(the ultimate) Healthy Homemaker Series ~ soap making, skin care & green clean

This week I'm writing about what healthy-living looks like in our home and bringing you the best of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. An amazing resource packed with 86 ebooks, an online conference, and bonus products to help you in your healthy living journey.

First some soap talk

I make soap approximately three times a year. I think if I didn't sell half the batch to my mom I could easily get away with twice a year, spring and a late fall batch for Christmas gifts and personal use.

This year's spring batch was made in the company of two friends who I was teaching how to make soap. We made two batches (go big or go home).

Unfortunately, one of the batches didn't cure well, it was too caustic. At some point in the process we made a mistake and because I was teaching I felt a bit embarrassed about that. I was also disappointed, all those beautiful oils and essential oils "wasted" to make a soap that wasn't good for our skin.

That soap became laundry soap, because "bad" soap is never really wasted, it can always been used for something.

I've been invited to another soapmaking party. This time with friends who have experience making soap. Soapmaking is an excuse to hang out together and make something beautiful while doing so.

I suggested we make my Holiday Spice soap recipe. I've made that three (or four?) years in row now and I'm actually kind of tired of it, but I know that recipe works and is quite popular. Even SouleMama made it one year for Christmas (smile).

Maybe I should try Peppermint Patty again this year instead?

I lack the enthusiasm I once had for creating new recipes. I'm more of a "what have we got in the cupboard?" soapmaker.

This only works though when the cupboard is stocked, and right now I'm getting low on supplies and ordering always seems like such an ordeal of comparing prices of oils and shipping costs, etc. I really don't like shopping and soapmaking was easier when I could just pick up the oils (for a good price even!) at my local health food store.

I also miss the days of palm oil. Before I knew how destructive harvesting palm oil is I could use it with impunity. Many of my older recipes at FIMBY feature palm oil. Ignorance is bliss.

I don't use palm oil anymore and none of my substitutions have produced the same quality of soap as palm oil does. I have found it more complicated to mix and match oils that will produce a hard bar that also lathers well and is super moisturizing to the skin. I'm not saying it can't be done. I just pine for the good ol' days of palm oil in my soap.

I'm trying something new these days though to create a harder, and therefore longer lasting soap bar that doesn't dissolve into goopy mush after one week in the shower. I've been adding sodium lactate. You can google it.

A great soapmaking resource →  I found this excellent video series about all things soapmaking related with a feature on sodium lactate.

Making your own healthy skin care products

Damien has sensitive skin and it was his health and wellbeing that got me interested in natural skin and body care products many years ago.

I've shared my favorite and most tried and true recipes on the blog and all of those can be accessed from this page.

When I was just learning how to make these products it was harder to find recipes and I used "old-fashioned" library books for my research.

Nowadays there are ebooks aplenty, like those in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle, to get you started. You don't even have to go anywhere, or do any searching, it's all been done for you.

And when you own a library of ebooks you can refer back to them often (vs. library loans), and print the recipes easily.

As luck would have it just as I ran out of my last batch of lotion the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle arrived. Yesterday I made Wellness Mama's Smooth Lotion Recipe (pg. 6 from the Natural Beauty Recipes), sans water, thereby eliminating the need for borax or any preservative.

Cleaners & Greening Your Home

It was our health and wellbeing that took me down the "green clean" route also.

Greening your basic cleaning routines is really very easy and I'm not going to write about it a whole lot here, most people know the drill - vinegar, baking soda, castille soap.

But the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle has you covered for all sorts of recipes - dishwasher detergents, stain removers, even natural bleach.

I've wimped out in recent years and started purchasing bio-friendly dish soap, dishwasher, and laundry soap (when I'm not making it from ruined batches of soap). I don't have a problem with this, it's actually been nice to take a break from experimenting.

I've had nagging concerns though about how "green and natural" these cleaners really are. Have I been green-washed? What makes my dish soap yellow, exactly?

Reading over the books in this bundle has me thinking I should give it a go again. Especially since all the recipes are right here, no googling required.

Get the Bundle

There's a whole bookshelf of natural skincare books in the bundle:

And greening your home resources:

I will be focusing on the herbal and essential oil resources in another post, but I'm going to share the bookshelf now because herbs and essential oils are used in the preparation of skin care products.

