helping it to appear very smooth.
  • Full Body Care: Frankincense has natural antiseptic properties that can help to kill bacteria, which is wonderful for head to toe use, especially any areas that are prone to breakouts. It is also a natural treatment to help lighten scars and stretch marks.

Friday, June 22, 2012

{recipes} Green Living continued...



A few months ago I shared my most important tip for turning over a green household and some starter recipes for beginning to wean into green cleaning {click here to read our original post}. Today is a continuation of the process for those who are following along. For this next segment we are hopping over to the personal care category tackling toothpaste, mouthwash and a skin cream that is great for face and body. Provided at the bottom of this post are also links to 4 other personal care recipes I've shared in the past, that go hand in hand with this segment.

Toothpaste
4 teaspoons fine ground sea salt
2/3 cup baking soda
15 drops peppermint essential oil
distilled water

Mix the salt and baking soda together. Add the essential oil. Add water a little at a time, mixing in between, until you come to the consistency you are looking for. ***If you don't like the taste of the sea salt, you can omit that. It's just used as a light natural abrasive cleaner. You can also change out your essential oil for others such as sweet orange or cinnamon.***

Mouthwash
1 cup aloe vera juice
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon witch hazel
2 teaspoons baking soda
20 drops peppermint essential oil

You are literally going to throw the ingredients into your container, cover, and give a little shake before each use. ***Again, you can change out your essential oils for a single or blend you like such as sweet orange, cinnamon or clove.***

Invigorating Skin Cream
1/2 cup shea butter
2 teaspoons jojoba oil
2 teaspoons apricot kernel oil
2 teaspoons vitamin E oil
6 drops frankincense essential oil
3 drops lemon essential oil

Place the shea, jojoba, apricot kernel oil and vitamin E into a microwavable glass container and heat on 50% power until the cocoa butter is just about melted and the oils are blended. Remove from the microwave and stir until all the ingredients are completely melted. Mix in the frankincense and lemon essential oils. Pour into a clean, dry container until completely cooled, then top and store in a cool dry place.

More Personal Care Recipes from Milk & Honey Naturals:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ingredients Corner - Rosemary Essential Oil


Rosemary essential oil is one of my favorite herbal essential oils to use. I add it to everything from my invigorating citrus shave bar, to my handmade body soaps, solid lotion repellents and even my hair care line. It has a very fragrant, woody scent that not only serves multiple health benefits, but is also a great base for balancing out lighter notes in the floral and fruit families. My favorite blend is sweet orange with an undertone of rosemary. Absolutely delicious!

The health benefits associated with rosemary essential oil in bath and beauty products include:
  • Hair Care: Rosemary helps to stimulate the hair follicles, which helps hair to grow longer and stronger. It also helps to slow down the process of hair loss and graying hair and wards off dry, flaky and itchy scalp issues.
  • Skin Care: Rosemary essential oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer and has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also a great choice for a natural acne treatment, as it serves as a natural antibacterial and antifungal agent. It's also the perfect choice for dermatitis issues, such as eczema.
  • Extra Benefits: Rosemary essential oil can help to improve mental clarity, enhance memory, relieve headaches and improve the appearance of cellulite.
  • Extra Special Benefit: Wards off mosquitoes! I add rosemary essential oil to my natural solid lotion repellent as a triple threat when blended with essential oils of eucalyptus and citronella. Say goodbye to mosquitoes, biting flies, lice, ticks, mites and fleas.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Breakfast 101

In need of a breakfast makeover? Try this energy packed breakfast that will fill you up without weighing you down...


Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Baby Bunny Tale


The boys have the cutest new little bunny friend. He showed up a few days ago when the county finished our fence for the walkway project. I suppose I should back up a bit...

In our neighborhood they decided to build this great walkway. For extra privacy and protection, they put up a duo of fences - first a smaller metal gate, then a tall privacy fence. To finish the project they had to tear down a third of our existing fence.

Well, baby bunny must have snuck in before the job was done because the day the fence was enclosed, he was here to stay. He's taken up shelter under our shed. He's super curious about my babies. He lets them come close and watch him eat. So far we've been feeding him lettuce, but have plans to get some super fancy bunny nums on my next grocery stop. I'm hoping within the next few weeks he'll want to officially be our bunny. He looks so cuddly - I'm dying to pet him.

 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Milk and Honey Naturals



Milk and Honey Naturals is a family business operated out of Kansas City, Missouri. Our most recent, and still ongoing adventure, has been the move to our newest home. For the past month we've taken the time to close our eyes and imagine the decorating style of each and every room of our house. "Dressed with color and artfully arranged" - we are attempting to make our dreams a reality.


The highest priorities on our list, after some heavy settling in, has been tackling the yard. I've been diving into the world of flora and attempting to unlock the secrets to a lush lawn. We also have a few geometrically stoned garden areas I've been struggling with. Just the basics - do I go floral or plant a small garden? We shall see...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When in Need {DIY}

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I didn't realize until we moved from a large house in Virginia, to a smaller temporary apartment in Missouri -ditched all of our trash cans- then spread out in a larger house, that WE NEED TRASH CANS! Looking to pinch a penny, I ran into an upcycling project that I instantly fell in love with. Following along with Melody of Brave Girls Club, you too can create your own one of a kind artsy trash can. Such a fun project! To tag along, click HERE...

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our New Home {DIY}

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We recently purchased our first home in Missouri - in fact, we just moved in yesterday. I'm the kind of person who, based on the overall look of a home, really enjoys dreaming up an overall decor theme. With 7 homes in 7 years, there's a lot of dreaming to be had. For this new tot, we're going Vintage French Country - very classic New Orleans. For those who aren't familiar with French Country, some snaps:

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When redecorating a new home, I like to remain as thrifty as possible in areas that can give a little, like accents. My most recent project, thanks to The Country Chic Cottage - DIY Vintage Labels. With my collection of pickle jars, baby food jars and vintage mason jars, I'm fully ready to follow along with Angie in creating the perfect upcyled vintage touch to our home.

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you can DIY with Angie too - Simply: CLICK HERE

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Friday, June 8, 2012

The Twins 2nd Birthday {free printables}

For my twin boys 2nd birthday, we had a quant low key celebration - just the four of us {me, kids, hubby}. Today I had to give a little shout out and a thank you to anna and blue paperie for rounding out our decor with their lovely free birthday printables, which you can also download for free by clicking HERE

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Father's Day Gift Guide


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More Unique Ideas from the Milk & Honey Naturals Shop


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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New!

Milk & Honey Naturals Presents: Sampler Lovers Grab Bags

Perfect for those who wish to sample a variety of natural handmade soaps and solid body care products.

Each bag is set up with a specially selected assortment of handmade soaps, solid hair care products, facial cleansing bars, shave bars and more! Be sure to check the shop for current selections and new selection creations.

Sampler Lovers Grab Bags also make incredibly thoughtful gifts!!