The Five FIMBY Favorites.

  • Clean, Naturally! ($4.99) - There are 5 (!) natural and green cleaning type books in this bundle. I chose to highlight this one because it is very practical and recipe heavy (vs. "this is the story of how I went green"). It also includes a recipe and how-to for making cold-process soap, like the kind I make. I like the simple formatting - one recipe/page, no photos so you can easily print. This book has actually inspired me to try making a few more cleaners again, like dishsoap or even dishwasher detergent.
  • My Buttered Life: Personal Care edition ($5.00) - The My Buttered Life books have only 5 recipes but they are very step-by-step, with both weight and volume measurements, made with easily accessible ingredients. Pages 9 & 10 have an essential oils guide - a basic description and list of base, middle, and top oils - that I have been looking for online for a couple years (to no avail). I like to use these principles (base, middle, and top notes) in blending EO's for my soap and now I have a handy reference.
  • Natural Beauty Recipes ($14.00) - Loaded with recipes that use volume measurements, people without a scale will appreciate this (I prefer weight measurements). I made a large batch of lotion this week, using one of the recipes. I also want to try the shampoo recipe for Celine, another soap product I've slacked off in making.
  • Homemade Health & Beauty ($4.99) - 21 Simple Do-It-Yourself Recipes for Products You Use Everyday.
  • Jenuinely Pure - A bonus offer, $15 store credit to be used on a $30 purchase of beautifully-crafted natural skincare products from Jenuinely Pure (because not everyone wants, or has the time, to make their own soap.)

The books and bonus above are valued at $43.98. The whole bundle, including 80 more ebooks, an online conference, and real product bonuses is available this week for only $29.97.

A Bundle Tip & Bonus

The Holidays are coming and handmade skin care products make fabulous gifts. If you are thinking of making gifts for family and friends the recipes from the Natural Skin Care shelf of books are perfect for this.

There are $158 worth of bonus offers in this bundle sale. One of those is for Dizolve Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent (because honestly, most people don't make their own, and that's ok!). If you want to take advantage of the bonus offers I suggest you do so soon as some of the bonuses, including the laundry soap, have limited quantities.

One more thing: when you click through to purchase the bundle you have the chance to purchase two more bundles, for the price of one.

A special bonus for you if you buy the bundle through my website.

You probably are familiar enough with bundles to know that the sites you purchase through (ie: my blog or someone else's) get a cut of that sale. Which means I would be super pleased if you are considering purchasing this bundle that you do so through the links on my blog.

Any link from my site counts, not just the buy button below.

To thank you for purchasing the bundle through my blog I will be giving anyone who purchases the bundle through my site my ebook How To Start a Food Buying Club 101. After you purchase the bundle just send me an e-mail and I'll send you the ebook.

Click here to get the low-down on the complete bundle.

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(the ultimate) Healthy Homemaker Series ~ herbs and essential oils »
  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Nov. 8, 2013, 6:58 p.m.

    I am so there with you, Renee! I used to make everything! And I mean, everything... Now, I feel like I am so done with this... I still have soap leftover from a few years back and I am glad for that (and I totally agree about the palm oil... especially now that we have seen first-hand the devastation palm oil harvesting causes while we were in Costa Rica...). I agree though that the said green products out there are not as green as the ones we used to make... I feel like we have put that on the back burner, just like everything "homesteady" now that we have moved to another season of our lives, the season of adventures! But your post makes me realize that we don't need to throw the baby with the bath water... Thanks for the little nudge in the behind!


    • renee

      renee on Nov. 8, 2013, 10:50 p.m.

      Catherine, isn't that interesting. Our think our parallel-ish paths are similar to a lot of people who did the homestead thing (to some degree or another) and then either burnt out (I saw that in the old timer type back-to-landers in Maine) or changed course. And yet, like you say you don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

      I too need a little nudge in the behind to not just accept and believe all the green marketing spin (which makes me feel better about buying potentially questionable products). But I do think there are seasons for things. And when we were moving all the time making my own stuff, besides body soap, was too much. But now I'm thinking ti wouldn't be too hard to try some of these new recipes I've found. Of course, we're moving again in 5 months (smile) so I'm not going to be stocking up on diy supplies right now. And on the AT I'm using all storebought, just basic camp soap. 


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